I’m overhearing my partner’s work conversations and they’re bad, rude companies during a labor shortage, and more

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

1. I’m overhearing my partner’s work conversations and they seem bad

For the last year and a half of the pandemic, my partner and I have been working remotely. My partner has a well-paying job in a field they excel in and is highly respected by their colleagues. During the last year, they have been less and less happy with their company, but they want to stick around for another 2-3 years for financial reasons.

The issue is that in the meantime they have been making increasingly imprudent choices about how they’re conducting themself at work — or at least it seems that way to me. They tell interviewees about problems within the company, spread gossip about higher-ups during meetings, allude to the fact that they plan to leave in a few years, and other things that make me cringe. I can’t help but overhear this stuff during the workday, and I often want to tell them that they’re going to get fired if they keep this up. But I recognize that it’s really not my place, especially since I’m not in these conversations, so I keep my mouth shut.

Am I wrong in my feeling that, even for an otherwise excellent employee, this kind of behavior might lead to serious problems? Should I just let it all go and look forward to going back to the office where I only have to think about my own workplace politics?

It depends. Alluding to plans to leave in a few years wouldn’t be a problem in lots of offices. Telling interviewees about problems within the company could be fine or even good, depending on what your partner is saying. Smart employers do make sure candidates know about the downsides of a job as well as the upsides, so they hire people who are willing to deal with those downsides and don’t feel misled. So it depends on whether it’s something like “there are a lot of layers of management and it can take a long time to get decisions made” (probably fine) or “the people are jerks and my manager doesn’t know his head from his ass” (probably not fine). Spreading gossip about higher-ups sounds bad on its face, but sometimes “gossip” isn’t that different from “info you need to succeed here” so, again, the details really matter.

Why not ask your partner about it? You could frame it as, “I can’t help but overhear some of your conversations, and some of it has surprised me! Saying things like XYZ in my job would be really risky because ___. Is that a worry in yours, or would your boss be fine with this stuff if she heard it?” If your partner’s response is that they’d never say any of this in front of their boss, you could ask, “Is some of this your unhappiness with the job coming out in what you say to people, and if so is that something that could end up hurting you or am I misinterpreting?” Say it from a place of genuine curiosity and with an open mind (as opposed to starting from a place of “you’re clearly a mess”) and it should be a conversation that’s okay to have.

Related: I overheard my girlfriend on a work call and am worried she’s a mean boss (and the update)

2. Rude companies during a labor shortage

I know there is a labor shortage in the U.S. and so I want to know why companies that are hiring are behaving so rudely. Looking for a job now, I have dealt with mostly rude companies. They bait and switch me, speak rudely to me over the phone, and have confusing, broken websites. I don’t expect them to cater to my every need but if they are looking for new employees, at least be a little nicer. If they are going to continue acting this way, they are not going to find employees. Why do you think they are acting this way?

They act that way because historically they have been able to. For years employers held more of the power than most job seekers did, and they took advantage of that — being rude to candidates, withholding information, misrepresenting key details, not getting back to people, scheduling calls they didn’t show up for, and generally acting as if applicants should be grateful just to be considered. It hurt them with many good candidates, but they were mostly able to hire the people they needed so they didn’t much care.

The balance of power feels different right now in many industries (although definitely not all) and a lot of employers haven’t caught on. (Unemployment benefits running out may push things back in the other direction, but we’ll see.)

3. Should I tell my team I’m trying to get them raises?

I am a mid-level manager in busy surgery center’s recovery room. I have asked my supervisors for raises for some of my staff related to the extra duties/responsibilities they add to their current roles. I have also asked for our pay scale to be adjusted for every staff member. Should I tell my employees that I have asked my bosses for a raise for them?

I want them to know that I “go to bat” for them and think they deserve more, and that it’s not my decision to make. But I also worry they will think poorly of my bosses if they say no for whatever reason.

It’s great that you’re advocating for raises, but don’t proactively tell people about it unless the raises are approved. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll have set people up for disappointment, and you might end up making them feel demoralized when they’d previously been happy. (And if I were your manager with good reason for not being able to do raises right now, I’d be annoyed you had set up an us vs. them dynamic that benefitted you but hurt the organization.)

There are lots of visible ways you can advocate for your team — like working to remove obstacles and ensure they have the tools they need they need to do their jobs, being as flexible where you can, recognizing good work, and cultivating a supportive environment. Keep the pay stuff behind the scenes until there’s news to share.

4. Should I give feedback to a new grad with a five-page resume?

I am currently in the process of hiring for three new positions on my team. I have been going through resumes for the last week or so. These positions are often above entry-level but I would consider someone fresh out of college as well if they had an interesting resume.

I received a resume from someone who appears to be only recently out of college, which is fine. Except that his resume is five pages of solid text. He describes every position he has ever held in great detail. From skimming, many of these “positions” appear to be parts of his college courses where he did “research.” My first instinct is just to reject him because I cannot do more than briefly skim his resume without going cross-eyed because there is just too much information. However, he is clearly young and when I was young I would have wanted someone to tell me what the issues with my applications were.

Would it be overstepping to reach out to him and let him know that his resume is much too long? I was thinking something along the lines of, “Unfortunately your resume does not meet our length requirements of two pages or less. Please submit an updated resume so that we can review your application.” I was also trying to come up with wording that directed him to some of your articles on resumes. I know this is not really my responsibility as someone who just happens to be hiring for a job he applied for but he clearly needs some feedback. I am not sure why I feel like I should give it to him other than that he is young and I remember clearly what it was like trying to get my first “real” job after graduation. I received another five-page resume from someone with many years worth of (unrelated) experience and I feel no compulsion to give that person any feedback.

As a general rule, it’s not really your job to give applicants this kind of feedback and it can be time-consuming if you do it as a habit and people will sometimes be rude in response … but I agree it would be a kindness in this case, since he’s right out of school and it’ll be an immediate deal-breaker for most of the applications he sends in.

I’d word it as, “We’re generally only able to review resumes that are one to two pages long (and especially right out of school, many employers will expect you to stick to one page). If you can submit an shorter resume, we’d be happy to review your application.” (I prefer that to referencing “length requirements” since this isn’t really a formal requirement.) You could add, “Here’s an article that might help” and link him to something like this.

5. Should I give my recruiter a thank-you gift?

I am currently at the tail end of a job search (huzzah!). Offer letter in hand, have yet to officially accept it and give my current employer notification. This is the second time I’ve used the same headhunter. I love the heck out of him and his process. For my current position he got me a 27% pay increase over the previous job!

While I am aware that the companies looking to hire pay him his fee, should I gift him something in appreciation? I feel I’m getting a ton of support from him for free.

Don’t give him a gift. But do tell him how much you appreciated his help, and be specific and detailed about what he did that was meaningful to you. Even better, put it in a note — people often cherish those for years (far more than they do Starbucks cards and such). And you could also think about how you can be helpful to him — like referring good candidates for roles he’s recruiting for, etc.

{ 295 comments… read them below }

  1. KHB*

    #1: The kind of behaviors that can lead to serious problems vary a lot from place to place. A few months ago, I got to overhear my partner in a full-on screaming match with his boss that lasted an entire morning – but by the afternoon, it had blown over and everything was fine. I still don’t understand how that actually happened. Some workplace dynamics are just weird, I guess.

    So talk to your partner about it, but realize that in the end, everyone gets to make their own decisions about how to conduct themselves at work.

    1. Rachel*

      All of the partner’s problematic comments are very typical at my company. We are all very open about the dysfunction (though it is largely a great culture and we regularly win regional “best place to work” awards) and realistic about people not staying forever.

      1. Threeve*

        Likewise. I’ve also had a (fairly toxic) workplace where talking sh*t about the executives was totally acceptable–even somewhat expected.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      I can see this, of both come from backgrounds where this is a normal interaction. It wouldn’t happen with me and my boss. Neither of us come from that sort of background. But I can definitely tell him when I think he is wrong about something. Perhaps your partner and his boss are doing the same thing, as it plays out with them and at higher volume.

    3. pretzelgirl*

      This can be industry dependent too. When I worked in sales, stuff like in letter 1 was totally normal. Even managers would complain about their managers, execs etc to their employees. People saying “Oh I am leaving soon” then doing it or maybe never actually leaving. Its just how some places are.

    4. Lora*

      YUP. It is 100% unique to every workplace.

      PreviousJob, you were not allowed to even HINT that perhaps, maybe, there might be other information management had not considered before making a decision. Some managers openly harassed, berated and scolded their employees in large department meetings, and you were not allowed to say a peep about ANYTHING or you’d be branded a troublemaker and let go. If someone presented a garbage data set in a meeting, you weren’t allowed to ask any questions about it such as “how did you validate these results” which are very, very normal questions to ask, but in that workplace were perceived as “you’re attacking this person’s Great Mind! how DARE you, woman/minority!”

      CurrentJob, we are openly encouraged to ask questions and raise issues and argue back, say that a data set seems implausible or needs more work, or that management needs to know additional information because they’re not making the best decisions ever right now. We get scolded quite a bit for not being sufficiently questioning or assertive in our disagreements.

      It is absolutely cultural and set from the top. Biggest thing I had to learn working in international businesses was how to listen for what people are telling you in different cultures, because in some cultures merely being lukewarm about something is the equivalent of “this is the worst thing I have ever seen and its creators and enthusiasts should be shot into the sun via a large cannon” whereas in other cultures screaming “this is the worst thing I have ever seen and a plague upon the earth” across a conference table at the creators of said thing is actually totally acceptable and they will go out for beers afterwards, no feelings hurt. It really varies that much from workplace to workplace.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I liked Alison’s framing of “at my company this would be a problem.” Gives sort of a basis to check in but leaves room for him to say “no, this is all fine” at which point you should probably back off.

      I definitely think it’s okay to bring up at least once though, especially if it’s a major shift from how he used to talk at work. I disagree with OP saying it’s not “her place” to do so for two reasons: 1) if it is a major shift it may be reflective of a change in how he’s feeling, which it seems like is what OP is thinking, that he’s less happy at work. If you think your partner is unhappy I think that is certainly something you can/should try to talk to them about! And 2) if you are sharing a home then your finances must affect each other at least to some extent so if you think he’s genuinely at risk of losing his job over this then I think it’s reasonable to bring that up.

      1. Free Meerkats*

        Bring it up once, and only once.

        One of the problems (or was that ‘opportunities’?) I had in my WFH time was that my wife and I have very different work styles and even though she’s retired now, she couldn’t seem to help herself trying to manage me. There was much friction that never completely went away, even after I told her to stop and she mostly did.

        It’s just part of why I’m enjoying being back in the office full time.

      2. ThatOnePlease*

        Totally agree. I think you absolutely have standing to ask your partner (in a spirit of open-minded curiosity, as Alison said) about how they’re feeling at work, how their frustration may be leaking out with coworkers, if that could damage their reputation or get them fired, etc. These are valid concerns! Your partner’s mental health is relevant to you, as is their employment status. And, from the partner’s perspective, when you’re stuck in a job you hate, or in a toxic workplace, it can be really hard to see how it’s warping your norms and your behavior. Sometimes an outside observer can be the wake-up call that brings you out of a nosedive.

    6. Koalafied*

      Just recently there was a headline about Netflix firing three of their senior marketing execs because it was discovered they were criticizing their managers in a private chat on Slack – the company statement basically said that it wasn’t the content of the criticisms that was an issue, but that Netflix “values transparency” so the fact they chose to vent and complain in a private chat instead of addressing their issues with management head-on was “incompatible with company culture.”

  2. AcademiaNut*

    For #2 – During the recession a lot of employers were able to hire overqualified candidates for crap wages and poor benefits, and have them be grateful to be employed. When the economy picked up, and employees started to have better options, there was a lot of complaining about not being able to hire qualified employees by employers who hadn’t realized that they had to pay decently, provide benefits and not treat people badly to attract good candidates. Then the pandemic hit, and it went backwards again. Right now it seems a mix – some industries are having trouble hiring people, while others are still short on jobs.

    I read one article on this a few years ago where an employer was bemoaning the fact that he couldn’t hire people. At $9 an hour for seasonal part time work in landscaping. He thought it was an ideal job for stay at home mothers.

    1. John Smith*

      We have a similar situation in the UK. Thanks to Brexit (booo!) and Covid, a lot of migrant workers have returned to their home countries leaving a lot of unfilled positions mainly because of the ridiculously low pay, long hours (some unpaid), zero hours contracts, and frankly, the state- sponsored abuse of workers rights. For too long employers have thrived on getting away with near slave labour, and now they’re seeing the effects of that. Rant over! Lol.

      1. JM in England*

        Back in the day in the UK, long before workers rights and other legal protections, people used to turn up each day and wait outside of the factory or dock gates and hope they got picked for a day’s work. Zero hours contracts are a modern equivalent of this…

        1. Thunderingly*

          We have that usually in a Home Depot parking lot (or some areas have actual Day Laborer Centers).

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        I wonder how many of these employers voted for Brexit. Not the smarter ones, who understood their own financial interests, I expect. But here in the US it is trivially easy to find someone who relies on cheap immigrant labor while voting to keep immigrants out of the country.

        1. Never Nicky*

          One of the main Brexiteers in business was Tim Martin, CEO of the massive Wetherspoon’s pub chain. He even used his menus and magazines to promote Brexit.

          He’s now whining because he has huge staff shortages and saying that he should be allowed to recruit from overseas …

          You reap what you sow…

          1. Elizabeth West*

            That guy is horrible. I will never set foot in a Wetherspoons pub. Never. Locals only.

        2. quill*

          I mean, I feel like the more secure (financially, usually) you feel in a country the easier it is to be ignorant of everyone else’s reality…

          There’s probably some corollary to how poorly you end up treating people, but I haven’t been caffeinated yet.

        3. Your Local Password Resetter*

          Part of that may be so they can easily intimidate and threaten their current workers. Much harder to complain to the labour department if your employer can have you thrown in prison.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      I saw a news story that said a local employer was “resorting to” raising wages. Not the phrasing I would choose.

      1. Cat Tree*

        I just “love” it how free-market capitalism is the ideal when employers are in power, but as soon as things swing in favor of the employees, suddenly things like competition and supply and demand are just huge freaking tragedies. The basic idea of paying more when something is scarce (such as labor) is something companies apparently don’t plan for? Seems like a bad business model to me.

        1. The Original K.*

          “If you don’t like it, get a better job.”
          “Wait, no, not like that!”

    3. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Last fall a Fortune 100 client of mine, a true leader and innovator in their field, was shocked that well-qualified candidates were declining offers due to below-average salaries.

      My team and I suggested a market review and a possible salary increase for the division, and the response was incredulous. Candidates were just being picky, or presumptuous, or out of touch. Except we had proof their competitors offered salaries that were 10-25% more, and our client’s benefits package wasn’t exceptional enough to counterbalance the lower salaries. Talk about out of touch…

      I hear the division has had a lot of resignations since I left, and the Powers That Be are still scratching their heads about why.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        This is the potential employee as supplicant. The understanding is not that this is a business discussion between two parties seeking a mutually beneficial relationship, but the job seeker approaching, hat in hand, hoping to acquire a patron. It is a widespread misapprehension, on both sides.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          40 years in corporate recruiting has shown me this isn’t new behavior. When telecom was booming in the 90s, several hiring managers at my Huge Global Telecom Company said and did the same things. It didn’t help that many employees and applicants had been affected by the late 80s economy and layoffs. They took whatever jobs they could find and weren’t going to rock the boat for any reason: their paychecks didn’t bounce, the benefits package was very good, the company was an industry leader and stable, and telecom wasn’t going to implode.

          Except it did, and I worked with these folks and their managers when my firm began layoffs in 2001. Those employees were shell-shocked by yet another layoff, and angry that their employer ‘didn’t look out for them.’

      2. Koalafied*

        This brought to mind that scene from the Simpsons which has become a meme, with Principal Skinner thinking in the first panel, “Am I out of touch?” Then in the second panel, looking like he’s had a lightbulb realization, “No, it’s the [children] who are wrong!” where various other groups get subbed in for “children” in the meme.

        If everyone you try to hire is “too picky” or “presumptuous” by your standards perhaps they’re not the ones who are out of touch!

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          I’ve seen that meme, and it’s very appropriate! I declined to renew my contract with this client because the key decision-makers I worked with were deliberately obtuse about so many things in the staffing process.

          I can deal with people who complain about what I recommend but still support the initiative because the data supports it. When they ignore data from multiple sources, hiring trends in their own industry, comments from employee exit interviews, and feedback from candidates who declined offers and why? They lost me, and they’re working on being out of touch.

      3. PT*

        I worked at a community-based nonprofit that was all about “giving back to the community” and “providing jobs to the community” and “hiring from the community” but then was shocked, absolutely shocked when they couldn’t find anyone from their majority-minority low-socioeconomic status community to come do a job for 30% below prevailing wage capped at 29 hours per week so they would not qualify for benefits.

        “Why won’t anyone apply for these jobs we’re giving back to the community!” Yeah the COMMUNITY is POOR and poor people need ACTUAL JOBS that pay REAL MONEY AND BENEFITS so they are all working at Costco and Trader Joe’s and cleaning hotel rooms and doing manual labor for the state highway department, all of which paid 50% more and provided 40 hour workweeks with benefits. “Core values” don’t pay the rent.

        1. Anoni*

          “The community needs to appreciate what we deign to give them!”

          That non-profit really told on itself.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            Anoni, too many corporations – and it can apply to non-profits, too – have a philosophy and attitude that “We are the cat’s ass”…..

            There’s a more vulgar expression that I won’t use here about the odor of certain functions, but you get the idea. I did say that in my office – because the company I worked for refused to advertise, go to customer conventions, etc. because “we’re so good , no one competes with us”.

            Competitors, no doubt, pointed out to prospective customers that we weren’t at this trade show or that trade show, and that they should take heed.

        2. MissBaudelaire*

          This. All of this.

          I hear so many employers go “They all just want something for nothing!”

          No? They want a paycheck that pays the bills? People don’t come to work because they’re just very kind people who want nothing more than for your business to do fantastic. They have bills to pay and families to feed and need healthcare. Even if they were really great people, their landlords probably want actual money.

          1. Nanani*

            The projection is strong with the employers who say that.
            They don’t want to pay for labour, they’re exploiting people and they know it, and out comes the projection onto everyone else.

          2. Elenna*

            “They all just want something for nothing!”

            Ah yes, they’re definitely giving nothing. Not like they’re doing work for you or anything. Might as well fire them all, since you clearly just said they’re giving you nothing. Oh wait, you can’t do that? You need people to work for you? Guess it’s not something for nothing then!

    4. Smithy*

      Even in cases where the wages aren’t abusive or ridiculous – I think a lot of places that relied on more haphazard hiring practices are now realizing they’re not bringing in great candidates.

      I used to work for a nonprofit in NYC (who doesn’t want to live there!) with a high profile name (who doesn’t want to work here!). Prior to COVID, their job postings made it really challenging to figure out whether jobs were for positions that were more junior, mid-level or senior. However, they always received huge numbers of candidates – so they could sift through the over/under qualified people and come up with a solid candidate pool.

      Post COVID, the volume of applicants of dropped which make the lack of clarity in those postings more apparent.

      1. Daisy-dog*

        Yeah, a lot of places were just lucky that a candidate managed to wade through the awkward application process, overlooked the missed phone interview, and didn’t get another job offer prior to this one. But no one realized it was just luck.

        1. Smithy*

          Exactly. If you’re getting 70 applications, and 5 of them are good enough, 2 really solid and 3 great – I’m not sure if anyone is going to bother going through the remaining 60 to see if part of that figure indicates some issues in how the job was posted or the process. But when you’re only getting 20 applications and of them, 2 are good enough and 1 is really solid – might be great? Then it becomes a problem.

          The job I left during the pandemic *should* have been really easy to fill. It’s a pretty standard mid-level job, looking for someone with 3-5 years of experience and for the field, the pay is average to good. And ultimately they needed to go through two distinct hiring processes to find someone over six months after I left with far less experience than what I had when I started.

        1. UKDancer*

          When I was a child my mother picked apples (as did most of the women on the estate where she lived) and all the women brought their children to the orchards. One of the women minded the pre-school children while the others picked. They took turns and each of them paid a percentage to the child minder.

          It probably wouldn’t work nearly as well nowadays and it only really works if you’re all in the same place and have a routine for whose turn it is to mind the children.

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            Husband’s Mom worked at an orchard. Starting at 12, it was very common for the kids to be paid under the table to also go and pick the apples.

          2. JM in England*

            During my childhood, fruit picking was a common summer job in the UK. A friend did it and earned enough over the summer to buy a new bike…

            1. TardyTardis*

              I picked strawberries up on Mt. Hood as a kid. The moment I turned 16, I got a real job and made as much in three weeks as I did for a whole season of picking.

              1. JM in England*

                Sadly, fruit picking seems to have all but disappeared as a summer job.

                What the farmers do now is open their fields to the public and let them pick your own. You bring your haul to the checkout at the exit, where you are then charged by weight.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        maybe summer, the kids are not in school, they can come along with Mummy, it’ll be free summer camp!

            1. JustaTech*

              The minimum age for agricultural labor is often much, much, much lower than for other work. And there’s no minimum at all if it’s your family’s farm.

      2. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

        Yes, pay the moms a ridiculously low wage to then exploit their children for free child labor! Sounds like he was onto a great idea. Too bad the SAHMs didn’t go for it!

    5. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      But wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where potential employers weren’t rude to applicants because they just realize that the decent thing to do it not be rude to applicants! I know, overly idealistic fantasy there. But it still seems like a good idea to me! LOL

      And yeah, every SAHM I know is desperately looking to leave her kids alone to go landscape or give up the very little bit of “free time” she has when her kids are in school or at camp in order to do a labor intensive, hot, exhausting, physical job for really low pay! /s

      That guy was a real idiot!

  3. July*

    Alison is spot on with #3. Never tell your employees you are planning on giving them raises when it’s not 100% sure. You advocating for them should be done without explicit knowledge from your staff all the time especially with the eventual pitfall that you’re setting up a situation that villanizes the company. They might eventually think that the company won’t give them raises and might leave for better work where they’ll be given raises.

    1. John Smith*

      +1. It’s not pay raises, but my last manager told me that he had purchased lots of brilliant new equipment and software for our dept. So I, with his agreement, made preparations, which included disabling soon to be replaced equipment and software.

      A few weeks later, lo and behold, it transpires he hadn’t actually purchased anything at all but merely had an agreement in principle to look into some sort of investment.

      Cue months of chaos and scapegoating me for the fallout. The only saving grace is that the buffoon left and is now some other poor employers problem.

      Moral: Don’t tell your staff anything unless it’s confirmed. And actually true.

      1. July*

        Oh nooo. That’s troublesome indeed! And he gave you permission too! I bet he was also optimistic about the new equipment but some things are also out of his control and he shouldn’t have allowed you to change anything yet without a finalized contract.

      2. MissBaudelaire*

        Also had a supervisor promise us new equipment. Just get through this next month. The end of mandated overtime was coming. We’d get our weekends back! Things were coming! It was gonna be okay! Stiff upper lip, guys, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

        He had not purchased one single thing. He had talked to someone about putting in a request. And before he could do that, he quiet and left the organization as a whole.

        Real kick in the teeth.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I have learned not to believe anything until I actually see it and hold it in my hot little hands.

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            Agreed. Believe it when I see it.

            It also came out that our other department lead was lying to the organization as a whole about what was happening there. It was a real nightmare.

    2. Chris too*

      In my experience one possible exception to this rule is for unionized government employees, where everybody’s wages are transparent and non-negotiable. We had a manager who would let us know when she was trying to get a position reclassified and it did do some of what the letter writer was hoping for in terms of making us feel valued, even if it didn’t always happen.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        This! I was a contractor with a state agency. Once it was decided that the agency was planning to convert a large number of contract positions to state employee positions, we were kept in the loop on the entire process. (We also had to reapply for the jobs we were doing.)

        These types of things are also a matter of public record, & might end up being reported on in the news, so there’s no real secrecy.

      2. Bee Eye Ill*

        I worked for a gov where every year in the budget my boss would ask for across-the-board $1k raises for everyone, and every year it got denied. This went on for 9 straight years. Everyone hated working there.

      3. Ace in the Hole*

        Agreed! I really appreciated when our management told staff they were requesting adjustments to the pay scale from our board of directors. We didn’t know if it would go through, but we at least knew they were advocating for us.

    3. LQ*

      Yeah – don’t tell them, you absolutely can not. The really shitty downside of this is when HR gets to tell them that they got a raise and they think you had nothing to do with it. But honestly that’s part of being the boss. If you’re a good boss in ways that you can control they will generally understand that you’re a good boss in ways that they can’t see either.

      And this is why despite wanting everything to always be “transparent” sometimes people have to infer things.

      1. I'm just here for the cats*

        I wonder if an employee goes to boss and says I’m thinking of leaving, or I need a raise, could the boss agree and say that they have been working on getting raises for everyone?

        1. Koalafied*

          Speaking as a manager, I wouldn’t say that I have been working on it. Assuming it were true, I would say that they do great work and I’d love to be able to increase their pay, and that the decision is ultimately in the hands of upper management, so please give me a few days to connect with them and I’ll get back to you.

          Then, regardless of what conversations might have already been going on about pay, I would go talk to upper management about this new information. I’d say that Sigmund has indicated he’s considering leaving or that Sigmund has an offer for a higher salary elsewhere, and ask how that impacts the discussion we’ve been having about pay increase, and if they can expedite the decision so we don’t lose Sigmund just because we took too long to decide. I would also discuss with them what I’m going to tell Sigmund – can I give him a specific date by which he’ll have an answer? Can I share with him any of the factors that are in play, such as needing a particular grant to be funded or a certain sales target needing to be met? Should I tell him it’s likely/not likely? And so on. Make sure upper management and I are on the same page about how to message to Sigmund about this.

    4. LTL*

      Yeah my boss said he was advocating for a promotion and an accompanying raise (maybe of 10% – 20%) for over a year because what I was doing for the department was so new and amazing. I did get a 6% raise that year and my boss and boss’ boss very much showed their appreciation for what I was doing. But it kind of feels like he told me all that to make himself look good considering the promotion never materialized.

      My department wasn’t the worst but they weren’t very reliable or organized. You don’t want to get that reputation.

      1. Porcelain Pig*

        Seconding. I haven’t experienced this at work, but it’s happened in my personal life with a close family member, and it’s not a good look. They like to build themselves up by talking about large windfalls they have coming from various business deals, some of which will then be generously shared with me. I never asked them for any money, never followed up on these promises, and thankfully never counted on getting a penny. (They promised me a 5-figure sum towards my wedding, which obviously didn’t materialize, and was not mentioned by them again after the wedding passed.) But it’s annoying to have to perform gratitude for a gift I know I won’t receive, just to feed someone else’s ego.

  4. WoodswomanWrites*

    #5, I worked with a fantastic recruiter who landed me a good position with a substantial raise. After being in my position for a while, I learned from one of my colleagues that the same recruiter had gotten him his position as well. We wrote her a joint thank you card and she really appreciated it.

  5. John Smith*

    #1. I can understand where you’re coming from, but without full knowledge of what’s going on in your partner’s organisation, it’d be difficult to make judgement calls. I’ve heard “you’re going to get fired doing that” or similar myself from people who don’t have the full story.

    As an aside, and at risk of starting an off topic debate (which I don’t intend on), may I suggest a tad less use of pronouns when making reference to a specific person from several others the pronoun could also refer to? Maybe it’s just me, but I had difficulty at times working out who “they” was referring to (that’s not an objection to the use of that or any other pronoun btw).

    1. Baron*

      I was confused a little at first by “is highly respected by their colleagues”, but I figured it out. This is likelier a me problem than an LW problem. I’m not sure how to conjugate the singular “they”.

      1. Clisby*

        I would think “they” takes the same verb regardless of whether it’s singular or plural – just like with the pronoun “you.”

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          The comparison is exactly correct. Historically, “you” was plural. Then it spread to being used both as plural and as singular, while still acting as plural for grammatical number. Purists complained.

          1. Marthooh*

            They’re not quite the same! If “they” has a singular antecedent, the number of the verb may change midsentence: “My partner has” but “they excel” followed by “is highly respected”. I didn’t have any problem following the OP’s meaning, though.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              That’s because the “is highly respected” is coming from the “my partner” rather than the “they.”

              If that were split that into two sentences then it would be “My partner has a well-paying job. They excel in their field and ARE highly respected.”

    2. SJ*

      This pronouns comment hurts to read (as a nonbinary person who uses they/them pronouns and is constantly fighting down feelings of being annoying / confusing / too much) and also I suspect is against the commenting rules about nitpicking LW’s wording.

      1. John Smith*

        SJ, I wasn’t criticising the pronoun itself or people’s choice of pronoun, merely the use of it where it could lead to confusion as who the LW was referring to. If, e.g, “he” was used where multiple cismale people exclusively were involved, I would have said exactly the same thing. I suppose I would have used wording like “my partner” where it’s not obvious as to who the pronoun refers, but that is not to belittle the pronoun, it’s only for clarity.

        Maybe it’s just me defaulting to my pedantry due to my technical field where exactitude is critical, but I certainly did not intend to offend anyone or their choices/identity.

        1. Zephy*

          This is a limitation of English, more than anything (known to linguists, perhaps colloquially, as the “gay fanfic problem”). We have a very limited set of pronouns in our language, so when you’re talking about multiple people who use the same sets of pronouns, you run into problems with confusing or unwieldy sentences very quickly.

        2. SJ*

          I can see that you mean well. Please try to understand that policing how the partners of nonbinary people refer to their partners is an extension of policing nonbinary people’s existence in general, regardless of how “helpfully” it’s meant. It’s othering, and it hurts. Next time if you feel the urge to offer this kind of advice, perhaps try reminding yourself that nonbinary people and their friends, family, partners etc live every single day with this language issue, and are truly the best judge(s) of how to talk about the people they love. Speaking freely about our loved ones is not something queer people get to take for granted, you know? Stepping on that is really not okay, even if you’re trying to help. Thanks for listening.

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        I think the complaint is not about using “they,” but about using pronouns confusingly. It isn’t a “they” thing: it ca be a problem when, for example, “he” is being used for two or more people. The solution is to use a pronoun only when its antecedent is clear. Otherwise use, in this case, “my partner” or “their coworkers” or so on.

        1. John Smith*

          I wish I had your succinctness! That’s exactly what I was trying to get across.

        2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          I was just reading a story this morning that was talking about “they” the people, then suddenly switched to describing “they” the rocks, which confused me for a moment since people usually aren’t usually described as vast prehistoric monsters.

          Gotta make that antecedent clear!

    3. KN*

      I re-read the submission and am having trouble understanding what could be difficult to understand. The only people mentioned are “I,” (OP) “they” (partner), and “interviewees.” Unless you thought “I often want to tell them that they’re going to get fired if they keep this up” was referring to the interviewees (which seems unlikely based on context clues!) it seems like the use of “they” as a singular pronoun–which is not unusual at all, even outside of its use as a personal pronoun–is the only possible source of confusion. Who are these “several others”?

      I won’t derail about “they” because it’s really, truly just not up for debate!

        1. logicbutton*

          “I often want to tell the company that they’re going to get fired if they keep this up”? It’s a pretty long reach, and not one the brain would logically make, especially since that sentence is preceded in the paragraph it’s in by five other instances of they or them, all of which clearly refer to the partner.

          1. Koalafied*

            I didn’t have trouble figuring it out with context but there was a part that started out ambiguous enough I thought it was one thing until I got to the end of the sentence and then had to go back an reread it to make a new mental picture from the one I had started forming:

            “During the last year, they have been less and less happy with their company, but they want to stick around for another 2-3 years for financial reasons. The issue is that in the meantime they have been making increasingly imprudent choices about how they’re conducting themself at work — or at least it seems that way to me. ”

            I started reading the second sentence thinking the “they” making impediment imprudent choices was about the company, which would explain why partner is unhappy there, because the company isn’t well run, then when I got to “conducting themselves at work” I realized it was the partner making bad choices.

            I don’t think it’s that unclear overall but wanted to answer the commenter who didn’t understand who else “they” could refer to.

  6. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

    LW2: Think of it this way, instead of successfully hiding what they are really like they are showing you upfront so you don’t have to leave your old job to find out this is not the employer for you (then have to either live with bad behaviour or look for another job so soon after you left your current job).

    Think of it as an ironic favour to you.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      Them: You should be grateful we even considered looking at your resume!

      You: Not really, but I am grateful you showed me that you would be a complete nightmare to work for! Bye bye now!

    1. ecnaseener*

      Because couples should generally stay out of each other’s professional lives unless asked. Most likely this partner would prefer to be conducting work calls in private, but that’s not an option, so the LW wants to respect their privacy as much as possible.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I also think that if the partner is shouting to the point of disrupting OP (presumably also doing stuff they made need to concentrate on), OP is more than entitled to say they couldn’t help overhear this or that rant, and was worried for their partner’s job.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Sure. That’s why the advice from Alison says they can bring it up. I agree with that advice. I was answering the question of why LW might feel it’s not their place, whether that feeling is accurate or not.

    2. EPLawyer*

      If the partner gets fired, that affects their finances. So yes, raising it as a concern to find out more information is very valid. But don’t nag.

    3. LTL*

      My read of that was OP is saying its not her place to tell off her partner’s coworkers.

      … I often want to tell them that they’re going to get fired if they keep this up. But I recognize that it’s really not my place…

      1. Indigo a la mode*

        OP referred to her partner as “they” throughout the letter, so I’m guessing OP only wanted to talk to her partner, not their coworkers.

  7. Finding a way*

    #1 – If you rely in any way on your partner’s income, it absolutely IS your place to say something. I think Alison’s wording is a little … soft? From my POV it’s the way you’d address a near-stranger or a kindly neighbour – someone for whom maintaining their job is only a passing consideration for you.

    This is your partner! My advice is to have a far more serious tone, although of course coming from a place of kindness and support. If you think they might not hear it from you, then maybe suggest recording a few conversations and have them listen back to them.

    Having said that, if they’ve been working remotely during the pandemic when they normally wouldn’t, social graces and manners definitely do become slowly eroded. Listening back to recordings would also help with that.

    1. greenwalker*

      If I found out my partner was secretly recording my work conversations I would be livid. I would consider that an egregious violation of boundaries. Its illegal in the state I live in to record conversations without all parties’ permission. Just because you are partners does not give you the right to violate boundaries that would apply to anyone.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Finding a Way didn’t actually recommend recording without consent. Of course, the partner might then soften their speech, knowing they’re being recorded, but I certainly would suggest recording to my partner as a way of showing him how it comes across.

        1. Anoni*

          They did, though. They didn’t mention consent in their comment, so the assumption is that the OP might record their partner’s calls without consent and have them listen back to see what they sound like. That’s definitely not okay, and not even an appropriate way to go when a conversation and questions would take care of it.

          The OP can ask about it, but as many commenters have already said, the OP doesn’t know their partner’s work culture and is making assumptions based on that ignorance. Approaching it as if it’s assumed their partner is in the wrong, which Finding a Way’s method does, is not the way to go here.

          1. MissBliss*

            No– Finding a Way did not. Finding a Way said “maybe suggest recording a few conversations”. Finding a Way was not suggesting to OP that they record the conversations without permission; they were saying OP should suggest *to their partner* that they try recording the conversations and listening to them back.

            That said, that doesn’t cover the side of the conversation with whomever OP’s partner is talking to, so there could still be a consent issue. But Finding a Way was not suggesting people should record their partners’ work conversations without said partner’s consent.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Even with that point, I still think Finding’s comment makes a lot of assumptions and jumps straight into a defensive/adversarial posture. LW doesn’t even have enough context to know if their reading of this situation is correct. And even if they are, it feels really presumptuous to come at a partner — who doesn’t appear to have any kind of bad track record at work, other than this recent possible issue — as if they’re an employee. They’re a team and they rely on each other, yes, so asking questions is warranted, but that doesn’t mean LW should just jump straight to serious parent tone. Frankly, if my partner came at me like that, I’d be pretty defensive and less inclined to talk about it.

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                No, Finding is just trying to find a way for the partner to hear what OP is hearing!

          2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Just because someone doesn’t explicitly mention consent, doesn’t mean consent wouldn’t be sought.
            If I tell you I was at it last night with my partner but didn’t mention that they sought my consent first do you assume it was non consensual?

    2. Le Sigh*

      Do not record those conversations without their consent. If my partner did this I’d be livid and feel violated. I also would find it hard to have a conversation about the work stuff, because my primary concern would be why my partner would do this without even talking to me first. Not to mention, the stuff I’m doing at work isn’t exactly classified, but it shouldn’t be recorded, either!

      Also, I understand the concern about relying on a partners income, but they’re not their boss and approaching it with a serious or stern tone is a bit much to me, as a starting point. As multiple commenters have pointed out, there could be all kinds of work dynamics LW doesn’t know about, so starting off from a “hey, this got me curious, and I’d like to talk about it” is much less likely to put someone on the defensive.

      1. Le Sigh*

        Edit to add, realize that Finding a Way was clear that they suggest recording, rather than doing it without consent — my apologies for misreading there. My first paragraph isn’t really relevant in that case.

        I still don’t think it’s a good idea — for one, they’ll likely alter themselves, knowing they’re being recorded. But they’re also work conversations, which I think treads into iffy territory when you’re dealing with potentially confidential info and/or the possibility of capturing coworkers or others on the recording without their consent. I don’t think LW should come into this too stern/serious, or presuming they’re reading the situation correctly. It’s not their workplace and they’re not the boss — I think starting from a place of curiously would yield much more useful info and be fairer to their SO.

    3. I'm just here for the cats*

      For some listening to their recorded conversations does not help. Coming from someone who worked in a call center for 5+ years it never really helped me. Each week we would have to listen back to a call and critique ourselves ( at one place) or listen with the manager. It just made me paranoid on what I was or wasn’t doing correctly.

      Now maybe the next time it happens the LW could say “you sounded X way in that call. Are you alright? Or “wow, were you gossiping about your boss?” or something like that.

    4. Quantum Hall Effect*

      I would not talk to my partner that way. That is the person who shares my life and my bed. Alison typically provide Scripps for talking to coworkers, and it shows in this one.

      This is absolutely an area where a partner should have a hard but loving conversation. Partners should be able to point out each other’s destructive patterns, And make no mistake, this partner is showing a destructive pattern. I’m surprised that Alison is excusing much of it as she does. Sure, each individual element could be excused away, but collectively, and coupled with the fact that LW knows how much their partner hate this job and wants to leave, this is absolutely a destructive pattern.

    5. JB*

      This is a really alarming comment!

      My partner and I own our home together and mutually contribute towards the mortgage, so of course one another’s financial wellness is a big concern for each of us. But if my partner ever thought that gave them a position to scold me or instruct me on how I behave at my job – or vice versa – unasked, then that would probably spell the end of our cohabitation.

      This question was not about a partner who is repeatedly losing jobs or employment opportunities as a result of an inability to behave professionally. It’s about a partner who is behaving in a way that the LW personally finds to be potentially risky, in a job that the partner has held and been stable in for a normal length of time. You seem to be reacting as if it were the former.

      1. LavaLamp*

        This is not how you speak to someone you care about and are in a relationship with. If someone came at me like that I would rethink my relationship with them. I am a partner, not a child to be scolded.

  8. wincing with extreme dignity*

    LW #1: Just talk to your partner. If you’ve got a healthy relationship and you’re wondering whether these conversations might harm them professionally, you don’t need to tiptoe around it. A casual “You won’t get into any trouble for saying stuff like that, will you?” would broach the subject without being too confrontational.

    1. Threeve*

      Yeah, I don’t know why this has to begin with a full-on serious conversation and not a casual “yikes, does everyone say stuff like that?”

      Unless maybe the partner doesn’t know that the LW has been listening to their meetings quite so much–because even for a year in the same space, that is kind of a lot to overhear without trying to.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah, I think the fact that the LW is writing in for advice indicates that they want to tread lightly around their partner’s privacy. Even if the partner knows LW can hear, the two of them might have an unspoken understanding to try to ignore each other’s work while they’re forced to share a living-room workspace or whatever.

      2. Mimi*

        We’re on different sides of the house, and if it’s quiet, I can hear entire stories if I pay attention (usually stories; the social calls are more animated/interesting than discussions of database schema or whatever, though frustrated discussions with boss come through pretty well, too), and she’s not what I would call a loud person.

        If I were really trying to have a private conversation, I would shut the door, but I pretty much assume that anything I say on a call may be overheard, unless I take steps to make it private. Honestly, it’s not that different from being in the office with my team, except that more of my conversations are calls, and who might do the overhearing.

  9. Medusa*

    To LW4: When I was in my senior year and applying for jobs/sending out cold applications, I had a woman reach out to me with a ton of advice. Of course, everyone is different, but I really, really appreciated that she did that for me. To the point where I still remember it [cough cough]teen years later.

    1. Who are you??*

      It is also possible, coming from academia, that they submitted a CV, not a resume. CV being the long, exhaustive list of everything done, written, courses taken, awards, etc. that many universities want, instead of the resume (i.e. summary) that business wants.

      1. Disgruntled Pelican*

        But even in academia, CVs are (generally) appropriate only for faculty, research positions, or very high-level administrative positions, not run-of-the-mill staff. (I worked at an Ivy League in a low-level administrative support role, and submitting a CV would have been VERY out of touch, especially as a recent college grad.) It sounds like this is just a regular person graduating from regular college looking for a regular job.

        1. Sara without an H*

          True, but the applicant may have sought advice from a faculty member who didn’t know any better. The description does make it sound a bit like a CV.

          1. Nanani*

            I was thinking the same. Fresh grads really aren’t going to know the difference.
            “Emulate your mentor” is common advice. If no one tells them that resumes aren’t supposed to be essays, AND they’re aware of CVs by academic osmosis, this is an all to likely result.

        2. PeanutButter*

          You’d think so, but even in undergrad there was a HUGE push for students to have CVs, despite the fact that the only things on them might be one or two academic awards and a poster presentation at a research symposium. Many scholarship/research opportunities specifically wanted CVs instead of resumes, at least that I saw when I went back to school. It definitely sounds like this person hasn’t had a clear explanation of when a CV is appropriate or when a resume is appropriate.

  10. OutOfOffice*

    LW1: I really resonated with your letter! Working from home with my spouse (especially for the first 6 months, when our living situation dictated that we work in the same room together) was eye-opening. The shouting matches he got into with his boss and fellow managers turned my usually serene workdays into toxic nightmares! I was sure he was going to get fired! (He hasn’t!)

    We talked about it (and I also spoke with my own manager/mentor about the situation) and apparently, that’s…just the way some workplaces are. (I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around it, frankly.) His current employer is a mess – if your partner’s employer is similarly dysfunctional, I view warning prospective employees as the right thing to do (in a professional manner, of course, as Alison mentions).

    Is this at all affecting your relationship and/or your own work? If it is, it may be time for them to move on sooner than planned. Sometimes, it takes someone we care about pointing out that we may be checked out and miserable, and it doesn’t have to be that way. (And I’m not saying you should push them to leave, just that having a compassionate conversation with them may help them realize that it’s time to move on, and that’s okay.)

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      When Mr. S and I were both working from home, I’d been discussing two projects – one had me working with someone I liked, and one with someone I didn’t. He overheard a call and later said “Was that the guy you like or the guy you don’t like? I couldn’t tell.” It was the guy I didn’t like, so I decided it’s good he couldn’t tell. I must be doing a good job of hiding it.

  11. Ana Gram*

    I once got a 13 page resume from an applicant who was still in college. It described, among other things, his “honorable discharge” from Taco Bell. Weird kid.

    That said, I probably wouldn’t proactively say anything to the applicant with the dense resume unless he asked for feedback.

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      I knew I should have included my Purple Heart from the McDonald’s Fryolator incident

      1. quill*

        Does getting burnt on the pizza oven count as a medical discharge from campus food service?

      2. Alianora*

        I still bear the scars from my job at Jack in the Box.

        (No, really. Only scar I have and it’s from getting burned on the fryer when I was 17.)

          1. EchoGirl*

            I worked briefly on an urban farm, and one of my only two (vaguely) visible scars is from a minor incident while cutting twine. It’s not really worth bragging about, though, since that was entirely my own fault; I did something stupid even though I knew better.

    2. Sled dog mama*

      When I was teaching high school I received a 3 page resume from the parents of one student. He was a Junior in High school and the resume covered his entire academic career.
      15 years later I often wonder about that kid (especially when I read questions about out of touch resumes on here). I wonder if he started getting better resume advice or stopped listening to his helicopter parents.
      The reason the parents brought me the resume was a parent teacher conference that they had requested to discuss why their son was making a B in my class when he was a straight A student (the parents had been told not to put the student in the honors course and they did anyway)

        1. EPLawyer*

          See I am curious to see what was reported about Kindergarten. Top napper in the class. First person to learn to color within the lines.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Wait, so the resume was just to prove that he was a straight-A student (before your class lol)? o.O that’s what report cards are for…

      2. Mental Lentil*

        Can’t be a straight-A student if he’s getting a B. Out-of-touch parents with out-of-touch expectations.

        1. Nanani*

          No no you see, the teacher is wrong for giving him a B because he’s an A student. This is an attribute he magically has and not any sort of “”evaluation”” by some kind of “”””qualified teacher”””

          (big blinking sarcasm warning in case the quotation marks aren’t obvious enough)

      3. Name of Requirement*

        But…if he’s getting a B, doesn’t that indicate he could handle the honors class?

        1. Dumpster Fire*

          You’re absolutely right! He can handle the content of the honors class, but he can’t handle the honors class if he can’t handle getting a B on it!

          I teach mostly juniors, which is the first point at which we break the kids out into honors and nonexhibits. That means that kids who have been getting Bs are the lower end of the honors level, and that leads to much “but I’ve never gotten below a B!” Great, and if you want a B this year, it’s time to take a class where your performance is above that of most students, not below!

    3. kittymommy*

      I recently interviewed someone (panel interview) for an entry level position. They had a 6 page resume, 5 of which was online test results from Indeed.

  12. Bubbly*

    #2: Veterinary practices in the US are starting to feel this hard. It used to be that people were clamoring to be a veterinarian and work in private practice. Unfortunately over the years the emphasis has switched from good medicine to customer service being number one while pharmaceutical companies have raised their prices many fold (we use many of the same supplies as human doctors and pay the same or more due to lack of quantity discounts). Clients expect Mayo Clinic level of diagnostics for their pets at James Herriot prices. This has led to rampant client abuse, lawsuits and board complaints over things the vet has no control over. Clinics have been rolling over and taking this abuse to keep clients and we were supposed to just deal with it. Heck my last job would refund any deadbeat who complained about the price even when already discounted or had a history of not paying at all. I was also told sleep was overrated and that the clients always come before me. Clinic owners didn’t think the student debt crisis was their problem until vet students starting graduating with an average loan of $150k (and many up to $300k) and realized that new grads can’t eat and pay bills at a $60k salary. There’s a massive Facebook group just about SUICIDE PREVENTION because it’s such an issue.
    I quit private practice and so have a LOT of other vets. We’re looking for jobs where we won’t be berated, expected to be bitten as part of the job and paid appropriately for our education and work. I left for a position that pays almost double what my private practice job paid for 40 hours a week, no emergencies.
    I still see vet friends trying to find private practice jobs that don’t want to put them through the ringer each day or pay peanuts. Many of the clinic owners moan that they can’t find associates or how we’re all so lazy, but there’s little chance to buy into a clinic these days thanks to corporations paying over value and the owners won’t negotiate on anything. I did talk to a few private practices when I left my last one. One desperate owner refused to send anything to the emergency clinic, but was burning out and others wouldn’t budge on things I refused to do (declaws, tail docking, ect).
    Eventually the tide will turn if people want to find employees. Some never will.

    1. Ann*

      Bit off topic but where do vets work if not at a private practice?
      (Didn’t James Herriot have mighty difficulties getting clients to pay?)

      1. Bagpuss*

        He did, but he got quite a lot of free food, which probably went further in 1940s Yorkshire than it would now :) and housing costs would have been a lot lower, too.

        1. Snow Globe*

          I don’t think he had housing or food costs (as a new vet) – he lived with his boss. Fun!

          1. UKDancer*

            No he lived with his boss (Donald Sinclair in real life) and then with his wife at her parents’ house I think and it was a while before he had to get his own place.

            I met him a couple of times when I was young. His real name was Alf and he was lovely.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              My recollection (I think from the book, but possibly influenced by the series, and in any case neither is strictly speaking autobiography) is that Siefried’s upper room was fixed up nicely for the two of them. I don’t recall, but perhaps this was an upgrade from his previous room?

              1. UKDancer*

                My recollection is that Alf (James) lives in Donald’s(Siegfried’s) house during the war and ran the practice because Donald was mobilised and Brian (Tristan) hadn’t at that point qualified. Then after the war Alf and Joan lived with her parents.

                They may have done it differently in the TV series.

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  Now I’m going to have to reread the books. Which, come to think of it, is a splendid idea! I soon will be spending a week in a cottage on a lake, with no internet: Very fitting.

              2. meyer lemon*

                Within the books, I think you’re right–James and Helen moved into an upstairs bedroom for a while, until they found their own place. This might have been a narrative device to keep all of the characters together for a while longer.

                1. Ooh La La*

                  Yes, in the books they move into a “bedsit” on the top floor of Skeldale House for the first couple years of their marriage. (I think including while James is with the RAF). They move out at some point after Jimmy is born, I believe.

              1. UKDancer*

                Yes my father worked in a bookshop in the town when I was young. Alf came a few times to sign books at the shop when I was a child (and we did always call him that rather than James). Dad usually invited him back to our house for coffee after.

                I didn’t know him very well but he seemed to be a lovely chap, really nice and a bit shy and surprised by his popularity. I think Christopher Timothy did a good job in portraying him although Alf Wight himself was quieter and more reserved than James Herriot in the series.

        2. UKDancer*

          Given the UK still had rationing for his early career in the 40s and 50s the food was probably more useful as it would have been off-ration. Nowadays vets probably need the money more.

        3. wendelenn*

          He also got LOTS AND LOTS of free beer and liquor! (Seriously, some of his writing about his driving drunk is terrifying! But normal for the time and place, I’m sure. Love the books.)

      2. Not Australian*

        All sorts of large organisations employ vets: corporate farms, racing stables, animal welfare organisations, butchery and meat processing companies for a start. Also, various military and police forces have horses, dogs, mine-sniffing rats etc. There are also zoos and wildlife/safari parks who need to have in-house vets … and those are just off the top of my head.

      3. Beth Jacobs*

        A lot of vet school graduates actually end up in agriculture, including factory farming and slaughterhouses. It’s a bit difficult to wrap your head around, since most students applying for veterinary medicine claim to be animal lovers.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          People who go through large animal training pretty much plan to work in agriculture. But there are limited places to study it.

        2. Forrest*

          Huge problem in the UK post-Brexit, apparently— most UK-trained vets don’t want to work in slaughterhouses, and it’s traditionally something that Spanish and Italian vets do for a few years after qualifying before returning home.

          1. Flor*

            I imagine this is going swimmingly with the requirement to now have veterinary certificates for any animal products sent to the EU or Northern Ireland.

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

        Big Pharma with vet branches usually hire vets for corporate and client facing positions

        1. JustaTech*

          Anywhere that does animal research (for animals or for humans) has to (by law) have vets on staff. There’s a push in some fields of research to conduct animal research more like human research, like some arthritis treatments for horses and stuff. So you’d need lots of vets for that.

      5. JB*

        My sister is a veterinary technician and she works for a medical studies lab, caring for the animals. Her boss is a vet and there are other vets that work there as well in various roles.

        It’s a good job, reasonably well-paid, she’s had very few serious animal encounters – she is the one handling all of the animals all the time, so she is familiar with them and knows how they react and how they were trained (because she trained them). She’s only had one bite incident when her hand accidentally slipped into a pig’s mouth and the pig bit automatically (her hand is fine, she moved fast). In similar past jobs all the animals she worked with were small, there are labs where they don’t really keep any animals large enough to be dangerous, but she loves working with pigs and sheep.

        There are emotional challenges to working with animals that have a pre-assigned death date (which is the reality of how these very important medical studies need to be done) but it seems to me less challenging than, say, repeatedly treating pets that are disabled or dying due to careless or uninformed ower mistakes or other preventable tragedies.

    2. Temperance*

      One of my friends now works at a chain clinic, and her quality of life has dramatically increased. She did private practice at a small group for years, and burned out on emergencies, people fighting their bills, etc. Now, she works a lot of hours, but no emergencies, no on call, and she has weekends back.

    3. Tuckerman*

      I’ve read a couple articles about this and it’s been eye opening. I wonder if the field needs an equivalent of PAs/NPs. Vet techs are fairly limited, from my understanding. I’m also curious whether the burnout is everywhere, or whether there are regional trends. When I lived in New England, it seemed every concern required lots of intervention. A broken nail was a $250 vet visit with prophylactic medication to prevent infection. Now in the South, it’s a quick $40 clip and glue. My dog was vomiting pink and we brought him to our vet here. Thinking of all the times my friends in New England took their dogs in for stomach issues, I expected at least a $600 vet bill for imaging and tests. But our vet sent us home with a medication to coat his stomach and an antibiotic to see if it would resolve on its own, which it did. I think the bill was $60. I’m happy to spend the money if necessary, but it seems culturally the expectations are a little different down here.

      1. Snow Globe*

        A few months ago, we were vacationing in a small rural area, when one of our dogs was injured and needed x-rays, stitches, antibiotics, etc. Coming from a mid-size city, we were expecting a bill of several hundred dollars, but it was only about $60! I couldn’t believe it. When we took our dog to our vet for the follow-up to remove the stitches, that cost more than the original visit.

        1. Minnie Mouse*

          $60 doesn’t cover cost of materials, honestly. That should not be an expectation.

          1. LavaLamp*

            I go to a large TV funded vet clinic. Office visits are 40$. Because they’re on TV and stuff they get enough money to make themselves affordable without compromising on care.

        2. not a doctor*

          O/T but do you have pet insurance? If not, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to namedrop a specific company here but they were a huge, huge help when my cat got sick (with something that turned out to be terminal, sadly) and needed multiple visits to her vet, ongoing medications, and, finally, a full week in the animal hospital.

      2. pretzelgirl*

        I think vet techs maybe limited due to the pay they receive. I thought about a career change to be a vet tech. I love animals and always wanted to be a vet. But never could wrap my head around going to vet school. With the cost of education, combined with pay (at least in my area) it didn’t make sense.

        1. pdl*

          It is super limited. My mom is a vet tech and she does it because she enjoys it, she couldn’t live in my parents’ high cost of living area on what she makes. And two of the other techs are quitting to move/retire and they can’t find anyone else right now – very few applicants. They may have to close due to lack of employees.

      3. Minnie Mouse*

        Unfortunately for every 10 clients that a vet sends home with medication for vomiting or diarrhea because it looks simple and keeps the bill low, one will end up having a bowel obstruction or cancer and the owner will file a board complaint or go on social media to find a horse to harass the vet, sometimes to death. People have changed a lot. The board doesn’t allow me to offer cheap medicine without offering the kitchen sink first. I got sick of documenting just to cover my butt.

          1. Blackcat*

            I had a horse growing up that was generally the sweetest, most gentle horse.
            Except for the vet. She’d bite and step on feet and generally be difficult.
            She’d harass a vet.

        1. Tuckerman*

          That sounds incredibly frustrating. That’s probably why my vet’s office calls a day after any visit to make sure everything’s OK. Even for just his annual visit.

      4. AnonMahna*

        Vet Techs are limited because of the low pay. They are essentially an RN with additional responsibilities, almost a PA. They are the anesthesiologists during surgery. The dental hygienist. The Pharmacist. Overnight stockers are Target are making the same wage as starting vet techs.

        Then you add in the abuse they take. People want the same care for their pets (rightfully so) at bargain basement prices. And expect 24×7 hours. There is actually a crisis group specifically for vet med. How many other professions need to have that?

      5. Foof*

        Well, part of the issue is probably that some people want human type medicine; but that’s tremendously expensive. I know health insurance for pets is starting to be a thing though my sense is it still doesn’t cover all that much (ie, there’s a cutoff).
        It’s hard to know what’s the common minor thing and what’s the rare catastrophe with the same initial symptoms ahead of time without fancy diagnostics (ct scans, ultrasound, etc). I do prefer to review both paths and pick what makes the most sense though.

    4. Valancy Snaith*

      As someone who works in the industry, can you advise what reasonable, responsible pet owners should do? I love my cats and I want to take them to a vet who cares about them, but I also want to ensure that we’re patronizing a clinic that treats its employees well, too. Is there anything in particular we should look out for or do? I mean, the most danger anyone is in from my cats is getting airplane ears or getting a tail flopped in your face while searching for pets, but I want to be sure I’m doing what I can.

      1. Minnie Mouse*

        Just be nice to everyone, honestly. A friendly face that asks questions and honestly wants to understand goes a long way. Sometimes at bad practices you can feel the tension in the air. Also if you’re seeing new staff every 6 months or year that you go that’s not a good sign for management. Sending a thank you card is always welcome!

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Yep. I actually switched vets because I could tell that the staff were not treated well, and that matters to me. I want my cats to be treated gently and with kindness, and that is less likely to happen if the tech is on the edge due to being screamed at 5 minutes before. My current vet is a solo practice. They’ve had some turnover, but as far as I can tell it’s the good kind of turnover (leaving for further education, etc).

          I also warn them if the cat might bite. I know my cat better than they do, and its only fair for me to tell them!

        2. rural academic*

          Whew, that makes me feel good about my vet — we have been going there for over a decade and some of the staff have been there throughout that period.

      2. pretzelgirl*

        Look at reviews online and word of mouth too. I see a mobile vet right now and I love her. She has 2 employees. One vet tech and another who works from home and answers calls. She is super friendly and knowledgeable and she’s had the same tech for at least 5 years if not more. I also love it, bc she comes to us and I don’t have to bring a sick dog out or haul my 3 little kids with me. See if you have one. Or read google reviews, Glass door (if its a big practice) and Yelp.

    5. Lora*

      When I found out what one of my best friends made as a vet with a lot of student loan debt (still! basically student loan debt your whole life!!) working for a veterinarian who owned a clinic but didn’t practice herself, I was amazed how she could work for such little pay and no benefits. She really REALLY loves kittens. But she has mentioned more than once she’d love to be able to do additional training so she could work in a toxicology lab or something, get out of private practice.

    6. ThatGirl*

      This is slightly off-topic but I wanted to ask it in the open thread (still might?) – our vet has been AMAZING the last few weeks; I’ve always liked her but she’s really been so helpful and kind while we were going through some stuff. I’d like to send cookies or something similar to thank her/the office at large (there are 4 vets there, over the years have seen 3 of them). Any suggestions? Are cookies a good idea, or something else?

      1. Paige*

        I’ve brought cookies or donuts to my vet office a few times. Mainly, make sure you include enough of whatever it is so that everyone who works there gets one (I actually went on their website and found a picture they had of everyone who worked there, counted the number of people, and doubled it just to be sure, since there are often people working in the back that you never see).

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yes, absolutely, good point. I was thinking of ordering some to be delivered on a weekday, not dropping them off myself, but I will make sure there are plenty.

    7. CoveredInBees*

      Yeah. I’ve heard a lot how vets are getting abused and it is staggering. Our dog’s favorite place to be, other than the sunny spot on the couch, is the vets office. I sometimes worry they get an overly-positive view of her health (she’s elderly) because she perks up so much when she visits.

      So, extra love and appreciation for you and all the vet staff looking after our pets.

  13. Bookworm*

    #2: I’m sorry and it’s unfortunate that this hasn’t changed. I know this might not be a comfort, but I would also take it as a sign that those are absolutely not places you want to work.

    If companies haven’t figured out they need to be a little nicer (not coddling, in line with what you wrote) to their employees/potential hires over the course of a *pandemic* they never will.

  14. Erika22*

    #1 this was exactly my partner at his last job. Most of the time I kept quiet about it, but if I’d hear something especially unprofessional, or if he’d tell me a “funny story” that actually sounded inappropriate for a workplace, I’d say something like “that doesn’t sound ok/aren’t you worried about x consequences/are you sure so-and-so was fine with it?” Mostly I just wanted to represent a side of whatever situation he didn’t seem to be considering – I don’t know if this truly helped tbh. However, he was working at a startup, whereas I’ve always worked at larger companies, and I know the norms are different. (It doesn’t mean startups should just roll with their reputations though!)

  15. Person from the Resume*

    For LW2, I also think the dynamic of multiple applicants applying for a single job always leaves the hiring company feeling powerful. They are picking. And since the hiring company generally controls the timeline, the applicant is usually not in the position of applying for multiple jobs, getting all the offers, and picking the best company for them.

    The hiring company just does have the superior position. That said if they pay low and offer few benefits, they’ll stop getting the top applicants to apply or accept.

    The ones who talk about the labor shortage now could fix that by offering higher pay but they haven’t seen the light yet or their business model is built of paying low wages.

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      I work in food and hospitality and this industry was decimated. Businesses are starting to open up again but there is now a limited pool of workers because many found better paying work or just moved away for employment. A few businesses just can’t open because they don’t have the necessary staff, kitchen workers, cleaners, front desk etc. I check job boards regularly and the pay is either minimum wage or a dollar more. The requirements are to work 12 hour days with no overtime and without a fixed schedule. Some workplaces already had toxic reputations and no one is going to work there because now there are more options.

      1. CoveredInBees*

        Yeah. A lot of hotels had relied on overseas trainees for their work and now all of those visas have been suspended for a year. Also a lot of the ag and food processing jobs relied on seasonal migrant programs that are also suspended. This is accompanied with the fact that later Boomer and GenX had fewer kids than previous generations and, not to put too fine a point on it approx. 250,000 people ages 18-64* died of COVID last year. There are simply fewer people.

        *Yes, I know there are many 65+ workers out there but this was a handy cutoff and I think makes the point, especially since so many people saw/see COVID as only impacting seniors.

    2. MissBaudelaire*

      The issue in my town is that places are ‘hiring’… and they pay a quarter over minimum wage, demand an open schedule to employ you twenty hours a week, refuse to give you a regular schedule, so you can’t get a second job either, don’t give benefits, and also don’t give raises. These businesses cry and sob when no one is working for them.

      Well… they can’t pay their bills on what you’re offering. You think people should live in miserable poverty for your business? “But I won’t make money otherwise!” Then your business is doomed to fail. I don’t know how else to sort this out, you know? You have to pay people, and people have to eat. So pay them enough to live. If you can’t, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby that generates a tiny amount of income.

      1. Elenna*

        This! Like, if you really can’t make money and also pay a living wage, then… maybe that’s an issue with your business, and not with the people who need to eat to live?

      2. Mel*

        The not having a set schedule thing is mind boggling to me. I have done scheduling before, and it is 1000x easier (to me) to make a set schedule and then offer up the holes to people that need/want the hours. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel and fire every single week.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          I know. Seems to me everyone would be happier be told; “This is what time you work here every week. If we have hours available, we’ll let you know.” There will usually be people happy to take more hours. Instead, they leave it a mystery and get all worked up when someone says that doesn’t work for them, so they have to rewrite it and everyone is always grumpy.

        2. LifeBeforeCorona*

          One of my old workplaces asked for your availability when you were hired. Then they never took it into consideration. Every week I had to tell them I can’t work Tuesday because I have a class, rvery week. It was the same manager who made up the schedule, they never remembered.

      3. Salsa Verde*

        I think this is a really, really hard pill for the restaurant/food service industry to swallow. They are so used to paying low wages as part of their business model that they cannot conceive of paying higher wages – I have definitely heard “well then we’d have to close” from some of my friends in restaurant management. Well, maybe you would. What is the answer when paying all your employees a living wage means that your business is no longer viable? Especially in an industry that relies on part-time workers – should businesses that employ a large number of part-time workers have to worry about paying a living wage?

        This kind of goes along with the server minimum wage debate – many restaurants say if they had to pay servers the same minimum wage they pay their hourly workers, they’d go out of business. Well, maybe so.

        I think we’re going to see real changes in the restaurant/food-service industry in the next decade.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          Right? Maybe you would go out of business. But if you can’t pay a living wage, do you really have a successful business?

      4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        We discussed this earlier – in other threads in times passed….

        The discussion began when AAM and others used the offensive (IMHO) term = “poaching”. Management types use this term when discussing their employees leaving for a competitor who’s offering more money.

        The term “poaching” refers to illegal hunting or fishing, or anything illegal or at best, unethical. But it is not unethical for a company to offer better salaries and benefits and working conditions. And thankfully, they’ve stopped using the perjorative term, because moving onward and upward is the consequence of the free labor marketplace. If I’m a manager and can obtain the services of a great employee who’s not being paid what he’s worth at his current job, that’s competition. Not “poaching”.

        BUT ANYWAY …. if Alpha Company pays chocolate teapot engineers $40,000 a year, but Beta Company offers $60,000, and Omega offers $65,000 — and better conditions, bennies, etc. — obviously, Alpha’s going to experience a talent drain. And they’re going to lose people – some of them – their BEST people.

        Then the boss at Alpha says “oh I can’t AFFORD to pay that. I can’t. I can’t survive.” Well Alpha Boss has the option – figure out how to pay competitively, and streamlining his business and making it more efficient – or – ECONOMIC DARWINISM will be taking Alpha Company out.

        They may have to change the way they do business if they’re to survive. A lot of companies are finding that out now.

        In the IS/IT world, where I come from, and spent my career, they figured that out 40 years ago.

  16. Sharpie*

    I’m currently employed on a zero-hour contract, but my employer has done it right – I can tell them I’m taking Monday off, for instance, and there’s no blow-back. Conversely, if there’s a period where there have been no orders come in, the zero-hours people are informed that there’s no work and when we can expect some. Fwiw, there’s been just one week where that has been the case,and that was back in January when you would expect there to be less work anyway.

    1. Sharpie*

      This was supposed to be a reply to John Smith’s comment above, I have no idea wit ended up as a standalone comment!

  17. pretzelgirl*

    LW2- It could also be burnout too. Some companies went from shuts, slow business and lay offs to opening back up. Having to rehire tons of new positions. People are overloaded.

  18. Lacey*

    LW 3: Don’t tell them till the raise is going through. My boss has a bad habit of being overly optimistic on things we all want to happen – and then not understanding why we’re so bummed when it doesn’t or there’s a significant delay.

    1. no phone calls, please*

      “My boss has a bad habit of being overly optimistic on things we all want to happen – and then not understanding why we’re so bummed when it doesn’t or there’s a significant delay.”

      This is really helpful to think about! ty!

  19. pretzelgirl*

    #5- Do they have a boss or work independently? If they have a boss you could always write them and tell what a great job they did. If they work independently a nice note would be good too!

  20. FD*

    #2- Humans in general tend to prioritize immediate rewards over long term consequences. This is why we engage in bad habits (such as staying up too late watching YouTube on a work night) even when we KNOW there will be negative consequences for it (being tired the next day). Those future consequences feel less real than the pleasure or relief we’re getting right now.

    When people are rude, it’s usually because it provides some relief (e.g. venting their anger or feeling power over another person), and often doesn’t have an immediate negative consequence. Moreover, this power dynamic feels ‘safer’ for the potential employer–a potential employee is less likely to cause them immediate social consequences compared to that same person being rude to their own boss.

    Even if they were fully aware that their behavior would have negative consequences, they might very well still decide to engage in it because it’s easier/feels good/is a habit.

    But in this case especially, the negative consequences are invisible, so not only are they indirect and delayed but you can’t see them directly. So it’s sort of a double-whammy.

    (This is part of why direct, calm pushback to rude people *can* be really powerful–it’s an immediate consequences, and it feels BAD when someone says “Why would you say that?” Even though you aren’t escalating the situation, it not only takes away the reward–of feeling a sense of power over another person and/or seeing them react–it also provides immediate negative feedback to the behavior.)

    1. twocents*

      >> This is why we engage in bad habits (such as staying up too late watching YouTube on a work night) even when we KNOW there will be negative consequences for it (being tired the next day).

      I feel called out, lol.

      1. FD*

        I deliberately picked a bad habit I personally have too, lol. But, app blockers are pretty amazing and can help bypass that sort of thing!

    2. quill*

      “This is why we engage in bad habits (such as staying up too late watching YouTube on a work night)”

      HEY NOW. Untag me in this photo this is me, today.

    3. Elenna*

      “This is why we engage in bad habits (such as staying up too late watching YouTube on a work night)”

      …have you been spying on me lately?

  21. SlimeKnight*

    LW #4: It’s great that you are advocating for your staff, but if you tell them then the raises fall through, it will do more harm than good.

    I work in the public sector and nearly everyone in my department is underpaid. Every few years there is talk of a pay adjustment or a salary study. Management talks it up and tells everyone they will finally be paid what they are worth…and then it inevitably falls apart or the resulting “raise” is just enough to be insulting. This makes staff feel bitter and has created an environment of mistrust and low expectations.

    1. JustaTech*

      It is a hard thing. I recently got a promotion (my immediate coworker left so I’m the only one who can do a lot of stuff) and after I had some very pointed conversations with the higher-ups they kept saying “oh, your boss has been working on getting you a promotion for years”.

      Like, how am I supposed to feel about that? Either my boss is utterly ineffectual or the higher-ups don’t think that I’ve earned a promotion until the proverbial stuff hits the fan. I mean, it’s nice to know that my boss has been trying, but it doesn’t help me trust upper management.

  22. Elizabeth (they/them)*

    #2 there isn’t a labor shortage as much as there is a general unwillingness on the part of workers to take crappy jobs. It’s anecdotal, but a lot of those articles end with something like “So they advertised a reasonable wage and got tons of applicants.” Framing things as a labor shortage rather than just regular degular ol capitalism deflects blame for the situation from employers’ labor practices when that is 100% the underlying issue.

    1. Mental Lentil*

      Yes. It’s time we stop framing this as a “labor shortage” and start reframing it as a “shortage of good paying jobs”.

    2. Texan in Exile*

      Exactly. I see the complaints and want to say to those employers, “If only there were a way to make work more attractive to people!”

      1. LifeBeforeCorona*

        You could try a living wage, regular schedules, and a safe harassment-free workplace, it sounds so crazy it must just work.

    3. whistle*

      On top of this, there are plenty of ways businesses could make their jobs more attractive besides increased pay, and no one seems to be trying those either!

      “We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.”

      1. Rayray*

        I agree. Pay is the most important thing but good benefits, perks, and culture help. Even simple things like a relaxed dress code vs stuffy business casual.

    4. Tuckerman*

      Yes. I think I saw it here actually, if you can’t pay your employees a reasonable wage, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      But if there are so many jobs available that people aren’t forced to take crappy jobs, that means there’s not enough labor! Don’t you know the whole thing’s going to collapse if we can’t force people to take crappy underpaid jobs?

    6. CoveredInBees*

      It’s both.

      The visa programs a lot of companies relied on to take jobs in agriculture, food processing, construction, and hospitality have been suspended for over a year. There’s also a generational shift of late Boomers and Gen Xers having fewer children than previous groups. Also, sadly, nearly 250k people in prime employment ages (ie 18-64) died of COVID in the US last year. That is a small percentage of that age group overall, but that’s still more people simply gone and it was the people in the service and food service industries who were disproportionately impacted.

      I point this out because these jobs paid and treated employees like shit before, so it isn’t just that.

      1. MissBaudelaire*

        To add onto your stat of the people who died due to COVID… I wonder how many people are still unable to work due to the side effects of COVID, or have contracted other problems due to COVID. Some people didn’t recover beautifully even if they didn’t die.

        I don’t have any numbers or anything, I just think it might be something to consider.

        1. Anon Recruiter*

          It frustrates me that in the US we are not doing a good job of tracking “long Covid” or other Covid-related disabilities. My partner has been experiencing long term effects from Covid for the past 6 months and has not been able to work since getting sick. It’s a struggle to get appropriate medical care for a disease that is so new, and it feels like no one understands how common or significant these issues can be. So much of the conversation around Covid is “if you’re young and healthy, getting it isn’t a big deal.” My partner is 34.

        2. JustaTech*

          Or still don’t have sufficient child care to be able to take on full-time employment, since some schools/camps/daycares are still closed.

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            This is a great point. My child’s school is shrugging when asked about opening up their aftercare. I got offered some hours that I can’t take because there isn’t aftercare for school.

      2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Oh, yeah – remembering 2018, 2019 or so, when the “guest visa” programs, that were “cultural exchange visas” or some horsepoop like that, were curtailed.

        Funny thing – the restaurants on Cape Cod and the Islands now had to — had to – GULP! – HIRE AMERICANS!

        Yes, this meant that you couldn’t get someone from overseas, pay him/her but also deduct money for the dormitory bed you were providing him/her with, and because the guy or gal is essentially an indentured servant, you could abuse the hell out of an employee. That employee has to send the money earned back to Mom and Dad via Western Union or Vigo.

        In contrast, a 16-17 year old who lives on Martha’s Vineyard, or one of the high falutin’ Cape Cod towns, has a minimal expectation of respect that should be accorded, and has his/her own bed to sleep in every night.

        So the working relationship is different. And if the boss pushes the envelope too far, all the kid has to do is say f*** you, I quit and throw the apron back to the boss. And should bossman be TOO abusive to the teen, he may have to deal with the teen’s parents…. which, could be, uh, unpleasant…????

    7. Nicotena*

      I also think, maybe employees used to be willing to take $10 or $12 or $14 an hour for work to make ends meet – but now that it might cost them their lives, or the lives of unvaccinated and vulnerable people in their families, it’s just it worth it anymore. For a job with no benefits if you do get sick? And crappy precautions?

  23. Jake*


    I’m more interested to see if companies that aren’t straight up rude, but have long/bad hiring processes will figure out how much it hurts them (if it actually does).

    The rude thing seems like it will obviously start mattering more, but what about the companies who tell employees the process is 2 weeks and it actually takes 12 weeks? Or the companies that want to interview candidates 6 times. Or the numerous other extremely common things that companies do simply because they’ve never been forced to actually be competent in order to hire the people they want.

    1. whistle*

      Yes. I haven’t really run into outright rudeness as a candidate, but there are so many off-putting hiring practices that I would love to see become more rare.

      My last employer regularly has people wait 45 minutes or more for their scheduled interviews. It essentially ensures only desperate people will stick around to get an offer. But in today’s market even desperate people seem to have their limits. I will be interested to see if my previous employer can adjust.

      1. Rayray*

        I once had an interview where I had to wait about that long. They were in another meeting and simply didn’t care that I was there waiting. I thought about walking out and I should have because it really truly was indicative of the disrespect and horrible treatment I would endure for the time I had that job. I learned then and there that I will never ever wait more than about 15 minutes. Candidates shouldn’t have to wait at all, people should be organized and efficient enough to remember their appointments and be ready but I do understand that sometimes things do just happen.

    2. Nanani*

      It will because they’ll get the bottom of the barrel. Depending on the company it might take many years for consequences to be felt, but the difference is real.

  24. The Other Dawn*

    RE: #3
    “It’s great that you’re advocating for raises, but don’t proactively tell people about it unless the raises are approved. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll have set people up for disappointment, and you might end up making them feel demoralized when they’d previously been happy.”

    Yes, I’ve had to learn this one the hard way, and unfortunately I didn’t learn it the first couple times I did it. It ended up with people being disappointed and me looking foolish.

    I’m just naturally someone who wants to share information with people at work, mainly to be open and show them “I’m working on it.” Probably because there have been lots of times in my career where others didn’t tell me they were working on something and it felt like whatever it was just fell into black hole. I’d then have to chase after them. So I tended to get excited and share before whatever it is actually comes to fruition, whether it was raises, a new project, etc. I’ve worked on that a lot over the years and even though I still get that urge, I’m now able to suppress it.

  25. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    #1: I interviewed for a job in 1989. As part of the long interview process they had me meet with one of the people from the team in private, and he informed me that he was not going to be there much longer and gave me a rundown on the dysfunction. I took the job anyway. He ended up retiring from that same place in 2011.

    1. JustaTech*

      I was on an interview loop years ago where we really needed another person, but we were also in a really not-great spot financially, so during the lunch portion (all peers, no management) we were very honest with the candidate that, hey, we might go bankrupt soon, just so you know that, if you need more stability.
      The candidate joined us anyway and was a great coworker until they were laid off during early COVID.

  26. pugsnbourbon*

    LW#4: I had a very similar situation come up when I was hiring for an entry-level role. I told the applicant that the length of her resume made it really difficult to review and encouraged her to shorten it. I might have even referred her to AAM.
    She re-applied the following year with a concise, tailored resume and got the job.

    1. whistle*

      I really like your wording with the candidate (“difficult to review”). This explains to them why the resume format is a problem without providing arbitrary rules like “your resume must be one page” that might not even fix the problem – you can fit a lot of extraneous information on one page!

    2. 4CeeleenLV*

      Yeah, this is a better answer. There’s no reason to emphasize rules or standards for resume length because that’s not really the problem – a long resume might make sense for someone with a long work history or even depending on the formatting, a 5 page resume might be brief and not even make me blink. It’s the fact that he’s massively over-describing his job duties and the text is really dense. The feedback should just be “By the way, I wanted to mention your resume is a bit of a wall of text. It will be easier for resume reviewers to pull out the most important points if you cut way down on the details and keep it to a few succinct bullet points per position.” Don’t even mention the length. It’s the density for roles that don’t require a dense explanation.

  27. LongtimeReader*

    Re #3: I understand what Alison and commenters are saying about not telling your employees that you’re trying to get them a raise until it’s a done deal, so as not to get their hopes up – but is there a middle ground, where you can have a conversation with an employee about what kind of a raise they feel is appropriate, so that they feel like they had a chance to advocate for themselves instead of just getting surprised by whatever raise you as their manager feel is appropriate?

    When I was an employee, I remember it felt weird to all of a sudden hear from my manager “you get this X% raise!” and to never have had a chance to be in conversation with them about it. (As a side note, the process for getting a raise at my org was a complete secret to employees, so that probably contributed to why it felt so weird.) Sometimes, it was a nice surprise (yay, more money!), but there was one time where I had been preparing to make the case for a larger raise due to recent info I’d learned about comparable salaries in my org, and then when they said, “you got this X% raise,” it was very uncomfortable for me to say “thank you, and I know you fought hard for this, but actually, I was hoping for Y%.” And then they had to go through the approval process all over again to see if they could get a higher raise than what they had already secured. Whereas if it had been more of a conversation from the start, I could have made my case earlier and saved us all the trouble.

    1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      They probably don’t bother because far too many people have a inflated idea of their worth. When they’ve said their piece and it’s ignored (or maybe even knocks their chances of getting any kind of extra money), they’ll be even more disappointed at not getting what they wanted.

  28. Lucious*

    #2: Companies are managed by people, and a nonzero number of company leaders have a completely inaccurate understanding of the modern economy. I’m reminded of my stepdad who didn’t understand what all the fuss was about six figure student debt. Because annual tuition was $4400 when he attended college.

    Someone who thinks of “minimum wage” as $5.25 an hour when they had an entry level job is going to feel very put out at paying $15.00 per hour as a business owner later in life. That’s not to justify the attitude, but it’s a root cause behind some of the resistance we’re seeing.

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      Also, a lot of those $5.25 hours jobs no longer exist in their original form. One of my first jobs was filing papers all day long. I couldn’t work any faster past a certain point, say 3 filing cabinets a day. Now the same job using a computer would require thousands of files being dealt with every day.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Which is the good type of pay increase; $42/day for 3 filing cabinets is far less productive than $120/day for hundreds of cabinets’ worth of files. Paying $120/day for the old 3 filing cabinets shows up in prices, which dilutes the nominal raise and is inflationary.

    2. Lynn Whitehat*

      This reminds me of the HOA in my old neighborhood. Elderly residents were incensed that we were paying landscaping workers “TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR!!!! OR EVEN MORE!!!!” Because that would have been an amazing wage in 1952.

      1. MissBaudelaire*

        Tangentially related, I also wonder if this is what happens with child care. Parents are like “I have to pay this much?? I do all this stuff for free! Not like changing a diaper is that hard!” And it isn’t that no one thinks child minders shouldn’t be paid, but it’s hard to wrap their minds around the job being ‘worth’ that much.

        There are many other factors involved, but I do wonder about that.

        1. Nanani*

          With child care there’s both that, the inflation thing (“when I was a teenager I only got X for babysitting, how come they expect X+Y now??”), and the fact that childminding is historically devalued “women’s work” that women were expected to do for free along with cleaning and cooking and and and.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            On top of all that, you’re paying for it with post-income-tax dollars and seeing pre-income-tax prices when you’re using a professional caretaker. You may be paying (e.g.) $20/hour, but the childcare worker is lucky to be making half that.

            1. Foof*

              I get what you’re saying but in the US at least no way half is being taken for income taxes; even the top tax bracket is under half. now, if they are hiring though a service that’s a different beast the service is certainly keeping a chunk (I pay my nanny 17.50/hr and i pay the state and fed income taxes etc if i witheld half like is normal it’d still be under 7%)

              … which is not to quibble that costs of living are much higher now and one calcukatir says a $5 item in 1950 would be $56 now!!!

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                No, of course not. There’s supervisors, rent or property taxes, building utilities, etc. Obviously that overhead is lower if the caretaker is working out of your home rather than their facility.

            2. MissBaudelaire*

              It’s an issue with a lot of people that if you use a daycare center, you pay through the nose, and the workers don’t see that. It isn’t uncommon here to pay over eight hundred a month for an infant, and that’s actually pretty cheap all things considered. But the workers make minimum wage, so there’s a high turn over. And then parents are upset because there are so many new faces and different people and they’re like “I pay a mortgage to send my kid and there’s no consistency in the care! How is this even possible?”

      2. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

        That reminds me of my elderly mother being absolutely appalled by the amount of rent I was paying. Mom, you haven’t paid rent since 1946.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          My friend’s grandmother was a landlady. She rented for crazy low prices, because that’s what she thought was appropriate. And it worked out for a lot of people, and she had a lot of lovely tenants who couldn’t afford high rents, but kept up the properties really nicely and all that.

          I was in low income housing. Her grandson, my friend, was trying to explain how she was renting for very low prices. They brought up my rent. “She must be rich to afford that!” They explained it was low income. For poor people.

          It was an eye opener for her.

    3. Girasol*

      Those of us who started out at a dollar an hour (no, really! Minimum wage for a waitress when I was in school) need only multiply the current minimum or near-minimum wages we see offered in ads by the number of working hours in a month and then think about what it would be like if we ourselves had just that amount now to buy groceries, pay rent, and come up with the monthly payment for the health insurance that minimum wage employers don’t offer. Of course, living involves a whole lot of other costs, and many workers don’t even get a full month’s worth of hours. But we don’t even need to get down to that level of detail to end up wondering how these low wage levels could possibly be sustainable. Although annual tuition was a good deal less than $4400 when I was in school, that doesn’t mean that I can’t grasp that someone who graduated with upwards of $100K in student debt can’t pay it off at $13 an hour, and while they may get reduced payments for hardship, it only increases the total that they must pay someday. Age is no excuse for failing to grasp this problem. Not all of us older folk are like that.

  29. Eeyore's Missing Tail*

    LW 5 – If you can, also let the recruiter’s supervisor know what a great job the recruiter is doing. It can be as simple as sending the supervisor an email or cc: them on an email to the recruiter.

    From personal experience, it’s great when a student tells me that they appreciate my help. But it’s pretty awesome when they tell my supervisor that’s I was able to be a big help to them with tasks X, Y, and Z.

  30. twocents*

    #2 reminds me of a job I applied for fresh out of college. The posting was looking for someone to join their management intern/learning path program. The actual job was to move to Afghanistan and teach soldiers English. For minimum wage, 6 days a week for 10 hours a day, no benefits.

    I understand that companies have gotten away with flat-out lying on their postings for decades, but I really don’t see the point. It took all I had to not laugh at the recruiter, because it was such an absurd bait-and-switch that I have no idea why they thought it would work.

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

      OP 2, I’ll never forget the company that posted and ad for a entry level Software Developer, and each interview the “real position” keep changing. In the final one they admitted it was for a customer service role, so I stood up, said my goodbyes and left.

    2. quill*

      That’s worse than my hall of fame poorly machine generated emails about job postings, where pride of place went to “teach Chinese in China” (someone filled out a “teach english in X” wrong…) and the posting that touted the benefits of working in Antarctica (instead of, as far as I could tell, Atlanta.)

        1. quill*

          I get seasick thinking about boats so… if that’s the ship you want to sail, my citrus friend, but I would be DOUBLY out!

        2. Gumby*

          I am afraid that unless and until there is a change in upper level staff, someone with your user name would have a difficult time being considered for a position on Atlantis.

      1. Nanani*

        “teach Chinese in China” to people moving to China would make sense, but then wouldn’t the posting be in Chinese…

        1. quill*

          Precisely, but I think those adds get spammed to anyone with the words “language” or “fluency” in their resume!

          1. Nanani*

            Absolutely. I’m a translator and I get some of the most random “job ads” in the world

  31. Sharon*

    #4 I recently learned there is a difference between a regular resume and the type of CV you include for academic positions, which is longer and lists all your papers, etc. Perhaps your recent grad is applying for both corporate jobs and grad school/academic positions and has used the same resume for both? In that case, you might be doing them a favor by telling them that’s not how things are done in corporate-land, but that’s also 100% not your problem and I wouldn’t bother unless you feel this person is otherwise a strong candidate.

  32. Elizabeth West*

    Re #2– Unemployment benefits running out may push things back in the other direction, but we’ll see.
    NO. I am tired of employers treating people like crap. Stop it. Just stop.

    That’s the comment. Just stop.

    1. EchoGirl*

      I don’t think Alison is saying it’s a good thing, though, just that it’s a thing that could happen. I really hope it doesn’t, and I suspect Alison does too, but as unfortunate as it is, things could end up trending back in that direction.

  33. PinkiePieWorksHard*

    LW#5, one great way you can support the recruiter would be to tell HR at the company how great an experience you had with them and advocate for them to continue the recruiting relationship with them, and recommend them to other orgs as such opportunities arise.

    1. Anon Recruiter*

      Came here to say this! Recruiters love it when a candidate becomes a new client and/or recommends our services to new potential clients. You could also let the recruiter know that you’d be happy to serve as a reference – sometimes new potential clients want to speak to people that a recruiter has placed in the past.

  34. RagingADHD*

    LW2, I believe you are intelligent enough to know what you’re hearing, and recognize your partner being injudicious or ovetly negative when you hear it.

    This seems like exactly the sort of thing partners should be able to talk about. It’s not a secret that you can hear each other. And if you live together and share finances, their blowing ip their job unnecessarily will directly affect you, and you have the right to bring it up.

    “Hey, what’s going on? I know you’re not happy with work right now, Do you realize how much your attitide is coming across? I’m worried you might not have a couple of years to plan your job hunt if you keep this up.”

    1. Quantum Hall Effect*

      Yes, that is exactly the type of conversation that a partner should be able to have. It does not tell them how to manage their work or scold them, it expresses concern at a pattern and the impact of the behavior. It doesn’t even matter whether or not you are directly affected by them losing their job. As their partner, you are invested in *their* well being, not just your own.

  35. Caboose*

    #2: I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for things changing on the whole, to be honest! Programming has always been a field with more demand than supply, and companies *still* try their tricks in job postings. They can’t figure out how to adapt!

  36. PeanutButter*

    LW #4, it sounds like the applicant doesn’t know the difference between a resume and a CV, and when they are appropriate. When I went back to school for a second degree, I was REALLY surprised by how much CVs are pushed now – pretty much nobody except post-docs/PIs/professors/etc used them and then only in academic contexts or maybe on the department website, but now a lot of research awards and opportunities require them from undergrads who probably just have a poster presentation to their name. I like the suggestion above to let them know that the long CV is “hard to digest” and suggest making a real 1-2 page resume.

  37. Carolyn*

    #4: I think it’s important to consider why you feel compelled to give feedback to one and not the other. It’s often candidates that remind us of ourselves that provoke this helpful response, but our (society’s) tendency to help those most like ourselves is a big, often unintentional, cause of inequity in hiring practices.

  38. monogodo*

    #3: At my last job, we had a pay rate freeze back in 2008 when the economy tanked. Management even took pay cuts.

    Then, when the economy improved, the Owner/CEO sent out a video update of the “state of the company” to everyone. In it, he said that they’d be rolling out pay raises in waves. I (and others) never got one. Yes, I was bitter about it. I’d have much rather he said nothing at all and received nothing, than get my hopes up and receive nothing.

    Side note: Part of the reason I left that company after working there 15 years was that my pay had increased by $3.75/hour, spread over 4 raises, during those 15 years. Based on inflation, I was earning less than when I’d been hired on. My new job paid 48% more per hour than I had been making, and gave me a 2% raise last fall.

  39. Alanna*

    OP #5 – A great recruiter is a wonderful rare gift – keep in touch with them and refer your job-hunting friends to them. I work in tech and have met one wonderful recruiter, and I still send friends in that area to her, because she’s amazing. That’s the best thank you that you can give them!

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