boss might be lying about being vaccinated, a terrible resume typo, and more

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

1. Our boss might be lying about being vaccinated

My office has been basically open throughout the entire pandemic. It’s not totally critical for us to be in the office, but it is very helpful and we’ve all decided that we think it’s safe because we trust our colleagues to make safe choices — vaccinating, staying home when ill, etc. This is especially important as our work often requires international travel.

There has been a rumor for some time now that our head of office, Betty, faked her vaccine documentation. It makes sense — her husband is outspokenly anti-vaccine and for months she was saying she hadn’t gotten it “yet” even once it was available, and then suddenly she seemed to have it because she was traveling with a vaccine passport. More recently, a possible Covid exposure from a colleague meant that we all got PCR tests in order to return to the office. A coworker, George, told me that Betty told him she had falsified PCR tests as well.

I am a very junior colleague, basically an intern, and Betty is very senior. The only person she has confided her lies to is George, who doesn’t want to call her out or report it because he’s afraid of drama/retaliation. We have an anonymous whistleblower ethics platform, but if I use it then Betty will know that George told people what she said, and then George will be upset with me.

I don’t know what to do. I think what she’s doing is extremely unethical. We don’t have policies or requirements regarding testing or vaccination, but we have all chosen to work together in-person based on trusting what people say about their vaccination status, test results, isolation practices, etc. It’s possible that she’s never lied to the company, just not said anything about it and we’ve assumed she was vaccinated because she was traveling (including for work). What should my next step be, if anything?

Please report your concerns to the anonymous hotline and let your company sort it out. You said there’s been a rumor for some time that Betty faked her vaccine card, which I assume means more people have discussed it than just George. But even if Betty does suspect George, this is important enough that you should report it. People are making decisions about their own health (and their loved ones’ health) based on a shared understanding that may be false. If you want to, you can tell George that you can’t in good conscience stay quiet when Betty is misleading people about their level of risk around her.

For what it’s worth, though, you and your colleagues should be proceeding as if any one of you could be infected and contagious, totally aside from the Betty situation. In any group of people you’re going to find varying risk tolerances, and one person’s idea of being very safe can be completely different from someone else’s; you really don’t know if someone’s idea of safety lines up with your own unless you ask a lot more questions than it sounds like your office is doing (and that’s aside from the frequent travel and before we even get into Omicron).

2. Employer was fine with my husband and me working together, until I got promoted

My husband was hired at a large, publicly traded, entertainment venue. Then Covid happened and the venue was shut down and he was furloughed. Fast forward, and last year they were able to open again and they called my husband back from furlough. I then applied to the same venue and let them know at every step of the way that he was my husband, and we never kept it a secret. I was hired, and we were both promoted several times during this past year. My most recent promotion was to manager, and they suddenly they decided that we could no longer work together, even though we had for the last year, and there was no overlap in supervision. They said my husband would have to move to another venue location in town. However, after his first day, he was told to be prepared for troubles – he asked what kind, and was told to think “having chairs thrown at you” kind of trouble, along with verbal intimidation and the occasional punch thrown.” Do we have any recourse? Is there is anything we can say to HR to remedy this situation? Ideally, we’d like to keep working at the same venue, since they had no issues for the past year.

It sounds like you being promoted to manager is what triggered this — it was fine when neither of you were in a supervisory capacity, but it’s not inherently unreasonable that they don’t want a manager working with their spouse, even if he’s not directly in your chain of command. They should have let you know that before you accepted the promotion, though, not sprung it on you afterwards! You can try talking to HR, pointing out that you’re not in his chain of command and that this wasn’t discussed before you accepted the promotion … and if you can think of any conflicts of interests or, just as important, the potential for the appearance of conflicts of interest (like if you have influence over how he’s scheduled or how a complaint about him might be handled), present a plan for mitigating those … but ultimately they do have the right to say no spouses can work at the same venue.

3. Unfortunate resume typo

I’m hiring for a couple of hospitality roles, and we received a resume from a candidate who we do not wish to proceed with that contains an unfortunate typo. He meant to say that he had experience barbacking but a stray e made its way in, suggesting that he had experience in an entirely different activity. Should I reach out to let him know, and if so what’s the kindest way of pointing it out whilst also letting him know that we won’t be taking his application forward? (Not due to the typo, just as we have preferred candidates.)

Sure, it would be a kindness to tell him. Add a line into your standard rejection notice saying, “By the way, unrelated to this decision, I wanted to let you know that your resume has a typo in ‘barbacking’ that you’ll want to fix!”

4. Interviewing for full-time jobs when you want to work fewer days

I have many years of experience in a technical field that pays okay. I’m tired of it, though, and I’m looking to transition into related office-type, preferably WFH work, using that experience.

I do get interested responses to my applications, but I’m shy to commit because it seems like all of these jobs have completely inflexible schedules — 40 hours/week, 9-5 or 10-6, M-F. This is apparently what “full-time” means. I’ve never worked five days a week in my life, usually four or sometimes three days, and that’s considered full-time enough in my field. I understand a lot of these jobs would need me to be responsive to other people during “normal business hours,” but I’m shook by the time commitment. I have too much other stuff to do and prioritize, like caretaking obligations and my own mental health. But I’ve lost offers because I asked about changing the schedule in second interviews when I was told. It sounds complicated to even take a single day off.

Would it be ill-advised of me to just accept such a job knowing I can’t keep it long term? See how long I can make it work, and quit when I’m fed up? It would be an extra item on my CV and that could help? Or maybe it would put me in a better position to change the terms of the job at that point, if I’m already doing well at it? Is there a better way to be upfront about it that doesn’t spook interviewers?

Yeah, unless a company really, really wants you and your skills are in high demand, it’s going to be a hard sell to convince them to cut the job by 20% or 40%. Most companies hiring for full-time jobs are doing it because they believe they have full-time work, and if you’re proposing only doing 60-80% of it, they’ll understandably balk about how the rest of the work will get done.

In practice, some jobs really can be done in less time by the right person — but it can be impossible to tell from the outside if a job is one of those (and managers will rarely believe it anyway, especially when you have no experience with the job and they have no experience with you).

Whether to take the job anyway for as long as you can make it work depends on how long that would be. If it’s likely going to be something like six months, it could hurt more than help to have that job on your resume. You could try arguing for a shortened week at that point, but whether or not it will be realistic depends so heavily on the job and the manager that it’s a pretty risky plan. It might be that you have to look at specifically part-time jobs or decide whether the trade-off for changing fields is worth it.

5. Thank-you notes when you’re not sure you’re still interested in the job

I had an interview a while ago that I came out of really torn about whether I was still interested in the job. Not wanting to give the wrong impression one way or another, I didn’t send a thank-you note immediately. (I sent one a couple weeks later, at the same time asking to be withdrawn from consideration.) I am wondering though, what would have been the best wording to use if sending the note shortly after the interview without providing the wrong impression of my interest? Or am I overthinking this?

If you’re going to send a thank-you note, it should be one that sounds interested in the job; otherwise there’s no point in sending it (since the idea is to boost your candidacy). If you’re torn about whether or not you’re interested, for the purpose of the note it makes sense to write it with the side of you that’s still interested. If you later decide to withdraw, you can explain that after a lot of consideration you’ve decided to focus on jobs that are more ____ but appreciate their time, etc.

{ 570 comments… read them below }

  1. Xl*

    #3 makes me think of the “Beloved Aunt” episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    At least this guy’s typo wasn’t as unfortunate as that.

    1. L.H. Puttgrass*

      At least there’s an semi-plausible G-rated interpretation of the typo. Maybe he’s just really into horseback riding.

      As it is, I suspect autocorrect (although my device suggests “barracking” for “barbacking”).

        1. londonedit*

          It’s a linguistic difference – in UK English if you say ‘riding’ then the ‘horse’ bit is implied, or we might say ‘horse riding’ to be specific. We’d never say ‘horseback riding’ but it’s fairly standard in US English. Same as we’d never say ‘tuna fish sandwich’ because tuna is a fish, but again that’s a standard construction in the US.

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            Ah, interesting, I (US) didn’t even understand their question because “horseback riding” is the only way I’ve ever seen it lol. I mean, I’m sure I’ve seen just “riding” if the context is already known to be about horses but I have never seen “horse riding.” I didn’t know that was a UK vs US thing.

          2. Imaginary Friend*

            It’s because it’s a sandwich made with “tuna fish salad”, so, tuna fish salad sandwich, and the “salad” part got ellided out. American here, and if I saw “tuna sandwich” on a menu, I would stop to wonder if it meant a slab of fish rather than mashed-up fish with stuff added and all stuck together with mayo.

            (Linguistically, a “salad” is a dish of lots of bits of stuff mixed together, and in modern American English at least, “salad” by itself now means a tossed green salad, and any other kind gets qualifiers, such as: chopped salad, macaroni salad, fruit salad, word salad, tuna fish salad. I can’t speak to British English or any other dialects here.)

            1. Rocket*

              Just pointing out, as another american, I have never heard anyone anywhere say tuna fish salad. It’s just been tuna salad. And I personally only ever hear people say tuna salad sandwich, not tuna fish sandwich or tuna fish salad sandwich.

            2. BubbleTea*

              I’ve never in my life eaten fish so I’m not speaking from immediate experience but I’m fairly sure in Britain it is called tuna salad – fish and mayonnaise and whatever else mashed up. Tuna fish salad sounds redundant to my ear. Interesting dialect point of difference I didn’t know existed!

        2. Alanis*

          Well, bareback riding would be riding without a saddle and I’m not a horsey person but it would be different enough from the default of using a saddle that it would probably be worthwhile specifying. However, the OP has taken the more social interpretation of the word.

          1. KayStar*

            There is a much more graphic NSFW use of the term barebacking in the US, it has nothing to do with horses,, and even those who do it would not consider it a resume-worthy practice.

            1. IndustriousLabRat*

              I’m from the US and actually went immediately to “confident equestrian who don’t need no dang stirrups”, but that’s simply my own rural and mildy horsey background speaking. No doubt the first thought for someone not exposed to this definition would go to the NSFW one!

                1. Michelle Smith*

                  I’m in the US and definitely thought of the sexual interpretation first. I have never heard someone call horseback riding barebacking because of what that word means in the general culture.

                2. Sasha*

                  “Bareback horse riding”, or even just “bareback riding”, yep fine, probably equestrianism.

                  “Barebacking”, not otherwise specified? That is not horses, unless you yourself are a horse.

              1. Dust Bunny*

                US and a moderately horsey person and “riding bareback” and “barebacking” are entirely and wildly different things to me. I have never, ever, heard “barebacking” applied to riding a horse.

                There’s a bar near my house called the Bareback and it’s absolutely a double entendre.

                1. no sleep for the wicked*

                  Barebacking a horse is illegal in the US. At least I hope so. Not sure about a few sates.

                2. CoveredinBees*

                  Same. I’ve never heard bareback used as a verb in reference to riding a horse. Riding bareback, yes. Otherwise…nope.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              Yup – my mind went first to horses, second to snowboarding, and only third to the NSFW option. But then I live just half a mile from the housing lots where you can have a horse in your backyard, and the mountains are a 40 min drive (in good weather conditions), so yup – culturally around here I hear that term for very normal, safe for work connotations.

              The straight to the NSFW connotation wouldn’t have occurred to me – but it would be a kindness to point the typo out to the author.

              I also imagine that all the straight to NSFW thoughts has to be massively annoying for people in those hobbies (and possibly a sign of immaturity in the straight to NSFW thoughts people).

              1. no sleep for the wicked*

                Maybe it’s a sign of maturity, in that we are aware of a broader spectrum of uses for the term. A sign of immaturity might be casting shade on the commentariat who are aware of that spectrum.

              2. CowWhisperer*

                The vast majority of people in English-speaking countries live in cities or working-class suburbs where horse ownership is vanishingly rare and riding a horse is a special, rare event.

                Sexual innuendo varies a bit by class – but my rural-raised husband snickered at the typo as much as my city-raised self.

      1. Nuke*

        As a Horse Person(tm) myself, I get legitimately exhausted with people making immature comments on a lot of terms equestrians use. A lot of times it’s the type of “joke” where they pretend to misinterpret the terms I’m using, as if I’m not blatantly talking about horses. I know a lot of terms have been co-opted for nsfw stuff, but like… come on. If I say “I bought a dressage whip” and then talk about the tricks I want to teach my horse, I really don’t need the constant eyebrow wiggling and “what ELSE could you use that for? Ohoho” stuff.

        Also reading further down the thread, it’s really interesting that in the UK, etc, they just say “riding” and don’t need to constantly specify “horseback”! Here in the US, people seem obsessed with being a Haha Funnyman and if you don’t specify “horseback”, you can open yourself up to the aforementioned “funny” comments. Additionally I’m aroace so it’s all just 10x exhausting, lol. It’s not like it’s COMPLETELY constant but… all my horse friends are just as tired of it as I am.

        tl;dr I’m aware of the “double meaning” of the term barebacking but my brain didn’t even remotely go there. Just my grumpy 2 cents I guess!

          1. Nuke*

            That makes sense! I live in NY so we get about 25 minutes of motorcycle weather, so I assume that WOULD also apply here, at least during our short summers. A lot of it probably depends on the social circles you’re in, too.

          2. Dasein9*

            I signed up for a “bike ride” someone I knew was organizing once. Luckily, I did figure it out: my bicycle would not have worked on that highway. It was an outing for avid motorcyclists.

          3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Lol – I was raised near one of the cities that hosts a Major Motorcycle Week Festival – down there riding means motorcycles. But where I live now, the first thought is Horses not Harleys.

        1. EventPlannerGal*

          Ugh, huge +1 to your first paragraph – it’s so tiresome. “Hurhur what else do you ride????” etc etc.

        2. hamsterpants*

          Different hobby but when I discovered how useful a Dutch oven is for cooking, I about wanted to strangle some of my friends. I like a dirty pun as much as anyone but it gets old.

          1. Nuke*

            Every single person making the “joke” to you is absolutely convinced that they’re the first person to ever say it to you – and they’re always baffled that you don’t find it gut-bustingly hilarious, huh?

            1. Cmdrshpard*

              I don’t think this is necessarily true.

              I say this as someone who is subject to frequently the jokes/pun on my name, and someone who would probably make a bareback joke to a horse person knowing they probably find it annoying and have heard it all before.

              But my immature/sophomoric self can’t help it. Partially because I don’t know many/any horse people, so it is al.odt exclusively used in the NSFW context.

              1. FridayFriyay*

                Ew. Please consider that not everyone wants to be the audience for your lewd sex jokes just because they mentioned a hobby.

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Agreed – just because the thought popped into your brain doesn’t mean it has to be voiced out loud.

            2. The OG Sleepless*

              My last name gets a steady stream of dumb jokes. Sigh. Whatever the first thing you thought of when I introduced myself, please don’t say it.

            3. COBOL Dinosaur*

              I’ve had enough of the 16 year old male cashiers in the grocery store asking me if I want my ‘Tea Bagged’ and then calling over to their coworkers and making sure they heard them ask me if I wanted my ‘Tea Bagged’. Just because I’m old enough to be your parent doesn’t mean I don’t get the ‘joke’. Frankly making a sexual joke to a customer is in poor taste.

        3. Womanaroundtown*

          You know, the “riding” part would never occur to me as funny or a double entendre. The bareback typo made me full body cringe for the person who made it. It’s just too commonly used in a way no equestrian terms ever are (or biking), and I don’t think many readers would be as generous as those of you who do spend time with horses.

          1. Nuke*

            It’s probably because I live under a rock in terms of that kind of content (like I said, aroace lol), but I’ve never actually heard the specific word “barebacking” before, but boy do people love to giggle when I say just “bareback” in obvious horse context. I just tend to think the co-opting of animal-related terms into nsfw things is um, very uncomfortable in general, too.

        4. Rolly*

          “As a Horse Person(tm) myself, I get legitimately exhausted with people making immature comments on a lot of terms equestrians use.”

          Think of them as stupidity signals. When someone makes a joke like that, just think “Thanks for letting e know that about you.”

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            (Raises Hand) I’ve definitely done that when listening to people talk. It’s my “use little words and be very clear and direct when talking to you” signal.

        5. londonedit*

          I grew up with horsey people in my family and was similarly enraged when during the London 2012 Olympics seemingly the entire country discovered dressage – or, as they insisted on squealing about it, ‘HORSE DANCING!!!111!!!!!11’ – and people wouldn’t stop going on about how HILARIOUS the HORSE DANCING was. Like…OK?

          1. Nuke*

            This might be soapboxy but yeah, I feel this, people constantly write off professional equestrian sports as “silly” or “not real sports”, so I’m not at all surprised that they also take so many terms from horseback riding and make them sexual…

          2. PeanutButter*

            All the 2012 discourse around dressage and a certain candidate’s wife drove me nuts because everyone was acting like it was solely a super snooty rich person equestrian event, when in reality dressage is probably one of the most accessible and useful disciplines, as far as equestrianism goes. The higher levels are pricey but that’s the case with everything.

            And then eventually I end up ranting drunkenly in a bar about Xenophon and cavalry maneuvers and before I know it my friends are looking at my like I’m crazy. XD

    2. Formerly Ella Vader*

      At the very end of my undergraduate career, an acquaintance/classmate left his resume on a computer account that the owner had let me use. (Back in the day when they had assigned dollar-value to server resources and gave each student $50 worth – people would share the accounts when they’d finished their own degree work.) I read the resume, noticed his typo in “designed HVAC system for large wharehouse”, and changed the A to an O. Probably the owner had already printed his resume and left town to look for work so my vandalism was never noticed, but I never knew for sure.

    3. AnonInCanada*

      Definitely. But still, it would be prudent of this hiring manager to point out the error. You never know, he may not even know the definition of “barbacking with a stray ‘e’.” Although when I just typed it, the red squiggly line appeared beneath it, and the first word it suggested to correct it was … barbacking with the stray ‘e’ (insert Hmm… emoji here, wondering what do those Google programmers do in their spare time?)

  2. HoHumDrum*

    “he asked what kind, and was told to think “having chairs thrown at you” kind of trouble, along with verbal intimidation and the occasional punch thrown.”

    Uhhhhh I’m sorry- WHAT???!? How is the question here not “my husband’s new place of employment punches people from time to time, help”??? I don’t understand- is this *because* of his relationship with you or the nature of the entertainment being offered at this venue or what??

        1. Esmeralda*

          Right. Mosh pit – craziness. I still have some bruises from the 1980s lol. Everywhere else in the venue — reasonably well-behaved.

        2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          To be fair, Punk Rockers as individuals are somewhat more likely to be violent than the general population, or at least to be violent in public. I’ve seen more fights at the handful of Punk concerts I’ve been to than at all the many, many Classic Rock, Pop, Pop Country, Grunge, and general cover-band concerts combined. Plus the musicians in other genres don’t flick lit cigarette butts at me (thanks Shane MacGowan)

          1. WantonSeedStitch*

            Huh, I just got baptized with whiskey from the bottle Shane was swigging from onstage when I saw him in concert. Glad he didn’t decide to flick a lit cigarette at me AFTER that. I love the man and would forgive him a lot, but that? Nah.

            1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

              That would have been less painful, and more pleasant. I wasn’t that upset, it just barely made a tiny burn since it bounced off. More like a momentary sting than anything, still not my favorite concert memory.

      1. a tester, not a developer*

        My husband worked at a concert venue in his youth. The most aggressive patrons were there for country music – after a while he just flat out refused to work ‘outlaw country’ events because they were the most dangerous. The patrons bought a LOT of booze, so the venue kept booking them.
        They actually stopped doing punk shows because too many of the attendees were straight edge (no booze, no drugs) so the venue didn’t find them to be profitable enough.

        1. Florida Fan 15*

          Can confirm. My husband used to manage a large beach nightclub that often had live music. The worst were the country acts. The percentage of asshole patrons was off the charts those nights.

      2. Lance*

        What’s being described, though (in particular, throwing chairs at someone), is well beyond what I would consider ‘rowdy’.

      3. No Tribble At All*

        Thank you for mentioning this, jeeze, because I assumed the spouse was being transferred to the Hellmouth with coworkers who are chimpanzees or something. The *patrons* are rowdier, not the coworkers. I was surprised Alison didn’t comment on that!

        1. Beth II*

          I thought this too – I have never been to a place where I have seen chairs being thrown. I was like…what kind of work environment is this? I was assuming the chairs were being thrown by bosses or something.

          1. JustaTech*

            Both my friend and my cousin who work in special ed have had chairs thrown at them, but that’s a very specific and extenuating circumstance (and still pretty rare).

    1. Eliza*

      Given that it’s an entertainment venue, I’m assuming the chair-throwing is from rowdy, possibly intoxicated, customers.

      1. CeeBee*

        OP here – Yes, drunk, rowdy guests thinking thinking a night out entitles them to throw stuff. I’ve had a large scale Jenga piece thrown at me and I’m at the tamer place

    2. mreasy*

      Have worked in music industry 20 years and have never seen this behavior in a venue (though many out kick-out-worthy types). I’m sure it’s possible, depending on the place & the local audience, though! Made me think of Blues Brothers.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Made me think that it is mostly white staff working in a club that attracts mostly Black and Brown fans and acts, so behaviors that are unruly, but not noticeable, at the trance club on the other side of town get exaggerated at the one that hosts hip hop shows. However, this may be entirely based on my experience going from working* at a techno club to a R&B one in college and how the white staff (all white except bouncers) acted as if somehow the R&B one was sO mUcH sCaRiER and things that happened in the techno club all the damned time were talked about as if it was scary. This doesn’t change the advice, but seemed so similar that I thought I’d mention it

        *By working I mean we got 1/2 minimum wage as a “stipend” because theoretically we were intern but everyone knew we were doing for free access to any show we wanted to see in any of the clubs.

        1. Delta Delta*

          I go to a lot of shows and events, and the only actual bar fight I’ve ever seen was two white guys throwing down at a bluegrass show in Toronto. All the patrons were like, who fights to bluegrass?

          1. KaciHall*

            I’ve gone to a ton of concerts (pre-kid, it was where my spending money went) and the worst behaved crowds were at the handful of country concerts I went to. Seriously, if you’re just going to get wasted and get into fights there are cheaper and better places than a Miranda Lambert concert. (Prior to that, the worst was at a new Found Glory show at Warped Tour where they started moshing to a song that really, really didn’t call for it, but that was within normal parameters for a festival like that at least! )

            1. Cj*

              I’ve been to many, many country concerts at including two Miranda Lambert’s concerts, and have never seen a fight. I seen Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and several alternative rock bands and have never seen a fight.

              I think the issue might really be the venue. Once it gets a reputation for being rowdy, that is the sort of people it is going to attract. I wouldnt go to a venue that had that reputation no matter who was there and how bad I wanted to see them.

        2. NoNotNan*

          My brother was a bouncer and his venue’s worst clientele were young white women spending their dad’s money. They were absolutely wasted when they arrived and would be happy to scratch one another’s eyes out and my brother’s too if he dared challenge their good time. It didn’t matter the show type, R&B, hiphop, country, pop, etc. They came with their rage barely contained. My brother and his good friend would preselect which friends would go from hugging and singing along to blows by the end of the night, because they were just as likely to fight their friends as someone they ran into at the show.

            1. Zephy*

              It sounds like NoNotNan was relating someone’s observations of actual guest behavior, though, and noticing a pattern in the demographics, as opposed to stereotyping about how all young white women act?

              1. pbnj*

                I think it’s the assumption that they are spending dad’s money that bothers me. How do you know they’re not spending their own money?

                1. Ccjr*

                  Yeah I’m a white woman who was very wild at shows and clubs when I was younger, but I had a great job at 20 and paid for all those thrown and thrown up drinks myself. Dad was on disability so didn’t have money for me to spend.

                2. Mmmh*

                  And even if it weren’t their own, why assume it’s *Dad*’s money rather than their parents?

                  It seems like some unconscious prejudice are at play here.

                3. JKateM*

                  I dated a guy who worked as a bouncer and had the same experience. And the assumption about the “dad’s money” tended to come from the number who would say some version of “you can’t tell me what to do, do you know who dad is” etc. While I agree the stereotype is lacking there are people who behave this way.

            2. Fiddlesticks*

              If it’s based on someone’s recounting of their actual lived experience, and their experience was that young, wealthy white women in that club were the worst clientele in terms of starting fights, that’s not a sexist comment.

              1. Anonanon*

                If you said it about literally about any other demographic, that would be racist/sexist/anything else ist. Making assumptions about white women because they’re white women doesn’t make stereotypes informed by ‘lived experience’ OK.

                Also, what pbnj said above. You are making assumptions about people’s background/character just by looking at them and conforming to stereotypes. Not cool.

                1. jumped all the sharks*

                  The commentariat is full of uptight judgy jerks today. Whining about barebacking/adult vocabulary and making gross generalizations about groups of people based on appearances. Ick.

                1. pope suburban*

                  I took this to be students, or people in that age range- people who are unlikely to have their own substantial disposable income because they are new to working or only work part-time as they study. I went to high school and college in an affluent town, and I will note that my classmates whose parents allowed them basically unfettered access to family wealth tended to be…worse than your average teen or young adult. I think it’s simple insulation from consequences, and I’m sure many if not most of them grew out of it, but man, have I seen some epic tantrums at bars and parties. Someone running face-first into the first “No, you can’t have/do that” of their life tends to get extra-turbulent when liquor and/or drugs are in the mix. While my college town was eerily homogenous, I suspect that spoiling your kids has roughly the same effect regardless of demographics, so my main take-home here is “Tell your kids no when needed, and probably don’t let them spend hundreds on booze with the emergency credit card, even if they are of age.”

      2. Lora*

        I remember some pretty violent fights at shows …not exactly punk rock, but like Minor Threat, Black Flag, Murphy’s Law, 1980s hardcore. Often Neo-Nazi skinheads would show up in the parking lot and try to start fights. Throwing chairs would have been the least of it, most venues didn’t have chairs for this reason. About 15-ish years later saw Fugazi play live and it was shockingly peaceful and laid back with nobody trying to curb-stomp anyone whatsoever. Maybe we all got too old.

        1. nelliebelle1197*

          Fugazi is straight edge though. So I guess that audience mellowed better than some! The Nazi skins always screwed things up. Back in my day it SHARPs and Mods fighting the Nazis in the parking lot!

    3. IndustriousLabRat*

      Seriously! This makes me think that the venue is overserving customers alcohol, the door screening for pre-intoxicated guests is ineffective or nonexistent, and they REALLY need to step up their security inside the venue! Seems from the outside that the ownership group has bigger fish to fry than a married couple in the same building; the sheer liability of knowingly sending staff into what sounds like occasional small melees without adequate training or having signed up to be a target for angry drunks is a bigger problem!

      1. CeeBee*

        Nope – no overserving needed when we’ve had to throw out guests because they sneak in bottles of liquor.

        1. Sasha*

          Your bag searches on the door aren’t great then – seriously how is anyone getting a bottle past you, and what is stopping them from bringing a knife in?

      2. Librarian of SHIEILD*

        This is my take. The husband’s new venue is either very poorly managed or management has decided to prioritize the money they get from bar sales over their staff’s safety. Neither option is good.

    4. Delta Delta*

      This was also weird for me. My mind went to… pro wrestling? But that’s pretty controlled chair-throwing, so I’m not sure what kind of venue this is.

    5. AuntAmy*

      Seriously! I came here wondering the same thing. The punching and chair-throwing was mentioned a little too casually.

    6. Momma Bear*

      I wonder if OP and/or her husband think that this change of venue is in any way retaliation? Like someone got annoyed and sent him to a less desirable venue on purpose?

      We also have the rule here that you cannot in any way supervise your spouse or relatives. The company should have been more upfront about it before offering OP the job and specified it at the time of the promotion. Now that it’s done, OP’s spouse can 1. try the venue and see if it’s as bad as feared, 2. ask for/apply for a transfer somewhere else within the org, and/or 3. apply for jobs outside the company.

      1. Olivia Oil*

        I think it’s a reach to assume it’s retaliation. Based on the info we know about the industry, it seems like a characteristic of the industry (rowdy venues), since we don’t know how many venue options they had for the husband to transfer to, and there is no other context to suggest interpersonal politics played into it.

        It also doesn’t change the answer to the question – companies have a right to make sure people aren’t supervising their spouses, but they should have given a heads up about the venue change. If there is no other option for relocation, it looks like the spouse and/or both the spouse and OP have to find new jobs.

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, they are definitely focused on the wrong problem–but if it is true that OP has absolutely no authority over their husband and they think they could reasonable convince the company to let them stay in the same place then I guess that is an easier thing to change then a complete overhaul of the toxic alternative.

      I’m not sure why the HR is able to address spouses working together but not able to address workplace violence…

      1. The OTHER Other*

        I was going to say this. I’m surprised Alison didn’t address the punching and chair-throwing, and that the LW just tosses this into the letter and focuses on whether it’s reasonable for the employer to separate married couple. It’s like she yadda-yadda’d over the best part!

        I’d be really concerned if these were not just exaggerations and rumors and the venue was really this unsafe/poorly run. I know someone who negotiated between armed militias that did not have this level of violence at work.

    8. Very Social*

      I’m confused because I thought that was the question–or at least part of it. Like, the OP and their husband were grudgingly OK with being split up until violence came into play.

  3. Dragon_Dreamer*

    Half of me is wondering if OP #3 will get an email response back that it wasn’t a typo. >.>

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Somewhere in my photos, I have a screen shot of some for-profit university’s online ad for their masters degree in, sigh, pubic administration.

      I’m honestly shocked it made it all the way to social media, and I assume that someone very high up and extremely obnoxious insisted that there was no problem, even after an intern pointed out the mistake to them.

      That’s what you get.

      1. bee*

        Sometimes you genuinely just go blind to it! I did copy editing at a marketing agency and one time a graphic went through at least five people (including myself and the other copy editor!) before anyone noticed the name of the show was misspelled

        1. Allison K*

          I recently published a book that was proofread by myself, two professional copyeditors, my agent, the interior designer, the indexer and four or five friend-readers. None of us noticed it went from chapter 8 to chapter 10. There was no chapter 9. The topic of the book, you ask? Editing one’s own book…

          1. No longer working*

            I had an illustrated datebook that gave June 31 days and – and skipped July 6 to make up for it!

          2. londonedit*

            Classic! People just love spotting typos in books and ranting about how shoddy and unprofessional it is, but let me tell you those books have been through umpteen editorial stages, copy-edits, proofreading, they’ve been read by the author and probably read a zillion times by someone in-house. And there will absolutely still be a typo somewhere (if not an entire missing chapter – there but for the grace of god go I!)

            1. Lore*

              I had a former boss who used to get very impatient with compositors and other vendors touting their 99.99% accuracy rate because that would work out to 3 errors on the average page.

            1. Allison K*

              There’s a prize of a free book for spotting a typo we haven’t spotted yet! It was a reader who caught Chapter 9. But we’ve only had to give away 6 :)

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                That is delightful!
                At my previous workplace, a subcontractor didn’t read the entire PO and failed to notice the sentence highlighted at the bottom which said to only translate the parts highlighted in yellow (only a couple of paragraphs in a 12-page document). They were understandably upset that the agency didn’t want to pay for the rest of his translation.
                The boss was intrigued: as a translator, the sub-contractor needed to be good at reading and paying attention to details, so not reading to the end and checking the number of words near the top was a big mistake.
                So for the first three weeks of December, she instructed all Project Managers to add “congrats on reading this far, please call us for a free bottle of champagne” to all POs. They sent out hundreds of POs that month.
                Only two sub-contractors actually called.

        2. All Het Up About It*

          Once we got new email signatures and Marketing sent them all to us in a Word Doc. I dutifully copy and pasted my own and went about business. Later I realized they had misspelled my name, and I the owner of the name, didn’t catch it and and been sending emails with this messed up signature for MONTHS!

          1. JustaTech*

            I once received a rejection letter for grad school at a Big Name State U who had autocorrect on because rather than my first name it read “Dear Maggot”.

            That letter was posted to my dorm room door for a month before anyone (including me) noticed.

          2. Shan*

            I will always remember the time a coworker and I were both on an email from someone with “conslutant” in her signature line… we had to do rock, paper, scissors to decide who would be the one to politely let her know.

      2. Beth II*

        A large communication went out in my industry for some conference, and it was clear that the person who wrote it was obviously doing it to make a joke to a friend that maybe was supposed to be the proof reader or was filling in nonsense…but it got sent out. It was an award for a sexual something. The whole rest was very pedestrian and normal and then….that. I can’t imagine the person wasn’t fired. I guess it could have been an irate intern or something too, but seemed more like something incredibly stupid that someone REALLY didn’t think through.

      3. pagooey*

        Yep. I’ve been a professional writer and editor for…oh good lord, 27 years! and consider that first “pubic/public” catch a rite of passage!

    2. MPerera*

      I read somewhere about a resume where the candidate listed one of his interests as “rapping”, but spelled it with only one p.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Spellcheck isn’t a panacea….I recently saw an email correction go out because the issue of “underserving” populations was referred to as “undeserving”!!

  4. Turanga Leela*

    OP #3, I’ve done this. I believe I wrote, “It looks like you left the L out of the phrase ‘public defender.'”

    The recipient did not acknowledge my email, but I saw his resume again later, and the error had been fixed.

    (I’ve told this story before but I love it and can’t resist telling it again.)

    1. Double A*

      If you work in politics or government, you learn early you need to do a search for the work “pubic” before you send anything out, lest you end up pubicly humiliated.

      1. Nom*

        Or edit your autocorrect/spell check dictionary to eliminate “pubic” from the correct spellings.

        Unfortunately this can be problematic is some public health roles (esp maternal and reproductive health) but otherwise it’s a good tip.

        1. a tester, not a developer*

          If you’re working in maternal and reproductive health, I suppose you could argue you are, in fact, a pubic defender…

        2. MAC*

          This. One of the very first things I do when I start a new job is change my Word settings so pubic autocorrects to public. (I even had to force correct that instance back, commenting from my iPad.)

          I’ve had job titles including Public Information Officer (where I issued news releases about emergency management activities to protect the *public*) and Public Involvement Coordinator (coordinating *public* comment periods for a state agency regulating a federal cleanup project), so the danger has been high throughout my career. I’ve never had it go out wrong and hopefully never will.

      2. UKDancer*

        I had a very difficult and annoying boss about 20 years ago who thought he knew everything and was convinced his team were all incompetent. He was giving a presentation and when I was preparing the papers for him I noticed he had missed out the l in public in his slides. I wrestled long and hard over whether to tell him or watch him be humiliated. In the end my better angels won and I mentioned it so he could correct the slide but I was so tempted to let him suffer.

        1. AnonInCanada*

          Either way, you get to watch your boss eat some humble pie. But if I had a pretentious boss like that, I would throw ’em to the wolves. But that’s just me :-D

      3. whistle*

        I recently wrote about a contract for contact tracing. At the end I had to search for every “contract” and “contact” to make sure I used the right one each time.

      4. Aphrodite*

        I had a late friend who was an editor for a major house at the time Beverly Sills’ autobiography was published. In the first sentence, the “l” was left out of “public.” He always kept a copy and joyfully shared it.

    2. Storm in a teacup*

      We had an office admin who would often send out emails asking for weekend covers for shifts – leaving out the L
      Even after having it pointed out a number of times it still happened

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          I think her spellcheck had it in there so she never picked it up!
          To be fair a lot of those shifts were s**t so she wasn’t wrong

      1. Librarian of SHIEILD*

        I had a coworker once who supervised volunteers. She sent out an email to staff explaining what we should do if a volunteer was late for their shift, and left out the f and didn’t realize it until she had already sent the email. We were all sitting calmly at our desks when she shouted “NOBODY OPEN THAT EMAIL!”

      2. Beth II*

        Someone kept posting on our school district FB page about finding covid tests, but they kept spelling it testes EVERY SINGLE TIME. I just had to ignore.

    3. ceiswyn*

      Many years ago, a mailing list I was on of other people on my profession had a thread of ‘worst errors you’ve made that made it into print’.

      It was comedy gold. And, as I once again looked at a typo in ‘buffered’, astonishingly therapeutic.

        1. ceiswyn*

          So the ‘g’ key is right next to the ‘f’ key, right…

          In later versions of that manual, I typoed it as buttered instead and decided to just quit while I was ahead and leave it :)

          1. Essess*

            hahahahahahaa, I was trying to figure out what was bad about “buttered” because I couldn’t think of another typo either.

          2. Esmae*

            The ‘b’ key is also very close to the ‘h’ key, which is how a friend’s paper on the works of Alfred Hitchcock almost went very wrong.

          3. londonedit*

            Meanwhile every time I actually want to type ‘buggered’ I have to argue three times with my phone, which insists on changing it to ‘buffered’…

    4. Dennis Feinstein*

      On a book editing & proofreading course I did once, a teacher told us about the time they didn’t proofread the spine of The Lucky Country correctly. A very important letter got left out & there were red faces all round…

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I had some mail delivered to my department in error a couple of weeks ago, let’s just say someone didn’t check their spelling of County Hall.

        Another time in my old department, someone got a mailshot with a typo in the address so it was addressed to -shite instead of -shire. The recipient thought it was hilarious and stuck it up on the wall, but it was never seen again after the office was decorated and it was suspected that someone who didn’t think it was as funny had quietly thrown it out.

        1. Chashka*

          Years ago, I briefly worked at a firm as a temp. The firm was one of those with all the names of the partners–Jones, Smith, Johnson, etc.–but not all the names were common. They had a bulletin board filled with envelopes of mail they had received where the firm name was wrong. Think Jonk, Smuth, Jimson, etc. Some of the errors were hilarious.

    5. Hotdog not dog*

      Similarly, “Account Executive” needs an O. You would hope that people holding that title would think to proofread, and you would be disappointed. It does help to weed out the ones who aren’t as detail oriented as their resumes claim!

      1. birch*

        Ehhh… as a psychology researcher, I take issue with the assumptions that typos = not detail oriented. First of all, “detail oriented” can mean and depend on a lot of different things. Attention, executive functions, physical stuff that affects brainpower like being tired or hungry, interest, skill level, familiarity, and people can be “detail-oriented” in some domains but not others. Second, the brain has a processing mechanism where it starts to ignore repeating sensory information to make room for new information–this is a really efficient and adaptive way to sort through what info needs immediate attention and what doesn’t. So it’s incredibly difficult for everyone to spot typos in their own writing, especially if it’s something like a resume that you’ve been staring at for weeks/months/years. I proofread other people’s writing and constantly spot typos in published books but still make them–that’s why I have other people proofread my own writing.

        If you can’t have someone else proofread something, a good way to spot typos (and just to improve writing in general) is to read it aloud. It slows you down and processes the words slightly differently so you’ll catch mistakes and awkward phrasing that slips notice when reading silently.

        1. ceiswyn*

          Indeed. On a proofreading course, I caught every error that the teacher had intended and some that she hadn’t. I once noticed that an upper-case I had been used in place of a lower-case l – in Arial.

          I don’t proof-read my own work. Nobody can.

          1. Lab Boss*

            “I don’t proof-read my own work. Nobody can.”

            Nope. There’s a reason in my department that even our highest-level most senior experts reports still need to be reviewed by someone else.

        2. Nina*

          You can get Microsoft Word to read it out loud as well! I read really fast and if it’s something I wrote, I do tend to read what I intended to say rather than what it actually says. Word doesn’t have that problem. It’s terrible at acronyms and equations, but otherwise works great.

        3. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          Yep. I am a professional writing tutor and communications instructor. I have been doing this for nearly two decades. I still catch typos on lecture slides…always, of course, when lecturing. It doesn’t matter how many times I have reviewed them. They aren’t plentiful, but an extra period or stray comma will creep in just to bedevil me.

      2. bamcheeks*

        We once found a menu which said “At least 10% Discount” but with an extra c between the “o” and the “u” and it was so awesome I used it as a blog title for years.

      3. Phony Genius*

        When I used to work in IT, one of our managers got a piece of junk mail addressed to him with the title of “Assistant Operator.” However, they abbreviated “Assistant” using only the first 3 letters of the word. Several of us asked if he could lend us the instruction manual.

        1. Caraway*

          Ha, my first job out of college was as an “Office Ass,” according to the job ad. It was actually a great job! After I’d worked there for a bit, I mentioned the typo to my boss, and she was apologetic and amused.

      4. Marion Ravenwood*

        I work in PR for a professional accountancy body. My finger has missed that O key worryingly often. Thankfully I’ve always caught it before actually sending the press release/email etc but I do worry that one day it’s going to slip through the net!

    6. SarahKay*

      I had a colleague who sent out an email with the subject heading of “Llama-grooming presentation for Shift workers”… except he missed the ‘f’ from Shift. He spotted the error just as he pressed send; we saw him spotting the error by the way he clawed at the screen while saying in an anguished voice “Noooo, come back!”
      (Partly because of that, I now have a 60 second delay built into Outlook for all sent messages, and have been very grateful for it on more than one occasion.)

      1. metadata minion*

        Yep, we once sent out an email to all our student employees saying to contact [Coworker] if they’d never done night shifts before. And forgot the f.

      1. Lyudie*

        Oh my GOD I’d be requesting a new diploma. I’m equal parts horrified on his behalf and laughing hysterically.

        And I say that as someone who caught this typo in a technical document for Large Tech Company You Know talking about public and private networks. I’m 99% sure that never went out though and 75% sure it wasn’t my typo.

        1. Shiba Dad*

          He did get a new diploma. He also received a wallet-sized card with his degree info and the same typo. He kept that.

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        Well, great. Now I’ve got to go make sure I don’t actually have a degree in pubic policy.

    7. Lizcase*

      I had a coworker who apologized to a customer for his incontinence.
      We then had to explain why we were laughing so hard (shared mailbox so we all saw the typo).

    8. FashionablyEvil*

      I worked at the CDC many moons ago and someone very sheepishly informed me that the signs they had ordered for Public Health Week would have to be reprinted.

      1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        Shoot, should have sent them over to the department(s) that deal with STIs. I bet they could have designed a whole campaign around them

    9. noncommital pseudonym*

      Many years ago now, a particularly irascible professor insisted that HIS writing was perfect, and he didn’t need any dang editors looking over an article for our in-house journal. Which is how his article on the impact of feral pigs on island habitats came to be printed with the r in feral replaced by a t in every single instance throughout the paper. (He had done an unwise search and replace.)

    10. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

      Had a coworker come in one morning to some messages from his project manager starting with “Hey Lover!”

      It was then followed by a panicked “Nooooo I meant Hey Oliver!”

    11. COHikerGirl*

      My degree has organismic in it. My first resumes I sent out after added it had something slightly different. Luckily I quickly caught that. I slowly type it out and triple check it if I ever need to write it…I try to copy that portion of my resume so I know it’s right.

  5. Midwest Manager*

    Re OP3 – not in an employment context, but when DH and I were house hunting, there was a gorgeous brochure for a property we looked at, color photos, obviously substantial time spent putting it together. The front page loudly proclaimed: “For Those with a Pendant for Perfection….”. I dropped a note to the realtor saying that I wanted to call this typo to her attention, and perhaps it had been an error, that someone had switched the font and misread “penchant” as “pendant”…..and she wrote me back a very brittle response thanking me for my input, but noting that “clearly you* aren’t familiar with it, but this is a very common turn of phrase.” [*me, an attorney, with an MFA in English]. She never did fix it, either.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      LOL – nothing quite like someone mistaken being very certain they are correct.

      (I would personally love to have a “pendant for perfection” – it sounds like some kind of magical talisman.)

    2. Caroline Bowman*

      and of course the response to that would have been ”I may be a pedant, but penchant and pendant are two completely different things. You’re welcome”.

    3. SarahKay*

      I have a co-worker who sails small boats so I know she knows all about changing tack, and yet she still says “we need to take a different tact on this”.

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        This reminds me of the Friends episode where Joey thought it was a ‘moo’ point and not a moot point and his justification was like a cow’s opinion it doesn’t matter, it’s moo

    4. JelloStapler*

      Reminds me of my kids when they make a speaking/spelling error and then double down and say “that’s how I say/spell it” – our response? “OK, but you’ll be wrong”.

        1. Critical Rolls*

          All the time, L.H. All the time. (Happily imagining what “prescriptivist” would sound like in toddlerese.)

          Also, JelloStapler, my partner likes to make a big joke out of not believing me if I correct him on something. I usually end up saying, “It’s a free country, you can be wrong if you want to.”

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            “Ok, then you can just sit there in your wrongness and be wrong and get used to it.” (I think that’s an adaptation of a West Wing quote actually.)

      1. KaciHall*

        My six year old replies to most pronunciation corrections with, ‘I KNOW but that’s how I say it. ‘

        I’m working with him to understand that mistakes can be corrected and aren’t a bad thing. I’m trying to avoid him being one of those adults!

      2. Gumby*

        There’s always the modern classic “I’ve heard it both ways.”

        Which has the benefit of also implying that one of those ways is entirely wrong (to anyone who picked up this phrase from Psych; maybe it’s used elsewhere w/o that implication).

      3. Sasha*

        My son goes to French immersion school, and every time he makes a mistake he says “that’s how you say it in French”. Nope.

    5. SpellingBee*

      Or a memo I once saw that referred to an upcoming busy period as a “bowel wave of work.” I guess that means you’ve got a sh**load of work on the way!

    6. Don't kick horses*

      For years I thought it was don’t kick a gift horse in the mouth. My reasoning? Well if a horse is carrying a gift in it’s mouth, and you kick it, the horse will bite down on the gift and ruin it. I learned that it was don’t look a gift horse in the mouth when I was 35.

      1. Purple Cat*

        My husband – mid 40’s – refuses to acknowledge that “gift horse” and not looking one in the mouth is a legitimate expression and not something I just made up!

  6. Library Lady*

    Yeah, I almost forgot to include the “l” in “public library” in an important email once.

    Also at my last job, we got lots of questions at the service desk regarding resumes, and a lot of the time, the patrons needed more 1-on-1 assistance than we could reasonably provide, so as a rule we didn’t offer general proofreading assistance. However, one patron asked me to look at their resume before they printed, and I noticed a bullet point that should have said “wrapping sandwiches,” but instead left out the “w” and the second “p”. I pointed to it, asked if they meant to say “wrapping,” and then told them how to spell it correctly. I think English wasn’t their primary language, so I don’t think they realized what had actually been written, but I couldn’t in good conscience let them print the resume with that typo.

    1. Stevie*

      I was looking at some proofs for some construction-related trophies, and there was one for a library with that exact typo! Would have made for a very special engraved award, I’m sure.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      That’s a true kindness, I once had a roommate who would ask me to look over things for the same reason – English was her second language and if she was tired or rushed she’d fall back on spelling conventions from her first language for English words.

    3. looneylibrarian*

      One time in a cover letter I accidentally wrote “in edition to” instead of “in addition to,” and part of me appreciated the mistake because I’m a librarian and I usually am writing about editions, but the other (larger) part of me was mortified. I was absolutely positive that they wouldn’t call me for an interview. In a way, I was right, they didn’t call me for one interview, but for two, and then again to offer me the job. I was very appreciative of their grace!

  7. Prefer my pets*

    I’m confused by #4. Did you mean you are used to working compressed schedules like 4 10s or 3 12s? Or did you mean literally only 3 to 4 8 hr days per week? I have a few friends in fields where the former is fairly common but I don’t think I’ve ever seen “full time” considered less than 35 hours/week in the US.

    1. Prefer my pets*

      Hit submit too quickly…

      In my personal experience, working 10-12 hr days when you’re doing field work and maybe have an hour or two of driving to get to that day’s site is very different than sitting at a desk staring at a computer/in meetings/on phone for 10 to 12 hrs. I have spent my whole career in resource management and I think almost all of us had a brutal awakening when we were promoted from field techs to more documentation roles and thought we’d keep our 10 hr days. I don’t know anyone who lasted more than a month or two doing the 4 -10s once they transitioned. (2 of the 3 agencies I’ve worked for let you choose which schedule you prefer)

    2. Op no. 4*

      Hello, most companies here (area of Canada) have my job qualifying as full time from 28h a week. Most recently, because of daycare hours, I spent a few years in a supervisory position working 4 days of 7 hours, but before my mat leave I liked 4 days of 8. I’ve also worked 3 days X 10 to 12 hours in the past.
      I’m confused because almost all of these jobs advertise ‘flexibility’ but the only flexibility seems to be whether to start at 9 or 10!

      1. Fikly*

        I strongly suspect your current job is an outlier. Full time pretty much means 35 hours or above, at least in the US, and while it could be a bit lower in Canada, the idea of a 9-5, 5 days a week, is pretty standard. Part time is less than that, that’s why there’s a distinction. Yes, there are fields where this is different, but that’s usually shift based work, things like nurses in hospitals, or EMTs.

        Flexibility does traditionally mean there could be a difference in the hours you work, either with an earlier/later start or end time, but rarely does it mean dropping an entire day from the work week, and almost never does it mean dropping the overall number of hours you work.

        If someone is advertising to fill a full time role, it’s because they need a full time employee. If you want to work part time, I agree with the suggestion to look for part time roles. Another option is to work as an independent contractor/work for yourself, because then you can set your own working hours, to a greater extent.

        1. Rebekah*

          Am Canadian and can confirm that somewhere between around 40 hours, give or take and depending on how you count breaks, is considered a normal full-time work week. There may be exceptions in some industries, but that’s definitely normal for office jobs. You may find a place that wants to hire a part timer but otherwise I would expect 40ish hours a week. I worked 7:30am-3:30pm at my last office job. My husband has previously worked roughly 9-5 with some evenings and/or weekends added on top. Currently his regular scheduled is 10-11 hours a day, 6 days a week, but he has almost complete flexibility to manage his own time and take time off in the middle of the day or whatever as long as he performs well.

          1. That IT Guy*

            Wait, he’s *scheduled* for 60-66 hours a week, but he can get some time off if he’s a good boy? Is this a workplace or a prison?

        2. Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

          Yeah – Canadian here and full time is 35 to 40 hours per week with most of my jobs being 37.5 per week.

          (I now work at an outlier for office work where full time is considered 30 hours. I struggle as I’ve worked 7.5 for so long I often work longer because it feels right to my brain.)

          1. iglwif*

            Yep, also Canadian, 37.5 has been the norm for me (and basically every other office worker I know) with a range from 35 to 40. I think the legal bar for “full-time” may be lower than 35 for purposes of determining when your job has to offer benefits? But I’ve only ever worked 35+ or, back in my student days, 8-12 hours/week so I don’t know from experience.

            Anyway I would be … surprised … if someone applied for a full-time job anywhere I’ve ever worked and then asked if it would be okay to just work a day or two less per week.

        3. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          I have pretty significant experience with work in France. Which is a) not Canada, absolutely true, but b) pretty notorious for its employee centered labor laws and practices. Even there a typical “office job” work week is 37.5 hours. With people generally working 9-5 and taking a half hour for lunch. *Maybe* and office will do an hour for lunch and call it a 35 hour week, but still not like described.

          1. alienor*

            That’s interesting! Everyplace I’ve worked, the time allotted for lunch is added on to the work day, so if you get a half-hour for lunch you work 9-5:30, if you get an hour you work 9-6. Same applies whether you’re salaried or paid hourly.

            1. Loulou*

              I’m the reverse, 9-5 means 7 hours because there’s an unpaid hour for lunch. So when I saw OP mention 9-5 and 40 hour weeks together I thought, not necessarily!

        4. Librarian of SHIEILD*

          In jobs I’ve had, flexibility usually means I can move my hours around if I need to take care of a personal issue during the work day, not that I can subtract two days from the week as a whole.

        5. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Agreed that I think it’s a case of the current industry has norms around the schedule that are different from what OP4 is looking to get into has.

          OP4, I don’t want to start a pile on – but I suspect there are going to be a lot of posts advising you to evaluate the benefits in your current field and weight them against the benefits of what you are trying to switch to. It may be that the schedule you have now just isn’t something the new field offers.
          And that doesn’t make the new field’s hours bad (assuming it’s requiring the normal 40 hours), and they may well be able to only be flexible on start and end times. Every field is different, and honestly, most fields are going to want you to prove yourself before they let you negotiate major changes.

        6. AnonInCanada*

          Can confirm as fellow Canuckistanian, full-time is generally considered 40 hours/week in most industries. When overtime rules kick in depends on the province. E.g. Ontario puts them at 44 hours/week, with a bunch of confusing exemptions.

          1. L*

            And that’s only if you actually qualify for labour protection in Ontario! A surprising number of professional fields are excluded from some or most of the workers rights here.

            Information Technology professionals (so IT, programming, etc) aren’t entitled to limits on work hours, daily rest periods, time off between shifts, weekly/bi-weekly rest periods (aka weekends), eating periods, or overtime pay. So if they wanted to, my company could schedule me for seven 18 hour shifts per week, not pay me overtime, and not give me any time to eat my meals.

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        That is what flexibility often means, yes. Be present during core business hours (if the business has them) and for the rest you choose how to fill in the rest of the 8 hours. Your situation sounds highly unusual.

        I’m not going to say you’ll never find another job like the one you have now, but I wouldn’t count on it. So then the question becomes if being tired of the current job outweighs the benefits of the schedule. I’d be weary of accepting a more traditional schedule if you think you won’t be able to stick with it – you may not have the opportunity to go back.

        1. Op no. 4*

          I don’t have much concern about leaving my current field – I know I’ll find work in it if I need to.
          Fundamentally I have nothing to lose. I think my knowledge base is interesting outside of my field, and a few employers have agreed with that so far. I’m fairly confident that I could do well at most of those positions. But it feels… Rude? To accept a job and let them do all that hiring paperwork knowing perfectly well there’s this huge incompatibility. I don’t mind telling people I don’t want to work 5 days a week up front when they tell me it’s expected, and I’ve been doing so, but maybe there’s a specific wording I don’t know that would make it suddenly accessible and not a deal-breaker. Maybe it’s an impossibility in these fields. Maybe I should suggest that I’ll take a pay cut to work fewer days. Or maybe it’s just one of those things nobody questions until someone makes a big deal about it. I simply don’t know.

          1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            “…but maybe there’s a specific wording I don’t know that would make it suddenly accessible and not a deal-breaker.”

            I very seriously doubt that any such wording exists. As Alison pointed out, anyone hiring for a full time job that is defined as 40 hours a week is almost certainly going to be assuming that there is 40 hours a week of work that needs to be done and will not be interested in hiring someone who doesn’t want to work that many hours. I think that you should just take that for granted from here on out, and start looking at listings for jobs that are labeled as “part time.” Sorry!

          2. Working Hypothesis*

            You’re not wrong LW. It *is* rude to go through the hiring process for a job that’s listed as full time when you aren’t willing to do the job full time. And for most industries, full time is forty hours a week, period. Or at very least, 35 with a lunch hour. The fact is that it *is* a big deal to tell people that you don’t want to work as many hours as they think the job requires — because that’s the amount of work that they need to get accomplished by hiring for this position. If they can’t get all of it accomplished with one hire, then hiring you will not solve the problem for which they’re hiring in the first place… and why on earth would they want to go through all the effort and trouble of hiring if it wasn’t even going to solve the problem for which they’d done it?

            I do understand where you’re coming from because I am also in an industry which regards “full time” as anything from 25 hours on up. That’s not uncommon in industries with certain types of heavy physical requirements. But that’s basically specific to the type of work I do, and I chose it in large part for that… I needed the opportunity to work fewer hours than typically required, so I picked my industry in order to make that happen.

            You’ve done the same till now, either deliberately or accidentally: you’ve chosen one of the very few industries where you can be considered full time at lower hours. If you really want to keep working fewer hours, you will probably need to stay in that industry, because it’s not a common option, though. You’re basically saying now that you want to keep the unique advantage of your current industry, while joining a different industry, and that you think that should be justified by the fact that your skills are interesting enough to get you hired in the new industry. But that’s not really how it works. Your skills can get you plenty of hiring interest without causing anybody for one moment to seriously consider modifying the hours requirements for you.

            I think you are going to have to choose between switching industries, and keeping your current low hours. At least unless you’re in a position to just apply to jobs that are listed as part time, which is certainly an option but usually don’t pay well. And some fields have few, if any, part-time jobs available.

            I am pretty sure your quest for a form of language in which you can suggest, “Hire me to do 3/5 of the work you want done instead of hiring somebody else to do all of it,” is going to be fruitless. Since people don’t actually want to do that, there’s no particular framing that is going to convince them.

            You have three options: work full time hours, stay in your current industry, or apply only to jobs listed as part time. Please don’t try to force a fourth; it will not end well.

            1. ash h*

              OP and Working Hypothesis, I am very curious to know — what are your industries? I would love to be full-time for working less than 40 hours, myself.

            2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

              To be fair, there is evidence that people can be just as or more productive working fewer than 40 hours a week, and some of the attachment to that number is just because that’s the way it’s always* been.

              *during most people’s living memory

              1. londonedit*

                Standard full-time hours in the UK are either 35 or 37.5 hours a week, with either 30 minutes or an hour’s unpaid lunch. Of course there are industries where much longer hours are expected, like law/finance/medicine etc, but not for most ordinary office-based jobs.

              2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

                I don’t think most office employers actually expect people to work 40 hours a week in their heart of hearts*. They know that for most employees, most of the time, 2-3 hours of a given day will be spent on Facebook, on other favorite web sites, shooting the shit with coworkers, looking up that new lunch place they want to try, etc.

                The difference is that those people are *available* to work 40 hours a week. They’re here, or if work from home, they’re near their computer. I’m typing this reply right now, but I guarantee you that if I got an email about a problem with a server, or a meeting request or something else immediate came up, I’d be right on it. I’m working, even if at this exact moment I’m not performing a work related task.

                It doesn’t sound like OP is looking for “I get all my work done in about 28 hours and spend the other 12 just kinda watching my email and making sure nothing important happens”, they want to perform business related tasks for no more than 28 hours a week. That’s going to hard to find outside of niche industries.

                *CAVEATS Yes, some employers do expect 40 hours of actual work, or many expect 50 hours of “work” in the hopes that they get 40 hours of real work. Also, some people are genuinely capable of cranking out 8 hours of back to back solid work. All these things are true. As a general rule though I think most employees give and most employers expect, between 28 and 32 hours of real work a week.

                1. Sasha*

                  I think that is an office job thing – I work in healthcare, and prior to this worked in hospitality, retail and factory work, and all of those sectors expect 40 hours of actual work (or however much you are contracted for). “If there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean” is a real thing, unfortunately.

            3. EPLawyer*

              This lays it out so well. OP please listen. You are changing fields, which means new norms. You want to apply your old norms to the new field. In some EXTREMELY RARE cases that might be possible. It is highly unlikely that applies to your situation.

              At this point, you need to really explore the norms of the field you think you want to get into. then decide how to proceed. Because full time means 40 hours a week in general. Often it might even be more.

            4. Smithy*

              This lays out the challenges of transition really well, essentially that you are less of a known quantity and are more subject to traditional norms.

              I would lay out one other options that’s not quite the same as forcing a fourth. But also less appealing to may for specific reasons. That other option would be to present yourself as a consultant. You could pick your hourly rate for the skills you have and then choose to be booked for only X many hours a week.

              Depending on the value of your skills and your desire/ability to market yourself – that will also have varying levels of appeal. But it is another track that is available should the OP be in demand.

            5. Librarian of SHIELD*

              You’re basically saying now that you want to keep the unique advantage of your current industry, while joining a different industry, and that you think that should be justified by the fact that your skills are interesting enough to get you hired in the new industry. But that’s not really how it works.

              This is the crux of it, for me.

              I’m currently in the process of hiring for some open positions. I got a resume that was really interesting and exciting, the applicant had some really unique skills. But when I scrolled down to see the availability the applicant had listed, it was mostly hours that we’re not even open. As much as I think this person’s skills could benefit us, the fact that they can’t work the hours we need covered was a deal breaker.

              OP, I don’t doubt your statement that your skills are interesting and could be of benefit to the industry you’re trying to move into. But if you’re not available to provide those skills on the schedule they need, then from their perspective you’re not the ideal candidate, and I don’t think there’s any kind of phrasing you can come up with to change their minds.

          3. AcademiaNut*

            Asking for full pay for 60 or 80% time is absolutely not going to work – even very experienced and efficient trusted employees of many years standing would be hard pressed to negotiate that. Even asking for part time work at part time salary when they’re advertising for a full time position is going to be a deal breaker for most employers, no matter what your wording is.

            I think your best bet would be to look for jobs advertised as part time – maybe at small businesses that don’t have enough work for a full time position. It will be at part time pay, of course, but unless you’re in an industry that has unusual norms (as you have been) that’s going to be what you’re getting for shorter weeks.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Full pay for less hours? I’d only consider it as a hiring manager if that person was a proven genius at the role with an extensive background, passed several technical tests and had the best professional attitude known to man. Basically a real superstar.

              (I’ve met one such person in 20 years in this industry. He literally wrote textbooks on database administration. Nicest guy ever. He did a 3 day week and was paid more than the rest of us.)

          4. nnn*

            One thing you could do is mention in your cover letter that you’re looking to work up to 30 hours a week or 4 days a week or whatever is true, in addition to everything you already mention that makes you a compelling applicant.

            That way, if it’s a dealbreaker, they can simply opt not to interview you, and any interviews you do get will be with employers who are willing to at least consider working something out.

            1. ecnaseener*

              Agreed, be up front about it to save both sides some time.

              Unless you don’t do cover letters in Canada? I have no idea

              1. marvin*

                We do cover letters but the convention is to write them in maple syrup at the bottom of a Tim Hortons coffee cup.

                1. ecnaseener*

                  And then you freeze it in an ice block and put it in the moose’s mail bag, right right I remember.

            2. Op no. 4*

              I’ve tried to be upfront after running into the problem the first couple of times, but usually either the application process itself doesn’t permit it (simply a resume upload) or the booking for a phone screening process doesn’t allow it (because it’s not an email from a person, it’s an automated ‘please use this schedule service’ email), or the person conducting the phone screening doesn’t actually know anything about the terms of employment — I have to have a second interview to talk to someone who knows those. I would much prefer not to waste my own time as well! It takes chunks out of my days to schedule to do these things. Your suggestion to add it to the resume/cover letter itself is a very good one, and I’m going to go do that now. It would remove interest from incompatible employers, or at least I could point out that I have already communicated about this if they’re surprised later.

              1. Working Hypothesis*

                The problem you’re still refusing to acknowledge is that “incompatible employers” include literally every employer who has posted an ad for a full time position. If they’ve posted an ad for a part-time position, they are not incompatible with your hours preferences. Please do not apply to jobs listed as full time; it is both rude and useless.

                1. ecnaseener*

                  If applying for a job you probably don’t meet the basic requirements for is rude, it’s a very accepted form of rudeness. Plenty of applications will be tossed out at first glance, wasting a grand total of 5 seconds; the qualified person who wants a reduced schedule will either be one of that group or will not be.

          5. EventPlannerGal*

            I’m a little confused about what type of job you’re looking for, to be honest. There are plenty of part-time jobs out there, shift work, jobs with non-standard hours, etc. I’m not quite sure why you seem to be trying to find a way to convince employers to convert a full-time job opening to a part-time one (and are you expecting to still be paid the same?) rather than just looking for an already part-time role that suits your skill set. I understand that in your industry these shorter hours are considered full-time, but have you never met or heard of someone working 35/40-hour weeks? I think you’ll be much better served by looking at jobs that are already part-time, or maybe considering freelancing if that’s a feasible option. Good luck!

            1. hamsterpants*

              Agree with the idea of freelancing. OP believes their skills are in demand — great! OP would get to set their own hours.

          6. bamcheeks*

            Hi OP– don’t know the law or customs in Canada, but in the UK (especially in public sector roles) it’s worth contacting the organisation before you apply for a job to ask whether the job could be offered at less than full-time (eg. 0.8, or four days a week.) I’ve done this several times before, and most people are open to an application. In my current job, I asked before I applied and was told it was negotiable, and then when I was offered the job I raised it again, asked for 0.8FTE, and we agreed on 0.9FTE. You also have the right to ask for flexible working after six months– the employer has the right to turn you down, but your right to ask is protected and you shouldn’t be discriminated against because of that.

            I would say it’s probably worth speaking to people in the industries you’re trying to join to get a clearer sense of how often part-time or job-share jobs are advertised, or speaking to hiring managers before applying for full-time roles to find out how much flexibility is available, if that’s a thing you can do. The answers you’re getting here are quite different to what you’d be advised in the UK, so I would get some Canada-specific advice rather than assuming the US advice is also true for Canada.

            1. kicking_k*

              In the UK also and I was going to say this. I’ve asked about jobshare or compressed hours (ie 35 hours but not split evenly over 5 days) fairly regularly and have been offered jobs regardless. I usually get flexible working so long as I am contactable during core hours. My ideal is also three or four days for the same reasons as the OP: I have caring responsibilities and trying to do them with a full in-office schedule is very difficult. But jobs advertised as part-time in my field have essentially dried up in the last decade.

              I currently work 10-6 rather than 9-5 and with a couple of years’ track record with my employer, I am negotiating to see if I can drop to 4 days. I may possibly still need to check and respond to emails from home on the other day but this isn’t the main part of my job.

            2. Alice*

              I agree! I’m in the UK and have worked 0.8 FTE more or less my entire career (I’m five years out of university, so career sounds a little odd!). All of those jobs were advertised as full time – in two cases I negotiated dropping to 4 days after six months, and in two others it was something I requested when I applied. I’m applying for my next contract now and most recruiters have been happy to ask if the job can be changed to 0.8 FTE.

                1. bamcheeks*

                  Usually pay, annual leave and pension contributions are pro-rata’d. But any other benefits are the same.

                  That said, “benefits” in the UK are usually things which are genuine perks / nice to haves, like access to a gym, money off at certain shops or restaurants, maybe private dental insurance. They’re rarely things which substantial enough to be genuine deal-makers / deal-breakers like healthcare.

                2. UKDancer*

                  @Bamcheeks I think that’s why part time working is easier in the UK as the benefits are legally required to be the same for part time workers. In my company this is things like a season ticket or cycle loan, childcare vouchers and gym membership.

                  Pay, pension and annual leave are all pro-rata for part time workers and I’d never call those benefits, they’re just part of your compensation package. We have a fair number of people working on a part time basis and a few working as a job share.

                3. bamcheeks*

                  .. given that I’ve bought two bikes through cycle loan and have received childcare vouchers in the past, I should have remembered those!

                4. Alice*

                  Oh, yes. Pay, pension and leave are pro rata. But everything else, including stuff like health insurance, is all exactly the same.

            3. Green great dragon*

              Yes! Do it up front before they (and you) have invested the time in the process. And I would definitely assume there’d be a pay cut compared to the full time offer – perhaps you can negotiate for it to be less than a pro-rata cut, but saying you want full salary for less than full hours does seem a bit tone deaf, to be honest. (I’ve done this based on 60% hours/3 days a week and always been told to go ahead and apply.)

          7. MK*

            I don’t think work hours is ever a thing nobody questions till someone makes a big deal about it, at least not in that direction; I can believe a company listing a job as part-time when they actually need a full-time employee, the opposite is unlikely. And, frankly, OP, you, an unknown candidate looking to transition into a different field, making a big deal of it isn’t going to change their minds. An experienced employee who has been doing the job for a while saying they can get it done in fewer hours? Sure, maybe. A person who has been working in a different industry saying the same thing? They are more likely to think you don’t know what you are talking about.

            By the way, are you saying that? Are you making the case that you can do the work in less hours? Or are you just asking for what you want, which the employer isn’t going to care much about?

            1. Batgirl*

              I’ve worked at lots of jobs where an advertised full time position has been given to two part timers. It’s common to ask before applying if this is possible.

          8. Krabby*

            The fact that you don’t see the pay cut as a given tells me that you’re expectations are likely not realistic on this. Unless you have an insanely valuable skillset that is very hard to find, I think you are going to have to restrict your search to part time positions. I’m trying to think of a time where i would have considered hiring someone part time into a full time role (nevermind at full pay), and it just isn’t going to happen unless I’ve already worked with the person.

          9. I should really pick a name*

            I think your best bet is to ask for what you want early in the process.
            It will probably take you out of the running for most jobs, but if that schedule is what you want, better to get that over with at the beginning as opposed to sitting through a bunch of interviews.

          10. Colette*

            I’m Canadian, and I suspect you’re in a pretty unique field. I’ve never had a job that expected less than 37.5 hours/week on average, and I don’t know anyone else who does outside of retail/food service/student jobs. I know people who work compressed schedules (e.g. 5 longer days 1 week, 4 longer days the next with a day off), but they’re still working the same number of hours over a 2-week period.

          11. L.H. Puttgrass*

            “Maybe I should suggest that I’ll take a pay cut to work fewer days.”

            You really should. Working fewer hours for less money will still be a deal-breaker for most employers, but far more will be willing to consider it than, “I’d like to work 75% of the hours for 100% of the salary.” Well, yeah. Who wouldn’t? You’ve have to have more than just an interesting knowledge base to swing that deal!

            1. Op no. 4*

              I assumed flexibility, which is something ALL the jobs I applied to advertised offering, meant I had leeway in deciding WHEN I worked or that I could expect to compress my work hours into fewer hours if the job was done. A lot of responders here have said that it doesn’t mean that. I assumed one alternative I could suggest to employers was to ask to work fewer days for less pay. I’m just not sure how, because when I ask about schedule or pay BEFORE the second interview I never get one. Please, I am asking for advice on how to live well with a job I like, not to be scolded for hubris.

              1. bamcheeks*

                Nearly all job contracts (actual or implied) and labour law still work on the notional idea of hourly pay– it’s actually a really big challenge considering the growth of agile/flexible/hybrid work. I’ve seen quite a lot of surveys showing that knowledge/white collar workers particularly want to move to a more, “trust me to get the job done and don’t ask questions about how many hours I’m working” structure,– and I’d personally prefer that myself! — but it also raises enormous problems for how do you decide what is a reasonable workload, how much should someone get done, how do you calculate pay and so on. It feels considerably more liberating to feel that your boss is trusting you to just do the right amount of work, but when it breaks down what protections do you have if you’re effectively being paid for piece work? It’s a genuinely interesting problem, IMO, although I appreciate that’s not much help for you! My other comments have practical suggestions, though. :)

                1. L.H. Puttgrass*

                  I’d also worry that a “trust me to get the job done and don’t ask questions about how many hours I’m working” structure would end up the same way “unlimited PTO” does: as a way to get more work out of people without paying them extra.

                2. bamcheeks*

                  Right, it’d work for me because I have very hard work barriers and am always looking for the quickest way of getting things done and the corners I can cut, and I could honestly do everything that’s expected of me in a week in two and a half days. I manage a couple of people who go above and beyond for everything, and I am frightened thinking what they would do with less structure.

              2. bamcheeks*

                (FWIW I don’t think this is a daft question or something you should have just known! People are right that 40 hour weeks are definitely the norm, but it’s not weird to not know that if you’ve been working in a sector all your life with radically different norms.)

                1. nelliebelle1197*

                  I actually do think it is weird – the OP has never met or discussed work with any other person in any other sector? The expectation of being able to tell employers that you’ll only work 3 days a week and want full pay is shocking to me.

              3. Anonym*

                I do think you’ll need to apply for part time roles instead of full time, as some other commenters have mentioned. If a role is listed as full time, the employer believes it takes 40 hours a week to do, so they really won’t be willing to flex on that aspect unless they’re wildly desperate, which is itself a red flag about the place. Medical billing and payroll for small offices come to mind as a potentially more flexible schedule option, if that’s your area of interest. In my experience (10+ years ago) those folks often worked from home and just came in once or twice a week. I think it helps that they didn’t need to be especially accessible to other employees, given the very separate nature of the work.

                Kudos to you for asking the question, and for your openness to learning! I doubt there’s anyone here who knew everything there is to know about the universe of work before they got here (and I’m pretty sure we’re all still learning, which is why we keep coming back).

                Wishing you a great job that suits your needs very soon!

              4. Jack Bruce*

                I haven’t read all the replies, but I don’t see anyone scolding you. They are telling you directly that you should be upfront about the number of hours you want, because most industries don’t consider 28 hours to be full time. A lot of job listings mention flexibility, but that usually means different start/end times or working 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour days. You are more likely to get what you want if you are open about it from the start, so you can see if your definition of flexibility and schedule meets theirs.

                1. Op no. 4*

                  I’m learning a lot about the definition of flexibility here, but a lot of the early comments I read seemed to think I was off my rocker. The ‘Dumb and Dumber’ reference seemed aggressive but I guess maybe it was just a joke.

                2. MK*

                  I think people were just stunned that you assumed you could work less than 30 hours in a full-time job, because 35-40 is really the most common full-time schedule, and even people who work in fields with different schedules realise their expierience is the outlier. No offense, OP, I get you always worked in a field where a compressed schedule was normal, but do your friends, family and aquaintances also work with similar hours? If so, it’s probably a regional work culture.

                  As for flexibility, the word itself is so vague that it could mean anything. Ideally the ads would be more specific, like “flexible start time” to “can set your own hours”. But considering that flexibility as a mainstream perk is fairly recent, and many employers still don’t offer any, I don’t actually get what you were basing your assumptions about what it means.

              5. Smithy*

                I think the transition that you’re looking to make is niche and quite specific to both the career you used to have the career you’d currently qualify for. As a result, I think that instead of AAM or the larger crowdsourcing options – I would strongly advice finding a local job placement or mentorship nonprofit in your area that might offer free or pro-rated job counseling. Call around, find one that actually works with people looking to build their desired careers and not just place them into a job.

                I say all this because your specific job past, your specific local economy, the larger Canadian full time remote economy, and your specific desires are a bit unique. A huge reason why lots of traditional office jobs that have full-time postings want someone M-F during core business hours is for “on-call” reasons. It’s that the business meetings and collaborative work happens during that time, and so someone who wants to work a compressed scheduled Saturday-Tuesday is only available for that work 2 days a week instead of 5. And that work is seen as equally valuable to include.

                Working with a specific job counselor will help identify jobs that may have fewer of those collaborative duties as well as providing specific support around language for specific job interviews about your desired schedule. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of general advice for what you want, but I do think there are likely job placement or mentorship nonprofits you can access and work with someone who will have the time and interest to learn more about you and see how best you can get what you want.

                1. Op no. 4*

                  Thank you! I hadn’t considered anything like that. I’m going to check if LinkedIn has any suggestions for that sort of thing. Do you maybe have other general ideas where I could look?

                2. Smithy*

                  My recommendation is to really look at services local to where you live – in my case I did happen to use Jewish Vocational Services, but my experience was specific to the city where I lived at the time. They worked with people of all faiths and all professional levels/ambitions – but I’ve heard in other cities that Jewish Vocational Services has a somewhat different mandate.

                  If you’re based more rurally, there might also be professional mentoring options that operate digitally? But my #1 suggestion is to find something that truly serves your city/community as narrowly as possible. They’re going to be the most aware of the specific job market of where you live, opportunities within Canada, etc. And it will be someone who can review your CV in detail.

                  When I first started with Jewish Vocational Services, admittedly, I felt a little resistant because I technically had a job and felt they were mostly there for those who had more job search struggles. But I wanted to make a transition and was uncertain how to do so. Once I got over that ego piece, it was invaluable support.

              6. L.H. Puttgrass*

                For what it’s worth, I’d suggest asking what “flexible” work schedules mean before even applying. As you’ve seen, at some employers, “flexible” means you can work from exactly 9:00 to 6:00 every day instead of the standard 8:00 to 5:00. At others, it means that as long as you get your 40 hours in and are in the office during core hours, they don’t care when you come in and leave on a daily basis—or even compress your hours into fewer days. Asking about that upfront will keep you from wasting time on interviews with companies that would balk at the kind of flexibility you need.

                1. I should really pick a name*

                  I don’t think there are a lot of employers (at least for larger companies) that answer questions before you’re into the process.

                2. L.H. Puttgrass*

                  You might be right; it’s been ages since I’ve worked for a large company (and hooray for that). The postings where I’ve applied—public interest organizations, academia, government—have usually had some sort of contact who can answer basic “is it even worth applying” questions (like PT vs. FT or, “Would you consider making this a remote position?”). But that could just be the nature of what I do and where I even consider working these days.

              7. Person from the Resume*

                I don’t think you can ask to change a full time job to a part time job. I mean you can, but if the company truly thought it had needed a part time worker to perform all the duties they would have advertised for a part time worker. You are asking to fundamentally change the nature of the position. The solution is to not apply to jobs where you want them to be fundamentally different than they are advertised.

                If you want to work less hours than full time hours, then apply for part time jobs.

              8. Joielle*

                I think in general, you can assume that “flexibility” means things like… if you have a dentist appointment in the middle of the day, you can make that hour up during the week rather than having to take PTO. Or if you have to leave early for therapy every Thursday, you can work it out with your boss so you come early those days. Like, fairly limited flexibility when your boss approves it. Of course, some offices have more flexibility, but that’s what I think is a pretty common interpretation.

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  Agreeing with this. Spouse’s job advertises that you have some flexibility in shift times with management approval. Once you get to interview stage they explain that means: in the mountain time zone* the core hours are 9am to 1pm with your choice of start and end times around those hours. They also offer 4-10’s and 5-4-9’s in addition to the standard eight hour shifts. They do ask you to pick a shift and stick with it for at least six months at a time so your available schedule for getting whole work group meetings on the calendar is less complicated.

                  *The company is based in the central time zone, so there core hours are 10-2. 95% of the employees are in either the central or mountain time zones. The other five percent requested to go remote after working for a while from a company office – and it was written into the remote work agreement what the core hours were for either East Coast or West Coast time zones.

              9. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

                Yes, I’m finding a lot of people here just want to tell you to suck it up.

                I am also looking for less than 40 hour jobs, but here in the US, and I can tell you that many Americans’ advice here is not even necessarily correct for me. Yes, most jobs that are full time are 40 hours, but depending on where you are and what level you are working at and what size company, flexibility does exist.

                But if I were you, I would do what a few more helpful people have said, and look to network with people in the industry you’re looking to move into, in Canada, to get information from them.

                A huge amount of the culture around full time equivalency in the US is dictated by the interaction between our specific work culture and federal law (for instance, with the interaction between overtime law and the Affordable Care Act, “full time” is actually anything between 30-40 hours if a company have 50 or more employees, but most companies will want to get as much work out of you as they can at the standard rate for their health care investment, so it generally ends up at 40 hours).

                But I live in a small city, and I know of many people who work at smaller businesses (especially if they’ve been there a while), who have more flexibility. So what you’re looking for probably exists, you just need to be open to searching for it, which will probably including talking to people in different types of companies in that industry. And it may be that the schedule and pay you want don’t exist together. But I would just advise you to accept that the norm is to expect a 5 day, 40ish hour work week, and that you’ll need to dig for something else.

                In regard to whether it’s unfair to interview not knowing whether you’ll make it… I don’t think fairness enters into it. All jobs are try-and-see. Be open to it, and so long as you know you may burn that bridge, if it’s untenable you gotta do what you gotta do.

                1. Margo*

                  Yeah I’m shocked by the responses to be honest. Four day work weeks have been gaining traction for a while and this person is not being unreasonable in the question of “what are the right words to find a job that will pay me to do the work, not to be available 40 hours a week”. I’m really surprised by how ungenerous the response has been.

                2. All Monkeys are French*

                  I agree that the flexibility you seek may be out there, but it’s not easy to find, and would involve some compromise. My current job was offered as a full time, Monday through Friday gig, and I interviewed for it in good faith, but after mulling the offer I decided I didn’t want to commit to that schedule (like the OP, I came from an industry with non-traditional hours), so I turned it down. They ended up offering me the position at four days a week for the same hourly rate, and I still qualify as a full time employee for benefits. I also agreed to work more hours during busy periods. The biggest compromise was on hourly rate, which is lower than I’d like, but I didn’t feel I could negotiate that as well as the schedule.
                  In the case of the OP, it’s probably better to ask early in the process about flexibility or fewer hours, but with some reading of the room. I’d raise it in the first interview if it felt like everything was going well and they show interest in you. I don’t think that’s too big a waste of their time if it doesn’t look like it would be an option.

              10. Beth*

                I don’t think you’re showing hubris, but you have acknowleged that you are making assumptions, and that you aren’t getting job offers or even second interviews. We’re giving you information about how your assumptions are leading you into difficulty. You seem to be unfamiliar with the typical workplace expectations in the kind of job you’re looking at. In addition, you may not realize how little standing you’re likely to have to negotiate major changes to those norms.

                Full-time office work is almost always a 40-hour week, with specific start and end times; and your schedule is determined by the needs and preferences of your boss, not your needs or preferences. Way too many workplaces really don’t care what you want. They care about what they want, and only that, and they will give you money to fill their want.

                The ability to negotiate changes is something that some people are able to acquire over time, if their work is sufficiently valued by their employers — but the reality that’s driving the “Great Resignation” is that most people aren’t able to negotiate; they can only leave and take their experience and expertise somewhere else.

              11. Cascadia*

                Yea – I think the main thing you’re bumping up against is your definition of flexibility. You assumed that flexibility = I can work less hours if the job gets done. For almost every office job I’ve heard of flexibility = the job is 40 hours a week, but you can choose which 40 hours you work.
                You are unlikely to find an employer that will admit to you that a full-time job can be done in less than 40 hours a week. If it could, then it would be a part-time job with part-time pay, or they would add more work, making it 40 hours. It’s really not in the employers interest to pay you for 40 hours for a job that can be done in 25. It’s true that some jobs (mine included) have a great boss who doesn’t micromanage and trusts me to get my work done. Some works I work less than 40. Some weeks I work more than 40. Our week isn’t even, so I have busy seasons and less busy seasons, and I adjust my work accordingly. This is not advertised or company policy, this is just what makes sense in my specific position in my specific organization. So, those jobs do exist, but you will not find an employer who will admit that to you, and you likely won’t know you’re in one until you’re in it.
                I agree these office norms are stupid, I’m just trying to tell you what the norms are so you can better get what you want. I think if you truly don’t want to work more than 25 hours a week, you’re best off applying to part-time jobs that are advertised as such.

              12. bluephone*

                It’s because even for someone coming from an industry where anything above 28 hours is considered full-time, and where full-time schedules aren’t locked into “Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 PM”, you’re coming across as deliberately obtuse about what “flexible schedule” can mean in a job ad. That’s why people are “scolding” you (and they’re not actually scolding you, they’re just telling you stuff you don’t like).

              13. Coconutty*

                You’re probably not getting second interviews when you ask that question because you’re trying to make a full-time job part-time and they’re not looking for a part-time worker. Your options, if you’re committed to switching fields, are to accept that working full-time will mean more hours and less flexibility or to look for roles that are already part-time and will meet your scheduling needs — but be prepared that they may not meet your financial needs.

              14. marvin*

                There are some salaried positions (possibly just unionized ones) where working set hours isn’t totally mandatory as long as the work gets done. They are usually designed to even out to a certain number of hours per week though.

                1. Coconutty*

                  So what? Those jobs aren’t going to gladly take 28 hours of work a week when they’re expecting 40. It’s simply not realistic to expect to find something like that in the overwhelming majority of fields, so if that’s roughly the number of hours the OP is hoping for, they’ll need to look for a part-time role.

              15. Hogwash*

                We all want those things, and we all have responsibilities outside work, yet we make huge sacrifices to get our 40 hours in. I think most people could get their work done in less, so why do we do it? Nothing wrong with asking, OP. More people should question it.

              16. nelliebelle1197*

                I don’t think it is hubris necessarily, but there seems to be a great deal of naivete about how the typical work life is structured. You are not going to be able to set your own hours and do your own thing in 99% of positions. You may be able to negotiate work from home, in and out times, etc., but that is what employers typically mean by flexibility. And you certainly should not expect a potential employer to be okay with your telling them in the first interview that you only want to work three days a week but want full pay. I can tell you flat out that kind of statement would become legend at my organization. I wonder if some career coaching/mentoring might be valuable for you so that you can get a better understanding of norms.

              17. MCMonkeyBean*

                Flexibility often does refer to choosing when you work the hours you do but in most cases it’s still within a certain expected timeframe and not just whenever you want without limit. There are many places that expect your butt at your desk at 9am sharp and that you would stay there all day taking PTO for any necessary appointments–so when people offer “flexibility” they mean more that they are not that kind of strict environment. For example you can go to the doctor in the afternoon without taking PTO but you’d then often be expected to make up for that another time, either that same week or just be being extra available during busy seasons.

                Honestly though it’s a word that encompasses a lot of different things so that’s definitely something to ask about in the interview phrase! Some places are move flexible than others of course. (But very few are flexible in the sense of hiring a full-time employee and then letting them work 3 days a week.)

                I think a major reason that it usually doesn’t mean you can just work fewer hours if you can get the job done extra quickly is because they may need people to still be available for questions or additional tasks. This is not going to be true for all fields, but I know at my job we’ve got a long list of projects that we’d like to tackle in theory but don’t usually have time for on top of our regular tasks–so if you’ve been hired for 40 hours but finished your job in 30 then rather than taking off early a lot of places would expect you to pick up extra stuff.

          12. Mockingjay*

            Most businesses allocate work and staffing on a 40-hour week, based on the output of an expected average performer. It’s rare to find a 30 or 32-hour week outside of shift and part-time work.

            I understand the difficulties of balancing full-time work and caregiver duties – been there myself. There aren’t any easy answers. I wish I had advice for you other than to stay where you are and keep looking. Right now you have flexibility you won’t have in a different role or industry; changing careers might have to wait awhile.

            But to answer your original question: yeah, the 40-hour week is pretty standard in the US and Canada and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. Our society is organized around it.

          13. Amtelope*

            I don’t think there’s wording that will change what “full time” typically means in an office job. It sounds like you are looking for a part time position. If you want a full time office job, you’re going to need to commit to 5 days a week, 35+ hours/week. You will have more luck looking for part time jobs than trying to persuade someone who needs a full time employee to hire you part time.

          14. Shhh*

            “…but maybe there’s a specific wording I don’t know that would make it suddenly accessible and not a deal-breaker. Maybe it’s an impossibility in these fields. Maybe I should suggest that I’ll take a pay cut to work fewer days.”

            I really think the answer here is that you should at least look at part-time jobs. There will be fewer available, but if the job is already designed for someone to only work 3 days a week, you won’t be negotiating whether working 3 days a week is possible.

          15. Rachelle NeameRac*

            There might be two things that I haven’t seen written here that could be considerations (which I write with only a vague idea of the type of work you’re referencing here):

            1- You seem to be pretty sure that you only want to work part-time in the long term, but it seems like you’ve been working in your non-office job exclusively your entire career? Because you’re looking for something that might be work from home, you may find that a decent work from home or office job is less taxing than the field work that you’re used to and therefore the increase of hours in manageable. It’s pretty impressive the amount of unproductive/low effort time that many office jobs have built into the 40-hour work week, especially when I compare my office job to some of the site positions I’ve briefly worked in.

            2- In regards to talking to potential employers, perhaps the language that you’re looking for is “I can start this job full-time and would love to set this position up for success. However, in the longer term, I would like to see if we can cut this position back to part-time. Would that transition be at all possible?”. I could see this type of full-time to part-time transition working for a job in which you are one out of many contributors on a team (which allows for workload to be spread across multiple people, and it might be the case that the additional workload they’re hiring for isn’t a FT person amount of work). It’s sometimes good to suggest starting with full-time and moving to part-time because a lot of managers want to be able to on-board someone fairly full-time, but might see a reduction in the expected hours once you demonstrate your efficiency/if they find that the workload is even across the team.

          16. Sasha*

            “…but maybe there’s a specific wording I don’t know that would make it suddenly accessible and not a deal-breaker.”

            “I’m looking for a part time position”? And yes obviously you’ll then be paid 60-80% of a full time wage, depending on hours worked.

            There’s nothing wrong with working part time – I worked 3 days a week while my son was in nursery. But obviously nobody is going to pay you the same for a 24 hour week as they are paying Jim and Christie for working 40 hours.

            You could consider compressed hours? I actually did that when I first started in my current post (they needed somebody full time and I still wanted days off for childcare reasons).

      3. I-Away 8*

        In my experience an office job where you can start as late as 10 am would be considered very flexible indeed, but you obviously know better than I do what’s normal for your industry.

        Perhaps you could treat it as a teachable moment and let these prospective employers know that 40 hours/week is not standard for your profession.

        1. InASuit*

          But if I’m in a different field, why would I care? I know the position I want filled; I know it requires someone working 40 hours per week.

          OP5, as a hiring manager I would recommend you ask your question before you even apply.

          Maybe the employer would consider the idea or maybe they won’t, but please don’t waste everyone’s time by applying for a full time role and then asking that it be part time.

        2. MK*

          Eh, the OP is trying to change professions. 40 hours is not standard for her previous profession, but apparently it is for the one she is trying to find work in. What exactly would she be teaching them?

        3. Nancy*

          Hiring managers in a different field do not care what is standard for other fields. OP is switching to another field. They need to look for jobs that are part-time or ask upfront whether 4 10 hour days are acceptable. My dept has two admins who work 4 10 hour days and it works out fine because their off days are different, but it depends on the dept.

      4. WS*

        There are jobs like yours – my dad did one of them for many years while my mum worked 9-5, which made things handy for sick kids and school pickups – but it’s generally not office work but specialised technical work. Healthcare and IT are other areas where you can generally find a mix of hours that you can work with, as long as you’re not after the most commonly desired hours! But office work is generally about 9-5, maybe with an hour or so leeway on either side.

      5. AcademiaNut*

        There can be a difference between defining full time in terms of benefits (which can kick in at a lower level), and what’s considered a regular full time job. My family and I have worked in multiple provinces in Canada, and in all the jobs, full time was generally something around 40 hours a week, on a roughly 9-5 schedule unless otherwise arranged. I know people who have worked shifted hours – starting earlier and ending earlier, for example – and others who worked slightly longer days and got every second Friday off, and one case where they got (unpaid) Fridays for a summer due to a downturn in the industry.

        1. Krabby*

          Yes. I believe the legal definition of full time in Canada is anything consistently over 30 hours. But in terms of office jobs here, most workplaces would call full time 35-40 hours depending on if you’re paid for your lunch breaks or not.

        2. biobotb*

          Yeah, I was wondering if part of the disconnect is defining “full time” as “level where benefits kick in” vs. “standard work week.” The OP may be able to find part-time work in their new field that includes benefits.

      6. Paperdill*

        So, in my country (well, I’m pretty sure this is the norm for my country) and my field 38-40 (and well over in my husband’s case) is considered full time. 28-30 hours would definitely be considered part time. It seems strange to me that those hours are the expectation for full time work, but you say it’s the norm in your field.
        It really sounds like you are wanting part time work.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          There are industries like that. I’m a licensed massage therapist and anything over 25 hours is regarded as full time in our industry. Very few of us do 40 hours. But that’s partly because of the very heavy physical requirements of the job, and partly because we are only regarded as “working” when we’ve got a client, but in practice we have between 15-30 minutes of additional labor that needs to get done for every hands-on hour of work, squeezed in around the edges. So we’re actually spending a good deal more time doing necessary stuff for our jobs… it’s just that the bookkeeping usually gets done by only counting hands-on hours, not all hours worked.

          LW#4 may be in a similar industry. They do exist. But they’re pretty unusual, and somebody who wants to continue working limited hours is well advised not to make a switch out of such an industry just because they feel like it. They won’t be able to do the same thing in other industries, nor will those industries bend to their will on the matter.

          1. Green great dragon*

            That makes sense – but also sounds more like a 35-40 hours a week job with a book-keeping convention that counts differently. I’m guessing OP is actually doing <30 hours total, otherwise it would be a false equivalence to look for an office job with <30 hours.

          2. Rusty Shackelford*

            But do you think of yourself as only “working” 25 hours (for example), or do you consider yourself working during all of those periods between clients? Because that doesn’t sound like the LW’s situation.

            1. Working Hypothesis*

              Mostly, I do think of myself as only working the 25 hours, because the rest of it feels more like the kind of minor housekeeping tasks that don’t really get thought about much.

              It’s also true that when I say there’s an extra 15-30 minutes, whether we are talking about 15 or 30 really depends on the skill and speed of the therapist. Some folks can turn their room over in three minutes and do their charting in another seven. Others take 20 minutes per chart and 15 on top of that to get the room ready. We don’t get paid additional for the time it takes to do either, but nobody cares how long it takes us so long as the tasks get done, either. So if you’re fast, you can keep the extra time down pretty far.

      7. Haven’t picked a user name yet*

        I work for a large Canadian bank and full time is 37.5 hours. So I think your industry or region is unique. 37.5 is standard full time hours in Canada, just like 40 is in the US. It is completely possible that the threshold for benefits is different – so you may qualify for the full time benefit At 30 hours, but a full time schedule is still 37.5. That of course may be flexible with some employers, but maybe not traditional office work looking for full time help.

        It sounds like you should be looking for part time work if the schedule is the most important thing.

        1. Ana Gram*

          37.5 hours as a full time job is pretty common in the US, as well. It accounts for a 30 minute unpaid lunch break. Many of the employees at my job with those hours just skip lunch and leave early.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          Both 37.5 and 40 are common in Canada.
          Generally comes down to how long your lunch break is, whether or not you get paid for it, and whether you make up the time elsewhere.

      8. Perfectly Particular*

        I’m curious – What does “full-time” get you in Canada? In the US, it is almost always the difference between having health coverage or not, so many who could afford to work 4 days at 80% salary continue to work full time. If you don’t have that concern, do you really need a full time position, or would a part time, 24-32 hour week with an appropriate salary work for you?

        1. Lizcase*

          Getting benefits (health insurance to cover more than the basics – dental, optometrist, medication, therapy, etc. ). A lot of companies don’t offer benefits to part-time or temporary workers.

        2. Doreen*

          Even when benefits weren’t an issue (pre-ACA) full-time in the US meant 35+ hours and/or 5 days a week. I’m not sure what field the OP is looking to move into, but not every job is suitable for part-time work.

        3. Barbara Eyiuche*

          Sometimes full time jobs have benefits and part-time jobs don’t. Benefits include supplemental health coverage. This can include paying for prescriptions, optometric care, dental care, physiotherapy, massage treatment, chiropractic care, and so on. These are not free in Canada. I was so relieved to get a government job with benefits, because otherwise my medications cost me hundreds of dollars a month.

        4. CR*

          Common misconception that we don’t need benefits in Canada. We do! Many things aren’t covered by our healthcare, like medications, dentist, eye doctor, etc.

          1. nelliebelle1197*

            Wow, medicine is not covered? My husband is from New Zealand and we spend (or spent, in The Before Times) a couple months a year there so we have doctors and such since something always seems to happen and my MIL is insistent her grandchildren are on the rolls. The cost of medicine and contacts, etc is so cheap it feels free to US born me!

            1. Sasha*

              Nope, I moved to Canada from the UK, to work in healthcare, and was shocked/horrified by how much patients were spending on medications (which would have been completely free in the UK based on age/specific illness I work with).

              1. nelliebelle1197*

                I lived in London for a while and it was glorious to be able to afford my asthma meds and have easy access to a doctor.

      9. I should really pick a name*

        Speaking as a Canadian, your field and/or region is an outlier.

        Fully time is almost universally considered to be 40hrs/week.
        Flex hours simply give you more options as to when those 40 hrs are, not the number of hours.

      10. Lab Boss*

        “I’m confused because almost all of these jobs advertise ‘flexibility’ but the only flexibility seems to be whether to start at 9 or 10!”

        I can tell you that my department is known for being flexible with time, and how that looks for us is that people can choose to work four 10-hour days or four 9’s and a half day Friday, we let them switch between those as needed, and if someone needs to work a little extra one day to get out a little early another day we’re cool with that. We also allow WFH as much as is possible, with more senior/independent people able to do more WFH because we know they need less oversight and assistance to get their tasks done. What it does NOT mean is letting people change the total number of standard hours.

        There’s one big exception to that, and it’s not going to apply to all industries. My senior people know what they’re expected to do in a given week, and have the most freedom to work from home. It’s entirely possible they aren’t “working” 40 hours a week, because they’re good enough to get their work done faster. They stay reasonably responsive all week, so I’d never know (and frankly don’t care) if they’re working a shorter, more efficient week. But that’s not something the company would ever officially approve of, and that degree of freedom only comes after the employee has put in time and shown us they’re both talented and reliable to manage their own workload.

        1. Velocipastor*

          OP 4, I think you need to recalibrate your definition of “flexible” as it applies to industries with a 40-hour workweek and consider if it is actually worth changing industries. My job has a similar situation to what Lab Boss describes and allows department head discretion as to how the employees get their 40 hours a week. For instance, if I have a doctor’s appointment at lunch, I don’t have to take a half-day of PTO for it I can just make up the time. This is considered very flexible. But since this is at the manager’s discretion, it isn’t spelled out during the hiring process and isn’t a given. I might not be given that same latitude if I were underperforming or abusing it in some way. But as standard practice, I am still expected to work 40 hours and be available/responsive during our core business hours.

        2. Aggresuko*

          I’ll put it this way: we have the “flexibility” to allow some people to work from 7-4 or 7:30-4:30, but if I wanted to work from 9-6, it would be an absolute no-go.

      11. That IT Guy*

        On top of everything everyone else has already said, beware the lure of flexible schedules. Often that just means that the employer expects *you* to be flexible with *them* and not the other way around.

      12. RagingADHD*

        I have seen a number of companies where the threshold to qualify for health & retirement benefits was 28 hr/week.

        But that was still not considered a full time job. It would have been advertised as part time.

      13. Beth*

        At almost any office job in the US, you’d be considered badly out of touch with workplace norms if you balked at “full-time” meaning a 40-hour week.

      14. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        Although there’s a burgeoning movement in the US to redefine “full time” and the standard work week from 40 hours to 30 hours, it’s still incipient and in the very beginning stages. The problem seems to be that you’re just defining these words in a way that the vast majority of people, especially employers, don’t.

        You’d probably have more success to look for part-time work that still offers benefits, than to apply for jobs knowing that you don’t want to meet the most basic of their parameters.

          1. Green Frog*

            It won’t matter to most employers, because your situation could change so quickly that it’s not guaranteed money savings for them, and it’s certainly not something they can rely on long-term. In addition to the once-a-year open enrollment, people end up needing to change their benefit elections at random times for all kinds of reasons. Your current source of health benefits could lose or change their job, or the premiums could get so expensive that it makes more financial sense for you to opt in to your company’s benefits.

          2. Doug Judy*

            No don’t mention that. It’s not going to help. If they need someone full time, they need someone full time. Saving money on benefits doesn’t solve the work load situation. Like everyone is suggesting, you need to just look at part time jobs.

            1. Op no. 4*

              Since I quit my last full-time but apparently part-time position a few months ago, I’ve been taking contracts here and there to keep money coming in and to scope out employers. One boss agreed to my high hourly rate but grumbled that she would have tried to negotiate if I had been willing to take ALL the work she was offering and she had to offer me benefits, and then she went on and on about how much the benefits cost employers. So I thought between that and the comment above I thought it was a point I could bring up. That’s all.

              1. Krabby*

                It’s a good thought, but in Canada most employers don’t actually have flexibility on whether or not to offer benefits to an individual employee. If you’re an employee and you get to a certain hours threshold, you get offered benefits and that’s that. You can opt out of them, but that can’t be written into your contract or anything. There is also frequently a set of insurance options lumped in that an employee cannot opt out of, so cost savings are minimal.

          3. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

            I don’t know about Canada, but in the US, employers don’t really get as much savings as you might think from employees opting out of insurance. Also they may not be able to enforce the opt out, so you could take a job at one rate of pay for opting out, and then opt right back into those benefits at the next open enrollment.

            1. Anon Anon Anon……*

              This!! And the process of opting out of the health insurance at some employers is complicated (where I work it’s seven forms during onboarding to decline the health coverage and then another form and providing proof of coverage annually at open enrollment to keep the decline active).

              But then my job is medical adjacent – and they consider Health Insurance separate from “Benefits” – which to them is HFSA’s, Dependent Care Credits, Retirement Plans, Vacation leave, and independent Sick Leave (Yes, I work for a quasi-unicorn and have no intentions on leaving this job. I even really like my coworkers too.)

          4. MCMonkeyBean*

            If you don’t need benefits and want to work 30 hours or fewer then you should definitely be applying to part-time positions!

          5. RagingADHD*

            In a very small mom and pop type operation it might make a difference. For larger corporations, no.

    3. All the words*

      For benefits purposes, my employer (a very large banking firm in the U.S.) 30 hours and above qualify as full time. Of course just about everyone works the standard 40. I’ve worked for a few large financial institutions and if memory serves, 30 hours was the magic number. Apparently industries differ in their interpretation.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I don’t know about our “industry” on the whole but I work for a nonprofit academic library and we’re 30 hours or more = full-time for benefits purposes. We had a rough few years where we had to cut back the hours of some positions but they kept them at 32 hours (four days a week) so they could keep their benefits.

          1. MsClaw*

            It did for me — my company also defines 30 hours as ‘full-time’ for the purposes of benefits like health insurance. So after I came back from FMLA when my kiddo was born, I worked 3/4 time so I could get the full employer contribution on my health plan. But I also got paid 3/4 my salary while I was doing that.

      2. turquoisecow*

        My mom worked for a school bus company and I think 30 hours or something like that was when you were considered full time and could get benefits. Of course the work was structured in such a way that a lot of people fell just short of the full time mark, and I think that at some point they changed the hours requirements so it became harder. It was largely a split shift so most people had a morning run and an afternoon run and it worked out to somewhere between 4-6 hours a day, so if you were on the shorter runs, you didn’t qualify, and some people took on midday runs or other tasks to hit the 30 hour mark – but there wasn’t a lot of that to go around.

        (Also they paid less than other companies, so they were constantly losing employees and having trouble hiring. Mom retired two months before the pandemic, but I bet that hit them hard when schools closed.)

      3. NF*

        I’m in Canada in accounting. My firm views FT as 30 hours and above. I have a 4 day work week at 7.5 hours per day. I negotiate pay on an annual basis but then actually receive .8 x the annual amount.
        We are facing a competitive labour market and trying to offer flexibility for new hires, so we have taken on some people at reduced hours. It wouldn’t be a deal breaker here.

        1. Op no. 4*

          I’m learning the language I need to describe what I should be asking for and this is really helpful, thank you.

      4. Cat Lover*

        Same. During lockdown we had our hours cut, but our company made sure everyone was 30 or above to keep our benefits.

  8. learnedthehardway*

    OP#5 – my personal motto when job searching is that I am 100% interested until and unless I decide that I am definitely not interested. In other words, write the letter. Maybe don’t go overboard about how this is your dream job/company, but do thank the interviewers for their time, mention something that stood out to you about the role / company that impressed you or where you think you could add value, and say something suitably engaged so they feel you have interest in the role.

    Sometimes, you have to find out more to find out whether or not you are interested. But you won’t get that opportunity unless you show some interest, kwim?

    If you decide later that you’re not interested, it’s okay to drop out. Just give a reason – eg. “While I was initially interested in the role due to your company’s advances in teapot embellishment, upon much personal reflection, I have determined that my destiny lies in coffeepot production. I greatly appreciate being considered for this opportunity, and I wish you all the best in your search.” Consider referring someone, if you know someone who would be ideal for the role.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Agree. You are allowed to ask serious questions during your job search and interviewing process. “I have serious questions” =/= “I must drop out.” That applies even if the questions are massive dealbreakers. LW does not yet have answers to her questions.

      1. Op5*

        I’m OP 5 and the context I didn’t provide in trying to keep my question short was that I actually went into the interview really interested in the job, but a massive deal-breaker was in fact revealed during the interview (essentially, likely to require a lot of unpaid overtime). I had been excited about the job and the employer going into the interview but realized as soon as that came up that I was 70% sure I wouldn’t want the job anymore, but still didn’t want to immediately take it off the table.

    2. Snow Globe*

      Very good explanation, I agree. It seems that OP5 has the idea that they don’t want to “lead the interviewer on” by expressing more interest than they actually feel. But it’s okay to indicate strong interest, and then say later that you have accepted another offer that is a better match, or that upon reflection you realize that the job isn’t exactly what you are looking for. Until an offer has been made and accepted, both sides are still considering, and that is fine.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      OP5, just write a generic thank you for your time. This column has seen strange coincidences. It’s not the weirdest thing for hiring managers to change jobs, and if she ends up at your dream company offering your dream job it would be a point in your favor.
      After the letter from the guy who’s new boss was his ex who he left without leaving a forwarding address… I truly believe anything is possible.
      Yes it’s a long shot, but it’s cheaper than a lottery ticket.

  9. Tea pot painter*

    I’m really really curious what field OP #4 is in that’s normally 3-4 days a week. That sounds like a dream even with a pay cut.

    1. Squidhead*

      Not uncommon in healthcare, but it’s often 3 12-hour days with some type of weekend work required. Out of a 14-day pay period, I usually work 7 days. I don’t know how I ever worked 5 days a week and got everything done on just 2 weekend days! Now I easily (even though I work nights) can do a business-day thing if needed without taking any time off (at least if it doesn’t particularly matter which day it is).

    2. John Smith*

      Going to agree with squidhead. My brother got a job as a healthcare assistant with hours that didn’t really suit. After a few months of proving his worth, he suggested a switch from the current shift pattern to another which put in more hours over fewer days (think 3 days on, 4 days off). It worked out not just for him but other staff and also the patients and was adopted company wide.

    3. WS*

      I’m in healthcare and I’ve done it, but those 3-4 days a week are normally long and complicated and based around the needs of someone higher up than you!

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I friend worked 3-4 or 4-3s. She never had any energy to do much of anything extra on her work days. The day after her work week was mostly a rest day too.

        But that doesn’t sound like what the LW was describing.

        LW – I’m sorry, but your desired hours are unrealistic. If you want the short weeks, you’ll need to stay in the field that has short weeks as full time jobs. (The not quite the usual full time hours might be a reason why you describe the pay in the field as not great.) If you want to change to an office type job, full time means a 40 hour work week and 5 (maybe 4) days. Less than that is part time. If less than full time is what you want, you need to apply for those jobs and not full time ones.

      2. Sasha*

        Yep, 3x 12hr nightshifts are common in UK nursing (and great for childcare – you are often home in time to do the morning school run before you go to bed, and are then up in time to do school pick-up in the afternoon).

        But that does not sound like what OP4 was working…

    4. Working Hypothesis*

      I don’t know what field they’re in, but I’m a licensed massage therapist and “full time” for us is anything over 25 hours per week.

    5. Ana Gram*

      When I was working as a paramedic, I worked either two 24 hour shifts/week or seven 12 hour shifts every two weeks (so basically 3 shifts one week and 4 the next). It was awesome.

    6. anon24*

      Yeah, I’m in healthcare and I work 7 days on with a 7 day “weekend”. But I work 80 hours in those 7 days on, including a 16 hour shift as my last day. It’s brutal but I love it and I have no idea how I’m going to function in the “real world” when I go back to a normal 2 day weekend. After 2 days I’m just starting to decompress.

      1. Koalafied*

        I firmly believe the weekend needs to be 3 days long. A day to rest and recover, a day to expend energy on fun things, and a day to expend energy on life maintenance (errands, chores, sitting on hold with faceless corporations to sort out billing errors, etc).

      2. Another health care worker*

        I have made a similar transition. It is a bit weird at first, but I now think of it as getting to decompress every evening (because I’m not working such long days) rather than needing several days to decompress after basically just alternating work and sleep throughout my work week.

    7. Koala dreams*

      Not necessarily, often those schedules exist because the job is physically or emotionally demanding and the shorter work week is necessary to prevent burnout. In my country shorter hours are common in some healthcare jobs, for example. It’s so rare to be able to do the full 40+ hours so a shorter week becomes the standard. Of course a regular office job has its own challenges and can be very stressful, but every job has its advantages and drawbacks.

    8. Det. Charles Boyle*

      I started in a job that required 40 hours per week. After about 2 years there, I requested a 32-hour/week schedule (still “full time” for my company, so I was able to keep all my benefits) and it was approved. I love it and still work at the same place (15 years).

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      OP says technical, so it may be contracted work on customer projects. A former neighbor was a welder who sometimes worked long days, but had days off between while the office drummed up new customers. It was highly skilled work (& occasionally dangerous), so hourly rate was high enough that he did not need to work 5 8-hour days on an ongoing basis.

    10. Max Floof*

      Public safety is very much one of this fields. A lot of them use the Panama schedule (2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off); 12 hour shifts spread out so you essentially work 7 days out of 14. One week is 36 hours, the second is 48….
      Those 3 day stretches are brutal, but having the flexibility to take just 24 hours of vacation and have a week off was pretty fantastic.

  10. Aggretsuko*

    In my job, almost everyone is required to be vaccinated, but one of the highest people in management (and I’m in her direct line of supervision) got a religious exemption. She had told me pre-vaccine she didn’t want to “put anything in her body” but I thought once the requirement went down that she’d have to (plus she lives a high risk lifestyle and is of a certain age), but after she was telling me about getting covid, I asked if it was before or after vaccination and…guess what. (I note that the lady’s entire family got covid again last week, but somehow she didn’t this time? Heck if I know.)

    I wanted to tell people (she has a mask on all the time, but we did have a mandatory food party I was concerned about), but knew I’d get fired and busted if I did, because I get the impression we’re not supposed to be asking anyone if they are or aren’t, especially discriminating if anyone isn’t.

    Anyway, where I’m going with this is that it’s not required for anyone to get vaccinated at OP1”s job. f it’s “we all trust each other to be safe” without spelling it out, I’m not sure if a report to an anonymous hotline is going to do anything if they aren’t enforcing vaccination at the job officially. I’d be worried about getting in trouble for ratting Betty out to people who aren’t going to do anything about it, and then Betty finds out and retaliates.

    1. John Smith*

      Yeah. I’ve got a colleague who is not vaccinated because she’s a total nutcase (sorry, there really is no other word for it). She openly tells people she actually believes in the 5g tracker conspiracy as well as other idiotic lies. No-one does anything about it because we are supposed to respect other people’s beliefs and opinions. I and a few colleagues simply refuse to go to her office location or anywhere near her which causes problems, but so be it.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        At this point I would sort of like to stab anyone who thinks there are microchips in the vaccine with the gauge of needle you would actually need to insert a microchip. They’re huge. And painful. There is a reason veterinarians prefer to chip animals when they’re under sedation for another procedure.

      2. Kate*

        “…we are supposed to respect other people’s beliefs and opinions.”

        I’m so tired of this being used as a way to avoid accountability by institutions. When we say that we need to respect everyone’s beliefs, it implies that all beliefs are equally valid, accurate, or true. And they’re not.

        It’s absolutely fine to believe that gnomes live in your garden, because that “belief” doesn’t affect anyone else. But when people “believe” that the (((globalists))) are trying to control people with micro-chips for an “invented virus” and people need to wake up and “stop the stabs”….and people with these “beliefs” make videos and social media posts and spread lies about vaccinations – we really do NOT need to “respect their beliefs” because when people spread misinformation and disinformation about health and science and vaccines and safety measures – that *does* harm people.

        And that’s the dividing line: personal beliefs that don’t harm others? Go right ahead!

        Personal beliefs that do cause harm to others? Nope. Not respected.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          100% this!

          They can believe the earth is flat, the moon is made of green cheese, etc. Their belief doesn’t risk harming me.

          But if they believe that the vaccines are a conspiracy, the devils mark, etc, and refuse to get one, it endangers me and mine (I have an immune compromised roommate.) That’s where I must push back and insist they hew to reality, science, and public health policy, not their fringe beliefs. If they won’t do that, they need to not be around people who don’t share their delusions.

    2. Allonge*

      If there is an anonymous hotline, I would suggest that OP reports because almost regardless of specific vaccination status, the rumour mill is really damaging. Nobody has extra brainspace to deal with these things!

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I’d definitely report it. Let the relevant bodies investigate and make sure.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Not in the US but agreed. Come on people, it’s a tiny little minuscule safe injection and you get to a) help bring about an end to this nightmare and b) help save lives.

            1. Dust Bunny*

              Also: We’ve had vaccine mandates for years. You had to get shots to be enrolled in school. You often have to get them to travel overseas. This is not a new thing.

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                Bingo. I had to get my vaccines updated when I travelled to India. I had to get vaccines for grade school, plus they vaccinated us *IN* grade school for some stuff. With “new, unproven” vaccines in the 60s! Parents then were just glad that their kids weren’t vulnerable to some nasty diseases, not squawking about “unproven” blah, blah.

              2. Cera*

                There are actually only a few states that children have to be vaccinated before enrolling in school. The requirement is often get the vaccines or the parent signs a peice of paper saying they object.

          2. Delta Delta*

            It is. Because the real ones have federal seals/logos on them, forging them is an offense. There have been a few reports of people getting charged. I recall seeing some police officers getting in trouble for this last summer.

            1. Stargazer*

              If it’s the case I’m thinking about, their wives were nurses entering the customers in the real state database, and they were selling the forgery to other cops mostly.

              1. Delta Delta*

                Weird! I just remember seeing a headline but didn’t read any further. Sounds like it was a more widespread issue than just the headline. I wonder why the nurse spouse names didn’t also get media attention.

          3. Hats Are Great*

            Yes, it is a federal crime. There have been many prosecutions for it. The feds are more interested in going after the producers of the fake cards than the consumers, but OP should absolutely report it to HR if she has a reasonable belief her boss has committed a federal crime, and individuals HAVE been prosecuted for holding fake cards.

      2. UKDancer*

        Yes I think report it anonymously. That’s what the hotline service is there for. If there’s a rumour to that effect going around the company then it’s definitely time to report it and have it looked into.

      3. Momma Bear*

        I agree that OP should report it, and let them sort it out. It is one thing to get an exemption but another to lie about it. I’m more concerned with the ethics of falsifying paperwork than I am with her vax status, to be honest. She knows what the expectation is and she’s potentially deliberately lied about it AND bragged about doing so. That’s more than a vax problem.

      4. Librarian of SHIELD*

        Yeah, report it to the anonymous work line, but if it were me, I’d also find out what government agency in OP’s area is prosecuting fraudulent vaccine cards and falsified PCR tests. This is a big deal.

    3. Lynca*

      I want to point out that if she’s travelling internationally for work, she should probably report the vaccination status issue rather than the PCR one.

      While falsifying a PCR is henious and inexcusable, I think the vaccination one would get the most traction. That’s because Betty could get barred from entry to a country she’s travelling to or barred from an airline (potentially multiple) if it turns out that’s true. That has a bottom line effect for the company and I would spell this possiblity out in the anonymous complaint.

      It’s also the one that is least likely to come directly back to the OP and George since it’s something in the rumor mill. Betty could still be a tyrant and retaliate indiscriminately but that’s a risk you take with reporting anything about her I expect.

      1. Smithy*

        Agree with this. There’s a larger rumor mill around this and the impacts have a broader professional impact and concern. If Betty is engaged in any professional travel, as a company I’d be highly inclined to investigate the ethics of a staff member willing to travel on falsified vaccination documentation that might put them at risk of having their stay overseas extended in addition to potential significant trouble.

      2. theothermadeline*

        I think both are equally relevant to the hotline – the issue isn’t her status it’s *lying* If she faked one PCR test, it’s likely that in future if she contracts COVID she will either fake another result or just never take one and come in feeling ill. Also lying to other governments, airlines, businesses that she has to as part of her work – not good at all

      3. Sasha*

        Do we think it is possible to fly internationally on a fake covid pass?

        Are we assuming the QR code is for somebody else and it’s been copied, or has she actually got a QR code with her name on it that somehow “works” when you scan it?

        Because yes, you’d find yourself deported from most EU countries for attempting to avoid quarantine with a false covid pass.

    4. JustForThis*

      The common understanding in the country in which I live is that being vaccinated significantly decreases the risk of developing severe complications with Covid, but even vaccinated people can get sick and may transmit the disease. I know several people with full vaccinations and booster shot who did get sick. For a safe in-person environment, I’d expect masks and/or regular testing.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus even after infection. There’s a whole slew of studies on this.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Sorry, that got cut off. It does protect against infection, against transmission and against severe symptoms but no vaccines can ever provide 100% effective status on all three. One day maybe!

          Vaccines and masks definitely a good combo.

      2. Sacred Ground*

        See, this kind or reads to me like this: The common understanding is that wearing a seatbelt in a car significantly decreases the risk of serious injury and death, but even people wearing seatbelts can be killed or injured in a wreck. I know several people who got injured despite wearing seatbelts. For a safe in-car environment, I’d expect people to hold on tight, watch the traffic, be prepared to leap out of the car or… something other than just wearing the freaking seatbelt?

        1. Danish*

          If nothing else, wearing a seatbelt doesn’t excuse you from obeying other traffic laws like stoplights, and certainly doesn’t mean you can drive headlong into oncoming traffic, while many vaccinated people seem to be operating under the assumption that it does.

    5. Spicy Tuna*

      I think the OP should be fully prepared to be unemployed if she reports this, even anonymously. I’m not saying not to do it – I think she should! The boss’s behavior is egregious. However, she needs to be prepared to be let go from work for reporting this.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I think that’s a little unlikely. I mean, yeah, it could happen but the probability of it is low.

        1. WellRed*

          I agree. The bosss behavior is pretty egregious if she’s falsified her vax status to travel to other countries where it’s required. I feel like that’s getting overlooked here.

          1. Momma Bear*

            Not only could that be a criminal offense depending on the country, but it could also get the company in hot water with a client. Some companies are writing into their contracts that all employees on that contract will be vaccinated and if she’s lied about it, it could tank the whole business relationship.

      2. DJ Abbott*

        OP could lessen the chances of that by blocking the caller ID. Back in flip phone days there was a code you could press before the call that would block the caller ID. OP could find out how that’s done now.
        Or even better, use a burner phone. Buy a cheap flip phone at an electronic store and use that, and then get rid of it.

    6. Essess*

      If Betty is telling people she’s vaccinated, but she’s not then HR does need to know about dishonesty and endangering coworkers since they wouldn’t be taking as many safety precautions. They make decisions about how much self-protection to use based on the information they are given. Honesty in the workplace is an HR issue. Falsifying federal documentation is a serious ethics violation.

      1. Beth*

        Yes, exactly! Especially since we’re beginning to get indications that long Covid is just as likely with Omicron as it has been with the other variants. The ultimate risk is still appalling.

      2. Office Lobster DJ*

        This is the heart of the issue. If the job doesn’t have a vaccine requirement, they can’t care whether or not Betty is vaccinated. The issue is the dishonesty of faking a card (!) and PCR tests (!!!), especially if those will ever be used for work-related things like business travel or being allowed into the office after an exposure.

    7. just a thought*

      If Betty has a fake vaccination papers, this turns this from “respecting beliefs” to a legitimate crime of forging government documents

    8. Hats Are Great*

      Falsifying the vaccine card is a federal crime and OP1 can absolutely report it to the FBI.

      They’re mostly only busting the people who are producing them. But this is not a minor thing, and if the OP1’s boss retaliates against OP or George for reporting misconduct that rises to the level of A FEDERAL CRIME, that would ALSO be a big deal.

    9. Jonquil*

      It’s not about vaccination status itself (which is private medical information meaning you can’t ask unless there’s a legitimate requirement), it’s about the fraud (potentially faking documents for international travel).

  11. AppleStan*

    Please OP#3….PLEASE let them know. This is not something spell check will catch. 99% of the time our brains won’t catch the error when we proofread because the brain *expects* to see a certain thing there, and unless it’s not just missing a single character (think I should be seeing “ABC” but I’m seeing “XYZ#@%^97Q5″).

    And yes… people do rely upon spellcheck as a proofreader…when it’s just to see if things are SPELLED correctly.

    As someone pointed out earlier…”pubic” is definitely a word that is spelled correctly, but as an attorney in state government, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone express their interest in “pubic service” … part of me is SOOOOOOOOOOOOO tempted to refer them to OnlyFans or Pornhub…but I have a mortgage to pay, 15 years to retirement, and a lot of medical bills on the horizon….so I just send a quiet note and move on. Everyone has ALWAYS been appreciative that I’ve notified them of the error.

    1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

      Especially since the word (I assume it’s “bareback”, I don’t know why it’s danced around) is a perfectly legitimate one in an equestrian context. Can confirm that my spell checker did not flag that word. One assumes that this job did not include an equestrian context, so, yeah not something this guy wants on his resume. Obviously in a bar context, it has a very different meaning.

    2. Smithy*

      Someone I knew was putting together an editing test as part of an interview process, and for our specific sector – I told her to mix up the usage of border and boarder. While ‘border’ was a very common word in our world, boarder would never get picked up by spellcheck and was often one of those terms that when you over think it you’d forget which meant which.

      When you focus on bareback/barback or pubic/public it’s certainly obvious, but when reading quickly or skimming it’s amazing how these can blur together. Especially when we’re expecting to read barbacking at the public house near the border.

  12. Curious*

    AAM, could LW2 ask for a demotion in order to have their husband work at the same venue? Could you include that as part of your answer?

    1. Batgirl*

      I was thinking the same thing: “It wasn’t explained to me that my husband’s job would be affected by my accepting this promotion. I need to return to my old position, so he can continue working here if this is the case.”

    2. Mellie Bellie*

      I think I’d discourage this because (1) if the promotion means more money and better future job options, then the LW shouldn’t turn it down, especially because (2) why sacrifice potential future career growth to stay stagnant at a place where you or your spouse can be transferred at any time and with no say to a location where chairs and punches are thrown?

      It sucks, but I think the LW should take the promotion and both of them should start looking for a better place to work, the spouse more immediately.

  13. Jessica*

    LW4, would it be feasible to look for temp work in the field you’re trying to move into? That might allow you to try out a traditional office schedule for a limited time period and see if it’s going to be able to work for you.

    1. CinGA*

      I think working temp is a great idea! I spent my working life in offices in Canada, and the expectation was very much Monday through Friday, 8 hours each day. A lot of places had flexible start times, but you still had to put in the 8 hours every day before you left. Taking a few temp assignments will give the OP a good idea of whether they can tolerate this kind of schedule as well as if it will work with their family committments :)

    2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      This is definitely a good idea. Get the feet wet, see if the field of work is even something you want to do long term!

    3. Davey Jones' Cedar Chest*

      I was going to suggest the same thing! It’d be worth looking for a staffing agency in the field you’re trying to move into and seeing if you can get a temp/contract role to test drive full-time work for a couple months.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Chiming in on temp work here. I had enough temp hours one year that if I had been going through only one agency, I would have qualified for health insurance. (Yes that was in the US, but it was long ago so check. Expecially because not all agencies offered it.)

  14. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    Am I the only one who had to look up what a bar backer is?

    And I once read a book that mis-spelled public rally….

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Who do I send the invoice for a new keyboard to? This one has half a pint of Yunnan Gold in it now..

  15. Eliza*

    OP4: If the nature of the work you’re looking for allows it, you might want to look into freelancing. There are advantages and disadvantages to it, but it does tend to make it much easier to set your own hours.

    1. misspiggy*

      That would probably be the best option, but there aren’t many freelance roles for the kind of admin work OP seems to be trying for. I think it’s possible OP hasn’t realised that a lot of admin work is being available to respond to short-notice requests for support. A big part of what you’re being paid for is being available for a good spread of time, even if you’re not working intensely during that time.

      Transcription, whether freelsnce or part time, might be a better related field for OP to look into. There is a set amount of work which you slog through, unlike standard office admin.

  16. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    OP4: I once had to do a change of career from lab work to office work (virology to IT) and I got to confess that in the beginning I did assume that the hours/days/general work culture would be the same.

    But when changing careers, or a major part of it, it was hubris of me to think that. At one point I could choose my hours and days but that was after years of experience and deciding to do contract work for a bit. You could try doing temp work in the office jobs to build up experience and maybe think about a plan to become a contractor later?

    I do actually have a member of staff who only does a 4 day week. Thing is, she’s got a lot of experience (she can make servers dance!), long service in the company and negotiated it after I think 5 years in the firm? Of course she gets a lower salary (because she works less hours) than her full time coworkers but she’s happy to stay on like this. I don’t know if ‘stick it out as long as her and try negotiating’ is a valid strategy for you or the country you’re in (I’m assuming it’s not the UK) though?

    1. londonedit*

      In publishing it’s pretty common for people to work 4 days a week, usually women who come back after maternity leave. But of course their salary, holiday etc are pro-rated so they’re not getting full-time pay, they’re getting 80%. 35 or 37.5 hours a week is standard and we’re not generally expected to work more than that (we don’t get paid enough, for a start!) and most places offer flexible/core hours, so where I work you can do anything from 7am-3.30pm to 10am-6.30pm as long as it’s a regular pattern and you clear it with your line manager. But I think it would be more difficult to negotiate for 3/4 days a week straight off the bat – it’s the sort of thing people negotiate when they’re coming back after a period of leave, or when they’ve been at the company for a few years.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Ahh, interesting! Taken a quick poll of the other IT managers in this firm and just about all of us have one staff member who does 3-4 days a week. All of them women, citing childcare as reason. As you say though, this is something that was negotiated after they’d been working full time for a while.

        It’s rarer in IT since we’re here to provide a service to our end users so we kinda have to be here when the users are. That may be why there’s never more than one person per team on that kind of arrangement.

      2. helle*

        Also in publishing (UK) and this is exactly how it works for us. My boss recently dropped to part time, pro-rata’d at 80% pay, and quite a few people go this route, usually women with children. We also have the same flexibility with hours that you describe – and since we’ve got offices on three continents, it means that everyone’s office hours overlap somewhat anyway.

        1. sunglass*

          Yep, same in my UK publishing job. I’ll probably go part time for at least a bit after my maternity leave, and I don’t anticipate it being a problem (I’ve been at the company for 7 years and it’s very common). And yeah, I work with people in the USA, India and China, and my manager is in the States, so flexing hours a little is more manageable so long as there’s some overlap somewhere.

          On the one hand it’s one of the things that perpetuates the gender pay gap (women are more likely to cut their hours for childcare reasons, and more likely to work in industries that are amenable to that) and if my husband’s job would let him cut some hours we’d look at that, but it’s likely to impact him negatively since it’s Not Done where he is. But while it’s normal and acceptable to go part-time like this, there’s no way you’d get to do that *while being paid your full salary*. Your pay and holiday etc. are pro rata, and asking for anything else would seem out of touch.

      3. Amey*

        Yes, I work in professional services in a UK university and part-time working arrangements are common. My team includes people who work 0.6, 0.8 and 0.9FTE as well as some full timers, and some of these staff are at management level. A standard full time week is 37.5 hours. Our pay is obviously pro-rata! That’s the issue here I think – the OP is assuming that they should be able to work less hours for the same pay, I don’t see any employer agreeing to that when they could hire someone else and get the extra 8-10 hours they’ve planned for out of them for the same money.

        I think it’s really fine to go in and say, would you consider part-time? The hours you’re talking about are part-time! But that means suggesting maybe a 0.6 or 0.8 equivalent and proportionate pay cut. If you’re great and it will save them money, they might consider it even though they’ll lose work time they’d counted on.

        I will say, though, that as a hiring manager, I’d be more wary of this for someone changing fields than someone with experience in our industry who has a good understanding of what the workload actually looks like when making this request.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          That’s pretty much my sticking point too – someone who has experience doing the job is in a much better position to ask to do it with fewer hours and less pay. Someone coming into it brand new isn’t going to have the knowledge of whether it even can be done in fewer hours.

          Thus, I’d suggest temp/contract work in the job field first so when people do apply for full time positions they’ve got a bit of experience to back up asking if it can be done part time.

        2. Op no. 4*

          So you do suggest taking the jobs as offered for as long as I can handle it to gain that experience?

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            OP#4, why exactly are you not willing to apply to jobs which are intended as part time, rather than applying to jobs which are intended as full time and either trying to endure them or trying to change them? Applying on purpose only to part time positions seems to me the obvious way to handle your dilemma.

            1. Op no. 4*

              I just don’t seem to find jobs described as part-time for the sorts of things I could transition into. And I’m seeing a lot of replies to my letter here saying that if I don’t have any direct experience in those positions, then I can’t expect the employers to make any sort of allowances for my scheduling preferences, but I MIGHT be able to if I’m experienced. So if I accept these things as true, I should be gaining that experience by working the desired schedule, and then I can change my bargaining position, either by asking the employer to change the terms of my employment or by applying elsewhere with the experience I gained. That is actually a possible SOLUTION to the dilemma and not the dilemma itself.

              1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                Only if you can do full time hours (whatever the firm wants as full time) for long enough- which probably means at least a year if not more.

                Otherwise try temp jobs. It’s fine to ask employers if they have any possibility of the job being part time. It’s just that the answer may often be no.

                If there are no part time jobs, or temp jobs, or contract work available in this new profession and you cannot do a 5day week for the long time it (I understand) and the companies don’t want to proceed with applications when they have been asked about reducing hours…I am sorry but it may be worth widening your search to other professions.

    2. iglwif*

      I also had a team member at ExJob who worked 4 days/week. She negotiated that schedule when coming back from long-term disability leave. But *obviously* it came with pro-rated salary and vacation days! Her spouse had a high-paying job, while we worked in publishing, so losing 20% of her salary was not exactly a deal-breaker.

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        Same here. My old NHS (UK) job we had a lot of part time posts (prob about 20-25% of the department). Most were post maternity leave but often as we were patient facing you would still need coverage so I had a number of colleagues who were part time for other reasons and were doing a job-share.
        OP I think if you’re looking for flexi working like 3-4 long days then that could be considered full time but 4 x 7 hour days to me is definitely 0.8fte and not something that a lot of businesses would consider full time.

  17. ThelmaPitt*

    I once applied to 15 jobs before realising I had left a very important L out of my detailed experience in Public Relations.

    1. irene adler*

      Someone told me about a similar error that occurred in a book a gov’t public health department had issued. AFTER the books were printed the missing “L” was discovered in the book’s title. Too late to re-do things.

  18. Koala dreams*

    #4 You need to look for part time work. Full time usually means around 40 hours a week, sometimes more depending on the industry. Flexible schedules usually mean that there are core hours and some flexibility when to start or end the workday, not flexibility in how many hours a week you work. Although those things also vary a bit with the industry, of course.

    Personally I wish it were easier for people to find part time work for health reasons (or caretaking reasons), but that seems to depend very much on the industry. Too many people are forced out of the workforce because they aren’t able to keep up with the 40+ hours schedule.

    1. Op no. 4*

      I actually assumed flexibility implied choosing the hours or days worked, at least to some extent. Like finishing up some paperwork on the weekend, clocking out at 3pm for an appointment or leaving for 2 hours in the middle, finishing later another day, etc. I think of it as distinct from the 40 hour thing. I just don’t see what’s ‘flexible’ about a completely inflexible work week and I’m getting annoyed, because I have been specifically targeting job listings using that term.

      1. EPLawyer*

        But now you know, flexible does not mean work when you want. Now, yes, most jobs will let you take off for an appointment if you have to, but its not a usual thing like “Hey I worked 10 hours yesterday, knocking off 2 hours early today.” Because they need someone to do the work and handle anything that comes up. If they want full time, they need someone in the office for 5 days a week. Not 3 and then maybe some work on weekends (which is not really a thing).

      2. sunglass*

        “Flexible” working, in my experience, means flexible around a set of core hours (usually 10am to 4pm). So you could start at 8am and finish at 4pm (or a bit earlier/later in the US, I guess, since the standard week is 40 hours there) or come in at 10am and finish at 6pm. I understand that that’s not what you thought it meant, but it’s pretty standard when discussing full time office-based jobs.

        Some specific companies might be okay with letting you occasionally take an extra-long lunchbreak for an appointment, or leave at 3pm if you need to on one day, but usually there’s an expectation that this would be a) occasional and b) you’d make that time up elsewhere in the work week. My specific company now lets you take time for medical appointments without using your leave or having to make up the time, but that’s quite unusual.

      3. KRM*

        “Flexible” almost never means “work whatever hours you want”. Flexible means “we don’t care if you start at 8 or start at 10, as long as you put in the hours and complete your tasks on time”. It could mean you have the flexibility to take 2 hours for a doc appt in the middle of the day–but often only after you’ve shown yourself to be a reliable employee, especially if you’re working a more ‘person oriented’ job like a front desk, that’s a chunk to not have coverage during the day.
        Bottom line is that “flexible” is pretty much never going to be equivalent to “choose 25-30 hours you want to work” when they want a full time position. And some flexible positions will still have core hours coverage that needs to be provided, even if you can work out start/end times yourself around that.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          ‘Flexible’ in the firm I’m currently employed at means ‘you can within reason choose your start and finish time but we still expect a 7.5 hour day’. So I prefer to start earlier in the mornings (7:30am) and finish earlier in the afternoons whereas another person here comes in at 10:00am but finishes after I do.

          If there’s literally no work to finish then heck yeah I’ll let my staff clock off work, but that is very very rare in my industry. There’s always something else to fix….

      4. Ha2*

        I think to some extent it does. Leaving early for an appointment one day and making it up the next, or something. But “to some extent” has a lot of wiggle room – whether that’s the sort of thing you expect every week or once a month or so, whether the job has core hours or responsibilities that can’t be moved around.

        Probably depends on the field, too.

      5. bamcheeks*

        In the UK there are a few sectors / employers who work like this (and it’s definitely becoming more common post-covid), but it’s still a very long way from being the norm. It’s more likely in highly-paid work, and work where it’s expected that you’ll be working more than 37-40 hours a week (so the exact opposite of useful for you!)

        Trying to think of more useful search terms than “flexible”, which will typically just mean varying your start times a little around core hours. Hybrid work is probably the big one– this is the model that lots of places are shifting too post-covid, where there’s the option to work from home some of the time and in the office other times, but how flexible it actually is will depend a lot on whether the work can be done alone or needs collaboration or coverage. You can also look for agile work, although that one gets slightly confusing because Agile is also a trademark for a specific type of project management used in IT, so you need to distinguish between agile and Agile.

        You will often find that both of these are about finding a working pattern that works for you and your manager but which you’d be expected to stick, however–so more like agreeing that you’ll work a ten-hour shift in the office on Mon-Wed, then four hours from home on Thursday, and take Friday off, than you’ll just wander in and out at will.

        If I were you I would go and talk to lots of people in the sector you’re interested in and see whether the types of roles / working pattern you want exist, or whether you’re going to need to do something else, like contract work, agency work, freelance work or something. It differs so much from industry to industry, never mind from country to country, so I’d go and ask some more questions!

      6. Em*

        The definition of flexibility varies wildly from industry to industry and company to company. I work for a trade association (a non-profit org for those unfamiliar with trade assns) where 35 hours is full time, but other trade associations for the same industry have 37.5 and 40 hours as full time. Flexibility where I work has a pretty liberal definition – you can work 8-4, 9-5, or 10-6 and when we go back to the office, there will be flexibility as far as how many days people come back in. Similar organizations have already gone back into the office, some with work from home options and others without.

        Other industries’ mileage may vary. We work 5 days per week because the needs of the companies we serve require it – we have to have that coverage. Other organizations, industries, etc. don’t have a similar need that must be met and compressed schedules can work in those cases.

        The only way you’re going to know what a company you’re applying to means by flexibility is by asking either before applying or during a phone screening.

      7. londonedit*

        Yeah, in my industry (book publishing) and location (UK) companies are very much into what they call ‘flexible’ working, but it doesn’t mean you can choose how many hours you work on any given week. Where I work our contracted hours are 37.5 a week, and we have core hours, and beyond that you can ‘flex’ your working day so that you can work anything from 7am-3.30pm to 10am-6.30pm. I know that during the lockdowns when people were homeschooling there were options to stagger your working hours during the day (so for example work 7-8.30am, then 10am-2pm, then 4-6pm so that you could have a few hours during the school day when you’d be available to help your kids etc) but you still had to work 7.5 hours a day and you still had to fit that into the core hours. We also have flexible hours in the sense that we can work extra Monday-Thursday and finish early on a Friday afternoon, but again, you have to work your contracted hours over the course of the week. I’ve never encountered a setup where people were allowed to literally choose how many hours to work and when to do the work – there may be varying amounts of flexibility in terms of how to structure your working hours during the day/week, but you’ve still got to get them done and there will almost certainly be some sort of stipulation around core hours or being available at certain times for meetings etc.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I mean effectively that would be piecework, freelance or the gig economy, and it definitely exists. But it doesn’t come with any of the protections that being employed does, and it’s rarely available for office / white-collar work.

          1. londonedit*

            Exactly, when I was typing the line about ‘choose how many hours to work and when to do the work’ it occurred to me that that’s specifically one of the things that’s used to define whether someone should be classed as self-employed rather than as an employee. And being self-employed/freelance works for a lot of people – I did it for a few years, it’s something quite a few editorial people do at one time or another. But as you say, that’s a completely different sort of employment and doesn’t come with the protections of being an employee (one of the things I love most about being an employee is taking a day’s holiday and getting paid for it!)

      8. Cheap Ass Rolex*

        The only instance where it would ever commonly mean that is if you are a contractor who gets paid by the project, for example drawing an illustration for someone that’s due in three weeks and it doesn’t matter how long you work to get it done.

        The ability to work from 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 is considered flexible because a majority of jobs don’t allow that. Your hours are your agreed-upon hours. Plenty of mid-to-higher level jobs do offer “core hours”, e.g. 10-4 is when you have to be at office but you can adjust start or end time. But you’re still going to be working full-time hours, which means within a stone’s throw of 40 hrs a week.

        What you’re asking for is basically the equivalent of applying for a dayshift and then planning to agitate for working nights instead. It’s just at such a right angle to what the employer is advertising for that it will look bizarre if you waste their time with it. Some part-time jobs will still offer healthcare and other benefits, so that’s probably a better avenue.

      9. feral faerie*

        When listings mention flexibility, normally they are referring to when you work the allotted hours. For example, flexibility could mean working from 8-4 or, in some circumstances, working four 10 hour days instead of the typical Monday to Friday schedule. My dad’s job could be considered flexible but he often puts in more than 40 hours a week. Most jobs that are listed as full time expect 35-40 hours a week. On the off chance that a salaried full time job would allow for 28 hours, the salary would definitely be prorated. I would suggest looking at jobs that are explicitly designated as part time rather than using “flexible” as your key word. If you see a position that truly interests you and it’s more hours than you would like, you could always ask upfront (in the first interview) if 28 hours a week at a pro-rated salary would be possible.

        1. Op no. 4*

          ‘pro-rated salary’ is a term I’ve now learned here and will be using in further discussions with interviewers! I’m very thankful.

      10. doreen*

        There are very very few jobs with that sort of flexibility – I sort of had one. And the reason I say “sort of” is because that flexibility was mainly to enable us to do our jobs , not to accommodate our personal preferences or needs – 8-4 or 9-5 doesn’t work well when you are trying to conduct home visits with people who leave for work at 6 am or don’t get home until 6 pm. You could mostly choose which days you started at 5 am and which days you started at 4 pm and you could work weekends – but you had to work some early mornings and some evenings , so it still wasn’t completely flexible.

        1. A Genuine Scientician*

          There are jobs with this sort of flexibility, but they really are very rare, and most require pretty exact experience to get.

          I’m in a fully time teaching position at a university. I need to show up at specific times for a) the classes I teach; b) a set of meetings with other instructional team members (at what times is negotiated each term); and c) the office hours / help room times I set each term. All the rest of my hours are flexible. The actually-in-a-classroom-with-students is less than 25% of the hours required to get the job done.

          OP4 is coming from a field with a very different than standard view on full time hours. That’s fine! But it means that in transitioning to a new field, they very well may need to find another field with similar views, rather than trying to get a typical office job to sign on to this notion.

      11. Neptune*

        I think your “to some extent” is doing a lot of work here – it would help a lot if you got it clear in your head what specifically you want, as that will help you figure out how to target your search better.

        – Varying your start/finish times, going to appointments, making up hours on other days – some companies will offer this under the heading of flexible hours, but you will likely be expected to ultimately work your full hours over the course of the week. This is something that in my industry is offered more often the more senior your role is basically as recompense for having to work longer hours in total, which is obviously not what you’re looking to do, so that’s something to be aware of.
        – Working until your tasks are finished then clocking out – this is basically piecework or the gig economy. If this is what you want you may be best looking at agencies specifically set up to match contractors with projects, or actual gig work.
        – Just straight-up working fewer hours – as others have said, you should look for jobs advertised as part-time/temp/shift-based or ask about reducing the hours with a pro-rated salary. You should not expect to be paid a full-time salary for this, but it’s certainly doable.

        These are distinct things and if you are shifting into a new area of work, I think you should pick one and focus on that. Unless you’re a pretty outstanding candidate I doubt that many employers will be keen on allowing you to work fewer hours AND work them whenever you want.

      12. Sasha*

        That kind of schedule is the kind you get for very senior professionals/c-suite/company owners, in my experience.

        I sort of have that as a physician, but a) I work WAY over my nominal paid hours, not less, b) I have 20 years of experience, I didn’t start out with this flexibility, and c) there might be flexibility about when I do my paperwork, but there are still “fixed” commitments I have to be present for.

        I can sign my letters from home in the evening, and choose whether to write my grant application at work on Monday afternoon, or at home on Sunday afternoon, but I can’t move my clinics/operating lists. Ward handover is at 8am whether that suits me or not. Etc.

        My husband is a senior IT professional, and he doesn’t have that flexibility at ALL, because a lot of his work is either collaborative (so he needs to be working the same hours as his colleagues), or client-facing (so he needs to be working the same hours as his clients).

  19. Justin*

    I am a student at CUNY and let me tell you I make sure I don’t type the letter to the left when I type in my education. And it’s all caps too!

  20. Meep Monger*

    Oh my, tpyos are not as bad as mnay poelpe tihnk. Our barnis raed wlhoe wdors and as lnog as the fsirt and the lsat lteter are smilair, it’s rlelay hrad to ctcah all topys.
    But of course when it’s such a delicate typo it’s a kindness to point it out. And, of course, if good spelling and grammar are neccessities on the job it’s a good reason for rejection.

  21. Mitford*

    I once saw a resume from someone in IT who had developed a “turnkey solution” but left out the “N” in turnkey. He got the job anyway but never heard the end of it.

  22. I should really pick a name*

    For LW#1, is it worth going to the tip line if this is only a rumour?
    How reliable is George?

  23. anonymous73*

    #1 I’m torn on this one. If your company doesn’t require their employees to show proof of vaccination, I’m not sure they can do anything if they investigate and find out it’s true. IANAL but I’ve heard of people getting arrested for falsifying vax cards (or maybe that’s just for selling them so you may have something there for reporting since you travel internationally). But the decent human in me wants to report her. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 2 years is that you can only control how YOU protect yourself. You can’t rely on others to make smart and less risky decisions.
    #4 I’m a little confused by your letter. But if you’re unable to work 40 hours per week (whether hours are flexible or not) then don’t apply to full time jobs. All you’re going to do is waste a lot of people’s time, including your own. And having a bunch of 6 month gigs on your resume isn’t going to look good.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Is it illegal to falsify a vaccine record to get something like a travel document – I assume so. Seems like forgery (although I’m not sure if it meets the legal definition)…

      Apart from anything else it does raise doubts over what else she’d falsify / forge if it’s expedient to do so. Maybe she already has, if she’s so openly (to George) admitted it in a matter of fact way..

      1. Sasha*

        You’d certainly get detained (and then deported) from most countries if it was found you’d attempted to circumvent quarantine with a forged covid pass.

        Not sure what the US border force would do with you on your return.

    2. Meep*

      I have a coworker I am pretty certain is lying about being vaccinated. She at one point in late December 2020 mentioned how she was concerned the vaccine might contain “alien eggs”. By end of January 2021, she was somehow fully vaxxed despite it being unavailable to her age bracket and the fact that our boss had his first shot before her (allegedly) by two weeks and she had her second shot before him. Same for the fact, she experienced no symptoms despite making a big deal out of a paper cut. (And to top it all off, she is a pathological liar.)

      All I do is double-mask around her despite everyone else being vaccinated and sanitize every surface she touches. It isn’t worth it sitting there driving myself crazy.

  24. La Donna*

    #4 – it sounds like a part time job might be better for you! Those are usually 3 days a week, and sometimes they could add more hours long term.

    If you’re a full time employee, I don’t see the option to only work 3 or 4 days a week. There are some companies that offer summer fridays (a Friday off every month or every other week), but not many do that.

    I’ve been at my company for a long time and there’s a woman who has 3 children, she’s been there probably 10 years, and she was able to negotiate part time work doing more admin related stuff. They basically created a job for her to keep her. I don’t think that type of flexibility would be offered to a new hire.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      True, I’d say in my industry offering a summer schedule of “four tens” (four ten hour days and then Friday off) is pretty common – but I don’t think OP would like that. I did have a job where 35 hours was considered full time, but they had hour long on-site lunch breaks so it didn’t really feel that much difference. It wasn’t like you could skip lunch and leave early on Fridays.

  25. Dust Bunny*

    “He meant to say that he had experience barbacking but a stray e made its way in, suggesting that he had experience in an entirely different activity. ”

    OP3: Chef’s kiss for your powers of discretion.

  26. Miss Betty*

    My favorite typo, one I’ve personally made many times over the years, is Small Clams Court. To my knowledge, I always caught it but I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to let it slip through.

  27. please be safe*

    #1 – If Betty is lying she is putting other people at risk and could literally kill someone. Some would reasonably argue that there is a moral obligation here to act in the best interest of others and let the company sort out the truth with whatever means are available to them.

  28. Popinki*

    At the store I used to work at, there were some humdingers on the signage:

    Porcelain Bowels
    Animal Stools (they were plant stands shaped like jungle animals)
    Camisole Table instead of Console Table
    One time my manager made a sign for “T-shirts” but left out the R

    And there was that time a local grocery store circular was advertising a 2 count pack of something… and forgot the O.

    1. Delta Delta*

      I just saw a good one yesterday. I was reading a police report that meant to say a witness was hard to find because he was “couch surfing” but instead it says he was “couch suffering.”

    2. Aphrodite*

      A friend once worked, a long time ago, on a local Palos Verdes newspaper. (Palos Verdes is a very wealthy Los Angeles suburb on the ocean.) They ran wedding announcements and once someone let slip by that the bride’s aunt had its “a” changed to a “c.”

  29. Popinki*

    One more: during the low-carb diet craze, a drugstore was advertising on its marquee sign, “LOW CRAB CANDY BARS”.

      1. No Tribble At All*

        New ad for Snickers (“you’re not you when you’re hungry”) is LOW CRAB CANDY BARS

  30. Jam Today*

    That typo! I shrieked! I love it, I’m sorry for the poor guy whose had that resume out in the world with it there, but also its really, really funny.

  31. Esmeralda*

    OP#1. Do NOT, at all, tell George you are reporting what you heard from him.
    If he’s telling you, he probably told others. Let him stew about who did it.

    If he asks, play dumb.

    I’m serious. No good will come to you if you tell him, and there is no good reason for you to do so.

    This is exactly why the tipline is anonymous. Protect yourself and stay anonymous

    1. DJ Abbott*

      Seconding! I was just marveling at how people who do bad things tell someone and end up getting caught, when if they kept quiet no one would ever know.
      Don’t be like that. Don’t tell anyone. Protect yourself.

  32. Esmeralda*

    OP #4. Full time (in the US) is understood to mean 40 hours / week or very close to it. Your industry is unusual. Wish I knew what it was — I would love to have a job where fulltime = 4 or even 3 days per week.

  33. SLR*

    OP1: report it to the Ethics Hotline if you feel comfortable doing so. Not sure what the outcome will be since your employer doesn’t have any requirements or mandates, but if you’re comfortable reporting it, by all means do so. Your office in general may want to reevaluate the in person working situation. If you are able to work from home, why not take that option? It seems there is a lot of anxiety around keeping each other safe. You can’t really control how other people handle themselves outside of the office. That is why my team has elected to stay fully remote at this time. Myself and a few of my co-workers have underlying conditions and / or family members with underlying conditions. When my company started talking of returning to the office, we put our feet down as a group and said ‘no way.’ Thankfully we have the productivity numbers to back us up and prove that we are even more efficient working remotely from home. People can say & have the best of intentions, but as an organization we feel that working from home is the best option. It eliminates a lot of variables. Hopefully your office can take advantage of working from home. You won’t have to worry about anyone’s vaccination status or virus related safety habits!

    1. theothermadeline*

      Yeah, but it is much less about the risk (though that is still present) it is that the person is lying, and doing so in ways that are relevant to her job. If she is traveling internationally, it is likely that she is going to countries with governmental requirements for vaccinations. If she visits clients 0n-site who have their own vaccine mandates, she is lying to them while representing her company. This is a wholly unethical thing for her to do, regardless of the increased risk she absolutely poses for spread.

    2. theothermadeline*

      She also did lie to her own company when she falsified the PCR result that they asked everyone to take in order to come back after a confirmed exposure – that’s against her own company’s request along with the recklessness

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah, without a vaccine mandate I think (even though both are obviously very bad!) faking a covid test after a known exposure is actually the worse of the two rumors. It’s just really going out of your way to be shitty and not protect your coworkers for absolutely no reason at all. I’m not sure how exactly that could be investigated but it should definitely be reported anyway.

    3. DJ Abbott*

      This is why I always wore my mask last spring even though it was thought the vaccination was protection and masks weren’t necessary. I was working with the public and there are a lot of selfish people who are willing to lie for convenience!

  34. JelloStapler*

    #5 I say you still do whatever you usually would – because who knows if a job that you DO want pops up at that organization later?

  35. Applesauced*

    I’m an architect. I have submitted drawings to city/state/town building departments for “Panty Renovations”
    I learned from that and have NOT included it on my resume.

  36. That IT Guy*

    LW #2, I’m really curious what sort of career allows for multiple promotions in a year and how bad the turnover must be there in order to accommodate that sort of advancement.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Well apparently a job risk is being hit with a chair, so it doesn’t seem super surprising to me. But it is surprising that an industry with chair-throwing cares about chain of command issues.

    2. Aggresuko*

      The only person at my organization that got multiple promotions in a year was apparently VERY buddy buddy with her boss and coincidentally (or not) had a mother-in-law who ran the organization.

      Fum times when that was found out.

  37. Purple Cat*

    LW3 it is absolutely a kindness to send them a note to let them know.

    My related horror story is many moons ago we were hiring COOP students. I was also a coop and was essentially helping to interview my replacement. We decided to interview someone who had a fair amount of typos on their resume. No big deal. New to workforce. Hiring manager turned to me at the START of the interview goes “purple cat found a lot of typos in your resume, can you walk the candidate through them all?” I was mortified. Like interviews aren’t stressful enough we started this poor kid off by pointing out everything he did wrong?!? A neutral email that they can react to in private is MUCH better.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Unfortunately vaccines do not provide perfect protection. So, yes, it matters (increases your risk of infection) if you are around people who are not vaccinated versus those who are.

    2. Popinki*

      One more time: Vaccination does not mean you’re totally immune to and protected from disease. It means your immune system is (hopefully) primed and ready to fight off the infection, ideally without developing symptoms or only mild ones. However, even fully boosted and immunized people can get very sick and even die, though the risk is lower than if they were unvaccinated.

      And it’s not just the OP. It’s everyone in their workplace, plus the people in their own circles. I’m sure that many have people in high-risk groups like young children who can’t be vaccinated, the elderly, the immunocompromised etc. who are at higher risk. If they pick up the virus from Boss, they can become asymptomiac carriers who take it home to Junior and Grandma and Cousin Fred who’s on chemo.

    3. UKDancer*

      I think if someone is doing something which is illegal or strongly contravenes company policy then it’s perfectly acceptable for the OP to report it. They may choose not to (which may or may not have consequences – I’ve had jobs where being aware of certain misbehaviour and not reporting it is considered as being sanctionable).

      If the OP thinks this person is doing something wrong and there is a means of reporting it then they’re easily within their rights to do so. That’s what an ethics hotline is for. She’s not saying something has definitely happened or not, but she’s raising a concern so it can be looked into and settled.

      1. rh*

        I just love how my comments were removed for misinformation. I basically just said she should mind her own business. Only one sentence summarizing a commenter’s words how I understood it, the commenter was saying how people can still die not me!

        1. Persephone Mongoose*

          I saw your comments before they were removed and you are being dishonest. That is NOT all you were saying; you posited (incorrectly) that vaccines aren’t effective when the sheer amount of unvaccinated people hospitalized and/or dying from COVID compared to vaccinated people tells an entirely different story.

          You want this person to mind their own business, fine. Those of us with a vested interest in protecting ourselves and others from an extremely contagious and still dangerous virus disagree.

    4. RagingADHD*

      Falsifying vaccine records is a federal offense in the US. If the company bothers to have an ethics hotline at all (which isn’t all that common), then a senior person committing a federal crime is certainly something they need to know about.

  38. Monty & Millie's Mom*

    #4 There ARE full-time office jobs out there that are only 3-4 days a week, you just have to work longer days. I just got hired full time, 3 days a week, 12-hour days. I’m excited! I wasn’t specifically looking for this, but I’m thrilled at the flexibility this will bring for me with the additional days off. So I guess this is a note of encouragement – there ARE jobs out there, but you may have to hunt harder and longer for them, that’s all! Best of luck to you!

    1. Run mad; don't faint*

      Yes, my spouse works 10 hr/day, four days a week. They have every Friday off as a result. It’s policy at the office he’s based out of. It’s a long day, though better now since they WFH. But I couldn’t quite tell if the LW was looking for a flexible arrangement of 40 hours/week or if they wished to work fewer hours. If they want fewer hours, a part-time position would be a better choice.

    2. Monica, RN*

      Yes, this is also what I assumed OP #4 was meaning; in healthcare and manufacturing industries for sure it’s very common to find 3-12 or 4-10 roles, but maybe not as much in an office setting. For WFH in education you can realistically arrange a lot of your duties to fall on a few days a week but you are likely to need to be somewhat available during normal business hours.

  39. cleo*

    OP #4 – I know a couple people (in the US) who work 3/4 time. It’s considered full-time in terms of being eligible for benefits but is 75% of the work load and pay of an equivalent full-time position. Someone up thread also called this sort of arrangement .8 FTE.

    So it does exist. You might ask in an interview if they’d be open to that type of arrangement.

    Good luck to you.

  40. The ads are killing me today*

    Alison, did you change your ads? Some of them are popping up in between comments. Not only are they more intrusive, they’re actually breaking the “collapse” function when I try to collapse a thread. It collapses for a second, then un-collapses, but the site thinks they are still collapsed, so I have to click a few times to re-collapse them.

  41. Heffalump*

    I once saw a resume where the guy said he had designed “cuctwork.” I assume he meant ductwork.

  42. irene adler*

    OP 1: please report this.

    Longshot: it might be that Betty in fact HAS been fully vaccinated, does possess proper documentation of these vaccinations and has been making statements to the opposite effect to hide this from a spouse who is very anti-vaxx. Not sure why making these statements would extend to the workplace, but you never know what lengths someone feels they need to go in order to mollify a spouse. Maybe George and spouse interact in some way (i.e. they are friends).

    (yes, very sad if this is the case)

    Reporting the situation would put employees fear to rest.

  43. Veryanon*

    Did this jump out to anyone else:
    “However, after his first day, he was told to be prepared for troubles – he asked what kind, and was told to think ‘having chairs thrown at you’ kind of trouble, along with verbal intimidation and the occasional punch thrown.”
    Like what the actual heck is that?!?!?!

  44. Someone*

    OP4 – Can you please tell me more about your field? I would be really interested in something so flexible.

  45. Olivia Oil*

    Wow – I really can’t relate to people who think working 40 hrs a week is a lot. Before I got a salaried job I worked way more hours than that and didn’t always get weekends off.

    1. Massive Dynamic*

      It all depends on what other demands you have on your time and whether your non-work life is impacted by work or not. Many folks find that 40 hours (of active work, plus time commuting, unpaid lunch, and time getting ready each day) is more than enough when balancing as a part of a healthy lifestyle, and frequently it adds up to a bit too much.

      1. Aggresuko*

        Yeah, one of my coworkers is quitting because she wants to work less hours and they will not allow that here.

        Frankly, I barely get through 40 hours of drudgery and pain as is, I can’t imagine doing more. I know, I’m a wuss.

        1. Olivia Oil*

          For the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with working less hours. I’m not a workaholic. I would work even less hours if I could at the same salary. I guess I’m just super jaded because I’m just grateful to have evenings and weekends to myself since I got a salaried position. It is super relevant that I’m not a parent, which would change things a lot.

  46. Cocofonix*

    Re #4. I’ve been in the same boat working freelance on large projects that require full time work plus. I’m done done done with such intense work. So I’ve reduced my ambitions and now freelance on short term smaller projects. Still, there is pressure and expectation that you’ll be on full time in my line of work. The pandemic changed all that with my skills being in high demand right now. I’ve been able to set all kinds of boundaries where I’d have been laughed out of contention before. Rate, max hours per week, limited contract length and scope. With my experience and work quality, it is apparently worth it. For now. I’m riding it as long as it lasts. Because I remember having to network hard just to land something mediocre and exhausting. I’m so glad employers don’t hold all the cards they used to. I’ve found, OP#4, that freelance/contracting is more flexible especially if you really treat your employers as clients, and discover what their business needs are and how you’d help them to meet their objectives in concrete ways. Then the work-life stuff is logistical detail. Then deliver.

  47. Danish*

    If I were the resume writer in #3 I would both be deeply greatful and also need to immediately change my identity and flee the country to recover.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I just got a Facebook “memory” reminding me of the very embarrassing time that I sent a message in the office group chat about my (kitchen) pantry but accidentally left out the “r.” I was able to delete the message but I know at least a couple of coworkers are like super on top of checking the chat and almost certainly saw it first…

  48. UKgreen*

    I have in my possession in a box somewhere in the loft a black and white printed poster from a school play at my primary school – I was in Class 6, aged about nine or ten, so it would have been about 1989? We did Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Only someone, presumably one of the kids in Class 7 who made the poster, swapped the W for an S, and no-one until the school secretary had photocopied LOADS of them AND they’d been put up on the walls around school and (cringe) posters sent home to parents…

    I can still remember my mother and my gran laughing when I handed them the poster about Snow Shite… my gran laughed so hard we genuinely thought she was going to do herself a mischief.

    1. Aggresuko*

      Even better: the queen of England’s Platinum Jubilee merchandise has been printed as “Jubbly.” Imagine the amount of money to deal with THAT….

  49. Tirving*

    My co-worker once sent an email to a prospective customer suggesting that once they had all their ducks in a row, she would schedule a time to discuss the proposal further. The u somehow got replaced with an i. The customer called her and said ” OK, we’re all standing in a row “. She was mortified when she reread her email and caught the mistake!

  50. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

    Chairs and punches thrown because of this? i understand it’s an entertainment venue but this sounds like the WWE.

  51. Smilingswan*

    #2: I’d be complaining to HR about the chair throwing and fists flying, but maybe that’s just me.

  52. Op no. 4*

    Thank you everyone for your help! I absolutely do want to work part-time if that’s what ‘less than 40 hours and/or 5 days a week’ means. I was confused by my recent experiences in looking for work in other fields, because up to recently I was managing a team of a dozen people, 4 days a week, for 7 years in a healthcare field, and it was absolutely clear to everybody from my direct boss on up a fairly long chain that I, along with several other people with a similar schedule, was a full-time employee. And other employers would agree. I’ve honestly never worked in any other field aside from a gas station job in college.
    But I assumed that a job that was full-time and flexible meant things that the commenters here have taught me they don’t mean, or don’t mean the same things to different people, and these fields don’t seem to do or at least announce part-time, and now I can work with that information. I’m going to add my scheduling requirements to my CV. I’ve learned terms like 3/4 time and 0.8FTE and pro-rated salaries, which is a lot of the language I was missing and was hoping to learn from writing in! I’m so much better off than before I wrote in! If I hear back from any more employers (and I should tomorrow) I’m going to use them. I’m absolutely open to starting off temporarily with a more charged work schedule in order to get into the swing of things, but I know it’s not sustainable for me to work 5 days a week unless I can walk away to attend to other problems regularly. Once I understood the expectations I thought that I should disclose this upfront in order to save the employers time. But if that’s the sort of thing these types of employers are only willing to consider for experienced employees, as several commenters here say, I’ll avoid disclosing that until I get enough experience to be able to negotiate properly.

    Listen, everyone, if I can’t get any of the jobs I’m interested in because of my requirements, it’s not the end of the world. I’m very privileged that I can be as employed as I want just doing what I know, and still be able to take care of my family and friends and myself. I’ll just be bored doing it. I appreciate immensely everyone who wrote in to explain why I got the reactions I got from interviewers, and who came forward with their own experiences and their analysis. I definitely did need to clear up some things in my own head about what ‘flexibility’ means to me. And it’s ABSOLUTELY true that I didn’t, and still don’t, understand all the ramifications of the process that ends up designing these positions in the first place.
    But I feel like a lot of people here took the possible annoyance of an interviewer at having their time wasted (and I question that verb) by a 15 minute conversation with me a lot more seriously than any other aspect of my letter. But these interviewers didn’t write in asking for help today — I did. I do want to be polite, but I’m applying in order to get what I want, not what employers want, unless what they want coincides, and I wanted a better approach to finding that common ground. This should not be shocking to anybody on God’s green earth, especially not on this site. I absolutely will continue to apply for interesting-sounding jobs that I’m qualified for, and I will use my new toolkit to do it better. Thank you all again.

    1. Part Time is Best Time*

      Good luck on your job search! I’d also keep an eye out for opportunities to “job share”. I know the BC Public Service offers this, where for example you could work 2 days a week of a single full-time position and your coworker would work the other 3 days of that same position.

  53. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    OP4: Work in the field and work in the office are two different things entirely.
    I’ve done both and I can tell you, working in the field is much harder. You’re full-on, all the time. You’re talking with people, thinking on your feet, dealing with tangents and getting stuck in traffic jams.
    I’ve worked as a teacher, where I was paid by the hour for the time in the classroom. Those hours were very intense. Then when I started doing office work, even when working on an urgent task, it wasn’t nearly as tiring. You can slot in a quick phone call or handle a personal e-mail, you get or carve out more down time. I got to the point where I was producing nearly double the amount of work I was expected to produce, and since that didn’t lead to a pay rise or anything, I cut back and started doing personal stuff during work hours.
    You might find that your mental health is OK with full-time work after all?

  54. Former Radio Guy*

    #2. This may not be entirely related, but I had an experience as an assistant manager at a movie theater where the theater manager and her son, an assistant manager, both had access to the safe which in normal situations would be considered a conflict of interest and a posdible security issue. I discovered a couple hundred dollars were missing from the safe during my shift and reported it to the manager and the assistant manager after my shift. I’m not claiming that either of them did it but ultimately I feel that they blamed me for it. The end result was a great deal of distrust and when it was safe for me to quit (I was given the option of quitting and theft charges wouldn’t be filed so quitting would have been an admission of guilt), a doctor’s checkup revealed that my blood pressure was high enough that I was heading for a stroke. I attribute the stress of working there. Anyway, I feel that good companies would avoid this kind of conflict of interest.

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