open thread – April 29-30, 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.

{ 1,259 comments… read them below }

  1. Miss. Bianca*

    I posted in the open thread at the beginning of March (and in Feb) how my boss originally gave everyone on the team 5/5’s on our performance reviews, then changed them all to 3/5’s when HR told him he couldn’t do that, then he refused to go through my review and explain what a 3 vs. 5 rating meant, got defensive and then apologized later on for getting combative and said he’d take reviews more seriously going forward.

    Well, today is actually his last day! Good riddance! He found another job, which partly explains why he’s been extremely checked out for awhile. So now I’ll probably stay at my job for a bit longer but I want to make sure I choose the right boss next time who won’t be lazy, clueless, checked out or throw a hissy fit the one time I say ‘no’. At my last job I also ran into this, thankfully that boss left after a year.

    Looking at the things those two managers had in common, I think my #1 rule when checking out a potential boss will be to avoid them if they’ve moved up the ladder within that company from a contributor level to director level. I’ve found that in these cases, the job duties are muddled and there is a higher chance they’ll micromanage you since they used to do their job. I work in marketing if that makes a difference.
    If you could pick 1 dealbreaker (similar to mine where it’s a bit unusual) when looking for a new job, what would it be?

    1. Kindling*

      Not unusual, but respect. If I don’t feel respected or get the sense that someone on the team doesn’t give or receive appropriate respect, that’s not a group I want to work with. Good natured ribbing is fine, treating your coworkers or employees like children is not.

    2. Anna Badger*

      i value alignment, so in interviews I ask: if you picked a random assortment of employees and asked them what the company’s 1 and 3 year plans were, how varied would the answers be, and what mechanisms does the company use to create alignment?

      if the answer is “we tell them about it in a meeting”, it is not a good fit for me

      1. Box of Kittens*

        Genuinely curious – what would a good marker of alignment be for you as far as how companies create it?

        1. Anna Badger*

          so there are lots of different good answers – obvs not all of these will work in all workplaces all the time, but any out of:

          – the strategy intentionally being made simple enough for people to remember

          – colleagues at all levels actively involved in conversations that shape the strategy, rather than just being told about it once it’s formed

          – robust discussions around whether the metrics used to monitor the success of the strategy are the best proxy for the value that’s being delivered

          – day to day activities regularly reviewed with an eye to how and how much they contribute to the strategy

          – regular, meaningful discussions about how the company is performing against the strategy

          – the strategy being a useful decision making and prioritisation tool which organically comes up in conversations all around the company

          – leaders taking responsibility for joining the dots for their teams on how their work cascades up to the strategy

    3. Avril Ludgateau*

      What’s the deal with HR telling managers they can’t give 5/5 performance reviews, though? That’s a red flag for me. If you did 5/5 work you deserve 5/5 recognition, none of this “tHeRe’S AlWaYs rOoM fOr ImPrOvEmEnT” shlock. You want a dealbreaker? That’s a dealbreaker!

      1. Policy Wonk*

        I’d guess it’s not that he gave someone a 5/5, it’s that he gave everyone a 5/5. Where I work the system says you have to be able to demonstrate meaningful differences between the various levels (meets expectations, exceeds expectations, outstanding). It’s not impossible to have a team of all 5/5s, but it is highly unlikely.

        1. Glenn Mar*

          If a manager has a team of all 5/5s, they’ve probably failed the company by not promoting some of them out to other departments. It’s better for the company, and it’s better for the superstar. It’s only worse for the lazy manager.

          1. SoloKid*

            Eh, I’d be happy with a pay raise. Sometimes it’s a specific department’s energy that fosters superstars, and not all of us want a promotion.

            1. Glenn Mar*

              Sure, some would like to stay. If it’s a whole team, something doesn’t sound right.

              1. Kes*

                I don’t think that’s necessarily true – it could just be a great team who are happy with and proficient at what they do. Why break the team up just because. Also, they might be happy where they are because they like work with other people who are similarly high performing

            2. achiappanza*

              Usually there’s a limited raise budget and you don’t get more because all your contributors are fives.

              There’s also a range for job title and when you get near the top, there isn’t much room to give more.

              The employee might be fine with getting good raises and not looking to move, but they usually aren’t going to get that indefinitely.

        2. Clisby*

          Yes, it’s like if a college professor gives everyone in the class an A. That should get the side-eye from somebody.

      2. Glenn Mar*

        The problem she reported is that the bad boss gave everyone 5/5. 5/5 should be a rare, special grade that people strive for. If you give it to everybody, it’s pointless. It means, “I don’t want to do the work to give you thoughtful feedback, I just would rather skip the exercise and have you like me.”

        A company should want 3/5 to be a solid, “You did a good job” grade. Otherwise, what’s the point in having a scale?

        1. Miss. Bianca*

          Yep exactly! He put no thought into any of the ratings, he quickly gave everyone the same rating because he’s lazy and doesn’t want to be the bad guy. And he wasn’t able to tell me what the difference was between my level and the next level up from me, and what I needed to do to get to that level. He got defensive and combative when I asked him what a 3 vs. 5 looked like. It’s frustrating because he would give me extra tasks and responsibilities, while ignoring how another coworker would never attend meetings she was supposed to, not respond to emails, would let mistakes fall through the cracks and she would need people (mainly me and another coworker) to hold her hand through things she was supposed to do. But according to him, all of us are rated the same!

          1. Glenn Mar*

            Your judgment is spot on. I have been in places where promoting the programmer to leadership was a bad move more often than not. Management is a different skill-set, and like baseball, it’s pretty hard to find people who can both pitch and hit.

        2. Kes*

          I think there are cases where the team could actually be high performing; I don’t see the point of forcing people to be ranked lower if they actually are doing that well. However, if that’s the case the boss should clearly be able to justify it. It’s cases like this that make HR wary of seeing 5s across the board, where the manager is just lazy.

          1. J*

            There are so many jobs where there aren’t promotional opportunities. I’m thinking back to my time with government and nonprofit where you might have a team with 15 years experience (that shows) but no chance of advancement. Should they be punished because HR hasn’t figured out tiered roles? I often view all 5/5 as an HR failure and based on their reactions, they know it too.

      3. soontoberetired*

        I have heard that the C Level folks in our corporation don’t believe you can give out that many outstanding classification in reviews. My response to this was you hire good people, why can’t a lot of them then be outstanding? There’s a lot more politics behind reviews in some corporations than there should be.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Yeah, if HR or upper management insists you can’t have a team of excellent people, you soon won’t have one, because those excellent people will find jobs where they are valued.

      4. Miss. Bianca*

        I mean it makes sense to be. 5/5 means you’re extremely proficient at your job and possibly ready to move to the next level (most likely getting promoted). I thought it was common sense since it’s been that way at all of my jobs. I have no idea what he was thinking.

      5. Hannah Lee*

        There are certain silly management theories, approaches that lead to this nonsense.

        It’s like the companies that insist that every single department’s distribution of employee review ratings has to be a bell curve, or something close. So if you have a manager who is extremely good at choosing employees, training them, working with them so they all become top contributors who meet or exceed expectations, half of them have to arbitrarily graded as average to below average or not meeting expectations. Which oh, BTW, can screw them for merit increases, bonuses, promotion opportunities, and perks like stock options, etc. and put them on the firing line during RIFs and reorgs. While down the hall, there is another department with a majority of mediocre to poor performers, and half of THEM have to be rated as average to way above average and get all the upsides of that.

        That’s no way to run an airline … or any other organization.

        1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

          Statistical illiteracy – you aren’t getting a bell curve with a small sample size – plus in most organizations performance isn’t going to happen along a normal distribution because you are not hiring a population to contain 1s (it happens, but it shouldn’t happen with anything like a normal distribution. Made worse when “we only hire the best” – well, if you have a high performing team of people who got As in school and now exceed your expectations, they are going to get upset and leave when they are forced into a 3 on a five point scale.

          A five point scale where there are few 5s and you fire people who get 1s is not a scale.

      6. Manager*

        When we are putting together ours, the mindset is that if everybody is exceeding expectations (4) or substantially exceeding expectations (5), then expectations are wrong, and people are mis-aligned in their role. The issue is that a lot of places tie your number to your raise – meeting expectations (3) shouldn’t limit your raise.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          That’s a fair point. But that shouldn’t impact how they are rated for *that* particular performance review cycle. If the performance standards for the position, goals outlined for Q1 2022 are complete xyz and demonstrate 123 competencies in abc ways, and the employee achieved xyz and clearly demonstrated 123 competencies in abc ways, they should be rated as meeting or exceeding expectations … based on how the expectations had been defined at the start of that performance period.

          Then, if at the end of that review cycle, management realizes there are issues with what expectations were set and how ‘achieves’ ‘exceeds’ ‘completed’ etc were defined on the Q1 performance expectations, use that knowledge to update roles and responsibilities as needed and to set performance targets for the NEXT review period to better reflect the current situation.

          Basically – Managers shouldn’t be moving goalposts for success after the fact because they realized THEY made a mistake 3 months ago or to achieve some arbitrary distribution of performance ratings.

          And as an aside on mis-alignment between skills and roles, while it may be an issue on the downside when an employee is consistently unable to meet the basic functions of their role, if you’ve got an employee who is really good at their role, and enjoys the work, and consistently is ‘meeting or exceeding expectations’ and that’s “a problem”, it might be worth taking a step back to consider why, exactly, it’s a problem. It may be that it’s an ‘up and out’ position designed for employees to go through on their way to more challenging or specialized positions. It may be the employee ready for promotion or movement and you risk stagnating them and losing them. It may be the company culture is growth growth growth and anyone remaining in a stable role is frowned upon. But if the employee is happy and valuable work is being done well at a pay rate both employer and employee feel is fair, maybe that’s okay? Maybe you’d want to add a stretch goal or two based on company needs for cross training, or employee’s skills/interests. But it’s good for managers to be sure they are managing intentionally for the results they actually want, and not just ‘growth is good’ing people when there really isn’t an issue.

      7. Dragonfly7*

        My supervisor claims she isn’t allowed to give us higher than 3’s without substantial documentation, yet other departments do. I think I managed a 4 during the first year of COVID because we were communicating in writing so, for once, I had documentation saying various iterations of “good job.”

      8. HigherEd-Staycation*

        In our org, raises are tied to merit only and what “number” you got out of 5- the higher you got the more % raise you got. But, because they don’t want to actually have to pay out, they want to avoid too many 4s and 5s. Funny enough, even a 5 doesn’t even touch COLA.

        And they wonder why people are leaving.

      9. chidi*

        Some companies will have a set number of 5s that managers can give out per team/department. At places I’ve worked that do this, it’s always been done as a wat to keep raises and promotions in check.

    4. Cookies for Breakfast*

      I started a new job recently, after over a year of on-and-off searching. It was a slog and felt hopeless at times, but it helped me realise lots of things I wouldn’t have known I needed when I started looking. One was that I wanted my next manager to have built up experience in different contexts (companies, and ideally industries) before landing where they were.

      Context: at my previous workplace, the majority of people the business thought highly of and considered “experienced” had joined the company as their first or second job, stuck around many years, and got several internal title changes over time, sometimes used as a retention tool rather than recognition of skill. Heck, I realised at one point – I was one of those people! Rather than boosting my confidence, that made me question how much I really knew and could offer: I only knew one side of one specific industry in depth, had learnt a lot about how not to do things (that workplace was mildly dysfunctional) but not much about what “good” looks like, and knew I could learn a lot more by working with people who had moved around more than me in their career.

      One of the factors that led me to turn down an offer was knowing the manager I’d work for was in the same boat as my former long-serving higher-ups. This person had only ever moved internally at the same company, and had never worked anywhere else. I was looking for a manager to learn from and be mentored by, and to me, that meant the manager needed to have seen more variety and more complexity than I had. This person, in that sense, felt more like a peer.

      At another job I was evaluating (the one I accepted), the manager hadn’t been at the company as many years, but had worked across different industries, and spoke confidently about both the challenges in the current team and the experience they were bringing to the table to address them. I lost out on some compensation, both compared to my previous role and the one I turned down, but manager and team wise, the choice was a no-brainer.

      1. Zephy*

        I like this. What kinds of questions would you ask in an interview to suss out that kind of information?

        1. Cookies For Breakfast*

          In this particular case, it all started coming together when I looked up the managers on Linkedin.

          Job A (the one I turned down): the external recruiter said I’d be working for a very experienced manager who was keen to mentor more junior people. That sounded up my street, so I looked up the manager immediately. When I saw it was someone who only ever worked at one place, it was…not what I’d expected. And because the industry was the same I’d always worked in, but the company was a lot smaller and younger, I started realising what they were really looking for was for me to supply the experience they lacked. There were other signs: for example, my take-home exercise got an overly enthusiastic reaction. They’d asked me to present a successful project I’d delivered, and while I was proud of the work, I did it with next to no tools to scope and measure it properly, so there were big gaps in my approach. If someone is that impressed with the bare minimum I was able to scrape, they probably can’t help me improve to do better next time, or will push me to focus on areas that don’t align with where I see myself going.

          Job B: the manager’s Linkedin profile showed they’d worked in a variety of industries, in similar roles. I (looking to switch over to a new industry too) took that as a better sign of alignment. One industry in particular is known for very poor work-life balance, and I remember wondering whether they’d left for that reason, which they said outright when I asked about working hours and availability expectations (my old job had burnt me out, and so far, people at the new one seem very realistic and chilled). I could go on for longer, but in short: I was given space to be honest about my experience, and the manager reacted in a way that proved they’d worked with people like me before, acknowledging the challenges I’d faced, and describing in detail how they designed the role to move on from exactly those (as well as the growing pains still to solve). I felt that if I could learn enough from this person to have a similar career path, I’d develop skills to be proud of. Hope that helps!

    5. Bongo Fury*

      Mine isn’t manager related, but the team members.
      If the entire team is of a different generation than you, I’d pass on the opportunity. I took a position where I was the “young one” and everyone else is closer to retirement age. It was nothing but “You Young People Don’t Understand” for my entire time there. It was miserable. I’m almost 40 so not that young. Never again. IMO it would be the same if I was 40-something and the team was all 20-somethings.

    6. Fabulous*

      One of the things I vetted for in my last interviews was flexibility allowance. Do I have to have my butt in the seat from 9-5 or can I come and go as I need to, i.e. hop out at 4:30 for daycare pickup or run to the store for milk, then check back in a few hours later, etc.

      1. BongoFury*

        Oh that’s a good one! Is there a timeclock watcher in the group and 2 minutes late means a write up? Because I’m not interested, especially if the expectation is you’re always available to stay late at a moment’s notice.

      2. Anhaga*

        This was a big one for me in my most recent job search–not only a good remote work policy, but also a flexible work policy that makes it okay for me to take more than a lunch and bathroom breaks. It means that now that one of my kids has been kicked out of afterschool care (rather embarassing, that, but he was pushing back at a kid 3 years old than him who had been deliberately picking on him when the staff weren’t looking), I can pause work at 1 pm and go pick him up from school, then come back and work a little longer. My last job made that really hard to do, since we were only supposed to take state-mandated breaks.

    7. WantonSeedStitch*

      Hmm. As someone who moved up the ladder from individual contributor to middle management, I feel a bit defensive reading this. :) Then again, I can absolutely see how it can be a problem, especially in places where people are promoted to management level without any kind of management skills or training or anything. I was lucky enough to get a LOT of really good management training, and to have the coaching of some really good upper management. Not everyone gets that!

      In the unlikely event that I should look for a job elsewhere, I think a dealbreaker for me would be that I would not work anywhere where folks didn’t think highly of their IT services. See, I would want to be able to work remotely most of the time, but that’s not an unusual dealbreaker. That said, I know that working remotely can vary hugely in how easy it is to do, even within the same kind of role, and that is due in large part to how well set up the infrastructure of equipment, access, etc. is. If I didn’t have access to a great IT team that could help me troubleshoot technical issues while working from home, and if I didn’t have great equipment available to me, it would be a PITA to do my job outside of the office.

      1. Miss. Bianca*

        “especially in places where people are promoted to management level without any kind of management skills or training or anything”

        Excellent point! That could be something to ask a potential manager if they were promoted into the role on how they got management training.

        1. HigherEd-Staycation*

          As someone who was promoted into that role in a toxic culture without any help, I agree!!

    8. Kes*

      I don’t think your justification is entirely fair. I’ve seen companies, my current and past jobs included, where they did promote people up the ranks and they did a great job. In fact, I think companies being willing to promote from within and grow their people is a good thing, because it means there’s room for growth there rather than constant turnover from everyone leaving in order to get to the next level. That said, companies need to actually support their employees in growing into these roles, help them learn how to do the new responsibilities, and provide management and supervision of them to make sure they are doing their job as a manager correctly.
      As for what would be a good indicator of how good a manager they’ll be, how they conduct the interview (if they do) is certainly one factor, and how anyone else in the interview reacts to them. Beyond that not sure, although I’m sure Alison has written about this

      1. Fran Fine*

        That said, companies need to actually support their employees in growing into these roles, help them learn how to do the new responsibilities, and provide management and supervision of them to make sure they are doing their job as a manager correctly.

        This is where most companies fall down, especially with their first time managers.

    9. GreenBeans*

      Just curious, what kind of profile would you consider better than an individual contributor? I agree that someone who’s doing this for the first time might suck a little bit isn’t that whole point of upward mobility? Career managers who don’t have any standard worker experience don’t sound great either…

    10. MoMac*

      Great question. I work as a therapist and I cannot tell you the number of therapists who moved into program director positions because they hated being a therapist. They have no idea how to maintain someone in their career because they didn’t do it themselves. They made the worst bosses because they focused on pleasing higher-ups and not the clients. And they did not actually know how to formulate a case so trying to discuss complex issues with them was useless. I was lucky early on in my career to have bosses who still did the work. But the past 15 years in the field drove me to private practice because they were as terrible as administrators as they must have been as therapists. I will never again work for someone who hates therapy.

    11. Workerbee*

      All this talk about the rating scale assessment makes me think that would definitely be _a_ dealbreaker. I have yet to be in an organization where it made a whit of difference to advancement or compensation. Probably because the rules behind it are eternally complicated and meaningless. I’ve suffered through the “I rarely give 5s” managers, who then like to appear puzzled and hurt when 360 reviews on them are without 5s; the 9-point grid scale; the “write down how you think you meet or exceed these personality traits” essay questions; and other variants I seem to have mercifully forgotten. I used to attach pages of all the great stuff I’d done over the past year, only for it to never be read or taken into consideration. Oh yeah, and there was the boss that said, “I only take into account if someone else tells me you’re doing a great job,” so there was a nice bit of begging among staff to get praise forwarded to him.

      LastJob finally dispensed with the pretense that raises were tied to performance and just gave cost of living to everyone unless your manager actually had a clue about what you were doing. You’d still meet and talk about stuff, but it didn’t really matter.

      CurrentJob just leaves it up to HR and the leadership team to give you $. There isn’t actually a review at all.

      I’m happy with the salary so I am also happy with just relaxing around review time for a change.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I agree that rating system seems to be an excuse for stagnation. I do actually understand how the system can cause managers to be distracted and neglect growing their employees. If I am busy thinking is Bob a 5 or is Sue a 5 then I am not busy thinking about how I can help Bob and Sue grow in the position. If I am more concerned about what my boss will say about giving out too many 5s or 4s then I am, again, not thinking about the employees under my watch.

        I had a job where my supervisor told me repeatedly that I worked like 3 people. But on the “BErating” system we had I only got 3s or 4s. What they said in person did not match what they put on paper. I would later find out that my laziest cohort got a very similar rating as I did. So clearly this was about my boss creating paperwork that would please his boss and not about developing employees.

    12. Girasol*

      “We don’t talk to that department” or “Don’t you talk to him.” Anytime I’ve been told that there are peers I should never speak to, it’s indicated some sort of turf war that I did not want to be tangled up with. It’s surprising how often people in completely different organizations have told me that they’re not on speaking terms with someone and if I want to stay in their good graces I’d better do the same.

    13. Juneybug*

      My deal breaker is I would never work for someone who use to do my job. For example, old boss was promoted to Program Teams Director (they use to be Program Lead). I am happy for her that she got promoted and now is the Director over 4 programs but DEAR LORD she would not let her old job go (which was my new job).
      Problems when a previous Program Lead will not let go are –
      – She had so many ideas on how the program should run so I had no chance to problem solve/be an innovator (one of my better skill sets). And if I did come up with a solution but it wasn’t her idea, then that solution did not happen.
      She did not do this with the other program leads.
      – So many meetings with her to see how my program was doing. Almost four times more than the other teams. For example – she would meet with me weekly about each project but meet with other teams monthly to review their whole program status (not individually projects). I was meeting with her three to four times a week. My updates were often I haven’t had time because of our numerous meetings. Instead of changing, she would say “let’s knock it out right now. I will bring it on the conference screen and we will take care of it real quick”. So she would start something I wasn’t ready to do (need more research, input from others, etc.). Now I have all of these tasks open and not be able to move forward because of all of the weekly meetings!
      She did not do this with the other program leads.
      – Talk to others about my program/projects. If she was bragging about me, that would have been great. But no, it was communicating about status. So others would have no reason to develop a relationship with me. Even better, volunteering me for something that I either did not have the time or really didn’t need to happen.
      She did volunteer the other programs leads (which they hated) but often referred others to discuss projects/issues/status with the program leads because she wanted to make sure they had correct info. She never did refer others to me to discuss or coordinate.
      – Presented a slideshow of my program status/accomplishments to higher ups without letting me know. I found out a week later when we had a team meeting. When asked why she presented my program without me, she said she knew I was busy and didn’t have time. A private meeting between her and I did not resolve the issue as she did it again when I was on leave.
      She did not present other programs to higher ups. The program leads did their own presentations.
      So no, I will never, ever work for someone who had my job before me. They don’t know how to move forward/let go.

  2. Title change via promotion but job stays the same*

    Hi all – I’ve recently gotten a promotion to a higher grade level and title but my job stays the same. Long story short, I was promoted to management years ago but my title was group lead. Where I work, less than a handful of group leads manage people, but 90% are senior analysts with no direct reports.

    My promotion to the correct title for my job finally went through, and my title will change from group lead to manager (and move a grade level up). However, my job does not change at all, no responsibilities added whatsoever.

    My question is this: on my LinkedIn, can I just change my title without having to add a new position?

    Thank you :)

    1. knope knope knope*

      When I had this happen I updated the title. It’s a promotion and changing the title signals that. I usually won’t add a description/bullet points to LinkedIn or a resume for a while. I feel like using Alison’s results-based resume approach really works well here, because even tho the responsibilities are the same, you’ll show new achievements for the new position, so it all shows forward progression.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      I think you can do whatever you’d like! I personally added my promotion as a new position to show the exact time it happened/the career progression. I haven’t included any details as to what my job is on LinkedIn (I really only update it when I’m job hunting and I’m currently not), so it just says:

      Dancing Tomatoes Inc 2018-Present
      -Senior Nightshade Tap Dance Manager 2020-Present
      -Nightshade Tap Dance Manager 2018-2020

      No details or descriptions, just a timeline. I might update it in the future, but it’s worth it to me to at least show the career progression (even if I was technically doing the Senior position looong before it was made official). So if you do have a description under the first position, I think you’re fine to add the new one and not add a new description, it wouldn’t be unusual.

      Congrats on the promotion!

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

      I would just update the title. That’s what I’ve done in the past

    4. learnedthehardway*

      While your job has stayed the same, I think there is some value (potentially) to showing that you have been recognized. That said, there’s also value in being seen as having been at a manager level for several years.

      What I would do is list things this way (on your resume and your LinkedIn profile):
      Manager, Llama Grooming (2022 – Present)
      Team Lead, Llama Grooming (201X – 2022)
      – accomplishments & notes for both positions together.

      That’s a) perfectly honest. b) shows you were in the same functional role the whole time, and c) shows your contributions were noticed. (It also shows that your company was slow to recognize your accomplishments and to give you the title and compensation that you merited. Which kind of leads a person to say, “aha, they might be interested in a cool new role and company.”)

    5. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Just changing the title on LinkedIn is what I would do. My company re-named a number of Program Managers to Technical Program Managers (TPM) to be more in line with other large tech companies in the area, and I just updated my current title on LinkedIn. Did not create a new position or anything like that.

  3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

    How do you deal with interview burn out? I’m very actively searching, have had several interviews in the past month that are in various steps in the process, and I’m continuing to apply because I know nothing is ever a sure thing. But I’m soooo over interviewing. I feel like every day I’m just repeating myself over and over. I’ve tried to spread out my interviews the best I can, but at the same time doing that is dragging things out longer.

    Any tips on how to keep it fresh? (Other than finally getting an offer or two) And any BA/PM specific things I should be focusing on? If highlight my best projects, but maybe there is a key element I should be focusing on.

    1. anonymous73*

      I can sympathize and am also a PM. Unfortunately I don’t have any advice. I was laid off on Oct 2020 and out of work for 9 months. The interviews were draining. I will say speaking with different people and having them ask different questions made me think of other things to talk about sometimes other than my usual stuff. As far as specific things for BA/PM work, other than speaking about your best projects, how you handle difficult people is a good thing to focus on..good luck!

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Thanks. Weirdly no one has asked me about how to deal with difficult stakeholders (which is odd, big part of the job)…and I have many good examples. But maybe I’ll try to work it into one of my strengths if they don’t outright ask about it.

    2. achiappanza*

      I was looking for work for two years, and it sucked. I still don’t know the answer to your very good question.

      My only advice is to treat job hunting like an X hours a week job and give yourself the freedom to enjoy your time guiltlessly outside of that. Otherwise, it’s like a dark cloud that never goes away.

      Theoretically, this would help it go away, but I don’t know because I didn’t do it!

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        My last job search took nearly two years and I get it. I feel into a very deep depression. But that time I was in a miserable job that I needed out of ASAP. This time around I’m getting a lot more interviews (thanks pandemic I guess for more remote opportunities!) but I’m already over it three months in. I’m very tired of 4-6 times a week “walking through my resume”

    3. Silver Linings From Dreamland*

      My recent job search took 3 years so I hear you on how tough it is to not hear anything back after interviews you thought went well and sounding like a broken record.

      I don’t know the reason you’re searching but what I tried to emphasize was how I was eager to take on a new challenge and learn more new skills.

      If you get an interview for a role you’re particularly excited about, try to put all you have into it, convey your interest in them rather than just going through your usual “script”.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        My company has been acquired and basically sometime in the next 1 – 1.5 years my job and team as it is today won’t exist. They are “committed to finding a place for everyone” but I know how that goes. So I always answer I’m looking because of the acquisition. Which isnt to say I’d take anything. I’ve backed out of a few places once it was clear I wouldn’t like it.

        But maybe I shouldn’t focus on that as much as I’ve been in those role for 3 years and am looking to move my career forward part. I’ll try that for the ones I have lined up next week and see if the tide turns.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I have had to dig inside my own thinking. Eventually, I would land on that one job where I could see myself doing well. Sometimes I had to drive to the place and look around the place in order to help with that visualization. After a number of applications, the places became a blurt. The process felt mechanical. I had to do something different, such as look at the place in person, to get myself unstuck.

      I also had to understand that some times, there were some jobs that my gut immediately said NOOOOO. And, foolishly, I applied anyway. I had to learn not to waste my energy on these places. If something inside me is saying nooo as I just go through the application process that is probably happening for a reason and it probably will not get better. I had to learn to be careful where I put what little energy I had left.

      I found that I could pull up that last ounce of energy by finding a few things that I actually liked about the (potential) new place. Generally it would go something like this: Potential new place offers A, B and C that I have never had at any other job. I would enjoy having those things. I’d dwell on A, B and C for a minute to see how those things would be meaningful in my work/personal life. This could give me a shot of energy that was just enough to get the job.

      And here is one to watch for: We have to believe we are taking good care of our own selves. If we apply at places that are some how “less than” something we want there is a let down feeling. We let our own selves down. Ya know, it’s one thing if friends or family let us down. But it’s a whole new level when we do it to ourselves. It might be good to ask yourself, “If I got a job in this new place, how do I feel about me? Am I proud of myself? Or do I think I just put myself on yet another meaningless hamster wheel?” This goes into respecting oneself and respecting one’s own work efforts.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Thank you. I feel that last paragraph so hard. 7 years ago I took a job I had a feeling going in was not good. But it was the only place that had even interviewed me (I had not found this site yet) so I took it. Thus started a long deep spiral of depression and a few jobs over 3 years to undo that mistake. I finally landed my current job, which I’ve been very happy with and finally know my worth. But I do need to stop applying for things I’m not super interested in. At first it was more to polish up my interview skills, but now that I’ve had some many recently I just need to focus on the ones I’m very excited about. I am not the same insecure person I was and I clearly have in demand skills, so something amazing will work out. I know the advice is to continue to apply for things until you have accepted an offer, but I don’t have to apply for everything I’m qualified for.

  4. Feeling Trapped*

    Last week, literally a day after I turned in my completed Masters’ Thesis, I happened upon a job that is everything I’m looking for right now. I applied immediately, and within a few hours had an interview set up for the next day. I just got out of a second interview, and things are looking extremely promising. They said they are interviewing one more candidate, but expect to make a decision this weekend.

    Obviously this has been a very quick process. This is a Personal Assistant position, and the exec is in a tough place and really needs someone ASAP. They said they basically wanted whoever is hired to start immediately. Normally, this would be a red-flag for me, as I would expect a longer process as well as an expectation that I’d give notice to my current position. However, this is somewhat unique. In this industry (think Entertainment) things tend to move very quickly, and because of the nature of the position it makes sense that they’d need someone ASAP.

    At the same time, I don’t feel great about leaving my current position with no notice. I’ve been “underemployed” at a local university for several years, but it’s a pleasant job and it’s been an excellent gig to have while also in school full-time. My supervisor knows I’m overqualified and has definitely appreciated that fact as they’ve gradually expanded my job responsibilities to include all sorts of things. I’m very underpaid for what I’m currently doing. And yet… my supervisor and department head have been wonderful to me, and again this job has been good for me given the circumstances.

    This could all be very premature as I haven’t gotten an offer yet, but I feel like I need to be prepared given how rushed the timeline has been. On one hand, I feel like their timeline is unrealistic and I don’t want to burn bridges at my current position. The department I work in is related to the industry and often participates in my city’s small industry community. On the other hand, I don’t wanted to be out of contention on this job because I’m unwilling to leave right away. This is a position that does not come along often in my city. Reading that job description felt like I was getting a wish granted. The fact that I could stay in this city where I have roots and also advance my career in a very significant way, all while getting at least a 10K pay bump to boot…. It feels magical.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think two weeks at my current employer would make much of a difference. I have a few vacation days that have been planned for months, and then my supervisor and department head will be out of the country for the whole of week 2. I wrote an extremely detailed Position Manual last year, which I have kept updated. It’s also likely that my current supervisors would be very understanding, as they would know how rare an opportunity this is.

    What do you make of this situation? Should I be running the other direction, or does it make sense for a position as intense and intimate as a Personal Assistant for an extremely busy, high-powered exec? Should I trust that my current manager would be okay with little to no notice, especially if I’m flexible and available as they make a transition? Should I try and negotiate more with my potential new employer? If so, do you have a script?

    1. PX*

      Sometimes immediately just means “straight after your 2 week notice, no additional holiday or time off in between” – so I would actually clarify when they want you to start. Personally if they know you are employed, they should be willing to let you work your notice period – but this is very much not my industry so take this with a pinch of salt!

      1. Feeling Trapped*

        Yeah, unfortunately they were pretty clear that they mean next week. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like that’s ridiculous to expect!

        1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          From everything I’ve ever heard or read about personal assistants for the Entertainment industry, is that ridiculous demands are par for the course.

          1. achiappanza*

            This! It’s kind of a test to see how high you’ll jump. I’d be afraid that taking it meant “It’s OK to take advantage of me.”

            On the other hand, if it is, you don’t have to stay. Do you know how long the previous assistant stayed?

            1. Feeling Trapped*

              The previous assistant got promoted within the organization after 2 years. She’s been part of the hiring process.

              1. Word Pro*

                I would jump on this, personally. Yes, it’s quick. But you admit the industry moves quickly, so that doesn’t seem unusual. You also describe your current job as “underemployed.” Why stick with that when you have an opportunity to work with someone who not only kept the same assistant for two years, but also helped that assistant move up in the company? That bodes really well for your future.

        2. 2 Cents*

          If they’re making this demand before even hiring you, will they have outsized expectations of your time/flexibility once you do start with them? Just…proceed with caution.

          1. Feeling Trapped*

            No. I’ve worked with this organization (Personal Assistant is for the board chair) before, both in my current position and with a previous position. In my experience they are very reasonable and have been wonderfully transparent and very equity-forward.

        3. All Het Up About It*

          There’s definitely in-between 2 weeks notice and no notice. Whether it’s a week or even just a few days. If the place does offer you the position and wants you to start next week, you could say, start mid-week instead of Monday perhaps. Again, not ideal, but depending on the work a person does, sometimes two weeks notice isn’t really needed for “wrapping up” and planning coverage.

    2. Janey-jane*

      I would ask if offered, and then make a decision from there. “Thank you for the offer, I’m really excited! I know you want someone as soon as possible, is it possible for me to finish out two weeks at my current position and start on X date?”

      On the other hand, if your department/team at the current position is going to be out what would likely be the 2nd week, you could also talk to them and see if you can give one week’s notice instead, something like “I’ve been offered a new position in my dream industry, and I’m excited to take the next step in my career. Timing-wise, a two week notice would be when everyone is out. Would it be possible for me to just work one more week here?” (And mention the up-to-date manual, and using that week to transition).

      It might take some negotiating between the two? I once gave a slightly less than two weeks notice, because two weeks was a Monday, and they group orientated everyone on that Monday. My boss at the old job was fine with my last day being the Friday.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        I like that approach, kind of working it from both sides.

        That being said, unless the new position is for something that has fixed, non-negotiable timing: eg “the space shuttle/expedition to Antarctica is leaving the day after tomorrow. If you can’t be on it, we have to choose someone else.” , I’d be very wary of anyplace that requires a new employee to start at the drop of a hat.

        Because though that manager’s sense of urgency may be coming from a very valid, real pressure, the fact that a) they needed help yesterday and are still interviewing candidates… ie they have not managed their internal recruitment timing based on actual business needs and b) they are signaling clearly that they think their needs outrank anything else employees may have going on in their lives. Neither of those things indicates this will be a great place to work IMHO.

      2. achiappanza*

        I like what Janey-jane said too.

        I wonder if working part time for each as a transition is feasible. At the very least, any transition turnover (open tasks and process documentation) should be as complete as possible before asking to leave quickly.

    3. Savvy*

      Are your supervisor and/or department head the type you could trust with telling them you are applying to other jobs? In most work places it’s advised not to let your current boss know you’re looking for a job, but if they have treated you well and you trust them, maybe just letting them know your current situation with this new opportunity would help bridge the gap. And you could be honest about being concerned that you wouldn’t be able to give them a full 2 weeks notice, and that might help soften the blow if you do end up getting hired and have to leave quickly.

    4. RagingADHD*

      If your supervisor and DH are as wonderful as you say, why not talk to them about the situation so you can triage stuff that might need to get wrapped up?

      That’s not generally advised in most corporatey-type jobs, but this is academia. They aren’t going to shove you out the door and get a quick replacement, because nothing moves that fast.

      They already know you’re overqualified and underpaid, and that you graduated. They don’t expect to have you long term. I think it could win you a great future reference and ease your mind about the way it’s being handled, with very little risk.

      Yes, quick hiring is common for the type of position you’re talking about – not least because the bosses tend to be capricious. It is the nature of the work.

      I suspect that you will still be underpaid for the amount & intensity of the work you’re doing, even with the $10k pay bump. And that the advancement to your career will be less magical than it currently appears.

      It may be a perfectly fine job, but it sounds rather over-sold for what those type of jobs tend to actually be like. The reality is probably closer to the middle, because the upsides tend to also have downsides. Then again, being in the field you want and getting more money are great!

      I wish you well and hope everything works out.

      1. Feeling Trapped*

        I am definitely considering talking to my supervisor and just giving them a heads up. They do know that I’m on my way out soon regardless, and were very supportive when I applied to a promotion in another department last year.

        And yes, I probably oversold this job! Haha I’m pretty clear on what the job requirements are and it’s certainly not glamorous. I am just so excited at the prospect of advancing my career without moving to Los Angeles. It would be a stepping-stone job, but it would be a stepping-stone job where I can stay close to my boyfriend and friends and family.

        1. RagingADHD*

          In your position, it sounds like a really good opportunity and is certainly worth trying. For me personally, I try not to hype things up too much in my own head because then it makes the normal “ugh” parts of any job seem awful. Whereas if I go in expecting a certain amount of “ugh,” I can appreciate the good parts more.

    5. OneTwoThree*

      I wonder if you could start for the new position on Monday, but offer your current position for support for a set period time. For example, maybe you could start your new position on Monday. In a couple of weeks (after your supervisor and department head return), you could have a couple of planned dates where you can tie up any loose ends. Or maybe you could work at your new job for 4 days a week and your old job for 1 day a week for the first couple of weeks.

    6. Sandi*

      You’re working at a university so they expect you to move on once you graduate! You keep everything updated so transition would be quick. Go for this new job if everything else about it looks good, and I expect that your current employer will be supportive given the circumstances.

      Universities are also a great source of labor, so your position can hopefully be filled quickly by a student who needs the experience and money.

    7. Person from the Resume*

      I think you have to take care of yourself and be willing to burn this bridge by leaving without 2 weeks notice for such a great and rare opportunity. I’m not even sure that you would burn a bridge. Additionally your management at your current position know you’re on your way out. You’re clearly underpaid and underemployeed and are about to graduate. That kind of life change makes it pretty obvious you’re not going to be staying long term.

      But you should do it with as much thanks and appreciate as possible.

      1. achiappanza*

        I think the degree to which they’ve covered turnover (handing off or documenting everything) would go a long way in determining how the current employer will view it. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag and trying to figure it out, least of all your peers.

        1. Esmeralda*

          Almost nobody at universities bothers keeping documentation like this, or updating it if it exists. OP is so very “exceeds expectations” that I think they are ok if they have to give a shorter notice.

      1. RagingADHD*

        This might be a good option. It sounds like the university job was able to work around classes, etc. Maybe a week or so of off-ramp from the university while you on-ramp to the PA job could work out well for everyone.

        The suggestion would certainly show your problemsolving mindset!

    8. A Simple Narwhal*

      …Any chance you could ask for a signing bonus? If they’re going to insist that you bypass business norms of the two week notice so that you can start immediately, I feel like you should be compensated for putting yourself out (and potentially burning a bridge).

    9. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      If you already have a position manual set up, I would go ahead and create a document that just wraps up the rest of what you are working on and locations of where they can find any files they will need immediately. If you feel inclined, let them know that you are available to call if there is anything that comes up regarding anything you were handling for a few weeks after you leave.

      I think that’s a really generous offer and would prevent the burning of bridges.

      If you want to go overboard personalized ‘thanks for everything’ card that gives real examples of specific things they taught you also makes people remember you on a very positive note.

      Bottom line, I think you’ve done all you can to get them ready for your inevitable departure and you should take the new job without worrying!

    10. Feeling Trapped*

      Thank you all so much for responding! In reading all of the responses I realized that I have really valued transparency so I decided to follow the golden rule and be transparent myself. I had my annual performance review this morning and thought it was the perfect time to bring this all up. My supervisor and I talked a lot about my current compensation and responsibilities, and it turns out she’s been doing a lot of advocating for me behind the scenes (things just move slowly…. that’s academia for you). She definitely understood about the job and was not concerned that, should I get an offer and decide to take it, I’d be leaving quickly. I assured her that I could be very flexible and available in aiding the transition. She said that if I don’t get the job or decide against it, that she’d help me use it as leverage to advocate for a higher salary.

      If I get offered the position, I’m going to ask for at least a few days to help wrap things up here. The semester ends next week and summer is generally much easier for everyone, so it won’t be disastrous if I’m not around. I definitely think I can manage everything gracefully– if I even get an offer!

      Thank you!!!

    11. learnedthehardway*

      Just be careful. A company that will ask you to not give adequate notice is not going to be considerate of your needs in other ways, either. The role might look ideal, but I suspect that the company will have some deficiencies. Don’t rush into something unless you’re SURE this is a good move in every respect.

    12. SnappinTerrapin*

      When (deliberately wishing you the best with that word choice) you get the offer, sit down with your manager and have a heart-to-heart talk. They know you have been working toward your master’s, and know you intend to pursue other opportunities. Yes, they’ve done some things that were mutually beneficial, and it’s good you appreciate that, and you can express your appreciation. You’ve also done a lot already to prepare them for your inevitable transition. Share that with them. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

      If you say to your manager what you shared with us (well, you might tactfully glide past what you were paid), I’ll be shocked if they don’t encourage you to seize the opportunity.

      Of course, if the offer is less appealing than you anticipate, this advice is moot.

      Best wishes!

    13. Pam Adams*

      you are a student- completing your degree. Your supervisor has to know that you are looking to transition roles. I recommend telling them as soon as you legitimately can, but if it’s not two weeks- they will survive.

  5. Yaz*

    What old AAM posts have you read that made you think “WOW times have changed?” For me, it’s all the ones where people ask if they should go into work when they’re sick.

    1. londonedit*

      I was thinking that the other day! Definitely the ones about staying at home when you’re unwell, and the ones that discuss working from home as if it’s a strange beast that no one really knows anything about. I also feel a bit sad when I’m perusing the archives and I stumble across a post from late 2019 that’s all ‘I got a new job and I’ll be starting in January! Can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!’

      1. Jessica Ganschen*

        Relatedly, when I start a new podcast, I always go from the beginning, so whenever I get to 2019 in their archives, I begin to feel like a horror movie viewer, futilely warning the protagonists of the horrors ahead.

        1. londonedit*

          I was listening to a podcast the other day where the introductory bit had been recorded in late September 2021, when Covid was still in the background but the main news topic was a shortage of fuel at the pumps (lots of talk of panic buying and petrol stations running out, etc). The presenter said something along the lines of ‘I’m not actually sure when you’ll be listening to this – probably by that time you’ll be thinking “fuel shortages? Blimey, remember when we were worried about THAT!”‘. Yup…since then we’ve had a whole new massive Covid wave and there’s a war on…

          1. Becky*

            I’m sorry, what?–Covid was in the background in September 2021? That was around when the Delta spike hit that left local hospitals in my area at or above their ICU warning threshold for a solid 6 months–only subsiding below that threshold after the Omicron spike in January 2022.

            1. abcdef*

              For some places, other news took precedent over covid at that specific time.
              Not all places are the same, Becky.

        2. MissGirl*

          I was watching Love or List It episodes filmed right before 2020. I found myself yelling at the TV, “Don’t get rid of your home office!” They took it out and gave the poor guy a nook for his desk. That’s a decision I’m sure they came to regret.

        3. Hannah Lee*

          That reminds me of that woman who made the series of videos of her future self time traveling back to give a heads up to her past self. I think in the first she was recommending a big Costco run, and not making any big travel plans. It was very funny, but also a bit like a horror movie, as past-her was kind of freaking out … “WTH is going to happen??!?!?!”

        4. Alice Ulf*

          Oh, man. A few months ago I started listening to This Podcast Will Kill You (which is awesome, all about the history and pathology of various diseases) and the archives start back in 2017. I’m in late 2018 now and I can’t help repeatedly thinking [i]you ain’t seen nothing yet…[/i]

        5. cubone*

          I’m a fan of the podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. During those first few days of COVID smacking everyone collectively in the face mid-March 2020, I was behind in their episodes but they were sort of a soothing balm of normalcy. At the end of their last “pre-COVID” episode they said something like “and fyi we’ll be heading out on a cruise next week!” And I literally let out a scream of shock and then rushed to Twitter to confirm none of the hosts had like … died.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I was walking into our building’s lobby the other day and there is a list of people’s office locations. Almost everyone is at least partially remote even now, so I thought, “Wow, a list of people’s actual* physical locations — how quaint!”

        *not actual now; actual pre-covid

      2. Cj*

        Just recently there was a link to a post dated April 20, 2020 that mentioned “as lockdown drags on”. If we’d only known.

        I didn’t think it would be over in a couple of months like some people did, but I honestly didn’t expect it to be going on 2 years later, especially once vaccines were available.

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          I remember after a month or so, all the “everything will be fine by summer” talk started to sound a lot like, “…and we’ll all be home for Christmas, boys!”

    2. MissBliss*

      Ones where people are told they need to use land lines on resumes (either by Alison or whoever the OP is writing in about)!

    3. Yaz*

      Another one for me was the one where a woman who wants to work in sports management but couldn’t afford to do an unpaid internship. I’ve noticed in the last couple years there’s been a large shift in awareness around how unpaid internships promote inequality, that didn’t come up in the response or the comments

      1. Rayray*

        Yeah, I was vocal about this when I was in college just over 10 years ago and I always just got “That’s just the way it is! Suck it up” but I’d say these days, the majority are on board that internships should be paid.

      2. rock and roll saved my shower*

        Yeah, I’ve noticed Allison ran out of cope with a lot of exploitation and background radiation. Love to see it :D

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        In my college, we had to do either a year’s study abroad or a year’s work experience. The college insisted the work experience be paid. At the time, it seemed like a nuisance, especially since those of us on grants continued to get them that year (grants are means tested and about half the student population gets them, so those who don’t have families on higher-than-average incomes), but I guess they wanted both to ensure equality and to prevent people from just going to work for their dad or auntie for the year when there was really little or nothing for them to do and dad or auntie would give them a good report regardless of how they performed.

    4. Anna Badger*

      the one about whether women need to wear tights in the office, which sparked vociferous arguments in the comments

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        I’ve always thought that it was creepy to police womens’ bodies in the office, and forcing tights-wearing feels like trying to police womens’ bodies.

      2. wittyrepartee*

        I thought you meant like- black legging tights at first. I was like “Usually it’s the other way around! Everyone’s mad about women wearing tights without a sufficiently long shirt!”

    5. LifeBeforeCorona*

      Working from home. People used to be ecstatic if they could work from home one day a week. Then BOOM! everyone (almost everyone) was forced to work from home and the business world did not crash and burn. Also, people no longer bragged about dragging their sick bodies out into public. It’s no longer a badge of honour to show up anywhere when you are sick.

    6. Silver Linings From Dreamland*

      Most any that reference going into the office on a daily basis. :D

    7. cubone*

      I think there’s one or more about working two jobs from home where Alison really acknowledges the unfair and ridiculous power imbalance in employer-employee relationships and something about it being hard to give advice that you shouldn’t “take advantage” of an employer when they fully can and do take advantage of you.

      I can’t recall exactly how it was worded, but I thought those were amazing examples of someone learning and changing their opinions on something over time.

  6. BRR*

    Listing a promotion on a resume – I was recently promoted but my new title does not convey this, on paper it just looks like they changed my title to a parallel or even a lower one (and unfortunately this 100% will not change). My duties/accomplishments don’t differ between the two roles so the promotion doesn’t show that way. What’s the best way to list it?

    1. anonymous73*

      Just curious…if your duties didn’t change, what was the point of a promotion (I hope you at least got a raise)? Were you doing these things without the title prior to the official promotion? If your duties are the same, I would just change the title. You can always address the promotion in a CV when you apply for a job. And if you have been doing the duties of the promoted role before the actual promotion (say for the last 6 months or more), I would separate the job into 2 on your resume, modifying the dates based on when the new duties started.
      Senior Llama Groomer: Oct 2021 – present
      Llama Groomer: Start Date – Sept 2021

      1. BRR*

        Reading this and the other replies I realize I did a terrible job explaining things haha. I did get a raise. I was doing more advanced work and worked more independently than my original job description. I thought I would get a better title that clearly shows I’m higher up but I essentially went from Llama Groomer to Groomer of Llamas. If I just list the two titles on my resume with dates, it looks like I was just part of a rebranding effort.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          I think Alison has recommended putting a more obvious/explanatory title next to your actual title to better frame your job when the title is vague or confusing. Could you do something like:

          Llamas Inc 2018-Present
          -Groomer of Llamas (Senior Llama Groomer) 2022-Present
          -Llama Groomer 2018-2022

          This way you’re not misrepresenting your title, but you’re clarifying what the role actually is and how it compares to your previous less senior role. And as you perform the new role, you can list out the new advanced tasks you’re taking on as well as your accomplishments, which will further differentiate it from what you were doing before.

          Congrats on the promotion!

      2. PostalMixup*

        I was hired as a Senior Person, and then my company re-aligned their titles and added new tiers. What used to be a Senior Person was now a Person III, so when they promoted me to Senior Person, it came with a pay bump, but no apparent title increase.

    2. knope knope knope*

      Congrats! If the duties are the same, what makes it a promotion? More money? If you were just promoted it is pretty understandable there would be no new achievements but could you put a bullet like “*promoted from teapot producer to teapot editor, building on XXX achievements [achieved in last role]” and reword the earlier role a bit?

      1. WellRed*

        I had this happen. Job got reconfigured to include a lot more responsibility and a decent pay bump but there is literally no title in between mine and my boss’s. And adding senior won’t work.

    3. Savvy*

      Is your job description the exact same (no additional authority or responsibility) but just with a new title? If so I’m not sure other employers would view that as a promotion. If it were me I would probably just update my job title on my resume to reflect both with a slash in between, such as Llama Groomer / Llama Hygienest. It’s not worth listing them separately if you don’t have any new duties to add.

    4. Quinalla*

      With titles that don’t properly convey responsibilities, it can make sense to put a more appropriate title in parenthesis next to it like maybe your titles would like something like this and then use the bullets underneath to highlight accomplishments:

      Project Manager (Senior Project Supervisor) StartDate-present
      *
      *
      Project Supervisor StartDate-EndDate
      *
      *

      1. achiappanza*

        I like this idea.
        People reading resumes spend more effort trying to understand what you did than verifying with your old company that this was indeed your title.

    5. Fabulous*

      I’ve listed something in my first bullet to the effect of, “Promoted to XYZ for recognition of outstanding llama grooming abilities.”

  7. Pineapple*

    Can we ask for work-appropriate makeup recommendations here or is it better to post in the weekend thread? This is my first time navigating a business casual dress code and I’m not sure what lip colours are appropriate, so I’d love some guidance. In my personal life I gravitate towards very bright or dark lip colours, which I’d rather not wear to the office. People in my department tend to dress on the professional side, and I’m mindful of the fact that I’m one of the youngest, newest, and relatively junior. However, my current work lipsticks (Maybelline x Gigi Hadid in the shade Erin, and Urban Decay Vice in the shade 1993) aren’t cutting it for me because I feel like I can’t tell I even have them on :/ Any suggestions?

    Preferably drugstore. I don’t mind reapplying during the day but I’m looking for something that fades well. I prefer bullets over liquid lipsticks, and matte over cream (but non-drying please, as I’d be wearing it >10 hours a day!)

    Other information that might be relevant: My usual work outfit is a pop-of-(not too bright)-colour blouse and statement earrings with everything else black. I’m south Asian. Somehow I can’t think of a famous person who has a skin tone similar to mine – perhaps Maitreyi Ramakrishnan? I never could figure out my undertone but I think I look better in gold than in silver. Light/pale lip colours usually don’t look good on me. My favourite wear-with-everything lipstick is NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen, but I am not sure if I can wear that to work.

    Thanks for reading, have a good weekend!

    1. ghostlight*

      I loveee this question. Personally, I think Copenhagen is totally fine for the office. But my favorite lipsticks that I wear on the daily include the Revlon Super Luscious Lipstick in Rum Raisin (very comfortable and fades well), and I also am a big fan of Pacifica’s Glow Stick Lip Oil in Rosy Glow (more of a sheer tint, but very easy wear, easy to reapply, and fades well). I also really enjoy any NYX lip products. The Powder Puff Lippie in Teacher’s Pet is a big fav of mine as well.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I think Copenhagen is fine for you to wear to the office too. It would be way too dark on me (I’m so pale I swear my skin is almost transparent) and would look more ‘extreme’ on me than on someone with a darker or warmer skin tone. It’s perfectly professional!
        Just go with makeup and nail colors (if you use polish) that works with your natural skin tone and that will look great AND professional.

    2. CrazyPlantLady*

      I’ve been working at a business casual office my entire career (beginning in 2011) and here is what I see (I’m also a woman but my makeup is very minimal, the only thing I do for lips is a lightly shaded balm).

      For those I see, everyone is pretty natural. There are some ladies who wear heavier make up, but the lip color is always pretty neutral. A nice pinkie nude, or perhaps a light shade of red/coral to add more color. I never see more than this.

    3. Picard*

      My go to for almost everything is Clinique Black Honey. Sounds dark, even LOOKS dark but it really really looks amazing on almost every skin tone! I’ll post some links in the reply.

      1. SansaStark*

        +1 – I’m very pale and I have seen so many skin tones rock this color. I don’t to call it universal, but I feel like it would be an undertone issue that would make it not work as opposed to a deepness issue.

      2. tamarak & fireweed*

        ROTFL, I literally just bought that. I’m a researcher in the earth sciences in an outdoorsy location – so a few notches below even business casual, except if a stray politician wants to talk about climate science or whatever. I haven’t used makeup in ages. But with going back to the office, and feeling the effect of the years on my skin, plus my career advancing in good ways I’ve recently felt the desire to step up my grooming marginally. Braved the doors of the Ulta store etc. Anyhoo, if the OP wants something understated, it certainly would fit the bill. Even I like it a lot.

        I looked up the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Copenhagen and think it probably looks fantastic on the OP’s skin tone – and I see nothing wrong with wearing it to work. For me, business casual also implies that work clothing is allowed to be to a degree comfortable. Strictly enforcing a (particular idea of a) business casual dress code would be a little bit ridiculous, I think.

    4. FromasmalltowninCanada*

      For what its worth – I think you’re overthinking this. Wear what you want. I might stay away from say blue eyeshadow, but normally red or bright lipstick is fine, unless your field is very conservative…and even then not sure it’s an issue. I googled the colour that’s your preference, I think it’s fine.

      1. Fran Fine*

        For what its worth – I think you’re overthinking this.

        I was going to say this same thing. I work in business casual environments (now virtually), and I’ve always worn bright, bold lip colors. I’ve also always been complimented on them too.

        OP, if you want to wear neutral colors, Dose of Colors has amazing neutral/subtle lip colors you can wear that last all day. They have non-sticky lip glosses and liquid matte lips colors that are very pretty, vegan, and gluten free. Some of my faves are Macchiato, Truffle, Stone, and Cork. They’re also pretty cheap (lip glosses are around $8.50 and lipsticks are usually $16), and they also have regular sales.

    5. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      For work, I tend to go with the “your lips but better” shades. Ones that are close in color to your actual lip color. I’d pick up something in that range for yourself to start and then watch what your coworkers wear. There’s also nothing wrong with a classic red lip. When I worked in an office, I would often wear bright lipsticks – I had a bright orange, bright pinks, deeeeeep purples (like Copenhagen). I would just avoid things that read too “unnatural” the way blues, greens and light purples do.

    6. Bacu1a*

      I really like Lipstick Queen Frog Prince, it’s a nice pink that changes based on your skin tone. I also wear a lot of Burt’s Bee’s lip shimmers.

      You also may want to try tinted lip balms, I have an NYX Butter lip balm that’s a very bright pink. It’s still bright, but because it’s balm it’s thinner coverage and therefore less bold than lipstick.

    7. Susan Calvin*

      You can probably judge the context of your office best, but my two cents? A bold lip (if it’s like, a dignified matte red/purple like the one you mention, rather than glittery pink or neon green) is probably fine with business casual. Overly elaborate eye make-up is much more jarring for daytime looks, in my opinion!

      1. Ginger Baker*

        ^came here to say this. I rarely wear makeup at all but sometimes I have long periods where I wear lipstick. It’s invariably a BRIGHT, VERY BOLD red, like RED red. (I am very VERY pale so when I say it’s bright I really mean it.) It’s 100% a non-issue and I work in a very corporate BigLaw firm and am in my 40s (read: I’ve been doing this a long time now). Eye makeup that is Dramatic is a lot more noticeable as being maybe more “date night” vs work day; lipstick as long as it isn’t glitter-filled or maybe straight black or like…blue…isn’t a big deal at all.

    8. PRM*

      I’m also South Asian and work in a conservative business casual environment. I wear wild lipstick – deep plums, hot pink, etc. because that is how I express myself and they look good on me. But that’s not what you asked. Here’s are some more ‘subtle’ brands/colors that work:

      Touché by MAC
      Verve by MAC
      NARS Soft Matte Tinted Lip Balm in whatever ‘nude’ works for you
      Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow
      ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm in Wanderlust
      Mati Rose by Tanais (this is a South Asian beauty brand; there are others. Their colors are for us.)

      1. IT Manager*

        Thank you for that Tanais info… I’m not the OP but I just googled it and there is something so shocking and amazing about seeing those colors on people who look like me (ok, prettier than me but you know what I mean). Those purples! Those browns!! Wow.

    9. Avril Ludgateau*

      I don’t know your skin tone so I can’t make recommendations for colors, but I will say, one of my favorite formulas for lip color is Mac’s “Powder Kiss”. I know it isn’t drug store, and it’s pricey (it’s a little more expensive than their other formulas, for whatever reason) but Mac will sometimes have 30-40% off sales and maybe you could wait for one? Anyway, the reason I recommend it is because you asked for something that “fades well”. It’s got this really interesting “soft matte” formula that doesn’t feel heavy or dry like other mattes can, and it goes on kind of sheer, so even if you got a vivid or deep color, you could tone it down.

      I’ve seen some luxury brands coming out with similar “soft matte” or “sheer matte” formulas but I wouldn’t recommend them because they’re, like, twice the price of even Powder Kiss, and I want to respect your budget. But usually makeup trends tend to make their way from the dept. store to the drug store in time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something like NYX or Milani or e.l.f. has a comparable product? I just checked Ulta and they have a line called “suede matte”, maybe that is similar!

      I (used to?) love UD’s Vice bullets, too, for the wealth of colors and finishes, but I know they changed up their formula recently so it’s possible that my collection no longer reflects what they’re selling.

    10. SansaStark*

      You might also want to consider continuing to wear the deep or bright shades that you like but maybe in a more sheer/glossy formula. That might be a nice bridge between wearing what you like but toning it down a smidge if you feel like you need to. But I mainly agree with the other commenters who say to wear what you like!

    11. wittyrepartee*

      Oh! I’m a light hispanic person, but if you can’t figure out your undertone, you’re probably neutral and can wear a bunch of different shades.
      If you normally like something bright (I’m into intense reds), I might suggest going with a berry color for work. More subtle, but not boring.

    12. These Are My Formal Jorts*

      I also default to a bright lipstick, but for work, I’ll just take the same lipstick and dab it with my finger to diffuse it. That way I am getting the same color and tone but without as much punch.

    13. RagingADHD*

      Copenhagen looks fine for the office, as long as you’re not overdoing the eyes and cheeks. I think a bright lip looks best “French style,” where the rest of the face is very understated.

      My favorite drugstore lip color for work or dressing up slightly is super cheap – Wet n Wild megaslicks balm stain in 125 – “Red-dy or Not.” It’s a nice classic red, but it’s slightly translucent because of the balminess. Not very matte but also not super glossy. It looks just right on video calls. I’m not 100% sure if they still make it, but if you look it up you’ll see the color.

      1. Fran Fine*

        Copenhagen looks fine for the office, as long as you’re not overdoing the eyes and cheeks.

        This is the approach I take. I wear bold lip colors (e.g., hot pink, orange, bright coral), but make sure the rest of my makeup is subtle. If my eye color is bright (because I do love bright eye colors in the spring/summer), then I keep my lip color to a neutral shade.

        1. pancakes*

          Same. I almost never wear eye makeup besides mascara and brow stuff (Milk makeup Kush brow fiber gel, lately). I’d like to wear bright eye colors now and then but I’m pale with big eyes and that is a lot of look on me.

    14. pancakes*

      I was going to say, NYX is a great drugstore brand for matte texture in particular. I looked at Copenhagen and I don’t think it’s unprofessional. If you have very pale skin it’s going to be a bit dramatic, but not so much so that it’s unwearable for work, I think.

      1. pancakes*

        I should add, also have a look at two Korean brands: Peripera Ink Velvet lip tint and 3CE velvet tint.

    15. All Het Up About It*

      Agree with the others that you could probably wear Copenhagen and be fine.

      However, if you do want something more neutral I’ve found that darker brown colors tend to read more neutral, even when they are dark. So perhaps, in that same line try Dubai or Berlin?

    16. WantonSeedStitch*

      Unless you have such super pale skin that Copenhagen stands out really starkly against it (but with the Ramakrishnan comparison, it seems unlikely), Copenhagen should be fine for daily wear. My own complexion is more like Kim Kardashian without the fake tan, and I’ve worn Copenhagen to work on days when I had important meetings and wanted to look polished and professional.

    17. Dancing Otter*

      Red is classic. There’s a reason Revlon’s Fire & Ice has been in continuous production for 70 years. And there’s a shade of red for every skin tone. I can’t advise you more specifically, because what looks on my just-crawled-out-from-under-a-rock pale complexion probably wouldn’t suit you.
      Or you could just keep your mask on, and wear whatever you like.

    18. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      Echoing everyone who says wear what you want! I really like Fresh lip balm – it comes in different colors. It’s more expensive than drug store but it’s the only lip product I continuously use up and buy a new one!

    19. NorthBayTeky*

      I love this question. Not because I have some advice for you, I totally do not. I don’t even wear makeup, not even lipstick, just Burt’s Bees lip balm. But I totally love that you are asking for makeup advice. And it looks like you’re getting some good feedback as well.

      Alison is truly The Bomb! <3

    20. Delta Delta*

      My favorite lipstick is from Model Co in Siena. It’s a little more expensive than drugstore brands but it’s got good texture, the color is true and it Stays On without getting cakey. They’ve got a good range of colors. Good luck in your hunt!

  8. PX*

    Not sure if this is happening all over Reddit, but a couple of UK town specific subreddits (eg r/London and r/Bristol) have been doing their own version of “share your salary” threads! So if anyone wants to have a peruse at some slightly more local salary data, have a look!

    Also, if the Product Operations Manager who shared their salary in Alisons post a few weeks back wants to talk, I’m interested in building a bit of a network (just starting out as one!) so if you see this – hi!

    1. Pascall*

      There’s also a new TikTok account called “salarytransparentstreet” that I’ve been keeping an eye on where a host goes around from city to city, asking people what they do and what they make. It’s super enlightening and really makes me sure that I’m doing the right thing by interviewing for higher paying jobs.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I got excited about this, then remembered that as a public sector employee my salary is already posted on a government website.

    1. anonymous73*

      It kind of depends on what you’re referencing, but generally I would say within the few weeks.

    2. Quinalla*

      Honestly, if I was asking the question I’d define it …recently (in the last 2 weeks). If someone asked, I’d probably resubmit and say – I submitted this X days/weeks ago, figured that counted as recently, thanks!

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Assuming this is about questions to the site: I ask that you wait at least a few weeks.

      My response time really varies — sometimes it’s really fast (within a couple of days) and sometimes it can take quite a few months, since my backlog is large and I don’t answer in the order things are received. But I know it’s not reasonable to ask you to wait longer than a few weeks, especially when a response isn’t guaranteed. Also, if you want, you can always email me and ask if I have yours in the “about to definitely answer” queue, and I can let you know.

    4. enough*

      Alison has usually referenced 2-4 weeks but you can email her and ask if your question is in her .

  9. ThatGirl*

    My husband has been working at a small college counseling center for 11 years, and he’s the longest-tenured of the bunch. Last year the director and a counselor left. A new director was hired pretty quickly, but there’s been an open counselor position this whole time (they are just now hiring someone). The new director is decidedly not a great manager. (Yes, my husband is looking for a new job.)

    As the most recent example, his other coworker got into a car accident last week (she’s OK, but had whiplash) and missed work and an interview for this new hire. She texted as soon as her phone had power again to let everyone know, and when she came back to work, the director *demanded* to see paperwork from her ER visit. Don’t know if the director thought she was lying or WHAT, but it was just the last straw in a string of bad things… so his coworker drafted her resignation and will be on her way out this summer. I just cannot even imagine what was going through the director’s head, but that’s been true for a lot of her decisions he’s told me about…

    1. TiffIf*

      UGH
      I ended up with food poisoning (mild, as in I didn’t need to go to urgent care for fluids-but still felt terrible for about 36 hours) on Monday evening which meant I was sick on Tuesday–I texted my boss at 6AM my time, 8 AM her time and let her know I was sick and wouldn’t be on. I IMed my coworkers asking one to keep an eye on the shared email that is primarily my responsibility and letting others know I would be out and set an OOO message for any clients to see if they tried to contact. Then I disconnected and spent a day fairly miserable. Wednesday I managed to work half a day but then had to take the rest of the day off because I still wasn’t feeling well enough. Thursday my stomach mostly felt better but I was still rather exhausted though I worked a full day. Today I finally feel like a full human.

      My boss and coworkers’ reactions to all of this? “So sorry you’re not feeling well, hope you get better soon!”

      And this when we are currently down a worker so I have no actual redundancy–coworker who watched the shared email used to be in the same position as me so we had redundancy but he just took a different position internally. He is helping out with his old duties until we are able to back-fill but 90% of the time he is doing his new role.

      Why why why why why can’t people just trust adults to be adults until proven otherwise?

      1. JelloStapler*

        Exactly- we had a fmaily emergency and I basically had to say “I’ll be remote until … well, I don’t know when” and they were all “What can we do to help” “Take what you need!”…THAT is the response you need.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Welp, I do not know all the details but apparently his coworker’s last day is now…. today.
      What a mess. This director is not fit to be a director.

  10. Steggy Saurus*

    I have an interview with a company that provides SASS and at my current job I’m in contact with an employee from that SASS company as they set up a workflow for us. Is it inappropriate for me to ask that employee what the company structure and culture is like? The employee works in a different department from where I’m interviewing, if that matters.

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Heck no! If you already know someone who works there, by all means ask them! They might not have too many specific details about your particular department or role, but they could answer any overall questions.

    2. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      It is totally normal to do, just make sure you aren’t reaching out to them via your current work modes.

      1. Steggy Saurus*

        Thanks folks! It’s a change in industry for me (from academic to profit-based business) and for some reason it just felt odd to do something like that.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      Acronym definition request! My occasionAL reminder.
      There are 54 options on
      acronyms dot thefreedictionary dot com
      I think in this question it doesn’t affect the answer…but sometimes it does.

  11. tnt*

    You could do
    New Title (March 2021 – Present), promoted from Old Title (January 2019 – March 2021)

  12. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream*

    I was at near sleep last night and had a thought… Blind interviews. Y’know how on The Voice, judges can’t see the singer until they hit the button and say they like them. What if we did the same with interviews. Remove personal identifiers – sex, name, possibly location – and interviewers just talked over the phone. Wouldn’t get to meet the person until they confirmed they were a finalist for the job.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Hmmm… would you disguise their voices to hide their sex? This could help hide their age as well.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        That’s a very different dynamic than voice (even disguised voice) and much easier to have multiple there answering questions.

        This is tough because if you disguise a person’s looks you also lose non-verbal communications that allow a conversations to flow better.

    2. I edit everything*

      I have heard of companies doing something similar, and of orchestras that do blind auditions. I’m in favor!

      1. Quinalla*

        Yes, several orchestras have been moving to blind auditions – they did have to put down sound absorption on the floor so they couldn’t guess woman/man on the sound of heels (not that is 100% accurate). And when they did it, they found themselves with about 50/50 men/women instead of way more men than women. Unconscious bias is rough :(

        Blind interviews are hard to do for most other professions though. What can help is to make sure your candidate pool is diverse as unconscious bias doesn’t affect us as much if there are say 2 women and 4 men instead of 1 woman and 5 men. Substitute POC/white, etc. – same deal.

        1. MissElizaTudor*

          I think you’re referencing the Goldin and Rouse paper on the effect of blind auditions, although that didn’t show a 50/50 gender split. You might be thinking of the fact that the blind auditions increased the probability a woman would be advanced by 50%?

          As an aside, I looked into that study a while ago and it turns out it has some serious flaws (there’s a blog post by a Columbia University professor that points some of them out), so it’s unfortunately not a great go-to example of dealing with discrimination. US orchestras have gotten pretty close to 50/50 overall, though, so they did something right!

    3. Savvy*

      Some companies do blind screening where HR removes all personal identifiers that might show age/sex/any other protected class, and then they pass the redacted applications/resumes to managers to review. But I don’t think this would work beyond application screening since it’s usually pretty easy to tell information about someone even just with their voice. I guess it may still be helpful as it’s limiting a lot of other biases, but sometimes the voice does give away sex/gender/age and sometimes nationality etc. if they have an accent or certain way of talking.

    4. Becky*

      A few years ago nearest Big City Symphony was looking for a new Concert Master and held auditions. Candidates during the audition were only identified by a number and were behind a screen so they could not be seen. Candidates were instructed to remove their shoes so those evaluating the auditions wouldn’t get any identifying cues from the sound their footwear made (IE, heels). That is the most anonymous I have ever heard of an “interview” being but it is also one where your evaluation is not dependent on answering questions and demonstrating domain knowledge, etc–its your performance that matters.

      Not sure how far it can be stretched when it comes to contexts where you have to be able to ask/answer questions.

      1. Symphony Board member*

        Our local Symphony exclusively does blind auditions for section players and principals with the panel voting on who moves forward to the next round or finally gets the offer. This may be local, but our Music Director has same number of votes as the rest of the panel for the finalists, he can overrule the panel if he doesn’t like something he hears during the auditions.

        The Concert Master position is different (at least for us), they are the Music Director’s assistant leading rehearsals, plus they lead the String section in general so they have to work with the whole orchestra.

        Because they aren’t just section players they rehearse and play with the entire orchestra as their ‘audition’ but the Music Director has sole say in the selection.

    5. SoloKid*

      I’m pretty much in favor. Should school names be included in what gets redacted (on resumes)? HBCUs and University of [location] can hint to demographics as well.

      1. Princess Xena*

        Name, gender, and age are all things that should have no correlation to ability, while the choice of college does. Yes, it can hint to demographics, but it can also let you know if it’s a credible university or if it’s somewhere that espouses really negative social policies or is known for having very unethical/ineffective teaching methods. Plus people travel for college really frequently, so where one went to college is not necessarily an indicator of where or what they are now.

        1. another_scientist*

          College could indicate the skills and experience a candidate brings, but on the other hand, potential to succeed isn’t as easy to predict. Someone might not have had as many opportunities to shine at a small, less well funded college, but they might absolutely succeed when given the opportunity to do the job. You certainly need to look at the college eventually (confirm that it’s an accredited program, contact a supervisor for reference), but there are arguments to be made to have a selection step in the process that redacts the college.

        2. Software Dev (she/her)*

          Uh choice of college is much more tied to wealth than ability. Many people go to the college they can afford.

        3. We Do That*

          My company has actually started asking candidates not to include their school names on their resume. We’ve also moved away from requiring degrees for most positions.

        4. AcademiaNut*

          You need a two-phase system for this. Strip the names of educational institutes off the resume so the interviewer doesn’t see them, but have a second person, not directly involved in interviewing, check for problems (degree from for profit university, institutes that espouse values incompatible with your workplace, etc.). Then the return back cleared/not cleared rather than the prestigiousness of the institute. You can do something similar with googling people’s online presence – have someone not the interviewer do it, and return back okay / problematic.

    6. Dragonfly7*

      My current pet peeve is interviewers who won’t allow me to see THEM on virtual interviews (video off or lighting), so yes please.

    7. Rosemary*

      I think this could work for early round interviews, but for many roles, presentation and how someone speaks/interacts is important to assess for the role (and to a lesser extent – personality/fit). I once interviewed a woman who “on paper” was AMAZING. If I were hiring based on resume alone, she would have been hired in a heartbeat. However once I met her in person… not so great. She was exceptionally soft spoken, and for lack of a better description… was just very “awkward” in how she held herself. That might be fine for some jobs, but the role in question required a lot of in person interaction of a certain level with clients, and I knew immediately she would not be a fit. Is this fair? Maybe not. But in this case it was simply a reality that she probably would not have succeeded (or it would have been very challenging).

      In another job, I interviewed someone who I just knew I would not be able to tolerate because they just grated on me. Again, is that fair? Probably not. But I would be working closely with them and just…couldn’t. (Thew were also one of several equally qualified candidates…so even if they had not grated on me, there still was a very high probability that someone else would have been hired anyway)

    8. Esmeralda*

      Good impulse. But you can pick up a lot of info from voices: sex, age, race, ethnicity, class, education, region… not 100% accurately, but a lot.

  13. JH*

    I’ve been actively job hunting because I’m overworked and burnt out in my current position. Recently, I’ve got past the final interview phase and writing sample with an organization. It’s been almost 4 weeks since my final interview and I’ve heard absolutely nothing from the recruiter or hiring manager. It feels so odd to me that it was “hurry, hurry, hurry” to fit in three interviews and a writing sample in a span of two weeks to then hear absolutely nothing from the team. They had told me that I’d hear something within two weeks so after that I followed up with the recruiter, but still nothing. Is it normal to be completely ghosted like this? I know the advice is to generally put it out of your mind, but knowing that the job market is more in the employee’s favor right now I guess I’m surprised by so little communication. Is this happening to other people?

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Eh. Companies still think it’s the great recession. Move on to a company that is moving with the times.

    2. anonymous73*

      Yes unfortunately it’s normal. If they told you 2 weeks, you reached out to the recruiter and heard nothing, assume they’ve ghosted you. Of course there could be any number of legitimate reasons you haven’t heard from them, but it’s best to assume it’s a no and move on. If they do finally contact you, don’t count them out immediately if they give you an offer. Consider their reason for the delay when making a decision.

    3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Yes this is happening to me. I did a final round interview over a month ago. Job is still listed as active and I haven’t been rejected. But I’m assuming they offered someone else and they won’t officially reject me until that person actually starts, so in case they end up not taking the job, I’d be offered. Which does happen. I get why HR doesn’t tell the #2 or #3 choice.

      But yes this is common. After the time I was told I’d hear back and I haven’t , I just assume they offered to someone else. Sure I could get a surprise, but with zero communication from them, I’d guess not.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Also adding. Today I got an email to set up an interview with the hiring manager, I did the initial HR screen over a month ago. I had totally written it off that I was not selected to move on. You really never know, but it is best to move on.

    4. MechanicalPencil*

      Basically the exact same thing happened to me. I honestly wasn’t super interested in the job, so it’s no big deal to me. However, leaving things unresolved annoys me.

    5. OtraBibliotecaria*

      I had a great Zoom interview, they told me they’ll get back to me in a couple of weeks, after 4 weeks I sent a short email “still interested, etc” and… crickets. Nada. No closure. I’ve been a hiring Manager myself, we send an email as soon as our first choice says yes, I don’t get the ghosting.

  14. Please Remove Your Monkeys from My Circus*

    Procedural question: I’m going to apply for a position at a smallish-but-growing nonprofit. There are two openings I’m qualified for, would do well, and would enjoy (and have the same starting salary—hooray for orgs that out there info). I would prefer one over the other, but am open to discussing and being considered for both. I have to submit for a specific role through their system. So, my question: do I apply for both (with similar but modified resumes and cover letters), or do I apply for my first choice but say in the letter that I’m open to being considered for the other? What’s the best approach here?

    1. Grant*writer**

      I think I would apply for both and mention in both cover letters that I’m interested in the other job too. I’m not sure if I’d indicate that one is my preference at this stage; you’d presumably know more after an interview (maybe one is better on skillset but you like the manager of the other more, or the other has more room for growth etc etc). My reasoning for applying for both is that you don’t know from the outside if there’s one hiring manager or if it’s two separate people.

    2. Feeling Trapped*

      I’d say just apply for the one. At a small organization the hiring managers are likely overlapping, if not the same, so if they think you’re a great fit for the other position I think they’d let you know. (I once interviewed for a position and they contacted me the next day asking me to interview for a different position) And it’s likely that the jobs have overlap as well! So mention it in your letter, but just focus on making the one application great. If you get an interview you can talk about your flexibility there, too!

    3. Alexis Rosay*

      Hmmm, I think it depends on how similar the two positions are, but I’d say probably put your focus on the one that you’re most interested in. I used to work for a small nonprofit and I do remember when the same person applied for two very different roles with us (a few months apart), it caused some people to doubt how interested/committed they were to working in a specific role. Like, you previously said you were super passionate about X and now you’re super passionate about Y?

      It’s not fair because obviously job seekers *have* to say those kinds of things, but that’s the impression some people on the hiring committee took away.

      If the two roles are reasonably similar, I think it’s fine to say in your cover letter that you’d also be open to the other role. If they responsibilities are quite different, I wouldn’t even mention the other one.

      1. Please Remove Your Monkeys from My Circus*

        Thanks. The roles are similar, but geared toward different clients, basically. (Not a sales position, but equivalent to selling widgets to corporate clients vs selling widgets to government agencies. So lots of overlap, but room for specialized knowledge of the particular needs of the different end users. My current role is basically selling a different type of widget to both of those types of clients.) This it’s helpful.

        1. Anne of Green Gables*

          I love your username!

          It might be worth asking someone at the employer if they have a system where you have to apply to each job separately. At my workplace, you must apply for any individual opening, so what some of the other commenters are suggesting wouldn’t work.

    4. Haha Lala*

      Since you said the roles are similar, I’d suggest keeping the same resume for both applications (if you do apply to both). Both will likely be directed to just one person in charge of hiring, and they might be confused as to why your resumes are different. If you wanted to have a separate cover letter for each position, that’d make sense.

    5. Cascadia*

      Where I work it’s definitely a red or at least pink flag when people apply to multiple jobs. We are a fairly well-known organization in our field/location and a lot of people ‘want to work for organization’ while we are looking for the best person for a specific job. Could someone do multiple different jobs? sure! But our jobs are different enough that it is suspect. Especially people that apply to 5, 6, or 7 open positions. That just says to us that they are not interested in any one job, they just want to work at our org, and it definitely hurts their application. If I were you, I would just apply to the one job, but if you get an interview and it comes up, you could mention that you were interested in both.

  15. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    How would you like work to be designed in an ideal world? I’d like it’d to be easier to have a job- like maybe have only 30 hours a week of activities you MUST do, and then enough slack for emergencies or bad days. I’d have health care and UBI because many people still wouldn’t be able to work.

    I’m thinking of this as I approach 40, my health fading. I no longer can keep up a full time job which is a tragedy.

    1. CrazyPlantLady*

      I’d like a Monday through Thursday job, same hours are fine (8hrs/day).

      I’d like a minimum of 5 weeks PTO, with a paid 4-week sabbatical 4 few years (in addition to PTO).

      I’d like the ability to work full remote where ever I’d like (not live anywhere else, just be able to spend a few weeks on the beach in Puerto Rico if I’d like). but I also enjoy coming to an office and socializing, so I wouldn’t want to be full remote.

      My current healthcare and other bennies are great, so no changes there.

      1. Grant*writer**

        Monday through Thursday 10 to 3 is probably enough to get things done realistically, in my field.

    2. Jora Malli*

      I think the thing I want the most is for employers to be realistic about the number of people they need to accomplish all their tasks. I work in public libraries and the staffing model everywhere I’ve worked has been that fully staffed=bare minimum number of people required with no buffer for when people are sick, on vacation, or leave their jobs. I feel like I’ve been working at emergency levels for years, and that the problem wouldn’t exist if leadership decided that the staffing model should be bare minimum + 2.

      1. anxious teacher*

        Ooof, this! K-12 education over here – our salaries are actually okay, but that’s because we don’t have anything like the staff we need for our programs. It was bad enough pre-COVID; now, when a wave goes through the school, the teachers who aren’t sick wind up getting pulled to cover for those who are out.

        1. Jora Malli*

          I’m from a family of teachers and I totally understand how the bare minimum staffing model hurts you all as well. The district where one of my relatives works offers a certain number of paid sick days for each teacher, but the substitute teacher budget isn’t enough to cover that many sick days so people end up coming in sick or taking on 6 extra students for the day because they can’t get a sub. It’s awful all the way around.

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Nod and the time needed. With things going back in person, they need to factor in things like ” ok they’re in an unnecessary in person thing so we can’t ask for the same level of paperwork” or ” what do we do when the entire team is sick?”

      3. JustaTech*

        Everywhere, everywhere should appropriately staff. I work in industry (so on the for-profit side of life) and our new CEO is on a “replace no one” kick, which means if someone get sick or goes on leave or quits there is no one else to do that job. So it either doesn’t get done or you end up with one person being on call at all times for something that is a legal requirement.

        (We were told we would have to use “grit” to get through this. No. You need to hire more people, not just keep piling stuff on the dwindling number of people you do have.)

      4. another_scientist*

        ugh, yes. My mom was a caseworker in a public job. At some point, the politician in charge decided that any year the department was able to meet the performance metric (number of cases processed), that meant that he could cut a percentage of staff. He was in office for a couple of years, and the damage is still felt in the department over 10 years later.

      5. Hotdog not dog*

        YES!!!
        Nearly every job I’ve ever had has been understaffed. I don’t mind working hard, but simply cannot maintain “crisis mode” indefinitely.

      6. JelloStapler*

        Higher Ed is similar- How can we cut costs on the backs of staff and faculty? if we can avoid hiring and just give these people more to do (but not give them more money) – we win!

      7. J*

        My friend used to work for the same government agency I did. I worked there circa 2012-2014, she was there pre-recession from 2002-2006. Somehow, despite our county quadrupling in size, we had half the staff. But ignoring that she also had two floaters who helped cover lunch breaks, vacations, maternity leave, etc. And then the entire government had a small floater pool to help with seasonal tasks, like election support and then onto property assessments and tax receipt processing and some on summer tasks like concession booths at pools or park support and maternity leave support where they could. It made so much sense so naturally they got rid of it.

    3. ThatGirl*

      I would like to be truly 100% trusted to get my work done with some days being “let me just check my emails a few times” and others being 8 or more if necessary.

      1. Be kind, rewind*

        YES. I hate having to feel productive when there’s nothing to work on. I can only read industry news and watch excel how-tos for a few hours before I’m bored out of my mind.

      2. Unkempt Flatware*

        Yep! In my line of work, transportation planning, I just want to be paid for my work. I want to completely define my own hours outside of required meetings.

    4. Person from the Resume*

      4 day work week with the expecation of 6 hours a day which is only 24 hours a week (!!), but my complaint is that my reasonable 40 hour a week job eats into my personal activities more than I’d like so a 3 day weekend every weekend and a few less hours of work expected in a day.

      I get great PTO and sick leave so I wouldn’t change that.Health benefits are a must until American healthcare system is fixed so that a job is not required for reasonably priced healthcare.

      1. pancakes*

        The four day workweek seems to be going well in places that have tried it, and more places are trying it. Lithuania has just given it to new parents.

        https://www.euronews.com/next/amp/2022/04/04/the-four-day-week-which-countries-have-embraced-it-and-how-s-it-going-so-far

        https://qz.com/work/2157973/lithuania-will-give-a-four-day-workweek-to-new-parents/amp/

        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-60793832.amp

        https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-63-the-current/clip/15904836-canadian-workplaces-increased-productivity-four-day-work-week

      2. Fushi*

        Gosh, that sounds amazing! I have chronic illness issues and I feel like this is the schedule that would actually allow me to function at work and not just lie on the floor the rest of the time…

    5. Spearmint*

      I wish there were more office/professional jobs that were <40 hours per week, but still offered full benefits (PTO and health insurance especially) and high level work.

      I would seriously consider taking a 20% pay cut if I could work four eight-hour days, but the reason I don’t is that PTO, health insurance, and professional development are important to me, and part time office jobs usually lack all three, and never have all of them.

    6. Golden*

      This thread already has great ideas! I would wish for more flexibility around benefits. I don’t need our tuition repayment benefit (I know I’m lucky here), and would be thrilled if I could exchange it for a childcare stipend. I realize some of that stuff is tied up in the tax system and COVID relief, but in an ideal world it’d be great if you could swap between the ‘non-traditional’ benefits like tuition assistance, child/elder/pet care, fitness stipend, etc.

    7. just another bureaucrat*

      One of the things I’d like is mandatory vacation usage and mandatory sabbatical. 4 weeks every 5 years, must take off, must be paid, must not be expected to work. BYE! And even like 5 days a year where people MUST NOT work. Not where you have it there, but that it’s out the door with you.

      I’d also like more slack in the work for learning and growth.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Oh yes. There’s so much I want to do – classes,reading books, to grow in my field but I can’t because I’m inputting form 38b

    8. These Are My Formal Jorts*

      This started as a joke but I fully back it: 4/20/69. 4 day workweek, 20 hrs a week, $69 an hour.

      Almost every construct we has was built around the idea that one person in the home would work 40 hours a week, and one person would attend to everything else in the home. Now that we have so graciously let the women into the workforce (eyeroll), it feels like we should adjust and assume two people will work 20 hours a week each. This leaves enough time for quality time with family, exercise or whatever joyful movement you need, plenty of time to take care of the home, and to pursue creative endeavors that allow you to feel balanced in your personal and professional life.

      4 days a week allows for some flexibility in days off, and $69/hr is a living wage.

      And if I can’t have that, I would like to be able to call into work Sad or Tired, thanks.

      1. C*

        Okay your comment on the work hours per household is brilliant. I haven’t been able to place why I think I should work less than 40 hours a week, but really, my household is working 80 hours a week and stuff at home just… does not get done. 40 hours a week per HOUSEHOLD to survive, please.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          Nope. That’s not the same. I’m a single person and have to manage my entire household myself. I don’t have anyone to share housework and chores with like couples do. I still need more personal time than 40 hours of work a week affords me.

          That’s why These Are My Formal Jorts said hours a 20 hrs a week per person and not 40 per household which seems to assume everyone is engaged in a two couple household.

          1. Jora Malli*

            Exactly. I shouldn’t have to work twice as hard as everybody else just because I’m not married.

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Oh yea doctors are always wondering why no one does their diet plan. I’d eat healthier if I didn’t get in at 630 at night hungry as heck.

      3. WantonSeedStitch*

        Yeah, if I could work that schedule and get my current pay, I’d be all for it! I love my son and I love spending time with him, but I could never be content without also having a job. But having a full-time job–even though it’s one that I also really love!–is very hard while also trying to parent a toddler. Not to mention that I never have time to do things like vacuum, dust, etc.

    9. Sylvan*

      In a perfect world, I’d still work 40ish hours a week. But it would be from 4 PM to midnight.

      Some people are borderline nocturnal! Let us do office work at night!!

    10. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      I was just talking with my coworkers about how it would be nice if there was a ‘telework month’ option. We’re a hybrid office (3 days in office/2 days telework per week). And I was thinking it would be nice for people to be able to go to locations and not have to burn through all of their vacation time. I knew a guy that was a super early riser and he took his family to Disney for two weeks and he worked from like 4am until the parks opened, so he ended up only using like less than half the vacation time he would have had to use (this was pre-COVID too!). I was just thinking about those who have families further away too, wouldn’t it be nice for those that don’t have the full remote option to be able to just go visit family for a month instead of a week that ends up being like 1/3 just traveling?

    11. Maxysmom*

      This makes me realize (yet again!) how lucky I am. I have to work 20 hours/week, but can work more if there is a need. I am fully remote, from day 1 (started in 2019). We even moved many states a year ago and my office never batted an eye. I am well-compensated, i.e., earning the same amount for this point in my career as if I was working fulltime, but just pro-rated for the actual hours I bill. I was out of the workforce for about 7 years with kids and this has let me come back in a very meaningful, respected way where I feel like I’m using my skills and experience well. Vacation time is average, but I have taken very little over the last two years because my time is so flexible. I can generally schedule meetings around picking up my kids at school every day at 3 or taking them to a doctor’s appointment. The best part? I get full benefits for the family, which has allowed my husband to switch jobs with so much less stress. Halftime work, well-compensated, valued, flexible time, full benefits???? It’s a unicorn job and I’m very appreciative.

      1. AnotherJen*

        Can second how powerful this is — I work somewhere between zero and 45 hours/week (I’m an independent consultant, so it varies depending on how we are with projects) and get paid … “well” and I bill hourly. My primary project manager is awesome — I’ve been following him around for 20+ years at this point, and I really like my work group, and feel respected by clients. When our kids were really small, I worked during naps, and evenings, and then when they were in school. I’m available to be the “mostly available” parent during the days, and I have time to do stuff like exercising and meal planning, so the Mr. (who brings in somewhat bigger bucks, as well as benefits) can be available to the kids while I’m fixing dinner, which is fine by me.

    12. Girasol*

      Health insurance is not tied to the job (US, of course.) Even though there are some alternatives, employer-sponsored health insurance often traps people in jobs they don’t like.

      1. Jora Malli*

        1000% this. Tying health insurance to employment is clearly not a model that works and I wish there was any sort of real action happening to change it. A lot of lobbying and a lot of speechifying is happening, but no real steps.

      2. IT Manager*

        +1000 this.

        No other reforms will work until people can get healthcare without relying on employers.

        It also creates this societal dynamic where each couple has to decide who has to be the “person with benefits” and who can choose flexibility or try risky career paths. And if you’re not coupled-up, you obviously don’t even have that choice.

    13. Dragon*

      My office returned about two months ago, with hybrid schedules for everyone whose job can be done remotely.

      I discovered I prefer working in the office, though I changed my commute for the return and it’s a lot better than before. I’d like the flexibility to schedule an occasional WFH day when an after-work event is close to my home.

      I could take a vacation day for that, but why lose a day’s work when I don’t need the day off?

    14. MissElizaTudor*

      In an ideal world? Zero hours a week.

      In an ideal world, no one would have to any of their very limited lifespan working to make money just to get the things they need to thrive.

  16. Blue River*

    I was asked to talk to junior college students majoring in English Lit (which was also my major) about my experience in writing an undergrad thesis and how it helps me in my career (academia-adjacent, but not in fields commonly associated with an English degree). It’s been a couple of years, and the lessons that stick with me the most are soft skill ones: how to accept feedback and similar stuff. The technical stuff, like writing and researching, were already covered in previous classes, so I didn’t learn anything particularly new during the writing period.

    If you were a member of the audience, what would you like to hear about?

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Maybe the process itself? What are the steps, how long should each step take, etc.

      1. KateM*

        Yeah, “where to start”. :D I know that the classic advice is “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”, but that’s not at all like I wrote mine (but it wasn’t in English lit), in fact I think that Introduction was the thing I wrote just before I wrote Summary.

        1. WellRed*

          Interesting! As a reporter, when people ask me for writing advice mine is always, don’t feel you need to start at the beginning.

    2. Susan Calvin*

      Time/Project management, far and away. Also, what I need out of a supervisor to work best (altough I don’t exactly *recommend* having to start over with a new one halfway through)

    3. Doctors Whom*

      “Things I wish someone had told me before I started X.”

      It’s easy to frame that in a positive way, but I’d consider this an opportunity to help a new generation of students in your field start off stronger than you did.

      The importance of soft skills falls into that umbrella nicely.

    4. Acronyms Are Life (AAL)*

      It’s not something I learned exclusively during writing, but I learned how to communicate with ‘upper management’ (professors) about my status on getting the paper (tasks) done and knowing what issues I was having that I should handle on my own and what would need their attention. And that requires you to be more professional than if you were just communicating with peers. Prioritization and setting deadlines for myself, because you just get told to bring them a finished product, it’s on your own to schedule how that gets done. Understanding that just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean it makes sense to your reader. Taking the time to do your research before submitting somethin (some people in my office don’t bother to do the leg work and are like ‘oh Bob (who is known to be wrong) said to just do ‘x’).

      But I like your approach to focus on the soft skills. I do think a lot of what I learned in school that is applicable to my work life is in the more ‘soft skill world’. The technical stuff is what you can learn on the job, but the soft skills are what you need to show up with.

    5. wine-dark sea*

      What about self-pacing and sticking to self-imposed deadlines? For my undergrad (and grad) thesis, there was a hard deadline for the entire project, but there really wasn’t anyone holding my hand to make sure I was making progress throughout the year.

    6. Blue River*

      Thanks everyone! I have around one month to prepare, fingers crossed I can come up with good stuff.

    7. linger*

      Going into the specifics of “soft skills” in rather more detail:
      Supervisors and students may start that relationship with very different expectations of each other’s duties and functions. As a general rule, most thesis students start by assuming they will be able to get a lot of support from their supervisors, sometimes in quite an unrealistically large range of areas. By contrast, supervisors tend to assume that most thesis students (especially at PhD level) will be able to work largely independently, or be able to find assistance from other sources. In most cases, these assumptions need to be explicitly questioned, and realistic expectations negotiated, for the individuals involved.

      Many students conceive of the ideal supervisor as someone who should:
      * have good communication skills;
      * have good people skills;
      * be supportive and positive;
      * understand the student’s cultural and educational background;
      * use student’s areas of interest;
      * keep students motivated;
      * be available/ contactable at regular, predictable times
      * have both broad and expert knowledge of the field of study, and of research methods within that field
      * suggest reference material/ sources
      * give guidance on research ethics
      * guide students through institutional procedures
      * provide constructive feedback on research process and content of writing, as quickly as possible
      * guide the writing process (if required)
      * correct language of student drafts (if required).

      By contrast, the ideal student (from a supervisor’s perspective) should:
      * have good communication skills
      * be self-motivated, keep self going
      * be able to organise own work (set and follow schedules)
      * arrange meetings in advance, and then turn up on time
      * be prepared and focussed (set specific goals for each meeting)
      * read regularly
      * be able to search for reference material
      * know how to cite and properly attribute sources (no plagiarism!)
      * write regularly
      * organize their own writing (with clear statements about the content and function of each section of writing within the whole project)

      So:
      The supervisor-student relationship needs to be carefully and explicitly negotiated, with clear communication about what each person expects of the other, especially about:
      – likely contact times;
      – meeting schedule (length and frequency of meetings);
      – agenda for next few meetings;
      – type of feedback expected on drafts at different stages;
      – deadlines for feedback.
      Ideally, the student should take responsibility for this relationship: setting their own immediate and long-term goals, and guiding the supervisor in what kind of guidance to give.
      In particular, the student should allow the supervisor enough time to help. Ask for help. Don’t leave problems until the last minute!

  17. Grant*writer**

    I have a new job writing grants, something I’ve done in the past when I also did programmatic work but now am doing fulltime. I’m running into what I assume are pretty common issues in the field and wondered if others have experienced them: 1. My manager tends to bring me the grants they want me to write, and a good chunk of them don’t seem to be a good fit to me based on our staffing and/or the grantmaker’s priorities. I see how it happens, they read the RFP optimistically and if they sort of meet one criteria they think “maybe!!!” when I see that we are out of touch with all five of the other criteria. I try to point this out diplomatically, but if they still want to do it, it’s my job to write it, not argue. Is this common? Am I approaching it the right way? I feel like it hurts me that we don’t get more grants, but I also made my case and was overruled. 2. Because of this staffing issue I mentioned, I think they sometimes forget that I’m the grant writer but I’m not going to like, do any of the work (other than reporting) on the grant. It seems like expect me to be overseeing the work of the grants we do get in a way that I feel they would have to pay me more for. They invite me to coordinating meetings etc etc or expect me to show up and work at the events that were part of the scope of work. Is there a kind way to draw the line and explain they need programmatic staff to take over running grants once we get them?

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Hmmm, it sounds like there’s some fundamental confusion over your role and you need to sit down with your manager and go over exactly what your responsibilities are, as different nonprofits approach these things differently. In my last nonprofit job, it was indeed expected that the same person would take responsibility for writing, implementing, and reporting on a grant. That was just how we divided up work and it made sense for us because the grants were too specialized to easily be written/reported on by someone else. If your title is ‘grant writer’ I agree that doesn’t sound like it should include programs responsibilities, but you need to clarify that with your boss.

    2. croissant*

      #1 — I’m not sure how common this is, but it sounds really annoying. Maybe this is a case where your manager will have to learn the hard way after all of your proposals are rejected. It is a huge waste of everyone’s time (both yours and the funders) to apply for grants that are a poor fit.

      #2 — It really depends on the organization. The bigger the org, the more specialized roles tend to be. I’m at a small org and therefore am expected not only to write grants and reports, but also handle correspondence with funders, arrange meetings, and yes, occasionally coordinate events/site visits/etc. If you’re at a bigger org, maybe it’s reasonable to expect them to bring on another person to handle some of these tasks, but it’s not unusual or unreasonable for them to be part of a role like yours, I think.

    3. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

      Do you have an accurate and clearly written job description for your position? Can you point to that and say “hey, that’s not part of my actual job”?

    4. AnotherLibrarian*

      #1: I think this is a matter of discussing with your supervisor what they want from you. Do they want you to apply to any grant they suggest or do they want you to push back when you have concerns about the viability of getting the grant? Part of the role of the Grant Writer at most places I have worked is to help select which Grants seem most likely, because time and capacity are both limited.

      #2: Well, I think this depends. I’ve worked at places where all staff, regardless of title, were expected to show up at events or assist. It was just assumed that if you worked there, you helped with the programs and oversaw work on them, because everyone sort of did. The person who wrote the grant was often the best qualified to make sure the project fit the requirements and was often needed to help oversee the project. This was not a separate role, but rather part of the “grants person” role.

      I tend to agree with Alexis Rosay that there seems to be some confusion about your role between you and your boss. The only way to solve that confusion is to ask. What exactly are they expecting of you? And then decide if you want the job knowing those are the expectations.

  18. JustA___*

    I’m trying to pivot into museum work (art history ba) with an emphasis on guest education/engagement.

    As part of this, I’m planning to do grad school, at, hopefully, somewhere that has good connections with museums. Just wondering if the commentariat has any suggestions? Specific grad programs I should look at? I’m in the US, and would want to stay stateside.

    1. JustA___*

      To clarify, like an emphasis on practical museum work/internship/networking opportunities—preferably at more than a small on campus gallery.

    2. MechanicalPencil*

      A distant relation of mine went to University of The Arts in Philadelphia and did different internships with museums in the area (and there are a lot). Her degree was in something like museum communications, but not sure what else is available with them.

    3. officeolivia*

      Former museum person here – I did my BA & MA in art history at Yale and worked in museums (exhibitions dev) for a while. Now I’m at a fine arts services company.

      This is kind of an anti-recommendation but I’d suggest you do a MA in museum studies, NOT art history. Maybe that was your plan anyway, but just in case you were looking at art history, I’d dissuade you from it since you’re not interested in curating. My MA in art history was so academically rigorous that my advisor got upset with me for working a part time student job with university collections. Talk about disheartening, when I had been transparent in my application and interviews that I wanted to work in museums. Most (possibly all?) museum studies programs are pretty strongly focused on the practical component, so you’ll be better served in getting actual experience.

      If there are particular institutions you’re interested in working with, go to a school with proximity to them! If you just want to network as much as possible, somewhere in NYC or DC is an obvious choice, and there’s a reason that their museum studies programs are so well known. (NYU, GWU respectively come to mind.)

      Join the professional orgs (ARCS, AAM, possibly CAA) while you’re in school, which typically have student rates and discounts to register for their conferences.

      1. JustA___*

        Thanks for the input. I am looking for programs that are more skewed toward museum studies. Also, definitely appreciate the advice about proximity to museums. My list of schools is primarily structured around places I would want to live/museums I would want to work/network with. So… like half NY schools.

        Thanks for the input about art history programs. I’m looking at a few art history programs but will be sure to dig deeper about the attitude the schools have toward non-curatorial museum work!

        1. Elle*

          Non profit management might also work. My time in museum volunteer relations dealt with a lot of funding issues, community engagement, etc.

    4. Fabulous*

      I can’t say specifically which program, but I completed my grad degree in Arts Administration and there were totally courses that were geared toward education and guest engagement. Perhaps there’s an Arts Administration program at a college with lots of museums around it – that would likely be your best bet. The city where I completed mine has lots of general arts organizations and theatres and that seemed to be the focus of the program due to proximity.

    5. These Are My Formal Jorts*

      The University of Washington has both the Burke Museum and the Henry Art Museum on site, and an awesome MA in Museology program that is rooted in equity, racial justice, and community engagement.
      UNLV has one of the best museums I have been to – The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. Surprising, subversive, interactive, and accessible programing that always seems to be pushing the boundaries. The M. Ed. in Multicultural Education would be a slightly non-traditional approach but would pair nicely with a focus in public arts education.
      Portland State has the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU, and the Schnitzer family seems to be doing A LOT for art museums as an institution (there is also a JSMA at Washington State University, which is also well funded!). The MFA in Art and Social Practice at PSU would be an ideal program — it mentions a studio practice in the description weirdly but the curriculum is all non-studio based.
      I hope this helps!!

    6. wingcolor*

      I did the program in museum education at GWU in Washington DC about 10 years ago. There is also a general museum studies program there.

      (Spoiler alert: I am no longer working in museums and think that’s a good thing for both my mental health and finances.)

      Pros: great program with an intensive focus on hands-on experience including internships and placements built in; strong emphasis on networking; even though I’m no longer in museums, I think my experience in the program has definitely impacted how I think about and approach certain work problems.

      Cons: it was very expensive with limited financial assistance other than loans; out of my 15-person cohort, I can think of several (at least 4-5 off-hand) who are no longer working in museums, but I think that’s also a museum thing in general.

      Neither good nor bad, but a mix: Being in DC is a mixed blessing: there are a ton of museums, but my experience after graduating was that the job market was absolutely glutted with people with masters degrees competing for part time jobs that pay relatively low wages. (Note: this is also true of the museum field generally); the program I did had a very specific pedagogical approach that is definitely not for everyone.

      Happy to talk more about my experience if you want—you can find me on social media with the same handle.

      1. JustA___*

        I’m in DC, so I know what the market here is like. I’ve known people who went to GWU a while back, and Georgetown more recently, and I just…wasn’t excited about either program. I appreciate y’all looking out for me, I’m aware the museum job market is tough! My other work is experience is in for-profit art (e.g., gallery work), and at a (not remotely art related) non-profit, so I’m hoping that makes me a bit more competitive.

    7. croissant*

      Museum education departments often hire people with graduate degrees in education, rather than art history/museum studies. I strongly recommend reaching out to people currently working in roles you theoretically want and asking them about their educational background and career path before jumping into a graduate program. Please also be aware that there are many, many people out there with great degrees and experience competing for an increasingly limited number of museum jobs. Even if you figure out the best grad program to pursue, do not go into it without a plan B in mind.

      1. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yes, to all this. I’ve worked closely with museum’s folks in the past and the ones in the education departments were almost always from an education background. All in all, delightful humans, but if there’s a field harder to get into than libraries (and I say this as a long time librarian) than it is museums. Whatever you chose to do, go in with a very robust backup plan.

        1. JustA___*

          Yeah, I know. I’m hoping my work experience (a mix of for-profit art and non-profit non-art) will keep me competitive.

      2. JustA___*

        Good idea! I have a meeting with one of my old professors/mentors this weekend, so I’m hoping she will be able to help me figure out some leads, but I may try to cold contact some people on LinkedIn too.

        1. Cascadia*

          I would also see if there are other professional organizations you can use to network some informational interviews with these people. I personally would not respond to a linkedin message, but if someone emails me directly I will happily talk to them (and that happens not infrequently!) I have a niche job in a highly-sought after field and sometimes people will find me on their and email me to ask to discuss more about my job. I’m always happy to talk to people when I have time. But I get way too many spammers on linked in, and I only check it twice a year, if that. This is all to say – reach out to people, but reach out in various different ways! I know in my field there are a couple of very active facebook groups for our profession and people have reached out to me via that platform as well.

    8. Dr. Vanessa Poseidon*

      Williams College has a master’s program in art history that has long been a top feeder program for the field, both for museum and academic positions. Despite the remote location, all students are guaranteed work-study opportunities to do museum work during both years of the degree, and their alumni network is insanely extensive and well connected, putting you in a good position for summer internships and jobs.

      Definitely go into the field with your eyes open regarding the job market and working conditions…I’m not going to discourage you, as I used to work in the field and don’t regret my degrees or experience, but I also don’t regret leaving the field for other options.

      1. JustA___*

        I was really impressed with what I saw of Williams’ relationship with MASS MoCA, but it’s great to hear their alumni network is on point as well!

        1. sherlock holmes*

          Would also recommend Williams – they have a very close relationship with MASS MoCA (I interned there myself but I didn’t go to Williams) and their museum itself is also incredible.

          The Courtauld Institute in London is roughly the UK equivalent if you also wanted to consider international opportunities (they both have what I’ve heard called “mafias” of alumni in big jobs around the world). They are very academic in MAs/undergrad for history of art, but the curatorial program seems more hands on and practical.

          Would also recommend looking at Tufts – most folks get tuition grants to help cover at least one year of study and there are obviously some amazing museums in Boston that you could get involved with.

          Full transparency that I did my MA in the UK and while it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at a prestigious university, I also left museum work and now work in the art market. Museum work is still incredibly low paid, unfortunately, and I think it’s worth considering how long you’d like to live with that scenario, especially as it’s likely you’ll need to be in a high cost of living city and everything that entails. Definitely not discouraging you because it can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but it comes with trade offs.

          1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            On the other hand, there are great art museums in flyover country where living is affordable: think St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, and other non-coastal places (Oklahoma and new Mexico, for instance, are chock full of museums). A few years in one of those places could give a person the credentials to move to one of the more prominent cities. And don’t limit yourself to art museums; history museums frequently have large art collections, and all kinds of museums have education programs. If you want JUST art in an educational or programming position as you’re starting, it will really limit your choices.

    9. Teacher Librarian*

      In previous positions, I worked in museums in public service. The people I admired had degrees from Bank Street Graduate School of Education in NYC from the museum education master’s program.

  19. Peachtree*

    Am I at a BEC stage with the person I manage, or am I being reasonable?

    My direct report had a training course this week, which was in two stages: an exam on Wednesday to pass to the second stage and exam on Friday. She has dyslexia and found the course extremely difficult, including sobbing/crying to the administrator of the course that she would fail, she was too stupid, etc.

    The administrator allowed her to change her first exam to Friday (today) and then she will take the second exam in a few months, which was great. However, my report has taken all this week off – without asking me first, although I agreed she could take the time as she was clearly very stressed – and then studied in her own time, so she has now asked to take time off in lieu for her revision! (We don’t have exempt status in the UK but she is salaried so does not get paid overtime).

    I am not sure if this is just me being irritated that she didn’t ask permission for study leave before deciding to take Thursday/Friday for revision (and that she tried to cancel a 121 with me to discuss this, before I said that she needed to meet me first), or whether I am being unreasonable as she clearly was under a lot of personal pressure to succeed. I (several times) spoke to her to say that I as a manager/us as an organisation just wanted her to enjoy the course, have a try at something new and come back refreshed with a better understanding of the topic, and would not mind at all if she failed, but as often happens with low self-esteem, I’m not sure it went through.

    All thoughts welcome …

    1. londonedit*

      I feel for her, but it sounds like she really didn’t need to invest this level of time and effort into the whole thing, so I think asking for time off in lieu because she chose to take annual leave (I presume she took this week as last-minute holiday?) is a bit much. It sounds like you were clear once you realised that she was struggling, and you said it wasn’t hugely important and she didn’t need to worry about failing. I totally get the need to succeed at everything you do, but it sounds like she’s taken something that was supposed to be a bit of enjoyable time away from the office with the bonus of giving her a bit of extra training, and built it up into her head into a huge deal where she absolutely has to pass the exams or she’ll be a massive failure. Unfortunately, as long as you have been clear with her from the start that this wasn’t a giant pass/fail exercise, I’m not sure what else you can do about it – you’ve tried to impress on her the fact that she doesn’t need to worry this much about the whole thing.

      1. Peachtree*

        Hi, thanks for the advice – she didn’t actually take annual leave, she just decided she was going to spend the two days at work revising. When she was doing both courses this week, she was given the week ‘off’ for the training, but in my mind, when she had finished the three-day course … she should have come back to work, instead of making a three-day course into a five-day course. I’m going to check in with my line manager but granting her, basically, an extra day off (6 hours of TOIL) seems unreasonable.

        1. londonedit*

          Hmm, maybe there was a bit of miscommunication? If she was initially told she had ‘the week off’ for the course, she might not have realised you expected her back at work when it transpired that she wouldn’t be doing exams on both Wednesday and Friday (unless you did explicitly tell her, of course!) She might have thought she could use the extra days to revise for Friday’s exam seeing as she was already designated as ‘off work for a training course’. Still, it does sound like it was her decision to use the time to revise, and if you told her she didn’t need to do that then asking for TOIL does seem a bit much to me.

          1. Peachtree*

            Thanks for your comment, I can see the miscommunication more clearly now (the benefit of posting in this forum!). The extra days were approved after the fact – she told me she would be studying on Thursday and refused (initially) to call me when I asked to catch up. Recognising that she was extremely stressed I said she could take the two days as study leave – but ideally she would have asked first. That’s the part where I’m wondering “am I being petty?” – I think I need to set more explicit guidance going forward, and perhaps not assume that everyone is like me – far too deferential to my manager!

    2. CatCat*

      I’m not in the UK and have no idea what revision and study leave mean, but with those caveats…

      I can definitely see feeling irritated (but BEC stage seems a bit extreme unless there’s something more going on here). What do you need to happen in the future? Focus on that and have a compassionate, but firm communication about it. “I understand that you found the course challenging and that was stressful. I want you to be successful here. But going forward, if you need study leave, you need to clear that with my first. While I will grant study leave whenever appropriate, I also have a responsibility to ensure adequate coverage at work. Going forward, will you request study leave in advance?”

      If she gets worked up, you can give her time to compose herself, and then resume the conversation.

      1. londonedit*

        Revision is what you do before an exam – studying, I suppose you’d call it in the US, but we tend to use ‘studying’ to refer to something you’re still learning about. If you’re doing a course with an exam at the end, then you need to revise before the exam to remind yourself of all the topics that were covered. Study leave is time off to revise for exams – in the UK school ends with a set of exams at 16 and another set at 18 if you choose to go on to do them, and kids go on ‘study leave’ at this time of year so they have a month or so to revise for their exams. So the same might apply if you do a work training course with a final exam – you might be allowed a couple of days off work (not as part of annual leave) to revise for the exam (it’s not a policy/thing that’s occurred anywhere I’ve worked, but I know people in jobs with official certifications have had similar things).

        1. Picard*

          In the US, revise means to redo something as in correct/edit your work. The term we use for exam prep is usually REVIEW.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        I have similar confusion. Does this training have anything to do with work and is it on work time or on her personal time?

        If she had a training course this week, wasn’t she in training this week? How could she also be off work?

        “so she has now asked to take time off in lieu for her revision!” – Is she asking to change to time she took off already to something else?

        If you mean she had two exams this week and then her meltdown got that changed to one exam on Friday, and then she just took off all week without asking your first and is now asking to take a different sort of leave … then it seems like she’s making this extremely dramatic and confusing and requiring changing already submitted and approved time off requests when with advance planning this could have been fairly simple. So your frustration is justified.

        And if this is related to classes and exams not related to work, this should not be your problem at all. Outside work stuff she should just ask for what she needs in advance and not involve you in the nitty gritty details.

        1. Peachtree*

          Yes you have got it right – it is a work sponsored course, which got changed from a five day, two exam course, to a three day, one exam course. But she took off five days anyway, and after studying in her own time (in addition to the two extra days) she is now asking for the evening time back. My view is that we essentially gave her five days to complete a three day course, and her evening study was voluntary (as I said I wanted her to finish work on time) but also want to be generous due to her dyslexia.

          1. Hiring Mgr*

            I think your last sentence about being generous is where you should land.. It sounds like this person was extremely stressed about this whole thing (plus the dyslexia, etc..). and if they’re normally a good enough employee who really cares if they took a couple of extra days

            It sounds more like the issue is they took the time off without asking first, which in some companies wouldn’t be a huge deal. If that’s not typically the way it’s done at your employer though, just let them know next time talk to you first.

          2. Person from the Resume*

            So I come back to she’s making this extremely dramatic and confusing. I don’t think I’d agree to give her time off in lieu of the time she spent studying/revising in her evenings. I mean, I think she had all day Thursday and however long on Friday before her exam to study.

            I don’t think you’re unreasonable, but try not to let the BEC feelings be seen. And be very clear about how to use work time time off for studying/revising for exam 2 “in a few months.”

          3. Teapot Wrangler*

            I hadn’t originally twigged that it was the evening studying at issue. She definitely shouldn’t get TOIL for that when she already got the Thursday for revision as an extra! She sounds like hard work…and I’m not sure I’ve ever said no to a manager’s catch up (pushed back or checked needed to be now or could wait but not just flat out didn’t attend)

    3. anonymous73*

      If she needs accommodations for her learning disability, she should ask for them and you should help her get them. It sounds like she did a lot of assuming and overreacting, you’re irritated because of it, and the 2 of you just need to sit down and talk about the situation. I think you need to set clear expectations with consequences, and make sure understands them.

    4. Sylvan*

      You’re not being unreasonable. I don’t think you can fix your employee’s personal problems, though — you’re not a therapist. You can set reasonable expectations and be clear about how she can meet them.

    5. theletter*

      The current issue at hand may be a wash. You might have to tell her good luck on the test but she can’t take any more time off for further studying. Can she pull out of the course at this point?

      I think part of the issue here is cognitive dissonence: you’ve told her or approved the training, the training emphasizes passing the exam, so of course, she must pass the exam. Even though you’ve told her the passing grade is not required, it’s easier for her to dismiss your input than to disregard the overwhelming evidence that she must pass this exam.

      For the future, if training is needed/recommended/encouraged, the outcomes should be clear, and the training should be chosen to meet those outcomes.

      Training in necessary things like compliance should result in a passing exam, so any course recommended should included an exam that the student is required to pass.

      Training in stuff that is recommended (like, IDK, project management) should only have exams for the student’s personal assesment or notes, unless they’re going for an optional certification.

      Training in stuff that is merely encouraged or more for infotainment/inspiration shouldn’t have exams attached.

      Technical training is its own beast – there’s a lot training available that offers certifications or licenses, and many of those programs are challenging because the institutions running them are trying to establish a reputation. But then there’s a lot of training that exists merely to share FYI information – it’s geared toward learners who just need to figure out how to do XYZ with the ABC thing. The programs can be entertaining and informative, and sometimes the ‘Barbara from Acme who just wants to demonstration ABC for beginners on Youtube because she likes it that much,’ can be more useful that any institutional certification.

      One thing she will have to learn to do for herself is the ability to pick and choose the training she needs at the moment. There are some jobs where a micro-certification is required for a promotion, but there’s lots of times where a few hours perusing the documentation is the best way to achive a positive outcome.

    6. PX*

      Oof. I dont know if BEC status is quite right, but I can understand how you’re getting very frustrated. To me, a lot of this is giving me miscommunication (you assumed she would know what you were expecting after the 3 days?) and low-self esteem/immaturity (this feels a lot like someone newish to the workplace who is panicking about things they dont need to panic about) vibes.

      I feel like very clear, gentle, but direct feedback is going to be required. Especially for things which you think should be obvious. And probably some thinking/advice/discussion with her on how to better manage any future courses with her dyslexia (especially if they are a requirement for progression).

    7. Kes*

      I think it’s a bit of both. I think it’s fair to make it clear to her that she needs to clear things with you in advance. That said, I think if this is an exam you want her to write, and you know she has disabilities that cause her to struggle with it, granting her extra study time seems pretty reasonable as an accommodation. “Oh it’s fine, just fail the exam” is not really likely to make your employee feel better or supported. I would grant the time but make it clear she needs to actually talk to you and request permission (beforehand, not afterwards) for these kind of things in future

    8. Sandy*

      I’m also in the UK and I’ve done a couple of courses that use this structure (project management qualifications) and they can be ridiculously intense, so I do have some sympathy for your employee that she was feeling overwhelmed. (I’m also dyslexic, and certain training providers are not dyslexia-competent) She handled talking to you about that poorly.

      If I understand you correctly, you’d originally scheduled for her to be in training all that week but when you found your that she’d changed the exam day, you were expecting her to work Thursday and Friday, rather than remain focused on the training. That makes sense – but might also have been a bit unrealistic (perfectly reasonable, but perhaps not wholly realistic) on your part. Mostly because Wednesday is still spent covering course materials prior to the exam in the afternoon, she’d have needed to spend Friday focused on preparing for and taking the exam anyway, and if she’s this stressed and overwhelmed by the course, the likelihood of her being especially useful on Thursday was probably limited.

      I’d guess that she assumed (bad idea!) that since she’d been scheduled for training all this week anyway, it would be ok if she kept to that schedule and remained focused on her training. Except of course, you agreed to this schedule when it was a 2-exam week, not a 1-exam and extra revision time.

      I think you’re fine to be feeling a bit frustrated about the communication (and stress) meltdown, but I’d suggest the best way forward would be to have a gentle 1-to-1 and reiterate that you need her to keep you in the loop about stuff like this so that you can know what’s happening and maybe help. This past week is a wash – focus on what needs to happen in the future. I also don’t think you should try and get her Thursday classed as TOIL. She wasn’t working on what you wanted her to be working on, but she was working (on work-related training).

      FWIW, if this is the kind of course I’ve done (the exam on Wednesday gives you a foundation qualification and the one on Friday gives you a practitioner qualification in whatever the course is focused on), she’s really going to struggle to do the practitioner exam separately, even if the foundation course was a cakewalk for her. The courses are really structured to build immediately on each other, so doing the practitioner several months later is actually far harder than doing it immediately. Depending on your training budget, willingness and capacity (also her interest and whether she actually took/passed the foundation exam) it might be better for her to start from the beginning rather than set her up for extra failure. She can get extra exam time without any difficulty, and has at least already seen the materials.

  20. Cruciatus*

    Has anyone ever had a job like a career advisor trainee? I realize no one can speak for all career advisor trainee programs but if anyone has ever done it–did you like it? Did you feel like you were making a difference? Was it burn out central?

    A job opening has come up through my state and it sounds interesting, though the application is really tedious and you get a score based on your answers, which I get, but I feel like because I haven’t done some things 100% of the time that it will lower my score too much to even get looked at, though I do have some experience in X or Y.

    I love my academic non-librarian library staff job but I’m not learning anything new and my salary has only gone up like maybe $1500-$2000 since I started here 5 years ago. I have the luxury of not running away from this job, but whatever my next job is I want to be as informed about it as possible!

    1. Cruciatus*

      Bummer! I really thought a community this wide would have had someone in a position like this. I’ll still keep checking back if anyone is able to share their thoughts on this job!

    2. CareerAdvisor*

      I am in a career advising program (or career development practitioner) but I’m not sure what “career advising trainee” means? Maybe you can expand on what the job is to make sure you’re getting the richer advice?

  21. Junior Dev*

    There’s a new subreddit called r/abovethetreetops for roleplaying being at a corporation. It’s very funny

    1. Roy G. Biv*

      I would especially enjoy hearing the perspective from role players who have never worked in a corporation. Would their perspectives be weirder/worse than what we see here on AAM, or would there be some intuitive truth telling, a la the emperor has no clothes? Now I’m going to have check out that subreddit.

  22. Renee Remains the Same*

    I applied for a job recently. It’s in the town I want to move to. It’s a bit of a career shift. I know folks who know folks there. I know none of this guarantees anything.

    Still, while I think I could enjoy the job – I can’t help but feel anxious about the whole moving and career shift aspect of it. The moving thing especially. I would have to pack up my life, sell my place, and move … on a very specific timeline if I were to get the job.

    Change makes me anxious. Short notice makes me anxious. No preparation makes me anxious. Since I can’t change the first two – I’m wondering if anyone has any advice or resources about how to navigate moving and job change? Since this is something I’m actively working towards, I might as well try to get some of my ducks in a row when I can to ease the anxiety of whatever comes next.

    1. anonymous73*

      If you’re working towards moving and changing jobs, pretend you have a date and start going through the motions of moving. Start researching for services you may need/cost of living in the area/the difficulty of finding a new place to live/etc., start weeding through stuff and getting rid of things you no longer want/need/use. Start packing things that can stay in a box for a while. That way when you do have a new job and an actual date, you’ll be a few steps ahead.

      1. Whynot*

        Seconding anonymous73’s advice. Moving is always hectic, so weeding out stuff, pre-packing things you can, researching moving services, etc, would really help. Research moving companies, rental possibilities in the new town, etc.

        In terms of housing, make a list of “need to have, nice to have, don’t need” that you can share with a realtor/rental agency. It might include things like: need at least 1 bedroom, safe neighborhood, close to public transit; nice to have off-street parking, walkable to stores/restaurants, home office space, don’t need to worry about school districts if you’re childless, etc. It helps you figure out your priorities and helps the agent focus their search on your behalf.

    2. Mojo021*

      I just relocated from Rhode Island to Florida 3 weeks ago. Whatever you do, if you’re going to use a moving company, make sure you do your research and don’t use a broker but an actual moving company. My original quote was $1800, I ended up paying $4000 and my brand new in the box window air conditioner is now missing…… I was lucky that I had a place to live temporarily, but definitely start checking the options in the area you are looking to move to, rent is crazy high in my area so I will be staying with family longer than anticipated. Good Luck!

    3. Savvy*

      Are you excited about the new town, or the job? I couldn’t really gauge any excitement from your post. Or is this job an important stepping stone to somewhere that would make you excited? If you aren’t looking forward to either the job or the location in a strong way, then honestly I wouldn’t consider moving.

    4. Slightly Above Average Bear*

      I’m glad you asked because I’m in a similar spot. I like to have a plan, and multiple back up plans, and everything is out of my hands right now. It feels overwhelming, but people do it every day.
      I like the ideas for concrete steps that can be taken now. Honestly, I need to clean out my basement no matter when the move takes place.
      Best wishes, OP!

    5. VegetarianRaccoon*

      Deliberately visualize some best-case scenarios. Fantasize a little about what your new life could look like. Basically trick yourself into associating a potential move with positive feelings. Won’t solve everything, but it’s one tool in your toolkit.

  23. Winona Hatshepsut*

    Hello! I am looking for perspectives on job hopping.

    After a fairly steady job history (of staying more than 5 years at two jobs and 3 years at another), COVID has thrown me for a loop. After being laid off, I found a job in 2020. I didn’t love it but it was good money and benefits. Then my boss got let go once I had been there just shy of a year, and my new boss set out to rebuild the team in his own vision. So, I left in 2021 for a new job since the writing on the wall was clear.

    Now, just shy of a year at my new job, we had a huge layoff and I’m doing the work of 3+ people with no end in sight. I don’t dislike the job (though a lot of it is tedious and mostly I am overwhelmed just by the sheer volume of it) and am again considering a move. I’ve told my boss (and above in skip levels) about issues with my workload, but there’s just a certain amount of work to be done and too few people to do it. More help would be months away depending on budget.

    My worry is that’s two short stints and back-to back. I’m concerned that I look flighty. And I’m concerned about the rocky economy. Should I try to stick it out?

    1. rock and roll saved my shower*

      I feel like “because COVID happened” is a magic wand you can wave when explaining this if someone asks. I think this is fine.

    2. anonymous73*

      Nah you won’t look flighty, especially since the short stints were within the pandemic time frame. Even if we hadn’t been in a pandemic, I still don’t think it looks flighty because you have history of staying in jobs prior to that. The only resume I rejected recently for job hopping was someone who had about 20 different roles in 15 years. There was only 1 that he had stayed in for more than a year.

    3. OTGW*

      Is that 2 jobs in two years? I think you’re fine, especially since it’s still a year. The pandemic is a pretty good explanation, and if a company won’t accept it, you don’t want to work there anyways.

    4. Catalyst*

      Nothing to add, but I am in a similar boat and am wondering the same thing if I leave the position I’m in right now. It’s so hard to decide what the best thing is to do in this situation, especially if you’ve never experienced it before.

    5. Kes*

      Yeah I think it’s okay, you have a history with more stability, and you can explain the recent changes (covid layoff, found a new position but ultimately not a good fit). I would look but just try and be a bit more deliberate in finding a good place you can stay at for a while

  24. Mental Health Question Anon*

    I’m not sure how to ask this but I am already working on the other parts as hard as I can and I feel like I don’t know what to do about the work aspect.

    My health is bad. Mentally and physically. I lost my job last year because I couldn’t work, I was so tired. Since then I’ve gone through an outpatient group therapy program, I’ve had a sleep study which diagnosed me with sleep apnea which I am still in the process of getting equipment to treat, I’ve been on a bunch of different meds trying to find one that would help. I’ve been doing a lot to improve my health on my own, including running and hiking several times a week, eating better, improving my sleep habits, etc.

    I think everything is going to be a stopgap until I can get the sleep issues dealt with, and that could be another 1 to 4 months given what I know about the timeline of how this treatment (dental appliance) works — both in terms of dealing with the healthcare system to get it made and to do adjustments to it once I have it.

    Anyway, I found that taking a certain prescription medication gave me enough energy to function and actually do something other than lie on the couch and cry all day, but it comes with an increased risk of anxiety. I hadn’t felt that as a real problem until last week, when I began a new job. I have been so anxious that I am having trouble getting essential duties of the job done because I’m so scared to mess them up. Which ironically is causing a lot more problems with people around me because I’m not getting stuff done. I also sent an email today asking for help with things which in retrospect they might not be able to provide or consider reasonable to provide. I think it is a situation where I am so anxious that I cannot make rational assessments of my own abilities or communicate with others in a way that makes sense to them. I really feel out of touch with reality. I am trying very hard to fix things but I worry that the damage to my work relationships have been done.

    It’s a nonprofit that took a super long time to hire me, and I have a history volunteering with them, which means I have a lot of other skills that they’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. So I am slightly less worried about getting fired than I would be otherwise. But I feel terrible for starting off on this note. I still am waiting to hear back on whether they are able to provide me with the support I asked for in getting things done.

    I am considering asking to take a medical leave of absence for a couple weeks while I can get my meds adjusted (I’m waiting to hear back from my doctor but I get the impression she would support me stopping the anxiety-causing medication). I know normally this would be too early to do that, but the other employee who was supposed to start at the same time as me (and whose presence would make the tasks that stress me out so much a lot easier) has been on medical leave and it’s unclear when he’ll be coming back–I think he is having surgery but I’m not sure.

    I don’t know if this is wise to ask about but I’m wondering if it might prevent me from having any other situations where my view of reality is so distorted compared to others’ that I possibly damage my standing at the organization irreparably. On the other hand, this could well be the anxiety talking in and of itself. I know my impulse when I am in a bad place like this is to be convinced I’m toxic, everyone around me is sick of dealing with me, and the best thing to do is leave them alone and not burden them with my presence. I know that the work I’m doing is really important to the organization and not doing it would cause problems. But I also can’t shake the feeling that continuing to work in this state would really screw things up and make everyone hate me.

    It is an organization where I think people would be more inclined than average to take mental health concerns seriously, but I don’t know how to bring it up without oversharing and making other people feel like they have to interact with me in a way that would be more appropriate for a close friend or a therapist. I don’t want emotional support from my colleagues — I want to try and solve the practical problem that right now, I am not well in a way that makes it really hard to judge my own capacity to do the work and to communicate about what I need in a way that’s appropriate or makes sense.

    It’s extremely scary to be out of touch with reality but in a way that you’re aware that you are, and aren’t sure what is real in a given situation. (I’m not experiencing hallucinations or psychosis, but I am having massively distorted views of how risky certain things would be or how bad the consequences would be if I made a mistake, and my default view of others is that they’re sick of dealing with me, which tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy in my experience.) I don’t know if anyone will have any useful advice, but I’m feeling really scared that I’ll lose this job or permanently get myself branded as difficult and unreasonable over this. It is just really hard to know what the right thing to do is here.

    And if I do what I suspect is the right thing — which is not ask for medical leave, and do my best to complete my duties whether I can get support or not–I would love some advice for how to take it one day at a time, stop panicking, and communicate appropriately with others if they ask about any of the difficulties I’m having getting work done.

    1. Ope!*

      I don’t have direct experience with this, but I do have a loved one who didn’t ask for this kind of leave when they needed it, and they ended up hospitalized. I think it would be very appropriate to ask for a meeting with your boss, and explain that you are in the process of addressing an ongoing health issue and need some short-term medical leave. Yes, it’s probably anxiety inducing to ask about because it feels like you should be giving them more notice- but its the nature of medical leave that it happens on short notice. Get the conversation started at least. Write down the key points of what you need to say: I’m addressing a health issue, I need medical leave for X days, what paperwork do I need, etc. and look at the paper as you talk to help you resist anxiety dumping on your boss, which might make you more anxious afterwards to know you’ve spilled all of that out there.

      Wishing you the best and a smooth healing process!

      1. Mental health question anon*

        Thanks for the advice. I am gonna try my best to talk to my therapist and psychiatrist about it this weekend.

        I’m really scared. I feel like I’ve asked for so much already and I feel terribly unreasonable asking for more. But I guess it would be worse to force myself to work when I’m not capable of it.

        I feel so scared that I’m never gonna be able to work and supporting myself will mean powering through times like this on sheer willpower. I know that’s not right but I have no idea when things will improve for me.

        1. RagingADHD*

          OP, when you get the apnea treated properly, it is life-changing. Your brain is being starved of oxygen on a nightly basis, and when that gets fixed the difference is astonishing.

          I mean, logically it shouldn’t be astonishing because it’s common sense, but having been inside the before and after, it is nearly unbelievable.

    2. ecnaseener*

      Hi anon. The parts about being toxic and making everyone hate you areindeed anxiety-brain. Nothing horrifically bad will happen if you take this leave. But I think it will probably be better in the long run if you do take the leave. If you get the meds adjusted and come back in a better, healthier state, this early 2-week leave will soon be a blip in the rear view mirror.

      1. Mental health question anon*

        I hope so but I’m really scared that whatever meds I pick to replace them will be just as bad

    3. Catcher in the Rye*

      That sounds incredibly difficult and I’m sorry to hear you’re going through that. I want to challenge the idea that not asking for medical leave is the “right” thing- it very well could be beneficial for you to have some time and space while you’re adjusting medications that impact your mindset. I understand the painful experience of our perceptions and professionalism being impacted by mental illness and I can only offer empathy and the (much easier to say than actually believe) advice that no one is thinking more critically about you than you are yourself. Unless you’re getting literal warnings about losing your job, it’s unlikely that you’re actually in danger of doing so. Take care, be kind to yourself, and know you’re not alone.

    4. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I recently started a new job, 2 days late, because I’d been in the hospital. I went back to work after two days because I wanted to show my dedication and be a good little soldier. It was way, WAY too soon, and it turned into a disaster. My mind wasn’t clear, I was making major mistakes, and my boss decided I was a moron who had lied at my interview. I pushed and pushed myself, and was pushed and pushed by my sup, until I ended up in the hospital again. I’m now looking for a new job. I haven’t been fired, but am on a massive, butt-smacking PIP. TELL THEM what you’re going through. You don’t have to get specific, just that you are dealing with some health problems that might effect your work. Work with them to come up with a plan that will let you succeed. Any rational boss would understand.

    5. Savvy*

      Hello Anon, are you in the US? And does your employer have 15 or more employees? If so then they must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means if an employee has a disability (including mental health conditions) than they are obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation that would allow the employee to successfully do their essential functions, as long as the accommodation did not present an undue hardship to the organization (which is actually a pretty high threshold to meet). My advice would be to go to your HR person, or whoever is the ADA coordinator for employees in your job, or if you’re unsure just go to your direct supervisor. Explain that you are having difficulties completing certain job functions due to a medical condition. They may need to ask clarifying questions or have your doctor fill out a form detailing how your condition limits your ability to perform certain functions, and perhaps the doctor may have suggestions on potential accommodations. They should work with you in an “interactive process” to find an accommodation that will allow you to complete the essential functions of your job. The only people that have a business need to know about your condition/accommodation needs are HR and the supervisor(s) you report to – you do not need share this information with coworkers if you don’t want to.

      If at all possible, try to explore accommodations that would keep you working, rather than jumping straight to medical leave (although leave can be considered a reasonable accommodation). Are there certain parts of the job that you have the most trouble with? And what tools/assistance do you think would help you overcome these barriers? Perhaps one idea might be weekly check ins with your supervisor to provide objective feedback on your performance (to alleviate your concerns about how you’re doing at work). To get ideas on the kinds of accommodations that may help with anxiety, visit the website askjan.org/disabilities/Anxiety-Disorder.cfm and scroll down toward the bottom, where they have suggested accommodations listed by limitation and work-related function.

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

        This. And even if they’re not big enough to be subject to ADA, they may be the kind of place that does the ADA stuff anyway. You will not know if you don’t ask.

        Very sympathetic. My husband is getting meds adjusted (again) to address incapacitating panic, anxiety, depression. I went on a short vacay and came back on a Sunday nite to have to tell him, I can’t make you do it, but I strongly urge you to go on medical leave immediately, don’t go to work tomorrow. It’s the only thing that will help him get better.

        1. Mental health question anon*

          Thank you

          I ended up telling my colleague I am planning to take leave, and have a call scheduled with our boss to tell him the same. I’m reaching out to my doctor and therapist to get their advice on how to go about it.

          I wouldn’t have come to this decision without the comments of people here so really, thank you everyone who said something

        2. Minimal Pear*

          A lot of states have laws that cover a lot of the same territory and apply to companies that otherwise wouldn’t have to follow the ADA, so that’s another point in favor of explicitly making it a disability thing.

    6. RagingADHD*

      I don’t have much advice, but as an apnea sufferer, I comisserate because it is THE WORST and it totally does your head in. The meds may get you by temporarily, but when you start to get actual sleep your brain will start to heal and you will feel so, so, so much better.

      I think it would be good to talk to your team about the fact that you have a sleep disorder and that it’s affecting you in unpredictable ways, or ways you can’t fully account for. It’s kind of like having a brain injury.

      I am a bit surprised that your doctors are approaching this primarily as a MH issue, instead of doing everything possible to get you breathing and sleeping better (like a temporary CPAP until the appliance comes thru). Are they fully aware of this “out of touch with reality” feeling? Because that’s like, major, major and they should have some urgency about it.

      I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Mental Health Question Anon*

        Well I was taking a stimulant for ADHD but I think it was actually just helping me overcome the sleep deprivation. I was diagnosed as a kid and it’s a complicated story as to whether I actually have ADHD or not.

        I’ll mention that to my doc, although it was less of a “I don’t know what’s real in an objective sense” way and more of a “realizing my subjective experience of the world is radically different from others and it’s disturbing” way.

        Unfortunately there’s a huge wait to get any sort of CPAP right now, I guess I can ask if they have temporary ones but no one has mentioned this to me yet.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Yeah, I forgot about the backlog. Sorry.

          If your doc hasn’t mentioned this, about 70% of ADHDers also have a sleep disorder of some kind, while the incidence in the gen. pop. is closer to 30%. Some researchers theorize that ADHD itself may be rooted in the brain not getting the right type/amount of sleep phases, and the symptoms we see are the outward result. Increased anxiety is also linked to sleep-deprivation.

          Does positioning help you at all? If our power is out, I sleep on my face. It reduces the number of episodes I have by helping keep my airway open.

          I hope stuff starts turning around for you soon. It’s just miserable, I know.

    7. Mental Health Question Anon*

      Update:

      I just talked to my boss and told him I am having a medical issue and will probably be out for the next 2 weeks, but will have more info once I talk to my doctor next week. He didn’t ask for any detail and was very matter of fact about it and made it sound like it would work out.

      I talked to my colleague who I have been working more closely with and told her a bit more about how I’ve been feeling (my anxiety has affected her and I wanted her to know it wasn’t reflective of how I usually act at work; we also know each other so it’s less weird than if we were basically strangers.)

      Thank you so much to everyone who encouraged me to take leave. I don’t think I was thinking clearly enough to realize I needed to until you did.

      I’ll try and remember to post an update next weekend.

    8. bunniferous*

      Once you get your cpap machine (or whatever device you use) your life will TOTALLY CHANGE. Like night and day change. Like massive improvement change. Sleep apnea does an entire number on you. My husband has it and the difference between untreated and treated is MASSIVE. That’s all I gotta say.

  25. Book Worm*

    I volunteered for my company’s D&I council this week. I met with the head and had a chat about my background and what-not. I knew that my company has a KPI to have a (low to be honest) percentage of women in leadership positions by a certain year. What I didn’t know, and was told during this meeting, was that the reason for the KPI is because as a company we are losing out on bids because we don’t have enough women in leadership positions. Is it weird that I am completely grossed out by this motivation? I am in a male dominated field so we certainly need more women in leadership, but to find out the reason is not because it is the right thing to do but because we are losing out on money???? It feels gross to me.

    1. rock and roll saved my shower*

      I feel like motive doesn’t matter, actions do. So what that they’re motivated by self-interest? What gets done gets done. If it ends up with a good outcome, so what that it’s selfish? Better to be selfish and do it, than be unselfish and don’t do it.

      1. bosben*

        That is actually a great point. I stand by my angry answer below but yes, if it’s changing, it’s good.

      2. wittyrepartee*

        Sometimes the selfish reasoning is the way to get the decks on board. Then the good folks can go about working on getting women into management positions.

      3. Hotdog not dog*

        I agree, better to do the right thing for the wrong reason than to simply do the wrong thing. Gotta start somewhere!

    2. bosben*

      You are not wrong to be grossed out. As a women in a male dominated field, I’m grossed out by that. My company recently got acquired and when they posted the new leadership, I spent the afternoon breaking down just how white and male the new leaders were by level (not a great use of time but I was pretty upset about it). How are we supposed to see a future at a company or as a manager encourage my team that they have a future if that’s what our leaders look like? I have brought it up at every opportunity – with HR and new leadership and the survey. It’s 2022 and honestly, I’m sick of having to be the one to “fix” it.

      Also, if one more person says we need to build a pipeline of female talent, I will lose my mind…..

      I have no great answer for you, but you get to be mad. It’s gross. I totally empathize.

      1. Observer*

        Also, if one more person says we need to build a pipeline of female talent, I will lose my mind…..

        Yeah. It’s a separate issue, but it’s ridiculous and lazy. And, for the most part, it’s a way to get out of doing the necessary work.

        But it’s the kind of line that doesn’t work if you need women in leadership in order to get contracts. Because the folks who are giving the contracts are saying “That’s your problem.”

    3. Alexis Rosay*

      Yeah, it is gross, but sadly if it motivates them to give women more opportunities, then it’s better than nothing.

      I was in a meeting recently where a senior manager mentioned the only reason he supported a pipeline program to get women into our profession was because he wanted his daughters to go into STEM fields. It’s not quite as bad as what you’re describing but it’s always a yellow flag for me when someone only realizes that women are people after they have a daughter. It sucks, but having corporate partners for this women’s pipeline program is super important so I’ll take whatever motivates them.

      1. rock and roll saved my shower*

        If that senior manager is at all receptive, I’d talk to him about how there’s not really a pipeline problem. There’s a pipeline. There’s a ton of programs. Girls go into STEM all the time. Focus him on why women leave.

        If you have no women applying to anything at any level, you have a pipeline problem.

        If all your women are interns and entry level and none of your managers/leadership, you don’t have a pipeline problem.

        1. Observer*

          This 100%

          But also, if you have a pipeline problem, you need to look at why women leave. Because those women (and a lot of women who stay!) talk about the reasons for leaving and that influences women to not enter the field in the first place. All of the “pipeline programs” in the world are not going to get significant numbers of women into fields where they have to fight misogyny, give up on having kids at a reasonable age (or at all), etc.

          1. rock and roll saved my shower*

            From the department of “I remember reading a blog post about this ten years ago”, there seemed to be some kind of handoff going on between The One Woman At Google Who Fought With The Techbros On Behalf Of Women Who Worked There, who then burned out and then passed the torch to the next poor soul who was going to fight that fight.

            Since then, “pipeline to WHAT, exactly” is my response. Because, yeah, pipeline to harassment, burn out, exploitation, etc. Girls get into the system and are then eaten by it, lather, rinse, repeat.

            It’s not a pipeline problem.

      2. DarthVelma*

        They don’t realize all women are people. They maybe realize their daughter is a person. But even there I’m not so sure it isn’t “my daughter is an extension of me and I am a person”.

    4. Charlotte+Lucas*

      I think you’re right to be upset by this as a motivation. On the other hand, so much positive change in business over the years has been due to outside forces, not because owners or boards of companies made a conscious decision to behave ethically.

      My family has a strong history in the labor movement. Sometimes change has to be forced on those in power.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      I’m not upset my this motivation at all. How do you think all those men got to leadership positions? I am willing to bet that a lot of them got there because of the old boy’s network. Fergus was was a fraternity brother of a customer, and he got the contract, so he was promoted – that was also about money. I am sure there are some who got there because of their legitimate leadership qualifications, but traditionally one of those qualification has been a y chromosome. You say their KPI for women leaders is low; this shows they have a low opinion of their talent pool when it comes to women and if it weren’t for the fact that it is costing them money, they probably wouldn’t be doing this at all.

      The important point is that they are finally doing something about the lack of diversity. When there are more women on the leadership team, and they are successful, it will usually start a trend where more women are identified as leadership material and more women will see the possibility that they could achieve those roles. (Ditto minorities.) So don’t feel gross about the reason why they are finally doing this. Save your feeling gross for the people who don’t appreciate their female employees and had to be pushed into it!

    6. SoloKid*

      I wouldn’t be grossed out – if anything I always feel like I’m being served a load of BS when I get a “it’s the right thing to do” spiel from corporate. I’m surprised at the honesty to a volunteer D&I council TBH.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, big corporations rarely, if ever, do stuff purely out of the goodness of their hearts or just because it’s the right thing to do. There is always a profit motive in there somewhere, even if they swear there’s not. If a financial motivation forces them do the right thing, that’s pretty crappy – but it’s better than not doing the right thing at all.

    7. pancakes*

      My take is, feel your feelings about that being gross, but it probably wouldn’t hurt and it may help to gather more context for them. Historically there are so many examples of changes that happened in terms of greater inclusivity not so much because absolutely everyone wanted to move forward but because they had to. School desegregation, for example. It may feel gross, too, to look at how many hold-outs there have been in so many of these examples, and to see how many of the same themes still come up over and over again, but overall, it’s better to move toward doing the right things (or for people to just start doing them) for the wrong reasons than to for everyone to remain in place waiting for the hold-outs to get comfortable.

    8. OtterB*

      There may be people in the organization who have wanted to make things better for D&I but were told they couldn’t spend the time/resources on it because it didn’t contribute to the bottom line. If it now has an impact on the bottom line, maybe that’s removing a barrier to acting, not creating a motivation where there wasn’t one before.

      My main concern would be whether the organization intends to take it seriously and what their measures for success are. Are they going to buckle down to it now, or are they going to paper over the cracks and say “look how much we’ve improved”? Are they going to promote women to management positions in support services of one kind or another and not to the core business functions? (Support services are important, but if that’s the only place with women managers, something is wrong.)

    9. Haha Lala*

      My field has similar issues, with a lot of the municipalities requiring a certain percentage of work to go to women or minority owned businesses.

      Your company might not have the best motives here, but I’d bet the external players here do have better motives– they’re giving their money to companies with women in leadership because they want to see more diversity and equity, and they know they have the power to make change happen. So really, the root cause (likely) has good motives, and you can take a little comfort in that.

    10. Observer*

      You are far better off with leadership that is being honest than leadership that is not being honest. Also, from a practical point of view, this particular situation means that they are FAR more likely to make the investment to get at least this low level of female representation in leadership.

      1. another_scientist*

        +1. OP you get to feel grossed out if you want, but it may just not be the best use of your time. Ultimately, you want a majority of stakeholders on board to contribute to certain actions. Everyone might have a different road of incentives to get there, but as long as they get there, that’s success.
        Philosophically, maybe it can make you feel better that clearly other organizations (whoever decides on those bids) cares about gender diversity enough to set such criteria. Regardless of how many layers of ‘I am bowing to economic incentives imposed by some other entity’ you go down, at some point, you must arrive at someone who is imposing these rules just because. It all comes down to someone committing to making change.

    11. The New Wanderer*

      It’s gross, but if the end result is that there are more women in higher positions, that’s a good goal. Because what happens is that having more women in visible leadership roles normalizes women (plural) being at the table, in the room, making decisions, etc., where before there were only men (or only one woman, the de facto outlier). Then, eventually, it’s not so hard to see a woman having “C-suite potential” because the mold has been broken or recast to allow that perception to occur. And then the motivations won’t only be limited to “company self-interest” or “father realizing daughters = people.”

      The book Invisible Women covers this really well. It made me want to burn everything to the ground and start over, but it’s well worth the read.

    12. RagingADHD*

      Flipping it around, it is very encouraging that the industry is holding each other accountable! That’s how change gets made. The motivation exists because other people & other companies care enough to insist on change.

      Your company is a trailer rather than a leader, and of course that’s not good. But there will always be fewer leaders than followers.

    13. Workerbee*

      It is gross. I also say, have them use that money for the greater good even if the motivation isn’t so good. Once more women get in, more changes can happen – as well as a better, positive motivational shift.

    14. Girasol*

      I’d like to say that it doesn’t matter what the motivation is, as long as it happens. But I would be concerned that the organization may be more interested in making numbers than in promoting diversity. It used to be common to put one token woman at each level and give her some puffed-up responsibility that didn’t need doing, so that the org chart appeared to be diverse but the real work was still all done by men. Where women aren’t valued, a token woman’s efforts are often brushed aside, belittled, undermined, or sabotaged, so that even a very talented woman may be set up to fail. It’s less common now than it used to be but a few companies still do this. It sounds like you’re inclined to trust your gut. That seems like a good idea.

    15. fhqwhgads*

      For me, them doing the right thing for the wrong reason is better than not doing it at all.

    16. IT Manager*

      I love this actually. We keep talking about how DEI is a business imperative and here you are with actual cold hard facts to back it up. I mean, it’s capitalism so it’s hard to get support for *any* cultural issue without a business case.

      For me the question would be – what happens after you meet the KPI? If that’s it, than yeah this is all just window dressing.

      If the loss of business was the initial motivator to a real DEI program where they are actually interested in changing the culture and supporting people who they bring in to meet the KPI, then hooray, it worked!

    17. J*

      I’ve been on the pitch side of a company where eventually I figured out this was the reason we created a bunch of DEI committees. I was annoyed but then I figured no matter the cause, it at least signaled an issue that they had to address. If they didn’t care enough about the staff to do it, at least they cared about looking good in front of clients, right?

      We’d start including our diverse staff on every pitch…just to give the white people the work when we got the job. No one ever audited to check our compliance so they just saw a bunch of names and assumed we staffed as pitched. The exception being the CRM attorney. Then we did reports on total hires and we saw more diverse hiring was happening as a result. That’s a win, right? Oh no, because turnover increased for diverse staff as they realized they were being used, whether to be included on pitches they never got the billables on or to do labor on DEI committees that never had the potential to effect change.

      I’m at a new job with one of those partners now and she’s still recovering from finding out the system was always rigged, no matter how much extra labor she gave them. I hope this isn’t how your org handles it but it’s certainly one possibility.

  26. Red Flags?*

    Are these interview questions read flags? 1) How do you cope with being burnt out? 2) How well do you work with highly negative people? I felt both of these were red flags because ideally one wouldn’t get burnt out in order to have to cope with it, and also I really do not like working with negative, energy sucking people. However, I asked a friend who is also interviewing right now and she said that she has been asked these questions before and they are pretty standard. This was an interview for a mid level career position in a fortune 500 company.

    1. JustA___*

      I was asked how I deal with stress in the interview for my current (not stressful) job. I think it might make me angle to see if I can chat with someone in a similar position if that wasn’t offered.

    2. CrazyPlantLady*

      I think they’re red flags and an indicator that people are burnt out easily on the job and they want people to be able to handle it with grace. Also sounds like you’d be working with some annoying mofos.

    3. rock and roll saved my shower*

      I don’t think the first one is red flag, but I think the second one could be, and the combination of the both of them is at least a yellow flag. If there’s another interview, I’d ask them a lot about their culture and their workload and why the last person left.

    4. Kitty101*

      I would put them somewhere between standard and red flags. Could tip in either direction really, although the wording is not so great.

      Ideally you’d have asked “Can you share more about why you’re asking that?” You could still do that in a later stage interview (either directly ask about that line of questioning, or ask what the team culture, daily hours, crunch times, etc look like). Good luck!

    5. Grant*writer**

      Huh, for me that would seem like a red flag. If they’d asked how you cope with stress or to avoid burnout, that’s a little better, and I might just excuse the first one as clumsy wording. But unless the position is customer-facing I’d expect the company culture to get rid of highly negative people, not put it on me to deal with them, and that seems like a pretty specific thing to ask about. Turn it around on them and ask why they’re asking these questions and how the company supports employees.

    6. OTGW*

      Would it involve work with the public/external clients? The first one seems like it could be a genuine personality type question, but the second sounds like questions I get—working with the public. There’s always people freaking out about a $0.10 fine or how they absolutely did not damage a book blah blah. You need to be able to stay calm for that.

      If there’s no outside communication, then I’d take the 2nd q as a yellow flag. What kind of people are you gonna work with?

    7. anonymous73*

      I think asking how you deal with difficult people is legit. You’re rarely going to get along personally with every single person at your job and handling difficult people can be part of it unless you have the type of job where you work solo most of the time. But the burnt out question would give me pause. Nobody should have to explain how they cope with it, because ideally nobody should feel that way.

      1. Jora Malli*

        I think even the difficult coworker question here is worded in an alarming way. I usually ask something like “tell me about a time you had to work with someone that was difficult for you to get along with, how did you handle it?” Because yes, over the course of your career at least one of your coworkers is going to annoy you and I need to know you’ll stay professional. But specifically asking how you deal with “highly negative” people is ringing alarm bells for me. It feels a lot more specific than the standard question.

      2. Sloanicota*

        “Difficult” seems like a reasonable question but if they specifically said “highly negative” I’d pause at that. I mean, not if you’re in role that specifically deals with frustrated customers, or if you’re like, an undertaker, sure, but that wording makes me think they know either their staff or management has an attitude problem.

    8. Sylvan*

      Yes, those are red flags. Sounds like people are running themselves into the ground and being jerks, or maybe working in public-facing roles and receiving aggression.

    9. irene adler*

      I’ve read that when these questions are asked, it is one of two things:
      (1) these are just questions someone thought sounded like they would be able to draw out the candidate
      (2) there’s some very real issues at the company.

      For (2), can you ask follow-up questions? Things like: Tell me about when someone in this position encounters a highly negative person. How does that usually play out? Or: what steps is management taking to manage employee burnout? Is this something that occurs often? What is the burnout concern in this position?

      The “highly” negative would concern me.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I was asked how I dealt with “passive-aggressive people” in an interview and it was definitely due to real issues at the company. After I answered, the interviewers (hiring mgr and his director-level boss) gave the backstory about that question and how the person in that role would be expected to deal with some known problems. They were clear that the solutions to these problems were in work (part of the motivation to hire this role) but it wasn’t smooth sailing yet.

        So, the question itself was a red-flag because of the real issues, but acknowledging it openly like that made it more of a yellow-flag situation.

        1. irene adler*

          I agree with your assessment. If they can elaborate as to why they ask about stress, negative employees etc. THEN at least there’s justification for asking. And further, kudos for not trying to hide the situation plus working to remedy the situation.

    10. ecnaseener*

      Yellow flags IMO. I don’t know of any industries where nobody ever gets burned out and you never have to deal with crappy people.

    11. Fabulous*

      I would be asking follow up questions. Usually when there’s targeted questions like that it means the last person in the role didn’t handle those specific things well. So I’d be asking, “Does the person in this role get easily burnt out? Why do you think that is? Do you find that there are negative people on your team? Why do you think that is?” And so on.

    12. Lady_Lessa*

      About working with very negative people, I would ask more questions.

      My boss is one of them and right now some of my biggest problems are finding alternate materials and making sure that they work. His standard go to response is “No can do” and mine is the opposite, “Let’s see if I can make it work” Some things I don’t try, think spices in cooking, sometimes even changing brands with the same name fails. Other things I can make work, even if we have a different recipe for each brand, the final product is extremely similar (and since we preweigh and package things as a kit, the customer isn’t likely to pick up on it.

      So close and long term, run, distant and varied you have a better idea about what you can handle

    13. RagingADHD*

      If those were the only 2 types of questions, or if there was special emphasis or depth on them, probably a red flag. If they were just included as part of a more extensive or well-rounded process that also covered lots of other topics, then no.

  27. stelmselms*

    I’m an EA. How can I have a conversation with my boss to them know their direct reports are not submitting needed documents to me on time/or completing their work without throwing them under the bus? Sometimes the things that need to be completed/turned in aren’t timely, but other times they are. My boss tends to complain to me a little bit, but as a whole is pretty non-confrontational that I know of with his direct reports. Where it gets tricky is when I have to gather certain information from everyone for a presentation, etc. and they just don’t get it to me. I feel like I’m stuck in the middle. There are other times they don’t submit the information and it makes my boss look bad. Any suggestions on what I can do besides constant email reminders, conversations, etc.? One of his direct reports also tends to be non-responsive as a whole, so I do copy his EA on most of my communications, but she can be pretty non-responsive as well.

    1. rock and roll saved my shower*

      CYA by CCing, and if your boss complains to you, reference the fact that you haven’t gotten it. It’s not throwing someone under the bus. It’s factually reporting what’s going on. If it matters to the boss that you get the info, then the boss needs to tell the direct reports that.

    2. MustardPillow*

      Have you directly communicated the importance of the timely response? Also try some appreciation, when its on time “Thanks so much for getting x done, it’s important for y reason”. If something is due and it’s close to the deadline, email the sender and CC their boss saying “hey, noticed x isn’t in yet, I need it by y date for z reason. I’ve cc’d boss in the event you are unavailable and it needs to be reassigned”

    3. anonymous73*

      You just do it. You’re not throwing them under the bus, they’re throwing themselves under it. I have to consolidate a weekly report from 6 different managers. They’re supposed to send it to me by COB on Mondays and it’s due by noon on Tuesdays (but can be sent by 1:30 at the latest). I usually only get 2 of them by COB Monday, a few others trickle in on Tuesday morning, and there’s always 1 manager who I have ask for it every single week, sometimes multiple times a day. If it comes time for me to turn it in, I send the email and state which reports are not included because I’ve done my job. If these people not meeting deadlines is affecting YOUR job, you need to speak up so it doesn’t look like you are the one dropping the ball. And if your boss won’t do anything about it, that’s not on them not you.

    4. Bernice Clifton*

      I would send an email at the time you need their content before it’s late and CC your/their boss.

    5. Purple Cat*

      It’s never “throwing somebody under the bus” to tactfully and professionally point out that things aren’t getting done in a timely manner.
      First – make sure you’ve reiterated directly the timelines you have and then follow up with your boss and ask for suggestions for tips on how to manage them better.

    6. PollyQ*

      You’re not “throwing them under the bus” by accurately reporting that they’re not getting their work in on time. You’re giving your boss the information he needs to do his job of managing them.

    7. RagingADHD*

      As a former EA, if this was a chronic issue, I would set a deadline for receipt that gave me time to process everything, and give everyone a heads up. Then if they didn’t come thru, I would throw them right on under the bus like moon pies at Mardi Gras.

      You are stuck in the middle because you put yourself in the middle. Get. Out. Of. The. Middle.

      It is not your job to cover the direct reports’ butts or manage their relationships with your boss. They are senior to you, and can look out for themselves. Your job is to get the presentation done and make your boss look good.

      Your boss can’t manage these people effectively if you hide the problems.

  28. Looking for Women’s Clothing Recommendations*

    I am looking for recommendations for women’s clothing brands that are business casual but leaning more towards business than casual. MM La Fleur is sort of what I’m looking for, but less expensive. I’m especially interested in unstructured blazers and separates that can be mixed and matched. I would love to just buy a capsule wardrobe somewhere and just be done with it! I apparently forgot how to dress myself over the last two years, and my Old Navy tie-dye sweatshirts are not going to cut it.

      1. AFT*

        Also on Poshmark. Since MMLF did a lot of sales during the pandemic, and now many people are not returning to the same level of formality, there are a ton of NWT and barely used items on the secondary market.

      2. Doctors Whom*

        MMLF also has a used marketplace through their own site where you can buy and sell their items. It’s called SecondAct.

    1. Alice*

      Ann Taylor Loft has a lot of good office clothes with varying degrees of business vs. casual, and the prices are reasonable (plus they have a lot of big sales). Looking at MM La Fleur, their stuff seems similar to pieces from Calvin Klein or Tahari that you can usually get at department stores for fairly good prices (or somewhere like Nordstrom Rack or outlets in general). J.Crew Factory also has good stuff that’s cheaper than the main J.Crew brand, though it tends more toward the casual end of things.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Loft is my go to, and the clothes tend to hold up pretty well. Their leggings have become my work from home staple because I still feel like it’s not pajamas but they are comfortable. But their dress pants are great too and then have pretty inclusive sizing.

        1. Alice*

          Yeah their sizing is a big positive. I’m a size in that annoying grey area between “normal” and plus sizes so it can be very hard to shop, but Loft stuff is sized consistently enough that I can order their clothes online and almost always be happy with the fit.

      2. Jay*

        Another vote for Loft. When I started doing an #ootd post on IG about a year ago, I realized at least half of my wardrobe comes from Loft. Almost all of it was purchased on sale. It’s decent quality and their style works for me. I have to shorten all the pants which makes me a bit irritated – I’m 5’5″, petite inseam and rise are too short for me, and I don’t wear 4″ heels.

        I also buy from the main Ann Taylor site, which I find to be a bit more formal and structured. I love their blazers. They also have good sales.

        I haven’t shopped Poshmark. I haunt ThredUp. I had bariatric surgery in 2017 and had to buy clothes that I could only wear for a brief period – sometimes only a few weeks. ThredUp is the online equivalent of walking into a discount store with racks and racks of clothing that’s not well-organized. I’ve found some gems including a pair of Banana Republic lined work pants for $20.00. I was actually sad when those got to be too big. Now when I see something I like for full-price, I often pop over to ThredUp and look to see if it’s there. Nabbed an Eileen Fisher raincoat and a Loft dress that way.

        1. Alice*

          I second ThredUp! I actually heard about it from one of Alison’s posts about it here. It can be a bit of a crapshoot and they have a very short return window, but I’ve also gotten some great stuff (and sold a lot of my old stuff back to them for store credit). They have such a huge inventory that you can use super specific search terms and come up with a lot of results. One of my favorite and most frequently worn skirts comes from there.

          1. Minimal Pear*

            I’m addicted to ThredUp, I literally just made a big purchase! It’s terrible for me lol. I highly recommend HEAVILY filtering items to find what you want–I filter sizes and fiber content mostly.

      3. The New Wanderer*

        Banana Republic Factory is a goldmine for business casual too, especially the sales. I’ve had luck at Uniqlo as well.

    2. The cat’s ass*

      Universal Standard might be good for you. They are unstructured but professional and I think they have a capsule collection too. Plus lots of sizes. Good luck !

    3. Kay*

      I’m assuming you have seen MM La Fleur’s resale section? Their prices are drastically lower than full price, and though I haven’t used it I’m guessing the quality is still good if run through the company.

      I was going to second the Ann Taylor Loft sale section as well – some great deals to be had if their stuff fits you.

      1. pancakes*

        Maybe also The Frankie Store, for blouses and pants. The dresses tend to be clingy or have cut-outs.

    4. Nutella Versace*

      The Liz Claiborne collection at JC Penney has some clothing similar to M.M. LaFleure. I have a few pieces from them and they’ve held up really well.

  29. STG*

    Relatively new manager (less than a year) and hitting a bit of a social situation that I’m unsure how to resolve.

    I play on a local adult kickball league and have for a few years now. Not particularly professional or competitive…think adults drinking beers and blowing off steam. I’ve played with largely the same group of folks all seasons. Side note that I rarely drink (maybe 6 beers over a whole year) so I’m never drunk but the league is pretty adult and conversations come up that I would never have with coworkers.

    Had some interviews this week for one of my vacancies and low and behold, one of the members of my kickball team shows up at an interview. I wasn’t aware that he worked in my industry and he wasn’t aware of me either. The kickball team is about 12 people and him and I just haven’t interacted much. I also don’t talk much about my job in general.

    There are still other interviews going on so he may or may not be offered a position as of yet. The current season has about 4 more weeks. My gut is telling me that I’ll have to drop out of the kickball team if I offer him a position. I’m kind of bummed about it since it’s one of the few spots in my life that I can let loose and relax. Part of me wants to finish the season but even that makes me a edgy.

    Thoughts?

    1. Pool Lounger*

      I’m thinking of small towns and small communities within larger places where you naturally do non-work activities with coworkers. I don’t see an issue with two coworkers, or a supervisor and their employee being on the same sports team.

    2. anonymous73*

      Is there another team you can join if this person ends up with the job? I don’t really see a conflict of interest though, but can see how it may look that way when people find out they’re on your kickball team.

      1. STG*

        Yea, there are other teams but I don’t know anyone on most of them. It is an option though. Besides the fact that I won’t be able to relax the same, I’m worried about the optics of spending time with one of my coworkers playing a sport but not the rest of the team. The good ole ‘gold meetings’ if you will.

    3. Ness*

      It sounds like you’re getting a bit ahead of yourself since you don’t even know if this guy will be the top candidate.

      Since there’s only a few weeks left, I would suggest finishing out the season but trying to keep your conversations a little more PG.

      But yeah, if you end up hiring the guy, you probably shouldn’t be on the same team next year, especially if your main motivation to play is to blow off steam. He might end up feeling the same and quit himself, making it a non-issue.

      There’s also the issue of potential awkwardness if you don’t offer him the job, but hopefully that won’t be an issue since you guys aren’t close.

    4. tamarak & fireweed*

      I know this community is usually quite negative on friendship-type situations involving work colleagues at different hierarchy levels, but I’m in a small college town, and it’s simply not realistic to expect this level of separation. Sure, it would make things easier, and of course there can potentially be dicey situations. But where I am there is only one running club, one cycling club, one symphony orchestra, one hospital etc… so you’re running into people from work or their spouses and assorted family all the time. And we handle it as adults.

      I’d say, be up-front about it to your management chain, don’t buddy-buddy up with them more than needed (seems you aren’t already), and cross any bridges if you come to them. IOW, if you have to fire them, that’s late enough to drop out of the sports team if things get rough.

  30. Kitty101*

    Referral programs: is it normal to never hear anything back?

    My company has a paid referral program — I think something like $4000 for a hire, which they promote frequently with plugs, raffles, etc. I recently submitted a referral for a former colleague and good friend, who I thought would be an excellent fit for an open role (I submitted with the highest possible rating, and a detailed personal note on the referral).

    Total silence both to her and to me, and the role has now been filled (4 weeks later).

    Is this normal? I would have expected at least an acknowledgment, and ideally a personal note to me if they’re not even contacting her for an interview. I also get that they want to protect applicants’ privacy, so wondering how these are normally handled. It’s fine that they didn’t want to interview her (and from the timing, they may have had candidates in late stages already), but I’m bothered by the lack of any kind of message about it. a colleague told me she had the same experience with a strong referral recently.

    I’m inclined not to bother submitting anyone I actually have a relationship with again, as i felt like it made me look bad to the person I was referring. but not sure if I should say anything to the recruiting/HR team that is constantly promoting this program, or accept that this is normal and just not a system that I like.

    1. Panda (she/her)*

      I have referred several candidates, and my company has a really similar program. I never heard back one way or another until they got hired, so in my experience it is pretty typical – I think it makes sense to protect the privacy of the applicant, but hopefully the company would at least give them a call or something.

      You don’t know why the person wasn’t interviewed though – maybe they are fantastic but lack experience in something that was key for the position, or maybe there was already someone well into the process and they decided not to interview anyone else unless that person didn’t work out. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

      1. Kitty101*

        That’s helpful thanks! I’m really not reading into it, but would have liked any kind of acknowledgment (like, hey just so you know, saw your referral but we’re moving forward with other candidates) so that I can be in contact with my referral and not look cold / like I’m ignoring them / like a doofus who doesn’t know what’s going on.

        *Ideally* I would like some feedback (like, we really only hire folks with X industry background for those teams) so that I don’t waste my time in future, but I do understand that it may be easier for privacy protection to have a policy not to share a reason at all.

        Anyway sounds like from comments here, this is just normal and not a practice I like. Oh well!

        1. ThatGirl*

          I think it also depends somewhat if you have any sort of relationship with the hiring manager. If it’s for a team you work with (or your team) that’s different than just “I submitted a referral through our HRIS”.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I’ve referred two people at my current company – one didn’t get hired (I think she did get a phone screen); the other did. I never heard anything about the one who didn’t get hired, at all. And honestly the main reason I heard anything about the one who did get hired was because it was for a team that works very closely with mine.

    3. The Other Evil HR Lady*

      That was very not-nice from your company. We have referral programs as well, and if we get a referral we definitely contact the employee, at least, with a final decision. Like you said, it’s okay to not hire a referral, but it’s not okay to not communicate with the employee doing the referral. That’s just smart! You want to give your employee as much information as feasible; maybe not go into detail about why the candidate was rejected, but a “thank you for the referral, but they’re not quite what we had in mind” would go a long way to make you feel like your effort was appreciated… just like with everything else in employment: a little communication goes a long way to keep the employee engaged and committed, ya know?

    4. Dragon*

      I had 5 or 6 interviews over 6 months, at a firm where the employer who referred me had been my boss at a former employer. The positions were the same type, but in different departments.

      So I was comfortable asking my referral to find out if the silence was because they weren’t going to hire me. She did, and that seemed to snap them out of their inertia.

    5. tamarak & fireweed*

      If she applied (do you know she did?) and was not selected I think we’re in the normal realm of lackluster behavior of employers to contact unsuccessful candidates back. For me, contacting you (especially if you don’t have an ongoing close relationship with the hiring manager) is an optional extra. TBH, if her application materials didn’t stand out, they may have forgotten that she was an employee referral…

  31. The cat’s ass*

    Has anyone else had this happen? My husband has been working as a w2 contractor for the last 3 months and two weeks ago they just ran out of work while owing him his last two weeks of pay. They haven’t paid him but also don’t want him to file for unemployment, stating “we’re looking for something else for you to do,” but in the meantime aren’t paying him to sit around. He filed for UI anyway and also contacted the NLRB about retrieving the salary owed him. Do y’all have any other suggestions on how to handle this? Thanks!

    1. Kay*

      I would go to your state’s department of labor and perhaps do some Googling regarding your state specific laws. It sounds like you are on the right track though – good luck!

      1. ShysterB*

        I second the suggestion to look into your state’s Department of Labor — filing a wage claim through your state agency can (sometimes) help jar someone into compliance (especially if your state’s law imposes individual liability upon the company folks responsible for the delay).

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      You’ve done the right things. If the employer finds some work for him to do, he just stops certifying for UI benefits.

      In my state there’s a 1 week unpaid “waiting period” before benefits kick in.

    3. PollyQ*

      I’d suggest looking around for a new employer, because this:

      They haven’t paid him but also don’t want him to file for unemployment, stating “we’re looking for something else for you to do,”

      is total bullshit and shows that they’re not operating in good faith.

    4. NorthBayTeky*

      It’s illegal to withhold his pay.

      I have a sister who quit a job at a Burger King. I think she said she told them to mail her last paycheck. Well, they didn’t, so she went to the store to collect it. It wasn’t there and (not sure what happened next, they sent it back?) So she filed a claim with California Fair Labor and Housing. Not only did they have to give her the back wages, they had to pay her an additional two weeks for the trouble of not getting her paycheck to her.

      I hope you’re in California, cuz they don’t’ mess around.

      1. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

        Yes in California you are owed your pay on your last day of employment. In most other states, it would generally be paid on whatever is the company’s next normal pay cycle (usually within 2 weeks).

  32. Not_Kate_Winslet*

    I’m looking for stories/examples of people leaving government employment mid-career for the private sector.

    My 20-year career has been 100% government jobs, all in the same field, all with increasing responsibility / visibility. My chosen career path is public health, and I was drawn to this as a service career… literally embodying “public servant.” The pandemic has broken me. I never thought I would leave public service, but the last several months have made it very apparent that I must, if I wish to preserve my sanity and sense of self-worth. I read public sector postings that *seem* applicable to my experience, but I also have a severe case of imposter syndrome, thinking I couldn’t possibly be qualified for these jobs… My private sector friends assure me that they’re just words, and that they would feel the same way upon reading government job postings.

    Is there anyone out there who has successfully made the switch? Any advice about resume makeovers (terminology? transferable skills?), how to navigate the huge shift in benefits (which as a government employee – they are AMAZING), how to negotiate for pay when you know you’ve been massively underpaid for years (because that’s just what is expected and accepted)?

    1. Charlotte+Lucas*

      As someone who’s switched between government & private a few times, you can do it! I know that businesses that have government contracts love hiring people who’ve worked in the trenches, often at pretty high levels. Nonprofits, too. Look for industry-adjacent work.

      Definitely update your resume to make it more corporate-friendly. Resumes for government work tend to be more detailed & have to meet different requirements. Good luck!

    2. PX*

      You can do it!

      I would definitely do some research as far as salary goes (Glassdoor/Alisons salary thread etc) so that you have a number in mind of what someone with your skills and experience should be making.

      Then I would try and use my network or find appropriate recruiters to work with. You will likely need a resume makeover, but I think Alisons guide on how to write one is extremely accurate for pretty much most fields. But try and run it past any friends or colleagues you can, and potentially recruiters. They can be pretty hit or miss, but if you find a good one (look for specialists) they really can be worth it. If you’re not on LinkedIn, suggest setting up a profile there, and again, you can use it for research purposes. Looking for people who have the job title you are aiming for and see what kind of skills/background they have can be a great way of reassuring yourself that you can do the job, but also finding out about what kind of companies hire in it!

    3. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Since you mentioned public health, this may be unlikely, but wanted to mention just in case. If you have security clearance (which of course I would not expect you to confirm here!), but if you do, I strongly recommend looking at technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc since they hire people with clearance to work on their air-gapped clouds. OR, even if you don’t have security clearance, many of these technology companies have the federal gov’t as a customer, and sometimes have whole organizations just to support their gov’t customers. I agree with what everyone has told you (and I’ve told this to a friend in the gov’t in the past, so would be crazy if it’s you!), you can absolutely break into the private sector. 100000%

    4. Former Govt*

      Go for it! I was in government for about 15 years and had risen through the ranks until I was working directly for the Agency Director. There was no other place to go and I was massively burnt out and underpaid. The last time I asked for a salary adjustment I was given $500 a year and told “don’t ask again.”

      I ended up getting a job through my network and getting at massive (nearly double) pay increase. Six years on and I am still thrilled with the move.

      Here are some suggestions:
      – Spend the time really revamping your resume. It’s a pain but it will be worth it. At government job I didn’t need to rely on my resume since I got in line promotions so mine had not been touched in at least five years.

      – Find 1 or 2 people you trust who will critique the resume and take their feedback.

      – Do the math on what your salary needs are to account for the potential loss on benefits. Also factor in the actual salary increase you want. In my case, I shifted to my spouse’s heath insurance but my salary bump more than made up for the increased premium. Also at government they were not matching any retirement but at my current company, they so 401k match, stock, and bonuses so I feel like benefits are even better.

      – With your experience, you are a Subject Matter Expert in your field. Many consulting companies would be glad to have someone who thinks like and understands their clients.

      – Use your network.

      – When you land in a new job, give yourself time to adjust. I found the culture shift a bit jarring even though the culture was better. I found new job to be less micro managing, more open, more flexible and trusting. However, I had a hard time trusting that people would follow through.

      Best of luck!

  33. Miss Fisher*

    What is up with titles? I work for a large org that hands out titles all the time. I was recently “promoted” to an Assistant Vice President. But when I told family, I was asked VP of what. Of nothing, is the answer, it is just a title. It doesn’t have any additional perks, but seems to be more of something to do when they cannot move you up etc.

    So my questions are, is this something that happens at larger orgs in general? If so, what is the actual benefit of the title if it doesn’t come with any perks.

    1. Alice*

      Early in my career I assumed that someone with a VP title was legit the second-in-command of the company, but I’ve come to find that it’s just something fancy sounding that gets handed out all over the place. I think it’s just a way of indicating seniority or placement in the hierarchy, or an acknowledgment that you’re doing higher level work while not changing your actual job.

    2. Littorally*

      Some VPs are “VP of [Thing]” but sometimes it’s just a way to say where you are in the hierarchy. I am an AVP, working up the chain with VPs and Senior VPs, and down the chain with Officers and Senior Specialists.

      We are a large firm and also extremely specialized, so the rank titles help keep things straight when everyone’s function titles are all over the place and don’t directly compare well.

    3. Sylvan*

      Are you in banking/finance? That’s one of the biggest industries in my city and people have talked about VP titles being given frequently. I haven’t heard of it in other fields.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Was going to ask this question as well. It seems like 30% of the people in retail banking are called “Vice President”. It’s just a weird thing in that industry.

    4. Irish girl*

      I think at my company once you are an AVP you get a parking space in the underground parking garage which is for “executives” only. After AVP’s its VP, Senior VP, Executive VP and then President/CEO. Most AVPs are 3-4 levels from the CEO. THey might have more responsibility than Directors but still not as much as a VP.

    5. Desdemona*

      In tech, VPs are very common. They report to the C-suite and are often department heads, managing several director-level people. Directors then manage managers, who manage the individual contributors. For some departments where there typically isn’t ever a c-level position (those are usually finance, tech, product, and operations, and that’s it) it’s the highest you could ever get promoted in your career.

  34. Bernie*

    One of my co-workers grandmother passed away this week. She went to her boss to let them know she would be taking Friday (today) off for the services and our boss who is head of HR replies: The full day?

    1. The Ginger Ginger*

      The level of grief -laden snark that would come out of my mouth if someone said that to me would know NO bounds.

      Yes my grandmother will be deceased the full day, so I will be out the full day.

    2. JustaTech*

      Why are people like that?
      In one year (several years ago) both my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother passed away (at the end of very long lives). My boss was nothing but kind, understanding and helpful, making sure that I wasn’t cutting anything short with family for work.

    3. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      “Yes, the full day. And I was so shocked my Gram dying, I forgot to say, I’ll be out next week to sit Shiva as well.”

    4. Chauncy Gardener*

      What the actual f–k? We just got through (almost) the panini and even HR people don’t know how to handle a death in an employee’s family??
      Flames! etc

    5. tamarak & fireweed*

      “I will assume for your benefit that you are lucky enough not having to deal with bereavement recently. Yes, the full day.”

  35. Anon Today*

    TL;DR My company offers crap parental leave, should I find a new job with better leave or try to negotiate for a longer leave?

    Long version: I just discovered that my company only offers 6 weeks of maternity leave (and 2 weeks “bonding leave” for non-birthing parents). Yes, I should have looked this up before, but in my defense it was hard to find. I know that for some folks 6 weeks would be great, but my state now offers 12 weeks paid (but only if your employer doesn’t offer paid leave).
    Should I try to find a new job (ASAP before it’s obvious I’m pregnant) or can I try to negotiate a longer leave with my company since I’m one of the only people with my skills and knowledge (and the knowledge at least can’t be hired in, it all comes from experience and tenure here)? Has anyone negotiated longer leave, or a part-time WFH return? Part of the issue is that it is almost impossible to find childcare here.

    1. JustMyImagination*

      Double check the state law! I’m in MA and companies can only opt out of the state mandated leave if they offer equivalent or better than the law.

    2. Midwestern Scientist*

      Can you do both? Start the conversation with you boss/HR and start submitting your resume to jobs you would be interested in. If your current situation works out, great! If not, you have a start on your job search

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Agree with JustMyImagination to double check the law in your state.

        Also agree with Irish girl, this is an important distinction and may affect the pay part to be worse than what you might expect. Before my last company changed their policy to the current 12 week paid parental leave, maternity leave was actually handled as short term disability, which is 6 weeks (unless you had a C-section, which gave you 8 weeks) but of that 6 weeks, the first week is unpaid and the remaining 5 weeks is paid at 80% salary. The unpaid time could be compensated up to 100% via any accrued PTO, but it wasn’t 100% regular pay for 6 full weeks. FWIW I didn’t know any of that myself until I was dealing with HR to get it set up!

        That said, there’s no harm in asking for 12 weeks (with the framing of “has this policy been updated in keeping with state law?”), and also no harm in looking. The more information you have, the better. Good luck!

    3. WantonSeedStitch*

      One problem is that if you start somewhere else as a new employee, you may or may not be eligible for parental leave when you start work!

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        That was my huge initial concern when I read this too. Heck, Old-Job kept me on Brand A STD insurance when they switched policies because Brand B would have refused to cover me had I switched at 6 mo pregnant.

    4. Alatheia*

      Do you qualify for FMLA?
      Is the 6 weeks paid? Can you take more unpaid? 6 weeks paid would be very generous leave in the US.

      The issue with finding a new job is that FMLA wouldn’t apply to you in the first year, so you may end up in a worse position.

    5. New Mom*

      First, congrats! I think a lot of companies have caveats that you need to be employed for 12 months to access their maternity benefits, some don’t. If you are able to quickly find a company that would give you better mat leave regardless of tenure then that’s great, but it might be easier to try to negotiate with your current employer. Ask if you can tack on sick/vacation after the 6 weeks or if you can take unpaid time off for an additional amount of time. If this is truly a deal breaker you could also take your maternity leave and then just be done with that company, spend time with your baby and then start job hunting when you are ready to go back. I know the last suggestion is contingent on finances though. Mat leave is deeply disappointing in the US, hugs from a fellow pregnant worker bee.

  36. Zorra*

    Does anyone have an expense management/reimbursement software that they recommend? My company is switching our software, and I’ve never actually worked anywhere with a good system! Do they actually exist?

    1. Kitty101*

      Everywhere I’ve worked has used Expensify, and it’s… fine! I like that I can forward in emails and they get tagged automatically (decently well, at least). Filing expenses is still annoying, as it probably will be until the robots fully take over. But Expensify is a decent option.

    2. Coenobita*

      We use Concur and it’s fine. But then again, my only comparison is the Excel spreadsheets my previous employer used!

      1. Princess Xena*

        We use Concur too. I haven’t had any significant issues with it. Bonus is that it has the capability to link up to the site where we book business travel and auto-generate starting reports when it knows we’re going to be flying/staying in a hotel.

    3. AdequateArchaeologist*

      We use Deltek Vision. I’m on the inputting side rather than the accounting side and I think it works fairly well. You can link up an employee’s company credit card so the charges show up and you can select it to auto fill so there’s less chance of a typo messing things up. The app crashes all the time, and the timekeeping function can be a PITA, but the desktop version of the expense function is good.

    4. Zorra*

      Thanks, everyone! This is really helpful. If anyone else has any thoughts (either from accounting or inputting), I’d love to hear them!

    5. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      I saw an ad on the side of a bus today for something called Expensify, and it advertised free expense reports. Can’t vouch for it, but sharing in case it’s helpful.

    6. Chauncy Gardener*

      I cannot verbalize succinctly how much I hate Concur. Cumbersome Concur. Big, not streamlined, illogical, not easy to use PITA of a system. I am in Accounting/Finance FYI. But have heard how much users hate it too

      1. Dr. Anonymous*

        Many colleagues in our organization hate Concur–on the user end. I think Finance likes it, but our Finance is full of clever people who also can’t get payroll right, so don’t go by that.

  37. Panda (she/her)*

    I’m really unhappy at my job, and mostly because of my manager – I need to feel like my manager has my back, and with mine I just don’t feel that way at all. I am at the point of leaving and have applied to and gotten interviews for other jobs, but also just got a promotion (which doesn’t solve the issues, but does reflect that they value me as an employee). I’m weighing whether I speak up and tell them how unhappy I am in the hopes that something changes, or just leave and give a bland reason of “needed a change” in my exit interview. I do believe they would be highly motivated to keep me and I really enjoy the work and the people I work with, but not sure how much emotional energy I want to put into explaining myself. My company is fairly small and my manager is pretty senior, so there aren’t too many options around changing managers/departments.

    If you have tried “job crafting” or spoken up about issues rather than leaving, let me know how it went? Any advice or tips?

    1. MustardPillow*

      Well, if you’re going to leave anyway, what’s the risk of a direct conversation with the boss? Okay, maybe a reference if they’re unreasonable. Is the manager an unreasonable person who is high on their own power? Or are they just a person trying to prioritize their own tasks and doesn’t realize they’ve let one go? If it’s the former, leave. If it’s the latter, speak up.

    2. ferrina*

      What is it that you want your manager to do that they aren’t currently doing?

      If it’s things like regular meetings or including you in X, those are fixable things that you can speak up about now.
      If it’s things like “they tell me one thing, but if it blows up they throw me under the bus”, that’s a character issue and won’t change and isn’t safe to bring up. Just leave and don’t say anything that might jeopardize your reference.
      If it’s things like “I really like to collaborate, but my manager is really busy and doesn’t have time for me”, that’s a structural issue. It won’t change but it’s something you can bring up. It flags for them that they might consider changing the role, or if they can’t/won’t change the role, it will help them know how to hire people that can thrive in that environment.

    3. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      I did this once early in my career, and my director at the time (my manager’s boss), essentially moved me to report to them instead to keep me from leaving that team. So it is possible. Although to your point, if it’s a small company, is there even anyone else to report to? But since you were just promoted, and you’ll potentially leave anyway to get away from this manager, yes I would say something. Good luck!

  38. SQL Coder Cat*

    So I posted last week about the top candidate for the newly created middle manager between the team I’m on and our current manager being a big fan of Kim Scott’s radical candor. I’m lucky to be on a very diverse, inclusive team with a great team culture, and I’ve had bad experiences with people misusing the concept in the past. I asked how much of a red flag others would consider this.

    I spoke to my current manager about my concerns, and she agreed to probe deeper with the candidate in her final interview. She ended up offering the position, but did tell him he would need to work with her on appropriate ways of giving feedback. And… after a few days of considering the offer, he turned it down. The stated reason was the health insurance didn’t work for him, but we have amazing health insurance so I’m not sure that was the reason.

    At any rate, I consider this a bullet successfully dodged.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I’m chuckling at the thought that someone who believes in radical candor may have given a fake answer to why they turned down the offer.

      However, glad to hear you won’t have to experience the candor first-hand!

    2. cubone*

      I really liked Radical Candor and found it helpful and it’s super disappointing how misused it is. In general I am fascinated by the ways a lot of concepts that stemmed from resources around psychological safety and mental health and well-being are manipulated so disgustingly by the power hungry. I’ve said in other comments before but I swear there is a crop of Fake Brene Browns wielding “authenticity” as a weapon. I’ve encountered a few and they terrify me.

      1. SQL Coder Cat*

        Exactly. In theory, I love the practice of Radical Candor. However, in practice I’ve only seen it used as a tool by bullies to disempower their subordinates.

  39. Murfle*

    I need some help about giving advice. I have a friend who is about the same age as me. We’re both in our late 30s. After I graduated, I was able to find a corporate career path, and I’ve been working in online content/tech for about a decade.

    My friend, however, never really figured out what he wanted to do with his life. He tried getting into voice acting but nothing much came of that. So he’s been stuck in a string of retail jobs for years, while getting financial support from his parents. However, his parents have finally given him some sort of cutoff/ultimatum: they’ve said that they can’t continue to give him the same level of support, and that he needs to find a way to support himself by the end of the year.

    My friend has a series of health problems, and his non-retail work experience (helping people prepare tax returns) is years out of date. So, he needs help finding work, and while I’m willing to do so, I’m not sure how.

    He doesn’t know what stuff he’s good at. The only thing he can think of right now is remote data entry work. But how does he find a job like that with minimal experience? More importantly, how do I help him without overwhelming him with resume advice, links to AAM, remote work subreddits, recommendations for temp agencies, etc?

    1. Charlotte+Lucas*

      I used to train customer service reps, & it sounds like he has the skills necessary for that job, which usually pays better than data entry. Most places will train you into either of those jobs, provided you have basic computer skills. But he should emphasize the soft/people skills he has from retail. Also something places want in a receptionist.

      Temp/employment agencies can also lead to something. I worked for a while for a staffing agency. It led to my current position & I got benefits in the meantime.

      Depending on where he lives, there are a lot of options out there right now for someone with a more service-based job path

    2. ferrina*

      I broke into office work via temping. If you can afford to do that for a while (I’d recommend to plan up to a year, though hopefully it wouldn’t take that long), that can show that you are good in office environments and allows you to see a variety of roles.
      You should be applying to roles at the same time. The trick is to not burn yourself out. Give yourself time to not apply, and be realistic in what you apply for. If I only have mental bandwidth to apply to 4 jobs a week, great! Do that! Be picky about what you apply for- apply for what you’re most excited about, because that will come through in your materials. As you temp more and get familiarity with different types of roles, that will help you tailor the position that you’re looking for and the experiences that you should be highlighting. At least, that’s my advice for seekers.

      For you as a friend, I’d first check in with him. Does he want your help? If not, I’d stay out of it. This might mean that you put a moratorium on job related conversation for a while (if you know it will frustrate you to hear). If he does want help, serve as a Subject Matter Expert first. Help him map a plan. Encourage him to keep it realistic- it can be really freeing to hear someone else tell you “take a break. It will make you better”. (I know I felt like a slacker if I wasn’t applying to 20 places per week, and most weeks I just couldn’t). Keep your advice bite size- Maybe on Week 1 he works out a plan for the next year. On week 2 he revamps his resume. On week 3, it’s the cover letter. On week 4, he’s in a temp agency. Week 5, tailoring search filters and starting to explore and apply. If he has energy to do more, great, he can get ahead (like getting ahead in your homework in college- definitely not for everyone, but it makes some people really happy).
      Good luck to you both!

    3. Anon in IL*

      Did your friend like preparing tax returns? The recent Washington Post article “ Fighting a red-hot job market, the IRS struggles to rebuild” describes several employees who made the switch from retail to IRS work.

    4. Cordelia*

      It sounds like he has experience in retail work – is he trying to get out of that field? Otherwise, isn’t it possible for him to continue with that, and develop those skills further? Perhaps into supervisory or management in retail, or administrative back-office type functions. If he’s looking for your help, could you help him by thinking with him about the skills he has gained through his retail work and how he can build on or transfer those?

    5. Rear Mech*

      Entry level accounts receivable (sometimes the job title will just be AR or A/R) usually pays better than retail and comes with PTO & benefits. Good fit for someone with lots of customer service experience, especially if he leans on the tax prep experience and “wanting to get back into an accounting role”

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        *nods* I got into entry-level accounts payable after years of mostly retail, by going the temp-to-perm route. I’ve been temp-to-perm through two different agencies in two major cities now. I found using agencies less soul-killing than applying and being rejected for individual jobs.

    6. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      If in the US, there are free career services through your local Dept of Labor. CareerOneStop . org is the US DOL’s site and has some easy and free career assessments with accompanying occupational descriptions, wage info, etc.

      The temp agency route is a great one. Once an agency finds someone that does good work, they’re likely to find new and better slots when the assignment is done. Until you’re inside CorporateLand you don’t always know what sorts of jobs there are and what you might be good at.

    7. RagingADHD*

      Temp agencies are a great option. Which one is best is a local issue. He can look them up and see what they’re offering, or do a search filter for their names on craigslist or your local paper’s online want ads.

      Coming out of retail, an online search of places like indeed isn’t going to be helpful. He needs to find some small to midsized companies or local government positions that can bridge him into other jobs.

    8. roxie*

      Gently, I would caution against you taking too much of this on for him. He sounds like he may have a habit of relying on other people to a fault and it is very nice of you to be generous and helpful but I hope you don’t get trapped…

  40. Hotdog not dog*

    One of our branch offices has hired a new manager. We’re a male dominated industry and she will be the only female branch manager in our area. This will be her first time managing financial advisors. (Who are a unique breed.) I have only met her briefly, but she seems to be nice. I’d like her to succeed, mostly because some of the jackasses I work with have already started complaining about having to report to a woman. (Yes, it’s still 2022, I also had to check to be sure we hadn’t accidentally fallen through a time warp to 1950!)
    I’m sure she’s fully able to take care of herself, but apart from being generally welcoming and supportive, what are some specific actions I and my more reasonable colleagues can take to help her succeed? I’m an individual contributor with no real power and I won’t be working directly with her branch, but again, I’d love to see her knock it out of the park!
    Also, if you are a female manager in a male dominated industry, what are some specific issues you faced? I’m wondering if I can help steer a few things in the right direction. While I have little actual power, I do have friends in both high and low places. In case it matters, I am also a woman, but not a manager.
    Thank you!

    1. rock and roll saved my shower*

      If your friends in high and low places are men, I’d push on them to push back on other men in all-men spaces. Male misogynists are much better listening to other men correct them about women than they are at listening to women defend other women.

    2. Kitty101*

      Some useful advice I’ve seen is to try to consciously create the kind of semi-social support network that the white guys naturally create with each other. Take her to lunch, introduce her to people, share office gossip, etc. I believe that advice came from Michelle Silverthorn’s book or TED talk if you’re looking for more ideas.

      1. PX*

        THIS. I was going to say if you have been around longer, make an effort to help her out by giving her the lowdown on office/company politics/culture early. Big her up to others even when she’s not around (if shes doing good work). Share your network with her if you can etc.

    3. Midwestern Scientist*

      Encourage your friends, especially males, to push back on the “I don’t want to report to a woman” types ASAP

    4. FDS*

      I would honestly go to HR on this one or call your compliance line if you have one. I see that others have been advising you on having the other men push back against the negativity but I disagree. In my experience, men are absolutely useless when it comes to stopping misogyny. Don’t ally with them and temper your expectations if for some reason you do. I just can’t trust it no more then I would trust bears to self police a bear attack problem.

  41. Napster*

    Seeking a reality check:

    Been in the job for six years. $1/hour raise on 1/1/2019. Nothing since then. Been promised job description (nope, never had an actual job description), review, and pay increase since 1/1/2019 — has not happened. Boss often tells me “you were right” on various business issues (but continues to disregard my input). Could go on and on about dysfunction and frustration.

    Bottom line: Kind people with good hearts, but I’m losing my mind and preparing to bolt ASAP. Reasonable?

    1. WineNot*

      Not reasonable. Especially with the insane changes in our world since 2019, they NEED to be able to at least give you raises to keep up with that. I would ask one last time for money and anything you want from them, and if they can’t give it, bolt. Good luck!

      1. Econobiker*

        Ask for the raise, input, etc and let these clueless / cheap people know how much more it would cost to replace your position. But don’t expect them to budge because you have been so inexpensive to date. They won’t “get it” until you leave and they try to hire someone new in at your old wage level…

        Best of luck with your journey and new job future.

    2. Rayray*

      Leave! They’re clearly not loyal to you so they do not deserve your loyalty. It goes both ways.

    3. Shiba Dad*

      Been in a similar situation. We were promised raises and bonuses for a couple years. Didn’t receive either. Management also didn’t listen to employees, even after stuff we warned about came true.

      This was a small office (~15 people) owned by a larger company. Three of us left (not me*) within a four month period. Parent company management paid us a visit because they had no clue why people would leave.

      Miraculously, raises and the occasional bonus started happen.

      Perfectly reasonable for you to want to get out.

      *I tried to get out too. Eventually did several years later.

    4. WantonSeedStitch*

      Bolt bolt bolt! What on earth makes this worth staying for? Even if there are some good things about the job, isn’t it worth at least looking to see what else is out there that might be better?

    5. PollyQ*

      They are not that all kind or good-hearted if they’re not giving you what they’ve promised, especially in terms of pay. Bolt! Bolt like the wind!

    6. Napster*

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all the kind, encouraging comments. Putting on my track shoes!

  42. Amber Rose*

    Anyone else got some wins they’d like to brag about?

    Our new hire has worked out so awesomely I have completed two projects and I’m like 75% of the way through my one extremely massive one. Also my boss gave me a task that he expected would take around three hours and I was like, “This data is exportable to Excel. BY THE POWER OF VLOOKUP!” and got it done in 20 minutes. I’m unreasonably excited to show off my Excel skills.

    All of this despite what was one of the most meeting-tastic weeks I’ve had in a while.

    1. The Ginger Ginger*

      What was with the meetings this week? I feel like everyone was slammed with them, including me! My biggest pride moment this week was knowing that the person I recommended for a role is absolutely killing it. I’m unreasonably smug and want to yell “I TOLD YOU SO” from the roof tops.

    2. Foxgloves*

      I’ve just been nominated for a work award for “best collaboration”!! I’ve been feeling a bit like my work has been going unnoticed, but the team overseeing the awards sent through the details of the nominations, and the THREE (!! Most people only get one!) were absolutely glowing. I’m so happy, even if I don’t end up winning, it’s SO nice to know that my work is being noticed.

    3. WantonSeedStitch*

      I received an overall rating on my performance review for the past year that basically amounts to “your work has been above and beyond the good performance we expect of you. You therefore rock, and shall receive a larger raise than most people.” Not many folks in my organization get this. I haven’t gotten it since we went to this style of review (it’s always been the “you’re doing great, keep up the good work” rating, which most people get). The past year, for review purposes started not long after my return to work after maternity leave. So I’ve been working from home, dealing with a toddler as a first-time parent. I also took a day off every week for a few months, and then every other week for a few more months. And I STILL managed to get this rating. I’m feeling pretty fucking good about myself with regards to this.

    4. Alianora*

      I have a win that is maybe kind of a weird thing to be excited about! I’m leaving my job for a new one, already excited about that, and I had a great exit interview this week. It’s not like being good at this is a skill that will help me in the future, but I’m still happy it went well.

      I was nervous because I’d never done one before, but I gave our HR person a lot of honest feedback. (She is very nice, so that helped put me at ease.) At the end she thanked me and said this was actually one of the best exit interviews she’s done, both because I gave examples of things that could be improved and because I had already been bringing them up with management over the course of my job. Apparently a lot of people either give no feedback at all, or they complain about things for the first time in the exit interview.

      I also told her the percentage of my new salary increase, and she said that was helpful information so she can advocate for higher raises in the future. And we talked about a promotion that had been in the works for me, which she confirmed would still be moving forward for my counterpart in the same role – so I’m really happy that I could possibly be helping my current coworkers in the future.

    5. Pascall*

      I’ve had a total of 5 first-round interviews and 2 invitations to second-round interviews in the last two weeks. So that reassured me that my credentials and resume are appealing to employers. Hoping one of them results in an offer. All of them offer at least a $20k raise and fully work from home, so I’m stoked!

  43. Congrats, it's Friday!*

    Hi there! I’m wondering how to approach a colleague who frequently makes jokes about being fired (e.g. “As long as Boss doesn’t fire me, anyway!”). Currently this person reports to my boss and I don’t know what kind of feedback they have provided. However, I’ve just learned that they’ll report to me in an upcoming re-org, and I’d like to ask that they stop making these jokes. Additionally, I’m aware that this person is not meeting expectations, so while the jokes seem to come at random times, they might be rooted in some very real concerns about their job security.

    I was thinking that, in the manager role, I could address this 1:1, eg, “you often joke about getting fired, to the point where I’m wondering if you have concerns about your role or job security here. Can we talk through that?” Addressing any concerns and then eventually asking that they stop making these jokes. Whhat do you all think?

    1. CrazyPlantLady*

      I think it’s a bit dramatic for you to say that and it would come off really weird.

      I’d just say something like “man I hope you’re just joking!”

      1. Congrats, it's Friday!*

        This is way better for when these comments are live/in-person—thank you! This comes up a lot in Slack and just feels strange to address.

      1. Congrats, it's Friday!*

        Idk, I think jokes about firing are generally something to steer clear of (especially at this frequency)—definitely if they’re coming from the boss but also coming from a senior team member. It’s a weird team vibe to see this frequently both in live conversations and team Slack channels.

      2. Observer*

        But they are not asking this person to stop making jokes. They are asking to stop making jokes about A SINGLE SUBJECT.

      1. Congrats, it's Friday!*

        Yep, right on. I’ve been overthinking this transition since I learned about it yesterday and am clearly not focusing on the right piece.

    2. Jen MaHRtini*

      I’d bet money that they use these ‘jokes’ as a way of deflecting real conversations about their performance by putting their current manager in a position of having to reassure them, and will do the same to you. Your line of questioning sounds good, and I think you can ask them to engage in real feedback with you, and avoid extremes that get in the way of that and make others uncomfortable if they hear it.

    3. Congrats, it's Friday!*

      I’m rereading this now and I was definitely not taking the right approach/not worrying about the right thing. I need a little more time to digest my feelings about this person and transition. Appreciate the comments here and the opportunity to get a reality check.

      1. Bernice Clifton*

        Does this person make these jokes directly TO their current boss? If not, maybe they won’t with you after the re-org. I probably still wouldn’t bring it up off the bat because it comes off as a little, “New Sheriff In Town”.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      If she makes the joke to your face when you’re managing her, maybe treat it like a concern and clarify the PIP/firing process? “Oh, I would definitely never fire you without warning unless it was something egregious like a crime! If I have concerns about your work I’d start by…” etc. I feel like Alison suggested some scripts in a post where someone kept asking the LW “am I in trouble?” or something like that.

    5. Dragonfly7*

      My Grandboss had to be specifically ordered by HR to stop making jokes about firing people. Is the person making jokes about being fired possibly getting that kind of feedback?

    6. Observer*

      Additionally, I’m aware that this person is not meeting expectations, so while the jokes seem to come at random times, they might be rooted in some very real concerns about their job security.

      I was thinking that, in the manager role, I could address this 1:1, eg, “you often joke about getting fired, to the point where I’m wondering if you have concerns about your role or job security here. Can we talk through that?” Addressing any concerns

      Well here is the thing – you really can’t address the concerns, if he’s really on thin ice.

      You can still ask him to stop making those jokes, at least around you.

  44. Nameless Intern*

    I’m currently an intern at a teapot production site and have about 2.5 months of my 6 month internship left. My supervisors and colleagues have made it quite clear that they would like me to work stay and work a full time position after my internship. I have applied for this and it’s likely that I’ll get an offer from the company sometime within the next two or three weeks.

    However, I’m having some doubts about actually working here, partially due to the job duties of the full time position as well as working conditions. I commute over an hour total each day to my place of work, overtime would be expected (although compensated either with money or time off), and it’s shift work where we change every week from early to late shift. I really miss the flexibility and routine of having regular working hours and feel like I’m either at work or on my way to work, which will only get worse in a full-time position.

    My question is: If they do make me an offer and I decide to decline it, how do I do it gracefully? I would need to communicate this to my managers and peers who seem to already be planning with me as a full-time employee and I feel bad about messing up their plans. Additionally, I’ll still have about 2 months left by the time I potentially decline the offer so I’m worried that they’ll be annoyed with me. Rationally, I know that this is just business and they know I still have concerns about the job, but still. Please help!

    1. Jora Malli*

      I think you can probably blame your commute and say you’re looking for something closer to home.

    2. d*

      I very much appreciate the opportunity and the experience I’ve gained at your company, but I’ve decided to decline the full time position. I plan to finish the internship to the best of my ability and wish you the best as you look for the right person to fill this role full time.

    3. Kes*

      I think you can say that while you [enjoyed working with them | learned a lot | whatever applies], after thinking about it you’ve realized that the commute and schedule aren’t feasible for you long term.
      This is pretty reasonable and even if they’re a little disappointed, you need to make the choice that’s right for you and if they are reasonable people, they know that.

  45. J*

    Any other teachers jumping ship out there? I’m a high school biology teacher, and I’ve been looking around for other options, but I just can’t find much that sparks my interest that I’m qualified for. I’d actually really like to stay in the education field, just out of the classroom. I’m consistently praised for my digital assignments, the organization of my LMS (learning management system) page, and the layout of my guided notes, but idk about any concrete accomplishments relating to these that I could put on my resume. I really like planning and designing user-friendly activities, but idk if I’m even looking at the right kinds of jobs. I’ve explored instructional design a bit, but I’m just not interested in a lot of the corporate training jobs that are out there. I’m passionate about science and really want to be able to use that passion. Is anyone currently in a job that sounds like what I’m looking for? Or any suggestions for job titles I should be searching? Thanks so much for any help you can send my way!

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Maybe look for jobs at education-related nonprofits? I was a classroom high school teacher and switched to working at an education nonprofit where I taught part time in their after-school programs and did administrative tasks if the mornings. It was a great way to still be interacting with students in a less stressful way because the students that came actually wanted to be there. My classroom experience was valuable because I knew what a good lesson and curriculum looked like, so I was able to help write and design really compelling grants.

    2. CG*

      Not a teacher or a scientist, but I have a few friends who have made the jump to things like 1) education policy/educational design/ed technology and 2) educator positions outside the classroom, like https://naaee.org/eepro/jobs and state DNR or extension service jobs.

    3. CG*

      More ideas: zoos, aquariums, science museums, and conservation centers often have education jobs. You might also be able to snag scientist positions if that’s something of interest. Since I’m on an environment tear today, I believe EPA has been posting some Environmental Protection Specialist jobs lately across the USA, and you could search for jobs on Indeed or similar that include terms like “biology”, “environmental science”, “STEM”, etc. and see what pops up in your area.

    4. anxious teacher*

      Yes and no: I’m leaving my current district and transitioning into a leadership role where I’ll only teach one class. So I don’t have any real advice in terms of other roles to look for—like you, I can’t really seem myself leaving education entirely, but over the past year it became clear that if I was going to continue to love classroom teaching, I was going to need to take a step back from it for at least a while. Hopefully the combination of new responsibilities + a new district (guaranteed to still have bullshit, but at least it’ll be different bullshit, right?) will help me rally a little bit.

      In the meantime, consider this a fistbump of exhausted solidarity. This year is almost over! We can make it!

    5. Rara+Avis*

      My husband went from classroom teaching to working in a hands-on museum (a job that evaporated in summer 2020) but the pay, frankly, was terrible.

    6. Fabulous*

      You sound exactly like one of my college friends, but he’s a theatre teacher! I’ve been coaching him a bit because he IS looking to get into instructional design and that’s currently what I do. There are several aspects to ID, and many companies (mine at least) separate them all out, i.e. the ID people don’t do the actual training, etc. I also work in the healthcare industry, and there are so many opportunities to use science specifically at this company.

      So, I guess to say this – don’t discount ID altogether. Look at companies where scientific knowledge is relevant, and you could probably thrive with instructional design, training, or even a type of marketing role for a specific product or service.

    7. Hannahnannah*

      My team just hired a technical writer role – the new hire left middle/high school teaching to work for a software company as a technical writer. They taught computer technology classes at the middle school level. The ability to explain complex concepts in a simple way is invaluable, and they bring that to the table naturally. As well, we do some client training which allows the new hire to contribute to instructional design for adults. So, that might be a way to translate skills from one career to another if you enjoy writing, organizing, and communicating.

      If you (or anyone else) apply for any tech writing jobs:
      – Definitely talk about how you communicate complex ideas and concepts to someone with a different/non-scientific background.
      – Mention your LMS involvement and what kinds of comments you have received (esp. see if you can convert the comments into an achievement — achieved x% increase in page usage because of xyz/helped students find information efficiently due to page layout, etc.).
      – Are your guided notes like a How To guide? That would be important to mention for tech writing. How To guides are a big part of the job.
      – You talk about enjoying the creation of user-friendly activities. Call attention to your ability to view tasks and concepts from the user’s perspective.

      1. Alexis Rosay*

        As someone who has been exposed to a lot of bad technical writing, I wish more teachers would become technical writers because I feel like they would be on average pretty great at it.

        1. MacGillicuddy*

          This. There’s a general opinion among some that English majors make good technical writers, but teachers make better technical writers. It’s not about flowing prose, it’s about communicating concepts and tasks to your specific audience.

    8. Loves libraries*

      I have a coworker that resigned this week to teach computer and technology at an online college as an adjunct. She will complete the remaining 2 1/2 weeks of school and begin in July.

  46. hmmm*

    Silliest question ever

    I had a project I was working on outside of work, but that 3 coworkers had experience in. My coworkers were amazing with help, tips, guidance. Now that my project is completed I plan on writing a thank you note to each and baking them each a plate of brownies (they all said they love and often request).

    One of my coworkers seems to be on a special diet. I have no idea of her diet, though she mentioned it was a medical reason. While she “cheats” I’ve never seen her do so. I do notice she loves to eat fruit. While the other 2 coworkers I plan on giving a large dinner plate size of brownies with my thank you… is it rude for me to give her a smaller plate and buy her fruit from a local resturaunt I notice she frequents? I figure when I give it to her I can explain, but on the other hand I don’t want to single her out either.

    I truly just want to give her a token gift as a thank you for her advice.

    1. rock and roll saved my shower*

      YES PLEASE do this, omg. Since you know she eats that, get her what she eats.

      I’ve had so many experiences in my own life with “we got you a cake!” I can’t eat that.” Two years later: “We got you a cake you can eat!” “That fits one of my dietary problems but not the biggest one.”

      If you’re ambivalent, reach out and ask what kind of thing she’d like? Preface it maybe with your idea, so she already knows you don’t plan to give her something out of the question. And that way you might find out about additional restrictions (ex: she can eat whole fruit, but anything cut up might have contamination from the unknown environment)

      1. quill*

        Yes. Though I would lead with the potential solution of the fruit plate so she doesn’t have to think up something immediately and do mental math about how much she can ask you for.

    2. Kitty101*

      You could customize each gift a similar amount (so each is half brownies, half something else)! Or even go half fruit for all 3, because fruit is great!

      That would help avoid singling her out without having to have a maybe-too-personal conversation about food with her.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      Before you bake the brownies, talk to each coworker and say “I want to give you a gift to express my appreciation for your work on [project]. Are there any allergies/dietary restrictions I should be aware of?” Then you can tailor your gift(s) appropriately.

    4. OneTwoThree*

      What if you gave everyone brownies and fruit? Could you make it like a sweet/ charcuterie board? That way she wouldn’t be singled out?

      1. Cordelia*

        that’s what I was thinking. Unless the gifts need to be separate and individual for some reason, provide a big plate of brownies, and another big plate of fruit, and then people can take what they would like.

    5. hmmm*

      ok so it seems like doing 1/2 and 1/2 for each seems the way to go!

      Just a follow up question When I make brownies I can usually make it look nice, wrap them up etc. Will it look silly doing that and btw here’s a container of cut up fruit from xyz deli that you all seem to frequent? XYZ deli usually puts there food in those chinese food take out containers. There is no way to wrap it together.

    6. sagewhiz*

      Check out Edible! They offer a slew of fruit/food gifts, not just those big “bouquets” of yesteryear. Nice addition to the yummy brownies.

      1. Trivia Newton-John*

        Yes! Even if you order a small Edible Arrangements, you can take it apart and divide it up between the brownie plates, so it will look very pretty.

    7. CG*

      What about giving everyone non-food gifts, like plants or cool office things (Uncommon Goods type stuff)? You could also mention to her that you want to give everyone thank you snacks and ask what kinds of things usually work best for her.

    8. Irish Teacher*

      As somebody who is an extremely picky eater, I would love it so much if you made the effort to give me something I could eat. I wouldn’t feel singled out, at least not in a negative way. I’d feel you made an extra effort for me.

    9. The Prettiest Curse*

      As a person with an unusual food allergy, I’ve always been very touched when my colleagues have asked what I’d like for a thank-you gift. In my case, baked goods are out, but chocolate or alcohol would be totally fine. If someone did hand me brownies, I’d probably just take then home to my husband!

      1. hmmm*

        Lucky for my situation all 3 coworkers have said they enjoy my brownies but the 1 in question usually only has 1 or 2 bites

    10. RagingADHD*

      I’d go with a fruit basket instead of a takeout plate. It keeps longer and is more gift-y. You could DIY it and make it look pretty instead of dropping big money on a premade one.

      But the general concept of fruit vs brownies is very good.

    11. Stoppin' by to chat*

      I was actually going to recommend not baking brownies, and instead sending emails to their managers giving them kudos. Or bringing in a platter of brownies for the office or whatever. Or if your company has a formal kudos or feedback tool, use that to express your gratefulness.

  47. BB*

    I had a really rough day this week. I was coming up on a virtual job interview for a job I wasn’t particularly excited about, and I’ve been dealing with so much garbage right now that I couldn’t find the time to prepare for it. Then on the day of the interview, my child had medical problems, I got some really upsetting news about a career setback, and I had a headache that drove me to sleep for several hours. I completely forgot about the interview.

    When the recruiter called me, I couldn’t even bring myself to answer the phone. I just didn’t have the energy left to deal with it. I was humiliated. I wrote the recruiter an email saying I was sorry for missing the interview and I promised to never bother them again. They still wanted to talk but I couldn’t deal with it, and in any event I can’t imagine any scenario where they would still want to hire me after this fuck-up. Like, if I was an employer and a candidate didn’t show up, I would be livid. I’m so ashamed that I can’t even talk to them, much less ask them to give me a job.

    My wife says my reaction is extreme. I think I burned the bridge the second I was late, and the least-painful way to deal with it was to politely withdraw from consideration and never speak to them again. Either way, I just don’t have it in me to deal with this anymore.

    1. Juno*

      That sounds really challenging. I hope you have a good support system in place, and that you can get some help dealing with these extreme and difficult feelings. It doesn’t have to be this hard, I promise.

    2. ferrina*

      If a recruiter planned to call you at a certain time, didn’t call you, then emailed you saying that they had a health emergency, would you be mad? Or would you be sympathetic and just glad that they could reschedule?

      I suspect the latter. What you describe as having the day of is a “health emergency”, i.e., health conditions that had to be addressed immediately. You do not burn bridges with reasonable companies by having a health emergency. It’s reasonable to reach out, explain why you missed the call, and ask to reschedule.

      Your reaction is pretty severe. It sounds like this had a huge emotional impact on you and also drained you of all energy. Is this normal for you? If so, can I recommend that you talk to a doctor? Job hunting is usually draining, but not to this extent. You deserve support and you deserve to use every tool that is available to you.
      Good luck!

      1. Picard*

        This. Very much this. I know we’re not supposed to armchair diagnose but I think your reaction is really not within normal boundaries and you may want to talk to someone about this…

        Please reach back out to the recruiter and let them know you had a family medical issue and that you would like to talk to them…