open thread – January 28-29, 2022

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

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

{ 1,265 comments… read them below }

    1. A Beth*

      I was finally able to buckle down at about 4 yesterday and do a couple good hours of work, but between recruiting the fall class and kicking off the semester I am spent. I was chalking it up to being in a new position (3 months) but maybe it’s just These Uncertain Times.

    2. Amadeo*

      Web manager for a university. I don’t see students much, but I’m so tired. I want our exec staff to approve some work from home flexibility already, but I have a feeling I’ll be retired before that finally comes.

      1. H*

        I work for a University program but I don’t teach. It is a medical school program and there is such a lack of flexibility for WFH. Hence, why I am searching now.

    3. Rock Prof*

      My semester starts next week, so I’m still fine but apprehensive. However my K-12 spouse is not at all.

    4. After 33 years ...*

      For the first time, happy that I am not actively teaching this term, and looking towards retirement.

    5. Princess Flying Hedgehog*

      I got more pulled into admissions work this year, and man, it’s brutal right now. There’s just so MUCH going on right now, especially with all the international applicants.

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

      Paralyzed on getting started on projects because I’m never sure anymore if we’re going to have to “pivot” again and all the work I’ve done is for naught. I’m tired of being flexible.

      1. Prairie*

        Yes! I simply didn’t plan a program that happens the first week of spring semester every year. My boss supported me when I made the decision at the end of November but some of my colleagues were like “Your not doing ___!?”
        Welp, our classes got moved online and most co-curricular programs got cancelled for January and I’m so happy I did not waste my time and energy.
        BUT I can’t be bringing that energy and philosophy to all my programs, so I need to be strategic about what’s worth trying and what to drop for now.

      2. Princess Flying Hedgehog*

        I’m so there with you. I’ve just … stopped doing anything in person for the foreseeable future. I know some people want it, and we always have better participation with in-person events, but it’s just not worth it.

    7. adminatlarge*

      Just over it. Over the whole thing. I don’t know what has changed with me, but I just can’t seem to buckle down and get any actual work done. Honestly, it’s been hard coming back because it’s recently hit me how much I hate (1) having no office and thus no privacy (2) having no windows at my desk area (3) hating the actual work I have to do (4) wearing a mask all day. I’m so tired of spending my days clicking and typing on a computer. It’s snowing outside right now and I can’t even look at it because the conference room with the windows is booked, so I’m just sitting at my desk staring my computer wondering if I should leave early before the storm gets worse (not really supposed to hit until later tonight). Honestly, the job used to be more fun. A big perk of university life was events and speakers and free food and now (for good reason) we don’t have any of that and it was such a part of why I loved working here and I really miss it. We also lost a lot of great bars and restaurants and the ones that are still open are so expensive that I’ve stopped going. I’m miserable at work now.

      1. Amadeo*

        Your first three sentences. Me too. I also don’t know what’s snapped inside my head. A mid-life crisis, an unreasonable, passive-aggressive boss who wants a programmer but has…me, having come out the other side of a site-wide redesign three months ago after two years of that big ol’ ball of stress. I don’t know. I’m having serious internal struggles with my work life right now. The university doesn’t do the fun things it used to do when I got here, like Thanksgiving dinner before we all leave for Thanksgiving break (and that stopped even before the plague, a few people whined because they couldn’t attend so it just…stopped).

        I don’t even know that another job would help me or I’d be searching more diligently than I am.

        1. adminatlarge*

          same. same. same. Can we start a support group? Because I feel like none of my friends understand. I’m 38 and going through a mid-life crisis where I’m questioning every decision I’ve ever made. It’s like I want to throw my whole-life out the window. And instead of a passive-aggressive boss, I have no boss. Well, technically I have 4 (because this is Academia so naturally I do 3 jobs at my 1 job), but it seems like none of them want anything to do with me or the work I have to do. I have weekly Zoom meetings with my main boss, but she hasn’t shown up to a single one of them since the new year started and my other bosses will only respond to email and they ignore about half of those. Over it.

          1. Amadeo*

            41, so we’re pretty close in age. My mom threatened to get me one of those SAD lamps last night wondering if it would help my attitude. LOL.

            I don’t think it’s just you and I either. I’ve gone from being part of a team of 3 to just me. I’m doing what was once the work of three people. With no raise (I asked for one three years ago, I get occasional updates “We’re still trying”). I’m tired. I’m overworked. I don’t get paid enough for the things my boss wants out of me. And most of all I’m OVER this 8-5 chunk eaten out of my day.

            1. AcademiaAnon4This*

              I will join too! I left higher ed for an edu related org and still feeling the burnout/midlife crisis/languishing.

              I was getting stuck with work piled on from a coworker who wasn’t pulling their weight, then they left, which should be better for me now yet isn’t. Somehow the mess they left behind is still my problem and somehow my fault now bc I inherited it. I was held back from new initiatives, I suspect to not make the coworker look bad? Now my new coworkers are able to do the kinds of projects I wanted to do with no pushback. It’s frustrating!

          2. JelloStapler*

            Yes. I am around the same age. I go through cycles. I still love what my job should be and honestly can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.

            I’m just tired of the typical higher ed stuff: politics, toxic positivity in some cases, lack of resources, constant pivots, higher workload, strategic plans that changed constantly with no follow-through, and the other bigger issues impacting outcomes while pressure to solve things that are out of our control.

            All the while, we all know that institutions often make decisions that hurt retention while they simultaneously ask those on the front line why it is so low. or they want to do 5 things at once that contradict each other but won’t give resources to do it either.

            That said, I have a lot of hope due to a lot of changes up top at my institution that are addressing some of these issues. I just know it will take time, I worry it will be too late for so many colleagues. But I’m also exhausted after years of the struggle listed above. The thought of starting over somewhere new (new place or new career) exhausts me, I also genuinely love my team and my students and what my job should be without all the rhetoric.

          3. Rainer Maria von Trapp*

            I’m 39 and would join that support group in a hot minute. Things in ed are bad, bad, very bad right now. I am hopeful that the pendulum will begin to swing soon, but I am bone tired. Glad to know I’m not alone, but sorry to hear that others are struggling so much, too.

        2. Sparrow*

          The first three sentences hit for me, too. It’s been a struggle since the beginning of the school year, when we switched to a hybrid work schedule. Even though it was only a couple days a week, I was/am SO resentful about having to waste hours of my day commuting (on public transportation!) when I just go into my office, shut the door, and see literally no one all day (with the exception of classes, most things are still online, and I don’t teach, so.) Since coming back from winter break, my motivation has completely ground to a halt. I’ve been debating whether I should talk to my boss about some kind of short leave where I can focus on improving my mental health, but I’m not sure it would do any good. I’ve also wondered whether this would be the time to try to switch into the corporate world since I don’t really see any way to progress from my current position, but honestly it just feels so daunting and I have no energy to spare.

      2. Middle Manager*

        Big ol’ retweet here. We were remote until July, then remote again from winter break until this week because of Omicron, and now that I’ve remembered how much more I love working from home I just…cannot. I’m in a student-facing role and I find myself just not responding to emails for days because I don’t want to and I’m tired of the same questions. My heart’s just not in it and I resent every second I’m still doing this work.

        1. JelloStapler*

          I find it hard to see the same issues over and over that I cannot fix – that need to be campus-wide. Our institution is finally getting to the point where it recognizes that one team cannot fix everything, and it is such a sigh of relief, but it’s going to take a bit of time to move through that. In the meantime, compassion fatigue can hit hard.

      3. Aggretsuko*

        I hear ya. I don’t want to have to go back to the office next week. Perks were fun back in the day.

        I’m also being harassed to join a focus group about a mission statement and I DON’T WANT TO. I DO NOT CARE. MISSION STATEMENTS ARE STUPID AND USELESS. Also I get in trouble for speaking up (guess why) and the last thing I want to do is be encouraged to speak.

        They also scheduled it for me during a regular meeting, so I said no. I hope they don’t ask me to reschedule but they probably will. UGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH.

        1. Missing Statement*

          Mission statements are great when institutions follow them versus being empty words. It’s even worse when solid feedback is looked down upon as people being negative. I’ve been there in both cases in the past. I know it’s not easy.

      4. Kimmy Schmidt*

        I feel this. I used to love my field, but now all I can think is how tired I am. I have to go to work almost every day for the next 40 years?!

      5. no sleep for the wicked*

        Chiming in with a me too.
        I am lucky enough to have a hybrid schedule that lets me pick up the household stuff my partner can’t cover because she’s now the primary caregiver for 2 family members. The problem is my schedule is all over the place and I never feel able to settle down and work unless I have a targeted need/emergency.
        New boss, assigned to a diff dept, constant interruptions. Many days I rush home to take care of family stuff then sit in front of my work laptop, staring at nothing. All the busy work and projects on hold while I wait for upper management to get on board with a new service I’ll be providing.
        Faculty never learn to be good coworkers so it’s a constant cycle of entitled jerks every new term (my ‘customers’ are all faculty/instructors).
        I had planned to be working on my farm business by now, but political upheaval and then the pandemic happened, so now I’m calendar-watching for 9 more years until retirement while my little farm slowly returns to a dream.
        It’s soul-crushing, and I’m one of the lucky folks here.

      6. A Beth*

        Really good point about the perks of working at a university. I hadn’t thought about how that was impacting my satisfaction but it makes sense that everything seems a little less…worth it right now. Between the (understandable) loss of perks and the expectation that we still come in just to attend meetings online anyway, it makes sense that I’m feeling less motivated. At least I get to wfh a couple days a week though.

    8. HigherEd Disaster Zone*

      There was a news story a few weeks ago about a private plane that crashed and then got hit by a train – that about sums up our department’s start to the year. The hits just keep coming.

      I am interviewing elsewhere but it is so hard to even focus on articulating what I want in a new job when I am burnt out and don’t want to do anything at all for a very long time. But this afternoon I will smile for a hiring committee and hope for the best!

      1. Princess Flying Hedgehog*

        Are you one of my coworkers? Because this sounds like us … and there’s so MUCH of this going around. The staff who desperately need help can’t get it because there’s no help to be had.

      1. AGD*

        Me too. I’m tired and looking forward to the weekend, but not to an unusual extent in either regard. Things are going okay.

      2. JelloStapler*

        It’s quiet for me too, but before too long I am sure the wheels will start coming off for many of our students and it will become a monsoon.
        All in all, things could be a lot worse- I am just tired of this pandemic never-ending and keeping all the balls in the air (professionally and personally) and never knowing what shoe will drop next and how it will impact retention in ways we cannot resolve.

    9. Hermione*

      I’m so tired, and I have been for a LONG time.

      At the end of 2020 most of the senior staff in my department opted into retirement incentives offered by the university, and so we’ve been seriously understaffed for over a year now. We’re working on staffing back up, but we all know how long hiring in higher ed takes. Meanwhile, leadership keeps piling project after project and unrealistic deadline after unrealistic deadline on us, and it feels like there’s never the time to really think through an overall strategy, let alone time to take a break and recover.

      We’re all completely burnt out, and nobody in leadership sees it. I’m not looking forward to the fallout.

      1. Princess Flying Hedgehog*

        Does leadership not see it, or does leadership not care? I’ve seen both where I work.

          1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

            I think this is a huge and overlooked issue with higher ed (and, honestly, society as a whole). I’m a recent higher ed refugee and within the last 6 months, 4 VPs at my former institution either left or announced their retirements this June. It’s a grueling job and at a certain point, no amount of pay is worth what they have to put up with.

      2. Medievalist*

        I’m a tenured professor, teaching in person. We have understaffing and too many deadlines too! We’re beginning hiring again, thankfully, but that won’t be of any help for a while, since new faculty need mentoring and take a while to become productive. The service load is killing me, but we’re out of other warm bodies to share in being department chair or doing governance and major recruitment and all the other things that can’t stop happening just because there’s a pandemic. And on top of that, not knowing who will out of my classroom from one day to a next (because of COVID infections) makes planning almost impossible. I don’t feel as desperate as that poor mother yesterday or as my poor junior colleagues without tenure, but everything does feel somewhat impossible.

        And then this was an especially hard week. I feel like I’ve hit the part of the semester where meetings and grading and emails are beginning to pile up, and if I can’t stay on top of everything now, everything will avalanche as we approach midterms.

      3. Gracely*

        We have the understaffing for partly the same reason, and partly because our new admin decided to lay off 17 (yes, 17!) staff back in 2020. They refuse to replace staff, but they’ve been on a VP of this-and-that hiring spree since they got here. We’ve been told that they’re not worried about turn over, and that we were overstaffed. No. We were adequately staffed, and then you laid off a ton of people and got others to retire, and now we cannot do all the shit we used to do AND entirely new shit on top of that.

        And yesterday, we just found out another staff member I work with is leaving to go to a new university. It’s great for her (such better pay, and way more prestigious university), but I don’t know that we’ll get to replace her, and her dept was already short-staffed.

        The one saving grace is that my boss and my grandboss are actually great bosses, and the day-to-day work I do is something I love.

        I just worry that all the good stuff is sitting on a shaky fault line of impending doom, and there’s zero I can do about it.

        1. JelloStapler*

          Re; VP hiring spree: Oooooh the best is when they hire a bunch of consultants, that is telling them the same thing faculty/staff is telling them, then they don’t do any of the suggestions while telling us they can’t because… they don’t have the money.

          This happened at my institution a few years ago.

          1. Gracely*

            They hired consultants and did a survey, and…refuse to give us the results.

            Some good things have been done, I’ll absolutely grant that. But this admin seems to only care about optics and sports, and…we are not a university with a top sports program. Far from it. Lord knows we won’t be competing with any nationally known teams anytime soon, not even as the crappy team that the ranked team has come in to be crushed for the homecoming game.

            1. JelloStapler*

              Refuse to give you the results? Ooph. That is awful. They always gave us results, they just didn’t follow through very well. Granted, that was an issue with our previous upper administration altogether, so I am hoping things are changing.

              1. bleh*

                Yess!! More Assistant Deans and VPs will solve everything. And expensive outside consultants whom you ignore if they tell you what you don’t want to hear. Actual staff or faculty lines – no can do. It’s ridiculous

        2. no sleep for the wicked*

          OMG the ‘plug all holes with more management bodies’ thing. I am so tired of seeing my frontline coworkers denied any kind of extra pay (even though it could be managed via our union contracts) for the incredible work they do, while we hire assistant directors by the boatload.

        3. Pyramids*

          I’m so sorry. I worked at a similar-sounding university for years. I miss my work friends but nothing’s changed and everyone is so demoralized.

    10. Prairie*

      My institution published our official work from home policy. (They started working on it in 2019 lolol.) VPs have a lot of discretion and have to write their own guidelines (that fit within the policy) by March 1. So I may get to start working remotely a few days/week later this spring.
      My VP had us back in person before it was sensible so I was not optimistic about his plan, but his recent comments make me think he has come around to the idea. Maybe he’s seen how well it’s working in other teams. Or realizing that this is the future of the workforce so we need to adapt.
      So with this on the horizon plus new-semester-energy, I’m feeling optimistic

    11. Rosie*

      It feels like we’re a locomotive charging ahead while wheels are loose and wobbling and things are going to crash – hard – soon. We’ve been understaffed for years, and more and more people on the staff side are leaving now for better pay elsewhere. I’m seriously contemplating looking elsewhere (as much as I would prefer to stay) because I don’t want to have things land on me when something big blows up.

      1. Princess Flying Hedgehog*

        Start looking now. You don’t have to take the first or even second job offered, but you should start looking immediately. You don’t want to start a job search AFTER everything blows up.

    12. Boop Bop*

      So many coworkers are looking for new jobs. My dept is lucky because we have more students than ever but no increase in staff so…. yeah, I cried before work this morning. I work with international students so going from the last administration then straight into a global pandemic and also having a kid under 5 has just all been a lot professionally and personally.

      1. JelloStapler*

        We had a huge Voluntary Separation and RIF in 2020, pay cuts and no raises while area Universities did not. Our salaries were already recognized as low, and our workloads increasing- above and beyond became minimum. People are leaving in droves due to this, and admin notices, is trying, but has been slow to do much that will actually matter (granted we also had a lot of changes in our senior leadership- great changes that will be good long term and they’ve done more in the last month that the leadership before has done in over a year). We’ve had some issues with morale and climate even before the pandemic hit.

        I get so frustrated when I see our student numbers are awesome but staff/faculty don’t see the reward for it, just more work.

    13. AustenFan*

      Feeling really incompetent, as I’m back in the classroom but also trying to Zoom students to class who are in isolation. I’m feeling like I’m not doing anything well. We also do small group work, so the groups have to use Microsoft Teams, otherwise the feedback from multiple Zoom users in the same physical space is horrendous. I’ve been teaching for a long time, but last year was all on Zoom and I was on sabbatical in the fall. Feeling like a D- professor.

      1. After 33 years ...*

        + sympathies – using multiple modes for simultaneous “hybrid” teaching simply does not work; there is no ‘virtual’ substitute for field teaching and research; students using cellphones can’t properly see things on slides that I need them to see… I sent in my “official” retirement notice this morning, to take effect in August. I am rapidly passing through burnout to the anthracology stage.

        1. College Career Counselor*

          Man, I feel everyone’s comments so hard and have never been thinking more about retirement than I have lately (and I’m not even close). Been in higher education administration and advising for many, many years, and I can’t freaking focus to advise, manage projects, talk to students, teach, etc. I don’t know whether it’s:
          a) burn-out
          b) covid-brain
          c) adult ADHD
          d) pandemic malaise or
          e) some monster-crappy combo of all of the above

          Desperately trying to marshal my energy to get students engaged in programming and other activities, and fighting an uphill battle all the way (because I think they’ve got some version of A-E as well).

          About 2 weeks ago, I was coming up against hard deadlines for programming. I finally started making policy for these events and saying to the campus covid team, “Hey, I need to give people instructions on how this deal is going to happen, and I’m not getting guidance from TPTB. So, here’s what I’m going to do (insert language); tell me if you have anything to add to that, because it’s going out later this afternoon.”

          Beats waiting for the optimized (and incomplete) directives from above..

    14. MCL*

      UGGGGGH. Honestly, I don’t work with students or teach credit classes, so I’m not nearly as stressed as many of my colleagues. But our giant state university campus is basically leaving it up to departments how they enforce/don’t enforce WFH policies. At least mask mandates are in effect and vaccine adoption is high (but not mandatory). I am basically WFH right now, many of my colleagues are expected to come in, even for desk jobs that could be done at home. I am only on campus once or twice a month right now, and I would not be going if I didn’t have an office where I could shut the door.

      I’m somewhat actively looking for other jobs. I don’t mind working in higher ed, but I’ve been here for the first third of my career and I’m ready to explore new things (or maybe a new institution if I stay in academia).

    15. Forkeater*

      Between our layoffs last year, people voluntarily leaving including two more last week, and omicron, we barely have enough staff to keep operating.

    16. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      I’m not either. This week every day has ended with me thinking “TGIF, oh, wait.”

      I’m exhausted and my mood is crap and I am having a hard time caring.

    17. This Old House*

      At a public IHE. They pushed back the start of in-person classes for this semester, but staff are still required to be at work in-person. I’m wondering why staff lives and health are less valuable than student lives and health. Perhaps only because we are literally less valuable to them, as we’re not FTEs. I am not sure if using that lens makes it better or worse.

      1. rr*

        I am not in academia, but yeah, I related to so much of this. I am so alternately tired, depressed, and full of rage.
        I don’t see how I’m going to return to work Monday. I had a big blowout with my boss about my wanting to work from home the last two days of the week after COVID. He thinks I should have been back last Monday. I thought the tracers told me this Thursday, which is what I told him. But they called me yesterday, and I was supposed to be home until today. But I just took yesterday and today off. And now I have 20 hours of PTO until August. Because I wasn’t going back. I still feel crappy, the house is a wreck, and I’ve been working from home and taking care of the immunocompromised person that I brought COVID home to. Plus, I know that the other people who tested positive weren’t following masking guidelines even after their positive tests. I also don’t trust him enough to think that if he were positive he would’ve stayed home and/or masked. Apparently, the CDC guidelines only apply to me in that office.

        I have to keep the job, not for the money or the insurance, but to get another job. I ended up interviewing for something via zoom yesterday, and I just can’t project any enthusiasm. I wouldn’t hire me. And, of course, all the people who I interviewed with – no masks, no distancing. I read posts like yesterday’s about the working mother, and I don’t have kids, but it just seems so impossible right now to go on. But apparently, nobody in charge cares. Or they only care about themselves. I am just so angry and depressed all the time, and now I get to feel guilty and fearful about the possible repercussions of COVID for myself and the person I live with. Because I have a terrible job. But it sounds like so many people have terrible jobs, so maybe I should just give up thinking there are better ones.

      2. HigherStay-cation*

        Oh my gosh yes- faculty and students get breaks but that leaves staff vulnerable and working harder than everyone else. We leave it up to divisions as well and ours does very well and some seem pretty flexible except poor Admissions and few bad apples here and there.

    18. MediumEd*

      I am a professor and program director at a small design college. Honestly, I’m looking to get out of academia and back into my practice. The pandemic made me realize what a toxic industry higher ed is. If anyone has any pointers on how to get out of the ivory tower, I’m all ears!

    19. A Teacher*

      Adjunct here. First semester back on campus in 2 years–taught online zoom combo class. It was an odd week. Students don’t know me so it was like pulling teeth to lighten stuff up.

      Hoping it gets easier

    20. Dragonfly7*

      Keeping an eye out for other public service jobs (3.5 years til possible forgiveness!). I turned down an interview yesterday that was up thankfully up front about what they are able to pay, which is less than what I earn now. Finishing applying for one in a different department over lunch.

    21. Pam Adams*

      Academic Advisor here. My campus has decided that classes will be virtual for the first 3 weeks of the semester in what was to be our real “return to campus” term. Other than that, it’s the usual chaos of helping students find classes, reassuring others that, yes, they are on track for graduating in Spring, and getting my Fall graduates cleared.

      I actually got a few exchange students this term all of whom needed to switch their scheduled classes. It’s nice seeing study abroad opportunities opening back up.

    22. TotesMaGoats*

      Assistant dean here. Fending off the questions from admissions on why new students aren’t getting registered. Fending off EM from butting into the COVID mandate process. Every problem comes out of the woodwork right now. I’ve had a intractable migraine since Nov 2020. So over all of it. Stay in your lane and leave me and my team alone. Meanwhile, can someone look at why admissions is a freaking revolving door? Turnover is normal but not like this.

      Applied for a step up role at a sister school yesterday. Wasn’t actively looking but it’s getting that way.

      1. MediumEd*

        I am going through the same thing with admissions at my college. That department seems to want to blame academics for the reason that students aren’t returning or taking a semester off. We are in a pandemic, nothing is certain. If a student tells me they are taking a leave of absence for medical reasons or because they can’t afford tuition, what am I supposed to do? Force them to register?

      2. HigherStay-cation*

        Thankfully our EM is backing up mandates. But there are so many campus-wide issues that impact retention that our division cannot control and all the meetings and programs won’t make up for it. Plus, tbh, we often wonder if what we are selling is not accurate once a student gets here.
        Medium ED (love the username)- exactly, and giving them some money now doesn’t help down the road when they still cannot afford school or is still underprepared and should not have been admitted, to begin with. Mental Health issues abound and our Counseling is understaffed and cannot meet demand. I agree with what someone said about COVID only being used as an excuse when it’s convenient for them, not as an actual reason thigns are hard.

        1. TotesMaGoats*

          To clarify my EM comment, our dean of students office has the responsibility for COVID mandate enforcement. They’ve done a great job. Now EM is butting in with POORLY written emails for us to send and wrong information.

          1. JelloStapler*

            Our Dean of Students has the same charge and has also done very well. Are the poorly written emails and wrong information all written in a sales voice with only information that students would WANT to hear? I could see that happening.

            Thankfully, where I work our EM does a fantastic job with communication and vetting it with others to be sure it is correct and in the right “voice”. But I would be very irritated if that was not the case!

    23. JelloStapler*

      Doing okay, we stayed in person and seem to be stable, but I have colleagues at other Universities who are struggling because of the pivot and uncertainty.

      I’m just tired of our Institution not seeming to understand that the pandemic is still impacting retention and will for years. It’s hard to get our students engaged and all of us are exhausted by taking so much on our shoulders and going above and beyond but not getting much back for ourselves.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        YES. Lots of lip-service for self-care and no recognition that everyone is burned out. Lots of staff turnover in the middle-level management as well. Critical folks who have been here for years and who will be difficult to replace.

        1. JelloStapler*

          Or recognition that is also lip service – the equivalent of hospitals buying pizza for tired and overworked nurses instead of pay raises and enough staffing. I recognize they are honestly trying; but at some point, people get tired of waiting and go look for other jobs.
          Yes, we have lost a LOT of institutional knowledge. When I started here there was a sense that people usually stayed for a long time. That has unfortunately no longer been the rule – although we still have a lot of long-haulers.

    24. Concerned Academic Librarian*

      We start next week and it’s the same old stuff, different day. I have come to loathe being on campus and my department administration is being a giant butt about any working remotely.

    25. Dr. Doll*

      I feel like our univ has tried really hard to be sensible, and fortunately in our state and county there are plenty of regulations to fall back on. We have a vaccine mandate, indoor mask mandates, etc. But everyone wants what they want: The students who want to be f2f are made that we started remote; there are students who never want to attend and want the university to magically create entire online programs from nothing. Many tenured faculty want to move out of the area and teach fully online while making contingent faculty (read: lower paid and job insecure, also more likely to be women and/or people of color) do any and all face to face teaching (while yapping about equity for students).

      I know that faculty are really worn to a thread, especially the contingent ones. My team *thinks* they’re worn to a thread, but they are not, not like faculty and like student-facing staff. I’m trying my best to provide looots of flexibility for my staff, not pile on the work too much, listen to when they say “can we not do this right now” etc.

      I wish that the university as a whole would stop piling on, though. We have had several large initiatives and when I have asked, point blank in meetings with decision-makers, “What are we NOT going to do so that there is space for this?” they will literally *laugh*.

      I plan to retire in ~3 years. We have truly astounding benefits and retirement options, so I want to stay for that. Also, I DO have a really great job, it’s just right for me and I get lots of emotional satisfaction out of it. The plight of the faculty weighs on me, though, and I can do very little to help.

    26. University Schlep*

      Oh my GAH! I was already not doing well and then some bureaucratic nonsense happened this morning that got me so riled up that I used my entire lunch hour to go home just so I could post a rant on AAM without using company resources.

      This is 2022, why are we still doing things like computers were never invented!!!! We just spent the last 2 years pivoting to put everything online and people are still so technology resistant when the one good thing that came out of covid was streamlining a bunch of processes to make them doable remotely and now some dinosaurs want to go back, or even better, do it BOTH ways. Not both like have a choice of electronic or paper. Both as in process it all electronically and then turn it into paper in case something happens to the computers. Like that would be our worst problem if the systems fail. Oh yes and do it twice with fewer people thanks.

      I have kids getting their tuition paid because of this job and I am questioning whether that is even worth it.

    27. Academic Librarian too*

      I am three years away from retirement and if they come up with a package, I would take it in a heartbeat.
      I used to be one of those A-hole passionate people. Came in early, stayed late, worked nights and weekends, juggled many balls, spoke at national conferences, did the whole tenure track thing and was made Full during Covid. For over 30 years. Mentored the next few generations.
      Above and beyond the call of duty.
      And now.
      I spend all my time reacting.
      Putting out fires.
      I notice how little other people put in and think hey, since it actually doesn’t matter at performance review time… I used to just keep my eyes on my plate.
      I’m disappointed in myself.
      I don’t recognize this person.

    28. mdv*

      I work in a non-academic department of a major state university, and feel incredibly lucky that our directors have embraced working from home in a hybrid schedule designed to keep the office minimally staffed. That said, I’m totally fried this week, more than usual. Not really sure where it is coming from.

  1. WFH Set-up*

    Remote workers, talk to me about your monitor set-ups. I’m trying to decide whether to buy multiple monitors, to buy one giant monitor to use split-screened, or some Frankenstein option of all of the above. How did you decide what to go with? Are you happy with your decision, or what would you change?

    There’s so much to consider. Portrait versus landscape, minimizing footprint due to limited space, incorporating a sit-to-stand desk, possibly mixed OS issues due to working on a PC and having a personal Mac…

    1. geek5508*

      If you have the desktop space, I recommend two Landscape-oriented monitors. Seems to provide the most flexibility for me, but YMMV

      Mine are provided by my job, FYI

      1. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. I think two good sized landscape monitors is the best use of space for me. You can kind of ignore one to the side if you’re actively working another screen, but you also have more flexibility of physical space with two vs one giant split screen.

    2. Beast ala Mode*

      I have a single curved 34″ LG, and it’s fantastic. I have it on a swivel mount, and it works with both a Mac and a PC.

      1. Meh*

        My partner has one of those plus two regular monitors – and the laptop. His desk looks like a command center.

    3. cubone*

      I am a laptop + monitor situation! I don’t have an external webcam so I use the built in laptop camera. It’s usually my second screen that has “less” important stuff eg Slack, Spotify, a document for reference I’m not actively reading. My monitor is pretty big so I find I sometimes split screen just the main monitor if I’m working on two things.

      I know it’s not functional for all spaces and budgets, but shelling out for a motorized sit-stand desk was worth it. I am very tall so I STILL have risers for both screens (an arm for the monitor and a cute little wood platform for the laptop that has “shelves” for storage). I regret nothing and i love my setup.

      1. Neosmom*

        This setup works for me, too. In addition, my laptop sits in my keyboard drawer and I have a wired mouse plugged in so I don’t have to use that pad or round scroller thing inserted in the “margin” of the GHB letter keys.

        1. cubone*

          oh yes, I have a Bluetooth mouse. And a split keyboard (the Kinesis Freestyle 2), which is definitely not for everyone but I looooove.

      2. edj3*

        Same set up w/ one monitor and my laptop. I bought a manual sit/stand device that sits on my very, very small desk. It’s easy to move up or down and was about $200 on the river site if you’re looking for something similar.

      3. Llama Wrangler*

        I am a laptop + monitor situation! I don’t have an external webcam so I use the built in laptop camera. It’s usually my second screen that has “less” important stuff eg Slack, Spotify, a document for reference I’m not actively reading. My monitor is pretty big so I find I sometimes split screen just the main monitor if I’m working on two things.

        Yes this is what I do. I have my monitor on a movable arm so I can adjust it as needed, and use an external bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I haven’t been able to figure out a good setup for doing conversion from sit to standing desk, but I think it’s theoretically possible. I have two different cables so that I can plug in both my work (windows) and personal (mac) laptops as needed.

        1. Annie E. Mouse*

          I do the laptop/monitor also. My super low tech sit/stand desk is to put my laptop on top of a couple of boxes and just use its keyboard for a bit. But I have a lot of calls and usually time my standing segments with calls so that I’m not actively doing anything intense where I’d type a lot or need both monitors.

    4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I have a work Mac. I do a lot of development, and so the more monitors the better.

      I have the Mac elevated about 2.5″ on a dictionary, so I can have a separate keyboard and mouse.

      Then I have two large monitors (20″ +) next to each other, above the laptop. It’s an old-fashioned flip-top desk, and the monitors are on top of the upper portion of the desk. So the three screens are in a triangle and I don’t have to move the mouse really far in any one dimension to get to all of the screens.

      1. littlebumbletea*

        I have a very similar setup, only on a standing desk with monitor arm attachments, and it’s been great to have all the monitors. I do a lot of writing and design, so not having to minimize and move around tabs and documents constantly to complete things has been a real help.

        The laptop I have has a terrible mic/camera setup, so I’m able to stick my standalone webcam smack in the center of the triangle for meetings.

    5. Green Beans*

      Mixed OS shouldn’t matter for an external monitor, except you might need to buy a converter to plug in the Mac.

      What kind of work do you do? I like multiple screens because I’m usually working with writing on one screen, researching on another, or main work on one screen, slack/email on another. But if you’re working mostly in one program with a lot of parts (anything in the Adobe suite) or doing mostly data interpretation, I’d personally go for the one giant screen and split when you need it.

      Anything with data entry/analysis, I’d say go for two screens.

      1. WFH Set-up*

        Good point.

        I do content design for medical devices, so I’m using a lot of Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, but also cross-referencing to extensive Excel sheets and landscape-sized (but detailed) engineering drawings.

        1. Green Beans*

          Oooh, I’d go for a big screen and if possible, also a regular size (landscape, unless your excel sheets are easy to navigate in portrait) one in that case (you could potentially get away with giant screen & laptop, particularly if the laptop is big.) If not, a big one split 2/3 would probably also be helpful – I know a lot of people working in visual data and the giant screens are really helpful.

    6. A Beth*

      I’m using a tv as a second monitor, and it’s not perfect but it’s definitely better than not having a second screen. I have both my laptop and the second monitor on risers, for both ergonomics and to put files and supplies under them due to limited workspace, and use a wireless keyboard and mouse to try to keep things a little neater. But if I needed to go sit-to-stand I would be out of luck at home I think!

    7. MechanicalPencil*

      I use my work laptop screen (on a kitchen shelf divider thing) and then a large-ish 34 in monitor. I have similar space constraints, so I try for “less is more”

    8. A Feast of Fools*

      I have a sit/stand desk that isn’t very large (28″ wide by 20″ deep).

      I bought a monitor arm clamp thingy so my monitor is attached to the desk, not sitting on it. Which means that I can swing the arm back a bit, such that the monitor is not actually directly over my desk. Meaning I get to have full use of the 28×20 horizontal space.

      I have my laptop open on the desk, so that’s a 2nd screen. The I added a side table and put another monitor on it, for a total of three screens. All are in landscape mode.

    9. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I use an elevated extra monitor (handme down from my son) and then my laptop on the desk. Keeps the web cam right in the middle of the action, so I’m able to do virtual meetings and still see all my notes and things. The laptop often gets boosted by a variety of actual books with pages if I’m presenting a workshop and want to perfect the situation.

      I think I need to solve my lighting issue though. May have to swap out my table lamp for a ring one.

    10. ecnaseener*

      I’m boring, but I have a small laptop screen and a nearly-square landscape monitor because that’s what I was provided.

      I definitely find myself using the monitor more, that laptop screen really is uncomfortably small. (And I have a separate keyboard, so I can’t have the laptop screen close to my face because I need to fit the keyboard in front of the laptop keyboard.)

    11. MizChiffon*

      What ended up working best for my mixed OS system was getting a keyboard and mouse set up that let me go between the two (MX Keys and MX Master 2S mouse, both from Logitech). I switch between my personal Mac running Office 365 on Chrome and my PC laptop where I access our network drives and work on spreadsheets.
      I’ve got the laptop up on “blocks” to keep it at basically the same eye level as my Mac monitor and it’s worked pretty well over the past almost 2 years.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I also use Logitech MX input devices to switch between my personal Mac and my work Windows machine – the Keys and the Ergo trackball, for me – and save me some desk space.

    12. Colette*

      I have a floating desk (which means it attaches to the wall and can be at any height) at standing height, and a drafting (higher than normal) chair. The desk is small, so I have one monitor in the middle, my work laptop on the left, and my home laptop on the right. The monitor is connected to both, so I can switch. Both laptops are open, and their screen is my second screen.

    13. Not my real name*

      I have a sit/stand with two landscape monitors on… arms? I had some eye issues two years ago and for a while couldn’t see my laptop. Being able to move the screens around was huge for me, I could pull them closer on bad days and move them further back when things improved. I do have to occasionally switch everything to dark mode because it’s a LOT of light otherwise.

    14. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I have one large HP monitor (I have a Mini Mac) and one portable monitor I use as my second which sits low and off to the side. I’m considering another portable as my third. I’m at my dining room table so I couldn’t take up all the space all the time. It works well for me. I’m considering buying an adjustable rolling table that can nestle into my workspace but where I can roll it away at dinner time.

    15. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I grabbed my husband’s monitor when he went back to the office, so I have 2 23” monitors on risers. It is so much better than my previous monitor + laptop screen (it was on a laptop stand). I almost always need to have multiple window in view at the same time so this set up is perfect for me.

    16. PeanutButter*

      One portrait as my auxiliary/coding screen one landscape is what I use. If I REALLY need an extra utility screen I’ll keep my laptop open while it’s docked to the screens but that has Cat Related Hazards.

    17. Meow*

      I have 3 equal sized monitors in the office, 2 horizontal and 1 vertical, which is my ideal. At home, I have a much smaller desk, so I purchased a larger monitor and have a smaller one off to the side. When I bought my larger monitor, I bought a curved one for funsies, but I actually really like it for work. I feel like I see the edges of the screen better, so it works well for split-screen.

    18. anonymous73*

      When I first started in August on a government contract, they provided me with a laptop. I asked about a monitor, and they could have gotten me one, but it would have taken about a month and I would have had to drive to HQ to pick it up (which is over 60 miles away in Northern VA, no thanks). So my husband bought me a gigantic curved monitor that is big enough to have 2 different documents/screen opened up on it (might even be enough to fit 3). I’ve since gotten a second laptop from my company, along with a 24″ monitor, but my desk was too small for the monitor and I would constantly have to swap laptops depending on the project/meeting. I FINALLY got a bigger desk a few days ago that allows me to roll from one side to the other and have each monitor hooked up to each laptop. It’s so much better.

    19. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have a 27″ monitor landscape on the right and a 24″ monitor portrait on the left — I use the portrait one for Outlook (at the bottom), Teams chat (at the top), and a software application that is annoying to scroll, so I just make it tall so I don’t have to. (Sometimes Word documents too.) Excel and most of my other software goes on the landscape one, which is also designated as my primary monitor so that’s where the toolbar/clock etc are. My webcam is on top of the landscape one, about 1/4 of the way across from its left, which is about the halfway point on both monitors together, so it’s fairly central and I don’t look distracted whichever monitor I’m looking at.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        That sounds similar to mine. Two 27″ in landscape, side by side, a 27″ in portrait, and an archaic 17″ that I refer to as a “half screen” due to its resolution (1280×1024) that generally just has a terminal emulator on it.

    20. WomEngineer*

      Right now mine is a laptop with a 27” monitor, provided by my employer. I mostly just use the monitor. I like that it’s wide enough to have multiple windows visible. It’s likely that I’d get a second one once I’m in the office.

      For personal projects, I have a curved Samsung monitor. Again, I like the big area (for designing and computer modeling) and the curve is nice. However, it won’t connect to my laptop unless I leave it unplugged overnight, so if I were to buy it again, I’d get another brand.

    21. Sharon*

      I have a laptop on a stand* with a wireless keyboard and mouse and a second monitor – I like the setup and when I’m in the office I will often use the laptop + two monitors as I do a lot of editing, comparing versions, etc.

      *The laptop stand was recommended to me by my physical therapist some years ago when I was in an auto accident and I love it. It raises the laptop screen up to a better height so your neck doesn’t hurt from looking down all day.

      1. Liz*

        I also have a laptop stand and it was a game changer for me! Prior to the pandemic, and it, i HATED working from home. Finally realized it was only because I didn’t have a good setup. Now I have my laptop on the stand, but a full size keyboard and monitor, which really is all I need and use, and its like having a full size desktop like I do in the office. Now? i prefer WFH to the office!

    22. SarahKay*

      I have two landscape monitors, which was the same as I had on site, but I also now utilise my laptop screen. Disadvantage is that it’s a bit of a space-hogging set-up, as it’s wide, but the advantages of ease of work-flow more than make up for that.
      I keep my laptop screen just for putting things on when I’m sharing my screen on Teams – that way people can see everything on it that I want to share, but any IM’s etc don’t show; they pop-up in my ‘primary’ monitor instead. For daily work I’m usually processing SAP on the right screen and using MS Office on the left screen.
      I love this set-up so much that I’d buy my own monitors if I moved to a new job and was expected to work just on a laptop screen.

    23. Joyce To the World*

      I have a laptop that I keep docked and closed at all times unless I have to use the camera. I can’t see the screen on my the laptop as it is too small.
      I have 1 monitor which is my preference as I have vision issues and 2 would cause havoc.

    24. Professional Emailer*

      I’m hybrid and have one large screen at the office and two monitors at home. I prefer my two monitors because I find that windows want to default to full screen with the in-office set up so I waste a bit of time snapping them to whichever part of the screen I want to work on. Not to mention the startle I get every time I’m the first one to a Zoom call – my face does not need to be that big! At home, the window just fills one monitor leaving the other open for email, Skype, etc. It seems like a small amount of time to move windows around but it adds up when I’m in crunch mode.

    25. Two Dog Night*

      I have my laptop monitor on the left, on a box, which usually shows Outlook (and AAM right now. :-) ). I’ve got two 24″ monitors to the right of the laptop, both currently landscape, although I’m thinking about trying one on portrait. The middle one is the main working monitor; Teams lives on the monitor on the right.

      My desk has a keyboard tray that holds a wireless keyboard and mouse–I really recommend that if you can manage it. I find the laptop monitor more useful when it’s not a desk level.

    26. SC in NC*

      Like many, I went with a sit stand desk. I added a 6″ riser to the back of it with two 32″ monitors. That allows me to set the monitors at a more comfortable depth/height and run all of the connections below the riser. I’ve used multiple monitors for years and could not work without at least three screens including my laptop. This is similar to our set-up in the office but my WFH monitors are significantly larger which I love. Something else to consider, a decent webcam mounted on or above one of your monitors allows you to engage with people while still looking at information on your screens. It’s not critical but it looks better if you have regular calls or presentations.

    27. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

      I have a laptop + landscape monitor in my home office. The monitor is a recent addition, and while I like it because I can use OneNote while I’m watching a presentation on Teams during meetings I need to get a new desk now because the monitor has taken over all of my space and I hate all of the exposed wires.

    28. Nicki Name*

      Laptop + 2 monitors. It was the standard at my office, and my company allowed us to take everything home.

      Both my monitors are in landscape orientation, but some of my coworkers have found it useful to set up one in portrait mode.

    29. RagingADHD*

      I have 2 landscape monitors that I use frequently to draft documents based on reference material. I can keep the reference material open on one and work in the other. Love it.

      One screen is on an elevated stand on my desktop. The other is mounted on a swing arm to the bookshelf next to my desk, so that when I want to use my tall side table as a standing desk, I can flip it around.

      Truth be told, I have yet to use the flip-around-standing-desk option, because I have used that side table as a dumping ground for unfinished stuff and un-filed paperwork for long enough that it’s a hassle to clear it up. But hope springs eternal.

    30. Panda*

      I have a 49″ curved monitor. It’s awesome. The only pain is when I need to share several documents at once on Teams. But otherwise I just share the document that I need to share.

    31. A Poster Has No Name*

      Man, this so much depends on your work. I’m a data analyst, so spreadsheets & reports and whatnot so I have two landscape monitors side-by-side. One is 27″ and the other is 24″. I don’t really have the space for bigger ones, and generally don’t need that much more monitor space, anyway.

      If I did a lot of writing or editing I’d probably want a portrait monitor for that to reduce the scroll, but it wouldn’t be useful for me.

      I have an Uplift sit/stand desk (48″x30″) which is just big enough for two monitors on their stands, my keyboard and general desk paraphernalia. I have a Wavlink USB hub that allows everything to be connected to the laptop that stays tucked under the main monitor stand.

    32. KuklaRed*

      I have been working from home for many years and have a pretty good setup. I have a large L-shaped desk (an original SteelCase – thank you, Freecycle!). On one side I have my personal laptop with an additional HDMI 24″ monitor. On the other side I have my work laptop with 2 24″ monitors, both on stands which have storage underneath. I can slide my laptop into the storage area if I wish or, if I need additional screen real estate, I can pull it out and open it for a 3rd screen.

    33. Half April Ludgate, Half Leslie Knope*

      I have one laptop on a stand plus a monitor that I pulled out of my cubicle, but I’m actually considering getting an all-in-one desktop that has an HDMI in port so I can use that as my personal computer when I’m not working (currently I have my personal laptop on the other side of my monitor, and it looks very silly!)

      I sometimes wish I had a third monitor, but I just didn’t have the space on my desk for it. I’ve also considered buying one of those laptop monitor attachments that I can use when I am on the go but need dual screens!

      My laptop stand has made the biggest difference – it looks like a metal C shape, and it holds the laptop up a couple inches. I bought a wireless keyboard so I don’t have to use the laptop keyboard and that’s been awesome. Going wireless as much as possible has made my desk so much cleaner and easier to use!

    34. Neurodivergentsaurus Rex*

      I use my laptop and one medium sized landscape monitor that was a hand me down from a friend who used to WFH and is not currently working. She actually gave me another monitor too that I would love to use but I don’t have the desk space.

    35. Irish girl*

      I have to large widescreen monitors. I still split screen documents so i can see 4 at a time across both screens. you jsut have to make sure you desk will accommodate them both and if you do sit-to-stand there are monitor holders for 2. Also if you have a universal dock that works with mac and PC you can minimize issues with connections that are different.

    36. Gracely*

      My WFH setup was my laptop and my tablet; everything we share at work is Google Suite/Office/whatever it’s called. They were the same OS, but a different OS than I have at my desk at work.

      Everything that needed typing, I did on the laptop, whereas research, video meetings, etc. I used my tablet.

    37. Quinalla*

      2 landscape monitors is what I have and I love it. I still sometimes will split 2 documents on one screen with something bigger on the other screen, but yeah high recommend. I also have mine on mounts that mount to the very back of the desk, so it leaves nearly the entire desk open for papers, work tools, post-its, etc. which is also awesome.

      I do have a sit/stand desk, I don’t use it a ton, but try to at least use it during meetings so I’m not sitting so much. A solid sit/stand desk is not too much more expensive than a good regular desk, so if you think you might use it, go for it. I have a thing under it to hold my keyboard mouse (again more desk space that way) and my tower PC so it raises up with the desk. It is really nice!

    38. Rain in Spain*

      I have a relatively small sit-stand desk (it’s less than 4 feet in length) and it’s just deep enough to comfortably hold my laptop, monitor, and keyboard/mouse. I am not a physical paper person- I do 100% of my work on my computer. Due to space constraints I went with one giant monitor that’s mounted on a movable arm. I often compare documents and have plenty of space to do that on the one big screen.

      My on-site office has two monitors, which I do use/enjoy (I keep my email and time tracking open on one and then actively work in the other), but it is not *necessary* for me. Depends on what you like!

      Also, I know many coworkers who are working off of a cloud document service to circumvent the OS type issue- but that really depends on the nature of your work, security settings, etc.

    39. Witty Nickname*

      My old set up was Portrait monitor (mostly for space reasons, but I liked having that option for certain tools & sites I used regularly), Landscape monitor (main one I used, so it was in the middle), laptop screen. And sometimes I complained about needing a 4th monitor. Alas, I had no room left for it, and my laptop would only support 2 external monitors. I have a tiny space along one wall of my bedroom to use for work, so my desk is only about 4′ long. The monitors took up a lot of space but it was worth it because my job regularly involved looking at multiple screens/tools, as well as facilitating meetings, screen sharing presentations, and taking notes all at the same time.

      In my new job, I have a laptop that will only support 1 external monitor. It makes conference calls difficult. Unless I’m sharing the notes on screen, I’ve gone back to taking them by hand and then typing them up later. But I’m getting used to it and finding I don’t mind the 3rd monitor as much as I thought I would. Most of the time anyway.

    40. Meg*

      I have a laptop and a portable second monitor and I LOVE it. the second screen is 15″, and so is my laptop. I found for me personally, having 2 screens was more important and helpful than bigger screens. I initially picked the portable one because it would be easier to store in a small apartment when we went back to the office (oh the naivete of the early months of covid). It has ended up being super helpful as I’ve been staying with my grandpa for a couple weeks a time every couple months, and I can bring my entire set up with me. I ended up buying a stand for mine (to replace the folio type stand it came with) and have it on a small shelf/riser on my desk. My desk is a sit to stand and it’s totally stable while I’m moving the desk.

      Even though I initially picked it because I didn’t have a permanent office space in my small apartment, and I’ve since gotten a bigger desk, I’m still really happy with the smaller monitor. Not having a giant screen makes my little office corner feel less obtrusive in my living room. If I were going to work from home full time permanently, AND had a dedicated office room, I would probably get bigger monitors.

    41. Bosslady*

      It depends some on what you are doing all day, but I’ve been working from home for about 12 years and I love my set up. I have the electric “L”shaped ikea standing desk with a large monitor and two extra monitors. I could probably get by with just one extra monitor but I review medical records and write reports so this way I don’t have to do any flipping back and forth. I can be writing and looking at documents at the same time.

      The ikea desk is about 5 years old and was definitely the best price among similar desks and has been great. It has a net underneath to hold all the wires so it looks nice. I always put my desk up at the end of the day so that when I get in to my office in the morning I’m standing. Otherwise I don’t tend to put the desk up until I’m uncomfortable.

      When my high school aged kids were virtual all last year we bought them extra monitors to use with their school computers. They both resisted saying they totally didn’t need it, and within a week both said they didn’t know how they could do without them (and it’s rare to get a “you’re right” out of teenagers!)

    42. Jessica Ganschen*

      Two monitors in landscape and the laptop open in the middle below them for a total of three screens. I adore it and can’t live without it now, but I’m pretty lucky to have a decent sized desk in a decent sized room.

    43. Purple Penguin*

      I work with a medium sized wide monitor (25in?) because a) I have limited space (my desk is 3 ft wide and the monitor takes 3/4s of the room) b) I work in a hybrid of sitting and standing c) that hybrid is Frankenstein-ed with old textbooks serving as my monitor stand when I am standing (a cardboard box holds my keyboard when I’m standing – I cut it to be at my arm height) d) since I’m moving things often, I wanted a monitor that wasn’t too heavy and my medium sized one is relatively easy to move. I’ve also moved work locations a few times and the monitor was small enough to easily pop in my carry on suitcase.

    44. Ultrawiiidddeee*

      Hi! I went from three 24″ monitors (landscape orientation) to one 49″ ultrawide monitor and it has been amazing to work from the ultrawide. I have both a PC and Mac hooked up to the single monitor and can either display both systems simultaneously or easily flip between them depending on the work.

      The only downside to the single monitor is that the split is done down the center line of the monitor and you’re usually looking left or right vs straight on like the triple monitor setup so it’s not exactly ergonomic. Also, it is a gaming monitor, so I had to update the graphics card on the PC to use the full resolution.

      I’m a data analyst, so I’m constantly switching between spreadsheets, coding, and QA windows.

    45. 653-CXK*

      I use my TV set and hook it up via an HDMI cable to my laptop. The laptop screen is for websites and PDFs and the TV set is used for spreadsheets and emails.

  2. Cat Tree*

    I’m on an interview panel for an entry level position, and I only have experience interviewing for more senior roles. So I’m open to advice on questions to ask. For background, I won’t be the hiring manager but I used to work in this role and I’m the SME for several parts of it so I will provide occasional mentoring to the person we hire.

    From reading AAM I know to think about the skills that are important to the role and ask questions to determine those things. Here’s what I have so far:

    -We need someone with a collaborative approach to group decisions. Each project has stakeholders from several departments with different perspectives. We have a consensus culture and it is rare for someone to “pull rank”. I have seen some people get too invested in “winning” at a disagreement and that attitude is just not productive. We need someone who can present their own point of view clearly, but also be willing to change their mind when warranted.
    -We need someone who can deal with changing priorities. We are 24/7 manufacturing and batches don’t always get released in the same order they are made (different markets and demands). We need someone who can adapt to changes. At this level we don’t expect the person to decide how to prioritize, but only to recognize when they need to escalate to their manager. We want to avoid people who either don’t recognize their own inability to complete everything, or are too embarrassed to ask for help and will let things go unfinished for too long.

    My two requests for advice:
    1. What are some good behavioral interview questions to get at those qualities I’m looking for? (I have some ideas but I’m open to suggestions.)
    2. Are there things I should be looking for specifically for entry level candidates? Things that I take for granted with experienced colleagues that a newer person might not have yet?

    1. EngGirl*

      I always try to keep my questions open endedish. Otherwise I feel like I’m driving them to the answer they know I want. So instead of “how are you in a fast paced environment” I go “What is your ideal work environment in terms of pacing? So you like to have many tasks to focus on at once or do you prefer to focus on one thing until it’s complete?”

      For an entry level person I’m just looking for someone teachable.

      1. Cat Tree*

        Thanks. I didn’t mention in my initial comment, but we only do behavioral interview questions. Being teachable or willing to learn is definitely important so I will try to focus on that. I’m trying to think of a way to ask that that doesn’t sound antagonistic.

        1. hamsterpants*

          I interview people where we need similar qualities. I like “Tell me about a time where you had to change your approach to solving a problem” and “In addition to (or instead of) asking your manager, how would you go about figuring out how to solve a problem you hadn’t encountered before?” And “tell me about a time where you and a team-mate disagreed about how to approach a problem.”

      2. Momma Bear*

        Agreed. Unless I really need someone who knows a llama from an alpaca from day 1, I need someone trainable. I’ve asked how they handled a challenge, or how they showed flexibility, or to tell us about something they are proud of – that last one can get interesting and sometimes bleeds into how they meet a challenge. We also need someone to take a direction and roll with it, but also not be afraid to ask for help. Don’t spin wheels for a week because you couldn’t track down SME#1.

        I also look for whether or not they’ve actually done research or if they’re just spitballing with their resumes. If someone clearly doesn’t have an interest in our industry, will they stay long? On the other hand, if someone who may not have industry experience has looked at our website and really picked up on a few things, I am more willing to give them a chance.

        1. pcake*

          Momma Bear, I agree with this 1000%

          “I also look for whether or not they’ve actually done research or if they’re just spitballing with their resumes. If someone clearly doesn’t have an interest in our industry, will they stay long? On the other hand, if someone who may not have industry experience has looked at our website and really picked up on a few things, I am more willing to give them a chance.”

    2. DigitalEmployee*

      I’ve always asked things like “how would you navigate a situation where you need a critical piece of information but the person you would get it from is completely unavailable and the deadline is two hours away?”

      It can give good insight into their thought process, find out if they will escalate, and if they’re aware that there are probably procedures in place for instances like that. It can be tailored to the role as well and give you a clearer idea of the kind of mentoring they will need to be successful in the job.

      1. Cat Tree*

        Thanks, this is helpful. I think the broader skill I’m looking for is just knowing when to escalate in general so I will keep that question more generic.

    3. Project Manager here*

      For an entry level position, you should look to teach your hire how to navigate these things. Expecting them to already have experience in any of what you wrote means that you’re no longer looking for an entry level person.

      Any recent college or high school grad (entry level) may have an experience or two with group project, but not everyone would even have that. It sounds like you’re looking for someone with some experience, maybe 3-5 years, and are trying to push that down to entry level.

      1. Cat Tree*

        So just for context, we are filling multiple positions and some of them are above entry level but still more junior than I’m used to interviewing for. Thanks for helping me to realize that I need to approach them differently. We still want the same traits, but for the true entry level positions it’s more important that they have the willingness and ability to learn these things. I’ll have to think about how to phrase the questions.

        (Also in our industry it is standard for entry level candidates to have several college internships so I still think behavioral interview questions are relevant.)

        1. Hlao-roo*

          One thing you can do for the just-out-of-college candidates (if it makes sense for your field) is explicitly tell them they can use examples from college clubs, class projects, and internships. If they had to resolve interpersonal conflicts on their club sports team, for example, that is a good sign you will be able to coach them on how to deal with interpersonal conflicts in an office environment.

          Some questions you might want to ask to find the qualities you describe are:
          – tell me about a time something didn’t go your way. what was the situation and how did you respond?
          – tell me about a time you had to make a decision as a group (or within a group). what was the situation and how did the group come to the decision? what was your role in the decision making process? (might not need the final question, but a good prompt if the person responds with all “we” statements)
          – tell me about a time you had to deal with conflicting priorities.
          – tell me about a time when plans changed last-minute. how did you deal with the situation?

      2. Trout 'Waver*

        Yeah, this bugged me too.

        Influencing without authority in a collaborative environment and dealing with rapidly changing priorities in a lean manufacturing environment are not entry level skills.

        1. Cat Tree*

          We have had many entry level employees successfully demonstrate this kind of skill. The point is not for them to change the mind of a director in a different department, but to have an understanding their own work (not say “uhhh I think it should be this way”), be willing to listen to other perspectives instead of doubling down out of pride, and to know when seek input/direction from their manager. These skills are perfectly reasonable for entry level employees and even interns.

          You’re weirdly hostile to my company in a way that is completely unhelpful. I’m not going to change the company, the position, or the expectations. I’m asking for advice on making the most of the interview process. You have made it clear that you Formally Disapprove of the way we do things, so I will ask that you no longer contribute to this conversation. You don’t have to like the position or the company and I don’t have to convince you to like anything. Feel however you want, but if you have no actual answers to my actual questions you are just being rude.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            You keep saying I’m weird and insulting me. Why is that?

            Also, I have answered both your questions; you just didn’t like my answers apparently.

            1. What are some good behavioral interview questions to get at those qualities I’m looking for? (I have some ideas but I’m open to suggestions.)
            “…clearly explain expectations about the decision making processes and ask behavior questions about how the candidate handled situations where they ran into tasks they didn’t know to complete. i.e “Tell me about a time you ran into a task you weren’t trained to complete. How did you handle it? What was the outcome of the task?””
            2. Are there things I should be looking for specifically for entry level candidates? Things that I take for granted with experienced colleagues that a newer person might not have yet?
            “Influencing without authority in a collaborative environment and dealing with rapidly changing priorities in a lean manufacturing environment are not entry level skills.”

          2. Trout 'Waver*

            I’m also giving extreme side-eye to the combination of “I have seen some people get too invested in “winning” at a disagreement and that attitude is just not productive.” and “You have made it clear you Formally Disapprove of the way we do things, so I will ask you to no longer contribute to this conversation.”

        2. Loulou*

          I don’t see why not! Especially the first one, which seems like much more a question of temperament and outlook than experience (not that this skill can’t be honed through experience, of course it can). I’ve seen student workers who are great at articulating their ideas and making a persuasive case while also being willing to compromise, and senior leaders who seem incapable of it.

      3. Manic Pixie Dream Grad*

        Somewhat depresssingly (maybe), experience is often standard for entry-level jobs at many large companies. All of the grads I work with did internships before starting, and most (almost all) of the interns had a part time job and/or volunteering experience.

        Yes, they train you, but you need to prove that you’re worth training beforehand.

        1. Manic Pixie Dream Grad*

          Sorry – this reply was intended for Trout ‘Waver! My kingdom for an edit button.

    4. Trout 'Waver*

      Keep in mind that hiring is a two-way street, now more than ever. If I interviewed for a job and they told me the primary qualifications were those two, I’d think it was a highly dysfunctional workplace with ineffective management. Management should be facilitating decisions making, but they should either be making decisions or clearly defining roles so that decisions are made by a specific person or process. Consensus culture as you describe it is poor leadership.

      Also, constantly changing priorities is problematic. I’ve worked several places that required constantly changing focus to different types of tasks, and we were always able to built out a simple decision tree for figuring out what to work on that didn’t require playing mother-may-I? with each task.

      Also, be wary of being too reflexive and over-correcting for past hires. It really sounds like you’re angry at past employees and looking specifically to avoid certain types rather actively seeking out the right fit.

      Reading between the lines, it appears you want someone who is subordinate in the decision making processes and will ask for help when they encounter a task they don’t understand. If that’s the case, clearly explain expectations about the decision making processes and ask behavior questions about how the candidate handled situations where they ran into tasks they didn’t know to complete. i.e “Tell me about a time you ran into a task you weren’t trained to complete. How did you handle it? What was the outcome of the task?”

      1. Cat Tree*

        Your comment is weirdly hostile.

        I understand that hiring is a two-way street. You’re reading a lot into my comment, but this is tuff most functional culture I’ve ever worked in. Do you really prefer to work in an authoritarian culture instead of a consensus culture? That’s fine if you do, but I don’t most people want that.

        As for changing priorities, that is the nature of manufacturing in a capitalist system. Plenty of us work well with flexibility. If a candidate is rigid then this isn’t the place for them. And *of course* managers are responsible for prioritization which is why I literally said exactly that in my comment. But it’s still the employee’s responsibility to raise the issue and ask how to prioritize. Some people are too embarrassed to admit that they’re not a superhero so they hide it, and that’s what we want to avoid.

        Our company encourages autonomy over obedience. Many people have thrived in these positions so it’s not like we’re looking for anything unreasonable. You seem to prefer a culture where you can just follow orders, so it’s good for both of us that you are presumably not one of the candidates for these interviews.

        1. Hiring Mgr*

          I think your questions and approach are perfectly fine, and you seem to have a good handle on what you’re looking for.

          The only thing I’d suggest is maybe add some context when you ask about the collaboration/agreeing with the decision part…otherwise it might sound to the candidate that a huge component of their job is going to be internal wrangling/frustration… not everyone will be up for that..

    5. just a thought*

      My friend used to ask this question in her interviews for interns in her accounting firm, but it might work for you as well since you need them to recognize their inability to complete everything:

      “One manager comes in and gives you a project that has to be completed by tomorrow morning that’s a lot of work. An hour late, a second manager comes in and gives you a second project that also needs to be completed by tomorrow. You look at both projects and the work they will take and realize there is no way you can do both the tomorrow morning deadline. How do you handle this situation?”

      Generally, they were looking for some variation of talking to one or both of the managers. The details weren’t important, just that the interviewee knew to speak up and let at least one manager know early.

      They would also get responses like “I would work all night to do as much as I can” or “I would try to work on both and get as far as possible”. These answers were not what they were looking for. They didn’t want interns completing impossible workloads and getting burned out.

      1. Cat Tree*

        Thanks for your insight. We only ask behavioral interview questions but I think I can modify those hypotheticals into that format.

      2. Anon attorney*

        I agree that this is a really useful question. Some junior candidates will give an answer that boils down to “I would just work harder” and in my experience, that translates into an inability to renegotiate competing priorities but also a mindset where the person doesn’t feel they can exercise any agency over their own workload, which sometimes works in a hierarchical organization but isn’t conducive to roles which require some initiative and self management.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        That’s a really good question. The answer would definitely suss out someone who was afraid to say something.

    6. Anna Badger*

      for your first bullet point I really like “think of a time when you disagreed with a decision that was made – what did you do next?”

      I’m looking for a combination of:

      – understanding that the decision maker may have other priorities and other information not available to the candidate

      – the candidate doing their due diligence to make sure that the decision maker had all the information the candidate had

      – if the decision was upheld, the candidate then getting behind it and working to make it a success (where appropriate, so not if it was a decision to do something awful)

      1. Cat Tree*

        Thanks, this is along the lines I was thinking of. Those are all great things to look for in the answer.

    7. Gnome*

      Since this is entry level and you want characteristics more than certain learned skills… Do tests for them! For instance, I have seen interviews where a team was there to offer help/advice guidance and they had to answer a “how should we approach this” kind of question. I think they were told that the point wasn’t the answer, but how they got there. Using something similar, you could see, does the candidate ask for opinions? Sit back passively, etc. Also, you could have people on the team assigned roles (don’t tell the candidate).. like Negative Ned, who doesn’t think anything will work or I-dunno Ingrid who is non-committal, or whatever makes sense to see how they handle it. Do they work to form consensus? Try to address Ned’s concerns? Etc.

      I say this because I know a guy who thinks he is the epitome of collaborative behavior… And he is probably the worst collaborator I’ve ever met. But he knows how to talk about it, so it only shows up when working with him! Sort of like management that says they are hands off but actually micromanage.

    8. TechGirlSupervisor*

      I manage software development and we have to constantly change tasks to fix bugs quickly. Or incorporate customer feedback into a feature.

      Here’s a question I used just recently:

      “Tell me about a time when you realized you had to change work priorities quickly and how did you handle that situation?”

  3. Insert Clever Name Here*

    This came up on the post yesterday about being a working mom with kids and several people were unaware, so: You can activate autoplay in Disney plus! If the profile is set as Kids, the default is off but you can toggle it on. On the page where you select which profile you’re watching, click “edit profile” at the bottom, then select the one you want to edit — “Autoplay” is the second or third option down.

    Go forth and enjoy not having to click “next episode” every 8 minutes for Bluey while you’re on a conference call!

      1. PostalMixup*

        I know for certain that Tumble Leaf will play on its own for several episodes, so there must be a way, at least on Fire TV!

      2. NotRealAnonForThis*

        I know that Netflix on my Kindle tablet does a fairly quick autoplay to the next episode, at least on a particular favorite crime procedural. That’s for me, not my kids!

  4. TV Researcher*

    I got a job!

    After over a year of unemployment (outside of some freelance work), I got a full-time, full-benefits job!

    And just in time to, because next month, my CoBRA benefits flip and I’ll be paying the majority of the bill, with my former company paying the minority portion.

    Best part, it’s about a 40% increase over the job that laid me off. Sorry, still bitter, former company laid me off while I was still in active cancer treatments – which is just bad form for a multi-billion dollar company.

    Only negative is that when the office reopens at the end of February, it will be a hotdesking office.

    Still, I have a job!

    1. Fact & Fiction*

      From someone who went through 10 months of Covid-related unemployment last year (being laid off from a new job just a few months after they recruited me from a job where I was happy in a stable job for several years) and who is still recovering from a traumatic injury I suffered in June, congratulations! I’m sorry your previous company did that, and I understand about the bitterness because I feel some myself toward the company that laid me off. I finally ended up finding a new job that lasts until at least late next year, and it was a huge relief.
      Hope your new job is fantastic and that the hotdesking doesn’t suck TOO much!

    2. StellaBella*

      I am so glad for you, well done! Keep safe. When you go back, bring wipes, distance if possible, maskup, etc. Also, am so sorry they laid you off in the middle of your cancer treatments. they suck.

    3. Kewlm0m*

      Congratulations on the new job and the pay increase – awesome! And I hope you are recuperating well and on the road to recovery after your medical treatments.

  5. Junior Dev*

    Aam question

    After 5 years in the software industry I have burned out, and just took a landscaping job at an amusement park. The company was small enough not to be affected by the vaccine mandate when it was in effect and they don’t seem to have any internal policies that are above what the state mandates (must wear masks around customers and indoors when other people are around). I am thinking about how to keep myself safe from COVID — I’m fully vaccinated and had my booster shot as soon as they were available, but I really would like to minimize exposure too, and I know the guy who interviewed me is unvaccinated since he told me. I’m sure at least some of my coworkers will be too.

    One thought I had is that I should probably eat and drink outside or in my car during breaks/lunch. But I am worried about not getting to know my coworkers/being seen as aloof. I figure since I will probably be working outside with other people I can have conversations with them, though I don’t want to be annoying or distract from the work either.

    I’m managing a lot here in terms of transitioning fields, possibly being seen as aloof/pretentious due to my previous job, and trying to not get COVID. I suppose it’s possible my interviewer was just especially bad about taking COVID seriously and the other people I’d be working with will be more understanding.

    As for why I chose to take this job and not one that takes the pandemic more seriously, i figure it’s less risky since most of the work is outside and it’s not directly customer-facing.

    People who’ve been working jobs similar to this during the pandemic: what practical advice do you have for setting boundaries with coworkers to keep safe? And any advice for not coming off as rude while doing so? (While I obviously would like to accomplish both, I’m gonna put my safety first if it comes down to it.)

    1. Observer*

      In decent weather, people might be eating outside anyway.

      It’s OK to chat with people while you are working, as long as you’re not getting into the kind of stuff that really would be distracting. I mean if you are clipping hedges and talking about the latest ~~favorite sitcom episode~~ or commenting about how the weather has affected your commute, that friendly enough and shouldn’t be a huge distraction for most people.

    2. River Otter*

      Socially, I tell people matter-of-factly that I am not doing anything indoors and ask about getting together for something outdoors. Could you do a variation of this for lunches? Something like, “ I am being cautious and avoiding doing anything indoors. How about moving lunch outdoors?” Of course, that assumes it is nice enough outdoors to eat lunch, which eventually it will be.

      1. Cold Fish*

        I find it best not to bring up “I am being cautious…” as that tends to make people defensive. Just invite them to eat lunch outside (if weather cooperates). Don’t point out you are wearing a mask indoors, just wear the mask. There are a lot of people that are just tired of the discussion. If you don’t bring it up, they won’t bring it up.

    3. anonymous73*

      I’ve learned that those that will judge you for being more cautious than they are will judge you no matter what you do. Do what makes you comfortable and stop worrying about what others are thinking. If someone is questioning your preferences, be honest. If they can’t accept that, it’s on them. I realize you want to have a comfortable working environment, but nothing you do or say will make a difference to hard core anti-maskers/anti-vaxxers.

      1. Junior Dev*

        That’s true. I think I’m nervous about being judged in a “oooh, you think you’re too good to eat with us” way. But ultimately that’s their problem if it happens.

        1. River Otter*

          It’s all in how you say it. You can’t completely control another person‘s reaction, but you can do things that make it less likely that someone will see an implied criticism. If you make a caution a thing that you are doing because it’s about you, that has much less of a subtext of “unlike you, you reckless barbarian.”

        2. DJ Abbott*

          When I was wearing a mask and my coworkers weren’t, I just said I’m cautious and have respiratory allergies so I wanted to protect myself from variants.
          Then the delta variant started and management made everyone wear masks.

    4. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I know I’m not answering your question but this is so cool, Junior Dev! I once left teaching and became a dishwasher and then line cook and then shuttle driver and then went to grad school. I’m so interested in your experience. Do you enjoy your own landscaping or will this be completely new to you?

      1. Junior Dev*

        I’ve done a little landscaping for family members and for volunteer projects but otherwise it’s totally new.

        I got fired in October 2021, I had gotten extremely burned out and also depressed from being alone at home all the time. This is my first job since that happened, although I was volunteering twice a week and keeping active in other ways. I’m pretty nervous about going back to work at all, but I think this job will be nice.

        What did you go to grad school for? What are you doing now, and do you like it?

    5. Quinalla*

      I do think advice to just do your thing and if someone asks, have an answer ready – tailored to your personal situation. I know when vaccines were all good for adults and mask indoors was not as much of a thing for a while there, I was still wearing a mask. If people asked, I told them that I was still masking because my kids couldn’t get vaccinated yet and one of my kids is high risk as well for COVID. I never had anyone say a single thing negative about it, even those who I knew were on a very different part of the spectrum of all the COVID risk stuff than me. People understood why I would do that, even if they wouldn’t. I know others have had good luck with “I have a family member who is high risk, so I always mask indoors.”

      I think if you try to be as matter-of-fact as possible, it will go as well as it can. You can’t control people’s reactions, but you can encourage them to be civil by starting out being matter-of-fact and civil yourself.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I guess I can say that my roommate (who I’m currently working on getting a house with) has a chronic illness and is especially worried about COVID. But I hopefully won’t have to even get that far.

        I did have that feeling of masks not being needed inside over the summer when I’d recently been vaccinated and we weren’t hearing about variants yet. I guess if other people are just tired of being cautious that’s their right, within reason. I’m choosing to get a job outside the house even though I know it means increased exposure.

        1. bunniferous*

          If you mention your protecting someone else that should take care of things. I am more pro mask than the majority of my friends but when I point out I have a husband with health issues they tend to not press the point.

    6. Elaner*

      For me, I’d say look into what you can control on your person. KN95s are a really good option for under the radar upgrading your protection, because you can get all the different colors that don’t stand out the same way an N95 with head straps could. And if you are okay going with an N95, the 3M 9105 model seems to have the best price for those. Check out the wirecutter article on how to reuse and it should help.

      I focus on masking, because even if you don’t eat with your coworkers, you can still come over to their table once you’re done and remasked.

    7. Just done*

      You can catch covid from vaccinated people, too.

      I did. And so did a vast majority of my family and friends.
      So, being around vaccinated is really no different from being around the unvaccinated.
      How do I know? We all have only been around each other and we’re ALL vaccinated.

      Wash your hands, eat healthy, get good sleep is my best advice. There’s literally really nothing you can do to prevent infection 100%.

      1. bratschegirl*

        Yes, vaccinated people can acquire and spread COVID, although boosted folks are the least likely, but unvaccinated people are far more likely to do both. It’s absolutely not supported by any current evidence to say “being around unvaccinated is no different.”

  6. EngGirl*

    So I’m pretty sure I’m going to get an earful from upper management next week about failures in another site that I have no control over.

    Anyone have a good way to respond to someone taking you across the coals for (fairly massive) issues that you have no real oversight over and that you don’t want oversight over? Or just tips on how not to cry when getting torn a new one over it? Or waterproof mascara recommendations?

    1. geek5508*

      how much capital do you have? If a lot, stand up for yourself and point out that you DID NOT have oversight of the other site.

      If not, grin and bear it, unfortunately.

      1. Artemesia*

        Probably this. I would be tempted to ask precisely what they would like me to do if this issue arrises again.

        1. EngGirl*

          Yeah, I’m trying to think of a polite way to ask that without having to take on too much additional responsibility as I’m already super overloaded.

    2. It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s SuperAnon*

      Is there anything you can do ahead of time to prepare a story? Why things went wrong, what could be done to prevent it in the future? It always helps me to have talking points. Or, can you pull in the people who do have oversight and have them explain?

    3. Hotdog not dog*

      How about, “I’m disappointed about that too. What can we do going forward to prevent it from happening again?” Or, “what would you have done differently?”
      Tone is important so they don’t misinterpret it as sarcasm.
      Good luck, it stinks to be the scapegoat for something you have no control over!

    4. AndersonDarling*

      Who is in control of that site? I’d refer them to that person for every statement.
      “Why did the sprockets arrive late?!?!?”
      “Have you spoken to Pat? Pat oversees that division.”
      “I thought you were in charge of everything!”
      “You are mistaken. I can’t answer any questions about Pat’s division because I am not a part of that team. I’d suggest you call Pat and ask these questions.”

      1. EngGirl*

        I unfortunately think the person who oversees that division has volunteered me to take on this situation. Unfortunately as that person is above me organizationally and in my direct chain of command I’m probably not getting out of it. I’m just frustrated with the fact that I’m going to have to answer for something I wasn’t in control of at the time and be expected to fix it lol. It’s tricky because it’s going to broaden the scope of my work beyond what I signed on to, but they can make my job description whatever they want.

        1. LadyByTheLake*

          Practice this (or something like it): “I agree that there are problems in Peoria, but Peoria has always been outside of my scope of responsibilities. If the plan is changing and I will now be responsible for Peoria, in addition to [CURRENT RESPONSIBILITIES], I will need [ADDITIONAL STAFF, ADDITIONAL MONEY, NEW TITLE– EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED].

        2. FedUpMarketer*

          Some good advice! In response to you already being overloaded I’d also suggest Alison’s classic – I can take on this site, but it will mean that projects A and B will be put on pause, how do you want to handle coverage for that? And standing firm with what is/isn’t possible.

          And for the crying thing, deep breaths and try to detach. I cry when frustrated as well. If you catch it early enough ask to step out for a minute. Good luck!

    5. Jean*

      Stand your ground and don’t accept blame for what sounds like management’s own failure. “Gosh, I sure wish I could have helped with that but it’s not in my purview. This really sounds like an issue for the person who holds authority over that site.”

    6. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      3 thoughts. Of course if you have irrational upper management who just want to punish someone to make themselves feel better, the first 2 probably won’t be much use.

      1) Why can’t you push back? “Site X has never been my responsibility, I can’t tell those people what to do, and I don’t have any control over their equipment. Why are you talking to me about this instead of Fergus?”

      2) Do you have any documentation? “I’m not surprised that Site X went offline. I told Fergus that the llama grooming sprockets were overdue for replacement last September; I even CC’ed you on it.”

      3) (I’m assuming you’re an engineer from your handle — secret handshake). This psychological tip has worked for me. Upper management yelling at you is no different from a machine making a loud noise as it fails. Interesting data, but it didn’t fail *at* you. It just failed. Management is yelling – they aren’t yelling at you, they are yelling because that’s the only thing they know how to do. If you look at the person across the table as just a bundle of parts that’s behaving in a weird way, instead of as a person, then it all gets much easier to separate out the facts from the emotions.

      It’s a little like the advice for what to do when you’re in an uncomfortable social situation – run a David Attenborough TV narrative in your head. “Here we see the MBA in its native habitat. The loud tie and large fountain pen are used as protective camouflage. Now it’s approaching a group of entry-level accountants and will perform a dominance dance.”

      1. Green Beans*

        Yes for ,(2) – “I flagged this issue by X and Y. Is there another process I should use to report issues?”

      2. Haha Lala*

        This! Especially #3, that’s so accurate for engineers! (I say as a fellow engineer).

        And plan on having a good self care/reward night that evening. I’m thinking ice cream, chocolate, wine, trashy movies or whatever sort of reward you can think about to get you through the unpleasantness.

      3. Suprisingly ADHD*

        Oh man, that third point is brilliant! “it didn’t fail *at* me” is great advice on its own, but I never thought to apply it to someone yelling inappropriately. I’m definitely gonna start thinking that way.

    7. DigitalEmployee*

      This is so tmi but for the not crying thing, focus on clenching your butt/anus. I’ve had it recommended to me and I’ve found that it works.

      And second, have a suggestion for what to do next time (like appoint someone on-site to lead the project and if you have a name tell them who you would pick, offer to mentor that person if they specifically want your skill set, suggest a new procedure to build in safeguards and clearly list who it should be escalated to.)

      I avoid focusing on the failure because it keeps them stuck in the past. If you can bring them into the planning stage for making sure it’s handled better next time, it will keep the conversation moving forward and you will be able to limit the negative outpouring that some managers think is appropriate (I don’t think it is at all).

    8. River Otter*

      I think the question is what they see your role as. You might see your role differently, but if they see you as having a particular role at this other site, you have to address that. If you take accountability for the things that are your role, it gives you a better position to ask how they would like you to handle the things that you do not believe are your role. And this might end up being a very clear laying out of what your role actually is even though you don’t believe it to be so and don’t want it to be so. Sometimes in engineering, you just get responsibility and you have to figure out how to build your influence to carry out that responsibility.

      1. EngGirl*

        Yeah I think this is where there’s going to be a disconnect. I’ve always understood my role as X with some input into Y but no control, authority, or accountability. This seems like they’re going for my role is X and Y, still with no real control, some limited authority, and way more accountability than I’m comfortable with given my other limitations.

        1. JelloStapler*

          So accountability with no control and barely authority? I would find a way to ask how you can be accountable for something that you cannot impact or change. Or ask for it – “in order for me to effectively manage this part of my role, I need X amount of control. If I cannot have that, please let me know how to alert the person that does to intervene where I cannot”.

    9. Lora*

      It sort of doesn’t matter what you say to an unreasonable person. You could do your best Chicken Dance / Macarena, doesn’t matter, unreasonable people gonna unreasonable. So bear in mind there’s not a right way to deal with unreasonable people who are disinterested in solving the problem.

      I have a reputation for being an ice cold b1tch, on account of when men in male-dominated fields want to use me as their therapist or verbal punching bag, I am not nice in return. Weird. But I tend to say things like, “that sounds awful, what do you think you’ll do about it,” “did you want to borrow my 8D Kaizen root cause analysis template?” or “hmm, sounds like you and (person actually in charge) need to have a long talk.”

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Thanks Lora! As a woman who is a magnet for men who are looking for a babysitter, I’m going to use some of these! :)

    10. HR Exec Popping In*

      Spend some time thinking about why the failure happened and then share that and explain what you will need from them to help ensure this won’t happen again. For example…

      It appears that the XYZ system went down and local managers did not realize the issue until after we lost 2k teapots due to quality defects. I understand that this is not acceptable. To ensure something like this doesn’t happen again I need to bring in someone to diagnose the issue with the XYZ system and put new protocols in place for local managers. To do this, I will need $50k for the diagnostic and your support to ensure the new protocols are followed.

    11. anonymous73*

      You say you have no control over the site. Does this also mean the site is not your responsibility at all? Do you have duties relating to that site?

      If the site is not in any way your responsibility, I would ask questions. “Who’s in charge of that site?” “What would you suggest I do in the future as I have no authority over that site?” Don’t allow them to blame you if there’s nothing you could have done to prevent the issues.

      If there were things you missed or didn’t report, take responsibility for those things and ask how to better handle them in the future.

      As for the crying thing, I can’t help you. I don’t cry for stuff like that, but do cry when I am super pissed. Then I get more pissed at myself for crying, so endless cycle. Good luck.

      1. EngGirl*

        Lol I get the pissed off crying too! I’m not normally an emotional crier either, I’m just kind of drained from the situation and I’m definitely a frustrated crier especially if I’m being yelled at for something I didn’t do.

        To answer your question I have input into the sit me but no oversight. So let’s say that I am responsible for telling the site how to mix the paints to paint teapots and defining the color of the teapots. Then the site sends me a complete teapot and approve it. I’m also partially responsible for training the other color specialists at the site for how to evaluate the paint mixers, but I’m not responsible for making sure they’re performing those evaluations or in anyway for the paint mixers or painters at that or any other site. The paint mixers have gone off the book and changed the ways the paints get mixed, but the completed teapots are coming out the right color and the other color specialists did nothing to correct the issue. Now I’m being asked why this happened. It hasn’t caused a deliverable issue but a systemic one.

        1. anonymous73*

          Okay so it sounds like you have no way of knowing if the process of something has changed, because the end product that comes to you is correct. It’s just the way they got to that end product is not correct.

          Even though it’s not part of your job, maybe go in armed with solutions to make sure the process is followed – sign offs, checkpoints, etc. – or if you don’t know who’s responsible for those things, go in with a general plan of how to make it work. Then you could know if the process wasn’t followed and report it if needed. I would also put the responsibility on them to answer their own questions. Instead of just sitting there and taking the blame, ask them how they expect you to know there’s a problem with the process if the end product comes to you with no issues.

        2. Mockingjay*

          Ah, it’s a process issue. They’re not following the process. So you did what you were supposed to, how and when you were supposed to, but they did not. If you flagged that at any point, refer back. “I trained the paint mixers in our process as you requested, but daily oversight of their work is their manager’s purview. The SOP lays out everything they need; I made sure each painter got a copy during training. By happenstance I caught some errors in paint mixing early, but that was just luck. If they follow the SOP, it shouldn’t happen again. Maybe add a checklist or a QC step to the SOP?”

          Use a calm, slightly perplexed tone. You want to convey, of course it’s a team problem, how shall we solve it? without accepting any blame whatsoever.

          1. Hillary*

            OP, are you a six sigma or lean shop? This is a great opportunity for a root cause countermeasure – offering to lead it could deflect the frustration from the leader.

        3. Mimi*

          For this specific situation, I might try an angle of, “This issue happened because I have no visibility into the paint mixing process to ensure that my recommendations are followed. Who will be in charge of monitoring paint compliance in future and reporting to [ideally someone who isn’t me] if something similar happens again?”

          1. River Otter*

            This is a good approach. I would change it a little bit because there is an assumption that management is trying to blame you. I would take more of an approach like,
            “Here is the training for the paint mixers, and here is the training for the evaluation of the paint mixers. I looked into how the site ensures that the processes are being followed, end it seems like there is a gap there which we could close up to prevent this from becoming an issue that would affect deliveries.”
            And of course, you would have gone and having done some homework. You are not accepting blame and you are not anticipating blame with an approach like this. You are problem-solving because you have been identified to solve the problem. Try to move out of the mindset that you were going in to get reamed. Maybe you will be reamed and maybe you won’t be reamed. Either way, dwelling on that is not helpful. What is helpful is thinking about how you are going to move forward in the future.
            Your management gets to tell you that you have responsibility and accountability in this area even if you would rather not have it. So if you don’t have official authority, look for ways to build your influence so that you have unofficial authority.
            Thank you for reminding me of all the things I hate about production environments. Bleh.

    12. Clearlier*

      Give them a minute to vent then shift into clarification and solution mode. It sounds like there’s some ambiguity about responsibility. That needs to be removed even if you don’t like the answer.

      Of course this assumes a good manager. If that’s not the case job hunt over he weekend and daysream about your potential new job while you get (hopefully metaphorically) yelled at.

    13. RagingADHD*

      I have had some success in situations like this by positioning myself as being on the same “side” as the person who is upset. The unspoken presumption is that they can’t possibly be mad at me or taking me to task, because it has nothing to do with me. So we are upset together about the issues that are going on over there.

      It’s the more-formal equivalent of “I know, right? Can you believe what Team X did? Terrible. How are we going to address it with them?”

      This is smarmy and disingenuous when you really are responsible for the problem. But when you aren’t, it is a reasonable way of steering the conversation back toward reality.

    14. Purple Cat*

      Sounds like there are 2 different issues to parse out:
      1- you feel like they’re going to blame YOU for this issue that happened. Seems like that’s totally not the case and you should be able to point out that X was in charge so they can address the issues.

      2 – the other issue is that it sounds like they might want you to be responsible for this work going forward. You’re going to have to stand firm on why your limited authority means you won’t be able to deliver the results they’re looking for and if they want to give you more authority then they have to discuss your title and compensation accordingly.

      And I wish there was any part of me that could successfully do #2, but I’m rooting for you.
      I love the other advise of thinking of them as a broken machine and clenching those butt cheeks.

      Keep us posted!

    15. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Everyone else has addressed the other questions and tips, so I’ll just share my experience that ELF waterproof mascara is in fact, quite waterproof. In case you need backup for those tips. ;)

      Seriously, if you’re going to get stuck with the oversight of it, make it clear you’re trying to get a picture of WHAT went wrong, what they would have approached differently, and what the expectations are if you ARE going to get stuck with the oversight moving forward. Ask for concrete measureable things.

    16. RecoveringSWO*

      It’s not always possible, but you can reach out to someone with some level of authority of that site and essentially say, “I forsee getting chewed out because of [x problems at site]. Do you have any mitigating circumstances, solutions you’re putting in place, etc that I can tell them about in the meeting? That way I can try to avoid your site feeling similar pain?” Then, during the meeting you continuously refer to whoever you spoke to as both having the authority that you don’t have/want and you speak positively about their team working despite [specific obstacle] and trying to implement some solution to avoid repeated issues.

      The point you’re trying to get across is that you see the issue and you took the initiative to bring it up to the person with authority (*who is not you*) to try and get your items through their backlog. Like others said, this helps establish the us v. them line. But, by staying positive about whoever you’ve named, you maintain the working relationship and are less likely to get tasked with anything under their purview. Also, the person you talked to can be prepared to respond better to any follow-on questions that mgmt may ask him/her after your meeting (another point for them having authority and not you). The positivity is a line to toll though–you don’t want to argue on behalf of the team and if mgmt gets pissed at them anyways, that’s not your fault. I just find that management is much more likely to focus on what I could have to better when I present it as, “x site is horrible and the reason why we tanked this deadline/performance/whatever.”

    17. Gnome*

      Maybe disarm them when they start. Like “Whoa! I can see you are concerned/upset about the state of things at Area 51. I am too! It’s really not good that Fergus did Really Bad Thing and the Area is struggling. I know I don’t have any authority over them, but it reflects badly on us here at Area 50. What can we here in Area 50 do to set things straight?”

      Obviously, this won’t work with some folks, but sometimes by siding with them and then verbally making yourself a group with them (us, we type language) AND offering to help, you can disarm a person looking to take it out on another… Especially of you end with a question…makes them think and thinking and emoting aren’t things people generally can do simultaneously.

      Alternatively, go to them first and vent your spleen about Area 51 and your concern for it’s impact on you and what are they doing about it because you don’t have oversight?

      Good luck!

    18. AnotherEngGirl*

      I’ve been in that situation, it wasn’t pretty. Are you sure that you will be blamed and held accountable, and it won’t just be a discussion about plans (and maybe new responsibilities) going forward? If you have seen unreasonable behavior in the past that makes you pretty sure it’s the former, get out as soon as you can. It won’t get better. Engineers are in high demand, always, don’t let them damage your self worth.

  7. It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s SuperAnon*

    I’ve been at my company for 9 years, current team for 6. I’ve been a technical individual contributor and team lead on a very challenging product, and I’m burnt out. After interviewing and considering some outside opportunities (none of which were a good fit), I reached out to my manager and asked him to help me because I’m getting physically sick from the stress. Like, crying at minor inconveniences, panic attacks when managers reach out to me about status, not sleeping because I’m worried about what’ll be waiting for me when I log on. My manager was great, found me a new role in our department but on a different product.

    Problem is, there’s nobody to backfill for me in my old role. It’s been 2 months and I’ve been working my new job 30% of my time and my old job 70% of my time, though it should be closer to 75% new, 25% old. I’m exempt and working lots of unpaid OT, which has always been a thing but on the order of 1-3 hours a week, but I’m at 10+. There’s also been comments that they really need 2 people to come in because my junior team member is also moving as part of early career development assignments. I can’t just forget my old role because there are some regulatory issues that I’m making sure don’t get lost, but more drop in tasks keep popping up and I can’t keep this up without losing my mind.

    A friend knows how I’ve been struggling and is encouraging me to apply to his company in a completely unrelated industry. Is it completely out of line for me to look again, given that my manager did all the right things but they just can’t find someone else that can pick up my old responsibilities? The company has treated me well, and I have a great reputation for doing good work, but we’re chronically understaffed and underfunded. That being said, I’m afraid to burn bridges at the only company I’ve ever worked for.

    1. Jessi*

      But your manager hasn’t really done the right thing. S/he’s paid lip service too it, but you are still majority doing your old role and if you are doing 10+ hours overtime hasn’t helped at all with burn out. You can try going back and saying I can’t keep doing 50+ hour weeks, and ask for help to prioritise 40 hours of work, but at this point I think you would be better to make a clean break of it

    2. Green Beans*

      Go look! They may be nice but they’re taking advantage of you.

      Also, stop working overtime. Flag the issues, state that you’re backing down to the agreed-upon amount of work (35% of 40 hours/week) and then let them not get done. They’re not backfilling because there’s no urgency, so let there be urgency. It is no longer your problem if the other 65% of work doesn’t get done.

      1. Mockingjay*

        Emphatically agree to stop working OT, immediately. With all your overwork, you are solving the understaffing problem, so, as Green Beans said, there’s no urgency to hire. Make the company feel pain.

        Use all that free time to REST, JOB SEARCH, and DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT WORK.

    3. Observer*

      A friend knows how I’ve been struggling and is encouraging me to apply to his company in a completely unrelated industry. Is it completely out of line for me to look again, given that my manager did all the right things but they just can’t find someone else that can pick up my old responsibilities?

      Well, I would argue that they did NOT “do all of the right things” because part of that list is actually RELEASING you from the job. Instead, you’re still stuck with it and working EVEN MORE HOURS.

      Sorry, as this point they need to act as though you are no longer at the company. I mean, what will they do if you actually DO leave.

      Now, even if the ACTUALLY had done ALL of the right things, you would still be ok to look. If your health is being affected, it’s being affected, and you don’t have any obligation to hurt your health because your boss made a good faith effort to address the problem.

      If leaving under these circumstances burns a bridge, then the sooner you get out of there, the better for your long term career prospects.

      I’d have ONE more conversation with your boss. Point out that things are now WORSE than they were and you simply need to stop working more than 13 hours a week on old job. If they push back or just ignore what you’ve said, absolutely leave.

      1. Mimi*

        Yeah, I would draw a clear line of, “This situation is not resolved until someone else is in charge of making sure that we’re compliant with the llama audits. Right now I’m the only person preventing llama compliance from falling into an abyss, and you can either figure out how to get it off my plate now, or you can figure out how to put it on someone else’s plate after I’ve left.”

        Normally I don’t use threatening to leave as leverage, but sometimes when one’s manager is trying to be responsive and things still aren’t moving fast enough, it can get the job done. (I once used it to good effect with “You can hire another junior person to support this team, or you can hire three junior people to backfill when I quit.”)

    4. Colette*

      Can you let any of it drop? (I.e. restrict yourself to 40 hours per week, and let the least critical stuff fail)? Depending on your relationship with your manager you can also be upfront that you need to let some stuff go.

      But to answer the question you ask, there’s nothign wrong with looking elsewhere. What you’re doing is not sustainable.

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      It is never out of line to look.
      You only owe your employer the level of work and respect that they give you.

      “we’re chronically understaffed and underfunded” = your current employer is not a good place to work. They can’t get new people because they won’t pay new people.

      I think you should apply to the new place. I also think that deep down, you know all this, and you’re just looking for external people to endorse the decision you’ve already made so that you have less Feelings about it. Long term, you’ll be a happier person and better employee if you let go some of those feelings. Work is secondary, you and your satisfaction are the important things in your life.

    6. I was told there would be llamas*

      I would say your manager didn’t do “all the right things.” It’s been 2 months, if you’re still doing the work, there’s no real incentive for the manager to replace you. How much of your old job is the manager doing? And how much overtime is the manager doing?

    7. Artemesia*

      It is never wrong to take care of yourself. You asked for help and instead got an increased workload and no one to cover the previous role. It is never wrong to make decisions that benefit you. This new job may not be a good choice — you have to carefully consider if it is really what you want to do, but you should definitely be looking for another position given the failure of the current management to look out for you. It is never wrong to take care of yourself.

    8. CatCat*

      Is it completely out of line for me to look again

      NOPE. And you have nothing to lose, but something to gain by looking. The company is not treating you well if they have kept you working two jobs for months now.

      I think you could have a conversation with your boss that the current situation is not sustainable. You appreciate that they helped you find new role in the company, but that is not panning out because you’re effectively not able to dedicate your work time 100% to that new role. In fact, the situation is worse than before the transition because now you have to do the work for two roles resulting in an unsustainable level of overtime every week. And ask, “Given that the current situation is unsustainable, what is the solution going forward?”

      But be looking in case they have no solution or any proposed solution turns out to be lip service. Again, there’s nothing really to lose. Moving on from a job is normal and should not burn a bridge, especially if they are fully aware that the current job is not working out. (Though I have been amazed in the past when I lay out what the issues are and my manager is shocked, SHOCKED when I give notice. It’s happened a couple of times. Didn’t burn a bridge or anything though.)

    9. Emma2*

      Nope, not out of line at all. Arguably the fact your manager tried to make changes but nothing really changed is additional evidence you did not have previously that your current company may not be the right place for you.
      I think it is really difficult to think through decisions like this when you are burnt out – personally, I find I don’t have the mental capacity to be entirely sensible or logical when I feel that way. Maybe take it one step at a time, apply for the new role – that is not committing to leaving, it is really just getting a sense about whether there really is an opportunity there and whether you might be interested. By the time you go through an interview process, your company will also have had more time to improve your existing work situation. At that point, if you get a job offer, you can make a more informed decision about what you want to do.
      Applying for the job is just a very small step. If you apply, you can change your mind at any point.

    10. Stoppin' by to chat*

      Not backfilling your role is not doing everything they can. I mean, technically your manager may be doing what they can, but your employer as a whole is NOT. If the job is still making your physically ill, then definitely look elsewhere! Also, it’s okay to start letting things from the old job drop. I.e. matter-of-factly to your old manager, sorry I no longer have bandwidth for X, but here’s the info about what I used to do, etc. Good luck!

      1. Attractive Nuisance*

        It also doesn’t matter whether the employer is doing everything they can. If the situation doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you. Don’t stick around in a job that’s making you miserable just because you feel bad for your employer. Find a new job that works for you and let them find an employee who’s right for them.

        1. Attractive Nuisance*

          (…and by “right for them,” I mean “right for what they’re willing to offer right now.” That employee may not exist, but that’s not your problem.)

        2. Esmae*

          This. Sometimes, as an employer, you just can’t do what you’d need to do to keep a certain employee. That’s okay!

    11. Librarian of SHIELD*

      First: Go ahead and apply for the job at your friend’s company. Submitting and application doesn’t mean you’re obligated to take the job, and it’s probably a good idea to have a way out if your current job responsibilities don’t let up.

      Second: Have another meeting with your boss. They have *said* all the right things, but they haven’t actually *done* them yet. Be super honest. You went to them because you were becoming physically ill from your stress levels, and the actions they’ve taken so far have not alleviated any of your stress. You need your boss to commit to taking your old job’s responsibilities off your plate now. Not when a replacement is hired, not when the workload lets up. Today. You need to stop working overtime. Today. If your boss can’t commit to reducing your workload, then they can’t do all the right things for you.

      I know it’s hard to give up on a company you feel so strongly connected to. But right now, your body is screaming at you that you can’t keep this up. You have to think of your own health, and if your current company isn’t able to provide you with a healthy environment, it’s not a failure or an act of disloyalty for you to leave.

    12. It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s SuperAnon*

      I really do appreciate all the reality checks here. I probably didn’t phrase “chronically understaffed and underfunded” correctly – I’m compensated well for 40hrs/week but the program I’m supporting (new job is a different management team and structure) is not well funded or staffed for the amount of work that needs to get done, hence the casual OT that’s become my normal working time. And my manager’s hands are very tied, it’s management above him that’s been slow to help find a backfill and why I feel bad. There was one identified, but I realized they were expecting him to keep doing his old job while picking up mine too. Which, that’s a huge red flag to me and I’m proud of him for saying “I cannot do that” before I started onboarding him.

      Resume is getting polished and sent off this weekend!

      1. JelloStapler*

        But you cannot put yourself at running on empty to save your manager and their manager’s asses. That’s their job and they are the ones that will need to be held accountable for not…well, managing… the issue. It may not be until they see the urgency and why they need to backfill. So many orgs try to avoid doing what they need if they think they can manage with what is currently the policy, even if it means an employee is struggling. When it falls on them by your manager saying “I’ve had been asking for X and Y and now we are in a crisis- X and Y need to happen now or A and B will happen”.

    13. Florida Fan 15*

      Question: are you continuing to do your old role because they’re requiring it of you, or because you’re requiring it of you?

      I’ve seen a lot of people over the years who are overworked because they take on what by rights is their manager’s job — ensuring things get done. It’s for the best of reasons, dedication to the work, care for their colleagues, concern for clients. But it’s taking on something that isn’t your responsibility. It’s not your job to be both the worker and the manager.

      If this is the case, stop. You have to let people face the consequences of their choices. Poor management will let you work yourself to death if you don’t put up boundaries. If things get lost, then let them get lost. If they don’t get done, then let them not get done. I know this feels like shirking, but it’s not. It’s self-preservation and it’s healthy. Just because certain things need doing doesn’t mean they must be done BY YOU.

      If you can’t do this, or the problem is the expectations are coming from them, then yes, you should probably look elsewhere. Although 1) you can put up boundaries even if the expectations are theirs and not yours; and 2) you might need to work on your boundaries even if you go somewhere else, because people will take as much as you’re willing to give wherever you are, and learning to say no is a lifesaver.

    14. Koala dreams*

      You need to go back to your manager, explain that you can’t work overtime any more and ask them for help to prioritize. If they won’t help, you need to tell your manager a version of “I’m only going to be able to do A and B, I won’t be able to do C and D any more”.

      Do you have any sick leave? Can you take FLMA leave?

      It’s fine to look for other work. Some people find it easier to start over at a new industry after a health issue like burn out, because the old industry has too many bad memories. So, yes, please look at other industries and choose what’s good for you and your health.

  8. Rayray*

    I’m considering trying to find a new job. Short version is that it’s just not the absolute best fit for me and we’re in a slow season and I’m getting nervous if they’ll have to let anyone go. Also, There’s no room to really grow unless I switch positions entirely. Im also at the top of the pay scale.

    I was thinking about reaching out to an internal recruiter just to inquire about what’s open. I will speak to my manager before I make any moves but I want to tread carefully just in case they do have to lay off someone, I don’t want to be top of the list. What can I say to say I am just curious what they have? I don’t want to sound shady by telling them to not tell my manager.

    1. LaDonna*

      I think it’s fine to ask about positions open just so you can browse (but also can you do this on an online portal vs having to reach out to a recruiter?). You could just say, “I’m curious about what open positions there are here. I’m not ready to apply to anything yet, so I’m not discussing it with my manager unless there was a position open I’d be interested in applying to.”

      But also, if you apply for a position, you will likely need to tell your manager. That’s how it works where I am, if you apply you need to let your current boss know, because the hiring manager will likely reach out to them.

    2. DigitalEmployee*

      Have you looked at the internal openings on the company’s job board? You could start by bringing up a role that is open that aligns with 80% of your skills and interests you. I call them exploratory conversations when asking to talk to a recruiter or hiring manager.

      Reach out to the recruiter and ask them about the role while mentioning your desire to grow with the company and expand your skill set. They may put you in touch with the hiring manager just to discuss the role and answer any of your questions. If it goes well, they could invite you to apply for it.

    3. All Het Up About It*

      There’s also always the “I love X company and would love to grow here professionally. Can I ask about internal openings so I have an idea of what sort of skills I would need when I am ready to move up?”

      But also – I’m curious why there isn’t just an internal (or external) job board you can look at? Yes, I’ve worked places where occasionally someone is hired for a job you didn’t even know existed, but those are usually pretty high up the food chain positions where politics etc. come into play. Entry to mid level openings have either been announced and/ or easily found. If that’s not happening in your company, I’d be curious why not.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Third recommendation for the online portal or job board. If someone asks you about it, feel free to say you are looking for a friend. Easy enough later on to say that friend decided to stay in their old job….Or even say while looking for her you noticed something so perfect you had to throw your hat into the ring for the internal transfer.

  9. ThatGirl*

    I’d like to hear about how “return to office” is going – or isn’t, as the case may be.

    I am in Chicagoland, and the company I work for has been pretty chill. They were planning a ‘return to office’ 3x a week back last September… and then Delta came and it got postponed. And then on Jan. 21 (last Friday) we all got an email saying that since omicron was past its peak (BARELY), they were starting RTO on …. Jan. 31.

    We all knew it was coming sooner or later, and there will be some flexibility for parents and people who have other reasons they might not be able to make it in 3 days a week, but I was astonished at the 10 days’ notice. Seems like they could have given us till, say, Feb 28???

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      My employer (Fortune 100 tech, >100K employees) planned RTO back in Sep too. When Delta hit, they said, ‘never mind’. The only thing they’ve said since was a late Sept “here’s the protocol for getting permission to come in if there’s something absolutely essential for you to do on site, but please don’t come in.” No thing since then. Nada. Silencio. Nuttin.

      If your employer continues RTO, maybe you can ask for just two days? My employer was 3x/week even before the plague, and M / F were extremely quiet on site.

      1. ThatGirl*

        The office has been open for people who *want* to go in since last April, so I’ve actually been going in 2-3 days a week anyway. The actual going in part doesn’t bother me too much; people are pretty good about masks (and we still have a state-wide mandate). But the head of my division has specifically said they want everyone in Mon-Tues-Wed for “collaboration” purposes, so I can’t really pick and choose quieter days.

        1. SarahKay*

          My company is also bringing people at office-only sites back in, I think next week, too (I’m in an office attached to a workshop; we’re still strictly forbidden from returning).
          They’re saying it will be three days per week, and that these should be staggered across teams and days to ensure social distancing is still maintained. Do you have any scope to use this sort of reasoning with your division head (or HR if they’re helpful) to push back on the Mon-Weds requirement?

          1. ThatGirl*

            So, from what I’ve heard, the CEO and head of HR both voted against returning so quickly, but they were outvoted by the rest of the leadership team. I do not know who specifically was pushing so hard for a quick return in the first place. I strongly suspect that if I talked to my line of leadership, or HR, they would tell me to work with my manager if I had concerns about being in the office. And my manager is great! But I don’t have any specific personal concerns – I’m just a little annoyed by the overall tone and rush to bring people back.

            That said, they will be enforcing mask usage and conference rooms/meetings will be spread way out; they’re not totally unaware of safety issues. It’s more just “well, let’s try to get back to a new normal, might as well start now”.

    2. DigitalEmployee*

      Ours isn’t going anywhere. We were supposed to return in April 2020, June 2020, July 2020, September 2020, November 2020, January 2021, September, 2021, October 2021, December 2021, January 2022, and now May 2022. Each time they give us notice about a month or two in advance and then delay it about ten days before the return date because of a new variant or spike in cases. I have high risk family members so I’m grateful to still be at home.

      Some people have returned (it’s optional and capacity is limited) but the majority are still at home.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      My company had been planning a return to office, pushed it back, pushed it back again, pushed it back a third time, and then decided that we’re “flexible” for the foreseeable future, with almost everybody (it’s office work, for the most part) working remotely 100% of the time, and others coming into the office only 1-2 days a week.

    4. A Poster Has No Name*

      We started back 2x a week for about 5 minutes in July, then Delta hit and now Omicron. I think there were tentative plans to start back hybrid this month, but from what I can tell the larger org has pretty much thrown in the towel and left it up to individual departments. The offices are open for those that want to go in, with masking required depending on local COVID rates (so, required, AFAIK, were I to go into my office). Nobody I work with is in the office, and that’s the only reason I would have to go into the office, so we’re just chugging along until someone says otherwise. I work with people distributed all over the planet, and for those meetings it’s definitely better for those not in the room to have us all remote, as in-room microphones and whatnot tend to suck, so while there is somewhat less productivity for all of us used to being in the office together, it’s better for those who are full-time remote, so that’s a thing.

    5. Sabine the Very Mean*

      My state gov office is saying to come back 2x per week and I. Just. Cant. It is so stupid and pointless. I’m still remote from the team when I’m the one in the office on Wednesdays and Adnan is there on Thursdays and Zola is there on Fridays. I have zero interest in being in the same space as people so I’m not going to change when I come in. I get close to nothing done because I’m now in a weird uncomfortable space and I’m back to doing that “sitting there so that I’m sitting there because I’m paid to sit there” thing.

    6. WomEngineer*

      I’m in the South with a large company. They’re waiting for community transmission levels to stay low for at least a month and will be requiring vaccination. Only essential people and those who can’t work from home are in the office. We’ll be hybrid once we go back, but they haven’t announced what that will look like. (I at least know where my cubicle will be.)

      It seems like whenever there’s a department meeting, someone asks about the RTO date or if the criteria is changing. Each time, there is nothing new to share.

      Personally, I’m looking forward to not being in limbo like this. I’m living with family until I need to be closer to work. It’s comfortable and much less expensive, but at the same time I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

    7. This Old House*

      We had lots of promises of “plenty of notice” for returning to the office. I got 10 days (in part because the informational meeting happened when I was out sick, but there was no follow-up email and my boss was impossible to get in touch with to catch me up). We’ve been full-time in-person, no work from home allowed, since August 2021. As I mentioned in a thread above, they pushed back the start of in-person classes for students during Omicron, but staff have been required to be in-person the entire time.

    8. Irish girl*

      My company started Phase 3 “new normal” of flexible hybrid in October after pushing back a month. They gave up pushing back anymore and jsut moved ahead. THey still leave it up to individual managers as to how to enforce that. My manager and her manager have done nothing and everyone is still remote and it seems like we will buck the company line. Other departments have been pushing to get people back ASAP. We did get a note that managers could allow fully remote in January and it was just extended through Feb. But at manager and situation specific. 10 days notice is very short time if now you have to deal with school drop off and pick up for a kid or adjust to your commute or even get work appropriate clothes that fit.

    9. Sam*

      I’m in tech at an international financial firm, and we are increasingly on a ridiculous in/out loop. We started a staggered RTO in June 2021, rolled it back to voluntary after one month because of Delta. Reintroduced it non-staggered in October 2021, 3 days a week, rolled it back to voluntary in December. We’re going back again, still at 3/2, in about two weeks, and I give it three months maximum before we roll it back again. Of course “voluntary” is a relative term for support staff – my team in user technology but also catering, cleaning, admins etc. – as is “three days”; people can choose which three days a week to come in, and so we need to have coverage five days a week, ten hours a day. Anyway the ultimate joke is people are coming back into the office after two years at home and looking at our existing technology and going “Huh. This sucks. Can you make this more like my home set-up?”

    10. JustaTech*

      So, mine is a little weird because of my industry. Our manufacturing site (medical stuff) never went home (but they’ve always worked masked so we haven’t yet had any on-site transmission). Non-manufacturing people were WFH, unless you were essential lab staff, and then you only came in for essential lab stuff and did analysis and stuff at home.
      Then fall 2020 other lab staff were asked to come back (masked) and “get back to work” (ugh) which we did until Delta, when a bunch of people went back to WFH most days. Then once everyone was vaccinated (not company policy, more ugh) most lab folks were back on site most days, up until Omicron, when we got official notice to go back to WFH if you’re not manufacturing or essential lab staff (except our director was like “no, you lab people come in”, so we’re in on lab work days, masked).

      As far as I can tell, all the non-lab/building/manufacturing folks have either not come back to site at all, or they were maybe 1-2 days a week. And that’s great with me!

      We just got an email that pushed the “please WFH if you can” back into February, but I know that several departments haven’t really been back much at all since 2020, so I’m not sure who it was directed at.

    11. New Mom*

      We’ve been doing a hybrid model since the spring. We’re expected to be in three days a week but I’ve been going in less than that and no one has said anything. It’s tough because we have a lot of parents working so we have school closures etc.

    12. JelloStapler*

      It has been okay, we are mask and vaccine mandated (higher ed) and 100% are compliant with former and upwards of 90% are compliant with the latter (and another 78% have approved exemptions and regularly test). While WFH depends largely on your office and supervisor, ours has been very flexible. We get free testing and higher-quality masks if needed.

      The only issue is a big event in a month that many of us are surprised is still happening. We’ll wait and see.

    13. 653-CXK*

      Fits and starts…since the pandemic, I’ve been allowed to come in weekly to take care of the mail, but after I got COVID, I didn’t come in for three months after that, and I was planning to return to return to my previous weekly schedule before Omicron came along and squelched it. Our company works with seniors, so our company is steadfastly cautious about us coming back full time to avoid infection.

      I don’t see us coming back to the office full time until at least March. As much as I like working from home, there are things I need to do in the office that can’t be done at home, and sometimes coming to the office once per week doesn’t cut it.

    14. Quinalla*

      People have been allowed to come in since vaccines were readily available with masking anytime not at your desk, desks at least 6′ apart, not required to mask at your desk. If you want to come in, it has to be coordinated to make sure not too many in at once. If you don’t want to come in every day or at all, that is totally fine as well. So many people (like me) are still WFH full time, many are coming in 1-3 days a week and some go in everyday. It is working well for us and there is no plan for return to normal or new normal at all and people are starting to ask if this is the new normal. A lot of us think it should be, we’ll see :)

  10. BEC Mode*

    We had some turnover last year in our department during The Great Resignation (more like a Great Reshuffling, in my profession). We were set to hire a staff person, Beatrice, at a Level 2 but one of the more senior staff people left and that opened up a Level 3. Beatrice has lots of work experience, just not in this type of work, and we thought she would be able to stretch into the Level 3 position without anything beyond the usual learning curve when you join a new company. So she was hired at Level 3.

    I should note that Level 3 is as high as you can go before becoming a manager.

    I am a Level 3 and I am the senior-most Senior, not only in terms of overall experience relative to this type of work but in terms of length of time in the department.

    Since Day 1, Beatrice has acted like she is already a manager. She offers up the Level 1 and Level 2 people to other people’s projects, as if those folks are hers to assign. Most times, they are unaware that she is offering their services to the other Level 3 people.

    She has spent a lot of her time trying to learn our systems when I’ve offered to show her the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past two years. But, instead, she spends hours Googling videos and scrolling through Help documents, then presents whatever she has learned to our *entire* department as “Look at this great thing that I – and I alone! – have learned. Let me share my great knowledge with you!”

    And I’m like, “Yes, thank you. If you’ll check our teams’ SharePoint site, you’ll see that all of that already exists. I created it two years ago. Perhaps we can combine everything and keep it in that one space so it’s easier to find.”

    In short, she rubs me the wrong way and I am already at Bitch Eating Crackers level with her, even though she has only been on board for three months. (Uggggghhhhhh…. It seems so much longer!)

    I guess I’d like some insight on how people like Beatrice are viewed by others. And I’d like a reminder that I only stand to lose if I say anything to any of my managers about Beatrice’s “overreach”.

    And, hell, I’m just looking for a safe space to vent! :-D

    1. Survived*

      Oh, that sounds awful. I recently had to work with someone who is very insecure. They could only accept praise, not information. They’d leave everything to the last minute, create a crisis, and then declare themself a hero for “fixing” it.

      I have no useful advice for you on how to cope. I’m just relieved that my project with them is over.

    2. Colette*

      I actually think it might be worth bringing this to a manager’s attention – specifically her making committments about what other people will do. Something like “I heard from Beatrice that Level1Person is available to work on my project – is she managing their time now, or should I still go to PreviousPerson?”

    3. Hotdog not dog*

      Ugh. I’m at BEC with her just from reading your post! In my current company people like that tend to rub just about everyone the wrong way until sooner or later it’s called out (and usually either corrected or managed out. )
      There’s a very good chance management is already aware. I wouldn’t go out of my way to complain about her, but if I were asked for input I would be honest about her issues.

    4. betsyohs*

      Vent more! Stories about terrible coworkers are why I come here every day!

      Most reasonable people probably see her the same way you do. They’re rolling their eyes at her antics, and maybe pitying her for whatever insecurity she has that makes her feel a need to act that way. But maybe you don’t work with mostly reasonable people?

      Also wondering if you can come up with concrete examples of how her overreach is affecting your work so you can go to your managers. She’s wasting her time on youtube instead of using your documentation, but that’s not affecting your work, so it’s her manager’s job to fix, not yours. But if she is offering up your Level 1&2 people, and you are having to do more work because of it (filling in for them? telling them that they need to keep working on the projects you assigned them?), that is totally something you can take to your manager.

    5. Bagpuss*

      Is there a way to speak to a manager about it without it backfiring on you?

      Maybe raise the issue of her offering / trying to assign level 1 or 2 people and that fact that this is disruptive and liable to lead to confusion as the people she is looking to ‘assign’ are not aware

      With the shared systems – do you have any sense that anyone else is unaware of the existing resources? If so, then could you offer to give everyone a general update, if not, could you raise it as ‘Beatrice didn’t seem to be aware of all of our systems and processes, and seemed resistant when I offered to show her. I’m aware that this meant she spent a lot of time reinventing the wheel – is there a way to make sure that she, and other new hires, are made aware of the resources we have available so this can be avoided moving forward?’

      I’m not sure whether you’ve actually spoken to her directly, or whether her attempts to assign people is actually affecting anything other that to annoy you. Maybe if she offers anyone to you you can mention then that she doesn’t actually have the authority to assign anyone and that offering to do so is likely to cause confusion.

      Are there any managers that you could speak to informally to mention what’s happening and that it means she’s not using her time very efficiently but also that it is liable to cause confusion – you could ask whether the procedure has changed so that you and other Seniors*can* assign staff

      1. BEC Mode*

        My manager and I are working on me either creating training sessions for anyone who wants to attend or me holding weekly “Ask Me Anything” hours / sessions. I suggested the latter because when we’ve done trainings in the past, most people only needed to know 1 or 2 things from the hour-long sessions and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

        So, yes, there are things I know that new people — and even seasoned people! — don’t know and I’m trying to come up with the most effective way to share that knowledge.

        Beatrice’s attempts to assign people aren’t affecting my work but it could affect the Level 1 and Level 2 people, if they don’t know they can push back when Beatrice says, “I told BEC you’d help them with X.”

        The first couple of times she offered up someone to help me [when I hadn’t asked anyone for help, so I have literally no idea why she started doing this], I did the polite, “Ah, no thanks, I’m good.” She made some dumb joke like, “I know you’re good but do you need any help? Har. Har.” Which was also cringe-worthy. The third time she did it, I replied, “I’ll reach out to Level2Person directly if I need them.” That seems to have mostly stopped Beatrice from trying to assign people to my projects.

        Actually, the *first* time she offered help, I thought she meant herself. Which would have been fine because I could have used Level3 help. So I said Yes. And she immediately replied, “OK, I’ll have Level2Person contact you for details.” And I was like, “No, please do not do that. I thought you were offering your own Level 3 help.” And her reply was along the lines of how silly it would be for her to offer to help on another Senior’s project, implying that Seniors only lead their own projects and don’t do any of the actual work. (I’m WTFing all over again!)

        The one manager I mentioned it to is someone who was a peer of mine until four months ago when she was promoted to manager. She and Beatrice were cohorts in our university’s program (that most of us in the department graduated from), so she just thinks Beatrice’s antics are funny.

        The reason I wrote today was that Beatrice sent a department-wide email this morning — including our Sr VP!! — to crow about the separate folder she created on SharePoint that contains the same stuff I put on SharePoint two years ago. I Replied All with pretty much the quote in my original post., so the whole department got to see it. I did my best to make the phrasing sound like, “Good job! Let’s put everything together in one place to maximize its benefit.” [barf]

        And one of the parts about her “Look at the great things I have learned and am sharing with all of you!” that bugs me is that she created the folder in the section where all of our 2022 projects are. Meaning that, even if her info was helpful, it would be hard for a newbie to find.

        *MY* folder, on the other hand, is in the main branch of the file folder tree. So instead of “DeptName –> Projects –> 2022 –> Training Resources ” it’s in “DeptName –> System Training and Helpful Tips”. And, under “System Training and Helpful Tips” I created folders for each of the systems.

        And now I realize I’m sounding petty but, dammit, I don’t care at the moment. :-D :-D

        1. Texan In Exile*

          Not petty. Your folder structure is logical. Hers is not. At a higher level, you are right and she is wrong.

          I say this with solidarity. I had a boss who would rename the files on our shared I had asked him to review, save them to his hard drive, and email them to me.

          My folder structure and names looked like this:
          Board of Directors reports/[year]/[month]/Board of Directors Report Jan 2022.ppt

          He would rename my file to:

          I do not miss that boss.

          1. BEC Mode*

            Thank you for the solidarity, Texan in Exile.

            P.S. While I enjoyed the laughs you provided in your previous blog [D & S were a riot to read about, but I’m sure they were hell to deal with], I am loving your current one and how you highlight the systemic, *purposefully-placed* inequities between genders.

    6. River Otter*

      Well, it doesn’t really help you to find out how people like Beatrice are viewed in the AAM comment section.
      If you are looking for validation and being BEC, you will definitely find that here. If you are looking for a way to feel more peaceful at work, I recommend you look for ways to reframe Beatrice and think about her differently. You can’t change Beatrice, but you can change how you view her and how you respond to her.

    7. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Are the Level 1 and 2s complaining about being “assigned” things? Is it taking them from their normal duties? Is it affecting your work directly?

      She seems public enough about what she’s doing that folks can definitely see her “managerial” performances. If you interact with her day-to-day, I might keep a handful of small wet blankets like “that’s helpful, could you please add that to our SharePoint next to the current information on the same topic,” or “I think Fergus and Jane would be excellent Level 2s to help us with that. Let me check with their manager to make sure that they have room on their schedule.” Just enough to quietly set up the boundaries.

      She might successfully trample the boundaries and bolt up the career ladder, or she might start internalizing some of the structures in place.

      Someone hasn’t clarified how she should be interacting with the Level 1 and 2s, and the rest of it might be over-enthusiasm (or More Enthusiasm Than You Would Do but perhaps not actually over the line — you might want to do a light check in with your colleagues. If they aren’t responding similarly, this might, unfortunately, be a you problem).

      I hear you. And I encourage you to let a lot of it shake out as she learns the ropes. It doesn’t seem like there’s enough concrete complaints to actually bring to management. So find a mantra and see if it gets you through the days. (My personal recommendation … “There could be cocktails when I get home if she’s annoying enough.”)

      1. BEC Mode*

        Thanks. This was the reminder that I said I needed of how bad it would look if I said anything to the managers about her.

        Vent here, then let it go.

        Followed by cocktails. :-)

    8. JelloStapler*

      From another person with seniority and longevity, that would drive the ever-loving crap out of me. In fact, I have been there, and it did. Is it her feeling insecure in the role and trying to show upper levels that she is qualified?

      1. BEC Mode*

        She’s only been here three months and we’re both WFH right now so I can only guess at her motivations.

        But it definitely seems like she’s trying to make sure she’s next in line for a promotion to manager by doing as many Look At Me! things as she can.

        Which would be completely bonkers in our department. It’s really hard to do our jobs well without a fairly deep knowledge of both the different areas of the company *and* the different personalities of the people who run each business unit.

        At three months in, she’s still learning how to filter and export data from one of our more basic, user-friendly systems. (Which, btw, was one of her “LOOK AT THIS AMAZING THING I DISCOVERED AND AM GENEROUSLY SHARING WITH ALL OF YOU” things. ::eyeroll::).

  11. Anonymous reader*

    Hello to the AAM community! I asked this question last week but wanted to try again in search of more ideas.

    I’ve worked in book publishing as a production editor for 10 years and I’m thinking about leaving. Has anyone left book publishing/production editorial and what kind of job did you go to?

    Did your skills transfer to other jobs?

    For those who don’t know, production editors don’t acquire manuscripts. They turn completed manuscripts into books. They hire copy editors and proofreaders and review their work. Then they review galley pages through the final version. They proofread the covers at all stages and make sure everything matches the house style. In short, they follow the book through multiple stages until it’s ready to go to the printer.

    Is there another field where this kind of experience would be useful?

    1. 867-5309*

      Do you want to leave copying editing or just the book industry?

      Many ad agencies have copy editors and proofreaders.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      You’ve got some kick butt project management skills. Coordinating deadlines and documents amongst many humans. Quality control. Time management.

      I encourage you to search for jobs using some of the transferable skills as search terms until you spot a type of job that you’d like to focus on, then do searches on that job (e.g, corporate communications offices, or contract coordinator or whatever). Keep a tight look at what skills they’re asking for in the job postings, and write a resume that speaks very directly to those skills.

      You might make a lateral move, or you might end up having to take a step down (and if so, take one in an industry that you’re interested in so can get the new relevant set of skills/knowledge and move up).

      There’s a US DOL web tool at that lets you put in a job title and it’ll give you other jobs with related skills. Try that out with a few of your target jobs to see if you can triangulate on a good one.

      1. Anonymous reader*

        Thank you! I’m not used to thinking of my skills that way. It’s more “how to get this book out the door”!

        1. bookartist*

          I was once in very similar shoes (Project Editor which for those who do not know is a file mover and schedule maker role) and did exactly the above – started as a project coordinator/English proofer for a translation agency. I got my PMP after I put in enough hours to qualify and have had several jobs managing Creative team PMs. And now that I no longer *make* books, I no longer scrutinize copyright pages and perfect binding jobs when browsing at the bookstore.

    3. PalmTreeMusings*

      I don’t know the answer to this question… but can I have your old job when you leave it? :)

    4. Siege*

      I was a development editor as well as a production editor. When I left editing, I went back to school and trained as a web/graphic designer, which is more or less more relevant to my job now (communications), but I use my editorial experience as project management experience, because it is, even though I wasn’t the acquiring editor for a lot of the books I worked on. It transfers from the standpoint of working on large projects, but for the work I’m doing now mostly because I have a sense of the lifecycle of a project, not because they’re terribly similar structurally. And I’m a fiend for proofreading. :)

    5. Alexandrine*

      Project management could be a possibility. It sounds like you’re already doing a basic level of PMing; you should definitely have transferrable skills.

    6. Purely Allegorical*

      I used to have a similar job as an editor (long-form academic articles for a journal, rather than books). There are LOADS of ways you can re-package these skills. Things that come immediately to mind: become a web editor instead, publishing pages and managing Content Management Systems (in this day and age I think it’s always smart to lean Tech); become a management consultant focused on organizational management (I do this currently); become a Technical Writer (those can pay really well, depending).

      I’ve done versions of all of the above. If you want to pick up a couple other skills, I highly recommend the consulting industry. Get into a consulting firm trading on your org/process skills, and then jump around to different accounts that focus on different things. That’s what I’ve done, and while I don’t love the consulting field as a whole, I have a boatload of marketable skills now.

      1. Anonymous reader*

        Hello! If you’re still online, could you talk some more about this? What kind of consulting firm did you join? And did they train you for the different skills for different accounts?

      2. Marketing Middle Manager*

        Seconding this. Your skills would be highly transferrable to managing websites or other digital content. You’d be publishing digital pages instead of physical pages, but many of the steps sound similar in terms of project management, quality assurance, and copyediting. Try searching for job titles like web manager, website product manager, or digital marketing (though this can mean a lot of different things at different companies). You can improve your chances of making the transition if you learn some adjacent skills like SEO, HTML, UX.

        I would also echo what another commenter said above about typing your SKILLS into that LinkedIn job search bar, and then see what kinds of job titles come up. The Occupational Outlook Handbook might also be helpful to you for exploring different clusters of similar roles.

    7. Xenia*

      Fair warning: I have no experience with book publishing or copy editing, and I don’t know if this is far enough out that ‘another field’ applies.

      That said: I work for a small to medium public accounting firm. One of our departments is a small but dedicated word processing team. These folks handle financial statements in a similar way to what you describe: they get a rough draft of the financials, make it look all nice and pretty, and wrangle both the client and our company’s team assigned to that client in the process of getting all the correct numbers and disclosures into the statements. I know other firms have similar positions. So if you’re looking for copy editing type work but in a different industry, something like that might work?

    8. MissDisplaced*

      There are still editors at a lot of places that publish content (white papers, finance, reports, research, news, academic, etc.). The main difference between those and book publishing is that the end result will be digital. If you haven’t worked outside of print publishing, you might want to look into a short course on digital media/content marketing and SEO to up your skills.

      Digital Content Editor
      Digital Editor or Content Editor or Content Manager
      Content & Editorial Leader
      Head of Content & Editorial

      You could also switch to marketing, communications, or maybe project management.

    9. Redaktorin*

      People keep responding to this as if you were a copy editor, but it sounds more like you hire and corral copy editors without necessarily being one yourself.

      I’m a copy editor for an ad agency, and your job sounds like my project manager’s job. Which is great! She makes more than me. Go check out project management jobs for ad agencies.

  12. DigitalEmployee*

    I need advice for what to do next. I received a soft offer on a job I interviewed for. I was told they had to meet internally to go over compensation and draft an offer letter. I was also told the offer letter “should be” emailed to me by today (but no firm commitment on timing).

    I’m distracted and continuously refreshing my email hoping for it to come through. The application status on their website says “Finalist” but my biggest fear is I’m going to be passed over due to budget or that I’m their second choice and the first choice passed but then reached back out. I told them it would take X for me to accept which is below the salary max but now I’m doubting that decision too.

    I’m also involved in the hiring process at my current employer (an equally large and well known company) so I know there can be delays. The company I interviewed with is one of our vendors so I could be walked as soon as I give notice too.

    Question: when do I follow up and what do I say? I will go with a phone call rather than an email.

    My anxiety is eating at me. I’ve also been invited to interview with a couple other companies and I’d like to withdraw from that process to maintain the relationship (employee referrals in both cases).

    1. Anon for This*

      I finally had an offer letter go out this week to someone I selected over the holidays. Not knowing how long ago they told you “by today”, I’d give them a few days more. These things never go as quickly as we expect (hope?). If they told you this a day or two ago, I’d give them at least a week.

    2. pancakes*

      I don’t think you should withdraw from other interviews. The worst-case scenario is that you get offered multiple jobs and have to decline one or two, no? That’s not really a problem.

      I wouldn’t follow up before Wednesday or Thursday next week. Being able to meet internally about a new hire can easily get thrown a bit off course if someone is sick, or there’s some unrelated issue that needs urgent attention, etc.

      1. DigitalEmployee*

        I’m definitely not withdrawing until I have a start date and everything is in place. I want to avoid burning the bridges with the other two companies and the individuals who recommended me if I can help it but this role could be worth doing that. It’s a huge career step (which is why I’m also overthinking it and second guessing myself.)

        1. pancakes*

          If they would consider it a bridge burned for you to take a role elsewhere that’s a huge step up for you, they’re not reasonable. Taking a job with them or applying for a job with them should be something that makes sense for both you and the employer, not some sort of loyalty test.

    3. anonymous73*

      Give it another week and reach back out. The worst thing you can do is hound them over and over. Things happen that mess with timing, especially with management who are usually the ones making the decisions.

    4. HR Exec Popping In*

      Today as in today? If that is the case, you should hold off until the end of the day. If you don’t have it by Monday morning, just reach out. Most companies are doing a lot of hiring right now so the offer might be delayed behind getting other letters drafted. But it would be perfectly reasonable to follow up on the next business day after the offer letter was promised. They would expect that. And don’t withdrawal yourself from other opportunities until you have accepted the new job and passed their background check. Something could come up during that period of time so I would never recommend pulling out of another job interview process until your offer is without contingencies.

    5. Purple Cat*

      If the offer wasn’t supposed to come to you until “today” meaning “Friday” then I would wait until Tuesday morning to follow-up. You can’t follow-up today because that’s before their stated due date. And I feel like people catch up on things on Monday.

    6. BRR*

      I would wait until Wednesday (easier said than done, I know). That would be my advice if they said “we will email you an offer by today” and their message to you wasn’t even a concrete date. I would also email instead of call. There are very few instances in the hiring process where you should call instead of email and this isn’t one of them.

      You also will maintain a relationship if you interview than withdraw, schedule and interview then cancel it, or decline an offer. There are all perfectly normal and acceptable things. Just don’t ghost the companies if they reach out to you.

    7. Haha Lala*

      I agree with the other advice, wait until next week, Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest.
      Reaching out any sooner won’t do anything to help your case. They’ve likely already made their decision and are just working through the formalities. It’s out of your hands for the time being and you just have to wait it out.

      When you do follow up “Hi Jane, I’m following up on out conversation last week. I haven’t seen any emails come through since then and I wanted to check with you to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Is there anything else you need from me?”

    8. voluptuousfire*

      Keep interviewing until you have an offer in hand. Having other irons in the fire if this ends up not working out gives you other things to focus on.

    9. Public Sector Manager*

      With a deadline of Friday the 28th, I’d honestly wait until next Friday. These things always, always take more time than expected. We just hired a bunch of people, and for the last hire, the offer was delayed by about 10 days just because of circumstances with work (client issues, deadline issues, workflow issues), and both my boss and I were in the office and not on vacation. Sometimes work happens.

      If next Friday rolls around with no word, when you call, just ask if they have an updated status on the soft offer. No need to pitch yourself again. If they are a good employer and they want you to join their team, they will let you know what’s going on. Should they be calling you next week to let you know there is a delay? Yes, but sometimes these things steamroll (Ted in HR is going to get back to them Tuesday a.m., so they decide not to call because it’s just Tuesday a.m., Ted gets delayed to Wednesday noon, now Margie isn’t available until Thursday p.m., and they are wondering what they should tell you). Is it a red flag? Not at this stage.

  13. Bootstrap Paradox*

    I feel like I’ve reached a stage in my career where I may benefit from a professional coach – not an exec. level coach, as I am more mid-level. I stress ‘may’, as I am unfamiliar with the full range of professional coaching services. This thought now seems especially timely/appropriate as a reorg at work and being put on some bigger projects brings leadership and change management much more in to play. This is a refresh, with a new twist, on a question I previously asked not remembering it was XMas Eve until I had posted.

    Have any of you used a professional coach, and if so, would you be willing to share some of your experiences? Are there different varieties of professional coach? Does working in the Government space merit the need for someone with experience in that general arena? What sorts of areas do professional coaches focus on? My tech and communication skills are quite strong, but I think leadership at the higher levels is an area for growth.

    I am usually pretty ruthless about self reflection and examination, as well as having piled up all manner of appropriate certifications (next up – PMP), and have pretty much worked my way through my 5 year list. I do have a couple brief leadership courses lined up for this coming year. But I think some outside…examination? input? may be beneficial when it comes to stepping up to the next level. Also, do you interview potential coaches, or…?

    1. River Otter*

      I have been through both group coaching and had an individual coach. The problem with coaches is, there are 1 million schools of thought and coaching “certifications“ and there’s really no way to tell who is going to be good at it and who is not. Depending on what you want to work on, a therapist might actually be a better bet. There is a fair amount of overlap between therapy and coaching in terms of examining your thought patterns and determining which ones are beneficial and which ones need to be changed. Coaches and therapists can both help you with things like overcoming perfectionism or using assertive communication. Frequently people have to move between coaching and therapy because they might find that their behaviors at work are rooted in something that should really be dealt with by a licensed therapist, such as, their beliefs about authority figures might have been shaped by their parents. So just start with the therapist! Plus, therapy might be covered by your insurance at least partly, where is coaches definitely are not.
      There is an HBR (Harvard business review) podcast by an executive coach. I am afraid I don’t know the exact title, but I hope that is enough information for you to find the podcast. The coach is truly excellent. I recommend listening to that podcast to get a sense of what a very good coach is like to better help you evaluate whether a coach that you find is a good one or not.

    2. HR Exec Popping In*

      The on-line coaching field is currently exploding. You may want to checkout a service that matches people with coaches to help you find the right one. My company is currently looking at providing the services of BetterUp to our people but I believe they also provide this service to individuals.

    3. Hmmmm*

      I did for about a year. At the time, it didn’t feel like it was very useful.

      But a couple years later, I started seeing how implementing her suggestions had helped me. For example, she suggested a mentor within a nonprofit I volunteer for. I thought she was nuts …that’s THE LEAST corporate environment ever, and what could I learn to help my career. But, ya know, what I learned from that mentor is patience and how to meet broken people where they’re at. And that has changed how I interact with people at work. I thought I was the only broken person in corporate America and everyone else was fine. Nope, a lot of people are broken and need genuine empathy. And that reframed my own defensiveness and made me more open. It did not actually get me promoted, but I’m a better person and better and what I do.

      I honestly wouldn’t pay a coach though. I got this low cost through an educational program.

  14. Burnt In Screensaver*

    This is probably a very dumb question, but I’ve never done it before- I was hired by a recruiter out of college. But, like, how do you begin looking for a new job? Do you just google your job title plus location? How do you begin sorting through the overwhelming number of listings that come up?

    1. Littorally*

      I like working in large corporate environments, so I tend to start by looking at some of the larger companies in my industry in the area I live or want to live in, and check those companies’ career pages for anything interesting. If that doesn’t bear fruit or I need to cast a wider net, then I move on to searching more general sites, but even then I will generally take note of company names and then look for their individual websites and career pages rather than working through the job aggregator.

    2. londonedit*

      Are there any industry/local/other publications in your field/location that host job adverts? In publishing there are a couple of industry-specific magazines that have job listings online, and there are a couple of well-known recruitment agencies that advertise jobs on behalf of publishing companies, so those are the first places everyone looks when they’re after a new job. I’d also look at individual companies’ websites, as they usually have a section called ‘Jobs’ or ‘Work for us’ listing their current vacancies.

      1. Burnt In Screensaver*

        I’m not sure- I’m a programmer. I’ve seen job ads on stack overflow, so I guess I could start there

        1. Eden*

          Fellow dev – I’ve googled things like “best tech jobs in [city]” as a start, as well as just taken stock at apps and sites that I use and like and researched those companies. From there, a lot of looking at glassdoor. Amd of course ask any friends you moght have in the business if they’re happy where they are. The sky is really the limit for a programmer!

          1. Burnt In Screensaver*

            Neat! I guess I’ve been passively doing that already, taking stock of sites that I think are well-designed and seeing if they have openings.

            I do get that feeling, that the sky’s the limit. I think that sums up why it feels overwhelming.

        2. LDN Layabout*

          I’d also consider checking out recruiters if you’re in an in-demand profession as well. Do you have coworkers who have left semi-recently? Are you on LinkedIn?

          1. Burnt In Screensaver*

            I’m technically on linkedin, under my deadname with a very inaccurate picture of me. I’m not sure if I should start over or try to change everything

    3. cubone*

      This honestly isn’t that dumb! Did you graduate recently? If so, your college might have a career centre that serves alumni for x amount of time post grad and you could ask them for some advice. But typically people use a variety of job boards by location. Indeed is one, Glassdoor, I do believe Google aggregates some of these but i personally don’t use Google itself for job hunting. Industries often have specific ones too (eg Charity Village in Canada is where non profit roles are regularly posted). Ask around or search for “x industry job boards”. Also, if you can find newsletters or industry websites, often they might aggregate job boards (eg I think Inside Higher Ed has one for higher education jobs).

      The other method is looking for specific companies and checking their individual websites! This is a good method but requires you to be in a place where you know what companies you want to work for.

      1. Burnt In Screensaver*

        “X industry job boards” sounds like a good idea! I’m not sure how that would work if I want to switch industries, but I could probably figure that out. I’m doing web developement stuff for a finance company now but tbh I want something that aligns better with my values

        1. cubone*

          I’m in a similar boat (switching industries) and don’t know exactly where to look either! It might actually be one of the more appropriate ways to use networking – finding some people with “dream jobs” or in areas of interest, asking if you can ask some questions about it and how they got there, are there tools like job banks or networking groups you should be aware of.

          Also, can’t believe I forgot Linkedin, thanks to fake Giraffe :) I find Linkedin is pretty decent at adjusting their algorithm of recommending jobs. I started clicking on/saving jobs in the area I’d like to work and pretty soon I started seeing way more of them in my recommendations (vs. jobs more aligned with what I’m doing now)

          1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

            The nice thing about using LinkedIn is that you can search for people who have a particular job and see how they describe it. No need to go through the hassle of trying to set up “informational interviews” with complete strangers — read the profiles, follow people you’re interested in, and, if you want, start interacting with their posts to get the conversation going.

      2. Xenia*

        Our college had a Handshake profile that I found extremely useful. Seeing if your college has some sort of dedicated job board is a great place to start.

    4. anonymous73*

      I use online websites – the 2 I use the most are Indeed and LinkedIn. You create an account, upload your resume, and search for jobs using filters based on your experience and needs. And if any of your colleagues know any recruiters, reach out to them and see if they have anything available. This is all dependent on what type of work you do – I’ve worked in IT my whole career and am currently a PM.

    5. HR Exec Popping In*

      I would recommend starting by looking at job posting on LinkedIn assuming your profession would be included. You can filter by company, location, key word, etc. and most major companies advertise there for professional roles.

    6. Nicki Name*

      What industry are you in? Sometimes there will be a particular job listing site which works better than others for it. For instance, I’m in IT and Dice has been way more productive for me than the other big job sites.

    7. New Mom*

      I had worked as a classroom teacher and then wanted to work in education at a nonprofit so I googled “best education nonprofit to work at in [my location]” and a few lists came up and I looked at their careers page/hirings and applied to positions I was eligible for and got hired at one.

    8. StellaBella*

      I look at LinkedIn,, local job boards. I search on my profession. I am also on a few job board mailing lists too.

    9. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      It might be different in different industries, but I usually start with the free major job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn or Zip Recruiter. Lately, Indeed has been the best one. for me (whatever happened to Monster and CareerBuilder?)

      >Setup a custom search by Current Job Title and Location/Zip Code + 20 mile radius.
      >Refine that search by varying experience levels, or by a broader radius or nationwide search.
      >Possibly refine by broader Job Role Area. Example: If I’m a Digital Marketing Manager perhaps I want to set my search for general “Marketing” or “Communications” Sometimes this will give you related jobs you didn’t think about.
      >I always sort my searches to show only Show Newest Within Last Week to keep down the volume of listings. In my experience, jobs listed 3+ weeks are dead.

      If I need to I might go to niche boards like HigherEdJobs or Dice or whatever fits the industry I’m specifically looking in. There are also some boards for Remote-Workers if you want that specifically.

  15. Orange Crushed*

    My coworkers are very competitive. It’s not like you have to be- we’re not in sales or in an environment where you have to be more aggressive- it’s just how they are.

    They’re competitive socially as well- the manager that I work with “Jon” is always giving me a hard time for being quiet. He brags about the people that he talks with. He hangs out with another manager. She doesn’t seem to like me. She also seems to get mad/annoyed if Jon talks to me. (She’ll call him over to come by her if he’s by me.)

    They also gossip about every little thing- they thought that I was upset one day because I jumped up from my seat and hurried off. (I wasn’t- I had to stop an order from being processed.) Another time, I had to go for a test in another building and when I cam back, my coworker noticed it on my calendar and was like, “Oh, you were over there!” Sheesh! I don’t want to have to explain where I’m going *every time* that I get up from my desk. Sorry- not doing it!

    The culture is very difficult to understand and figure out.
    I’m introverted and even if I tried my hardest, I couldn’t compete with them. I’m always the outsider, never the cool kid.

    Any advice? Has anyone ever been in a situation like this? What did you do?

    1. RagingADHD*

      I haven’t been in an environment that intrusive and obnoxious, but I have nearly always been at least somewhat of an outsider. I guess I dealt with it by…embracing it?

      I’m polite and generally warm and collegial with my coworkers. I’ll be friendly with whoever wants to be friendly. I can get along with anyone who isn’t actively nasty and rude – them I shut down, avoid, and/or ignore. But I don’t chase after people to try and be friends, because my real friends are elsewhere. I’m just trying to make the work environment as calm and pleasant as possible.

      Honestly, people who are as shallow and immature as your coworkers seem to respond best to being treated like someone else’s ill-mannered children. “Oh, okay.” and “How nice for you.” “Oh, was someone looking for me? Did they leave a message?” Sincere, pleasant, slightly detached.

      The less you try to fit in with them or get them to like you, the more they will try to get you to like them.

      1. Cj*

        “The less you try to fit in with them or get them to like you, the more they will try to get you to like them.”
        Kind of like a cat!

        1. RagingADHD*

          I always heard that, but we got our first ever cat this year, and he likes to be scooped up like a baby and kissed on the face. So CMMV, I guess (cat mileage may vary).

    2. Shelby*

      It’s okay not to be the cool kid. I’m an introvert and I can’t compete with extroverts either, because the prize is ultimately…more unwanted conversations! But I understand that some people are uncomfortable with my silence, so if they comment on it, I just explain that I’m more of a listener and that I enjoy hearing about other peoples’ lives (from them, that is, not as gossip) and insights, which is true. (For the record, I hate the “you’re so quiet” comment which seems to be acceptable in our society. I don’t tell people “you’re so loud” or “you never stop talking”.)

      Then I try to check in with co-workers periodically, asking how they’re doing, how are their kids/new dogs, whether they have fun plans for the weekend or summer. I usually speak to them at their desks or in a common area and I tend to be less conversational if someone comes uninvited to my office to chat–I hate being cornered by a talker.

      As for the nosiness, that can be really hard to stop unless management is committed to making it stop (and it sounds like your manager is taking part in it). Is it possible to move your desk to a less conspicuous location?

    3. New Mom*

      Are you new? When I started my job years ago I remember feeling like the team I started on was very cliquey. I was feeling a bit out of my element and was not vibing with my manager and then the other people that were around my age would go into an office and close the door at lunch and it made me feel like such an outsider. This did not last forever though. I think after about two months one of the other women asked me to have lunch with her one day and slowly people started being friendlier, then some people left and the team culture changed over time. I know that everyone’s situation is different, but I have seen people be much cooler when someone is new and people are sussing them out, and after you “prove” yourself people warm up. It definitely sucks to feel unwelcomed at the start, and if it continues it might just not be a good culture fit.

    4. MacGillicuddy*

      Do you work with 6th graders?!? That behavior is obnoxious. I recommend taking the Anthropologist Doing Fieldwork approach and viewing these coworkers as oddities.
      And stick to bright and breezy replies, like when they ask you if you’re upset because you jumped up. “Nope! Not at all!”
      And if they’re looking at your calendar (online calendar, I’m presuming) when you’re away at a meeting or etc, I highly recommend locking your computer screen EVERY time you step away from your desk. Who knows what other snooping they’re likely to do. (Most places that I worked had the policy of locking your screen whenever you were away from your desk, for security reasons.)

      You can be cordial, polite, and cheerful to these people but don’t even bother trying to be friends with them. You’ll just get sucked into their drama.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That is not competitive behavior, it’s grammar school behavior.

      I will say this, it’s wise to learn how and when to do random interactions with people. This group is not capable of showing you what normal is so maybe you won’t see it at this job.

      However, just under the heading of good to know- jumping up and leaving a room hurriedly WILL attract attention from people. Unless there’s a fire, you might wanna say “BRB” to a person near you. This is very different from a bathroom/water break. And it’s true you do not have to tell people where you are going but the trade off is they may think you are stand-offish and not inclusive. A solution here would be to say something if you hurry out of the room and/or occasionally say something before you leave but not every time.

      If you talk to one person but don’t talk to another person, it’s likely that the second person will get offended. Here a wise policy might be to treat everyone the same. Say good morning or hello to people, carry yourself as if you are willing to converse with anyone.

      You’re introverted. I get it. So am I. I go home from work and I need a nap because of talking with strangers all day. It has gotten easier over the years, there is a learning curve and things will look differently in a while. However, keep in mind that we are paid in part for our willingness to get along with others. Getting along with others means having basic conversations with them whether we want to or not. Don’t forget you are being paid while you are talking to them.

      There’s a few things here, I’d like to look at for a minute:
      “He brags about the people that he talks with.” So this is an insecure person. They have to show you/everyone how important they are. People who are truly important do not need to do this. Tell him, “that’s nice” and return to what you were working on.

      “They also gossip about every little thing”. This happens in a lot of work places. Someone is right there to point out how supposedly strange someone else’s behavior is. It’s like being under a microscope. There is gossip that can be a real problem and there is gossip that can be ignored. Try to see the difference between the two- so you can ignore the running commentary more often.

      “I don’t want to have to explain where I’m going *every time* that I get up from my desk. Sorry- not doing it!” This level of reaction does not match the event that caused it. I do not see where anyone said you “had” to tell them where you were going “every” time you left the room. You jumped up and left hurriedly- they probably wondered if you were fleeing the building and perhaps they should also. It is a courtesy to say “BRB” or some similar passing comment. No, you don’t “have to”. I have a horrible story of someone who “did not have to” say they were leaving the work area to go to X area. While they were in X area they fell and broke BOTH their ankles. Since they did not tell anyone where they were NO ONE checked for HOURS. Yeah. Hours on the floor with two broken ankles. I want people to question things if I am not back in a reasonable amount of time. In order to get that, I do have to give some clue as to what is going on. “I will be right back!” or “I will be back in 2 hours.”

      “even if I tried my hardest, I couldn’t compete with them.” I am not sure why you think it’s a competition. I don’t see anyone competing at anything here. All I see is one person who appears to be a braggart and another person who could be wondering why you don’t talk to her.

      “I’m always the outsider, never the cool kid.” The people you are working with now, have absolutely no way of knowing that. I suspect there’s some life stuff going on here. If you cannot separate your work place from the life stuff then maybe it’s time to sort the life stuff with a counselor. The reality is that many of us were never the cool kid. I wasn’t one of the cool kids (for reasons). Reality is that unless I say that, most people do not know. We don’t have a sign on our foreheads saying “I’m not cool.”

      Do you often automatically distrust people? It might be wise to work on communicating a little bit more than you do.
      And here is a tidbit to hold on to- it does not matter if cohorts like you or dislike you. All that matters is that the both of you retain a civil enough relationship to do the job. I have worked with people who were my polar opposite. We tried taking breaks together and gave up because we had absolutely nothing in common. But some of these people were the hardest working and best working people I have ever had. Please stop putting a high value on if people like you or not. This will not serve you well. Instead take a look at how well things go in general. Are you both generally pleasant to each other? If work needs to be done together how does that task go? Do you both pull in the same direction? Some times pulling in the same direct to get through a task is as good as good gets.

  16. Kramerica Industries*

    I work in the marketing department for an insurance company. I created a few social media ad images, with one that included a person in a wheelchair. Some of my colleagues had concerns about this/wanted it removed because they thought that people would assume that we were talking about disability insurance (we weren’t) and that it could be misleading.

    I’ve worked in non-insurance roles before and it’s part of my normal process to add a mix of able-bodied and people with visual disabilities to promote diversity. While I want to try to promote diversity in my imagery, do my colleagues have a point here? Are there better ways to approach this?

    1. ferrina*

      It depends on the exact layout of the creative and what materials it’s in, but generally, you should be able to include someone with a visible disability without everyone’s minds leaping to Disability Insurance. If in doubt, run some quick ad tests with your market research team/vendor.

    2. Bagpuss*

      No, they don’t.

      I’d suggest that you point out that it is helpful to show and promote diversity, and presumably your company wants to appear welcoming to people across all demographics – perhaps ask whether if the photo showed a woman or a POC that they would thin people will assume that the post was specific to those groups?

    3. LKW*

      I suppose the appropriate question (at the time they made the comment) was: Do people in wheelchairs not need this particular insurance?

      Yes, absolutely ableist nonsense.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      They are wrong. People with disabilities use all kinds of insurance too & appreciate being seen as more than their disability.

      On that note, please make sure you include images of different kinds of disabilities, not just those that include use of a wheelchair. And kids with disabilities! Those pics can be hard to find, & we should be pushing the stock photo companies to provide them.

    5. Can't Sit Still*

      As a disabled person, I enjoy the representation! It doesn’t mean something is only for disabled people, just that disabled people exist and could make use of your products or services.

      And, you didn’t ask, but I would love to see more of disabled people helping able bodied people, rather than vice versa. Or an able bodied senior with a younger disabled adult, not helping, just engaged in an activity or conversation.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Agreed! One of the goals in my workplace is getting young people with disabilities (and their parents) to see themselves in the workforce & ready to enter it. More visuals like that would be wonderful from our perspective.

    6. RagingADHD*

      If they were pointing out that the title or copy in conjunction with that image could be confusing or misleading (such as the title being too vague) then they have a point that the mismatch needs to be fixed.

      But that could also be fixed by using the same image with a different piece of copy.

      If they just didn’t want to use the image at all because Reasons, then no, they don’t have a point.

    7. Generic Name*

      I mean people using wheel chairs are still people who might buy insurance, no? If you showed an image of a black woman would they be asking if the insurance you’re selling is for black women only?

    8. Irish girl*

      Nope, I am in insurance that is not disability and that doesnt read disability insurance to me. There should be more inclusivity in images.

    9. Rosemary*

      I am going to have to disagree with everyone saying her colleagues don’t have a point. I absolutely, 100% commend the effort to be inclusive. However, from a communications standpoint I can understand the concern that viewers might assume “disability insurance” when they see an ad for “insurance” + someone in a wheelchair. Is it “right”? No. But human brains work how they work. I work in marketing research where we are often asking for consumers’ feedback on communications, and the language/imagery used and what they convey/take away from it. I am very confident that there would be feedback (from some! not all!) that “that woman in the wheelchair makes me think this is disability insurance.” That said – I think there are ways around it – for instance, making the copy VERY clear what the product is for, as well as including a range of people in the image, not JUST someone in a wheelchair.

    10. MissDisplaced*

      Reminds me of when I worked at the health “diet” startup and the owner got mad because I had photos of average sized people as well as different races. He claimed people buying a diet only wanted to see the “after” skinny photos or super healthy people stock photos because they were aspirational.
      Really he was just fat phobic.

  17. Chidi has a stomach ache*

    Last week, I asked for advice on who to ask for references from my former tenure-track position, since my former supervisor/Chair was non-responsive. I reached out to a couple of other faculty I worked closely with, but everyone seems to have ghosted me? I haven’t heard back from anyone in the department. The job app has a “preferred deadline” for today, and I am really nervous about not having a reference from what was essentially the first full-time job I had after completing my PhD. But I also don’t want to list someone without permission (or list someone who can’t reply to requests promptly!).

    I’m not sure if there is anything to do at this point, so maybe this is really just venting my frustration.

    1. Green Beans*

      How many times did you follow up? It’s faculty so I’d say 2-3 follow up emails on average.

      Also what did you include in your initial ask?

      1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

        I followed up once with each (4 people total). Some I reached out by email, one I actually texted. In my initial ask, I asked to list them as a reference, and said that likely meant just fielding a phone call if I advanced in the job application (so they didn’t think they had to write a letter).

        1. Camelid coordinator*

          It’s a rough start to the spring semester at most places, and I have found that faculty are very slow to respond unless they need something. It sounds like you might be closest to the person you texted. Could you say “I am going to go ahead and list you since the deadline is today, I’ll let you know if anything comes of it. Good luck with the spring term!” I’d probably add something to the tune of sorry to add to their plate in such a chaotic time but that is how I am.

        2. Green Beans*

          So ideally your initial ask would be more like the below (and you can send a third follow up with the below language, just slightly adjusted.) They’re a lot more likely to say yes if you put everything they need right in front of their face when you ask.

          Hi [Name],

          I applied for [position] at [place] which I’m really excited about! I’m moving forward in the process and they require X references, via phone call (not letter). Would you be willing to serve as one? My CV and the job posting are attached for reference and they’re looking for someone to speak to [specific qualities].

          [If needed] As a quick refresher, I worked with your lab/group on [Project], where I was responsible for [Thing]. I collaborated most closely with [Person] and the project resulted in [Publication/Conference/Book.]


    2. ferrina*

      Are all your references ghosting you? I assume some from somewhere are responsive, right? You can have a mix of responsive references and one potential-ghost reference. Most employers will understand if one out of three (or four) references vanishes.

    3. adminatlarge*

      I would just pick some people who you trust to act as a reference and send them an email stating it as a fact. “I have listed you as a reference for x”. I’ve worked with higher-ed faculty for over 10 years and when they ghost you like this, just do what you need to do and then tell them you did it along with details about what specific thing you need from them next. If someone does respond and opts-out, then you can remove them and note that going forward. But acting as reference is a big part of being tenured faculty, they are used to this and are probably surprised your sending them an email asking for advice on it instead of just using them as a reference. If this is a situation where you need a letter or something else specific from them, you should send an email with as much info as possible (and maybe even write portions of the letter itself) with the deadline and the word “urgent” in the subject of your email. Good luck!

    4. Gracely*

      This might be a timing issue–a lot of faculty are swamped right now at the beginning of the semester, and emails about references are going to wind up on the backburner, since usually academic references require the writing of a letter. Since it sounds like you need a response today, is it possible to look up their office hours and make a call when they’re supposed to be in their office?

  18. Looking for MissGirl*

    Hello! You answered my question last week about production editor-turning into something else and said after getting your MBA, you could see other options you’d had. Would you mind sharing what other options you saw later?

    1. MissGirl*

      Hi, other than UX, I can’t remember anything off hand specifically. I do recall going through the big tech companies in my area and searching their postings and thinking I could’ve done that. I would do something similar. Identify some big companies that have a lot of different types of jobs and comb through their postings to see what things relate and what things you’re missing and how to fill the gap. Your goal may not be to find jobs to apply for initially but find possible paths and maybe get additional training. My goal was to get out of publishing because I was tired of low pay and not many options for growth so I quit and went for a full-time MBA.

  19. cubone*

    Less advice, more opinion: what do y’all think is reasonable to ask for reference checks? Thinking in terms of volume, more than specific questions.

    I just got a reference request that is a written form with 15 specific questions (and more than once includes “please be as detailed as possible”), with two days deadline. I’m… mildly annoyed (at the company, not the person who needs the reference). I’m not sure if I could’ve asked for a phone convo (they didn’t offer) but I think that would’ve taken less time. Ive done ones that were at least this extensive, but those were for grad school applications (often for social work programs). For job references, ive usually either had phone calls with <10 questions or written forms with maybe 5.

    1. alt ac*

      I have a lot of my former student workers who apply for teaching positions. I absolutely hate the questionnaires the districts send over. They’re mostly very similar, but I’ll get bunches at a time and have to sit and fill them all out. I feel much the same as you.

      I’ve started copying some of my more generic responses into a document so I can quickly reference it.

      1. cubone*

        Oh I’ve gotten the teachers college ones too. It’s rough! Usually with those I will ask for their resumes and/or if they could share with me again some highlights of our time working together/why they’re interested in pursuing these studies. I don’t want to make more work for them but usually just a quick paragraph will do and it really helps a lot in making it more specific and refreshing my mind on what to focus on.

        Love the generic responses doc idea though!

      2. Double A*

        Teaching applications have so many burdensome elements. I am hoping that one positive effect of the teaching shortage is maybe some hiring practices will be revamped (but probably not).

    2. Rayray*

      To me this just sounds like another of the insane hiring practices to come up in recent years when companies just can not make a decision on anything.

      1. cubone*

        Yeah, this a big organization with many different departments and I have looked at roles in an area different from the person I’m being a reference for. It is making me less interested in them as an employer, to be honest. The job itself isn’t entry level, but it is far from an executive level and this is just way, way too much in my opinion.

    3. Love to WFH*

      This must vary by occupation, I work in IT.

      I’d reply with my phone number and tell them to give me a call. I’ve never completed long written forms for a reference.

    4. I should really pick a name*

      Not sure what industry you’re in, but I’d consider any kind of written form to be unreasonable (unless it’s a case of the reference being given the option of a phone call or a form).

    5. Llama Wrangler*

      I always ask for a phone call, even if it wasn’t explicitly offered – I have never had anyone decline to do a call. Is it too late for you to go back and ask?

    6. Texan In Exile*

      They are asking way too much.

      I got a similar request. I emailed the requester and said I didn’t have time to complete the document, but would be glad to have a short conversation about the applicant. The requester agreed.

    7. Sloan Kittering*

      Ugh, a university job made me create an account as a reference and then answer a bunch of formulaic questions that didn’t relate at all to my experience with the person in question (even worse, it was a peer reference, which they had specifically requested, but the questions were as if I was the supervisor) and they sent a bunch of irritating emails too, reminding me of the short turnaround. I was so irked. They were basically holding this coworker hostage. Even worse, I actually hadn’t thought she was that great but gave her all fives because there was no opportunity for nuance anyway.

  20. fishsticks*

    Hi all, I’m in a tight spot. I took a short term contract 6 months ago that is supposed to be renewed (likely into another short term contract) in two months.

    I hate this role. My supervisor is absent and pushes all his work onto me, making me a one person department. Because of this, the whole company has learned that I am the productive person and they only address departmental issues to me. Attempts to discuss this with him and our team lead have gone nowhere. I am not treated very well and there is a lack of respect in the workplace. I found myself crying in the bathroom multiple times a week and I’ve had enough.

    The problem is this: I’m a recent graduate and this is my first post Master’s role. I have about 2-3 combined years of co-op and full-time work experience in my field, so I’m not starting from zero. But I am so frightened of being unemployed, it’s paralysing. My contract doesn’t allow me to quit before the end of my term, so if I sign onto a renewal for stability, I would be 100% stuck in the hellmouth for another 6 months to a year.

    I don’t think staying is an option, but I feel trepidation about sitting on the job market for a long time so soon after graduation. About 1-5 ideal roles in my desired field come up every week, either locally or remotely. If I am flexible, I can find more. Still, I feel like there are so many factors working against me – new graduate, working in my second language in a new region, unfortunate contract terms.

    Any advice on how to cope with a looming job search and how to get through the remaining days? I haven’t been unemployed since I was 15 and I dread it.

      1. ferrina*

        Yes, start looking now. Be flexible about what you are looking at (if you have energy for a lot of applications, do it).
        You sound deeply unhappy, but also paralyzed by your fear of change (“what if I’m unemployed?!”). Your anxiety is currently holding you in the status quo. I think part of you knows that this is happening (that’s why you included these details), but you’re not sure how to get out of it.
        Things that helped me: Looking at my bank account and knowing how long I could be unemployed for; repeating “I am worth more than this” until I believed it (and that took me a long time); having a back up option (is there a non-contracted temp option that you can do?); literally running through the worst case scenario and realizing- yeah, but it’s my life and I get to decide what is okay and not okay, and it’s not okay for my boss to treat me this badly (and your current supervisor is treating you very badly.
        This is a bad situation, and the sooner you get out of it, the better.

        1. fishsticks*

          Thanks to both of you, it helps to clarify. I am sure about leaving and have already put in a few applications and got a phone screen, so that’s something!

          The mental framing you added is very helpful, I will keep it in mind. It’s going to be a challenge but I appreciate the advice so much. Fingers crossed.

    1. Stoppin' by to chat*

      You can always quit a job. Does the contract state there is a financial consequence or something? I don’t know exactly where you work, but if you are in the US it’s likely you’re working in an at will state. But regardless, it’s your life, and you can quit! If there are that many roles in your field, definitely start looking for a new job. It’s not worth spending your waking hours crying in the bathroom at work. You can leave anytime!

      1. fishsticks*

        Thanks for the advice. Not in the US and the consequences for breaking this kind of short term contract can be court cases and financial penalties, so I have to stick it out unfortunately. Definitely an unfortunate scenario and not one I would have accepted if I had known how ridiculous things would get. In the meantime, I’m getting through the day and apply in the evenings!

    2. All Het Up About It*

      Yes! Start looking now when you have a few months on your contract. You might end up with a job offer that you can start right after this one ends. Or you might have several possible interviews and opportunities that the thought of having a gap isn’t as terrifying because you feel confident you will find something.

      Also – as this is a contract role, I am assuming it probably does not include a lot of benefits, though I understand that can vary between industries. But if your job already doesn’t offer insurance, etc., consider what sort of side hustles you could do to get extra cash if you had to have a gap between professional roles. Uber, Shipt, Grubhub, etc.

    3. Purple Cat*

      Look up what the penalty is for breaking the contract. Depending on the amount, it might be well within the range of a new company to give you as a sign-on bonus for starting before your next contract period ends. You can also make sure the terms of the contract are only 6 months, you don’t have to accept a 1-year contract. But otherwise, it really sounds like this job is worse for your mental health than any perceived work skills experience, so I would get out.

      1. fishsticks*

        Good things to think about, thank you. I’m not planning on signing another because, as you said, it taking too much from me and it really isn’t letting me develop at all. Oh well, live and learn.

    4. Hillary*

      “My contract is ending” is a very good reason to be looking and everyone will immediately understand it. I used to literally explain resume gaps with “well, I was a temp and the contract ended” – every time they nodded, usually in sympathy. Focus on the future and start applying now. If you get an offer for a permanent role now it’s 100% ok to quit your contract because you got offered a permanent role, and anyone who holds that against you is a jerk. What’s the worst they can do? Fire you because you quit?

      Also, be kind to yourself. Set aside a couple hours a week for applications, don’t spend time on job boards outside your scheduled hours. Make sure you’re spending time on what brings you joy.

      Every time you get frustrated in the remaining days remind yourself how few you have left. Try to be positive about your future and why you want what’s coming next. You’ve got this.

    5. Happy Lurker*

      Your emotional health is not worth signing on for an extension. GTFO now. Take an hour a day (your lunch time or whatnot) and start looking. This is a good time for you to go. Coordinate your new job start with your contract end date. You got this!
      I always know it’s time to leave a job when I start dreaming about going back to my most hated teenage job over staying at my current!
      Since you are the “go to” person in the department, consider reaching out to some people that you work well with and asking if they would serve as a future reference for you? Seriously, do be scared if they find out you want to leave…you do. You will not be unemployed in this day and age – good luck. Come back and keep us posted!

    6. Koala dreams*

      Could you afford to be unemployed for a while? If not, would it be possible to negotiate a notice period for the renewal? Unfortunately, with contracts like that it’s common to be stuck with periods of unemployment when things don’t line up. Is the contract periods the same in the entire industry, like school terms? If they are different, you might want to consider not renewing the contract so you are open for other jobs. If they are the same, you might need to look at other industries.

      Other than that, I agree with everyone else. Look for other jobs, make some time for a hobby or self-care, save some money if you can, even if it’s just a small amount.

  21. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    It’s my last day at my current job!

    I was really hoping that by giving a month’s notice to wrap up my projects I’d be leaving them in a good place, but everything is still off the rails unfortunately. I thought that once people knew I was leaving they would step up and start to be more proactive and independent, but here I am on my last day, with tons of IMs still asking me the most basic of questions on things I’ve explained, trained to and left documentation on.

    I did have a come to Jesus talk with my boss yesterday about holding people accountable – he doesn’t want to micromanage, but we have several new analysts that have been missing meetings, showing as offline for hours (we are all remote), not sending kickoff emails, etc. He was very receptive but is a non-confrontational sort, so I’m not sure he’ll actually follow through. Still, no longer my circus or my monkeys!

    Thanks to everyone here who offered advice throughout this process. I’m 15 years from retirement and really hoping this will be my last job switch.

    1. Artemesia*

      Look in the mirror and say ‘Oh I’m sorry, I haven’t the time to do that.’ Then ignore the follow up calls for free assistance.

      It is not your problem unless you feel a need to be responsive. I’d give them 5 questions. After that, be unavailable and don’t answer. And on the first 5 — let a day go by at least before responding.

    2. A Beth*

      Ugh, that was me when I left my job. I finally told my boss, “this is part of why I’m leaving” because the people who should have been asking questions 3 weeks prior were just realizing they had to be prepared to take up the slack.

    3. Purple Cat*

      Shall you be changing your name to NEW Gig Data Analyst?
      Wishing you best success in the new role.

  22. Anononon*

    I’m so bummed. A week ago, I got an email asking to set up an initial phone interview sometime this week. I sent the times I was available only like an hour later, and I never heard back. I sent one follow up, but nothing. Ugh.

    1. Rayray*

      I hate when this happens! It’s super rude.

      I feel like whenever I had those ones where you emailed back times you were available , it never worked out. I remember one time emailing back three times and then got asked if I could do a totally different time. I wish more recruiters/companies would use services that actually just let the candidate schedule their time. Maybe something similar to signup genius.

      1. Anononon*

        Yeah, like I would understand (but still be annoyed) if I got ghosted post-interview. But don’t reach out to me to schedule something and then disappear!

      2. All Het Up About It*

        A doodle poll is so simple and free for even smaller companies! I’ve used that method for scheduling times with prospective student workers and it was perfect. It’s so much simpler, especially if you have multiple candidates you are emailing.

        Sorry you are dealing with this!

    2. Forkeater*

      This happened to me this week too, with two different companies! I posted it downthread before reading your post. One job I was ambivalent about but the second would be an amazing move. It’s so weird!

      1. Anononon*

        At least I’m not alone!

        Yeah, I’m generally happy at my current place, so I’m only very casually looking, but this could have been a really good career and salary move, so I’m bummed.

  23. I quit my job*

    I quit my job and gave a long notice period, thinking it would help with the transition, but honestly it made no difference. Oh well, it won’t be my problem soon. Just wanted to share though, because before I always thought it would be classy to give more than two weeks, and in my case it hasn’t made things easier in the way I would have expected.

    1. MizChiffon*

      Thank you so much for sharing this! I put in my notice this Monday and gave my last day as next Friday. I was feeling a little bad about not giving them more time, but I was pretty sure they would just drag out the transition and my misery.

    2. Love to WFH*

      I gave 3 weeks notice once. Never again! I was bored and so checked-out that third week that it was torture.

      It’s not like they’re going to hire and train someone within 3 or 4 weeks anyway.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve had great experiences with giving long notice, but it definitely doesn’t always benefit the employee or employer.

    4. Roy G. Biv*

      I made the mistake once of giving a long notice (6 weeks) notice because it lined up with an onboarding schedule at my new company. I also figured it would give Old Job plenty of time to hire my replacement and for me to train them. Of course they only hired a person one week before my end date, and gave me two days to train them.

      Two weeks is plenty of notice.

  24. Glaceon*

    I’m in the middle of a job search, and this week I applied to a job that looks nearly perfect- amazing benefits, good pay, etc and got called for an interview yesterday! It’s for a marijuana dispensary (weed is legal for both medical & recreational use in my state) but my concern is how will this look on a resume in a couple years? It’s an accounting job for their corporate office. I guess I’m worried there’s still a stigma surrounding it. That said, we’ll see if I even get an offer. My parents believe it would give some future employers a bad impression of me.

    1. OyHiOh*

      My sense, living in a state that has legal medical/recreational is that positions requiring a MED card (marijuana enforcement division) have more stigma than those that don’t. When I was job searching a couple years ago, I applied for a couple office manager positions on grow farms that did require MED cards for employment, and some corporate office positions that did not. But the conversation around town seems to imply that if you end up in a role with a MED, you’re probably kinda locking yourself into that industry at least until federal law changes.

    2. Purple Cat*

      I think it’s going to be fine.
      Like most things in this space, people’s views are evolving. You will run into some pearl-clutching curmudgeons, but for the most part you should be fine. AND even though I would have absolutely no concerns no matter what your role, I think being in Finance (as am I) is also a type of shield for you. You’re *just* running numbers, not pushing the product.

    3. Irish girl*

      I dont think it woul be a problem as like you said its an accounting job. Do people look down on a person who works for a gun company in that position? Or someone who works for Philip Morris? You could always frame the work being more intresting and a challenge due to the legalities around it as a plus.

      1. Peachtree*

        Yes, they do – I have friends who work at British American Tobacco and I do think they are selling out from their values, even though they are in legal. Tobacco causes so much harm (as do guns!) that it’s a real point of contention for me. I’ve been contacted by Phillip Morris recruiters and could not do it.

        However weed has a different cache for a lot of people and I think we are moving in a different direction in how we view weed v how we view tobacco. From my POV we are now aware of how awful the health impacts of tobacco are but are more aware of some of the benefits of legal weed. So the OP should be assured that they are quite different industries to the ones you’ve suggested here.

    4. Xenia*

      It’s legal, it’s a corporate role, you should be fine. But I know Allison’s gotten questions like this from people who worked in odd places before—I think one in particular was for a place that did adult movies and the person who wrote in did their admin? I’ll see if I can track down the link.

    5. Generic Name*

      In Colorado, those are seen as normal jobs. I’d ask about how pay and taxes work since the industry is cash based.

    6. JustaTech*

      If it’s a big enough place to have a corporate office I’d say you’re fine.

      It’s the shady, fly-by-night places that will do you no good, but it wouldn’t matter what industry it was if it was sketchy. My brother worked at a couple of perfectly fine (for a small business) dispensaries and one All Bees All The Time place (he had to rent his apartment from his boss, and when he got paid in counterfeit bills his boss both told him not to talk to the Feds and said he still had to pay rent, even though he hadn’t actually been paid that week).
      But any place that is hiring accountants is going to be on the up-and-up.

      1. superduper*

        I would think probably not for most jobs but might impact future plans depending on your goals. For example, if you wanted to eventually work for a really conservative employer, places that treat addiction, move to a place where it’s still illegal etc.

  25. Dr. of Laboratoria*

    Something happened to one of my coworkers that I have been thinking about a lot and that will probably also happen to me and another coworker.

    We are salaried employees and we work in a clinical laboratory. We’re open 5 days a week, but are also open on Sat/Sundays for scheduled appointments. We are also open on holidays for scheduled patients. For weekends and holidays we have an “on call” list. Our lab work is such that we have to have a person here every day whether or not there are patients on the schedule.

    An interesting thing happened this past holiday season. My coworker had to come in on a holiday for about 2 hours when there were no patients scheduled. They were the only one here because as I said, our lab work is of a nature that we have to have someone here to do lab-related things every day.

    They are salary and they told them that they had to take PTO the rest of that holiday – so 6 hours.

    That just seems so weird to me. You’re not paying us any extra to be here on weekends and holidays because we’re salary… why should we have to pay you (the org) our PTO to cover those hours?

    Anyone else experience this as a salaried employee?

    1. Colette*

      If I were your coworker, I would then expect to take another day off as the holiday day. Otherwise that’s a terrible policy.

      Well, it’s probably a terrible policy either way.

      1. Dr. of Laboratoria*

        Yes, that’s usually how we do it. Whatever hours you work weekends & holidays, you take that back during the week.

        We have to use PTO for a holiday if we don’t work it, but before if you worked a holiday, you banked the entire 8 hours, no matter how long you worked to take back later in the week. Since we’re salaried, we didn’t have to out in any PTO for hours not worked. That seemed to change now – which I think is terrible.

      1. Dr. of Laboratoria*

        Right? That’s what I don’t understand. We work a weekend/holiday, then we take those hours back during the following week. I don’t understand nickle & diming PTO on a holiday.

    2. Anon for This*

      How was the time scheduled? If it was for 8 hours and coworker only stayed for two, that makes sense. If it was scheduled for two hours, I don’t understand why they would need to use PTO for the rest. If you get scheduled like this, bring a book and sit there for the 8 scheduled hours.

      1. Dr. of Laboratoria*

        Time isn’t scheduled, per say – it all depends on the set up & testing we need to do. We may have to be in the lab by 7am, or perhaps we don’t have to be in till 8 or 9am. Someimes we come in at 7am, then have to come back in the afternoon.
        The hours can vary hugely. For example, I’m on tomorrow – tomorrow I only have an hours worth of set up to do. On Sunday, I will be here for 5-6 hours. Sometimes the lab has stuff going on that takes you 8-10 hours. It depends on what you get stuck with.

        1. Dr. of Laboratoria*

          The funny thing is that a few years ago, they made this position salary because they were paying out way too much overtime because sometimes we would clock a full day and half or two days of extra pay.

    3. ferrina*

      That’s weird. Did everyone else get a holiday, but they had to use PTO for the time that they weren’t working on the holiday? That’s either super shady, or a really lazy admin set up that doesn’t care about people.

      1. Dr. of Laboratoria*

        Everyone else – the clinic staff – that would work on the holiday, are hourly employees. So they would have to cover the holiday with PTO. Since I did not work that holiday, I would have to cover it with PTO. (Side note: It’s great to have to pay for 5 holidays out of your PTO bank said no one ever).

        But since we’re salary, we get paid a flat rate – whether we work 30 hours or 50 a week. I don’t understand why a holiday is different than any other day we’re on call.

    4. anonymous73*

      That’s bullshit. Unless you get a regular day off during the week for working on a Saturday/holiday, then no they shouldn’t have to use any PTO to cover those 6 hours. I’m salaried, and we get every federal holiday where I work but some are considered floaters. So if you want to work on that holiday, you can then use your holiday time off for another random day. If I were your co-worker, I’d push back HARD on that one.

    5. Girasol*

      I’ve seen where the person coming in for awhile on holiday and then going home takes the whole day as PTO/holiday, but then the manager offers comp time – time out of office on a paid day – in exchange. A good manager does so generously, like at a rate of two hours comp time per hour of holiday work, or even a full day off in trade for holiday time missed, treating holiday work like it’s a really big favor done by the employee.

    6. Irish girl*

      What does the company handbook say? Why would the holiday be treated differently than a weekend since you woul have been getting the holiday regardless? Does your state have any rules around comp time? Also are you sure your job should be exempt?

      1. SofiaDeo*

        This! The only salaried jobs I’ve ever seen in a lab were the Director. The secretaries, the techs, all were hourly.

  26. Luna Lovegood*

    A former coworker recently asked me to provide a reference for her. I wasn’t her supervisor, but I managed a project she contributed to. She tried hard and thought she was great at the work, but
    …that wasn’t quite the case. I certainly wouldn’t hire her, particularly for the kind of work we did together.
    The thing is, she has a difficult personality, and I was more patient with her than most of our other coworkers were. I’m fairly certain that she doesn’t have any better alternatives for references. I have a hard time saying “I’m not the best person for this” when I suspect I’d actually give a kinder and more balanced (though certainly not glowing) reference than most of the other people she’s worked with. I won’t lie and put prospective managers in a bad position either, though. Is a truthful, mediocre reference better than no reference or a probably worse one from someone else?

    1. Love to WFH*

      I refuse to be a reference if I can’t give a good one. If I can’t say, “yes, I’d hire them again”, I pass.

    2. ferrina*

      What a thoughtful question! I’d give her the option, but with a little gentler context:
      “I am willing to be a reference, but I probably won’t be the strongest reference for you. I’ll need to say that we haven’t worked together much [assuming that’s true], and employers usually want references that can speak to more nuances.” If you think it will help, you can add “I can give a quick overview of the strengths I saw, such as XYZ and the weaknesses I saw, such as ABC.” Depending on her personality, this might help her realize what message you’ll be sharing (though if she’s volatile or might react poorly, don’t add this- just say no).
      Also, were you giving her feedback throughout the project about where her work was falling short? If not, make a note to do that in the future so you’re not in this position again.

      1. Luna Lovegood*

        Thank you, this is really helpful! I did give some feedback, but she didn’t ever incorporate it. My boss allowed her to “help” on the project because she was interested and wouldn’t allow us to take a firmer stance, so we ended up just not using a lot of her work. I pointed out that this wasn’t really a kindness because it let the coworker waste her time and think she was doing fine. It just felt too mean (and time-consuming) to tear her work apart every time when the response was “well, I just prefer to do it this way” with an oblivious smile. I guess I should have been more persistent.

        1. Oui oui*

          I think you could mention that you didn’t actually use much of what she did — possibly implying due to forces beyond your control — so you aren’t able to fairly discuss her work for a reference.

    3. Alice*

      Tough situation. It’s water under the bridge now, but how did she end up thinking that she was great at the work when that wasn’t the case? I don’t work in a setting with project managers so I don’t know whether developmental feedback is normally given by project managers. Kudos for being patient and kind and balanced but was no one in this situation giving the coworker accurate feedback?

    4. LaDonna*

      I would say exactly what you wrote, “I’m not the best person for this, but best of luck in your job search.” You also weren’t her manager, and working on 1 project together (unless it were a several year long project) doesn’t really warrant reference material IMHO.

    5. Don’t put metal in the science oven*

      If it’ll fly, can you just say you have a standing policy that you don’t give references for anyone?

    6. Rara Avis*

      Somewhat different type of reference, but I was once asked by a student to write a reference for a summer program. He had FAILED my class. I pushed back and recommended that he ask someone else — anyone else — but his mother insisted that she wanted me to do it. So I wrote an honest reference. Never heard if he got into the program or not. If she doesn’t have other options, yours might be her best option.

    7. New Mom*

      Was this person fired from your current job? And is she having a hard time finding a new role? Sometimes employers have rules about allowing employees to act as a reference for legal reasons so if you think she would react really badly to you saying no, you could say it’s an employer policy?

      I’m curious, how did she react when you were working with her and she received constructive criticism on her work?

      1. Luna Lovegood*

        She left for another job that apparently didn’t work out, so I don’t think I have a legal reason to say no.

        She did not respond well to constructive criticism. When I asked her to do something differently and tried to explain why, she either disagreed or nodded and continued to do it the same way. When some of my colleagues pushed a little harder, she responded pretty aggressively. As I mentioned in a comment above, she volunteered to help with our project and my manager refused to take her off it, so we ended up just not using most of her work. Terrible management, but I didn’t get anywhere when I pushed back.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      There’s no way in heck I would act as a reference for this person.

      Much younger me referred someone who became a disaster. It was a huge learning experience and I became excessively cautious about referring people. My go-to became, “I don’t give references for people.” The thinking behind this position is that I could break my own rule if there was an extraordinary situation.

      Years later someone under me as a supervisor wanted a reference. This person was a capable person, but in the wrong line of work. Fortunately, at the time of their leaving, chaotic events A, B and C happened. (The events were brought on by this person.) So I simply said because of the chaos, I did not feel I could give a fair assessment of their work.

  27. 20 years experience*

    I’ve been with my family owned company for 15 years. For the past 10, my supervisor-the GM and the owner’s son, has been a state politician, so there were whole chunks of time-months at a time- where he was gone. Without having any real authority, I’ve always kept things running. I have always made it clear I wanted to be the GM one day, and have always been led to believe that was a real possibility, but also that it would be years away as my boss was staying put. People in the community pretty much think I run the place already.

    I am, by far, the highest performer. I did reduce my hours during the pandemic (I was a good news update), but made clear if my bosses circumstances changed, I would want the opportunity to apply for his position. Despite reducing hours, I picked up twice the work, increased our revenues by a whole lot, and generally kicked ass all this past pandemic, often times taking on far more than my own responsibilities and rocking them. I can run this place, I have 20 years experience and that has always been my goal. I can run this place.

    Anyway, our GM’s political career is ending, his choice. He announced to our office Monday he is leaving our business. And his local political director-whose experience in our business is coming in the building to meet our boss-is our new GM. He starts Monday. He literally has zero years of experience. With a straight face, boss told me I would need to help him learn our business. With a straight face he talked about this guy being the “future of our business,” and said he’s “been advocating with Owner for sometime for Guy, and really had to sell Owner on hiring him.” I am floored. I am embarrassed. I am insulted. I am furious. I feel foolish. I know I have to leave, that’s very obvious. And I’m not really sure I’m asking a question here other than WTF? Wow.

      1. 20 years experience*

        If I met with the owner he’d honestly probably halt the whole thing, but why bother? I now know where I stand, and that’s powerful.

        And yes, I can totally start my own business and compete with them. Once I pick my jaw up off the floor, that’s what I’ll do.

        I honestly think I do my job so damn well that they are afraid to move me up and lose me in my current position.

    1. Alice*

      Good luck in your job search (or starting your own company) and I hope that you are a Friday good news update again in a year or so.

    2. pancakes*

      That has to sting. Be mad, but try not to feel personally insulted. Cronyism and politics have a long, long, long history of being interrelated.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. No doubt in my mind this one bites. These people are not who you thought they were. It’s okay to believe them, this is who they really are. Many people who have been shafted in this manner have gone on to launch their own biz and become outstanding in their field/area. From what you say here, you have everything in place to go do that. Since they turned the tables on you, they have opened the door for you to leave and do your own thing. Your loyalty here is over.

        Anger is a bunch of excess energy. Run 5 miles every day, set up a punching bag in your home and use it, do whatever you need to do to burn up that energy so you can be on top of your game and undistracted in your new biz.

        I’d looove to hear you come back at some point and tell us how you are just rockin’ it with your new biz.

    3. Artemesia*

      Family owned businesses. The worst. I could tell you many tales of people I know similarly shafted. e.g. paid in stock then fired the day before the stock vests after doing all the heavy lifting to get the family on line business set up on line.

      I hope you can find something soon and I would not be concerned about two weeks notice. You are rightly furious — not just that you didn’t get the job, but that you were not considered for it.

      1. 20 years experience*

        That’s the thing too. If I’d have applied and been beaten out, I think I could handle that. But not even being told the position was coming open and given no opportunity? Nope.

    4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      New Guy just got handed a job he doesn’t know a thing about by his friend whose dad owns the company.

      Help him within the scope of your work, decide if he’s worth it, or even whether he’ll last. Could be that something else will come along for him, or he won’t work out, and that might help solidify your case with the Owner to fill the position more appropriately.

      Or you’ll have found a better position by then.

    5. the cat's ass*

      Oh, yuck, I’m so sorry, that sucks. Family businesses are the WORST. Hope you eat their lunch with your new business/job.

    6. Purple Cat*

      Wow, I’m really sorry this happened to you.
      I hope you are able to get your ducks in a row and go elsewhere or start your own business quickly. “family” businesses can be the absolute worst in this sense.

    7. Rosemary*

      Wow. That is awful. I agree with the advice to GTFO as soon as you can and move on the bigger and better things. And, if it were me, take some pleasure in watching it burn to the ground. The owner is a fool for allowing this to happen. And it baffles me that someone who had invested so much into building their business over 20+ would be so willing to just hand it over to someone with no experience. My father ran the business started by his father for many years. He always said if one of children or nieces/nephews were interested in taking over the business someday, they would first have to put in time getting the necessary experience – ideally at another company in the same industry. No way would he risk the business that his father had built by bringing on someone just because they were family. In fact, when it came time for him to retire, the decision was made to sell the business rather than “pass it on” to the younger generation (who at that point had no experience in the industry.

    8. RagingADHD*

      Unfortunately, this is what happens when longtime employees go above-and-beyond to an extreme degree, for a very long time, based on the hopes of being recognized and rewarded “someday.”

      There is no such thing as someday. If your work isn’t recognized and rewarded all along, it never will be.

      I am so sorry. You got exploited.

    9. Vermont Green*

      I suggest you quit ASAP, and, if you need money agree to train the new guy for a *hefty* consultancy fee. Meanwhile, you have a little lead time to set up your own business.

  28. Cat Mouse*

    So something I’ve been wondering about. My first boss when I joined the engineering field was fascinated and surprised by my varied work history. The theatre jobs were understandable, I switched from working in the arts to engineering. What she was most surprised by were the high school/early college jobs: retail, office assistant, etc. She had only ever worked jobs in her chosen field, and her son (who was a high school senior) hadn’t worked except over that summer as an intern at her office.

    I’m thinking from what I’ve been reading that it isn’t that unusual to have these varied jobs (and by this point they were not ony resume, but came up in discussions), but I was really second guessing myself for awhile. So I guess I’m wondering how odd it is to only have worked on one specific field, even as a starter job?

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I can speak to my experience. My father’s an engineer, and so am I. So from an early age I was messing about with soldering irons, reading his industry magazines, learning to program the first-generation home computers – and pulling chips out of sockets, too. Etc.

      I was fortunate enough that I could pick and choose what to do for part-time work, and so other than babysitting in 7th and 8th grade, all of my work was related to an engineering career. If you’re a high-GPA high school student who already knows that you want to go into engineering or an engineering-adjacent field, there are likely targeted job programs in your town for exactly that kind of student. I worked for the local electric utility for 2 summers, and then on weekends during the school year we had intensive tours of all the other companies who participated in the program.

      Now I don’t think I would have been dumbfounded that you worked retail at HotTopic in high school like your boss, but if he was like me, his work experience was totally in line with his future career.

    2. PostalMixup*

      I mean, what are the odds that her son will go into her field? If/when he doesn’t, he’ll have done the same thing as you. I would assume that many/most teenagers who work do so in fields they don’t stay in. My college job was essentially admin/receptionist work at a construction company…I’m now a laboratory scientist. Nearly everyone I knew who worked in college was in retail or a server. Many of my friends worked at the local grocery store in high school.

      1. Cat Mouse*

        He had already been accepted to VT’s engineering, but in a different branch of engineering. She was an interesting boss that had just started her own company and I was her 2nd employee so not the only thing I wondered about.

    3. Eden*

      I don’t think it’s odd wither way, but it probably speaks to some privilege to have only worked in your field. People who need money more at an earlier age are naturally more likely to take those unrelated jobs compared to those who can afford to focus only on school until they get a job in their intended field. On average anyway, not necessarily true for every person of course.

      I *do* think it’s weird that she was actually surprised you had worked outside the field though! Being shocked that someone may have worked retail at some point is a lot more clueless than just not having done it yourself.

      1. fueled by coffee*

        Yes, this. Even if there are paid jobs/interships in your field for high school or early college students, knowing about them also requires some connections/social capital.

        Taking retail/service industry jobs to earn money is extremely common for high school students, so it’s very odd to me that she brought this up. I wouldn’t blink twice at a lawyer/doctor/engineer/other high prestige professional who told me they waited tables in high school.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        This! I grew up in a very lower middle to middle middle class area with many blue & pink collar workers. Even the kids with high GPAs & clear academic goals had similar kinds of jobs in my high school. We did have a program for kids interested in going into health care, but even a lot of those kids earned their spending money (& college money) by working in retail or food service or those kinds of jobs.

        I knew one girl who worked as a dental hygienist. To this day, it strikes me as an odd job for a HS student.

      3. tangerineRose*

        “it probably speaks to some privilege to have only worked in your field. ” This. I worked in fast food for a while while in college. I worked because I needed to, and this was a job I could get where I could also go to college.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        I agree. I think her comment reveals a sheltered life with limited outside experiences.

    4. Haha Lala*

      It’s not weird at all. Most people have random jobs in high school/college before they have enough experience or knowledge to get into a specific field.

      Your boss might not realize it, but that’s definitely coming from a privileged perspective. She must have had connections, or the option not to work, in order to only work in one given field. And she’s passing the same to her son now. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but she really should realize that’s not how the majority of people operate.

    5. Colette*

      It’s very normal to have a variety of jobs as a student, and even later. Your boss had weird expectations.

    6. My Brain Is Exploding*

      My career was in health care and my pre-health care jobs (school thru college, so part-time or summer jobs) included: retail dress shop, camp counselor, accounts payable department, secretary, city file clerk, park district sports ref, and fast food. I didn’t work any health care related jobs until I was in grad school.

    7. Meg*

      I think its super strange to have *only* worked in one specific field for your entire career. Most people I’ve met have done small job in high school/college like retail, food service, etc. But maybe its a privilege thing?

    8. ferrina*

      It depends a lot on family culture and socio-economic status. In my family, we worked whatever job we could, and we had to work to afford anything (such as, food). But I’ve met a lot of people with the financial luxury to choose not to work in high school/college. And if you’ve got that luxury and the resources to intern and otherwise access your chosen field, why wouldn’t you go that route? And it’s not uncommon for these folks to be surrounded by peers who have had similar experiences, so they don’t realize that their experience isn’t always the norm.
      There are obviously a lot of exceptions on both sides, but this has broadly been my experience.

      1. ferrina*

        I grew up low-income and I work in a very white collar field, and people with my background are not the norm.

    9. Ms. Hagrid Frizzle*

      I have had a pretty varied career history (science camp counselor, teaching assistant, research intern for various unrelated lab groups, social media/marketing, bakery assistant, luxury retail, and even fiction editor). My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in environmental science and ecology.

      At one point I was considering going into engineering, then zoo science, and now in science education. I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly odd to only puruse jobs in a very specific career field, but it is rare. The dabbling and experimenting with different kinds of jobs is how I think most people work out what career is the right fit for them. I also think those transferrable skills and interesting stories are how I’ve been able to move between several different roles in my last 10 years of professional and para-professional experiences.

      It might also be interesting to consider the priviledge that often allows a person to only work in their desired field – do they have family providing them with access to highly-specific internships at an earlier stage than most people? Do they have the financial resources to choose unpaid internships in their field over paid internships in a semi-related or unrelated field? Obviously there are more questions to ask from that angle, but it’s worth considering. From what I have seen on hiring committees I’ve been part of, underrepresented groups are the ones most likely to have “non-traditional” or straightforward paths to specific career roles.

    10. Hlao-roo*

      Another engineer here to say I worked at a summer camp in high school. I (luckily) had engineering-related internships all my summers in college, and I’ve been working as an engineer ever since.

      Thinking about my friend group in college: one friend worked at a summer camp in high school and college, one worked at a restaurant in high school and picked up a few hours here and there in college (mostly over breaks), two more did not have any jobs before picking up work in labs on campus/engineering internships. So overall a pretty even split between “typical” high school/early college jobs of restaurant/retail/summer camp and “I’ve known I wanted to be an engineer since forever and will only ever work as an engineer.”

    11. Hotdog not dog*

      I don’t think it’s odd. I’ve worked in retail, food service, child care, sales, recycling center, farm labor, insurance, manufacturing, and probably a few more things I’m forgetting. Some were part time, some full-time, and some were side jobs. (I’m a pragmatist, if the bills need to be paid and it’s something I am able to do, I will take the job!) My “official” business is finance (currently compliance).
      The fascinating thing is how much skill crossover there is between “unskilled” jobs I’ve had and my current job. All the soft skills- how to communicate, collaborate, manage my time, learn new tasks- came mostly from those roles.

    12. OlympiasEpiriot*

      I think it is odd and I’ve seen it mostly in people who came from a well-off enough family who could afford to have their kid just studying and going to enrichment things during summer so that by the time they got a job, it was likely in their field of studies because it was an internship.

      I had a lot of jobs. My kid has had a few jobs already and doesn’t turn up his nose at any opportunity to do some work and get money in his pocket. Kiddo’s first was lifting hay behind the baler on a farm for $40 for each afternoon’s hard work in heat at 12. He was so proud when I picked him up from that. He’s now in college w/ environmental science.

    13. Dragonfly7*

      The only people I know who’ve only ever worked in my industry started in my higher ed department as work study students.

    14. Kay*

      I’m hoping you’ve had a long and storied work history since your first boss, because the only instance I could see myself saying what your boss did is in my head when I felt like “Bless your heart” wouldn’t put me high enough on the crappy human list.

      I get privilege can be insulating, but if this was anything recent then a boss not realizing that exclaiming surprise at a varied work history for a young person screams tone deaf is.. oooff.. Its not like interning at dad’s law firm is the norm..

    15. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I have two siblings and between the three of us, we had at least seven majors in college. I couldn’t even guess at how many minors. Even if we had decided as teenagers only to do jobs in our selected fields, we all changed what fields we wanted to go into at least once! I think the idea that a 17 year old is going to know exactly what they want to do for their entire adult career is kind of short sighted. Yes, there are some people who do it and it works for them, but it’s by no means the norm and you’re not unusual for having had jobs outside your field while you were young.

    16. AdequateArchaeologist*

      I feel like it also speaks to having connections (usually family…) in your chosen field. My sister is an engineer, we have family members who are engineers, they were able to help her find internships etc. I’m an archaeologist. If I were to ask family members for help finding archaeology jobs it would be nothing but crickets and maybe an uncle or two offering up an extra shovel.

      That being said we’ve both worked “weird” jobs when we were starting out. Sister went from engineering temp job/internship to being a line cook at IHOP during the pandemic (convoluted string of events, but she enjoyed it). I’ve done barista jobs, childcare jobs, and even worked as a bulk printer , while also doing archaeology work. If anything I think the people who only do work in their field are very privileged, have connections the average person doesn’t, and are frankly anomalies. Or just have really weird luck.

      (Side note: I have strong feelings about this because I have run into am inordinate number of people who act like me taking these side jobs means I’m a lesser person because I’m not “committed” to my chosen field. When in reality these people have parents or spouses propping them up financially, when I don’t. So I guess it really all comes back to privilege? And/or luck.)

  29. Mbarr*

    Last week I mentioned I was interviewing co-op students last week. To provide some clarity (and an update):
    – In Canada, university students are well paid.
    – We held our interviews yesterday. They went relatively well – there were only 2 that didn’t incite any interest for us.
    – There was one candidate my manager and I disagreed over. The person was blatantly nervous. You could hear the quaver in their voice. I liked them. They had the skills that we need (but they aren’t our top choice). My manager’s concerns are that the candidate won’t speak up for themselves, or be able to advocate for our team. My thought is that 1) this is the point of getting them workplace experience and 2) I wouldn’t put them in a position where they’d be forced to represent our entire team, simply because they don’t have the experience/training to do so adequately.

    I need to rank our candidates next (it’s weird, but it’s part of the recruitment process for the university linked above). My manager and I agree on our top 2 choices, but it’s the third choice that’s tripping me up. She keeps telling me it’s up to me, and I know she means it. But I’m struggling with the whole, “I want to rank the nervous candidate higher than my manager’s preferred candidate.” (My manager’s preferred candidate seemed capable, but I literally barely remember their interview cause they didn’t have much personality… Which I’m afraid is biasing me against them.)

    1. Colette*

      Are they reporting to you? If so, I’d go with your third choice, not your manager’s third choice.

    2. Distractinator*

      Absolutely go with your own opinion. That’s the whole reason you get to have a list of your own and not a list made by your manager. And by the way you’ve phrased it, it probably won’t make a difference in eventual outcome (if you’re hiring one position and you’re debating whether NervousCandidate is your 3rd or 4th choice – I think what you mean by manager’s preferred candidate, is the candidate they would prefer to rank 3rd, not their preferred candidate to actually hire, right?) Seems like this is a perfectly reasonable place to practice making your own judgment calls.

    3. Llama Wrangler*

      Go with your preferred candidate. Someone being nervous in an interview is not reflective of how they’ll be in a work setting. (Even in public speaking.) If you have any references or other materials that give you a sense of how the person would respond, you can use those as backup for your assessment/ if your manager asks questions, but I think you should trust your gut.

      I had a similar scenario recently – two candidates where one was very polished and charismatic, and the other one was soft spoken and less convincing. But everything about the second candidate’s profile led me to feel like they were an overall better fit, and their references were glowing. My hiring committee was surprised I liked the second candidate more, but trusted my assessment, hired candidate #2, and they’ve been outstanding in the role.

    4. RagingADHD*

      So, your manager is concerned about having employees who are too timid to speak up or advocate for themselves.

      And here you are, hesitating over expressing a minor disagreement about your third-choice candidate, even after your manager expressly told you it’s up to you.

      What’s going on with that?

  30. rosy*

    I’m looking for some advice as a new manager. My direct report, Joan, has been a Llama Groomer for 20+ years as an independent contractor. She came to us via referral and does great work – after some shuffling with the budget she is now a salaried employee rather than a contractor, though part-time. Our company recently received government grant money to hire interns on 6-month contracts. So we hired a new intern, Peggy, who is interested in entering the Llama Grooming field. The whole point of the internship is to help young people develop professional skills and learn more about a field (Peggy will be going to school for Llama Grooming in the fall, but has developed her skills as a freelancer/in other internships). Both are reporting in to me but I tried to take some of the more menial tasks off Joan’s plate and give them to Peggy, with direct instructions that Joan should mentor Peggy, i.e. Joan still has final approval but can give guidance and feedback to Peggy to help her develop. Instead, Joan has reacted very negatively, seeing Peggy as a threat to her job, refusing to give feedback and rushing to claim every Llama Grooming task even if it doesn’t fit with her workload. She’s sending me aggressive Slacks questioning why we hired Peggy at all. The overall quality of Joan’s work appears to be slipping and lately she seems to struggle with any feedback or edits. In past contracting roles Joan has been the sole Llama Groomer working for a firm, so I think she’s used to her word being held as gospel and no one ever asking for something different. My boss and I feel that Joan may no longer be a good fit for where we want our company’s Llama Grooming to go. But Peggy is feeling bored and frustrated in her internship, wants to know why it seems like Joan hates her, and my boss is non confrontational and thinks it will resolve on its own. Any advice?

    1. Observer*

      It won’t resolve on it’s own.

      You need your boss’ backing to handle this. Start by talking to Joan and lay out what you need from her. If things don’t improve, make it clear to her that her job is on the line. And then HOLD HER TO IT.

    2. Colette*

      You need to talk to Joan and make it clear that she is responsbile for Peggy’s success – assigning her work and mentoring her is part of Joan’s job, and if she doesn’t do it, that is a serious problem.

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I agree with Colette.

        If you haven’t had a conversation with Joan where you’ve reminded her that training interns is a job duty that has been assigned to her and that refusal to participate in job duties comes with serious consequences, you need to do that. You can also mention that by taking on more work than she’s able to handle, she’s delivering poor quality work that will impact her reputation in the long run, because that’s also important for her to be aware of.

        Overall, the fact that you hired Peggy is not and never was a threat to Joan’s job. But Joan’s reaction to Peggy being hired IS a threat to her job unless she can rein it in.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        Did Joan know when she got hired that she’d be responsible for an intern’s success? Mentoring is not within everyone’s skill set. Sounds like Peggy got dropped on Joan–she may not be reacting well to it, but she hasn’t been set up for success, either.

    3. Artemesia*

      It won’t resolve on its own. But Joan may be salvageable. I think you need to be as direct with her as you are here. Lay out her role, her mentorship expectations with Peggy and why you do internships. Be very clear what you need to see from her and the negative things you are seeing. Be positive in your expectations she can change and get the job done, but be very concrete about what that looks like.

      And know that you may need to let her go if this doesn’t work.

    4. Hiring Mgr*

      It’s hard to know all the details but as a part timer, does Joan actually have the bandwidth to be training/mentoring someone brand new? Not to justify Joan’s attitude, but I could see not loving suddenly having this dumped on you

      Should you as the manager be mentoring Peggy instead?

    5. DinosaurWrangler*

      Another angle on this: I changed careers in my mid 30s. After I’d been in my “new”profession for over 25 years, there have been at least two instances, in different companies, where a newish, younger person was hired, and it was my responsibility to bring them up to speed. In each of these companies I had several years and an excellent track record, stellar reviews, etc. But in both cases, within 12-18 months after the new person started, my position was eliminated. Can you say age discrimination, boys and girls?

      Both of these companies were self-insured. I’m convinced that it became too pricy to insure me and my spouse, so they just did a “restructure” and booted me out.

      They also eliminated several other over-50 people, and 1 or 2 under 30 – just enough to show it really wasn’t about age. (/s). But you won’t convince me. Yes, age discrimination is illegal, but try to prove it.

      I’m not justifying Joan’s behavior in the least, but the fact that she appears to feel threatened isn’t just due to her overactive imagination.

      The type of things that happened to me have happened to many other people.

    6. Koala dreams*

      Yes, you need to intervene. It’s not fair to leave the intern to fight on her own. You should also look into if it’s possible to find another person to supervise the intern, for example yourself or a full time employee.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Joan probably has no idea what the overall plan is here.
      It sounds like no one has taken the time to explain to her that her job is secure.
      Additionally she has been given a quasi-supervisory position where she does all the work and has no ability to fire anyone. This stands alone as reason to quit.
      It sounds like Joan is not getting extra pay for supervising this person’s work but she is responsible for some (most?) of the oversight of the work. Did she even have say in which intern was hired??? Yet another good reason to quit.
      Yeah, she’s ticked, of course. In her mind this company strung her along for 20 years as an independent contractor. Now all of the sudden there is an intern who just gets handed everything she always wanted. At this point, most people would be ticked. See the above story about someone who worked for a family run business for 20 years in effort to become GM. And then, in turnabout, the job was offered to someone else. People who stay loyal to jobs do expect considerations in return and rightfully so.

      I am not sure you can apologize hard enough for all that is wrong here. And I am not sure if her frame of mind would allow her to accept such an apology.
      Sit her down for a very long conversation. Remedy all that is wrong here, answer her concerns, apologize then ask her if she thinks she can live with this new setting. Be braced for the NO answer.

      Meanwhile your intern is learning all the wrong things about workplaces. It could be that they quit in addition to Joan leaving/being dismissed.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        The LW said that Joan had been *an* independent contractor for 20 years *not* that she had been an independent contractor for this particular company for 20 years – it sounds like she was referred tot his company for work, they liked her work, and were able to get her an employee position. I read it as independent contractor = in business, takes on clients, rather than hired through a temp agency.

        I *would* talk to Joan to see what’s up. It may be that she’s afraid she’s training her replacement. It may be that she’s unprepared for the shift from independent contractor to employee – a contractor wouldn’t be given an intern to supervise without it being written into their contract, but employees can be assigned new tasks by their employer. She may not like the change in autonomy over her own work duties. It may be that she does good practical work on short timescales, but has difficulties with other workplace dynamics. Clarify the role and expectations for interns. If this resolves it, great. If problems persist, the next step would be a formal PIP.

        In addition, I’d take over the supervision of the intern regardless of what happens, because whatever is going on it’s not fair to put her in the middle of someone else’s performance issues.

        1. rosy*

          Yes, Joan has been an independent contractor in her field for 20 years, but only doing work for my employer for about a year (she reached out to us when mutual connections on LinkedIn saw we were looking for Llama Groomers). She only became a salaried employee about 3 months ago and continues to do work for other clients in addition to us.
          My boss and I are going to have a chat next week about how to proceed – thanks for the advice and I think we will have a long chat with Joan about her workload and how Peggy is with us to learn. I am managing Peggy and mentoring her on general work norms, but as I’m not a Llama Groomer we are trying to get Joan to provide some mentoring for Peggy on the specifics of their field (something Joan had expressed interest in, but now that it’s actually happening she seems unhappy). Even before Peggy came on board we had some issues with Joan not taking feedback, like “we’d like this Llama Grooming work to align with XYZ values that resonate more with younger customers” and she just dismisses it entirely. So lots to talk about.
          I think the ages might also be a factor here – Joan is about 20 years older than me (her manager) and about 30 years older than Peggy.

  31. Yet another person*

    If you have been interviewed by a panel (1st interview, 1 hour) how many people on the hiring side are usually participating in it?

    I had 12, which seems like a lot! Especially since they all took turns asking questions.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      The second and final interview for my last job involved a panel of 8. Luckily, they only asked 2 questions each. Panel interviews shouldn’t have more than 4 interviewers in my opinion – otherwise, it’s just too overwhelming and impossible to build a rapport.

      1. Yet another person*

        I agree, I’ve always been interviewed by either just the hiring manager or 2-3 people – maybe 4 once or twice.

        I wondered if this was a new trend or if maybe they were trying to overwhelm to test me? The manager is very experienced.

    2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Oh wow. What industry/sector?
      In engineering & IT I’ve never had a panel of more than 3.

      1. Yet another person*

        A project management office. They all seemed very nice, but it seemed very unusual to have 4 times as many people as I’m used to involved, especially for a first interview!

      2. Rosie*

        IT within higher ed here — 6 to 8 people is not uncommon for at least one panel. The hiring committee might include the person who will be your manager, one or two peers from different IT teams, one or two individuals from “client” departments if you’re customer-facing at all, someone from HR, and maybe the next manager level up.

    3. londonedit*

      Twelve people! That’s mad. I think the most I’ve ever seen is three; usually in my experience first interviews are conducted by two people, sometimes three, and then a second interview might be the more senior person from the first interview plus someone more senior still.

    4. LaDonna*

      Usually if it’s a panel like that, most of the people really aren’t involved in the hiring side but rather people you would work with, and they want to make sure whoever they hire is a good fit. I haven’t had an interview with that many people on the panel, but I have had ones where there were 5 people.

      Perhaps they were burned by previous hires who ended up being a bad culture fit, and they want to eliminate that possibility for future hires as much as possible.

      1. Yet another person*

        Good point. A good culture fit is important to them – but I have never seen it approached quite this way before!

    5. A Penguin!*

      My last job before the current one was two panels of 4ish (which combined was effectively all of the engineering staff plus CEO & HR). I want to say it was a lot bordering on too many, but ultimately it worked. They were actually both great conversations, despite being a little intimidating.

      My current job was four 1:1 interviews back-to-back in the first round and a 1:1 plus a 2 person panel in the 2nd.

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t think I’ve had more than 4 at a time… usually 2-3, though. 12 is definitely a lot!

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      when I moved into my current role (as a manager), I had three interviews — the director who is my direct boss, a panel that was five other directors/managers in our department, and the exec director who is my grandboss.

    8. Distractinator*

      When we do unmoderated panel interviews it’s usually 3-5 people and we discuss what’s on our minds, more of a free-flow conversation but each person usually comes in with some notes based on the candidates resume or brings their favorite pet topic questions. I was just involved with a 7-person panel and there was a moderator who specifically went around and gave each person a turn to ask prepared questions, it was much more formal. I can’t imagine 12, that’s a lot – seems like half the hour would be gone by the time you did introductions!

    9. Girasol*

      I had that once for IT project management. At first I found it daunting but it seemed like none of them was quite sure what to do and they were all hoping that someone else would take the lead. I felt like a mouse who’d backed off a roomful of kittens.

    10. irene adler*

      Twelve on a panel seems excessive.
      More like a firing squad !

      I’ve been through interviews where 13-14 people interviewed me. Separately.

      So I had to answer the usual ice breaker question “so why are you looking for a new job?” sixteen separate times.
      And several more questions multiple times.

      I got to wondering if I should give a different answer each time -just to provide some variety. Or would they compare notes to see if I gave the same response each time?

      So I wonder if they thought the panel format would be easier as each question would be asked and answered one time. And more expedient. If so, they sure didn’t factor in the stress these things cause the candidate!

  32. STG*

    I have an opportunity coming down the line on my current team to become the new manager. I’ve worked with this team for the last 8 years and I’ve done every level of position within the team. I’ve very familiar with the infrastructure so from a knowledge perspective, I’m pretty confident. So, that part of the transition shouldn’t be difficult.

    That being said, this would be my first position at a manager level. I’ve done supervisory type positions a long time ago but never to the level of people management with reviews, promotions, hiring, etc. I’ll also be managing people who have previously been teammates which has it’s own challenges.

    I’ve learned enough from reading this blog to know that I’ll have to lot to learn and I don’t expect to be immediately competent. Thankfully, this blog has also given me a good understanding of things to avoid. I’d really like to get off to the right foot though. I’ve read some tips for first time managers but open to hearing more. I’d love some reading suggestions as well if someone knows of a particularly good book for new managers.

    1. LaDonna*

      I was in a similar boat as you, I was promoted from my team and now manage the team I was on. 4 out of the 5 people were my teammates and there’s only 1 person that is new.

      I’ve been in this position for 3 years now, and even though I’ve been reading this blog for 9 years, it’s all so much more challenging when you have to do it yourself!

      Some things I’ve learned:
      – Don’t assume people understand what you mean, be very direct. Vagueness gets nowhere. It’s better to over explain and add more details than not.
      – Learn to delegate, it’s the most wonderful thing.
      – Be flexible, your people will appreciate it. I work in a department of about 15 teams, and my team is the only one who’s had zero turnover during the last 2 years. I would like to think it’s because I’m very flexible and understanding of anything that happens in their personal lives.
      – Listen and do less talking when working with your people, learn to let them share ideas instead of being the one who decides what the next steps are (this might be your MO anyway, I’m a bit more controlling and had to learn this).
      – Have regular check ins, ask how they’re doing, be genuinely interested in them.
      – Discuss issues at the time they happen, don’t let them build up.
      – Re: above, learn when it’s not a big deal and it’s not worth bringing up. I’m a very picky person and like things done a certain way, but in the grand scheme of things a different approach isn’t a big deal if the result is the same. I’ve had to learn to chill :)
      – Re: also above. Don’t bring up issues months later, people will be like “um why didn’t you tell me 3 months ago?”
      – Discuss opportunities for growth and working on new projects. Daily recurring work is boring for a lot of people, adding variety will keep people interested.
      – It’s okay to make mistakes as a new manager and say the wrong things. I’ve done it a few times, and it’s part of the process.
      – Admit when you’ve handled something the wrong way.

      1. STG*

        Great tips! I can see that I’ll have to be mindful of a few of these based on my own personality.

        Thank you very much!

    2. ferrina*

      First, find a mentor. You’ll need someone well outside your team to bounce ideas and situations off.
      Next, know yourself and your weaknesses. Are you easy to talk to, or a little abrasive? Overly compassionate or overly focused on the goal?Be really honest with yourself and how you may need to develop your leadership style. These types of things are easier to deal with if you’ve already started laying groundwork in advance (such as deciding which policies you are okay with flexing and a few scenarios of what would/wouldn’t make it flexible, which policies need to be absolutely upheld, and which ones you flat out don’t care about).
      Finally, ask HR lots of questions and use HR’s expertise. They’ve done a million of the reviews/hiring/firing/etc., so make good friends with them and use that knowledge (I did that early in my career, and my HR was so happy to have someone that wanted to use her expertise! and she taught me a lot)

      Congrats on your opportunity!

      1. STG*

        Thank you!

        I need to think on the right one but the mentor suggestion is a great idea.

        I like to think I’m pretty mindful about recognizing my weaknesses but I’m sure that I’m blind to some of them. Sounds like it may be time to do a thorough inventory of them. I’m close enough with a few coworkers (that I wouldn’t be leading) that I think I could get an honest assessment of some of those areas as well.

    3. no sleep for the wicked*

      Don’t assume because you’ve done all the things you should expect the people currently doing those things to do them your way.
      A department adjacent to mine recently promoted someone like this and it took him a while to stop treating his former colleagues like children, to the point of looming over them and helpfully doling out instructions like ‘now hit enter’ while reviewing a workflow.
      He also pissed off some very experienced folks by challenging their methods which have worked well for these individuals for years. It’s like he felt compelled to perform managing rather than observe and learn from experts he now manages.

      1. STG*

        Good thing to keep in mind. I work in Information Technology and my team covers a pretty large variety of specialties. I’m already very good at recognizing their expertise. So, I don’t expect to have an issue with the last few sentences of your comments. Still, I do need to be mindful that not everyone works the same way that I do. I don’t want to get into a situation where I’m dictating everything.

        Thank you for the suggestion!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      One thing that has served me well is to always remember I am nothing without them. I thought I became a better supervisor when I viewed my job as serving those who serve the company. This one thought kept me level headed through many difficult situations. A great example is when I had to tell a person to stop doing X. Once I framed it as, “I am serving them by telling them what they need to do to keep their jobs”, it became just a matter of sitting down and saying, “Okay, we need Y, you’re doing X. What’s up.” And then I would listen.

      Since you know the people that will give you a leg up, you will find that you have useful insights that you did not realize you had. And this can also work into that they actually respect you because you have done the jobs/tasks and they are very willing to follow your leadership for this reason.

  33. Françoise*

    I hope it’s ok to ask this question here – it’s volunteer-related for me and work-related for the other person involved.
    I create a monthly calendar with events and birthdays for my church and ask the pastoral staff to send me the information that should be published or to update the online calendar by a certain deadline. For some time I’ve been getting some additions when I send out a version for last corrections, i.e. after I’ve spent a while on the layout, forcing me to re-do my work. So I made it clear that I’d only include late information if it didn’t mean a lot of work reformating.
    Monday was the deadline, I spent Monday evening on the document, sent it out and had new events and times from the youth pastor on Tuesday. No apologies. I included some of it, but not all, and explained again, why I needed the information earlier. She wrote back explaining why she was late and added, “You have my okay not to include the [children’s event].”
    I replied that it would have been helpful if she’d told me upfront that she’d need more time. But what really irks me is the “okay” to leave the event off. I don’t report to her and I don’t need her okay.
    Is there any way to remind her that I’m not in her chain of command that’s clear but not blunt and hurtful? FWIW she’s mid to late 30s and I’m over 60, but I still haven’t mastered friendly and clear boundary-setting.

    1. pancakes*

      I don’t think you can push back on this without seeming churlish. Presumably she meant that she will be understanding / not disappointed if you leave the event out, not that she literally thinks she is giving you permission to leave it out.

    2. Colette*

      Can you try sending an email at the deadline to those you haven’t heard from? I.e. “I haven’t received your updates, so they will not be included in the next calendar”.

      Alternatively, can you give them a specific amount of space, and they need to fit their updates into that space?

      But I also think you know who you need to get updates from, so spending a lot of time formatting before you have that information isn’t terribly productive if you’re going to include it anyway – and you probably do need to include it anyway, because … it’s a church, and if you want people to show up , you have to tell them what’s going on.

    3. Artemesia*

      You are wildly overreacting to her comment that it was okay to leave this off. It isn’t about ‘chain of command’; it is just a way of her stating priorities for her announcements. Making this about your authority is dysfunctional. What she said was ‘sorry this is late, so it is okay if you can’t include this’ — it doesn’t in anyway indicate she thinks she is your boss.

      1. RagingADHD*

        I wouldn’t express this as strongly, but I agree that her comment about it being okay to leave it off was likely just her acknowledging her own mistake and trying to indicate that she didn’t intend to be pushy about it.

    4. Camelid coordinator*

      I see a couple of choices. The one I don’t like is building in a second calendar formatting round (essentially what you are doing now) because they don’t respond/remember until they see the draft. Maybe you could spend less time on the draft so you don’t have as many formatting headaches in the second round?

      It might work better to enforce the boundary (= deadline for calendar entries) for a while so she (and the others) take it more seriously. I can’t imagine you want to do the calendar twice each month, and after a couple of months of you not adding their late information (and possibly receiving complaints from parishioners about it) they’ll remember to put the deadline on their own calendars. Does the staff really need to see a draft? My guess is that they are asking for a draft just so they can see what they forgot. You could accomplish that with a list, not the formatted calendar.

      If is is crucial the calendar be updated as the month goes along and that puts you over the edge, you get to say so. You can propose how you’d like to handle or suggest that the parish admin do the updates outside of your cycle.

    5. ferrina*

      Oh, the dynamics of the church workplace!

      This is so funky because unlike other workplaces, pastors often need to rely on volunteers in order to get the basic resources that they need to be successful. Pastors also have waaaaaay more stakeholders than most workplaces have to deal with (we should form a committee to consider this).

      Best way I’ve seen to deal with this is to be upfront on what you can/can not do (rather than trying to get into reasons, expectations or power dynamics). “Sorry, I have other commitments and can’t redo the calendar now that it’s out. I’ll circle back on [DATE] to get the events list for [NEXT MONTH’S] calendar.”

      Please remember that you are already part of a pastor’s hiring committee by being part of the congregation. If this person is generally great at their job, kind and loving, please give them a pass on not being great on the calendar. If they are struggling in other aspects, are there ways the congregation can better support them or take some responsibilities off their plate? Or if they just aren’t a good fit, you can flag that and decline to do this task and focus your energy elsewhere.

    6. Attractive Nuisance*

      So if I’m understanding it correctly, you do allow late submissions, but only if it doesn’t mess with the format?

      This seems like a problematic boundary to set, because it may not be obvious to others what will and won’t mess up the formatting. It might be better to say that there will be no late submissions and that the final draft review is only to correct mistakes.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      It sounds like she probably thinks you’re just asking what else needs to be included and doesn’t realize her feedback is beyond what you’re looking for! A lot of people honestly don’t understand how much work formatting/updating this kind of thing can be, so start being clearer about what changes can be made. Like when you send it out on Monday say something along the lines of “please proofread and let me know if I need to correct any typos or event times” so people recognize you’re only looking for small scale changes. Then if someone wants you to do more “unfortunately I won’t be able to include that in this week’s newsletter but would you like me to add it to the next one?” Or if you’re willing you might let them know you can update the online calendar but it won’t appear on the print one.

    8. CTT*

      I think the “okay” comment is a red herring – I use that a lot as a synonym for “I’m okay with that/I agree with that.” But getting in late submissions is annoying, and I agree with Colette and Attractive Nuisance that you should be more proactive in reminding people about the deadline and not allowing things in after it’s passed. The “I’ll add some things but not all” is a hard standard and people will push on it (without even realizing they are).

    9. Lyuda*

      Since you’re a volunteer and have made everyone aware of what you can/won’t do, could you reframe it as the other person’s quirk? Like if they feel the need to ‘okay’ things that outside of their purview, that’s an irritating trait, but if you can see it like that, it might alleviate the urge to wrest control back from them. Especially since you don’t rely on them for an income if it comes down to it. Like, the day they say ‘I do NOT give you the okay to leave this as-is’, you get to tell them ‘unfortunately, as outlined in xyz communications, that won’t be possible. Sorry!’.

    10. RagingADHD*

      The problem with a setup like this is that there are knock-on effects if the church members don’t get the information they need about upcoming events. So setting a hard cutoff for everything might mean low/no turnout for things that get left off, people making conflicting plans, etc.

      What other channels are used to announce events? If they can also announce them in 2 or 3 other places, like the weekly bulletin, an email blast, and/or social media, then I’d say it’s fine to make a blanket rule of no late additions for anything.

      Having the cutoff be discretionary or fuzzy is just more work for you to constantly renegotiate what can or can’t be added.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. Go ahead and make that cut off a hard cut off. No exceptions. “If I do not have your information by X date/time, then you will need to find other channels to get your information out to the people.”

        Make sure you tell the pastor what you are doing and why.

    11. ClergySpouse*

      Every clergy person in America is losing their mind and burning out right now. The time they blocked off to send you newsletter updates probably got eaten up by a pastoral emergency phone call, a chatty person overstaying, the worship streaming software crashing, the organist getting COVID or whatever fresh disaster struck. Over analyzing their word choice when they were basically acknowledging they missed a deadline is not necessary.

    12. Françoise*

      Thanks everyone – for the wake up call that I should show her some grace and for the suggestions.
      There are reasons why I’m so irritated – a back story that I didn’t share.
      Yes, there are other channels for information (announcements, homepage etc.), but I’d like to have the monthly bulletin as accurate as possible so that people feel like they can trust it.
      I hadn’t thought that allowing changes after the draft might be confusing people and I really don’t want to refuse to make changes just to make a point.
      And what I’m realizing is that maybe I should give up this task to someone who’s a little more laid back.
      Thanks again!

  34. hiring manager*

    This week we had someone show up to our office for a second interview…. that was a zoom call. They were sooooo embarrassed!!

    But they were a great candidate, and we offered them the job!

    Just wanted to give some hope to people that make an honest mistake like that in an interview. If you’re a strong candidate, it doesn’t matter! :)

    1. CatCat*

      I showed up to the wrong location on my first day of a new job so I feel for the candidate. Glad you didn’t hold it against the candidate and it’s a win-win since they were a great candidate.

    2. no sleep for the wicked*

      Tell us about a time… when you showed up for an interview that was supposed to be via Zoom? How did you handle the last-minute pivot?

    3. Be kind, rewind*

      Yup. When interviewing for my current role, I missed the (Zoom) interview with the hiring manager because I misremembered the time. Still got the job lol.

  35. quill*

    Just complaining here, but the day that I go a whole week without coming in to work and confronting mystery storage room puddle, Son of Safety Violation, slip hazard extraordinare, I will be a very happy camper.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I took two days off once and came back to literal blood splatters like. EVERYWHERE. So I sympathize.

      1. quill*

        I mean ANYTHING is better than pig biosample sump pump floods, which I have had before. But Son of Safety Violation is blocking me off from putting things away.

        Were the blood spatters… fresh?

        1. Amber Rose*

          Fresh-ish. They were from the previous day. Dude sliced off the tip of his finger with an exacto knife. Extremely minor injury with overkill levels of mess. He bled all over the production floor but somehow nobody thought to clean up more than the bathroom sink.

    2. Annony*

      Thank you for reminding me that the mysterious person who added water to the half filled soap dispenser need not take up any more of my time than the 5 minutes I have spent wondering… who… why?
      There is a refill of soap right next to the dispenser… refill with water?
      So much better than mysterious puddles and blood – Thanks AAM community!

      1. quill*

        Hey, my puddle possibly contains soap too. And in the last… six? Hours maitenance hasn’t bothered to speak to us about Son of Safety Violation.

  36. Secret Squirrel*

    I’ve been freelancing and completely outside the world of formal HR and management for a million years, but took a “job” a few months ago. I’m out of touch with things like performance reviews and could use guidance!

    I’ve been asked to fill out a check-in, which is a self-assessment of how I think it’s going and how well I feel aligned with the organization. It goes to my HR person, who “escalates” anything particularly positive or negative to my leadership team. We’re a really small team so anything I send will be immediately attributed to me, and I don’t know if they even try to keep it confidential. NGL all this makes me very nervous. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job but things aren’t clear and I’m not sure how to succeed here. And life is hard right now, so I’m not my best self.

    How do you approach these? How honest are you? I assume it makes sense to be fairly honest about understanding the role and feeling supported, because that’s about getting what I need to be more successful. But things like whether I see myself there in several years, I should say yes even if I don’t mean it, right? I don’t want to be cynical and just check 10s on everything. I also don’t want to be so honest I sabotage myself. My tendency is to focus on the negative so I definitely want to adjust for that.

    1. Artemesia*

      Honesty is a much overrated virtue in such matters. Especially when you are new to self evaluations in a setting err on the side of giving as little information that can be used against you as possible. Of course you will be there in 5 years. Your failures are all things that a little more experience will bring up to speed and you are doing what is needed to improve. Your confidence issues are a closely held secret that you don’t disclose.

      1. Secret Squirrel*

        Thank you. I know that I’ve been tipping my hand and revealing confidence issues WAY too much. Gotta tighten up but not sure how! Life is hard, I’m struggling with personal stuff, and it’s leaking out.

    2. New Mom*

      @Secret Squirrel, this isn’t an answer but since you mentioned you switched from freelancing to a regular job, what made you want to go back? I’m asking because I’m thinking about doing the reverse shift and would love to know what people DON’T like about freelancing because I feel like everyone I talk to only talks about the positives and I know it must be hard.

      1. Secret Squirrel*

        Honestly I only went back in of necessity, a means to an end. My personal life got dumped upside down and with that plus some pandemic business setbacks I didn’t have the hustle in me to rebuild my practice. This offer landed in my lap and I thought this would give me the mental space for my life as well as a big steady paycheck. I don’t expect to stay in more than a couple of years.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I am confused. So this is a self-assessment. But if you say something negative— about yourself???— it goes to management? wth.

      Okay so I would not write anything on there that I would not say right to my boss’ face. Period. That to me is how to handle this mess.