interviewing when I just started a new job, unpaid quarantine, and more

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

1. My partner says I’m unethical for interviewing when I just started a new job

I have a long history of doing an obscene level of work and not advocating for myself. Ever. Every single place I’ve worked for has sung my praises. Not a single one has even offered me a cost of living raise. But I love my work and what I do, and I’m damned good at it.

When Covid hit, I lost my job, which wasn’t surprising because I work in business services and businesses were cutting costs wherever they could. I managed to get some offers and chose a company that was a few steps down on the ladder title-wise from my previous role, but I liked the product they offered, the pay was decent, and it was remote. But I’m extremely aware of what I’ve missed out on by not advocating for myself and always being open to new opportunities, especially with this market. So when an old client reached out about a really interesting position someone in their network was filling and asked if they could toss my name out, I said sure.

I had the first interview and it went great, but my partner was acting strange. I checked in with them and they said they were disgusted with me, that interviewing with anyone after I’d been hired so recently (three months) was unethical and they didn’t think I was capable of acting this way.

I was shocked. I thought this was forward growth for me, but I don’t want to be doing anything untoward. Am I doing the wrong thing?

I mean, it’s not great to keep interviewing after you’ve accepted a new position, but if something seems like a much better opportunity than the job you’re in, of course it’s okay to explore it. You’re not required to ignore your own interests!

Your partner’s reaction is weirdly extreme. It would be one thing if they were more tempered about it — like “it feels a little icky to be interviewing right after starting a new job / how are you thinking about that aspect of it?” — but they’re disgusted with you? That’s really over the top and unwarranted.

Is your partner someone who’s normally very rigid / self-righteous / judgmental? Is something else going on? Their reaction is an odd one.

2. I was exposed to Covid by doing my job and now have to quarantine without pay

I work in health care and currently do home nursing care. Several weeks ago I was asked to see a patient for another nurse who was out that day for personal reasons. I was unfamiliar with the patient, but was given a report by the nurse who saw him the day prior and was going to provide care that required close contact with the patient that lasted for a significant amount of time. During the visit, the patient started to display symptoms consistent with Covid-19 so I requested to have them tested. Sure enough, they were positive.

I was wearing a mask per policy throughout the entire visit and had been fully vaccinated, but after my manager spoke to our safety and compliance officer, I was told I would have to quarantine for a minimum of seven days and could come back after that as long as I tested negative after day five. I tested negative and returned to work a week later. I am now being told that I may not be paid because “Covid pay ended last year.” Can they just refuse to pay me for those hours, even though the exposure was work-related, I followed company policy, and they are the ones who told me I could not come to work?

If you weren’t a health care worker, your employer would not be legally obligated to pay you for that time — even though ethically you’re 100% in the right to expect it, for all the reasons you stated (the exposure was part of your job and you followed their instructions). However, as of June, there’s a federal requirement that health care workers who are quarantining after an exposure must be paid for that time (as long as your employer has at least 11 employees). Some states also have passed laws requiring paid leave for quarantine time, so check your state laws as well.

Read an update to this letter here

3. As a diabetic, how do I handle being delayed on my way to lunch?

I work in a service department in a retail store. Most things are done by drop-off appointment, but some quicker things are offered a walk-in, as you wait. The general idea with walk-ins is whoever has time should do it, and if there are several in a row we all rotate so nobody gets stuck doing all of them. At the beginning of the pandemic, the company switched to requiring appointments for all services, but now they are relaxing that requirement. Of course, after all this time of not doing walk-ins, it’s an adjustment for everyone, but I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year so I am experiencing additional challenges.

As part of the effort to keep my blood sugar as normal as possible, I am supposed to take my insulin 15 minutes before eating. I can’t do that with the unpredictable nature of the job in general, and my break is only 30 minutes, so as a compromise I take it as I head to the computer to clock out. (I use a pump so I am not exposing or injecting myself in full view or anything like that.) Often the computer is in use and as I am waiting, a walk-in will come in and I will be asked to do it because I am just waiting anyway. Unfortunately, the same computer I’m waiting for is the one used to generate the required paperwork and invoice for the service so I risk waiting 5-10 minutes for the paperwork, 10-15 minutes to do the service, and then possibly even finding the computer occupied again when I am done. I’ve had this happen a few times now, and I really don’t prefer eating emergency glucose tablets in lieu of my lunch.

When I’ve declined to do a walk-in, explaining that I am just waiting to clock out, I receive irritated and even rude responses from both customers and coworkers. I’m not sure how to convey that this is something more important than just not caring about anything beyond taking my break. I’ve tried even saying “Sorry, I can’t, I’ve already taken my insulin, so it’s really important I go to lunch right away.” But not only does it not seem to register, it also makes me very uncomfortable to announce my medical details to customers. Additionally, It’s pretty common in this career to not take breaks, or clock out and continue working in places where that’s tracked, so there’s definitely a feeling of “nobody else is bothered by being interrupted this way.”

You have a medical requirement to be able to leave right after you take your insulin, so your employer needs to come up with an accommodation to make that work. What that accommodation is will depend on what options are available, but as examples it could be giving you a different way to clock out (like an app or even something low-tech) or adding an additional computer or giving you a longer break so you can wait to take the insulin until you’re actually clocked out. If you’re skeptical that they’d agree to any of those, don’t let that get in the way of addressing the problem with them. As long as they have at least 15 employees, they’re covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires them to work with you to find an accommodation that will work.

4. Asked to work past the end of my freelance contract

I work full-time as a database administrator. Several months ago, against my better judgment for scheduling reasons, I agreed to a part-time freelance gig as the database administrator for a local nonprofit in addition to my full-time job. Both parties signed a contract stipulating that “either party may terminate this contract at any time, with or without cause, upon 30 days written notice.”

My gut instinct re: scheduling proved correct and I couldn’t manage the workload for two jobs, so I submitted my resignation to the part-time gig via email with 30 days notice. I also provided the names and contact info for several potential freelance admins since I didn’t want to leave them in the lurch; they’re a good organization and the only issue I’ve had with them is my workload.

Per the contract, my employment has ceased, but the executive director reached out to me a few days ago to connect me to the new admin they finally hired to help transition them. How do I broach the expiration of my contract and the need to be paid for any additional work? I’m planning to request their transition plan and ask how many paid hours they will need; should I ask for a new contract to cover that time?

You don’t necessarily need an entirely new contract but you do need a written agreement about how you’ll be paid. I’d say this: “Sure, I’d be happy to help. Do you want to do a quick written agreement here to continue my hourly rate of $X for up to, say, Y hours of training time over the next month, or should we do a formal contract extension?”

5. Employer loved me and encouraged me to apply again — but hasn’t responded to my overtures

Recently interviewed with a tech company. Had a great experience overall and ended up in the final two. In-house recruiter called me to let me know I did not land the job. He gave feedback, both constructive and positive. I sent a lovely message to all involved. The VP and Director of People replied enthusiastically, stating I would be a perfect fit for the company in the near future, when a pertinent role became available. I was also told to “keep in touch” and reach out if anything on the careers page caught my eye. I really enjoyed the entire experience, the company, and the people I met.

A few weeks later, I came across a job posting on their careers page. Although a tad junior for my experience, I acknowledged that I have been out of work for some time and also that I loved the idea of joining this company. Reached out to Director of People to express my interest and was shown enthusiasm. I then asked to book 15 minutes to discuss the role and was told that she was too busy to talk to me and she then suggested I reach out to the original recruiter. I then reached out to the recruiter and never received a reply. Needless to say, I found this surprising given that the team had expressed so much interest in me joining them in the future.

You should formally apply for the job. Hiring managers and even recruiters don’t always have time to talk with people outside of interviews, especially when they haven’t had a chance yet to see how your candidacy compares to the rest of the pool. Throw your hat in the ring formally and see what comes of that!

Alternately, it’s possible that they just don’t see this role as a super strong match for you and/or already have other candidates who are better matched with it. That wouldn’t mean their earlier enthusiasm wasn’t genuine, but different positions will have different profiles that are best suited to them. Either way, though, the right next step is to formally apply.

{ 274 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Y’all: LW#3 is not looking for medical advice, and it’s against the rules of this site to offer it. I’m removing comments below that violate that rule.

  2. Not A Manager*

    LW1 – Here’s something to maybe think about. Is your partner generally encouraging of you to self-advocate in the workplace, to know your worth, and to make career choices that are in your own best interests? Or when you think about it, do you find that one of the reasons you haven’t done those things historically is that your partner doesn’t encourage you, or actively discourages you?

    How about in your own home life? All of those things that you say about how you’ve undervalued and undersold yourself in the workplace – would you say that those are true at home as well?

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Very good questions. I agree that some re-evaluation of the relationship is in order. The reaction was extremely weird.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        My knee-jerk reaction to the partner’s knee-jerk reaction is at some point in their own career they hired someone who left shortly in a similar scenario and it – for reasons unknown – went spectacularly badly. In other words, the partner’s probably projecting.

        1. KayDeeAye*

          I was wondering about that, too. It sounds as though the OP’s partner is taking this very personally.

          1. Wombats and Tequila*

            Maybe he’s jealous. He’s leaping to the conclusion that this means OP will leave him.

            1. TrainerGirl*

              Or perhaps he’s jealous of the opportunities that OP is being offered. Ask me how I know that.

        2. LW1*

          Its likely they are, but for different reasons. They very recently left a job that they were miserable at, a job they kept for several years 1) because they wanted to tough it out and try their best and 2) I was unemployed.

          In light of that, projection is highly possible.

          1. NothingExtra*

            In that situation, a person will often develop a lot of defensiveness about their decision to stay in a miserable job.

            It sounds like your partner might be harboring some resentment — at themself, for not being able to get that time back that they spent at Misery Corp… and at you, for now having the privilege of multiple employment options after being dependent on their income.

            If everybody is obligated to “stick it out” then that means they made the right call about their career. Their staying at that position was NOT motivated by a lack of confidence in their ability to get better work or demand better working conditions, but by their own ethical integrity! They aren’t angry that their emotional investment in a business turned out to be unrequited — they’re mad at you for NOT showing that level of commitment!

            Of course it wasn’t your fault that any of that happened. Even if you were unemployed, they had more options than they chose to pursue.

            I would emphasize to them that this was a passively acquired opportunity;

            that you want to encourage people to contact you with opportunities, and following up does that, with no obligation;

            that you’re making up for lost career time and that your current title represents a setback almost as much as being out of work did;

            and most importantly, that you don’t want to overcommit to the first job you could find, simply out of guilt for having been unemployed and depending on them for awhile.

            Because that would be doing a disservice to the sacrifices *they* made to support you both.

            Framing this as you wanting to honor their hard work, and a chance to set you BOTH up for more freedom of choice going forward, may help defuse their feeling that you taking an interview is somehow a critique of their more conservative sensibilities, or a la-di-dah exploitation of their time in the salt mines.

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            That additional context is helpful. I still think that “disgust” is a bit strong to even taking an interview for a job that you may learn more about and decide that you don’t even want, but I am familiar with the stress of being the primary earner and feeling obligated to keep a miserable job to support my family. It can make you irrational sometimes. I would hope that you could get a position closer to your prior level with appropriately increased pay, which would give them more options when a position isn’t a good fit.

            It’s one thing to tough out a bad situation out of necessity; it’s quite another to expect someone to be miserable and underemployed just because you were. Hopefully, they’ll take a more rational view of it once you know more about the other position.

        3. Worldwalker*

          I’d agree except for the OP’s update below regarding this not being unusual behavior for the partner — mentioning the use of mayo on a sandwich, I believe. That sounds oddly controlling.

          1. Properlike*

            “Don’t rock the boat, keep the peace, be grateful for the things you’re given.”
            This isn’t simply a job issue.

        4. Sleeve McQueen*

          I think you might be onto something. I have literally been on the receiving end of this in the period between when I read this email at lunch and had a chance to come back and read the wonderful insights in the comments and I must say I am surprised how furious I am about it. I get intellectually that sometimes jobs aren’t what people imagined and ultimately, they need to do what’s best for them, but a lot of time and energy went into recruiting and training this person, not to mention the good people we passed on to hire them and I tell ya… I am saltier than people are salty at the Salt Bae for charging £1,450 for a steak and advertising for a chef de partie at £12-£13.50 an hour. With Himalayan rock salt on top.
          I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep looking for the job – it sounds like it’s delaying the inevitable _ but it’s worth understanding that people are going to be pissed off.

    2. AnonAnon*

      LW1, I would suggest the same. I know of people who actively say/do things to hold back their partner from becoming stronger, more successful, more independent, making more money, etc. Some do that because they’re threatened by their partners’ success. Some believe their partner will leave when they’re stronger and have more money, so they sabotage their partner’s efforts when things start to improve.

      Please know you didn’t do anything wrong. But something else in this situation seems wrong. Of course I’m just a stranger on the internet, and I don’t know if your partner is anything like this. I would gently suggest reflecting on the dynamics in your relationship.

      1. Jopestus*

        And to add. The partner might not even be aware of that, or not even doing that at all. The partner being mistaken and acting like a mistaken human being is also a possibility.

        I also suggest reflecting on your relationship. With luck there might even be a nice solution for all that.

      2. selena81*

        I was coming at it more from the angle that LW1’s partner has a weird obsession with *loyalty* that raises red flags about their personal relationship.

        But sabotaging doesn’t sound too far of either. It may not even be deliberate: just trying to keep some ‘us against the world’ vibe going

      3. Allison*

        And some people honestly don’t think highly of their partners, and they discourage them from trying new things, or gunning for more success, because they see their partners as naive and delusional for thinking they’re even capable of doing certain things, and they don’t want to deal with the fallout when their partner “inevitably” fails.

        I’m still mad at my ex for telling me not to take up skateboarding (as a teenager) because he thought it would be too hard for me, and that I’d just get hurt. Fork that guy.

      4. Galadriel's Garden*

        Ha, yeahhhh to that. My partner prior to my husband was very much of the “ready and willing to discourage and not above sabotage” type, because they were worried I would leave if I became more successful. It ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, as I ultimately *did* leave when I became more successful because I was getting absolutely no support and felt guilty for doing well while they sank further and further into the mire, and wanted me to join them there. I graduated college into a recession and clawed my way into a professional career (as many of us did), and the slightest move forward in my career prompted some outsized anger and jealousy. It made me feel terrible for trying to better myself – to say nothing of their actively discouraging me from exercising and participating in the hobbies I loved and improved my mental health (it was a Red Square Parade of red flags, I know).

        By comparison, my husband is incredibly supportive of my career goals and growth, and wants me to do well in just…all the things.

      5. NotAnotherManager!*

        My partner doesn’t do this, but I have never taken a word my mother said about my career seriously because, if I had, I’d still be in a low-level position working stupid hours for not enough pay. She’s very risk averse and discouraging of nearly every career move I’ve made, so I stopped talking to her about it. Like a lot of people’s parents, her work advice is also several decades out of date and overly deferential to the employer. I also stopped telling her when I got promoted at work because she made passive-aggressive comments about it and insinuated I was putting my career before my family (you know, the people I have the career to support).

        She is also weirdly fixated on the fact that I earn twice what my spouse does and whether or not he feels emasculated by that. (He does not and isn’t sure whether to find her fixation on it insulting or hilarious.) My spouse and I view this as a team effort and have found a balance that works for us pretty well. My job also allowed him to quit a position that was making him absolutely miserable without something lined up and he had the time to find something that is a much better fit without the pressure of how we were going to pay the rent.

    3. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Yeah, I was coming here to ask the same questions. Something feels seriously off in that relationship (admittedly this is only a very short description, but it still made alarm bells go off in my head).

      1. Batgirl*

        I really hope this isn’t a female OP with a sexist partner. It’s possible to navigate with a “rigid rules for professional behavior” person, it’s less possible with the “women aren’t interested in money” person. The former is just a weird one off reaction, the latter is signing up to never get a fair share of anything. I’ve just met too many of those people who genuinely think women only work for a sense of reward and are mainly fulfilled just by the chance to serve others.

        1. A.N. O'Nyme*

          I’ll admit my main concern is actually that LW, by their own admission, doesn’t advocate for themselves. That sounds like the kind of personality that might attract abusers (regardless of gender). But your concern is a valid one as well.

          LW1, I know this is a work advice blog and not a relationship advice blog, but please take a very close look at your relationship. This ‘doing obscene amounts of work with advocating for yourself’ you describe in your career, is that also occurring in your relationship?

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I could see where the partner observes OP’s “I don’t advocate for myself when the job doesn’t appreciate me; I just look for a new job” and has cross-applied that to the relationship and that’s feeding the “you must be loyal” stuff.

          (I don’t think that behavior in realm A necessarily predicts behavior in realms B-Z. But could be a connection, in fact or in partner’s mind.)

    4. Despachito*

      I was thinking the same thing – the lack of advocacy for OP plus the weird (indeed!) reaction of the partner made me think that perhaps there is a pattern of self-undervaluation that spills over to more areas of OP’s life.

      I see absolutely nothing wrong with OP interviewing, and find her partner’s reaction odd and alarming.

      1. Spaceball One*

        Seriously. LW was approached by a third party about an unexpected opportunity. Assuming everything else between this point and “amazing job offer from company B” falls in line, why wouldn’t a genuine, “I’ve been very happy here but this opportunity fell into my lap totally unexpectedly and I just can’t pass it up” suffice? It’s a little awkward but not unethical. For a partner to be “disgusted” by it to the point of freezing out LW is Red Flag Central.

    5. lailaaaaah*

      Yeah, that pinged some alarm bells for me too. My last partner also preferred me not to really stand up for myself all that much at home, and had some weird polarised ideas about how work ‘should’ work (despite never having had a job after graduating). I’d strongly suggest reviewing your behaviour at home as well as at work, because it might be that you’re not treating yourself as a priority in more areas than just the professional one.

    6. FashionablyEvil*

      This letter set off my alarm bells for all the same reasons as folks have mentioned. This bit in particular made me worry that the OP may have learned some dysfunctional norms about relationships and boundaries that are also playing out in their personal relationship.

      I have a long history of doing an obscene level of work and not advocating for myself. Ever.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      While I do agree that it is concerning that your partner is putting the brakes on here, I also think that it’s a know your partner situation.

      I was married to this type of person. He also threw money into new clothes for me for a new job, acted in a supportive manner when I worked extra hours, checked my car (tires and fluids) every week so I would be safe going to work and on and on. Knowing this type of surrounding context can change the impact of a statement like this. BUT he would ask these types of questions. And the rub I saw was the difference between general rules of thumb and specific situations.

      My answer to my husband would be a two-parter.
      IN GENERAL, I would agree that backing out after three months is pretty cheeky and probably unethical overall.
      IN THIS SPECIFIC situation, I’d point a few things out to him.
      Number one, it’s in HIS best interest that I get my income levels UP. ;)
      Second, it’s not my habit to do this and I will probably never do it again in my life simply because I am not comfy with carrying out decisions like this. I’d rather opt for staying put. Changing jobs at this point goes against my personal preferences.
      Moving on to the third level here, I would list off the factors that make this a unique situation. Here you say the position is very interesting. Perhaps there are other good points, such as higher pay, good commute and so on. Make sure to list off all the good points. Then add in that you are determined to learn how to advocate for yourself. Be sure to say that you realize you need to be more proactive in raising your income because you have that responsibility to your partner and to your shared household. (Yes, we have to spell these things out sometimes because the partner just doesn’t get it.)

      Couples grow and change as they go through life. Partner could just be checking in to say, “Oh this is different, you don’t usually do this and now I am wondering what changed.” If this is the case, then their method of delivery is BAD. At the end of the discussion, I’d land on saying that they could have asked about this in a more gentle manner after all I am still ME. Partner might find it helpful if you explain how they can help and support you in your effort to grow your professional self.

      I hope this lands in a good spot for you, OP. I have had my own version of this and I know it is painful and loaded with dilemmas. My best thought is, which ever way you decide, make sure you have a clear reason for your decision. This would be a reason that you can put into words. No, you don’t have to tell others, but you do have to make deliberate and purposeful decisions. Know WHY you are making the choice. And it has to be more specific than “I don’t advocate for myself very well.” Advocacy involves knowing exactly why a move benefits YOU.

      1. anonymous73*

        It’s the being “disgusted” by what OP is doing that is a red flag for me. You can misunderstand why your partner is making certain decisions, and even disagree with them, but this doesn’t reach disgusting level behavior and is a very extreme reaction to not so extreme behavior. And to be honest, the things you mention about your (I assume ex since you used past tense) sound a bit controlling, not supportive.

      2. EPLawyer*

        This is a great starting point for checking in. This person could have just weirdly rigid ideas of how work is supposed to go. Goodness knows we see enough letters about bad advice all the time. If that is the case, its something that can be worked through.

        If their reaction after this initial talk is still rigid AND you see signs of undervaluing yourself in your relationship too, then you can move on to deciding how to handle that bit.

        But you 1) took a job you knew was a step down and 2) this new opportunity showed up that is a lot better for you. You did nothing wrong by exploring it. Heavens you don’t even have the job yet. You might not leave the job.

        1. Smithy*

          Absolutely this might just be someone with a more view on loyalty at work that’s a bit extreme. Just last night, I went out with a friend who I largely really agree and connect with but certainly has a lot of “I’ve been very loyal to my company” views – she’s also been well employed at the same place for 17 years which for my peers is a unique experience on its own. So beginning from the place of a check-in does allow for a more isolated perspective like this to be addressed first.

          But I just think it’s also very fair to be watchful if of the goalposts moving to larger issues on ethics and character. Because provided you’re working an “at-will” job and not a contract one, this is certainly far more an issue of something being frowned upon if frequent vs a moral failing. The consequence is you won’t get a reference and maybe can never work there again, and that’s about it. Should the OP being providing a social or healthcare service in a remote/hard to reach area – perhaps then we discuss the morality of leaving with short notice and having a community unreached given the ethics of the profession. But that’s not this.

        2. Librarian of SHIELD*

          This is a totally normal thing that happens after people get laid off. Taking a lower level job for a few months to hold you over until you get something at the level you’re looking for is the reasonable and rational thing to do in a situation like the one the LW describes, so the partner’s response feels especially over the top here.

        3. Hannah Lee*

          When I was new to the workforce, and had been offered a position with a new company, which would be my 2nd full time “career” job, I responded to the okay offer with a request for a 10% higher starting salary because I thought that’s just how job offers, acceptance worked. While I was waiting to hear back from them, my older sister freaked out at me, all gloom and doom Eeyore … “how could you do that?! what are they going to think of you?! they probably will just say nevermind and go on to the next applicant!!!” I rarely have seen her have that kind of strong emotional reaction to someone’s life choices that didn’t involve her; she had been in the FT workforce for 10 years by then and her reaction really surprised me and made me doubt whether I had just blown my chances.

          But then the company came back and said “we’ve crunched the numbers, looked at your skills and experience … sure, no problem! When can you start?” Sis was really shocked and impressed.

          Sometimes people just have different perspectives, baggage that come up in strange ways.

      3. Be kind, rewind*

        Yeah. This is also exceptional in that the only reason OP has their current job is because they WERE LAID OFF from their previous position. It makes even more sense that they just took what they could at the time and are now looking for something that’s more in line with interests/skills.

        1. introverted af*

          And also that someone in their network specifically reached out to suggest the job to them. They weren’t continuing to scroll job listings just keeping an eye out even. They got a personal recommendation that this might be a good fit for them.

    8. JSPA*

      I’d like to see “diagnosing relationships in a work blog” held to the same standards as “diagnosing medical issues in a work blog.”

      Speaking from personal experience–“in my case, when this happened, X was in play”–fair game.

      General psych evaluations and the relationship analysis equivalent of, “it looks like a tumor”–maybe do that someplace else?

      I mean, by process of elimination, for ANY reaction that is not objectively reasonable, it’s valid to ask what’s going on, whether it’s a pattern, whether the trigger has to do with relationship dynamics or a personal credo or a formative event or what. But that’s not work advice, and it’s not specific to this particular situation.

      1. JSPA*

        Adding: we don’t know the gender of OP nor of the partner. So working out gender essentialist presumptions here seems particularly sketchy and derailing.

      2. Texas*

        There’s a /huge/ gulf between talking about concerning things that appear in the letter and diagnosing the partner. I haven’t seen anyone giving out a diagnosis or a hard-line conclusion. And there’s a difference between mentioning that gender may play a role depending on what the situation is and saying that the LW must be a woman and the partner must be a man.

      3. Caroline Bowman*

        no one has diagnosed anyone with… anything?

        I think it’s a very extreme reaction and behaviour to a theoretical scenario, to the extent that I’d be very taken aback if it were me. It would make me wonder what else was going on, particularly if my partner were not normally particularly hidebound, if this were a departure for them.

        If I were getting into the habit of advocating for myself and my partner started being like this, I’d definitely wonder if they maybe don’t like the more assertive, self-centred me.

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        I agree, the internet in general jumps to extremes very quickly in situations like this. It’s worth pointing out like “hey, this is not a reasonable reaction on their part so maybe take a step back and consider whether this is common for them or some kind of weird outlier.” But we’ve been told literally one sentence out of their entire relationship and there is no benefit to trying to “diagnose” their relationship from that.

        I recently found out I have ADHD and joined some really helpful online facebook groups, but eventually I had to unfollow them because it was so common in that group that someone would share a story about their spouse and everyone would immediately jump to “this person is a monster and you have to get out” like right away. Even in a lot of situations where it sounded like the partner was really not being unreasonable!

        In this particular case: OP, your partner is being unreasonable in this very specific instance and “disgusted” is an extreme choice of words for this decision. I hope this is a weird outlier for them and please know that looking into an opportunity that reached out to you is always okay and the only concern is whether you might burn the bridge of the company that just hired you (but if the new opportunity is good enough then that may be worth it and it is your choice to make). I agree with Alison that it is worth thinking hard about whether this is unusual in your relationship or not and then decide how to move forward from there. But obviously none of us commenters know anything more than that about your relationship.

      5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        As someone who once shared a story with a group framing it like “hey folks, here’s a funny thing my new partner said, isn’t it cute, lmao” and had the group overwhelmingly respond with “Careful, this is a red flag, does he have a history of abuse outside of this incident?” which potentially saved me from an abusive relationship, I think it’s good that the commenters are pointing it out to OP that the relationship needs to be looked into. No one is saying “this is definitely an abusive relationship”, “get out”, or anything equally categorical. They are however pointing something out to the OP that one might overlook when they are deep into a relationship and are attached to the person. Something worth OP taking a second look into.

        (My story: new boyfriend, very affectionate, was moving very fast. I’d spent a weekend with him and he did not want me to leave at the end of the weekend, so he said something like “your sons and their friends don’t want you around”. My two adult sons, whom he’d never met, lived with me at the time. I asked both sons about it and they thought New Boyfriend was being ridiculous. Told the story to some friends (mostly to share my sons’ witty responses) and was warned that there might be more to it. Googled New Boyfriend (whose full last name, btw, I’d just found out that weekend) and lo and behold, past records of DV, personal injury, a weekend in jail, all the good stuff. His then-wife had dropped the charges – but she also was not working at the time and was dependent entirely on his income. I broke up over text and got some extremely angry texts back, plus an email that said “I hope your son is someday convicted and then acquitted for a crime he did not commit. Then you will understand what you did to me” – we’d only dated for two weeks. For about a month, he kept unexpectedly showing up to events that I may have been attending. Thankfully never ran into me there – I was getting reports from people along the lines of “Fergus was at last night’s event again, showed up without an RSVP again”. Eventually he stopped and hopefully forgot about me.)

          1. Properlike*

            “Nopetopus ink.” A very amusing visual after a very scary story!

            IWTITB – I’m so glad your friends spoke up! That could’ve gone so badly so quickly.

      6. Observer*

        General psych evaluations and the relationship analysis equivalent of, “it looks like a tumor”–maybe do that someplace else?

        I mean, by process of elimination, for ANY reaction that is not objectively reasonable, it’s valid to ask what’s going on, whether it’s a pattern, whether the trigger has to do with relationship dynamics or a personal credo or a formative event or what

        I think this is an over-reaction. The problem here is not just that the OP’s partner is being objectively unreasonable. It’s that they are being over-the-top unreasonable and are behaving in ways that seems to fit some fairly troublesome patterns.

        Given that reality, it’s totally not unreasonable to suggest that the OP ask themselves some questions and evaluate what is actually going on in their relationship. Not “get out!” but “This often comes up when X. A good way to think about it, is to look at whether Y and Z are happening.”

        1. Meep*

          I mean considering OP is asking Allison on this blog right now says that they know that their partner is being unreasonable and they know they need a second opinion to be sure. With that said, it is not out of the question to say “hey, you seem concerned by this. is there something you SHOULD be concerned about, and maybe it not the thing you think you should be concerned about?”

          Though, people with the mindset of “let’s not diagnose” tend to also be the people “diagnosing.” Just saying.

    9. new name who dis*

      As many have stated OP, you’re gonna know your relationship best, we’re just a bunch of internet strangers. I’m just going to put out some observations and you can take them or leave them as you see fit.

      I think what stuck out to me was less so the partner’s reaction (sometimes people are just odd *shrugs*) but more so that the partner didn’t talk to OP about it. They could’ve talked to OP directly (“I find this thing that you’re doing really unethical”) instead of acting strangely and then when OP genuinely asks what’s up out of concern, they respond that they’re disgusted by OP’s unethical behavior.

      I’m also wondering why didn’t partner say anything before the first interview. Why did they wait until things went wonderfully to tell OP that what OP was doing is “disgusting”? The way partner went about the whole thing just feels unkind.

  3. learnedthehardway*

    OP#1 – Your partner is totally off base. You need to think of yourself as a business, aka You Inc.

    You Inc. has operating expenses, needs to make a profit, and provides a valuable service that companies want to benefit from. Those client companies need to pay for the service. (Try thinking that way next time you’re negotiating anything).

    As for your partner. PLENTY of people interview after being in a job for a few months. It’s not a moral failing. Sometimes the job didn’t work out as well as expected, or the manager and the employee haven’t hit it off (or the manager is a nightmare), sometimes the company culture or finances aren’t great, sometimes the new employee realizes they under-sold their experience and are being under-paid, and sometimes you take a role because you NEED the role, but it isn’t the right one or paid well enough Etc. Etc. Sounds like you are in the last 2 categories.

    I would say that – if you’re as under paid as you think – then it is the employer who had the moral failing (or at least the short-sightedness) for not offering you what you are worth. Not that you should rely on companies to do the right thing, but don’t go feeling terrible for interviewing at another company when your current role doesn’t pay you a competitive salary. As long as you are putting in the effort and providing the value you are paid to provide, then it is simply a business decision that another opportunity is a better fit and a better prospect.

    Obviously don’t make a habit of this, as job hopping doesn’t look great on a resume and may raise questions about why you don’t stick. And – Perhaps use this situation to realize for yourself that not advocating or negotiating is doing a disservice not only to you, but also to the company hiring you who can’t keep you. They should have known to give you a competitive offer, but since they didn’t and you didn’t negotiate, now you’re in a position where you are open to something else.

    Besides which, if you weren’t working out, you can bet that the company wouldn’t feel they were failing you if they fired you after three months. That would be a business decision, just as choosing to interview and consider another role is a business decision.

    1. Willis*

      Yeah, I don’t think employers who are underpaying people and/or paying $15 an hour have much ground to complain if someone leaves quickly for better opportunities. It totally makes sense for the OP to explore this option and if she ends up with the new job, she can just leave the current one off her resume altogether. But I really agree with you that this could be a good time to begin advocating more for herself and negotiating higher salaries, especially if the OP has a history of doing high level, award winning work. Because otherwise this pattern is going to keep repeating. I wonder if partner’s attitude has always been so unsupportive cause if so that’s probably contributing to the lack of self-advocacy at work.

      1. Snow Globe*

        I’m not sure if the current company is underpaying the LW – they said that they took a job that was at a lower level than they previously had – they may be paid appropriately for the current job, just not what they are capable of earning at a higher level job.

        I normally wouldn’t advocate actively looking for a job just a couple of months in, unless the company had misled the person in some way as to the nature of the job/benefits. But it sounds like this new opportunity unexpectedly fell into their lap, and there is no reason not to pursue it.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          Yes, it sounds like OP is earning less than they could in a job at the level they are used to, but that isn’t necessarily a failing on the employer if she applied for a job a step down.

        2. Willis*

          I think Alison edited some of it out of the original post, but the OP had said she’s been considerably underpaid throughout her career. Her update below confirms that this company is actually paying her less than what they’d originally advertised. So, while I agree with you that I wouldn’t generally advocate looking for a new job a few months in, companies that underpay or lie about pay and job conditions should expect that employees – even new ones – are going to be looking for better opportunities. There’s no reason to stay somewhere that’s not willing to pay you competitively (or offer some other compelling reason/benefit).

        3. sthomp0281*

          I just don’t feel like she should feel bad for doing what is best for her. I do not have sympathy for some company that wouldn’t feel bad or even blink twice about firing someone in 3 months. It is a business decision and it’s not personal. If she does it too much and ends up with a resume that looks like a lot of job hopping, that will be her consequence to bear, but there’s no sympathy from me for a faceless company.

    2. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

      Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii Inc.

      That has nice ring to it. However beyond Hulas i don’t know what product to offer.

        1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

          Excellent idea, a huge unveiling, a bunch of buzzwords including Meta, maybe even some background synergy!

        1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*


          Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii Inc can sell everything you need for the beach from hulas to food to beach towels that never retain sand (from hammacher schlemmer) to swimwear, garlands, umbrellas, cold beverage thermoses, 120V power banks, portable fridges and so much more.

          And for in the office, entire kits for Hawaiian themed meetings, meals and happy hours.

          Business plan coming together :D

    3. Shirley Keeldar*

      Right! The true reason why it’s best to stay in a job for a reasonable amount of time is that it may cause problems for you (of You, Inc.) to have a lot of short-term jobs on your resume or burn bridges with the job you leave–they mightn’t want you back.

      It’s not disgusting (what a very weird and hostile thing to say) or unethical; it’s potentially unwise, that’s all. If the benefits of the possible new job outweigh the downsides (to You, Inc.) of leaving the old job, then go for it! Plus, you aren’t even accepting a new job–you’re interviewing. Collecting information. I’m hard-pressed to think of a time when collecting information is unethical.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Right! The true reason why it’s best to stay in a job for a reasonable amount of time is that it may cause problems for you (of You, Inc.) to have a lot of short-term jobs on your resume or burn bridges with the job you leave–they mightn’t want you back.

        Agreed. There may be consequences for LW#1 if she leaves the new job for a newer one so quickly, but that’s a calculated risk she has every right to make. I was ready to go to bat for LW#1’s partner as just conflating not ethical and has consequences until the word disgusted, at which point I’m having a really hard time finding the charitable explanation that makes any sense whatsoever.

    4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      That’s pretty much my take on #1 too. From the work/career perspective, what OP is doing is totally fine.

      If OP stays with current company, then I imagine getting back to their original job title would be hard. What does one say to an interviewer who is asking, “I see you were Teapot Director for 5 years, then worked as a junior teapot painter for two, why did you stay in a junior position for so long?” and “loyalty” might not be a great answer to that. But when asked “I see you were Teapot Director for five years, then junior teapot painter for three months, then Teapot Director again, why?” – “a former client had an opening and hired me for it” is a great answer! (Plus, at three months, OP can leave “junior teapot painter” off their resume altogether!)

      Partner feels disgusted? oh well. Partners come and go, but bills are forever. OP does not owe it to Partner to throw their career under a bus to make Partner stop feeling disgusted.

    5. TechGirlSupervisor*

      I just did this myself. I was in my two week notice period with Old Job when I saw an awesome opportunity come across my LinkedIn feed. Yes, I had accepted the New Job, but the opportunity was one of these chances that wouldn’t come around again for a few years and within my area of expertise, while the New Job was more money but really just a lateral move to another company. I applied for the opportunity and gave my notice to the New Job after only four weeks. I didn’t plan it that way, but I have to look out for myself and my career. The decision was made easier because I didn’t get a good feel for the type of work New Job was doing. The people and job were fine, I just realized very quickly in that I didn’t really want to do that kind of work.

      I’m much happier at New New Job, it came with a promotion and the opportunity for further promotions in the future. So take the leap and do what you need to do. The company you are leaving will be fine (or they won’t but that’s not your problem either).

  4. GUJK*

    Removed because it’s not the point and I ask that we take LWs at their word. But I’ll edit the letter to remove that because the question stands without it and I don’t want a derailment on it. – Alison

  5. Alienor*

    #1 there is nothing wrong with interviewing after you’ve started a new job. I’m in a similar position at the moment (new job of a few months is ok, but neither the best fit nor exactly the way it was presented to me) and you’d better believe I’m exploring those opportunities. I accepted an offer; I didn’t sign a contract in blood, and I still need to look out for my own best interests.

    1. Hacker For Hire*

      I was thinking “yeah, interviewing elsewhere when you’ve been working only for a week isn’t that great…”.
      Then I read LW#1 has been working there for three months.
      Three months already? Really? Go ahead and put forward your candidature if there are other jobs that interest you more. Don’t let anything stop you. You don’t owe this kind of “loyalty” to your current employer, only to yourself.

      1. CBB*

        Agreed. The only thing potentially “not great” about it, in my opinion, is that you might burn a bridge if you end up leaving your new job after only a few months. But even that is a minor concern that may not even happen.

      2. Rosie*

        Right? Three months is more than enough time to get a feel for the company, the position and the opportunities there.

    2. Colette*

      If anyone at the OP’s current job finds out about it, it could easily cause problems at that job (not getting opportunities she’d otherwise get or ruining the chance of recommendations from coworkers or even losing the job altogether because they don’t want to spend time training someone who is leaving, for example). That doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t do it, but there are potential downsides.

      1. alienor*

        True, but that could happen at any job. If it’s the kind of place where they’ll punish someone for going on a single interview, they’ll do it whether it’s been three months or three years. And if it is that kind of place, then it’s probably better to leave sooner rather than later.

        1. Colette*

          It’s not about punishment. The OP is allowed to do what is in her best interest, but so is the company. Someone who has been there for 3 months is not likely to be completely up to speed yet, so the company could easily decide that it’s not worth investing further in them if they’re already looking – they’re better off finding someone who will stick around.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        That’s true no matter how long you’ve been with a company. No one is saying nothing could ever go wrong, job hunting is always one big cost/benefit analysis. That is completely unrelated to whether interviewing with a another company is “unethical” or “disgusting,” which is the question at hand. And the answer to that question is an easy “no, it’s fine.”

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        My understanding is that, at this job, there aren’t any opportunities for OP to begin with.

        A place that starts off with giving you a job several levels below your previous one does not sound like the land of opportunity to me.

        1. Colette*

          The company’s not at fault for giving the OP a job she applied for, interviewed for, and accepted.

          And there could very well be opportunities in the job for long-term, interesting projects that the OP would want to be involved in if she doesn’t get another job.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            True, the company is not at fault for giving OP a job they’d applied for when they were out of work with their metaphorical back against the wall. But they aren’t exactly being the generous benefactors for that, either. I don’t see how them giving OP that job means that they intend to grow and develop OP.

            The maybe possible opportunities that may arise in the long term, that the company may or may not consider OP for, given that they already know OP had taken an essential demotion to work for them, do not in my opinion outweigh a real opportunity that exists now, and comes from OP’s past client.

      4. Observer*

        That doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t do it, but there are potential downsides.

        And that’s the thing. If the OP’s partner were worrying that it might not work out so well for the OP, that would be one thing. But “unethical” and “disgusting” just don’t make sense in this context.

      5. Ally McBeal*

        I mean, that’s the case whether someone’s been at a company for 3 days, 3 months, or 3 years – that’s why job searches are generally understood to be confidential and good employers won’t call your current manager for a reference. I don’t think we should ever discourage someone from job searching just because their current employer might be upset if they found out.

  6. raida7*

    #1. It sounds like your behaviour in this is different to usual, and that could be a shock to your partner – which regardless of the situation can mean a sudden and surprising negative reaction (even if it’s someone who doesn’t exercise going for a walk everyday, seriously this is a thing where we don’t like change)

    Perhaps also:
    [work hard get paid little, very helpful, don’t ask for much] = usual
    [look for a better opportunity] = selfish

    SO it may well be that your partner is happy with… a doormat? I dunno what you’re like outside of work, but are they sitting pretty with a very helpful partner that doesn’t ask for anything in return?
    OR are they very big on ‘being nice’ and advocating for yourself is ‘selfish’ and selfish=bad so you’re suddenly a huge disappointment to them by not being selfless?

    To be clear, selfishness isn’t BAD, and selflessness isn’t GOOD. Both can be good or bad, and we should all hope to have both. selfishness when deciding something like a job = good.

    I think you simply need to have a look around and decide if this is their issue due to beliefs, their issue due to not wanting you to be stronger, their issue due to not liking change, etc. And decide if you want this person around if it’s not something manageable.

    1. raida7*

      Or it could simply be they were raised with a few strong beliefs in regards to work!
      But you need to identify the root, before you can make any decisions

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, I was wondering if this is a relationship problem or a perceived professionalism problem…

    3. Drag0nfly*

      I disagree on point: selfish IS bad, and selfless IS good.

      However, morally confused people, such as the OP’s boyfriend [perhaps], will think doing something good for yourself is inherently selfish when it’s not. And that being a doormat is inherently selfless, when it isn’t. He’s morally confused, as is anyone who thinks that allowing others to mistreat them is a virtue. It’s a delusion I’ve seen repeatedly in another line of work. That delusion causes so much misery to everyone who holds it, especially to the ones staying with abusive partners, so I correct it as early and often as I can.

      OP, you are allowed to look for a better opportunity for yourself. I grew up in the Rust Belt where my parents and my friends’ parents were laid off and their jobs outsourced abroad. I learned not to define loyalty to companies in terms of staying with them forever, because they won’t hold up their end. Your partner may disagree. My loyalty is defined as showing up on time and being valuable to my team by kicking butt at what I do. No half measures or slacking.

      But, if there are better opportunities to achieve my goals, I will shake the dust off my feet and walk on.

      I once tried to explain to a coworker why she should advocate for getting the best raise and the best salary and benefits for herself. I pointed out she’s not living her life solely for herself, she has a daughter, too. Every dime she doesn’t get for herself, is one less dime she has for her daughter. A lot of people who can’t speak up for themselves are willing to go to bat for others, and my coworker was one of them. Is your partner in that category?

      What do you value, OP? Do you want more financial freedom? Do you want to be able to visit family out of town? Or out of the country? Do you want to be able to expand your kids’ horizons with activities? My nephew is pining to do gymnastics, but things may be too tight for his parents right now. Do you want to be able to help out your friends and family when they need an extra dollar?

      I always loved the Old Testament law about not harvesting every inch of your land, but leaving wheat or produce for widows and orphans to glean. Having just what you need and nothing more means you don’t have extra to help others. Will your new job allow you be to more generous to others?

      Or, do you see your current job as just a job, and this new opportunity is your vocation that would fulfill you? I’m religious, so I always strongly believed in the Parable of the Talents, that you should make use of the skills you have. Will this new job let you do that?

      Does your partner share your goals and values? If so, a meeting of the minds may be possible here. Decide what your values are and stick by them. Proceed with peace in your heart. I wish you all the best.

      1. Mangled metaphor*

        The whole selfish is bad/selfless is good thing is one that requires a lot of context and nuance. It is not as straightforward as that and different situations require different approaches which mean good/bad are the wrong metric.

        Take first aid. I have a duty to be selfish and look after my own interests ahead of anyone who may need my help. This is a good thing – if I were to act selflessly, the EMT may have two people to deal with.
        Or take working for a non-profit, aka charity, and _wanting to be paid for it_! How selfish to want actual money! You should be selfless enough to want to do this from the goodness of your heart.

        See what I’m getting at?

        1. Airy*

          I think being “selfish” and acting in one’s own best interests are two different things – to me “selfish” means doing what you want without any consideration of other people (which I do consider bad), as opposed to considering and then deciding you need to prioritise yourself in this case. Self-preservation and self-care are not selfISH.

          1. Allonge*

            Yes! People – especially female-shaped people – get called selfish if they act at all in their own interest, even if others are not harmed by the action. That is not selfish. Acting in a way that considers others but has advantages for you is not selfish.

          2. Koalafied*

            I think it comes down to a difference between actions and people. “Selfish” does, as you say, mean “considering only one’s own needs and not those of others,” and it can be applied to either an action, a motive, or a person. People can occasionally “make a selfish choice” or “have selfish reasons” for doing something without that making them a “selfish person.”

            When people tell others “it’s okay to be selfish” what they usually mean is, “it’s okay to make selfish choices sometimes,” or, “it’s okay to be motivated by personal benefits and to refuse to work without compensation or in unsafe conditions – even if someone says they need you to do that for them.”

            On balance you don’t want to be a selfish person – someone who makes only/primarily selfish choices and always puts themselves first (which inevitably will include going so far as to actively sabotage others). You also don’t need to and shouldn’t be expected to never make selfish choices and always put others first (which will inevitably include sabotaging oneself).

            Who you are is not one or two things you’ve done or the way you’ve felt about one or two specific situations. It’s the net sum of your actions and drivers.

          3. Drag0nfly*

            Exactly! It is not selfish to act in your own interest. What is selfish is to do things at the expense and detriment of others simply to benefit yourself. That’s literally the definition, and I don’t know why people keep getting it twisted.

            I heard of a case where, at the beginning of the pandemic, someone went and bought up all the hand sanitizers (and masks, I think) in their town. He wanted to re-sell at jacked up rates because he’d made himself the only available source of those supplies for miles around. That’s selfish.

            But on a plane, there’s a reason they tell you to put your own mask on first. By doing so, you can help someone else, like your own child. And it allows rescue workers to spend time on other people rather than you. That’s selfless. So long as you’re not hoarding masks or sabotaging them to keep other people from breathing, you’re not selfish.

            @Mangled Metaphor only selfish and confused people think others shouldn’t be paid for their labor, or that others should allow themselves to be harmed or killed for the sake of some weird notion of pseudo-selflessness. I’m sorry those people managed to get to you.

            In my old work I encountered a lot of people who were trained by their abusers to think that looking out for their bests interests is selfish. Their abusers wanted them to believe that anything that would free them from abuse was selfish. So don’t go to school, don’t go to work, don’t network, don’t hang out with friends or relatives who encourage them to do these activities. It’s selfish to want to do these things, or so the abusers say. It’s sick and twisted, and believing otherwise benefits no one except abusive people. To be clear, I’m not accusing the OP’s partner of thinking that way.

            It really is straightforward: is the thing you’re doing to benefit yourself going to cause harm or detriment to someone else? Then it’s selfish. Is the thing you’re doing going to benefit you, with no harm to anyone else? Then it’s self-interest. Are you doing something to benefit others, without regard to your own gain? Then its selfless.

            1. ecnaseener*

              Dragonfly, I do think your definition is a little too simple and/or needs some of what Koalafied is saying about selfish actions being ok sometimes in the course of taking care of yourself.

              By your definition, breaking up with a partner who loves you is selfish. It benefits you and hurts the partner. Obviously that doesn’t mean it’s unethical.

              1. new name who dis*

                I think that Airy’s definition probably allows more room for nuance (selfish being doing things without considering others, versus selfish being something that aids you and hurts another) and it makes more sense to go with that.

                But I disagree with your break up example. Breaking up can bring up a lot of hurt on both sides, but especially for the person who’s broken up with. It also benefits both people. Being in a relationship with someone who didn’t want to be in the relationship sounds horrid. It’s hurtful when someone’s honest about wanting to split up, but it’s also better for both of you. Which is now making me wonder whether actions of self-care that hurt others are ever truly harmful to other people…. Taking care of yourself helps you nurture your relationships, it doesn’t detract from them.

              2. socks*

                I don’t think staying with a partner when you don’t love them anymore is actually better for that partner than breaking up with them, but that aside…

                I honestly think selfishness is hard to draw hard boundaries around because the definition is tautological. Acting selfish is unethical because selfish actions are those that benefit you at the expense of others in an unethical way. This does mean people won’t always agree on whether an action was “selfish” or “self-advocacy” but I think that’s just kind of the nature of words that have moral judgments attached.

                1. ecnaseener*

                  Agreed with your second paragraph. I’m sure there are better examples than breakups, but that’s what I was getting at – you can’t draw a hard line on “anything that hurts someone else and benefits you is selfish,” you can’t find a hard cutoff on where it’s ok to hurt someone for their own good, etc.

            2. Lizard*

              Thank you for saying this, Dragonfly. I hate that abusers have twisted the definition of “selfish” in this way, and that people are adopting it by saying “well okay, then I’m selfish”, instead of pushing back by saying “no, that isn’t what selfish means”.

      2. a tester, not a developer*

        Dragonfly, I would subscribe to your newsletter. :) You framed this really well, and were so kind to OP.

      3. Boof*

        Given how often “self interest” and “selfish” are conflated and/or “selfish” is used for “you aren’t doing the best thing for ME”, I think it’s a bit pedantic to argue word choice – I’d prefer to just say “yep nothing wrong with being selfish” when the accusation is leveled [with many caveats that of course there are limits and one should always at least consider the broader impact of one’s actions]. It’s a bit simpler than saying “no you are morally confused”. Also, it’s ok for your coworker to ask for a raise for herself, because it’s the appropriate value of her work, rather than “because she can give it to family”.

      4. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I was raised in a community that believed selfish=bad/selfless=good, and I basically volunteered myself into a mental health crisis trying to be selfless enough and keep giving to other people without adequate rest, because to stop doing for other people and rest and recover would be selfish and that would be bad enough to negate all my previous selflessness. There is a level at which the value you place on selflessness can be extremely unhealthy.

  7. Princess Hylia*

    OP3 — Unfortunately no matter what you do, some customers will be rude and dismissive of you for taking your lunch break. I’ve worked retail in a major theme park, a grocery store, and an indie record shop, and no matter where I was, customers were upset if I told them “I’m so sorry, I’m on lunch but Fergus can help you!” To some extent, you just have to make your peace with that. Still follow Alison’s suggestions though — hopefully you and your employer can work out a way to minimize these unpleasant interactions!

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. At least when I worked retail and we clocked out, the time clock was just out of sight of the customers, on the other side of the staff only door. I think it’s insane that people have to clock out before they’re out of sight of customers. We used time cards, and it would have been illegal to keep those in sight of customers, because they had our full names on them. Yes, even in the late 80s and early 90s!

      1. JM60*

        When I worked in an office supply store, the computers we uses to clock in/out from were the computers at the counter of the copy/print center near the front of the store. To make things worse, the break room where we store the radios was at the very back of the store. So we’d always need to walk across the floor off-the-clock soon after/before clocking in/out.

        My approach to customers when off the clock was to avoid eye contact, and if asked for help answer a quick question (e.g., “Where can a find pencils”). If they want something that’s more than a one-sentence reply, I’d inform them in a polite tone that they caught me off the clock, and I’d either radio someone else to help them (if I still had my radio), or tell them where they can find another employee.

        There were some employees who went as far as to use a jacket for the sole purpose of covering up their uniform when they cross the store off of the clock. Though I’m not sure if that would work for the OP’s case.

      2. MusicWithRocksIn*

        It sounds like the fact that so many functions run through this one computer is already a big problem for other reasons. There is a heck of a backlog on it for this one issue alone, I can’t imagine what other problems it creates.

        1. EPLawyer*

          I caught that too. What if more than one person walks in. They gotta wait for the computer to be free. The simple solution would be to have another computer. Either one for the paperwork and one for clocking in/out. Or have two computers that can do both. Either way just addig a computer might make life easier all around

          But I ain’t betting the farm the company will do this. Makes too much sense and I am old and cynical.

          1. BooptheSnoot*

            We actually do have a second computer, but it’s inside of an office, which is kept locked (company requirement) and I don’t have a key.

            We used to be allowed to write times on a paper form but this option was eliminated at the beginning of the year.

      3. Boof*

        Yeah why not just have the clock out computer out of sight of customers? that seems like one of the easier solutions. Also yes OP should just make their peace with “sorry I’m in the middle of something! So and so will help you!” (because they are!) But ideally they aren’t waiting around in sight of customers when off the clock because, yeah, it’s going to be confusing for the customers. (As a customer and/or life in general I will say I kind of hate it when I’m waiting around and not sure if I should advocate for attention or just wait passively – I don’t want to be rude but I also don’t want to waste time if I’m actually supposed to ask for help – usually this this only comes up when I’m waiting at an empty desk and/or at some kind of faire where people may or may not be just browsing vs actively waiting to buy something)

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      Yup. I remember working as a cashier at a Take a Photo with Santa area at a mall. Our Santa had been going non-stop for hours and needed a break, so I put up the “Back in 15” sign. A second later, a woman ran up with her son. I explained that Santa had to restock on candy canes, but would be back in 15 minutes. She argued that it would only take a second. I explained that Santa really needed a break, but reemphasized that he would be back in 15 minutes. She started yelling at me, then her son started to cry, to which she responded with, “Look! You made him cry!” Then she dragged him away saying, “Sorry, the mean lady said no.” They didn’t return, but I hope there were many tread-upon legos in her future.

      1. NoNotNan*

        This is what makes me sad for OP3, their management isn’t supportive and their coworkers are taking an adversarial view of OP3’s medical needs. OP3’s coworkers need to jump in a do the right thing for their coworker to ensure they’re not letting management or the customers take advantage of OP3. You covered Santa, because you knew how to be a team player and despite an unreasonable customer expectations, you didn’t hold it against Santa!

    3. Threeve*

      It’s a good time for a headset, a fake phone call, and possibly a clipboard. “Yes sir, I’m bringing that right out,” on the ‘phone’ and an apologetic smile to the customer you’re breezing past. You can escape almost anything.

    4. Daisy-dog*

      Yes – when I was a retail supervisor, I tried very hard to ensure that employees had someone immediately take over for them when they hopped off the register rather than closing their lane. But sometimes we couldn’t. We weren’t in California, but our corporate requirements had us follow the same lunch rules as California. If someone was almost at 5 hours without a lunch, then they would have to stop what they were doing and clock out or our store got in trouble. Why corporate didn’t allow us more payroll hours to meet these guidelines is beyond me.

    5. generic_username*

      Yeah, I’ll never forget leaving my retail job after clocking out one night, wearing a coat over my uniform and holding my purse, but some random customer asked me to help her. I said “Oh sorry, I’ve clocked out for the day so I’m not able to assist you” and she complained to my manager about my “insolence.” I remember interrupting her complaint to be like “I think you have this from here (to my manager). Good night!” and to leave happily. Like, I barely got paid enough to deal with customers during my shift, I certainly didn’t get paid enough to deal with them off the clock

      For OP#3, I think it’s more important to make sure her coworkers realize the importance of her leaving for breaks on time. Their reactions and feelings are the ones that OP will have to deal with regularly at her job.

      1. Tess*

        When I worked retail, was off the clock, but couldn’t escape being seen by customers, and was asked for help, I’d politely say I was off the clock. For those customers who’d give a look, I’d politely explain that if in the process of helping them I slipped and fell or otherwise was injured, I wouldn’t be covered by worker’s compensation. Most people were cool with that. Those who weren’t, I walked away from.

  8. Jess DosPescados*

    Op #3

    A good substitute for glucose tablets (which tend to taste like punishment) is runner’s gels. My spouse likes the clif shot mocha flavor, he says it tastes like a soft coffee fudge (they have a ton of flavors and you can buy individual packets or variety packs until you find the flavors you like on amazon or locally at a place like REI) and he says that if he wasn’t diabetic he’d eat them as a treat!
    They’re designed to be digested easily and they work better for him than candy, soda or juice.
    They’re easy to carry and store, the texture means they’re easy to swallow without a lot of chewing or coordination and the caffeine in some of them helps a lot with post-crash exhaustion.

    I hope you work situation gets resolved, blood sugar crashes are no joke!

    1. Lime green Pacer*

      Candy tablet rolls (Smarties in US, Rockets in Canada) are another good choice, the flavour of them is better than any tablet marketed for diabetics. However, prevention is far superior!

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        Much to my T1D son’s delight, one Skittle is one carb, which makes for very easy dosing when he runs low.

        But this is a side note – OP should not have to eat sugar instead of lunch!

        1. Rae*

          As another t1d parent — 100% agree!

          There are a lot of comments about how pre-bolusing isn’t required, but it sure as heck makes a difference when you do it consistently.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          And medically, a diabetic should not eat sugar instead of food. The sugar tablets are for emergencies, and this is a regular occurrence.

    2. AnonEmu*

      Skratch labs also makes stuff like that that are really tasty, those might also be an option! They have good hydrating mix too which is nice for me bc I can’t do fake sugar and I need electrolyte mix sometimes due to other issues. But they make gummies too that are tasty!

      1. NoNotNan*

        Skratch is a go-to for my runner husband and whenever our daughter or I are unwell, he wants to make us Skratch (as an alternative to other electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Pedialyte.) The guy who runs Skratch also has cookbooks we use regularly called Feed Zone, based on what he fed professional cyclists. I made a couple of the recipes for our daughter’s first birthday party, they are crowd pleasers.

    3. JSPA*

      It’s still better to get actual food. And correct to demand one’s right to have that lunch break, timed at the right time relative to insulin.

      It might help if OP is scrupulous about break times (and that’s the ask to ask): insulin always at 12:15, lunch break always 12:30 to 1, and has a bag lunch. Or pick a slightly less intense time (11:30 / 11:45-12:15), but then make it clear that you get priority for clocking out (or for eating before clocking out, as necessary).

      1. Things*

        Unfortunately, that just isn’t a thing you can do in retail. In all my years, I’ve never seen people be able to take consistent break or meal times, things are just too heavily in flux throughout the day, staffing levels are too inconsistent, hours are too inconsistent, and what the intense times are within a shift is too unpredictable.

        1. WS*

          You can if people make an effort and it’s supported by management. Most of the time things where I work are not exact because of things being in flux like you say, but if someone has a medical appointment or a childcare pickup or some other non-adjustable appointment, we absolutely can work together to make it happen on time, every time. It sounds like the letter writer’s workmates and management don’t understand how important this is (or don’t care) and they need to.

    4. Observer*

      These are all great ideas. But I do want to say that these are not really a good substitution for actually being able to get their shot and lunch as needed.

      I realize that no one intends this to be “Don’t worry about it so much, you can just use these more tasty alternative”. But I think it’s worth being explicit about it that not being the intention.

      1. JustaTech*

        When I worked holiday retail (~15 years ago) we had one person on staff who was borderline diabetic. The managers knew and if we were slammed at lunch time she got priority for getting into the break room to eat something. Because 1) it was the right thing to do, 2) she was really good at her job and 3) having her pass out would not have improved anyone’s shopping experience.

        So it can be done, but it requires that management be proactive about it (and have enough staff, which is probably part of the problem).

    5. Clorinda*

      These sound good for an emergency, but your everyday lunch break is not an emergency and should not be treated as such.

    6. MrsMotz*

      As a parent to a 10yo type 1, we have found that prebolusing is less necessary for meals that are close in time to being physically active (like working on your feet), as the activity makes the insulin work faster than if she was sleeping or sitting down. So I’d advise the lw to experiment with prebolus time for lunch. Could be enough with the 5-10 minutes from after clock-out to sitting down to eat. If that does not work then bring up the accommodations required with manager/HR and with colleagues at another time (I.e not in the moment of going to lunch), as that could help give them an understanding of the importance that you actually eat within a few minutes after dosing.

    7. Kathenus*

      My mom used to carry around small tubes of the icing for decorating cakes – lasted forever, pretty much sugar in a tube – for low sugar crises.

    8. AnalystintheUK*

      As a type 1 diabetic, this suggestion rankles for me! I get you’re trying to provide a helpful suggestion but LW shouldn’t have to accommodate this with “better” emergency medication. Let’s not forget, any time you have to treat low blood sugar with glucose gels or tablets or skittles, you’re taking emergency medication – it just happens to be that it’s something some people consider a “treat”.

  9. LeavingANewJob*

    LW1 – that is quite an extreme reaction for them to have. As others have mentioned, you have to do what’s best for yourself and sometimes that’s not what’s best for the place you’re currently working. I pride myself in being conscientious and thoughtful, and many others have said the same things about me, but when, on the first day of a new job, I got a call to come in for an interview for a different job I had applied for at the same time that just took longer with their hiring, and the position was a step up and with better pay and benefits, you’re damn right I accepted and went in for the interview. I ended up being offered the position and accepting it and having to give notice to my new job four weeks in. It was unfortunate, but it was the best decision for me and I’ve now been at this place for over three years. You have to look out for yourself and there’s no shame in that.

  10. Lilo*

    For last LW, I will say I think asking to book 15 minutes to discuss a role you haven’t applied for yet is a bit much. So I wouldn’t take isn’t personally you got rebuffed there. It also feels a bit like you trying to go around normal recruiting procedure and the organization may have some internal rules about how these things work. Just apply and don’t take it personally.

    1. I need cheesecake*

      The thing is they encouraged you to apply again. So you need to apply again! Which you haven’t done yet!

    2. twocents*

      Yeah I know at my organization a manager doing that and then later hiring that person could open them up to HR scrutiny for: did you give this person a chance that other applicants didn’t get?

  11. Bumblebeee*

    I feel like there’s much more to add to Letter 1 if a response was given by a relationship columnist/therapist. Your significant other’s reaction is bizarre and harsh and raises red flags about what kind of a partner they are. I can see why a few people might think, “Hmm, not a great look to interview 3 months into a new job” – but if the other job is a much better fit for you, most people would be supportive of that opportunity. If not supportive, at least not “disgusted” and questioning your integrity as a person. That’s….a lot. I cannot imagine my husband reacting to me this way unless I beat up an old lady to steal her purse.

  12. LW1*

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you for your comments. I’d love to reply to each one, but as there appears to be several of the same thoughts, I’ll try to address them here.

    I know Alison mentioned editing my letter, but I’m going through quite a few changes when it comes to my personal growth, and it has been quite the departure from how I have acted for years. In the past I’ve been very adamant about not rocking the boat, I’ve never job searched while currently employed, never negotiated, I thought employed and mistreated is better than unemployed and happy, so this is most definitely different for me personality-wise.

    My partner in general is very different than me. One of the things I love about them is they were the first person who valued and supported me as an individual as opposed to what I could/would do for them. They are in a very different industry than I am and in the past we’ve hit walls about their not understanding how my work world is very different than theirs. As an example, they’re in a skilled labor position where you have your interview and get your offer in a few days. They’re incredulous at the concept in my industry there are multiple stages to interviews and the process often takes months. They’re suspicious of these companies for “stringing me along”.

    They also have a very black and white mentality about the world in general. There isn’t much “Well thats not how I’d do it, but I understand why you would.” in their view. So while I completely understand the concerns, this extreme reaction isn’t surprising to me (they’d have a similar reaction to something like suggesting mayo on a sandwich). Noting that, its why I chose to reach out to Alison to see if my behavior was truly problematic.

    I have spoken to my partner a bit more, and they’ve elaborated on their concerns. With this new position, I make the most money. They seem to be concerned that just by interviewing I’m putting my current job in jeopardy, and with that our home and our family, which has recently grown. They also know my historical reluctance to work at large companies and think my interviewing is because my current role is at a large company and are under the impression I’m looking to jump ship simply because I’d rather be someplace smaller.

    As for the reasons why I am still looking, outside of being open to new possibilities as an opportunity for growth, there are some concerns I have about where I am. When I was brought on, I was told the salary was X + bonus structure to reach the initial quoted salary they gave at my first interview. They gave a sample payout and said it was very conservative. I have since discovered those were actually the numbers from their most productive employee and most are well below this threshold. There are also some organization concerns about the company structure and how mismanaged it is in spite of their success. Finally, I was told I could be a part of a department that catered to a client niche I’m very familiar with. Instead I’m in a client group that has been hit very hard by the pandemic, making my opportunities for success in the role difficult if not impossible. These factors, combined with taking a step down career wise and my own personal journey, here I am interviewing.

    I hope that gave a good overview and filled in some gaps.

    1. KateM*

      Not sure if that was edited, too, but it seems that it was the old client who reached out to you, not you seeking out the client. So it seems exactly the “I know I just started/got a raise/etc, but this opportunioty fell into my lap and was too good to pass”.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I’m not going to lie, I’m still not a big fan of your partner (having a similar reaction to the suggestion of putting mayo on a sandwich doesn’t exactly alleviate my concerns). However, that is not what you wrote in for, so I’ll leave that here.

      Is your partner aware of the fact that the money you earn there is actually unusually high? And what exactly is the counteroffer? It seems like they’re latching on to “this is the most money”, but is that actually the case? Also, do you have any idea what your prospect of raises and bonuses is? It’s not unusual for people to be brought on board for high amounts and then not receive raises for a while, so what is a lot of money now might not be a lot in the future.

      Also, it seems like your current job pulled a bait-and-switch on you. That is not a good sign either. At any rate, you are not doing anything wrong with looking further (just make sure that if you do make the switch you can stay there for a while and didn’t jump from the frying pan into the fire, so that you can leave the current one off your resumé).

      1. EPLawyer*

        Actually hearing the partner is very black and white relieved me a bit. My dear Hubby is the same why. It’s on or off. Black or White. Whereas as a lawyer, I’m all about the grey areas. (fun fact his favorite color is grey). Knowing he is this way makes it easier to deal with. He’s not being abusive or anything. He just does not get nuance. We are working on his seeing nuance and other ways of doing things. It helps I can be blunt “Just because you do it that way doesn’t mean there are not other ways to do things, now let me do it my way.”

        So OP, you just have to deal with this is the way your partner is and spend some time explaining WHY you are doing things differently from what your partner would do. For a relationship putting in a little extra is worth it. But stick to your guns. Your partner can have their view, but you have to do what is right for you. Make that clear. It is a very black or white thing “I am not giving up this thing that is best for me careerwise because you disapprove.”

        1. pancakes*

          This seems like something that’s only a relief because it’s familiar, not because there’s anything positive about it. No one does in fact have to “deal with” a partner who can’t or won’t see nuance. LW’s comment make it sound as if the relationship makes sense to them because it clears a really low bar: “One of the things I love about them is they were the first person who valued and supported me as an individual as opposed to what I could/would do for them.” This is or should be baseline decency for a romantic partner. That may be a drastic change from previous, even worse relationships, but it isn’t a remarkable quality in itself, and it certainly doesn’t oblige you to stick with them forever.

          1. Lilo*

            I strongly agree with this. The fact that the person severely overreacts in other situations doesn’t make the overreaction here any better.

          2. Midwest Teacher*

            We haven’t gotten any indication from OP that their relationship is unhealthy though, or that they’re being mistreated. There are all kinds of reasons why someone might be a black and white thinker, including neurodivergency, and it’s an unkindness to automatically assume that someone can’t be a good partner solely because of that.

            1. Oakenfield*

              Being told you’re disgusting for looking for a new job under any circumstances is mistreatment, full stop.

          3. Ray Gillette*

            Without derailing too much, different people have different thresholds for that kind of behavior. One person’s dealbreaker can be another person’s harmless quirk, so long as they know to expect it. I’ve got a friend who will completely ignore your birthday, then 2-3 days later surprise you with a thoughtful gift “for no particular reason.” I find it a little charming because, well, that’s just how he is. But I can easily see how other people find him exhausting.

            1. pancakes*

              That’s a very different example than someone telling their partner they’re “disgusting” for looking for a new job after they discovered they were misled by their present job. That’s not a harmless quirk like being a little late with a gift.

        2. new name who dis*

          Lots of people commenting on the black-and-white bit and making good points on either side.

          Only thing I’ll add is, OP, I don’t know if you have kids or if you and your partner are having kids one day, but while the black-and-white attitude can be something you choose to accept, you cannot raise children that way. Or well, you can, but there will be resentment when they start growing up. It’s incredibly frustrating to be an adult with a parent who thinks they’re right and anyone else who thinks differently is just wrong. Because part of being a whole separate human being from your parents means you’re not going to see eye to eye on everything. And it’s difficult when your parents expect you to/think you’re wrong for not always agreeing.

        3. Lizzie*

          That is my immediate boss to a T! He is also VERY black and white; there is ONE way to do it, and this is it. While I am more, why does it matter HOW things are done, as long as they GET done in the time needed to be done? We’ve kind of butted heads, for lack of a better description before, but in the end, he will grudgingly admit that maybe his way isn’t the only one.

    3. Dr. Glowcat Twinklepuff*

      Hi LW1, thanks for the clarification! I would say that the concerns you have about the company you are at now are enough of a reason to keep looking. Being misleading about your compensation is a serious red flag, and the potential mismanagement does not make it any better. It is perfectly acceptable, even smart, to look for something else under these circumstances! I would definitely do the same, and I am in a country where people change jobs much less often than it’s normal in the U.S.

      As for your partner… well, this is not a relationship advice column, but I’ll just say that a very black and white mentality and difficulty understanding situations other than their own can be a problem. Not necessarily a deal-breaker, you know them better than we do, but maybe you should agree to not give each other work advice? Do you think they would be more supporting if you were just venting to them?

      I hope everything works out for you! I know learning to be assertive can be profoundly uncomfortable (I’ve been there) but in the long run it will pay out. Hugs!

    4. Cranky lady*

      LW1, thanks for the clarification. I’ll say, it makes a lot of sense why your partner reacted the way they did and why you are looking. Most of family is in a different industry than I am and really have no concept of hiring in my world. They would have a similar reaction to your partner because they are used to contracts and pensions and job security that I don’t have. At the same time, you are right to keep your options open and interview. Even if you were not intentionally mislead about this job, it sounds like it was not what you were expecting. If you bought a pair of shoes that weren’t comfortable after you wore them a few times, you wouldn’t keep wearing them so why stick with a job that isn’t what you really want?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I agree. My husband is the same, as are some members of our families. He does shift work where coverage, butts-in-seats, and specific hours are required. Even after 20 years, he just can’t wrap his mind around the fact that my job doesn’t have those strict requirements. I have general core hours, but I’m salaried exempt, have a laid back boss, and I don’t need to provide coverage or be there so someone cam go home, which means I can mostly come and go as I please for the most part. It doesn’t mean he’s abusive or there’s a relationship problem. It just means his industry is much different than mine and it’s hard for him see me taking a day off “just because” as acceptable by my boss. He can’t really do that.

    5. Green great dragon*

      Well, even setting aside all Alison said about always being perfectly entitled to move for something better, I think you’ve got plenty of reasons in here to say your current job is not what you were promised and therefore you’re looking for something closer to what you want.

      1. Anonym*

        Yes, your current company seems to have misrepresented the role to an extent, whether intentionally or not, and that’s a perfectly ethical reason to leave. I hope you and your partner can come to an understanding and that you quickly find yourself in a better job (and keep advocating for yourself!).

    6. lailaaaaah*

      Ngl, the extreme reactions thing is still raising some red flags for me. Even if they strongly disagree with you on something, they should want to talk it out and understand your perspective, not have a go at you!

        1. HigherEdAdminista*

          Agree. It is one thing to have very strong preferences, but to be disgusted with someone and freeze someone out because you don’t agree with their choice is not a typical behavior.

          LW says that partner was very supportive, but they also seem to prescribe a lot of motivations to LW before they actually hear LW’s own thought process. It definitely has an icky feel.

      1. Lynn*

        Yup. I also think it’s interesting that in the partners mind, wrong = immoral, and that “this doesn’t make sense to me” == “you are acting incorrectly” not “my beliefs were incorrect”.

    7. Ori*

      LW1 – for what it’s worth I think you’re doing the right thing. I had a similar situation in my last job – mismanaged, job duties significantly misrepresented, a key perk rescinded early on, plus a very aggressive boss – and I wish I’d left after a few months. Instead I quit 18 months later, stressed, burnt out, with nothing lined up, because I needed to get out. Good luck with your interview.

    8. LGC*

      Ah. Glad I read further, then!

      Yeah, I definitely think it’s a “your partner” problem (even more than I already thought). And it definitely makes sense to me why you’d be looking – they did mislead you! (And yeah, that’s harsh, but it’s also true. They guaranteed that you’d be making a salary that’s very difficult to make.) And while your partner’s concerns about your finances are somewhat valid (in that they’re allowed to have those concerns)…it also sounds like they’re worried about nothing, to be honest.

      It sounds like the main problem is that while they’re open in some ways…they’re not listening to you here. You might well get fired in your partner’s field if you’re caught job-hunting, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case in your field. And while this type of reaction is not unexpected for them, it still doesn’t mean it’s okay.

      Also, y’know, I’ve been there with people in my life who I’ve thought were too ready to jump ship. In my case, I just nodded until I was asked for advice, because while they did have histories of being job hoppers, it wasn’t going to help either of us if I said, “maybe the problem is you?”

    9. ecnaseener*

      It can be tough to talk around people who are so rigid (but obviously you can do it well enough to be in a relationship with them) but if you can point out that you don’t have to take the job even if it’s offered, that may help. You’re just looking around in order to make sure you’ve got the best possible situation for yourself and your family. (Unless they also have a mentality that you DO have to take every job that’s offered you.)

      1. Dr. Glowcat Twinklepuff*

        Right! I mean, I wish the best to LW1, but she might not end up getting the offer, or decide not to take it. Given what she said about her current workplace, I would still keep looking, but she may end up leaving much further down in the future than 3 months (which, for the record, can still be fine).

    10. hbc*

      So, a contextless “I just got a new job and I’m going to ditch them if I get a better offer” is pretty…off-putting. It would have to be a pretty good step up to ethically justify leaving someone in the lurch like that, never mind the reputation risk. But “This company misled me in a couple of different ways and now this opportunity fell into my lap”? Your hands are completely clean.

      As much support as you’re getting here for your choice (even before the extra info), I think it’s reasonable to have an eye out for whether you’re calibrated well on pushing back. If you’ve never done it before, standing up for yourself and being selfish don’t feel that much different, so it’s good to get advice. Just not from your partner. Black and white thinkers are lousy for advice in general, and they’re especially bad at identifying compromises and reasonable middle grounds. Find someone else to be your advisor, and keep an eye on whether you and your partner are still compatible when you’re not in 100% Doormat mode.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I think I was married to your partner’s bro.
      As long as you guys can discuss things, I remain optimistic about it all.
      You understand the limits of your partner’s advice, which is really good. No partner offers the comprehensive package of having all desirable characteristics.
      You could encourage your partner to read AAM along with you so that they can see what others are experiencing and why people make the decisions that they make.
      What you laid out here, really makes a lot of sense for your setting. I’d want to move on also and I am not a person to jump ship. I think you are doing better in advocating for yourself than you may realize. Continue following this path and see where it leads.

      After a while, I drifted away from describing my husband as having limited thinking and started to tend to treat these things as a philosophical discussion. The problem with philosophical discussions are they try to spell out rules for life and life is nothing but a long list of exceptions to those rules. Worse, things can really tank when those rules are applied to MY life, as you show here in your setting. I landed on when it came to career/work advice my husband was probably not my number one source for advice. It was okay because in other areas the guy was my rock. No partner offers a comprehensive package. And if we are being truly fair, reality is I don’t either.

      Learning to advocate for oneself is really hard. Keep going, you’re doing well here.

    12. Reba*

      I was coming here to comment that, you know the company would let you got after 3 months if it wasn’t working for *them,* I think you get to go if it’s not working for you! And then we learn that they have already misled you!! Don’t feel like you have to extend “loyalty” to them or stay out of politeness!

      I understand what you are saying about your person, and I hope you can get to some place of agreement that a) he doesn’t get how your field works and is not an authority on it and b) calling someone disgusting is not loving behavior and he should apologize and ne do it again.

    13. Batgirl*

      I think this is mostly a clash of work norms, some work cultures are super rigid and if that’s what works for that industry…I get how people become rigid too.
      I would still find this a very stressful reaction to my job search and job decisions from someone I love. I think ‘upset’ would be an understatement. So, I would draw a hard line about their future role in judging you and the circumstances under which they get to express disgust.

    14. JSPA*

      If you’re in the US, you already have no job security in most states. You can’t jeopardize something that you already don’t have.

      Interviewing is not a promise to take the job. And as you say, it can take months. Three months in the job, two months of interview process, and perhaps defer the start date by another 6 weeks, if you get an offer? That’s over 6 months, and not at all bizarre.

      Checking out other options is exactly the right response to bait-and-switch. Which is what your company did, in several ways. Not, perhaps, glaring, but problematic enough to look elsewhere.

      If you had a series of 3-to-6 months jobs, and leaving in high dudgeon, it might be different. And then, there’s a certain knee-jerk reaction to people who lead off with, “nobody appreciates my true worth.”

      To be clear–given the awards and outside recognition, I do NOT think you are “that person.”

      Which person? That one entry level employee who thinks they are providing great value by not answering customer requests, but instead cornering the CEO to explain how they need to change their business model. The mailroom person who’s been around forever, explaining to anyone who’ll listen (and many who don’t) that without their insight, the company would absolutely fall apart. We’ve all dealt with “that person.” Those experiences can color our responses to anyone whose operating principle is, “they never appreciate me.” Even when we objectively know that in this case, the person in question is in fact highly skilled and under-appreciated! It’s like swatting the thing that’s tickling the back of your neck. A mosquito and the very tip of an elephant’s trunks feel startlingly similar, and produce the same response. Your partner may be swatting an elephant. It’s not an incomprehensible reflex, but the outcome is…not positive.

    15. rubble*

      have you spoken to your partner about how the current job bait-and-switcched you? I wonder if that would help them understand why you’re open to other jobs – because your current job doesn’t respect you.

    16. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Thanks for the details LW1! Given the situation at your current company, you have plenty of reasons to be job hunting and congrats on getting an opportunity through your network without looking. I hope you get an offer. However, if you don’t, I’d keep looking because your current employer sounds shady AF.

    17. lunchtime caller*

      Those details make me even more sure you should be looking for new jobs! Of course keep it hush hush and do your best while you’re there, but you’re right that this sounds like a misleading situation. And I will say too that even though you say you’re bad at sticking up for yourself, it sounds like you’re with a partner with very strong views but that you’re used to thinking things through and still doing what you deem best even when they disagree with you–that’s a great sign to me. I can see why a personality type that takes longer to come to a decision would find one that quickly snaps to decisions appealing, so as long as you’re not being steamrolled I hope you both can continue to learn from your differences.

    18. L.H. Puttgrass*

      “As for the reasons why I am still looking, outside of being open to new possibilities as an opportunity for growth, there are some concerns I have about where I am. When I was brought on, I was told the salary was X + bonus structure to reach the initial quoted salary they gave at my first interview. They gave a sample payout and said it was very conservative. I have since discovered those were actually the numbers from their most productive employee and most are well below this threshold. There are also some organization concerns about the company structure and how mismanaged it is in spite of their success. Finally, I was told I could be a part of a department that catered to a client niche I’m very familiar with. Instead I’m in a client group that has been hit very hard by the pandemic, making my opportunities for success in the role difficult if not impossible. These factors, combined with taking a step down career wise and my own personal journey, here I am interviewing.”

      LW1, I assume you said all this to your partner? Because I can’t quite fathom even a person who’s very black-and-white being “disgusted” by someone in your situation exploring an opportunity for a better job, especially when that opportunity basically fell in your lap.

      I mean, you aren’t dating your current boss, right? ;)

      1. LW1*

        Honestly? I didn’t. As mentioned before the edits, I have a tendency to be a self destructive people pleaser, so my immediate response was to assume that they were right, I HAD done something wrong and needed to re-examine the situation.

        During that process of re-examination is when I came to these concrete facts about my current tole, by pursuing generalized bad feelings to their end conclusions. For example, finding the bonus payout document and seeing the number I was quoted matched the highest amount to the penny, while the majority of payouts were a tenth of that size.

        So no, in the moment I deer in headlighted, and didn’t present the concerns with my current workplace the way I did here.

        1. LC*

          And that is awesome that you’ve now realized that! Overcoming that deer in the headlights thing is tough, even with really supportive environments.

          I hope you can continute that kind of re-examination, both for right now, in this job situation, for your overall career, and for any personal relationships (I agree with some of the other commenters that some of what you describe of your partner is concerning – not saying it definitely is! Just saying that it could be and I very much think it’s worth examinating).

          Now that you’ve thought through all of this re: the job, have you told your partner? If not, do you have a plan to share this with them soon? I think it’s really important that you do, they need to hear this from you.

        2. Oakenfield*

          LW1, I just want to gently suggest that assuming you’re in the wrong and feeling like a deer in the headlights because your partner is disproportionately upset with you reads as a not-ok thing and very hard relationship. These things can be insidious, but please take a look at how your partner treats you. I imagine you deserve better.

        3. Tuesday*

          I just want to comment that I think for most people, having a partner say they’re disgusted by you is a really jarring and troubling experience. Even people who aren’t people pleasers might be speechless for a bit after that. I want to suggest that this isn’t about you (and thus something you should work on within yourself). It was about the extreme and unkind words being directed at you. There were a lot of other (kinder) ways to have this conversation.

    19. Similar Boat for this*

      I was coming here exactly to say what KateM wrote: you were not applying to more jobs after taking this one, but that an old client reached out to you!

      Your situation hits close to me. I was laid off from a company where I spent 10+ years, found and accepted a slightly lower role and 7 months later, and old coworker tells me of an opening at their new company – a highly sought after top employer in our area. I was torn but decided to see where my showing interest would lead me. The interview process itself took months. In the meantime, at 9 months into my new job, I was promoted. But even that was no match salary-wise to what my offer was, not to mention that there would be more opportunities for growth. I put in notice 10 months after I joined. I emphasized to my boss at the time how I was reached out to, not actively looking, and told them what the offer was. A good company or boss won’t hold you back and they all understood. I hope your partner will too.

    20. MCMonkeyBean*

      Those job factors I think make it 110% even more reasonable that you are considering other opportunities–if they mislead you about your earning potential and you’re not working on what you expected to be working on, those are both pretty reasonable reasons to leave a job quickly.

      Usually I would say actively job-hunting right after accepting a job wouldn’t be great but they reached out to you so you should pursue it. But honestly, given those factors I think it would be fine even if you decided to actively job hunt if this other opportunity doesn’t work out. At least maybe after a couple more months.

      When I took a job in mid-2019, I knew pretty much right away it wasn’t the right company for me. I gave it about 3 months to see if it was just my reaction to change but at that point I was sure this would not be a long-term job for me. I didn’t start job hunting yet, but at that point I pretty much decided for sure in my head that I would in the next year. I spent a few more months working on getting the main project they brought me on for into a good position and putting together a ton of documentation so that ideally anyone else could step in and work on what I had set up without too much issue. I ended up leaving after 7 months and I have no regrets.

    21. Similar Boat for this*

      Adding on: my story was of leaving a good employer that deserved “loyalty”. With yours, LW1, of how they gave you bonus projections that are only for the highest performers and a different client group than what was indicated during the interviews, I would have few qualms about actively looking for a new job much less only moving forward with an opportunity that someone reached out to you for!

    22. Observer*

      As for the reasons why I am still looking, outside of being open to new possibilities as an opportunity for growth, there are some concerns I have about where I am. When I was brought on, I was told the salary was X + bonus structure to reach the initial quoted salary they gave at my first interview. They gave a sample payout and said it was very conservative. I have since discovered those were actually the numbers from their most productive employee and most are well below this threshold. There are also some organization concerns about the company structure and how mismanaged it is in spite of their success. Finally, I was told I could be a part of a department that catered to a client niche I’m very familiar with. Instead I’m in a client group that has been hit very hard by the pandemic, making my opportunities for success in the role difficult if not impossible.

      So, you were lied to by your employer, the business is having problems, and an opportunity fell in your lap and your partner is having fits? Wow! Not just black and white thinking, but very strong tunnel vision.

      From what you describe here, actively starting a job search would be perfectly reasonable. Yes, you make some commitment, but that commitment was based on a reciprocal commitment from the employer. There is absolutely NOT ethical case to be made that you need to maintain a commitment that was made under what are essentially false pretenses. I think that this is something you could point out to your partner.

      It’s less obvious, but taking advantage of an opportunity that falls into your lap is also something that is not ethically problematic.

      Say you were planning to go to the park on Sunday, and you tell your friend that you are going to the park on Sunday. Then on Sunday morning you get a call that a high end store you like but usually can’t afford is having a blowout sale, including some items you really wanted to get anyway. So, instead of going to the park, you text your friend “change of plans” and you go shopping in the hopes of getting a good quality version of X at a really good price. Is that a morally problematic thing to do? I suspect that your partner might think that it is since you”committed” to going to the park with your friend. But most people see that ability to change plans as being reasonably flexible and adaptable.

      Same with a job opportunity that fell into your lap. Refusing to look at it because it was not on your original “schedule” is not a moral or ethical imperative at all.

      When you combine the two sets of issues? There is absolutely no reason to not pursue this. In fact, I’d say the reverse.

      Lots of luck!

    23. The Smiling Pug*

      Thank you for this clarification OP. After reading your comment, I understand perfectly why you are job-searching and interviewing after three months. However, ngl, my hackles did raise a bit when you said your partner sees very “black and white” and doesn’t see nuance: I get that. One of my former friends in college was like this, and he was miserable. He would only talk about things that interested HIM, and those were pretty limited, believe me. I would try to explain to him that were nuances to situations, and he would stare at me like an angry toddler. I was very glad when he finally graduated…

    24. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      You’ve already gotten a lot of good advice! I just want to add that someone reached out to YOU about an opportunity to interview for! No matter what happens, use that as a confidence boost to negotiate during your next offer.

    25. Generic Name*

      Lots of people are rigid thinkers. It’s the lack of empathy that is jumping out at commenters here. I am going to ask you a question my therapist asked me once. You don’t have to answer it here, of course, but please consider it. If you were to put yourself first, what would that look like? If you are like me, you may have trouble knowing what putting yourself first looks like.

    26. e271828*

      OP, your update contains *significant* information about the new job that really changes the cast of the question! Yes, you should be interviewing, because the company that hired you was not truthful about your pay and work. Right there, that is why you are looking to go elsewhere.

      If your partner’s concern really is about family finance and stability, the underwhelming truth of the situation at your new job should be enough to convince them; if it’s not, they need to back off and trust you to manage your own career like an adult does. And they need to look at ways to manage their own anxiety about these issues and others (you say you’ve had some changes lately) without controlling your career and work choices.

  13. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

    #3 I’m not trying to suggest that your doctor is wrong and maybe taking insulin that much before eating really is the best and/or only way for you to manage your diabetes. However as the spouse of a long time type 1 diabetic I know for a fact that this isn’t the only way for all diabetics. Life is sometimes unpredictable for all of us and this means that the method you use is always going to have certain risks. You may want to discuss this with your doctor at some point. I understand that you’re new to this and want to do everything right, but in reality there are so many other things to consider than just keeping your blood sugar level perfect all the time, so a different system may give you a better outcome in general even though it would mean a bit higher sugar levels occasionally.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      OP, there are two approaches to this problem, and you can choose either or both or a combination: first, you can get the employer to accommodate your current lunch regimen, or second, you can make changes to your lunch regimen.

      The employer is probably legally required to accommodate you (though check with your doctor on whether they’d write a note saying the 15 minutes is required and not just nice to have), but they cannot ensure that no customer will ever be annoyed, or even that no colleague will ever be annoyed. If that part of it is going to really bother you, then the suggestions in this thread for modifying your approach to dosing, timing, and what you eat are definitely worth exploring.

      My son was diagnosed with T1D a couple of months ago. When he went back to school it took a bit of trial and error to figure out a routine that works – we ended up mixing the two approaches I mentioned above, and both adjusted the time that his teacher dismissed him to the nurse for his insulin before lunch, and also changed what we sent in his lunch so that he’d actually be able to eat all the carbs he was dosed for in the short school lunch period (elementary school students are not known for eating their lunches efficiently).

      The diabetes education team we worked with was pretty clear that it’s okay that sometimes you can’t dose before you eat (at least not with how kids eat! what they tell newly diagnosed adults may be different) so my son gets dosed before his more predictable breakfast and lunch and after his much less predictable dinner most days. It’s not the ideal, but it works out well enough for us. But it’s also true that getting your routine meals right can make it much easier to have your overall blood sugar management go well, so getting your work lunches into a good routine may feel pretty important to you.

      I hope you find the balance of approaches and adjustments that feel right to you! The customer-facing aspect makes this challenging for sure, because you have to either have your accommodations be invisible to them or just accept that sometimes they’ll react badly.

    2. Nanani*

      In other words, this reads “Talk to your doctor about changing treatment just to make your job’s life easier even though they are legally required to accommodate your medical issues.”

      This should be a last resort, below finding a different job.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Removed a bunch of comments giving medical advice here. “Talk to your doctor if you want to explore other options” is fine, but no specific advice beyond that please!

  14. Green great dragon*

    What would LW1’s partner think of them taking the new job but continuing to do the old one too? /s

    1. a tester, not a developer*

      I suspect that LW1’s partner wouldn’t consider working remotely a ‘real job’ – doesn’t matter if it’s one job or two. Actually, he probably wouldn’t think director level work is ‘real’ either, no matter where it’s done. :)

  15. Cameron Counts*

    You wouldn’t like it if the company that just hired you was still actively interviewing for the position after you came on, right OP1? You continuing to interview is the same thing – it’s a breach of good faith. Your partner has stronger moras than you do. You should listen to them.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Posted too soon, but — if the company was not satisfied with OP1’s work in the position, they absolutely would keep interviewing. They might, if they are a decent company, try and give OP a reasonable amount of notice or severance. But they would not have moral qualms about replacing them if there is a business need. OP’s moral responsibility is exactly the same: if they are not finding the work is meeting their needs, they should continue to pursue other opportunities and give the company a reasonable amount of notice of their intention to leave.

        And that’s without getting into the significant power imbalance between individuals and companies.

    1. Haven’t picked a user name yet*

      If you read the follow up I think you will see you are way off base. And being employed and finding the right fit is not a moral question. People are allowed to change jobs, and leave if they are not comfortable, just the same way an employer can fire you after a week because they don’t like you or feel you have mis represented yourself.

      Also, a black and white, extreme reaction to something as common as following up on an unexpected offer that is dropped in your lap is concerning for other reasons.

    2. londonedit*

      Nope, I can’t agree with this. You’re not irrevocably tied to a job for a certain period of time, and if an exciting opportunity happens to come up three months after you’ve started a new job, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. LW1 might not end up taking the opportunity, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them throwing their hat into the ring just in case it turns out to be something they can’t pass up. Any decent employer would understand that, too.

      1. Cameron Counts*

        But that’s my point. There’s a big difference between something happening to come up and actively looking for it.

        1. londonedit*

          I always keep an eye on what else is out there. I’m happy in my current job but if I spotted an advert for something that sounded great I’d absolutely apply because why not? What are you losing by applying? If you don’t get the job, or it turns out not to be right for you, no one at your current employer needs to know. But if it does turn out to be an amazing opportunity, why would you turn it down just because you’d only been in your current job for a few months? Not to mention the fact that in LW1’s case, someone reached out to them about an opportunity so they weren’t even ‘actively looking’.

        2. MCMonkeyBean*

          Why would that be your point when this is clearly a situation of “something happening to come up?” So if you’re saying you’re fine with that then…???

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            (Given the additional information in the comments I actually am fully on the side of they should be actively job-hunting, but it seems that so far they haven’t been so it’s unclear what exactly you are even objecting to)

        3. Lizzy May*

          But something did happen to come up in this case. The OP took the job and stopped looking until an old client reached out and offered up an opportunity. To suggest they’re lacking in morals is just wrong even by your own definition.

        4. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Given the shenanigans the LW’s current employer has played with pay and job description, the LW is completely within their rights to be actively looking. Thus far the company has:

          * Lied about the compensation structure – (When I was brought on, I was told the salary was X + bonus structure to reach the initial quoted salary they gave at my first interview. They gave a sample payout and said it was very conservative. I have since discovered those were actually the numbers from their most productive employee and most are well below this threshold)

          * Organization concerns about the company structure and how mismanaged it is in spite of their success.

          * Being told their role was X when it is really Y and that difference makes getting a bonus that would make for adequate compensation hard (I was told I could be a part of a department that catered to a client niche I’m very familiar with. Instead I’m in a client group that has been hit very hard by the pandemic, making my opportunities for success in the role difficult if not impossible.)

          All that and in only 3 months! Any one of those alone would be reason to look. All 3? You better believe it is more than OK to actively look

    3. Aqua409*

      Hard disagree. Especially after the small update above. The compensation package was a bit of a bait and switch, in addition to the title downgrade. They have a good reason to keep interviewing.

    4. ecnaseener*

      How long is that “good faith” blackout period supposed to last with at-will employment? You say more than three months – is six months ok? A year? Ten years? Where’s the magic cutoff where it’s ok to take another job, and knowing that interview timelines range wildly, when’s the magic cutoff to start interviewing?

      1. Cameron Counts*

        I don’t have a certain timeframe but if you’re looking for a new job the day you start and onward, that is too soon.

        1. James*

          If I found out a company LIED TO ME about payment (in capitals because it’s that important) I’d be looking too. And I consider manipulation of statistics to be lying, especially in my position (it’s a violation of scientific integrity). I wouldn’t quit, because I like having fallback positions, but I’d definitely be looking for a way out.

          You talk of good faith and moral obligations. What moral obligations does one have to someone who has violated their moral obligations and failed to act in good faith with you?

        2. Texan In Exile*

          Nope. I started looking for a new job on day one. I had transferred within the company. I got to the new office on Day 1 and discovered they didn’t even have a place for me to sit, much less a computer for me. (My boss had known for a month that I was coming – he was the one who hired me.)

          They lied about the pay – before I accepted the job, they said it was $85K. But my offer letter said $75K. (“That $85K was TOTAL COMPENSATION!” they said.)

          They lied about the work: “It’s a new product that everyone wants!” No. On Day 1, my boss said: “Here’s a list of 6,000 people to cold call about a product that has never been sold before.”

          (Yes, the list literally had 6,000 contacts on it.)

          It was a nightmare (this was the place where they played the radio all day long and where, when I sat in the conference room for some quiet, my boss turned off the radio, told me to return to my desk, and blamed me, which earned me the enmity of the people who for some unknowable reason, loved listening to “Grandma Got Run Over By A Raindeer” all day long) and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. In three weeks, I had an interview with the place I eventually went to.

          You do not have to stay in a crummy job.

          1. Meep*

            Oof. And I thought my workplace was bad. I am the only employee ever to have payroll set up for me before my first two weeks had been out. And that is because my manager at the time was on top of it. The woman who is in charge of payroll now is a bit like that LW who thought her employee had the audacity to expect to be paid. She has been doing it now for 3.5 years and each time I have someone approaching me asking how to get on our payroll system and each time I have to email payroll on their behalf. You would think by now she would 1-800-GET-A-CLUE but here we are.

            Unfortunately, I suspect she does it because we hire people who are desperate to be paid and they aren’t going to walk if they might get a paycheck in a month.

    5. Alice*

      Have to disagree but not for the reasons others mentioned. What good faith means for an employee is much different than what it means for an employer. A company that loses an employee after 3 months is going to lose some time and money to replace them — annoying but not world shattering. However an employee who loses their job with no warning after 3 months is losing their income and would be left in a very very precarious situation (loss of insurance maybe, etc). The two things are not comparable. OP might be burning a bridge but reasonable managers understand that these things happen.

      1. Bamcheeks*

        This is what I meant about the power relations above— there is simply more at stake for employees than employers. But even so, absolutely tons of employers *would* let someone go or continue to search if they felt the employee wasn’t working out for them. Of course they would! The employers who go, “ah well, this person is really wrong for the job but guess we can’t let them down now!” are not generally very functional places to work!

    6. JSPA*

      Many companies interview fairly constantly, sometimes even without an open position in play, where it makes sense for their timeline and their bottom line.

      The negative karma / natural consequences for leaving fairly soon is handled by, “possibly / probably not getting a good reference from that company” or “looking like someone who leaves jobs often, on one’s resumé.”

      There’s no negative karma (or blowback/consequences) for, “doing interviews.”

        1. James*

          It depends on why. I’ve seen companies make positions for people who did really well in an interview. They weren’t actively looking, but the person had some skills that the company valued highly enough to make an offer. I’ve also seen companies do it when they have high turnover rates (some jobs people just don’t keep for long), or because the hiring process is cumbersome and having people partway through the process makes life easier on everyone. Since some people use these opportunities as practice interviews, rather than really trying to get the job, there’s no real moral issue here–everyone gets what they want out of the process, and maybe they find a black swan.

          I’m a fairly black-and-white morality guy myself, but you absolutely need to take context into consideration.

        2. Aitch Arr*

          It’s called a pipeline and it’s incredibly important for many reasons:
          -the current market is a candidate’s market, so even an org with healthy turnover can see an uptick in people leaving
          – succession planning: many Boomers and older Xs are retiring or scaling back their work
          – growth. If X number of new jobs are approved suddenly, it would be nice to have a pre-screened pool of candidates to move forward with

    7. A.N. O'Nyme*

      That’s basically what trial periods are for, though. Besides, you act as if companies ever do anything other than act in their own best interests, and they would drop LW like a stone if that provided them any benefit (frankly, considering the update, I wouldn’t be surprised if LW found themselves without a job in the near future anyway).

      There is zero obligation for LW to treat the company better than it would treat (and already has) them. I’ve already made my opinion on the partner abundantly clear, but “stronger moras” is definitely not a trait I would ascribe to the partner.

    8. James*

      You are factually wrong. Continuing interviews after someone is hired occurs quite often.

      The company I work for is actively interviewing–I have an interview today, in fact–for a position someone recently accepted. This happens all the time. In our case, it happens because we need more than one person; these two aren’t in competition, they’re both needed.

      My first real interview was with a person after the position was filled as well. I was…ill-prepared, didn’t understand what the job opening was saying, and just really a bad candidate. The person quite generously took the time to explain to me why I was unqualified for the position (I misread some jargon), and to give me tips that have served me well. I will forever be thankful that he took the time to interview me after he’d hired someone.

      To give another, I once saw a person interviewed after someone else was hired because our department couldn’t hire them, but they were a great fit for a different department, and going through the interview gave us leverage to pull them into that department (“We already did the recruiting paperwork, all you need to do is sign”). There were some internal politics being played–it was an olive branch to another department head–but it worked out well for the person so everyone came out ahead.

      So yes, companies do continue to interview after they hire someone. It’s perhaps rare, but not unheard of.

      As for a breach of good faith, most of the USA has at-will employment. There’s no contract. I can walk off the job tomorrow and there’s not a thing anyone can do to stop me. I could have done it my second day on the job if I’d wished. My father was rather infamous for sending out resumes randomly, once to the company he worked for. His argument was, there’s always room to negotiate (got a pretty good raise out of it, too). At-will employment means BOTH parties need to agree to the employment relationship (with all the consequent benefits and problems for both parties). The company would drop the LW in a second; there’s no reason for the LW to be more loyal. And maybe the LW just wants to brush up on their interview skills, or check out the competition. Corporate espionage and poaching are a thing, after all, and it may be to the company’s advantage to know what their competition is offering.

    9. Aquawoman*

      Many companies have probation periods, where they can fire people for 3-6-12 months if they don’t work out. If that’s not unethical, then an employee doing the same thing is also not unethical.

      1. alienor*

        And just because the LW goes on the interview, it doesn’t mean they’re even going to leave. I worked at my last employer for 20 years and went on several interviews during that time, just to see if I was interested. For one reason or another (I didn’t like the place, they didn’t like me, the pay was wrong, etc), none of them resulted in me leaving until this year. So the company still got two decades out of me even with the occasional interview here and there.

    10. Hex Libris*

      Wow. You have a wildly off-base concept of the obligations at play here, especially since most companies consider themselves to have zero obligation to retain employees who are a bad fit (especially during a typical probationary period). That one-way expectation of loyalty has contributed to the hellmouth of a job market the U.S. has had for decades. Also, losing an employee is an inconvenience to the employer; losing a job is a disaster to an employee.

      1. londonedit*

        Yep. I’m not in the US but in my nearly-20-year career I’ve been made redundant once and been under threat of redundancy twice, so I’m absolutely always keeping my ear to the ground so that I’m up to date on which jobs are currently being advertised and which companies have a good reputation, and I keep my CV up to date. I have absolutely no plans to leave my current job, but who knows what might happen and I want to be prepared just in case I do find myself needing to start applying for jobs at short notice. I got my current job by applying to something on a bit of a whim, and I’d definitely do that again if I saw something that sounded too good to pass up.

    11. I'm just here for the cats!*

      You are so wrong on this. No one is beholden to anyone. This is a business transaction. If the business suddenly decided that they would be better off by hiring 2 part time people than 1 full time person they would have no problem laying off the full time person.

      In your scenario no one would get fired or laid off because it would be a breach of good faith. LW said above that there are some serious red flags (pay isn’t what they claimed it was, they switched what area she would work at, making it near impossible to reach the goals to get the pay they claimed she could get).

      In this case its the same thing as if the company hired someone and 3 months in let them go because they couldn’t do their job.

    12. Observer*

      You continuing to interview is the same thing – it’s a breach of good faith. Your partner has stronger moras than you do. You should listen to them.

      I think we’re hearing from the OP’s recruiter and whoever made the offer.

    13. Meep*

      How are you on Ask a Manager and do not already understand that ship has sailed long ago? Most companies are not loyal to their employees or said employees would not be looking elsewhere.

    14. Lenora Rose*

      She didn’t go out looking. She had an opportunity come to her. You later say that reacting to an offer that comes to her would be okay… so what’s the issue?

    15. I'm just here for the cats*

      You are so wrong on this. No one is beholden to anyone. This is a business transaction. If the business suddenly decided that they would be better off by hiring 2 part time people than 1 full time person they would have no problem laying off the full time person.

      In your scenario no one would get fired or laid off because it would be a breach of good faith. LW said above that there are some serious red flags (pay isn’t what they claimed it was, they switched what area she would work at, making it near impossible to reach the goals to get the pay they claimed she could get).

    16. Nanani*

      Interviews aren’t guarantees of anything, there is nothing wrong with continuing to check other opportunities.

      LW could find that the other interview isnt a good fit, or that it is about equal to the current job and not worth jumping ship for. In either of those cases they would have solid information for reapplying in the future if Current job lets them go.

      Your moral indignation is unwarranted. And one-sided!

  16. Purple cat*

    I want some popcorn and watch LW#1’s partner chat with the 2-job letter writer from yesterday.

    LW1 your partner is off-base.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          I think “chat” would not be an apt descriptor for the exchange that would occur between those two.

  17. SomeonewithT1D*

    LW#3- I’ve had Type 1 for 20 years! I’m so sorry about your diagnosis- it’s life changing and sucks, but it gets easier with time, and it sounds like you are working hard. Please talk to your job- I can’t tell you the number of times I haven’t brought it up because I was embarrassed/ didn’t want it to be a thing/ once you tell people you have T1D people tend to “be concerned” and that’s extremely annoying- tons of reasons. But being able to take your insulin prior to eating reliably without having to worry makes a huge difference, and it is so easy for a reasonable workplace to accommodate. When I’ve asked this, I was greeted with shocked “of course you can do that!” type responses, and I think most people have some broad understanding that diabetics need to eat when they need to eat at scheduled times, so I suspect you will get plenty of support (if your workplace doesn’t suck). Good luck!

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      Yeah, when I worked retail, I had a colleague with T1 diabetes. Sometimes he needed to take his meal break at a busy time, but we all understood because *of course* his health/well-being was more important than having another clerk on the registers.

  18. Silver*

    LW 3, I’m a t1 too. The first year is hard to adjust to! Especially if you work in the service industry / with the public.

    Some things to make it easier – can you pack lunches that are low to no carb? I understand wanting to get ahead of your blood glucose if you are planning on eating tacos or spaghetti, but it’s way easier to manage (I’ve found) if your lunch is something like a cheese stick, boiled egg, and green salad. When the net carbs are low, it’s far less necessary to pre-dose.

    Another idea – you don’t necessarily have to take your full dose right away. When I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve sometimes given myself a half dose that’s easier to treat if my food ends up being delayed, and giving the full dose as soon as I start.

    If you’re worried about going high from not dosing soon enough, maybe there are some physical tasks you could take on after your break? Sweeping / restocking / removing the trash are all good options.

    As far as jerk customers, talk to your manager. Tell them you have t1 and it’s important that you not delay your breaks. Don’t present it as a choice but as a medical necessity. No need to explain that to customers. You can just say, “so and so will be right with you!” Don’t even need to say you’re taking a break.

    Good luck!

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Good point on the customers. They may see you standing there waiting for the computer to clock out but if you say, Sorry I’m not available, I’m in the middle of something and need to use the computer as soon as its available. Jane will help you when shes done with the customer ahead of you.”

      Very straight and to the point, without mentioning that you’ve got a medical need to take care of.

  19. Mental Lentil*

    LW1: I feel their partner has a bit of Stockholm Syndrome vis-a-vis their employer. Your job is an agreement to exchange your time and skills for money. They don’t own you, and unless you have a written contract, you don’t owe them anything beyond showing up and doing what you’re paid to do.

  20. anonymous73*

    #1 – I’m more concerned about your fiancé’s reaction to what you’re doing rather than what you’re actually doing. You mention you took this job because it was there, not because it was a great opportunity. So yes, you should be looking and there’s nothing wrong with interviewing (even if you’re happy, you could find something even better).

    But your fiancé is “disgusted” with your behavior? You didn’t strangle a puppy. I know this isn’t a relationship blog, but I would seriously look at their past behavior and if their reactions are always this extreme. If they are, you may want to look into why and re-evaluate.

    1. ecnaseener*

      Sorry to nitpick, but where did you get “fiancé” ? LW didn’t mention anything about whether they’re married or engaged or anything to this partner.

      LW did give some more context up above, and yes the partner’s reactions are often this extreme even with non-consequential things.

      1. anonymous73*

        I made a mistake – it happens. You’re obviously not sorry to nitpick, because you went ahead and did it anyway.

        1. ecnaseener*

          I was genuinely curious if there was a cultural thing I didn’t know about, since this recently happened to my sister.

          1. Hlao-roo*

            I think it’s one of those things where the words (partner vs fiance/fiancee) are used for similar concepts. Like when patents mix up their kids names because all the names are in the same mental category of “my children.” So when people hear “partner” sometimes their brains equate that with fiance/fiancee or husband/wife/spouse.

    2. anonymous73*

      And yes I read your update up thread and it doesn’t change my opinion. Being supportive doesn’t include such strong reactions to mundane things.

  21. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    #2. Your employer sucks. This is the reason why everyone is having a hard time retaining nurses. The good news is that everyone is having trouble retaining nurses. Start applying other places, get a sign on bonus, and tell your current employer to kiss your bum and that you are leaving due to this reason.

  22. twocents*

    #5: Something the recruiters at my company remind applicants of is: the candidate pool is different every time. For one job posting, you may easily be one of the top candidates, and in another pool, it may just be your bad luck that many qualified candidates apply and you land more in the middle.

    I had a job posting I applied for recently where I literally met and exceeded every single item on their list; they wanted five years, I had 10. And I still did not even get moved to the interview, because it’s such a crap shoot on who else is applying to that role.

  23. Ari*

    LW3 – Since you say you’re on a pump, have you explored the extended bolus feature? You can give some of your meal bolus upfront and have the rest delivered over a period of time that you set. That might help if you want to get some pre-meal insulin going but you’re worried about taking the whole meal dose in case you’re delayed.

  24. Falling Diphthong*

    #4 Alison is right. Spell out what you can are willing to do, and put that in writing. You should be paid for this time.

    I find this one an interesting match with yesterday’s two jobs one, since it’s clear to both sies the part-time freelance gig bends when the work of two jobs is too much.

    1. LW4*

      Oh, I’m not doing anything without ensuring I’ll be paid. I just wasn’t sure the best way to broach and phrase my response. I had made it clear to the part-time gig during the term of my contract that my time and availability was limited and I would be doing almost all of their work on evenings and weekends, with the exception of the occasional password reset or meeting. I had also cleared the situation with my manager at the full-time gig.

  25. Stanley's Mom*

    LW3, I agree with Alison, and you should talk to your workplace about getting an official accommodation, so you aren’t dealing with this daily stress.
    To everyone else giving diabetes advice, this LW is looking for work advice, not medical advice. I’m sure it comes from a kind place but we aren’t their doctor and don’t know their specific medical situation. We should take them at their word about what insulin protocol they need to follow and not get derailed giving unsolicited and incomplete medical advice over the internet.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      YES. 1000+ Everyone I know who has diabites works differently. There are so many different strategies and such. Different types of insulin, and medication and such. The LW is the expert on their own body and they know what to do. What they ARE asking for is for help dealing with customers and their workplace, in regards to taking her breaks.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      On the one hand, it’s true that OP is looking for work and not medical advice, and the specific recommendations may or may not be appropriate. But on the other hand, it’s pretty reasonable to suggest that OP should talk to their doctor because making some changes to the treatment plan may be one option for making the work issues easier to deal with.

      It may be that OP can’t change a thing medically and the employer will need to find a way to make OP’s current insulin timing work. But lots of type 1 diabetics in this thread are suggesting that navigating diabetes management takes a balance of different approaches, often including changing the medical stuff to find a protocol that better fits your real life, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to share that.

      1. Nanani*

        I think it’s extremely unreasonable and out of line. No commenter knows LWs medical history. Even if they have diabetes themselves or are a doctor – it’s NOT okay to make medical suggestions to strangers on the internet ever.

        And why do people think “change your medical needs to make your workplaces’s live easier” is acceptable? It’s gross!

    3. Chipotle*

      LW3, I am not sure if this possible in your workplace, but instead of rotating walk-ins, would it be possible instead to have an hourly schedule for walk-ins? You take all walk-ins from 9am – 10am, Jane covers 10am – 11am, Wakeen has 11am – noon, etc? Then don’t schedule you/Jane/Wakeen for appointments during your walk-in coverage shift.

      Absolutely your employer should figure out a way to accommodate you, but if you take a solution (even half-baked like mine), they may be able to tweak to make it work? You can even rotate what hours people cover on a weekly/monthly basis (as long as you’re able to take care of your needs) so if walk-ins tend to happen during a particular time, everyone feels the love on a regular basis.

  26. Hex Libris*

    LW3, in addition to proper accommodation, I hope it’s possible/you’re comfortable to talk to your manager about getting your coworkers to have your back on this. I’ve worked retail, and I would never have thrown a clocked-out coworker to the wolves. I have physically blocked line of sight on someone clocking out, made direct eye contact with the customer, and said, “*I* will be right with you.” Everybody should be on Team Breaks are Sacred together.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      yes it does sound like there is a company mentality that you should just not worry about your breaks.

      I wonder, Could the LW have something to eat up front? I would totally have my sandwich in my hand while doing whatever the customer wanted. If the customer has a problem I would totally say Well its either I eat or I pass out. Which would you like me to continue to help or you could wait until X is done and they can help you

    2. Type1 Since 1995*

      Completely agree – Type1 diabetes is a disability and is protected as such but lots of other things aren’t and coworkers should all have each other’s backs. In a perfect world, the coworker waiting to clock out because her period just started could say outloud “I can’t help you because I have to go put in a tampon before lunch” but that will likely never happen.

    3. LizM*

      Yeah, this workplace does not seem to have a healthy attitude about breaks.

      It’s wage theft to allow employees to clock out and keep working through their breaks, even if they tell you it’s fine.

      I’ve worked retail, and if one person goes on break, it has a whole ripple effect on everyone else’s break. If you’re at the end of the shift and waiting to clock out and end up helping a customer for 10-15 min, that can push you into overtime, depending on where you are in the week, or it has a ripple effect on the schedule as they try to keep you out of overtime later in the week.

      It’s really helpful to have a computer to clock out that’s out of sight from the customers and that doesn’t get backed up with other work. This may force a change that ends up benefiting all of OP3’s coworkers.

  27. I'm just here for the cats!*

    In regards to #3. Why does the company only have 1 computer that you have to clock in/out of AND handle customer paperwork on? There should be a separate computer that’s used just for clock in/out. It also sounds like this computer is out on the floor where customers can see that their is someone waiting.

    The Letter Writer should certainly talk to their boss. What’s going to happen one day is she is going to take her insulin and then not be able to eat or take her glucose pills and will pass out. One thing is could the LW just leave for lunch without clocking out and have her boss adjust it manually? At an old job we had to have our supervisors do that because we could only clock in on the computers but the computers all had an update the night before, which caused us to restart the computer and then it took several minutes for it to start, which caused us to be 15 minutes late clocking in, Which automatically gave us a point on our record. Supervisors had to go in and adjust the time.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      Yeah this whole “one computer” this is absurd. It sort of makes it sound like only one non-appointment customer can be helped at a time? Very weird setup and likely causing even more problems than just OP’s.

  28. Joan Clayton*

    LW #1 your partner reminds me of Chris Pratt’s character in “Bride Wars.” ALWAYS do what is best for you, because in the long run, you have to be happy and your partner should want that for you as well.

  29. Eagle*

    LW3 did not mention, but T1 diabetes really requires you to eat on a set, rigid schedule. They really need a stronger accommodation on time than Allison realizes.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      This may be true for some T1 diabetics, but it’s not universally true. It may be because my son is pretty newly diagnosed (high five to the part of his pancreas that is still working!) but he has quite a bit of flexibility in when and what he eats. But once he decides what to eat and gets insulin for it, that’s when the rigid schedule kicks in.

      I think managing T1D used to require more set schedules, but continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps are game changers for at least some people at least some of the time, and there are more different kinds of insulin available that act more or less quickly. It’s possible that what OP wrote is true for their situation – they can take lunch within a reasonably wide window, they just can’t get delayed once they start the process of taking their lunch break.

    2. Ari*

      That’s definitely not true if they’re on a pump. It used to be the case with the old long-acting insulins that had a sharp “peak” but those can’t be used in a pump. What the OP is doing is “pre-bolusing” meaning taking their insulin dose about 15 minutes prior to their first bite of food, which is definitely good practice and recommended, but not always necessary or practical. So the issue isn’t that they need to eat on a set schedule, it’s that once the insulin is taken they absolutely need to eat within a certain window or their blood sugar will go too low.

  30. Type1 Since 1995*

    I am also a type1 Diabetic and have worked some customer facing jobs and non-customer facing jobs. The customer facing jobs were always the worst when it comes to handling my diabetes. When I was young I was also not great at communicating with my co-workers when something was going on (low or high blood sugar) that I needed to address. My advice is to be open and honest about your needs with your coworkers and managers so they know that you may on occasion need to address something medical quickly. A conversation I’ve had is something like “I have a chronic illness that I manage very well and I take full responsibility for my own management of my diabetes (this is to head off any people trying to tell you what they think you can and cannot eat at work). I generally don’t need a lot of accommodations. However, there will be times, due to illness, stress, and just day to day management issues, when I will have to stop working and go eat something to bring my blood sugar up or stop working and take insulin and drink a lot of water to bring my blood sugar down. I may come off as inflexible when this happens but there will be times when I have to address something quickly and may not be polite about it.”

    The key to me was to be flexible with work WHEN YOU CAN and to be firm with your coworkers and management WHEN YOU NEED TO BE.

    This part is kind of of a tough-love statement so take it or leave it. I highly recommend that you don’t use diabetes as an excuse EVER when it is actually not the reason you don’t want to help a customer as your coworkers will see through this and will sense a pattern. But also, I appreciate that you don’t seem to be falling into the behavior I did, which was to try to tough it out and hide my diabetes so that no one would think I’m not a team player. That is toxic and over time I’ve reached a good balance only when I’ve been honest and direct with the people I work with.

    Lastly – try to get out of customer service jobs as soon as you can! Diabetes management is hard enough without having to manage other people’s reaction to your medical issues.

  31. Et Cetera*

    LW #3 – I’m T1D, and I ALSO used to work in the service department of a crazy busy retail store (for five years)! My situation was different from yours in that we clocked out for our breaks out of view of customers, but whenever I needed to step off the floor to eat something for a low blood sugar/take care of my diabetes in any time sensitive way, I basically used slight oversharing as a strategy to get the managers on my side. As in, I would march right up to the manager on duty and say something to the effect of “I don’t know if you know, but I’m type one diabetic and my blood sugar is low [or you can even use “scarier” language – my blood sugar is dropping], so I need to go take care of that/go eat something.” Yes, I did get a little more concern than I wanted, but by framing my need to leave the floor as a medical issue, I got managers to listen to me QUICKLY without any pushback. If a customer flagged me down, I was also very willing to just redirect them with an “I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of helping someone else” (which you are – yourself!) or “I’m sorry, I’m not actually available right now.” Not sure how much of that translates to your situation, but hopefully it was helpful to hear another (totally shameless) T1D’s experience!

    1. Betty (the other betty)*

      “I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of helping someone else” (which you are – yourself!)

      This is brilliant.

  32. nnn*

    For #3, I completely agree that you need to talk with management about accommodations, but I wonder if it might also be helpful to come up with different kinds of scripts to use with customers that aren’t so much “I can’t help you” and perhaps more “You’re on the way to being helped.”

    For example, a bright and cheerful: “Are you here for llama degaussing? Fantastic! Cynthia will be right with you!” (The way you would if you weren’t a llama degausser yourself and Cynthia is the llama deguasser on duty.)

    When I was in food service and I needed to walk past a customer without helping them, I’d say “I just need to wash my hands, then I’ll be right with you!” Then I’d disappear into the back, and, what do you know, someone else would emerge to help the customer.

    This kind of thing does require coming to some sort of understanding with your co-workers, but, if you can make it work, it does go over better with customers.

  33. Rel D*

    LW1. In AU we have a 3 or 6 month trial period where if for any reason the job or people don’t fit either party can end the business relationship and find another job/ new candidate. It’s that simple. Take your career by the horns and run with it. Life’s too short to miss great opportunities.

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