my friend has never had a job, company wants me to cheat the recruiter, and more

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

1. My friend is almost 30 and has never had a job

I have a friend I have known since high school and she never had a job (not even a temporary part-time job). I only heard of this information from my friend’s sister very recently. I just assumed that she had limited work experience based on her reaction and impractical advice whenever I vented to her about workplace issues. Although I was worried about what she plans to do in the future as she rarely talked about her personal/career goals, I never really nudged her to find a job. I just thought it was not my place to intervene and give out unsolicited advice.

Her sister told me that the only reason she is able to afford all her outings, clothes, living expenses, etc. is because she is funded by her family members. Her sister tried to persuade her to find a job but she keeps on saying that she can’t apply because no employer is going to hire somebody with limited availability as she is currently a student. This excuse doesn’t make any sense because the majority of the students here are always eager to jump at the next opportunity to have more work experience to put on their resumes even while they are taking courses. What can I do to help her find a job?

It doesn’t sound like she has asked you to help her find a job so … nothing! If she ever does ask for assistance or advice, you can tell her what your experience has been with getting hired as a student. But otherwise, your initial instinct that it’s not your place to intervene sounds correct.

Her family, on the other hand, is well positioned to encourage her to find a job, since they’re supporting her financially. But that’s between them and her.

2. Company wants me to help the cheat the recruiter

A recruiter reached out with a job opening for me to consider and everything went well. The company is putting together an offer, but the owner told me he wants to lowball the recruiter and make the difference up to me in a side contract. I’ve never worked with a recruiter before but that seems like a shady way to go about it. Is this a normal thing or is it a subtle red flag?

Not just a subtle red flag — a big glaring one! The company owner is trying to cheat the recruiter of what is almost certainly a contractually obligated commission. (Recruiters are often paid as a percentage of the new hire’s salary.) The company owner is telling you clearly that he has no problem cheating the people he hires to work for him; that does not bode well for how he’d treat you if you worked there. And he’s so flagrant about it that he thinks he can tell you exactly what he’s doing and you won’t care! It’s a massive red flag, to the point that I’d strongly recommend against moving forward.

Also, tell the recruiter.

3. New hire demanding a promotion after a year

I hired a young employee, Frank, almost exactly a year ago in an entry-level administrative role. They didn’t have a lot of relevant experience but their enthusiasm and passion was infectious, and so I made the call to invest time and resources to skill them up and to explore new opportunities over time. It was going great.

Now our work is expanding so I proceeded to hire an additional, more senior role on my team. It’s a brand new position so I posted it for internal and external candidates to apply, and Frank applied. During the few weeks of the hiring process, Frank has been emphasizing that they don’t actually like a significant portion of the work they do now (a lot of which carries over into the higher level role) and that they want “more” (which I take to mean more responsibility and recognition but they’ve struggled to elaborate). Ultimately I offered the higher level position to someone external with several years more experience and with demonstrable commitment to this line of work. Behind the scenes, I started talking with my department head about finding a different role that Frank would enjoy more and would likely be a level up, and started to get the ball rolling. I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to discuss this with Frank and didn’t want to over-promise anything, but would let them know (when I broke the news that they didn’t get the posted job) that I was in their corner to help them find a better fit and that we’d work together to make something happen.

When I told Frank they didn’t get the job, Frank immediately shared that they have another job offer, and that we need to match their salary and increase their job level within two days or they’re gone. In some ways I’m not surprised — especially when our city is expensive so higher pay is definitely valuable, and it’s a nonprofit so pay is very often less than it is in for-profit companies.

But it’s been almost a year, give or take a few weeks. Is it the new norm that people expect a promotion and a raise at the one-year mark? Especially in a role and field they’re brand new to? My understanding is that you’ve got to put a couple years into a company, advocate for yourself, make nice with the senior leaders, etc. to move up. Am I behind with the times?

It’s always been pretty common to consider raises roughly annually; not every organization does it that way, but it’s reasonable for an employee to ask to revisit their salary every year or so, especially when they’re one year in (since they’re probably contributing at a significantly greater level now than when they first started). Promotions are different; there are some fields where it’s the norm to expect to be promoted after a year, but those are exceptions and you’d know if you were in one.

What has changed is that it’s easier than ever right now for employees to increase their pay by going elsewhere, since the job market favors workers so strongly at the moment. So it’s not surprising that Frank has another opportunity. That in itself doesn’t mean you should offer Frank more than you were planning to do, but you should consider whether you’re compensating them (and everyone on your staff!) appropriately for the current market. But at the same time, don’t be pressured into offering more than you think makes sense for their level of contribution just to keep them from taking that other offer.

4. I did three months of interviews, they rejected me, and they won’t tell me anything more

I work in nonprofit communications and lengthy application processes are pretty much the norm. I applied for a position in fall 2021 and by early 2022 had done a writing test and four interviews, the last of which was the final round and conducted by members of the organization’s executive leadership team. I felt like each conversation went very well and I was increasingly eager to get the position. The exec team said I would hear back within a week, but to let them know if I had competing offers and they would get back to me more quickly with a final decision, which felt like a good sign.

Instead, two weeks pass with no word. I followed up with my would-be supervisor at the organization and a few days later received a generic, automated response saying they were moving forward with other candidates — the kind of message an entire candidate pool receives at the end of the process. I was disappointed and frustrated with the lack of feedback after what felt like a very positive, though lengthy, process, but figured the other candidate who made it to the end must have been a better fit.

However, the organization reposted the exact same position again the following week. I emailed the supervisor asking for any feedback on my candidacy — partly to see if there was any chance of reapplying, but mostly because I’m worried I unknowingly have something disqualifying in my background/application. I wanted to see if there was anything tangible I could improve upon for future applications, but I haven’t heard anything since.

Do you have any kind of insight into why the process would be so weird? Or maybe it’s not strange at all? Either way, I’m moving on and looking for other roles, but I can’t tell if it’s a me problem or a them problem — a little closure at this point (especially after 3+ months of application limbo) would be helpful.

Well, they did give you closure — as much as you’re likely to get, anyway. It’s not the specific closure you wanted, but they sent you a rejection email letting you know they weren’t going to move forward with your candidacy. The subject line of your email to me was “did I get ghosted after three months of interviews?” but you didn’t get ghosted — they contacted you with their decision, which closes the loop. It sounds like you want feedback as well, but a lot of organizations won’t give that (I talk about the reasons for that here).

Given how far you got in the application process, if I had to guess I’d say that your candidacy was perfectly fine but just not exactly what they’re looking for. That’s really common — someone can seem great in many ways but for whatever reason doesn’t hit the specific bar the hiring manager wants or needs. Sometimes it’s a situation where they’ve assessed you as “good” but they’re looking for “great” — they figure you could probably do the job but they think they can get someone who can do it better. (And sometimes that can be a realistic assessment and it does make sense to hold out for “great,” although it’s frustrating to candidates.) Sometimes it’s something you could never know from the outside — like that they thought you’d clash with a difficult stakeholder or that you have great skills in X but so does half their existing team and they want someone who brings something additional. Or, who knows, they might just be indecisive and bad at hiring.

I think you’re assuming that the fact that they haven’t selected another candidate but rejected you anyway must mean something went wrong. But this sounds like a pretty standard experience. You went through their process and they liked you but you weren’t strongly enough matched with what they’re looking for, so they let you know and they’re continuing to look at other candidates.

{ 469 comments… read them below }

  1. Observer*

    #2 – Unless you are absolutely desperate for a job, ANY job, do yourself a favor and do NOT take this job. This would be employer is dishonest. And you will never, ever be able to trust anything he says. Worse, even putting something in writing will not help, unless you are willing and able to sue him.

    Who needs that?

    1. Alex Beamish*


      Your prospective employer wanting to cheat someone (the recruiter) out of some cash actually reveals a lot about their character — and it’s a character you don’t want to be involved with. It’s the kind of person who will lay you off with days left before your probation is over, citing ‘bad fit’, or not pay you back for expenses they beg you to put on your personal card, or cancel a vacation you’d planned and paid for.

      The recruiter will also find out that they were shorted on this deal, and that will follow you (and this employer) around forever. You’ll find that recruiters “don’t have time to work on your behalf”, or take your resume, then do nothing with it. People’s networks can have surprising connections — you sure don’t want to hear, “Oh, so you’re that person!” when introduced to someone.

      Karma is real.

      1. Troy Bierkortte*

        There is ZERO chance that you are wrong about this. Either you have experienced this firsthand from a previous employer, or you have worked for one of my previous employers.
        The convenient loss of memory regarding the side contract is just one of many ways this employer plans to screw over the prospective new employee. Cutting hours while increasing workload, bouncing paychecks, late paychecks, unpaid expenses, withholding bonuses and commissions, and a layoff the day before you become eligible for some benefit or bonus are all in the cards for this person.
        I’ve been tagged with some negative attributes of my former employer simply because I had worked for them. Guilt by association may not be fair, but it is real.

    2. Susan Ivanova*

      Also, what are the odds that you start work and the employer says “what side contract?”

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Yeah I thought instantly that he’s cheating the OP, not the recruiter, and that other contract will never materialise. (I didn’t think it would be as blatant as “what contract?” perhaps, but more like interminable vague delays with ‘legal’ in drawing it up etc etc…)

      2. Love Dies*

        Yep, you need to side eye every promise this owner makes because they have already proven that they don’t honor promises they’ve made, including legally binding contracts for work performed!

        1. Zennish*

          I think this is the main thing. Do you really want to work for someone who basically comes out of the gate with “Hey person I just met, how about committing fraud with me to screw over a contractor I don’t want to pay?”

          It could also be a simple ploy to get you to accept a lower salary (thus lowering the recruiter’s percentage) in exchange for a bonus that never comes. Neither situation is something you really want to hang your career on.

        2. Amaranth*

          Also, if LW took this job, they’d have established that THEY are willing to cheat someone. I have no doubts that Boss will expect that to continue.

      3. Antilles*

        The other potential outcome is that the boss pays that as a “bonus” for the first couple paychecks, but then just stops.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          Sign on bonus after probationary period. If you make it through, and who knows if that’ll happen (see “bad fit”), you’re going to get absolutely SOCKED on taxes with it called a bonus.

          1. BubbleTea*

            Doesn’t it all work out in the end though? As in, if you’re taxed at 22% on your income, once your taxes are done and squared away you’ll have paid 22% on all your income including the bonus, even if the bonus was initially taxed at a higher rate?

            Our tax system is different so I might have completely misunderstood.

            1. Accountant*

              It does, yes. Supplemental payments (including bonuses if they’re paid as a separate check) are subject to extra *withholding*, but they’re ordinary income just like your regular pay and it all ends up in the same bucket at tax time.

            2. Koalafied*

              Yep, that’s how it works. Our tax system is just so opaque and complicated that there are a lot of popular misunderstandings about it – attributing the higher tax withholding rate on a paycheck that includes a bonus to the bonus being actually taxed at a higher rate is one of the most common, and a lot of people think that moving into a higher tax bracket means the higher rate will apply to their entire income instead of just the amount in that bracket. (Some employers even seem to try to take advantage of confusion over that second one by telling the employee that if they got a raise big enough to put them in a higher tax bracket they would actually earn less money, so see, the employer is actually doing them a favor by not giving them the raise. I heard that from more than one 20-something assistant manager who had jobs with different restaurant back in the day.)

              1. Gray Lady*

                And this is the same fallacy that makes people believe that people or businesses who donate money “do it for the tax break.” The tax break just means they aren’t taxed on the amount donated — they’re still out all the money they donated less the tax savings on it. It’s a nice benefit that if you’re generous, you don’t actually lose as much as you give, but you still wind up with less than if you’d kept it for yourself.

      4. NYWeasel*

        This this this. I’d ask for the details in writing, and if he doesn’t give it to you, it’s most likely because he wanted to screw you on the deal. And if he does give it to you, you’ve got proof positive to show the recruiter.

        1. EPLawyer*

          Even if OP got it in writing, it would be meaningless. Presumably there is a written contract with the recruiter and look how potential boss is handling that.

          With this guy, no promise in writing or otherwise can be trusted. That’s not something you want to deal with in a job.

          1. NYWeasel*

            Definitely. I don’t recommend OP work for this boss either way. But asking for it in writing either forces the point that the boss won’t commit to OP either, or it gives the OP tangible proof to share with the recruiter that the boss wants to cheat the recruiter. So either way it helps further clarify the boss’ duplicity.

      5. Sans Serif*

        Exactly what I thought. He’s cheating you, not the recruiter. Or maybe both of you.

      6. Momma Bear*

        This is what I was thinking. That sounds like a way to lowball YOU on the salary you deserve. I’d reconsider this job based on this behavior.

      7. Jules the 3rd*

        Yep, that’s my take too. He’s looking to lowball you *and* the recruiter, and you will never see a penny more than the lowball offer.

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Yeah. I know recruiters often get a bad rap, which is maybe why he thinks he can be so brazen about it (“we’re conning the conman!” sort of thing). But the reality is that if he didn’t benefit from this person’s efforts, he wouldn’t use them at all.

      You want to be wary of someone who labels people’s services unvaluable only once they’ve benefited from them.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        “You want to be wary of someone who labels people’s services unvaluable only once they’ve benefited from them.”

        It’s safe to assume that in due time, you will be treated in a similar manner, OP. “Shhh, don’t tell OP that the contract we show to the recruiter IS the real contract… shhh….”

        There’s helping people and then there is aiding and abetting… two different animals.

        1. Amaranth*

          Yes. So far I’m reading a lot of people warning what this says about the employer, but really, what would it say about LW? I’m certain they’d be expected to carry on with questionable ethics.

      2. nicotene*

        I admit I’m kind of horrified to learn that recruiters make a percentage of salary (a big percentage, according to the internet – 20-40%?? For a one-time job, while the employee does a *year* of labor??) but that’s the deal your boss signed up for. If s/he thought it was too high, they were free to decline. So welching at the end is really crappy behavior.

        1. Laura*

          I’m curious why you are horrified at the pay structure. The recruiter offers a service – to find candidates for a positions and charges a fee for that service.

          1. Cringing 24/7*

            This. Recruiting is actually a LOT of work. My brother does it, and I could literally never. He has the soft skills to make friends with everyone he meets and the analytical skills to look at a candidate and pretty accurately know if they’re a good culture fit AND if they’ll make it past the 90-day probationary mark.

          2. Ali + Nino*

            Thank you! It’s not like the money the recruiter receives is taken out of the new hire’s pay.

        2. hbc*

          It seems high, but if you take it in-house, there’s very likely someone making a higher salary than the person being hired (and benefits, so roughly estimated cost per year is 2x salary) spending many, many hours on this. And your company might be losing money by not having the position filled (OT , clients it can’t take on, late fees for contracts not being completed on time, etc), so waiting for the person in HR to fit it in between other duties is worse than paying someone $10K to fill a $45K position.

          Some recruiters will have contracts that are more based on the specific work, but then if they deliver you, say, five candidates that meet your stated requirements and you decide you’re not hiring any of them, you still have to pay them.

          1. Laura*

            (Full disclosure I am a recruiter!)
            Yeah exactly, even with a recruiter the hiring can take months (definitely longer for senior positions) and for those that work on commission they are not being paid during that time.

            I can understand if people are wondering if the recruiter’s pay somehow affects their salary or comes directly out of their pay but it really doesn’t. It’s a separate business relationship. In my experience most companies operate in good faith when negotiating the candidate’s salary and don’t bring the recruiter’s commission into it.

          2. Koalafied*

            Yes – important context is that companies are only using recruiters for entry level roles if they’re doing so much entry level hiring that it would be at least as expensive to pay for it in staff hours instead of recruiter fees. More often they’re used to fill specialized and/or senior roles, where the difference between hiring an OK person and a great person can have a real measurable impact on the company’s bottom line. They’ll happily pay $30k commission on a role with a $150k salary because that role is responsible for bringing in millions of dollars in revenue and if they find someone who can bring in just 3-5% more than average, they will easily come out ahead even factoring in the commission.

        3. BA*

          It is just a commission on the “sale” between the recruiter placing an employee and the business who benefits. The business doesn’t have to spend the capital recruiting candidates themselves. There’s a lot that goes into the recruiting job, so while yes it is a one-time job, the effort to place the right candidate can be significant. And I’ve heard of recruiters who are paid over time, too… so they need to make sure they do their best to vet candidates or they don’t end up getting their full fee if the person is let go or decides to leave.

        4. LinuxSystemsGuy*

          Remember that while the candidacy of one person might not seem like a lot of work, recruiters are usually doing a lot more than that. For every slam dunk, “I presented one candidate, they got the job, and I got paid” situation, there’s probably several “I had to present/prep/pre-screen six or eight people before one got hired”, and one or two “Oh God, this is 14th viable candidate I’ve sent and they still can’t come to an agreement”. On top of that there’s probably a few “Oh, you found someone internally/from another recruiter? Okay thanks keep us in mind next time”

          The recruiter is being paid a percentage of the salary of the person that gets hired, but they’re being paid *for* the work they did with every person they present, and all the effort that goes into all those people.

          1. bluephone*

            and one or two “Oh God, this is 14th viable candidate I’ve sent and they still can’t come to an agreement”

            I went through a few interviews that an external recruiter sent me on, for a job that seemed right up my alley (and was the same employer as a longtime friend). After maybe the 4th interview in as many weeks, the client told the recruiter that they wanted to retool the job description. The recruiter let slip to me that “actually the client doesn’t know what they want!” You could tell he was pretty frustrated by the whole thing.

            1. Petty Betty*

              I went to two interviews with my union’s insurance provider at the beginning of my unemployment. Two more positions in the same department popped open. All three are *still* open 9 months later because management cannot make a decision.
              Not my problem. I moved on to a different position.

          2. Koalafied*

            This is key too – they’re not earning 20% of what Jane Employee earns, which is the thinking that invites the comparison between Jane year of work and the recruiter’s works with Jane. They’re being paid 20% of what Important Role pays, and their work to fill Important Role was much more than just the time they spent on Jane Candidate who eventually became Jane Employee.

        5. generic_username*

          That percentage of the salary isn’t withheld from the employee. So for instance, I was placed at an org making 50k and the the organization cut a check for 10k to the recruiting agency (this % doesn’t all go to the specific recruiter, btw, unless they’re a one-man shop), but I earned my full 50k. It’s a lot like how realtor commissions work – they do A LOT of unpaid labor upfront for the payoff, and they don’t always get a payoff (I was working with two recruiters at the time so the one who didn’t place me got nothing for his time)

          1. generic_username*

            Also, I want to add that the % of salary structure is great because it encourages the recruiter to advocate for your pay. My last recruiter actually convinced my current employer to extend the pay range for my position to get my starting pay above the listed salary band. Yes, some of that is because the employer loved me and really wanted me on board, but I know I’d have never been able to negotiate that myself

            1. Accountant*

              It also incentivizes them to make a good placement, since that commission is usually contingent on the employee staying for a specified amount of time (a year seems to be typical IME).

        6. BatManDan*

          Do you think that the 20% comes from the EMPLOYEE? No, the employER pays the salary to the employEE, plus a commission to the recruiter.

        7. Coconutty*

          Why would that be horrifying? They’re performing a service for the companies and they need to be paid for that service. You’re aware that that percentage isn’t being taken away from the employee’s salary, right?

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      OP2, I would not put good odds on that future side contract matching his verbal promises now. Or possibly existing at all.

    5. MansplainerHater*

      I had a wonderful recruiter that worked with me for literal years — I wasn’t ready to find a new position in that time, but he would call and check in and listen to my professional wants and needs and was ready when I was ready to interview. Some wires got crossed, and I thought the recruiter had set up an interview when he hadn’t. Knowing that the recruiter had a) done his job in getting me excited about the company and prepping me for interviews and b) did a lot of business with the company, I told the company that I wouldn’t accept an offer unless they made it right with the recruiter and gave him the commission (I felt) he was owed. I took it as a sign of good faith that they did so. And I’ve been here a year and am super happy.

  2. Marnix*

    Regarding LW 1: As the old saying goes, it applies here: You can’t help someone who doesn’t want it.
    Your friend has to want a job, to want to go through the process of getting a job as well, that’s if she ever decides she wants a job.
    It’s kind of you to offer to help. Maybe someday she actually will take you up on your offer, but until then— there’s not really anything you can do.

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        Right? This just … is not an emergency. Apparently she has enough family money that working is optional for her. Those people exist. If she wants to get a job, offer her tips then, but if not, mind your own business.

        I say with zero judgment that I have a few friends like this, where they have trust funds or some similar situation where they don’t really ever need to make enough income on their own from 9-5 to live comfortably. Some love to work and are driven and have built major careers. But many others haven’t done much to build a resume. Some are eternal students. Some are underemployed but work just enough to check the box (like a few retail or admin hours a week, despite having education / skills that would seem to point elsewhere (nothing wrong with retail and admin, obviously)). Some volunteer a lot or serve on boards to fill their time. A couple worked a bit here and there until they had children and then stopped working to raise their families. A few DO kind of … pretend to work (like one who is forever “working on her demo” to be a singer, but she mostly sleeps all day and then goes to karaoke; and another who “started a nonprofit” where she signs up voters … but it’s an excuse to go to baseball games and tennis matches). I even have one friend with a trust fund who married someone who did VERY well when he sold his startup, so neither of them have to work.

        Know what? None of it is a problem. If they aren’t asking me for money? What do I care?

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I also should tack on that if I didn’t have to work? I would buy a killer beach house and hang out there all day in sweatpants, and eat cheese and fruit and drink champagne while handsome young men fan me with palm fronds. So for real, no hate. At least LW’s friend is going to school.

          1. Love Dies*

            Yes, I think part of the frustration OP may be feeling is “I have to help her learn how the world works.” Maybe there is some benefit to rethinking the assumption that life must include labor for others in exchange for money to live. Especially all the desk work! Our current social structures would certainly be hard to explain to humans from 5,000 years ago. Maybe turning this reflection into “not working a good gig if you can get it” can help OP stay charitable to their friend, and lose the need to change the friend’s lifestyle, since it’s not really OP’s place to do that.

            1. SaeniaKite*

              While it didn’t last until I was almost 30, I pretty much went to university (in the UK so no crippling amounts of debt) so I could delay getting a job. And I left and got a job when the work/effort needed to continue in academia was more than it would be if I was employed. I am now a happy little non-management low responsibility cog in an industry not even slightly related to my degree that earns me enough money to enjoy my life. I mean, don’t get me wrong I have a work ethic to an almost pathological degree (thank you military parents) but it only applies when I have work to do. If I had the opportunity to never work again I would grab it with both hands

              1. Anonymous4*

                If I had the opportunity to never work again I would grab it with both hands.

                A lot of people REALLY enjoy retirement. For that very reason! Do what they want, when they want; make plans for things that *they* want to do, travel to places *they* want to see —

                I’ve always loved that quote from Frank Gilbreth, the motion-study pioneer:
                Someone once asked Dad: “But what do you want to save time for? What are you going to do with it?” “For work, if you love that best,” said Dad. “For education, for beauty, for art, for pleasure.” He looked over the top of his pince-nez. “For mumblety-peg, if that’s where your heart lies.”

                1. Artemesia*

                  I retired from a dream job — and have enjoyed every second of having nothing at all to do. There is not enough nothing at all to do to fill my days. It is lovely.

              2. lilac*

                I did something similar. I’m in my first career related job at 29 after many years at uni trying to find something that matched up with my declining health.

          2. Ana Gram*

            Same. I work because I need to and I’m fortunate that I enjoy my job but if I had enough money that I didn’t need to? I’d be gone tomorrow.

          3. Malarkey01*

            I started working at 14 because I thought that everyone works and I was just getting on that track faster because I was you know “an early achiever”. Other than my maternity leaves and a week here or there between jobs I have never not worked even in college and high school….and you know if I had to do it again…I wouldn’t. I didn’t need the money, yes I got some invaluable skills, but I also got a very distorted view of “work” too.
            I think rethinking our relationship to work, especially for Americans with our Calvinist foundation, is very valuable. Work is not the only way you can “add value” to society and yourself.

            1. alienor*

              I’m 50 and have been continuously employed since I was 18, all the way through college and beyond, except for one 8-week maternity leave. At *any* point during those 32 years, I’d gladly have chucked it and never worked again if I could have afforded to. Maybe I’d have done a little volunteer work or written poetry or something, but a full-time office job? No way.

          4. A*

            Exactly. I’ve had similar gut reactions as OP in relation to friends in similar situations, but I recognized pretty quickly that it was stemming from envy. If I had different circumstances and had the opportunity to not work, I’d be all over it!

          5. quill*

            I like to say I’d actually get around to writing more regularly but given the amount of time I can spend wandering the internet on an average weekend morning…

          6. parsley*

            Yeah, if I were fortunate enough to have some kind of nest egg that would support me for the rest of my life I would absolutely refuse to spend it working a job.

        2. Sasha*

          My sister in law has never had a job, and probably never will. She went from her parents supporting her (until she was 37), to her husband supporting her. She is now mid-40s with two children, and clearly plans to remain a home maker.

          Nothing wrong with that if family finances allow. She seems extremely happy with the arrangement. She will be in a bit of trouble if she ever divorces, but I assume her family would just step back in again.

          1. New Yet Old*

            Total and permanent financial dependence on others is remaining in a childlike state, as far as I am concerned. Only women seem to think this is acceptable, but there are so many horror stories of men dying and these women being completely financially illiterate. Kudos to those who feel secure in this type of arrangement, but I never could.

            A woman who was a stay at home daughter until 37 perhaps was in a religious environment where this was the expectation? Makes me gag, but this is kind of a thing in some of the more fundamentalist type sects.

            In any case, not the OP’s monkey, not her circus, stay out of it. We can’t live anyone’s life but our own.

            1. Dragon_Dreamer*

              She could also have an invisible disability that she doesn’t wish to disclose to OP. She could need to focus on her studies, and can’t mentally handle working AND school.

              There are a multitude of good reasons why her family is supporting her while she’s in school. (And many college/University majors courses DO require actual work! Especially if she’s a grad student in a thesis program.)

              1. Sans Serif*

                My daughter graduated college last year and is now working. But she couldn’t handle working while taking classes. Most of the kids at her college did both, and she always felt embarrassed that she just couldn’t, but that’s how she is. It was just too much anxiety. She now has a job in her major and is doing fine.

              2. TipsieMipsie*

                I’m happy you brought this up. I always kind of rankle at people who say because they can do something, because lots of people can do something, that any specific other person should be able to do it too.

                I’m willing to give OP1 the benefit of the doubt here, that she knows her friend pretty well and wouldn’t say this about someone else normally, but she feels she has actually seen some evidence that her friend, specifically, is capable of it. But I would want to push back on her thinking of that, because sometimes mental illnesses can be very paradoxical (trauma victims being unable to deal with very small obstacles but handle themselves really well in real crises, ADHDers ability to concentrate on things like video games, but not on homework, etc). Evidence of one’s abilities doesn’t always look like what you would expect it to look like.

                When I was in school my parents highly pushed me not to get a job, because I could legitimately not have been able to handle it and my grades would have suffered and they knew that. Many of my peers in my same course had jobs. But I still couldn’t have had one and been successful.

                1. BritGirl*

                  Yes I am such a position. I am studying part time and hope to be able to work in the future (hence why I read this blog), my close friends and family know about my health and disability, but other friends and acquaintances may well be confused.

            2. Johanna Cabal*

              My mother was a SAHP for my entire life. While she did work as a teacher for ten years prior, it was while living with her parents in my hometown, one of those super-small towns (I’m almost certain nepotism netted her that teaching position).

              I am thankful every day that nothing happened to my father because her expectations of the working world were off by several football fields. Before I was born, she received a master’s degree; to her dying day, she firmly believed that if my dad had died, she could just take that degree into her pick of schools and get a guidance counselor position. Even as an ignorant teenager, I knew that you need experience to get a job like that, and other than a few stints as a volunteer room parent, she had no relevant experience to draw from.

              And her career advice to me was as bad as you probably think it was. But that’s a story for another time…

              1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

                At one time, especially in a smaller town, what your mother said wasn’t impossible. My schools (in the 1960s) had several just-out-of-college teachers. If anyone had shown up with a Master’s, they’d have rolled out the red carpet for them. And I must say, with just a few exceptions over the years, those brand new teachers were excellent. The state I lived in was known for its good education training programs in universities, which certainly helped.

            3. Pool Lounger*

              Plenty of people with family money remain in a state of total financial dependence their entire lives. I have an invisible disability that makes it tough to work, so now I’m a housewife. But I still support my household cooking, cleaning, etc. I’m a productive person, not a child dependent on my husband. This is insulting.

              1. quill*

                Yeah, the way my parents’ financial situation was when I was a young child would NOT have been possible if my mom had a full time job. The amount of money saved on childcare alone (in the early 90’s where it was less proportionally expensive!) when my dad would be told half a week ahead of time that he had to fly cross-country in the summer and be there “until the job was finished,” anywhere from five days to two weeks was probably close to an entire salary. Especially given what we know about the pay gap being wider for mothers of young children.

              2. generic_username*

                I agree. SAHMs do so much unpaid labor that keeps households afloat. Both my husband and I work, and we pay for that labor (house cleaning, pre-prepped meals/eating out, in the future we’ll pay for child care, etc…) plus have to do a lot of it ourselves after the work day so I definitely notice the value that a nonworking parent/spouse can provide. Also, plenty of working people are absolutely financially illiterate as well….

            4. LTL*

              > Only women seem to think this is acceptable

              That’s because society judges men who don’t work much more harshly. Less common nowadays but even stay-at-home dads are sometimes seen as “leeches” for not supporting their families or “doing anything”.

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                Though I have a friend not too much younger than I who has an income which he finds too small, but complains that his town is a job desert (I have stopped sending him all the jobs that are open there) and that Nobody Wants to Hire Him (even though since the pandemic there are jobs falling out of trees even where he lives). He could also move where his brother lives and find jobs there. But he always has a very good reason not to have a job. Have tried prodding him, have given up on that. Still a good friend, but he could have done so much more with his life (he will give you an endless chronicle of his woes why he never could if you let him, but I don’t).

            5. birch*

              “Only women seem to think this is acceptable”

              What about all the men whose entire income and financial situation is due to being set up with trusts and investments, or inheriting? The only difference is, that kind of financial dependence is not seen as dependent because it’s historically reserved for men. “Financially dependent women” are also often care providers and homemakers for the family, which is unpaid work, whereas “stay at home dad” is still far from common and “financially dependent” men far more often pursue their own interests. But people seem to think that’s acceptable.

              “there are so many horror stories of men dying and these women being completely financially illiterate”

              There are also tons of horror stories of women dying and their husbands being unable to feed themselves or do their own laundry or keep their houses clean so…. there are more dimensions to being able to take care of yourself than financial, even without going into the ableism of expecting everyone to be perfectly “financially literate.” (P.S. financial independence and literacy are also not the same thing! Plenty of stay at home spouses are the ones paying the bills and making the budgets!)

              1. The Smiling Pug*

                Thank you, birch. My mom has been a SAHP for over twenty years now, and she’s the one who’s up-to-date on every bill and when something needs to be paid. It’s only just in the past few years that he’s had the inclination to learn to operate an online billing system.

              2. A Feast of Fools*

                My next-door neighbor’s wife, who was a lifetime SAHM, died maybe six months before I bought my house.

                When I moved in, the neighbor’s adult daughter came out to greet me and welcome me to the neighborhood. She told me that she, too, had just moved in because her dad (age 72 at the time) was in a state of declining health because he didn’t know how to cook and was eating highly-processed food out of cans and boxes. And without his wife there to “nag” him into eating home-cooked, regular meals, he dropped weight rapidly.

                His house was also a disaster because he had never learned how to clean or do laundry. The fish in the fish tank had all died because he didn’t know how often to feed them, where to buy the food, or how to clean the tank.

                So his adult daughter had to move in and do all the things her mom used to do.

                Talk about being in a “childlike state”! A grown man had no idea how to care for himself or his own house, outside of “manly” things like mowing and changing out the kitchen faucet.

            6. Moryera*


              Alright, I’ll bite, let’s address this: “only women seem to think this is acceptable” because for a very long time it was not just acceptable, but -expected-. It’s a bit difficult to gain financial independence from others when you couldn’t even have a bank account in your own name until the mid-70s.

              1. quill*

                I think a lot of us often forget that our grandmothers did not actually have all the legal and financial rights our grandfathers did.

                Heck, my MOTHER was born before women could be jurors.

            7. Oxford Comma*

              Oh, you might be surprised. I am old enough that women being SAHP was the norm not the exception and more than a few of the mothers of some my friends were the ones who kept the finances in order. I have a friend whose father is a brilliant surgeon and her mom learned early on that if she didn’t pay the bills, he wouldn’t. She was the one who took care of the retirement plans and investments. She was the one who got their legal affairs in order. After she died, my friend had to take over because the brilliant surgeon father was just so bad at it.

              1. Johanna Cabal*

                This is why I’m still angry that my guidance counselor refused to let me take Consumer Math as my fourth year math credit in high school. The course would’ve counted for my math credit and covered budgeting, taxes, investing, etc.

                Guidance counselor said since I was college-bound I had to take Trig instead (where I barely scraped by with a D).

                The more I think about this, the angrier I get because I know plenty of college graduates, including math whizzes who are terrible at finances.

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

              Can we not go there. It is not helpful to anyone to call someone childlike and to speculate.

              There are lots of stay-at-home people who are not financially illiterate. Heck years ago they taught young women in home-ec how to budget for the household. I’ve known people who don’t “make” the money but were more financially literate than others. They knew how to balance a checkbook when their husbands didn’t.

              And as others have said, perhaps has an invisible disability that Sasha doesn’t know about.

              1. Sasha*

                Hey I didn’t say she was childlike! Or financially illiterate! She isn’t at all.

                I have no issue with SIL, or anyone else not working – I was pointing out that plenty of people chose not to if they are financially able to. It was a poster after me who made unpleasant comments about SAHPs.

            9. Cheap Ass Rolex*

              “Only women seem to think this is acceptable” – – I would advise you to google the concept of the trust fund failson. They are legion.

              1. Kelly L.*

                I suppose they’re less obvious because some of them, after decades of twiddling their thumbs, accidentally end up President.

            10. Ali + Nino*

              “Only women seem to think this is acceptable”

              Source? Only women can be trust fund babies?

            11. LilPinkSock*

              “Only women seem to think this is acceptable”

              …Except for all the men whose cushy lives are entirely supported by trust funds from Mom and Dad.

              That assumption is gross and unnecessarily gendered.

              1. Doug Judy*

                Or get a high level “job” at daddy’s company that basically consists of golf and drinks with the other dude-bros

            12. Ace in the Hole*

              It’s pretty insulting to say that homemakers are “remaining in a childlike state.”

              My spouse is a homemaker. I work full time. My income financially supports us, but her work around the house is just as important. She does almost all of the errands, cleaning, laundry, budgeting, bills, caring for our animals, gardening, and minor household repairs. The work she does while I’m earning money allows both of us the free time to relax, spend time together, enjoy hobbies, etc. Without her, I would not have been able to go back to school and finish my degree since I wouldn’t have had the time.

              Plus, a lot of the work she does are things I’m bad at. I hate cleaning, I’m not good at remembering to pay bills on time, and every garden I’ve ever planted died under my care. She finds employment stressful and draining, I find home management stressful and draining. We just play to our strengths.

            13. Kella*

              “Total and permanent financial dependence on others is remaining in a childlike state, as far as I am concerned.” This attitude really overlooks the existence of seniors, disabled and chronically ill people, and people in charge of the caretaking of their family (whether children or disabled adults) who are unable to work. Sometimes not working is a choice but in many cases, it is a necessity. Just because someone is not making the money does not mean they don’t know how to manage the money they are given. And being fully responsible for your own finances is a very Western, independent-culture kind of belief. God forbid you are able to rely on your family or community to support your well-being.

              It’s also honestly pretty sexist to assume that a woman who genuinely wants to be a homemaker for her children and does not want formal employment, must be brainwashed by extreme religion in order to want that. There is absolutely a history of women being forced or socially pressured into this kind of arrangement. That does not mean that every woman that chooses it is doing so purely because of social pressure.

            14. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

              Everyone is, in a very real sense, totally and permanently financially dependent on others, even people who work for money. No job would exist in the absence of the participation of others, be it as employer, employee, customer, government funder, person doing invisible and unpaid labor behind the scenes, etc.

              Of course it’s scary that being out of the paid workforce often makes a person dependent on the goodwill of one or a small handful of others, but the solution to that is a better social safety net, because the other solutions (like expecting everyone to be in the labor pool regardless of aptitude or other commitments or circumstances) don’t work.

            15. Starbuck*

              “Total and permanent financial dependence on others is remaining in a childlike state, ”

              What a big F you statement to people who are disabled or unable to work for other reasons. What a gross, gross thing to say.

              I get encouraging women to have the skills to support themselves financially, I really do, but wow.

            16. TP*

              I know a few stay at home dads. Stay at home parents are not existing in a childlike state – childcare and maintaining the home can be a lot of work!

          2. Roeslein*

            I can’t imagine the love of risk you must have to willingly (as in, not due to ill health) put yourself in that situation. Especially with children. We are both good earners AND have pretty good insurance and I STILL would never consider having more children than I can support on my salary alone. As a child in the 90s I saw so many women fall into poverty with their children because they had no back up when their husband or boyfriend left / died / had an accident / got sick / became unemployed. All of those combined happen to lots of people. It’s fine if it’s just you, an adult, but it seems to me if you are a healthy adult and bring children into the world you have a responsibility to do your best to provide for them to the extent of your abilities. When I held my son after giving birth to him I promised I would try my best to look after him always and I have felt that responsibility ever since. Sure, there needs to be a social safety net, but that’s not something most of us want to be relying on if the worst happens.

            Of course, it doesn’t sound the OP’s friend has kids so none of the above applies – she’s free to live dangerously if she so wishes.

        3. Antilles*

          The answer to “what do I care” really depends on the dynamics of the friendship.
          If you’re close friends, then part of that is honest advice. Especially if it’s advice that a friend needs to hear but doesn’t really want to – your new boyfriend is awful, you really should cut back on (something), you should consider getting some work experience, etc.
          That said, the brief description in OP’s post leads me to believe it’s not nearly that close of a friendship. In which case, there’s still a decent argument for gently suggesting “hey, maybe an internship or co-op would pair well with your schooling, companies love that!” or something along those lines, then just leaving it there. If she responds positively or expresses interest, you can offer to help more; if she seems uninterested, then it is what it is.

        4. londonedit*

          Yeah, I have a friend who got married the year after we finished uni and had two kids by the time she was 26 – she had family money and her husband earned a lot, and she decided that’s what she wanted to do. She was a stay-at-home mum for 10 years, then trained to be a yoga teacher because she wanted something to do in her free time, and now she’s in her early 40s, her kids are 15/16 and she teaches a bit of yoga here and there but doesn’t really need to bother about working if she doesn’t want to. None of that was an option I could/wanted to take (not enough family money to live on, no rich husband, don’t want to have kids) so my life has been very different, but I definitely wouldn’t work every day if I didn’t have to!

          1. New Yet Old*

            Another thing these women don’t consider is what will happen when they reach retirement age, or if husband dies. It would be wise to make sure adequate insurance is in place to continue a no-working lifestyle, as social security will not be enough.

            During early child-rearing years, not having outside employment is totally reasonable, I would have done that if I could because being a working single parent almost drove me insane with stress. Wasn’t an option though, and now I’m sitting pretty at retirement time, so it all worked out.

            1. Johanna Cabal*

              This is why child care is a big issue. Many times parents, particularly women, have to leave the workforce because childcare would eat up that extra income and more.

              1. quill*

                Yeah, the more expensive childcare gets, the more women with jobs that have things like retirement benefits, etc. are seeing the vast majority of their salary go to childcare. Part of it is that maternity leave is often insufficient to nonexistent, but another part is that wages across the board have not kept pace with inflation for a long time, so daycare costs go up and salaries do not go up anywhere near as fast.

                1. Johanna Cabal*

                  And society expects more from parents, and that all hits women again. It seems like society encourages helicopter parenting more and more.

                  I had a SAHP parent but in late elementary and early middle school plenty of my classmates were latchkey kids. Nowadays, I hear so many stories of CPS getting called on older kids left home alone after school for a few hours. Plus, I’m aware of two school districts where kids will not be released off a school bus unless a parent is physically at the bus stop.

                2. quill*


                  Yeah, I was babysitting as a tween, now people seem to think tweens need babysitters. (To be fair my responsibilities as a babysitter for kids only about four years my junior were “know where the kids are, microwave them snacks, find the first aid kit for minor injuries and make sure they are too busy to break the house.”)

        5. Critical Rolls*

          I think there can be some legitimate concern for what happens if that external source of funding goes away. I know someone who’s been living on an inheritance for a couple of years, and it absolutely won’t last forever, and now there is a chasm in their work history. I worry about that person. But I don’t nag them, because it’s fully correct that you can’t *make* them take those steps, even if there are really compelling reasons why they should.

        6. Cheap Ass Rolex*

          Yes, also, “eternal student” is exactly what I would be if I suddenly became rich enough to not have to work! It would be amazing. I have met someone who did just that with a lot of wealth – got multiple degrees in all their diverse interests – and good for them.

          1. generic_username*

            A friend of mine married a multimillionaire and has since done yoga teacher training in Hong Kong, studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in London, studied patisserie at the Ritz Escoffier school in Paris, and did some sommelier training (forget where). Living the dream, basically….

            1. LilPinkSock*

              Oh man. I love my job and I’m thrilled about my career path opportunities…but I am super jealous of your friend!

          2. NotAnotherManager!*

            Being a professional student is my dream. When I win the lottery, it will be a tough call on which degree to pursue first.

        7. This is a name, I guess*

          I don’t think the OP should say anything to their friend.

          However, many many people who need to work struggle with employment. I work in employment services, so I see it at work. But, I think we know people – often in our own families – who just cannot figure out the work thing, whether its being chronically unemployed, chronically underemployed, or being extremely unhappy in every job they have, often for fit reasons. I liken it to dating. Some people (myself included) really struggle to find a partner that works for them. It can happen for a variety of reasons. Same with employment! Some people really struggle to figure out how they fit into the job market!

          Reasons I see include: a range of mental health/disability issues; socioeconomic issues (first gen college students from more rural areas – like myself – often don’t know what jobs are even available and have difficulty navigating industries looking for transferable skills); entitlement; unreasonable expectations; toxic masculinity; trauma from repeated bad jobs; discriminations; parenthood; etc.

          We have no idea if OP’s friend doesn’t work because she’s independently wealthy (less likely) or if she’s someone who struggles with employment who happens to have generous parents (more likely).

        8. Lanlan*

          > If they aren’t asking me for money? What do I care?

          Thank you for this. I had friends (had!) who I would swear were outraged with my lack of Protestant work ethic because, get this, I wanted to be careful what employer I chose during a major pandemic. (I did not ask to graduate on the eve of COVID, but that’s how it happened.) I never asked them for a red cent. I never even criticized the ways they were spending money. My family was prepared to support me and all I did was worry out loud about what would happen if they died of COVID. And this infuriated them as if I were begging them to adopt me or something (fat chance, mates).

          The worst part was that every time I had an idea that would better my chances of making a living wage, since my training was in a field that just does not offer that entry-level, they shot me down! They did everything to discourage me. They said I would spend five years working terrible jobs before I had the right to something better, be it grad school or a decent wage. Anyone would despair with friends like that.

          Don’t be those friends, y’all. Don’t be those friends.

          1. Starbuck*

            Wow, I’m thinking of crabs and buckets. What a drag to have friends who aren’t willing/able to root for you. I get that these times have made people more bitter than they might otherwise be, but they don’t sound like good friends.

    1. Aphrodite*

      Also, stop venting to her about your workplace issues. She’s an odd choice for you to do that with but aside from that you are giving her a weird insight into work. Her only (apparent) experience come from your vents. Very one-sided.

      Let her alone. She and her family can work this out. Or not.

      1. Andie Begins*

        >Also, stop venting to her about your workplace issues. She’s an odd choice for you to do that with but aside from that you are giving her a weird insight into work. Her only (apparent) experience come from your vents. Very one-sided.

        Its an odd choice for OP to talk about their own life with their own friends?

        I think this is an odd suggestion and puts a weird responsibility on OP to he some sort of workplace-themed Giver to Friend.

        If Friend’s only window into the working world is OP’s vent sessions, that’s probably on Friend to decide if it’s a problem and, if so, rectify it.

    2. KateM*

      It’s like all those butting-in neighbour/MIL jokes out there. Why does OP want to teach someone how to live, who hasn’t asked for their help, and thankyouverymuch seems to manage their life quite OK?
      (If the sister feels different, it’s up to the sister. I think it even more possible that it isn’t that sister has to support this friend but she doesn’t like that their parents support her. Still, not OP’s business.)

      1. Despachito*

        I’d stay out of it as well.

        It does not affect the OP in the very least, so I’d stick to the rule that if this person’s choice does not affect me personally (and of course is not illegal or seriously harming other people), and I have not been asked for advice, it is none of my business.

        The only thing I would infer from this is that I would not rely on the friend’s comments about work as she does not have any relevant experience, and the OP says they are wildly off base.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I could see the sister having some “You’re so easy and don’t need our constant help like Delilah. Delilah is so much more fascinating!” resentment within the family.

        This does not involve OP at all, unless she wants to be a friendly sounding board for the sister. But if she’s closer to the friend than the sister, this is a nod-and-huh situation.

        1. KateM*

          Yes to both of your paragraphs. Sister may or not have justified or unjustified resentment, but that doesn’t mean that OP should start talking abour career with their friend.

          (Also, “almost 30 and has never had a job” sounds much scarier than “in her late twenties and has never had a job”.)

            1. quill*

              Meet every grad student ever, especially if you don’t “count” extremely part time / seasonal / connected to the univerity jobs.

            2. biobotb*

              Exactly. I was in grad school for many years, so I could have been described as “being thirty and never having worked a real job.”

    3. Lime green Pacer*

      There may be very good reasons why the friend has chosen not to work at this time, that they don’t wish to share. Those same reasons may be why they are getting financial support from their family. Just because it looks like everything’s fine, does not mean that everything is fine.

      1. Blueberry*

        Plus they are a student… it isn’t unheard of for some students to opt out of working while studying if they are able to get financial support.

        1. Anonymous4*

          It also isn’t unheard of for people to be ‘professional students,’ staying in school for year after year and going for degree after degree, or hopping from major to major. But she seems to like it, and her family is going along with her, and it’s working out fine so far.

          1. Dragon_Dreamer*

            I hate that term. It’s been flung at me a few times, even though both my degrees are related AND relevant to my career. Also, I spent 15+ years of my life NOT in school due to finances and disabilities. I spent those years working.

            It’s a term that needs to be disposed of, in my opinion.

            1. A*

              I think the term is sometimes misapplied, but I do not think it has a place. I have a few friends who literally plan to never work (and have family money that allows them that choice) but really like being a student, and just constantly re-enroll for new degrees. One of them self describes herself as a professional student, certainly not my place to push back on that.

            2. Starbuck*

              Does it have some kind of insulting connotations that I’m missing? I just understood it as meaning someone who has the ability to stay in school for longer than usual without necessarily needing to pursue employment as an end goal. Definitely a thing, though it sounds like it is certainly not correct in your case – but is there something bad about it?

      2. Cait*

        This reads as jealousy to me. The OP is watching her friend buy clothes, go out to eat, etc. and not have to work to do so. Would I be frustrated with someone like that? Sure! But that doesn’t mean that there’s a problem here. 1. The friend is a student and while a lot of students do work, not all of them do, so focusing on your studies over having a job isn’t a sin 2. If her family is happy to fund her lifestyle, that’s their choice 3. If the friend is happy taking her family’s money while she ho-hums about getting a job, that’s her choice. The only way the OP would have an actual problem is if said friend was asking her for career advice and then ignoring it while continuing to complain. But until that happens, I think the OP needs to think about really what’s bothering him/her/them so much. Is it really concern about their friends future? Or is it envy over the fact that their friend is going to be living the good life thanks to her family for the foreseeable future?

        1. Oxford Comma*

          It doesn’t have to be jealousy. I’ve got a friend who has tanked herself in 2 jobs. She keeps making the same mistakes and unless I have misread the signs, she’s about to be out of job #3. I would love to help her, but a) she hasn’t asked me and b) she wouldn’t hear me even if she did ask. The OP could be coming from the best place in the world.

    4. Ally McBeal*

      I also think that, if LW1 has been ‘friends’ with this person for 10-15 years and didn’t know until recently that she has never had a job, their relationship is likely not close enough to the point where unsolicited advice would be received well. And it might result in the friend getting mad at her sister for sharing her unemployment status.

      1. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

        That is also what struck me about this letter. OP sounds like a casual friend at best (maybe not much more than an acquaintance) based on the letter content, so why does OP feel the need to “help” at all?

      2. Annie E. Mouse*

        This x1000! If we were talking about super close BFFs, maybe there’s an argument for LW to offer some unsolicited advice, but this is not that. LW literally didn’t notice that the friend hasn’t had a job in 10+ years. That’s more of an acquaintance. It sounds like LW is more invested in the gossip than friend’s future plans.

    5. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      Without actively trying to push this person into the job market, you can reflect the values of people who have jobs and explain why her weird advice on work vents is off-base. At least that will make the work world a little less of a culture shock when and if she decides to join it.

    6. Momma Bear*

      She has a good deal right now not having to work b/c people support her. I think until they stop/pull back, she will have no incentive to do anything else. A lot of people allow life to happen TO them vs taking the reins and if she is one of those, she won’t be motivated to get a job until she has to. I wouldn’t sweat anything about this lifestyle of hers unless it affects you (like if she starts asking you for money).

    7. Polecat*

      And someone who didn’t ask for it. I don’t understand lw#1 At all. She found out someone she knows doesn’t work because they don’t need to. That’s not her business and nobody asked for her help. Weird. She’s a witness

  3. Chet*

    If you’re not handing out sizable raises in this economic environment to an employee with one year of experience then you can guarantee that they’ll be looking for the door.

    Frank has a ton to gain by leaving so whether you call it a “promotion” or not, it doesn’t matter. You need to do something if you don’t want them to leave. And a lot of companies won’t hand out 7%+ raises (which is what inflation is) without calling it a promotion.

    1. Tracy*

      Yeah, LW 3 is a bit behind the times if she is expecting to throw 2% raises at Frank for a few years and then gift Frank a promotion without Frank high tailing it out of there for a better gig.

      I actually disagree with Allison. The situation has changed. If you’re not talking raises and promotions after a year then you’re behind the times. How long do you expect someone to gut it out?

      1. Laura*

        I also disagree with Allison on this one, which is a first. If an employee shows skill, ability to learn, etc. in this labor market you absolutely need to put effort at the management level into retention. It is absolutely not the norm to have to work somewhere multiple years and fluff higher up egos to advance. The younger generation isn’t playing that game anymore. Several studies show you actually increase your pay much quicker if you job hop every 2-4 years.

        1. Loulou*

          Sorry but being promoted after one year is really not the new normal! I’d buy this is typical at some of these newer college-grad companies where the oldest employee is like 32, but it’s truly, truly normal for people to hold their position for more than a year before being promoted (or, as you say, moving elsewhere for a higher salary or job title).

          1. Loulou*

            (to clarify, the part of your comment I’m disagreeing with is the “it’s absolutely not the norm…” part.)

          2. Love Dies*

            I feel like the letter and answer kind of conflated yearly raises–whether you call it cost of living increase, merit increase, performance increase– and promotions. I can totally see waiting more than a year to get a job title change and significant pay bump, ie a promotion, but I think it’s normal and good and common to get yearly raises to compensate a year’s performance and keep up with inflation.

            1. Snow Globe*

              Yes, this.

              The employee in question here did not have the skills and experience that the company was able to find in an external candidate. It is not *normal* to promote employees after one year if they aren’t actually ready to do the higher level job.

              1. EPLawyer*

                AND he didn’t like a big part of his job that would ALSO be part of the new promotion. But he expected the promotion anyway. Like what did he think would happen if he got the promotion, he could just NOT do parts of his job but get more money? Then tells OP you got 2 days to match my other offer or I am gone.

                While OP should be careful to make sure salaries are matching the current market, that does not mean THIS EMPLOYEE is entitled to a promotion and a huge bump in salary. Quite frankly based on what I wrote above, the company might be better off letting Frank go even if it means paying his replacement more.

                1. Velocipastor*

                  Yes, thank you! Emphatically talking about how much you dislike parts of your job while applying for a promotion that would have you doing those things more… and then offering an ultimatum when you don’t receive the promotion is wild to me! Even in this labor market!

                2. ferrina*

                  I agree with EPLawyer. Frank doesn’t seem like a good match for this promotion. He seems to still be developing his professional judgement (to put it nicely). And you shouldn’t be handing out promotions just because he’s been there a year.

                  Which is separate from the salaries matching the market overall. Inflation has been intense, and if you don’t want your employees looking elsewhere, you need to adjust salaries to the realities of the market.

              2. Littorally*

                Right, yeah. Plus, Frank said they didn’t like a fair bit of work that would be applicable to the higher role! They would just plain old not have been a good hire into that position.

            2. Esmeralda*

              Right. It’s not like Frank has improved their skills so much that they can be promoted, it seems. So a raise is reasonable. A promotion may not be.

          3. Perfectly Particular*

            Right? There are only so many levels up. Is the expectation that a promotion comes every year or so? So you end up with a bunch of directors/VPs with less than 10 years experience?

            1. JM60*

              I don’t think the employee was necessarily expecting to actually get the promotion; only that they wanted to try to get it. Maybe this is an “ask” vs “guess” culture thing, but it sometimes makes sense to ask for something even though the answer will probably be no.

              1. I should really pick a name*

                I think the issue is more that the employee said “promote me or I’m leaving” than that they applied for the promotion.

                1. JM60*

                  The OP said that he had a job lined up. There’s no wrongdoing on his part by notifying the OP of that other job, and saying that he’s accepting it otherwise. (Though 2 says is a very short window.)

                2. Gumby*

                  That is the part that seems off to me as well.

                  It’s possible Frank said, “I’m disappointed to hear that I did not get the promotion. Since I have been looking to advance, I have also been looking at outside companies and have an offer I am strongly considering. I’d like to stay here, but that would not make sense for me unless my current job could be reconfigured to include some higher level tasks and my salary could meet what I have been offered. I have to respond to my offer in the next two days. Is that something that seems possible?” But that is not something that I would characterize as “Frank immediately shared that they have another job offer, and that we need to match their salary and increase their job level within two days or they’re gone. ”

                  If a company wants to counteroffer once I’ve accepted another job, that should be something they offer, not something I demand (though all of the reasons it’s a bad idea still apply so I probably wouldn’t take it). “Give me what I want or else I am leaving,” as phrased, has a whiff of extortion to it. It’s notable that it doesn’t seem like Frank has accepted the offer – it’s just a tool for negotiation. If I were OP, I would probably wish them well in the new job.

                3. JM60*


                  The OP (writing in as LW3), clarified how the Frank did the counter offer:

                  When he initially mentioned he had another offer, he phrased it (not verbatim) like “well that makes this easier I guess because I have another offer so looks like my last day will be around X date” which didn’t leave me with a lot of wiggle room, but we talked again later and that’s when the 2 or 3 days to make a counteroffer came up.

                  I think that’s a bit better than he comes across in the letter.

                  If a company wants to counteroffer once I’ve accepted another job, that should be something they offer, not something I demand

                  Why doesn’t the employee have the right to proactively ask their employer if they wish to counter-offer? This tells the employer that they’re open to a counter-offer. I think that accepting a counter-offer is often a bad idea, but I don’t think that asking for a counter is entitled and/or wrongdoing.

                  (and if it is just a bluff, that’s on Frank if the employer accepts his resignation)

              2. Anonymous4*

                I don’t know if Frank is bluffing or not but I’d call him on it. Congratulate him and wish him well in his new career step, and advertise for someone else.

                He’s enthusiastic and hates what he’s doing — bad combo. “Give me a promotion and a raise in TWO DAYS or I’m outa here!” Okay, Frank; good luck, fella, and hope your new job is everything you hope for.

                1. JM60*

                  If it is a bluff and the employer calls him on it, that’s on Frank. But if he was being honest about the other job offer, it’s not inappropriate to ask if they wish to counter-offer before he accepts the other job.

            2. just another bureaucrat*

              Well and that you have more VPs than entry level folks? If everyone should get promoted after a year then who on earth does the entry level work?

              Sorry but it doesn’t make sense to promote everyone every year. That’s just nonsense.

              And far more so if the person doesn’t want to do a task that the senior level work requires more of.

              1. JM60*

                A promotion doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve moved up on the chain of command (it can be from jr developer to developer, to sr dev, etc.), and I don’t see any indication that Frank expects that he’ll be promoted merely because he’s been there for a year.

          4. JM60*

            While getting a promotion (as opposed to a raise) after a year isn’t typical, I don’t think it’s wrong for a high-performing employee to at least pursue an available promotion after a year.

            1. Anonymous4*

              He’s a high-performing employee who has been doing the job for one whole year.

              Okay, he’s a fine accounts payable clerk. That doesn’t make him qualified to be an accounts payable supervisor.

              The enthusiasm is great. Knowledge and skill are important, too.

              1. Ace in the Hole*

                Right. That’s why you have multiple levels of clerk.

                For example, my organization has “Equipment operator I,” “Equipment operator II,” “Equipment operator III,” “Lead operator,” and “Operations supervisor.” We hire new people at the level I position with no prior training or experience. After a year or two of good performance and initial training, they get promoted to level II – which has a higher pay range and is assigned to more challenging tasks. Then to level III after a few more years. At that point they’re qualified to apply for lead/supervisor positions if one opens up. The result is that most of our staff stick around for many years and we have good morale.

                If an employer doesn’t have a clear path for employees to advance as they develop professionally, they shouldn’t be surprised if people leave after a year or two.

            2. Anonymous4*

              And he pursued it, with one whole year of experience, and was turned down, and threatened to leave if he didn’t get a raise and a promotion in two days.

              I hope he DID have something else lined up because I can’t imagine any company viewing that kindly.

              1. JM60*

                Other than the 2 days part, I see nothing wrong with that. People have the right to leave and to threaten to leave.

                1. Em*

                  Yeah, I think it’s pretty odd the way so many people are acting like Frank is unreasonable for saying “I have a better job offer elsewhere, match it or I’ll leave.” Assuming the offer is real, of course, but that’s Frank’s problem and not the employer’s.

                  Could Frank have handled it more gracefully? From the sound of it, probably – at the very least they should have given more notice. But when I left my last job, my old boss asked what it would take to get me to stay, and my honest answer was “Double my salary, let me work remotely full-time, and substantially change my job duties so I no longer have to do these particular things I hate.” I acknowledged that this was not going to happen and it would be unreasonable to ask – but that’s what I got with my new job. There was no way I was giving up the offer I had in hand for less than that.

                  So if Frank has an offer in hand that comes with what they want, and they told their employer that, I don’t actually see a problem with Frank’s behavior or judgment in doing so.

            3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

              Whether or not pursuing a promotion after a year makes sense depends heavily on the organization. If anyone applied for a promotion in my office after a year, they’d be hopelessly obtuse. It also seems to me that certain groups of people who are used to having more privileges in life often expect promotions just for existing in place for some minimal amount of time even if there are other people who existed in place longer than they did. I also would want verification of the offer Frank got, because he could wait to accept or not until he heard about the promotion and then he needed to respond in two days? I got a faint whiff of BS from that.

              1. KRM*

                Eh, that’s going to be a case of “actions have consequences” if he didn’t actually have another offer. If a decent but not-ready-to-move-up employee tells me “promote me or I’m leaving, you have 2 days” I’d be saying “well it’s been lovely working with you, but you don’t really have the skills yet for the promotion we’re hiring for. Best of luck in your new job!”. I don’t actually care if he has another offer–if he doesn’t, that’s on him.

                1. Dragon*

                  That reminds me of the WKRP in Cincinnati episode in which Herb tried the another-job-offer bluff to get a raise.

                  Venus had been offered another job, and Andy asked for a chance to counter their offer. Herb hoped WKRP would also offer him more $ to stay.

                  Andy offered Venus several monthly increases, which Venus declined until Andy reached $2700 a month. Then Venus countered with $1700 a month. A baffled Andy accepted, and Venus then suggested offering Herb a $1000 monthly raise to stay on.

                  Venus had decided to decline the other job, because he figured out they only wanted him as a diversity hire.

                2. Em*

                  Yeah, I don’t understand why you’d need or want verification of the other offer. I don’t see how it changes the calculus on the employer’s side. Threatening to leave if you don’t get a raise is really just raising your price. As an employer, you’re either willing to pay that particular price for that employee or you aren’t. If you aren’t, the employee’s future job prospects are officially not your problem.

          5. Not So NewReader*

            I do think that it’s helpful to check to make sure that there is a position to be promoted to.
            This LW has said that she is working on something for Frank. While not every boss is believable, I think LW is very believable. I don’t doubt her sincerity in the least.

            I do think that the company could be moving a little faster if they want to retain Frank. And Frank’s expectation of a solution in two days is not realistic in this company. Frank can probably say “bye-bye” now.

            But one thing I see missing from the letter is anything saying that it is super important to retain Frank. Just a guess but I don’t think Frank has designed a better wheel or done anything that is that critical for the company. It could be that OP doesn’t like losing an employee- which is something good bosses are concerned about. Or it could be that OP is stymied by lack of movement from TPTB. This is a good thing to be aware of and be prepared for.
            Frank may leave but it still is a good opportunity to talk to the boss about a plan to retain people in the future.

            1. MsM*

              Nonprofit, not company. Which means I fully believe OP’s moving as fast as she can. Our sector’s unfortunately still playing catch-up on “what do you mean, people aren’t going to accept barely above minimum wage for director-level responsibilities?”, never mind greater than cost of living annual increases without a great deal of angst over where it fits into the budget and possibly board approval.

            2. LW3*

              LW #3 here! I truly was exploring other better opportunities – my boss and I were connecting with department heads putting Frank forward for two positions we thought they’d enjoy more and are a level or two higher than their current role. I was honest with Frank that I’m committed to continuing to push for it but that it may take a few months to finally happen, and it’s too long. Ultimately Frank took the other offer and I wish them the best.

              You picked up on a block though: I am very much “stymied by TPTB” and they take forever to get back to me about raises and promotions, whether I’m making a request for my employee or when it’s me asking for myself. I will certainly be discussing how to build better retention and advancement into our work.

              1. Smithy*

                I’m also in the nonprofit world – and just to say that depending on your sector, the “Great Resignation” has meant that candidate pools are very shallow and for people who want “more” provided you’re willing to to either take anything (despite red flags) or wait a bit, you can 100% get a lot more money than most nonprofits can offer internally.

                The reasons for this I think are an unfortunate mix of the good and bad. In efforts to reduce inequity, a lot of nonprofits have standardized what raises can be, look like, and how much they can be. At least in my sector, a lot of thoughtful thinking went into the “why” of this. But because people inevitably adapt, the fall out was that quick promotions turned into the only way internal staff could get more significant pay increases. Therefore instead of someone going from Assistant to Associate to Officer, you’ll have Sr. Assistant to Deputy Associate to Associate to Sr. Associate to Jr. Officer to Officer to Sr. Officer.

                Then someone comes in, realizes how silly and that the hierarchy needs to be flattened. Flattening happens, but then there are still limits on the raises someone could have across their Associate career while just being an Associate – so a new version of the same game starts again. All of this ends up going against the original reason for those limits on internal raises – an attempt to maintain equity. Because in practice what happens is that a manager has to be willing to figure out how to make the case for an individual Sr. Associate to become a Jr. Officer to they get more than a 3% annual raise. And bias inevitably comes into play there, because that’s a lot more work than just meeting someone for their annual review and inevitably won’t happen for everyone.

                As you work to consider better retention and advancement – while also acknowledging this is still the nonprofit sector and massive increases after 1 year (without taking advantage of a certain job market or skill set) aren’t going to be likely, I do have two pieces of advice. 1) A lot of nonprofit junior roles hire people with a lot of potential/education and an interest in the mission without the specific job duties. I’m in fundraising and while I am currently on a great team, the number of internal candidates I’ve asked “why are you applying” who answer with “your team has a great work-life balance”… like no interest in philanthropy??? A lot of nonprofit non-program jobs (fundraising, finance, legal, grants management) end up being great all-around background resume builders that let people pivot quickly to their “real” interests. 2) If your pay range for a job isn’t very large, always offer new candidates the top of the pay range. Pay raises are going to be notoriously hard to give without a promotion. And finding out you came in at the bottom never feels good. If they negotiate – then you can say “I appreciate you negotiating but I am offering the highest I can – but you will still be eligible for annual pay raises according to organization policy”

                1. LW3*

                  That sounds familiar; we’re in the Assistant > Associate > Sr Associate > Officer > Sr Officer > Director > C-level hierarchy at the moment.

                  Great notes – thank you for your time and attention to share! Particularly valuable given your context for the way nonprofits “do things”.

                2. Smithy*

                  @LW3, ah – you still have room to add in Managers, VP’s, Advisors…..whole new titles muck about with!

                  It’s certainly easy to be cynical about this, but personally I’ve been happier trying to live in a more middle ground of knowing the cynical reasons but not getting buried by them. From what you wrote, to me, Frank doesn’t seem perfectly aligned with your organization or sector as a long-term fit. Sounds like you did a lot of good things and the more you manage, you’ll get a better feel for your own style and how to work with your organization around development and retention of junior colleagues. But nonprofits who come out of this with a lot more ease and flexibility in giving significant raises, I’d look at cautiously. Not that it wouldn’t be great- but I’d be very curious how on earth they’re managing to financially plan for that….

                3. This is a name, I guess*


                  Context: My partner works for a private company as an engineer (the STEM kind), and there’s a hiring crunch right now. They have a $5000 signing bonus for new engineers at her firm. That’s how bad it is.

                  She’s 1 year into her engineering career, but she’s a shade under 40 (not a protected class for age) and went back to school. Therefore, she has 1 yr experience in engineering, but she’s not doing the same work as a 24 year old engineer because she has relevant experience from her previous work. In fact, she has engineering project management experience for the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT on CLASSIFIED PROJECTS. Do you know how hard that work is? She used to have to get 35 bureaucrats to sign off on minor changes to her projects. She had to read 1000page technical documents and distill them down into 1 page summaries for these signatories.

                  She went to negotiate her new salary when she got her MS, and they offered her $62,000. She asked for $75,000 and gave really practical and eloquent equity reasons (she has multiple marginalized identities), which is far more reasonable and still fits within the billable rate for an engineer at her level and gives her room to grow until she gets her next credential.

                  They came back and gave her $65,000. HR had to raise 2 other coworkers’ salaries in order to pay her $65,000 because of equity reasons. I’m generally happy this happened, but it’s not equity to treat all of your employees exactly the same! They refuse to pay her more because she only has 1 year experience, but it’s PREPOSTEROUS to believe that someone in their late 30s with a decade of highly transferable experience would have the same abilities and impact on the company as most 24 year olds with brand new Masters degrees.

                  This is also how pay inequities happen! There needs to be some flexibility.

                4. Koalafied*

                  @this is a name – honestly, that’s poor implementation of equity policy. My org defines equity as “people who do substantially similar work should receive similar pay, which can vary by experience, performance, and tenure.” The permissible salary variance is +/- 20% of a median salary pegged to market salary research and re-calculated every 2 years. So if the median is $65k, we can pay up to $78k for tenured employees getting above average reviews/outstanding results, and offer as little as $52k to someone coming into the role with zero experience. It’s very possible to reward high performers and recognize when one person is doing much higher level work than someone else they nominally share a title with, without it violating any equity principles.

              2. Kevin Sours*

                Not saying it didn’t work out the right way here, but in general you need to push back on TPTB. I remember a period where we were hiring and the HR peeps would take weeks to get an offer approved in an environment where candidates were expecting next day turnaround. It was frustrating. Especially since they seemed to spend a lot of effort dithering over whether or not they really wanted to pay the asking price of a candidate who in reality had accepted another offer last week.

          6. Loredena*

            Depends on both the company and the employee level! At mine promotions for the first few levels, which start with campus hires, is expected at one year at level. Raises are annual

          7. Meow*

            There are some companies where salary is fixed per position and the only way to get a significant raise is to get a promotion.

          8. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            In my company, four years in grade is the stated minimum.
            Title upgrades such as Team Lead are mostly independent of promotions – we have a dual career model so you don’t have to manage people to advance to the highest grade; for a few years, my manager was a grade below me (an individual contributor). Salary bands are aligned with grades but not static; almost everyone in my team is paid above the upper limit for the band, so raises beyond COL increases without a promotion are possible although the total budget for raises is set at division level.
            But yes, we lose people over salary from time to time (and some of those come back sooner or later).

        2. EPLawyer*

          But DID he show skills and ability to learn? He admitted he didn’t like a signficant portion of his work — which was ALSO be part of the promotion. So he is applying for a job doing things he didn’t like doing? I gotta question his judgment here. Which is a consideration in promoting or even retaining someone.

      2. WomEngineer*

        I think it depends on how long it takes to master a job. At my employer, it’s ~3 years to move beyond entry level. But even then, if it’s your first job out of school, it’s not that unusual to jump ship after a year (assuming it’s not job hopping).

        But if LW3’s nonprofit pays less than its competitors (nonprofit or otherwise) j in a high-cost-of-living area, then I don’t blame Frank for leaving.

        1. Loulou*

          I don’t think anyone blames them for leaving! If you can get a better paying job with the experience you have, why wouldn’t you? What I find strange is the expectation of being promoted *to a new position in your company* after a year. Especially since it sounds like Frank wasn’t just after more pay, but wanted a substantially different role.

          1. Corey*

            > What I find strange is the expectation of being promoted *to a new position in your company* after a year.

            That’s not what you said in your other comment:

            > it’s truly, truly normal for people to hold their position for more than a year before […] moving elsewhere for a higher salary or job title

            That was in response to someone who said that “it is absolutely not the norm to have to work somewhere multiple years and fluff higher up egos to advance”. You are behind here. It is truly, truly not normal to have to wait around for a promotion or a salary bump out of loyalty or whatever when there are other companies willing to give it to you, which describes the current market.

            1. Loulou*

              But moving to a new job isn’t a promotion, it’s a new job. Of course people do that all the time and have for years. I am saying that it is not the “new normal” that an entry level person can expect to be promoted to a higher role within their own company after a year.

              If I’m behind the times, so is Alison on this one — but I’d suggest that people here may be extrapolating a bit too widely from their own (recent?) experience and missing the signals OP gave about how things work in their world.

              1. KRM*

                And if I go to a new job that has more responsibility, etc–I’m unlikely to get promoted after a year there. Because really it takes about 6 months to settle into a job and then another 12-18 months to truly start performing at a high level. Being promoted every year is a pretty unreasonable ask. And really in Frank’s case it doesn’t seem like he thought it through–will he do well in a new position where he’s doing MORE of something he doesn’t like? Why does he even want this particular job then?

                1. Midwest Manager*

                  I have a former employee that is attempting something similar after just one year of experience on the job. Their take is: I don’t like it, but I’m good at it. I should be paid more to do it, and if a title bump gets me more pay I’ll take that too.

                2. Kuddel Daddeldu*

                  Yes, expecting an annual promotion just means title inflation. How many “senior”, “principal” or “distinguished” etc. can you attach to a title before it becomes ridiculous?

        2. Sue*

          It sounds like Frank will leave before long anyway. He says he doesn’t like a significant portion of the work so how long will he stick around no matter what they try to do with his pay.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            His sales pitch is lacking. “I don’t like this work, please put me in a spot where I continue doing this work.” The logic is not there and it makes me wonder what Frank thinks the position actually is.

            1. Anonymous4*

              I think Frank has been reading all those articles about how tight the labor market is and how employers have to jump through hoops to keep people. “I don’t like my job,” he thinks; “I want a promotion!”

              What I think he really means is “I want a different job.” Plus, of course, “I want to make more money.” And that’s fine. But slapping down the 2-day deadline?

              Well, he’s young. He’ll learn to distinguish between the ideal and the possible.

              1. Clorinda*

                But he DID get a different job and a raise–just not with the same employer. There’s nothing wrong with Frank; Frank is doing fine.

                1. Office Lobster DJ*

                  I am raising a glass to Frank. Frank was exceedingly forthright. They told their boss what they were/weren’t interested in, they put in for a logical promotion, they didn’t get the job, they had an outside offer, they weren’t willing or able to wait around until TPTB figured out an internal move.

                  How many of us have stayed put, “paying our dues” for years on promises of things that never materialized? Go Frank!

                  (Which is not to criticize OP at all. OP sounds like they’re going above and beyond for their employees but working under their own constraints. So cheers to the OP as well.)

              2. Marie*

                I mean…if he had another offer, presumably he had to give the other company an answer. Most of the offers I’ve gotten I’ve had to respond yes or no within a couple of days.

        3. Just Me*

          I agree with WomEngineer–it depends on how long it takes to master the job and also whether there’s an expectation that the job is supposed to lead into a higher level position in a short amount of time. In something admin-related I would guess it takes a shorter amount of time to “master” the job and at least move up to admin 2.0 or something.

          But yes, many companies do annual salary increases and sometimes promotions at the one year mark. This isn’t everywhere, but in my job (higher ed) there’s an annual salary increase and has everyone sit down with their boss to discuss goals and expectations for promotions every year–including our front desk admin.

      3. I should really pick a name*

        A raise after a year? Definitely, I think annually reviewing compensation every year is a good policy.
        A promotion after a year? That 100% depends on the job. There are some jobs where it makes sense to base a promotion on time served (ex. being moved from a junior to a senior position), but in other cases, a promotion means different responsibilities and needs to be evaluated on an individual bases, not just handed out automatically.

        1. Snow Globe*

          Yes, and it sounds like Frank wants different responsibilities, not just a title change.

      4. Starbuck*

        She did say to consider a raise as it’s probably due, but I still agree that depending on the role/industry a promotion to a new level doesn’t necessarily make sense. Plus it sounds like this potential role in particular would not have been a good fit!

    2. Anti opus*

      Employees are becoming wise to the simple fact that to get adequate raises – and sometime decent promotions – they need to change jobs every couple of years. Loyalty pays zero. Employers are way behind on this and are still working on the old ways of stringing employees along with empty promises and not working on retention.

      1. Laura*

        Agreed. I have job hooked every 2-3 years for my last 5 roles and the salary I am making now is what two employers ago told me I could make in 10 years at that firm. I literally did it in half the time with experience and personable skills only, no additional credentials.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      I admit I do wonder whether Frank actually has another job offer or whether he’s trying to bluff his way into a promotion and raise.

      1. Beth*

        If it’s a bluff, it’s a high risk one. He’s risking his boss saying “Congratulations on your offer! That’s very exciting, and I wish you the best with it. We can’t match what you’re asking for, so I guess this is your official notice? Let’s talk about the plan for wrapping up your time here.”

      2. Anya Last Nerve*

        This actually happened to me once! A 20-something working for me was upset he didn’t get a promotion and told me he had an offer for a job at a competitor for $10k more a year, which we were not willing to match. I specifically said to him “are you giving me your notice?” And he said yes, so I thanked him for all of his hard work, congratulated him on his new job, and reached out to HR to get the paperwork to backfill his role. Lo and behold it turns out he’s upset with my response because apparently he wanted me to beg him to stay and give him a raise. He never confirmed that he didn’t actually have the new offer but he didn’t leave and he didn’t get a raise – but I did lose a lot of respect for him to play such a silly game.

        1. hbc*

          Same thing for me, except it was a guy in his late thirties and he was too proud to admit it was a tactic. He tried to file a discrimination claim against the company which went nowhere. About a year after that, he applied to a (much higher) position and put in his cover letter that he only filed his claim because he was mad that we didn’t try to persuade him to stay. We…did not consider his candidacy.

          Hopefully if Frank is faking an offer, he learns from it better than this guy.

        2. Anonymous4*

          Yikes. If someone at my organization said, “I have an offer; give me a raise or I’m walking,” they would be walking whether they were bluffing or not because security would walk them out the door. Someone who’s discontented enough to threaten to quit isn’t going to be given the chance to do something destructive out of anger or spite.

          1. Feral Humanist*

            You would have security walk someone out for taking a competitive offer to their manager and asking the company to match it? That’s… bizarre. I guess if they were VERY aggressive in how they handled it, but there’s nothing inherently “threatening” about what you describe here. People job hunt all the time for all sorts of reasons.

            1. Feral Humanist*

              At my last job, I left for more money –– and worked another ten weeks for them as a contractor because it was the busy season. I might be about to leave my current role, and that will be another long good-bye if I do, probably three months. It is just so strange to me that the idea that someone might want more money is considered threatening to the point of requiring someone to be escorted from the building by security, which is humiliating and punitive.

              I would seriously judge any workplace that did this to employees for the cardinal sin of securing an offer and asking if the company would like to counter.

            2. Loulou*

              Yeah, this seems like a HUGE overreaction and if I saw it happen to my coworker, I’d start job hunting too! Someone being discontented in their role doesn’t mean they’re dangerous or likely to sabotage the company. How odd.

              1. Feral Humanist*

                And job hunting doesn’t indicate any sort of brooding discontentment! I really enjoy my current role but it is geographically removed from where I want to be by about 3000 miles, and it’s never going to be fully remote. Sometimes there are geographic or financial realities that mean you have to move on even if you’d like to stay, and that’s FINE.

          2. Beth*

            This seems like an overreaction to me. “I have an offer for another opportunity. I’ve enjoyed my time here and would be open to staying if you can match the title and salary I’ve been offered. I need to respond to the offer within two days, though, so I’d need to know by Thursday if you’re interested. If that won’t work, I’d like to make X my last day” is a perfectly reasonable thing for someone to say. I’m surprised how many people in this comment thread seem to think of quitting as an inherently angry or aggressive move.

          3. Starbuck*

            Yikes back at ya! That’s a pretty extreme overreaction. Someone who wants to leave isn’t somehow suddenly a danger to the org if they haven’t shown that kind of behavior before.

        3. Wonderer*

          I worked with a guy who was pissed off that he wasn’t getting enough respect on a project where he *thought* he should be in charge, but he wasn’t. He rage-quit on a Friday afternoon and then showed up on Monday like nothing had happened. He was totally shocked when they handed him the paperwork from his ‘resignation’ and showed him the door.

      3. moonstone*

        Yeah. It’s a very bad decision on his part. Even if it isn’t a bluff, I wouldn’t have said anything in his position. I would just have asked my manager if a raise/promotion was possible. If they said no, I would accept the job offer. Even if he had a job offer and decided to stay, his manager probably won’t have a good taste in her mouth from this conversation.

    4. Loulou*

      A sizeable raise after one year?? I’m sure there are plenty of industries where this is the norm, but this is not remotely universal. If OP is out of step with their industry then yes, that’s an issue, but there are a ton of workplaces where entry-level staff can expect to have the same job title and salary for several years.

      1. Magic Mike XXL*

        And those workplaces with stagnant wages for entry-level staff are bleeding employees. Frank’s not making much (which OP alludes to) so a couple thousand dollars is likely to be a fairly decent percentage of his pay.

        Frank found an employer that values him more than his current employer.

        1. Loulou*

          Sure, and good for them! That doesn’t mean it’s a universal or even especially widespread norm to be promoted or get a raise after a year. If you’re arguing that it *should* be, that’s a different discussion.

          1. Magic Mike XXL*

            We’ve normalized resigning (thanks Great Reignation) which resulted in millions of employees leaving for promotions and higher wages. Just because employers haven’t accepted it doesn’t mean the landscape hasn’t changed that employees are expecting sizable raises and action with promotions after a year.

            And if an employer isn’t giving raises after 2021 then there’s not much hope for that behind the times employer.

        2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          Frank says he found an employer who values him more. In any event, this IS a nonprofit, which means there will always be someone who pays more. There usually has to be something else motivating people to work for a nonprofit –mission or work life balance. I’d let him go if his economic expectations are unrealistic given that it’s a nonprofit.

        3. Koalafied*

          Yes, it’s a common business model that expects high turnover, often because it’s a type of business that has very low demand for experienced employees. They need 2 salaried managers, 5 shift supervisors, and 100 warm bodies that can do unskilled labor, and they have a corporate mandate to keep labor costs at or below x% of sales. And every year a fresh batch of warm bodies who can do unskilled labor graduate school and enter the workforce.

          These are the Superstore and call center type places, where the business model doesn’t suffer from bleeding employees, but it would suffer from a 3% increase in labor costs for some shifts if it didn’t result in a 3+% increase in sales during those shifts. Corporate wants to minimize as much as possible the extent to which employees low in the or chart can operate independently and make decisions. They want to standardize everything down to the smallest detail, so that they can hire anyone with a pulse and as long as they follow the 40 point corporate checklist the store won’t do much worse than average – even if that also means the store also can’t do much better than average. Skilled employees can’t add much to the bottom line because they ultimately have to do the same 40 point checklist on exactly the same way as an idiot would.

          And while managers love the employees who are good at their jobs because they make work so much more pleasant, corporate doesn’t give a toot about managers’ quality of work life and the skilled entry level employee doesn’t add to the bottom line, by design. Or they set up the system so that labor overruns come out of bonuses for managers and force the manager to really put a price on how much income they’re willing to personally sacrifice to keep the smart and helpful employee who never needs help vs training up a new one who will need their hand held.

          In other businesses it’s a colossal mistake to operate that way, because employees are given more autonomy and expected to exercise more judgment. As soon as you let your employees do that instead of expecting them to carry out step by step instructions, even a year of experience has significant value and is often worth retaining – even if only to create a “Grade II” version of the role that does all the same stuff but is fully trained and can train up the Grade I new hires.

      2. Wendy*

        I think there’s a difference between “a sizable raise after a year” in general versus a sizable raise after THIS year, with inflation at such a high rate and it being such a skewed labor market. Everyone should be re-evaluating whether they’re in the right workplace or not right now, IMHO, because there’s a better chance than ever that moving jobs will only ge to your benefit!

        1. Culawyer*

          Okay, just a follow up, what I’d a sizable raise? What is it this year?

          I’m in my first decent job after terrible ones and just can’t tell.

          1. dealing with dragons*

            previously, 2-3% raises were the norm, I’d say, or what you’d expect year over year. it would match cost of living adjustments. This year the cost of living adjustment was about 6% (for US Social Security). Inflation for february was 7%. So this year you’d expect 6-7% to stay competitive, which previously would be what you’d expect for a promotion.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Side note, I started a new job in Jan 2021, so my first performance review is next week, and I’m very curious to see what they do in terms of raises. My past jobs all did increases of around 2-3% year over year, like you note; this company claims to be very keyed in to market conditions. We’ll see if they really are.

            2. londonedit*

              My employer has done a blanket 2% pay rise each year since I’ve been working there, but this year it’s 5% (we’re in the UK so things might be a bit different).

      3. KateM*

        Depends also for how much did they hire Frank, maybe? If he was hired for intern-level salary, for example (that is, his salary according to his experience level one year ago), then he probably does know sizeably more now.

      4. Smithy*

        I’m a “geriatric millennial” who’s worked in nonprofits my whole life, and while it’s easy to be snarky to Frank-esque reactions right now…….I’m working really hard to not begrudge young people making those moves. And if anything encourage them.

        Many many nonprofits are not all set up to offer amazing internal raises (if any at all) no matter how well they’re doing financially. And figuring out what similar nonprofits pay for similar titles in similar cities can be a lifelong mystery. And there are also many nonprofits who may pay well, but they’re a nightmare to work for….

        All of that to say, early in your nonprofit career, you may find yourself looking at raises as large as tens of thousands of dollars between one job to the next. Your current employer will never match that. Therefore, figure out when you have the opportunities to make those moves early, make them, and leave as professionally and kindly as possible. People largely won’t begrudge you….and lots of nonprofits are run a bit messy by people without excellent management skills. So having as many good references as you can is always worthwhile.

        1. Petty Betty*

          Yep. I was *lucky* when I worked non-profit that I negotiated as I did, had great contracts, and lasted so long that when I left, I was paid more than any other admin assistant and more than any clinician on the floor. The only people who had higher salaries than me were managers and c-suite, and I wasn’t being paid great by any stretch of the imagination. I got a $17/hr pay increase by going union and working a contract job. The CEO and COO were sad they couldn’t match the offer and fully understood why I was leaving.

    5. Beth*

      Especially since it sounds like his current salary might be a challenge to live on! OP says he’s on entry-level nonprofit wages in a high-cost-of-living city, and that it’s not a surprise that he’s looking for higher pay. That kind of position often leads to a job hunt even in years with much lower inflation.

      What I’m curious about here is, OP, if you had a new applicant with the skills and experience that Frank currently has, would you hire them for a higher-level and higher-paid position? Do you think your competitors would hire someone with that experience for a position like that? If not, then let Frank go to his other offer; you’re not willing to match it. But if so, you need to speed up how quickly you promote your entry-level workers. If you’re keeping people in low-level, low-paid roles when they have the experience to move up, then you’re going to keep losing people.

    6. Snuck*

      I’m not sure what it’s like in America, but in Australia this rings true.

      I’m wondering why you haven’t outlined to Frank that you were looking at roles more aligned with his interests yet? And why, when he said they were things he wasn’t interested in doing, you didn’t manage his expectations re the promotion requiring more/higher level of those same things? I know he raised this straight away, but it sounds like you then closed out the meeting without putting your own option forward? Is your offer one that appeals to him? Did he know it might be coming? It sounds like a good one if it can be brought together, but now you can’t dangle it without a serious likelihood of pulling it off or you’ll lose Frank for sure. It’s a shame you couldn’t get that shored up faster.

      I’m not sure about Frank, or your role, but in the past I’ve worked with a wide range of young graduates in male dominated fields and a few could have been like him. In these fields there is also often a deep hierarchy, strongly rooted in poor communication and assumptions about paths/progression. Maybe reflect a little? I don’t know why I raise this here, but my gut instinct is this might apply to your workplace, and if it does then be aware – the ‘younger employees’ of today don’t really play by those rules, and they now have the power to walk. They don’t have to do two or three years of entry level tasks anymore, there’s another five jobs around the corner and they plan to find something that brings them joy and rewards them more for less effort. Seriously, wouldn’t you too?! The days of working for years for one organisation are rapidly dwindling, and fresh graduates don’t expect to sit in a single organisation for years, let alone a single job role. (I don’t know why, but I suspect Frank might be in some kind of technical field? Engineering? IT? Gut instinct!)

      If you want to retain bright, energetic, capable minds you have to meet their needs, and a pay check isn’t what it’s all about. There’s other things you can offer – flexible hours, reduced hours, increased leave/better leave taking provisions, that sort of thing. Frank might be motivated by pay alone as the cost of living is problematic to him probably, but he’d put up with less for more elsewhere.

      Unless Frank is irreplaceable. Unless losing Frank is going to dramatically impact you because you won’t find another Frank within budget and time for a deliverable… I’d be inclined to let Frank move along. He’s already said he’s not happy with key elements of his job, he’s been looking around, he’s got a taste for what else is out there and has been talking to others while talking to you about a promotion. I’d say “Look I can’t promise anything, but we are trying to restructure a role in the near (undefined time) future where x and y tasks will come to a single person and I was aware you’d be keen. This would see a small pay increase, and a title change with it. It’s not a job I can offer you now though. If you feel you cannot wait for that to firm up I understand, and we’ll be sad to see you go.” And see what he does.

      He might have another job offer, but he got that WHILE he was talking with you about a job at your place. He already had a foot out the door before he found out he didn’t have the promotion. Find another Frank, and spend more time with him and build a plan that recognises where he’ll be in a year, two years and three. Don’t wait for three years to promote/extend, that’s too long these days.

      1. LW3*

        A couple of months ago, I asked Frank to take some time to reflect on what goals he has and that I’d be happy to set up a professional development plan with him and look at securing resources (funding for trainings, a mentor, something like that) even for skills not directly specific to his role. He declined. When he did finally mention a skillset he wanted to explore, I put aside regular time for trainings. The skillset we spent time together on (ironically tech-focused) ended up being one of the things Frank says he wants to step away from. He’s bright, but he still just doesn’t really know what he wants or hasn’t been able to communicate it with me.

        I’m not saying I couldn’t have done better – I fully agree that reflection is needed here and will certainly be done in the coming days. When he initially mentioned he had another offer, he phrased it (not verbatim) like “well that makes this easier I guess because I have another offer so looks like my last day will be around X date” which didn’t leave me with a lot of wiggle room, but we talked again later and that’s when the 2 or 3 days to make a counteroffer came up.

        He’s done good work and I’ve enjoyed working with him. But his departure won’t dramatically impact us. I actually shared something very similar to your fourth paragraph, but he’s accepted the other offer, and I think it’s the right result for everyone.

        1. Snuck*

          Ah that’s good to hear! Good to hear you were working with him along the way.

          I guess he’s just not yet worked out where he wants to be in the world. A risk with entry/graduate/emerging staff – they often take a while in an industry to find their preferred niche. All the more reason to let him go rather than fight hard to retain him, if he’s finding he’d rather do something else then he’s going to follow that idea up at some stage, and it sounds like he’s good enough, but not great, so maybe it’s worth finding a great person instead you can hopefully get a number of years of growing experience out of.

        2. Anonymous4*

          “I don’t know what I want to do but I don’t want to do this.” That’s a start but it’s kind of . . . open-ended. And he wouldn’t think about what he DID want to do?

          Okay, it can be hard to choose a direction — I understand that — but things like the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey can help people identify potential career paths. Available at any community college in the US. Very helpful!

    7. LW3*

      LW #3 here with some clarifying points: A raise and promotion were in the works (lower level than the new role Frank didn’t get but a level up from his current role) but would have taken another few months to be put in place, closer to his year-and-a-half mark. I checked in on Frank’s goals every few weeks, and he was vague or danced around the question so I didn’t have a lot to work with and he never explicitly asked for a raise or made a case for the opportunities he’d most like to pursue. I don’t blame him for leaving for a better salary and new opportunity. I’m grateful to have tried out how a new role could fit for Frank, but it just didn’t work out.

      We do pay better than most comparable organizations in our region, and have COLA increases and compensation analysis increases, both of which happened during Frank’s year. But, there’s an honest reality that for-profits will always pay more than nonprofits, which is what happened here (in a totally different role and field), and I completely understand it and ultimately want what’s best for him.

      Also… in my experience some nonprofits are not great when it comes to hiring. One person at my organization mentioned something about pushing a policy that no one can ask for a promotion until they’ve worked 12 consecutive months, so that’s the kind of culture I’m sitting in and why I was thrown by the expectation of a promotion so “early” in his career. I’m a new-ish manager and absorbing my environment, which clearly has room for improvement.

      I appreciate the feedback!

      1. KateM*

        “until they’ve worked 12 consecutive months”
        Yikes. I work in a school that once announced how they will give everyone an automatic raise after one has worked there for a year. I am on my year 11 of 9-month contracts.

        1. Snuck*

          Oh that’s crap! Surely there’s an argument for it to be consecutive time worked, regardless of employment status? Have you had raises along the way – cost of living etc? I’d be so peeved at that!

          1. KateM*

            It’s for an after-school program – we have to write a project for each year, and they decide which programs to award money each time, and how much. I know at least one year the pay was slightly (very, very slightly, about 0.5% – I think they wanted to have round numbers) *lower* than the previous one. The normal classroom/subject teachers have indefinite-term contracts, though.

      2. Snuck*

        I’d be curious about what the thinking was behind “no promotions for 12 months”.

        It takes time to learn client bases, in-house systems and processes and who everyone is in your new workplace, so I can see why taking time before promoting can make sense. But sometimes people take a role that is below their skill set for a variety of reasons, and it is wise to identify people based on merits (not ‘seniority’ or ‘length of service’) for promotions. Don’t pass up a good person just on a technicality! But maybe if you find out why this person was advocating for that you can create exceptions to the idea. Never write a policy so water tight no one can negotiate around it for this stuff! Have some wiggle room or you lose good people!

        1. Smithy*

          My guess is that this would be tied to efforts for equity and to prevent “cronyism”.

          In my corner of the nonprofit world – there has been a lot more reflection around despite teams having diverse composition that senior management still ends up looking more white and/or more male. Quick promotions, going from consultancy to full time hire without a competitive hiring process, etc. are often identified as reasons how some end up on the leadership track and others don’t.

          That all being said…without knowing more about Frank and the work they were looking to have him do, if he went from the nonprofit to for-profit sector – I’m not entirely sure this was a candidate worth changing a system over.

          1. Snuck*

            “ not entirely sure this was a candidate worth changing a system over.”

            I’m inclined to agree! But you also don’t want to be caught on the hop when there is a candidate/employee it is worth having it changed already for. A little proactive research/contemplation now means that OP3 could plant the seeds of a policy revolt so in future it’s not a hard slog.

        2. Curious Hedgehog*

          I have a 3-year hold on applying for promotion. In exceptional circumstances you can get that revisited, but it’s the norm in my industry.

          For the specifics of our industry it makes sense. Our promotions are purely merit based. So there needs to be something that says you applied for a junior role you need to work the junior role. When I worked in different industries promotion was not purely merit based – there had to be a job open at the higher level.

      3. Beth*

        For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong! Or like he did anything wrong, for that matter. Sometimes it just makes sense to part ways. He’s young and still figuring out where he wants his career to go; it sounds like he’s figured out that your organization, and your field as a whole, aren’t it for him. It’s slower moving than he wants, it doesn’t pay as well as he wants, etc. So it makes sense for both you and him for him to move on. That’s part of the deal with entry level roles–they’re designed for people without much experience, and sometimes gaining that experience clarifies that the employee is in the wrong place for their goals.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I sort of went in a different direction. Young me got very tired of bosses asking what my goals were when I did not even understand what opportunities were open or what it would take to have an actual chance at those opportunities. It felt like I was automatically supposed to know all the positions in the company and what skills were required for those positions. It would have been helpful to hear that positions X, Y and Z would be something that I had already demonstrated skills toward doing. If I were interested in those positions I would need to do A, B and C. Very few bosses can pull all this together in this manner, just my experience though.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            “Very few bosses can pull all this together in this manner, just my experience though.”

            And my experience as well. At least three times, I asked for a promotion (because I wanted more money, not because I cared about title) based on documented (great) results and was told that wasn’t enough. When I asked what I needed to do, they wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me.

            (Meanwhile, the men around me got promoted. Just. Saying.)

          2. Beth*

            I had the same experience my first year or two out of college–my manager at the time kept asking me about my goals and offering growth opportunities, and I just had no idea what I wanted or what skills I wanted to develop. All I knew was that I wanted to keep getting a paycheck. I think that’s pretty normal for early career! My manager was great, but I needed more experience before I could even know where I wanted to aim, and to some extent that has to come with time.

            (She ended up letting me try a bunch of different things for a little while and see what stuck, which was a great way to help an early career person figure herself out. I still ended up leaving after a few years, because I figured out that the company/role wasn’t a great fit for me, but I was a high performer while I was there, and her mentorship helped me figure out what I AM good at and what I DO enjoy. It was a win/win for those three or four years.)

            1. Snuck*

              I think this is more what a (good) manager wants to work out with an early career person than ‘here’s a list of jobs and skills, what looks good?’ Because the latter doesn’t really work if there’s no jobs in the chosen areas.

              I’d rather talk to an employee about what their goals and aspirations are, what they enjoy and what they find challenging (and want to grow into or avoid), than just wave a list of random jobs at them and say “any of these?”. The risk there is that the employee just grabs at one or another, and there may not be a skills, passion or vacancy match.

              The responsibility lies with the employee to ponder what they do and don’t like, and with the manager to see if there’s chances to further explore those in the workplaces. Additionally while a workplace will work with employees to grow and develop, some times there just isn’t the role to grow into, or the skill set needed to get there, and a workplace does not have total responsibility to meet the aspirations of it’s employees, just as employees do not have to meet all the demands of a workplace (they can leave).

    8. Curmudgeon in California*

      This. I’m so sick and tired of companies giving annual “merit” raises that don’t even match inflation, and not having any cost of living adjustment as well. They essentially are saying “we want you to lose ground financially”, but then are surprised when you move on after two or three years and call you a “job hopper”.

      I don’t work for other people for fun, “exposure”, charity, or a sense of obligation. I work for money. If you want me to continue to work for you, keep up with or exceed inflation. Otherwise I’ll move on in a couple years.

    9. Princex Of Hyrule*

      Not necessarily! I worked in a library for several years and only got promoted once in a fiercely competitive process. I had earned a degree, spoke a second language, and had already been doing large parts of the job, which were the only reasons I was promoted with less than 5 years’ experience at least, and I beat out several other candidates with more years than me. I recently got hired at a database company, and it will take over a year to go through the entire cycle of my job *once* — there’s no way they’d be able to justify promoting me in a year, because I won’t even have done everything in my current position, much less mastered it.

  4. Observer*

    #1 – I don’t know if I would frame the issue of whether it’s your place or not. True, I think that most people would look at the situation and say that it’s not your place, but I think that an argument could be made that as a friend you have some standing to help her out here. The problem is that I can’t see any way that you could say or do anything that would really make any positive difference here. She’s almost 30 and has never held a job – that didn’t “just happen”. So for the most part, any attempt to get her to try to find a job would be useless at best and actively counter-productive at worst. Which means that not saying anything is probably the right thing to do.

    The one exception I could see is that if you do mention something about work and she trots out her wildly unrealistic advice again, you could use that as a chance to point out that she really does need to figure ot how to get some sort of job because she’s clearly out of touch with how the reals world works for most people. But that’s probably as much as you can say.

    1. Julia*

      I think the fact that the friend never actually told LW she hasn’t held a job, and LW had to learn about it through other channels, indicates strongly that there’s no standing to help her out here. This woman hasn’t even discussed this with LW, much less asked or hinted for advice. And LW didn’t notice on her own! That to me indicates that either 1) this woman is going to great lengths to hide this about herself (work is a huge part of any working person’s life and it’s hard to keep it from a friend entirely), or 2) these two aren’t very close at all. Either way, no standing.

      1. Wendy*

        Also possible: this friend may never enter the workforce, for any number of reasons (invisible disability, mental illness issues, non-obvious family obligations, etc) the OP knows nothing about. Not everyone works outside the home, not everyone has to, and there should be no shame in that as long as this friend isn’t abusing their other relationships to keep afloat. Being a student is still a lot of work!

        1. Bogart*

          My youngest is living at home, not working, not going to school right now….while they withdraw from some fairly serious prescription meds, deal with mental health issues including anxiety and bi-polar (hence the horrifying meds and withdrawal), and recover from being in an abusive relationship that had them withdrawing from college and moving home. On the outside, it looks like I am completely supporting a healthy 22 year old who dropped out of college. On the inside, we are dealing with someone who is seriously ill.

          Job advice to them or I is NOT helpful. Its a reminder of how sick they are. And no, I don’t care to disclose their mental health status to casual acquaintances.

          1. lizesq*

            This was me at 22 too, literally down to the diagnoses, withdrawal and abusive relationship. Now I’m 29, healthy and happy as I’ve ever been, law school graduate, and just got a 22% raise after 6 months at my firm. You’re a great parent and I wish you and your daughter the absolute best, and from someone who has been there, it’ll get better.

            1. lizesq*

              Realizing I related too hard and assigned your child a gender you didn’t indicate! My apologies; wish you and THEM the absolute best****

              1. Bogart*

                Thanks. I still use daughter occasionally as well so no harm no foul…and thanks for the encouragement

      2. Myrin*

        My thoughts exactly.
        I was honestly a bit confused when the letter went from “My friend has basically never mentioned anything about this topic to me at all” to “What can I do to help her find a job?”.

        1. Allison*

          Right. Friend hasn’t asked for help, friend hasn’t indicated that this situation is bad for them (even though it looks bad to LW) or that they feel any need to change, friend hasn’t even asked LW for their opinion on the situation. LW is reading a lot of negativity into a situation.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Not much different than spouse/kids/house/dog conversations- we can’t fill up people’s lives for them. They have to do that themselves.
        I know plenty of people who have zero interest in buying a house. That to me is about as odd as not wanting a job- but that’s a statement about my goals in life and nothing else.

        OP, your friend may have incredible luck and end up just fine here. That’s how these stories go sometimes.
        Of the friends I have who do not work or never held a job, they did not talk about that very much. I never learned why. But I suppose it’s no different than me talking about why I DO work. It’s not something that pops up in casual conversation- it’s just my path in life.

        1. londonedit*

          I’d love to buy a house (or even a very small flat) but my number one priority is living in London, and that plus publishing salary does not add up to even the smallest of small flats. So renting is where I am and that’s fine. I’d rather live here and rent than move somewhere I don’t want to be just for the sake of getting on the property ladder. People tell me I’m ‘throwing my money away’ renting but I don’t see it that way – I’m paying to live in a nice flat in an area I’d literally never be able to afford to buy in, and I also don’t have to worry about maintenance. But that’s absolutely a statement about my goals in life – I know many people would choose a completely different option!

      4. Observer*

        I think the fact that the friend never actually told LW she hasn’t held a job, and LW had to learn about it through other channels, indicates strongly that there’s no standing to help her out here.

        Valid point. Which makes the “there is nothing for you to do here” advice all the stronger.

      5. LTL*

        It’s also possible they hid it from LW because they knew that it would prompt LW to give unsolicited advice.

    2. Asenath*

      But it doesn’t appear that the friend wants or needs a job! That does happen sometimes, and not only among super-rich or overly-dependent types. I agree that nothing is likely to make a difference, but also don’t agree that the only positive outcome is NOT getting a job – I admit I always wanted and needed to work, until I approached retirement, but not everyone does that, and of those that don’t do paid work, not everyone is in an unhappy or unhealthy situation.

    3. EventPlannerGal*

      “as a friend you have some standing to help her out here”

      A friend who has apparently known this person for over a decade (and even discussed work with her!) without ever realising that she has never had a job? And found this out from her sister?

      1. Observer*

        You are right about that – the fact that the OP never knew about it till now does indicate that she’s not that close of a friend. I kind of overlooked that piece.

        1. Oxford Comma*

          The friendship started in high school. Maybe there were periods where they weren’t close and now they’ve reconnected. Even if not…with friends like that my sense of their financial state or that of their parents was often hazy at best.

    4. Mockingjay*

      I think OP1 might be having an unconscious moment of longing to be in the friend’s place. Most of us have periods of frustration at work in which we long to quit and be persons of leisure, but needs must and we continue on.

      OP1, rather than vent to this friend who clearly cannot help, find someone else in a similar role who understands the context of your work issues. And look in the archives here for solid advice on dealing with difficult boss, co-irkers, career and role mismatches – whatever is bothering you. Continue to enjoy friend’s company socially, but let go attempts to make her have a ‘career.’

      1. Observer*

        OP1, rather than vent to this friend who clearly cannot help, find someone else in a similar role who understands the context of your work issues. And look in the archives here for solid advice on dealing with difficult boss, co-irkers, career and role mismatches – whatever is bothering you. Continue to enjoy friend’s company socially, but let go attempts to make her have a ‘career.’

        This is an excellent piece of advice, regardless. You know that your friend has no clue about how work works. Why go there?

    5. Nancy*

      LW1’s friend did not ask her for help. LW1 didn’t even know her work status and was told by someone else. LW1 has no standing and needs to mind their own business.

    6. hbc*

      At most, I would use this new knowledge to tweak how I’m responding to her. Maybe just don’t share work stuff with her. Maybe be more honest or probing next time she gives ignorant advice, without explicitly mentioning what you know. (“That wouldn’t fly any place I worked–have you actually seen that in practice?”) Maybe choose to share the story of the candidate who has no work history and you went with the person who worked the fryer three nights a week.

      But I would mostly take this as a sign that I don’t know my friend that well, not as a chance to turn into a career coach.

      1. Observer*

        But I would mostly take this as a sign that I don’t know my friend that well, not as a chance to turn into a career coach.

        Absolutely. The OP should not try – I can’t think of any scenario where their friend has not actually ASKED for help where it would make any sense for the OP to try that. Even if they were closer than they apparently are.

      2. Smithy*

        I have a friend who’s husband is older than the OP’s friend’s sister, and while he’s had some jobs – they’ve all been entry level and very part time (never more than 10 hours a week). But generally speaking, he hasn’t had traditional employment or generated income during his adult life. And I agree about finding a balance almost in the Socratic questioning and offering other examples.

        When my friend talks about her husband’s work stuff, I focus on active listening vs problem solving. And when her husband contributes to workplace conversations, I try to be mindful about how/when I push back. He is an adult who has a number of friends/family with jobs, so it’s unfair to say he has zero experience with work, even if it is largely second hand. And I also need to be mindful that while I have more workplace experience than he does, that it’s hardly across all sectors. If the right person told me that after ten years of service in the Dutch military, you were given custom made wooden clogs – without the internet how would I know???

        So when my friend’s husband talks about his wife’s job or workplace, I work really hard to not comment. Even if I think he’s wrong/misinterpreted the situation. My friend can do that or I can just privately think they’re both wrong. But when he says something that’s more closely aligned to my own experience or just feels wildly out there, I do respond but do try to take more of a soft educator role. He is an adult and even if he wanted help around the work world – I would not be the person to provide it.

        1. Christina*

          I have a couple of friends like that….one is a trust fund kid who has enough money from the trust fund to live simply and take a part time job once in a while. Another likes the freedom of odd cash jobs and freelance work and being an artist. When I’m in a worry about other people’s lives state, I worry that the trust fund will run out or won’t support him, or that there won’t be a social security check for someone who hasn’t put in their quarters in official employment – but that isn’t my problem and I try and respect their choices.

          1. Smithy*

            I do think that some of how I feel about that is as much my own anxiety for what it would be like if I was in that situation. What would it be like if I was married to someone who couldn’t hold down a job? How would I respond to not having had a full time job until my 30’s and then trying to adjust to the traditional work world? A case of empathy not helping anyone out.

            I’m in neither situation, and similarly those friends don’t have my life (i.e. my extended family, my financial safety nets or lack there of).

  5. Beth*

    #3: There’s so much activity in the job market, the vibe I’ve gotten lately is that many people are succeeding at getting a promotion and/or a major raise via job hopping right now. I don’t think it’s been like this long enough to call it a genuine shift in professional norms. But for this moment at least, it’s not unreasonable for an ambitious early-career worker to expect a leveled-up position after a year or less of work; if they don’t get it internally, they probably can get it via job hunting.

    1. Loulou*

      I don’t think of this as a new phenomenon, though. At least in my world (libraries) it’s long been one of those tough realities that the only way to get a raise or promotion might be to leave. It sounds like that’s what Frank is doing and is trying to use the new role as leverage, which seems fairly tried-and-true to me (not like it always works, just that it’s a strategy people have talked about for as long as I’ve been working).

      1. Beth*

        No, it’s definitely not new that leaving is the best way to get a raise. What I think is new is that in a lot of fields, turnover is very high right now, so there are a lot of opportunities even for people with relatively little experience.

        1. Christina*

          The late 90s were like that. I know so many people (including myself and my husband) who managed to triple salaries and increase responsibilities and titles over two or three years by switching jobs (it was helped because we were both in IT). For the Millennials who have been stuck – this is your opportunity! Grab it because its a once ever twenty years thing

      2. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Its definitely not new in my field, but I think the general populace is realizing that there is no money in loyalty right now across the board. I’m no longer getting any questions from extended family about my (really normal for someone my age) work history that involves more than one employer since age 22. Or as I explained it at a family event one time – I could have “stayed loyal” and stayed at maybe 1/2 of my current salary, for doing my current work, or I could have found a new employer who values me. I opted for the latter, because being loyal wasn’t going to pay the bills. The promotion path in my exact position is very very sloooow, but as my employer realizes that and doesn’t tie raises and bonuses to “Promotion!”, I’m okay with it.

      3. Dragon*

        I heard of someone in a job specialty where people eventually had to move on, in order to keep moving up the career ladder. It was a given in the industry.

        When she reached that stage, she was too comfortable at her current employer to look elsewhere. Later because of boredom she did start looking, and every interviewer asked her why she hadn’t made the move before.

    2. Anya Last Nerve*

      I think it’s interesting when people make one particular metric – like pay or title – the only metric they consider in a job without thinking about how you like the work, the people, the lifestyle of a job. I had a junior guy in my organization a few years ago who was always asking for more money, even after a 20 % bump to change roles. If he didn’t want more money he wanted a higher title (with more money of course). Eventually he secured an offer at a competitor (I suspect by overstating his qualifications) for what he claimed was a lot more money that my employer was unwilling to match. He’s been in his new job for over a year and hates it – doesn’t like the work, doesn’t like his manager, doesn’t like the hours – and now wants to come back. I get it that we all want to be paid well, but I strongly encourage everyone to think about the complete package of jobs before jumping like Frank appears to be doing. Given what OP says about Frank, I wonder how much he will like the new job in a year.

      1. Anonymous4*

        I strongly encourage everyone to think about the complete package of jobs before jumping.

        Yes. A friend is a gov’t employee, and contractors and recruiters keep dragging bait across his path — “More money! You could be making a LOT more money . . . ” Yes, and he could be working a lot more hours, too, which doesn’t sound appealing to him.

        1. KRM*

          FWIW as well, I just got a new job the beginning of this year. Technically my salary is lower, but since I’m going from smaller biotech to large biotech, the benefits mean that I’m taking home the same net pay while putting MORE in my 401(K). And I prefer the people and the science here. So it’s really important to consider the entire package when you think about moving.

      2. Jax*

        Yes! Details like health insurance costs/deductibles, 401k match and vestment periods, PTO accumulation rates, paid holidays, etc. all add into the total benefits package and need to be considered. A $10k increase could be eaten up in a bad mix of any of the above.

        As an HR nerd, I’m a fan of Total Compensation Statements sent yearly to each employee. Break it down! It’s easy for us all to forget what we have beyond our salary.

      3. Smithy*

        I will say….for all of the junior staff right now getting wonderful opportunities to leave right now after 12-18 months – I totally get it. And do not begrudge folks making those moves at all.

        But just perhaps think its worth calling out leaving places you otherwise like in a manner (if possible) to keep references as friendly as possible. At least in the nonprofit sector, if your new job is offering you $10+ or more than your current salary, it’s highly unlikely it can be matched. So making a hard play for your current employer to make a counter offer that matches that money may not be the most productive use of sharing the news and giving your notice.

      4. Beth*

        It’s true that company culture and work/life balance matter! But I think it’s significant that we’re talking about an entry level employee in a nonprofit organization in an expensive city. Entry level pay isn’t generally that high, non-profits don’t generally pay that well, and big city living eats up money *fast*. When your budget consists of “Rent, student loan payments, or going out literally ever, pick two,” salary does start to rise to the top of the priority list.

  6. Miss. Bianca*

    #3, Normally, even entry level, I think it’s normal for the employee to approach their manager after a year and express an interest in getting promoted and asking what they need to do to get there, if they are doing well and getting positive feedback. But Frank seems very entitled. Did he give valid reasons and examples for why he wants a promotion, or did he just demand it? I wonder if he even has a job offer lined up…probably not if he didn’t show you an another offer letter

    1. ecnaseener*

      He applied for it, which I assume involved interviews where he made his case for the promotion!

    2. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      I wouldn’t say “even entry-level” but ESPECIALLY people in entry-level roles expect to apply for other jobs within the company around their one-year mark.

      As roles get more senior is where you’d see more longevity as far as what the LW characterizes with this description: “…put a couple years into a company, advocate for yourself, make nice with the senior leaders, etc. to move up.” Entry level is exactly that—entry.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        That’s kind of odd to assume. Frank wants to make more money, he’s competent, and lots of places are hiring. For Miss Bianca, Frank is entitled to look for other work, and take a job offer he likes better than he likes his current job.

  7. Fae Kamen*

    Trivial thoughts:

    On #3 – I actually feel like I often hear the expectation for annual raises represented in media.

    On #4 – Is nonprofit communications known for a long interview process?

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, I’ve gotten annual reviews and raises at every FTE job I’ve had, but I’ve never had a promotion yet.

      1. Birdie*

        Not only do thy take forever to hire, but their expectations are out of whack. The non-profit I’m leaving is exceptionally dysfunctional, but it’s been true of every non-profit I’ve worked at.

        One role my soon-to-be-former employer was hiring for, the salary was just so far below the level they wanted someone working at. The slow-rolled the entire process, and then all 3 of the top candidates turned them down. Had to start all over again, and still got turned down by their top 2 (one because of salary, the other because the process took so long). The person they finally hired, after a 7 month search, is very nice but she’s wildly inexperienced for the role and predictably it is causing issues.

        1. J*

          Leaving my nonprofit. It took an entire quarter of my 8 quarter grant just to get me hired. So then I was already behind on my metrics because they didn’t account for hiring time in the grant. Then I switched teams near the end of my grant and they required me to go through the HR phone screen, the supervisor interview, the management team interview, the program team interview and the director interview, then 2 weeks to transition. Then they had to check my references. As if they didn’t do that at hire or know my current team. And that was 6 weeks from application to offer. Plus 2 weeks notice to my old team to meet the “good standing” rule.

          Then on Day 2 of my job I got an unsolicited offer from a private company that got me to offer letter in 4 days with double my salary and a team of people I know (hence the offer) so now I’m leaving and the nonprofit will be out another 6-8 weeks to hire. I really expected better treatment as a transfer than when I was a new applicant. The org got massively dysfunctional during my 2 months between applying and starting, requiring me to go fully in person, having immense turnover. HR just warned me if I leave now I won’t be eligible for rehire but that came as a relief and not the threat they intended.

        2. Alternative Person*

          Not for a non-profit, but one company in my field has been turning over supervisors every six months~year for a long ass time. I used to do seasonal stuff for them alongside my 35 hour a week job (with a slightly above average salary) and would get to meet the new supervisors each time.

          For a while, I couldn’t figure it out, the job screamed mid-career, moving to management but the people in these positions were early-career, often less than two years of experience. Then one of my friends started working as a contractor in a different department and I finally managed to see the job advertised.

          My friend told me the work situation was a mess. They were understaffed because one or two roles hadn’t been backfilled and the scope of the role was bigger than in the advertisement- not just supervising and scheduling/prep but lots of on call and client facing work.

          The salary on the advertisement? The same as an average 35 hour a week client facing job with no supervisory responsibilities. The job was worth at least 25% if not a third more. Not to mention these people just don’t have the knowledge to do the job. My friend once spent a long time coaching one supervisor on some topics because they just did not have the experience to be able to do things properly.

    1. MsM*

      On #4, it really, really varies. Some places will close the offer inside of a month, if not sooner; others will drag things out because they need certain stakeholders’ input and no one’s schedules line up, or they’ve realized their top candidates are looking for more than they budgeted and need to find some wiggle room, or any number of other factors. Including the realization that “oh, no, we really wanted a candidate pool with more/different experience,” which I suspect is what’s going on in OP’s case. (Although if they haven’t tweaked the ad even slightly, they’re not doing themselves any favors there.)

    2. kathy*

      I think it’s especially true with young people. It can be hard to make the mental transition (in terms of one’s own expectations) from advancing in school grade every year to the working world which has a longer-term timetable in many cases.

  8. kayakwriter*

    To OP#2 – this old saying was originally intended as a warning to any would-be “other woman” in a relationship, but it also seems to fit your situation re the boss where you’re applying: “If he’ll cheat with you, he’ll cheat on you.”

  9. Typing All The Time*

    #2 – I used to work at a recruiter office and occasionally this scenario happens. Please tell them. The employer is trying to avoid paying them for what they’ve done – presenting you as a potential job candidate to them.

    1. StudentA*

      Yes, totally agree and Alison hit the nail on the head. The recruiter deserves to know. Heck, I’d spread the word if I were the recruiter to my colleagues. This is egregious enough.

      LW, if I understand correctly, they’re taking the same amount they’d give the recruiter and giving to you instead? All because…why? Just to be an asshole and stick it to recruiters? Then they don’t deserve the connection.

      1. Green great dragon*

        I think they’re paying LW the appropriate salary in total, but by diverting part of the salary to a side contract and giving them a lower official salary the owner pays the recruiter less because the recruiter is owed x% of LW’s starting salary. The owner will keep the money saved on the recruiter’s fee.

    2. Manchmal*

      #2 – slightly different perspective on the recruiter question.

      If the concern is about getting the recruiter paid fairly, then not taking the job would cause the recruiter to earn $0.
      So I would actually talk to the recruiter and strategize with them how to handle this. They probably have experience with it.
      And yes, the LW#2 should think long and hard about whether they want to work for a shady person. But they might ultimately decide they do want this job, or need it for whatever reason. In that case, then what? The recruiter may suggest the best way to come back to the owner.

      If LW does want the job, what’s preventing them from simply going back to the owner and saying, “I’ve thought about your proposal, but I’m uncomfortable with what you’ve proposed. I would prefer to have my full salary in the contract and avoid any complications with side contracts.”

      In that way, the LW would be saying – do it above-board or I won’t be joining the office.

      1. KRM*

        That’s fair but…what other shady things will this employer be trying to pull in the future? It’s a huge red flag!

      2. Observer*

        If the concern is about getting the recruiter paid fairly, then not taking the job would cause the recruiter to earn $0.

        In the short tern, true. But the bigger problem is the long term, where the recruiter does work for someone who is going to cheat them.

        The REALLY huge problem is that this employer is dishonest and the OP cannot trust them for one moment. That’s a really bad person to work for.

  10. Hexiva*

    I’m in a similar position to LW #1’s friend; I’m rapidly approaching thirty and I’ve never had a job. In my case it’s because I’m sick/disabled, and I have a lot of shame around it. I keep wondering if I would even be able to get hired if I did ever recover (which is doubtful) – because at this point I’m well out of the range where I would be expected to be a student, and I only have a high school education, and I have no work history.

    1. Onwards and Upwards*

      As someone fairly recently disabled and out of the workforce (2 years) I sympathise. (Although I know I can’t know how you feel since my situation is different.) For what it’s worth, in the “can’t work” disabled community I see a lot of traits/skills that would be valuable in the world of work – after all, the work of managing our conditions (logistically, socially and emotionally) is demanding and it shapes our abilities. Some people acquire pretty great project management skills (if they have the capacity to manage, at least somewhat, the logistical aspects of their care). And patience and tenacity are a given :) i could go on- I think there are so many transferable skills. (Not to mention, of course, the education and inside knowledge you have about disability, which could be relevant to some lines of work.)
      I wonder if there are organisations in your country/area whose remit includes helping disabled people into work. And I wonder about the option (if you are well enough to work in the future, and if you choose to) of volunteering with a supportive organisation as a way to ease in.
      I used to work in the non-profit sector, in organisations whose work involve supporting people in disadvantaged situations. So I know there are at least some companies out there who do this kind of thing.
      But I can see how the whole work topic could be daunting at the moment. In my own head I get a little anxious about a possible future return to work and I keep trying to reassure myself that for now it doesn’t matter and I have another project to concentrate on :)

    2. Chekhov's Gun*

      I’ll be 32 in 3 months. Apart from a short summer gig I did in 2014, I’ve never had a job either. I developed an “invisible” disability in the second half of my second year in university, and it was as if my world fell apart. I lost my scholarship because I could no longer handle a full course load anymore. Disability resources were not easily accessible back then (they still aren’t now — they require a lot of paperwork and petitions and miscellaneous fees, which is often too much for a person with disabilities to handle). So not only was my scholarship gone, but I was hit with penalties. I missed classes a lot, and when I did summon up the strength to haul myself to class, some professors would publicly shame me. So on top of personal shame and guilt, I was being judged left right and centre. This continued for quite a few years before my condition stabilized more. Those were dark times. It took me 11 years to complete my undergrad. Then when I applied to graduate studies, I was judged and rejected again by several universities, citing my “unstable academic background” as the main reason for my rejection, because they weren’t sure I’d be able to complete the program (it was a fully funded program so they decided I would be too much of a gamble). I WAS accepted into one university (not my first choice, but I decided to take it in attempt to prove the others who rejected me wrong). At that time, my condition was much improved, but I still had to take a reduced course load. Getting a side job was out of the question. Now, a few years in, I have developed yet another as-of-yet undiagnosed condition (I believe it to be neurological this time). It’s been a over a year since the symptoms started and they’ve reached absolutely debilitating levels. I had to go on medical leave. This is soul-crushing for me. I fought, and fought to power through obstacles, but it’s never enough. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish my grad studies (if I don’t, I’ll prove the nay-sayers right, which frightens me even more than the heavy penalties the university will put on me if by chance I drop out). So now I’m back living with my parents, who resent me for being a burden, doing absolutely nothing every day due to excruciating pain, and I don’t know whether I’ll ever be able to get a job.

      What was the purpose of the above word vomit? I guess it’s because I feel LW1 sounds a bit judgey? My circumstances and their friend’s circumstances are probably different, but unless they’re super close and know everything about this friend, I’d advise them to lighten the judgment a bit. Everyone has a story. Not everything is as it seems. I’ve distanced myself from many former friends and do not disclose this part of my life to newer acquaintances because I’m afraid people would see a thirty-something jobless person and come to a similar conclusion that LW1 seems to have about their friend. Not everything is as it seems sometimes, and I agree wholeheartedly with Allison that someone’s job status (or lack thereof) is something others should stay out of.

      1. infopubs*

        I’m so sorry to hear how much your life has been impacted by your health. I hope you find peace and healing.

    3. Wendy*

      Historically, women are much more likely to be in this position and it sucks. It’s part of why so many creative/artsy-type home businesses are by women – there’s a lower barrier to entry to selling things on etsy because you don’t need to be hired, can set your own hours, work within your personal limitations, etc. Of course, the flip side is lower pay and lower prestige :-/ I hope that if/when you are ready to job hunt, you’ll find an employer who is able to accommodate whatever health issues you may still have! I suspect one good thing about this pandemic is how it’s establishing infrastructure in many industries for more flexible schedules, work-at-home options, etc.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, I feel for the friend. I was a SAHM by choice but between Covid and some other factors it’s been much longer than I wanted and I’m dealing with a lot of shame and doubt about being hireable in the future. I’ve definitely given some reasons/excuses that sound (and are) really weak but it’s part of a bigger picture that I wouldn’t share with most people.

    5. This is my day job*

      UK based, but here the government has loads of support available to get disabled people into work, and there are various NGOs and big company schemes out there, so if you get to the stage when you feel able to try, definitely look for what support’s out there and don’t assume you’re on your own. And ditto for other groups that might tend to struggle.

      This is not a defence of the UK government’s overall approach to “encouraging” disabled people into work so let’s not divert please.

      1. AngelicGamer, the Legally Blind Peep*

        the US does have similar but I’ve not heard the greatest things from them. A lot of the time they shuffle into retail and… well, I was in retail from holiday season 2006 to July 2008. I refuse to go back but yet am looking at a lot of stay at home phone / data entry jobs where they really just need someone to type fast. :)

      2. Dahlia*

        A great deal of those pay absolutely absymally – like lower than minimum wage – and you can barely earn anything before it’ll disqualify you from benefits you may need.

  11. Beth*

    #1: You can’t do anything to help her find a job, first because it sounds kind of like she doesn’t want one right now, and second and more importantly because she definitely hasn’t asked you for help finding one. Giving unsolicited advice is a great way to kill a friendship.

    It sounds like her sister wants you to intervene and pressure her to start supporting herself, but that’s a family issue between your friend and the people currently supporting her. You’re not one of those people, so you’re absolutely right to think it isn’t your place to get involved here.

    If your friend ever does ask you for career advice, you could point her to work that students commonly do–internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, etc. If she’s almost 30 and has been a student her entire adult life, I’m assuming she’s in a graduate program at this point; her program may offer job opportunities and connections she could take advantage of. You could also ask questions to help her think through what career tracks she might be interested in, and offer suggestions and any connections you have to help her get an entry level role on those paths. But if she’s not interested, there’s no advice you’ll be able to give to make her interested. Let her ask first.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, this. LW, don’t let her sister ruin your friendship with your friend. Also, stop venting about your job to her, she has no work experience at all, and if anything, your venting will make her less interested in finding a job.

    2. Mangled metaphor*

      And be aware she may never ask.
      I’m 42, and I have an estranged friend (our lives just moved on, nothing nefarious, we just fell out of touch, but we still FB message each other on birthdays) who decided at 22 that work just… wasn’t for her.
      When she initially told me she’d quit her job I – reasonably at the time, I thought – offered to help her find something else in a different field. After all, office work isn’t for everyone, and we’d worked together in a little corner shop as teens so I knew that wasn’t for her either.
      Nope, she just didn’t want to work. She’d never moved out of her parents house, and filled her days knitting and gardening. She’d skipped the “45 years in the workplace” and gone straight to retirement activities.
      She moved out and got married at 33 to someone she met at a WWE convention, had a mini stroke at 38 (fully recovered now) and continues to knit and garden and collect cats. Her husband supports her. It’s not like her life has been any less fulfilling than mine – I’ve just done 24 years in the workplace, compared to her 20 years out of it. I’m almost jealous of her – I wish I could knit!

    3. H.Regalis*

      “Giving unsolicited advice is a great way to kill a friendship.”

      LW1, please take this to heart. Your friend is not asking for help or advice! Don’t let her sister rope you into pressuring her. This is between your friend and the family members paying her way.

    4. Observer*

      It sounds like her sister wants you to intervene and pressure her to start supporting herself, but that’s a family issue between your friend and the people currently supporting her. You’re not one of those people, so you’re absolutely right to think it isn’t your place to get involved here.

      That’s a really, really good point. So much that I have to wonder why the sister shared this information with you. If she (or anyone else in the family) are expecting you to intervene, that is all the more reason for you to stay out. Because you really, REALLY don’t want to get enmeshed in a family situation that you clearly know nothing about.

    5. Nom*

      I agree… i’m not really sure what’s so strange about her never having had a job if she has been in school. It’s very normal for people to graduate from PhD programs or medical school at 27/28 never having had a job. She’s a bit older but a gap year for travel or something could explain that, and none of that would be weird to employers looking for someone who has her educational background.

  12. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

    You gave Frank a job above their experience level and went the extra mile to help them grow into it. So you did them a big favour.
    Then they applied for a role that was higher up in things that they don’t like doing.
    Then expected you to rewrite that role to suit them.
    So now you are trying to rewrite his role to suit him.

    Thats not good enough so Frank claims they have another job in the wings and wants a promotion and raise in two days or Frank is gone.

    They frankly sound like they are being an entitled pain in the neck and thinks they can strong arm you. I wonder if the other job even exists or they are making it up.
    Frankly you should call their bluff. Stop pandering to them. Don’t invent/rewrite a new role to keep them. If they don’t like their job that you gave them before they were ready for it then you should not be doing them more extra favours. If they stay thats great, if they move on then they did you a favour.
    No matter how enthusiastic or passionate their personality is you should stop bending over backwards to please them as they seem to take that as encouragement to escalate their wants and give you ultimatums.

    The job may not suit their talents/interests. That does happen but its not your job to satiate the entitled. If they move on then hire someone else who likes the kind of work the position entails.

    1. CatCat*

      Yikes. OP hired Frank because presumably it made sense to do so for the company. Frank did well. Frank thinks they are ready for a promotion. Frank applies, but doesn’t get it since Frank’s not the best candidate. Frank let’s OP know they have another offer though they’d be willing to stay for certain conditions. And now OP has the opportunity to determine if it makes sense to counter.

      That doesn’t make Frank an entitled pain in the ass. It means Frank is an employee with options and they know it.

      1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

        I could rewrite my last post but essentially OP hired him for this job before he was ready (doing Frank a favour), the job is not for him (that does happen), wanted the promotion but wanted it rewritten without the parts he doesn’t like, won’t even elucidate what he wants but wants the OP to magically figure it out, then turns to strong arming, give me more money and a promotion in two days or i will leave.
        Two days! Thats insane.

        Let him leave.
        I’ll bet dollars to donuts he won’t but count your blessings if he does.

        1. Karia*

          It was an entry level admin role. I know we all seem to have forgotten this, but you’re not meant to have experience for entry level roles.

          He didn’t demand the promotion be rewritten for him at all. The boss *chose* to put him forward for a different role that was better suited for him, which is good management. If you look at the comment updates, Frank did leave, for a better paying role in the for profit sector.

          1. ecnaseener*

            Thank you! Frank didn’t have “a ton” of relevant experience, it was entry level, that’s very normal! An experienced person applying to entry level roles is taking a step down and will likely be unhappy.

            1. Anonymous4*

              But it wasn’t taking a step down. He had a little relevant experience but, at best, it was more of a lateral move.

              Frank didn’t like a lot of what the job required him to do, and he didn’t know what he wanted to do but he was sure it wasn’t that job. He wanted another job — a bigger job with more pay — but he wasn’t sure what he wanted it to be.

              And that’s not any reason to tie him to a pole and set fire to his feet; he’s young, and life is a learning experience. I hope his new job is more to his liking.

              1. ecnaseener*

                I know. I’m not saying Frank was taking a step down, I’m saying he was at the correct experience level for an entry level job and LW was not doing him a favor by hiring him.

        2. Anonymous Hippo*

          If you’ve got another offer in hand, two days is likely all you can spare. And if you are giving that kind of ultimatum, you have to put a time frame on it. Frank is allowed to find a better position for himself, so would it be better if he just quit and left and never even offered his current company a chance to retain him?

        3. ---*

          Hiring someone for a job is not doing them a favor – you’re seeing this entirely one way only. It’s a business transaction, from which the employer gains skills and labor.

      2. Loulou*

        Yeah, I don’t know where OP got all this about Frank!! This seems like one of the clearest cases we’ve seen of nobody being in the wrong — just two parties who see the situation differently and want different things.

    2. Beth*

      Looking at the situation from Frank’s perspective…
      – He applied to an entry level job as a candidate without much professional experience.
      – He worked diligently for a year, enough so that OP continued to see value in mentoring him and was planning options for ongoing growth.
      – After a year there, he showed interest in moving into a more senior and higher-paid role that had just opened up. It sounds like his salary isn’t much for the area, from OP’s letter, so this isn’t a surprise.
      – In the process of interviewing for that higher role, he shared some information about how he feels about his current role and presumably what he’s hoping will be different about his next role.
      – While going through that process, he also applied for external roles, in case the internal one didn’t pan out.
      – When someone else was hired for the internal role, he advised his boss that he had another offer. He shared what he would need in order to stay, if OP was interested in retaining him, and the timeline he had to make a decision on.

      None of that sounds entitled to me. None of it sounds like a pain-in-the-ass move. None of it even sounds like a bluff; I don’t find it hard to believe that he found another job that pays better than a non-profit salary. This seems like a very odd and combative interpretation of his behavior to me, unless you assume 1. hiring an inexperienced person for an entry level position is doing them a big favor, 2. offering growth opportunities for your employees is bending over backwards for them, and 3. doing those things obligates them to keep working for you even if they have better opportunities elsewhere.

      1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

        Perhaps my own previous experiences with this dance are colouring my responses but expecting a counter offer with two days notice when he was done a favour in the first place with a job above his experience level does not strike me as good faith. Plus the rest of it, he wanted the promotion with the parts he didn’t want to do taken off. What is the employer supposed to do then, hire someone else to do only those parts of the job? And when he doesn’t like other duties of his promotion?
        Its good he was not given that promotion and it was given to someone who wanted it at face value.

        If Frank actually has this other offer then he should take it.

        Then look for a replacement who wants to do the job.

        1. Beth*

          First off, hiring someone isn’t doing them a favor–not even if they have less experience than you’re ideally envisioning for the role. Employers hire the best candidate they can find given the salary and benefits they can offer. Employees look for the best role they can find given their experience and skills. Hiring happens at the intersection of those two points, and often both sides are getting a little less than they consider ideal; no one’s doing anyone favors, it’s just business.

          Second, the notice on the counter offer is likely not him trying to put an arbitrary ultimatum on it. Most hiring companies want to know within a few days if you’re going to accept their offer. Being upfront with OP about that timeline isn’t demanding; it’s being communicative, letting them know that this is the window of possibility so they can decide whether it’s worth their time to try and pull a counter offer together. If it’s too short a window, he’ll just take the new offer–no harm done, no hard feelings.

          Third, I don’t recall anything in the letter that said he asked for parts of the senior role taken off! He just expressed that he didn’t enjoy some parts of his current job as much as others. It turns out those less-liked tasks happen to be a major part of the senior role, but there’s no way he could have known that before interviewing for it–that’s where we learn most of the details about the day to day expectations for a role! Determining fit is one of the major goals of an interview, for both the interviewer and the interviewee, and this interview did its job well.

          You’re taking all of this very personally, as though Frank was acting in bad faith and trying to manipulate OP into something unreasonable. But it sounds to me like both Frank and OP were acting in good faith. The result probably will be Frank leaving, but that’s because his career goals are no longer aligned with this company, not because anyone did wrong by anyone else. I’m not sure what your past experiences are here, but I think you’re viewing this whole process as much more personal and vindictive than it actually is.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          I don’t think that characterizing hiring Frank as a favour is useful.
          The LW thought that Frank was worth the effort of training.
          From Frank’s perspective, they interviewed, and were hired. Frank has no reason to see this as a favour.

          I think Frank’s “promote me in two days or else” was overly dramatic, but there’s nothing else inappropriate about how this played out.

        3. Nom*

          I don’t understand this comment at all.
          1. The two days’ notice was likely not Frank’s choice, they had to respond to the other company on that company’s timeline.
          2. There is nowhere in the letter that he was hired above his experience level. He was hired for an entry level role – entry level means not requiring experience. It sounds like he performed very well in that role also. It’s also NEVER a favor to hire someone… that’s how employment works.
          3. you misread the letter, he didn’t ask for the things he didn’t like taken out of the more senior role. Take a breath.

      2. Christina*

        Its also completely reasonable to start looking for a new job after one year. We have been told for at least a generation to stick with a job for at least a year. He’s entry level and low paid – if he is at all ambitious he knows that after a year he starts thinking about moving on unless he’s completely satisfied with his current role – which he obviously isn’t – the pay isn’t great and its entry level. And an employer that doesn’t realize that an ambitious entry level employee is going to start looking after a year – especially in this job market – isn’t paying much attention.

    3. Raboot*

      There is zero evidence that OP did Frank a “favor” by hiring him. Presumably if there was a candidate OP thought was better suited, they would have hired them. Just because OP was willing to hire based off more than credentials does mean mean it was a “favor”, especially for a low paying job in an expensive city. It’s only a favor if it’s not in OP’s best interest and sounds like it was going well per OP.

      > Then expected you to rewrite that role to suit them.

      That’s literally not in the letter. There is no mention at all that Frank wanted the promotion with a rewrite, just that he applied for a promotion with a component he doesn’t like.

      1. KateM*

        “Presumably if there was a candidate OP thought was better suited, they would have hired them.”
        Just like they hired a better-suited candidate to this senior position.

      1. Loulou*

        I have to assume “frank” is standing in for someone this thread’s OP knows, because this was…not in the letter.

    4. New Jack Karyn*

      How is hiring someone doing them a favor? It’s an entry level job. I don’t see where Frank asked for any job to be rewritten to suit him. OP thinks highly enough of Frank to try to find a more senior role in their organization that would be a good fit. That’s not the sign of an entitled pain in the neck.

  13. mlem*

    LW3: “My understanding is that you’ve got to put a couple years into a company, advocate for yourself, make nice with the senior leaders, etc. to move up.”

    Why, though? This is an old-school (if sadly common) mindset that benefits specific personality types and, often, people with the privilege to endure lower-pay-rate periods letting a calendar flip past. Do all the available next-level jobs somehow require “N years with company” or schmoozing? If legitimately so, rather than just as a matter of a dusty old handbook and The Way Things Are, then fine.

    But if you stick to asking whether the person can do the job and whether you’re paying competitively, you’ll do your employees and your organization favors — especially in this market. Don’t stall your employees and their lifetime earning power (especially for non-managerial roles!) just to check off some glad-handing expectation.

    1. LW3*

      I appreciate this. Sincerely. It answers the question, am I behind with the times? Yep.

      In practice with my current employer, people don’t get promotions until 2+ years in and the people who do have befriended the directors. It’s not “required”, it’s just kind of an accepted fact. But you’re right, it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be. There’s a bit of a directors-versus-everyone-else culture to navigate which is a whole other issue (note: I am not a director), but at the very least I’ll approach my own hiring, onboarding, and management better.

      1. sassafras*

        I accept that being on good terms with higher ups will help you move up faster everywhere but having to “befriend” people at the director level to get out of an entry level position after 2+ years seems absurd. (Not your fault, LW3, just gave me the yikes.)

        1. LW3*

          Thank you for pointing out the absurdity. I think it was last year we had someone in an entry-level administrative role in a totally different department just get promoted after about 5 years – I believe they’d had several raises, but they were great at what they do as far as I could tell and it was so long overdue it was cringey. It’s this whole organization that works so slowly and I absorbed it, and I need to re-evaluate.

          1. Kay*

            I know I’m late to this but as I read this my eyes almost leapt from my skull as OH MY GAWD!! ran through my head. I pity the person that would try to justify my needing 5 years of experience stuffing envelopes in order to get a promotion. I’m so baffled anyone (aside from someone who just wanted to get out of the house and maybe earn money for stamps or something) would stay in a position that long with only “several raises” – eek. Please please try to recalibrate – this is so not normal, nor is it okay.

        2. Anonymous4*

          I’m thinking about the “befriend the directors” bit in relation to my organization. . .

          In order to get a promotion, one doesn’t have to be buddy-buddy with the upper echelon, but they do like to know you — if someone is put into a position of considerable responsibility, they prefer to have a known quantity, and while outside candidates do get hired in, they really do look more readily at local talent.

          I can see advantages/disadvantages to that approach, of course, and there are some who built a fine career by brown-nosing the C suite but that happens everywhere.

      2. Anonymous Hippo*

        Even if that is the culture, and you can’t really affect it from your position, as the manager you can help you employees navigate it, rather than leaving it up to them to figure out how to ingratiate themselves to directors. For example, at my first job I was looking to get promoted, and talked to my boss’s boss about it. She said, you need to be more visible to upper management, so when promotions are discussed you come up. And then she went out and found 2 different committees with upper management on them and had me added to them and 3 plant wide projects. I was promoted within the year.

        1. OceanDiva*

          Glad your manager was helpful. My org also advised me to work on my “internal credibility” aka suck up to the execs, for my promotion. It worked but ick.

      3. Christina*

        Its also reasonable to look at someone like Frank and say “you know, he’s only been here a year and he’s green, but he’s ambitious and has done a good job….he’s a known quantity where bringing in More-Qualified-on-Paper Candidate is bringing in an unknown quantity. Too often in my corporate career I’ve watch internal candidates who are ambitious and good culture fits get passed over for an external candidate that turns out to not be nearly as qualified as they presented themselves or a horrible fit – and often six months or a year later you have two open positions and/or two new hires.

    2. Karia*

      Yep. I wouldn’t have switched jobs half as much if my early employers had *paid enough to live on*. Too many companies / non profits still operate on the basis that someone else is subsidising their entry level employees.

        1. LW3*

          No offense taken!

          There’s also some nuance to this: even though I am the hiring manager/supervisor/whatever terminology you prefer, I have no idea what our pay scales are for the different levels and don’t have deciding power. When I advocate for my employee, it’s pretty much making a good enough case to my boss / the person holding the coin purse who will then tell me the number I can share with my employee, if any change is approved at all.

          1. Brightwanderer*

            “ I have no idea what our pay scales are for the different levels” – I think you should find out, if at all possible! Even if you don’t get to decide, knowing the underlying structure will give you an idea of whether your employees are being lowballed on the regular, and whether they have good reason to push for a raise. I realise some companies guard that sort of information like it’s a state secret and might refuse to tell you – but I think you should push as hard as you can to get hold of it.

      1. Christina*

        Some of this is that the non-profit world hasn’t entered the latter half of the twentieth century yet – much less the 21st. There was a time when non-profits could count on staffing themselves with people with generational wealth and wives of well paid men. An era where school staffing could be supplemented with stay at home moms willing to help out in the classroom and the budget supplemented with bake sales. Where church’s ran because the minister’s wife did the unpaid labor of church secretary and the ladies of the church would show up to lay out lunch for a funeral. In the latter half of the twentieth century we figured out the the executives of these organizations needed competitive pay – we haven’t figured out yet that women have nearly disappeared from all that volunteer or low paid support work they did to fill time because they are getting paid what they are worth in other parts of the economy.

    3. londonedit*

      I agree that promotions shouldn’t be solely based on having been there for X times or having been nice to the directors, but there are industries where you’re expected to put the time in before you can move up – whether that’s by getting a promotion or another job. I work in book publishing and entry-level jobs like Editorial Assistant are generally accepted to be jobs where you’re learning how the industry works – our schedules are 9-12 months long, so you really need to be doing the job at least a year before you’ve seen everything that happens over a full year’s publishing output. Of course if someone shows themselves to be an absolute superstar within a year then their title could be bumped up to Assistant Editor and they’d start taking on more responsibility, but it’s very normal to spend a couple of years as Editorial Assistant and then a couple of years as Assistant Editor, and then you’d think about whether you wanted to go down the route of commissioning books or whether you want to be a desk/project/managing editor who’s in charge of managing the actual editorial process. Commissioning is always seen as the more glamorous side, but you’d rarely be trusted to commission your own books without at least five years’ experience – usually what you’d do is move into an Assistant Commissioning Editor role where you’d support the Commissioning Editors and learn how to commission, what to look for, build relationships with agents and authors, learn about contracts and rights and all the rest of it, and eventually start to commission a few books of your own. Being a fully-fledged Commissioning Editor would be something people usually do around the 8-10 year mark in their career. I’ve worked with people who have come in at a junior level and almost immediately started making it clear that they’re hell-bent on commissioning books as soon as possible – and they never last long, because if they’re not prepared to learn how the book trade works before they’re let loose with the commissioning budget, they’re never going to do a good job.

      The issue of cost of living is a different one, and people should absolutely be getting a commensurate pay rise every year, but getting a promotion and a pay rise that’s tied to that promotion every year absolutely isn’t the norm in my industry.

    4. kathy*

      we have a similar rule. For promotion from “teapot painter” to “senior teapot painter” the candidate must have two years of experience at OUR company. Never mind if they have 10 years of experience elsewhere or if we hired them straight out of school. In 2021 we lost so many good people because of that stupid rule.
      And the worst part? It really doesn’t even come with a significant pay bump. It’s just a title. So why are we SO rigid?? I’m hopeful that this will change. I have some great employees that I would hate to lose over something so easily fixable, and I’m constantly going to bat for them over this (among other things).

  14. CatCat*

    #2, if the company owner is going to try to get you to help him pull some shady crap (and act like it’s normal) before you even work there, he will definitely pull you into even shadier crap when you ARE there. Say no and tell the recruiter. Ugh.

  15. Raboot*

    > My understanding is that you’ve got to put a couple years into a company, advocate for yourself, make nice with the senior leaders, etc. to move up. Am I behind with the times?

    Yeah, kind of. A role should go to whoever can do it best, not whoever has “put a couple of years into a company” or “made nice” with leadership. Same with salary, base it on what your employee brings to the table that you need, and what you’d need to pay to get someone else to do it.

    1. JustaTech*

      I could see needing some time at a company with a steep learning curve before you’ve learned the ropes well enough to get promoted, and there’s value in advocating for yourself, but hard agree that no one should have to “make nice” with senior leadership for a promotion.

      My company has minimum time-in-position limits before a person can be promoted, but we’re very niche and some things only happen twice a year so it can genuinely take 6 months to see the whole job.

  16. Magenta Sky*

    LW #2: It sounds even worse than cheating the recruiter. “Side contract” sounds like he’s also wanting to cheat the IRS out of part of the assorted taxes, like Social Security, that he’s obligated to pay based on your wages. And if, as I’d guess, he doesn’t give you the proper documentation to pay it yourself, it’s trying to co-opt *you* into cheating the IRS, too.

    Definitely tell the recruiter, and if you have any kind of written documentation, show him that as well to make sure he gets it.

  17. Support your local street cats.*

    OP2- I would look at it this way…If they’re willing to cheat the recruiter this openly, they would be willing to do the same to you eventually. Unless you’re needing this job badly or enjoy being jerked around by an employer, move along to the next offer. If I were in your position, I would also let the recruiter know whats what and if possible, get the word out to other job-seekers about how shady this place is.

  18. Gabrielle*

    OP #2, could the hiring manager be trying to lowball you as well? What if the “side contract” expires in a year or even less, and then you’re just stuck with the low salary? What if he hires you and says there are details that delay the side contract but don’t worry, and then says oh no I ran the side contract by legal and we can’t do it after all? In other words I guess I’m suggesting a bait and switch.

    1. Gabrielle*

      Oh and might you have other things that depend on salary, like an annual bonus that’s a percentage?

    2. KateM*

      Why *wouldn’t* hiring manager try to lowball OP2? They haven’t give a reason to think they won’t, IMO.

      1. Starbuck*

        Yeah, they’ve already shown themselves to be a duplicitous cheapskate so I would expect that behavior to continue.

    3. Magenta Sky*

      I’d be surprised if there ever any kind of written contract at all. It sounds like “side contract” is more a euphemism for “under the table.”

      Assuming you’re not correct, of course.

    4. pancakes*

      I wouldn’t assume this employer is taking any legal advice into consideration. If they have a lawyer telling them it’s ok to breach their contract with the recruiter, yikes.

      1. KateM*

        Of course not, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know that legal advice exists, and use it as an excuse why they can’t pay OP extra after all.

      2. Observer*

        I’m sure that they don’t have a lawyer telling them that. What I am sure of, though, is that he’s capable of *making up* the existence of “legal” that’s saying no. And ALSO saying that the OP’s salary “cannot” be brought up to the originally agreed upon level.

  19. Rosie*

    OP4, I have a relevant story – I did a full day interview for a position and was selected as the top candidate, so I went on to another interview with higher-ups who had travelled a significant distance from the head office for it. At the start they asked me to describe the job as I understood it, which I did. They nodded and said “yes, that was what it was advertised as, but it’s changed now” and described a vastly different position! I obviously bombed the interview and saw they re-posted the same job ad a few days later… I did not re-apply! So it could be organizational incompetence and nothing to do with your skills.

  20. Mark Roth*

    If someone is willing to offer me a low ball contract to scam a recruiter, what are the chances he’d simply never offer me the allegedly promised raise?

    1. Anonymous Hippo*

      Yes. And someone so brazen that they’d suggest fraud to a complete stranger is a GIGANTIC red flag.

  21. eisa*

    #3 I feel that rewarding seniority / loyalty is something of a very distant past .. and no, I’m not happy with it.
    From the employee’s point of you, if you stick around, you are basically the stupid one; new employees are apparently more valued by companies (as evidenced by the fact that they pay them more).
    (Bitter, me ? Noo ….)

    I have an unrelated question, sorry I am aware of the nitpicking rules and do not want to offend, just trying to learn as a non-native speaker:
    “When I told Frank they didn’t get the job, Frank immediately shared that they have another job offer”
    The plural pronoun is used to maintain ambiguity about the person’s gender, right ?
    Is it now also considered better to use it in combination with “Tom”, “Dick”, or “Harriet” ?
    (or maybe it was meant to tell us that job-hopping Frank is nonbinary, this would be a very specific information though)

    1. LW3*

      There are others here who will have more experience and insightful comments around loyalty and tenure, but looking at entry-level employees particularly (given this scenario) I agree with recognizing good performance regardless of how long they’ve been in the role – that there’s value in treating people with humanity rather than maintaining regimented requirements for advancement.

      As for pronouns: I often use “they” as a gender neutral term when describing someone anonymously. I created a bit of a persona for “Frank” (not the real person’s name) and leaned into using “he”. But my typical instinct when describing anonymous people is to use “they” to remove assumptions about gender, and I clearly started slipping back into that habit.

      1. eisa*

        Thank you for the explanation !

        Also I wanted to say, I did not mean any reflection on you or your company, it seems that you went above and beyond to motivate and retain this employee,

    2. Robin*

      They/them if you don’t know Frank’s pronouns is fine, although some will predictably object. If it’s an unambiguously gendered name – which I’m not at all sure “Frank” is – you can *probably* go ahead and use the pronouns that usually match it, especially if you’ve been in contact with Frank for a while and Frank hasn’t specified pronouns in email signatures or anything (though in some contexts, like LGBTQ+ organisations, you definitely shouldn’t assume.) And you can often structure your writing to avoid someone’s pronouns till you learn them: “Frank didn’t get this job, but does have an offer from somewhere else.”

      With people you haven’t named or already gendered in your writing, “they” is standard English – even people who are hostile to nonbinary pronouns won’t notice it. “The recruiter called Alice, and they told her she did not get the job.”

      If Frank or Alice corrects you on their own pronouns, switch without making a fuss.

      [Disclaimer: I’m cis and binary and lack insight here. I try to know this stuff, but I might be wrong.]

    3. I should really pick a name*

      “They” can be used as plural or singular.
      It can be used to obscure gender, and when gender is not known, but is also used for people who don’t identify as male or female (there for he/she doesn’t apply).

    4. Anonymous4*

      From the employee’s point of you, if you stick around, you are basically the stupid one; new employees are apparently more valued by companies (as evidenced by the fact that they pay them more).

      I worked for a company that had a fairly heavy IT staff, and I don’t know how it is now but at that time, most coders didn’t settle in place and work for 20 years. The IT department had a long-term manager, a handful of experienced workers, and a revolving collection of migrant coders who would come in, work for a few years, and move on. In fact, a lot of them were very open about the fact that they went into coding because they wanted to be able to move around from company to company and state to state.

      And that was fine — except the pay scale was set up to lure in the new coders. Not to keep the handful of experienced workers who understood the system and had built a lot of the programs and knew how the company liked things to work and so on. When they complained that they were getting paid less than the newbies, they were told that if they wanted a big raise, they needed to change jobs.

      Talk about a self-defeating policy.

  22. Not All Hares Are Quick*

    #2 Whenever someone suggests something shady whereby someone else will be done over, repeat to yourself several times ‘If they’re willing to do it with you, they’ll be willing to do it to you’.
    Then see how you feel about that before deciding.

  23. Robin*

    #1: There are only so many jobs to go round. If your friend gets one, somebody else doesn’t. So while I’m happy to resent anyone rich enough to not have to work, I’d still probably rather she left the space free for somebody that needs and wants it.

  24. Forrest*

    LW3, this feels a lot like a “my feelings are hurt!” question disguised as “is this a new norm”. It feels like you need one of you to be in the wrong because you took a chance on Frank and invested a lot of time in his development, and his plans haven’t matched up for your plans for him.

    It’s great that you’ve invested time in helping him as an employee and supporting his development– that makes you a good manager! And it’s normal that having invested that time and (as you feel), taken a chance, you feel a bit, “eh” about him leaving when you were planning something else. But he hasn’t done anything wrong, and the fact that you had different plans is just One Of Those Things, not a sign that you’ve failed to move with the times or that he’s done something a bit cheeky or presumptuous.

    You’ve had a year’s work from a enthusiastic and passionate young person. You’ve helped him develop skills and knowledge and set him on a good path. This is all good and you should feel good about it!

  25. Robin*

    >Frank has been emphasizing that they don’t actually like a significant portion of the work they do now (a lot of which carries over into the higher level role)
    Does this mean Frank has been doing higher level work for entry level pay? If so, I’m on Team Frank.

    1. ecnaseener*

      It’s quite common for there to be some duties overlapping between different seniority levels of similar roles. In many cases, a Senior Teapot Painter does almost exactly the same things as a Junior Teapot Painter, just with a few extra duties or more complex teapots.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Not really, it could be that Frank focuses on task A, while also doing B and C. He doesn’t actually like B and C, but that’s the primary portion of the higher-level role.
      OR, perhaps they like the data entry, but not the analysis and the higher level role is actually all analysis. It definitely doesn’t mean he’s doing higher level work already.

      1. Struggle Bus Driver*

        I’ve seen lots of places, including nonprofits, where there’s a lot of data entry so a more junior role focuses more on that (A) while also doing a little bit of analysis (B) and project management (C), for example. And then a more senior level role does very little A and has a focus on B and C. I imagine this scenario is about that, given LW said their work was growing and they introduced a new role.

  26. Morning reader*

    For the LW with the non-working friend: if she has never expressed interest in getting a job, and has never asked advice about it, don’t offer to help. Most of us have to work 40+ years before we can not work for pay. This woman has figured out how to retire first! Maybe ask her advice on how to do that instead. Marry her!

  27. MistOrMister*

    Re OP2 -I am confused as to how a side contract is supposed to work. I guess you would get a formal offer letter for X amount and then another letter or something for Y amount at a later date that the recruiter wouldn’t know about? Even if there was no ethical squickiness going on here, I would refuse this. It makes no sense and it seems way too likely that “somehow” the side contract will fall through and you’ll be stuck with less money. That seems especially true given how this owner is trying to cheat the recruiter out of money. Never do business with someone who is proven to be dishonest with money if you can help it. That’s just asking for trouble. Beyond that, this owner is trying to cheat on person they work with, you really cannot trust their character at this point. Tell the recruiter and run far, far away from this company if you can afford to not take this job. If you have to take it, it wouldn’t be fair to the recruiter to not insist on the full amount of your salary in your contract/offer letter.

  28. Asenath*

    OP 2 – That’s blatantly dishonest, and I wouldn’t be a part of it. I’d turn down the job and warn the recruited. Keep in mind that someone who can cheat the recruiter probably wouldn’t hesitate to cheat you, and that “side contract” might not be worth the paper it isn’t, at the moment, written on.

  29. Abigail*

    #3: I don’t think you are behind with the times.

    I do think you have an ideal world perspective. It would be great if companies invested in their people and promoted them how you describe.

    However, since so many do not, many people are primed to move elsewhere to move up. You can fire Frank at any time for any reason or no reason at all. Frank knows this so he is giving you the same loyalty you gave him.

    I think this contributor is a tad naive.

  30. I should really pick a name*

    I’d like to push back on your idea of what is needed for a promotion.
    First off: I completely agree that you don’t need to automatically give someone a promotion just because they’ve been there from a year.

    But you’re suggesting that advocating for yourself and making nice with leaders are requirements to move up.
    From a practical standpoint, sometimes you have to do that, and yes, it’s generally a good idea to do that.
    But the problem with that approach is that it leads to you to promote people who are good at hob nobbing over others who might have equal or better job skills. Employees should advocate for themselves, but managers should be paying enough attention to their employees enough to recognize when they deserve promotion, regardless of if they ask for it or not.

    1. urguncle*

      There’s some bizarre contempt for an entry level employee taking initiative in their career that I’m bothered by in that letter. Also, the phrase “entry level” is so entirely useless, as that can describe positions that require years of experience and knowledge, but because it’s individual contributorship and not managing people, employers think of it as “entry-level.”

      1. MsM*

        I don’t see that at all. Maybe I’m reading it through my own sector biases, but I’ve worked at enough nonprofits where there was no real path up unless someone left and certainly not enough budget to give me anyone to manage that OP’s willingness to try and create a role for Frank is both impressive and supportive. I just don’t think this field is a good fit for him if he needs rapid advancement combined with significant steps up in pay on a regular basis, and it sounds like he’s realized that.

        1. Loulou*

          Agreed with your whole comment. I didn’t read any contempt in OP’s own letter, but some of the comments do seem pretty mad at Frank and I have, genuinely, no idea why.

      2. Sacred Ground*

        FWIW, I’m low-key job searching all the time these days despite being currently employed and I have yet to see any job described as “entry level” that didn’t also require some level of experience. Maybe its just in my area.

  31. BRR*

    #4 unfortunately candidates don’t usually get the type of closure I think you’re looking for. The good news is I would place money on it not being you. Sometimes someone is great at what they do but just isn’t the right match. If there was something wrong with you, you wouldn’t have advanced this far. It’s also possible that the job automatically reposted, depending on where you saw it, and they actually hired another candidate.

    Also this is definitely not a situation where you reapply (and I acknowledge you said that was only part of the reason you reached out). To reapply for the same role, you’d either want more time to have passed and you gain new skills or if they hired another candidate and that candidate didn’t work out.

  32. Triplestep*

    #4, I’m sorry this happened to you, I’ve been there and it feels terrible. But as you continue to interview, you’ll see that the fact that this company got back to you AT ALL is actually more the exception than the rule. In my last job search three years ago, more companies ghosted than actually closed the loop. I have a very good rate of return on scoring interviews partly due to my writing skills and partly due to the advice I’ve gotten here. I am never surprised to get an interview after I apply to a job for which I know I’m a good match, but I am always surprised when they bother to get back to me to tell me the outcome of my final interview if it’s not an offer. And typically if they do get back to me, it’s along the lines of what you got: Generic.

    Alison’s advice to mentally move on after the interview is solid. I was glad I had done this after I’d interviewed multiple times in quick succession at a major Ivy League university, each time with increasingly larger and groups. I’d written unique personalized thank you emails to each interviewer, and followed up after two weeks. They ghosted me. Because they publish their org charts, I was able to see that they hired an entry level person when I have more than 20 years experience. I was never going to be entry level, so obviously I did not have what they wanted! Many times it’s not about you, but more about them changing direction in a way that has nothing to do with you. That’s one reason you won’t get feedback. The other reason is that recruiters and hiring managers fear push back.

    My best advice is to assume you’ll be ghosted and KEEP APPLYING. It helps to have other irons in the fire when it becomes clear that you’re being ghosted. I took another job just a few months after my final interview at the university above, and occasionally in the months that followed, I would look at my application status there just for kicks. It was always active until one day about eight months later, someone had gone in and quietly changed it to “Not selected”. Normally this should have triggered an email notification to me, so they must have intentionally turned of that feature. That is how slimy they were, but keep in mind, this has become the norm.

  33. Anon for This*

    Old boss hired an employee who we knew wasn’t great, under the logic of “well we’re all being underpaid and the senior role in our department pays what unskilled labor would be paid elsewhere so I can hire unskilled labor into the senior position and you can train them” and it is going… terribly. I spent five hours this week teaching them to do a task that would take me ten minutes, and they’re averaging one completed task every 2.5 hours now that I finished training them. And they’re making mistakes I have to fix. And they’re still making mistakes on things they were taught months ago. New hire has lots of shiny certifications which look good on paper but doesn’t have the big thing… computer literacy…. that ties them all together.

    1. Anon for This*

      Not to say this OP is similarly unqualified, just that three months is a long time for a hiring process, and it’s entirely possible some other criteria was thrown in halfway through. I’m certain if old boss had quit before new hire was officially hired, their temporary replacement would’ve gone wait, WHO were you calling a strong candidate?

  34. TimeRaveller*

    LW#3: I went into a field (public sector local government) where it is very common to work 5+ years before moving up. Some people might be okay with this, but I couldn’t imagine doing the same (entry-level!) job for that long. I was very lucky that I came in to the organization during a period of change, which created an opportunity for me to move up more quickly than otherwise. I think you should reexamine your organization’s career ladder and your own expectations regarding when a person “deserves” to be promoted.

  35. The Lexus Lawyer*

    OP1 – I understand your urge to help your friend, but this is not your problem to solve. It also could very well end up damaging your relationship if you try to help someone who doesn’t want your help.

    OP2 – if the company is cheating the recruiter, they could very well cheat you next.

    OP3 – I would wish Frank good luck with his new opportunity and wash your hands of this situation.

    OP4 – some nonprofits have layers and layers of decision making, and whether profit or for profit, some companies are just insensitive to candidates’ feelings. I would move on and be thankful you dodged this probably bad situation.

  36. Middle Name Danger*

    LW1, I was with you until you said your friend is a student. If her family can support her while she makes studying her full time job, that’s great, not something to lament!

    Even if she’s doing a bachelor’s and not grad/law school as you might expect, she might struggle to hold a job while concentrating on school. I’m the same age and in my senior year for a 4-year degree and balancing work with it is killing me.

    1. WellRed*

      And when she graduates she will be at a disadvantage to grads who have worked. Still not OPs problem though.

      1. kathy*

        maybe? I am genuinely not sure if my years of experience as a cashier helped me to get an engineering job when I graduated. My lower grades (than I might have earned if I wasn’t working) definitely hurt me though. @WellRed, I’m sure you were trying to make OP feel better but your sentiments are not always fair or accurate.

        1. Observer*

          Did your job ACTIVELY help you? Possibly not. But to some extent having some sort of work experience is table stakes. So no one is going to look at your resume and say “OOOOH, she’s had experience and a cashier! We gotta have her.” But if you don’t have ANYTHING, then there is a good chance that a lot of employers are going to look at that and say “We’ll look at this only if we REALLY don’t have any other choice.”

          1. Middle Name Danger*

            I wouldn’t be putting a cashier job on a resume for a professional position in most industries. There’s nothing to indicate that the friend isn’t doing anything related to the degree. They could be doing research or volunteering or school related organizations.

            1. Observer*

              Generally, when you are looking for a first job in your field, having SOMETHING on there is helpful. Once you have experience in your field? Agreed,it doesn’t belong.

              1. Nancy*

                There is no indication that this person doesn’t have relevant independent studies or volunteer work, which in some fields are far more important than a nonrelated part-time job.

  37. Junior Assistant Peon*

    #4 – I’ve been on the hiring manager side a few times, and was in the situation of only being able to hire one candidate when several would have been good fits. I used to agonize over what I might have said wrong in an interview, but now that I’ve been on the other side, I’ve learned that most rejected interviewees just got beaten out by someone slightly better-fitting and didn’t somehow blow the interview.

    It can also be a matter of rounding out and diversifying a team’s skillset. If your experience is too similar to someone they already have, they might have passed on you even if you were a great fit for the job.

  38. urguncle*

    LW #3: I won’t speak to the promotion or even Frank’s work, but inflation is at about 8% and it’s especially hard when entry-level employees are already on a line-to-line budget to factor in astronomical rises in rent, gas and food. Frank has taken a pay hit in being employed with you for a year at the same salary, so unless your company did a full CoLA, it’s not outrageous to ask for more money.

    1. LW3*

      Our org did do a COLA last year and a comp analysis even more recently. A cursory search of the web shows other similar roles in same or similar sectors in the same region paying ~1% to 15% less than what Frank is getting right now. That doesn’t mean higher pay isn’t reasonable because many companies are under-paying staff, certainly in nonprofits. I think nonprofit pay and the incredibly slow pace for advancement in our work wasn’t a good fit for Frank and they found a better fit, which is great and a nudge for me to get better advancement paths lined out.

  39. Just Me*

    #1 This is just a general FYI for an adult who doesn’t have *any* work experience–they can go to their local Workforce Center and they’ll have resources to help them get placed in a job, even if it’s just a short-term, part-time gig. The longer someone goes without getting work experience the harder it will be for them to eventually get a job, so she may need help like this down the road.

  40. Sir Nose d'Voidoffunk*

    Alison, I just wanted to let you know I just got a very large ad on the homepage (that I was able to X out of). It wasn’t intrusive at all by the standards of scuzzy Internet advertising, but it was a marked change from the usual ads on this site, so I thought I’d let you know. Love the site!

    1. I should really pick a name*

      There’s a button to report ads. Search for the word typo and you should find it.

    2. anonnie*

      She doesn’t read all the comments so might not see this but there is a link to report an ad just above the box where we comment.

  41. OP 1*

    Just wanted to let you know, I didn’t share specific details on why I started thinking this way, because this is too personal and private for her. Anyhow, I guess my initial instinct was correct because as I wrote previously, I didn’t intervene because I thought it was none of my business. I am generally against giving people unsolicited advice mostly because like others have said, most people will probably not listen until they are mentally prepared (including myself). Looking back, maybe it’s all a matter of different perspectives. I tend to worry a lot about potential worst-case scenarios so maybe that motivated me into writing this. But that was harsh to be labeled as being jealous and not close to her.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Some commenters (all over the internet, not just here) tend to read things into letters that aren’t there or speculate based on their own lives. It happens, try not to take it personally; we can’t possibly know everything about the situation or the people involved.

      That said, I do think you should let this go until or unless your friend asks you for help — it does sound like your own anxiety might be projecting onto her.

    2. Sparkles McFadden*

      OP1 – It’s sounds as if your friend’s sister is concerned about her sister’s lack of job experience and spoke to you to try to get some reinforcements for her position. You probably want to be helpful but felt like you would be interfering so you wrote in here to make sure it’s OK to stay out of it. Yep…it’s OK to stay out of it.

      As a person who makes contingency plans for everything, I agree your friend would be better off trying to get some experience. That’s why it’s not a bad thing to say “I’ve seen that people who get some basic job experience do better in the work world.” Then let it drop.

  42. zzz*

    #1 – Another thing to consider, if she ever asks you for help, is the reason she’s never had a job for that long. Is she just rich and doesn’t feel like it? Did she actually have a job once and was fired after a week, and that sunk her self-esteem even though she never told anyone about her experience? Did no one teach her how to adult, and she feels safe being a student and the workload is distracting her from thinking about the real world?

    As far as her bizarre workplace advice goes, I’m not sure it necessarily to do with her lack of work experience. I read a lot of career/business books before I officially joined the workplace, and most of the advice I read didn’t seem applicable “in real life” among people who’ve had a job for 10+ years. Some people just think differently from you.

  43. Purple Cat*

    #2 makes me so angry.
    This owner is trying to screw the recruiter out of earning their living. AND there’s a chance they’ll screw over the LW too by conveniently “forgetting” about any side agreement – after all, it’s not in the contract.

  44. Katie*

    Granted, I work for a large company, but it is the norm to start looking for promotions after a year for entry level positions.
    Its not complicated work and you don’t need people doing it for years to master it. If you have complicated work, then it is not entry level and pay should reflect that.

    1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      Yep—entry level is exactly that, an entry into the company, a foot in the door so you have a better shot at higher level roles when they become available. I train entry level employees and in their fifth week of training we review the internal posting and application process and rules. We absolutely have people who stay in that job for years, but most move up and into something new within 12-24 months.

      As roles get more senior is where you’d see more longevity and where people “put a couple years into a company, advocate for yourself, make nice with the senior leaders, etc. to move up.”

  45. No Way*

    #2 – A similar thing happened to me, and I stupidly took the job. In my case, my manager called when he offered the position and asked me my opinion of not paying the agency since he felt like they had done most of the work, but he prefaced it with saying “I don’t want you to think we’re some unethical company.” If they have to say that, they totally are unethical. They also told me to leave the job off my LinkedIn profile for a while until after their contract period ran out with the agency. One day the recruiting agency called my workplace, and I told a manager they were on the phone. He told me “Do not tell them your name.” I was let go not too long after for other reasons (not a good fit). A good thing in the end, but I should have seen the wild red flags waving in the beginning because they were a sign this place was messed up. I should have never accepted the offer. I still think about calling the recruiting agency to this day to let them know what happened. I think my company ended up stiffing them about ~10k because my company went around them.

  46. AM*


    I’ve seen this happen with people who aren’t well off, too. They don’t know the realities of work because they either choose not to believe facts or they never learned the facts. You can correct her when she makes untrue statements about the realities of work. You will be doing her a kindness by bringing her to reality instead of letting her believe in fantasy. I understand that it’s hard to see people make career missteps and you want to help. The hardest part is accepting that people are set in their beliefs about what they want to do with their work and life.

  47. generic_username*

    I have worked with many recruiters in getting jobs – they earn that commission and its disgusting that the owner is attempting to cheat them. I also would be concerned they cheat you…. What’s the guarantee that they actually follow through with your side contract?

  48. Jo*

    #4 An automated rejection is barely better than ghosting to me after that level of interviewing, especially when the process was very positive. When you’ve spent that much time and energy talking to someone, it takes very little to at least actually write an email, even if the content is about the same as an automated rejection. I think it’s incredibly rude and hurtful and so easy to avoid.

  49. CommanderBanana*

    “I just thought it was not my place to intervene and give out unsolicited advice.”

    It’s not!

  50. A Feast of Fools*

    #1 – I had a friend in high school who wasn’t interested in a part-time job (like the rest of us were) because her mom paid for everything.

    We lost touch until our mid-20’s. She had dropped out of college because it was “too hard”. She was living at home and her mom was still paying for everything. I had dropped out because I was working full-time and making pretty good money in tech sales without a degree. Our conversations were stilted because the only things we had in common were childhood memories.

    We lost touch again until our 40’s. She was living on her own in an apartment, unemployed, fully funded by her mom. She had never held a job of any kind whatsoever. I had already had a successful career in tech sales and as a small business owner, and was pivoting to finishing my degree(s) and switching to an accounting/finance career.

    At each touch point with her (with each lasting several months, not just a quick chat over coffee), I encouraged her to find a job, *any* job, because her mom isn’t going to live forever and her other family members (her sister and the sister’s children) aren’t going to step in when mom passed [because they had decades of resentment built up against my friend]. All that did was make her angry and anxious.

    Moral of the story: There’s no doubt that your friend knows that most people work and earn their own money. There’s nothing you will be able to say to her that will suddenly change her behavior.

  51. Old Cynic*

    #3 – I can’t help but feel the rejection was in response to the inquiry. Like the employer felt you were being too pushy by asking and therefore eliminated you a a candidate.

  52. HelloFromNY*

    LW: #1: I echo Alison and everyone else, this probably isn’t something you should get involved with. But, if the is person reaches out and asks for your help you definitely can! Retail, fast food, and call centers are the sort of part time work that could be flexible around a student schedule. Volunteering would also be beneficial, especially if it was somewhat related to this persons’s degree program. This person could also look to their university for opportunities for different types of student work, internships, volunteer work etc. Heck, even a leadership position within a student club/organization would be beneficial.

  53. Polecat*

    #4 I think the issue here is not so much that you need closure but that’s you’re angry that after putting so much effort you got a generic rejection. And they lied to you and told you they had selected another candidate in that generic rejection, and you found out that wasn’t true. I’d say just be angry, feel it and then move on. Yes, after the amount of effort you put in, they owed you a more personal response, and they also should have told you the truth. But 95% of companies are going to do what they did. It sucks, but it’s common.

    I once had a recruiter tell me that a company rejected me because they wanted someone really great and I just wasn’t that special. They were sure I could do the job but, that just wasn’t enough. I’m sure that’s what the company told her, I’m guessing they weren’t thinking she tell me it verbatim, That she’d pretty it up a bit. That’s likely the issue here. Could be three other candidates got to the round that you got to and they decided that none of you was the sparkling unicorn star they needed.

  54. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP3 has commented that Frank moved on to his new job. I think that is the right outcome here.

    For my industry, in Boston metro, the job market is crazy and has been crazy for over a year. The old pre-pandemic way of doing things seems to no longer apply, especially with respect to titles and the corresponding salaries – but they go hand-in-hand, so to offer someone a lot more money as enticement, that must come with higher title in order to stay within the salary ranges per title that so many employers abide by. My employer is giving inflated titles out of desperation for any candidate with at least some experience. Job postings with lower titles don’t get any qualified applicants. I would estimate that the inflated titles are several levels above where the person should be. This will only create problems internally, with the title disparity of old employees versus new employees. And it can greatly disadvantage employees who started before the pandemic or even during the first 6 months of the pandemic. If you are one of those people – look out for yourself. Unless you got a generous market adjustment in the last 1.5 years, you may be underpaid now!

    In my industry, many people are being hired with inflated titles in the “director” tier, but the only place to go up from there is Vice President! So the employers are painting themselves into a corner, because most employers are still holding those VP titles as dear and difficult to obtain. The result – many underqualified directors, no VPs, and eventually, directors who aren’t promotable.

  55. Calamity Janine*

    if letter writer #1 would look this way, they will see yet another 30 year old who has never had a job beyond temporary summer gigs and lives off the largesse of her family.

    in my case it’s ’cause i’m disabled.

    turns out constant debilitating pain makes it hard to do amazing feats like “shower more than twice a week”, “actually eat 3 meals a day instead of skipping any due to pain”, and “concentrate on a complex task”, much less “drive” and “hold down a job”, whoops! -2/10, would NOT recommend, absolutely abysmal to career prospects.

    i don’t expect that it would have generated a letter if said person discussed by LW1 were disabled, but i’m going to stare them down with this brokenhearted rictus grin for a bit until they start squirming and feeling pretty awkward, possibly cry a little about it, not sure i’ll have to see how i’m feeling. if anybody wants to join me there’s extra seats and i brought snacks

  56. JD872*

    #4 — Did they ask for your references? If so, are you sure your references will provide positive feedback about you? I worked for a nonprofit and we hired a new role a year ago; our favorite candidate had a terrible reference. We were shocked to learn the candidate misrepresented themselves (and thankful that the reference was honest with us; they were friends with the candidate outside of work but had not had good professional experience with them). Lesson: hiring managers should always check references, and applicants should talk with potential references rather than assuming they’ll provide a positive review.

  57. RB*

    #1: Nice work if you can get it. Who wouldn’t want to not have to work? If the person is bothered by not having their own money, they can figure a way out of that situation.

  58. Greg McE*

    LW #4: I once made it through numerous rounds to the finals for a job at a very prestigious museum; at the in-person interview I was told that I was 1 of 3 finalists and that I’d hear in a week if they were going with me or someone else. I sent a thank you after the interview, and then silence. Never heard back that I didn’t get the job, and the job itself was never closed out as “not selected” in the job-hiring portal. I did send a follow-up a few weeks later saying that I’d assumed I didn’t get it, thanked them again for the opportunity and hoped to have another chance, and if they had any feedback I’d graciously accept it.

    Well, it’s been seven years and I still don’t have that feedback. I like to joke it’s coming any day now.

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