open thread – March 25-26, 2022

It’s the Friday open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on any work-related questions that you want to talk about (that includes school). If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to take your questions to other readers.

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

{ 1,253 comments… read them below }

  1. What's in a name?*

    A while ago there was a heated letter that made me want to ask this question, I think enough time has passed that it is okay to discuss it.

    What is a good way to handle vacation requests in a low-turnover job that legitimately requires coverage that is fair to all employees?

    1. Jay*

      Rotate the most popular days year by year. I’m a doc and everywhere I’ve worked we’ve had an agreement that no one has to work Christmas two years in a row except by choice (I’m Jewish and usually offer to work Christmas). You could also allow people to choice in order and than rotate the order especially for popular times like summer – if Jim chooses first this summer, than Sue chooses first next summer.

      1. Oryx*

        Yeah I have an aunt who was a nurse and Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday, so she’d volunteer to work Christmas every year so she could have Thanksgiving off.

        1. PeanutButter*

          Same. Providing a way for people who WANT to work the holidays is a good thing – I didn’t mind working Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve/Christmas, but HATED working Halloween or New Year’s Eve. (Paramedic)

          My work had a signup sheet where you could say which Holidays you wanted off/were willing to work. When the manager was approving time off she’d consult the sign up sheet to get coverage from, and the holiday schedules were usually all hammered down by September with reasonably deep “on-call” bench for people to cover shifts if someone realized they actually wanted it off.

          The key to this working: incentives for working on holidays. We got time and a half and catered meals for every shift, and sometimes an extra flat bonus for working 2 or more official holidays. If you give extra holiday pay coverage for them becomes MUCH less of an issue.

        2. Autumn*

          Sounds like me back in the day. I’m also a nurse. I could almost always get a switch for the day of Thanksgiving, but Black Friday was my headache. We traveled, and even though I could get home to work for 3 it was unpleasant, I might have been hungover or maybe just tired. But people not wanting to switch Black Friday for Christmas or Christmas Eve? Why in the name of hell would you shop on Black Friday? We once tried to grab groceries on our way home and nearly had a fender bender in a parking lot because someone HAD to have the space we were eyeing. We decided to go home hungry… so

          What my work did was early every quarter the vacation calendar for the following quarter would go up in the break room and you would claim your time. If someone with more seniority than you wanted the same time you were SOL but there was also an unspoken expectation that you wouldn’t overrun someone unless it was for something immovable like a wedding. Sometimes two could be out at the same time, it just depended what skill set each one had, and how long the overlap was. You could also have one of your ON weekends included, but only 1. You can always ask for an overlap, you just couldn’t get mad if you didn’t get it.

          I was per diem my last 5 years there and when they took away the vacation calendars and put them on computer I was mad. I used to give my manager a note that might say “hey, I can work Brenda’s Vacation” and bam… 8 shifts done and dusted (I had to meet minimum hours per year)

        3. Clisby*

          I also used to volunteer to work Christmas – that meant I got Christmas Eve off. I worked nights, and my family was only about an hour’s drive away, so I could drive to visit them the morning of Christmas Eve, spend all of that day with my family, have our big Christmas Eve dinner (Christmas Day food was leftovers), and be at work by 4 p.m. Christmas Day.

    2. Former Gifted Kid*

      I had a job like this that I think handled it pretty well. We had a generous amount of time off. It also helped that our team was fairly small.

      Basically, our manager just assumed that everyone would take a week off during the summer and at least several days around Thanksgiving or Christmas. We all had to have our summer vacation requests in by April-ish. We basically coordinated amongst ourselves to make sure no one was requesting the same week. If you didn’t have any summer vacation plans, you were highly encouraged to take a week off anyways.

      For winter holidays, we had to have our requests in by October, I think. The office was actually closed on Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day, but coverage was needed all other times. No one was allowed to take off an entire week around Christmas or Thanksgiving, but it was assumed that everyone would take off at least one or two days around each holiday and we should just plan to have half staff around that time. The one member of the team that had family on the other side of the country would take a week off between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then work the holidays.

      Members of a sister department were all cross trained to help with vacation coverage and we did the same for them. My department head was also trained on a couple of few key tasks and helped with coverage.

      This all seemed to work out well for us. There was never really any conflict about people taking vacation. I think it really helped that it was assumed everyone was going to take days off.

      1. Coffee Anonymous*

        I had a job that was pretty similar, and it worked well. For peak vacation times (summer & the month from US Thanksgiving till New Years), requests were due by a certain date, and the management team gave all on time requests equal consideration.

        It was rare for requests to just be denied. More often, if granting all requests would leave insufficient coverage, that team’s manager would take the issue back to their team and see if anyone’s plans were flexible. If your request was denied, or if you were the good team player who adjusted your plans, you were first in line to get your top choice dates next time — and last in line the next time someone had to adjust their preferred vacation schedule.

      2. Rosemary*

        “No one was allowed to take off an entire week around Christmas or Thanksgiving” — was this because coverage was needed, or to make it “fair” since it is a popular time to want to take off? On the one hand I can see doing it this way to avoid conflict; on the other, it really sucks for people who live far from their family – like me. Unless I were allowed to take at least a few days around Christmas, I would be spending Christmas without my family.

        1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          Some jobs are like that. My husband worked ecommerce retail for years. He would regularly work Thanksgiving Day itself to keep the site up and running. And there was no time off at Christmas. Although on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day itself, he could work from home and really just needed to monitor things and log in if something went wrong.

          To make it worse, I worked in a manufacturing environment that just shut down between Christmas and New Years every year because it was assumed we’d all want to be with families and they wouldn’t have enough people to run the factory. So I always had to take a week off the very week he couldn’t.

          Since my sister and her husband are in the medical profession, we just have Christmas in January on a weekend.

        2. Lenora Rose*

          You notice that the one person with faraway family was given a week, it just wasn’t *right* at Christmas. So they were still spending important holiday time with family. I know December 25th itself has a big magical effect, but I know I’d rather get a week with family a week too early than try and red-eye it just to make the official date.

        3. Middle Aged Lady*

          At the job where I spent the longest time working, you could trade or negotiate. Our crunch times in academia meant Thanksgiving week could be tight. But you could work it out with a cowoker or boss if you needed longer to travel. And we got those long Christmas breaks that were wonderful. But I couldn’t plan much for Christmas until the semester ended around the 15th. Then it was a rush to get it all done in 10 days. In contrast to my restaurant days when holidays were moneymakers so I volunteered to work. I always worked Valentine’s Day for example. Living far from family makes it all so much harder. In addition to the travel days, I always need one extra to recover from the travel! Now that I am over 2,000 miles from home, though, I have resigned myself to most holidays being just us. I like it but it took some adjustment.

    3. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      I like it if I have to work one major holiday (e.g. thanksgiving) I am guarenteed another (e.g. christmas) off.

      1. Kimmy Schmidt*

        This is how it works for many of my friends who are nurses. They have to work half of the holiday days (often including holiday eves), and go in order of seniority to pick which of those holidays they’d like. If seniority doesn’t really work for your company, you can rotate who gets to pick first.

    4. Random Bystander*

      Here’s the policy where I work. We have what are known as “skeleton crew required” days, which is x% of the people in the department (more or less–it is less than half who are required to be in office–an example of this might be Wednesday before Thanksgiving, where Thursday and Friday are company holidays that everyone is off without needing to request, but some people might want an additional day before).

      Prior to this, we had a grand-boss who was absolute “seniority over all”. Which is fine, until you get into these low turnover situations in which a person with 7 years in the job is still “too junior” to get requested days if someone more senior had requested that day, and that more senior person has 11 years in and another 9 before they’re expected to retire.

      For this, and many other reasons, everyone in the department was delighted when she “moved on to other opportunities”.

      New policy in the first year: all requests are first-come-first-approved; all those requests which were denied are kept on file/logged.

      Year 2: anyone who was denied a request in Year 1 has their request put at the top of the list for first approval; anyone who was approved in Year 1 is put at the bottom of the list. If there are fewer requests than possible approvals, everyone who requested gets that day/those days off.

      So, for example, if you have a department of 20 people, and determine that you can have a skeleton crew day (immediately around a big holiday, for example) where you can get by with 9 people working, 11 people can be approved; for routine you might say that you can get by with up to 5 people off. Obviously, skeleton crew days have enough people who can be approved that no one will work the “plum days off” every year unless it’s by choice as they would be first in line every other year.

    5. DEJ*

      Another option that Alison has previously suggested is offering incentives to people to volunteer to work some of the more popular days – bonuses, extra vacation days, holiday pay, etc.

    6. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I have a family member in a high-skilled, coverage critically necessary job. She has a long-standing arrangement that she’ll cover days like Thanksgiving, 4th of July, and New Year’s if she gets Christmas and Easter. Seems to work well for everyone.

    7. BAgpuss*

      I think some form of rotation.

      I’ve mostly worked places where we didn’t have to stay open on holidays / bank holidays, but did have bottlenecks where nearly everyone wanted time off (for instance, the office which opened between Christmas and new year, so those 3 working days were in high demand.)

      The way it worked there was that there were two dates when booking ‘opened’ to book those days off. Anyone who worked them in one year was in the first group who could submit a request to have those days off. Then a bit later (if I recall about a week later) it opened up and anyone else could request the days.

      I think at that point it was allocated based on when someone had last worked the holiday, so if one person had had it off for the last 2 years and one had had that last three years, then the person who’d had two in a row would get the time off, if they were both the same then it would go to whoever put their request in first.

      It did mean that if you were in a smaller department it would come round more often but it was as fair as it could be and still provide coverage.

      1. Liz*

        I agree with the rotation idea. In a previous job, I was one of four admins, and the newest. The way our vacation was handled, was we had a calendar, and at the beginning of the year, our boss had everyone put down when they wanted off (if they knew) by seniority. Which generally worked, except one summer when the woman with the most time in, took EVERY friday in the summer. Which really wasn’t fair at all. Thankfully, it didn’t really impact me, but it was kind of annoying.
        In my current job, no one has to request time off; there are four in my group. Either myself or my boss has to be in to complete a daily task. Unless there’s some sort of emergency, but so far, that’s never happened. We have an online calendar for our larger group, and its just a matter of putting your time down, after making sure no one else in the group will be out then.
        I don’t need or want time at the holidays; I take the first week in January, so it leaves the two weeks before Chrismat and between Christmas and NY for everyone else. I love working then, its dead quiet and i get a lot done!

        1. Endorable*

          WHAT? That’s demented. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to book vacations, and ohh the terrible tales I could tell… but that would have NEVER flown where I worked! Whatever block of time you had available (min 2 weeks max 6), if you split it into lesser increments, THAT was your first pick. So if you picked one day.. that was your turn.. you could’t pick ten or 60 individual days and block out the time for others on one pick!

          1. Endorable*

            oops 30 days… you know what I mean! If you broke up your vacation, it went to second pick etc

    8. Policy Wonk*

      As soon as I get one request for a major holiday, I alert the entire staff that I have received it, and if anyone else wants that week off as well, they need to let me know right away. (I have an employee who usually asks for the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas around now, when many others might not have thought about it at all yet. But his family lives in a foreign country so he needs lots of lead time.) I will then allot as appropriate – I have rarely had to turn anyone down for a request because there are some people who don’t mind working holidays – and I am very grateful for them. The one time I did have an issue we arrived at a negotiated solution – two people split the week in question.

    9. soontoberetired*

      my job requires oncall coverage 24/7 including Christmas, etc. At the start of making out the rotation for the year, we pick holidays. I’ve usually taken New Years but when I don’t want it, my co workers have been good on taking it up. this is all voluntary on our part, and it works because we are all pretty reasonable. and this has worked on other teams I’ve been on for summer holiday weeks. It doesn’t work as well if you have unreasonable people on your team. we did have to get a manager involved once which was unfortunate for all of us.

    10. anonymous73*

      It would probably vary by type of job. In an office that requires coverage, the biggest thing is cross training, so that when someone wants to take vacation, they’re actually able to take vacation and not be on call. Another thing is know how many you need at any given time of year – depending on the business, certain times of year may be busier than others. And during certain times of the year when everyone wants to take off (like over the holidays) make sure you’re rotating requests so the same group of people aren’t getting stuck working every year.

    11. Gnome*

      I’m saying this as a person who is in a minority religion….

      Ask if there’s anyone who would WANT or Not Mind working those days. I would gladly work Christmas is I could trade it for a religious holiday if mine since I typically have to use vacation days or work extra hours on other days that time period to take my holidays off… at least most years (not the ones where I need to take my kids to look at colleges).

      There are folks who hate the holidays, have toxic families, or just need something productive to do that day. Ask for volunteers first. Also, you can add incentives… especially if there aren’t volunteers. Eg. If you volunteer to cover X Prized Day, you aren’t in the hook for Y Prized Day, or maybe you get a bonus day of vacation to use.

      But really, I’d work most federal holidays just to float those to my religious holidays (there’s a good reason for diversity right there). I know I’m not alone in that.

      1. Just another queer reader*

        Yes! My housemate is in the same boat.

        They are happy to work on Christian holidays. The holidays they celebrate and want off tend to be easy to accommodate, schedule wise.

        The scheduling used to be done by a person who personally knew all the employees. This was great. Unfortunately, scheduling has been outsourced to the central office.

        Many of the employees in a specific position are of the same (not Christian) religion. Sometimes coverage issues result on major holidays for that religion, which could be avoided with better planning by the scheduling office, but alas…

      2. Lenora Rose*

        This works most of the time. There are always odd exceptions; one year my (raised Christian and very Christmas-celebratory) brother worked Christmas to cover for his Muslim coworker, who needed the day off… for his wedding. Which he had chosen to have on a major Christian holiday because it meant the majority of his kin would have a day off already but wouldn’t have other plans.

      3. Dragonfly7*

        I’m very much a fan of this approach for similar reasons, and it’s rare that there aren’t enough volunteers in my department.

      4. Nina*

        In my company there’s no problem covering holidays, because in my country, if you have people working on a public holiday, you MUST pay them time and a half for hours worked on the public holiday (even if it’s only one hour!) and you MUST give them an extra full day off to take whenever they want.

    12. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      State employee, union. Manager sends out a vacation request email for each quarter, and gives everyone a week or so to respond. The management team then looks at coverage, and has to follow seniority rules if they’re going to deny a request. Seniority rules don’t apply if you ask outside the request window — if you come late to the table, you might get rejected, no matter how senior you are.

      Most teams do a pretty good job of doing informal consulting amongst themselves to barter days before requesting to minimize the denials.

      1. Christmas Carol*

        Back when I worked in a union job we had a similar system, with one big exception: If you got a particular day off one year, you went to the bottom of the list for the same day(s) the next year regardless of your seniority. One woman in my department had a demanding husband who insisted that she take her vacation the week of his birthday off to be at his beck an call. His birthday was around a popular summer holiday weekend. Every two years he would call our union head and demand that she get that week off to wait on him. It never happened. I often wonder what happened to him.

    13. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      We had a common calendar that you put your leave in on so everyone in the office knows who is going to be in/out. For us the earlier you put it in the more likely you were going to get the days. I don’t think there was any issues when I was there, but our coverage didn’t need to be very high around the holidays as the ‘customer’ we had was also functioning at minimum capacity.

      Also, as a single, childless adult, that lived within 10min or so driving distance to family, I normally just took on the ‘holiday’ time periods and used my leave at other times. Also, it didn’t hurt that I got the benefit that my coworkers were thankful, it made me look good to management as a ‘team player’ and everyone was more accommodating when I wanted to be out since they knew I would be in for the holiday periods. I was still looking out for myself LOL.

    14. IfLucid*

      My department keeps a table with coverage schedules for all major and minor holidays over a rolling 5-year period, and rotates people through alphabetically with adjustments to ensure fair coverage. We don’t schedule anyone for more than 1 minor holiday per year, and a major holiday every second year.

      People sometimes want to trade, so we defined a policy stating that among positions of equitable rank and duties, and if everyone is agreeable to the change, those scheduled for a major holiday can swap with someone covering a different major holiday, and minor holidays can be swapped with other minor holidays within the same calendar year.

      The schedule is published in December for the following year.

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

      I think it depends on the number of people in the department, but I think some type of rotating schedule would be best. And no one should have to work 2 holidays in a row unless they choose to. So if you work Christmas you get New Year’s off. If you worked memorial day you get july 4th off, etc. Or maybe if someone wants to work Christmas day but not Christmas eve. I once worked where someone wanted Christmas eve because we worked the later shift.

      I think it would be a good idea to have a survey or something that people can take to find out what holidays they would be able to work. For example, not many people do anything for Labor Day but I worked with someone whose family would all gather several states away each year for a family reunion for the week of labor day. So they would be ok working any of the summer holidays but really wanted Labor day off as it was basically their family’s christmas

    16. What's My Name Now?*

      I work in a relatively small dept in a large hospital. For the big 3 (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) our management sends out a request sheet in August – you rank the holiday you would prefer to work (1-3). And you don’t work the same holiday 2 years in a row (unless you specifically say you want to). You can’t take the whole week off – PTO requests are blocked after the middle of December.
      For regular PTO requests, you just send in your request in advance. For our dept, we have to send our request before the next schedule is out. We have schedules every 6 weeks, so for all practical purposes it’s best to send your PTO request at least 8 weeks in advance.
      We also have a limit on how many people can be on PTO. Due to our staffing levels, only 2 people can be off at one time. This gives us enough coverage for random illnesses, etc. We have a shared calendar with PTO requests on them so we can check before we ask/plan.

    17. Wilde*

      I’m in the Southern Hemisphere so our December/January is also our summer holidays, and is filled with lots of public holidays. So the two weeks over Christmas & NY have only six day working days if your job closes public holidays.

      I work in the back office of a bank and everyone in our wider unit is required to submit their summer leave requests in June. The four managers then spend a day working through the requests, ensuring all processes have some coverage. Leave is allocated based on who took what last year, what has been requested, any special planned travel etc.

      Expectations are super clear so almost everyone is able to get their request. They also make it very clear that you should not book travel until your request has been approved.

      Any summer requests after July are approved/declined at a managers discretion so new staff are still able to take some time off or if you unexpectedly need an extra day there is leeway for it.

      This process worked so well in our office because the expectations were very clear and the process was pretty robust and had been in place a long time.

  2. Sunflower*

    Has anyone ever taken a job they weren’t super excited about but took for a longer term benefit? How did it work out for you?

    I just received an offer for a role at a FAANG company- the salary is a 60% increase. The job wouldn’t be dreadful by any means but I’m looking to make a career change and it’s a smaller step in the direction I want to go than I was hoping for. I’m hoping that the name recognition will open up a lot of future opportunities and I can stay at my current spending levels to sock away savings. As a third career change option, my absolute dream job would require me to get my Masters and the cost is a big thing holding me back. I could save enough in 2-3 years to completely cover grad school costs plus living expenses.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I did, but it was shortly after grad school, when my goal was to pay off some bills & get some real-world experience. The benefits were good when I started, & I did get a promotion to something I wanted to do. But I did stay there longer than I thought I would. And probably than I should have.

    2. I don't know what to do*

      I now it’s heartbreaking, but it sounds like this is a great “next step” for you. I don’t have any advice, but I’ve been in your situation. Just sending positive thoughts.

      1. Sunflower*

        Thank you! I’ve been trying to transition into sales and applied to this job off the Job title- which seemed exactly what I wanted to be doing- and the actual job is a BD role- but I kept going through the process ‘just in case’ and now I’ve got an offer. I’m sad (and feeling a bit guilty about that!) because I really thought with the great resignation and labor shortage that I would be able to easily change careers. but I keep getting feedback that I have great experience but since I’ve never carried a quota, they can’t hire me. I’m hoping being in a BD role will get be closer to that- my boss also manages the sales team so I’m hoping after a few years, an internal transfer could be an option.

        I really appreciate the acknowledgement of the complicatedness of this. As you can imagine, I’m getting a lot of ‘just take the job’ from my friends and it’s so much more complicated than that!

        1. Green Goose*

          One of my friends left a really meaningful job at a nonprofit because she wanted to have children but it was only possible through IVF, which was not covered in her health insurance. She went to a big tech company where she does a very small part of her previous role on repeat all day but she now has two children via IVF! She won’t stay at the tech company forever but it definitely served its purpose in her life. The tech company covered the IVF process fully, life changing.

        2. A Feast of Fools*

          As someone who once worked in both BD and outside sales for software companies. . . I would take the BD role but not expect to get into sales in your current company.

          BD’s are/were seen as “less than” *true* salespeople in every company I worked at. It was easier to put together an amazing resume and cover letter and knock an interview out of the park at a new company than it was to have your current company see you as something other than BD.

          Times might’ve changed (I’m referring back to 2010) but just be mentally prepared for the possibility that you won’t be able to make the leap at this particular company. Which is fine! Take the money, gain the experience, learn the “language”, and then kick but in your sales role at a different place. :-)

    3. Cate*

      A big company like that is likely to cover masters or advanced degrees after a few years of service, provided you can tangentially link it to what you’re doing. If it’s a small step toward the direction you want to be in, particularly if there are opportunities in your new organisation about it, I’d say it’s likely that would be case. I would ask to see their policy around this / the appetite from managers for their reports to be doing it, and see if that helps convince you. But yeah, a FAANG company will open a huge number of doors, and I do think it’s worth getting the name on your CV if it’s not going to be a miserable time for you role/team wise.

    4. voluptuousfire*

      Go for it! Not every new job has to be a Big Deal. If the company name on your resume opens doors for you, give it a shot. Consider it the price of admission for the next step in your career.

    5. Beth*

      When I made my big career change in my 40s, I took a job that I wasn’t excited with, with the specific plan of staying for three years, building my skills and track record in the new field, and then leaving for a better place.

      I ended up staying for nine years! For the first five or six years, the job and the compensation improved steadily, and I really liked the job and loved the work. Over the last few years, it went downhill rapidly — a lot of my toxic boss stories are from this time. I left for my current job (where I’ve been for over 11 years), and the nine years of skills and experience set me up really, really well for a really, really good place. I would not be at my current wonderful firm if I hadn’t taken the unexciting job back at the start of this path.

      So my take is: go for it. Give yourself a clear mental path to the exit door if and when you want to leave. Enjoy the higher income, save like mad, and watch your options expand.

    6. filosofickle*

      I’m currently in one of those. It’s not a great fit for me but it’s good money, experience,and stability at a time when I have Life Reasons for needing that. There are a lot of days when I’m frustrated, feeling even more disconnected and misaligned than I anticipated, but it’s getting me where I need to go and two years here will be okay. I keep a list hanging to remind me why I’m doing this and what I can learn from it. (But note I wouldn’t have made this trade if I didn’t like the people.)

    7. Chaos Muppet*

      So if it was a small step in the direction you want to go with only a small pay increase, I might not take it, but that big of a pay increase will make a big difference. I would go for it. To me, the ability to save a good chunk of money so you can have more options in the future is worth it.

    8. Double A*

      I don’t really see the downside except that it’s not the 100% perfect job? The money factor alone seems to make it worth it. If you feel like there’s a very good chance that you *could* get into the perfect job right now then maybe, but if you’re planning to go to grad school anyway in a few years then it seems like having an okay but very well paying job is ideal.

    9. Accountant*

      Not taken, but I’m staying at my existing job despite a very strong hiring market in my field for this reason (specific benefits that are really valuable to my family right now, and not as universal as they should be).

      It sounds like a great move for you. Remember to compare thus opportunity to other opportunities that *actually exist*, rather than your “dream” option. Unless there’s a reasonable likelihood that you’ll find the job that is both very exciting, and at the pay/benefits you want, and a larger step, this could easily be your optimal choice.

    10. learnedthehardway*

      That sounds well worth pursuing – it moves you further on your career path, will help pay to get you the training you need, and you can’t move forward much further than that without the masters degree.

      Not every job will be something you are 100% excited about. I worked for a company once where the CEO pointed out that he did 70% of the job to get the 30% that he really loved. Most jobs are like that, to some extent.

    11. Momma Bear*

      I worked for a contractor and knew my contract was ending. I was offered a lateral position on another contract. The commute was horrible and the pay was the same. However, I took it to keep my employment and PTO as I was planning a wedding and honeymoon and figured 8 months in a job I didn’t love was worth the security of that event. I was job searching pretty quickly after and moved on less than a year after the transfer (and then by Christmas that contract folded so it was just as well).

      It sounds like your potential role is a means to an end and I’d consider it. Not only is it a step (albeit a smaller one) in the direction you want but it comes with a hefty salary increase.

    12. 1qtkat*

      I had to just when I was finishing a judicial clerkship and my then boyfriend/now husband decided to go through match again for anesthesia residency and ended up in a different state. I had to re-establish myself career wise in a state which I had no connections since my law school was in the first state. It was a tough and rough couple of years until I got the job I now hold.

      I just gave the current job notice today since I’m starting a new related job with higher pay and more mobility hopefully. I’m grateful for the old job because it helped keep my skills fresh and I was able to add some new ones to my resume. Without it I would have gotten my new job. Definitely sad to leave the old job, but there’s not much advancement or likely pay raise in it.

    13. Morgan Proctor*

      Out of curiosity, does this offer require that you live in the Bay Area? If you’re already there then no big deal. But I dropped out of consideration for a FAANG job because that was the requirement. I live in a LCOL area and even if they offered me 100% more than what I was currently making, it still wouldn’t have been enough to allow me to live in the Bay and save money.

      1. Sunflower*

        Not Bay Area but another HCOL city that I’m already living in so no need to move/remap my spending!

    14. Green Goose*

      You should also look at graduate school options in Europe, much cheaper than the US. It won’t work if there is a specific program you must take in the US, but if not, I went to graduate school in England and it was about half the price of a local state school for me. And in Estonia, Germany, and some other countries the tuition fees are all you have to pay and they can be as low as $2,000 so your expenses would be housing and living expenses and most European programs are shorter than American ones so you would be out of the workforce for a shorter period of time. I always want to throw this out when people are considering grad school.

      If the international college has an FSA ID it can accept federal American loans and sometimes even American scholarships, and those colleges tend to be recognized by American companies.

    15. anonymous73*

      I think it’s completely okay to take a job you’re not doing cartwheels about if it has the potential for long term benefits. Quite honestly I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited about a job outside of being excited that I was no longer unemployed. But I learned a lot of good things to advance my career, so it all worked out. My problem is staying too long when it’s time to move on.

    16. General Organa*

      This is common in my field (law), and it worked out great. I did my time at a big firm making big money, was able to pay off my law school debt, and now work for a fraction of the pay but 1) also a fraction of the hours and 2) in a field that I am passionate about. Keep perspective (the “golden handcuffs” problem is a real thing that I’ve seen happen), and maybe try to keep your hand in your dream field outside of work (volunteering, keeping up with literature, networking, whatever) and I think it can be a really good move.

    17. Meatballsforme*

      I’ve done something sort of similar and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I felt stuck in a type of role I didn’t like and was being paid very poorly for it. I wanted to be in a different role (more Sr) and to be paid market rate for that, but that just wasn’t attainable. But I did get an offer for a lateral move that paid extremely well (all in all it was probably an 80% raise) at a company that was extremely prestigious in the industry. However, there were some major drawbacks. I knew I’d be working extraordinarily long hours and I knew the culture there would make me pretty miserable. It was a tradeoff I was willing to make though, because I thought the name recognition of the company would open doors to the more Sr role I wanted to be at.

      I told myself I’d stick it out for 2 years, but that I
      would try to save up enough that if it got to be too much I could quit with nothing lined up. I only made it a year and half until I was just so miserable I couldn’t do it anymore. I was close to just quitting, but put some feelers out in terms of job searching. Turns out the gamble paid off – having that name on my resume opened tons of doors and I had a couple of offers to choose from after a month or so of job searching. I chose one, that still wasn’t perfect – it was the more Sr level I wanted to be at, culture was good, it just didn’t pay great (for that level). I took it because I knew that the type of experience I’d gain there would be very desirable.

      That also worked out well – I got a couple of raises and a promotion there so I was happy to stay for a couple of years, but finally decided to pull the trigger and go for the “perfect job” (of course, there’s no perfect job, I just meant my ideal job at the moment in terms of seniority and salary). The name recognition of the first job + the desirable experience I gained at the second job made job searching pretty easy and I just started a new job a couple of months ago that I’m very content in. I’m happy with where I am seniority wise, I like the culture and I feel like I’m being paid on the highish end of market rate for this type of role.

      Of course, I still want to move up, both role and salary wise in the future, but I don’t feel behind anymore. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to play that sort of catch up without sacrificing a decent amount in the short term – so I feel very good about the choices I made, even if in the short term I knew I was signing myself for some discomfort/frustration.

    18. Asenath*

      I don’t know that I’ve ever been super excited about a job. Super excited about getting paid and working (both in the sense of keeping active and of actually doing something I liked or was trained for and, hey, getting paid!). But I took a temporary contract job that I really had no particular attraction to, but I was applying for just about everything and anything that I might possibly be qualified for, and was getting no nibbles at all except for a possible contract that was both part time AND short term. So I got called for an interview for a job in a place with decent benefits and fair if not great pay, did my best, but didn’t expect much (which probably made me interview better than usual because I really get nervous with interviews and I think it shows). I was astonished when they offered me the job, accepted immediately, thinking it’ll keep the wolf from the door until I get a chance at something better (I had one particular job in my eye). I stayed until I retired 17 years later. I liked the work. I liked the steady paycheck. I never did get one of the jobs I had my eye on, although for a while I kept applying. It was in another branch of the same employer, and over the years I heard things about it that consoled me for being rejected by them.

  3. Wonderlust*

    I would appreciate any input, comments etc. from people who have found, or want to find, work in another country. I currently work in a niche administrative role and a lifelong dream of mine has been to live in another country. I’ve had absolutely no luck with my job search in the last two years, despite a strong CV, and coupled with my countries state of politics (it’s that one who voted for Brexit), I feel like now is the time to start planning. I’d like to settle in one country but Nomad visas appeal as well. I’m getting my personal finances in order but other than that I’m not sure where to begin on the employment front!

      1. LadyAmalthea*

        I did move to another country and am now working and my advice is to be very clear on the visa requirements and ability to be legally able to work. Unless you are in a necessary job, and some countries will publish a list of those jobs on their governmental websites, though it may take a bit of digging, it is not easy to find employment if an employer would have to sponsor your visa.

        I moved because I got married to someone who lived in another country, so I am here on a spousal visa. It took way, way longer than expected to get my permission to remain and for that to go from temporary to 5 year, which was exacerbated by the pandemic. I ended up taking the Civil Service exams and that process took 9 months from exam 1 to getting my placement, but with Covid and having a professional certification that doesn’t exist where I moved to, that became my best option.

        I enjoy the career shift and am learning a lot of things I never thought to become expert in. The adjustments in writing style have been a learning curve for me as grammar and spelling conventions vary more than you might think from coubtry to country.

        TLDR – do a ton of research but expect things to take forever.

        1. BCC*

          Nice to see this was submitted while I was writing my response and we basically said the same thing!

    1. BCC*

      A lot of research is required to be successful. Where do you wish to go? Zero in on that country and try to understand the following:
      -what type of education or qualifications does your role require in that country (and do you have it) *potential disqualification- you do a role, but your qualifications wouldn’t be recognized as meeting the requirements for that role in this new country.
      -what level of local language proficiency might you need? Do you have it or can you get there with study?
      -what conditions might you need to meet to get a work visa there? * this one is big and probably the biggest potential to disqualify your application* a LOT of countries will only grant work visas to those who can work in their definition of a highly skilled job or one in high local demand. If your role doesn’t fit that definition and this is a condition for a work visa, then most employers won’t be able to hire you no matter what.
      -how are CVs formatted there and work to get yours to match
      -are there any multinationals in the UK who also have a large office in that country (or vice versa) as they might be more accustomed to hiring someone ‘like you’

    2. a tester, not a developer*

      Are you looking at Commonwealth vs non-Commonwealth countries? I’m in Canada, and I seem to remember that the immigration process is different/easier if you’re coming from the UK.

      1. Weegie*

        It isn’t all that easy for a UK citizen to immigrate to Canada! I did it quite a long time ago – things will have changed, of course, but there’s a lot of form-filling and it depends on how many ‘points’ you can accrue (you get points depending on your qualifications, profession, whether you can speak French, etc). But applying to immigrate to a country that has a points-based or other system is a better option, I think, than trying to secure a job and visa sponsorship by your future employer, unless you’re in a very in-demand field. Once you have the right to go and live in a country, you can look for jobs once you’re there. Depending on your age, you can try countries that have working holiday visa agreements with the UK, which have the same advantage but are time-limited.

      2. Glomarization, Esq.*

        I hear this from time to time in my Canadian immigration practice. That may have been the case decades ago, but the only advantage someone coming from the U.K. might have is that their English proficiency scores will likely be higher than someone who’s learned English as a second language. There is currently no separate immigration track for people coming from the Commonwealth or the U.K.

        1. a tester, not a developer*

          Thanks for the info! Yeah, I definitely haven’t looked into it for many years. Too bad that it’s not as easy now.

          1. Glomarization, Esq.*

            Well … not to put too fine a point on it, but favouring candidates from the U.K. and elsewhere in the Commonwealth tended to perpetuate the outcomes of British imperialism, while also continuing to deny Canada its own full sovereignty as a nation, rather than as a subject dominion of the Empire. The current points-based system for economic migrants, for all its flaws (and there are many), at least purports to start candidates on a level playing field.

            1. NoviceManagerGuy*

              Huh, those points add up pretty easily as a native English speaker who could transfer his job there, unless I misunderstood.

              1. Glomarization, Esq.*

                Your maximum points for English or French language ability are something like 128. By contrast, you get 200 points just if you have a job offer, and 600 points with a provincial nominee program nomination. I tell my clients that ability in the official languages is a minor factor — though perhaps the largest of the minor factors if you can assert the maximum points in every area of the CRS calculations where it can be added in.

                In my experience, the minimum score for getting an Express Entry invitation hovers around 450, and more realistically you don’t get drawn unless you’re well into the 700s. The CRS grid is a harsh mistress if you’re a native English speaker but you don’t also have higher skills, education, experience, an age under 30, connections in Canada, and so on.

    3. mushroom toes*

      So: you want to know how to find a job in another country that will sponsor you/your visa? If you’re not looking at working holiday visas, getting a job to sponsor you can be tough. My company absolutely sponsors work visa for overseas people, and honestly it’s a bit of an expensive proposition from our point of view. We’ll only do it if we *really* need your skills. You mention a niche administrative role -I think your best plan is to try to find a company that needs that role desperately. The other approaches are to work for a very large multinational that can move people around, or to go to uni (Master’s/PhD, if appropriate) in the country you want, and hope to find a job when you’re done. That being said, I’ve worked/lived in 5 different countries(a combination of post-docs/working holiday visas) and I really enjoyed it. Good luck!

    4. Glomarization, Esq.*

      A few thoughts just off the top of my head: The rules vary quite a bit from country to country, and they change all the time. The best lay resource I’ve seen lately is “21 Countries With Digital Nomad Visas (For Remote Workers)” on a blog called expertvagabond dot com.

      I’ve found for my clients (immigration between the U.S. and Canada) that it’s very, very difficult to land a job in another country just by flinging your CV at a job opening. Employers are unlikely to hire an international candidate unless the candidate already has authorization to work in that country. They’re even less likely to hire someone who doesn’t already live in the country, unless that industry specifically looks for temporary foreign workers. (And a temporary worker visa isn’t necessarily a good pathway to permanent residence/indefinite leave to remain/green card/whatever.) Another wrinkle that comes to mind is that your professional education, certifications, licenses, and so on may not match one-for-one with what’s required in your destination country. Be aware that you may take a significant hit to your income while you bring your qualifications up to par.

      Without knowing exactly what industry you’re in, very generally I’d suggest trying to attend an international conference or industry meeting, or join your industry’s professional association and find a chapter or analogue organization in your destination country. Network with these people and find out how companies in the industry hire internationally. A headhunter/recruiter might be someone you could work with, as well.

      And I’ll absolutely advise that you work with a lawyer who has experience in immigration. There are aspects to law and procedure with immigration that can present issues for lawyers who don’t see much immigration work.

    5. Green Goose*

      I will be in this boat in a few years. What my plan is to do is to find a company that has offices in the US and in the country that I would like to live in, so it’ll be easier to have a transfer. There are a lot of companies that have locations in major US cities as well as major international cities.

    6. Cordelia*

      Coming from the same country as you, I’m afraid that getting work abroad is a whole lot harder now, because of the aforementioned Brexit.
      Are you young enough to get a working holiday visa? If not, you will probably have to have very specific in-demand skills in particular fields (I worked in Canada as a nurse, for example) – in Canada, employers recruiting you need to be able to show that they cannot recruit a Canadian person to do the same role. So your niche administrative skills will need to be very niche and in demand internationally, if you are to work for an overseas employer.
      A friend of mine, who works in a specific field of IT that I don’t understand, tbh, has managed to get work with a UK co-op who allow remote working, and now is able to work wherever he can get an internet connection. He did have to work for them in the UK for a while first though. Maybe this is something you could look into – working for a UK or a multinational that has offices abroad?

    7. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      An American in Germany here to say be sure you really are willing to learn the language, or at least try. It was less expected of me when I lived in Asia but I always tried. It will be a major part of your new life and will be a major cause of stress at the beginning (assuming you’re not going to an English speaking country). But i can also say it’s 10,000 percent worth it.

      Also, make sure you fully like that country’s healthcare system (a big reason I left the states)

    8. Viette*

      I moved to another country from the USA two years ago. I think it’s gone really well for me and my spouse! We moved to a very desirable-to-immigrate-to country with a high per-capita GDP. I’m in an extremely desirable and highly-needed field of work.

      My advice is:

      The specific country will be hugely important in what your options are. I would change your approach from “I want to live in any other country” to “I want to live in THESE SPECIFIC other countries”. Do you want to live in Japan? Nigeria? Slovenia? Focus on what you want.

      You need to be realistic about the relationship between employment and immigration. If you’re in an industry where your job is in high demand there’s a shortage of it where you’re going, you’ll have the power to move through the hiring and immigration process. If your job is not in high demand and/or you’re competing with a ton of people locally, it’s going to very difficult/impossible to move for a work visa. Culturally, financially, practically: nobody wants to hire an immigrant coming from overseas when they can hire a local. Even in industries where there are lots of immigrants! It’s a buttload of paperwork, it’s expensive, you’re an unknown quantity, etc etc.

      You could move for some non-working visa and then try to get a job, but there are other potential issues with that.

      So you gotta get VERY realistic about your own marketability or lack thereof. Even for “nomad visas”. If you’re in a super desirable field, you know it and you should go out there and get a sponsored job! If you’re not, get practical about what you’re up against.

      That leads into: visas and immigration are going to be a huge drag. It doesn’t matter where you go! At best your desired country’s immigration system will be welcoming but confusing and labyrinthine. At worst it will be actively xenophobic. Don’t let having visited a country as a tourist guide you in any assumptions! It’s always an absolute CHASM between “tourism visa/immigration experience” and “working visa/immigration experience”. As a tourist you bring money to the citizens of the country and then you leave; as a worker you take a job that could potentially be held by a citizen of the country. No, it’s not that simple, but that’s the fundamental perspective of immigration services.

      So yeah, I would say my advice is:
      1. focus down on the countries you want
      2. get real about your job prospects
      3. immigrating to (settle in) another country is a lot of paperwork, patience, money, and luck

    9. AcademiaNut*

      For a different approach – if your goal is to spend a year or two living in another country and then returning, you could look at education opportunities. You would need to be accepted into a program of study and demonstrate that you can support yourself during the program (either via bank account, or a scholarship), and will generally be prohibited from working while in the country. Education visas bring money into the country, so they tend to work differently than work visas.

      Echoing what others have said, though. Most jobs are not visa-eligible, and the ones that are tend to be in work that is highly skilled and in demand, in very international fields, plus a few oddball things like teaching English.

      My path to working overseas was the highly skilled international niche field approach. Step 1 was getting a PhD in a STEM science, followed by a postdoc abroad, followed by another postdoc in a third country, where I was able to transition into a more stable job in the same field, followed some years later by becoming eligible for permanent residency.

  4. I don't know what to do*

    Long Story:
    I have a weird question. I work for a non profit in the fundraising department. Our department is split into mini departments. We each focus on different fundraisers throughout the year. Our company is extremely laid back where terms like “yo, dude, whatsup and howdy” are common internally in an endearing way. Outwardly we are very professional. One of the stipulations for working here is you have to have training in or have a relationship with someone with the Issue our company supports. This Issue (I’m trying to be vague to be anonymous) can be very severe in that someone would constantly need help in daily life or so minute that a simple prescription will allow you to live life on your own.

    On my team all of us coincidentally have minor children with varying degrees of this Issue. We all know how to work with our children’s Issues, triggers, side effects, etc. The company is very lax as to coordinating fundraisers. They even allows us to bring our kids to work on special occasions, meet at someone’s home if more convenient and at times of desperation our company will help find childcare.

    Our mini department has a huge fundraiser coming up.

    My teammate Rachel has a 8 year old child that is middle of the lane as far as Issue. She has a supportive immediate family, extended family and friends.

    Rachel had worked on this fundraiser a few times and was very hesitant to shake things up. She has the most seniority but is not the lead (Rachel is not the lead due to outside issue, she has an excellent track record) as far as this particular fundraiser is concerned. Rachel was VERY upset when our boss was enthusiastic about some changes the mini department as a whole voted on. We have already had positive feed back. Our fundraiser hasn’t even happened yet and these changes have brought in more donations than we anticipated. For one example: Rachel wanted to do something at the fundraiser that in the past was done via paper and pencil. I know this sounds small and old fashioned but this task is a HUGE part of our fundraiser. We had wanted to change this to an electronic format. As a compromise we agreed to do both. We posted an electronic format online and in in 1 week we brought in $4k in donations… The paper and pencil format only brought in 10% of that. In total so far we have made $4,400. I’d call that an early success!

    About 4 weeks before our event during a weekend planning session, the above mentioned task needed to be coordinated. It took an entire 10+ hours to do Rachel’s paper version. We just went with it as we are a team, but this took away precious time for other things that needed to be done. Part of the reason this took so long is Rachel brought her child who did not want to be there on a Saturday. Issue or not, child was bored out of their mind (Rachel didn’t bring anything for entertainment), kept asking questions, threw tantrums, wanted to help staple papers (but did so incorrectly and had to be redone), complained about what was ordered for lunch…. I felt bad for Rachel. She was in a tough situation. We are all sympathetic as we have experienced her child’s behavior but on the other hand most of us in the mini department realize that our children would not be able to handle an entire weekend of planning. Most of us made other childcare arrangements when this fundraiser’s itinerary was first initiated months ago.

    We are now at crunch time with our fundraiser 16 days away. We are working this Saturday and next weekend to go over last minute details. These will be an 8-10 hour days. Rachel is bringing her child. We’re all just dreading this. Her child is very sweet, but the Issue will make this day very difficult for child. Rachel keeps texting everyone saying that child wants a playdate and to please bring your children. We’ve all said we’re not bringing our children. I feel horrible. This is an innocent child. How do we gently say the company offers emergency child care, you need to use it for the next 16 days? She’s just not taking the hint and being blunt has not worked either.

    This Issue does change families’ lives so sometimes you have avoid the direct route and take the scenic one. Rachel is approaching things as everything goes her way (tasks for the fundraiser and bringing her child) or she just refuses to help. I feel like there are two concerns – ONE that she is offended we are updating tasks to how they were done previously. Maybe she feels like she is loosing control over something that indirectly helps her child?; TWO this is a job where our company offers childcare help with the Issue and it is ok to ask for help. Trust me we all have. Regardless, the work needs to get done.

    Before anyone says this is a management issue, management has spoken to Rachel. They are not ignoring the issue, I’m just not privy to their discussions at this point in time.


    1. ThatGirl*

      Why hasn’t anyone said “I think you’d be better off finding childcare, nobody else is bringing kids because we’ll be so busy, and I’m afraid your kiddo is just going to be bored”?

      If you have been that blunt, then just keep saying it – kindly, but plainly. There’s nothing else you can do.

      (I understand why you posted a lot of backstory, but that’s not really all that relevant — the crux of the issue is that she thinks she can bring her kid with her when it’s a bad idea.)

      1. I don't know what to do*

        I guess I wrote a novel for a simple question. Sorry. I wanted people to have the backstory selfishly because I didn’t want someone to think we weren’t trying to work the issue or ganging up on someone.

        We’ve been blunt and keep saying it. THere’s nothing we can do. I just feel like this 10 hour day is going to be a lot longer. Yes, I’ve pointed this out.

        Sigh, I guess we will just have to go with it.

        Thank youfor your advice!

        1. ThatGirl*

          Oh, I get the impulse to provide a lot of backstory, I’m guilty of similar — and sometimes people start asking lots of questions. But I do think the childcare issue is the crux of it, and it would be even if you weren’t dealing with the other details around it.

          I would also be clear with your manager(s) that you’re worried about the impact this will have, and then try to just let it go from there.

        2. Lorelai*

          If she insists on bringing Kiddo to Saturday work, can you insist she bring entertainment for the child? Maybe movies or video games on a tablet or set up something on a spare computer? Can someone be asked to come in to the office to entertain (aka babysit) Kiddo for a couple of hours? I realize these are work-arounds and not genuine solutions.

          1. I don't know what to do*

            Rachel’s solution for entertainment is for us to bring our kids. She doesn’t want her child to have a lot of screen time. To each their own, but sometimes I feel desparate times mean you can bend the rules. At this point it’s a little late for us to get childcare through work. It’s a no win situation and sadly a bright young cheerful child is in the middle of our situation

            1. I don't know what to do*

              PS As I said below I am using the word emergency incorrectly in this situation. Our handbook/ company term basically says emergency is when you can’t get a sitter for a work related issue the company will do it’s best to help. They have a variety of resources but at this point it’s a bit late to book childcare help.

            2. Bagpuss*

              It does sound very frustrating. I think if you haven’t already it is reasonable to say to her “Rachel, I’m concerned that your kid is going to be bored and disruptive, which will mean the session is longer and more stressful for everyone than it needs to be. I know your preferred solution would be for other kids to be here for Child to play with, but as that isn’t going to happen, please make cure that you bring things to keep Child occupied, even if that mean them having more screen time than you’d usually allow, otherwise it’s going to be a really long and boring day for him.”

              The only other possibility I can think of would be if you could manage without Rachel . Would it be possible for whoever is in chrage to send her home early if her Child is causing disruption? It’s not ideal but may be the ‘least worst’ option , Could whoever is organising the day try to have the parts Rachel is most critical to first thing so if she does need to leave early (or to take a break from work and take her Child out for an hour or so part way though the day) it minimises the disruption.

              1. BA*

                I was wondering the same. Could Rachel be excused from coming in? While that may mean one set of hands fewer on the front end, it may also mean fewer disruptions leading to more efficient work.

            3. Momma Bear*

              Rachel can want a lot of things, but doesn’t mean she will get them. She’s making this kid care issue everyone’s problem on top of sticking to processes that are not working efficiently. If she is unwilling to leave her kid home, she has to take steps to mitigate the impact of the child being there. This is one of those things that sometimes prompts the Powers That Be to stop offering certain perks, like bringing a kid to work.

            4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

              So the answer is – I have made arrangements for my child to be cared for elsewhere because I need to keep focus on the task at hand. My child will not be available to keep your child busy because then there’s TWO of us who will be distracted by having parental responsibilities.

          2. pancakes*

            Yes, this seems very simple. And there are lots and lots of things children can keep themselves occupied with besides screens, if that’s the issue. Coloring books, etc.

            I have seen people do the same thing every time I’ve had jury duty – they don’t bring a book, magazine, or anything at all to help pass the time, and then seem to get more and more miserable staring off into space and sighing heavily as the hours pass. I don’t get it. I don’t know what they were expecting. This is a choice, and it’s a needlessly self-punishing one.

        3. Observer*

          If you’ve been that blunt, then there is not a lot more you can say.

          The only thing that I could think MIGHT be useful – but you have to know your group – is if someone whose child is in a similar situation (ie has Issue at the same approximate level) can say to her directly that “I get it, my kid also has Issue and needs similar type supports. And, it’s just not reasonable for you to expect this to work. And it’s also just not realistic to expect others to bring their kids.”

          *IF* that viable, something could try it ONCE. But again, you need the right person to say it, and you need to think about how Rachel operates.

          In any case, lots of luck.

        4. Dark Macadamia*

          How exactly have you said it? Have you specifically identified the work problem that is caused by her bringing her kid, or more like “you should get childcare/you know you can request childcare/nope I’m leaving my kid home”? Someone should say explicitly “You know we all understand how tough this can be and think Kid is great, but last time we were really slowed down by having them underfoot. Can you please arrange childcare or at least bring something to keep Kid occupied so we can work efficiently?” It’s not mean or unsupportive to her or her kid to express that this is frustrating and making your jobs harder!

        5. Momma Bear*

          There are a lot of reasons someone might be change-adverse but I think that it boils down to professionalism and what is reasonable. Who is above Rachel? If talking to her directly isn’t working, the talk to the boss. You don’t know what’s going on that makes her need to bring the child but the one two combo of paper files and childcare is really impacting this event. It is nice that she was able to bring the kid for a bit, but it’s not working. Secondarily, is this something where she could be offered any kind of FMLA or sick leave (I may be way off base) to deal with emergency child care if she’s out of PTO?

      2. Becky*

        “I think you’d be better off finding childcare, nobody else is bringing kids because we’ll be so busy, and I’m afraid your kiddo is just going to be bored”?

        If you have been that blunt, then just keep saying it – kindly, but plainly. There’s nothing else you can do.

        That’s…not blunt. That’s softened language that can easily shrugged off as a suggestion.

        Blunt would be “You need to make childcare arrangements. You cannot bring your child to work.”

        1. ThatGirl*

          Well, I wasn’t sure that the OP has the authority to say “you can’t bring your kid” — that should come from management. So, OK, blunt was the wrong word — but more plain and direct.

          1. I don't know what to do*

            I have no authority over Rachel. Managers have spoken to her but Rachel argues that her bringing her child is part of her benefits. Yes our team has hinted (It’s going to be hard to get work done with all the kids here let’s make it adult only) to flat out blunt (you should find other arrangements for child this is going to be a long day)

            1. Unaccountably*

              Can you just… shunt her off to the side in a quiet area with some sort of busy-work? It sounds like you’d be super busy even if you had Efficient Childcare-Hiring Rachel working, but you don’t; you’ve got the Rachel who makes more work for you than it sounds like she contributes. If the choice is her way or she doesn’t help, it sounds like “doesn’t help” is the way to go.

            2. Can Can Cannot*

              You need to talk to her manager, and get her manager to manage this situation. If her manager won’t manage this situation, then you are stuck. In any event, you want her manager to feel the pain of this problem, not you and your co-workers.

            3. Artemesia*

              This is step one in this policy being rescinded for everyone; this is why we can’t have nice things — some people abuse them. You can’t do anything but her boss needs to say ‘You can’t bring Johnny for this day long session because he was disruptive last time and the group had trouble functioning; when kids come to work they need to be provided with things to occupy them and they can’t remain when they get in the way of the job being done.’

              But it sounds like you are badly managed so the result will eventually be that no one can do this.

    2. Madeleine Matilda*

      I agree with ThatGirl’s comment. However, if Rachel insists on bringing her child then you and the others who will be there should also insist that she bring whatever is needed for the child to entertain themself since that was a large part of the problem last time.

      Also since emergency child care is available, can that caretaker come to your planning session to help with the child?

      1. I don't know what to do*

        The emergency child care has to be requested by the person with the child. Since none of us are bringing our children, it’s up to Rachel to make arrangements.

    3. Gone Girl*

      Is the employer-sponsored childcare really referred to as “emergency” childcare internally? I would imagine that might put a lot of people off from asking to use it (e.g. “I knew this planning session was coming up, so it’s really not an ‘emergency’; I need to find a way to handle it myself”). Which, obviously doesn’t prevent Rachel from asking for outside help, but it may explain why she’s hesitant to use it – especially if you’ve seen a pattern from her about needing to seem ‘in control.’

      If anyone else from your mini-team is using the employer-sponsored childcare, I might mention that to her (and potentially spin it as a way for her daughter to get her play date)

      1. I don't know what to do*

        In our handbook emergency is spelt out as a work related concern. My text was long enough, I should have explained that.

        1. Gone Girl*

          Do you happen to have any insight about how many other employees take advantage of the provided childcare? I suppose I’m still wondering if there’s some sort of stigma around using it (if not that many people do), and because Rachel had shown a proclivity for needing to seem in charge/under control, I could see there being a shame component as well (e.g. she doesn’t want to appear that she needs any help at all, so asking for the childcare might feel like a personal failure to her)

          1. I don't know what to do*

            Employees have used it; no one views it as wrong. We’ve all used it. I think Rachel is viewing things as it’s a Saturday no need for formalities. Just a guess I despite a great support system I feel like Rachel needs to feel in control and to her this might be a weakness. Most of the childcare takes place in the office. Personally I’ve used them a few times when my aftercare fell through. It’s nothing to be ashamed of as far as I’m concerned, just part of my benefit pacakage. The only difference is our child care providers are from an agency that deal with Issue, not a local teenager.

        2. Gone Girl*

          Just saw that it might be too late anyway, but seems like it might be a pattern to keep in mind.

          Since no one else is bringing their child, are there any resources/activities that work for your families that you could share/bring with? Obviously not your responsibility, but sounds like you still have a soft spot for the kid.

    4. Chelsea*

      Is there someone in charge of Rachel? Or an HR department? Someone with authority should let Rachel know that it won’t be an option to bring the child to work events that last more than 2 hours (or whatever is reasonable). The rule should apply to everyone. Even a child without any issues would not be able to handle 8-10 hours sitting around boring adults. It’s not good for the child, it’s not good for the work, and it’s not good for the cause.

      1. Becky*

        This. It sounds like someone who has authority over Rachel needs to say “You cannot bring your child, you must make alternative childcare arrangements.”
        So far the wording sounds like it has been softer and coached as suggestions instead of directions.

    5. Rusty Shackelford*

      Rachel keeps texting everyone saying that child wants a playdate and to please bring your children.

      Ugh. This is not a playdate situation. I’d be tempted to reply with “We’re not bringing our children. No one will be able to supervise children – we’re all going to be working, pretty hard, all day long. This is a bad idea.”

      1. BA*

        Playdate is at a home, or at a park or somewhere else, but not when parents are being paid to focus on their work. Playdates my kids have had don’t involve parents supervising from 4 feet away the entire time, but also don’t involve parents involved in putting up a shed in the back yard.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Seriously! A playdate would be planning for a group of kids to be supervised by partners/relatives/nannies at a park or someone’s home (aka ARRANGING CHILDCARE)… not just increasing the number of semi-supervised kids at work!

    6. BA*

      You say management has spoken to Rachel, but I think perhaps you and your coworkers need to discuss this with management. If you go together as a group (as Alison often suggests) and let them know Rachel is badgering you to bring in your children and asking everyone to treat this as a playdate, it might make their conversation with Rachel more specific and direct. The distractions from the previous Saturday probably added time to either that day or the entire process, and it doesn’t sound like you have much flexibility in time should things be at all disrupted this or next weekend.

      And I’m just going to say this… I understand that Rachel wants to limit screen time. I want to limit my own children’s screen time. But there are exceptions that can, and sometimes need to, be made. If there’s no other alternative, she cannot strictly enforce this rule to her coworkers’ detriments.

      1. BA*

        If I’m management and I hear from the team about this issue, I offer three possible solutions:

        1. Rachel leaves her child at home with someone else to provide care.
        2. Rachel takes us up on the emergency child care option that we provide as a benefit for times like this.
        3. (With the rest of the team’s consensus) Rachel stays home. The rest of the team finishes up the project, and in exchange, Rachel provides coverage for another office function or agrees to be the team’s coverage on days before holidays that the rest of the team would like to take off.

        1. Ali + Nino*

          Thank you. If Rachel has to stay home and not work on this project, or at this particular meeting, so be it. Why is she allowed to argue that bringing a child to a work meeting is an employee benefit when everyone else on the team finds it disruptive and counterproductive?

      2. Observer*

        I understand that Rachel wants to limit screen time. I want to limit my own children’s screen time. But there are exceptions that can, and sometimes need to, be made. If there’s no other alternative, she cannot strictly enforce this rule to her coworkers’ detriments.

        What’s worse here is that she DOES have an alternative. She’s just refusing to use it.

    7. Katie*

      I don’t know what this kids medical issue is but I have two wheelchair bound kids. It is impossible to find child care for them. People are too afraid of how hard it is going to be and will not take them. So maybe she has the same problem?

      1. Madeleine Matilda*

        Childcare isn’t the issue. OP states that their employer offers childcare including for situations such as this. Rachel is choosing not to use the offered childcare even though her co-workers have asked her not to bring her child because it will disrupt their work.

        1. Katie*

          Just because it is offered to all employees doesn’t mean it is available for all.
          My work pays for 30% of childcare. However I can’t use this benefit because no one will take my kids.

          That being said, if I had to go into work, I would never bring my kids.

          1. Tia*

            OP states that this childcare is available to Rachel. I’m sorry you have problems getting care for your kids, but it’s clearly not the case here.

  5. Dolly was Right*

    Establishing residence for grad school purposes- how does this work, when do I need to start putting wheels in motion?

    I am planning to go to grad school in the next few years. I have been living and working in NY since 2019- it’s where I pay income taxes. However, I am still registered to vote at and my license is at my parent’s house in PA. That’s also where most of my bills go. I would definitely choose a state school but not sure in which state. NY credits are cheaper but COL in PA is cheaper- I’m leaning slightly towards NY.

    What should I be thinking as far as establishing residence at this point? Do I even have an option?

    1. Wisteria*

      Look at the specific requirements for the schools you are interested in and follow them. They should be findable on the Registrar’s website, or you can call the Registrar’s office and ask directly.

      1. Reba*

        Yes, it can be somewhat complicated and vary by school. It’s determined by a combination of state laws and university policies. You should look it up on the websites of universities you are considering, because what they count as “resident for tuition purposes” may be their own very specific thing and us internet randos can’t tell you.

        Usually though, just holding the license or voter registration is not sufficient; the admissions folks may ask to review your work records, tax returns, lease agreements, etc. On that basis, right now you are a resident of NY who has failed to update their voter registration.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      It… Depends. When I was in grad school, I was a TA. Part of the deal was that I got in-state tuition. Also, some western states will give in-state tuition if you agree to stay & work in the state for a set period after graduation.

    3. Meghan*

      At least from my quick google search, you must live in the state for at least a year. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to search your potential schools website or give admissions a call just to confirm that.

      1. Raboot*

        That is probably one of the requirements, not sufficient by itself. Like if that was the only requirement no one would pay out of state tuition for more than a year. At my school it was that, PLUS rules about how much you were/weren’t working/studying.

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

        You do not necissarily need to be a resident to go to grad school in another state.
        1. I work at a university and there is an intern in our department that is currently getting her masters in counseling. She lives in one state and her university is in another. This is not an online university either.
        2. Another coworker will be leaving us and moving several states away as their partner just got accepted in the grad program at another university. Neither of them has lived in that state.
        3. A few years ago a former coworker left to live in another state for a year so that he could get accepted in the Grad program at a university in that state.

        So there may be some schools that require residency and some that do not. Now OP may get a discounted rate if they are a resident of that state, but I don’t think they would be considered a resident of PA

    4. TotesMaGoats*

      Every school is going to be different on this and will vary between public and private schools. Look up each one as those sorts of things should be pretty visible. Either records or admissions will be in charge of it. I would say residency is a combination of things and where you live and pay taxes wins over voting.

      1. AspiringGardener*

        And I don’t know how legit it is to vote in an area that you don’t reside. But that’s beside the point – if you’re a fully independent adult you need to have all of your stuff legally at one address, not at your parents address.

        1. Wisteria*

          “if you’re a fully independent adult you need to have all of your stuff legally at one address, not at your parents address.”

          I’m not sure if this is a personal opinion or related to the residency question. From the point of view of the school, you need to meet certain requirements, such as having an in-state driver’s license or state ID, but the address on that license/ID can be your parents’ address.

          From a financial aid perspective, there are requirements to be met for being considered financially independent, but that is a federal classification, whereas in-state residency is determined at the school level.

        2. fueled by coffee*

          If OP is a college student in NY, this is extremely normal. When I was in college, I was registered to vote and paid taxes at my parent’s address, but also worked jobs at my school’s address. The two states had reciprocity so I wasn’t double-taxed (and since they NY and PA border each other, I assume this is the case there as well). Since many students have a ‘permanent address’ at their parents’ houses and a temporary address during the academic year at school, they are legally allowed to claim residence (and vote) in either location – but obviously you can only pick one!

          With states that do not have income tax reciprocity, however, it becomes more of a hassle to do this than is worth voting in a swing state (and, of course, at a certain point of living away from home and supporting yourself you can no longer list your parents’ address as your permanent address).

        3. Chirpy*

          When I was in college, I was registered to vote at college, and my permanent address was at my parents’ in another city. I’ve actually done it while working at a (long term but temporary) job out of town, too. As long as you only vote in one location and can prove you reside at least temporarily in the voting district (and meet any residency time restrictions) , it’s allowed.

          Also, I know several fully independent adults who still use their parents as a mailing address – due to rental situations/ changing addresses it’s sometimes better to send important documents or expensive packages to a stable place you know it won’t get lost. It’s not really any different than getting a PO Box

    5. Not A Manager*

      You might want to look into the difference between residence and domicile.

      States can consider you a “resident” of the state based on a variety of factors, which can include domicile. If you were mostly domiciled in NY but wanted to establish residency in PA as well, you could consider things like paying income taxes in PA as well as NY, paying some rent to your parents to maintain your bedroom for you, etc. (I am not a tax professional, these are random examples not legal advice.)

      However, if the requirement for in-state tuition is domicile, then I think you would have to physically live (whatever that means, but more of a presence than just paying taxes) in the state for the required amount of time.

      Not an expert, these are just thoughts, I think the easiest thing to do is to consult with an accountant as a first step.

    6. lost academic*

      The process for the school will often not be the same as establishing regular state residency (because schools that have for instance admission or tuition differences for in state residents work hard to avoid residency cheating) so you definitely want to look it up – at the state university I did grad school at it was pretty complicated and you also had to prove you did not move to X state for the purposes of education. It can also vary, though not necessarily, for undergraduates vs graduate programs. So make sure you’re asking the right questions and getting the specific answers you need.

    7. Lifelong student*

      By all legal and tax definitions you are a resident of NY. The voter registration and driver’s license do not make you a resident of PA- and probably violate laws.

      1. Wisteria*

        Establishing residency for the purposes of paying in-state tuition is a different matter from establishing residency for the purposes of paying state taxes. The answer is to look up the requirements for the specific school Dolly was Right in interested in and following them explicitly.

        Btw, DwR, I have gone through this process in multiple states at multiple schools. I know whereof I speak. Ask the school, and do what they say. Depending on who you talk to, they might be very helpful in telling you what to provide and what to exclude. For example, for one school, I was still on my mother’s health insurance, and she was in a different state. I asked whether that would be a problem, and the person told me they don’t ask about health insurance. So, find the contact information for the Registrar’s office, and ask them.

        1. Nonnonymous*


          (Source: this is what I do for a living and I really, really, really wish people would just read the information we put on our website about the requirements for residency for tuition purposes instead of winging it or relying on crowdsourcing and then getting snippy with us when they don’t meet the requirements and end up paying the out-of-state rate. Sigh.)

    8. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      It varies state to state, most states it is a year of living and working and not being a dependent or a student. But your split status can cause complications.

      But also look at other options, my husband got a part time student (non-workstudy) job for the university he got his masters at and one of the perks is it made him qualify for in-state immediately.

      I would talk to the Financial Aid office, they have more say on that policy than admissions or registrar would and also know most of the “tricks”. Registrar’s office can tell you the rules, but often not other options. In the end it is usually FA that has final say.

      1. Retired (but not really)*

        When my son was looking at colleges, one of the out of state ones offered in state tuition in lieu of scholarship with certain stipulations. He eventually chose an in state university partly because a bunch of his friends were going there. This was quite a few years ago and was also undergrad, but might still be a possibility. Best wishes on finding what will work best for you!

    9. Paperwork paperwork paperwork*

      Most states require you to live there for 12-months.
      For Florida standards, “Living” mean some combination of working there full time, being registered to vote, being registered with Florida’s DMV (ID, driver’s license, car, etc), or living there full time (name on 12 month lease, 12 months of utility bills etc).

      If you haven’t been working full time and don’t have your name on a lease/utilities, you might have a harder time proving residency. For Florida, living there to attend school won’t establish residency, so if you live in student housing, that might not count.

    10. AdequateArchaeologist*

      Echoing what everyone else has said. I was able to get full funding my first year, so I was able to live in the state and get residency squared away while I was attending classes to avoid the year gap between moving and starting grad school.

    11. Morgan Proctor*

      Choose a school that will give you in-state tuition as part of the offer package! My grad program did this, so it wasn’t something I had to worry about.

    12. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I would find out from the school what their definitions and requirements for residency are, and then govern yourself accordingly.

    13. The New Normal*

      When I worked at a major University in California, we often had students who thought they could get in-state tuition after living in California for a year because that’s what Google says it takes to establish residency. Except that is not what the state law says. The state law requires proof of financial independence for the 2 years prior to establishing residency, including 2 years of state taxes, before you qualify as an in-state student for tuition purposes. It’s literally a special law just to cover those who move here for in-state tuition. It also encourages people to stay here for grad school because undergrads can’t prove financial independence until they are in their final year. And it focuses on those who move here to live here rather than those who move here for educational purposes, which disqualifies.

      Make sure you check thoroughly and use proper terms for Google searches. “New York in-state tuition guidelines” or “Pennsylvania in-state tuition requirements”. Both queries show that you must have lived in that state for at least 12 months prior to the first day of school.

    14. Wisteria*

      A note on living in the state for a year:

      Again, check with the registrar for 1) exactly the time frame and 2) what evidence they require.

      Some schools allow you to go to school and establish residency at the same time, some do not. The registrar’s office will tell you what the rules are in that state at that school.

      Find out what documentation you need to prove that you have lived there for a year. Some people manage to establish residency for the purposes of tuition determination when they physically live elsewhere by establishing the right paper trail, such as a driver’s license at an in-state address, a lease/mortgage at an in-state address, or a business license to operate within the state. Again, check with the registrar!

    15. Cedrus Libani*

      As others have said, your target schools have done this before, they should have a protocol. Follow it.

      I attended a University of California grad school from out of state, back in the early 2010s, and there was a whole checklist. Before the school year started, I needed a CA driver’s license, bank account, and mailing address. And then before the next year started, I needed to show up at the registrar’s office with proof of having lived in-state for a year, including documentation of the above, plus a copy of the plane ticket that got me to CA (for reasons? but we were specifically told to keep our tickets, so we did). It was a process, and they made it clear that they would only cover out-of-state tuition for the first year – if you messed up and didn’t qualify for residency, the extra cost was on you.

    16. Just chiming in*

      TL:DR – check the RO for rules on residency, but also check the program information about grad appointments and whether it’s possible/likely to get a TA-ship (or support offer) with a tuition waiver without having to establish residency.
      I assume you’re asking because many public institutions in the US have differential tuition rates for state residents, non-residents, and international students. (Explainer for non-US’rs: this relates to the fact that in most states, taxpayers subsidize the cost of instruction at public institutions.) Most private institutions do not make this distinction. The advice to check the Registrar’s website for details on establishing residence for tuition purposes is good. There will be rules – for example, having a permanent residence, employment, and tax status in the state for at least a year while also not being in student status. (I moved to my state and lived here for two years before starting my master’s degree, and had to rescind an application I submitted before I moved, so it didn’t look like I was planning to be a student…)
      Other advice: many institutions (and especially privates) have a funding model of high tuition with high support – so remember to file taxes early and fill out your financial aid application in a timely way and every time anyone asks if you are interested in scholarships or fellowships or aid, say yes.
      For many state schools, “support” means a TA ship (or research appointment) that will come with tuition remission if the % of the appointment is high enough (our school’s minimum is 33%, but other policies recommend support guarantees of at least 50% for 4 years). That means the benefit to the student is free tuition plus a stipend (with salary at % appointment) plus benefits. Our budget uses tuition remission calculated using in-state tuition, but obviously if you’re an out of state student with a TA ship, you’re benefitting more. Point being, if you get a support offer, residency status may be moot.
      Good luck!!!

  6. yogurt*

    Looking for advice when negotiating for a state job.

    I’m a finalist for a state job that has a flat salary, no range, listed in the job info. It is a $6k increase on my current salary (and better work/life balance, benefits, etc), so I’m happy no matter what, however I always ask for more (negotiation baby!). My plan is to ask for two things when I receive the offer:

    Ask about flexible schedules, specifically working four tens in the summer (which I know other state offices do in my city), and also asking if there’s any flexibility in the salary. But seeing as this is a state job, is there a better way I should word my negotiation? I am coming from a non-profit, and before that I’ve only every negotiated with private companies. Should I actually be asking for what the advancement ladder looks like? Any state workers with advice for me, someone (hopefully!) new to working in government?

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Your state most likely posts salaries publicly. You can use that information to talk about your salary, but it’s possible that they absolutely have no wiggle room.

      Ask about the schedule! My state has been seriously rethinking flexible schedules and WFH lately. It might be something your state has as an option. Or is considering.

      1. Gracely*

        This. State jobs rarely have salary flexibility(because people love to bitch about government waste, and love to cut taxes but fail to realize that often means no $ for even COL raises for state employees), but you might be able to get some schedule flexibility.

      2. Joielle*

        Yep! Google “[state] public employee salaries” and you’ll probably find a database. Sort by agency and you can see everyone’s salaries by name. Find the people with the same job title, look them up on LinkedIn, and see how long they’ve been in the role. This can give you a sense of people’s career progression too.

        In my state, salaries are set as part of a bargaining agreement or compensation plan, and although there is a range, you’re placed in the range based on a pretty strict formula (mostly related to years of experience and education/professional certifications). Sometimes a manager can get you a higher offer by arguing that certain experience should be weighted higher, or something like that, but it can be difficult. But if you’re a highly desirable candidate or have a unique skill set, it could be possible. In my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to ask whether there is flexibility to increase the salary, but if the answer is no, I wouldn’t push it much further.

        Definitely ask about flexible schedules and/or remote/hybrid work – my agency is very open to that and I know a lot of others are too. State employee salaries are not always great, so a lot of times they try to retain employees in other ways, like work-life balance (when it’s possible for the position).

    2. CatCat*

      You may get better advice if you specify which state.

      It’s weird to me that there’s no range. Is this a job people move out of quickly, like after a year or two, for a level up?

      It’s possible that there is a range, but it wasn’t advertised. There may be online sites where you can look up state employee pay to see if others are earning more in this particular job to give yourself a sense of the range. And then justify why you should come in higher than the single rate you saw.

      I would ask about the schedule if that’s important to you. In my state, the availability of these kinds of schedules really varies agency-by-agency.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      It’s more likely that the range wasn’t published then that there is no range. Often that’s done because when a range is posted people (rightfully) assume they can ask for a salary within that range. But that’s typically not how government works.

      In general for state and locals, the base pay is what they will pay. So as far as negotiation goes, when they offer you can certainly ask for something closer to x, but don’t be surprised if your met with a take it or leave it.

      I don’t know what you mean by advancement ladder. Governments are nothing like private business. Positions may have a higher level you can achieve with experience or education, but just as often the position is the position and you’re not going to get to a higher level unless you apply for and get another position.

      Raises can depend on if your union or not. Union is more of a guaranteed based on what was negotiated. Where I am it’s decide every year as part of budget.

      But the flexible schedule? Absolutely ask for that. In fact because they pay is usually crap compared to market, they are more willing to offer non-salary related perks where they can.

    4. CheeryO*

      Definitely worth asking about the schedule. We offer 9/75 at my state agency, which a lot of people take advantage of.

      I probably wouldn’t try to negotiate, but they may be able to provide you more information about how you would move up within the salary grade/band. For example, employees at my state agency start at a specific grade, get automatic salary increases each year for 6 years, then get a final larger increase at year 7 to reach “top of grade.” Our union contract is publicly available and has tables with all of this information, but I wouldn’t blame a candidate for not being aware of that.

      1. AnonymooseToday*

        I am totally working from the wrong state, lol. Mine department, no raises, no steps, nothing. Just the CoL given by the legislature, and it’s illegal for us to unionize. Fun times.

        But yeah OP, I think you could probably ask about the salary but will probably be a “no” even more so since there is no range listed. Flexibility depends on the department, my dept head is against 4-9. But if you need the health insurance, I usually tell people it’s worth it. Also wouldn’t ask about advancing opportunities, again probably dept specific, but mine there are none. I technically got a “promotion” but it was still a publicly posted job and I had to interview for it.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      Every state is different, but they usually post this kind information somewhere. Go to your state government’s web site and search. If you can’t find it there, go to the office of your state government representative (at the state level, not federal!) and ask them. Representatives generally have constituent services staff that help with questions like this. Armed with what your state permits, you are in a better position to negotiate. Good luck!

      1. AnonymooseToday*

        Yes ours are easily accessible by the local newspaper. They keep a searchable database that’s updated every month. OP I’d recommend checking the staff list and figure out who might be the same level as you, search either their name or job. For us all [job title] 1 get the same pay no matter what, but levels 2 & 3 is where there would be a little wiggle room.

    6. 1qtkat*

      I work for a state agency (VA) and I know for a fact there’s no room for negotiating salary. We’ve lost a lot of good candidates because our HR is hardheaded on the salary. So even though there’s a broad range in the pay band, our agency’s HR sets the salary range and will never offer the highest end of that range. And the only way to get a raise is to either make a lateral move or if the legislature is nice and decides to give us a raise in the budget.

      Otherwise yes state is a nice comfortable job, but dead end. The leave and flexible schedule is nice, but it’s hard to retain good employees solely on those benefits. Other than taking my boss’s job whenever she retires, there’s no room for advancement. I actually just gave notice today since I’m starting a federal job next month which is similar to my state job, only it has better pay and possibility to advance.

    7. retired3*

      Happily retired after many years of mid level state program management. Yes, depends on state and whether you are union or not. Ask about retirement; in my state it is in the constitution that I get my retirement check.

      My mother once asked me why I was working for the state since I had graduated from one of those universities that are considered great and wonderful. My question back was whether she wanted her government run by people who couldn’t get any other job. I had a chance to do some things that made a difference…set up a state wide system in my first job that actually saved the lives of mothers and children. To me that was worth more than the money I could have made somewhere else.

      Some of the places I worked were really toxic; you’ll want to think about how to remove yourself from that. There were opportunities for special assignments, rotations, and other ways to get experience and exposure to upper management.

    8. Janeric*

      I was able to negotiate to come on as a Llama Groomer C instead of as a Llama Groomer A or B, based on experience — this gave me more money on year 1, but someone hired as a Llama Groomer A would be a Llama Groomer C in three years, so while it was a nice bump, it wasn’t a significant long term advantage. The real long term advantage was union-negotiated pay increases.

  7. Question re: name pronunciation*

    Calling people by the name they prefer to be called with the correct pronunciation comes up from time to time on this site. I agree that, of course, you should correct yourself if someone corrects you about their name.

    My question is, does the person with a name with multiple pronunciations have some sort of obligation to correct the pronunciation at work?

    My name can be pronounced multiple ways. (Think something like Naomi and I pronounce it with a long i after the N, like Ny-oh-me. But I get that and Nay-oh-me and sometimes Now-me).

    It gets tiring correcting people. I certainly use correct pronunciation when I introduce myself and say my own name. I have people who regularly mispronounce though. These people work with A LOT of others in public-facing roles and with me only once every 1-3 months. It does not surprise me that my specific pronunciation could get lost in their recollection in that time period. It’s not malice or laziness in operation here, it’s just a volume of names they encounter in their work lives.

    If these were people in my personal lives, I’d correct them, but it doesn’t feel like it’s worth repeated corrections at work, and doesn’t really bother me. Like, I don’t want to interrupt the meeting for this. It would bother me to have to make a correction.

    It will sometimes seem to irk someone else to realize they’ve been mispronouncing though and I didn’t correct them. So should I be correcting people every time this happens?

    1. Loulou*

      Why would you have an obligation to correct people? If it bothers you, you should correct them so they stop doing it. If you don’t care, why should anyone else? Not sure where the idea about obligation came from.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          I agree with @Loulou, it’s not your responsibility to manage their feelings. They’re bothered by the fact that *they forgot*? Then they can grow up and figure out a solution.

          That said, if this is impacting your professional relationship, a combo of “Oh, it’s not worth the effort to correct people when we really don’t work together too often” and putting the pronunciation in your email signature. Some colleagues include a recording on howtopronouncemyname dot com.

        2. Unkempt Flatware*

          I have a name often mistaken for another. I’m called Leslie, Laura, Lauren, Libby. I always notice but depending on who did it, I might not correct them. If they get upset, I say I didn’t notice.

        3. RagingADHD*

          I assure you, people like that would be equally irked if you did correct them, because that response is so self-centered it’s ridiculous.

        4. As per Elaine*

          I also have a name with multiple pronunciations and spellings, and if it ever comes up, my response is just to shrug and say, “I see those all as variants of my name. This is the way I say and spell it, but I don’t have strong feelings that it’s NOT MY NAME if you say or spell it one of these other ways.”

          (I also get a lot of misspellings that are legit different names, at which point I will usually correct people, if it’s someone I’ll encounter again.)

        5. PollyQ*

          Eh, just tell them you didn’t make a correction because you don’t care that much. (Even if it isn’t quite true.)

    2. Jay*

      My last name is almost universally mispronounced. I correct people once and then let it go because it’s exhausting. At my last job before I retired, my boss and he often introduced me to people, so I did keep correcting him. He never got annoyed. He also never learned.

    3. Charlotte*

      Nah, I have the same situation and when people have been like “oh was I saying it wrong?” I’ve just said “oh no I don’t really care this is just how I say it” and it’s seemed fine. Honestly I don’t notice half the time!

    4. Melanie Cavill*

      Naomi is a really interesting one because it’s a traditionally Hebrew name but it also fits Japanese language conventions, so you’re going to get differing pronunciation based on culture, origin, language, place of residence, etc. In that case, I think it’s fine to politely correct someone.

    5. Name Game*

      Same problem here! I have an uncommon name and it’s weird to me how much team members feel they need to correct the folks who pronounce it incorrectly. If it doesn’t bother me, then why let it bother you? I get that pronunciation sticklers are coming from a good place, but it makes me look like I don’t know how to speak up for myself or that I might make a big deal out of my name pronunciation in private. But in reality, it really doesn’t matter to me at all. For what it’s worth, I’m at a point where I simply message the sticklers and say “I appreciate the sentiment, but it doesn’t really bother me if someone says my name incorrectly since it’s pretty uncommon.”

      1. owler*

        Maybe they are overcorrecting because of a previous experience? I found out *in college* that I had been pronouncing the name of one of my childhood friends (since fifth grade) incorrectly. If her name was Tiffany, we would have been pronouncing it Tif-FAN-nee, instead of an equal-stressed tif-fin-ee. I still don’t pronounce it well, but I try to do better. And I would probably be defensive of mispronounced colleagues’ names.

    6. Alice*

      I also have a full name that can be pronounced a lot of ways, and I don’t really care which way people use. As far as I know, no one who says it “wrong” has ever noticed the difference between how they say it and how I say it — except for someone who shares the same name and pronounces it the “wrong” way ;) I guess it is subtle.
      As a mispronouncer myself, I do get irked internally in the situation where someone corrects me for the first time after they have heard me say their name a wrong way many times. But I try to remind myself, hey, if someone decided to change their name I would learn the new one, no matter how long I have known them. And to be honest, with people whom I don’t collaborate often, it’s possible that I forgot the first correction, so in that case I am definitely the one causing the problem!
      I think this is a situation where tone of voice has a big impact. The problem is, it’s not just *your* tone of voice — if your close colleague tells your distant colleague “actually it’s Ny-oh-me” in a snippy tone, then the distant colleague is quite likely to feel defensive towards *you.* Very hard for you to avoid or fix that!
      I don’t think you need to correct people every time, but if you are aware that a distant colleague is going to be, say, announcing your name in an award ceremony or starting a closer collaboration, in those cases I think it would be good to be proactive. Just tell them what you told us — “now that we are going to be working together more, I want to tell you that I prefer Ny-oh-me.”
      Another way to defang the irked people: do you have access to software where you can record your name and put it in the company directory?

    7. LunaLena*

      I think it depends on how much it bothers you and how much you’re willing to let it go. I have a somewhat common name that is spelled differently (like Kelly but spelled Kellie), and it’s not uncommon for someone to email me and address me as Kelly… even when they’re responding to an email I sent and my name is right there in the address line, email signature, etc. I get it, they’re just spelling it the way they are used to seeing it and it’s an honest mistake, but it still irks me because my name is Right. There.

      I almost never say anything though, because in the end it’s not that big of a deal to me and I have other things I’d rather focus on. And in many cases the other person is someone I don’t communicate with often enough to really care if they know if they know how to spell my name or not (if it’s someone I communicate with regularly, like my manager, I would correct them, of course). Every once in a while someone realizes their mistake on their own and apologizes, and I just say it’s okay and it happens a lot and it’s not a big deal. It hasn’t turned into an issue so far.

    8. Jo April*

      I think you’re fine. My surname can be pronounced a few different ways — people in my immediate family pronounce it differently, due to regional accents — and none of the variations bother me, so I don’t fuss about how people say it. I do insist that people use the full version of my personal name (think Jennifer instead of Jen) and I would correct someone if they were wildly off on the surname, like dropping entire syllables.

    9. Not A Manager*

      Maybe the graceful way to handle their irk would be to acknowledge the good intent underneath it. “You’re right, I do pronounce it Ny-oh-me. I don’t correct people because it doesn’t bother me if they say it differently, but I appreciate that you noticed how I say it! Feel free to use either pronunciation, though.”

      I do think it’s pretty nervy of someone to mispronounce your name and then get mad at you for “letting” them do it! Probably their apparent anger is based in defensiveness because they genuinely feel bad about mis-naming you, but it’s still kind of a jerk response on their part.

      1. Ope!*

        This is what I do with my uncommon & often mispronounced name. If asked, I reply “Oh, I use “Ny-oh-me” but I answer to both!” in a chipper tone and *immediately* move the subject along. I notice that if I leave any space, people will feel the need to pontificate how important it is to them to get it right and *respect* me. If this were a Jennifer / Jenny after being told thing maybe I’d feel more disrespected, but this is just an inevitable part of my life with an unusual name and a job that has me meeting new people regularly, so it really feels unnecessary to let time suck any more of my time minutes on earth. Lets just move it along people!

        1. Coenobita*

          I do the same thing with my can-be-pronounced-two-ways name. I’m lucky that it’s a pretty common name in general, so people often ask up front which pronunciation I use. I generally say something like “I say ThisWay, but I answer to either.” I agree that the chipper tone is key. (And I honestly don’t care that much, which probably helps!)

    10. Just spell my name correctly and we're good*

      I actually don’t care at all how my name is pronounced, when people ask I say “go with what you feel”. Sometimes people get bothered that I don’t correct them or don’t have a preference as to how my name is pronounced. My response is, “meh, it’s not that big of a deal to me”. Generally if you say it in a nice tone it goes over well.

    11. Double A*

      I think it’s a kindness to correct them if you haven’t seen them for several months, or if it’s earlier on in your relationship. I have a similar job where I work with hundreds of people and might not have to say someone’s name for several months. It’s important to me that I pronounce people’s names right — it’s not that it irks me if you didn’t correct me, it’s that I feel very badly I’ve been mispronouncing your name. I try to always ask the first time I talk to someone if I’m pronouncing their name right and commit it to memory, but sometimes I forget. So I personally really appreciate if someone corrects me, though I would say after a 3rd time you can let it go if you don’t care. But a second time… I think people would appreciate it!

    12. Xaraja*

      I feel like if it doesn’t bother you, then you can let it go. You could split the difference by finding ways to occasionally say your name, perhaps in meetings when you first speak you could say, “Hi, this is Naomi (insert whatever you have to say)”.

    13. RagingADHD*

      It’s your name. You get to do what you want and you don’t owe anyone either a pass or a correction. If you want to correct people, you’re perfectly in the right to do so. If you don’t feel like it’s worth the trouble, there is no “should” about it.

      The only exception to this would be if you were harboring resentment and becoming passive-aggressive toward people, while also refusing to correct them. That would just be mean. But that’s exactly what you’re not doing in your question — you don’t think they have ill intent, and it really doesn’t bother you to let it slide.

      Other people feel the opposite way, and both are equally valid.

    14. Gnome*

      My kid has a name like that and it bothers them when people get it wrong. They correct people.

      I had a teacher in high school with last name spelled Lanz. Apparently, they grew up in a different part of the country with the “a” pronounced so it came out “L-an-z” and when they started teaching where I went to school decided they liked the kids’ regional pronunciation “L-ahh-nz” better… And changed their own pronunciation. They didn’t care which we used though.

      Also, they were head of the foreign language department.

    15. Minimal Pear*

      Oh man my first name has two pronunciations and I don’t have a preference between the two, and the WAY people get MAD when I tell them this is so wild.

    16. Anon for This*

      Correct them once and let it go thereafter. Unless you think they are doing it on purpose. I do have a colleague who consistently gets women’s names wrong, but never seems to miss on the men. Him I’d keep correcting every time.

    17. Green Goose*

      I have a slightly uncommon name and is very similarly spelled to a common name (only one letter off) and I get called by the wrong name somewhat frequently. I usually correct people, but sometimes don’t if it feels to awkward, or if I’ll have limited interaction with the person and just don’t care at the moment. It’s funny, it depends on my mood, some days it bothers me and some days it doesn’t.
      Don’t worry about other people being annoyed with you for not correctly them previously, everyone has their own reasons for those type of things and I think that’s just one more thing that you have to add to your mental rolodex.

    18. Sova*

      I have an unusual name that starts with a letter that can have a hard or soft pronunciation. It doesn’t bother me when people guess or misremember wrong and like you, I don’t want to draw attention to it or detract from the conversation to correct it. I will make the effort to correct the first time, especially since a lot of people who have only read it ask if they are pronouncing it correctly the first time we have a conversation. If someone expresses any sort of concern that they aren’t doing it correctly, I generally just let them off the hook by explaining that some of my grandparents never got it right their entire lives. I’ve never had anyone push back after that.

    19. Momma Bear*

      Please don’t let it slide if it bothers you. The wrong one is not your name. I was mortified to find out I was mispronouncing someone’s name for months. He just never corrected us, but as soon as we knew better, we started helping our coworkers remember how to say it.

    20. Iroqdemic*

      If you don’t work with these people often, I think it’s fine to just let it ride. If they ever notice someone pronouncing it differently, you can say something like, “Oh, I prefer AmBROsia, but I will answer to AMbrosia.”

      Funny story time! I recently got divorced and decided to go back to my maiden name. The thing is both names are almost exactly the same. Think maiden name Smith and married name Smithson. Because I changed it legally, it changed in my company’s system and this caused my email to change from to Several people have commented during meetings “OH I’m so sorry I’ve been calling you Iroqdemic Smith, not Smithson, I’m so sorry!” And I tell them, no, you’re not that unobservant, I promise! That was correct 6 months ago. I’m just changing my name back. Bless those folks who think it was THEM mis-reading my name for years.

    21. Annie Mouse*

      I think this is a them problem, so long as the mispronunciation isn’t bothering you. I just had the same conversation with my manager. I’m also a Naomi, except a version that has multiple pronunciations and multiple spellings. I use my middle name and don’t share a surname with my spouse, so I’m just happy that people are at least trying to use Naomi. I try to correct people when the situation allows, but I’m not going to stop a meeting 7 times when it really doesn’t matter to me if this dude wants to call me Nancy.

    22. Polopoly*

      Their response really isn’t your problem. Though if they do say something about mispronounced your name, a flippant “No worries, I’m used to answering to both – I usually don’t bother correcting folks.” said with a smile should smooth things over.

    23. TechWorker*

      My name get mispronounced ALL THE TIME mostly by Indian colleagues who literally do not have the sound it starts with in their language, plus most assume it’s one syllable when it’s two. I rarely correct people because I just don’t care that much and also because I am sure that despite my best efforts I butcher some of their names too. Also because my south Asian friend tried REALLY hard to pronounce my name right and.. couldn’t.. so if it would be like that I don’t think it’s worth the hassle.

    24. Esmeralda*

      I have a first name that has a couple of common pronunciations. I personally don’t mind if people mispronounce it; polite people ask how I pronounce it, I tell them, but if they forget I’m ok with that — unless they are people I work with every day. Then they need to get it right. People I only see once a week or less? it’s ok.

      I don’t like any of the nicknames that commonly go with my first name and I correct that whenever it happens.

      I have a last name that more commonly has an “s” on the end (think, Williams vs William, Smithers vs Smither). I do correct folks when they pluralize me.

      And I’m a Ms (or Dr), not Mrs. I correct that one too. Students are more likely to make that error. I’ve had students argue with me about it (!) — But you’re married! Yes, but first of all my husband has a different last name and two, I don’t go by Mrs., do you want to hear the reasons, cuz if you do, sit down and listen carefully, there will be a test. And three, you need to respect people and their choices and call them as they ask to be called. Sigh.

    25. slashgirl*

      A friend of mine had a name that pretty much everyone said wrong initially. We’ll use Corrine–most people would say Kor-een, but she spelt hers Corrin and said it Kor-in. We worked in different schools but shared a building manager. One day he was at my school and called her “Corinne”–I said “It’s Corrin.” He replied, “What’s the differenced?” Me: “One is her name and the other one isn’t.”

      She said after that, he called her by the correct name…. Some people are just lazy. But it’s up to you: if it doesn’t bother you, then don’t correct them and if it does, correct them.

    26. A Feast of Fools*

      If it bothers you, then you should correct them.

      It’s not an obligation to the other person. If anything, it would be an obligation to yourself (assuming, as I said above, if it truly bothers you. Self-care is important).

      My name is pronounced a handful of ways depending on the native language of the speaker. I don’t correct anyone because I know they mean me when they mispronounce my name.

      But I would not begrudge anyone else with the same name who corrected people.

      Also, I hate fish. Lots of people love fish. We get to have preferences and we get to state (and enforce) those preferences whenever we want.

    27. KR*

      I don’t correct people a lot. It’s just not worth it if I won’t have repeated contact with that person. It’s also that sometimes something about them, their demeanor or personality just makes it seems like I would have a hard time correcting my name with them and it would make it a big thing in the conversation where it just doesn’t need to be. I haven’t had anyone get actually frustrated with me (or if they did they didn’t say anything), but if they remark about it I usually say “Oh it’s fine, I knew who you were talking to.” and move the conversation along

    28. Cocafonix*

      I’d correct every single time, but only the variations I just wouldn’t respond to. As in, perhaps there is a variation you can live with. E.g. A colleague is named Deborah, and prefers that people call her that, pronouncing the 3 syllables. She’ll always correct on the first flub. She’ll respond to Deb with familiar people sometimes though never invites people to use it. She’ll accept a pronunciation error —“Debra,” but will correct “Debbie” always, as it happens, kindly, but matter of factly.

    29. Virginia Plain*

      I wonder if people are not so much irked with you for not correcting them but generally annoyed that that they’ve been repeatedly making a mistake that they assume bothers you (and as we have regular proof in this commentariat, it does bother a lot of people, understandably) and are consequently pre-defensive of your expected irkitude.
      I’d go with, “don’t worry about it I’m not that bothered. I say Ny-OH-mee but if you say NAY-oh-mee I still know you mean me!”

    30. allathian*

      I grew up bilingual. My name is common in both of my languages, and pronounced differently in each. I answer to both pronunciations. I do dislike having my name misspelled, though. It also exists in English, although anglicized variants are much more common.

      That said, I admit that it’s less of a problem here in Finland, because we usually only use someone’s name when we’re trying to attract their attention and can’t get it in any other way, such as by looking them in the eye. Before the pandemic when I went to the office most days and WFH maybe 1 or 2 days a month, if that, I could go for a whole week without anyone saying my name at work. If anything, I find it both weird and slightly annoying to hear my name more than once or twice in a conversation, but it’s just something I have to deal with when I’m talking to non-Finns. I can, and do, hide my slight annoyance in situations like that.

      You aren’t responsible for other people’s feelings. If hearing mispronunciations of your name doesn’t bother you all that much, it’s fine to let it go. And to shrug it off if someone gets annoyed that you didn’t correct them.

    31. European*

      Late to thread. My name is Laura, which in my mother tongue is pronounced similarly as in Spanish and Italian. I work in a team of people from 15 European countries, and there is in general a happy chaos in pronouncing everyone’s name. I am perfectly fine if Laura is pronounced as in English / French. If someone asks, I tell them how it’s pronounced in my language, but that they can choose.

  8. Over It*

    This morning my grand boss sent an email asking a bunch of people to give her our onions ASAP. She clearly meant opinions, but the mental image of us all rushing at her with onions made me laugh after an otherwise terrible week at work. Happy Friday, and may your weekend be filled with the exact amount of onions you desire!

    1. Threeve*

      There’s a French phrase for telling someone to mind their own business, which basically translates as “not your onions.”

      1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        And now I’m imagining a French-Polish mashup of “not your onions, not your soup.”

    2. VV*

      Haha, I love this! There’s a meme in a fandom I’m in where someone once made that typo too and I use it all the time, much to the chagrin of my sisters and friends.

    3. Grievance Commissioner*

      I was included on an email thread yesterday where someone intended to say “adding Jane to this string [of emails],” but instead said that they were adding her to the sting. It gave me a chuckle. I’m sure Jane is very excited to be involved in this operation… err, project!

    4. Iron Chef Boyardee*

      I ain’t got no onions, but I can run to the store for a bag of Funyuns if that’ll suffice.

      1. Over It*

        If that were the case, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be much help. We all WFH on Fridays, she lives far out in the suburbs and I don’t have a car. But she seemed satisfied with the onion-free opinion I emailed her :)

        1. Virginia Plain*

          Grocery order ftw. But be careful; there’s a hilarious but by Scottish comedian Susan Calman about how she accidentally ordered a sack of onions instead of a single one but didn’t want her wife to find out so she handed them out to her neighbours saying it was a tradition, onion day, etc. Then she talked about it on tv and another guest asked if her wife would be watching…

    5. Sova*

      I have a job where I regularly have to send over a draft of document for signature through a referral queue. I was typing to fast one day and put “Please sign.” on the referral note. The consultant responded that they signed the document because they tried singing it and it wasn’t very catchy.

    6. Emma*

      The President of the European Commission’s yearly speach is commonly know as Ze state of ze Onion here.

  9. Panda*

    So I was offered a new job that I am planning on taking if the salary negotiations work out. I am heartbroken at the thought of telling my manager and team that I am leaving. I have great management, work with great people, and have interesting work. I have been very happy at my current company (been there almost 11 years) but looked around because it’s not as stable as it once was and I am concerned they will not be around in a few years. And the new company has a mission I really believe in.

    How do you reconcile the fact that you love the people you work with and it will be hard to leave with excitement for a new opportunity?

    Do you have any tips on making the transition as smooth as possible?


    1. ThatGirl*

      It’s great that you have enjoyed and appreciated your current job, but realize that it’s truly not personal, and if your managers and coworkers really do like and appreciate you, they will be happy for you. Think about how you would feel if one of your coworkers were leaving for a great opportunity — they will likely feel the same.

      It’s OK to be sad to leave good people, of course – but the internet makes it easier than ever to keep in touch, and who knows, maybe you can help some of them find new jobs if/when the time comes.

    2. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      I did this a year ago – it was hard! I cried every time I had to tell a new group of people that I was leaving. Come up with what you’re going to say about why you’re leaving and practice it. It makes it easier to say through the tears (if you are a crier like me). I made mine all about the opportunities – I was excited to learn new things, get more experience in X and made it very clear that the new job offered me things that the current job could never offer. And then I made sure to try to wrap everything up on as positive a note as possible.

    3. Lorelai*

      I moved to another state and had to quit. We had lots of farewells. I embraced the suck. I cried A LOT on my very last day. I also kept my eye on the prize. All the crying was like a cleansing. Turned out, after I left, the old employer sort of imploded, and I’m glad I missed all that.

    4. GarlicMicrowaver*

      I just went through this. I thought of it as a death- grieving and mourning. It takes time, but gets better each day.

    5. Coenobita*

      I worked for the same company for 10 years, starting right after graduating from college. When I left, it felt so similar to going through a breakup – like, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, we were just moving in different directions, and I wanted to date other people (i.e. try working in other fields). It was a more emotional process than the end of a lot of my actual relationships! But it was a good choice and we are still friends (i.e. I have lots of good professional contacts at my former company and we even send potential job candidates to each other when either of us is hiring).

    6. Momma Bear*

      IMO, remember that you had a good run and are leaving on your terms. Waiting until it’s toxic and horrible just leaves more damage to undo. Keep your network, and who knows? Maybe there’ll be an opportunity in the future. It’s all business – yours and theirs. “I love my team, but I want to see where this new opportunity takes me.”

      Give them as much notice as you can (I gave one company 4 weeks but I know that’s not typical here), cross train who you need to, and basically just try to leave with things in enough order for someone to pick up when you go.

  10. Should I apply?*

    Work cell phones – if you get one and are allowed to also use it for “personal use” what do you feel comfortable putting on it? My understanding is that the company would have access to anything I put on the phone. I’ve never had a cell phone for work before, but it is something that I will get with a new job. I’m curious where people draw the line. It seems really inconvenient to carry 2 phones, but I wouldn’t want to give the company access to my personal photos and data.

    1. Cate*

      When I had one I mostly used it for work emails, Spotify and games (I travelled for the role, so it kept me occupied). I did have Whatsapp, but largely only used it on my personal phone. I wouldn’t use it for photos, unless they were work related ones that I wanted separate from my personal phone/life.

    2. BCC*

      I have this same setup.
      Many people at my company get rid of their personal phone as there is a high level of privacy & trust (employer is headquartered in EU). However, I have decided to keep two phones because my previous employer scarred me.
      My main divide between the two phones is social media apps and my personal email account. I do need some apps on both phones (travel apps pre pandemic as an example). Yes, sometimes I end up taking personal-ish photos in my work phone, but they can easily be transferred over!

      I’m so use to it now, I don’t mind the two phones. It also helps that they’re the same make/model just different colors and cases so I don’t have to have two different UX types.

      Added bonus is on weekends and during vacations, it’s so easy to put the work phone away!

      1. Observer*

        Many people at my company get rid of their personal phone as there is a high level of privacy & trust (employer is headquartered in EU)

        I would suggest checking specific regulations, because the fact that the phone is owned by the company probably does change some things. Like, they can probably remotely wipe the phone if they need to. Or could take the phone back and do a forensic search if they need to.

    3. Happy Fr-Yay!!!*

      Keep in mind that if you use your personal phone for work, it becomes discoverable. I kept two separate phones for years (with different cell service providers, so sometimes I could use one but not the other due to service mapping).

      After 10 years I moved to my personal phone only, given that I learned the personal-used-for-work-is now-discoverable. And I only have innocent g-rated images on it—backed up to my personal iCloud account.

      1. Should I apply?*

        I am curious about if the company would have access to your icloud if you sync your business phone to it. My personal phone is and iphone, and the work phone would also be an iphone (nicer camera than my personal one). I would be worried if I synced the work phone to my personal icloud account, that then the company would have access to my personal icloud account. Anyone know how that works?

        1. As per Elaine*

          Unless you have agreed to have your personal icloud joined to the company account (and I don’t know of a way to do that, honestly), or your “personal” icloud is attached to your company email, your icloud is yours and your employer shouldn’t have access to it. It’s possible that there are mobile device management systems that somehow interface with your personal icloud, but apple tends to be pretty strong on privacy stuff and you would definitely have to click through something (“WorkTracker wants access to X, Y, Z in your icloud account”) and I’m not aware of that, either, though the company I was at that offered work phones wasn’t super cutting-edge.

          Feel free to ask your IT people! “If I put my personal icloud account on this phone, is there anything that would give the company access to it?” is not an unreasonable question, and quite possibly one that they have a regular spiel for.

          I’ll also note that many companies that provide phones do so in a somewhat lackadaisical manner and don’t do a great job of tracking them, but if the phones are discoverable, this may be a different situation. (When I had a company-issued phone I just used it for everything, and I’m in IT. I don’t generally take nude selfies or anything, though.)

    4. snarkalupagus*

      I’m looking at my two phones right now – I’ve had a work phone for probably ten years and the two personal elements on it are my Chrome bookmarks/browser history because it’s synced to my personal Google account, and a couple of random photos of my dogs. I got used to carrying two phones because I wanted to keep my longtime number (minor reason) and because I don’t want the company having access to my personal life any more than they already do (major reason). Not that anyone’s monitoring, or that my life is particularly interesting, but in my industry (aerospace/defense) and particular company, which just got through a reasonably major data breach, I don’t want the company controlling what I can and can’t do with a device I use for personal purposes. I always joke that I believe in the separation of church and state (which I do in its intended context too…). As with anything you do on a company-owned device, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, so run anything you might do on that device through that decision filter when you’re weighing whether or not the minor hassle of two phones is worth it.

      1. Two phones*

        This 100%. I work in IT formerly with government and now consulting. They can remote wipe the work phone and everything you do on it is discoverable. I do literally zero personal things on my work cell phone.

    5. seahorsesarecute*

      My husband uses two phones for that reason, not giving work access to his photos and so on. I have apps on my phone that are health related I wouldn’t want my work to see and I also wouldn’t want them to know how much time I waste in the evening on Candy Crush. So while it would be a hassle, I would carry two phones.

    6. Over It*

      I personally love having a work phone—it really helps with maintaining boundaries! I’ve never found carrying two phones to be any more of a burden than carrying one. Personally I keep very little non-work things on my work phone. Music streaming app (when given permission by the company—my current job said no but I’m mostly in the office in front of a computer in this role, whereas previous jobs I was much more mobile) and maybe the odd dog photo. Most places are chill about accessing info from your work phone unless something unusual happens and will wipe work phones between employees, but they do theoretically reserve the right to access anything on there, so proceed as if they will look at your phone even if they probably won’t.

      1. Shiba Dad*

        I agree. For the past three years I’ve had a work phone where at previous jobs I used my personal phone.It’s not all that inconvenient carrying two phones. I have installed exactly one non-work related app (a weather app) on it. I have not used it for personal use.

    7. Bob Howard*

      I bought a dual-sim phone, and put the sim from my work phone in it. I can select which sim is used for each call & set defaults etc. The work SIM can be disabled when I am not at work. Old work phone became a department spare and then used when a colleague dropped theirs.

      But be aware that if you sign up to use your corporate Microsoft ID on your own phone (for Outlook etc.) you very
      probably are giving your employer the ability to remotely wipe your own device.

    8. Katrine Fonsmark*

      I would not feel comfortable doing ANYTHING personal with it. Zero. Absolutely nothing. Your company owns it and everything on it. You just have to carry 2 phones. By the same token, I refuse to put anything work-related on my personal phone – I won’t do email, teams, zoom, nothing.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Ditto. If a company provides you with an electronic device, always assume that A) they can see anything that’s on it, and B) they can hard wipe it at any time. No matter where you are or what the data regs are.

        Also it makes it 100% less likely that you will accidentally email/text your boss with those embarrassing pictures you took with your friends at the club last night.

    9. RagingADHD*

      I would only put things that I would be perfectly comfortable displaying in my cubicle for any coworker to see, or for my boss to see on my screen if I accidentally left it up while screensharing.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      Two phones IS inconvenient, but I wouldn’t use it for anything personal myself. I don’t like the idea that the company can wipe it if it’s stolen or lost. If I had personal stuff on there, I’d be pretty upset if it were obliterated.

      Same with laptops—I never kept anything personal on my work laptop. I just used a flash drive if I wanted to write at lunchtime (at Exjob) or brought my own machine (at OldExjob).

    11. anonymous73*

      Treat it the same as your computer. They have access to it at all times if they want it. I would much prefer to carry 2 phones than allow my work to access any personal data and it seems like it would be a nightmare to try and remember what I have on which phone.

    12. Anon for This*

      I keep them both separate. The only time I use the work phone for personal business is when I travel internationally on business – I will use it to call/text home. This is permitted, and my personal phone doesn’t have an international plan. Otherwise I keep them completely separate for all the reasons others have given. (One is an iPhone, the other a Samsung. Makes it very easy to tell them apart.)

    13. KuklaRed*

      I haven’t had a dedicated work cell phone for a while now, but when I did, I never put anything on it that was personal. Nothing. I didn’t check personal email on it, I didn’t do anything with it that wasn’t strictly related to my job and company. I didn’t even give the phone number out to anyone except my husband and my kids.

    14. Chauncy Gardener*

      I have two separate phones for work and personal. I like to keep things separate and if I ever move on to a different job, I don’t want to lose all my personal stuff. I also like to be able to put my work phone in a drawer when I take time off!

    15. MacGillicuddy*

      If you leave the company, they will wipe the company provided phone and you will lose access to everything.

      Also, in some companies, they put security software that limits what you can copy or send/receive, restricted to other company devices. (tablets & laptops , might also include phones)

      1. Fran Fine*

        If you leave the company, they will wipe the company provided phone and you will lose access to everything.

        My company lets people leaving keep their phones provided it’s no longer under contract with the phone company and the device itself is fully paid off. I’ve been working long enough now with my company to own my device outright, so when I’m ready to leave, all I have to do is notify the team that procured the phone for me and they’ll have the number switched over to my personal account (I have the same carrier for both my work and personal cell phones).

    16. 1qtkat*

      I go by the rule if you don’t want work to see it, don’t do it on your work phone like writing comments on AAM threads. I had a colleague who used his work phone as his personal phone, but he limited what he did on the phone to phone calls and occasional innocuous internet searches.

    17. Sparkles McFadden*

      The two phone system is best. It helps you separate work from the rest of your life.

    18. OtterB*

      My husband had a work cell phone in the job he just recently left. The only personal thing he did on it was the occasional text on the order of “on my way home, do you need anything from the grocery store?” And even those were more often on the personal phone.

    19. A Feast of Fools*

      My company requires software that can “wipe” the phone’s data for any phone used for company purposes. The software can also keep a log of literally everything you do on the phone.

      So I have two phones.

      The inconvenience is negligible compared to the pain of sharing any part of my private life with my company, outside of checking the weather or traffic conditions.

    20. beach read*

      I can’t imagine using my work phone for anything personal ever.
      Just like I wouldn’t use my work computer for anything personal ever.
      Emergency call for fire/police/tow truck sure.

    21. IT Manager*

      I do let Apple cloud sync my photos (just for redundancy) but my pictures are kids and dogs. If I had anything sensitive, I wouldn’t even do that.

      Most companies are migrating to more “managed device” mode for cybersecurity reasons, which means the phone has to be enrolled and an agent installed. This can see, view and delete EVERYTHING in your phone.

      I’ve personally been involved in cyber investigations where we had to wipe ALL the data on employees phones … even personal data, even personally owned phones (that they enrolled in order to see work email on personal phones). It was awful.

    22. allathian*

      Carrying two phones is a minor inconvenience at most, compared to giving your employer full access to your private life. This also means that I can switch it off and keep it in my computer backpack when I’m on vacation.

      I don’t use my work phone for anything personal, and we aren’t allowed to use our personal devices for anything work-related for security reasons. I do have my manager’s phone number in my personal phone for emergencies, and she has my private phone number, but it’s understood that it’s only to be used in a genuine emergency, if I can’t be reached any other way.

  11. MiracleFlame*

    Has anyone here been successful in getting coworkers to use noun-pronouns? I am nonbinary and use star/stars/starself, but after recently having come out at my job, I feel discouraged that anyone will ever respect my gender enough to use them. I’m a freshman in college and working a new retail job. I asked my coworkers to use my pronouns, and now I get the feeling people have changed their opinion of me because of it. I know everyone’s been talking about it. My manager even accused me of screwing with them/attention-seeking.

    I wanted to put my pronouns on my nametag too, but I suspect even if my manager approved it, it would just make customers be unpleasant to me. I knew this was a risk, but the whole experience makes me scared that I won’t ever feel safe enough to come out in a professional job.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Disclaimer that I am queer but cisgender – I have a nonbinary coworker who just started using they/them pronouns which as far as I can tell is the most common alternative.

      I think you’re going to have a hard time getting people on board unless you work in a really progressive area. Neopronouns, especially noun-pronouns, are not very well understood. I mean this with all the sympathy in the world but it would trip me up, and I would probably default to using your name or they/them. I would try!! for sure, but it would be hard without practice.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        I was waiting for someone else to comment first. :) Yes, I agree. The OP would have a better chance of teammates using they/them. I work in a progressive company and they/them is common, but having personalized pronouns is asking much more of co-workers. Linguistically, I would have a difficult time working a noun in as a pronoun during conversation.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I also think that asking for pronouns that refer to things that aren’t human is going to make it harder. Everyone is already used to they/them to refer to people but asking for pronouns that imply that one also transcends humanness (or even corporeal-ness) I suspect will get pushback.

    2. Silvercat*

      40 year-old non-binary here. Unfortunately I think noun-pronouns are still not commonly recognized, which sucks. We’re still trying to get people to recognize singular they, let alone neopronouns like xie/xer. And I suspect retail or anything interacting with the public is going to be harder. Is there another set of pronouns you’re okay with? Is there a coworker or two you can approach that seems supportive, so you can get respect from at least a couple of people?

      I suspect as time goes by more and more types of pronouns will become normal, but right now it’s a constant battle. I’m sorry, it really really sucks.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        My workplace seems fine with using singular they, but they’re a bit mystified by things like xie, xer, etc.

    3. Dust Bunny*

      I think something like stars/starself is going to be a much harder sell than something more common/familiar like they/themself, which is already long in use to refer to humans without specifying a sex or gender.

    4. Former Retail Manager*

      As a former retail manager who transitioned to a professional job later in life, I can tell you that your experiences will likely be different in different environments and I wouldn’t let your retail experiences make your believe that you will have the same experiences in a professional setting. The reality is that, in a professional setting, people are generally paid more, generally have more education, and are in a position that is either their career or important to where they want their career to go. Frankly, they have more to lose and it’s in their best interest to get along with their co-workers, even if perhaps your request to use certain pronouns doesn’t align with their personal views.

      As for pronouns on your nametag, I personally wouldn’t. Can you just tell them to call you by X name and leave it at that? Also, if you’re working for a large corporate retail location, their corporate policy frankly may not allow it because, as a company, they may not want their employees taking actions or presenting themselves in a way that could give the appearance that the company is aligned politically or in terms of values in a certain way. (Think Chick-Fil-A or Hobby Lobby).

      The good news is that retail jobs are abundant, and if this company doesn’t fit with your values, perhaps try and find one that does, via your network, or just do some research. You don’t want to stay somewhere long term where people don’t accept you or the overarching corporate culture doesn’t allow you to be you. I am not optimistic that your current situation will get better. The best case scenario is probably that it doesn’t get worse.

    5. Leilah*

      I am really sorry this is happening to you. I recently updated my work signature with she/they, even though I really wish I could use ze/zir. I just didn’t think I would get anyone to use them. Even with the she/they I’ve detected some subtle changes from a few folks in how they treat me. I know this is really hurts and is stressful for you, but in my experience now in my 30s I can look back at all the times I was “the weird one” and it was always an amazing gift to the people around me. When I was the pioneer on something, within six months or so I saw a lot of people – even people older than me and people I looked up to — free and willing to be themselves in ways that would have been “weird” before I moved the definition.

    6. Rusty Shackelford*

      I am nonbinary and use star/stars/starself, but after recently having come out at my job, I feel discouraged that anyone will ever respect my gender enough to use them.

      It’s not necessarily a matter of respect. While I would respect your gender, it would be hard to remember to call you something that is infrequently used (today is literally the first time I’ve heard of noun-pronouns) by other nonbinary folks.

      1. Internist*

        Yeah, exactly. I’m in a program that specifically caters to queer students where at least 1/3 of the students are nonbinary and use they/them pronouns. There is one student who uses ze/zir and even in an environment where people really accept and even celebrate nonbinary identities, most people still really struggle to use ze/zir correctly. I don’t want to say that OP’s coworkers for sure respect OP’s identity, because they may not, but even people who do respect this identity are going to struggle.

    7. Threeve*

      Honestly? Nounself pronouns are really only used online.

      As others have pointed out, they’re just not a thing in 99.9% the adult working world, even in progressive organizations. Decent people are happy to use “they/them” (and more progressive people happy to use the less common pronouns like “ze/hir”) because they get that gender is not binary, and “he/him” or “she/her” are genuinely incorrect for some people.

      But for almost everyone, pronouns aren’t really expected to express peoples’ truest, most authentic selves; they’re just a way to not have to say someone’s name over and over. They mean “person I am talking to” or “person over there.”

      I’m not at all saying star/stars isn’t your truest identify, but if “star/stars” feels totally right, can you think of “they/them” as simply not wrong?

      1. No Name Yet*

        I think there may be something to this idea of considering using more common pronouns that are “not totally right, but also not wrong,” if indeed they/them does feel ‘not wrong.’

        I’m a cisgendered queer woman, and both my wife and I are bisexual. Over the decades I have gotten a fair amount of biphobia from within and outside of the queer community – so most of the time I don’t bother specifying that I’m bi, it just doesn’t feel worth the effort, especially when it’s someone in a work/occasional context. Now, the fact that I’m married to a woman? That IS very important, especially now that we have a kid – it’s very important to me that his school/medical providers/etc. know he has two moms, and I’m comfortable correcting people that assume my wedding ring means I have a husband. Do most people most of the time assume that we’re both lesbians? Yup. Is that correct? Nope. Is it close enough? Often, yeah. And when I feel like I have the mental bandwidth, and/or the person is important enough to me that it feels worth letting them know what is accurate, then I’ll correct them.

        I hope this doesn’t feel like an additional piling on, and clearly sexual orientation is not at all the same as pronouns – and I thought a perspective of someone deciding that sometimes ‘close enough’ is enough, might be helpful.

    8. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Cis- Het- and trying to be the best ally I can.
      The only way I could wrap my brane around this would be to consistently and only refer to you as MiracleFlame. As in “There was a discussion about MiracleFlame’s pronouns and I am struggling to accomodate MiracleFlame’s request.” I wish you the best of luck in trying to get there, especially in the corporate world. But in retail?

    9. SirBluebird*

      Yeah, as a former user of neopronouns myself (xe/xir/xirs! Starts with a Z sound, rhymes with and conjugates just like she/her/hers! Not even that complicated) who is now a binary trans man, this is one of the things that was a huge problem for me. I came out at exactly one job and was immediately treated way less seriously.

      Unfortunately, I think that the current perception of neopronouns and noun-pronouns is pretty profoundly negative among the general cishet culture. Especially since you’re probably still in your late teens, in my experience, “young person with neopronouns” is a designated “it’s fine to be queerphobic about this” target, even for liberal/well meaning people. If you’re willing to fight that battle, more power to you and you deserve to have your pronouns respected! If that sounds like kind of a nightmare, then do what you have to do to stay safe and healthy.

      In my experience, the best way for me to stay sane was to cultivate a more straight/cis-passing worksona, making it very clear in my mind that this was a performance, and making sure to do something every day after work to keep in touch with the more vulnerable queer trans parts of my identity.

    10. Katrine Fonsmark*

      I think the issue here is that a noun is NOT a pronoun, it serves a different function grammatically. So basically you’re just giving yourself a different name. I think if I was your co-worker and knew I wasn’t supposed to say “he’ll be here at 3:00” I would just default to “MiracleFlame will be here at 3:00” and not “Star will be here at 3:00” because if I’m gonna use a noun, I might as well just use your actual name. Pronouns are supposed to be a shortcut.

      1. Nope.*

        This sums up my feelings on it as well. By using a noun, you’re giving yourself another name. It’s not a pronoun. Why would I ever use it instead of your actual name? Logistically, it just doesn’t really compute.

        1. Hmm*

          And while of course it’s rare, if there were multiple coworkers with different noun-pronouns, you’d basically have to memorize two names for every person. It would certainly be polite to do so, but I don’t think you could reasonably get upset with someone forgetting – not because they’re queerphobic, but just because it’s a lot to remember!

          1. RagingADHD*

            Lots of people remember a real name and a nickname for their coworkers. But they use nicknames as names, not as pronouns.

            If OP could see the way clear to “sell” this to coworkers as a nickname, it would probably get used at least sometimes.

            1. Katrine Fonsmark*

              But at that point the person is essentially just changing their name, which doesn’t solve the pronoun issue. Like, my co-worker’s name is Elizabeth but everyone calls her Lizzie, I’ve never heard one person refer to her as Elizabeth. So her name, for all practical purposes, is Lizzie. Her pronouns are she/her.

              1. RagingADHD*

                Yes, exactly.

                I don’t think getting coworkers (much less random customers/members of the public) to use nouns instead of recognizable pronouns is an achievable goal. But if publicly identifying as “star” in some way is a goal, using it as a nickname could get part of the way there.

          2. Calliope*

            Yeah, at the end of the day, if someone asked me to do this, I’d try. But it would also not feel like a super reasonable request.

      2. Alice*

        I would also just use the person’s name because I would be concerned that people would misunderstand and think the pronoun was a second person. As in “I sent MiracleFlame the files, star will look at them tomorrow” might make someone think there is another person named Star who will look at the files.

        1. Katrine Fonsmark*

          Yes, exactly what I was thinking – it sounds like there’s a separate person named Star. Because, again, pronouns serve a different purpose than nouns!

      3. Spearmint*

        This. I know this may be a bit harsh, but I’m going to be completely honest since I imagine many people will have a similar reaction. Asking coworkers to call you by a noun-pronoun comes off as a bit… precious and entitled, frankly. Most will feel it’s an artificial, strangely individualized way to speak to you that would be very difficult to do consistently. If a coworker asked me to refer to them by noun-pronouns, I wouldn’t think they were an awful person, but I would view them as a bit annoying and entitled.

        And keep in mind that I’m someone who is pretty progressive, and even paid my dues blogging on Tumblr for many years, and that’s *my* reaction. Most of your coworkers will be more likely to view this skeptically.

        I know this is important to you, but I think this is honestly how most will see it, and I know that probably sucks to hear, but that’s the reality.

        1. Unaccountably*

          I have to agree. Star/stars/starself sounds lovely in theory but if someone actually wanted me to use those pronouns, it would come off to me as immature and unprofessional in a way that they/them and zie/zir doesn’t.

          There are plenty of ways and spaces to express yourself, but the average workplace is never going to be on the bleeding edge of individuality expression.

        2. A Poster Has No Name*

          Unfortunately, I think this is realistic. Especially if you’re a young person at a new workplace, it’s going to be pretty hard to get people to use anything other than they/them and it will almost certainly make a lot of people take you less seriously. Not that it should, mind you, but it’s reality.

          I also agree with Threeve upthread, that pronouns aren’t usually meant to be the truest expression of self, they’re just a shortcut when referring to someone else and going with “they/them” as not exactly wrong is probably going to serve you better at work.

        3. Joielle*

          Yeah. Even as a very-online queer person, I had not heard of noun-pronouns before this comment. My first reaction is that intellectually, I love star/stars/starself as a pronoun, it’s a neat concept, and I can see how it would appeal to people and feel very true to the OP. But. It is a wholesale reimagining of the way words are used in the English language, and although that is cool to play around with, it’s going to be a hard sell in most workplaces.

          OP, it is probably really hard to read all these comments telling you that your pronouns are not likely to be accepted at work, and I’m sorry about that! I wonder if you’ve looked for jobs at explicitly queer-focused organizations – they will be the most likely to get on board with noun-pronouns and you might be happier with that type of work.

          1. Internist*

            I think this is really the heart of the matter–completely reimagining the English language can be a very beautiful project, but it isn’t necessarily one that fits in the modern workplace, for better or for worse. A little bit similar to how the most beautiful literary writer’s style will not be appropriate for written workplace materials.

            1. Okee dokee pokee*

              I just think of how difficult many people find it to say “I saw” instead of “I seen” or “should have” instead of “should of”. Changing how people prefer to talk is a significant undertaking!

        4. Marvel*

          I’m trans and honestly this is also my take. There’s a reason nouns and pronouns are different parts of speech, and pronouns are meant to be a short, convenient, universal way to refer to someone without using their name. If literally everyone has a different pronoun to reflect their individuality, that’s completely contrary to how pronouns work, linguistically speaking.

          Honestly, I also find it extremely difficult to verbally parse noun pronouns. I’m also autistic and social interaction is plenty exhausting anyway, so adding that additional communication challenge makes me want to take a nap for about 100 years.

      4. Siege*

        I’m now imagining a Wakeen/Joaquin situation, because I’ve known a woman named Star. And, for that matter, a man named Ocean.

        I may look back on this comment in five years and say “haha, how naive I was to think this didn’t make sense or work well”, but even in my progressive professional office with non-binary and trans colleagues and a deep commitment to undoing systems of oppression, you’re not going to get people using noun-pronouns, and a lot of our members (we are a member-serving organization and our members are OFTEN more conservative than we are) would refuse to take you seriously. You would be known for your pronouns, not for your work. They/them is understandable and familiar, and we would probably stretch pretty easily to zie/zer or xie/xer, (I base this more on the fact we’re still slipping a little with they/them, I did it myself the other day by accident, and our colleague’s been out for years) though based on what my non-binary colleague reports it would be an ongoing slog with members, but not to noun-pronouns.

    11. *daha**

      I really think that’s a bridge too star. Uh… far.
      The purpose of name tags in retail is not to put constraints on the customers.

      1. Joielle*

        Well, no. As a general concept, putting pronouns on a nametag doesn’t constrain a customer, it just gives the customer correct information to use. The pronouns aren’t the problem here, it’s the very unusual concept of noun-pronouns, which are not (yet?) commonly used or understood.

        1. anony-not-miss*

          I think it depends on how much you want to explain/possibly correct people and answer ignorant questions. Do you have the energy for that?

          I’m nonbinary, but it’s not safe for me to be out. I aspire to be a semi public ze/zir someday but not there yet…

          I also wanted to say that I love star/s and think it’s awesome!

      2. JelloStapler*

        Actually, I see pronouns on nametags as helpful. But tbh, as a customer I would be so mystified by the star/starself that I’d probably avoid saying your name or pronouns in the likely small interaction we have – instead just general “how is your day, etc”.

        1. RagingADHD*

          How often do you use a retail worker’s third person pronouns anyway?

          The second-person pronoun is still “you.”

          The only scenario I can think of is giving feedback to a manager, in which case you would usually be using the person’s name.

    12. She / They*

      I identify as genderqueer and use They with friends and prefer it myself, and if someone asked me to use something other than she, he, or they… the reality is that I would be unlikely to remember what it was exactly, so would end up saying your name often. If you were a best friend then sure, but I use pronouns for colleagues so rarely that I wouldn’t have enough practice. Most of my work comms is ‘you’ “Can you do this for me?” or I / we “I recommend option x based on our research”

    13. Dragonfly7*

      I’m sorry your coworkers and manager are behaving that way. I wish I had advice for you. Thank you for introducing me to the correct term for noun-pronouns. I’d been mentally lumping them in with neopronouns.

    14. Nesprin*

      I really want to be supportive… but noun pronouns are a new one to me and would take some recalibrating even in my environment where pronouns are part of introductions.

    15. I am Groot*

      I disagree with what most people are saying here. I think people might find it strange or unusual and may have difficulty applying your pronouns correctly (I know I had to think about it for a minute to understand it), but I don’t think they would have trouble remembering it. If someone told me their pronouns were a noun I would find that so fascinating I’d have a hard time forgetting it. I would expect to run into people who aren’t very nice about it though, so you have to be prepared for that.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Being memorable in that way does not, in most situations, translate to automatic and appropriate usage in context.

        Most people get sick of being “facinating” real quick, especially at work.

    16. Double A*

      I think it is a good thing when society is more accepting of a continuum of sexuality and gender and I hope we keep moving in that direction. However, no one, cishet people included, brings their full gender or sexual identity into public because there are aspects of those identities that are too private, individual, and intimate for the wider world.

      While language does change over time, we can’t each have our own bespoke rules for ourselves or we won’t be able to communicate. Substituting one pronoun for another works within our cognitive schema of grammar, which is why it’s reasonable to ask people to use your preferred PROnouns. However, it’s not reasonable to ask people not to use pronouns for you if they’re speaking about you (because I’m assuming “you” is still okay? Although… why?)

      It’s kind of like the person who wanted people to call her boyfriend Master. Like, that is a valid and important part of their relationship and sexuality, but also not something they can expect strangers and acquaintances to be involved with. It’s too personal and intimate.

      Noun-pronouns sound like an excellent thing to use in safe and intimate spaces where people know all about you and you can fully be yourself. At work, choose the closest fitting standard pronoun, because the pronouns we have actually cover all scenarios: She = female living thing; he = male living then; they = agender or unknown gender living thing or plural things; it = object or non-human.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        This is a really excellent summary of the issues!

        I will add that with name tags in a retail environment, the vast majority of customers are going to have absolutely no idea what you mean, will probably think you’re listing a nickname and will then pick whatever pronoun they think they should use. So you won’t even get to the point where they are trying but failing to use the pronouns for grammar reasons.

      2. allathian*

        Very well put. I was struggling to state why I think the OP’s request sounds entitled, but you really put your finger on the issue.

        I really hope you can find some safe spaces where you can be fully yourself, including noun-pronouns, OP. I’m afraid any job is unlikely to be such a safe space, though.

  12. Threeve*

    Extremely low stakes question: my boss likes to use the term “etiquette” when naming training documents, rather than something like “SOP” or “guide.”

    It’s always felt mildly fussy and condescending to me (and that’s really not her personality at all). Is it a normal title convention that I’ve just never seen before?

    1. Generic Name*

      That’s a little weird. Does your boss also like to use “gentle reminders”? I feel like some people are so uncomfortable with wielding authority that they phrase everything as a favor or “nice thing to do”, which may work okay with some people, but not with others. Unless it’s something like “email etiquette” where there are also social conventions at play, I don’t think the term make sense. Is your boss sending out things like “guide to etiquette on changing the printer toner”?

      1. Threeve*

        They’re totally normal SOPs, and she’s not even the one writing most of them.

        Our department has a shared “Etiquette” file that I would normally expect to be something like “Procedures.” I emailed her a summary I compiled of the newest branding guidelines, and she renamed it “New Branding Etiquette.”

    2. CTT*

      Oh, we do that! I’m not sure why, someone did it and we adopted it. It can be used tongue-in-cheek-y. We also call it a “naming convention” because SOP feels more technical than our field is.

    3. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Is there any chance that your boss speaks another language besides English? I know that in French, “etiquette” means “label” so we have the “etiquette des fusibles” for the fuse label. Yes, more than likely, they’re aiming for “convention” but I can see where there is that aspect of “unspoken rules that one must follow to avoid embarassment.”

    4. anonymous73*

      Yeah training documents have nothing to do with etiquette unless you’re working at company that teaches young ladies how to behave like they did in the 50s (or whenever that was). So no, it’s not even close to any sense of normal.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      Etiquette just means customary code of behavior, so while it is a bit odd, it does make sense here. I don’t think it’s condescending at all (but I’ll grant you that it’s fussy!)

    6. Momma Bear*

      That sounds niche. How many people will pick that up and intuitively realize it’s the Llama Grooming Training Manual or Standard Operations for Teapot Delivery? We use guide/manual/SOP.

    7. Metadata minion*

      Yeah, that seems weird to me unless it’s about interpersonal interaction (and even then, it would feel a bit like I’m a kid being told to keep my elbows off the table).

    8. No Tribble At All*

      Haven’t seen this before. Etiquette can be broken or ignored to still get the job done — I’d say it parallels with “best practices.” A guide or user manual is more rigorous, and “SOP” is an ironclad procedure! “Etiquette” is way too gentle a title.

  13. Watry*

    I posted on last week’s thread that I had just interviewed for a promotion. I did not get it, and now I really need to start job hunting, because I suspect I’m being led on at this point. Any tips on finding general office job postings? Indeed and LinkedIn are only giving me sales positions, and I am not cut out for that.

    As an aside, I was supposedly rejected for lack of management experience, but I have all that you can get without ever officially holding the title. How am I supposed to get more if I can’t get it without already having it?

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*

      Can you clarify what you mean by “general office job postings”? Are you looking for office management roles, in like office operations and support? If so, my colleague who is job hunting has had a lot of success with recruiting firms. She works with a couple of different firms (we’re based in a large metropolitan area) and gets sent several postings a day for quality roles. (She is being extremely picky about her next career move, which is why she hasn’t moved on yet, but she’s had several interviews and a handful of solid offers!)

    2. Leilah*

      That feedback likely means that whomever they hired had more management experience than you, which unfortunately you can’t control. If you really want to get into management in my opinion it’s best to stay where you are. You are a lot less likely to get straight into management with no management experience when switching companies than when getting promoted from within. Is there a different department you could internally transfer to? Are you comfortable building a mentoring relationship with someone at your current workplace? have you tried going directly to your current boss and asking them exactly what you need to do to get into management – they may be happy to sign you up for Lean Six Sigma training or something else they find valuable. Just having that conversation with them can open doors.

      1. Joielle*

        Yeah, if you can get experience managing a project or task, that would help. Not necessarily managing people per se, but managing their contributions to something – giving assignments, setting deadlines, etc. Personally, that’s the kind of progressive responsibility I’d be looking for when hiring someone to be a first-time people manager.

    3. caseykay68*

      I think you would have better luck in your job searches thinking about the specific type of role within the larger umbrella of “general office job.” Like are you thinking Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Operations Specialist? Or other areas like Document control specialist, etc. Think about what areas of your general office job you like and focus on those types of titles. Best of luck in your search.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Came here to say this as well. There are also Operations Support roles that can be quite administrative in nature – requires good attention to detail, timely followup skills, well organized, that sort of person.
        And maybe think about a specific industry as well as a specific title?
        Good luck!!

  14. Kelly Kapoor*

    What’s your funny (work-related) story of the week?

    Mine is that I was contacted by a recruiter from my previous company for almost the same role that I left a week back, gave me quite a chuckle :)

    Happy weekend!

    1. I was told there would be llamas*

      I messaged a recruiter on LinkedIn about a job she posted to find out what company it was, etc. She responded with the info and asked if I was interested…told her I would think about it and get back to her. 3 hours later, get a LinkedIn message from her…the typical, “Hi, I’m so-and-so and saw your profile and you look like you would be perfect for this job I have.” Um, yeah, I’m the person that messaged you about it 3 hours ago.

      1. Jean*

        I communicated with a recruiter for over 2 WEEKS about a position that I didn’t even end up interviewing for, since I ended up getting and accepting an internal transfer at my current company. The day after I told him I would be moving forward, I got the same kind of “Hi I’m so and so and I would love to discuss this opportunity with you” message from him on LinkedIn, about the SAME JOB we had been discussing. I wasn’t even surprised to get it, honestly. My entire experience with him was… less than impressive.

    2. Aimzzz*

      Not work related – sorry! – but probably the funniest thing that’s happened this year. I was on my way home from work yesterday driving on the very busy main road in the city. A white SUV did a right-on-red and cut off a guy in a silver car. Silver car guy doesn’t honk or anything, white car guy scoots into the middle lane. Then, in the funniest act of road rage I have ever seen, silver car guy pulls out a Chuckie ventriloquist doll and absolutely cusses the white car guy out using the Chuckie doll as his puppet. I got about two seconds of it on video because I knew no one would believe me.

    3. Elle Woods*

      I got an email yesterday from a woman who had contacted me a few months ago for a job at her workplace. I had to explain to her several times in our initial conversations that I was not a good fit for the position as I did not agree with the institution’s statement of faith. (It was an evangelical university.) She no longer works there and wanted to apologize for sending me, in her words, “so many pesky emails about [job X].”

    4. Dragonfly7*

      I had an interview in a department that has a plastic skeleton with a pirate eyepatch, amongst other items, as year-round decor.

  15. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    I’m amused that we talk a lot about imposter syndrome but not the more common issue of being bad at jobs or working in general. For example, I simply can’t do things when I’m depressed, but that’s almost all the time! ( there’s no way to accommodate that either) I wonder why we’re quiet about people who can’t fit into the economy

    1. filosofickle*

      It’s quiet because no one has an answer. Our system has not made room for lots of people and it’s easier to ignore it than solve it.

    2. ThatGirl*

      IS it more common, though? Or does it just feel that way to you? I don’t mean that to be snarky, truly — but if you struggle with depression, it can make things feel so much worse than they are.

      filosofickle is right too; we don’t really have a good way to talk about people who don’t fit into “the system” well.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Agreed. If you take the number of people with mental illness/neurodivergence/disability that making working hard and subtract the number of people who struggle but manage to do some kind of work passingly well you’re left with a very small percentage of workers. Those people are very real and their problems are huge to them and need support and we should talk about it, not diminishing that at all. But I wouldn’t say they’re common. Definitely not more common than imposter syndrome which is seen as a pretty rampant issue, particularly with professional women (though not exclusively).

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Well there is depressive realism but you can use math to stimulate the effect. If 80% of drivers say they are better than the average driver, how likely is that to be truthful? In an environment where all jobs are approximately 3 jobs in one, how likely is it that everyone is amazing?

        1. ThatGirl*

          Oh, I’m not saying everyone is actually amazing at their jobs, but being good at your job is different than being an “above average driver”.

          I think many people who are bad at their jobs are bad at them because either they’ve been poorly trained/supported or they’re just in the wrong job. For you, if your depression were properly treated and supported, you’d probably be/feel better at it! But it may also just not be the right job; that doesn’t mean you’d suck at *every* job.

          (For the record I also think we should have UBI in the US so that people didn’t need to work to survive.)

          1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

            To me, being good at your job is actually more difficult because while the parameters of good driving stay stable, jobs expand, more tasks are added and supports fall away. If your job was remote before now they want you to commute because??? …Jobs are dynamic.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Right, I’m just saying not everyone can be above average (because that’s not how averages work), but everyone COULD be good at their job, at least in theory.

              People change, jobs change, expectations change — all very true. It’s possible you’re not good at your job. It’s possible you are but you don’t FEEL good at your job. It’s also possible that with a different job, or more mental health support, you would both be and feel good at it.

      3. Jamalama*

        I think it’s more common now – with the turmoil of (US, at least) politics, COVID, and everything else in the world it’s hard to pay attention and feel productive. I am not the only person I know who feels like they’ve got a never-ending brain fog going on. And it’s ok to just say we’re depressed although it’s more nuanced than that.

        I joke that what everyone needs is a year off paid. We just need a break. SO MANY people need a break and realizing how literally impossible that is does not help. We need a massive change how our country works and a UBI but hahahahaha that will never happen here. It’s not people fitting into the system that’s the problem it’s the system itself. I imagine I’m preaching to the choir here…

      4. Siege*

        We actually do. They work in “the arts” and contribute “nothing of value” to the economy. I don’t agree with that assessment – my life is INFINITELY better because of all the work the arts sector puts into the world – but I think there’s an expectation that people who don’t fit the standard office model kind of quietly sequester themselves in areas that mainstream society can then devalue. Like, if you don’t want to wake up at 6 AM and produce, you should go into the arts with your weird sleep schedule, and then we’ll keep cutting funding and eliminating the structures that make being a full-time artist or a full-time writer or whatever viable. And then we’ll make fun of you for not having a million dollars.

        1. Marvel*

          As someone who works in the arts, this is a bizarre expectation to me. Artistic fields will chew you up and spit you out, and they are NOT kind to those who can’t keep up, or who want, you know… a decent salary and work/life balance. And they get away with it because there will be 150 people behind you waiting to take your place if you burn out.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, I find the way people talk about imposter syndrome really frustrating. Similar to overemphasizing/misinterpreting what introvert and extrovert mean. It’s good to know about it and be able to identify it! But I will try to talk to people about ways I’ve been objectively bad at my job and how I have valid concerns that there are areas I just… will never excel in, and it’s so dismissive to just get “oh I’m sure you’re great, that sounds like imposter syndrome!”

      Kind of like the quip that it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you – it’s not imposter syndrome if you actually suck :)

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Nod. Like the idea that no one has any real problems we just need to girl!boss. Remember when they told us to girl!boss for raises but then studies showed folks were getting turned down? I also don’t see why problems solely in people’s imagination is somehow more important than things that are occurring

        1. Hex Code*

          One reframe I have found helpful in the past is to try not to focus on what parts of a job I am “good at” or sucking at, but instead what I enjoy/am excited about or am not. Because like many school-smart kids, I grew up looking to a lot of external validation about what I was “good at” but that is not a useful way to determine how I want to spend my working days as an adult or how I should feel about myself. That exercise has given me a clearer sense in what I want when I am looking for jobs, and also weakens that reliance on “being good at my job” as a pillar of my self worth.

    4. RagingADHD*

      If a mental health condition prevents you from working and earning enough to live on, that is a disability. I think there is a lot of useful discussion and advocacy around disabilities. Not enough support, but the conversation is out there.

      There are also a lot of systemic and personal/internal obstacles to recognizing disabilities as such, especially mental health disabilities. Not everyone receives the help and benefits they need and that should be available in an ideal world.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Nod there’s a lot of stigma. I don’t want to ” come out” at work per se due to the sheer embarrassment factor. I guess it’s probably easier to write an article with your real name on a humble brag sounding issue too

    5. Koala dreams*

      I see quite a lot of debate on those and related topics, especially on social media but sometimes also in (on?) traditional media. It’s often more about systematic issues (discrimination of people with disabilities, lack of social welfare, a culture of overworking people), but sometimes you find articles where someone has interviewed people who struggle with working.

  16. Be the change you want to see*

    I need to change my 401(k) contribution. My employer’s 401(k) has a function on their website to submit the change, which I have done. The only problem is that every other time I tried to make a change (including both 401k or tax withholding) recently, they (HR and/or payroll) made a mistake when copying the new numbers into the actual payroll system. Is it rude to proactively send an email to make sure they enter the right number this time?

    1. Sunflower*

      Absolutely not. Changing contributions is a process that can take a few paychecks to update so I would definitely get ahead of it.
      I would send an email moreso saying ‘Hey I made this change and just want to make sure the numbers are inputted correctly so it’s effective as quickly as possible’ vs ‘hey don’t screw this up again’

      1. Be the change you want to see*

        They just made more work for themselves because I had to file a new W-4 with different numbers so that it would be correct over the whole year. Instead of inputting the form once correctly, they had to do it three times (once incorrectly, once correctly, and a third time correctly with different numbers).

    2. RD*

      I think as long as you don’t say like, “you have messed this up before so don’t do it again” I don’t think it seems rude just to email a ‘confirmation’ for the update.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      TBH, I would not think twice about calling out the previous errors.

      “Hey HR Person, Just a heads up that I’ve submitted a change request for my 401(k) contribution. On my last couple of requests, the amount actually submitted to Payroll4You has been entered incorrectly, can you double check that it gets submitted as $X?”

      1. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

        Agreed. The way you have it written addresses why you are emailing and keeps it in the realm of professional correspondence.

    4. StellaBella*

      Not at all. In fact today I found another mess up by the HR oerson on my taxes …. so yeah, do send a proactive email.

    5. Chauncy Gardener*

      It’s not rude at all! They clearly don’t have any checks built into their processes to catch this kind of thing. Plus, whoever is doing this job clearly doesn’t have the attention to detail and accuracy that the job requires! If I were that HR manager I would be mortified.

  17. RD*

    New job questions:
    1. How long after starting a new job did you feel really confident in your role? I am about 4 months in and it really ebbs and flows – sometimes I feel like I am really getting it, and then other weeks I am just plagued by self doubt
    2. I am a person who really likes getting feedback/knowing where I stand, but my new manager seems a little less interested in providing feedback than my previous manager. How do you deal with this? I have tried to mention it in our 1:1 but I don’t know if I explained it clearly enough!

    1. Panda*

      For #1, it took me a year to two year (for the higher level job) to feel like I knew what I was doing. However, I didn’t have a ton of background in these jobs, so I needed a lot of training. I am probably moving to a new role soon and I hope that it won’t take me so long to get up to speed.

    2. Leilah*

      Somewhere between 1 and 2 years. And I even did this exact job at another company earlier in may career, so I’m probably on the faster end.

    3. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      It depends on the complexity of the job – I started a new job last April and it took me until this January before I felt competent. Even now I’m still asking a lot of questions, but they’re more nuanced, detailed questions rather than “how do I do basic task x”. I’d look at the kinds of questions you’re asking/things you’re struggling with. Are they basic still or are you asking more nuanced or detailed questions?

    4. AndersonDarling*

      For #1, I’ve expected myself to feel comfortable in the office in 2 weeks. That’s more about instinctively knowing where the bathroom is, knowing the breakroom fridge etiquette, and just feeling safe in a physical place.
      After 2 months, I expect to feel comfortable in my day to day job. I don’t know everything, but I have an understanding of the general processes and I automatically start tasks.
      After 2 years, I’m fully integrated into my role and company and I’m able to make independent decisions with confidence.

    5. LC*

      I’m 10 months in and 50%the time feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, 40% of the time I feel like I can at least muddle my way through, and 10% of the time I’m super confident.

      I was told by multiple people early on that it would take two years for me to really have a handle on everything, and I’m so grateful they did, because I realllllly struggle with not knowing everything (or at least not feeling confident that I can handle whatever’s thrown at me).

    6. londonedit*

      Usually after about three or four months I start to feel like I’m getting to grips with the editorial schedules and the current books and authors on the list – that’s about the point where if someone asks me a question, I realise I can answer it straight away without having to look up which book they’re talking about. But our schedules run for 10-12 months from start to finish, so it definitely takes me a year or so before I feel like I’m totally integrated into a new job, because by that point I’ll have seen a few books through from initial conversations with the commissioning editor to final approval for press, and I won’t feel like all I’m doing is finishing off the last person’s projects.

    7. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      You’ll get there. Give yourself time.
      Every job I’ve had in the last twenty years has taken me a year to really get my feet under me and feel comfortable.
      Bonus: I’m starting a new job in two weeks where they say it will be more like 18 months. To borrow from Questlove, that learning curve is set to “smooth criminal.”

    8. Fluffy Fish*

      1. A year. That has held true whether its a completely new job or a promotion.

      2. Sounds like your boss is more of a feedback if there’s a problem kind of person. Truthfully, I prefer that style. If you have asked your boss for more feedback and you aren’t getting it, there’s probably not a you can do. That said, what do you discuss in your 1-1? Is it not the status of your work? Perhaps take a step back and think about if they are in fact providing you feedback, it’s just not as direct as you might prefer.

    9. Camellia*

      My daughter works for a VERY large company and their policy is this – it takes about one year to learn a job, another year to get really proficient at it, and the third year to maximize/improve/efficiencies to the job. Then you are moved, either as a promotion, if earned/available/appropriate, or as a lateral move. So you spend 2 to 3 years in one job and then go to another. It’s how the company feels they can best help develop their people.

      Part of me thinks this is awesome and part of me gets tired just thinking about moving to a new job every two or three years and having to start all over again.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, this. It works for personalities who are easily bored and who need to be learning new things all the time to avoid boredom. I also really hate the idea that you have to improve your skills all the time. I tend to do it in bursts every few years, with a year or two just feel comfortable in the role, because that’s when I do my best work. It also feels different if the need for improvement/development comes from within, as it did when I went back to school to take a certificate two years ago. I’m enjoying the benefits from that pretty much every day at work. When the need for learning is imposed from without, as with our continuing digital work environment reform, it’s more stressful. The reform is necessary, and I genuinely believe that it’ll be an improvement on the old way of doing things when the process is complete and we’ve learned all the new systems, but now I admit that I’m not really enjoying my job very much. Unlearning the old takes at least as much effort as learning the new does.

    10. 1qtkat*

      Question 1: I’ve held my current position since April 2020 and I had to learn a new set of laws and regulations. I would say for me it took about 6-9 months to be completely comfortable explaining these same laws and regs to the public and industry. I think by the 1 year mark I felt comfortable enough to give my insights on bigger picture issues related to my industry.

      Question 2: how often do you talk to your boss? I have a very hands off boss as in if I don’t have anything to discuss with her she assumes everything is okay. I’m pretty self disciplined and set personal goals with my work. While my boss might be happy to see stuff moving in general, I give myself metric goals to show myself and for performance reviews and resume building.

    11. RagingADHD*

      Really depends on the job and the life cycle of a project, because mastery comes from repetition. Some jobs that were focused on doing similar things most of the time, or on a weekly or monthly cycle, it would take 3-6 months to feel like I was up to speed.

      The work I do now is project based, with many different phases of the project, and the total life cycle of a project can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. I didn’t feel really on top of things for a good 18 months, just because it took that long to do every phase more than once.

    12. As per Elaine*

      When I started this most recent job it took about six months to get to a point where I started to get my feet under me and felt like I could handle a reasonable number of things mostly-independently. I felt like I “leveled up” in skill again somewhere around the one-year mark, where I was… not yet mastering the role, but had reached a point where I could do more of the things. I’ve been here about a year and a half now, and there are still many many things to learn, but I’m mostly able to handle my own projects with occasional consultation with colleagues.

      The learning curve might have gone a little faster if we were all in the office together, but also it’s a complicated job.

    13. Anon1*

      As for requesting feedback from your manger, I would ask for specifics! E.g. “I completed project x last week, how do you think it went?” Or “What do you think I could have improved with project x?” Or, “For my next project, I’m thinking of [improving/changing/implementing] x,y,z. What do you think?”
      Having something specific for your manager to give you feedback on vs general request should help!

    14. M.*

      I started a new job (promotion) on a different team two months ago. I was somewhat familiar with the tools/systems they were using and I knew the main players, but it’s still a lot to learn! I think I’ll be comfortable around 6-8 months in, but if I were coming in brand new, I’m certain it would take me around a year (if not longer) to learn all of this.

      The thing I’m struggling with right now is if this is the right fit for me in the long run, and I’m not yet convinced that it is.

    15. Polopoly*

      It took me a year to feel baseline competent at all the motions. Took 3 years before I was CONFIDENT enough to not have to pray every morning that something would go wrong.. Granted that’s in a field where our job was essentially working solo (no peers nearby) to identify and handle teapot emergencies (90% boredom, 10% chaos), where a teapot could start cracking in a matter of literal minutes or seconds.

  18. PM*

    I have recently been promoted at work and will now have 2 people under me. These are newly created positions because we are expanding and I am building a team. I’m looking for some advice/scripts on how to interview/screen for people who can work at a fast pace/with a sense of urgency. I have noticed that some of my coworkers who were not successful like to either work at a leisurely pace or prefer for their work to be perfect, therefore it take a long time. I need people who can churn things out at 90% accuracy.

    I’ve tried to ask how people handle their workload and let them know its a fast-paced environment, but I don’t think I am getting good answers. Does anyone have any ideas?

    1. Leilah*

      I would suggest “tell me about a time when….” questions. A time when you were under extreme time pressure, a time when you had to sacrifice quality for speed, etc. If they have any jobs on their resume that look like they would have been fast-paced, ask them about how successful they were at those jobs of what was their least or most favorite part of them.

    2. Hiyyy*

      Maybe ask them to describe a time they’ve had to work at pace, with follow up questions to explore how they coped and felt about this? Alternatively if your getting candidates who tend to have high workloads you can ask how they work to get through.

    3. Sunflower*

      I would ask that questions and then follow up with being upfront with the situation by giving specific examples of how a great employee would turnaround a project. If someone asked me how I handle my workload and if I am comfortable in a fast-paced environment, I wouldn’t think that necessarily translated to what you’re saying you’re looking for.

      Give an example of a situation and how you expect the employee to respond in timing and the type of work they should deliver. Honestly even 90% accuracy doesn’t tell me much either- are there certain areas that need to be 100% and others that don’t have to be. Does that refer to content or accuracy of typos/grammar? It’s probably not exactly what you’re hoping for but the candidates would likely self select out if they didn’t feel comfortable in that type of environment vs you needing to weed them out

    4. voluptuousfire*

      Give them a little exercise where you give them a common scenario they’d be working in. Ask them to walk you through how they would handle prioritizing those tasks. This can show you their thought process and if they can work quickly with a sense of urgency.

    5. Ama*

      I think this is hard to screen for because people’s perception of what is “fast-paced” can be very different. I know at my work we try to ask people interviewing to talk about times when they’ve had to manage multiple projects simultaneously or had to handle an emergency situation, and I try to give people an honest description of what our day-to-day looks like, but I have really struggled with identifying appropriate candidates because a lot of people hear what they want to hear or say they are happier in a fast-paced environment because they know that’s what *I* want to hear.

      I’m currently dealing with a newish employee who seemed in an interview to have exactly the kind of background we wanted for her position, and yet she seems completely overwhelmed by the amount of work — I am coming to the conclusion that both the employee and those of us who interviewed her made a lot of assumptions about the answers she was giving (for example we asked if she was comfortable running virtual meetings and she said yes assuming we would have tech help on hand, when what we meant was “do *you* have the technical skills needed to run a virtual meeting” which she very much does not — that’s totally on us for not being clearer, but it was a frustrating thing to realize after she’d already been on staff for three months). So my advice would be to be very very clear, almost to the point that you feel you are overexplaining, about what the position entails and what a person needs to be able to do to succeed in that position. I think you’ll still run into people who say “oh yes, I can do that” because they know that’s what you want to hear, but if you ask for examples of when they used particular essential skill maybe you can spot the people who truly have those skills vs. those who just say they do.

      1. PM*

        This is exactly the problem that I am having. Everyone thinks they work at a fast pace, but they do not. The issues I am seeing is coworkers who are so afraid of making a mistake that they proof read internal emails over 3 times, and then don’t complete all their tasks. I also see people who won’t work faster if there is more work, because they want their work product to be flawless. I don’t think the workload is unreasonable, but I am not someone who is bothered by typos in emails. I also see a lot of people who take multiple ‘breaks’ during the day to look at their phones, and then don’t complete their tasks. Not sure if I am being overly harsh, but I need people who consistently work and can ‘hustle’. I think an exercise would be good and being very clear to the point of over explaining.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          How long can people sustain that pace? Like do you need people for a long time or is this a meat grinder?

          1. SloanGhost*

            This. I actually do work at a good clip (I’m told I’m very fast, even!) but when I hear a prospective employer overemphasize that they want extreme speed that’s a red flag to me that it is in fact a meat grinder.

        2. I.*

          These seem like different issues. 1. Proofreading internal emails 3 times can be coached down to once. Not an actual problem. 2. This is the real issue—you need to gauge how comfortable people are with “done is better than perfect,” and however you are doing it now isn’t working. Q’s to ask yourself: are they receiving harsh feedback when things aren’t 100%? Is the difference between 90 and 100 clear to them? Are they new and can you reasonably expect this to cease when they get more comfortable and confident? Ie is this a hiring problem or a process problem? Or both? 3. Depending on the length of the breaks, I’d also assess whether I’m expecting reasonable amounts of productivity. If your workday is 8 hours and you’re expecting 7 hours 40 mins of work (with a ten minute break for coffee and bathroom twice a day) then you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re expecting say 5-6 hours of real productivity and then the rest of the time you’re expecting engagement and you see people slacking off for 30 mins at a time, then that’s something to address. Find the middle ground. Like, chances are you’re not working in the high stakes environment of the JOC (I’ve been watching a lot of FBI on Paramount lately), but it’s very reasonable not to want to be working at the Dundler Miffin Paper Company either.

        3. The Assistant*

          I agree with other commenters. If a lot of people on staff are this way, maybe they’ve gotten the message previously that a typo in an email is a Big Deal. So I would be specific about expectations with candidates and just tell them you don’t feel that way.

          It seems like addressing this with current staff, if possible, would be helpful. New employees sometimes take their cues from others.

          In an interview, you could ask a question about whether in past they choose a flawless project over doing more work. (Not in those words.) But you could create an exercise and time it and see what they choose.

          Just ideas. This varies, of course, on the specifics of the roles and the work culture there.

        4. Cj*

          Reading an internal email over three times to get it a hundred percent right it’s not a joke use of your time if you are really busy.

          However, I would have a really hard time having only 90% accuracy in my work product. Maybe because that’s because I do taxes, and that just simply won’t be acceptable. In addition to how fast they were, I would certainly ask people how comfortable they would be with 90% accuracy, explaining how that applies to the job and why that would be acceptable.

          1. Cj*

            Not a good use of your time, is what I meant. Obviously I didn’t proofread this any better than I do internal emails.

        5. Mockingjay*

          Start by describing the turnaround times and product expectations. These provide context for a candidate’s answer.

          “Our projects are very short-term. Most documents have a turnaround time of 3 days. Deadlines are hard and cannot be missed. Our goal is to convey accurate information in a simple format. Due to the speed of our work, we are flexible about minor typos and grammatical errors, as long as those don’t affect the accuracy. Can you tell me about a time when you worked on a similar project?”

          Also describe the mechanisms used to manage this pace: tracking system, templates, cross-training. Nobody wants to work a fast pace in a chaotic environment; it’s very wearing. So please make sure the work environment itself supports this kind of pace and that employees know they won’t get dinged for minor errors in pursuit of the deadline.

        6. IT Manager*

          I think that’s actually a great construct in how to ask the question – “tell me how you balance quality vs speed when needed”.

          They could say they’re always accurate (which means they’ve never experienced a need for speed, or they spend too much time on accuracy and might be too slow) or they could talk about how to prioritize and an understanding that sometime mistakes happen and how they try to limit it to less important areas, etc. Might get you good insight.

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        “if you ask for examples of when they used particular essential skill maybe you can spot the people who truly have those skills vs. those who just say they do.”

        Agreed! Follow-up questions, framed as, “Here’s what we would need: Being able to troubleshoot tech issues while facilitating, all on your own. Could you share a time when you’ve done that? How did it go and what did you enjoy/find challenging?”

        Having the candidate go into details helps you assess what they mean and gives you a chance to paint a fuller picture of what the work is like.

        1. I.*

          And specify the tech issues! Someone can’t figure out how to screen share and you need the candidate to talk them through it or suggest the person send the doc to them so they can screen share, vs like actual tech issues.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        This, and simply saying the job is “fast-paced” is meaningless because every job listing says the environment is fast-paced. Does it just mean there’s usually something to do and it’s just steady? Or is it constantly, “Scotty, I need warp power in three minutes or we’re all dead!”

    6. Diatryma*

      “How do you balance a need for productive output with meeting quality standards? When you run into a conflict between the two, how do you decide which to favor?”

      I’d also focus on redefining that 90%– make it clear that you have a significant range of ‘good enough’ permitted in the job and that 100% is great but never necessary. If you can make a rubric or list of objectives that meets your needs for each product, even better. Make it clear to employees that 90% is okay.

      1. Cj*

        I think most people would say they would choose quality if there was a conflict, and in most jobs, that would probably be the right answer. I think you need to go deeper into why ninety percent accuracy is okay for the position you are hiring for, and asked if they would be comfortable with that. Of course they could lie if they really want the job, but I don’t think conflict question is really going to get to an answers you can really use either.

    7. NotARacoonKeeper*

      Don’t forget that a big part of this is on the onboarding/training/management side too. I came to my job with a healthy dose of perfectionism, and my (excellent) manager has been working with me to unlearn that. It made sense from my previous roles that I had a high accuracy requirement, and it makes sense in my new role (and as my career progresses) to let go of that. First I had to learn that I needed to recalibrate, and then I had to feel safe to make mistakes and send out 90% work. If the previous manager wasn’t doing those things, then maybe that’s why you observed what you did?

    8. Kay*

      Ask questions along the lines of what type of environment they work best in, then ask what type of environment they don’t work well in. Listen to their answers here! If that doesn’t give you an idea, frame the question as style. Ask what their previous environment was like, and how they enjoyed it, or their favorite role and why. Give them a choice – do they work better with defined deadlines, or do they prefer to be able to work on projects with flexible deadlines – keeping in mind just because they might prefer something doesn’t mean they can’t be great at or enjoy the other. Get them to talk more about the how and why. Then, ask for examples of how they successfully handled a situation like (insert typical thing to happen at your company).

      Obviously the above is an idea of the type of questions and how to ask them so you don’t give away the answer you are looking for. Use the responses your candidates provide to formulate your next questions so you can dig deeper into how they work and what they want.

  19. Elle*

    How do I approach an employee who misunderstands information given in meetings and emails? This is not a language barrier issue since she only speaks English. When we have one on one follow up discussions following meetings that happen in zoom and in person she has either missed discussion topics or completely misunderstands them. She tends to answer email questions incorrectly because she doesn’t read the question correctly. In the past she says she reads things too quickly but the situation hasn’t gotten better. I’m also not sure how to help her better focus in meetings. How can I support her?

    1. Madeleine Matilda*

      I have an employee with similar issues. First I would keep discussing this with her and make sure you are clearly stating that you need her to take the time to read/listen to information before responding. I would also ask her what ideas she has for addressing this issue (for meetings would taking notes help, is her schedule overfilled so she doesn’t have time to fully read emails and the two of you could make adjustments, etc.). You could also see if there is any training available to help her. I know we aren’t supposed to arm-chair diagnose people, but I wonder if there isn’t a learning disability or other issue that may require some accommodations she hasn’t requested yet.

    2. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Is this a situation for supporting, or determining if this employee is a good fit for the role. Sounds like they are not. Allison has many scripts for being very clear with an employee about what you need to see, and setting a time frame for checking back on progress. Just from what you described here sounds like they may not be able to do this role successfully. Also, what is the opportunity cost for spending time helping them vs your other responsibilities and supporting other employees. Just something to think about. Hopefully a clear, direct conversation about what you expect, and then allow them to implement whatever changes they need, will tell you what you need to know. Good luck!

    3. anonymous73*

      Maybe ask her what she needs from you to help her improve? You may also need to take a step back and see if she’s a good fit for the role. If her job relies on being able to comprehend what’s being discussed in meetings and in email, and she can’t do that, she may need to be let go.

    4. Elle*

      Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions. We are on the verge of a PIP because, as you’ve correctly guessed, this may not be the best fit for either of us.

    5. Momma Bear*

      One of our managers is good at conveying meeting info. A quick bulleted agenda goes out with the meeting invite. Then after the meeting he expands on that and sends out notes highlighting the topics, the decisions, and the responsible parties with timelines. Everything is clear, concise and direct. If there are any questions, people can ask in that thread. It helps everyone be on the same page, even if you missed something. If this is not part of your meetings as a routine, could it be?

      She would still have to read the email, but maybe chunking it vs wall of text would help. Are the misunderstandings in the same vein? Is that a topic/task that someone else can handle and she take on something else?

      It may ultimately be that her lack of attention to detail makes her a poor fit for the job but this is something you could try.

    6. Manchmal*

      Could you ask them to take notes? Being responsible for notes may force her to listen more closely (if that’s part of the problem).

  20. Leilah*

    A coworker was being very rude to me over something mundane, including sending an ALL CAPS email yelling at me. I forwarded it to my boss as a heads up – was that overreacting?

    This is the third time this coworker has been really aggressive and rude with me, and I rarely interact with him so that must be 50% of our interactions. This time he had forwarded an email to me saying it was my area. It was not my area, so I kindly forwarded it to the person who does handle that. This man was VERY insistent that it is in fact my area (it really isn’t). While the person who *does* handle this stuff was working on it, he jumped into the software, took the file from her and did it himself. It is definitely *not* his area either, although he has been here a long time and likely has cross-training. I am petrified to look like I’m slacking, but surely we all understanding why me doing work in an area not assigned to me is just going to make life more confusing for everyone, right?

      1. Just stoppin' by to chat*

        Agreed about being a bully. No one will think you are a slacker when this individual clearly has a reputation of being obnoxious.

    1. Graeme*

      Third time? I’d be inclined to let someone have a once-off (everyone has bad days), but this quantity and % of interaction is definitely worth interrupting before it starts to become just routinely how the two of you communicate.

      And when it relates to who’s responsibility a task is? Even more ideal to get your boss involved – you can legitimately ask them to clarify who’s responsibility it is while also happening to alert them to the tone of the communication as well.

      1. Leilah*

        It’s fairly hands-off team, so likely they would let me and other co-worker (not the bully) work it out between us, which we have already done and are perfectly happy with our division of labor. All three of us have different bosses, but the same grand-boss (whom I have a great relationship with). It’s wild that he’s coming in and trying to dictate to the two of us who’s job is what.

        Hilariously, the last time bully and I had an issue, it was because he had barged into some of my work without even telling me and made problematic changes that I ended up having to correct. Me refusing to barge into my co-workers lane was me *preventing* the kind of BS headache he had caused for me six months ago.

        1. Observer*

          You should loop in your Grand Boss.

          You’ve done what you are supposed to do, but one player is refusing to work reasonably with you. At minimum, GrandBoss needs to be aware that this is going.

          1. Leilah*

            That’s good advice, thank you. I am actually closer to grand-boss than my own boss at this point and we have a great professional relationship. I have been with grand-boss for close to two years and we do lunches in person fairly regularly. My boss just became my boss a little over a month ago, lives in a different country and time-zone so we rarely speak outside of our monthly scheduled one-on-ones. I am still feeling out that relationship and her management style.

      2. Momma Bear*

        I have had to do this. When there are erroneous assumptions or too many cooks in the kitchen sometimes you need the boss to clarify with that person. He not only was rude to you, but he took it from the person who was already doing it? That’s a bit much.

    2. pancakes*

      It doesn’t seem like an overreaction at all, but it’s not clear whether you’re communicating your own expectations when you forward these. It’s almost certainly going to be more effective to add context, unless your boss is uncommonly good at remembering details and at intuiting what you want. I would add something along the lines of, “Please see below. This is the third time Bobert has ranted at me in recent weeks. Will you let him know that this isn’t appropriate?”

      1. Leilah*

        I’m not really looking for her to do anything about it. I forwarded it to her with a few sentences of context – my main concern was that she know what happened so that if the bully trash talks me she has the whole story. I said something like – Hey, just a heads up if you end up hearing about this. the request has been handled between me and co-worker, but unfortunately this is not the first time something like this has happened with (bully). My boss just became my boss about a month ago, and although I did talk with my previous boss about the past two incidents there is no reason to think my current boss knows about that. I didn’t want to make it a big thing, just wanted my boss to be aware of bully’s behavior in case bully is trash talking me elsewhere.

    3. anonymous73*

      Was your boss already aware of the way this person treats you? Because if not, I would have spoken to them about his behavior before I forwarded an email. Document everything and report him. Nobody should be acting like a tyrant at work, ever.

      1. Leilah*

        I doubt it – she has only been my boss for about a month. She lives in another country and works a different schedule than me, so other than our monthly one-on-one (which was just two days ago) we rarely speak.

  21. DaniCalifornia*

    Super bummed today. Found out one of my bosses is leaving effective today. I’m not supposed to say it but he was my favorite and I really admired how he ran his team, how involved he was, and his drive.

    1. Aimzzz*

      Ironically enough, my boss just quit today, too. He was the best boss I’ve ever had. I’m really nervous because we’re a two-person department and I’m relatively new and not very experienced, in a very critical department, and I don’t know how I’m going to handle doing it all on my own :( I’m sorry you lost him, I know how rare it is to find a boss you really like working with.

    2. anonymous73*

      I’ve been there and it sucks. My boss was laid off and escorted out of the building on a day I was working from home. But I kept in touch with her and she reached out when her new place had an opening and I ended up working for her for 5 more years.

    3. Scotlibrarian*

      I’m so sorry, I cried (privately) when I found out my boss was retiring. Maybe give him a card or letter where you say those things

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I did too, when AwesomeBoss left Exjob, and everything went downhill from there. :(

        Bright spot: we’re still in touch on Facebook, and she agreed to be one of my references. Fingers crossed I don’t have to use her for that much longer.

    4. AnotherLibrarian*

      Send him a note letting him know those things. He’ll treasure it. I treasure the notes like that folks have given me. It’s always tough when someone you really respect departs.

  22. dresscode*

    Yesterday I had a phone interview with an organization I’m very passionate about and have experience in the role. The talent person interviewed me for about 15 minutes, seemed kind of skeptical about my experience, but then set up an interview with me for next week to talk to the manager.
    I’m just curious, do talent folks in some organizations just act as a kind of “door” to the manager? Do they often come off as neutral to disinterested? This has been very different from any other organization I’ve interviewed with, but I think this is also probably the largest employer I’ve ever interviewed with as well.

    1. Leilah*

      At my very large company, the first phone screen is done by overseas contracted talent who has no experience or knowledge of the field at all. They just have a list of screening questions (like, “have you worked with X software?”) that they write down your answers to and pas them along to the hiring manager.

      1. dresscode*

        This was a pretty senior person, I believe he was senior talent acquisition and head of DEI but I guess that makes sense since they don’t really know anything about the role.

        1. Leilah*

          Huh – it seems really odd that they would have someone so senior doing the phone screens. Usually the point of a phone screen is to save time of senior staff/managers.

          1. dresscode*

            I also thought that was strange, but I’ve never really interviewed at a large place, so I have no idea what is common.

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      “…do talent folks in some organizations just act as a kind of “door” to the manager? Do they often come off as neutral to disinterested?”

      In my experience, yes, it’s pretty common for talent acquisition staff to be a screener for the hiring manager (for good or ill). They can come across as disinterested since they do a lot of recruiting and may not know what to look for, regardless of seniority, so don’t read much into that.

      And more senior recruiters tend to be brought in for more senior positions, because they hypothetically are more skilled at coaching the hiring manager to know when someone is a good fit. Hypothetically…

    3. anonymous73*

      My phone screens have always been done by a recruiter. They just have a basic list of questions and then send them to the hiring manager. The hiring manager then lets them if they want to interview the person. But I’ve never had anyone seem skeptical of my responses.

      1. dresscode*

        I haven’t had anyone be skeptical before either, but I’ve rarely encountered talent folks- I’ve usually interviewed with smaller places where they just skip directly to the hiring manager and the staff.

        There’s kind of a special situation, as it’s a remote position in a company that’s not very remote-forward it seems. This is a newly remote job so there’s a TON of interest. I have a lot of experience with volunteer management, special event planning, and program planning (all of which they need) and I specifically have been involved with this organization as a volunteer on a local and national level for 15 years. BUT I’m not only an event person – I worked at a really small place, so my experience is more of a NPO jack of all trades situation. It felt like he didn’t care that I was a volunteer (which is fair) and it seemed like he didn’t like the experience I mentioned but I’m probably reading too much into this.

    4. Skippy*

      My experience with HR screeners has ranged from very pleasant to downright hostile.

      Needless the say, the ones in the latter category never advanced me to the hiring manager.

    5. Doctors Whom*


      Our talent folks always make the first contact. When I partner with them, I give them some key things I am looking for answers on as an initial screening.

      They also screen for things like salary expectations and location/relocation expectations. If you live in Missoula, MT and tell my recruiter you only want to live in Missoula, then she can thank you for your time and we can part ways amicably. We have work that requires you to … not live in Missoula. There are places we are able to do business and locate staff based on very specific/specialized needs, so if you can’t be open to relocating to one of them, the recruiter traps that. If your salary need is 4x my top range, the recruiter can trap that so we can part ways and you don’t waste your time. What a recruiter can also do is say “hmmm… this may not be a fit for this hiring manager, but here’s another hiring manager across the organization” and pass a resume along internally. We have that happen a lot. AND the recruiter an provide continuity if say you aren’t a fit for one job, but we want to keep you on radar for something else.

      With a larger company you will most always have a first contact with a recruiter instead of a hiring manager. Part of it is just simple division of labor and specialization.

  23. someone who is me*

    Any tips for discreetly figuring out if I’d need to take a drug test if I get an internal position at my company? I have a disability that is significantly helped by cannabis. I had to test when I first started at the company, but not for my two subsequent promotions. This will be the first time I look for a new job since I started taking it. I know some positions require it even for internal candidates and it’s not clear which. I have to give my employee ID to reach HR, so I can’t directly ask. They told me I could validate prescriptions with the drug testing companies, but I’m not sure that would work for cannabis. Am I just going to have to abstain during my job search, even if it hurts my performance?

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      If there’s a position you’re interested in, why not just ask to see written documentation about the internal application process from HR?

    2. Generic Name*

      I assume you are in a state where it is legal? Look at your company employee handbook. I know that my small company doesn’t give a fig if you use cannabis, but a lot of the big players in my industry have a policy against it. Usually because they have a national presence and are headquartered in a state where it’s not legal or they have a lot of federal contracts.

      1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        Exactly this. I live in a legal state but the Federal Agency Associated with my industry mandates zero tolerance, regardless of state decisions. Luckily, it was easy enough for me to abstain long enough to pass and I plan to stay off for as long as I have the job.
        That said, if you’re internal hire and (from the sounds of it) haven’t had to take another test since your hire date, you should be fine. Unless the new job is in a significantly different department.
        Good luck

      2. Jora Malli*

        I live in a legal state, but the test company my workplace (local government) contracts with still only runs the standard drug panel where cannabis is included. Our internal policy is that a positive for cannabis will not disqualify the applicant unless their position is covered by federal regulations. I don’t know how many other places have an arrangement like this, but it would be worth looking into to see how the company manages it.

    3. Dr. Prepper*

      As long as the company is not discriminating on the basis of the protected classes in how they order/administer the drug tests, they may be as lax or stringent as they wish. “Legality” of a product is irrelevant. As you know, alcohol is legal in all 50 states, yet if you test positive for anything over 0.0%, even if “legal” is up to 0.08%, then you fail the drug screening test.
      As said, ask the company as to their position on medical cannabis (I assume you do have an Rx, without one you will fall into the SOL territory most likely) and self-exclude yourself from the process if they are too stringent for your needs. Or you may have to produce a valid Rx. I would NOT abstain just for the screens, because 1) they are likely to order random screens in the future, or 2) they may ask for a hair sample, which may indicate use months ago.

      1. someone who is me*

        My state doesn’t do prescriptions in the usual sense. The medical card just allows access to the medical side of our dispensaries.

    4. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Could you go to HR and ask? Not cannabis, just ‘I take prescription medications that often flag on drug tests, are they required for this job?’

    5. 867-5309*

      I was drug tested ahead of my current job (and had no idea it was part of the process, plus didn’t ask because I honestly didn’t realize company’s still did that in my field) and had smoked the weekend before. Fortunately, I’m an infrequent user and it took them awhile to get thing pushed through so nothing popped on the test. However, I wanted to know about future testing because I do like to have edibles or a joint a couple times a month. I was able to ask in relation to the interview, “I was surprised by drug testing. No worried but I haven’t had to do that in more than a decade! Is it common to drug test during employment in the industry?”

      In your case specifically, it’s odd that they don’t test all internal roles or have a clear delineation for roles where they do or don’t. In most organizations, it would be safe to assume that if you hadn’t been drug tested for the last two roles, it’s unlikely you would be for the next one.

      Are you friendly with anyone in the new department? I know you don’t want to “out” yourself to HR so perhaps you can couch it as clarifying the process, “Will this process work like our typical interview process for new hires, with phone screens, drug testing and all of those steps or is it different since I’m an internal candidate?”

      1. someone who is me*

        Interesting, maybe I need to look more into how much it actually takes to show up on a test. My company has a retail side that’s absolutely a drug-free workplace, complete with random testing, and an insurance side that’s… not. I’ll ask for details on the process when I actually start applying.

        1. AnonOnThisOne*

          One of the issues with legalizing at state level instead of national is that there is no purity standard for these particular products. Which means the strength can vary from batch to batch and you may not know exactly how much remains in your system to trigger test sensitivity.

        2. 867-5309*

          To finish out my story so you know it might not work for me… I passed the drug test but it took them three weeks (unexpectedly) to get me the job offer in writing so the drug test was more like 3.5 weeks later and I am not a regular smoker.

  24. General Organa*

    Last summer, I was a finalist for a role I really wanted (in a niche field that I’m already in, but doing slightly different work) and ended up not getting. I followed up as politely as possible with the hiring manager, not expecting much, but she was super kind and sent me the following: “Truthfully, I don’t think there was anything you could have done to make your candidacy stronger because at the end of the day, our concern was that you had more experience than what the position required. We kept you in the running because we wanted to figure out if there was a way to make that work, but we determined that you would not be able to grow in the position and our hands were tied in terms of changing the position to reflect the level at which you would be coming in. If you find yourself applying for any other positions here (or elsewhere in the field) and I can be of any help, please let me know.”

    I’ve been ok staying in my role, but when I think about what I want to do next I keep coming back to the type of job that I interviewed for. Would it be weird to reach out to the hiring manager from last year and say that and ask her advice? I’m thinking something along the lines of (revised slightly because it’s a very specific field): “I am writing because I have been thinking a lot lately about next steps in my [field] career, and as I have been considering my skills and interests, I keep coming back to the way that you and your colleagues described your work when we spoke last summer. [The type of work this person does] is something that I am extremely interested in doing. I was wondering if, as someone who has a lot of expertise in the field, you had any advice about where I should watch for particular openings or people I should try to network with? I’ve been monitoring [field] postings, of course, and keeping an eye out for openings at [specific organizations]. I would also love any advice about particular skills that I can cultivate from [my current role]; in the months since we’ve spoken, I’ve been focusing on [xyz]. Of course I understand if you don’t have the bandwidth to respond to this, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to reach out, and I hope you’re doing well!”

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      I think that sounds like a totally appropriate email, especially since she offered. If she doesn’t respond after, say, three weeks, *maybe* follow up once. Or maybe just let it go. That said, the initial email is solid because:

      1) You have a specific and concrete ask (e.g., how to take the next step; skills to focus on developing)
      2) You show you’re doing work on your own
      3) You’re asking them specifically because of their specific experience/role

      Good luck!

    2. CatCat*

      I think that’s a really nice e-mail. She offered to be of help! It’s not weird to take her up on that.

      I think you might just preface the email since it’s been some time since you last communicated with something like, “Last summer, you asked me to reach out if you could be of help as I apply to job opportunities in our field…”

    3. AnotherLibrarian*

      Reach out. I actually had to reach out to someone who didn’t hire me (small field) with a question, because her collection was a leader in the field. She was friendly once she realized I was absolutely not bitter about not being hired.

    4. Bobina*

      I think your email sounds good as its fairly specific about what you’re asking. Personally I would also offer the option of a phone call to discuss it? Just because when I think about how I would answer some of those questions, the thought of writing it all down sounds exhausting!

  25. Beth*

    Tweet from Laura Klein seen on another site:

    “If your boss tells you your team at work is “like family”, that means you can scream “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MOM” and storm out every time they ask you to do anything.

    “It also means you only have to talk to them on holidays.”

  26. Loulou*

    It seems like whenever an LW wants to communicate something potentially sensitive to the rest of the office (or just make something known without saying it themselves), someone in the comments advises them to pull the “office gossip” aside and tell them. I’m curious: is this a real thing, or just one of those pieces of conventional wisdom? Do enough offices have such a person that this is a reliable method?

    1. The Wizard Rincewind*

      It certainly is at my office. I’ll tell the office gossip something and the next day, someone in a completely different department will ask me about it. It’s very reliable.

    2. yogurt*

      I’m not sure about offices, but I work on a college campus and there is definitely a network of information sharers, some more reliable/trustworthy and others less so, that are generally made up of the admins of higher offices (Deans, Administrators).
      Sometimes the stories running through the pipe are pure gossip, but most recently it’s used to communicate news that would otherwise be swept under the rug – for example, salary and budget cuts, unfair mediation, HR shenanigans, etc. So if you want to get some news out to the rest of campus but can’t be found as the “originator” of the news, you casually drop it to one of the people in the “network.” Sad that it has to be this way, this place is so toxic lol.

    3. Gracely*

      It’s definitely a thing where I work. We have one in our department/building, and there are other departments that have a wider, cross-institutional/multi-building network (my spouse knows someone in that network). I definitely know who to say something to if I wanted people in my building to know something.

      What’s really interesting is when my spouse and I compare notes about what his gossip person knows/has heard and what mine know/have heard. They tend to cover different things, but whenever they both match up on a cross-institutional tidbit of news, it’s always been 100% legit.

    4. The Prettiest Curse*

      In most offices I’ve worked in, the fastest way to spread news was to tell the office manager or reception staff. They know and talk to everyone and are usually great repositories of knowledge.

      1. pancakes*


        Not work, but I also had a neighbor like this. He knew absolutely everyone’s business. Not just our building’s business, but the whole neighborhood’s. In hindsight many of the rest of us didn’t exchange emails or phone numbers until after he’d moved out!

      2. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yes, if something is happening, good Admin folks know. They know all. I swear they are the secret rulers of all offices I have ever worked.

    5. AnonToday*

      It is here! If something is afoot I don’t worry much about trying to figure it out because I know it’ll get around to me by way of our “office gossip”. I’ve learned about major company decisions and policy changes well before anything is announced. This person is really passionate about ‘speaking their truth’.

      Unfortunately it crosses into personal information as well (who has COVID, who is pregnant, what someone’s spouse is doing) so I’ve quickly learned not to put any of my own info into the system.

    6. anonymous73*

      I refuse to contribute to the gossip train so I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t advise others to do it either.

      1. pancakes*

        You don’t informally exchange information with your coworkers? There’s a pretty big difference between, say, “do you think so-and-so’s marriage is falling apart?” and “apparently the top candidate for the new [such-and-such] job turned it down because our offer was low compared to [competitor] . . .”

    7. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know about a gossip per se, but every office I’ve worked in has someone who is very chatty and gregarious, and seems to know what’s going on with everyone. I think “gossip” implies that it’s frivolous or malicious, which isn’t always the case. But most groups have at least one highly connected strong communicator, for good or ill.

      1. Jora Malli*

        I like this framing. It’s not so much feeding the gossip mill as it is sharing information with someone who has a wide network to pass things along to.

    8. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      I think so. There’s always someone who wants to be ‘in the know’ and tell everyone the breaking news first or act like they get all of the breaking news before everyone else. There was a guy that used to work in my office that I would caution the new hires (we had an influx of college grads, with a lot of them this being their first corporate job) not to tell him anything that you didn’t want repeated. I mean he was a nice guy, very friendly, but he just loved to know everything and show that he knew everything before the rest of us about anything and everything in the office.

    9. Chauncy Gardener*

      Oh my gosh yes! This is totally a thing, if you happen to have one or two, and it is amazingly effective

  27. Syl*

    I got a job offer around March 16, with a start date of April 20 pending a BG check and drug screen. I’m going on vacation the first two weeks of April that isn’t refundable. The BG check is currently still pending. What is the best way to resign and hand in my two weeks when I’ll be on vacation those last two weeks? Note: my boss is really emotional and volatile and I don’t think she’ll take it well.

    1. Hiyyy*

      Is it possible to delay your start date? It’s going to be tricky if you don’t get your BG back before your last day before your vacation. I would suggest calling on your vacation if it comes to the that, but I think that only works when you have a great relationship with your boss…

      1. Syl*

        It’s not possible to delay the start date. Due to the nature of my work, I won’t be able to accomplish much in two weeks after coming back from vacation. It usually takes at least a week to get things started when I come back from a long trip.

        1. Can Can Cannot*

          Don’t give notice to your current employer until ALL contingencies are complete. If that pushes back your start date, that is on the new employer. And it’s not reasonable for your vacation to overlap with your notice period, so that factors into all of this. If your background check doesn’t come back while you are on vacation, then your notice would start the day you get back.

    2. Jenn*

      Can you go back to your new company and say something like “since the background check is taking longer, could we discuss pushing back my start date by a few days so I can give a full two-weeks notice at my current position?”
      And if you boss isn’t going to take it well, you should probably be prepared to be walked out as soon as you give your notice, so if you can, I would start discreetly clearing out my office. This time of year, you can always claim it’s “spring cleaning/decluttering” if anyone asks.

      1. Syl*

        Thanks for the advice! I’ll be ready to be walked out. I don’t think they will fire me due to the nature of my current company but you never know.

    3. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      I feel for you. I had to contact my new job and inform them that the BG check was taking pretty long and if it went beyond X date, I would not be able to give my current job two weeks. New job nudged the BG check company and they sped up the process. The new company has made their decision and they want you. They should have a good enough relationship with the checkers to be able to accommodate a faster turn around.

    4. Dr. Prepper*

      A few issues I see.
      1) Are you quitting, then going on vacation, THEN starting the new job? If so, give notice now and as said be prepared to be walked out.
      2) Are you planning to use your vacation AS your 2 weeks notice? Better check your company policies – most may not permit taking vacation as your last 2 weeks and if you do anyway they may use that as an excuse not to pay out PTO etc. If your state requires PTO payout then they may use that as a reason for a bad future reference.
      3) The background check is usually criminal and prior work history. No issues if at the time of the check you are still technically employed at old company. So if you accepted the offer, they probably already have started on that. The drug screen is frequently scheduled with a tight window to get it done. See if you can schedule it during a lunch hour ASAP before your vacation. If you already accepted the offer, there should be no worries in asking them to speed up the process.

      1. Syl*

        I’m giving two weeks notice, going on vacation, then starting the new job.

        I’m fine not using vacation time as my last two weeks, but I absolutely cannot be in the US the first two weeks of April. They have to pay out my PTO even if I quit today, and I have more than two months saved up.

        I already filled out the BG check forms and did the drug test, I don’t know why it’s taking so long.

        1. Dr. Prepper*

          OK, so your only risk is that you fail one or the other and new company rescinds your offer. Unlikely, I imagine so you should be good.

          Call new company HR or your recruiter contact there and state the urgency of your situation. They should be able to let you know where you stand.

          1. Mockingjay*

            I strongly recommend against giving notice until the background check is complete. If they find an error (not uncommon), New Company may hold your start until it’s cleared up. Totally understand being ready to move on, but get everything checked off first.

            Go on vacation during the BG check. When you get back, if all’s clear, give notice. Stay professional and ignore boss’s emotions. “Hi boss, I’ve accepted another position and my last day is X. Here’s my plan to turn everything over.”

    5. CatCat*

      If your boss is emotional and volatile (and is sounds like from one of your comments that people are shown the door the day they give notice), then why provide two weeks notice here?

      1. Syl*

        I don’t know. I’m getting really differing advice posting this question this week versus last week and it’s making me nervous.

        1. Jean*

          You’re not going to get the reassuring solid what-do that you’re looking for here with the set of circumstances you’re presenting, unfortunately. Sometimes life involves uncertainty. It sucks but you’re just going to have to hang in there and give your current boss notice 2 weeks before your start date at the new job. If you’re going to be out of the country at that time, you’ll have to send an email. Not ideal, but the circumstances are what they are. Also it’s a bit of a red flag IMO that the new company apparently won’t give you a millimeter of flexibility with the start date, but they’re fine taking their sweet time with the screens. Best of luck.

    6. anonymous73*

      I’m a little confused about what you’re asking. And to start, don’t take your boss’s emotional issues into consideration when you decide what’s best for you. If she flips out she flips out – that’s on her not you.

      Anyhoo..if you’re going on vacation the first 2 weeks in April, that means you leave in 2 weeks. If you start the new gig on April 20, you would only be at your current job for a few more days after vacation, which means you need to give your notice today right? Or are you trying to give your 2 weeks which will include a week and a half of vacation? It’s not really a good idea to try and give your 2 weeks notice when that 2 weeks will include a paid vacation – I doubt any company would be willing to do that because they would essentially be paying you to leave. If you’re concerned about giving notice until your BG check is complete, then be prepared to give notice over the phone if you get confirmation while on vacation.

    7. IT Manager*

      My company won’t set a start date until BG check is completed for exactly this reason.

      Can you tell the new company that you will need 2 weeks from BG completion? Then you might have to resign while on vacation which would suck but still better than giving less than 2 weeks.

      But definitely don’t resign until you get through BG!!

      1. Polly Hedron*

        Yes, wait until after BG check. And given that you will be gone the first 2 weeks of April, and that your two weeks notice should be two working weeks (not vacation), your start date should be May 1 or later.

  28. Culture Fit*

    Has anyone ever done a culture fit interview at a tech company? what kind of questions did they ask? what kind of questions did YOU ask? any other tips and tricks?

    1. Raboot*

      I think at a healthy company that would just be another name for a behavioral interview, the kind with “tell me about a time when” questions. My current and last company (both tech) both have core values around things like ownership, teamwork, stuff like that, and both have taken them seriously in interviews. My most recent interview process included an hour of just standard behavioral questions, no tech stuff. At my last company even when I did tech interviews I was also always assigned a cultural value to spend 5-10 minutes on with behavioral questions.

  29. The Wizard Rincewind*

    How do you deal with a boss you suspect isn’t handling grief well?

    My boss is in his mid-70s and recently experienced a series of personal losses; the one that has hit the hardest was one of his closest friends and colleagues (going back 40+ years) who died unexpectedly. Let’s name him John. Ever since, not a day goes by that he doesn’t bring up John, continually reminding us how important he was to our organization (which is true!). It’s also starting to leak into our official work, as a lot press releases that we’ve sent out since John’s death have included some mention of him, regardless of whether it’s germane to the topic.

    I’m sympathetic to such a huge and sudden loss, but at the same time, this is possibly affecting our business output. He’ll talk at length about what a loss it is that John is no longer on X committee in front of the person who replaced John on that committee. He’ll start on a John story during meetings and completely derail them.

    He’s the big boss. There’s no one above him. I’ve worked with him for years but we’re not personally close and I don’t want to police his grief. It’s been two months. At what point, if any, do I speak up?

    1. Gracely*

      This is not on you. If you know someone who’s closer to him that could possibly say something, it might be worth seeing if they’ll say something. Or if someone directly below him can get a handle on the meetings/press release-type stuff to keep things on topic. Maybe someone should suggest he take some time off? Or just…not have him in those meetings?

    2. anonymous73*

      Do you feel comfortable bringing it up with him? If so, I would just be straight with him. “I completely understand how upsetting it was to lose John, but you bring him up so often that it’s affecting business.” Maybe if you’re comfortable with offering, ask if there’s anything he needs. Maybe he needs to take more time off, or another outlet for his grief? Grief is a bitch, but if it’s getting in the way of your work, something needs to be said.

    3. RagingADHD*

      You don’t, at least not to him directly. You aren’t close.

      You could bring this up with someone else who is close with him. I’d bet that if you’ve worked together for years, you have a pretty good sense of who he’s friendly with, or who might be in a position to speak to him both professionally and compassionately without embarrassing him. Ask whether they think a) the boss is handling things okay, and b) it’s affecting the work and the team in a way that will have long term negative effects.

    4. Nixnax*

      It’s only been 2 months. How much is this affecting business? Maybe someone closer can rec grief counseling or something but… Give the guy a break.

      Our culture around loss in this country sucks. 2 months is not very long to still be in pretty deep mourning. This sounds mildly annoying at best.

    5. beach read*

      Mid 70’s, lost a peer/close friend? Along with the usual grief he is likely experiencing feelings about his own mortality. It may take time for him to get some perspective, if ever.
      If this is truly affecting the business, as Alison often recommends, you could try teaming up with another concerned but sympathetic colleague to talk with him about the concerns. Best of luck with it.

  30. Melanie Cavill*

    My much older, self-described “traditional” coworker asked me what I was reading a few weeks ago (and if I liked it). I told her (and said yes, it was a beautifully written book). She ended up reading half the book this past weekend, which I did not expect. The book has a lot of queer themes and primarily same-sex romances, although it’s ultimately an historical fiction piece about war. She basically won’t speak to me now.

    Thank you, book! :)

    (But if anyone wants to provide advice in case she escalates or something, that would be great.)

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Lol, almost the exact same thing happened to me in high school when a super religious classmate asked me what I was reading. Ultimately though, she got over her shock and we went back to being casual friends.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Hahahaha I mean, she didn’t ask what it was about, right? So how can you be blamed for answering her question? :P

    3. Murphy*

      I don’t think you have anything to defend. She asked and you gave your opinion. You didn’t tell her to read it!

      But if she complains, I’d just feign ignorance regarding what could possibly be offensive about it.

    4. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Not sure how she could escalate it, but a flat “Oh, finding a good book is so hit or miss. If I know more about what you like, I can make better recommendation next time.” Don’t rise to the bait.

      1. Gracely*

        This. She didn’t ask what it was about, just if you liked it. That’s on her.

        But if she does tell you what she likes in a book, the petty part of me would make sure to recommend another book that fits what she says, but is still full of queer themes/characters.

        1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

          The bonus: I’ve had that exact conversation about non “controversial” subjects in the same group of people. Oh, you don’t like high fantasy, but you prefer urban fantasy? Have you tried Charles deLint?”

    5. My mistake!*

      I had something similar happen when I worked at a library. Coworker asked me my favorite author and at the time I recommended Alice Hoffman’s The Probable Future, and let her borrow it. She angrily returned it to me the very next day and said she didn’t read “THOSE kinds of books.” I’m not sure exactly what she meant but I think she took the presence of magical elements/psychic abilities in the story as an affront to her religious beliefs. I apologized and never recommended a book to her again (not that she asked! Lol)

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        …it’s. a. LIBRARY. If she couldn’t let an incompatible recommendation roll off her back without getting snippy, I am surprised that she works there. I also feel sorry for her coworkers.

    6. anonymous73*

      I’m not sure she would escalate, unless she’s very irrational. She asked, you answered. She chose to read it, on her own time. She has no leg to stand on with a complaint to anyone at your company.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I looked it up on Goodreads and literally the first sentence says QUEER in a nice bold font lol. Who starts a book without even reading the blurb?

      You didn’t do anything wrong and she’s being ridiculous. If she says anything I’d try to keep it as “book club” as possible. “Oh, sorry you didn’t enjoy it.” “Yeah, parts of it are a little dense” (or whatever). “Not your style, huh? What have you read lately that you did love?” etc

    8. Momma Bear*

      I bet she won’t ask again, but I don’t think you did anything wrong. Her discomfort is her own.

      But what I would focus on is anything affecting work. If you can’t get her to talk to you about work things then I think you need to address that specifically.

    9. Former Law Student*

      This isn’t a work story but years ago I lived in an apartment building with a doorman who had taken a shine to me. He was always trying to flirt with me and get my attention. One day I came home from shopping and he was all “what did you get, let me see.” He reached into my bag and pulled out a book I’d purchased. A journalist’s treatise about rape on college campuses.

      You could see on his face that he immediately regretted it. Nosy people deserve what they get!

      1. Jean*

        He REACHED INTO YOUR SHOPPING BAG AND PULLED SOMETHING OUT?? I would have screamed involuntarily. That’s almost on the same level of reaching out and grabbing part of my body. I swear some people were raised by hyenas.

    10. RagingADHD*

      What’s to escalate if she’s not speaking to you? Not speaking to you *harder*?

      You liked the book. That’s the only thing to say if she decides to bring it up.

      She also didn’t look at any reviews or book descriptions, because every other one contains the words “queer” or “genderbent.” Unless she’s so very sheltered that she doesn’t know what those words mean, she had ample opportunity to know what she was getting.

  31. glitterbomb*

    So after a little over a decade I finally bit the bullet and started applying for new positions away from my current org. I hate change and the whole stuff around applying/interviewing/ giving notice (that’s going to be a nightmare) so I really can’t believe I actually did it. I had my first phone screening a few days ago and just missed a call for follow up (trying to get back to them). I’m nervous, excited, and feel like I need to throw up all at the same time….

    1. I was told there would be llamas*

      I’m in the same boat! Over 10 years at job and my only issue is I’m being paid below market so I did start applying elsewhere (ok, one place so far, lol). And now I’m wondering why I am putting myself thru this self-imposed stress, haha! I see on AAM (and elsewhere) so many stories of people changing jobs every few years and I wonder how they can do it! I only left my first 10-year job b/c I got laid off in 2009.

    2. Madeleine Matilda*

      Congratulations on taking this step. Everything you are feeling are normal reactions. I left my employer of 17 years almost a decade ago and felt similarly. At one point I almost baled out of the interview process, but I am so glad I didn’t. I hope your search goes well.

  32. Texan in exile on her phone*

    My cousin has been trying to hire a receptionist for her practice, but it’s taking a long time to find someone. Her team doesn’t mind the long search because she is splitting the receptionist pay among them to compensate for the extra work they’re doing.

  33. Empress Matilda*

    Is anyone here familiar with the management of corporate insurance programs?

    I’m applying for a job that is 50% exactly what I’ve been doing my entire career, and 50% something I know nothing about other than what I read on Wikipedia this week. :) My cover letter is all about how this won’t be a problem because I’m a fast learner and so on, but if I do get an interview I’ll need to demonstrate at least a little bit of knowledge of this area.

    So if anyone knows of good resources, professional associations, online learning, etc, related to corporate insurance, that would be very helpful!

    1. pancakes*

      There are a lot of different types of corporate insurance. D&O liability insurance to indemnify directors and officers, administration of health insurance benefits for employees, etc.

        1. Empress Matilda*

          I can try! Like I said, I’m really starting from zero on this one…

          The job description says “all aspects of the corporate insurance program” including business operations and capital projects, Owner Controlled Insurance and third-party claims. It also mentions ensuring a mix of self-insured retention and insurance coverage.

          It’s a manager-level position, so the role is more about program planning and strategy – I’m not going to be processing claims or anything like that. I have these skills from the other part of the portfolio, which I’ve been doing for years, so it’s really just the subject matter expertise that I’m missing. “Just” the subject matter expertise, right? Ha!

          1. pancakes*

            This isn’t my area, but I’m inclined to say it would be helpful to look at sites that publish or collect white papers on this? It looks like PwC has a “library” of corporate insurance white papers online, for example. I bet there are law firms that specialize in the field that do too. Those can be a good way to try to get up to speed on trends within a field because they’re usually pretty recent and well-researched.

              1. pancakes*

                You’re welcome, good luck! I had to try to learn about reinsurance once and that seemed to help.

          2. Hillary*

            Another keyword here is Risk Management. I work with the person who has this role at my company, it’s a complicated world. The other thing to research is the industry and geography. What kind of risks do they naturally deal with because of their markets? Big box retailers decide if they’re going to let people park RVs overnight (adds safety risk/liability but increases sales and makes them “friendly”), importers deal with cargo risk, chemical manufacturers have exposure liability, and so on. It’s all about tradeoffs and understanding what’s important to the company on multiple levels.

            1. Empress Matilda*

              Interesting, thanks very much! I have a bit of expertise in risk management already, so that’ll be helpful for making the linkages.

  34. Funny Cide*

    My partner’s job has a policy that if you apply for another internal job within your first 2 years of employment, HR automatically notifies your immediate supervisor. Is this normal? I’ve never heard of anything like it!

    1. MustardPillow*

      I think that’s normal for internal applicants. Where I work, it doesn’t matter how many years, you’re manager will be notified. They provide a reference too!

        1. Funny Cide*

          Interesting! I mean, I would have always told any supervisor of mine about it before even applying, but I’ve always had really good relationships with my bosses. I just couldn’t stop imagining how that might make things go really awry if you didn’t have a good relationship!

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It would be odd for a manager not to be notified of an internal application, in my experience. I think the weird part is that there’s a timeframe attached to it at all.

      1. Funny Cide*

        Apparently I’ve worked for places out of the norm! I was only thinking about it from the side of “if your boss sucks like many AAM bosses you probably want to hide from them that you’re leaving” rather than the opposite possible perspective of “if the employee sucks the boss really needs to be able to give their thoughts” kind of thing.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          It’s a respect thing too. Typically people in management positions typically have a stronger relationship with the company and the company wants to be transparent with them and also get a holistic view of how the transfer would affect things operationally.

    3. Dr. Prepper*

      Yes it’s quite common; one of my companies obliged the applicant to personally notify their manager about the requested new position. Made for a few tense moments.

      1. Funny Cide*

        Oof – that’s exactly the kind of situation I was imagining and why it seemed weird to me! Weirdly I have had no problems with my direct superiors and never would have hesitated to tell them/ask for advice if they thought a change was good for me, but I think maybe too many AAM boss horror stories have poisoned my brain at this point.

    4. Camellia*

      My old company went one step further though – your current manage got to decide if you were allowed to move to another job. If they said no, they wanted to keep you, then you were not allowed to even interview. That sucked.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I assume people would just start looking elsewhere instead and not even consider applying internally.

    5. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      My company (think one of the largest software companies in the world) used to have this policy for applying internally after 1 year. But got rid of a it a few years ago. 2 years seem long, but if the company is not in an industry where this kind of policy is going away, it may explain why it still exists.

  35. Sleepy*

    I’m hoping you guys can help me figure out what kind of jobs I should be applying for. I badly need to find a new job, and the place I always get hung up in my search is trying to figure out what goes in the search box.

    I know I have a lot of good skills, but they are more things that are broadly applicable rather than the sort that add up into a specific career like “accountant” or “nurse” and I have never understood how to figure out what kind of positions are looking for the skills I have. I did a few of those skills and interests assessments back when I was in college and the results were hilariously inaccurate. (One of the top suggestions was that I should be a gynecologist, despite having a degree that was not in medicine, and no desire for a customer facing role.)

    My strengths are on the analytical and organizational side. I enjoy untangling inefficient procedures and streamlining the steps so they go faster. I have a good eye for details, and tend to catch typos and inconsistencies when I’m looking over work someone else has done. I’m on the quicker side at putting together clues and understanding what someone is trying to communicate when they aren’t explaining a thing well. I have been known to make spreadsheets while off the clock in order to play strategy games more effectively.

    I get along well with others and can work with a team, but I’m exhausted by customer facing positions and having to interact with the general public. I can multitask in some circumstances, but interruptions when I’m working on something that takes focus and thought jar me out of the groove, and I feel like I’m not making any progress when I’m constantly having to refocus and try to pick up where I left off.

    I cannot sit still in a chair and do one thing for 8 hours straight. I do best when I can change tasks every 1-2 hours. I get bored when my work doesn’t require enough thought.

    When I worked at an IT help desk, I was constantly optimizing my phrasing of common answers in order to figure out the fastest way to help the clients understand the solution. As a jack-of-all-trades at a small software and consulting company, my favorite task was designing and testing new modules for our software and functioning as liaison between the project manager and programmer. I am currently a mail carrier, and while I really enjoy sorting and delivering the mail and working largely alone, I’ve been scheduled 10-15 hours a day, 6+ days a week, for nearly two years, and I am completely exhausted.

    I want to find a job where full time means 40 hours a week instead of 60-100. A job that not only offers a decent amount of vacation time but actually encourages employees to use it. A job that keeps me feeling engaged, because I would really like to find somewhere I can stay for several years.

    I probably won’t be able to reply much because, you guessed it, I’m at work today. I will definitely be checking back later though to see if I’ve got replies.

    1. 3Owls*

      Logistics might be a good broad field to look into. You might also look at event planning, you definitely won’t be sitting in a chair 8 hours a day.

    2. Exme*

      Have you considered Business Analyst roles? Sounds similar to what you’ve done already, if you enjoyed those roles.

    3. Empress Matilda*

      Business analysis might be a good fit. It’s all about taking customer problems and translating them into IT requirements. So for example, someone tells you they’re having trouble keeping track of their appointments – in your head, you say “aha! This person needs a calendar!” And then you work with the customer to find out what kind of calendar (daily vs weekly, Sunday start vs Monday start, etc). Once all that is established, you go back to IT and figure out how to build or buy what they need, how to deploy it, etc.

      BA’s are usually in the IT department, and they do require some IT knowledge, but the more important skills are related to problem solving and relationship management. Most large organizations will have at least a few BA’s on their staff, and if you’re looking for a set 40 hours/ week, government is usually pretty good for that.

    4. Erika22*

      We basically have the same skillsets so I’m keen to see others’ replies! I’m currently an in-house project manager, and though it’s not the best fit, it is a good fit for a lot of the things you list:

      – Organisation/analytical: PMs have to keep all project details and schedules and budgets organised throughout the life of a project
      – Spreadsheets: a PM’s best friend – I love me a spreadsheet
      – Streamlining: for each project I work with the project team to create and refine workflows. I also work with my fellow PMs to refine processes within our dept
      – Picking up errors: not really part of a PM job but I end up sense-checking a lot of things and will end up correcting minor things. Also like I mentioned above, spreadsheets are my jam, so if people are struggling on one they’ll ask me to help
      – Understanding what ppl are saying: PMs are cross functional – I’m constantly “translating” between different parts of the dept, oftentimes by helping those ppl drill into what they actually need vs what they think they need
      – Not customer-facing: technically for any role, you’ll have “customers”, but in this case the customers are all internal, so not the general public. You also have an interesting in between role where you’re technically working by yourself, but you have to communicate with basically everyone on the project team, so you’re also working with EVERYONE. The nice thing though is, again, those spreadsheets, make it possible to get updates and collect information/get feedback without having to do a lot of direct communication (which exhausts me too)

      Where a PM isn’t the best fit (for me):
      – You sometimes have to work on a variety of projects at once. I prefer to work on one bigger project rather than several smaller ones, and as an in-house PM I don’t have much control over the projects I manage. Freelancers would have more success in choosing their own projects.
      – Depending on the company size, things can be harder to change. In a large company, there’s a lot of change management involved if you want to streamline processes, and very little is yours to change.
      – You’ll have to spend a lot of time chasing people for information and really drive forward the project. I myself am not great at this because it gives me a lot of anxiety, which is why I try to set up async ways to get information and remind people of deadlines.
      – Hours can vary. Depending on how my projects are going, there’s sometimes really chill weeks and there’s sometimes really busy weeks. Since I’m an in-house PM I’m salaried, but a freelance PM would be able to bill as needed against a project. You can’t necessarily cut off your hours at 40 either way, but it should be way better than 60.

    5. Dunno, I usually just read AAM...*

      Something admin-related in a small team might suit you, or at least it suits me and I identify with a lot of what you say. I do everything from data entry to proofreading to answering technical enquiries to writing articles for the company magazine and website, and when I’ve had enough of one task I can just switch to another one!

    6. my $.02*

      I think a business analyst type job may be right for you. That is what I do and most of my job includes everything you are looking for. I work for a hospital system IT department.

    7. Gracely*

      Higher Ed administrative or program coordinator roles might be something you’d want to look into.

    8. PX*

      Agree with a lot of what’s been said. I’d also add some kind of business operations role. With your background a generic office/IT admin role might be a good entry point. But I’d also try something with “operations manager” in the job title.

    9. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I don’t know if there’s a job title for it, but you sound like you would do well in a late-stage R&D team where things are going from ‘concept’ to ‘how do we optimize this to make production possible’. Or user interface design/testing.

    10. Longtime lurker*

      Have you thought of being a software tester/QA engineer? It would seem to check off most of those boxes.

    11. Policy Wonk*

      Looks for opportunities in government. There are jobs for analysts, logistics, general services. Every day is a different challenge, and we need good people. Go to USAJobs and start looking!

    12. Hillary*

      I think you might like inventory control, especially at a manufacturer. In general it’s not picking/packing orders – it’s doing cycle counts and finding missing stuff. It requires more critical thinking than a picking job and offers more opportunities for solutioning, and it’s still fairly solo. It looks like they mostly start around the same wage as the post office in my state.

      Part of the reason I say manufacturing is because you sound like someone who would thrive doing lean/six sigma process improvement work. The place to learn that is inside somewhere already using it.

    13. retired3*

      Federal employee? I’d try to find another federal job to keep the benefits. Have a friend who was a cook on a NOAH ship and then transitioned to the po. Excellent retirement. Is there a personnel office that might help?

  36. NewYork*

    Just a vent. I do not use any drugs, but why can’t someone come up with a test that shows if you used marihuana in last 24 hours. I do not want people operating heavy machinery or driving if using, but come on, tests that only show usage in last 30 days are stupid

    1. Generic Name*

      Yeah MJ stays in your system for a long time. Honestly though, if someone partook last night, they should be okay to drive/operate heavy machinery by 8 am today. Maybe look for physical signs and symptoms of non-sobriety? Maybe see what resources the State of Colorado has to offer about evaluating this. Cannabis is legal, but it is not legal to drive under the influence. I don’t think there is a test analogous to a breathalyzer, so I think it’s evaluated using a field sobriety test.

    2. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      They do. In some states where it’s legal, they have a blood test to show if a person actively has the particular chemical that intoxicates rather than just the residual “this person used sometime in the last month.” They use it in Washington state for traffic stops to prove driving under the influence.

    3. pancakes*

      That’s what saliva tests are for, no? My understanding is that they don’t work reliably much further back than that, though I think some of them extend to the past 72 hours.

    4. Dr. Prepper*

      Drug screens exist not to determine impairment per se but to document evidence of use. Most drugs that cause impairment are relatively easy to screen in the blood and remain in the blood up to 24 hours or more. THC blood levels are elevated only minutes after ingestion and dissipate quickly. That’s why cops use the “drunk tests” to document impairment and blood tests only confirm what they observed. Also, blood THC tests are frighteningly expensive – hair tests are much cheaper and can document use weeks out.
      Your company decides whether to use hair tests or not. Ask them in advance. If they do, you must decide whether to risk it or not.
      The only thing the “legality” of a particular substance allows is that they can’t call the cops if you turn up positive.

      1. pancakes*

        Your last sentence isn’t quite true in my state. New York Labor Law 201-D (“Adult Use Cannabis and the Workplace”) prohibits employment discrimination in many circumstances.

        1. Dr. Prepper*

          So that is a legislated state exception in NY – good for them. Can’t deny a candidate who pops for THC.

          My statement refers to other states, where if the substance is classified as illegal, if your drug test IS positive for that substance, since you consented to release of privacy in the hire documents, the employer IS allowed to contact the authorities as to the illegal substance. Now as to their doing anything about it….
          The corollary is that if the substance is legal, the employer has the right to be more stringent and deny an applicant. They just can’t call the cops that the user popped positive.

          1. pancakes*

            There have been lots of changes at the state and sometimes even city level in recent years, so I wouldn’t want to generalize. I have a law firm white paper on this open in another tab (Gibson Dunn), and it says, “Both New Jersey’s and South Dakota’s laws also place restrictions on when employers can take action based on an employee’s or job applicant’s marijuana use. See N.J. Stat. § 24:6I-52(a); S.D. Codified Laws § 34-20G-22.” That’s as of last April, so even that might not be totally up to date.

    5. 867-5309*

      I agree with the comment previously that marijuana use the night before does not mean someone will be impaired the next day, any more than someone having a couple drinks would be. If you have concerns about someone, then look for sobriety signs in the moment and take action accordingly.

      IMO, we should stop drug testing for marijuana all together and for businesses that are concerned about an employee’s use on the job, they can determine based on smell and sobriety indicators until such a time that a rapid test is available.

  37. Dust Bunny*

    Not quite a work question but it’s taking place at work:

    There are two buildings on our lot: We’re 1232 This Street and the one next to us is 1234 This Street: Separate buildings with separate street addresses. (I’ve worked here over 15 years and our suite number is duplicated in the other building–we’re both suite 150, say–so I know for a fact that we’re not somehow conflated into one address.)

    Somebody in the other building apparently has their DoorDash account set to our building number, because we keep getting deliveries that we did not order, addressed to someone who does not work here. I have also confirmed that the business that occupies the rest of our building does not employ anyone with this name, so I’m satisfied that it’s not a same-name mixup. I have also confirmed that there are no other businesses in 1232–I thought there might be a third but it’s all part of the second one.

    Food Orderer works in 1234 in a suite that is almost directly across from us–distance equivalent of about a two-lane road, so not far. I’ve asked all the DoorDash drivers so far where they were sent and they’ve all said 1232, not 1234, so it seems they really are being sent to our address.

    This is sort of the ultimate First World Problem but it’s irritationg that it keeps happening and now we have to redirect the drivers (who are not in the wrong–they’re delivering to the address they were given) or take the food over ourselves.

    I also don’t want the drivers to be penalized for “not delivering”.

    I’ve never met Food Orderer. The times I’ve taken the orders myself I was greeted by someone whose appearance doesn’t at all match the name on the order (think, female name but male picks it up), and since the orders are always for multiple items I assume Food Orderer is ordering on behalf of coworkers.

    I’m tempted to attach a mildly-worded note telling them that we will no longer forward their food and they will need to send one of their own employees to come get it from now on. Does that make me a total jerk? I really don’t feel like we should be responsible for their failure to get their own address right.

    1. Generic Name*

      Well, from their perspective, there’s no problem because they’re getting their food. I think it would be a kindness to see if you can reach them by phone or barring that, send them a letter saying that you will no longer be taking food to them or setting the drivers straight. I think you still can tell the driver, “wrong address”, but leave it up to the driver to fix. Food deliverers are in contact with the person ordering via text, so the driver can contact the orderer and ask them what to do.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I can’t find a phone number. I think they’re a small branch of a much larger company based somewhere else so the phone numbers go to a call center somewhere.

      2. londonedit*

        Yeah, I’d really just start turning the delivery drivers away and saying ‘We didn’t order this; you want number 1234’. It’s their responsibility to deliver the food to the right place, and it’s the food orderer’s responsibility to make sure they have the right address. It’s not your responsibility to redeliver their food.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      You’re accepting the food and then delivering it yourself? Oh, no, don’t do that. Tell the driver they need to contact the buyer, because they have been given the wrong address.

    3. RagingADHD*

      Of course you should send a note, or better yet- just refuse delivery and let the driver figure it out. If you refused the delivery the first time it happened, it would be fixed already.

      This has gone on so long precisely because you are circumventing the natural feedback loop that would have forced a correction. Get out of the way.

    4. Zee*

      Have you actually ever told them they’re putting the wrong street number on the order? Or do you just usually say “your food got delivered to us by mistake” (making it sound like the driver’s mistake)?

    5. Eleanor Shellstrop*

      Agreed with everyone who is saying to stop accepting the deliveries. Let the driver know that no one by that name is at your location, and suggest that they call the number associated with the order (they will probably do this on their own). Then the folks in 1234 can talk to them and bear the logistical responsibility of sorting it out. It’s nice of you to keep doing this for them but it’s 100% not your responsibility!

    6. Rara Avis*

      Not work, but someone entered my phone number for their grocery delivery service. So every week I’d get a message about no bananas — did I want mangos instead? or the like. I’d text back “wrong number.” After a number of weeks I asked the shopper to contact the customer and get their correct phone number. They said they had no other way to contact them. Oh well. I blocked the number — not my problem if the company and the customer can’t communicate.

    7. PollyQ*

      Either stop accepting the deliveries, or accept them and eat them yourself. (OK, maybe not the second one.)

      But there’s no earthly reason why this should be your problem AT ALL. Your response to the drivers should take no more than 30 seconds and be, “Sorry, we didn’t order this.” End of story.

    8. Jinni*

      This happened to me. I live in a house in Los Angeles. The house next door is occupied by models traveling to LA for work. (I wish I were kidding). The first person who ordered Postmates put in the wrong address think 1 vs 7 – I could see someone coming outside unable to read the stylized letters.

      Deliveries came all times of day and night. Basically, I stopped accepting the deliveries. The models were VERY annoyed. I couldn’t change it in their system because I wasn’t the account owner. Neither could the models as the agency person was the account owner.

      Decline the food. Write the note. There’s really no other way to stop the madness.

  38. LC*

    Anyone have a suggestion for resume writing that’s specifically geared toward IT?

    (Or, anyone have any tips for resume/cover letter writing that’s specifically geared toward IT? I’m not even sure why I feel this way, but I feel like it’s different enough from the world I’m used to that I don’t think I’m as much help as I’d like to be.)

    1. Raboot*

      I don’t think IT resumes are different from other ones. As far as cover letters, the only difference is probably a higher percentage of jobs that don’t even ask for them at all.

  39. Fully Licensed Llama Groomer*

    I’m having the weirdest work problem. I left a high stress job last summer. My current position is more relaxed and pays more but it is a whole lot more sedentary. Instead of being on my feet half the day, dealing with a variety of issues, I know spend much of my time sitting in a chair and staring either at Zoom or working with spreadsheets. I recently had to add a second screen to my desk top due to the need to see more than one thing at a time and I upgraded my desk chair due to increasing back pain. Something about my current job, as much as I am enjoying it, is destroying my sleep. My job just isn’t as stressful as my brain seems to be interpreting it to be. I’ve been dreaming about those Excel spreadsheets all night and it is making me batty. I think the problem is coming from a few different places. First, I think having two screens is impacting my eyes. Second, twice a week I work until 8 PM which does not give me much down time before my usual 10 PM bed time. And third, I swear that the multiple Excel sheets are impacting my subconscious in some way, just the grid format itself. So, I need advice on how to make this more comfortable and less stressful. I like the work a lot and I really like this company. But something has to change. I can barely stand to look at a computer when I am away from work. And I really want to get back to having better sleep. Thanks all!

    1. Princess B*

      Do you exercise everyday? I don’t that the days I don’t exercise, I don’t sleep as well.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Ditto, as well as getting outside time. Natural light and green time help your brain reset. Could be a 20 minute walk outside, could be eating lunch on a bench, could just be going out running errands at lunch. You have to break it up and put your body and eyeballs into different contexts.

    2. Madeleine Matilda*

      Would getting up and moving even for a few minutes each hour help? Or perhaps getting an adjustable desk so you can be standing for part of the day? Also if you might want to invest in blue light glasses to help ease any stress on your eyes.

    3. LC*

      1) Make sure your monitors are at the correct height/distance/general location for you. This can make a huge difference.

      2) Stand up at least once an hour. Walk around the rooms, kind of dance in place at your desk, stretch for a minute, whatever you can do. I literally have an alarm set for this (that sometimes I ignore, but that still means it happens a lot more than it would otherwise!). This can be a great thing to do while in meetings as long as you aren’t on camera and don’t need to be presenting or something.

      3) As a fellow spreadsheet person, I try to do some very light stretching while I’m staring at something and deciding what to do. Even a quick arms overhead or lean to the side, or shoulders back can make a difference.

      4) Speaking of which, get your shoulders away from your ears. Right now.

      5) Look away from the computer, somewhere at least like 10-15 feet away for a bit at least every half hour.

      6) Drink enough water

      7) Some people swear by blue light filter glasses, I can’t personally speak to the benefit because I have that in my prescription glasses that I wear all the time anyway, so I don’t really know what it’s like without them. But worth looking into.

      I’d keep going but my hourly “get your ass up for a minute, LC!” alarm just went off.

      1. Jora Malli*

        There’s an app called “Stand Up” that will give you alerts every 45 minutes. I use it as the timer for when to change the height on my desk (sitting to standing or vice versa), get a drink of water, and walk around for a minute. Even having that 90 second break every hour or so has made a real difference in how tired I feel at the end of the day.

    4. Reba*

      Ooh, I don’t have this as severely as it sounds like you do, but I really get it! These things really can wear grooves in your brain somehow. (I don’t know if you remember when Candy Crush was mega-popular, people would talk about how when they closed their eyes they saw the grid of gems inside their head.)

      I think you can try different environmental things to lessen screen fatigue – adding a lamp to the room, lowering monitor brightness or adding glare screens.

      One thing that has helped me a lot is to literally set timers to get up and to look away from the screen. Pomodoro method is great for this. I’m lucky in that I can easily look out a window for “eye breaks” but getting up and shrugging my shoulders or stretching is even better.

      1. LC*

        Ooh, lighting is a good call!

        That can make a huge difference. I like having multiple lights that aren’t bright and also aren’t overhead. Helps if they’re spread around so you don’t get strong shadows. Fancy smart lightbulbs are great because you can mess with the brightness and (color) warmth. You can fiddle around with it, trying different things for a day or two at a time till you find the right levels for you.

        (Plus, then you can set them to change when you’re done for the day, even a subtle difference can help transition from work to not-work.)

      2. Suprisingly ADHD*

        Way before Candy Crush, I used to hear about “Tetris skyline,” where people imagined the tetris pieces they would need to fill the gaps between buildings they can see. It’s definitely possible for your brain to lock into thinking about the stuff on your screen the most.

        1. allathian*

          I loved Tetris as a kid/teen. If I had trouble falling asleep, I never counted sheep. Instead I played brain Tetris.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I recently started wearing blue light glasses and they really do help. Got mine online for about 30 bucks. Worth it.

    6. Bobina*

      No one has mentioned it yet, but if your last job was stressful, its also possible this is your brains way of finally either dealing with the impact of it or trying to adjust to a new normal which it isnt used to. Stress does funny things to bodies and brains and it can take a lot longer than you think to recover from it. Plus I’ve definitely found that adjusting to new jobs can be quite a ride.

      Having said all that – a few thoughts:
      – make sure you have a good ergonomic set up. You can find simple checklists online or through your workplace, but make sure your desk, screen and chair set up are all actually correct. the general advice about getting up to stretch/move hourly, refocus your eyes etc are all relevant. you could also look into getting a standing desk for example.
      – others have mentioned blue light filters or glasses, but you can also get apps that do the same thing in terms of adjusting screen temperature (ie colour). Windows 10 has an inbuilt setting to do this as well. I use one called f.lux but there are many others, installing this can be a useful aid
      – how is your mental health generally? you might want to consider some small adjustments or things like meditation etc. to help you decompress after work or things like journalling to help get your brain focused on other things before bed.
      – how is your physical health generally? as others have said, exercise and introducing more movement into your day certainly sound like simple things that could help.
      – how is your sleep hygiene generally? would something like reading a book before bed or doing an entirely different activity help?

    7. Grant*

      When I first started teaching high school math I dreamt that I was teaching factoring. Nonstop. It was ridiculous. But it stopped. Maybe you’re just adjusting.

    8. Retired (but not really)*

      Something that can factor in with what you describe is how healthy is your eating schedule. I know if I’ve gotten too focused on what I’m doing and just nibble at snacks (even relatively healthy ones) all day instead of eating at least a good breakfast and a satisfying evening meal, I tend to have an issue with waking up at odd hours and staying awake longer than just a quick potty trip. This also occurs if I fall asleep “too early” because I’ve gotten overtired, either mentally or physically.
      Funny story time : One night I went outside to go to my vehicle and instead of seeing the terrain outside, all I visualized was rows/stacks of boxes like I had been inventorying shortly before. Since it was a nearly full moon at that point I “should” have clearly seen where I was going. Upon reflection of my day I realized I hadn’t eaten anything substantial since about 8 am-close to 11 hours previously! No wonder I was seeing things.

  40. Aimzzz*

    I have a question about boundaries with your boss. My supervisor, who is wonderful, just quit out of the blue this morning. Since it’s just me and him, that means I am the only person in the department and am now responsible for everything. The problem is that his boss, my grandboss, is a real a**hat. He loves screaming at people, degrading everyone around him. Would it be unprofessional or even unwise for me to set a boundary with him now that I’m directly reporting to him? Something like, “I don’t respond well to that tone/raised voices/etc., I would appreciate if we could talk calmly” or some variation. I really want to nip it in the bud with him, but also don’t want to give him an excuse to blow up even more.

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      Ahhh….I’ve dealt with people like this. I would not do it preemptively, but I would do it the first time he starts in. Like “why are you yelling? let’s stick to the facts and come up with a solution.” But you’ll have to be stern so he knows you won’t take it. I have also noticed that some yellers will never come at certain people this way, either because they’ve dealt with you enough to know you won’t take it, or because there’s nothing about you that “pushes their buttons.” I wouldn’t create a problem with this person where there isn’t already one. Just take a wait and see approach and deal with it sternly and swiftly if he starts in on you.

      1. Aimzzz*

        Right, I wasn’t going to go at it preemptively! I agree that it needs to be done in the moment. I just struggle with what verbiage to use where it’s professional but said in a way he knows I’m serious. He already does not care for me, at all, but I suspect most of that has to do with me being a woman. All of the senior staff who are women feel rather disrespected by him.

    2. filosofickle*

      Sure it might be unwise. I told a boss that once, straight out after seeing him yell at someone — speak to me like that and I walk. It didn’t hurt my relationship or reputation, but that might be unusual. It likely worked because he cared about being a good boss even if he wasn’t always. An unrepentant yeller may not respond the same.

      1. Aimzzz*

        I think he cares more about intimidation and being the “big man in the room” than he does about being a good boss (because….he’s not one). I don’t mind if it does damage to my reputation with him, I frankly don’t care much about what he thinks of me. I just need the boundary established.

    3. Bagpuss*

      I had a boss like that early in my career- the first time he started yelling at me I said “You seem quite upset right now, wouldn’t it be better if you take a moment and we can talk when you’re calmer?” (Can’t remember the exact words but something like that)
      It wasn’t planned but it was very effective, I think because I was very calm (because I was scared, but he didn’t know that) and he wasn’t getting a a reaction it took the wind out of his sails.

    4. Suprisingly ADHD*

      From what I’ve seen, yellers either feel helpless to change/fix things, OR want to intimidate people. The best way I’ve found to deal with them in the moment, is to remain unphased. Calm expression, don’t raise your own voice, and stay matter-of-fact. If he’s trying to fix a problem, offer the steps to a solution, or options on different solutions. If he’s demanding something be done, say you will start it now (or after x task, or in 3 hours).

      If he is being degrading, insulting or cursing you out, etc., you can try some version of “that isn’t appropriate for the workplace, would you like me to come back in a few minutes so we can solve this?” Or, stop, let him shout himself out, and when he demands your input, give the same response you would have above. At some point, the responsibility for a good answer is no longer on you. There’s no answer that will make it better, so you might as well set your firm boundaries without worrying about making it worse. I think AAM has some older letters where Allison gave good scripts for that. The most helpful thing is to not shout back, trade insults, or otherwise encourage the yelling/arguing behavior.

    5. Cheezmouser*

      One thing you have going for you right now is that you are now the only person in the department, so it’s in your grandboss’s interest that you don’t also quit on the spot. This may be your best chance to nip it in the bud the first time he starts screaming at you. If you set a firm boundary, it’s less likely (although of course not impossible) that he’ll retaliate or escalate because he needs you to stay.

    6. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      You can also take an approach of calm blandness, and continue to lower your voice as he gets louder. Offer him a seat. Take out a pad of paper and carefully write down his concerns. Ask simple, clarifying questions to bring him back to the solve-able task.

      Own your boundary. You don’t have to say it out loud for it to be there.

    7. RagingADHD*

      I have on a number of occasions told superiors flatly/calmly that I will not tolerate being spoken to that way, sometimes accompanied by leaving the room. I know many folks are afraid of doing that, but it has always worked out just fine for me, and I have never had to do it twice with the same person.

      When I was younger and less confrontational, I would achieve a similar effect more gradually by staring at the yeller’s hairline with a puzzled expression until they stopped yelling, and then answering in a calm tone. The yelling took longer to extinguish, but they eventually gave up anyway.

  41. SirBluebird*

    Hello! I’m a non-exempt call center worker for a financial institution. The way we track our hours is through going online to ADP, logging the time we get in, the time we leave, and the times we leave for and come back from lunch. We have scheduled hours we’re supposed to meet, but since our branch is open 8 am to 5 pm and we’re scheduled for 8 am to 5 pm, I generally get in to work five to ten minutes early to get set up and logged in, and out five to ten minutes late wrapping up the last call of the day and finishing up my last tasks. I usually don’t bother putting this time on my timesheets- I just mark it as coming in on time and leaving on time unless I have to stay more than ten – fifteen minutes late – but is there any problem with this/liability for the company? Historically, coworkers have gotten in trouble for unauthorized overtime by consistently (and accurately) marking they were coming in early and leaving late

    1. Reba*

      So, this is working off the clock. All those things you are doing are work. This is not great and you ought to be paid for that time. If your employer requires you to do this work outside the 8 to 5 window, but prohibits you from logging the time (as in your last sentence), that is wage theft and a big problem!

      Is your workplace rounding time? That’s legal, and common, but they still have the obligation to pay you for time worked.

      I’m not clear from your question if your early and late work is something you’ve been asked or expected to do, or it’s your preference. In any case, *consider* talking to your manager and or HR about it. Unfortunately I think wage and hour violations are pretty common in call center work, and the other coworkers being disciplined over an accurate timesheet doesn’t bode well.

      1. SirBluebird*

        Oh, good to know! I think it’s probably a me problem given that there’s no consequences for showing up exactly at 8 or leaving exactly at 5, I’m just new to the workforce and historically a little overeager about things. That’s actually why I wrote in – I realized most of my coworkers were definitely not signing in early, and started wondering if it was weird. I’ll start logging things accurately.

        1. actual hr person*

          > Historically, coworkers have gotten in trouble for unauthorized overtime by consistently (and accurately) marking they were coming in early and leaving late
          That’s the thing about overtime – the proper practice is that it should be authorized PRIOR to working it. Talk to your supervisor/manager before working it. Non-exempt employees (eligible for overtime) must be compensated for all hours worked over 40 within a company-defined work week, but again, you can also get reprimanded for working unauthorized overtime.

          1. Reba*

            Right, don’t work unauthorized overtime. Instead, boot up the computer or whatever at 8, and drop what you are doing at 5.

            And/Or, talk with your manager. “Sometimes I have a task going and to wrap it up takes me until 5:15. How should I handle that?”

            Maybe they’ll say, 10-15 is ok. Maybe they’ll say, drop everything at 5 no matter what. Or maybe they’ll say, finish it but log off at 5, in which case, that is breaking the law.

    2. Xaraja*

      Yes. I got a class action settlement from T-Mobile for this exact issue. Their policies made this necessary, hence the settlement, but it it’s important that you are paid for all the time you work.

  42. Anonytoday*

    To be promoted at my large corporate employer, my manager told me the process would take a year (even though I’m already demonstrably doing work outside of my original job description). My manager essentially asked me to commit (verbally) to staying with the company while they work through the process. I understand from their side that it’s a lot of work to put trying to get me a promotion if I left in the middle of it. But in this hiring environment, it feels, at minimum, exploitative to promise a promotion over a year out.

    I said I wanted to stay long-term because I didn’t want to undercut myself, but now I’m so frustrated (for various reasons, not just this) that I don’t want to still be there in a year. Are my norms out of wack about promotion cycles? I have been told by my managers that I am a high-performing/valued employee, but my compensation hasn’t gotten even close to keeping up with cost of living despite my job duties expanding. Where do I go from here? I don’t want to go to my manager and say — “nevermind, don’t promote me, I’m going to try to leave”, but I also feel the optics would be bad if the next time I tell her I’m frustrated is when I give her my two weeks (or use an external offer to try to negotiate faster).

    1. Less Bread More Taxes*

      I don’t think it’s okay, but I do think this happens sometimes. Is it a case where promotions for everyone in the company only happen at one date every year? It’s super frustrating, but if that’s how they operate, I don’t think you’re going to be able to change that.

      Don’t tell them you’re thinking about leaving. Just quietly search, and when the time comes for you to leave, have a sympathetic conversation where you acknowledge that your manager has to operate within company policy but that the policy just didn’t work for you at this time. You can appreciative that they wanted to promote you, but they should understand that a year is a long time to wait around.

    2. Workerbee*

      They aren’t worried about optics when they assure you how marvelous your employeeship is while they fail to compensate you AND keep piling more work on you.

      Job search, get a written offer you like, and give your notice.

    3. Bobina*

      Start looking for a new job. There are good companies and more supportive managers out there who wont try to subtly guilt you into staying in a shitty company. You deserve better.

      And they will have no guilt about letting you go if thats what they needed to do, so dont let them make you feel like you owe them any kind of loyalty.

    4. The New Wanderer*

      Last summer I got an outside offer and told my manager that the only way I would consider staying is if I were finally given a long-overdue promotion ASAP. Because of the way the org is set up, it would have taken 6-12 more months for any promotion to go through (and not guaranteed) and that was with a manager who sincerely thought I deserved it but wasn’t actually doing anything about it until I gave the ultimatum.

      If I’d been promoted when I first earned it, I probably would have stayed for years (lifers are common at that company). Even if my manager had immediately jumped to pushing for it back when I brought it up a year before the outside offer, I would have considered staying. But because they were going to make it hard for me, I took the outside offer. I already put in the hard work showing I deserved promotion, I wasn’t going to carry the promotion effort too. That’s the manager’s JOB.

      Commit to staying until you get the promotion OR another offer, just don’t say the second part out loud and do keep job hunting. Also, when you give notice, make it about how this other job is a better fit for where you are now. Because whatever they might promise you as a counteroffer, this is how they operate and you’d just be dealing with it again the next time you outgrow the position. Good luck!

      1. Anonytoday*

        Thanks for sharing this experience and advice! I especially like the part about saying the new offer (when received) is a better fit, rather than trying to use it to negotiate because then I’d still be with a company that operates like this.

  43. Angelina Aa*

    Alright, broad question: what are some ‘unwritten rules’ where you work?

    I’m about to start an office job for the first time in my late twenties, and have been thinking about all the adjustments I’m going to have to make. (All my previous work experience has been in customer service, and a parade of research position and internships that were all remote.) I know I’ll have to figure out culture when I get there, but it still got me thinking about what hidden rules people experience.

    1. filosofickle*

      I am not new to office work but in a new job and running into unwritten rules about how/when to speak or ask questions in meetings, the standard of work (detailed and perfect vs. knock it out), level of autonomy (how much you should figure things out yourself vs. ask for help or direction), and communication methods (slack vs. email, whether you have to be on it every minute vs a few times a day). Some of these can be solved by asking, but the answer may not be helpful — for instance, someone might say “it doesn’t have to be perfect” but their bar is a lot different from yours so there is still a matter of figuring out what they mean. Or they may say you don’t need to monitor slack constantly but they get annoyed when you don’t immediately respond. Meeting etiquette is one of the hardest, knowing when you can/should jump in. I work in a place where it’s valued that everyone speaks up even in front of execs but not all of my team is used to that and they are getting dinged for being too quiet. Often it’s the opposite.

      1. Former Retail Manager*

        These are all sooooo good and didn’t even dawn on me. OP should definitely jot these down and if they’re assigned a trainer/mentor, ask these types of things early on. I have been training people for the last 3 years and these are all questions I’ve gotten from various trainees.

      2. LC*

        This is a fantastic list, and so true about how asking is good but doesn’t always get you an accurate answer.

        PTO is another one – how/when people take it, in big chunks vs. spread out, are people encouraged or penalized for doing one way over another, how much detail is usually given, how much work is done or how responsive you need to be while on it (hopefully zero!).

        It helped when I got comfortable enough and had a good enough report with one of my coworkers that I could directly ask, saying specifically that it’s a culture/unspoken rule question.

    2. Former Retail Manager*

      This is a tough one….it really varies by office and some of this stuff may be obvious to you. But overall, assume that your co-workers are sensitive/persnickety about various things and make an effort to be very generic, polite, and G rated and go with the flow. That may be your natural personality, but if it’s not, then you may find yourself needing to tone it down. (Said as someone that had to tone it down.)
      1. Don’t jump the chain of command, unless you’re told that’s normal. Even if Bob in Dept B can solve your issue that has nothing to do with your boss, most bosses want to be looped in, even if they don’t really participate in solving whatever the issue is
      2. Don’t microwave or consume “stinky” food
      3. Be aware of scents in general (perfume, hair products, etc.)
      4. Be cautious of who you align yourself with. You don’t want to befriend the office slacker, who may be super friendly, and end up being labeled a slacker by association. Make an effort to get to know different people at all levels and try to foster a reputation where people know you for your good work, first and foremost.
      5. In most offices, someone is watching what time you come in and leave and how long you’re gone for lunch, even if you’re salaried. It may be a nosy cube neighbor who may never say anything to anyone, but rest assured someone is watching, so behave accordingly. This goes for most things in offices.
      6. If you hear any office gossip, take it with a grain of salt, but don’t entirely dismiss it and don’t spread it either. I have found that, much like the tabloids, the version of events you hear may be a bit sensationalized, but often there is some truth in there somewhere. If you heard that Karen has the ear of the CEO and anyone she doesn’t get along with ultimately leaves pretty quickly, don’t entirely dismiss that.

      I spent over a decade in retail and I can say that transitioning to an office environment wasn’t difficult, but there was a learning curve and most of my office co-workers were introverts to some degree, or at least they were at work, which was pretty much the opposite of retail where you really needed to be extroverted to some degree. Good luck in your new position!

    3. Gracely*

      –Don’t empty the ice tray of ice and not refill it.
      –If your department has food, once everyone there has had some/after your event, let other departments know they can have leftovers. Relatedly: *Prioritize student workers getting leftovers before full-time staff*
      –Do not walk into people’s cubicles or offices without their invitation.
      –Listen to music on headphones/never out loud.
      –Respect departmental workflows; if you want to change a policy, check with everyone involved, because often there’s more nuance than you realize.
      –Refill the copier if you use up all the paper.
      –Do Not Email Anyone About Closing Early the Friday Before or Day of a Holiday

      1. M_Lynn*

        -Find out if your meeting culture is “we start the meeting exactly at 1:00” or “we chat in the beginning so if someone walks in a 1:03, it’s fine”
        -If you have All Staff meetings, are there enough chairs for everyone? Do lower ranked staff stand in the back? I still feel shame over being the lowest ranked employee grabbing a chair right at the front but then seeing that seats were generally reserved for higher level staff.
        -Ask about how decisions are made/who makes them. Often, it’s not clear but having a fresh set of eyes on how things work is really useful.

        1. Software Dev (she/her)*

          Uh admittedly having seating by hierarchy and making everyone else stand is—a little weird and power-trippy

          1. ecnaseener*

            When I’ve seen it, it mapped pretty naturally onto decision-makers sitting around the table, and lower-level people not being as heavily involved.

    4. JimmyJab*

      You’ve gotten lots of helpful comments already, and you said you’ll have to figure out the culture when you get there, so in that vein, observe as much as you can and try and pay attention to how folks behave in various situations. It should be helpful!

    5. Unaccountably*

      My last boss was sent into my life to teach me how not to boss people. Here are some things I learned from him, mostly about being a boss but also about offices in general:

      1. Don’t set up meetings after about 4 in the afternoon. People are winding down their workday. This goes double for Friday afternoons; they’re a good time for laissez-faire brainstorming sessions but don’t expect anyone to be on their A game.

      2. Do not decide at 12:15 that you need to have a meeting at 1:00. It makes people feel like they can’t go out for lunch, and it looks passive-aggressive. Also, don’t call a meeting with people in other departments on less than a half-day’s notice. Unless the building is on fire, it can wait.

      3. Do not accuse someone of making a mistake without doing your due diligence and having cast-iron proof, especially if you’re their boss. Accusing people of screwing up at their jobs is no joke. You don’t have to have an HR-worthy paper trail, but be aware that after about the third time you tell them they screwed up and it turns out they didn’t, they’ll start sending out resumes.

      4. We have always been at war with IT.

    6. Doctors Whom*

      Here are some rules I live by and tell others I live by:

      – never call/invite a meeting for the first hour of someone’s workday without explicitly discussing it first. let them get to work and get their day established.

      – never call a meeting for the last half hour of someone’s workday without explicitly discussing it first. let them wrap their day to a neat conclusion

      – never send a meeting invite with less than an hour of notice, or less than an hour of free time for the recipient to respond (If my calendar is booked from 10-3, do not send me a meeting invite for 3 pm at 9:52 AM.)

      – if someone’s day is slammed with meetings and you know this, do not wedge your meeting into the only free half hour they have. tomorrow is probably fine. If you still can’t find time, email them and say “I would like to try to talk for 10-15 minutes about x, but your calendar is looking really tight. Is it possible you have a few minutes in the next few days to squeeze me in, or should we talk next week?”

      – keep your calendar (outlook, whatever) up to date, including hard stops around your departure time if needed.

      – do not text people who report to you about work things on the weekend. especially not at 7 am on a sunday.

      – only text coworkers off-hours if it is an emergency or you are good friends with the coworker. if you happen to be working late or on a weekend, send email and be clear that you don’t expect a response until the recipient’s normal workday.

      – oh, and if you are the more junior person asking a more senior person if they can meet – the junior person needs to set up the meeting. likewise, if you are asking someone for a favor – the person making the request needs to do the work to set up the meeting. If you are asking me for the favor, it needs to be important enough to you to set up the meeting:)

      These are not written policies in this organization but I am pretty clear that I believe in respecting people’s time. Everyone in my wingspan knows I follow these guidelines and they make for a better balanced workplace where people respect each others time:)

      1. Unaccountably*

        I’m a night owl. One of the more bitter lessons I’ve learned from managing is that if you email your reports at three in the morning, they will respond to you. The drafts folder is now my friend.

    7. Hillary*

      Dress a little more conservatively than you think you need to at first. No one will judge you for slacks instead of jeans, but they’ll definitely judge you for jeans instead of slacks. Related, offices are often cold – it’s normal to leave a cardigan at the office. I have a work cardigan, work puffy vest, and work blazer right now, plus heels and dressy flats in case I need them (and I scaled back now that I’m hybrid).

      Observe the dynamics going on around you and try to adjust to them. Things can vary not just between offices, but also between teams within them. Be friendly and kind, but also hold yourself a little distant. Your customer service experience may help here.

      Don’t be afraid to mentally treat your colleagues as research subjects. I build lists of preferences – do they want small talk at the start of a meeting? What kind of slides do they respond do? How formal/informal are they? How hierarchical? What questions will they ask in meetings, and how do I prepare for them?

    8. A Feast of Fools*

      If you have a technical question about something like, say, you’re having trouble logging into a webinar, probably just message your peers and one level up, but not higher. Definitely do not include the department VP in your Teams chat.

      If, in that same webinar, you realize the presentation is really weird for the topic (like diving into Anakin’s or Casanova’s personality types when the seminar is on fraud), do not include the managers, senior managers, and the VP in your Teams chat where you say, “What in the world??”

      [Sorry to be so specific, but those literally happened yesterday.]

      Also, on my team, the style is to not have an ego about anything. All info is shared, we all want each other to learn and improve. So it looks really, really bad if you try to be the sole source of info or get offended if you’ve explained something to someone but they then ask someone else the same question. (Obviously, if every time you explain something, the explainee has to go elsewhere afterward, then you need to examine your explanations; but, otherwise, it’s usually just a matter of someone needing to hear themselves ask/talk something through with another person to make sure they’ve got it).

      Lastly, this isn’t an “unwritten rule” but more like something I’ve learned the hard way: If a co-worker takes you into their confidence in your first six months and regularly tries to tell you other people’s pitfalls or “dirty laundry”… they aren’t your friend or a true confidante. So be really guarded with your own impressions of co-workers until you get the lay of the land. Because a response to a “confidante” along the lines of, “OMG, right?? Barry is allllways late to meetings and is so disorganized!” can come back to bite you when the confidante shares that with someone else.

    9. M.*

      Do not say anything on email/Slack/company tools that you wouldn’t want discovered by your boss or company leadership. With that said, if you are noticing that a lot of people are venting or griping about the office (as opposed to just one or two bad apples), it usually means that there’s something toxic about that office culture or leadership.

      This is more of a general rule, but I still think it applies in the workplace: give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason otherwise.

  44. Erika22*

    Low stakes work attire question – what are people’s thoughts on wearing rompers/playsuits to work?

    During the pandemic I went from someone who didn’t like jumpsuits and rompers to someone who LOVES them – in cotton and jersey they are such a comfy option, and I love that when I’m getting dressed in the morning, they offer the simplicity of a dress but with pant legs. When it’s windy I don’t have to worry about my dress blowing up, and when I travel (hah) I mostly avoid chub rub so don’t need to remember to wear bike shorts. Plus the waists just seem so much more flattering than wearing trousers/shorts and a top.

    Pre-pandemic, my office was more smart casual in dress – jeans and a tee, dresses, sometimes button ups. Currently the office dress code is about the same – seems like a combination of people either embracing being comfier in work attire after working from home for two years, or people dressing up a little because they now have a reason. I’m definitely the latter, but as the weather gets warmer my clothes all trend more towards casual.

    On hot days when I’m in the office, I want something breezy like a dress but don’t want to be worrying about my dress blowing up or sticking to my chair, or having to bend down, etc. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear my jumpsuits to work (these have longer legs) but are rompers (shorts-length legs) appropriate? For some reason they read more casual to me than a dress of the same length, or a jumpsuit in the same fabric but with long legs. (Seems like a similar thing to mini skirt vs shorts – if they’re the same length why do shorts still read as more casual?) None of my rompers (or jumpsuits) that I’d wear to the office would have thin straps, so it’s literally just the leg length that would differentiate them.

    I’ll put an example of the kind I’d wear into a reply, but generally, thoughts?

    1. Erika22*

      For example, I have this romper and would wear it to the office if the bottom half was a regular skirt and not shorts, so it’s just the shorts bit I’m stuck on:

      I likely wouldn’t wear this one however, even in dress form, as it’s a tad too casual to me for the office, unless I was dressing it up with a nicer cardigan and jewelry:

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I think the first one would look okay if it’s long enough and flowy enough (basically if people will assume it’s a dress when they see you). Second one definitely not. Personally I think rompers read as more “playful” and wouldn’t wear one to work at all. Kinda feels like the equivalent of wearing a sundress with kittens on it or something lol, just too “quirky” to feel professional even if it’s technically appropriate/within dress code.

      2. Green Goose*

        I think the first one looks really short, like it would almost look like a midi/mini skirt. I have always seen rompers as cute, comfortable but also pretty revealing. At my office I would probably be slightly surprised if someone wore a romper but couldn’t imagine anyone actually saying anything.

        I’m very tall so most skirts and shorts look a lot more revealing on me and I was pretty mortified when I was wearing a skirt one day and a coworker jokingly teased me about wearing a mini skirt. So nice I just stick to pants.

      3. Anony*

        Sorry I don’t think either are appropriate even in a casual office. Good for hanging out though!

      4. Raboot*

        For me it would depend on how young they made me look. I come off as very young even now that I’m almost 30 so anything that seemed childlike would be a hard pass, and I do think that shorts can read more young than skirts in some cases. That may or may not be a concern for you but something to consider.

        I think that it formality-wise, a dress like the first one would be fine, then the romper version would be fine too. The small floral pattern seems less little-kid-ish than some other options, and the cut of the sleeves and neck is also pretty office appropriate. Agreed with the no on the second.

    2. Terrible as the Dawn*

      I wouldn’t wear a mini-skirt length to work, but otherwise, provided you’re adhering to other standards of your office, go for it! I’ve definitely worn jumpsuits to my government job, for all the same reasons you cited.

    3. DataGirl*

      It sounds like they’d work with your office dress code. If shorts are a concern, as long as the legs are full so they read more like a skirt it should be fine. One thing- maybe you have thought about this already and would be fine with it, but maybe you haven’t: are you comfortable with stripping when going to the bathroom at work? I wore a dressy romper to work once and didn’t think in advance about the fact that you have to essentially take your top completely off to pull your pants down for the bathroom. Even though we have stalls in the bathroom, the gap can be pretty big between door and side, so I was really uncomfortable sitting in there topless. Never wore a romper to work again.

        1. pancakes*

          I have a few jumpsuits and have never experienced this. Even in grubby downtown NYC bars. In the unlikely event you find a stranger leering at you through the sides of the stall door, that is a very good reason to loudly & firmly tell them to eff off!

      1. Erika22*

        I was thinking the same regarding the legs – they’d be long enough that they’d go just past my fingertips and they’d be full enough that in theory no one would recognise it’s a romper unless I did the splits or something.

        I don’t mind being basically naked to use the toilet. I’m based in the UK and toilet stalls here don’t really have a gap like they do in the US – it’s more a proper door – so someone seeing me through the door wouldn’t be an issue. (Though I’ve always wondered how someone would know if someone had an accident in a stall with these kinds of doors! Once on holiday I was in the restroom and a woman in the stall next to me collapsed due to heat, but luckily we could all see her and get help because the stall was American-style!)

    4. Dust Bunny*

      I don’t think rompers would be OK where I am but it sounds like your workplace might be a half-step more casual.

      You could always do skirts, which are less likely to ride up than dresses since they’re not attached to your upper body.

    5. ThatGirl*

      Personally, there are plenty of dressy jumpsuits out there that I wouldn’t blink at seeing in the office, but a romper/something with shorts seems very casual. Even if it wouldn’t be with a skirt attached. It’s maybe illogical, but shorts have never been a thing at any office I’ve worked at.

    6. Rusty Shackelford*

      I think a romper reads as shorts, not as a dress. I wouldn’t wear one to work unless the legs were as long as capri pants.

      (And I don’t understand why people like rompers *or* jumpsuits! How do you go to the bathroom?)

      1. Erika22*

        Haha believe me, I was the same, but one day I was like “oh, an adult onesie would be so comfy” and now here I am! I’ve accepted that I basically get naked to use the toilet – I figure if somehow someone walked in on me it would be awkward regardless of how much I have on!

    7. Former Retail Manager*

      Yes to a jumpsuit, but I’d add a cardigan or blazer if it’s sleeveless or cap sleeve.

      Hard no on rompers. Reads very Netflix and chill to me. (Said as a fellow romper lover.)

    8. Policy Wonk*

      One of the few things my work place does not permit is shorts (another if flip-flops). So check your employee manual.

    9. RagingADHD*

      I think rompers are too casual for all but the most casual office. In my mind, they are closer to sweats or beachwear than to jeans.

    10. Rara Avis*

      I work in education which is pretty casual, but I had a knee-length one that read pretty much as a dress. (I don’t wear them much because having to undress to go to the bathroom is not my favorite.)

  45. Probably Should Care Less*

    Admittedly not really a question, but I’m finally on my way out of a higher education institution I have spent almost 10 years of my life affiliated with – as a grad student, then as temp staff, then as full staff across multiple units. I gave my two weeks’ notice, and suddenly the team I interacted with has gone cold, particularly my supervisor. I didn’t expect fanfare and gleeful best wishes since I’m leaving my unit in a major lurch (we’re super understaffed), but I also wasn’t expecting a complete about-face! I was rather bluntly asked who I had told about my departure and told they want to come up with a communications plan – which is apparently “don’t say anything” thus far, so I’m going to quietly slip off after spending nearly a decade here. I recognize that this is their call, and I don’t get to have opinions on this anymore, but it just feels terrible. Any suggestions for how I get through the last week of my time at this job without just breaking down daily, or mentally checking out? I don’t want to let this make me less of a professional than I am, and work effectively up until my last day, but this is really hard. It kinda feels like I’m mourning my time here already, and I’m not even gone yet!

    1. Reba*

      That is terrible. I’m sorry this is souring the end of a long association! If you have the time, I wonder if you could connect individually with the people whom you like working with for a coffee or lunch, just so that the cold-shoulder is not the last thing you experience at this place.

      Congrats on your new job or move or whatever!

    2. Gracely*

      That sucks.

      But also, if you have work friends, you can definitely still just tell those people; simply ask them to keep it quiet.

    3. Anon for This*

      I have never understood the “don’t tell anyone you are leaving” bit – we’ve seen it here a number of times. Why on earth can’t you tell people you are leaving? It is not only their information, it’s also yours. I can understand certain businesses not wanting you to tell clients until they have succession plans worked out, but not telling co-workers makes no sense to me.

      Given how they are treating you, I’d be mentally checked out, too. Congrats on getting out – it sounds like a good move!

    4. WellRed*

      You’re leaving. Feel free to tell people, just don’t make a big announcement. What are they gonna do, fire you? Treat you coldly?

    5. A Feast of Fools*

      (1) This speaks *volumes* about them.
      (2) You are obviously making the right move by leaving.
      (3) Tell whomever you want, especially since it’s not like you have a portfolio of clients who will need to be transitioned carefully to a new person.

      If it were me, I’d just keep mentally chanting, “HOLY SMOKES, I AM MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION BY LEAVING!”

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I’d think of them as puppets. Someone says do X and they all do X with out questioning it. This is higher ed? So much for doing that thinking thing, eh?
      I agree that it would only confirm in my mind that leaving is the right thing to do.

      It sucks. I am sorry. Promise yourself little treats here and there to help pull yourself through your notice period.

    7. Probably Should Care Less*

      I know this is late, but many thanks to all of you for the insights and support :) I am just rocketing through my hit list of last tasks with the hope of being done soon, and doing online shopping for a new Zojirushi hot water boiler, because I have wanted one for about as long as I’ve worked for my current job!

  46. Big networking fail*

    A new person at a job I left last year tried to track me down to talk with me about it, and since this person didn’t have my contact info, emailed my young adult son (in an unrelated field, who doesn’t know this person) to try to connect with me through him. I think this was inappropriate and I am not pleased, and my husband is furious. I was not planning to engage with requests like this anyway, especially after being gone a while – and I am sure not feeling any more helpful now! Just curious about how other readers would feel/ what they would do in this situation.

    1. Less Bread More Taxes*

      I think it depends, but in all cases, I think it is really overstepping and inappropriate. If they simply want to ask you about job functions or ask you how to do a certain process, that is certainly not okay, and I think it would be acceptable to disengage completely.

      It’s clear that this isn’t what’s going on, but if it was something more serious – like sexual harrassment that she was experiencing, and she had a hunch that you experienced the same thing – I might be more forgiving.

    2. Hmm*

      If I was in this situation, I’d feel slightly like my privacy had been infringed upon and a little creeped out, but probably not “furious.” I wonder if it’s a generational thing? (I write this as someone on the border between gen Z and millennials). But I certainly wouldn’t be inclined to be helpful either because of that. I might respond, depending on if they were at all apologetic about trying to reach me through a relative in their correspondence, but it would just be to say “please do not do this to people in the future, I am not able to help you.”

    3. Sherm*

      I think “furious” is a bit of an over-reaction. I don’t believe it is wise to reach out a family member of a former coworker — you don’t know the family dynamic (or all of it), and don’t know how the message will land. But I believe this can be in the realm of forgive and forget. If you have nothing to say to the coworker, you can tell your son not to respond.

    4. Glasses Are Cool*

      It wouldn’t bother me if someone contacted a family member, friend, or coworker as long as they were polite about it and were trying to contact me about either a true emergency situation or a sensitive situation (like confirming that the boss had toxic behaviors and they should start job hunting).

      If it was just a general question about doing the job, I wouldn’t bother answering and would be annoyed. It’s not my job to help train someone after leaving a job, and it feels inappropriate to be going through other people to get me to answer something like that.

    5. Big networking fail*

      Thanks for the opinions – there was nothing awful about this workplace; it just felt like time to move on, so I did!

      I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, and I really could not think of any circumstance under which I would ever track down a previous incumbent to ask them questions about the job, especially not to the extent of looking up and contacting their family members. So it’s good to hear different perspectives on that.

      1. Cordelia*

        I would be fairly furious too, actually – I think it’s an extraordinary move, and a massive overstep. I don’t think I would respond, but if I did it would be to complain to this person’s manager, or to their HR.

      2. RagingADHD*

        I think reaching out to you on Linkedin would be totally fair. Even something like Twitter if you use it professionally, would be okay. A mutual professional contact (the real world equivalent of Linkedin), still fine.

        Family members, nope nope nope.

    6. 867-5309*

      I would be “furious” like your husband would would cock my eyebrow and pause. It just seems like an odd move and I’m not sure what they hoped would happen. Like you, I probably wouldn’t respond.

    7. A Feast of Fools*

      Yeah, I wouldn’t be furious. I reserve that emotion for intentional acts of malice (in situations like this).

      I’d default to “incompetence” or “thinks they’re clever when they’re not”.

      After I’d Googled and looked the person up on LinkedIn, I’d do one of two things:

      (1) If they’re young and/or new to the work world, I’d email them back and say, “I am writing this as a kindness but it’s very inappropriate to track down professional contacts through their family members. Regards, Big Networking Fail”

      (2) If they’re older and/or have more than two years of work experience, I’d tell my son to block the email address and just not respond.

      But, either way, I wouldn’t be furious. I’d just be shaking my head and maybe chuckling over what in the world the person was thinking.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      I think your husband is way, way over-reacting.

      If the person said, “Will your mom talk to me?” then the solution is for your son to answer, “No.” Over/done, pretty easy. Why the fury???? I don’t get it.
      The person asked your son, that to me speaks to transparency that they were okay in involving an intermediary. Just tell your son that you are saying a firm No on this one.

    9. M.*

      I think that new person definitely overstepped their boundaries if your contact information couldn’t easily be found online, and I would be weirded out by it, but I think your husband’s reaction is way over the top (assuming that person didn’t disrespect your child).

  47. Please Help!*

    Can anyone please provide some advice as to what type of stuff HR needs to see in order to take a bullying complaint seriously? What type of evidence or statements do they need to know about to understand that this is a really serious problem? This is a case of policies, procedures and laws not being followed, as well as bullying.

    I have been bullied non-stop by my new boss for several months and he is now trying to have me fired for extremely vague reasons that he claims are based around my performance. But there are no specifics or examples beyond vague, general statements. He hasn’t been able to tell me what the problems are that I need to fix, and he hasn’t told me what he needs to see instead of my current approach.

    Basically, he’s been carping that I’m not painting teapots the right way, but won’t tell me what’s wrong with the way that I’ve been painting the teapots, or how he wants me to paint them instead. Is it the colours I’m choosing? The brushstrokes I’m using? Am I painting the wrong teapots entirely? Should I be using a different type of paint? Am I painting too quickly or too slowly? Is it the painting style he doesn’t like? All he says is that I’m doing it wrong, but with no specifics or guidance.

    Alongside the workplace bullying (which is illegal in my country), no policy or procedure has been followed correctly at any point, and I was also dumped onto a PIP that didn’t meet basic standards, either, and didn’t have goals or standards that could actually be met.

    I was worried about going to HR at first as I didn’t want to seem like a drama queen, but as soon as I went to them, they seemed to know that there is a big problem with my boss. It also makes me think my first instinct was correct in that the PIP was given to me without all the proper HR approvals being granted first. For whatever reason, my boss has been able to avoid the needed amount of oversight, but I cannot afford to lose my job. And not just because I don’t deserve to, because there is clearly no problem beyond him not liking me.

    FWIW, he is the only person with a problem and he has even admitted that I am well liked. Everyone else has provided nothing but good feedback, and my work is to the same standard as everyone else’s. I have also always been professional and respectful to everyone, including him. He has not extended the same to me.

    The company I work for is a large one and I just want them to transfer me to another team. I don’t know if I should make any formal complaints, but I’m terrified. I cannot afford to lose my job.

    Any and all advice much appreciated!

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Can you tell us about the interaction with HR? What did they say, did they suggest any steps, etc?

    2. Dunno, I usually just read AAM...*

      I have no advice to offer but, having previously worked for a bullying, irrational boss, I want to say well done for taking action and I hope it all works out for you.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      So, I also was bullied by someone who was clever enough not to put anything in writing, which made documenting the situation really difficult. I wrote emails (to myself) detailing any specific incidents (such as the bully not taking to me when I asked them a direct question) with the date, time and any potential witnesses.

      Eventually, I went to someone in management who I trusted and said “I can’t work with [person] any more because of the way that they treat me.” (I didn’t use the word bullying until they bought in HR.)
      After some investigation, they gave me a bit of time out of the office and moved me to a different team, which was not easy because it was a small-ish organization.

      In your situation, you may be better off just asking directly for a transfer without mentioning why. Since your boss obviously wants you gone, they may just approve it.
      I found the resources on useful, though they are US-focused. Search “workplace bullying” for local resources. Know that you are not alone, and the bullying is a reflection on the bullying, NOT on you. Best of luck.

    4. irene adler*

      I’m sorry you are experiencing this.

      Take the time to document things. Email if you can. Write down dates/times and topics of discussion. AND what the responses you get. Especially the ‘lack of specifics’ on things.

    5. Dr. Anonymous*

      Document, report, and specifically request they protect you from retaliation for reporting him.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am hopeful for you because HR already knows there is a problem. My boss said X to me. [An unacceptable statement to make, but not sexual in nature.]
      Like you I was scared crapless to go to HR but I went anyway because like you show here I was backed into a corner. I could not lose my job but I could not continue on in light of what the boss said.

      I pulled myself together as best I could and I sat down with HR. HR asked me repeatedly, “He said this and you did NOT raise your voice or cuss at him?”. I told them NO. I said nothing and I had a witness to the conversation that would vouch for the fact that I said nothing. (I knew if I opened my mouth lots of garbage would fall out.)

      HR was just about drooling. They had been waiting for this moment. This boss had said a similar thing to someone else and he had been warned not to say this thing. Yet he said it to me. With my report they were able to go in on the situation and handle it. I was not there the day his boss called him into the office. I am told my boss came out of his boss’ office in TEARS. He got reamed from here to Tuesday.

      I waited a bit and as professionally as possible I thanked his boss for stepping in on my behalf. And his boss said to me, “If you have any further problems please come directly to me, it will be handled immediately.”

      Sadly it’s what we do when we are the most afraid that changes the course of how stories play out. I was pretty afraid when this whole thing started. I suggest to you that when you sit down again with HR you ask if you can transfer to another department. Point out that you are a good employee who is a very conscientious worker and that you are well liked by others. Say you like the company and you would like to remain employed there. I know this feels like statements of the obvious but go ahead and say them anyway. People can only act on what we tell them, if you tell them, “I am interested in working in another department” that gives them something useful to work with.

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      Please keep working with HR! They seem to know he is an issue and the more reports they have, the better able they’ll be to handle it. Ask for a transfer or whatever you want and keep documenting everything he does.
      I wish you the best of luck.

  48. Less Bread More Taxes*

    Any business analysts or data analysts out there that can give me some advice? I’m looking for some career guidance because I’ve been applying for jobs for nearly two months now and haven’t had much luck.

    My background: worked in digital marketing for several years as an analyst, then went back for my masters in data science, now have a PhD in computer science.

    Thing is, I really REALLY want to get out of anything programming-heavy, although I don’t mind Python and R. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it. My dream job title would be Business Analyst. I have been focusing on those jobs or data analyst roles. In my cover letter, I explain that I’ve been using my analyst skills for a long time, that I want to transition towards a more business-centric role, and why I’m excited about each particular opportunity. I try to only include relevant accomplishments on my CV (I don’t highlight the programming stuff so much because I don’t want to do that anymore and also it’s irrelevant for business analyst roles).

    I’ve applied for 55 jobs. I had one phone screen and progressed onto a technical assessment, but didn’t go further than that (when I asked for feedback, they said they were really looking for someone with more business experience). I do have a phone screen later today with a different company. But other than that, I have gotten form email rejections or nothing at all.

    Does anyone have any advice for me?

    1. Mostly*

      I’m doing business analysis and the things that really helped me were having experience in visualization and in cloud computing stuff– those are the skills that I’ve been told put me over the edge.

    2. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I think you may be getting rejected because of your degrees. You might want to leave the PhD off.

      A lot of companies (big 4 consulting and specialist consulting) that hire business analysts want either:
      a) inexperienced but smart – who they can train to do the grunt work and get a lot of hours out of.
      b) experienced with a track record – and especially able to do sales and build a book a business, or able to bring a book of business with them.

      It sounds like you don’t fit into either bucket.

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        I actually leave off my PhD and just have it under a “researcher” regular job. I don’t mention it at all anywhere. Do you think I should do the same with my masters?

    3. LC*

      Do you keep an eye out for Business Systems Analysts job too? Just like basically everything with BA type jobs, it can vary widely from company to company, but they are often very similar, with some amount leaning a little bit more technical.

      I was a BA for years, now a BSA, and it’s basically halfway between what the two roles were at my last company. Probably at least partially due to the fact that this is a much smaller company and we don’t have both here, but it’s also just another example how much these types of jobs can vary from place to place.

      Also, programming stuff isn’t necessarily irrelevant from BA roles. You’d have to balance how you talk about it if you don’t really want to do it anymore, but having that kind of knowledge can be a huge plus for a BA. And Python and R can be really useful too.

      I don’t have much advice about applying, I was in a very similar position, applied for something like 70-80 jobs over 10ish months, had a handful of phone screens and one interview before hearing back from my now-job. Then I actually had two job offers and another interview lined up within the span of a week. No idea what changed.

      (Only thing I can think of that had to do with me is that I was much less depressed when I started hearing back from places. I don’t know how much that would have affected anything, it’s not like you can really tell before you even interact with the person, and I didn’t change my resume/cover letter at all. But either way, it’s good to look after your mental health however you can.)

    4. Xaraja*

      I tried to get a business analyst job in 2020 and applied for hundreds of jobs with only a few replies, and no interviews. I ended up getting a job in an IT department using a niche IT skill (EDI) and now I’m transitioning into Data Governance in the same company based on my work within the company. Our data analysts work with Power BI pretty much exclusively, but that’s a different role than a business analyst.

      What i noticed applying for all those jobs is that they wanted very specific experience with Agile tools and processes that i didn’t have, or software like Power BI and so on.

      The closest i came to getting anywhere with the business analyst jobs was when i talked to a couple of recruiters who were plugged in locally. Have you tried that? They seemed to have a realistic knowledge of what i might be able to get and what the market looked like in my area. And the job i ended up with was a recruiter contacting me with a job i didn’t apply for.

    5. Doctors Whom*

      Do you reside in the US?

      The reason I ask is because you said “CV” instead of resume.

      If you are in the US and want to be in a more business centric and less programmy role, you want to be using a resume instead of a CV. And if you really want to stay out of programming… I’d consider reorienting where the PhD shows up on your resume. I think that regardless of the cover letter, if a recent PhD in CS is at the top, people are going to assume you want to directly apply all that PhD-y goodness.

      Do you have a mentor in your field that you can work with to run the resume by?

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        I’m not, but our CVs are pretty much exactly the same as a US resume (they are essentially an employee marketing document highlighting only relevant job experience and they have a max of 2 pages).

        I actually mostly leave off my PhD and just enter it under work experience without mentioning that it was a PhD at all. I’m going to try to read it again with fresh eyes though to see if there is anything that looks like I don’t want a business analyst position.

    6. Can Can Cannot*

      Look into working as a data scientist / data analyst at one of the consulting firms (large or small, but preferably not a niche firm focused on a narrow industry). Those kinds of roles provide a broad experience and are good stepping stones to your next job.

      1. A Person*

        It would be difficult to find a data scientist job that didn’t lean heavily on Python or R or some other programming, I think. Data analyst at a consulting firm could make sense though!

        1. PostalMixup*

          OP says they don’t mind Python and R, so that might be okay. I am by no means a programmer, but I do DNA sequencing analysis, which primarily uses Python, R, and shell scripts. A lot of those analyses have programs already written and don’t require a lot of programming on your part, but that work is definitely made easier by a knowledge of how the programming works.

          1. Less Bread More Taxes*

            Yes, I almost don’t count Python and R as programming, but I can see how that doesn’t make any sense. For the past three years, I have been coding in C# and I HATE it, so I really just want to avoid anything that goes into software development-territory.

    7. A Person*

      When you say you want to get out of things that are programming-heavy, are you including SQL? I am going to assume the answer is no – if you are including SQL I do think this is going to be much harder.

      One of the things I’ve noticed in my part of analytics is a lot of places will SAY they want Python or even make you do a Python test, but the reality is that most of the day to day can be accomplished via SQL. (And of course there are other jobs where they really do use Python a lot, so you have to be careful.)

      Have you considered Product Analytics, or are you really set on Business? That’s another area that might be interesting for you if you can find one of the more heavily SQL jobs, and sometimes that role still does Business related analytics.

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        I have not considered product analytics! That sounds very interesting as well. I don’t have a ton of SQL experience (some, but limited), but I’m already looking into doing a certification because I do see it pop up a lot. Thanks for the advice.

    8. Cocafonix*

      If you’re willing to do contract/consulting work, try that ? In my experience, it’s easier because you don’t have to go through HR – it’s direct to project. Also, your analytical skills seem obviously good. IMO, you need to showcase your business skills – facilitation, stakeholder engagement, consensus building, process analysis, business value mapping, etc. I hire BAs and I’m wary of people with only technical backgrounds – I need them to relate to the needs of business users, which are rarely solved only by tools and data.

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        Thank you, I think my lack of business experience is definitely hurting me. I’m looking at my resume and I don’t see a lot of business-related skills, even though I think I do have them. I think I just need to reword some of my experience a bit and/or take a course on this stuff.

  49. Dino*

    I finally got my ADA accommodation equipment after 6 freaking months. The HR person just… stopped responding to me and I had to get my grand boss involved, and she had to follow up multiple times before it finally got ordered. I got the equipment, it works great, so I emailed grand boss and thanked her for getting it to me.

    Then suddenly, the HR person followed up with me asking if it arrived and how it was. I don’t know how to respond because I’m still very pissed about the whole thing. I was put on an improvement plan because my metrics were suffering due to not having the accommodation.

    My grand boss did respond to HR saying I got it and it’s working great. Do I have to follow up myself? I don’t want to thank this person, and I don’t appreciate them popping up out of the blue when they wouldn’t respond to my emails for months. Is the loop closed now because my grand boss responded?

    1. Retro*

      You can always keep the response brief: “I received the equipment and it is working out.” Thank you is not needed for someone who isn’t helpful but you can respond to remain on cordial terms. Answer the question and get outta there.
      I would feel similarly agonized about whether I should reply or not. In my case, I think that having that non-response hanging over me would force me to carry around the resentment and pettiness as well. I’ve found that doing the cordial thing means I can usually feel like the bigger person next time I have an encounter with a problem coworker.
      Glad your grandboss went to bat for you for your accommodations! It’s unfortunate that it couldn’t be handled with more speed and urgency, but it is great to have managers that will fight for you and what’s right.

    2. irene adler*

      I have a co-worker who, if he wants to be brief with his response, simply responds with “Noted.”
      That’s the entire email response. Not even his name at the end of it.

      Might use “Equipment received.” as the equivalent.

    3. Gracely*

      There’s a part of me that would want to be petty and send an email about how great my grand boss was at handling getting the equipment, with a dose of “I don’t know why it would be so difficult, but clearly it was, so I’m so lucky to have grand boss.”

    4. Xaraja*

      The loop is closed with your grand boss’s response, IMO. The question was answered and you don’t have any desire to thank the HR person. You could respond to all and say something like, Yes, thanks (grand boss), for your help in getting the equipment, it is helping a lot.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      It is never a good idea to alienate HR. You don’t know what you might need from them next. I would recommend a polite response. I assume if there is any issue with the equipment, it needs an upgrade in a year, etc. this gives you an opening to ask.

  50. Leah K.*

    PSA: if you are waiting in line at the cafeteria at work and you overhear someone with an accent, it is (maybe) okay to ask them where there accent comes from. However, upon learning that they are from a country where a raging war is taking place, it is NOT Okay to take this time as an opportunity to ask them a bunch of questions about said war, their family, or their current emotional state. It is also NOT Okay to use them as captive audience to share your own intellectual thoughts on said fascinating geopolitical conflict. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

    1. t-vex*

      That sounds awful but I’m wondering what the right response would be… I imagine pretending nothing’s going on would feel awfully insensitive? Would be be overstepping to say “Oh no I’m so sorry to hear what’s going on over there. Do you have family there? I hope they’re safe.”

      1. Unaccountably*

        I wouldn’t advise asking about people’s families when there’s a pretty good chance that said families either live in a literal war zone or had to flee that war zone and are now refugees. Civilians die in wars too. Mind your business.

      2. Sammy Keyes*

        I totally get the urge to respond like this and offer kind words or an empathetic ear but if I was the person in this situation I might just want to eat my lunch without having an emotionally fraught topic brought up.

        I’m American and I was living abroad with Trump was elected and it was really exhausting having to have the same conversation over and over again even when people were just being nice about it. Sometimes you just don’t have the emotional energy to spare and your feelings about the issue are too big to fit into a 2 minute casual conversation with a stranger.

      3. pancakes*

        I don’t think that’s the right response for someone who is already asking prying questions about someone’s family on the basis of overhearing their accent. I’m thinking more along the lines of, “I’m sorry, what’s your name? I’m ________ and I don’t think we’ve met before.” Hopefully they would take that as a strong hint that they’re getting awfully familiar awfully fast.

    2. PollyQ*

      I am not at all certain that it is OK to ask a stranger with an accent where they come from in the first place, even if you work for the same company and “the roof constitutes an introduction,” as OG Miss Manners used to say.

      But yes, all that stuff that came after was also not at all cool.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I absolutely agree. Asking about someone’s origins might be appropriate when you’re close friends with someone, and I’d say absolutely appropriate when you’re dating someone and want to get to know them a bit better. Although in both of those situations the person concerned is likely to bring it up on their own at some point. But asking a casual acquaintance or random stranger? Totally inappropriate. And the rest of it? How awful.

  51. Retro*

    How do you go about researching salary ranges? I recently interviewed for a position that is quite a step up from my current one. I was asked for my desired salary, and I expressed that I needed time to do more research and was not prepared to give a number. I flipped the script and by some miracle, the hiring manager gave a range of X to X+50k. The range is so large that it’s not super useful in determining where I fall on the scale BUT it was much higher than I anticipated based on some very light research that I did. Salary info on glassdoor and other websites put the salary of this position at X+10k-ish territory. However, I know that the job market has changed a lot from even a year ago. How do I determine where to fall on the scale with imperfect information?

    1. Dr. Prepper*

      Never give the first number in a negotiation. Always make them give you a range. This is rapidly becoming the law in many states. At least now you know that their number may not work for you and you can exit the process.

      In the old days, when HR would demand to know my current salary I would simply refuse. When they’d balk and say “Sorry, we can’t give you an answer until we know your current pay”, I’ve bluntly refuse again and walk if they held to that position. When they’d look confused and give the “Why won’t you tell us your salary?” I’d come back with that in a negotiation it is crucial to know the other side’s offer and that was critically important information for me to know – without it there is no reason to move forward.

      1. Retro*

        Their range is actually WAY above what I expected they would offer to me and what I am making now, so their numbers do work for me. I think at the moment, it might be possible to dodge the question based on how confused their HR seems to be. I’m hoping they will be the first to throw out a solid number.

        I don’t expect that they will ask what my current pay is. Their question so far has been “What will it take for you to leave your current role?” and I would answer with what I believe the appropriate salary should be for this new role. The problem is not really knowing what that appropriate salary is. Even if they throw out the first number, I won’t have a good idea of whether it is low or appropriate.

        1. Dr. Prepper*

          “Their range is actually WAY above what I expected they would offer to me and what I am making now”

          That’s a good place to be. So use the usual suspects to try to determine salary ranges, but if you can’t then this offer may be good enough. When you have to give YOUR required compensation, give them your range with their number as the lower end of your range.

          Then wait to offer time and see if you can negotiate for 5 – 7K more. Can’t hurt. Or more PTO, etc.

    2. irene adler*

      It’s hard to rely on Glassdoor and such because there’s no indication of how old the data is from where they drew their salary ranges.
      Just yesterday I interviewed for a scientist job. Figured mayyybee $60K to 70K salary. Which would equal my current salary. Nope! When they asked what I was looking for in salary, I asked them what their hiring salary range would be. Their answer $100K to $110K. WOW! I think they are trying to attract AND retain talent.

      Pretty sure I’m not qualified for the position now that I know the salary range. WOW~!

    3. Bobina*

      Finding accurate ranges is really hard often, what I’ve relied on in the past:
      – speaking with recruiters. its literally their job to have a sense of what the market rate is. if you can find a specific recruitment company for your field/area, they may have reports that are publicly available based on data theyve pulled which can be quite handy.
      – glassdoor (variable) or other field specific websites (eg blind or levels for software/tech fields)
      – look for equivalent government roles which often have to list their ranges, and then add a % because government pay is often on the lower end
      – look for job ads similar to what you’ve applied for and see what other companies are listing if possible
      – if all else fails, now that you know what the range is, be bold and just ask for the top of it! you can put off giving a specific answer early in the process by saying “my expectations are in line with the range you gave” and then either asking about how they place people on it (eg are they clear about what it takes to be at the low/mid/top end of it – if they can answer that question, its a very good sign!) or simply just waiting to get an offer (if it comes) and then asking for more if its not at the top end :D

  52. Maple syrup*

    Scrub-wearers of AAM – could you give me your recommendations? I’m starting a hospital job in a few weeks and need to get 5 sets to get through the work week. I’ve never bought or worn scrubs before and I’m completely at sea! There are so many different brands and price points. Are the more expensive ones actually worth it? As a person who has gained weight in the last year and is still feeling uncomfortable with my body size – any specific kinds that are comfortable/flattering in larger sizes? Buying scrubs is such a minor part starting this new job, but for some reason it’s really stressing me out.

    1. Anonyme*

      White is not a good choice. Too much bleaching and you can see underwear through it. Darker colours hide body fluid stains better. I generally go for a consistent colour them so I can mix and match.

    2. Dr. Prepper*

      Surprised the hospital is not proving these as they could be considered a uniform.

      Make sure you are getting the right size, color, style. Those for an OR are different for a ward use. There are tops that tuck in and tunics worn over with pockets. Ask the hiring manager/supervisor.

      Get mid range as you WILL get them stained, torn etc. But the super cheapies itch and fall apart.

    3. Lebkin*

      My wife has been Cardiac nurse in a hospital for half a dozen years. Her current go-to scrub is Carhartt Cross-Flex Media Scrub Top and Cross-Flex Utility Scrub Pant. Lots of color options. They come in a wide range of sizes, from X-small to 3X-Large. Prices range from $30-35 per piece, depending on size and color. We buy hers from Amazon.

      She has found them, useful, comfortable and durable. Lots of pockets. She washes them every time she wears them, and they still look great after years of work. She has them in a dark navy blue, as required by her workplace, and the color hides stains mid-shift well.

    4. Healthcare Worker*

      As a short, overweight woman, I love Landau’s scrubs. The pants come in relaxed fit and short length with an elastic waistband that fit me really well. They also h old up well! I buy darker colors for pants and either solid matching or patterned tops. The ones at WalMart are much less expensive and are pretty good although they will wear out/pill much more quickly. Good luck on your new job!

    5. Healthcare Worker*

      Also! When you’re trying them on be sure to squat, lean over, etc to simulate motions at work to ensure they fit well and cover everything all the time! Trying on scrubs is not like trying on regular clothes.

    6. SloanGhost*

      Purple label yoga for pants! Nearly everyone at my animal clinic wore them religiously and we were a wide range of sizes. Ime as a minifat/in betweeny person, you can’t go wrong with classic black.

    7. Scrub life*

      Figs! The price and hype are worth the cost- they are flattering and hold up well. At my hospital, about 80% of the staff wear them

  53. Supply Closet Dreamer*

    I’m an admin at a company that is moving sometime this summer. We’re building a new facility, so my supply closet is doubling in size, and I can organize it however I’d like, within reason. Suggestions from supply closet organizers and users alike is welcome as I decide how to do it. We don’t use a ton of super specialized equipment, so basics like writing utensils, notepads, sticky notes, etc.
    I’m thinking drawers with bins for writing utensils, shelves for notebooks? Really, and suggestions or thoughts are helpful.

    1. JustaTech*

      At my work we use Kanban bins to hold all the small office supplies (pens, batteries, sticky notes, staples, etc) on shelves and then the notebooks/notepads and printer paper get stacked next to them. There are a lot of sizes of kanban bins and they’re stackable.

      I, personally, am a big fan of the bins (ours are clear) because it’s really easy to see at a glance what’s in them, without having to open a lot of drawers. When we cleaned out our old office supplies storage before our renovation a few years ago it was amazing the stuff that had gotten lost in the backs of the drawers. Not to mention opening and closing drawers is a lot more noise. That said, if you have a lot of dust drawers might make more sense (or if you already have drawers).

      And whatever you choose, joy to the label maker! It’s so nice to know which shelf/drawer/cabinet to open for pens rather than paper, and to know when you’ve run out of red pens (rather than wondering if you’d ever stocked them in the first place).

      1. Just another queer reader*

        Agreed! Shelves and clear bins so you can see everything at a glance. And lots of labels.

        Have so much fun!!

  54. DataGirl*

    Any suggestions for a simple, free, project/task tracking form or spreadsheet? I need to get a handle on all the tasks I do over the year as my boss is retiring and there is currently no replacement hired. Even if she is replaced soon, the new person won’t have any idea what I’m responsible for, so I want to be prepared with a list. Tasks can vary from simple things like, “generate graduate report monthly” to projects that have dozens of steps, so ideally something that lets me list things and a high level but also add sub-tasks as needed.

    1. Maple syrup*

      Would something like Trello work for this? You can create boards with different lists, your list items can have additional details and sub-lists. I don’t use it a ton so I’m sure there’s even more functionality than I’m aware of.

      1. DataGirl*

        I’m not sure if my workplace would allow me to use an app/ 3rd party software due to privacy/security laws. I was thinking more a pre-formatted spreadsheet I could download.

    2. GarlicMicrowaver*

      Does it have to be free? I find the free ones sort of s%ck or make you pay to unlock more features. We use Lytho (formerly Ignite) where I work and it’s great for tracking and cutting down on emails. Not sure of the cost.

    3. LC*

      I normally default to Excel for everything but I think this is the type of thing that would do better with something else.

      If you use Teams, that has some pretty decent built in stuff (and some good extension type things from third parties, but if you don’t think your company would be down with that, the built in stuff has actually improved a ton over the years and can actually be good now). I’d probably start with looking at Tasks, which is also in Outlook but I hate it there, it really is so much better in Teams.

      1. DataGirl*

        We do use Teams and SharePoint- I’ll check to see if there’s anything that looks useful. I mainly just don’t want to forget an annual report or task because my boss is no longer there to ask for it, and the new boss doesn’t know about it.

    4. DisneyChannelThis*

      Gantt charts in excel might be helpful starting templates if you’re trying to avoid apps. Dates in the first row across the top as columns, projects grouped together with task sublistings under them. It’s designed more for tracking timelines like X and Y will happen simultaneously and finish before Z can start. But it does do well for keeping track of annual tasks.

    5. Joielle*

      Do you have Microsoft OneNote? I think it usually comes with the Microsoft suite. You can set up “notebooks” with different tabs, and then each tab can have multiple pages. And there’s different ways to link information together – you can add tags, link to external files, links within a document, etc. I’m envisioning a OneNote notebook where the first tab is a table or list of ALL your tasks with deadlines for quick reference, and each item links to a different tab that describes the task in more detail and includes sub-items or files if necessary.

  55. Chirpy*

    Well, on the plus side, I got a 50 cent raise?

    On the minus side, my housing options are an otherwise nearly perfect apartment in a brand new “affordable rent” building that is technically doable if *absolutely nothing goes wrong* because it’s $200 more/month than what is considered actually affordable for my income. If I do get an actually good job, I’d have to move out. It’s nearly twice my current rent, but $100 less than average?  And certainly at least $300 less than a comparably nice apartment at market rate, I guess.   I’d have to decide within a week due to how long their application process takes. It’s not like I’m going to get a vacation this year anyway (spent half due to covid, and most of the rest will probably go to moving).

    Otherwise, it’s move in with a guy I barely know and his roommate I’ve never met, which I’m very uncomfortable with but really good rent and a townhouse, hope my current complex has a studio miraculously open up, or try to keep looking and possibly have to take whatever crap I can find at this point.  I basically have a month left.

    1. Anonymous Koala*

      I know it might seem odd (and the market has changed so it may not work any more) but a few years ago I was having a really tough time finding affordable rentals and I got in touch with a realtor. She negotiated the lease on a really nice condo down for me and didn’t change me anything (the owners paid her a commission). Might be worth it? Initial consults with realtors are usually free.

  56. New to This*

    Hypothetically speaking, if you take a new job only to find out that a) the employer oversold the role and b) you don’t want to stay in the role .. is it unethical not to disclose the current role when working with recruiters? Let’s say it’s been 3 months since you started. Hypothetically, of course.

    1. 867-5309*

      Alison usually recommends you keep short stints off your resume. However, you have a great, easy answer if asked why you’re leaving, “I was told the role was x, y and z but it’s instead turned out to be more a and b.” I couldn’t find Alison’s scripts when doing a quick look but she has some great ones that are similar to what I wrote there.

    2. Bobina*

      3 months is kind of on the cusp of when it makes sense to list it or not (at least in my field). I’ve often found recruiters like you to list jobs even if its been a short stint, but if I’m doing a direct application myself, I might leave it off – especially if I have no achievements I can put (sometimes you can get things done in 3 months, sometimes not!)

    3. PollyQ*

      There’s no ethical question at all here, only strategic. You’re not required to tell a recruiter or potential employer every last detail about your work history. The only question is whether it serves you better to leave it on your resume or show a longer unemployment gap by leaving it on. I’d vote “keep” and use 867-5309 (Jenny, Jenny)’s script. As long as you don’t have a history of short-term jobs, you should be fine.

  57. Taco Bell Job Fair*

    Why are jobs so concerned with age? I have been to a few interviews recently and the first thing even before they look at my resume is to ask my age.

    1. ThatGirl*

      That’s…. odd, I’ve never had an interviewer ask how old I am, at least not since I was 16 and getting my first job at Chuck E Cheese. What kind of jobs are you looking at?

    2. irene adler*

      Been there done that.
      Age is viewed as a liability for the employer:
      -health care coverage is more expensive
      -probably take more days off – usually due to health issues, but perhaps family issues as well
      -outdated knowledge base
      -more difficult to work with as old people are not flexible nor do they adapt to change well
      -can’t react quickly to changing priorities
      -demand higher salary
      -slow to bring up to speed

      Yes, these things are a load of bull.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        -more difficult to work with as old people are not flexible nor do they adapt to change well

        But experience does make it harder to bully the employee into stupid decisions… assuming your business isn’t built on that strategery.

    3. JustaTech*

      That’s super weird. Like, the only question any employer should have about your age is “are you of legal age to work this job?”

      Anything else just smacks of age discrimination.

    4. Valancy Snaith*

      If you are very young, employers are usually concerned with labour laws surrounding youth (restricted hours), company policy (keyholders must be over 18 or 21), whether the company holds dangerous goods on site and consequent restriction of work for youths, etc.

    5. Rhiannon*

      If you are younger, could be labor laws for people under 18. If you are older, that’s a problem–in the US companies are not allowed to discriminate based on age for people over 40.

    6. A Feast of Fools*

      What kind of jobs? Because I’m 55, started working at age 14 (while lying that I was 16 and gave a fake SSN), and have literally never been asked my age.

    7. DinosaurWrangler*

      I wouldn’t put up with that for one minute. They actually ask” How old are you?”!!!!

      Some answers:
      -Is there an age requirement for the job?
      – How old do I look?
      – Old enough to do the job.
      – Old enough to lie about my age.
      – A lady /gentleman never tells.
      – Why do you ask?
      – How is my age relevant to the job I’m interviewing for? (or)That is not relevant.

      And if you’re really annoyed at the jerk, er, I mean interviewer, “That’s none of your business.”

  58. Kimmy Schmidt*

    Former instruction librarians or educators, what are you doing now? I’m not looking to make a career shift anytime soon, and I anticipate my next couple of jobs will still be in libraries. But… I don’t know if I can do this job for the next forty years. I’m very people-focused – instruction, reference, working with students and faculty, outreach, communication, some social media, some assessment. I like learning new things and getting to do different things everyday.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      Perhaps you could look into being a trainer? I think larger corporations can have a training department, sometimes under HR. Good luck!