my boss accused me of writing a negative review, no big raise without switching jobs, and more

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

1. My boss accused me of writing a negative review, but I didn’t

I worked for a small company for three years. In that time I went from a low level position to being one of the top five people in the company. I started working there when I was 19 and it was the first job I took seriously. They have high turnover in the role I was given.

A year ago I quit. I was being paid less than coworkers who I was managing. I was struggling with my mental health. I now am working somewhere else, with more pay and less responsibility.

My boss sent me an email last week accusing me of writing a negative google review on the company’s page. This review was posted while i was still working at the company. I did not write any negative reviews. So I responded to him as such. He doubled down saying, “I know you wrote this. But if you choose to lie and harm the team, then so be it. The phrasing of the review, as well as the timing, makes me know it was you.” He also said, “You are choosing to hurt (employees’ names) by refusing to acknowledge you wrote this.” I am heartbroken. I respected him and even thought of him as a friend. He even went to my birthday party one year. I thought he knew I was better than that.

I ended up forwarding the email to the HR and the second-in-command of the company, mostly due to the tone and because I knew that they would support me. Due to the small nature of the business, I am scared that this review I didn’t write will affect my job prospects in the future. Is there anything else I can do?

I love that he wants you to believe that you’re hurting other employees by not taking ownership of the review — is the implication that he’ll be forced to blame them instead and you can save them from that fate? That’s a real jerk move.

Ideally you’d tell HR and the second-in-command that you’re concerned your ex-boss is defaming you and will do so if he receives future calls for references, and ask how they’ll ensure that won’t happen. Unfortunately you can’t really use this guy for a reference now regardless (even if the company convinces him that he can’t talk about the review, he still sounds unlikely to give you a glowing reference), but that approach is a good way to get the company to take sterner action with him. Going forward, is there someone else there who can speak to your work and who could be a reference — the second-in-command or someone else who worked with you closely? They should be willing to help you find an alternate reference since it’s clear this guy’s assessment can’t be relied on.

2. Why do you have to switch jobs to get a big raise?

I read a meme on the internet that said something like, “When I switch jobs I get a 150% raise and when I stay at the current one it’s 15%, so why are all these employers scratching their head at the Great Resignation?”

My question is exactly that. Why do companies you’re working for often offer you far less for a promotion than you could get switching to the same job elsewhere? Are companies just dense or does the math work out somehow? I always thought turnover was expensive, but maybe giving everyone 150% raises would be more so. Would be interested to know your thoughts on this.

Yes — dense. And stingy. And on some level, they don’t think employees can or will leave. It’s bizarre.

See also:

my employer has stupid rules for raises when you get promoted

I got promoted, but I can’t get a fair salary

3. Doing extras as a freelancer

I’m a freelance editor whose main clients are academic publishers. They don’t pay a lot, as you might expect, but I generally like the work and really appreciate the freedom to control my own schedule.

Recently, for whatever reason, a few authors I’ve been working with have asked me to edit marketing materials: book jacket copy, that sort of thing. To be clear, it’s the presses that hire and pay me, and this work is beyond the scope of what I’ve been contracted to do. That said, many authors seem not to realize that I’m not an employee of the press that’s publishing their book, even though every in-house editor who’s ever hired me has always stated this explicitly in their hello letter to the author. On the other hand, editing cover copy usually takes less than 15 minutes.

Should I ask these authors to pay for my time? In most cases that would be less than $10 (using the rate paid by the presses), so it really doesn’t seem worth it—but copyediting is my livelihood, and I feel that it generally gets less respect and recognition than it should. I’d definitely say something if the extra work took an hour! But where’s the line below that?

It’s up to you!

In theory you should probably say, “Porridge Publishing has only contracted with me to edit the book itself but we can figure out a separate fee for the marketing materials if you’d like me to handle that as well.” (And if you’re contracting with them directly, you needn’t be limited to the rate the presses pay you; you can negotiate your own rate unless there’s something in your contract or the norms of the field that prohibits that.) Or even just, “Porridge Publishing has only contracted with me to edit the book itself, but you could talk to (editor) about getting the marketing materials edited.”

But if it’s a short job that you’d be happy to do for an author you like, it’s also okay to make the call that you’ll do it to help them out.

For what it’s worth, I have edited many, many things for free simply because it would bring me joy and/or annoy me if I didn’t … but it’s not my primary livelihood, which changes things. On the other hand, putting in a small amount of extra time to have a happy client can be a smart move for a freelancer (but small is key). On yet another hand, the author isn’t your client; the publisher is — but it doesn’t hurt to have happy authors raving about you to the publisher. Which brings me back to: whatever you want to do is fine.

4. People incorrectly shorten my foreign name

I am an immigrant though I have been living in English-speaking countries for a while. I am struggling with what to do about my name in business context. It is rather long. The short versions common in my native language confuse people more than anything else because the relationship is not immediately obvious (like the William/Bill relationship in English). I would ideally like people to call me by my full first name. English speakers generally don’t have trouble pronouncing it except for the length.

Unfortunately, a number of people instead just shorten it themselves, resulting in a version that is a male-sounding name. The first I hear about it is usually in group meetings. To give an English analogy, I will introduce myself as “Philippa” and then in the next meeting someone will start saying “Oh, Phil says X … and Phil did Y.” I generally solve it by going back to the person later and saying, “Hey, you called me Phil, please don’t use that, I prefer Philippa.” People will generally apologize and fix it. But if they use it in a group, it tends to “spread” to other team members and then I have to correct more people. It seems to have gotten worse with the pandemic and video meetings, I don’t know why. This also makes it harder to gently correct people and communicate that I am not upset, I’d just prefer my full name.

Is there a better way to do this? It seems weird to tell people “Hi, I’m Philippa, please never call me Phil” preventatively. Nor do I want to introduce the wrong version to someone who never thought of using it. But it happened multiple times recently and I’m wondering if there’s a better way to handle this.

I think you should head it off when you first introduce yourself! It’s not weird to say, “Hi, I’m Philippa. Not Phil, please — just Philippa.” It’s the same as a Samantha introducing herself as “I’m Samantha — not Sam, please” (which isn’t an uncommon thing to hear). It’s fine and should take care of much of the problem.

{ 566 comments… read them below }

  1. Pool Lounger*

    My partner works for a big 5 tech company and it’s known that to get a good pay increase you generally need to leave, work elsewhere, then come back. No idea why. But they don’t seem to care about retaining people and even seem to want turnover.

    1. osmoglossum*

      In 2003 the law firm I was working for hired a COO and he increased the salary for many admin assistants/secretaries to market rate because those who had been there for years were well below it. Changing firms used to be the only way to get a decent raise. He said “you shouldn’t be penalized for loyalty.” That is the way to retain good employees.

      1. Artemesia*

        When I got re-hired after a merger that had lopped off my department, it was at my previous salary which was hilariously low compared to sanity and the new organization. (I had had a long contract workout so I never really left but moved into a new role). The boss who had hired me back into the company who was new to the organization, gave me 15% raises two years in a row which was way outside the norm — it didn’t make me rich, but brought me into some level of equity. I later directed a department and was able to do something similar to someone else whose talents had not been recognized because they were not the ones most valued but who had literally done the work that put the organization into the black. It was very satisfying to get him big raises. BUT it is very hard to get this done in organizations where the pressure is to limit raises and that do it with very small raise pools so that a large increase here will mean someone else gets nothing. It required in both my examples major social capital and lots of exception seeking and persistence. It helped that my new boss was new and valued and so had some social capital — but he sure didn’t need to spend it on me.

        1. The OTHER Other*

          This was a big peeve of mine with a former employer. Along with the “you need to leave and come back to get a big raise” mentality mentioned upthread, what they called “merit increases” often did not even cover cost of living, and quite often they were allocated equally to everyone, or at least everyone not on a PIP. When excellence and mediocrity receive the same treatment, don’t be surprised when you get more mediocrity. It was really at odds with the “we have high standards” culture they were always claiming to have.

      2. CVM*

        My job does market reviews every 3 years and raises the salary bands if needed. Early in my time here I got a large increase due to a market adjustment.

        1. JustaTech*

          My work claims that they do market reviews and that our salaries are in line with the market, but the only way that could possibly be true is if they are including salaries from some large non-profits and maybe academia.

          1. CatPrance*

            Maybe the markets they review include the pay scales in overseas factories. Those poor souls don’t get paid squat.

      3. BAgpuss*

        We do an annual salary review and look at market rates as well as individual performance, particularly for support and other non-lawyer roles (lawyers are simpler in a lot of ways as there’s a close link between salary and billing targets, but we do review them as well)

      4. Mek*

        Yep. My husband is a contractor and gave all his workers a 25% raise at the beginning of the season. They also got a 10% COL adjustment in Dec. He had to raise prices to do it, but losing a customer is easier than losing an employee.

        Hiring sucks, training sucks, we want to keep our guys. So far nobody’s quit.

      5. Prickly Cactus*

        I had been working for several years in an HR-related position for a non-profit that did not have an HR department. The organization brought in someone to form an HR department; our salaries were low so we asked for raises. The new HR person then had a compensation study done by someone who was a buddy of them We were told that our salaries were in line with those in similar roles other non-profits. HR person had a meeting with me to tell me that I did not deserve a raise based on the comp study.

        A few months later, our boss announced her intention to retire in 2 years; her role was potentially hard to fill and a transition time would be needed to get a new person to speed. HR person decided to make themself our boss to get a better handle on what we did. One of my co-workers immediately gave her two week’s notice and quit, telling us that she would not work for HR person. (HR person was a jerk.) When they started the search for someone to fill her specialized role, it became clear that the compensation for a new hire needed to be higher than previously paid to attract qualified applicants. Her position and mine were classified the same in the comp study, although the former employee was steps ahead of me due to years with the organization. Somewhere along the line, it was realized that they could not bring the new employee they chose at a higher salary than mine when we had roughly the same qualifications and experience.

        HR person called me into their office and informed me that I would see a >15% raise in my next check to bring me even with the new hire. While the raise was needed so I could pay my bills, I lost all respect for the HR person afterward.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          Transparency about compensation is one of the best parts about government jobs.

          Before you even apply you know exactly what the salary range is for the position. You also know exactly what the schedule is for raises, and how much each raise will be. If they adjust the salary range for one person, they have to adjust it for everyone in that classification. It’s not perfect – for example, updating the pay rates is a very slow process – but it’s at least fair.

      6. Ladycrim*

        That’s the opposite of what happened at my last company. We’d all been there for years. In the most recent contract negotiations, management flat-out said, “You’ve all been here so long, you’re not going to leave, so we know you’ll take whatever we offer you.” I looked around, discovered how grossly underpaid we were, and got a new job after 2 decades. Never take your employees for granted.

    2. Wendy*

      Probably part of it is because job hunting takes time and energy, and it’s thus worth something to people to not have to bother. If there’s value in you staying at your current job – even if it’s time you’re saving not having to job-hunt – your company may gamble on you being willing to take a lower salary in exchange. There’s also “the devil you know” argument: you know whether you’re unhappy at your current job or not, but if you leave there’s always chance you end up in a crappy situation that’s frustrating to get back out of. Often it’s worth staying if your current job isn’t THAT bad, right?

      This all falls apart when the job market gets super-lopsided like it is now, because a) job hunting is a lot easier, and b) more employers are being open about what salary they’re offering!

      1. Emmy Noether*

        A lot of people (including me) really despise job hunting, so it makes sense that it’s worth money to not have to do it. Most also probably never do the math on how much it’s “costing” them cumulated over the rest of their career.

        1. Lirael*

          Sometimes I interview really well and sometimes really badly and it’s stressful. Combine that with the fact that I get a lot of leeway in my current job to deal with my kid and my mental health, and even though I would like a new challenge, I’m not looking for a new job anytime soon.

          1. zero affect*

            Same. Plus I’m starting to see the glimmers of retirement on the horizon and the thought of starting over somewhere else is losing its luster. I’ve been here 15 years and have a lot of flexibility and almost no oversight.

            1. SpiderWort*

              “glimmers of retirement” may not be as bright as you think – I was in a similar position, 17 years at the same company, youngest kid in college etc. Just made the leap to a brand new company, new city, adjacent industry – *significant* pay bump. Some loss of flexibility but not much. It’s honestly the best decision I could have made. My previous company was seriously undervaluing me, and as it was a huge corporation going through multiple mergers I didn’t see that changing any time soon. Sure, there are some annoyances but overall I’m much more looking forward to the last decade or so of my career than I was before.

        2. londonedit*

          In my industry there simply aren’t very many jobs at my level, in my area of publishing, at companies I’d like to work for. On the odd occasion I see one, I might apply, but generally I’m happy where I am, I enjoy my work, I like my boss, the company has been pretty decent about everything Covid-related, they’re doing reasonably well financially, it’s stable, I can WFH full-time for the moment (and my commute is good when I am in the office) and they do give a pay rise and bonus every year. You’re never going to get a 15% pay rise in publishing, and I wouldn’t even get that if I changed jobs – salaries are fairly standard across the board and the most I could probably negotiate for a new job would be maybe 5% more than I currently earn. So on balance, it really doesn’t seem worth it to uproot myself from a decent job where I’m established and doing well just so I can maybe earn a little more money.

          1. Polly*

            I work in publishing in NYC and my experience is very different than yours. Publishing in the US must be more competitive than the UK because my raises are at least 5% a year. When I change jobs, I wouldn’t accept less than a 15% increase.

            1. londonedit*

              We got a 5% annual pay rise this year but only because inflation is insane. Most of the time it’s 2-3%. I can’t imagine earning 15% more than I do now, unless I climbed a good couple of rungs up the ladder. Just moving to another desk editor job at another publishing company isn’t going to get me an extra £5k a year.

            2. Lore*

              Wow, I want to know where you work because that’s definitely not been my experience in 20 years in Big 5 trade publishing! Director level and up, and also high profile people in public facing areas like marketing, may get bonuses that high but I’ve never seen a standard raise at 5% and up. Merit raises, yes, sometimes.

            3. MCMonkeyBean*

              Yes, I agree with the idea behind the letter… but your numbers sound much more reasonable lol. I thought at first that 15% was the “big raise.” A 150% raise is definitely not what most people are going to get by switching jobs!!! If your raise is that big, that just means you were being *hugely* underpaid before in a way that I think goes well beyond what is common.

              I was underpaid when I started at my company and I had a very candid conversation with my boss where I said I know it is common that people have to leave to get big pay bumps but I really liked out company and could see myself staying there long-term. It took another year but they did get me a 12% bump which I was completely satisfied with.

              1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

                150% is actually not that unreasonable in certain tech industry situations. I’m not saying it’s *common*, but not unheard of in certain situations. Let’s say you’ve started as a junior help desk type person in a relatively low paying sector.

                We’ll say that straight after graduating, you get a help desk job at your local junior college that you just graduated from. Important things to consider here: you’re in a low paying sector (education), in a lower than average paying part of that sector (community college), in a low COL area, and you’re very junior. In this situation it would be not all that odd for you to make as little as $10-15 an hour. So you hang out at your community college for a while. Let’s give it seven or eight years. You get promotions, you get merit raises, but it’s all based around your already artificially low salary. By the end of seven years you’ve developed good all around technical skills, and you now make $25 an hour. It’s a decent living in your little town, but you aren’t getting rich by any stretch

                On a whim, you apply for a job as a senior systems admin in Boston with a hot startup. It’s hard to find skilled systems people right now, so even though you’ll be remote they interview and hire you. They offer you a typical salary for that kind of role in the “Hot Boston Startup” sector of say $115K a year. About 120-130% of your current salary. I have literally seen this happen.

                The tech sector is weird, because while it is a “sector”, and usually pays well, it’s also a “profession” and many people that practice that profession are not in the “sector”. Hospitals, universities, local governments, they all pay tech people better than they pay say, admin staff, but they rarely pay as well as startups or research groups. Plus they tend to be pretty stingy with raises.

                1. Grateful*

                  This exact thing happened to me this year (except I didn’t start at help desks – I fell into managing applications and dev work). My brother saw the type of work I was doing (he’s in tech) and said I was absolutely getting underpaid and needed to start applying to positions in the tech industry. He was right – I increased my pay by 100%, work from home, get unlimited pto, and great benefits. I’m insanely grateful that my brother pushed me to branch out and that he also recognized my value. It was life changing on so many fronts.

                2. Willis*

                  Not arguing at all with the plausibility of your example, but I don’t think it really fits the idea presented in the question (which I realize is based on a meme, so grain of salt…). It absolutely makes sense for your hypothetical person to take the higher level, higher paying job in a different sector and market, assuming they want that. But it also absolutely makes sense that the a low COL community college is not going to match that salary! It doesn’t make them dense or bad at math or whatever the OP asks about. It just means that there are inherent differences in salary in different industry sectors, geographies, etc.

                3. Clisby*

                  Getting a new salary that’s 130% of your current salary means a 30% raise, not a 130% raise. The OP mentioned a 150% raise.

                  So if OP was making $30,000, a 150% raise would mean the raise itself was $45,000, getting them to $75,000. Good for you if you can get it.

                4. Lizzo*

                  Any sort of salary gains in a situation that requires a move from a small town to a big city are going to be eaten up by the astronomical increase in cost of living, especially if the big city in question is Boston.

                5. TheRain'sSmallHands*

                  I’ve even see people who are already in six figures a year in high demand niches (like Microservices Architect) get hired away for 100%+ raises. There are just so few of those people and they already are highly paid. They are often moving between the vendor/consulting/client triad.

                  A few years ago (I don’t know what the market is like now) Security Architects and really good Info Sec people could jump for that sort of raise as well.

                  But setting some expectations here – these are people who are like athletes – there are a ton of low level people capable of hitting a baseball, there are a few few guys who are going to be getting million dollar a year contracts in the major leagues – and since IT is not baseball, everyone at that level is a free agent able to jump for a pay increase.

                  And I was talking to my sister, the nursing administrator…..Nurses over the last year who could (because they didn’t have young kids or other obligations) quit in droves to do travel nursing for 2 or 3 times the salary, plus a housing allowance and per diem.

                6. LinuxSystemsGuy*

                  Okay, so I’m going to reply to several replies at once, since we can’t nest any deeper anyway.

                  1) Yeah, I screwed up the wording on that. My hypothetical *raise* was 120-130%.

                  2) Sure, I didn’t mean to imply that 150% raises are common in the tech industry from changing jobs. You likely need to switch into an industry where pay is higher, and might need to move a higher COL area, BUT

                  3) You don’t necessarily need to move these days, especially in the tech industry. While I live near Boston, many my coworkers of coworkers do not, and we have the same pay bands. My hypothetical person did not need to move (I said as much). They’re also being paid on the low end for a senior systems person in Boston. Win-win (in case it isn’t clear, my hypothetical person isn’t all that hypothetical. We hired them at my last job more or less)

                  4) And to the person saying they’ve seen skilled people hired away at 100% raise even when well paid to start with… Yep. Definitely a thing. Tech people in general at my level are hard to find. If you can prove you’re one of the real (“I literally wrote the book on the topic”) rock star people? Yeah, the sky is the limit on what the right company will offer you.

                  Finally, congrats Grateful! I’ve been trying to convince my brother to move out of his niche tech job. He’s in a decently large niche in a larger city, so he’s not likely to double his salary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could get a 50% raise.

              2. The OTHER Other*

                My eyebrows shot up at those numbers, too. If someone can go from a $40k job to $100k, more power to them, but I’m not under the impression most people are choosing between that and a “mere” 15% increase. Maybe the OP put up exaggerated #’s to illustrate the point, or maybe they are in a very high-inflation economy.

      2. Allonge*

        Yes, I have seen this a lot: companies in the end say ‘go ahead and find that other job with the much better salary then’. And most people in a lot of circumstances value some level of stability, have other things to spend time on, and so they stay.

        This is not even that egregious sometimes: if the company pays reasonably, is an ok environment, and takes care to get rid of people who are harmful to others or don’t pull their own – well, it’s not like you can do anything to ensure everyone good will stay forever, right? It’s not the best business model, but there is worse.

      3. JSPA*

        Plus–as many people are finding out–some excellent-on-paper jobs are open because their top people are bad and entrenched, and the job leaver was thrilled to escape.

        Even if you don’t love your job, “the devil you know” has to enter the calculus on some level.

        Full 150% is therefore not reasonable, if it’s otherwise a good workplace… but neither is a 15% cap.

      4. Anya Last Nerve*

        Agree – salary isn’t the only metric to consider for a job. And often, jobs that are offering a much higher salary are doing so for a reason (such as it’s such a hateful job they have to throw buckets of cash at people to take it). A coworker jumped jobs 1.5 years ago for a massive raise and now he’s miserable and trying to come back – a higher salary doesn’t always mean higher job satisfaction.

        1. quill*

          Also in cases where people would have to move someplace else to take a new job, there are often a lot of hidden costs: housing (and however much that costs where you’re going) partners’ jobs, community, schools, etc.

      5. Elizabeth West*

        more employers are being open about what salary they’re offering

        Not really. It’s not in most job posts, I still have to ask, and I still get vague answers like “We don’t really have a range.” Yes, Virginia, you do, and stop requiring me to say what salary I want without telling me what the job pays.

        1. CatPrance*

          Sounds like an endless Alphonse-and-Gaston: “Do, please, go ahead.” “No, I insist — you first.” “I appreciate the suggestion but, really, you first.” “Oh, I couldn’t possibly — please, you go first.”

          How do you resolve it? Announce that a couple of million would make you happy but you’re willing to consider other amounts?

          1. SpiderWort*

            If it’s a company large enough to have grades / salary bands I like to ask what grade the position is (if it isn’t obvious) and what the median is for that grade. You can usually get at least a ballpark answer.

      6. TrainerGirl*

        This is so true! I spoke to a recruiter this week (for a company that recently raised their salary cap for corporate positions), and I asked what the range was for the position. She asked me what I was making, and I said “You first”. And then shut my mouth and waited. It got awkward for about 10 seconds, but I got the info. I wonder how that would have gone over pre-pandemic.

    3. Susan Calvin*

      Leadership at my current (last day! whoop!) employer, also a global tech giant, has decided this “leaving and returning at a higher salary” thing would be best circumvented by issuing a blanket no-rehiring policy. And yesm their annual raises are an absolute joke.

      1. AnonInTech*

        Whoa. I also work at a tech giant and I haven’t heard about any no-rehire policies. My last company goes so far as to run alumni events to maintain connections, in hopes of luring previous employees back during a future job search.

        1. Susan Calvin*

          It’s completely wild. You basically have to get personal approval from almost all the way up the food chain. Even if it’s in a position we desperately need to fill, and the person left on good terms. Ostensibly, this policy came about because of corporate espionage perpetrated by rehires, of which there were a grand total of two cases in the multi-decade company history (to the best of my knowledge).

      2. Berkeleyfarm*

        Oh, what fun! That’s one way to deal with the problem, I guess.

        At one point in Silicon Valley history, at least one CEO was annoyed that a lot of their employees were leaving to work at other tech giants, so they worked out a “no mutual hiring” agreement.

        When this news came out I was completely unshocked to hear it even though I hadn’t worked for one of the valley “players”. My group had lost many of our skilled networking employees to one of them because our mutual boss was a classic Bad Boss (insulting, undermining, backstabbing). Instead of coaching the boss up or laterally moving him, they decided to sic the lawyers on said tech giant and claim “intellectual property”. They had a loooonnnnng conference call and got a “no hire” agreement.

        (Kicker? We were a governmental agency. No real IP involved.)

    4. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I think some employers really can’t compete with the higher salaries in their market/region or industry, but most absolutely can. They just won’t.

    5. Iris Eyes*

      I could see some business benefit to encourage working for competitors and gaining more diverse experience and possibly keep a steady stream of information about what others in the industry are working on.

      1. Chirpy*

        My company’s CEO’s child, who is almost certain to eventually inherit the business, is currently working at another company specifically to get management experience and therefore new ideas outside of my company.

    6. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      I left a company 2.5 years ago, and I was just hired back with a 60% pay increase over what I was making when I left.

      If I had stayed I could have worked until retirement and never even come close to what I’m making now, it’s truly bonkers.

    7. Momma Bear*

      My biggest pay increases have been from changing companies. Sometimes they only recognize your “value” when you’re gone, I guess?

      1. No Longer Looking*

        Nearly always I’d say, with the exception of companies that provide 5-figure bonuses. I’m 50 and I have yet to see anyone get a merit raise higher than 5%.

    8. Koalafied*

      Am I the only one who thinks BOTH of those figures are way off?? A 50% increase switching jobs wouldn’t be uncommon, especially someone who stagnated at one company and their salary didn’t keep pace with the market, but 150%?! I don’t think it’s at all typical to more than double your salary even if it happens to some people? And the typical raise when staying at a company is a far cry from 15%! I think the average raise (at least prepandemic, since everything is weird now) was more like 3-5%?

      1. quill*

        It might make more sense on the lower end of the scale? Like, if someone goes from $12 / hour to $30 / hr because the new job took them out of the “entry level” pay scale in an area with low wages to an area with higher wages, I could imagine it. But at that point you’re already being paid so low that a 15% increase would be less than $2/hr. (And yes, I have in past years seen very similar jobs advertised for $12-15 and $25/30 per hour. Perks of job hunting in the midwest, look at jobs for quality control in a rural county and find the payout half of what it would have been in an urban county. No wonder the lower paying job was always hiring…)

      2. Gumby*

        Yep, there has been a pretty big jump in recent months, but the Employment Cost Index is still under 6% for most job categories. Of course, that looks at salaries as a whole rather than at a particular individual’s raise but 15% is fairly out of the norm for an annual increase in my experience (and mostly comes with a promotion as well).

        https://www.bls.gov/news.release/eci.t09.htm
        Well, and the other tables here – https://www.bls.gov/news.release/eci.toc.htm – I just reference table 9 for a few of my tasks.

    9. A Feast of Fools*

      When I worked in tech sales at the world’s largest software company, my grand- and great-grandbosses were essentially thrilled when someone who had left for a higher salary were hired back at an even higher salary. They straight up said they preferred for the competition to spend *their* time and money training people. It was wild.

    10. Just Another Techie*

      In tech reasonable turnover is a good thing — you don’t want your engineering culture to get ossified. Bringing in new hires at the mid to senior level, and cycling people around the industry, is really helpful for shaking people out of a rut.

  2. Alex Beamish*

    LW #4: Yup — people are picky about their names. I met one lady a while who was called .. let’s say Elizabeth White. It was not Liz, Beth or Eliza .. it was Elizabeth. Period. You have to respect that.

    1. muffins*

      Absolutely agree, it shouldn’t make a difference to anyone if your name is local/familiar to them or not. I used to work with a Jonathan who was never under ANY circumstances John. And no one ever has any issues remembering it.

      1. VLookupsAreMyLife*

        My partner is Jonathan & gets “John” ALL THE TIME. It’s surprising to me how many people take the liberty of shortening someone’s name without asking.

        1. Joanne*

          Yes, I get this a lot too where people shorten my name to Jo. To be honest I don’t particularly mind, but I have noticed that people sometimes default to Jo without asking me what I prefer or what I go by.

        2. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

          People are SO disrespectful about names in the…name…of “I’m just being friendly/Your name’s too hard!” My name is a very rare name that’s just one letter off from being a very common name (think Darlane vs Darlene, as an example.) I’m used to people assuming they misheard or misread and my name is actually Caroline and having to correct them.

          But I have run into SO many people who refuse to call me anything but Darlene because Darlane is “too hard to remember.” A huge number of these people have been teachers in grade school who would cause me trouble if I didn’t let them do it. Somehow I was being “disrespectful” for wanting be called my actual name, but they weren’t being disrespectful for refusing to do so. And here I thought teachers were supposed to be all FOR learning new things.

          And in the past few years, there’s been this disturbing but increasing trend of people knowing my name isn’t Darlena, but choosing to call me that anyway. I don’t get it, but it’s happened at multiple jobs now! Darlene I understand, but why add the extra sound at the end??

          Seriously, just call people what they tell you their name is, and ask if you’re ever unsure. It’s not that hard to just respect someone’s identity!

          As a tangent, I have a Peruvian aunt who married into the family (died some years back). Her name was Jacinta. Her mother-in-law said upon meeting her, “That foreign name’s too hard to remember, so I’m gonna call you Sue.” My aunt didn’t know much English and didn’t really have a lot of power to push back, so it stuck. My whole life, everyone’s been calling her Sue. Her gravestone even says Sue. As a kid, I could never explain why it felt so “bad” to me that people wouldn’t let this woman have her own name, except that I knew I hated people not letting me have mine. As an adult, I can see how gross it is, not just stripping away a person’s name without consent, but an immigrant woman of color at that. (I learned her true name very young, and always used it, and got made fun of for using her proper name.)

          1. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

            Wow, even my phone’s in on it! I didn’t notice it autocorrupted Darlene to Caroline there.

              1. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

                Haha, I guess Caroline’s the AAM office busybody–always sticking her nose into threads where she doesn’t belong!

          2. Michelle*

            I have some relatives who are Hispanic and until recently lived in a rural small town in TX. One of the girls had a teacher who insisted on Anglicizing her name to “Catherine.” That is not her name, but not only did the teacher insist on calling her that, she insisted that the girl had to write “Catherine” on her school work instead of her correct name because, “This is America, we speak English here.”

            The weird part is that even though the teacher was clearly being racist because they are Hispanic (many other comments were made, so that is not in question), her real name is actually Irish.

            1. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

              Oh, my god, teachers being all powertrippy always sets my off rage-o-meter because I saw so much of it growing up and it was always harmful to the kids, but adding in racism on top of that? That poor child! That teacher and I would have many, many words, and none of mine could be repeated here.

            2. StephChi*

              This is my first time commenting (longtime lurker) because I just had to. I’m a teacher in a school that’s 90% immigrant/children of immigrants. What the hell is wrong with that teacher? I ask students at the beginning of the year what they want to be called, since some have nicknames they prefer, but I’d never just give a name to a kid because I’d rather call them something else. It’s not difficult to call a student what they want to be called.

          3. Doctors Whom*

            Oh my god this.

            My brother’s name is Liam. We were born before the era of Liam Neeson and lots of kids being named Liam, but it is not that hard when the parents TELL you how to prounce it and write it down.
            This kid was CONSTANTLY being harassed by teachers and sent to the principal’s office because his method, even as a child was to say twice “Excuse me but my name is pronounced Lee-um” and then with the third mispronunciation he would refuse to answer.

            Things he was called:

            Lime
            Lyman
            Leon
            (my personal “favorite”) Luh-nee-mum

            I remember my parents calling conferences with teachers and administrators and this being a neverending battle. And them telling principals that it was perfectly reasonable for him not to respond when they were NOT calling his name.

            Now that he is middle-aged, everyone can pronounce his name.

            1. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

              Ugh, it is heartbreaking how often teachers are the worst offenders. I am so in awe of both your brother and your parents for enforcing boundaries! (My parents–you know, the ones who GAVE me my name–told me I was the one being unreasonable for not wanting to get into trouble when I expected teachers to get my freaking name right.)

          4. BoopSnoots*

            Ughhhh teachers with weird power trips are the worst. I had an English teacher who refused to pronounce my name right because it didn’t follow “proper English spelling rules” despite it being pronounced the same as a common English word. The closest example I can come up without using my real name would be something like “Snakke” being pronounced “snack” but insisting on calling me “snake”.

            1. Not Your Or Anyone's Darlena*

              The bad-actor teachers pull crap like this, then wonder why so many people grow up to have no respect for teachers or education. :/ I’ve kinda always wanted to teach, but the egos put me right off. Too many people (like my awful sister) go into teaching because they take pleasure in having authority over a large group of people, and enjoy exercising that authority according to their personal whims and biases, rather than what’s best for the students. I once (VERY briefly) dated a college professor who told me he thought it was hilarious to give his students pop tests on material they hadn’t covered yet when he was having a bad day. Put that on the loooong list of things I wish I’d known about him before I started dating him….

              1. voluptuousfire*

                Yes! I had a homeroom teacher in 6th grade who would get into a daily scrap with one of the students when calling roll call in the morning. The boy’s name was Jeff and just Jeff–not Jeffery or Geoffrey, just Jeff. Jeff was his legal name. For some reason, our teacher insisted it was Jeffery and would argue with him every morning and nearly came to blows. Jeff was always an asshole and was fantastic at pushing people’s buttons but this was the one case where he didn’t do that! Can you picture a middle-aged man nearly getting into a fistfight with a 12 year old? Thinking about some of my middle school teachers and just how dysfunctional they were is amazing. Some of the shit I saw would have gotten a teacher fired this time around.

              2. StephChi*

                The profession needs people like you. I’m a teacher, and I’d say that, while you’re always going to get a few people who don’t belong in the job (just like other kinds of jobs), most teachers aren’t like that. Anybody who becomes a teacher because they want authority over people definitely should find something else to do. Those people give the rest of us a bad name.

            2. JustaTech*

              I had an English teacher who couldn’t/wouldn’t pronounce a classmate’s name correctly. Like, just decided to use a different vowel, for no good reason. This girl was very sweet and kind of shy and just gave up on correcting the teacher, but the rest of the class knew it bothered her. And heck, if a bunch of 13 year olds can figure it out, why can’t a grown adult.

              So the whole class took to correcting the teacher, in unison, whenever she used the wrong name. I think it only took two classes before she got it right.

              1. Chirpy*

                Dang, I wish I’d had a class that awesome, it would have prevented SO much pain. My school all joined in because they were afraid of the teacher turning on them too.

          5. EngineeringFun*

            I’m a Christie. No N. No seriously HR my legal name is Christie. Yes my mother named me a nickname spelled like a last name. Nope it’s not Kristen or Chrissy.

            1. Christina*

              Christina. Not Christine. Not Chris. Not Chrissy. Not Christie. I feel your pain.

              And I’m from the era of Christine being a very popular girls name. Twenty some years later, little girls were running around with an a on the end of it, but when and where I grew up, it was all Christines.

          6. Lizzo*

            I once listened to a friend’s husband, who I have always known as Pablo, describe how when he came to the United States for graduate school, people found it too difficult to call him by his actual name, which is Paolo, so he just became known as Pablo. It sounded like he was okay with this, but…maybe he had just (reluctantly) accepted it after decades of having to go by Pablo? Breaks my heart.

            1. CatPrance*

              Now, I can understand someone with a polysyllabic name and perhaps an unusual combination of consonants (I’m looking at you, Northern Europe) might decide to shorten their name, or alter it somewhat to keep it from getting butchered — but Paolo?

              Well, maybe it was exotic at the time. And some people do get spooked by unusual words. That’s a shame. I’ve always liked the name Paolo.

              1. Lizzo*

                I think the “ao” together can be…challenging for brains of native English speakers? I do actually have another friend Paolo and for the first several years I knew him I was terrified that I was going to screw up the pronunciation. But I never asked him if I could call him by a different name to make my life easier.

          7. It really is Daettia*

            Totally understand on the name thing! Mine is a family name (and I am using it here, bold of me) and is not pronounced the way it’s spelled AT ALL (no, it is not Day-eh-tee-ah, it looks that way though; it’s actually Day-eh-tah). All of my teachers through my entire academic career, from K through university, pronounced it the first way but most corrected themselves or used the nickname I asked them to (Day). I had one teacher in elementary who refused to believe that I knew how to pronounce my own name and insisted on a parent teacher conference to discuss my “attitude.” That went about…

            Teacher: Well, Day-eh-tee-ah is a great student but–
            Mom: It’s pronounced Day-eh-tah.
            Teacher: …
            Mom: …really? That’s why we’re here?

            More recent years have brought on folks pronouncing it as Dye-eh-tah… and that’s close enough sometimes LOL. Better than the teacher in freshman year of HS who pronounced it Daytreena. Still have no clue where the goddamn “r” and “n” came from…

            1. A Feast of Fools*

              No lie, I would have pronounced it “dye-ee-shuh” or “dye-shuh” if I’d only seen it in print and not heard it pronounced.

              But seeing your phonetic spelling? Yeah, I would absolutely be able to say “day-eh-tah” after learning how you pronounce your name.

              I mean, my team’s admin is “Ah-nuh” and my dad’s girlfriend is “An-uh” even though their names are both spelled Anna.

          8. Chirpy*

            I absolutely feel this. My name isn’t even long and people will still weirdly shorten it “because it’s too hard”. Call people by the name they tell you, it’s really basic respect.

            1. LilPinkSock*

              And that’s why some people refuse to pronounce or spell names correctly—it’s a blatant display of disrespect. I had a boss like that and when I corrected her she said “I don’t care, I don’t have time to worry about something so stupid” and wrote me up.

        3. Need More Sunshine*

          On the flip side, my partner’s given name is John, not Jonathan, and some people insist on calling him the longer name, even after asking him what he prefers!

          1. Elle Woods*

            A good friend’s name is Becky, not Rebecca, Becky. The number of times I’ve heard her have to tell people over the years that it’s Becky not Rebecca is crazy.

            1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

              I use a nickname as my common name that is not a usual one for my name but is a name in its own right. (if I were a Jonathan, I would go by Nathan, for example). For whatever reason, even though it is an actual name, people get confused and I get called all kinds of weird combinations of the two. To be clear, I have never used my full name in any setting, but if anyone sees it on an official document it is suddenly A Thing.

            2. KRM*

              My dad was ‘Jack’ and everyone thought his given name was John, but nope. He had to correct people often.

          2. Jay*

            I have spent a lot of my life explaining that my name is not Jennifer. It’s also not spelled Jenny, so I have to correct the spelling regularly. People think it’s too familiar to call me by a nickname when we’ve just met, especially if we’re at work and they’re junior to me.

            The proctor at the SAT refused to believe I had indeed entered my full name on the form, and the woman who issued our marriage license insisted it couldn’t be my legal name no matter what my driver’s license said.

            My grandmother’s name was Cherry and she found out in her 50s that her school records from first grade said “Charlotte” because the teacher did not think “Cherry” was a decent name (this was 1910). She also did not have a birth certificate and in those days (early 1950s) she was allowed to use her school records to get a passport, and so her passport said “Charlotte.”

          3. Sasha*

            My husband has this! His name is Finnish, and is similar to a nickname for a common Anglo name (think Benji/Benjamin). He gets called the incorrect long Anglo name all. the. time, because people think his actual name is too pally or something

        4. Jora Malli*

          I have a name that can be shortened by using either the first half or the last half, but the first half is more common. Think Christina, where you can shorten it to Chris or Tina, but most people use Chris. I use Tina, but So Many People try to call me Chris and it drives me up the wall.

          OP, I think the key is just to be consistent and keep calmly stating the name you prefer. And don’t feel awkward about saying it in front of a group.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Elizabeth is that way. If anyone shortens it, I prefer Liz. Only one person has ever called me Beth: a creepy guy in my college apartment complex who, despite my repeatedly telling him I don’t go by that name, insisted on calling me Beth because “it’s special.” Now if anyone calls me that, I pull them up short IMMEDIATELY.

            My biggest struggle with it, however, is that it’s my middle name and I have to tell people not to use my legal first name. We literally just had to do that in my dad’s obituary. >_<

            1. Lizzo*

              Oh hello there! I, too, have a creepy guy in my past who insisted on calling me Lizzie. Nope, that’s not my name.
              Actually, there’s been more than one creepy guy who has done this, and they’ve all received a proportional amount of rage from me when they continue to use that diminutive which, as I said, is not my name. Subsequently I get called a b**ch. Fun times.

              1. whingedrinking*

                I once saw a play in which there was a character named Virginia, and another character out of nowhere calls her “Ginny”. She responds with, “I do *so* love it when men decide to name me”, and I almost stood up and cheered at that line.

            2. I Am Not a Lawyer*

              Yeah, apparently it is Extremely Weird to be an Elizabeth who goes by her full name. I get “Liz” from total strangers All. The. Time. I’ve had vendors out of nowhere call me Lizzie (here’s a tip, if you’re trying to get business from someone, don’t rename them). The older I get the crankier it makes me.

        5. quill*

          I have people add to my name without asking, which is at least a novel experience. (Short, unusual name that COULD be a nickname for about 200 other moderately popular feminine names, but is not.)

        6. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          I always look at their signature block. If you sign messages “John”, I’ll refer to you as John, otherwise it’s whatever your full name is.

          1. Anonymous Hippo*

            I will say, on the opposite spectrum, I work with a guy whose name is Dave/David, and he seems not not care at all which one is used, to the point HE uses different ones on a day to day basis.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              My dad is like this. He’s named Michael, and so, apparently, were about half of the other little boys born around 1950. He seems to be fine with some people calling him Mike and some people calling him Michael, and it’s probably because of spending his life trying to keep the various Michaels disambiguated in each new social context by various name and nickname schemes. (In college, he ended up with a nickname unrelated to his name, because he was in a dude-heavy engineering program and there were so many Michaels that most of them apparently ended up with unrelated nicknames. I saw a similar thing happen to the 5 Bens I went to a less than 200 person high school with.)

          2. TrixM*

            Alas, we have a Matthew in a different team, and he never, ever signs his own name on emails and I’ve never seen a full signature block.
            What’s even more confusing is that it’s acceptable to go by a nickname in the corporate directory, but some people simply don’t for whatever reason, even though they do use a nickname day to day.
            On the third hand, all his colleagues address him as Matt, while his boss addresses him as Matty. But I know of plenty of instances where close colleagues use the wrong name out of ignorance or “inheriting” it, so that doesn’t help.
            I had one senior colleague once whose last name was Tsui, but literally everyone in the (Australian) office pronounced as “Tsooee”. I mean, I get why it’s confusing, and sometimes people are from families that have been in an anglophone country for generations, so they just use the mispronounciation.
            One day, in front of a bunch of people, including his boss, I asked casually, “Fergus, I keep meaning to ask, is your last name pronounced ‘Choi'”? Cue expression of surprised relief on his face as he confirmed it indeed was, and some chagrined expressions among the onlookers.
            So I was able to correct people if his name came up when he wasn’t around, and it was also good to be able to do the ”yeah, some Chinese transliteration is confusing for anglophones, but the modern system isn’t actually based on the English spelling system” lecture, so poor Fergus didn’t have to put up with “it’s so weird” comments too. I also suspect my linguistics digression helped the lesson stick – ‘Choi’ got around pretty quickly in the end. (Even that’s an approximation, but it’s still better than being completely wrong.)

      2. Midwestern Scientist*

        It’s wild to me how many people are comfortable shortening/changing other people’s names without their consent. To me, this just seems super rude. If there’s a pronunciation issue, it’s far more respectful to ask them to coach you through it rather than just giving up. One of the best things my youth pastor did was start every interaction with new people by telling them that she was bad with names and explicitly encouraging them to correct her if she got it wrong. In a situation with the power dynamics being what they were (young people correcting an older person also in a position of authority) it was very helpful in giving us space to assert ourselves

        1. AnonEMoose*

          I haven’t had as many issues in recent years, but when I was a Cute Young Thing (TM), people used to shorten my name without asking All. The. Time. I have one of those names that’s not terribly unusual where I live, maybe considered a bit old-fashioned now. It also has umpteen nicknames/shortened versions (along the lines of “Elizabeth.”) And I absolutely loathe being called ANY of them. I go by Full First Name, always.

          It would often go something liked this:
          Me: “Nice to meet you, I’m (Full First Name).”
          Them: “Hi, (Nickname!)”
          Me (trying not to wince visibly): “I go by (Full First Name).”
          Them: “But that’s so formal!” “But I’m just trying to be friendly!” “It’s not a big deal!”
          And on from there, me trying to be polite but firm, them insisting that I’m making way “too big a deal” out of it. If you ask me, they were the one making a big deal, when they could have just accepted correction and we both could have moved on.

          I finally came to the conclusion that it was a power thing…unfortunately for both of us, they chose an issue on which I was NOT going to give in, because I truly HATE being called anything but “full first name,” unless we’re actually close, in which case endearments like “dear, love” etc. are fine. That it’s tapered off now that I’m getting older kind of confirms my “it’s a power thing” theory, at least for me.

          1. Darsynia*

            This ‘formality’ shaming bugs me so much! I had someone ask me if I truly loved my husband if I wasn’t using the nickname version of his name! YES, actually, I DO, and that’s why I call him the name he prefers.

      3. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        I feel differently about this. I automatically introduce myself with a shortened version of my name, if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t speak any or much of my native language. It’s something they can consistently pronounce right and I know who they are talking about. However, it annoys me greatly when native speakers decide by themselves to shorten it.

    2. Scarlet Magnolias*

      Yup, my name is Lesley, and I had one person that shortened it to “Les”. Only my brother gets away with that and he still uses my maiden name when he calls my library. The person’s name was Robert so I called him “Bobby”. He would correct me and I would correct him until he finally got it right

    3. Please Don't Call Me Al*

      Only family has used my nickname – similar to “Allie” instead of “Allison.” When I started working at my medium-sized firm six years ago, one of the partners called me Allie. I was somewhat taken aback because it had never happened during my 20 years of professional work and didn’t correct him. Up until a few months ago, this partner was the only one to call me Allie, but it began to spread (which made me paranoid that the partner was talking about me). I caught my assistant calling me Allie yesterday and I stopped and asked her what prompted her to use the nickname. She apologized and said it was just a means of expressing affection. I politely told her that Allie was out-of-bounds and I would prefer Allison. Lesson learned: nip it in the bud when it first happens.

      Of course, there is a downside to having a name that features in a popular song. For the four years that I worked at my last firm, one partner would begin crooning every time he saw me. I loathe that song.

      1. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

        My name is Barbara Ann, but I only go by Barbara. Most people don’t know my middle name. But the CEO of a former employer always called me Barbara Ann, and he is the only person in the world who did. It’s a mystery to me because he can’t have heard anyone else call me that.

        1. Jo*

          I would think he’s just referencing The Beach Boys song right? Maybe he didn’t even know that really was your name

        2. It's Growing!*

          Is it possible that your CEO grew up in S. CA in the 50s-60s? Barbara Ann bread was definitely a thing. I’m guessing there was some sort of jingle to their advertising since I still remember it well. It was one of those breads that you could squash a slice into a ball and bounce it.

      2. You don’t even know the French words.*

        Oh dear God the number of times I had to hear “Meeeeeechelle… my belle..” when I was younger. Ugh.

        I just accepted that, but the one time someone called me Shelly I went off the deep end.

        1. JustaTech*

          When my brother was 3 or 4 someone attempted to call him by the other standard nickname for his name (like Bob rather than Rob) and he absolutely lost it.
          “That Is NOT My Name!”
          I’ve never seen an adult back down to a preschooler so fast.

        2. KISS fan, but not THAT song*

          Elizabeth goes by Beth here. Songs can be so annoying. I can’t even guess the number of times I’ve had to deal with the KISS version of my name. Even my ex-husband was a pain about it.

        3. Yup, another Jennifer*

          I got “Jennifer Juniper” all. the. dang. time. when I was growing up. But hey, at least I only went to school with ONE Jennifer (me).

        4. Yes, You're the First to Sing That to Me*

          You, too, huh?

          The worst was how clever each person (usually a man) thought they were when singing it to me.

          But I suppose it’s better than being called Melissa, which has happened about as often as I’ve been called Michael. I’m a one-L Michele, and people’s brains seem to lock up without the other L.

        5. Fresh Cut Grass*

          My grandmother wound up going by Liz because she was sick of people joking around her being Alice Cooper.

      3. GD Cough Drops*

        My given name is Nicola. I spent YEARS dealing with those horrible ads for the Ricola cough drops, where the guy kind of yodel/sings the name at the end. A payroll clerk in a job eons ago wouldn’t give me my paycheck until she’d SUNG MY NAME LIKE THAT …EVERY. TWO. WEEKS. And also, it’s not a long O sound, my name does not rhyme with Coca-Cola. Honestly, I’d have preferred an actual song; but I get where you’re coming from!

          1. GD Cough Drops*

            The worst part is – they’re actually really good cough drops!! But I HATE those ADS! LOL

        1. Suzanne (not Susan)*

          And yet for 2022, Jennifer only comes in at #651 on the popularity chart, while Jenny is way down at #2080. In 1974, Jennifer was #1. My daughter’s class usually had at least 2 or 3 Jennifers. My class in the 50s had at least 3 Susans (#5 in 1951, #2818 in 2021).

    4. John Smith*

      Two colleagues who take the same approach:. Colleague 1 will immediately correct someone if a shortened name is used (my name is Johnathon, not John). Colleague 2…. Well, she has an email signature “Elizabeth Jones, not otherwise know as Liz/Beth”. Doesn’t always go down well, but I’ve yet to hear anyone refer to her except by her full first name.

      You’re not being rude or weird by asking people to use your real or preferred name. Just be firm, polite and smile when doing so.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I hate when people shorten a name without permission! But it especially mystifies me when people do it to an Elizabeth. There are at least 20 nicknames based on Elizabeth in English alone. How do you know you’re choosing the right one? (Assuming she does use a nickname.)

        My name IRL is 2 syllables & ends with a “y,” yet some people feel compelled to drop off the final sound. I hate it, but it does tell me a lot about the person who does it.

        1. All the Words*

          So many variations it even got a riddle poem!

          Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess,
          They all went together to seek a bird’s nest;
          They found a bird’s nest with five eggs in,
          They all took one, and left four in.

          Sincerely,
          Susan (not Sue, Susie or Suzanne). And yes, I assertively correct people.

          1. Another Susan*

            Why do people have so much trouble with Susan? And why on Earth do they think it’s Suzanne??

            1. Suzanne (not Susan)*

              And how difficult is it to distinguish Susan and Suzanne? I make exceptions for French speakers who don’t seem to hear the difference and go with Susan for both and Spanish speakers who go with Susanna. English speakers? Please.

        2. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

          Exactly! If I want you to use a shortened version, I’ll TELL YOU.
          I’m “Catherine”. Not Cathy, not Cath, not Cate. Ca-ther-ine.

          The only people that get a pass on that are a handful of family members that its not worth the effort to fight them over.

          1. Database Developer Dude*

            There are two Catherines in this club I belong to. One is Catherine, the other is Katherine. Catherine prefers to be called Cathy. Katherine is just Katherine. Nothing else. I don’t see why we can’t respect that. It’s their names.

    5. MistOrMister*

      We have 3 Elizabeth’s at my office and one lady who I cannot for the life of me figure out if Beth is her first name or not (long story but some documents have an M as her 1st initial so maybe Beth is her middle name or a nickname). So we have a Liz, Elizabeth and 2 Beths. For a while some people who didn’t know one of the Beth’s well kept referring to her as Liz and I was always confused because Liz doesn’t do anywhere near the same kind of work. It was very frustrating to me. These people all introduce themselves and sign their emails with their preferred name – it is not in any way difficult to use the version of the name a person wants you to use!

      Also personally, I go by my full name with just about everyone and then family (and close friends if they prefer) call me by my shortened name. I have never had anyone in a work setting shorten my name unless I had given them the ok. But I did, years ago, have a friend who would introduce me that way and I hated it. I don’t like people I don’t know very well calling me that. Ick!!

      1. UKDancer*

        I’ve known a Bethan and a Bethany and they both went by Beth. If it begins with an M it could be Marybeth? My friend Bethany said she hated it when people assumed it was short for Elizabeth and tried to call her that.

        I’m also someone who doesn’t shorten their 4 syllable name so tend to just say “I prefer Isabella, please don’t shorten it.” If people ignore me and shorten it anyway I am firmer about it. Even my family don’t shorten it. I do have a nickname that my parents use but nobody else does and it’s not terribly dignified so I’d not use it professionally.

    6. Hollywood Handshake*

      Yup. My mom is Patricia, and she will tell people straight out that she will not answer to Patty or Pat. Some people still try, but she gently reminds them every time. They get it eventually.

      1. Tricia*

        I”m with your mom – another Patricia that doesn’t go by Pat or Patty. In my family it’s Tricia but at work it’s only Patricia. I actually include it in my welcome to the team email. When I first started at my job (entry level) I was less firm about it and some people took liberties and shortened my name without asking. Since I’ve started moving up in the organization, I’ve become far more firm. I find myself having to push back – a lot – with, “I go by Patricia.” when people who don’t know me call me Pat.

    7. Meow*

      My name is Elizabeth, that’s what I prefer to go by and always tell people that – and they shorten it anyway! It’s like if a name is more than 2 syllables it’s too much for people. I’ve just given up and made a game of seeing what strange nicknames people come up with for me, and which ones spread. The latest one at my workplace seems to be just “E”, which is disappointingly lazy.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I like when people call me E but since I usually go by Liz, it’s not normal for people to remember that my first initial is E. (And my last name starts with W, and I get an unnatural amount of joy when I get to initial official documents with EW. Yes, I’m 12.)

        I made a conscious decision when I was in high school that I wanted a short name because that was easier to deal with, but when I’m listed in concert programs, for some reason I do NOT like being just Liz. I have no idea why.

        And also I don’t really answer to Elizabeth anymore, partly because I’ve been in situations when I’m not the only Elizabeth in the room and the other Elizabeth prefers the full version of the name so I learned to just ignore it. But even with only two of us, people would still mix up which Elizabeth was which. The fact of the matter is, some people are just not good at remembering different versions of names or names that are unusual in their culture or who goes by which version of their name. It can be hard to keep track, and some people are not good at words at all, so shortening a long name may be the only way they can deal with learning an unusual name. I do try to keep all this in mind when someone calls me by the wrong name.

        Except for one orchestra conductor I had in high school who for some reason decided my name was Beth even though I’d told him I’m not Beth (never have been), I’m Liz. I was so annoyed with him, because he obviously hadn’t listened at all when I answered his question (“You’re Beth, right?” “No, I’m Liz,” was the literal conversation.) But years later, now, I can give him a pass because there were a lot of Elizabeths in that orchestra, so I can totally see how hard it would be to remember which one of us was which.

        Sorry, that was longer than I intended it to be. TL;DR: it can be hard to remember name variations!

        1. ThatGirl*

          Back in college I did an arts program in NYC for a semester and there were about 30 of us in student housing together, and I think 5 Elizabeths. So they all had different nicknames – Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Elizabeth and E.

        2. Pippin*

          Another Elizabeth here. My family calls me Beth, which is fine. Everyone else that I have met since I was about 20 knows me as Elizabeth. And many still try to call me Liz. I am not a Liz. I’d don’t mind E at all and some of my colleagues who knew me before I got married call me by my maiden name. Which is also fine-my sister gets that too-apparently our last name is fun to say??? The most unusual nickname I ever got was Ellie

        3. Lizzo*

          For at least one job, I had to have them change my email address after it had been assigned, because they were using firstinitial-lastname@job.com, and defaulted to an “E” instead of an “L” for the first initial. Thankfully IT did fix it without much fuss, though I think my boss thought I was being difficult…really glad I don’t work there anymore.

    8. anonymous73*

      Exactly. If someone has a longer name that can be shortened I always ask before I shorten it. Someone else’s comfort level is not a priority when it comes to names. Respect the person and call them what they want you to call them.

      1. EPLawyer*

        RESPECT THE NAME THEY WANT. This is so important.

        I introduce with my full name. People always ask if it I shorten it. I say no. I STILL get it shortened.

        Hubby if someone introduces with a nickname uses the full name because “that’s their name.” I am beating it into his head that you call the person what they want to be called. I swear his parents taught him nothing and his first wife didn’t care to work on him.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I read Maya Angelou’s description of “being called out of” her name when I was in high school. It’s always stuck with me, this idea that it’s not just rude or disrespectful, but that calling people by the wrong name could be seen as potentially harmful on a metaphysical level.

      2. Turtles All The Way Down*

        Right? Just check-in. “And do you prefer to go by Matthew?” “Do you go by Victoria or do you prefer a nickname?” I don’t assume they’d like it shortened. My brother pretty much exclusively goes by Matt unless our mother is talking to him, and I had a coworker once who only went by Victoria and occasionally had clients try to call her Vicky.

        If someone introduced themselves by their full name, I’ll assume that’s what they like, but ask just in case.

    9. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Used to work with a man whose name was difficult for many Americans to pronounce – even though most of us got it right because we actually made the effort to remember it.

      His grandboss used to call him by a shortened version, waving him off by saying, ‘Ah, I just can’t get it right,’ or ‘I can’t remember how to say your name,’ or some inane excuse. My coworker finally said, ‘I need to fix this, don’t I?’ and went over each syllable to ‘coach’ his grandboss. Made him repeat it a few times, like running a drill with a determined smile. Grandboss got it right from then on.

      1. Mangled metaphor*

        Unless the name is physically impossible to pronounce (e.g. it has those ‘toc’ sounds indicated in Western written language by ! that are often unreproducible by non-native tongues), or is so long you have to pause for breath halfway through, the only reason for getting someone’s name wrong more than a couple of times is sheer laziness.

        (I will offer a caveat for those people who have a genuine blindness for names, such as my mum. But she’ll forget your name in its entirety, not attempt to mispronounce it or give you a nickname you don’t agree to (besides Um…) just because it’s hard.)

        1. Elenna*

          Yeah, there are some sounds that some people just can’t pronounce (the examples that came to my mind were the rolled R’s in French/Italian/other languages in that family, and the tones of Chinese names, which people used to other languages sometimes just can’t hear). But the answer to that is to apologize and get it as close as you can, not to shrug and use some other nickname without permission!

          1. UKDancer*

            Yes. I had a Spanish colleague when I worked in a company in Brussels. I would do my best to say his name properly but couldn’t get it quite right. The way he said his name and the way I said it sounded exactly the same to me but he could hear a difference. Still he allowed I was doing my best. The problem was the colleague who refused to try and just called him the English version of his name (e.g. Henry for Enrique) to which he quite reasonably refused to answer. Team meetings were somewhat dysfunctional as a result.

            I think the point is to try one’s hardest to say the name correctly bearing in mind that some languages have particular sounds and tones that others don’t.

          2. SheLooksFamiliar*

            Exactly. My colleague knew his name was challenging for his American colleagues to pronounce, but it was reasonable to expect us to make the effort. And making the effort was/is the respectful, appropriate thing to do.

            He actually did earn a nickname later on, but it had to do with a work-related project and not his actual name. He was okay with it, too.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Yes! My name is easy for native English speakers, but I completely understand that a common sound in both my first & last name can be a challenge. I know enough about linguistics to not expect everyone to pronounce my name perfectly, but I appreciate the effort.

          3. KRM*

            I went to grad school with a girl who would yell at you if you pronounced her name wrong. Except we weren’t pronouncing it wrong, it’s just that we couldn’t roll the R right because you don’t do that in English, and it just doesn’t happen naturally. Nobody wanted to try either cause she’d yell at you for doing it ‘wrong’…even if we were like “yeah, I don’t hear that difference because of my native language vs yours”. But that was a ‘her’ problem, because we did try at first!

          4. MsSolo UK*

            Yeah, I just can’t roll my Rs, but it’s pretty obvious that I can’t do it in any situation, not name specific.

            Interestingly, the R rolling thing was much less of a problem for English speakers several generations ago – there are multiple ways to make an R sound, and whether you can roll your Rs depends on where in your mouth you make it. English is slowly cannibalising it’s Rs! https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20190315-what-a-single-sound-says-about-you

          5. Anoni-Mouse*

            My name (common in Russian-speaking countries) is actually pronounced with a rolled R, but I’ve been living in the US for over 30 years and introduce myself with the English R unless it’s to a Russian-speaker.

            My college friend Kseniya kinda gave up on people pronouncing her name correctly (the Ks combination at the beginning is hard I guess – people kept trying to stick a vowel sound in the middle of it. Also the n is pronounced “soft” like the Spanish ñ). She just got used to the closest approximation people could manage and used a fake name whenever she wanted to avoid a 15-minute discussion about it.

          1. Raboot*

            Certainly possible, and surely makes it worse for POC when in this situation. But this very much does happen to foreign white people too all the time.

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              Not just foreign. I live maybe 2 mi from my childhood home, and am surrounded by people who insert extra syllables in my and my son’s names where they don’t belong (if they’re not just shortened as in LW’s example).

              What’s in a name? rolleyes

            2. Tau*

              I’ll admit that the first thing that came to my mind when OP specified their native nickname looks unrelated to their name, like Bill/William, were Russian nicknames. Cf poor bewildered Sasha wondering why everyone was calling him Alex.

            3. Chirpy*

              Not just foreign, I grew up in an area where I am the most common ethnicity and that ethnicity/ culture is widely celebrated, with an uncommon name *from that ethnicity* that is entirely made of sounds common to English and still spent my entire life having it mangled by people who tell me it’s too hard. :p

    10. OhNoYouDidn't*

      Names are personal, and others should respect one’s wishes regarding names. My brother has a similar issue. He has a somewhat unusual version of a more common name … think Alec instead of Alex. He is constantly correcting new people who call him “Alex.” Despite being corrected, some people are serial offenders. He has found a solution that works well for those individuals. Once he’s corrected someone 4 or 5 times, if they’s still calling him “Alex,” he’ll start making up names for the other person. (OK, Bob. Thanks, Jane). When the person says, “My name’s not Bob, its, John,” my brother responds with, “I didn’t think it mattered to you because you keep calling me by the wrong name.” Works every time.

    11. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Semi-correction: SOME people are picky about their names. Some people are don’t care much what ever you call them, some people are fine with one nickname but not others (for example, OP sounds like she would be totally fine with with being called Lippa, even if she would prefer Phillipa), and some people would be delighted if you gave them an awesome nickname but don’t want their name shortened.

      So if you are being called by a version of your name you dislike, simply ask that person not to do so. Don’t assume that they are violating a universal rule on purpose, because there isn’t a universal rule that forbids modifying people’s names. There seems to be a regional one in parts of the US, but that is culturally specific and fairly recent.

      1. londonedit*

        I’d also suggest that someone introducing themselves by their name and wanting to be called by that name isn’t them being ‘picky’. It’s really not unreasonable for me to introduce myself as Bella or Alex or Jo and ask that people use that name. Even if they think my name is ‘really’ Arabella or Alexandra or Joanne. It’s my name and I’m the one who gets to choose what people call me.

        1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

          This. I’m not picky. One is my NAME. The other is what my parents called me at birth. It isn’t picky to want to be called by my identifier. I’m not a dog that you can call by any sing-song variation and I’ll come. This is who I am. For example, if I am a woman named Simon, I am not a woman named Simone, so don’t mix it up!

      2. Golden*

        Interesting, what’s the regional and recent naming rule you’re talking about?

        I just had a discussion on another forum where I mentioned that while living in the Southern US, people generally stuck to whatever name I gave them (Jenny vs Jen vs Jennifer), but in the Northeast, and people from the PNW said the same, I’ll get called Jen no matter what by both strangers and people I know.

        The reason for this is apparently naming multiple family members after the same person is more common in the South, where it is also common to live closer to relatives. So a cousin set might (extreme example) include 4 Elizabeths named after Great Granny Elizabeth, who go by Lizzy, Beth, Bee, and Eliza. So you wouldn’t just call an Elizabeth ‘Beth’, because that’s a completely different person who also lives nearby. Not sure if that’s true, but it’s what the general consensus was.

        1. Buu*

          My current firm wants to expand, but it is also being weird about raises and promotions. So people are leaving. It’s not the case in the entire company but more people are leaving than they can replace, at a time when our industry is struggling to recruit.
          Needless to say, I’m job hunting and finding issues I had with gaps in experience are no longer an issue because the market is son good. So I’m now happily job hunting and closing in on a more senior role and I suspect to replace me with my current workload they will need to hire in at the senior level anyway. I’m having to push for the promotion here just in case the job hunt stalls but it’s funny how receptive there recruiters are versus my current job.

        2. Charlotte Lucas*

          Catholic Midwesterner here. Same issue. I have multiple family members with the same name. Once you have one Mary, you start getting creative.

        3. Another Susan*

          I’m from the South and never had a problem with people shortening my name. Now that I’m in the Midwest, everyone wants to call me Sue and I don’t think it fits me at all. Susan is a more common name here and Susans seem to go by Sue more often, so I guess it makes some sense. But still!

        4. daffodil*

          Something else that I’ve encountered more in the US south than other regions is someone named for a relative who therefore goes by their middle name (John Matthew goes by Matt, for instance) or another name (ie. Trip or Trey if they are the third). Definitely reinforces the norm that some people go by the name on their birth certificate, other people go by something else, and you have to listen to what they say their name is.

      3. Critical Rolls*

        I don’t concur that it’s a regional quirk that you shouldn’t modify people’s names without clearing it with them, especially in a work setting, ESPECIALLY if it’s a foreign-to-you name that you’re shortening or anglicizing because it’s easier for you. It’s overly familiar and presumptuous at best, and patronizing, disrespectful, and/or racist at worst.

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the rule. It’s a perfectly lovely rule that makes a good deal of sense. I follow it myself, now that I aware of it’s existence.

          What I’m saying is that it is not a universal rule, and that you can not expect everyone you meet to know of it. This matters because someone deliberately flouting known social rules is boorish, and deserves a different response than someone who simply didn’t know that rule and had no intent to be rude.

          1. Critical Rolls*

            Am I understanding you correctly that you are arguing that in 2005 there were workplaces where someone could introduce themselves as Samantha, and it would have been other than boorish to insist on calling them Sandy instead? I was in the workforce then, and calling someone who introduced themselves as James “Jimmy” would have been presumptuous and strange. Sure, that person doesn’t need to be dragged over the coals if they take a correction, but “I didn’t know I was supposed to call people by their actual names” does not seem like it’s been a very defensible argument in many many years. If ever.

            1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

              Insist, no. I don’t think that’s been polite in my lifetime at least. Call without asking if it’s ok? I had that happen to me last year, and definitely in 2017 as well. Probably other times too, but those are the times I can pinpoint a year. And let me be clear, this was at work, by coworkers, at two different jobs and by at least three different people. It wasn’t a big deal. When it was nicknames I don’t mind, I simply answered like it was my regular name. When it was the nickname that I hate, I asked them not to use it again. I think once I had to look the person in the eye and firmly say that I do not like that nickname, but the rest of the time they stopped using it, no problem.

              That seems less weird to me than someone asking permission to call me “Ellie”.

              I’m not arguing that it’s ok to call people names that they dislike. I’m arguing that “Do not call any person any name unless they have said you have permission to use that name” is a cultural understanding of how nicknames work that is not universally true.

          2. Dainerra*

            but to most it would seem a common sense issue, rather than a “rule”? Don’t just assume what someone wants to be called and especially don’t call them A, B, C, or D when they have been intorduced to you as Y?

      4. Nameless in Customer Service*

        Hmm.

        1) Who has the burden in this situation? The person who is expected to learn someone else’s name or the person who is expected to correct people over and over again because people insist on modifying their name?

        1a) Are people required or expected to ask first before nicknaming someone or again, is the burden on the named person to say, “please don’t nickname me”, once or repeatedly?

        2) Do culture, race, gender, and context factor into it? For example, was it fair for the reporter to say to Quvenzhané Wallis “your name is too hard, I’m just going to call you Annie”? Or as her previous boss said to a former coworker of mine, “Chinese names are weird, you’re Jane from now on”? Or is LW allowed to be annoyed that the common shortening of “Philippa” her coworkers use is “Phil”, which doesn’t match her gender presentation?

        I phrased all of these as questions because they seem to me to have certain answers assumed if the declaration, “there isn’t a universal rule that forbids modifying people’s names” is unequivocally and globally true, and I don’t think those answers should be assumed without examination.

        1. Dinwar*

          1) The burden should be on the person learning the other person’s name. I have had 37 years of being my name, you don’t get to change it for your convenience without my consent. I’m not a huge fan of saying “Check your privilege” and the like, but this is an example of a privileged mentality: I get to alter something at the core of your identity to make a small part of my life mildly easier. I mean, who thinks that way?

          1a) It’s only reasonable to expect people to act on knowledge they reasonably could know. If we’ve known each other a short time and I haven’t encountered anyone else try to shorten your name, it’s reasonable to ask. It’s reasonable for you to be frustrated, but NOT reasonable to take it out on me–I’m going to be quite astonished that my simple, friendly request was met with such open hostility.

          2a) Such drastic changes need to be made with the enthusiastic consent of the person being re-named. In general, you want to avoid tactics associated with genocide. Remember, this was a tool of oppression for centuries; there are people alive who had their names stripped from them in order to destroy their culture.

          That said, some people don’t mind. Me, for example! I got a nickname in college–like, my real name was Jake and folks just started calling me Kyle for no reason–and I love it. I consider it a sign of deep affection to call me by that name. I also gave the name to my second son (my first got my name).

          It’s sort of like fire: it can be really good, or really bad, and you always have to be careful.

          2b) If the person wants you to shorten their name, you shorten it, your opinion on gender presentation not withstanding. I have known a number of men with feminine names–Janes, Leslies, and a few others. I can already hear people saying “But plenty of men have those names!” Yeah, that’s my point. Further, name conventions change. We’re in the middle of such a change now, in fact. Old expectations simply won’t hold true, and since you can’t fight it (it’s never worked in history) your only option is to accept it.

          1. Nameless in Customer Service*

            2b) I must have written my meaning upside down, heh. I think Philippa absolutely gets to be called Phil if she wants to — I agree with all your answers to my questions — but I also think that she doesn’t have to be Phil if she doesn’t like being called a name she doesn’t feel fits with her gender, or any other reason she doesn’t want to be called Phil. It seemed kind of odd to see a commenter arguing otherwise, you know? Which is why I said something to start with.

      5. Observer*

        because there isn’t a universal rule that forbids modifying people’s names. There seems to be a regional one in parts of the US, but that is culturally specific and fairly recent.

        Unless you mean “recent” as in less than 100 years or so, no it is NOT “recent”. And also I suspect you are wrong about it being culturally specific. I say suspect because it’s true that I can’t speak to every culture. But I can’t think of any area where it’s actually considered reasonable and respectful to unilaterally shorten someone’s name.

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          I don’t know where and when. I do know that I hadn’t ever heard about this rule until maybe the last decade? And I also know that in my grandparents generation calling James Jimmy was unremarkable.

          Another hint is the vast, vast number of people who use nicknames without a second thought. If it was a known rule of politeness, then the only people who would use nicknames would be being intentionally rude and condescending. Some of them certainly are, but definitely not all and probably not most.

          An easy test would be to start using nicknames back with the next dozen people who use one on you. A good nickname, like Jim for James, not a ‘gotcha’ one like Clarence for James. And pay attention to how many object. If my theory is true, then most of the people who nickname others would be fine with being nicknamed themselves.

          I’d honestly love to hear how it goes of you do try this out. I’d try myself, but I don’t meet enough new people to get any useful data.

          I do understand that it’s different for people with foreign names- I actually think that’s why the rule developed, as people became more sensitive to that sort of thing.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I don’t really get your reasoning, Nicknames are generally given by family or close friends or chosen by the person. Even in my grandparents’ generation, I knew people who were known by different nicknames based on many factors. But not made up on the spot by people they just met.

            Now thinking of my Great Uncle Lefty, who was missing his right arm That nickname was what he went by & preferred to his given name, but good luck guessing or assuming that one these days.

            1. whingedrinking*

              Am I weird for thinking there’s a difference in respectfulness between using a shortened form and using a nickname per se?
              Like, in my own head I’m always “Megan”. I never introduce myself as “Meg”. But I don’t mind if someone calls me that just for the sake of quickness. However, if someone decided to start calling me “Maggie”, I’d shut that down, because not only is that not my name, it doesn’t even save any time.
              Obviously, if someone doesn’t want their name shortened, one should respect that and vice-versa. If someone says, “It’s Alexander, don’t call me Alex” you should not go ahead and call them Alex anyway. But it seems like a much lesser breach of respect than deciding to call him Zaza or something equally weird.

          2. Observer*

            And I also know that in my grandparents generation calling James Jimmy was unremarkable.

            Which has nothing to do with the matter. It’s still unremarkable. But that doesn’t mean that everyone did it under all circumstances or that it was OK to do that regardless of what the person wants. That’s where the rule kicks in. No one is claiming that you can never shorten a name. What they ARE saying is that you don’t get to do that for everyone just because you want to.

          3. biobotb*

            I don’t think anyone’s saying that nicknames are generally rude. They’re saying it’s rude to use them without someone’s permission, so don’t just spring them on someone–ask if they’re OK with a nickname, and if so, which one. It’s the use of nicknames against someone’s preferences that is rude, not nicknames generally.

          4. Lenora Rose*

            You seem to be mixing up “it’s not unusual or inappropriate to have a nickname or a shortened version of your given name” with “it’s not unusual or inappropriate for coworkers, acquaintances, and random strangers to give you a nickname or shorten your name”. These are two vastly different things.

            My name is Lenora. (the Rose is silent, unless you’re my daughter). I also have gone by Gwen for over two decades. A LOT of people have permission to call me Gwen (And working for someone legally named Gwen had that frisson you expect when two people in one workplace have the same name).

            The existence of the nickname Gwen does NOT give someone permission to decide my name is Lenny, or Nora (or Leona, Lenore, Eleanor, Leonora, Leonor, Loreena, Lorena, or Lorne). And that was just as true four decades ago as it is now.

      6. Iris Eyes*

        Sign me up for being relatively ok with some nicknames and very much not ok with others. And sometimes there are just some people who can get away with nicknames that no one else can pull off.

      7. A Feast of Fools*

        “Fairly recent”

        If 2008 counts as recent, then I present my then-coworker, Reginald. We worked in Texas. Everyone immediately started calling him Reg, or Reggie. I thought I saw a wince behind his First Day smile so I pulled him aside and asked him what he preferred. He thanked me for asking and said he prefers Reginald.

        I corrected everyone I heard misname him after that.

        Also, and hilariously, some of the people who were calling him Reg or Reggie would bristle at a shortened version of their own name.

        No lie, a Jonathan who got mad if you called him Jon did the following to Reginald on his first day:

        Manager: “Hi, C Team, this is Reginald. I’m showing him around the place; today’s his first day.”
        Jonathan: “Nice to meet you, Reggie!”

    12. Polly Gone*

      It seems silly to me, but some people are eager to shorten even a two-syllable name. Please call me Polly, not Pol.
      (I had to gently correct Alex Trebek but at least I waited until a commercial break.)

      1. turquoisecow*

        Two syllable, four letter name here. People still shorten it! It ends in an I (as does my sister’s name) and in the family people often just drop it.

        1. BoopSnoots*

          My service dog has a 2 syllable, 4 letter name and many of my coworkers call her a completely unrelated word. As in, if we pretend her name is “Cici” and everyone calls her “Cupcakes”. On one hand she’s less likely to be distracted by it, on the other hand… where did it come from and did they have a meeting one day to all agree on it?

      2. Nameless in Customer Service*

        I admire your restraint and am still admiringly envious that you were on Jeopardy.

    13. Perpetuating the Façade*

      My library circulation program has a field in the patron record for “preferred name”. It solves SO MANY ISSUES! Students who go by middle names, students who are trans, students who HATE their full name, students who HATE a nickname-it all goes into preferred name and I just ask for last name and their preferred name pops up.

      1. Clorinda*

        The attendance/grading program in my district has a field for preferred name. So many kids go by a middle name or a shortened name that it’s just easier for everyone to have the “official nickname” in the system.

      2. Zephy*

        My work is switching to a new database software program that has fields for Name, Nickname, Preferred Name AND Pronouns. I’m SO psyched about it, I hope they get used.

    14. Hanani*

      I actually prefer folks to be picky, it’s the ones who say “Elizabeth, Lizzie, Liz, Beth, all fine” that mess with me. They’ve explicitly given me permission to use whatever name, but it always feels like I’m doing it wrong.

      1. Tupac Coachella*

        Same here-picky is easier! Just tell me what to call you! Though I do have one case where it worked out nicely: a family member once introduced herself to someone in my presence by saying she was ok with a whole selection of nicknames, which I didn’t know. This led to me adopting a less common one as a sweet affectionate thing between us (think like I always thought she preferred “Elizabeth,” but now I’m the only one who calls her “Bee.”)

      2. A Feast of Fools*

        Agh! My company has a habit of entering your legal name into non-legal / non-government systems, like Active Directory and our HR benefits systems.

        I have co-worker named Jeffrey Scott Lastname. HR put him in the system as Jeffrey Lastname. My manager introduced him as Scott on his first day. Later that day, I saw “Jeffrey Lastname” on his cube nameplate. I asked if he went by Jeffrey or Scott and he said, “Oh, whichever you want to use!”

        He was a co-op intern so I sat him down and explained how confusing it would be if, say, half the team referred to someone named “Jeffrey” and the other half referred to someone named “Scott”. He admitted that he had been too nervous to say anything about the nameplate or his intake paperwork. Poor kid. We at least got him a new nameplate and an alias in Active Directory.

        Also, my name is something like Francesca Melanie Fool. I go by Melanie. I sign all of my legal documents “F Melanie Fool”.

        HR put my name in as “Francesca M. Fool”.

        IT was able to give me an Active Directory alias, but our insurance companies wouldn’t pay my claims because my doctor’s office and pharmacy sent in claims for “Melanie Fool”. Our HR tried to fix it but I ended up with a new insurance card for “Francescamel” because they tried to make both of my names my first name and there were only so many characters on the insurance company’s side for a first name.

        So I had to go back to ALLLLLL my healthcare providers and my pharmacy and ask them to change my records to “Francescamel Fool” just so they could get paid.

        At least everyone at work calls me Melanie and not Mel.

    15. Momma Bear*

      I do NOT go by a common nickname for my name. Professionally I use my full first name and full name only. I would just correct people and make sure your full name is in your sig line. “Please call me Philippa. I don’t shorten my name.” Conversely, I’ve know a few Jens or Sandys that were just that – not Jennifer or Sandra. You can’t assume. If there are a few repeat offenders or trouble starters, talk to them directly and ask them to stop referring to you to other people by a name you do not go by. If it’s because they find your full name hard to say, that’s a them problem. If people can learn to say things like Tchaikovsky they can learn your name.

    16. Sunny*

      When I was in middle school, I switched to go by the nickname version of my name with a less than common spelling (like “Kati” instead of “Katie” when my name is “Katherine”). About four years in, I realized I actually preferred the common spelling of “Katie” and tried to get my friends to switch — some agreed but one pretty much refused and said that isn’t how I spell my name and she’s not going to remember to do it so I dropped it. It was only an extra letter! And it wasn’t even my actual name so really I could spell it however I wanted.

      In the end I decided to go by Katherine in high school and now only my family calls my Kati. But it was very frustrating to try and make a change and basically be told “no” or “it’s too hard”.

    17. Susan Ivanova*

      Google “Tora Shae twitter” to find the epic tale of how a Black woman shot down a white male coworker who wouldn’t use her name because “Whatever, I won’t even try. All of those names sound the same anyway.”

      She took to calling him random male yuppie names because “All those names sound the same” – and other coworkers even joined in! – until he finally groveled for forgiveness.

  3. LoV...*

    Re: OP1 I think that if I had that experience, I might have replied, “I didn’t write that review, but I’m going to write one now.” Contacting HR was probably the better response though.

    1. Dhaskoi*

      I’d have been tempted to write a bad review and then say, no, I didn’t write *that* one, I wrote *this* one.

      1. Anon for This*

        Write a negative review focused purely on the reaction to the previous negative review. “Managers will contact you after you stop working here, and blame you for any negative reviews made during your time working here, so don’t expect to be able to use anyone working here for a reference in the future”.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          +1
          I’d recommend OP go to HR first to see if a reference can be salvaged from the company, but if they blow OP off in the slightest, this is the best *petty* option. A bigger person than me might be able to rise above, but not me.

    2. Ginger with a Soul*

      I love Alison’s word choice of “defaming,” because it’s a word that’s almost never used outside of legal action (i.e. suing someone for defamation), and so it conveys the subtext of “if you don’t do something, you’re asking to be sued,” which will make any HR department sit up and take notice, without ever mentioning lawsuits, attorneys, or whatever. Great call, Alison!

  4. Banana pudding with Nilla Wafers*

    #3, I also work indirectly with authors. The issue is that they should not have direct contact with you. Everything should go through the small publisher. They should not really know you exist.

      1. Fikly*

        This is incredibly variable, actually. Lots of copyeditors do have direct relationships with authors, even though they are hired (and paid) by the publisher.

      2. Lore*

        Here are some of the reasons:
        1) freelancers don’t know the big picture schedule; if an author wants to change a deadline, the copy editor isn’t going to know what constraints there are
        2) authors can get extremely incensed about small stuff, and we don’t want them taking out frustrations on our freelancers
        3) as londonedit says below, cover copy and the like is really marketing material, and the author doesn’t have the final say on it, so the version they’re sending to a copy editor might not even be right

      1. Red Wheelbarrow*

        Yes, I also correspond directly with authors in my editing work for a scholarly press.

      2. Wendy*

        I write fiction (romance novels mostly), so it’s not entirely the same industry, but in my experience the editor IS my point of contact with the publisher. The acquiring editor usually isn’t the only one – you need at least one other editor to do proofs because it’s really hard to see tiny errors when you’ve tweaked for content a bunch already – but they’re who I would normally reach out to if there were a problem.

        1. Splendid Colors*

          OP is a contracted copyeditor, though, not the Editor at the publisher who made the contract with you to publish your book and is managing its production.

        2. londonedit*

          I’m a desk editor, in-house, so I am employed by the publishing company. My job is to project-manage all of our books through the editorial schedule, so I work with both authors and freelancers. I send the manuscript to be copy-edited, then I contact the author to have them review the copy-edit, then I send the first proofs to a proofreader and also to the author for their review. Then I review the following rounds of proofs until I’m happy all the corrections have been taken in properly, I have the book indexed by a freelancer, I approve everything for press. Occasionally on particular projects where it makes sense to work this way, I will have a copy-editor work directly with an author, but in 99% of cases I’m the intermediary and the copy-editor/proofreader will never have direct contact with the author. Everything goes through me, because I need to be in charge of the work that’s happening, the deadlines, the changes that are being made, etc.

          If an author suddenly asked an editor to edit the marketing materials for their book, that would be a) odd and b) quite an overstep, as all the marketing/publicity/sales/jacket copy etc are produced in-house and if the author has an issue with any of it, they should contact me or the commissioning editor or the person they’re working with in the marketing/publicity department. Freelancers don’t have any involvement in producing or editing those things.

        3. New Job So Much Better*

          Also a romance writer and agree with Wendy, my editor for a given project is my main contact. And it’s also no secret how the editors are paid.

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      The small publisher can arrange their workflow any way they like, surely? As a freelancer you can decline jobs with direct author contact if you prefer (it is definitely more time consuming).

    2. Gen*

      I’m an author for a small publisher and honestly it can get pretty chaotic, either because everything is a game of telephone or because someone decides to cut out a middle-man once & it turns into a full time thing. I once had the person responsible for coordinating a multi-author work quit mid-process but instead of telling the authors that they just said ‘oh talk to the editors/artists directly for now’, it was weeks before anyone realised they were gone.

    3. irritable vowel*

      Yeah, I do as well. If an author contacted me directly to ask if I would edit marketing/jacket copy, I would tell them that request needed to go through the publisher. The contract copy editor shouldn’t be working on that stuff unless directed to by the publisher, because they (the publisher) “own” that, not the author.

    4. Alexis Rosay*

      I’ve published work through academic presses, and the freelance editor (who was AMAZING and way better than the staff editors) did correspond with us directly at times. There were some queries that it simply made more sense to resolve directly. As authors we were not instructed at all as to the scope of the freelance editor’s duties, so I wouldn’t have been aware of what was an overstep, but I certainly wouldn’t have been offended if they said no.

    5. Banana pudding with Nilla wafers*

      I goofed. Somehow I wasn’t thinking of editors, who do of course tend to work directly with authors. My comment is off base.

  5. Lana*

    If you’re working for an academic publisher and you’re not being paid bags of gold, you are being exploited. Academic publishing has been estimated to be one of the most outrageously profitable industry on the planet, because they charge both authors and readers dozens of thousands of dollars (of course authors are not paid and typically never get royalties) and rely on free voluntary labor for most of the tasks. It’s basically a huge scam and academics and governments have recently been fighting against the exploitation. the only person being paid are the editors and the publisher himself, so if you do get paid make sure you’re paid A LOT, they can afford it. Signed: an academic who used to work for free!

    1. Wendy*

      Commercial publishing is in turmoil right now with an EXTREMELY high turnover rate among editors, so I hope some of them get a chance to move to academic publishing if there’s more money in it! Publishing is notorious for favoring those with privilege – you often need to do lengthy unpaid or barely-paid internships with existing agencies or publishing houses before you ever get to do your own acquisitions, the pay is peanuts, and a lot of traditional publishers are still based in New York City where their average entry-level salary pays for about a quarter of a cardboard box to live in :-\

      1. Nina*

        The point is that there shouldn’t be more money in academic publishing because it’s a gigantic have on two fronts.
        Not even all journal editors are paid.

        1. Mittens*

          Academic publishing isn’t just Elsevier or Pearson or whatever. University presses make immensely valuable contributions to the publishing world and barely make a profit doing so.

          1. Rain*

            Wrong, I worked at a university press for six years before moving to a commercial press. They both make money–one for their university, one for their shareholders. The idea that university presses are the selfless saviors of academic publishing is utter rot.

            1. Anon for this post*

              It sounds like your experience differs from someone else’s. It doesn’t make them wrong or you right. There’s no need to be so rude.

        2. Pippa K*

          I’m the editor of an academic journal. Can confirm, not paid. And I don’t know any others who are paid.

      2. lunchtime caller*

        Most academic publishing that trade publishing people would be qualified to move into (so not the stuff that’s like, peer-reviewed journals which I know nothing about) notoriously pays their staff LESS than the trade publishers, if you can imagine in.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      For those who have trouble visualising this: higher profit margins than Apple. There’s only a few big players and they have most of the market (a lot of smaller academic presses are usually owned by those big ones).

      Which makes the equation even more difficult for LW as a contractor, because charging the author directly would take even more money from them, but at the same time academic publishing relies on a lot of free labour anyway so not charging for it would also be a bit of a problem. This really is a tough one.

      1. Esmeralda*

        Payments like this to an editor can be tax deductible work related expenses. That’s what my spouse does.

        The OP can direct the author back to the press, if they want the press to pay for this editing.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      That’s journals. This could be an academic press publishing monographs. Those are pretty much like trade presses, but with small sales numbers more or less guaranteed. Given the discussion of jacket copy, I take this to be the field under discussion.

      1. Sara without an H*

        +1. While I agree that academic journal publishing has been corrupt for years, the university presses that publish monographs rarely or never make a profit. The universities that sponsor them have traditionally maintained their presses as a contribution to scholarship, since the books they put out are rarely big sellers.

        Unfortunately, a lot of universities are now rethinking this practice and a lot of major academic presses are in jeopardy.

    4. Mittens*

      Are you conflating journal and/or commercial textbook publishing with traditional academic publishing? The average university press publishing monographs and academic trade books is usually only making enough to scrape by. Oh, and it’s not a scam either, thank you very much.

    5. rural academic*

      This really depends on what kind of academic publishing you are talking about. There are plenty of university presses and other small presses putting out books in the humanities that do not have especially high profit margins, for example.

    6. Susan*

      Sorry, this isn’t exactly true. I work in accounting for a University Library – 3 cubicle rows down from our University Press. The Press has been in the red for at least 20 years and is subsidized by the general university budget. Nobody is making money over there. Now it is true that the cost of academic JOURNALS has risen on average 10% per year for over a decade. But the popular academic Journals are produced by a handful of publishing companies that don’t have much competition. (Also the money is in the science journals – not the liberal arts.) So Elsevier is raking in the money, but with the exception of maybe Oxford, Yale, and Harvard, the other 150 University Presses around the world are generally non-profit and subsidized.

      1. pancakes*

        Some positive news on university presses, Duke University Press workers just got their union certified this week. The university was fighting it but all their objections were overruled by the NLRB.

      2. academic editor*

        Oxford (and Cambridge, I believe) is also a non-profit. It’s definitely not raking in the cash. University presses don’t deserve to be lumped in with academic publishers like Elseveir.

        1. Rain*

          They absolutely should be lumped in with commercial presses. I’ve worked at both types, including one university press that you named, and it’s doing just fiiiine.

    7. Allegra*

      *Some* parts of academic publishing, not all. Elsevier, Wiley, their subsidiaries, sure. Nonprofit university and society publishers? Entirely different ball game.

    8. Lyra Silvertongue*

      It’s not really practical for the LW to try and overturn the entire structure of academic publishing norms though. And most of us who work in freelance editing/comms work know we’re being exploited and underpaid already. The pay sucks in non-academic publishing as well. But also this sounds like academic book publishing, not journal publishing, and they are different – I imagine the free labour you’re talking about as an academic is the peer review process, which is different to the kind of job that the LW is doing. Elsevier makes bank, the people who work for the publishing companies that Elsevier has bought probably don’t.

        1. anonymous 5*

          I think that’s a concern only if the accounts payable office has a reputation for being flaky…

  6. Another Philippa*

    As a Philippa, I am particularly tickled by #4 (just because I hardly ever see my name used in an example!), and also completely empathise with the LW, to whom I send a virtual hug of solidarity :) Alison’s advice is spot on. Being upfront about it has rarely been an issue, in my experience.

  7. Dennis Feinstein*

    I found letter 1 confusing until Alison clarified in her answer that it was the OP’s EX boss who had the audacity to email his FORMER employee to complain about the review that she didn’t write.
    OP I get that you thought this person was a friend but he’s clearly not. You don’t have to respond to any messages from him.
    You said you have a new job and you’re happier there. Focus on that, do a good job and when you move on to your next job, you won’t need this idiot as a referee. It was a job you had from 19 to 22. In a few years you’ll be able to leave this one off your resume anyway.
    Practise saying, “I don’t work there any more” and move on. :)

    1. Allonge*

      I was also going to tell the OP: this person is not your boss! Not anymore. It’s a shame he is behaving like this, and I am sure it hurts, but you are gone from there.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It could be that he is lashing out at OP in anger that OP left. Doesn’t make it right, but it seems like he could be saying, “OP seemed like my friend. I even went to her b-day party once. And now she has just LEFT me.”

        I get that this doesn’t make sense with what you know about your ex-boss, OP. But sometimes people can get a distorted view of things. We always talk about burning a bridge with a former employer, but this time I think the former employer burned a bridge with YOU. Just as you can’t trust him to vouch for your work, he can no longer trust you to vouch for his workplace. I know I would not send anyone to apply for a job there because all is not as it seems.

    2. John Smith*

      I thought it might have been the former boss otherwise there was little point in the opening, but anyway. Knowing it’s the former boss, a “Wasn’t me. End of” email would be the most he deserves. And if it continues, an autoreply should so the trick. Plus an actual review of what ex boss is doing.

    3. Batgirl*

      It also struck me that the OP called them “my boss”. Once you stop working for someone they are pretty much just random people, unless they’re your only reference option. I’m sure it was a blow, seeing as how the OP considered them a friend, but how much worse if they’d just silently seethed with paranoia? Thank goodness for their overblown ego; now the OP knows to redirect reference requests.

      1. As per Elaine*

        I might do this — “My boss used to such-and-such…” Yeah, Bob doesn’t have any authority over me anymore, but when we had regular contact he was my boss (for years!), and that’s how I think of him, even though at this point we’re merely business acquaintances.

        Heck, I would probably do this with the woman who hasn’t been my boss since 2013 — “When I was teaching, my boss always told me, ‘You’re not a doormat, don’t let them walk all over you!’ It was a good lesson.” or whatever. She’s not my boss, but I still think of her as a bit of a mentor, even though we’re only in contact once in a blue moon, and in completely different fields now.

        1. Artemesia*

          My boss for decades just recently died and I still think of him as my boss; he was a real gem and the world is a worse place for his passing and a better place for him having lived.

        2. Rose*

          But you caveat yours. “When I was teaching…” is clearly implying they’re not your boss now. OP says they have a new better job, and then the next paragraph is a complaint about “my boss…” The phrasing is weird and confusing if nothing else.

      2. learnedthehardway*

        Very good point – at least the OP knows not to use them as a reference. Could have been worse if the manager/boss had kept quiet and then slagged them to a future potential employer.

    4. the cat's ass*

      Small businesses get weird when you leave; i think this sort of thing is more common than previously realized. Something strange happens, and they want to pin it on whoever left last. One of my colleagues got reported to the DEA and got investigated, and they were convinced I’d dropped a dime on them, and they actually called me at my new job to ask! (FTR, i didn’t) And i finally ended the call but saying, “Hey, that’s awful, but I’d have to actually care about how y’all do things to report you, and after being out of there for 6 weeks, I DON’T care.” Gives you an idea why i left.

    5. College Career Counselor*

      Unfortunately, depending on the industry (e.g. Higher Ed), sometimes you do have to go back to previous bosses. I was a candidate for a position a couple of years ago, and they wanted references (and this turned out to be written responses to various questions) from:
      1. Current Boss
      2. Immediate Previous Institution Boss (this was over EIGHT YEARS AGO)
      3. Current Direct Report
      4. Former Direct Report
      5. Current Peer Colleague at Institution
      6. Current Colleague/Faculty member in my division
      7. Alumni Contact at Current Institution

      Leaving aside that 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 all potentially out me as on the job hunt to my current employer (sub-optimal, if I don’t get the position), they wanted to go back in time at least 8 years. Just obnoxious. LW has my sympathies, and to the extent possible in their industry, they should find someone else in the company to recommend them if needed.

    6. Omnivalent*

      It sounds like the OP is a younger person who may have had this as their first real job, and doesn’t have anything to compare this boss’s behavior against.

  8. Aximili*

    2: Hey, a 15% raise would be great. I’m lucky to get 5%; sometimes I get 1.5%. But I have been thinking along these lines – my department literally cannot afford to lose me, as my skillset is almost irreplaceable (at least at this salary range), but I could be making significantly more at another company. It’s very weird – my value to the company obviously increases over time, so they should be working hard to keep me. And in fairness my immediate supervisor does, but he only has so much power.

    1. A Tired Queer*

      This is how I feel at my current job at a large research university. Universities are notorious for having obscure pay structures and vague reasons for not giving out more than the bare minimum raises. When I was hired, I was told that I couldn’t negotiate because it wouldn’t get me anywhere, and now if I ask for a raise my immediate supervisor will vouch for me but get shot down. So bizarre.

      1. Forrest*

        Really?! I‘m surprised— they’re utterly transparent in the UK, you can google any university‘s pay spine and how all the grades fit on to it, and you’ll know you’ll go up one spine point a year until you reach the top of your grade. And there’s usually a (very small) percentage uplift to the whole spine every year. I can pretty much tell you what I’ll be earning every year for the next five. It could not be more transparent!

        1. Chili pepper Attitude*

          At public universities in the US, that transparency is likely the same. You can literally look up my spouse’s salary by their name. But we have a lot of private universities and those do not make salaries or pay scales transparent.

          1. Esmeralda*

            That depends on the state — some have that transparency and some do not.

            And it also may depend on whether the state employee is exempt or not. In my state, non-exempt have salary bands that anyone can look up. Exempt — do not.

        2. Rose*

          This is so interesting. I worked for a well known college in this US and our pay bands were public, so if you knew someone’s level (ie associate, manager, senior manager) you could look up a similar job online and assume the band was the same, but the bands were super wide and overlapped so it was helpful but not THAT helpful.

      2. Artemesia*

        I worked at a research 1 university and the only people who got real raises were those with other job offers AND were also big grant getters or nationally known in their field. It is one environment where you are not penalized for bargaining with other offers; this mean of course that anyone who could not pick up and leave for another state was paid far less then similar people doing similar jobs who could leave. And it also meant that people doing similar jobs in departments less in demand were paid far less, often two thirds less than those in high demand areas. And of course that means women were generally paid far less than men.

  9. Not A Manager*

    LW4 – I’m dubious that a proactive explanation is going to stop this. It’s fine to tell people upfront that your name is Philippa and not Phil, but I think you should be prepared to matter-of-factly correct people in the moment when they mis-name you. “Phil is going to…”

    Just speak over them in a friendly, confident tone – “Philippa!” Usually people will just correct themselves and continue. “… Oh yeah, Philippa will…” Sometimes they’ll just keep going as if you didn’t correct them, but that’s okay – other people have heard the correction and don’t think your name is Phil.

    1. MistOrMister*

      I think doing both is a good idea. If someone introduced themselves to me saying I only go by my full name, it would catch my attention and I would make a mental note of it. That said, I think it would also help if OP is willing to speak up at the time it happens. Especially in a meeting. If someone calls you something in a meeting and you don’t say anything until afterwards and you only say it to that one person, everyone else in the meeting is going to assume that’s what you go by. Which is probably why OP is finding the name spreading so much now.

    2. MistOrMister*

      I think doing both is a good idea. If someone introduced themselves to me saying I only go by my full name, it would catch my attention and I would make a mental note of it. That said, I think it would also help if OP is willing to speak up at the time it happens. Especially in a meeting. If someone calls you something in a meeting and you don’t say anything until afterwards and you only say it to that one person, everyone else in the meeting is going to assume that’s what you go by. Which is probably why OP is finding the name spreading so much now.

    3. ceiswyn*

      It may also be worth considering whether there’s a short form you don’t mind, and proactively asking people to use that.

      It shouldn’t be necessary – people should respect your desire to be called by your full name – but if you really can’t stop them shortening it, getting them to use a short form you don’t hate would at least be a second best.

      1. EPLawyer*

        No, the person should not find a short form they don’t mind. If they prefer their full name, they prefer their full name. People can figure it out. One should not change one’s name preference to suit others.

        1. ceiswyn*

          That’s why I said it shouldn’t be necessary.

          But unfortunately they can’t MAKE their colleagues respect their preferences. If they find they’re just banging their head against a brick wall, well, is it so terrible to suggest an option that isn’t ‘keep on giving yourself a headache and achieving nothing’?

          If the colleagues keep on using the disliked shortening, what’s your suggested next move?

          1. EPLawyer*

            Keep reminding them. Refuse to answer to the wrong name. Call them the wrong name. ANYTHING but give in to the Rude Person by going “okay fine, if you INSIST on wrong naming me, here is a wrong name, I don’t mind so much.” Giving in just reinforces the behavior that it is okay.

          2. Esmeralda*

            Keep on correcting them. I feel this is a hill to die on. Especially since OP is an immigrant and, I’m assuming, has a non-English name.

            My own experience (not an immigrant, English name) is that most people use my preferred name once I’ve asked them to. People who don’t — they’re the ones who look bad, frankly, if they keep using the wrong name. Yes, I have compassion for folks who genuinely struggle with remembering names. That doesn’t mean I don’t correct them. I’m ok if they mispronounce it, it has a couple of common pronunciations. But NO ONE is allowed to nick name me at work.

            Return awkward to sender, as the Captain says.

          3. Nameless in Customer Service*

            For anyone: I suggest to keep reminding them.

            For an immigrant to the US, a notoriously xenophobic and racist country: KEEP REMINDING THEM. Do NOT let them disrespect your identity, because that’s often the underlying motivation when people rename us.

          4. JustaTech*

            Keep insisting. Enlist others to remind folks it’s Phillipa and not Phil.

            I had an English teacher who insisted on calling one student Helana, when her name was Helena. She was also shy (and a recent immigrant) and gave up correcting the teacher until the rest of the 8th grade class decided this was a hill we would die on and we would all correct the teacher, in unison.

            It only took one or two classes before the teacher got her name right.

          5. Database Developer Dude*

            My suggested next move is ignoring the colleagues when they try to address you. And if any put their hands on you…well….that’s their mistake.

        2. UKDancer*

          Yes. Also there are no short forms of my name I like. People can either call me by my correct name or they can expect me to ignore them. I am not difficult in a great many areas but my name matters.

          I’ve a friend who has often served as a guardian ad litem for children in court proceedings. The first thing they are taught in their training is to make sure they get the childrens’ names right. Sometimes their name is all a child will have so it’s crucially important to call the child what they choose whether that’s their full name, a shorter name or a nickname.

        3. Zellie*

          I have to agree. In my first job, my manager couldn’t say my name (so she said) and called me Lil Bit. I was straight out of college and was very young and said nothing. This got out to other parts of the organization to the point where someone called looking for Lil Bit. I was horrified and angry, but still didn’t know how to address it.

          I accumulated nicknames at my next job, including Excaliber (someone who couldn’t remember my name to save their life), Aloysius, Magnolia (there was a story), and a shortened version of my name that was what my dad went by and which I’m sure he never thought I would be called. I rolled with these because it wasn’t malicious. The Excaliber person was finally told my middle name by a co-worker (which I wasn’t overly fond of), but he could remember that.

          I have other stories, but all of this is to say we get a say in what we are called. I rolled with it on the second job, but I regret to this day that I didn’t explain very carefully how to say my name to the manager that called me Lil Bit. And for what it’s worth, it’s not that uncommon of a name today, but wasn’t then, and most people today know how to say it.

          1. Nameless in Customer Service*

            That’s really rude, at best. And yes, I do think this is a hill to die on, as I noted above. For immigrants especially it’s in the same category as “your hair is too wild, get it relaxed” and “your accent is broken English.”

          2. Observer*

            No. As others pointed out, it is possible to push back. And while you’re always going to get one idiot who just WILL NOT get on board, the idiot is going to use the form they decided on, not the one the OP (or whoever) chooses. And in the meantime, most non-idiots will be using the correct name.

      2. Yorick*

        This LW did mention there are shortened versions of her name that are used in her country that she doesn’t use now because they won’t seem obvious to English speakers. If you actually do like one of those, tell people to use it. You can explain that it’s short for your name the way Bill is short for William.

        But if you do prefer to stick with the long version, then correct people every time like other commenters say.

    4. Forrest*

      The other thing about doing this is that even if the Phil-er is the kind of person who shortens everyone’s name and is bad at respecting your actual name, you’re going to stop the spread! If someone overhears a couple of people calling Philippa Phil and Phil/ Philippa doesn’t complain, it’s pretty normal to assume she’s ok with either. But if she corrects them, you’ve just let everyone else know that you’re Philippa.

    5. Bob's your uncle (or my father in law )*

      When people shorten my husband’s name I half-joke that I look behind him for his dad: “He came first so he got that nickname.”
      More importantly I point out that *he* doesn’t recognize someone is calling for him. (He worked in his father’s restaurant, and dad was adamant about consistent names/nickname to keep things clear in the fast-paced kitchen.)

    6. ecnaseener*

      Agreed. There’s no need to wait until after the meeting ends and only correct the person who said it – speak up in the moment (or the next time you have an opening to speak) so everyone hears.

      1. EPLawyer*

        One would think that. But my birth name was a very short, very common Catholic name. Only FOUR letters. It STILL got shortened. I hated the name to begin with but I hated the shortened version even more.

        Never underestimate the power of someone somewhere to find a nickname for ANY name.

        1. ThisIsTheHill*

          Yep. My name is 5 letters, & I’ve been called everything from the first initial to the male version to first syllable + “ers” to being called by my last name. I also have a commonly misspelled name, so I am hyper-aware of what people ask to be called when I talk to them.

      2. Coenobita*

        My name is short so… people make it longer! (Think “Annie” or “Annabelle” for “Anna.”) You can’t win, really!

      3. Two Dog Night*

        I know! Being named Karen has kind of sucked the last few years :-), but at least it doesn’t lend itself to nicknames.

    7. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      I don’t think you should speak over them. just comment right after. It’s going to look weird and rude, especially if its in a group where there are people the OP is just meeting for the first time.

      1. Not A Manager*

        It’s not weird and rude to correct your own name.

        When you say “comment right after,” do you mean right after the first person is done speaking? I think that might be more weird, to be honest. The person finishes outlining all this stuff that “Phil” is going to do, and everyone is thinking about the substance of what they said, and now you go, “Oh, actually it’s Philippa, and I’m happy to get started on that stuff”?

        Or do you mean correct the person privately, later? I think that doesn’t address the spread of the wrong name. Twenty people have heard you called Phil with apparently no issue, and only one person has heard your later correction. Especially if it’s in a group where there are people the OP is meeting for the first time, I think the first iteration of her supposed name is going to stick.

        1. Yorick*

          It’ll depend on the context whether you should interject or wait until they’re done speaking. Just do it at the earliest time that feels appropriate.

    8. Rose*

      Agreed! Gotta cut it off as it happens. If they’re online meetings I’d put it in the chat, in as friendly a way as I could “FYI my name is Roberta. :) Thanks for the shout out, I loved grooming that llama.”

  10. Over the Rainbow*

    I worked for a large global UCaaS company during the pandemic that had a policy of capping promotion raises at 15%. I found this out when my lower level teammate was getting promoted to my level and her offered OTE was only 65% of my OTE as an outside hire…I only worked for them for 6 months and increased my salary by 80% with my current position, and my teammate left shortly after me, also getting a substantial OTE increase at her new role.

    1. Five after Midnight*

      UCaaS = Unified Communications as a Service, e.g. RingCentral, MSTeams: calls, video, messaging, & file sharing all-in-one in the cloud.
      OTE = On-Target Earnings, i.e. what you get paid if you hit 100% of your sales quota (salesperson compensation metric)
      In case anyone is curious… (I had to look it up so I thought I’d share.)

    2. Suzie SW*

      When my husband’s coworker moved from an analyst position to a highly specialized technical position which generally pays double what he was likely making as an analyst, his promotion was capped in this way. It kept his salary tens of thousands of dollars below the market rate. I don’t understand the purpose of these policies at all. I can understand having a cap to what leaders are allowed to authorize themselves, but there should always be an override process where someone higher up can review and approve more when appropriate.

      1. Anonymous, colleagues who read here will recognize it*

        Not the problem here, but our state legislature pushed through a cap of $10K –at that point and above, it has to be approved by God.

        But that’s because my own institution gave the governor’s wife a promotion and giant pay increase, to a new position that duplicated the essential function being performed by a considerably lower-paid employee. Who still did all of the actual work…

        Not clear where in the university budget that money was coming from.

        1. Artemesia*

          Yeah the rules don’t every really apply at the top. I have seen tenure granted this way to the ‘wife of.’

    3. Cera*

      My company had a history of doing this. They recently made a change to block internal salaries from recruiters so that pay for internal applicants would be fairly evaluated.

    4. marypickford*

      This almost happened to me. I work for a small non-profit and was promoted two levels above my former role. I found out later that the board was all set to offer me 90k. My salary in my former role was $74k so I guess they figured I’d be jumping for joy to get a 22% raise. Never mind that the guy I was replacing had started at 125k in 2001. Thank goodness there was one guy on the board who said the salary went with the role and it didn’t matter how much I was making before. He managed to bring them all around but wow.

  11. LemonLyman*

    If you find that some people continue to shorten the name, find a trusted person who can help spread the word about your preferred name. I’ve been that person for a Luciana — who didn’t like “Lucy” but was cool with “Lu” — and for a Patricia who disliked any shortening of her name. There are enough people out there who are cognizant of how important using preferred names are to our identities that they’d be happy to help clear things up with colleague for you.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      Totally! I’m definitely the, “She doesn’t like being called Jackie. She goes by Jacqueline,” colleague. It makes me NUTS when people mess up names, especially since, oddly, it tends to disproportionately happen to women and people of color.

      1. pancakes*

        I suspect you’re right about disproportionality, but it definitely happens to some men a lot too. I’ve had ex-boyfriends named Michael and Andrew who never went by Mike or Andy and really disliked it when overfamiliar new acquaintances would call them that.

        1. It's "Rolly," not "Roll"*

          With men – at least two white men, it’s about becoming familiar but not in the creeper or dismissive way that shortening a women’s name often is. Still not good.

      2. Artemesia*

        As we saw with a certain former President, bestowing nicknames is a dominance move and thus it tends to happen more often with women and minorities although plenty of white men have found themselves in that position.

        1. Observer*

          I don’t think you can really generalize that way. If for no other reason than that he wasn’t doing what’s described here. He doesn’t shorten names, necessarily. What he DOES *always* do is ADD a word, and it’s always a derogatory one.

          I’m not defending shortening names. But it’s not useful to lump it together with something that’s a totally different issue.

          1. pancakes*

            It did seem like a dominance move when Bush did it, fwiw, and that’s who I thought of first. I think you’re thinking of a subsequent guy.

            1. quill*

              Generally speaking, nicknames and terms of endearment out of an already-familiar context are demeaning, because it’s one person assuming they dictate what another person is called and how close they are to them.

              It’s equally disrespectful for the class bully to call you Maryanna-bannana as it is for them to shorten your name to Mary without your input.

              1. Yorick*

                Ok sure it’s disrespectful to just shorten names but “Lyin’ Ted” is still more disrespectful than “Teddy,” and “Pocahontas” is way more disrespectful than “Lizzie.”

        2. Rose*

          It CAN be a dominance move, but it can also be a way of showing affection. I don’t think it’s helpful to leap to super broad assumptions about intent.

          1. Scout*

            We’re talking about the workplace, though. I don’t want my colleagues showing me affection.

    2. Rose*

      Omg yes!! Find a kindly busybody/assertive person. I’ve done this for people too, even though I struggle to do it for myself (sooo many people call me Ro. Like… why???). It’s just so much less awkward to advocate for another human. I’d do for this coworker in the middle of meetings too (context dependent, of course).

  12. KateM*

    “I love that he wants you to believe that you’re hurting other employees by not taking ownership of the review — is the implication that he’ll be forced to blame them instead and you can save them from that fate? That’s a real jerk move.”
    That’s what jumped out for me most – I hope that HR takes those forwarded letters for what they are, a threat to retaliate on current employees for something they didn’t do, either (unless all the mentyioned people got togatehr to write that one review).

    1. Cj*

      I actually didn’t take it that this meant he would blame other employees. I thought he probably meant it would hurt the company and therefore the other employees, or it would be hard to hire people, therefore overloading the people who had been her teammates.

  13. Sue*

    Dr. Glaucomflecken has some short fun/sad videos on academic publishing and reviews on YouTube. I had no idea before watching that. Search for “Academic Publishing”, “Academic Journals Doing Crime” and “Nature Needs a Reviewer”.

  14. CrazyPlantLady*

    General curiosity – I see a lot of people writing in on how to correct someone when they say/spell their name incorrectly. Why is it such a thing to correct them? It shouldn’t be a big deal, and people shouldn’t be worried about it.

    1. Jackalope*

      In my experience it’s a combination of things. Sometimes it feels rude. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when it’s a good time (like for example, I recently had someone introduce me wrong in passing in a meeting, and by the time I could correct them the moment had passed. I let it go since I wasn’t likely to see the group again and it wasn’t the point of the meeting). Sometimes if a name is spreading (like in the above examples), you don’t know who is doing this. I know for example that I have someone at my office who is introducing me wrongly to clients because I get voice mails from the clients addressing me by the wrong name, but I can’t figure out who it is. I’ve talked to my supervisor who addressed the issue at a meeting and told the whole staff that our all-staff phone list includes the name each person goes by, and underlined how important it is to use that name. And yet someone is ignoring it. At some point it’s just easier to give up.

      1. Shiba Dad*

        It really does depend on the situation. There are at least half a dozen different spellings of my last name. I’ve gotten used to it being misspelled from time to time. I think it is a lot easier in social and business settings to correct the spelling of a last name than correct the preferred version of your first name.

        That said, you still have to pick your spots. Last year our division had a Teams presentation for Employee Appreciation Day. My last name was misspelled on a slide. The irony was not lost on me and I was more amused than upset. I could have mentioned it in the Teams chat, but that seemed like a bad idea. I decided to text my boss instead. It gave him a reason to give his boss (who prepared this slide) a hard time, which made him happy.

    2. CreepyPaper*

      Because for some reason people get really snotsy when you correct them about your name. I mean it’s not like you have a right to correct people about your own name because they know best, right? /s

      As a Samantha who will shred you if you call me ‘Sam’ but is fine with ‘Sammi’ I encounter this all the time. ‘But most Samantha’s are fine with Sam’. Well, I’m not. And then the person I’ve corrected gets all uppity. That’s why it’s such an issue to correct people.

      1. anonymous73*

        But in your example it’s THEIR issue not yours. And it’s fine to say “I’ve asked you repeatedly to stop calling me Sam. My name is Samantha.” If they get an attitude about it, so what?

        1. Anon all day*

          Because someone getting an attitude with you, even if it’s completely not justified, is tiring at best and nerve wracking at worst? Like, you can understand some people wouldn’t like dealing with that, and that a lot of people go out of their way to avoid it?

          1. Rocket*

            Then don’t correct people and let them call you whatever they want.

            Seriously, there’s not really a lot else to say. Correct people or don’t. Those are your options.

        2. Metadata minion*

          If the person getting an attitude about it is your boss, or even a coworker you have to interact with closely, that can have serious professional consequences.

    3. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Shouldn’t and doesn’t are very different things, unfortunately. I agree that it shouldn’t be a big deal to let people know “hey it’s actually Tangerina, not Tina”, and a lot of the time it isn’t an issue but the few times where it is people can get…Really belligerent about it. Pretty sure there’s even stories of people getting driver’s licenses or airline tickets with their name misspelled because the person processing them “assumed they’d made a mistake” (and in some cases even get snotty when presented with a passport or other official form of ID letting them know they’re wrong). And unfortunately, it’s never clear which of the two reactions you’re going to get.

      1. londonedit*

        Yep, definitely. My partner has a common-sounding name with a slightly different spelling (like Smyth instead of Smith) and they’ve been told they’ve spelled their own name wrong on many occasions. I use a shortened version of my first name and never the longer version, and most people are fine with that, but occasionally I meet someone who gets really weirdly invested in trying to find out what my ‘real name’ is, and then if they do find out, they take it as some sort of bizarre victory and insist on calling me by that name even though it’s a name I haven’t used for 30 years. I’ve known people who have insisted on calling someone by a nickname despite being told not to. Years ago I worked with a boss who couldn’t tell/couldn’t be bothered to tell the difference between Suzanne and Susannah, and decided they were just going to refer to my colleague as ‘Suzanne’ despite that not being her name. People can be really weird about names!

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          I’ve spent close to 20 years trying to get people to pronounce my married name correctly. It doesn’t seem to matter where, everyone tries to make it sound more….interesting (? Something.) if they see it in print first. Its spelled very close to phonetically. It shouldn’t be this hard to pronounce. And I swear, once they’ve decided its pronounced one way, there is NO way of convincing them its pronounced correctly a different way. (We’re talking changing the pronunciation of a vowel. It’s not a long “e”. There’s no “e” in the name. But people pronounce the “i” as if it’s a long “e” instead of a long “i”.)

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I had that person once who was convinced (despite protestations to the contrary) that I want to be called a certain nickname. Spent a whole semester trying to correct him – eventually gave up and started ignoring him when he called me by said nickname.

          Juvenile, yes, but in my defense I was 16 (the other person was a 40-something year old teacher at my high school.

      2. Watry*

        And even if you get the good reaction, the correction doesn’t always hold. I’ve been fighting to get my name pronounced correctly for three and a half years, but I have one coworker who just won’t do it. She mispronounces it once in front of other people, and I have to start all over.

        I’ve been in and out of BEC-level with this coworker the entire time, and this certainly doesn’t help.

        1. londonedit*

          Yep. When I was first job-hunting after uni I naively assumed your CV was an ‘official document’ and had to have your full name on it. So I got my first job, turned up on my first day, and my email address was all set up with the long version of my name. Damn. Being young and wanting to make a good impression I didn’t feel like I could make a fuss about it, so I just used the name I actually use in my email signature, always signed off emails with the name I actually use, and introduced myself to everyone with that name. It didn’t make a blind bit of difference, because people would think ‘Oh, wait – her email address is Arabella Jones, that must be her official name, Bella must just be a nickname. I’d better introduce her as Arabella’. I’d do the ‘Oh, please call me Bella’ thing but again, people would take it as ‘Arabella = official name, Bella = something she just likes people to call her’. After that job I changed my CV to show the name I actually use, and then the only time anyone ever finds out my legal full name is when I’ve give my passport and bank details to HR on my first day. If there’s any option to log an official ‘known as’ name for work purposes then I do that, and I make sure my name for email/online directory stuff is set up from the beginning with the name I actually use.

          1. Artemesia*

            Just be sure the office that books travel has your full name. My husband and I once had to fly to China on separate flights because the person making the arrangements for our group assumed he had my last name and airlines won’t change it. They did refund his ticket but would not let him have the seat booked in that name. and so he flew through Detroit and I flew through Seattle and we met at Narita for the final leg of the flight. The ticket has to match the passport.

            1. londonedit*

              Ha – I’ve never worked anywhere that has an ‘office that books travel’, nor have I ever travelled outside the country for my job, so that’s never been an issue! You’re right that the ticket has to match the passport, though – a friend of mine once had an issue where she was going on holiday with some friends and someone booked the flights as a group, and they’d assumed the name she was known by (like Julie) was her legal name, when it was actually Julia. She had to pay to change the name on the ticket or she wouldn’t have been able to fly.

      3. It's my choice*

        I introduce myself by my full name, my email signature block has my full name, my cubicle name plate has my full name, but some shorten in and I get very mad, I’ve never used that name so why should they think they have the right to. I even had one guy say that I have to explain why he can’t use the shortened version?!?!

        1. Artemesia*

          Once is understandable. I don’t bridle if someone gives me my husband’s last name once either. It is when they insist that I am mystified. You tell them it is Samantha not Sam and that should be the end of it.

    4. Chili pepper Attitude*

      Add to all the responses the deadnaming issues we see here. Calling someone a name is an intimate connection and some people have a lot of baggage around that.

      I personally hate when salespeople use my first name. I know they are taught to but unless I introduce myself that way, I feel it creates an intimacy or sorts that I did not consent to. And I’m not typically so formal about things; it’s just a name thing for me.

      1. Anon for This*

        My name can be shortened to a word for a negative emotion, and other nicknames for my name are similarly variations for said negative emotions.

        My bullies in high school tormented me, and whenever I couldn’t hold it in anymore and visibly showed a reaction, they’d laugh and go hahaha look at Anon they’re insert word for negative emotion here!

        I cannot stand that nickname or variations of it.

        1. An Anonymous Diane*

          I can sympathize. My name is Diane and my whole life I fought being called Di. I get it, I was small and cute and an informal name seemed appropriate to many people. But to me it sounded like people were telling me to Die. The only thing that worked for me was getting old. Once I hit my 60s, nobody tried to give me a cute nickname anymore.

          1. Artemesia*

            I used a nickname when I was young and switched to my full name when I became an adult and worked. For reasons that are probably complicated I really HATE that nickname. It puts me back in a place and time I don’t want to revisit. I don’t mind family using what they used then, but I really don’t want new people I meet nicknaming me.

          2. DivineMissL*

            I remember that, on the old US TV show “The Nanny”, the nanny would refer to the male child (named Brighton) as “B”. I always thought that was endearing. My name is Lisa, and since I was a child I have had people call me “Leese” (plus one person who calles me “Lee”) and I never thought about it. Sometimes I will shorten people’s names in a way that I have always thought of as showing them that I feel friendship/a personal connection to them – “Nic” to Nicole, “Al” to Alec, “D” to Danielle, etc. But after reading some comments, I am dismayed to think that I may have been inadvertently offending people by not using their full names. I appreciate the insight from everyone who commented and I will make sure I apologize to them and ask their preference going forward. Thanks!

      2. Susan Ivanova*

        I have a double first name. Anyone who cold-contacts me with a “hey firsthalf, you might not remember me”, or “hi, firsthalf, your co-workers recommended you” has immediately outed themself as a liar.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      And adding, I think the problem grows if left unchecked. “You’ve been letting me call you Janet for 3 months and NOW you just tell me that your name is Jackie? What’s up with that?” People can feel foolish for not getting the name correct and they feel even more foolish if they have been getting wrong for a while. That foolish feeling can come out as anger and other awkward emotions.

      One thing I have done to help myself correct it immediately is add on a double check to make sure I have the other person’s name right. “Actually my name is Jane, not Jan. And you’re Bob, not Rob, am I getting this correctly?” The two way double check kind of levels things out. But it’s not always possible to work this technique into conversation.

      1. Dainerra*

        true story. we lived in FL and a couple moved in next door. Was talking to my husband and mentioned seeing “Janet” and he said “who is that??” I got exasperated and said “Janet. You know, our neighbor??” And he told me “You mean Lisa? Her name is Lisa”
        I honestly have no idea why but I do have a habit of my brain deciding that someone looks like a Janet and not a Lisa – to the point where I often wait until someone says a person’s name before I use their name even if I’ve known them for months. In my defense, I had been calling her Janet for 5 months and she answered to that.

    6. anonymous73*

      I don’t get it either, but I’m also not afraid to set boundaries or correct someone when needed. I don’t tiptoe around people’s feelings – if Katniss gets upset with me for telling her my name is Samantha, not Sam, it’s not my job to manage her feelings around a legitimate ask. I’m respectful of others, and I prefer a friendly environment, but I’m there to do a job not make friends. My last big office job was like being in middle school. I don’t have time for that crap. I’m so glad I work from home now.

      1. CrazyPlantLady*

        I’m the same way, and I even correct others when they use the wrong version of other people’s name. No issue with it at all, and no one’s ever been rude to me about correcting others.

        I have a super weird last name and it’s rarely pronounced correctly, maybe 1 out of 30 times. Although it doesn’t bother me that they mispronounce it because I know it’s a strange spelling.

    7. Helvetica*

      I try to be very respectful about names and yet I worked with someone for almost 2 yrs whose name was “Mary-Jane” (it was not that but similar) and whom I called Mary-Jane and who never corrected me until a year into knowing her, found out that she often goes by just Mary! I asked her why she didn’t correct me and turned out she didn’t mind being Mary-Jane or Mary. In context, in my country, people having two names is not very common and if someone has two names, mostly both are used, so I just went by convention but also felt slightly embarrassed.

      1. Rolly*

        “didn’t mind being Mary-Jane or Mary” is a contradiction from correcting someone. The person needs to take some responsibility: does she have a preference or not. Choose!

      2. Artemesia*

        LOL. My daughter is hyphenated and we raised her in the south where double names often with a last name (mother’s name) as the middle name are common. So if her name was Susie Rogers-Smith — she would get called ‘Susie Rogers’ as if it were ‘Mary Jane’. because that was common but a hyphenated last name was soooo not common.

    8. Nanani*

      Shouldn’t and Isn’t are two different things.
      Sometimes there’s a power dynamic – people feel weird correcting their boss.
      Or they don’t realize the other person was referring to them by the wrong name because they were doing it around others (like, when talking about them normally) and it didn’t come out within earshot, until a third person starts going “Hi Wrongname”
      Or they want to give the benefit of the doubt that it was a slip of the tongue, but after X times it clearly isn’t an error and also it feels like the ship has sailed.
      Also a lot of people with less common names, are situationally uncommon because they are members of a minority where they currently live. That puts an extra layer of discomfort due to power dynamics around things like immigration status, religious differences, etc,
      plus being unsure what’s an attempt to be friendly vs trying to whitewash your name, and so on.

      Point is, there are a lot of reasons. And there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

    9. Generic Name*

      Because most people’ names are important to them? I see comments like this fairly frequently. Just because something doesn’t bother YOU doesn’t mean nobody else gets to be bothered by it. It’s basic empathy.

    10. Critical Rolls*

      You’ve probably also seen a lot of letters about coworkers losing their damn minds about ridiculous things, which is the answer to your question.

      Additionally, this can be tricky for two reasons: if people are making a genuine mistake, the misnamed person may not want to embarrass them. And sometimes people do this on purpose as an exercise of power, and correcting them can be difficult and fraught.

      1. Artemesia*

        When people give me my husband’s last name I just assume it is an innocent mistake which is often is and I always make the correction privately instead of in a group.

    11. turquoisecow*

      I think it’s perceived as rude to correct someone (especially in front of others) and especially if there’s a power difference. Boss says “this is Bob!” and it’s not really a great look to immediately correct the Boss and say “actually, please call me Robert.”

      A lot of times the Boss or whoever the person is with power will react very negatively to situations where they’re being corrected, even if they’re objectively wrong. Boss says it’s raining but it’s snowing? Don’t correct him, especially in front of his peers. Especially if this is the first time you meet someone, you don’t want that first impression to be of someone who disagrees with people.

    12. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

      Because it can be tiring. Especially if it happens all the time. It’s even worse for people of color and immigrants. They already have so many obstacles and people they work with can’t be bothered to say or spell their name right.

      It’s a microaggression. It chips away at people little by little.

      Also, in a business sense it can cause problems. If someone keeps referring to someone else by the wrong name things can get mixed up. Heck just having people with the same first name can cause problems, which is why on my first day of a new job I got an email that was meant for my bosses boss. Thankfully it wasn’t anything sensitive.

    13. Scrabster*

      As someone who had to correct the spelling of her name on her first day of kindergarten, and on the graduation program for her degree, it becomes almost automatic to check how my name is spelled. Plus, if there is a more common variant, people tend to type that one, which can be a big issue if you’re dealing with officialdom or buying airline tickets….

  15. TechWorker*

    I find #2 so frustrating. It definitely applies at my company, which has been stingy with raises since the start of the pandemic (but probably before that too tbh) despite the fact our org has done better than expected profit wise. I recently got a promotion with a 2% raise (they had barely any budget; I know my boss and grandboss would like to pay people more). I like my job, the culture and my direct manager a lot (which isn’t a given everywhere by any means) but I am certain that I’m leaving thousands, probably tens of thousands on the table by not leaving :(

  16. MistOrMister*

    OP1 – this line really stood out to me: ” I thought he knew I was better than that.”. You said the position has high turnover and that you left for more money with less responsibility. I wonder, was the negative review your ex-boss (by the way, I find it odd that you kept referring to him as your boss even thought you left the job a year ago) found accurate? If it was inaccurate and a clear case of someone trying to harm the company through falsehoods, I can understand being upset that someone is attributing it to you when you didn’t write it. But if it is an accurate review, then why would you be “better than that”? You are allowed to leave negative reviews about a workplace if there are negative things going on in said workplace! We do not owe it to our employers to lie about or hide negative aspects of employment with them. That said, I know how much it stings to think you have a good relationship with a boss and have them irrationally accuse you of something you didn’t do. But this person sounds a little unhinged. Who tracks down someone to berate them for a review that was written over a year ago and refuses to believe them when they say it wasn’t them??? Actually, my current boss’s boss would do that in a heartbeat, I think, but I digress. OP, try to take the emotion out of it and realize, with someone like this, they would have blown up at you over a non-issue at some point no matter what. With people like that it’s a matter of when, not if, they are going to go nutso on you. Just thank your lucky stars this didn’t happen until after you were no longer working with them.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It did take him quite a while to find that negative review. I almost wonder if he did the same thing to others who left the company in the hopes of figuring out who did it. “I know you did it!” If he sends that message to everyone at some point he will be correct.

      OP do you have a way of checking in with other former employees?

    2. Lady Glittersparkles*

      Heck, I’d say if she’s being blamed for a negative review anyway might as well actually go write a negative – and accurate – review to help others!

    1. Anne of Green Gables*

      My husband’s name is Alejandro. He does not like nor use shortened versions. When my family asked if he ever used Al, I told them that he is not Paul Simon and you cannot call him Al. This makes me smile, even if others roll their eyes.

      1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        High five to Alejandro! This is the month when I have to tell people that the pipes are not, in fact, calling me.

        If they fail to get it the first time, I will stone-faced say that there have been only two people in my life to call me Danny and they are both dead, so unless they want to go three for three….

  17. Not my name*

    4. I have a given name that some people shorten in a variety of ways, while I’ve always preferred to use the whole name. When I introduce myself, I try to not even mention any of the nicknames so that no one mishears or misremembers. I wouldn’t want to say “don’t call me Jen” and someone thinks “hmmm, she said something about ‘Jen’ when she introduced herself, so I’d better call her that.” I usually say “I’m Jennifer. I don’t use any nicknames, so you can call me Jennifer.” That way they’re hearing my name twice, and it’s a positive message telling them what they can do, not seeing rules about what they can’t do.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yep. And this can go the other way. I had a boss with a longer name and she wanted to be called by the shortened version. “Hi my name is Elizabeth. I go by Beth, but you will see that I use Elizabeth only when I sign formal paperwork. To everyone here, I am “Beth”.

      That was pretty clear, we all understood and there was no confusion.

    2. Artemesia*

      Good idea. I once received a huge box of assorted herbal teas from my own mother who remembered I said something about herbal tea when we were having a cup of tea. That something was ‘I hate herbal teas — I’ll have the black tea.’ So if I want to be called Artemesia I am not going to say ‘I never go by Arti.’

    3. Clorinda*

      Or, if OP4 wants to use the not-apparent-to-foreigners nickname, she should tell them. “My formal name is Georgiana and I prefer to go by Gigi, not George.”

  18. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    It’s always OK to ask someone what they prefer to be called, and then call them that. Some people will proactively also tell you their pronouns, which can be very helpful. The only time when you might need to be a little flexible is if there is already someone on your team with your name. Even then, Amy B and Amy K can work together with relatively little confusion.

  19. No Sleep For The Wicked*

    #2 – A friend of mine recently quit a job where she had been overworked for years due to staff cuts. The final straw was a “reorganisation” during quarantine that cut her pay to less than when she started at the company 15 years ago. She quit and already had a new job offer with generous benefits before the end of her notice period.
    Her old job has been continually readvertised ever since, but they still aren’t offering market salary for the role. In the meantime they have hired contractors for the work which is probably costing much more. Last month they called my friend to ask if she’d return for her old (pre-reorg) salary and she declined – she has no interest in ever returning to somewhere that treated her so badly.
    Corporate greed is a good way to shoot yourself in the foot.

    1. LifeBeforeCorona*

      The audacity of not returning to a job that cut your salary! Someone here is recruiting and they are offering barely above the minimum wage in a competitive field. They received no responses to their ads on various platforms. I suggested a more competitive pay rate.

      1. Artemesia*

        Well you know, people just don’t want to work anymore. We have no applicants for this role that lots of people could do.

    2. Anya Last Nerve*

      In fairness, even if the hourly rate for contractors is much higher, they are generally cheaper for companies than full time employees because of not having to pay for benefits.

      1. Observer*

        Not for the kind of job being described. Because the cost is not just about the payroll line.

        It’s hard to quantify the cost of turnover, but it’s real.

      2. No Sleep For The Wicked*

        I believe they had to go through an agency in this case, so I assume the fees will cover those sorts of costs.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If I had any artistic ability, I would be tempted to draw a cartoon of your friend as Charlie Brown, and her former employer as Lucy, holding a football with a dollar sign on it, with her former employer saying “We promise that THIS time we won’t slash your salary or overwork you!”

    4. Vanilla Nice*

      I wish I were surprised by any of this. A former co-worker whom I wasn’t fond of but am still connected with on social media recently posted that she doesn’t understand why junior people keep leaving the organization for higher-paying jobs. A few people very politely pointed out in their replies that she answered her own question. She doubled down in her replies to the replies on what a great org it is (spoiler alert: it’s not) and how it’s possible to live frugally in that area (spoiler alert: the surrounding city has the most expensive cost-of-living in the state).

      I don’t understand why it’s so hard to grasp the idea that people value jobs that compensate them fairly.

  20. Communi-Tea*

    My sister in law worked at a company for years, it had a call center that was based somehow in the medical field. She studied a degree in IT at the same time as my brother (her husband) and was able to transition off the call floor into the IT team at that job with a small bump. When they had an opening my brother applied and got the job. Her boss called her in first to ask if she was okay with it as he would be starting at a much higher salary despite doing the same program with her. Her options were yes or no and he doesnt get the job. No option for her to get a raise to an appropriate level. So a married couple had the same job on an IT helpdesk but got paid like 10k difference. Which at their low level was a lot.

      1. WindmillArms*

        Or the part where she rejected the false options the company offered, and demanded salary equity?

        1. Communi-Tea*

          Nope. They both have new jobs now but she saw it as a good thing that he would be bringing in a high salary. The lack of parity annoyed her but he needed a job and so they were happy for the extra money sadly.

  21. Roscoe da Cat*

    LW#4 – it’s not that you have a foreign name. Try being named something like Suzanne and having people call you Susan. Completely wrong name…

    1. MistOrMister*

      Sometimes people call me the wrong name by adding a letter to mine. Kind of like Susan to Suzanne. It happenes very rarely and I have never been able to figure out why. Oddly, this is the only time I’m not annoyed when someone gets my name wrong and I have never corrected it. Other people will always inevitably ask me, why does X call you Suzanne don’t they know your name is Susan?? It tickles me every time for some reason.

    2. Chili pepper Attitude*

      And it is not just long names. My first name is just 3 letters, but 2 syllables, and some people still shorten it!!

      But I am sure people with long names and names from other countries face this a lot more!

    3. len*

      I am willing to be that this person has also experienced people mispronouncing their full name so that it sounds like a different thing altogether.

      1. JustaTech*

        I recently started working with a person who’s first name is very long and was unfamiliar to me. I am really, really bad at pronouncing words or names from writing (I have a hard time to sound-to-letters, it makes spelling difficult). So rather than butcher this woman’s name, I waited until our meeting and asked her to pronounce it.
        And when I was sure I had it right I shared it with our coordinator who had also been uncertain on how to pronounce it.

        I would much, much rather own the awkward of “I don’t know how to pronounce your name correctly, will you please tell me” than flail around in trying and getting it completely wrong and leaving her with the awkward of correcting me.

    4. Alana Bloom*

      It’s probably not just that they have a foreign name, but I’m sure that it doesn’t help. Lots of people don’t make as much of an effort with names that are unfamiliar to them when the person with the unfamiliar name is of a different race or ethnicity.

    5. Nanani*

      Yep, and now you have to do the calculus of your power dynamic, factoring in the effort needed to correct them, wondering if they did make a good faith attempt but just don’t have the right phonemes in their inventory vs not bothering with what they see as a “weird” name, and also having things to do in this conversation that is at work and not a lecture on your name.
      It’s not that easy!

    6. MapleHill*

      #4, 100% don’t feel bad to clarify your preferred name to people, it’s a service to them. When someone uses the wrong name, a simple “oh actually I prefer Phillipa” or “oh hey I go by Phillipa, not Phil” is an easy, gentle way to correct people.

      After reading this blog, I realized a few years ago that I’ve had a tendency to shorten people’s names if they have popular names that are VERY commonly shortened- such as Nicholas, Jeffrey, Michael. I realized once I was calling a male coworker by the nickname and heard someone else calling him the full name, and was like wait, do you go by X? It was totally subconscious that I’d been using the nickname. Fortunately, AAM has made me more aware of being respectful by using people’s preferred names & pronunciations.

      And hey, it’s a mutual respect thing. I have a very common name where the only common nickname is one that I hate and imo sounds infantile, so if people started calling me that, I would put an end to that quickly (actually, one older coworker does, but out of habit I think because it’s her daughter’s name, but her job isn’t one where we’re in meetings/on emails together, so I let her since it won’t spread).

      1. JustaTech*

        I have two guy friends who I call by the shortened version of their names, while their wives call them by their full names.
        When I realized this I asked each of them if they would rather that I called them by their full names and each said no.
        (I’ve known both of them longer than they’ve known their wives, which is why I was still calling them by their names from college.)

  22. DrWho*

    #1: something similar happened to me. I was barely 6 months in in this job, which was per se not a great fit for me, but I needed some money in while properly job searching on the side. One day out of the blue I get called for a meeting with HR. Now, bare in mind: 1. I am always very honest, maybe too much sometimes… 2. Being in customer service, I always flagged recurrent complaints from customers to higher ups if I believed that the cause of the complaint was on the company and could be fixed.
    Well, the “meeting” went like this: HR asks what I don’t like about the job, if I think I was not paid enough (I was not but I never complained about it. Again, 6 months in….), if I tought my workload was unreasonable (it was not and I said so, only one catch: there was nobody to cover for me if I was on holiday. Coming back was a nightmare).
    Anyways, no matter what I say, HR then produces this sheet with a negative review of the company that had been published online and asks: “so what do you think we need to do about this?”
    Long story short, they terminated me and a few other coworkers just on the suspicion that it could have been one of us. Luckly for me I was about to resign anyway, because I had just found another job, so I did not care about losing the job, but boy I was angry that they could think I would do something like that!!! Like going behind their back and complain online! And then lie about it!!!! Totally not me.

    Well, 6 months later HR lady who fired half the department was terminated as well, replaced with someone younger and more experienced. Last thing I heard is that she was struggling to find a job in her 50s and with no proper HR formation (she ended up in HR from another department in previous company, but did not really know much about it apparently. Or so I was told). And a year later the company filed for bankrupcy.
    If this is not karma…

    1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Holy Moly! They fired people on the suspicion of posting a bad company review. That’s just awful.

      1. calonkat*

        On the plus side, they knew all those people were responsible for the OTHER bad reviews that were then left :)

    2. How About That*

      She sounds awful, but something about the ageism in this post bothers me. Replaced by someone younger, struggling to find a job in her fifties…don’t like it.

  23. Bluesboy*

    I also have a foreign name (well, an English name but I live in a foreign country) something like Alexander James, but I prefer to be Alex.

    I can understand people who don’t know me well going by Alexander, but you would be amazed how many people call me James (it’s in the middle of my work email address, IT insists on us using our full legal names in our address, which did not go down well with my colleague Maria Gabriella Antonietta Cristofanelli as you can imagine…). One person in my company even insists on translating my name and calling me Alessandro…

    I think it’s a lot easier when you prefer a shortened form. “Please, call me Alex” sounds like you’re being friendly, while “Please, call me Alexander” can sound like you’re trying to create distance. But in your case OP4 I would consider noting that it isn’t the contraction in your country. Something like “Please call me (full name), we don’t contract my name like that in my country so it sounds really strange to me. It would be like shortening ‘Katherine’ to ‘Kather’!”

    1. CCC*

      Re: being called James, it’s funny how an email address gets stuck in people’s heads. I worked somewhere with addresses formulated as first initial+middle initial+last name. My first and middle initials are M R. So at least once a week someone was shocked that I was a woman and not Mr. Jones, and often this was internal folks who knew about the email formatting.

    2. TrixM*

      That thing about full names in email addresses is ludicrous. Making someone write that out is a pain in the butt, but there’s also a technical limitation of 64 characters before the “@” on any email system. That’s quite a lot, really, but I’ve had Spanish and Sri Lankan colleagues whose full names would not work.
      You can have a lot more characters in a “display name”, but honestly, an email address is not a legal identity. And why would people you’re emailing need your full legal name anyway? If you’re drafting contracts, you’re going to ask for someone’s legal name anyway.

  24. Annoyed*

    Ugh! #2 makes me so mad.

    Working in HR, I see all the engagement benefits to fixing wage issues. My boss sees them and fights for better wages but corp doesn’t agree. The wage compression in the minimum wage positions is gross because we can’t give raises high enough to counter how high the outside offers have to go. These people will always make minimum wage.

    My husband works for a large international co. As a mid manager he quickly found out the new dept he got transferred into made much higher wages but they never quite fixed it to get him on the right scale. Cue up his mgr telling him she put him in for a promotion that the higher ups declined, a direct report leaving and getting a counter offer 50% higher than my husband makes (he was looped in as his mgr, the guy left anyways) and the new promotion this year going through at only a 10% increase. He was told he’d get $ if the other guy stayed but now he’s not able to get that. Large co holds a monopoly on jobs in the area (just bought competition I was convincing him to apply to). After 15 years exp he struggles with how exactly to move on if they devalue him so much. It’s demeaning.

    Comp studies only go so far. Equal pay is what you make of it. Exposing pay discrepancy doesn’t mean it’s getting fixed unless the people at the top agree.

    1. KateM*

      Your husband should maybe thy and get the job of the guy who left. :P I understand it would be lower title but betetr salary?

      1. Miss V*

        LW 4- So I’ve personally found myself in a similar position sometimes and I encourage you to go ahead and speak up directly as soon as it happens. I actually interrupt people, and say as brightly as I can, ‘oh, I’m sorry. Are you talking about me? I actually don’t go by that, I only go by Phillipa. Unfortunately if you call me Phil I won’t realize you’re talking about me and I’ll ignore you! Ok, sorry I interrupted, I just wanted to make sure that was directed at me!’

        Since I’m stressing that I’m only interrupting to clarify we’re talking about me and my involvement people usually don’t mind. And it sticks out in people’s memories enough that they remember.

        1. Miss V*

          Argh! Nesting fail! That’s what I get for trying to do this on my phone instead of a computer. This should be a stand alone comment.

        2. Artemesia*

          I know people who do this professionally and they are ridiculed as pretentious. Especially if they are women. It is entirely understandable that people don’t step up when someone uses a wrong name especially if it is a higher up in a business meeting. Who wants to be the one who, smirk insists it is ‘Mary Friend’ not ‘Mary’. It is unfair, but it is not not an issue.

          1. Miss V*

            Huh. Well that sucks (and is super sexist.)

            But I still think I’ll continue to do this, because it’s a hill I’m willing to die on. Partially because I genuinely will not answer to a different version of my name, not to be difficult, but because I really will not realize the person is talking to me. And partially because this is a big enough deal that I will waste my capital on this. We call people what they want to be called is something we stressed with my stepson when he was 10. I don’t think it’s unreasonable (or pretentious) to hold professional adults to the same standard.

  25. Gnome*

    Re: Names (#4). My name is something like Heather – two syllables, fairly common English name that doesn’t generally get shortened. I go by a completely different name personally and professionally – and it’s not my middle name either. It’s not English, it’s pretty unusual, but not difficult to pronounce – like maybe Amollia. However, I do government work and governments are pretty much sticklers for legal names. So I have email addresses and badges that all say “Heather Smith” and I just sign my emails “Amollia Smith” and introduce myself that way. 99% of the time it’s not an issue – although it’s pretty easy to spot the folks who are using my ID badge to help remember my name. Someone recently replied to an email calling me Heather and then later emailed me offering apologies that they’d missed my sign-offs. So, if someone is upset that you say, “Actually, I only go by Samantha, not Sam,” they are being weirdly defensive. I do get that it’s not always easy… I’ve got one person who just can’t seem to get there, because they are so enamored with my legal name (weird, but kinda sweet in an Auntie sort of way), but it’s generally just not an issue.

  26. Jaid*

    I can deal with my name being shortened. But one co-worker wanted to shorten it AND add a hard E at the end, like baby talk. Think “Marcus” but “Marky”.

    That was a hard no from me.

    1. That_guy*

      I’ve dealt with something similar. I have one very obnoxious coworker who purposely calls people by names he knows they don’t like. We are officially at the same level, but I’m the unofficial team lead (another of the difficulties of this place).
      He tried to call me a juvenile diminutive of my simple name once. I told him that I don’t like being called that, which he promptly ignored. I then told him that I won’t respond to that and I’ve held firm. He tried complaining to the boss about it, and when questioned I just told the boss that he never asked me for help – because he didn’t. He must have asked someone else whose name is similar but not the same as mine.
      He calls me by my correct name now.

  27. Me (I think)*

    When my new boss was trying to get me a significant raise to bring me up to parity with all the new people (the result of my having been there for over a decade and hired at a much lower salary), our director told him that I could get a nice raise if I went somewhere else for a few years and then came back. I told him that if I went somewhere else, I wouldn’t come back.

    When that director left, he was able to get me two significant raises in three years, for which I am still thankful.

  28. ecnaseener*

    I for one would like to know how to break into whatever career gets you 150% raises every time you switch jobs!

    1. JoSimple*

      Or even just the 15% raise when you stay! I work in banking and my last 3 annual raises were 2.5%, 0% and 3%.

    2. Overeducated*

      Right? Or 15% if you stay! 15% is “get a new job with significantly higher responsibilities” money where I work. Hoping these are made up numbers, or I’m really doing it wrong!

  29. Butters*

    Regarding raises and employee retention, I worked for a super toxic small business who thought he could retain employees through gaslighting and guilt trips. He basically used the points in the Sick Systems/Abusive Relationship essay as a playbook. https://www.issendai.com/psychology/sick-systems.html
    I quit for a lot of reasons, but a lot of it because I was being paid peanuts to risk my life working for terrible people 70+ hours a week as an equine veterinarian. It USED to be a super competitive job and had tinges of The Devil Wears Prada of the job a million girls would kill for. More recently we have learned we could make more money for half the hours elsewhere and maybe pay down our student loans and the industry is hemorrhaging vets. They just bury their heads in the sand and claim we don’t have grit and don’t want to work hard. I was told I was a traitor and stabbing my boss in the back for leaving for a job that paid almost TWICE for half the hours and no middle of the night calls. I don’t work on two hours of sleep anymore. He doesn’t understand why.
    Times are changing and the successful businesses are going to adapt instead of wearing down their employees into submission so they don’t have the energy to think about finding a new job.

  30. Katie*

    3 – Could it somehow be negotiated into the price upfront of what you are already doing? If not, do it and kindly mention that you were doing extra for them.
    If was something that they could continue to add more and more to it, then don’t but that doesn’t sound like the case there.
    4 – I work with people all over the world. People do not get that I go by Katie even though my signature goes by that and other people call me that. So me people call me Kathy and it drives me batty.

    1. NotKathyNotKat*

      I am a Katherine. Do not shorten my name until I say “call me Katie”. I hate Kathy with the fire of a thousand suns.

      1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

        My name–or at least its nickname, which I use most of the time–isn’t Kathy. But it sounds entirely too much like Kathy, especially over the phone. (The middle consonants are “ss,” not “th.”) I’ll happily join the “DO NOT EVER CALL ME KATHY” club with y’all.

  31. Kristen*

    #4 – As I was reading this, I became horrified thinking that you were talking about me! The only saving grace is the foreign colleague I work with on another team from another agency has a short name, not long. I have heard her immediate colleagues shorten her name in virtual meetings and I thought it signified a sort of friendliness that I started using when we hit a place where we were working well together and we were “there”. Now I am afraid that maybe her team just did it and maybe she doesn’t like it and she never said anything. Or maybe not, but I appreciate you mentioning it because it was not something that ever even crossed my mind.

  32. Fully Licensed Llama Groomer*

    Jennifer here. It is amazing how fast people shorten that to Jen. I don’t mind being called Jen but I prefer Jennifer in the work place. And yet, as soon as I introduce myself people shorten Jennifer to Jen. It used to make me nuts when I worked retail. Jennifer isn’t that hard and I think it is pretty! (Jenny is unacceptable to me at all times.)

    1. AnonPi*

      Another Jennifer/Jen here. Like you I tend to prefer Jennifer but don’t mind it if people call me Jen. However people assuming calling me Jenny is ok drives me nuts. Like, no, just no. I got stuck with that growing up because there were “too many Jennifers” so I was chosen to be one of two Jenny’s in my class group. Lasted all the way through high school, and I was so glad when I left I could finally be called the name I wanted.

  33. Dinwar*

    #2 is so common in my industry it’s cliche. Unless you drastically change roles (think field tech to project manager) or leave the company and come back your raises tend to be cost-of-living adjustments only.

    Partly, this is actually fair. When you switch roles your responsibilities dramatically increase. And when you change companies you usually move up the chain as well. More responsibility=more money.

    Partly, getting paid more at a different company is a bribe. Getting things done in my industry requires contacts and experience. I’m not some random person sending out a bid request; I’m someone they’ve worked with for years, someone they’ve had a few drinks with, someone who’s maybe helped them out of they were on hard times and someone who’s asked them for help or advice. As for knowledge, being able to say “I want X done” and knowing that the person can do X without getting arrested or shot is not an insignificant factor in hiring. You can obtain this level of connections and experience in two ways: Have someone work for you for 15 years, or hire someone who already has it. Guess which way is cheaper.

    Partly, it’s the culture. Everyone knows that if you want a 15% raise you put your resume out. No one is upset when it happens, because your boss was poached from their former company, you poached the person below you, and you’re on your 3rd or 4th company already. And it’s not just poaching; companies tend to get formed and dissolve and sell off parts and accumulate parts, so folks are just used to letterhead changing.

    All that said, between the normal pay, the obligatory overtime, the travel (food is on the company dime), and the like, we get paid pretty well. Ironically the lower-level people tend to get paid more than the mid-level people. A field grunt works 10 hour days (industry standard), meaning they’re scheduled 25% OT off the bat, and can easily work 60 hours a week if they want. An office worker is generally expected to keep it to 8 hours a day. Even with a higher pay rate, switching from field work to office work is a pay cut in terms of take-home pay.

    1. Chili pepper Attitude*

      Bribes! Get things done without getting arrested or shot! Incestual circles of folks getting drinks and helping each other out during hard times?

      What industry is this?! And am I that naive or are you using tons of hyperbole?

      That industry sounds awful!

      1. Dinwar*

        I work in environmental remediation. It’s a small world–there are only so many HAZWOPER trained excavator operators, drillers, and the like.

        The bribe thing was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. What I meant was, if you have a skill set that I need I’ll offer you more money to come work for me than the company you’re working for offers you to stay. It’s not a bribe in the legal sense; it’s just how employment works. My labor, knowledge, and (ultimately) integrity are marketable skills, and I’m allowed to seek the best price for them.

        The getting arrested thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek. Dealing with hazardous waste, federal procurement requirements, and the like is nuanced, and there are ways you can screw up that can land you in serious legal trouble. Good companies know this and have very large divisions dedicated to mitigating those risks–but at the end of the day someone has to be the one to say “This waste has these characteristics and is going via this method to this place.” Knowing what it takes to do that is, again, a marketable skill.

        The being shot at thing is something that happens. Or the equivalent. It’s field work; I have yet to meet a field worker that doesn’t have a few “So here’s how I almost died” stories. Knowing how to safely do field work–which by its nature can never be totally safe–is, again, a marketable skill. A good field worker is worth their weight in gold, plus some.

        The “incestuous” thing is a bit harsh. When you’re on a jobsite you tend to think in terms of the team, not the company, especially if you’re working together for months or years on end. It’s pretty common for the crew to go have a drink on occasion, without regard for who works for what company. Helping each other out is more limited–this gets into procurement requirements and the like–but if I need to do a bit more work today because your mother had a heart attack and you need to see her in the hospital, I’m not going to ask who’s on your letterhead. I’ve also seen people sell stuff–“You’re looking for X? I’ve got X!” That sort of thing. But again, this is how you build contacts in this industry. You work with the people. And again, those contacts are a marketable commodity.

        Mostly what I’m describing is normal business practice, just in the worst possible light, for comedic effect.

  34. QuickerBooks*

    #2 Although I agree with the gist of the response, can we agree that the numbers in this example are likely way out of wack for most people/jobs? My guess is there aren’t a lot of situations where you’d be making 150% more for the same job at a different company, unless you’re starting out at an extremely low number. That is, unless there is some exogenous explanation such as one of the jobs is a small non-profit in Kentucky and the other is the “same” job at a tech giant in San Francisco. In which case, there’s your answer as to why the discrepancy.

    1. Antilles*

      The numbers are definitely exaggerated for most jobs, yeah. A 15% raise from a company would be incredibly huge, while a 150% salary bump from a new company is laughably unrealistic.
      The overall concept is real, but the numbers I’d think are more realistic are more along the lines of “current company gives a 2% annual raise on the current salary and thinks that’s acceptable; a new company will offer 20% higher”.

      1. Anon for This*

        My department’s salary is capped at about 50k a year (low starting salary band, and salary increase when being promoted is capped at 7%). Every single one of my coworkers who has left and found equivalent work elsewhere is making six digits now.

      2. Artemesia*

        3 of my friends and relatives who got new jobs recently got raises of around 50% while so doing. They were not being paid badly where they were.

    2. WindmillArms*

      I have personally gotten a 150% pay increase from one job to the next ($50k to $75k). It’s a thing!

      1. Can't help myself*

        Sorry for being pedantic…that is a 50% increase. Your new salary was 150% of your old salary, but the amount your pay increase was 50%. I think that is what people are reacting to — a 150% *increase* would be like going from a $50k job to a $200k job.

      2. urguncle*

        …That’s still only a 50% increase. A 150% increase would be your salary doubled, so $100k, plus 50% of the previous salary, $125,000.

      3. WindmillArms*

        You’re right, I was earning *150% of my prior salary* which is not the same thing as a *150% increase*. I wonder if OP is picturing the same thing. I was thinking of $75k as “150% of $50k” and described it sloppily.

  35. anonymous73*

    #1 unless you work in a niche industry where it will matter I wouldn’t worry about it tanking any future jobs. No he won’t be an available reference, but with such a small company I’m sure you could find someone else. And if it ever comes up in an interview I don’t think there’s any need to hide what happened. “My boss at Company X wrongly accused me of writing a negative review so I won’t be asking him to provide a reference.”

  36. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    2. Why do you have to switch jobs to get a big raise?
    It’s been my experience that this is usually the case as companies simply don’t keep up with market rates.
    However, I was proven wrong last year because I was actually given a HUGE raise that I hadn’t asked for to the tune of $20k increase in salary. Our company has lost quite a lot of people in the Great Resignation, so it was good to see them appreciate people who stayed. Or, perhaps they were tipped off I was a flight risk by a reference check because I had had a few interviews? IDK

    1. Student*

      I had a job where the HR team did a salary survey, found that they were badly out of step with industry, and put together a plan to get back on track.

      The plan was to pay all new hires going forward a rate more in line with market rates. With no plan to bump up pay gradually for those of us currently working there. I’m guessing that’s probably not uncommon, but the part that I found surprising was that they decided to spell this out to us in so few words in a company-wide announcement. Y’know, just telling us: “Hey, so you all know, you’re significantly underpaid. All new people we hire will get a much better salary in line with industry norms! Eventually this problem will work itself out over time!”

      I decided it was my duty to help work this problem out by starting my job search and picking up a much better paying job. The couple of co-workers I talked to who weren’t doing the same told me they were sticking around for the good retirement benefits that they were close to cashing in on. Everyone I was close to at that job in my age range (not close to retirement) found new jobs, too.

  37. Forrest*

    When I switch jobs I get a 150% raise and when I stay at the current one it’s 15%, so why are all these employers scratching their head at the Great Resignation?-

    I’m a bit :-/ at this. For a start, those are obviously exaggerated numbers, and I bet for most people facing that decision it’s more like a pay raise of 2-5% and 10-20% if they move companies. And— that’s not an unreasonable bump to justify the risk and disruption of changing jobs? If you’re not actually dissatisfied with your current job, then yeah, of course you’re only going to move for a decent salary increase. For most people, it would be bizarre to leave for anything less. And that’s without the fact that you might be losing other longevity benefits like extra PTO, entitlement to unemployment or sick leave, etc. Most companies are taking a gamble that most employees value stability more than they value a 10% pay rise— and for the most part, they’re not wrong.

    I think there’s a ton wrong with a lot of the way that salary is calculated and how unfair it can be, but this is one area where I think the employee has the information and the power they need to make the best decision for themselves. It’s worth it to you to move elsewhere for a 10% pay bump? Great, go for it! You’d rather stay where you are even if you could technically earn more elsewhere? Great, do that! You’re an employer who is finding that employees are leaving at a steady but manageable rate and sometimes it’s an opportunity to being useful new thinking into the company? Sounds like it’s working for you too! I am not convinced there’s a problem here that needs to be fixed.

    1. anonymous73*

      That’s not really the point though. Companies should not just focus on starting salaries but retention of valuable employees. And it’s an even bigger problem if you hire New Person B to do the same job as Current Person A and pay B significantly more because you give shit raises.

      1. Forrest*

        My question is what does your “should” mean. “Should” because it’s better business sense, or because it’s morally right? I just don’t think there’s a moral imperative here, unlike with, say, striving to get equal pay for marginalised groups. “Focus on new starter pay and accept that a certain number of employees will leave to progress, taking business knowledge and experience with them” and “invest in retaining staff” are both legitimate strategies from the business point of view and I’m not convinced there’s a broader equity issue that would make it a moral issue.

    2. QuickerBooks*

      Ok, I was thinking something similar but was unsure about saying anything.

      It seems to me that the extra pay–let’s call it 15%–is basically a tax that the poaching company considers worth paying to mitigate the tremendous risks of hiring and for getting you to severely disrupt your life. (You’ve already proven yourself somewhere else and some other company has already paid for a chunk of your training.) There’s no reason for your current employer to pay that tax. There is a reason they might pay a tax for retaining you if you threaten to leave. But that is a different tax.

      Also, OP asked whether it’s more expensive to give everyone a 150% raise than to let people leave. Yes, giving all employees a 150% raise would put most companies immediately out of business.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Their numbers are wild, but the idea of giving current employees retention raises and not capping the raises on promotions in a way that mean your top employees are earning less than the people they manage (I thought the first letter was going to be the one that went with this headline initially!) is a good one and something companies may find more financially sound than having to pay to hire new people every time someone leaves. They would likely have to pay the new hire a higher salary *and* all the normal costs of hiring, so at that level it certainly is cheaper just to pay your existing employee the higher salary and avoid the hiring costs.

      2. Allonge*

        Also, OP asked whether it’s more expensive to give everyone a 150% raise than to let people leave. Yes, giving all employees a 150% raise would put most companies immediately out of business.

        And, I don’t think many companies have such an excellent team that giving everyone a 150% raise makes more sense then looking outside for potential new hires (at the new salary level). I have worked with really great teams, but for more than double money? There is always someone better that could be hired.

      3. Forrest*

        It’s also quite often the case that the two jobs are not identical, and yes, you need to leave the company to become a Senior Llama Wrangler because your current company only has need for one Senior Llama Wrangler and someone else is already doing it!

    3. Omnivalent*

      Turnover costs actual money, as well as all the intangible costs like losing institutional knowledge, the disruption from onboarding, and the ripple effect of other employees also considering where to leave. “Useful new thinking” is not an accurate description for what is really “undervaluing current employees”.

      1. Allonge*

        But there is no way not to have turnover. If a company is bleeding essential employees, that is a problem. People regularly leaving for a better job is just business.

        1. Omnivalent*

          Incentivizing employees to be disloyal and to work elsewhere is not “just business”, it’s terrible business. When an employer shows that it rewards novelty over other qualities in an employee, of course employees who would otherwise be happy are going to leave.

            1. Scout*

              It is, but companies frequently talk about valuing loyalty, and use loyalty as a battering ram to get employees to accept lower pay and/or other negatives.

              Employees definitely need to accept that companies talk about loyalty for their own purposes only, and they need to remove emotion from their work decisions (whether or not to take a new job). Make the decision that is best for you, because the company is certainly making the decision that is best for them.

              ime, switching jobs a few times is definitely the way to increase your salary significantly, both by getting more money for the same job and by having more advancement opportunities.

      2. Forrest*

        Yes, there are business costs— but whether or not they’re higher than the costs of across the board increases for existing staff is a question that all organisations have to answer for themselves. And some companies will make the wrong decisions because they’re badly managed! But I’m not convinced it’s a structural question.

        I am interested in the underlying implication that it’s structurally or morally better for employers to value existing employees than have some churn in the labour market and have companies paying a premium to recruit new employees. I don’t think I agree! This isn’t a pay equity issue— the advantages of staying in one place are also meaningful for an employee and I think it’s good that people can choose according to their own priorities. There are a ton of other pay equity issues where I think there’s a moral case for change, but this isn’t one of them.

    4. Should I Apply?*

      So I will state that I don’t think this is a common thing, but I am about to start a new job for 2X my current salary. The annual raise that my current company offered based on my “exceeds expectations” rating, was 5%. Part of this is possible because I am going from a large but more traditional company, without equity, to a big tech company known for high compensation & equity.

      While employees should do what is right for them, since raises are usually percentages, even 10% can make a difference. For example if you started at 50K, and got a 2% raise every year for 10 yrs, you would be at 61K, but if you started with 10% raise and then got 2% every year after you would be 66K, which doesn’t sound that significant, but over the 10 years that initial 10% adds up to an extra 99K

      1. Gary Patterson's Cat*

        Very true Should I Apply.
        I once wrestled with this at a $40k but stable job in education with great benefits, going to an offered job starting at $56k but potentially more risk. But think: A $16k increase is a lot of money. Even if you only get 2 years at the riskier company before layoffs happen, you’ve made an extra $32k in those 2 years.

        I’ve strategically job hopped a lot over the years, and it does significantly increase your earning power in the long run. I’m always baffled why people are so afraid to change jobs and get so complacent where they are. It’s just a job. It’s not who you are.

      2. Allonge*

        Sure. A friend of mine went to a job with the new salary a magnitude away from the old one (yes, I know what a magnitude means). It was a continent away to a much higher COL area, a management position, different responsibilities, different working language – because he had all the experience and all the skills. Of course it made sense for him to do this – and of course it’s not ‘usual’.

        People will get these chances once in a while, and will take them, but there is no way for his original company to pay him enough to go back, ever. This is not a bug, it’s just how things are.

        Congratulations!

    5. Anonymous Hippo*

      I think the issue is it easier to sell the increase in the cost when there is actually pain being experienced by the company. IE you simply asking for a raise isn’t enough of a problem, but having a position open and thing not getting done or quality dropping or whatever makes it easier to get the approvals.

  38. 1qtkat*

    Re: LW 2’s question. I can totally relate. I currently work for state government which is notorious for low pay and generous benefits. The only way to get a “raise” is either if the legislature decides to give state employees a raise in the annual budget, or you move into a higher paying position in another agency.

    I like my work, but it’s hard to justify staying in a stagnant position other than loyalty. That’s why I gave notice today and will be starting a new federal job next month.

    1. Pointy's in the North Tower*

      I feel you. I also work for a state agency. We have people on staff who can no longer afford rent and groceries and who do not qualify for any kind of public aid. Our benefits are also nice, but they don’t put a roof over your head, food in the fridge, or help with the stress of living paycheck to paycheck.

      One person in particular would like to leave but isn’t a position to, due to multiple factors. They’re also one of the lowest-paid people in the office.

  39. Anya Last Nerve*

    My name is similar to Samantha but people frequently call me Sam. It drives me insane but I disagree with Allison that saying “I’m Samantha not Sam” is a common thing to say (I have never in over 20 years heard anyone introduce themselves this way) and I don’t think it would land well, at least at my work. At a certain point, you look like the crazy person for making a big deal over it.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      If you have some trusted colleagues who know you strongly prefer the full version of your name, you might ask them to reinforce that. I worked closely with several people whose names are commonly shortened but go by the full name, and I cringed every time I heard someone shorten their name because I knew it wasn’t with their permission. So, I would address them by their full names more often than I usually would or say “Oh, they prefer Fullname” if they weren’t present.

      It doesn’t help that whenever a character does this for themselves on TV or in a movie, it’s usually shorthand for “I’m very particular and not friendly” because we all know nicknames are a sign of affection (/s). But if close colleagues continue to use the full name, it hopefully comes across as respectful/using the correct name.

      1. TrixM*

        If they aren’t present, I just cut straight to, “It’s SAMANTHA” – not yelling, just with emphasis. If a colleague questions it, I just say calmly that I know that Samantha prefers to use her full name, and really, it’s just like Jonathan (or Timothy or whatever manager goes by their full name). I’m not rude, but that kind of thing annoys me too, and I don’t mind being the “bad cop” if it helps.

    2. Goldenrod*

      This is weird to me to hear! (Although of course I believe you!) I just can’t imagine calling someone a nickname without being very close to that person – close enough that, if they didn’t like the nickname, they would tell me!

      One of my closest friends is named Jennifer. We’ve been friends for close to 20 years. It’s Jennifer, it’s always been Jennifer and it will always be Jennifer – even *I* can’t call her Jen or Jenny! And I’m fine with that, because it’s her name. You get to decide what your own name is, for god’s sake!

      1. Jackalope*

        I guess it depends what you mean by a nickname. If you mean something like calling your friend Ruth the nickname Rutabaga, then yes, you need to know that person well enough to know if they’ll be okay with that. But if you just mean a shortening of their name… You used the example of your friend Jennifer. I’ve met many people over the years whose legal name is Jennifer, and I’ve always followed their lead. If someone introduces herself as Jen, then I’m not going to call her Jennifer just because we just met. But maybe I was misunderstanding the last bit in your comment?

        1. Scout*

          They explicitly state that “you get to decide what your own name is” so, yes, you are misunderstanding.

  40. ME*

    #2 And its not just raises. I started a role 18 months ago for a self proclaimed “Flat” organization with out alot of red tape with several sites across the country. I opened a new site and was a 1 person team doing everything, with no problem and only accolades from my off site boss. 6 months later they added a manager position that I was over qualified for and had done before but despite applying did not get. I found out after the fact that they couldn’t put me in the role because it was a 2 step bump. But there are no roles in our department in the middle step. Since then they have added more layers (we are no longer flat) and more roles that I am more than qualified for but I either am not allowed to apply because it would be 2 steps instead of 1 or they are basing them out of other sites with out reason since they are not site based and are 50-75% travel. (FYI our director is not based out of a site, and works/lives 250 miles from nearest site) So basically, I am in a dead end. But they are hiring people into these roles who do not have my education, or experience. So I could leave and come back and get hired into a higher paying role, but I can’t get promoted by staying.

  41. Not really a Waitress*

    #4 I go by a common nickname for my given name. (Think Trudy for Gertrude) I have always been called this, all my life. My parents , both who are gone, called me Trudy. In the first entry in my baby book, I am referred to as Trudy. My given name feels very formal to me and usually means I am in trouble. Normally I am polite the first few times some one calls me that but tell them they are more likely to get a response from me if they call me by my preferred name.

    But I worked with a woman who always tried to call me by my full name. I was polite the first few times but her response was always “Gertrude is a beautiful name, its my granddaughter’s name!” , then I would say “I am not your granddaughter”

    One day she was calling for me by my given name and I deliberately ignored her (she wasn’t the nicest person anyway) She must have called my name, loudly, 20 times before she realized I wasn’t going to answer unless she used my preferred name. She finally said it and sweet as pie I responded “yes? you need me?”

    After that, she would still do it but catch herself and correct it.

  42. ZSD*

    #4
    My parents named me with a less common pronunciation of my name, and I’ve acquired a habit of explicitly referring to the pronunciation of my name right from the start: “And by the way, my name is pronounced Bet, not Bett-ee.” People have always reacted positively to this, and often times they thank me for preventing them from using the more common pronunciation. I think explicitly introducing yourself as Philippa, not Phil, should get you similarly positive reactions.

  43. Ash*

    OP1, I understand that you respected your (former) boss, but he allowed you to be paid less than people you manage. It would be good to see him for both his positive characteristics as well as his flaws, and perhaps you will stop feeling quite so heartbroken.

  44. Just a Manager*

    #2 I’ve been a manager for a long time and always went along with the internal promotions to get the nominal 5-8% increase. What happens is that our people who have moved up the ladder become seriously underpaid.

    I don’t settle for this any longer. With the last couple of promotions, I’ve insisted the person get the salary we’d pay an outside hire. We use a salary range for each position with the goal of bringing in a person at 90% of the midpoint. I now insist that promotions get the same.

  45. BookMom*

    My legal first name, which I do go by, is commonly a nickname, think Katie. In school, I would be daydreaming and occasionally teachers would snap, “Katherine!” to get my attention and I’d just keep right on daydreaming because that’s *not my name* and I just wouldn’t hear them.

    As an adult, I occasionally have to say, “oh, Katie is my whole name! My mom wishes she’d named me Katherine but it’s too late now!” It feels like a nice way to correct without people feeling scolded.

    I have a couple coworkers whose nicknames are not standard diminutives, like Amy Post going by “Amps”. Since I don’t work closely with them or know them personally, I still use Amy when referring to them. They are much younger than me, and it also feels sort of “off” to use what sounds like a summer camp counselor nickname in a professional work environment. I notice a mix of Amy/Amps use among others.

  46. Melting HR Guru*

    My name is Kathryn lots of people want to call me Kathy I say everytime no my name is Kathryn . My family had five girls with the same name born within 2 years of each other so Kathy I will never answer to as it is my cousins name. Also I just hate the desire to shorten it isnt that hard really

      1. IndoorKitty*

        I’d like to join your support group. Like, I told you my name is Kathleen, why are you calling me Kathy? I am not Kathy, I have never BEEN Kathy. Do not call me Kathy.

        It kind of helps that I go by a completely different and unusual diminutive, although that brings its own issues. Some people can’t seem to keep the diminutive in their heads, even after commenting on how unusual it is, think: “Oh, Sat, what an unusual name, Sat, huh never heard of a Sat. Anyway, Sam, I wanted to talk about this thing…”

  47. irene adler*

    For #1- What exactly is the ex-boss expecting the OP to do (other than own up to being the author of the review)?

    Suppose OP actually did write the review. Okay, so what? Does Google remove reviews per request of either the company or the reviewer? I don’t know. If not, then claiming authorship won’t change the content of the review.

    Sounds like this ex-boss is simply using the review as an excuse to lash out at OP. Not very professional.

    Years ago, I worked at a company that had very high turnover. There were numerous safety violations going on. At times, lab techs would point out these violations to management. Management didn’t care or they claimed they were helpless to remedy the issue.

    Periodically we’d get a surprise visit from the local fire department or the building owners. Usually this occurred right after someone had quit. We were told they received a complaint about X condition (fire exits blocked; biohazard incorrectly disposed, etc.) and needed to investigate things.

    Management would assume these complaints were lodged by whomever recently quit. And they’d trash their name.

    However, I knew differently. A co-worker confided in me that, whenever someone quit, SHE would contact an authority (local fire department, building owners, etc.) to complain about the safety issue. She didn’t want to bring the wrath of the management down on her. She figured management would blame recently departed employees and never suspect her. She was right.

  48. WonkyStitch*

    I’m Victoria – not Vic please :)

    I generally love my job, but it is indeed disheartening to get a 2.7% raise this year (when inflation last year was 8%, so basically I took a 5% pay cut) and to get an email every month from a senior leader, announcing another senior leader’s promotion, congratulation them on their success, etc. Management in general seems very tone deaf.

    1. Cj*

      Only Nick and Billy get to call Victoria “Vic”. ( Young and the Restless reference, for those who are confused).

  49. I just work here*

    #2 I think this is one of the most ridiculous “policies” that I can think of. It’s also true in my organization. I”ve been offered a promotion that will take me up 3 salary grades and the HR director told me “remember our practice on salary increases ” before I got offered the job. Our “practice” (it’s not even a formal policy) would offer me a % raise that wouldn’t even put me at the salary minimum for the new position.

    I responded “the company is the one who determined what the job is worth and I expect an offer within the posted salary range.” I’m confident I’ll get what I am asking for—my manager is very senior in the organization–but this practice is so illogical I don’t know how anyone can defend it with a straight face.

    1. Ashley*

      I hope you are able to get what you deserve! Another way to put it is that if the company hired an external person, they would be paying WITHIN the salary band. Why should you be punished financially for already being an employee already? It’s so frustrating and short sighted on the part of the company.

  50. Chaos Muppet*

    #2 – Pay structures are weird. I got some very good raises at the university I work at, but technically I did change jobs. They weren’t just merit increases. When we do promotions here, typically managers will try to get you “reclassified” or “transferred” even if it’s within the same department, because you can get so much more money than just with a “promotion”. The “promotion” caps out at 10% above the current salary. I have no idea why they do that, but we’re a state institution and have to follow weird rules. So if you want a good raise with a promotion, the position will be posted on our main HR site and you have to apply and go through the whole stupid process. It does get posted as “internal only” so you don’t really have to worry about someone external coming in and snatching your promotion, but there is risk.

    I did get an equity raise one year that was quite significant, and I was completely shocked that my university would even do that, but I had a really good boss at the time.

    1. Goldenrod*

      Yep! The only reason I was able to get a big raise in my new job (at the university where I work) is that my hiring boss worked really hard to reclassify my job. It was the same role, but she re-wrote the job description to make it sound more complex. This was the only way she could get my raise approved.

      I’m so glad she did that! The compensation department for some reason works really hard to try to keep salaries low when internal candidates apply to other departments. I’m sure it is one of the reasons people are constantly quitting the organization.

  51. Avril Ludgateau*

    Re: #2

    That 2012 letter… When I took my first job at this current organization, I thought I must have misunderstood when I was informed that even with a promotion, the most you can get is a 6% raise. For perspective, our contracted COL raises are 3% each year. Even if you jump from an entry level role straight to upper management, you are capped at 6%. It’s a great policy if you’re trying to lose your best talent, I suppose. I remember seething about it, and when I first found AAM, I even wrote up a whole (overly wordy and indignant) email about it… And then I moseyed around the archives and wouldn’t you know? It’s a frighteningly common policy.

    My boss did somehow finagle a better raise for me when I got a promotion before the pandemic hit. I don’t remember exactly how but I know it involved using some of his capital with HIS boss, and advertising the position externally with the salary he wanted to give me as the lower end of the band (still underpaid for the role, but a bigger jump than 6% when I took an insulting salary just to get my foot in the door*). It worked! But that was his one big “favor” to me, and it’s not something he will repeat. Things have gotten even worse since the pandemic, we have not even gotten our contracted COL raises for two years while COL and inflation are both skyrocketing, and the pain of being paid what amounts to HALF the market rate for my title is becoming impossible to ignore. Job hop, away!

    *lesson learned: DO NOT DO THIS. Yes, I tried to negotiate. I was given a flat “no, it is not negotiable” and should have walked away. Desperate times.

    1. Avril Ludgateau*

      Forgot to say:

      If my job offered me a 50% raise to stay on board, I would. I would still be earning 75% (or perhaps even less) of market rate. (The ranges in this region are highly variable, like $70k difference between the lowest median to the highest median you find depending on the source, and I have a lot of transferable skills so I can explore other job titles as well.) But I am willing to make that sacrifice for the tangible fringe benefits (accrued PTO, holidays, excellent health insurance, etc.) and intangibles (rapport with my team and colleagues, familiarity with the work and organization, reputation, etc.)

      But since they won’t offer that, I’ll leave this environment behind in favor of a 100% raise somewhere else. It’s a no-brainer.

      Oh, and did I mention merit raises are not a thing here?

  52. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    OP2: I think it’s the same phenomenon as the discount you get for switching cell phone carriers or cable providers.

    They consider an existing customer to be someone they can forget about. They have a sales budget for getting new customers, but no budget for keeping existing customers.

    Similarly, employers often consider existing employees as somebody they can take for granted, and then stick them in a different mental bucket than the new hotness they’re trying to hire from the outside.

  53. violetfizz*

    What company is giving out 15 percent raises, routinely, and what universe is that considered stingy??? I’ve been working since 2002 and have gotten a raise above 3 percent and I’m supposed to be grateful I even got that, let slo e have a job at all

  54. Dust Bunny*

    Not Phil: I’m American/working in the US but have an uncommon, longish name that people often want to shorten (think Persephone and people want to call me Sophie, which is common and familiar to them but which I have never used). You just have to be willing to keep correcting them. Yes, it’s annoying and it probably feels like you’re being demanding, but it’s your name and you’re allowed to want people to get it right.

  55. Nanani*

    OP1: Your boss is not your friend. Repeat as needed.
    Not only is this boss clearly not your friend, being friends with your boss is not a thing you can do.
    There are many letters in the archives to this effect.
    Your boss is not your friend.

  56. Ray Gillette*

    LW1, the line “I thought he knew I was better than that” stood out to me and probably did to a lot of other readers too. I’ll encourage you to reframe it in your mind as “I thought he was better than that.” As in, you thought he was better than a waste of space who accuses you of ridiculous things, refuses to believe you when you say it wasn’t you, and threatens his current employees with the implication that you’ll be the one responsible. Sadly, you were mistaken, and this is exactly who he is as a person. Now you know not to list him as a reference.

  57. AnonPi*

    You know, LW2’s post has given me some more oomph for applying outside my company. Not that I haven’t at all, but I’ve been pretty picky about it because I’ve been cautious about leaving my current position/company. And admittedly I find job hunting/applying exhausting, so I do tend to drag my feet. I’ve tried applying internally and have even had a few offers the last several years. All with more responsibility and even unpaid overtime (and little chance of using up all the comp time), but each time was told I wouldn’t get a pay increase if I take the new job. It’s scary leaving the “something you know” even if you’re unhappy there. But this job/company is just sucking the life out of me like a wraith, and I can’t see me staying here forever, so I may as well try to get something better now. Now that remote work is an option more and more, that opens a lot more jobs to me than are even available in my current location.

    LW2 is t is ridiculous this is how it works, but unfortunately I don’t know that it’ll change anytime soon. A lot of people have left and come back where I work, to get a better job and pay increase. Although I see more people in the last year or so just flat out leaving with no intention coming back. So maybe that will have some effect on retention/pay eventually.

  58. Wendy City*

    #4 – as a native Anglo speaker at a company where many of my coworkers are based in India, and there are a few of my coworkers who go by a shortened version of their name where the relationship isn’t immediately obvious.

    In addition to Allison’s suggestion, I think it’s also fair, if there’s a shortened version you prefer, to use that in intros as well. “I’m Mikhail, but please, call me Misha” pairs well with “Oh, it’s Misha, not Mike.”

    1. Helvetica*

      I would agree. I have Polish friends and Polish names often have uncommon shortened versions. I have two friends called Joanna, the short version of which is Asia in Polish (not pronounced like the continent but more like Asha). It takes some getting used to but it’s perfectly fine to use a short version, even if it is not obvious. People can and do get used to it!

      1. Wendy City*

        Agreed :) And, if the Anglo speakers are defaulting to a shorter version of the name, it may be easier than you think to get people to adhere to the correct nickname.

  59. Emi*

    #2 yeah, I have a friends whose employer pays the security staff minimum wage (even that was a fight, actually, and they may still owe some people back pay) with no benefits. For some reason they also have high turnover and trouble hiring, so now they’re contracting the Pinkertons to fill in the gaps for twice what they pay their own guards.

    1. Dinwar*

      If my company could replace me with a contractor that only cost 2x my salary they’d do it in a heartbeat.

      In order to break even–slow and busy times taken together, training, plus staff on overhead–I need to earn 3x to 5x my salary for the company. If we want to earn a profit, obviously it needs to be more. When hiring a contractor you don’t need to worry about that. They do. I mean, there’s still overhead costs and slow times and the like, but the multiplier can be much lower and still earn you a profit because far, far less is coming out of your gross margin. And if you can keep your prices the same, you’re raking in money! There are also liability issues to be aware of–worker’s comp, licensing, insurance, etc. (This is one reason why my contacts and knowledge are so valuable to me: they are hard to replace, and thus far it’s cheaper to keep me on staff than to replace me.)

      This is one of my complaints about the push to raise wages. It’s not that I think people shouldn’t be paid a fair wage. I’ve just never seen a proposal to require companies to raise wages that took into account the secondary and tertiary effects of such a move. Figuring out how to increase wages is a really tricky thing, and merely looking at a few numbers doesn’t tell the whole story.

  60. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

    Re #2, I suspect some employers are slow to react to the new realities brought on by the Great Resignation. When a company has been using a salary-setting approach for years without encountering significant problems, there’s a lot of inertia there. The processes often can’t be changed overnight — change requires *both* reevaluating and the process and reevaluating the budgets to all departments, the revenue/expense ratio, and everything else impacted by what kind of salaries one offers. You will see employers who can’t get their act together to offer across-the-board raises, who don’t don’t react until after they’re losing people, and only *then* feel the urgency of figuring out how to offer more money for the same work. I don’t mean to defend such employers; it’s obviously a bit short-sighted (although publicly-held companies in particular are often constrained to short-sightedness). It’s just meant to reflect the reality of how change happens in an organization.

  61. Van Wilder*

    #3 – If you choose to do free work to the author to be nice, make sure they know that. Use Alison’s language but add that you’re happy to do it as a favor to them. I have learned the hard way that clients don’t appreciate the free work they get if they don’t know about it.

  62. learnedthehardway*

    OP#3 – I would be careful of doing work for authors outside of the company that is contracting with you – the company might see it as you trying to poach their author or something (I’m relating it to my industry, where this would be a concern, but the analogy isn’t perfect).

    I would talk to Publisher, and ask them if they are okay with you doing this – they might be or might not. If they aren’t okay with it, you know and haven’t accidentally damaged your relationship with them. If they are, they may be willing to pay for it as part of their services to you and the author – in which case, you tell authors you need to get it cleared with the Publisher before doing extra work as you’re a contractor paid hourly by them, not an employee.

    Or, they might say go ahead, in which case you decide whether to charge or not. (Personally, I would, because work is work and you’re contributing to the value of their book.)

  63. nonprofit writer*

    #3, I really think you should charge the authors. And try to set a minimum flat rate for yourself for that kind of small project. Yes, it might take you 20 or 30 minutes which would be $10 from the publisher (I am assuming an abysmally low rate of $20-30/hr, yes?) but it’s a whole separate project. When I used to do small editing jobs I tried to set a 4 hour minimum charge. Sometimes I would let it slide for clients who gave me regular work, but honestly, I think overall writing/editing is ENORMOUSLY undervalued and that’s never going to change unless we writers/editors start asserting our own value. No one ever pushes back on a lawyer charging a few hundred bucks for a short meeting. And marketing copy, unless the author is very good at writing it, is something that you will likely have to rewrite for them rather than simply copyedit/proofread.

    I switched years ago from publishing to nonprofit and I make significantly more now, mainly because I now almost exclusively do fundraising work. Even with all my years of experience, I still sometimes feel funny at the rate I charge (and get pushback sometimes from clients who should know better) because it is just ingrained in me that my work isn’t “worth” that much.

    But, given how many people I’ve encountered–both as a freelancer and when I was working full time in nonprofit–who can’t write very well and who have just handed their stuff off to me to fix, I would say these skills are truly valuable and essential.

    1. plumerai*

      I was a freelance copy editor for 15 years, and I second this sentiment. It might take you 20 minutes to copy edit something, but that doesn’t mean you should just ask for a third of your hourly fee. You’re still investing time in communicating with the author, working in the files, etc.—small things, but they add up. You could just charge a flat fee for such things and be done with it.

      I’m also an author, and I would have happily paid a flat fee to have things copy edited that fell outside the scope of what my publisher had arranged for. And I would have been horrified if I’d asked a copy editor to work on something, assuming that the publisher was compensating her for that labor, and later found out she’d done it for free. Most authors would, I hope! We wordsmiths are used to being undervalued and should never undervalue one another!

    2. Lily Rowan*

      My favorite freelance gig I ever had was copyediting for a friend who was also a freelancer. I let him decide what the work was worth, since it was my favorite kind of editing and never took me more than 10 or 15 minutes to look something over for him. (And we were friends, so I would have done some of it for free!) So he’d give me $20 cash the next time we saw each other and we both walked away happy!

  64. Boris Hoffman*

    Why not pay more to keep employees from leaving? Interestingly I just had an employee try to leverage a larger salary and more benefits or else he would go to a previous employer.

    1. I did run the numbers to see if we could match his wage offer from the other company. We can’t afford it. They are a large national company; we are a small local company. Plus, we will visit raises at his anniversary.
    2. He’s not that good of an employee. He often gets a big paycheck (wages + commission) and then can be counted on to call in sick the next day. He has no guile; he will tell the boss that he is exhausted. But this is a service-based business and his leaving us hanging at the last-minute causes other employees to have to work harder/longer to make up for it. He also has a larger recall demand than someone with his years of experience should have.
    3. I know this industry; employers will offer the moon when coming into the busy season (6 most) and then cut your hours drastically in the off season (6 mos.) We are small, but guarantee hours in the off season, paying them out of our profits. We want employees to be able to comfortably meet their bills. We also regularly take employees out to lunch/breakfast and with notice will accommodate doctors appt etc. Something the larger companies frown upon.

    So maybe they are not dense as suggested, maybe they can’t afford it, you’re not worth it, or the other companies are exaggerating, and your boss knows the market can’t support the promises.

    1. Bluesboy*

      In relation to number 3, I used to work for an employer is a seasonal business where the hourly rate was slightly less than market rate, BUT you would get 10 months work a year instead of 6-7.

      It really amazed me how many people were seduced away by the hourly rate. I mean, I get it if you spend the off season travelling, or in a different job, or otherwise occupied, but the number of people who left and then couldn’t cover their rent in the off-season was insane.

      Then they would ask to come back in the off-season, but of course we weren’t recruiting then. We would tell them to wait until the new season started, at which point they would lose interest because they had 6 months elsewhere at a marginally higher rate.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think we should and could have paid market rate for those ten months, but that wasn’t my call. Still, we were essentially in your situation and it always amazed me how many people would prefer to live large for 6 months and live in their Mum’s house for the other 6 compared to living a nice enough lifestyle all year round.

    2. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      A lot of big companies might be offering big money right now. But with big companies, there is always a risk of downsizing in the future. It’s a tradeoff, definitely.

    3. QuickerBooks*

      I agree with your points, but #2 seems less relevant here. Nobody is arguing that companies should pay more money to retain bad employees.

      1. Scout*

        Agreed, Quickerbooks. With the given description, I don’t know why the company was even checking to see if they could match it.

  65. Lyra Silvertongue*

    #3 stop working for free! I know it sounds easier said than done, but if editing is your main work, don’t do it for free. Fifteen minutes here and there adds up. I frequently bill my clients as little as $2.50 or $5 for additional last little things they want me to do that only take 5-10 minutes. I will push back slightly on Allison’s suggestion to bill a separate rate, it sounds as if the authors are sending you things that they probably think are covered in their relationship with the publisher (people often don’t really understand the nature of long-term freelancers/contractors who aren’t employees) and you may well have a clause in your contract forbidding you from taking side work from clients you know through the publisher, which this would probably constitute.

    (I will also push back a bit on the suggestion to do free work to make authors happy – realistically authors will have little to no impact on your work prospects with the publisher, however thrilled they are with your work, and especially if they already think you’re being compensated for that work in some degree).

  66. Hailrobonia*

    We used to have an informal “name game” in which you get a point every time you get called the wrong name in an email. We assigned bonus points if the person should know better.

  67. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

    #2 – Just had this happen yesterday.
    Gave my notice and not once or twice but three times in one day, I had to have the same conversation:
    “I really don’t think you can beat the deal.”
    “25% raise, double the annual PTO including the entire week between Christmas and New Years, 401k with guaranteed match, WFH 3 days a week, year-round summer hours.”
    < "You're right, we can't match that."

  68. St Lucia*

    My daughter keeps encountering people who insist on ADDING a syllable to her name to make it longer! Her name is actually “Isabel”, but so many people end up calling her “Isabella” instead.

    And in a particularly bizarre form of this, a colleague from India keeps mistakenly calling her “Elizabeth” (!?) instead of “Isabel”. I don’t think he does this on purpose, but for some reason the two names are equivalent in his mind….

    1. Nameless in Customer Service*

      That last is so odd. If I were her I might use the poem “Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight” to illustrate the difference in an amusing way, but that might be overdoing it in the particular situation.

    2. Adultiest Adult*

      I can kind of understand it, after a fashion. Isabel and Elizabeth are different-language versions of the same root name. I had a Dominican colleague who was always called “Liz” and referred to herself that way, and one day saw her formal name on something… It was Ysabel. No idea who the first person was to make that translation, but it stuck!

  69. RagingADHD*

    LW3, does the press not already have people who do back cover copy and marketing materials? This seems to me like it isn’t actually a service to the author personally, it’s part of publishing.

    In your situation, I’d ask my client contact if they want this done as an add-on service, and offer to roll it into my billable hours or add it on as a flat rate. If the press isn’t willing to pay you for it, then offer it for a flat fee to the author.

    1. Amaranth*

      If LW wants to just do something quickly on the side, I’m curious how to present it so the client realizes its a bonus service but its from LW, not something they can regularly expect from the press. Charging on the side seems like it might be seen as poaching by the press that introduced them, so even if not prohibited by contract, LW might consider if the contracts might dry up.

  70. Sue3pO*

    My name is Susanna – I regularly introduce myself with “hi, I’m Susanna – or you can call me Sue, but please not Suzanne or Susan” it makes people laugh and they usually remember

  71. Unaccountably*

    Can we discuss employer denseness? Because our entire senior management team is convinced – and I mean dead convinced – that the Great Resignation will collapse any day now and be followed by the Great Crawling Back to Previous Employers after the new job turned out to suck, or they can’t find a new one, or they just… miss the coffee at their old job? I don’t know.

    This is a new take to me. I just heard it last week when our IT department’s VP got into a heated dispute with a vendor, who now thinks we’re all idiots. Is it something Business Week is pushing or what?

    1. Goldenrod*

      “our entire senior management team is convinced – and I mean dead convinced – that the Great Resignation will collapse any day now and be followed by the Great Crawling Back to Previous Employers”

      Hahahahahha! Not gonna happen.

  72. Burned Before*

    Sorry LW1 but your boss was always a jerk. He was overburdening you and paying you poorly before you left and the workplace was apparently bad enough to affect your mental health. A good boss and any kind of friend wouldn’t take advantage of you by piling on responsibility with no reward. Hell a smart boss would know better because that’s how you lose good workers, as he did.

    He’s being more obvious now because he can’t extract more value from you by hiding his bad attitude. It always sucks to find out but now you know he’s unreliable you can quietly erase him. If interviewers ask about the job, talk about the work you did, how at 22 after 3 years you were managing other employees. Talk about your positive relationships with coworkers or clients. Even if a hiring manager insists on contacting him and not someone else at the company who isnt a hobgoblin, openly badmouthing a past employee (whom he gave a lot of responsibility and who quit and got better work, btw) looks bad on him. Especially if you have other references at the company like the second or someone in HR.

    And honestly be careful about getting emotionally invested in bosses and managers, however friendly they might be. Don’t necessarily assume they’re hobgoblins, but be aware of the power imbalance between you and how your interests might not align. A good boss will feel more comfortable with healthy boundaries in place. Imagine if they have to discipline or even fire you. Being BFFs in that situation would suck for everyone. If someone in a position of power tries to tell you they’re really just your buddy (“We’re a family here!”, treating employees leaving as a personal betrayal, asking you to tolerate bad working conditions as a “favour”, demanding you share personal feelings or private information, acting entitled to your off hours,) start setting firm boundaries and be prepared to run.

  73. lost academic*

    I am actually unsure about Alison’s response on #1 – I took the LW to mean that she forwarded the communications to the old company’s HR, not her own. I think clueing in your own HR if you think something could come in your direction now is good but I don’t think that’s what LW did. We’ve had a lot of feedback over the years about not reaching out to HR at places you are not employed, though in this case it might well have been warranted given the implicit threat on employees there and the LW’s tenure.

    However, that guy is clearly loony tunes and you should just block him everywhere.

    1. Rocket*

      The point of reaching out to HR at the former company (and the second in command there) is to say “your employee (the former boss) is acting in an unacceptable manner on behalf of your company and you should know about it so you can make him stop.” It’s not weird to reach out if you are dealing with someone in a professional capacity who is treating you unacceptably.

  74. drpuma*

    OP3 What about offering authors a “package” of hours for small jobs? They could pay up front and you could track/deduct your hours. Or the author pays a flat fee and you edit marketing materials + a website or something similar. No matter how fun the actual work is, it could turn into a decent secondary income stream once word of mouth gets around.

  75. CommanderBanana*

    Yep, yesterday my boss told me that while they won’t hire the FTE we desperately, desperately need, they’ll continue blowing money on consultants because while it’s more expensive, they don’t have to worry about laying them off….completely missing the point that drowning in work because we’re down an FTE is our already miniscule department means the rest of us are all looking.

  76. Old Cynic*

    re #4 – I had a colleague that had a tough time with some names. Jennifer became Juniper and Astrid became Ostrich.

  77. Spoo*

    When I quit my job at a big 5 software company due to burnout within a week I was being offered two levels higher and much more pay by people I had worked with at the same company. The people I talked to hadn’t realized how low a level I had been. If I’d been promoted at any point I might not have left in the first place.

  78. Lizzo*

    LW1, if it helps at all…it must be pretty miserable to be your former boss, to feel so threatened by a negative review online, and to feel so weak that he has to lash out with ridiculous threats in an attempt to reclaim some sense of control and power. He sounds like a sad, sorry sack of poop, and once you’ve figured out what to do about the referral situation, I wouldn’t waste any additional mental energy on him–he doesn’t deserve it, and you have much more important things to do.

  79. AcademicWriter*

    LW #3: I’m an academic author, and I definitely would have made this mistake! The press asked me to submit all of the marketing/promotional copy with the manuscript. They wouldn’t even accept the manuscript without the advertising copy. It would not have occurred to me that the ad copy would need to be handled separately. You might want to work that into your next freelancing contract because I think this will keep happening to you.

  80. Susan Ivanova*

    “And on some level, they don’t think employees can or will leave.”

    They don’t even think that when employees are leaving in droves. After two companies in very different cities merged, and management from LA was put in charge of people in SF, the SF people (who had a very lucrative job market, while LA was slumping) started trickling out. Someone at an all-hands asked what they were going to do about it. In the tone of voice one uses on naughty children, the LA exec told us “only you can protect your job”.

    Another round of resumes went out that week.

  81. Brightwanderer*

    #4 – since you say it’s happened more since video calls, I wonder how your name is appearing on other people’s screens? Might be worth checking they’re not seeing “Phil” for some reason too, like if your display name is being pulled from their contacts/address book and that’s what they’ve got you under, or someone’s put you into the system wrong. (Though honestly my experience is people are just really bad about this sort of thing sometimes.)

  82. Goldenrod*

    #2: “And on some level, they don’t think employees can or will leave. It’s bizarre.”

    I can emphasize how much I 100% percent agree with this. And I’ve noticed there’s a correlation – wonderful bosses actually did worry about me leaving and openly talked with me about incentives to stay.

    Terrible bosses – the ones driving me away – were the SAME ONES who didn’t seem to realize I had other options, and could make a choice about leaving or staying. They were usually dismayed and shocked when I quit.

    Could this mean that a lack of self-awareness in general is an indicator of a bad boss (and vice versa)? In my experience, the answer to this is YES.

    But it’s just soooo weird the way the bad ones are totally gobsmacked when people quit – like, what did you THINK would happen when you underpay and otherwise mistreat workers??

  83. PhilippaIsAPseudonym*

    OP #4 here – it was helpful to see that I was not alone in this. I think I’ll try Alison’s recommendation to head this off when introducing myself and see how it feels.

    One of the commenters said something that really resonated with me: shortening my name to something that doesn’t match my gender in my language has been getting to me more than I realized. I think it’s because I am in an industry where women are very much in the minority and I’m dealing with challenges from that as well. I might make it explicit – saying an equivalent of “please don’t shorten it to Phil, that’s a guy’s name, Philippa is the right way”.

    1. Scout*

      I wouldn’t give a reason. No reason is needed – it’s Philippa because you say it’s Philippa, plus giving a reason simply encourages people to argue with your reason.

  84. Jessica*

    #4 – adding to the chorus of support. I’ve often had to go back to colleagues to explain that my name is Jessica, not Jessie (because, to me, Jesse is a boy’s name.) So it happens with English names as well!

    1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Plot twist: “Jesse’s Girl” is actually about a guy crushing on his lesbian best friend’s girlfriend.”

      1. kendal^2*

        Not when it was originally used on _General Hospital_, during the time Rick Springfield was first on the show…

  85. Katherine*

    I’ve said many times that I wish I had a nickel for every time I said “Hi, I’m Kate,” and got the response “Nice to meet you, Katie.”

  86. Mehitabel*

    LW #3 should not be underpricing themselves if they take on the extra editing work. Charge for what the product or service is worth, not for the amount of time spent on it.

  87. Chad Henshaw*

    Just on 2, I would add to that if you’re currently employer is so stingy with the raises that you’ve fallen that far behind, it’s no longer just about the difference. They’ve communicated to you that they’re willing to take advantage of you if they think they can get away with it by allowing the differential to develop.

    So even if your current employer offers matching, or a slightly higher rate, you probably still should walk.

  88. EmilyClimbs*

    #3: If you really are happy to do it for free, could you say something like “Normally I’d charge $25 for this, but I’d be glad to offer it as a complimentary service to you this time”? That way either 1) they recognize you’re doing them a favor and appreciate you for it; or 2) they insist on paying you for it and then you’re compensated for your time.

  89. Television*

    OP#1, it’s telling that your ex-boss wants to assign blame instead of addressing the issues that led to the review. I wouldn’t be surprised if every person on your former team is receiving the same harassment.

  90. Anon in Canada*

    Changing companies means you go back to the bottom in terms of vacation allotment. Maybe managers who refuse to give out large raises assume that employees will prefer keeping their 3 or 4 vacation weeks they have due to tenure, even if that means a lower salary, than going back to 2 weeks of vacation for several years, even with a higher salary.

    It’s time that companies stop basing vacation on years of service at a single company!

  91. Aunty Fox*

    OP 3 – As you likely know academic publishing is a weird business. The authors rarely get paid anything, while the publisher is asking £80 per copy. Academics do it because being published can be important in maintaining their career. You are absolutely right you should be compensated for any extra work, but if you get the same kind of requests a lot, it might be worth asking the press to cover this service for their authors as well and getting it included.

  92. Sandra Dee*

    For Letter #2, I had this scenario recently play out in my own career. I’ve been with my company for 15 years, working my way up the ranks. Last year it was decided that we needed to split off around 80% of my tasks to a newly created role, as I was slated to take on a bunch of new projects. I was involved in the creation of the job description for the new role and was part of the hiring process. Imagine my surprise when the salary for this new role started at $25,000 more than mine!! When I brought this up to my boss, he stared at me blankly. It had not even occurred to him to increase my salary, but he was perfectly willing to pay an unknown and unproven person $25,000 more to do 80% of my previous tasks AND I was to train this new hire. I pushed back hard and eventually got the $25,000 raise, but it was a hollow victory: One of his responses to my pushback was that the company had to pay that much to attract a good candidate. Dense, indeed!

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