my boss doesn’t know I’ve stopped going into the office, does everyone job-hop now, and more

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

1. I’ve stopped going into the office and my boss doesn’t know

I work for a “big 3” company in our industry. During Covid, the entire company went permanent WFH. Once restrictions started lifting and cases decreased, they brought us back in the office four days a week, and we only had Fridays WFH. This caused huge pushback, not just from low level people like me, but from people with VP in their title. This only lasted two months before they said we could WFH every day except Wednesday and Thursday.

Right after this change, I got approval to go work remotely in another state for six months (to be closer to my boyfriend while he accepted a temporary research position for his PhD). The team I am on is a remote team, but we work closely with the offices we’re based out of and our work aligns with theirs. I have never actually met my manager or most of the people on my team face to face. At first, my manager didn’t think I would be required to commute to the closest office in this new state, but then his supervisor clarified that yes, twice a week I would need to commute three hours round trip to the nearest office since it was “policy.” I don’t work with anyone in this office. Our work is not related in any way. I don’t collaborate with them or even knew them before this. I commute there just to sit in a cube for no reason.

My first day there, the office manager basically told me he would not be checking in on me and “what happens here, stays here,” implying that he wouldn’t tell anyone if I didn’t regularly show up. My manager also made a comment to that effect, saying “How would I know if you were there or not? You work remotely for me as it is anyway.”

There was some reshuffling of management, and now I have a new manager. She and I have never really discussed my arrangement and I get the impression she doesn’t care much either, but she’s probably assuming I am going in twice a week. But after a month or two, I stopped going in every week. Sometimes I make it in one day a week, sometimes I go 2-3 weeks before showing up. Could I get fired over this? I don’t think management cares, but if another employee complained that I basically am fully remote and they are still commuting, how much trouble am I looking at?

It’s possible, but it’s pretty unlikely that you’d be fired for it without a warning. It’s more likely that they’ll tell you that you need to start coming in the required two days. It’s more likely that you could be fired if you refused at that point, but it’s the kind of thing you’d generally be told to correct first.

It’s also possible that you could use the management reshuffling to plausibly plead uncertainty, especially since you don’t work with anyone in that office. You did get the impression you weren’t required to come in; just don’t throw your old manager under the bus when you say that since she clearly wasn’t giving you official permission.

2. Giving feedback when you turn down a job

My daughter is applying for a job in a field where she has a fair amount of experience but where there is also a lot of competition. She had a job interview with a company that seemed to tick almost all of her buttons, but when she interviewed with the CEO and the direct manager, she was disturbed when the CEO kept saying things like, “We do work for a company that sells a drink called (adult name). Are you going to leave in tears over that?” “The work here is fast-paced. You’re not going to leave in tears over that one day, are you?” And after she told them her salary expectations, the CEO replied, “Are you going to tell me to go to hell if I pay you less?”

After the interview, she realized she had a professional connection with a guy who worked there. So she reached out to him to find out more information. It turns out she was interviewing for the job he was just quitting! He said he’s the fifth employee to quit in five months and most of their new hires don’t stay around beyond just a few weeks. He said it was a toxic environment, leadership gives “alpha male frat boy vibes,” and they were not being paid the full amount owed on their paychecks.

She had decided to withdraw her name from the running but before she could do that, she was offered the job. She turned it down politely. Afterwards, she received a polite email from the direct manager, wondering what the reason was that it was not a good fit. In it the manager expressed that they were having an issue hiring people for her position even though they are willing to pay what the people are asking for as far as salaries go. “Any feedback would be appreciated.”

Should she respond honestly about her interview process and what other employees are saying? Or should she just offer something vague and polite and move on?

She’s under no obligation to give them feedback, although she can if she wants. I’d be skeptical that it would do much good, though — the manager has lots of ways to figure out what’s turning off candidates if they want to (like by talking with current or resigning employees, or by noticing the fact that people aren’t getting paid what they’re owed); it’s not like your daughter is their only opportunity to get feedback. Plus the hiring manager was in that interview; if she can’t put together that the CEO’s comments are a problem, it’s not on your daughter to explain it.

If she does choose to say anything, though, she shouldn’t mention the person she spoke with (or anything specific enough that it could be tied back to him); he presumably spoke to her in confidence.

3. How do I raise performance problems that I didn’t address earlier?

I manage a department of a larger organization, and I was hired a few weeks before everything shut down due to the pandemic. In those initial weeks, I noticed poor performance and bad behavior that was allowed to thrive under previous managers. However, the pandemic threw a wrench into addressing these issues, as my department closed down and my team dispersed to other departments.

As we returned to work, my focus has been on relationship-building with my team and accommodating staff needs within constantly-changing service models over the past two years (we serve the public). Now that things are evening out, I need to address these performance issues. How do I do that when I’ve, admittedly, let things slide? After two years, this is now my circus, etc.

Name the situation explicitly — “We’ve just been trying to get by for the last two years so I’ve relaxed some of our standards and tried to give a lot of grace on things like X and Y. Now that we’re in a new stage, things like X and Y will matter more, so I need to see ____.” Sometimes, too, you might need to say, “I know that you’ve done it X way in the past, but going forward what we need is ____” or “I realize I haven’t brought this up before; our priorities had to shift during the turmoil of the last two years, but I do need ____ now.”

The sooner you start addressing this stuff, the better (assuming things are now in a place where you can) so that people hear what needs to change and have the opportunity to change it before it becomes more entrenched (and definitely well before, say, end-of-year performance evaluations).

4. Does everyone job-hop now?

I have a question about something that came up in a recent conversation with an acquaintance. I’ve had a few short-term jobs in recent years due to the pandemic and I’m looking for a job where I can stay long-term now that there’s more open jobs than in 2020. I said that it’ll be nice to have something that is more consistent and steady in my work history on my resume for future job searches rather than a string of jobs that makes me look flighty to a hiring manager. My acquaintance replied that that was nonsense because no one stays in jobs long term anymore, everyone only stays in jobs for 1-2 years, and that hiring managers don’t care about job hopping anymore and don’t see it as a negative. I explained that having only short-term jobs in your work history can make it more difficult to be hired because it raises questions and that I don’t know anyone who changes jobs every year or two unless they’re like me where they’ve had to due to the pandemic layoffs, etc. My acquaintance replied that I must have a “strange set of friends” if none of them frequently change jobs. Is job hopping something that’s really popular and has it lost its negative connotation in the job search process?

Nope. There’s been a lot more churn than normal in the past two years, and job hopping matters less right now than it traditionally has, both because of that recent churn and because it’s such a job seekers’ market currently. But it’s definitely not true that most people only stay in jobs for 1-2 years now, and it’s not true that a pattern of job hopping won’t raise concerns for managers. That said, there’s a small number of industries where short-term stays are a lot more common, and it’s possible your friend is in one of those and doesn’t realize it’s not the norm in others.

5. I obsessed over a job — did I ruin my chances?

I have applied for a job and I think I’ve done everything you say NOT to do. Is there any coming back from this? Can I ever apply at this company again?

I found my “dream job” with my “dream company,” put together what I thought was a fabulous cover letter and resume, applied before the cut off, and absolutely did not forget about it. Instead, I jumped on the would-be manager’s LinkedIn page within minutes after she looked at mine. I checked their online application portal daily for any updates, I stalked the website and within two hours of the job being reposted, I sent them an email saying, “I recently applied for the position X, and remain very interested. I have seen that the position has been re-advertised and wanted to reach out to see if previous applicants were still being considered, and if I should re-submit an application. Please let me know if you have any questions for me.” No response.

I’ve since read through your blog with all the do not obsess, do not become invested, and if you haven’t worked there yet you don’t know if it’s your dream job feedback, and I feel like a bucket of water just got poured on my head. I work in a small industry built on relationships, and this is in a sector of this industry I’ve always wanted to work in. Have I gone too far? I’ve since rejiggered my resume, realizing its on the long side and not as outcome-focused as it should be, but I’m deeply concerned that my obsessive nature will come off woefully, and I’ve just damaged my reputation permanently. Any advice?

It sounds like they haven’t been privy to most of your obsessing. You know how preoccupied you’ve been, but they don’t. The only misstep they’d be aware of is the email after the job was reposted and while that’s annoying, it’s not a huge deal — certainly not something that’s going to permanently damage your reputation.

That said, at this point the best thing you can do is to assume you’re not getting the job, remind yourself that there are all kinds of reasons for being rejected that you wouldn’t know from the outside, mentally move on, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do contact you.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 411 comments… read them below }

  1. AcademiaNut*

    For #2, given the sheer level of terribleness this company displays, I doubt that any feedback would have an effect. The CEO is a misogynistic frat-boy jerk with the social skills of toxic mold – when dysfunction comes from the top, there’s not much lower level people can do to change things. And it doesn’t matter what salary you offer people if you aren’t actually paying it to them. Back away from the disaster, and breathe a sigh of relief for having dodged a bullet.

    Feedback in this sort of situation is useful when the company as a whole is generally healthy, but there’s a specific person or process or group that’s causing problems. When the management or HR finds out what’s happening they can step in to fix things.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing – and it’s not an interviewed candidate’s responsibility to educate the company or its management on why they are a toxic stew. It should be self-evident to the HR Manager that these issues exist.

      In this particular candidate’s situation, I would avoid providing feedback because you never know when/if someone might figure out that she and the guy leaving are friends and I wouldn’t want to cause blowback to that guy, if he ever needed a reference from the company. He was upfront about the company’s toxic culture, and I would prioritize his confidentiality over any dubious benefit that might occur from telling the HR Manager why the offer was rejected.

      Besides that, the HR Manager is probably asking why the offer was rejected as a opening to seeing if there is any way they can attract the candidate, not because they are trying to demonstrate to leadership that the toxic frat-boy culture is a problem. The HR Manager is probably hoping to hear that the candidate got an offer they can top, or 3 weeks more vacation or something, not that they thought the CEO was an ass.

      1. Venus*

        Agreed. The direct manager knows the problem (five people in five months!!), and writing an email to explain it is only a drain on the writer. Don’t let that CEO occupy any more of your energy or thoughts, he doesn’t deserve it.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          I also worry that the feedback could be taken and used to just remove the CEO from interviews, so people would interview and not realize what a mess this place is because they aren’t subjected to his crappy commentary.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I posted below going with a vague “this isn’t a good professional fit for me/doesn’t feel like a good fit for my professional skills” approach. I really don’t think there is anything to be gained giving feedback here.

        And protecting that employee in her network is a really good thing – after all, that network saved her by confirming this place was a dumpster fire.

        1. ferrina*

          I love the “the culture isn’t a good fit for me.” That’s good code for “Are you kidding? I want no part in this!” If the manager doesn’t already know about the culture issues, then that’s one more reason not to work there.

          1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

            I’d be tempted to add in a little something, like, “The management style isn’t as up-to-date on current practices as I prefer” which I hope would read, “Mad Men was a TV show, not a handbook”

    2. AnneMoliviaColemuff*

      She should consider putting something up on Glassdoors if she’s comfortable. It would be great to warn other people off from being put in that position.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I’d echo this, and also for her contact who is leaving that role, given they have the experience of working there as well (but again only if they’re comfortable to do so).

    3. Snow Globe*

      Feedback would not change anything within the company, but if the LW mentions the comments from the CEO in the interview, it could lead to the CEO being left out of future interviews, or changing the types of questions he asks, so that future candidates would not have the benefit of the red flags and sirens going off. Leave it alone; the CEO is doing everyone a favor by letting them know exactly what kind of person he’d be to work for.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Including asking prospective employees whether they’re the sort to get all huffy and storm off if their paychecks are missing a good chunk of the agreed-upon compensation.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Ugh, people are such snowflakes with their wanting to get paid and everything

          1. Pikachu*

            Right? I email my company’s employee engagement ratings to my landlord and they are so impressed with how great a workplace it is that they just let me have my apartment for free and ask to come to the holiday party.

      2. mlem*

        If you make it public, future candidates can dig and ask about it. But if you don’t make it public and the CEO skips a particular candidate’s interviews for some reason (lack of interest, desire to let the hiring manager lock someone down, too busy boofing), how is that candidate going to know what specific angle has scared off prior candidates?

      3. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yes, this is the same reason why after going on a bad date or getting a lousy online message from a prospective date I don’t like to tell the person details about why I’m not interested in them. I don’t want to teach people how to hide their obvious red flags and then entrap future prospective dates/employees because their flaws don’t come out until later down the road.

    4. Isabelle*

      Yes and I would add that if the company really wanted to know what the problem was, they would do exit interviews.

      Calling an energy drink Pussy sounds like something a 12 year old boy would find hilarious and tells you everything you need to know about the maturity of the CEO who invented the drink. For what it’s worth, the British Advertising Standards Authority banned the ad campaign for the Pussy drink about 10 years ago.

      1. WellRed*

        But when people write in about whether they should say anything in interviews the consensus is the same as it is here: don’t do it, not worth it, won’t change etc. However, I think more people should speak up , not dump a list of grievances but highlight something.

        1. pancakes*

          I’m generally in the speak up camp, but in this scenario, where the manager was right there during the interview and saw everything the candidate did, nah, there’s nothing to be gained by it. These people know who they are, and they know it drives many employees who aren’t like them away. They know what they’re doing and they’re fine with it.

          1. Observer*

            This is the bottom line. The manager was there so there is nothing there that they don’t know. If they don’t UNDERSTAND that it’s a problem? There is nothing the OP’s daughter can say to make someone so resolutely clueless understand.

            1. pancakes*

              I’m glad you knew what I meant even though for some reason I typed “saw everything the candidate did” instead of “saw everything the CEO did,” which is what I intended to type.

      2. Zephy*

        It may be a foreign client (thinking of pictures of chip bags from other countries with things like “megapussi” on it, which I gather means essentially the same as “family size” – i.e., a larger quantity). Certainly the CEO is three twelve-year-old boys in a business suit who do spend all day giggling about the naughty word, but I don’t think the product itself is banking on shock value.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I dunno, that kind of makes it even more insulting. You’ve either got Anglophone managers who have named a product “pussy” because they’re twelve and they think women’s bodies are hilaaaaarious, or it’s a product named in a foreign language and you’ve got managers who think their female employers are so sensitive they don’t understand that “pussy” might mean something different in another language. Either is a bad look!

      3. irene adler*

        I’ll go you one better: if the company sincerely wants to retain talent, they would survey their current employees regularly and find out how they like their jobs. Don’t wait for folks to leave. Ask what might be changed to improve the experience. And assure confidentiality of all responses.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          I wouldn’t trust that it’s actually confidential.
          This company doesn’t even pay people what they’re owed.

    5. anonymous73*

      If everyone had that attitude, nothing would ever change. I would 100% provide real and honest feedback. It may not change, but if enough people spoke up about it, it may start something and I would feel better knowing that I had done my part.

      1. Data Bear*

        Yeah. My thought is that the feedback isn’t going to fix the problem with the CEO, but it might help others.

        It seems like it would be a public service to tell the hiring manager: “Your CEO is awful and you’re never going to be able to pay people enough to put up with his nonsense. Honestly, I’m surprised you’re trying to fill the position instead of taking it as a sign to bail yourself; you should get out of there and find something better.”

        Or maybe “a total dick” instead of “awful” and “bullshit” instead of “nonsense”, since offensive language is clearly a company value.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          “Or maybe “a total dick” instead of “awful” and “bullshit” instead of “nonsense”, since offensive language is clearly a company value.”
          I sincerely think that the CEO might understand more clearly. Not that they’d suddenly have a road to Damascus moment and stop being a dick though.
          They would just get a bigger laugh out of it and feel even more justified saying his dickish version of “OK you can’t please all the people all the time”

      2. Observer*

        but if enough people spoke up about it, it may start something

        Not in this case, it wouldn’t. Keep in mind that the position is all but a revolving door. 5 people have left in the last 5 years! The manager KNOWS what the CEO says in interviews! The manager knows that people are not getting paid the agreed up amount – or is nothing but a rubber-stamp doing EXACTLY what the boss wants while pretending otherwise. What could anyone say to plant any seeds?

        A law suit might work. Maybe.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          In that if it’s a small firm, they wouldn’t have the funds to deal with the lawsuit and they’d go bankrupt, yeah sure. If all the employees get unemployment benefit, that’s probably the best solution.
          And the CEO should be banned from starting up another company. But I believe it doesn’t always work like that in the US?

    6. Lattes are for lovers*

      I was in a similar situation to the OP recently. The only difference was while the job had a ton of red flags, the folks I interviewed with were polite and lovely.

      The hiring manager reached out to me asking for feedback because I had been their top candidate for the role. He was very polite and professional when he reached out and when he heard my feedback. I was honest about my concerns. He acknowledged them and did not try to talk me back into staying in the running.

    7. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Nobody is going to tell the emperor that torturing people to see how far until they snap, because 1) that is why he does it; 2) they will suddenly be the target. He’s created a blood sport like fox hunting or roller ball. Nobody will take away his game.

    8. quill*

      If it wasn’t the CEO who sucked, but someone under him, giving feedback to the CEO might help.

      As it is, the CEO sucks.

  2. Observer*

    #2 – Should your daughter give feedback – I can’t see any upside to it.

    For one thing, the recruiter saw how the CEO talks. If the direct manager doesn’t understand that it’s a problem, then I don’t think there is anything your daughter can say to enlighten him. And if they DO understand, but want some “ammunition” to use with the CEO, I doubt it’s going to matter. Because the CEO is just going to use it as “proof” that he was RIGHT to ask about her “leaving in tears.” I mean she SUCH A SOFTY that she can’t take some “real talk”. blah, blah, blah.

    And if the contact is correct that they are not being paid what they are owed? Either the manager doesn’t know this, which means that he’s useless or worse, or he doesn’t realize that saying that you are going to pay someone something is not any good if you don’t actually PAY that amount. Which makes him useless in a different way.

    1. Language Lover*

      I agree. I’m impressed the daughter turned them down nicely. I would’ve been so tempted to say something like, “I won’t be taking this job. Are you going to wallow in your manpain about it?”

        1. Hlao-roo*

          “I won’t be taking this job. Are you going to leave in tears over that? [CEO] can go to hell!”

          (Not what the OP’s daughter should say, just satisfying to daydream about)

        2. Ally McBeal*

          I actually like “manpain” better because it turns the sexist stereotype back on the CEO rather pointedly without directly acknowledging or mirroring his language.

          Although if I were in OP’s shoes I would just reply to the manager “You were in the same meeting I was in, right? Did you not see ANY red flags that would cause me to turn down the position?”

        3. fhqwhgads*

          I mean, snark aside if I were in this position, if I did want to give feedback I’d likely say something like “I found it offputting the CEO repeatedly asked if I’d be brought to tears by what are normal things to discuss in an interview. I can’t say I generally cry at work, but if he is that concerned about it, it begs the question what might be going on that would make people cry regularly. I do not care to find out.”

    2. EPLawyer*

      “Either the manager doesn’t know this, which means that he’s useless or worse, or he doesn’t realize that saying that you are going to pay someone something is not any good if you don’t actually PAY that amount.”

      Or doesn’t know this is illegal. If there is an agreed salary and the company is withholding money then that is wage theft and should be reported to the State Labor Board.

    3. Antilles*

      I agree and would actually follow that a step further:

      Since the CEO is never going to change, the daughter actually SHOULDN’T provide feedback – he’s going to be a jerk either way, but if he’s still included in interviews, it’s at least providing candidates a fair warning.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And anybody going to work at that company deserves to see just what a spectacular jerk the CEO is. He sounded like a one man red flag parade.

    4. Not Mindy*

      My thought is that the direct manager may understand completely what was wrong, but without any “proof” that a candidate (or an employee who left) feels the same way, the concerns are being disregarded.
      Having said that, I probably wouldn’t provide the feedback, at least not directly. I might create a burner account and leave a review on glassdoor with some of the specifics.

      1. Observer*

        If the manager needs “proof”, then they are never going to get it. Because any “proof” is just going to be “proof” that girls/ wusses/ kids these days / pick your derogatory demographic descriptor “just don’t want to work” and are “sissies” who “cry over everything”.

        You simply cannot convince someone like that CEO.

        This has come up before, when people have written in stuff like “My boss does x, y, z terrible things. How do I make him stop / understand how bad it is?” Alison consistently points out that the unfortunate answer is “You can’t”.

    5. LateralMove*

      Exactly. The manager is either clueless or digging. Either way, it’s not LW’s daughter’s problem. Run away, post anonymously on Glassdoor, then keep running.

  3. Koalafied*

    #4 There’s a direct relationship between how senior the role is and how long it’s usually expected you’ll stay, because the higher up the ladder you go, the longest it takes to hire, to onboard, and to get results you can legitimately take some credit for.

    Entry and early career junior roles I don’t bat an eye at several 1-2 year stays. You come up to speed quickly, you grow your skills, and often have to move around to stay challenged and keep your career moving. Mid-senior roles I’d rather see that you’re staying for at least 3 years. When companies (that aren’t startups) hire VPs and C suite execs they’re looking for someone who spends more like 5 years or more on average.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Someone I know is hiring, and the history of short stays in the past of one of the top applicants was a serious concern–this person would just be getting to a point you could depend on them to handle stuff at the 1-2 year mark, freeing higher ups to do stuff other than train/manage them.

    2. Just J.*

      Also, learn your industry. I am in STEM. Over my decades-long career, I switched jobs about every 5-6 years. In my particular industry in STEM this was seen as job hopping. Staying 10 years or longer at a company was considered the norm.

      1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        And STEM covers a wide spectrum of jobs. In my role (software development) switching every 18 months – 3 years is not unusual, and many times the it’s only way to get a raise, a promotion, or learn a new technology. And even then, job-hopping is still given the side-eye. It’s just that the time-frame is measured in months rather than years. So several 3 – 9 month stays, or multiple instances of jobs that were intended to be contract-to-hire positions that never converted the employee to full time are definitely a red flag. (We did not make an offer to the candidate whose resume was filled with both of those.)

        1. Zephy*

          A contract job never turning into a permanent position isn’t always the candidate’s fault, but I suppose if it happens three, four, five times in a row, there is a common denominator there that can’t be ignored.

          1. KRM*

            An acquaintance of mine has a resume like this. She also doesn’t indicate that her contract jobs are contract (just lists them as whatever title she would have had were she full time), so her resume is many 12-18 month stints, not helped by the long gaps between them. So she wonders why she doesn’t get hired full time, but her resume looks like she accepted many full time positions and then just left them to then not work for 6-12 months. I’m sure she doesn’t get callbacks from a huge percentage of people who see it and think “hmmm, I don’t want to hire someone who’s going to leave after 1 1/2 years in a full time position”. But she doesn’t want to change it, so…I guess that’s all on her.

        2. Elizabeth*

          Also a software engineer and I couldn’t agree more. I work for a start up and very few people have been here more than 2 or 3 years, and most that have been are pretty high up in the hierarchy. There’s just not a lot of opportunity for promotion or new responsibilities within the company. It’s definitely an industry-specific thing.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          How do you know if a contract job is intended to turn full-time? I work in DC, and a lot of contractor jobs are just fixed-length or project-term contract jobs. You get hired for the duration of the contract (usually with the government), and your contract gets renewed if the employer rebids/wins the contract on the next round.

          It’s not uncommon here to see situations where people work for the same contractor for a while but their assignments change every 3-18 months or to see people’s employer change because they didn’t win the contract but the new contractor wants to keep them or because they’re just moving contract to contract for the work they like best. It’s not a reflection on the employee, it’s just how government contracting works. (And why I don’t work for one and my spouse stays government-side.)

          1. Contractor*

            I was going to mention to LW4 that when I was interviewing for my current job, the recruiter specifically mentioned that the company liked that I had been at my previous job (also my first non-freelance full-time job) for over 6 years. But per your point, that was one company, but two contracts. (Not sure how explicit my resume was about the two contracts, but they’re so huge that it’s probably clear to anyone in contracting for my government client.)

            When people talk about contract jobs that are intended to turn full-time, I assume they’re talking about a different industry. That seems more like a temp or probationary kind of thing, whereas here it’s accepted that you’re a contractor for the money or a govie for the job security and benefits.

      2. Wants Green Things*

        STEM is not an industry, it’s an acronym. I’m in a STEM-related field as well, but my industry doesn’t consider a 5-year stint “job hopping.”

        1. Loulou*

          OP said “my particular industry in STEM” so I don’t think they think STEM is just one industry.

        2. Ope!*

          Sure but they probably just don’t want to dox themselves with more details. I work in a subset of STEM with long range experiments (multi-generational, even) and I get why 5 years could be job-hopping through that lens, but I know that not all STEM is like that.

      3. Mme. Briet’s Antelope*

        Yes, this! I’m on the other end of the spectrum here – at least half the positions in my industry are contract or project-based, so a resume composed mainly of short-term jobs wouldn’t look at all strange to anyone hiring in the field. (The trick is to make sure that your resume clearly indicates that these were contract positions, to get past the HR generalists who DON’T know this and assume job-hopping.) It’s SO industry-dependent!

      4. Elle by the sea*

        In a niche subfield software engineering where I work, 1-2 year-long stays are incredibly common and don’t raise eyebrows with most employers. My partner has changed jobs more than 5 times in the past five years after transitioning out of academia. The reasons included constant moving across countries and cities, health issues, fixed term contracts and layoffs. It’s obvious from his profile that he does excellent work and only one hiring manager had concerns about his job hopping. But this particular hiring manager didn’t care about the reasons – he just didn’t turn up for the promised interview and said that no-one who changed jobs so many times deserves a chance. I guess he dodged a bullet.

    3. Sara without an H*

      What you describe is also typical for higher education, at least in my experience. I’ve always assumed that candidates who were 3-5 years out from university jumped on the first job they could find, then moved on when they got some experience.

      For candidates for senior positions, I’d be very wary of someone with a recent history of short-term stays. My last university hired an academic VP whose last five positions hadn’t lasted more than 1-2 years. He was a disaster.

      (Don’t ask me why the Administration hired him. I never understood it — the guy waved red flags throughout the interview.)

  4. Heidi*

    I’m wonderng if the direct manager has told the CEO that his attitude is driving away applicants, but the CEO doesn’t believe them, so now the direct manager wants to get “proof” from applicants that turn down the job that it’s him and not the salary or people being overly sensitive about stuff.

    1. Cold and Tired*

      Even if that’s true, #2’s daughter is under no obligation to be the person giving feedback. If I were here I’d just pass on the entire dumpster fire, count my blessings that I didn’t get trapped there, and leave the drama to someone else.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yes. No matter how great various “What, is he going to storm off and cry over it?” comebacks sound in my mind, they probably don’t do LW’s daughter any good. And she should be looking out for #1 here, not trying to help the CEO be less off-putting to potential hires.

    2. ecnaseener*

      That’s my thought as well, the HM is trying to convince the CEO of the need for a culture change. Unfortunately that attempt is probably doomed, no matter how many applicants admit the problem.

      1. Miette*

        Yep. And unless there’s a board that can push this CEO out, nothing will ever change.

    3. Just Wow*

      Anyone be tempted to state ‘I could never work for a CEO that’s such a pussy?’ I have a feeling that would get under his skin but I would say it sounds like CEO is overly sensitive, can’t handle a few tears, can’t handle turnover etc. he needs tougher skin. Sometimes these opportunities are better used to mess with the person rather than address actual issues.

    4. DisneyChannelThis*

      It would be stronger getting that evidence from exit interviews of employees who worked for CEO.

    5. pancakes*

      If that’s the case the direct manager should be looking for a new job rather than fighting a losing battle with someone who fundamentally does not trust their professional judgment.

    6. Observer*

      and not the salary or people being overly sensitive about stuff.

      And how would the OPD’s feedback do that? OPD tells the hiring manager that CEO is a major jerk. Do you think that CEO is going to accept that? I don’t – he’s just going to conclude that “See, I was right! She *IS* a baby that’s going to cry over everything!”

      That’s the fundamental problem with people like that. There is really no way to get through to them.

  5. lb*

    For #2: I would bet actual dollars that the hiring manager knows exactly what turned your daughter off and wants to get it in writing so she can try to take some action on it. She’s certainly not obligated to provide feedback, but it might be a kindness if she did send something. (It might also be super pointless, because I doubt this guy is going to change, but a kindness nonetheless.)

    1. Laure001*

      Yeah, I agree. She doesn’t have to give the feedback if she doesn’t want to but I think it would be good if she did.

    2. Madame Arcati*

      Yes, she’s got nothing to lose if she states facts calmly and briefly. No need to deliver a lecture I’d stick to something like:
      In response to your request for feedback; during my interview the CEO made the following comments:
      [direct quotes]
      I do not wish to work for a company with the sort of culture this indicates.”
      Then if having something in writing is what the hm wants, they have it, with no emotive language that the CEO could use to dismiss it.

      1. lex talionis*

        Also there really is a drink called Pussy and some of its ad campaigns have been banned in the UK. I don’t think this CEO is open to any feedback, certainly not from a job applicant.

    3. Pocket Mouse*

      I agree that she knows, and the only way she might be able to have an influence is by collecting data from candidates saying what she knows. The CEO—and this CEO in particular—isn’t going to listen to just her perspective.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        But who is going to hear this feedback and say “Wow. This person who doesn’t even want to work for us is right, and the CEO is wrong and must completely change what he’s doing that led us to success.”

        1. Bilateralrope*

          It might be enough to convince shareholders to replace the CEO. Probably not.

          1. Observer*

            Any share holder who needs “outside perspectives” to understand that what is going on is wrong, is going to buy into the CEO’s perception that all of those people “just can’t handle the truth and can’t handle the job.”

        2. Pocket Mouse*

          It might be enough to fix the pay issues and convince the CEO to at least rein it in during interviews. Then, if he reins it in during interviews and he sees the effect in the number of people who accept an offer, he might be convinced to rein it in in the office as well.

          I’m not at all saying it’s a sure thing, just that there’s zero chance of it without data from feedback. The hiring manager is probably trying to be able to bring to someone with authority: “Fully 50% of candidates we made an offer to turned down the position specifically because they had the impression we don’t pay employees what we promise to pay them—which is often true—and another 20% because they were concerned about working at a company where leadership seems dismissive of employees’ workplace experience.”

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            …. I really think they have sources other than OP’s daughter from whom they could hear “When you don’t pay me, it tells me I should quit.” They don’t care when current employees tell them that’s a problem; they don’t care when current employees leave over it; they aren’t going to suddenly care when someone who never worked there says not being paid can be a negative from the employee perspective.

            They also have tons of people who’ve had ongoing exposure to the CEO’s grossness, including the person asking the question.

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            But if getting that information is so important why aren’t they doing confidential exit interviews? Honestly if there is a convoy of people headed out the door there is a better source of information there than any comments from job interviews.

    4. ferrina*

      But what action could the hiring manager actually take? I’ve yet to meet a CEO that will change their whole mindset based on a subordinate’s feedback. Rapid fire turnover is a bigger blow to a business than candidates declining the job- if the rapid fire turnover has had no effect, the candidates won’t either.

      Maybe if Daughter was a key investor or household name, but for even the best candidate, CEOs are more likely to say “well, if she can’t handle it then she shouldn’t work here” or “we only want exceptional candidates! It’s good that these mediocre (aka, smart and sane) people are taking themselves out of the running!”

      Bear in mind that this problem is more than just an interview. The interview is the CEO on his best behavior- it will only get worse after that.

    5. Just Another Starving Artist*

      I agree. As long as the friend’s information is kept out of it, there’s no real reason not to say anything. If she doesn’t want to, that’s also fine, but the usual reason to keep quiet in these situations is fear of retaliation. She’s already turned down the job, she’s fine. If the question was asked in honesty, maybe someone at the company is trying to change things (or the person asking just needs some outside perspectives because this place has so thoroughly skewed their workplace norms). If her feedback is ignored, it doesn’t hurt her and it took less than 3 minutes out of her day.

  6. Where’s the Orchestra?*

    For number two my gut says this is a no win situation, just politely don’t give any feedback. I really doubt that a CEO who behaves the way this one did would listen constructively to any negative feedback.

    If pushed though, I would go with something along the lines of “I really just feel that this job is not the right fit professionally, but that it’s hard for me to narrow down exactly what is causing me to feel this is a bad fit for me professionally.” Vague but emphasis on “bad professional fit” for my skills.

    1. Harper the Other One*

      I wouldn’t bother with the “it’s hard for me to narrow down…” which is both unnecessary and untrue. It IS a bad professional fit because there’s no way she wants to work there, and she doesn’t have to elaborate in any way, shape, or form.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I’d maybe say something like “I realised during the interview that my communication style wouldn’t mesh well with the CEO” but probably I wouldn’t say much.

    2. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      I was in a situation similar to this a number of years ago. (In my case, one of the interviewers said something along the lines of “We change [X] here like you change wives” – to me, a woman with a wedding band on her left hand.) I got offered the job at a higher than advertised salary as a direct-hire (instead of the advertised contract-to-hire). I still turned it down.

      The initial reason I gave was literally “It’s not a good fit.” The (external) recruiter came back to me and asked if I could give them any more details, and I reiterated “It’s just not a good fit.” That was the end of it.

      These days, as someone much more senior in my career, I’d probably be willing to give details, especially to a third party recruiter who has the option of no longer working with that company. But it’s also not the applicant’s responsibility to fix a company’s hiring process, so turning down an offer with a polite but vague explanation is a very reasonable course of action.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I think the CEO may get a perverse pleasure from interviewee feedback. “How far did I push him/her? Did he crack? Does s/he have the [nerve] to tell me to suck it?”
      I’m sure he enjoys a small challenge in his what I can only call blood sport.

  7. ZK*

    OP #4, your friend is somewhat correct in that depending on field, people are job hopping. My husband is a hiring manager. He’s in sales, but also has warehouse positions and delivery positions to fill. At a recent nationwide manager meeting ALL of the managers said they’re hiring people, a lot are staying for a short time and then going somewhere else for more pay/better working conditions/change of scenery. This is a company that has actually increased their pay over their main competitor (a company my husband used to work for, so locally at least, he knows their pay structure, he also knows people still there and knows they haven’t raised pay enough.), and other similar businesses. Knowing that, the recent short stays on anyone’s resume are a huge red flag for any hiring manager and my husband won’t look much farther if it looks like a pattern, unless the candidate is a stellar one and can give a darned good reason in the initial phone screen. It costs money to hire and train someone new and if they think you’ll leave quickly, why would they hire you?

  8. HA2HA2*

    #2 – do not give feedback.

    There is no upside. Your daughter a junior candidate trying to give feedback on stuff that is SO OBVIOUS that even a junior candidate can see it. They could ask literally anyone in their own company and get the same answer – if they’re actually willing to listen.

    There IS downside. The CEO might think poorly of your daughter because he’s a misogynist jerk, and he very well may have other misogynist jerk friends he gossips with.

    Forget the place, blacklist it in your mind, and move on.

    1. mreasy*

      Yes, they haven’t treated her well and don’t deserve free retention & hiring consultant work from her!

    2. Alexis Rosay*

      100% agree. And if she does give feedback, she’ll be written off as the problem because she’s too sensitive–people like that do not take feedback to heart.

  9. The Lexus Lawyer*

    OP2 – I wouldn’t give detailed feedback if I was her. Nothing to gain from it, and it’s not like they would take her advice and pay her like a consultant.

    OP5 – I would chill and not put all my eggs in one basket. Fire off some other job applications and circle back to them later, with some experience, ideally..or if you really want to work there, send an application with a kick-ass cover letter that highlights you, not the job.

    Think about it this way – they know how awesome they are. Don’t spend more than a sentence or two on that. Instead, focus on yourself and what skills/experience/etc you bring to the table. Sell yourself with confidence, not desperation. You’ll be fine. If not this job then in another one.

    1. Letter Write #5*

      Thanks for your response! I think it hit worse as I do have relevant experience and felt I met the requirements so I felt there must be something wrong with my application – Alison’s Q&As on these kind of topics really helped rationalize that feeling. I dont necessarily want another job – I am happy where I am unless the next step comes up, I think I just got stuck in ‘I want this job and only this job’.

  10. MK*

    #1, it’s hard to tell if this is likely to get the OP fired or not. It’s possible her new manager and higher ups won’t think this is a big deal, it’s possible they will. (Which I realize isn’t at all helpful advice for the OP)

    I think if they continue to do this, they should be prepared for any fallout. Maybe nothing, maybe firing, maybe the new manager’s perception of them being coloured by this.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      I mean, if it made a difference in her work performance, presumably that would be evident and addressed. I also can’t imagine the company doesn’t know this kind of thing is happening—my company frequently makes use of badge swipe data to understand how often people are coming into the office and inform space planning.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        She’s also some months into a 6-month placement–it’s entirely possible that she transfers back to her original location before anyone notices.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          I want to agree. There are some big factors barely mentioned in the letter that the LW and AAM don’t followup on that impact the situation.

          If this is temporary for 6 months, she must be at least a couple months into it already and can probably hold the course until she returns to home office location and going into the office twice a week.

          I don’t think this would be sustainable for a permanenet situation.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      I am doubtful this will get her fired without a warning. Not a lot of things get people fired without waarning and this situation isn’t criminal or hurting anyone. Contrary view: But the policy doesn’t seem to any logical reason behind and the circumstances definately hint that lots of folks could be ignoring it so it is possible the LW could be caught and “made an example of” for others if there is some sort of crack down.

      Honestly (ha!) it does come to how much the LW is willing to lie and how well the LW can lie. I ignored the policy that I was well aware of and kept working from home probably will be the end of career there. Even if she is not fired immediately, trust has been lost. Versus how well can she play dumb “oh, I was under the impression that since I don’t work with anyone in the (nearest but not very near) office it didn’t make sense for me to go in, but I will start going into the office twice a week now.”

      Also possibly problematic to her not going in/current location “The team I am on is a remote team, but we work closely with the offices we’re based out of and our work aligns with theirs. I have never actually met my manager or most of the people on my team face to face.”
      – LW get no advantage of going into the office nearest to her. But it seems there is a likely advantage for her coworkers to go in. So there’s the “fairness”/”eaquality” arguement among her coworkers (which I don’t agree with but some management might). But more converning to the LW there’s also the problem that maybe it makes sense for all the employees on her team to go into the office regularly to have face-to-face contact with the people her work aligns with. A regurement to return to THAT office regularly could be coming down the pipe too.

      The LW should be looking for a new job. Her not going into the office twice a week will likely come up eventually. That’s not sustainable. But also she moved temporarily for 6 months. if she’s not actually going back to the original location, she’ll need to job hunt anyway.

      1. quill*

        It’s a three hour drive: reasonable to think that being temporarily remote from the original location could mean remote overall. (In fact, I’m not sure that it didn’t… it sounds like the original agreement was “everyone’s remote anyway, we have an office in that state so it costs us nothing to set up, go ahead and remote from there for 6 months” which I would think would supersede “everyone has to come back in!” the same way as “you’ve negotiated to be remote from original location for 6 months” would.

        I wouldn’t advise OP to lie exactly but it is very possible that all the conflicting orders about being remote do actually boil down to them actually not being required to come in. The issue was that original manager didn’t go to bat for their existing arrangement when the order to come back in came from on high. The approved request to work remotely for a defined period should have been separate from the whims of the C-Suite about covid.

        (Also: Three hours! Not the kind of commute you can reasonably say was only temporarily suspended due to covid…)

    3. Office Lobster DJ*

      Agree. Very hard to tell, and likely to come down to the attitude of — or pressures on — the new manager. The new manager doesn’t have firsthand experience on how this arrangement has worked out. They may be inclined to wave the whole situation away, or they may be eager to show that they support the company’s policies.

      If LW was notably vocal in the pushback against coming in, the situation gets even more delicate, risking perception as a low level employee who apparently heard a “no” and thought “wanna bet?”

      The only thing I can add to the advice to LW1 is this is a good lesson on being cautious about these types of wink-wink arrangements. (Speaking of which, I agree about not throwing your old manager under the bus, but don’t throw that office manager under the bus, either! You made your own choice.) These things can land you in this type of tricky spot, where no one can officially have your back, at least not without spending tons of capital. It’s a bad place to be.

      1. umami*

        You are right about the complicating factor. The LW did have a conversation with the last manager and was told that going into work was a requirement, by the manager’s supervisor. The question has already asked and answered at a higher level. So it would be hard to feign ignorance when the new manager learns that all employees should be adhering to the same rules and that LW had already asked for clarification and de facto agreed to the policy by going into the workplace as required. Then she stopped because no one was monitoring her. That is deceitful, whether you agree with the policy or not. She asked for clarification and got it. Now, she should ask for an accommodation if she doesn’t want to follow the policy, not pretend she did not understand the rules when she clearly did. If she ultimately ends up going back to her old workplace, she doesn’t want to have given them reason to question her professionalism and work ethic.

  11. Varthema*

    OP #5- with kindness (and tons of been-there empathy), the original obsessing over the job and the current obsessing over your faux pas are both symptoms of anxiety, as is the larger-than-lifesizing of each (“dream job”, “destroyed reputation”). I so recommend digging into this in therapy! Life is a lot harder with anxiety than without it. Good luck!!

    1. Question*

      This feels like a bit of an escalation. The LW clearly recognizes they are not “supposed” to respond this way and admitted that their actions could be problematic. Please don’t diagnose strangers over the internet!

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I mean, the last part of your post is spot on, but I do want to remind people that those of us with anxiety disorders can and do recognize that our thought patterns and behavior are irregular.

        1. AskJeeves*

          Agreed. I’m also prone to obsessing and worse-case scenario thinking, and I know it’s fueled by anxiety and is making my life worse. That doesn’t make it any easier to control. But therapy is a great resource for identifying maladaptive thought patterns, regardless of mental health diagnosis. Anyone can benefit from a good therapist!

      2. Varthema*

        Apologies, but as someone who has anxiety as a symptom of other diagnoses, I don’t really see it as a diagnosis in itself, nor an escalation – most people experience anxiety situationally, some people chronically. I also find people connecting two threads that I may have missed more useful than advice like, “Don’t worry so much! You’ve just got to relax!” If there’s a deeper root to an issue, it’s just really dispiriting to have people tell you to “just” do something that you’re chemically incapable of doing, and it’s nice to get on your radar.

        1. Cj*

          I saw the post that said something like you’ll slowly learn to relax, I was thinking that it doesn’t sound like the case for this particular person.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yes, not talking any diagnoses obviously, but FWIW the current obsession over what you might have done wrong seems I think almost more concerning than the original obsession over the job. “Can I come back from this?” and “can I ever apply at this company again?” are pretty catastrophizing questions over what sounds like one single polite email sent to a company! I was expecting something much worse to have happened, we’ve seen a lot of people write in having harassed the company quite a bit. But one single email, while not a good habit to develop, I highly doubt will make anyone even think twice.

      1. pancakes*

        Catastrophizing, yes, and part of that is glossing over what actually happened in favor of what could happen. In actuality the employer has no visibility into the letter writer’s thoughts and hopes the way the anxiety-driven part of their mind seems to think they do.

    3. Letter Write #5*

      Thanks Varthema! I do have anxiety, currently between counsellors, so in hindsight I definitely recognize I spiraled in this case.

  12. Willis*

    I think OP #1’s situation is a little riskier than the answer here really makes it out to be. If OP’s grandboss gave pretty clear instructions that she needs to go in and her current boss is assuming that she is going in, pleading ignorance if caught may not be a great look, especially if doing so implies the new boss dropped the ball on the policy. Sure, she may not get immediately fired but it would likely erode some trust if it looks like OP was taking advantage of her boss not checking in on this.

    1. Cj*

      I was surprised by Alison’s answer. No matter how stupid I might think a policy is, and even if it is actually stupid, I would assume I would get fired if I intentionally violated the policy.

      And it’s a pretty big risk to lie and say you didn’t know the policy applied to you. If they find that out, I would think you would get fired for sure.

      1. quill*

        In this case though, since the original remote thing was a separate negotiation from covid, and grandboss’ declaration was about covid, there’s more wiggle room. OP should definitely have gotten this clarified before now

    2. Nancy*

      Agree. LW1 needs to take action and try and get a longer exemption if she doesn’t want to go in. People are noticing, whether she thinks so or not.

      At my organization, if you aren’t fulfilling the onsite/hybrid requirements for your position, then you will at best lose your desk/office and at worst get fired. Exemptions are possible, but people need to take responsibility and ask.

    3. Sarita*

      I think it completely depends on company culture. My husband’s company has mandated 2 days in office per week. His boss lives in another state and flies in for 2 days every other week. My husband just learns his bosses schedule and shows up when he does. His boss just looks the other way. What’s his boss going to say to him when he himself isn’t following the policy. Often times in cases like this it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.

      1. A*

        Yup. I’m in the same boat – and it predates the pandemic. 5+ years and counting. I accept the inherent risk, but in my work environment it’s unlikely enough that I’m not going to assume it’ll swing far in the other direction. If it does, it would indicate a fundamental difference in our approach to our work so I would want to move on anyways. Not saying that’s something I recommend to all as not everyone has other opportunities actively available, but for me it’s a non issue. It is what it is / will be what it will be.

  13. Batgirl*

    For OP2, I’d be tempted to say “You have an insane amount of turnover and your CEO sounds like Tiger Mike”, but I wouldn’t because it would be unfair to Tiger Mike (I believe he … paid people). It’s also not my job to help the terminally clueless. She was in the room! I’d just say “Oh, I dunno. Just a feeling. I have great instincts.”

    1. My dear Wormwood*

      Honestly, you could just say, “You were in the room. You don’t need any extra feedback.”

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        Agreed. If she was told something that only an insider would know, and that was the deal-breaker, then the Code of Reasonable Persons dictates that she offer only the vaguest of pleasantries. You do not burn a fellow Reasonable Person who has risked their own standing to save a stranger from making the same mistake they did. But in this case, she can name what she plainly saw. Not because it would adjust the CEO’s attitude, but as an act of solidarity with the hiring manager, who may well be a Reasonable Person looking for confirmation that their boss sucks and isn’t going to change. “Look, you were in the room. Your CEO is a jerk, and I’m not working for him. I have options. Frankly, you should look at your options too.”

      2. Harper the Other One*

        This is what I came to say! “You were present for the interview so anything I could give as feedback is something you’re already aware of.”

  14. Laure001*

    Op5, you are now obsessing about the fact that you were obsessed by this job. Not a big deal! You will slowly learn to relax. :) People always say that actions have consequences, but fortunately, many minor mistakes do not have consequences, actually.

    1. Allonge*

      Ha, spot on! But yes, OP5, the worst possible outcome of this is that you don’t get the job (which was always a possibility) and that someone will remember getting a somewhat weird email from you. Most people have a very limited capacity to remember emails like this; the recruiter most likely got much worse on that same day.

      If you can, turn this into a lesson for yourself. If not, forget about it.

        1. Cj*

          We’ve all read here about job candidates who have done so much worse regarding continuingly contacting prospective employers to the point of harassment. What this person did wasn’t that bad at all.

          I’ve applied for a few jobs on Indeed recently, and a few days after the application get an email from Indeed saying you’re more likely to get a response if you contact the employer. My thought is that yeah, you’re more likely to get a rejection notice sooner. But because Indeed is doing this, and other places like Career Centers and job websites do also, I can’t imagine that it’s uncommon for candidates to contact the employer. Hopefully they don’t hold it against them if it’s something simple like asking like an update, or the email that this OP wrote.

      1. Jora Malli*

        I’ve received an email or two like this when I’ve been a part of hiring panels, and I honestly could not tell you the names or even the genders of those people now. I remember the guy who sent so many “you’ll be sorry you didn’t hire me!” emails that we had to blacklist him, but the one off messages from people who seemed well meaning? I know they happened but I have no idea who those people were and if their names were to show up in my next resume pile I would probably not recognize them.

        OP, this is not a stain on your reputation. You got a little too invested and now everything seems bigger than it is, but you haven’t cursed your chances with this company.

  15. Green great dragon*

    Someone who says “everyone” does this and “no-one” does that and it’s obviously your friends that are strange (whereas theirs are presumably a representative sample giving a true insight) is not someone whose insights I would trust. They do not appear to have strong critical thinking skills.

  16. Umpire*

    Policies that are justified only by being policy are ridiculous and often there to stroke someone’s ego.

    1. un-pleased*

      And how is that helpful to the LW? Alison’s advice that she plead ignorance is not actually going to help, nor is making some grandiose statement that gives her nothing to work with. You don’t know really anything about why the decision was made, and frankly, sometimes working at a place means dealing with an ego.

      The policy is the policy, and LW has two choices if she actually worried about getting fired (and not just looking for someone to excuse her violating a policy): get a new job or start going in to the office.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I agree. It’s pretty poor advice from Alison to plead ignorance since the LW absolutely knows she should be going in and there is presumably some evidence that she was told this. The policy might be silly or unnecessary but simply deciding not to show up is going to be viewed as something like insubordination. The LW should talk to the new boss and ask if the policy can be revisited but straight up lying is unlikely to work.

        1. Just J.*

          This. I am interpreting Alison’s advice as “go talk to your manager” and then plead ignorance. But LW definitely has to talk to their manager. And do it sooner rather than later. Don’t assume the new manager doesn’t care. You know the old adage about assuming. Because I agree, even if I am the most laid back manager in the world, if I am expecting you to come in and you aren’t, then there is a problem. If you talk to me and clear it up, then I’ll probably be pretty cool about it. Plus moving forward, it means everyone is on the same page and then there is no worry, no stress.

        2. Allonge*

          I think Alison answered the specific question of OP1, (am I likely to be fired); she was not giving advice on what OP1 should do in general. So the pleading ignorance is in case someone comes to OP and asks why they are not in the office as a reproach, not a long-term plan.

          Generally speaking though, I would have very low tolerance for a situation like this (as an employee I mean) – I would have to want to work from home immensely to not be driven to distraction by this hanging over my head. So, yes, my advice in general would be to clarify the situation with the new boss sooner rather than later.

          1. TW1968*

            Another Q: Could LW1 say something like “Since the closest office is a 3 hour round trip, and I don’t work with anyone in that office as my work is not related to them, it seemed common sense to continue WFH in this instance. While I have been coming in about once a month, I’m not sure what business purpose that serves and wanted to ask if you think I even need to come to the office at all?” If the answer is NO, terrific! If it’s YES, LW1 might be able to ask “Can you help enlighten me as to what business purpose it serves to make a long commute to be with people I don’t work with? There’s no one there to manage me in any case. Are there any issues with the quality of my work that lead you to think adding a 3 hour round trip will improve that work?” (Aside: is a cr*p reason BTW)

            1. Sloanicota*

              Frustratingly, though, what OP probably doesn’t appreciate is the company’s desire to make one-size-fits-all rules that are presumably clearer/easier to enforce. Yes, in OP’s case it doesn’t make sense, and a better solution would be for the company to lay out circumstances in which positions should and shouldn’t come in – but I’ve seen plenty of places that don’t want to haggle with each employee and have finger-pointing going on (“but OP doesn’t come in, so why should I have to?”). It stinks.

            2. Allonge*

              So: as a manager who would do her best to let OP keep working from home under the circumstances (no performance issues, temporary situation), I would not particularly appreciate them making this call for me without any consultation, nor the phrasing ‘Can you help enlighten me’.

              If you have a problem, come to me and I will do my best to solve it. If you break the rules as we both understand them and take this tone when you get caught…

        3. The Other Dawn*

          I agree, too. I have someone on my team who was found to be trying to fly under the radar by shorting his in-office time (we’re hybrid). He quickly lost my trust and I now monitor him very closely. It’s going to take a long time to earn back my, as well as the team’s, trust. I hate having to monitor people’s in-office time, but I have to do it since there’s no changing the in-office requirement per the CEO.

          1. EPLawyer*

            Umm, is there a POINT to the in office time? Is he missing meetings? Is his work not getting done? If if it is having no effect on work, that is what you tell the CEO. “My team is made up of adults. The work is getting done to our standard. If we monitor people’s in office time like they are children, we will lose good people.”

            For LW 1, its a stupidly rigid policy. Going in to the office where they sit alone in a cube all day is the same as being remote. It accomplishes nothing for the company OR the employee, other than ticking a meaningless box. LW needs to point out they have permission for their job to be fully remote during this special arrangement so why should the in office policy apply? They will comply when they return to their regular office.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              We have 500+ employees and it’s a requirement across the board for all departments. Executive management agrees with us; however, ultimately it’s the CEO’s call. Our peer companies are all doing the same thing, so it’s not as though we’re an anomoly. Some of us don’t like it, but we do it because we’re expected to do it. Plus it makes it easier for team meetings, training interns, and other things we have going on.

              1. ceiswyn*

                The thing is, “there’s no actual good reason for it but a senior person wants it” is exactly the sort of pointless hoop-jumping that loses employers the respect and trust of their employees. A manager who tries to enforce that on me has already lost my respect, so I’m unlikely to care much about their opinion of me thereafter.

                If meetings and training interns are a good reason to ask people to come in regularly, then that should be the reason, not an afterthought that makes the best of a bad policy.

                1. Loulou*

                  Really? I mean, it sucks, but it’s like the closest thing to a universal in the working world that I’ve seen. If I lost respect for every manager who enforced a policy they personally didn’t love but that someone above them wanted…I’d literally never respect any manager!

                2. The Other Dawn*

                  Loulou–yes, thank you. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do when I’m a mid-level manager and I’m expected to follow what the CEO of the company wants. Exactly what I stated as the plusses is why he wants people in.

                3. Nia*

                  The Other Dawn – I would expect all the mid level managers to band together to tell the CEO that you’re not going to enforce the policy. Or at the very least to do what the LW’s manager did and tell their direct reports that they’re not going to enforce the policy.

                4. New Jack Karyn*

                  The Other Dawn: Yeah, you have to enforce the policy. But it seems a lot to say that he’s broken your trust, and the trust of the rest of your team. That makes it sound personal, when it shouldn’t be. If he was doing good work when not coming in to the office, then he hasn’t hurt anyone–and may have helped by not being a vector.
                  From the outside, the ‘distrust’ you’re talking about looks a little like envy, or crabs-in-a-bucket syndrome.

                5. The Other Dawn*

                  Nia: Kind of hard to not enforce the policy when our team sits in the same building, one floor down from the CEO and we only have about 40 people in the building. It would be very noticable since he’s on our floor often and stops by to chat or ask a question.

                6. Green great dragon*

                  @Nia @Ceiswyn The thing about being a CEO is you can impose your views on your company, even if there is no justification. You can ignore even a band of mid-level managers. And you can fire or discipline a mid-level manager who won’t enforce it. And few people are in a position to walk off a job over it: it’s stupid, but it’s neither criminal nor dangerous.

                  As one of these mid-level managers it’s pretty depressing to hear these “just don’t do it then” type comments.

                7. Glomarization, Esq.*

                  New Jack Karyn: It doesn’t sound personal to me. It sounds like the person was being dishonest, and now The Other Dawn and the person’s team can’t trust that the individual is fully pulling their weight, doing their share, etc. Ascribing envy to a perfectly reasonable reaction to a report or co-worker who hasn’t been truthful — distrust — is weird.

                8. ceiswyn*

                  OK, given that your CEO is going to notice if you don’t enforce their bad policy, I grant that you don’t have any option and that does suck. But it’s also a completely different situation from the OP’s.

                  I’m kind of curious as to whether, in a situation like that, it’s generally considered better to appear to your subordinates to agree with the policy, or whether to admit that you don’t like it either but none of you has a choice? I can certainly see that the former is more ‘professional’, but I personally would have a lot more respect for a manager who i knew could tell the difference between good policies and pointless ones.

                  Bit of a tricky situation all round.

                9. Nia*

                  A CEO cannot actually enforce anything without the cooperation of his employees. If all managers and non managers agree to ignore a directive then there’s not much he can do. Sure he could fire everyone but even the worst CEO is going to realize that has a high likelihood of killing the business.
                  Just because something isn’t illegal or dangerous doesn’t mean it’s not worth standing up for your employees.

                10. quill*

                  See, the whole thing is the kind of nonsense that people could overall put up with before covid (Assuming that a job that could be remote was not save for maybe occasionally, i.e. on a day you have to make a midday dentist appointment in town, when having a cold but able to work, etc.) but when people make separate negotiations and then someone overrules them because “everyone comes back in now!” it gets more ridiculous very fast.

                  In OP’s case the best thing would probably be to clarify with new manager and state that the 6 month remote period was negotiated separately from covid WFH arrangements.

                11. pancakes*

                  I don’t disagree that pointlessly rigid rules around WFH are a bad thing, but there aren’t many workplaces where policy on this is put to a popular vote. There also aren’t many people who go to work every day out of respect for their managers rather than because they have bills to pay.

                12. Colette*

                  @Nia Part of being an employee is recognizing that there are some calls you don’t get to make. Yes, if everyone were willing to risk losing their jobs over working remotely, they might be able to make the CEO cave – but if 2/3 of people aren’t willing to join, the other 1/3 could easily find themselves on the unemployment line.

                  And there might be good reasons to have people in the office, even if the OP doesn’t know what they are.

                13. Allonge*

                  Nia,
                  So mid-level managers should band together and risk losing their jobs to get work from home for their staff? No. People who want to work from home should find jobs that let them work from home. It’s the great resignation, not the great wishes-come-true-without-doing-anything.

                14. pancakes*

                  Allonge, I think someplace in between could work. Mid-level managers with a lot of capital could try something like that, and they could have some success, particularly if there was bad press in their favor. (I’m thinking of the recent high-level departure at the fruit tech co.). And yes, people who want to work remotely should be clear about and attentive to that when looking for a new job, although if the candidate is high-level or has in-demand skills (or both), they may be in a decent position to negotiate.

              2. Help Us All*

                It also makes it easier to transmit Covid. Since my office has reopened there are several Covid infection notifications A DAY whereas before there was maybe a couple a month for the skeleton staff that had be there to keep up bare-bones operation.

                I totally disagree with the blind rule followers. When is face time going to die? I would absolutely refuse to be in a closed conference or training room now.

                OP, it may be that your contributions are valuable enough that you would not be fired over this, particularly if there is some confusion over your particular set of circumstances. Only you know how rigid the culture is about things like this. But if it will help you sleep at night, go ahead and lay everything out for clarification. If it turns out that inflexibility rules the day, you may need to job hunt. Stupid all the way around, but this site would not exist if not for organizational stupidity. Good luck!

            2. Stuckinacraxyjob*

              Nod. They want you go miss actual work time being sick because remote isn’t ” normal”

            3. Allonge*

              LW1, just for the record and if this comes up: don’t argue that you did not comply with company policy because you thought it was stupid.

              If someone’s employer makes stupid rules, that person needs to resign and find another place with acceptable ones. Or present their arguments on why they should get an exception. Or band together with a lot of other staff to request a general change in the rules.

            4. umami*

              The point is to follow established policy (stupidly rigid or not, which is in the eye of the beholder) that applies to all employees. Policies are set to ensure equitable treatment, if you start leading by exception, every employee would be able to come up with a reason they should be the exception to the rule. Working in a workplace means accepting the policies that govern the workplace, which are set to be as equitable as possible unless an exception can be justified. I would have a hard time working with someone who was basically being dishonest because they place convenience to themselves above workplace policy. Either seek an exception and get it, or do what your peers are doing. But deciding yourself that you just aren’t going to comply because you believe a policy is stupid isn’t doing you any favors.

              1. Clementine*

                Agreed with this. I will say – I feel like many of these responses sort of miss the mark that there are MANY reasons that an office may choose to go to a hybrid or partial in-office requirement. If that doesn’t work for you, then find a job that is fully remote, get an official exemption, or leave. The answer ‘it’s stupid, nobody should ever have to go into an office unless they have a job that can’t be done remotely’ misses many marks and nuances.

                Because trust me – as a manager, it is absolutely awful to have to sit down with somebody and HR because they had arbitrarily stopped coming into the office after having a boss who trusted them to be an adult for several years…

                1. umami*

                  Yes. It’s a bit shortsighted to lean too heavily on whether policies make sense to each individual employee, or that noncompliance is justified if work performance isn’t an issue. I’ve had to teach many an entry-level to mid-manager employee that being able to do the tasks listed in a job description is just one element to being successful in the workplace. Knowing and accepting the work culture, having an ethical and moral stance to how you approach your work, and demonstrating judgment and critical thinking are necessary if you want to advance. It ‘might’ be OK to fly under the radar because your work isn’t suffering if you want to stay at the level you’re at, but any future advancement could suffer if your manager feels you aren’t trustworthy or can’t understand that ‘work’ performance isn’t the only thing that matters in the workplace. If you want to be considered when advancement opportunities arise, you want to stand out for the right reasons, not be seen as that person who bends or ignores rules because they don’t think they are important.

            5. BL73*

              it doesn’t matter if there’s a point. As mid-level managers we don’t set the policy. The employees can follow all set policies or find a new job, whether I agree with the policy or not. And as for mid-level managers banding together to protest, this isn’t a movie. At my company, we’d have absolutely no clout.

              1. A*

                I agree that it might not be realistic to all (or most) work environments, but it’s not fair to write it off like it’s ‘a movie’. That’s literally what happened at my employer – they didn’t band together in an organized way, but each manager started to handle the hybrid policy as they saw fit and over the course of the last year or so the majority landed on ‘come in when/as needed and make your work space look lived in’. It’s quickly become the norm, and now they are revising the company policy to allow for that level of dept based approach because they were losing people by the dozens each week and were up against having to double down against the majority that already put it into practice, or rolling with it.

                Again, not saying that is representative of all work environments. I would never assume my experience can speak for all or most.

        4. ferrina*

          I don’t think this is poor advice- I think it’s realistic advice. It doesn’t sound like LW has any performance issues and is doing their job well. Her former boss didn’t care if she was in the office and her current boss hasn’t noticed (again, indicating that it doesn’t impact LW’s ability to do her job). Assuming that LW does her job well, why is it important for her to lose 90 minutes to drive into an office that she doesn’t need to go to?

          I don’t really like the term “insubordination” because too often it’s used as code for “not giving unquestioned obedience”. I think this is a case where all parties can quietly look the other way as a matter of personal discretion that isn’t accounted for by policy (i.e., let’s keep our eye on what’s important and not hold rigidly to policy for the sake of policy; let’s use our best judgement for individual circumstances and factor in the importance of work-life balance and worker retention)

          1. Help Us All*

            YES! Corporate life makes people brain-dead and turns them into drones. Just following “policy” can be dangerous and can lead to immoral actions when folks disavow any personal responsibility for their actions. Yes, the policy is stupid in this case, and if no one is the wiser, so what? OP is doing the job they are getting paid for.

            1. Loulou*

              If truly nobody would ever know, then indeed, so what…but it seems likely that someone will eventually notice that they have never seen OP. It seems extremely reasonable to point out that OP can’t count on nobody noticing this forever.

              1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

                OP has been to the office, so it’s not that they’ve “never” seen her.

              2. A*

                They might, and they might not. There is inherent risk, and OP should be aware – but it’s not that black and white. I’m living the example of that gray area and have been for a few years now. It’s up to OP to assess whether they are comfortable with that risk, but to paint it like it is guaranteed to be an issue is an assumption.

            2. MissElizaTudor*

              Agreed! And “insubordination” seems to be used when there isn’t a more legitimate complaint. If someone is being disruptive, or not getting work done, or causing other problems, people usually say that. It’s odd to see people talking about people who are their peers everywhere except at work being “insubordinate.” It’s weird when applied to non-peers, too, really. Squicks me out.

              My guess would be that if OP is performing well and then gets caught, they can essentially plead ignorance and maybe get reprimanded (or possibly not even that), and then they’d need to go in to the office. Obviously it depends on their new boss and their office culture, so they should take that into account, but otherwise it doesn’t seem like a fire-worthy offense.

        5. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Here’s what I’m looking at: The OP is 3 months into a temporary 6-month relocation. Her manager told her the policy and then immediately indicated it’s not a big deal if she follows it. The manager on-site told her they don’t care if she’s there. The new manager has never commented on it. She’s still going in sometimes, sometimes once a week, sometimes every few weeks. If someone complains about it, she can start adhering to the policy but it’s really unlikely it’s going to be a firing. People don’t typically get fired as a first warning for stuff like this. Much of the time they don’t get fired as a first warning for stuff they should get fired for. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No. Is the fact that she’s halfway through a temporary six-month relocation going to help further? Probably.

          Would I have advised her to do it this way if she contacted me at the outset? No. Do I think it’s a great idea? No. But her question is how likely she is to get fired if someone complains, and in my experience the answer is they’re much more likely to just warn/reiterate the requirement (and then start holding her accountable to it), assuming they’re happy with her work.

          1. Churlish Gambino*

            I’d just like to cite this thread as yet another example of people talking about how things should be versus how they are.

            1. A*

              It’s not that black and white. As is often the case with blanket statements, they rarely apply across the board. I was in a similar situation as OP for a few years, and once the pandemic hit it cropped up with a lot of folks in my work place. Now my employer is actively revising the hybrid policy to switch to only requiring people in office as needed when there is a business justification because it turned out that the majority of mid level managers had similar side deals with their teams. After hemorrhaging employees when folks got worried it would become an issue, they decided against doubling down and instead re-evaluated.

              Would I recommend this course of action to anyone that expected that outcome? Absolutely not. I’d venture to guess this is the minority. However in my case and a handful of others I’m aware of in my area, it 100% IS how it is, not how it ‘should’ be. I’d caution you against assuming that you can speak for all work environments.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I disagree, continuing on as she has been is definitely an option and is the one I would take in her shoes.

    2. Different Take*

      To be fair, sounds like the LW was given an exception/dispensation to work from a new location to be near his/her/their significant other. But now LW wants another exception. What LW doesn’t seem to realize is that leadership seems to value an in-person presence, and making another exception for LW may undermine that philosophy with the overall team. Fairness and even-handed treatment is important for managers to consider, too.

      1. EPLawyer*

        So she has to go sit by herself in an office, where nobody even knows she is there?

        Fairness and even handedness does not mean everyone has to do the exact same thing at the same time. Fairness and evenhandedness means that if an exceptional situation comes up, you will get consideration for it. Just like others did. You won’t get treated differently than others in that situation just because ….. OP already is in different situation where she is not going in to her regular office so it serves no person other than ticking a box to have her come in to the local office. Again, when she returns to her regular office, then yes she has to come in twice a week, but for now, she is not in that situation.

        1. Snuck*

          While there’s no need to treat everyone the same, and there are exceptions… There’s also sometimes good reasons for people to work from the office as well. With many people working remotely for the last few years team cohesiveness might have taken a dive, or there might be a lack of ability to genuinely address a person’s work quality due to inability to see how they are functioning. Now working from a remote office won’t change those things, but there could also be a need to address issues of fairness for all staff, and not to create the perception of perks for some, and remote office or no this may apply.

          I’d also take an incredibly dim view to the OP if they were my staff member and I found this letter, it’s clear that the staff member knows what is required but is trying to find a way around it. It appears the staff member’s move was for personal reasons, and leeway has already been extended. I would be very determined to look for quality in this person’s work, while they are remote, as they are already indicating (via this letter) that they aren’t really on board. Now if they’d just come to talk to be about it and been up front? Entirely different story. Talk to me and explain what is going on and what you need and I’ll work with you, hide it behind thin ‘misunderstandings’ and I wonder what else you are intentionally ‘misunderstanding’.

      2. pbnj*

        I’m reading it as a 6-month temporary relocation, so it may be a moot point soon. On the one hand, you could say OP only has to go to this location for a couple of months, on the other hand, it’s such a short time that they maybe could just finish their assignment.

      3. quill*

        See, my take was that OP made a negotiation that was separate from the company’s covid policy. Commute time and going into the office in New State were not originally part of the equation. If the covid policy was “everyone who would not be remote without covid needs to be in twice a week” OP might be officially excused. Instead, the problem is that neither OP nor their former manager ever got the separateness of this arrangement from overall covid stuff clarified.

    3. M2*

      Telling the LW to pretend to be ignorant is such a bad call! As a high level executive (and any manager) I would see through that and actually think poorly of LW. I would question LWs judgment and it would impact promotions and raises in future.

      They allowed LW to work from another location and now the LW is taking advantageM by not going in. Get clarity with your new manager if they say it’s ok that is one thing but just deciding on your own what you want to do when everyone else is following the new policies is not a good look. You seem to care more about being fired than your reputation.

      Maybe it works differently in accounting but for me and most of the managers or higher ups I know most of our teams have performed better IN the office than WFH. This is not everyone but many people! I have been going in for most of the pandemic while my team (until last fall) could WFH. I have been wearing a Kn95 or N95 mask and my org required free testing for awhile (and still offers it but it’s not required) and I have not had covid.

      Yes it’s the great resignation right now but there is a recession looming so just be careful! Some of you might not remember 2008 but it was awful for years and years!

      1. Help Us All*

        Prior to this pandemic, many folks worked from home full-time as a reasonable medical accommodation. In-office presence is simply not required for many jobs and there is often a prejudice that teams are working “better” in-office than virtually. Nonsense. This prejudice harms those who cannot work in the office.

      2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        All the more reason to get some resumes out there and see if there’s a better position for this person’s skills at an organization that respects their time.

      3. ferrina*

        The issue doesn’t seem to be productivity (something you cite). Both LW’s managers seem to be happy with her productivity regardless of her location. If the issue was productivity level and part of the solution was working in office, okay, but the productivity isn’t an issue- so moot point.

        Also- 90 minutes each day for an incremental increase in reputation? No thanks, I’d rather have my work life balance and a good solid reputation rather than a shiny reputation and lose the commute time. If you’re someone who’d pass over someone for a promotion just because of their location, you are already falling behind the times. If you had someone in office who was a stronger leader because of their face time, or someone who was more productive in office, or someone who was able to get stakeholder buy-in faster because of face time, that’s very valid. But there are remote workers who are able to accomplish all of this just as well. Yes, it is often easier in face-to-face interaction. But don’t discount remote workers who are getting results.

      4. ceiswyn*

        If the OP has a productivity issue, then that should be addressed. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

        Also, what reputation is the OP building (or not) by going and sitting alone in an office in the same building as people they don’t work with?

  17. LDN Layabout*

    I think for OP4, it really depends on your definition of job hopping. I do think shorter stints at a job are more accepted now and in a wider range of industries than they were before, but it just coincides with wage stagnation and poor raises at promotion. There’s a much wider acceptance that if you want more money, you have to move around for it.

    I don’t think your friend is right about the 1-2 year mark, but at around 2 years is where most people I know (past entry level, but not quite mid-career) do start to have gentle look around at internal and external opportunities.

  18. Snuck*

    For OP3 I would let go of whatever was historical, and work forward as much as possible, unless there’s issues in the recent past. You can’t really hold them to problems from two years ago, but you can set standards and expectations for now. So do that, and assume that everyone has had a lot of time to reflect and change and develop. The pandemic has shifted a lot of people’s world views, their experience levels and their view of where they fit in the world. Give your staff the benefit of this and see how you go moving forward.

    Manage well now, with clear feedback and clear boundaries, and set expectations out clearly. If someone complains “This wasn’t what it was like in the last few years” or “Why the sudden change?” Just shrug and say “While we were all working through the pandemic there was so many moving targets and such radical challenges in everyone’s lives we felt it best (royal “we”) to have a more hands off approach, now that we’re all back together it’s back to business as usual, and time to get back to being professional and on the ball.”

    1. Malarkey01*

      This is a perfect response.

      I’d also add that while CoVid is less of an all consuming thing (for some), the experience we all went through has made some fundamental changes to us as people and society and some more temporary changes (some really good…and some not so much) so evaluating how you want things to go moving forward can be a great opportunity to reset things and frame it more like going forward we want x instead of “prepandmic” or “back to normal” operations.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I agree this seems the best way to handle getting things more in shape as well. It sounds like there was a lot of changing on the fly because of changing local requirements and policies due to Covid, but now that it seems to be edging closer to endemic the policies are less fluid, and getting a handle on performance issues will be more manageable now.

      But thank you for giving extra grace to employees while everything was all over the map due to Covid. We’ve all heard far too many stories of the employers who didn’t give any grace.

    3. MR*

      I agree. I had a Letter of Expectation drafted for one of my staff in February of 2020. (also I live in Minneapolis) When I finally got started down that process, it was 2021. I focused on either a) things that I had previously discussed and documented and b) staying on top of stuff going forward.

  19. Question*

    I’m curious as to why emailing (after, ostensibly, at least a few days and the job being reposted) to reaffirm interest is a “misstep”? It seems like a perfectly rational thing to do. Hiring managers may not invite it, but I don’t see how it’s “misstep.”

    1. MK*

      It’s completely pointless, because you don’t need to reaffirm interest shortly after you expressed interest by applying. It makes you look a bit clueless at best that you are asking if you need to reapply after the job being reposted soon after the first posting; at worst it looks as if you are grasping at any excuse to make some kind of contact with a company who might not even have reviewed your application. You are basically bugging them for a response long before it makes sense for you to do so. This is incredibly annoying for the hiring manager, who, remember, is possibly dealing with multiple such inquiries from different candidates. That’s why it’s a misstep: you are making a mildy negative impression right off the bat. It’s not a huge mistake, but there is no reason to risk it, especially since you don’t have much to gain with this. I mean, what are you hoping to accomplish here? They already know you are interested. (I may be in the minority here, but I find it completely irrelevant whether a candidate is incredibly interested before even interviewing. I don’t really care of an unqualified candidate is enthusiastic, and if it’s a qualified candidate, their enthusiasm will mean more if it’s informed by knowing more about the job. If I am between two great finalists, yes, the more enthusiastic one may well win put. Before that, eh).

      1. Question*

        You seem very passionate about your answer, but unfortunately, I don’t think your take is fully informed, nor do I feel it comes from a place of fact rather than opinion:

        – We don’t actually know the timeline involved. You assumed it.

        – “It makes you look a bit clueless at best that you are asking if you need to reapply after the job being reposted soon after the first posting; at worst it looks as if you are grasping at any excuse to make some kind of contact with a company who might not even have reviewed your application.”
        Do you always feel such negative things about people for small actions you consider transgressions? Why does it make one look “clueless”? Clueless about what? Workplace “norms,” or just how you specifically feel about things? If it’s a “norms” violation, they don’t tend to be universal. If it’s because the person didn’t behave in exactly the way you prefer, then…well, I guess you and I wouldn’t be happy coworkers!

        – You say “mildly negative impression right off the bat.” They’re already applied, so “right off the bat” doesn’t make sense here. Clearly, the LW has either slipped through a crack during the application process (which has happened to me) or they’ve already made some kind of impression, that being “person we don’t want in this role.” So there’s nothing to be lost further here, really, and “impressions” shouldn’t be created based on the fact that you dislike someone showing enthusiasm to this extent.

        – On that note, as someone who also hires, I find your denigration of enthusiasm very disappointing. And, thankfully, singular.

        As I said, I’ve been in situation where my application didn’t make it for whatever reason (on one occasion, it was because the person in charge of hiring quit that very afternoon and didn’t pass their work on!), and a quiet and polite (single) email to the person responsible for hiring did, in fact, rectify the situation. I understand it’s not ideal, nor is it to be encouraged, but basically evaluating a candidate “negatively” for doing so seems to be a strong overreaction. So I’m honestly confused by the vehemence in your response to my question.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          I’m not reading MK’s reply to you as passionate or vehement, I don’t know where you’re getting that.

          I also think that candidates asking after “recently” (that was the stated timeline) applying is mildly annoying, especially since it was probably an automatic repost. It takes time out of someone’s day with no real benefit to them. The way to show enthousiasm is in the cover letter, and by talking about the work, in the interview, not by doing the equivalent of snapping your fingers because you think the teacher didn’t see your raised hand.

          I do think that after a significant amount of time (multiple weeks at least!), it’s ok to ask. A lot of the time, that will just be the prompt for someone to send out the rejection letters they hadn’t gotten around to though…

          1. londonedit*

            I also didn’t think it was particularly passionate or vehement – it laid out the potential reasons why being seen as overenthusiastic about a job application might harm your chances. Maybe it’s an industry/location thing, but certainly in my experience there are a lot of applications for every advertised role, to the point where it’s standard for job adverts to include a line stating that they are expecting a high volume of applications and will only be able to contact those who are invited for interview. So someone who sent in an application and then followed up to chase/’remind’ the hiring manager about that application would come across as a) out of touch with industry norms and b) unable to read and understand, or unwilling to accept, the information in the original job ad. Of course, it might not necessarily actively harm their chances, but being seen as someone who wants to circumvent the process or stick their hand up in the air going ‘Me! Me! Me!’ when there are loads of other candidates whose applications are just as valid and just as important, isn’t a particularly good look. It’s as simple as the hiring team looking at two comparable applications and thinking ‘Oh, wait, Tabitha Jones was the one who sent that annoying email chasing about her application. Let’s go with Araminta Smith for the final interview spot’. When you’re applying for a job you don’t want to do anything that makes you stand out for the wrong reasons.

            1. Just J.*

              +1 to both Emmy Noether and londonedit. The analogies of snapping your fingers at a teacher or yelling Me!Me!Me! are great. Spot on.

              One thing for all job applicants to remember is that while it is important for companies to hire, we aren’t obsessing over our new hires at all. We look at it as part of daily work life. Oh, new resumes to review? Ok, put them on my stack in my in-box. The process takes time and for most Project Managers, who need to be looped in on the candidates being considered, reviewing resumes is just not the #1 thing on my to-do list on any given day. I am juggling too much and putting out too many fires in my day-to-day, let’s-get-work-done-and-meet-this-deadline-so-we-can-get-paid kind of work. It may take me a few days to a week to get to your resume. Now imagine the time line if multiple PM’s are taking a look at you. Now imagine if those PM’s take two weeks to get to your resume. It takes time. Be patient. We know you’re out there. If we are interested we’ll get back to you.

              If you haven’t heard from a company in weeks or months, a polite email is fine. If you are emailing after a few days to ask where the process is, just don’t. As others point out, it makes you stand out for the wrong reasons.

          2. Michelle Smith*

            I think this response overestimates the amount of understanding people who aren’t responsible for hiring have about the hiring process. I didn’t even know until this comment that “automatic reposts” were even a thing. I assumed if a job was reposted, someone paid to do that and that it was for a specific reason. I have been told for one job I applied to recently that they are closing and reposting to change one of the job responsibilities in the description. I was told by another place that they reopened the job posting because they have a minimum number of qualified applicants they have to interview and they didn’t get enough applications. So there are legitimate reasons, at least in my head, why it would make sense to reach out for confirmation. I hope hiring managers remember that information they think is obvious may not be obvious to people who have never posted a job online or hired for something!!

            There are also times when I have been invited to interview for positions within 24 hours of submitting my application. If interviews are being conducted on a rolling basis, waiting multiple weeks before reaching out to see if you need to reapply sounds to me like a great way to miss the window for interviews. I hope that people in positions of power in the hiring process understand that could motivate some of the “mildly annoying” outreach as well.

            And to an earlier comment regarding excitement, I respectfully disagree that excitement pre-interview is meaningless. I have applied for and interviewed for many jobs over the course of my career. I can’t think of a single time where I learned additional information in the interview that made me more excited about the job. I have had interviews that confirmed my initial excitement, interviews that gave me pause, and interviews that made me sure I definitely and absolutely did NOT want to work at a place. But most of the time, I have done extensive research on the organization and the role before applying, including reading the website, reading Glassdoor reviews, reading LinkedIn pages and comments, and doing informational interviews. I don’t know why it’s meaningless to be excited about a position you’ve thoroughly vetted in advance, especially in comparison to someone who is waiting for the interview to have their first contact with the organization.

            1. Allonge*

              Which is why ‘check-in email’ is not a maj0r mistake that will put you on a no-hire list forever, but a misstep. It may or may not have any negative consequences at all. But it’s not advised.

              Also – and with the greatest respect to both you and Question – you cannot argue people out of low-level annoyance with even the best presented arguments. If someone is annoying, they probably have a totally legit thing they want. They are still annoying. Alison’s advice is to not be annoying.

            2. BethDH*

              That’s why I wouldn’t trust pre-interview excitement that much. It’s nice to see and certainly wouldn’t be a negative, but because as you yourself said, you can learn things in the interview that lessen your excitement. So it just isn’t an indicator to me of how excited you would be in the role. It wouldn’t be a negative for me either though!
              That said, I don’t really need to see “excitement” and I worry that we give people new to the job market the wrong idea when we talk about it. I don’t need to see a camp-counselor school-spirit thing, I want to see that you have devoted some attention to knowing what the company and role involve, and that you think that sounds like a good fit for you. The ability to answer questions about why you want to work here and in this role, and have a useful conversation about how it fits into your career growth short and long-term is good professional-style excitement. (We do tell people we’re going to ask in the interview about that, btw)

            3. Emmy Noether*

              Here’s the background for automatic reposts: job postings go stale. Job sites often sort by how recent they are, and candidates are more likely to apply to postings with recent dates.

              So, companies will push their posting to make it appear fresh. I think this does cost money, but there’s not always a particular reason for doing it, it’s just done on a cycle until the position is filled.

              It’s true that being on the other side of hiring gives a lot of insight into how it works that I never had before ;-)

              1. KRM*

                Also it can repost because they’re hiring 10 positions on a rolling basis, so they want resumes to keep coming in until they have all 10 people hired. So if I repost a job after 2 weeks because I need resumes to keep coming in as I review what I already have, I don’t need a candidate emailing to say that they’re still interested. I may have their resume in the “hiring manager yes” pile and I’m arranging schedules so I can offer interview slots. I may not have given the “yes interesting” pile to the hiring manager yet. It’s a long process, and you don’t need a candidate to stand out with their “hey you keep reposting this I’m totes still interested!!!!” emails.

            4. Colette*

              Your excitement might be good for you, but it’s not a plus for the hiring manager until you have a better idea of what the job is. You’re doing a lot of research, which is great! But that’s not enough to make up for not having the strongest qualifications, so until you have an interview, your enthusiasm isn’t relevant to the hiring company.

        2. Allonge*

          If you need to ask a question to a recruiter or hiring manager, ask it.

          But if it’s an unnecessary ‘I am still interested’ with no additional information, it can be low-level annoying. You don’t want to be any level annoying in a recruitment process, if you can avoid it.

          And OP is already admitting to being obsessive about this, we don’t want to encourage them to ask more questions.

        3. BRR*

          I thought MK laid things out quite reasonably (I actually found your response quite passionate). One issue is everyone thinks they’re the exception. That something must have happened to their application and it didn’t make it through. When the vast vast vast majority of the time, the employer knows you’re interested because you applied. I would also evaluate an applicant negatively because it almost always comes across as trying to have some control over the hiring process which isn’t how things a work (and I want to add that it makes sense why people are fed up with hiring processes and the lack of communication but there’s a certain amount of control that just naturally falls to the employer during hiring unless you’re in a very high-demand field).

        4. anonymous73*

          The timeline is irrelevant. OP applied to the job…she had not yet been contacted for a phone screen or an interview. So her contacting the hiring manager to express interest will do nothing favorable. You follow the hiring process, you don’t go rogue.

        5. Loulou*

          But…no, this is absolutely not true and the fact that you think it is maybe illustrates why you’re off base here: “Clearly, the LW has either slipped through a crack during the application process (which has happened to me) or they’ve already made some kind of impression, that being “person we don’t want in this role.””

          You can’t tell any of that by that by the fact that a job was reposted on indeed or whatever. Savvy or experienced candidates know that and seeing a job reposted wouldn’t trigger a need to get in touch and reiterate their interest, so the only people who would do it do, yes, seem clueless.

        6. pancakes*

          It is a bit clueless about workplace norms, yes. Employers don’t throw away the resumes of strong candidates from a first round of submissions before re-posting the same position. If there are people who look like strong candidates in that group, they do a phone screening and/or bring them in for an interview. It isn’t at all clear the letter writer slipped through a crack in the process, and there’s no particular reason to think there is a crack in this one. A candidate thinking they should’ve been interviewed is not in itself a crack.

    2. AskJeeves*

      You say yourself that hiring managers may not invite it — so that should be a clue as to why it’s a misstep. Job postings often ask applicants NOT to follow up, because it’s unnecessary and annoying to the people managing the hiring process. They know you’re interested because you applied; there’s no need to reaffirm that. Wasting a hiring manager’s time to say “I’m still interest in the job I applied for” is a poor way to promote your candidacy. It’s not a cardinal sin. It won’t get you blacklisted. But it’s a mild annoyance in a process where you want to be presenting yourself in the best light possible. Therefore…a misstep.

    3. Letter Write #5*

      Hi all, I wrote in Q5 and just to clear up some things in this thread – recently was actually 6 weeks between applying and sending the email. The original ad had a cut-off application date about a week after I applied, so it had been 5 weeks since then. The new ad was posted 5 weeks after the old one was taken down, with a new cut off date. I agree with Alison, it was a misstep, and I think this thread highlights it – there was no advantage aside from a way to allay my anxiety-induced fears that they’d forgotten about me, and it actually annoys some people. I’ve checked myself and now feel like I haven’t done myself a gigantic disservice with this email, and I’m trying really hard to step back and put my focus outside of this role that’s been advertised. I’m still a bit hopeful, but theres actually nothing wrong with the job I’m in now, so if nothing comes out of it I can sit back and keep an eye out for other positions in the industry sector I want to be in!
      Thanks for all your comments.

  20. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Am I the only one who is just floored by the CEO being upfront about intending to commit a crime? Because surely not paying people what you owe them is a crime?

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I read it as the CEO asking if the LW would be upset if the salary was less than they were asking for.

      Though with the context that existing employees don’t get paid their full salary, I have to wonder…

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        “Ha! I told them in the interview! Not my fault they didn’t believe me.”

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Hmm, now that you mention it, it can be taken as asking if they would be upset if the ultimate offer was less that the salary they ask. So either this guy is going for plausible deniability about what he says in the interview…or he genuinely doesn’t see the difference between “agreeing to a lower salary than initially asked” and “I randomly decide to pay them less than we agreed”.

  21. Triplestep*

    #1, but really for anyone’s information: The answer to the question “How would I know if you were there or not?” is this: Badge entry data.

    I work in office design and planning. The planning is now done by developing studies on utilization, and the data comes from badge entry and other electronic data. (Most office security systems can collect badge data, but some employers also use seat reservation systems that collect data as well.) People like me who work with this data will remove personal information from it once we have what we need, such as location, organization and/or cost center, etc. We know that if we appeared to be tracking people too closely we’d get pushback and possibly lose access to the data we need to create actionable analyses that leadership wants from us. In some countries, we’d be running afoul of privacy laws by hanging on to personal info attached to the badge entry data.

    But do we know that some people never come in and can we easily tell who they are if we wanted to? Yes. And if we know, you have to assume that at some point your management could know if they wanted to. The data exists. I would not assume that an agreement you make with colleagues about physically seeing you (or not) is going to be the only way people will know how much time you spend in the office.

    For what it’s worth, I also think that policies to be in the office for the sake of being in the office are stupid. I have yet to hear a good reason for forcing people into them (but I felt that way before the pandemic, too.) So it feels particularly crappy to know that I might at some point be asked to dime people out about this.

    1. FashionablyEvil*

      This. My company totally uses badge swipe data and has for years. (Oddly, we all know about it because there was a time when several of our offices were over capacity and they were trying to figure out if they needed to build/rent more space or if it was possible to reallocate space that belonged to de facto teleworkers.)

    2. metadata minion*

      I work in a university library that’s open to the public so maybe I’m just behind the times — are most private offices card-swipe access these days?

      1. WellRed*

        Not even close and I assume OP would have said so and am therefore unclear why this comment was posted.

        1. Triplestep*

          You are unclear on why this comment was posted? Because you think it doesn’t apply to someone who says she works “for a ‘big 3’ company in our industry”?

          Far smaller companies have badge entry systems in place. So yes I think we can assume it applies to the LW and many, many commenters. The comment was meant to illustrate that this data is accessed and used, something that might not be top of mind for the badge holders.

        2. Green great dragon*

          I think it’s pretty common, and not something I’d expect OP to mention either way. Another way is to track the IP address you’ve logged into (logged in from? whatever the technical description is).

        3. pancakes*

          This is going to be regional. I’m in NYC and have been using swipe cards to get into work (and around at work) since shortly after 9/11. The first time you visit a building for an interview, they will have given your name to security, and you’ll need to show them ID to get temporary access. Clearly there are places that don’t do things this way, but it’s very much the norm where I am.

        4. NNN222*

          Every office I’ve worked at since 2006 has required me to badge to enter and most have required me to badge to enter and exit and not hold the door for someone to ensure that they were also badging to enter and exit. I’ve also been warned at more than one location that they would check someone’s badge record if they had reason to believe that person was not in the office for the minimum required time each day. Badge records are absolutely used to track attendance in many offices. They’re usually not checked unless the employer already suspects an attendance issue but it can be done.

      2. As per Elaine*

        My experience is admittedly limited (one charter school that had keys, two offices that had badges or keyfobs, and seeing many friends with badges), but I’d guess that most places that can afford it (in Western countries with reliable power etc) have electronic access.

        Managing physical keys for any significant number of spaces/any significant number of people is a NIGHTMARE. Either you have keys that are specialty and hard to copy, which makes it annoying and expensive to replace them when you need to (which can be as often as someone loses a key, depending on how paranoid you are and how many spare keys you have), or they’re easy to copy and even someone who returned their key may still have a copy. Any time there’s a security concern you have to rekey one or more locks and replace a bunch of keys. And that’s not mentioning storage. You can pretty quickly get to hundred of extra keys, and those things are heavy and annoying to store — and what if someone loses the key to the spare key cabinet?

        1. I should really pick a name*

          There are a lot of offices where only a few individuals need keys.
          One person unlocks the door, and then it’s unlocked for the day. Not everywhere needs controlled access.

        2. Shad*

          Electronic access doesn’t have to mean badge swipe or other identity-tracked access, though.
          My office uses an electronic keypad with a single pass code. You could probably check when it’s opened, but not by whom.

          1. Elsajeni*

            And my office has badge access, but also doors that automatically lock/unlock at set times — you only need to swipe if you’re coming in outside of normal business hours, so someone could certainly work a full 40-hour in-office schedule without ever showing up in the swipe data log. I think Triplestep’s point that there are lots of offices where you could be tracked this way is still relevant, though! Definitely worth keeping in mind for anyone whose calculations around following this sort of policy include “but would anyone even know if I never came in…”

      3. NK*

        I’d assume that any office that isn’t public-facing, and that’s part of a corporation large enough to have multiple locations, would use badge readers.

        It’s easier than making sure that the employee with the key is always in early enough, and it’s more secure than giving every employee a key. It also gives corporate security valuable information if equipment goes missing over the weekend.

        1. KRM*

          And badge readers let people pop in if they need to pick something up, or forgot an important piece of paper, or need to take care of something on the weekend/off hours. I’d think even a public space like a library would want to have ‘access restricted’ areas for staff, and badge readers are easy to use for that purpose.

        2. Just Another Starving Artist*

          Yeah, your mileage may vary on that. I’ve had to badge swipe in maybe two of the last several locations I’ve worked. If you don’t have workers coming in at all hours of the night, it’s not really a big deal for facilities to not unlock the building until six am or whenever.

      4. OyHiOh*

        I work in a building that hosts a bank, half a dozen non profits, and a small handful of for profit small businesses. We use physical keys. The bank side of the building has its own set of keys, a different key opens the external doors the rest of us use, and separate keys for individual offices/suites.

        Granted, we’re in a corner of the US that frequently feels like it’s in a 20 year time warp but electronic access is relatively rare here. The city/county government buildings, the school district admin and teachers, and maybe two or three of the major non-government employers use electronic badge systems.

      5. Sarita*

        I’ve worked for 4 companies over my 16 year career and all of them have had badge swipe entry. 2 Fortune 500 companies, one with about 2000 employees, and my current company with 300 employees. I assume many small businesses aren’t this way, but I think most standard office real estate is badge entry.

      6. A*

        It’s the norm in my area – some are for tracking/evacuation purposes, and some (like my current employer) use it as an unlocking mechanism. My employer doesn’t require individuals to swipe their because it’s purely to gain accessibility to the building. Especially during core hours it often takes the form of one person swiping, and then a stream of 12+ people coming in after.

    3. Bilateralrope*

      Yes. I’ve worked security at a location would often have management email us to get the entry/exit times for staff members who didn’t clock in/out properly on a specific day. Less than a minute per request to get the times requested, and most of that was because the computer system was slow.

      1. Triplestep*

        I am baffled as to why people keep posting some version of this comment. The LW describes her employer as “a ‘big 3’ company in our industry”. Chances are she’s swiping a badge to get (at least) onto the floor of her employer’s offices in a larger building. It is quite common even for smaller companies than “big three”.

        1. Pilcrow*

          I’m baffled too. This is right in “not everyone can have sandwiches” territory. Yes, there are workplaces that do not require badge swipes. Yes, there are a large number of workplaces that do.

          Since everyone is giving anecdata on badge swipes, every office I’ve worked in for the last 18 years has had badge swipe access and I know that the data is there if someone needed it. I didn’t personally see the data, but managers can certainly request it.

          So the OP did not mention badge swipes… so what? They also didn’t mention sitting in a chair when they were in the office either. Triplestep provided a very realistic scenario where the OP could be found out if someone were so inclined. The OP can then use that as part of their decision. If badge swipes are not required, then great. If they are, it’s something to consider.

          1. Triplestep*

            Yes, it was starting to feel pretty sandwich-y to me. Your post illustrates quite well the point I was trying to make and the reason I commented. Never imagined there would be this much pushback over it.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          I guess I’m baffled at the assumption there are badge swipes involved since both her original manager and the office-she’s-not-going-into said they wouldn’t notice if she were never there. If this were something the higher higher ups were tracking regularly with badge swipes or similar, then it wouldn’t make sense to say that. Now maybe it’s trackable but someone would need to have a reason to go look. But it sure as heck seems like nobody’s looking so even that seems moot.
          Plus if the OP swiped in everyday, yeah maybe she forgot to mention it, maybe she didn’t, but speaking of “sandwiches” territory…I just don’t understand how if that were in play she wouldn’t have mentioned it as a factor in the “will I get caught” math.

          1. Triplestep*

            So we should count you among those who thinks a “big three” company is not requiring people to carry and swipe badges?

            The entire point of my comment was to say (re: badge swipes) “Here’s something you may not have considered …” So the fact that she does not mention badge swipes in the OP is pretty much baked into my whole reason for commenting.

    4. Important Moi*

      This is valid. LW didn’t provide if they have to swipe in anywhere. If they do, this should be considered.

      That being said not everyone makes the connection that if you have to swipe a badge to enter a facility, for example, that data is collected somewhere and can be accessed.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        I know it’s physically possible to do where I am, but I don’t know how often it’s actually checked. It only came up for me because something went wrong with my ID badge a few years ago and I was asking Facilities whether I’d had access removed in error or the badge had died, and the person I spoke to had looked on the system and said “I can’t see from here that you tried to access X, but we didn’t remove any access so it’s the badge that’s the problem.”

        But I don’t know how reliable such data is anyway – if, say, Fergus and Cecil passed through a door together and Fergus used his badge to swipe them through, and someone then pulled Cecil’s info that wouldn’t register.

        1. Triplestep*

          The person you contacted in Factilies is not the person analyzing the data. He might not even be the person *extracting* the data for people like me to analyze. People who work on the front end of the system like he does are concerned about other employees experience and ability to to come and go as they need to. He may not even be thinking about the data those swipes are generating (or how to extract that information). This is not a slight on the front end people – I work with them. This is just an explanation of why it might not seem like data is being looked at.

        2. A*

          Yup. I assume my employer has access to the badge swipe data, but it’s no way comprehensive. We aren’t required to swipe them, it serves to unlock the building door so we don’t need someone at the front desk all the time. Especially during start and end of core business hours, it usually takes the form of one person swiping to unlock the door, and 12+ folks following. If they were to pull the last few years of data for me it would probably only represent 60% or so of times I was actually in office. They would need to make it a requirement that each individual swipes their badge for it to be remotely accurate.

    5. Monday Monday*

      I came to say the same. Pre-pandemic, my last company used badge data to determine if you needed a permanent desk. If you only came in 2 days or less a week, they took your desk away and made you hot-desk. It eventually led to whole departments losing seats and trying to fight for the few hot-desks available.

      And that data could always be requested by managers if needed to prove if someone was coming to work or not. It required a lot of work to get these records and were usually only requested if something serious was going on or they suspected someone was lying about coming into work.

    6. Person from the Resume*

      Not every office requires a badge to enter. Even at office who do require a badge to enter, the data might not be stored anywhere long term.

      I worked at a very secure location where we badged into buildings and offices within the building. Someone once inquired about getting the data to track an employee’s attendance. The badge data was not helpful for them because we did not have to badge out. We could say someone walked into the building or office but there was not information on how long they stayed.

      Computer system probably knows where you logged in from. Did you login into the network directly or dial in to a VPN from offsite? But again this information may not be easily obtainable or stored for very long.

      1. Snuck*

        Yep. Ways to track an employees attendance in the office can include badge swipes, IP address tracking, the various tracking softwares that were introduced generally in the pandemic to see if staff were actually working (everything from camera shots of employee sitting at laptop to mouse movements, all interpreted by AI, which absolutely could confirm if someone was in a ‘corporate office vs a home office’), to asking the local manager how things are going or having to negotiate a seating plan move. Small inconsequential things can easily unveil the OP not being in the office.

        I’ve had a remote staff member in the past that I had to confirm was meeting simple key health and safety metrics (monthly check that his workstation was set up, participate in fire drills etc), and thus had to talk to a local manager on occasion. It would have come to light if he wasn’t in the office when he was supposed to be… eventually.

      2. pancakes*

        “The badge data was not helpful for them because we did not have to badge out.”

        These are simple tweaks for the employer to make, I think. In most of the offices I’ve worked in, there will be one or two exits where there’s no need to badge out during the day, though employees are sometimes asked to do so, and after 6 pm or so, the doors don’t open in either direction without a badge. Likewise, the elevator buttons won’t work until you badge in there as well.

        1. Snuck*

          I’m pretty sure it’s standard building code in Australia for people to be able to get OUT of spaces without having to enter a code/swipe, particularly for emergencies. You can always get to the ground floor from any lift (and summon any lift to go down without a swipe). You can always get out of locked floors to lift foyers. You just can’t get IN.

          I’m not sure if the same applies in other countries but I’ve worked in WA, QLD, NSW, VIC and they all have the same rules.

    7. Purple Cat*

      But if the only way you (as a company) know if somebody is on site or not is by accessing the badge entry data then their presence (or lack thereof) has no impact on getting the job done – and THAT’s the point. And never mind being fired, I would quit on the spot if my company was wasting time and money paying somebody to review badge swipe data in order to keep tabs on their employees. Your review in the context of space utilization is totally different.

      1. Triplestep*

        Well luckily for you, your company is probably not paying someone to keep tabs on you.

        The comment to which you are replying says:
        > Badge data is used to analyze utilization for space planning. Not personal productivity.
        > Personal information is removed from it prior to analysis.

        Hope this helps.

      2. pancakes*

        You’re basically saying you’re never going to work in a high-rise in a big city. That’s fine if that’s what you want, but not everyone can be so choosy about where they’ll work. It isn’t so much to keep tabs on employees in a panopticon-type way, it’s for security.

        That said, I agree with the people who’ve said there’s no particular reason to think the letter writer’s employer is keeping close tabs on this data, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be.

      1. Churlish Gambino*

        And my current and last job did/does. What does it matter whether our own individual companies had it or not? The original comment is worth considering because if it does apply to the LW (and it’s common enough that it’s well into the realm of possibility), they should factor that in when considering whether or not to keep flouting this policy.

        1. Triplestep*

          I know the comments here are bananas. I didn’t realize that this many people thought their own workplace situations were universal, or even the majority. The LW clearly works for a large company, and we can be more than 99% sure she has to swipe to enter.

    8. SINE*

      I once worked in an office building where you had to swipe to get into the bathrooms (they were located in the elevator lobby on our floor, outside of our secured office doors). For a while, the Office Manager would look at the timing between when people swiped into the bathroom and then back into the office, and then accuse people of being in the bathroom for too long. It was insane.

    9. Contractor*

      It seemed more likely to me that the LW works in a place that doesn’t require badge swipes than that they work in a place that does require them and that they don’t realize they can be tracked with that information… but the mind does tend to skip over routine things, so you may have a point.

  22. Other Alice*

    #2, I can’t see any upside to giving honest feedback. The hiring manager was in the interview, they heard the CEO’s comments. I doubt that getting feedback in writing from a candidate is going to make any difference. You can build a case all you want but if the person on top is a jerk then no amount of written statements from candidates is going to change anything. If anything, jerk CEO is going to take that as a sign of weakness because the candidate “couldn’t handle his honesty” or something like that. Hiring manager might also be looking for a way to change the candidate’s mind and pressure her into accepting the offer, such as “you won’t have to interact with the CEO” and “turnover isn’t so bad and we’re taking steps to address it”. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in giving a bland answer like “it didn’t seem like a good fit” and moving on.

  23. NoviceManagerGuy*

    I want the full backstory on that beverage (even if it’s fictional). What does the can look like? Who is the target market?

    Also the only upside to providing feedback is that the recruiter might realize they are working for a moonbat and leave.

    1. L.H. Puttgrass*

      If the hiring manager doesn’t know by now that they’re working for a moonbat, nothing the LW can tell them will help at this point.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I would enjoy this fanfic:

        Interviewee: Your CEO is a moonbat.
        Hiring manager: Oh my word, you’re right.
        Interviewee: Frankly you should run.
        Hiring manager: Don’t you think maybe he’ll change?

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          I read this as ‘wombat’ which was much more amusing, but less pertinent to the actual issue!

      2. NoviceManagerGuy*

        We see all the time people having trouble adjusting to toxicity not being normal. Being a misogynist ass is very deeply embedded in society, so it’s not that hard to see somebody saying “oh, that’s just how he is but REALLY we’re equal around here” until somebody points out to them how wrong they are. That said the interviewee here certainly doesn’t owe anybody at this ridiculous company anything.

      3. Observer*

        If the hiring manager doesn’t know by now that they’re working for a moonbat, nothing the LW can tell them will help at this point.

        Exactly.

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Also, I looked up that beverage, and not only is it not fictional, but the name of the beverage is also the name of the company. So anyone applying to work at the company already knows about the beverage name—which just makes the CEO that much of a glass bowl for asking if the LW is going to cry about it.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        I believe that the company the LW applied to does work FOR the company that sells the beverage It’s not the company itself.

    3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      It’s very commonly sold here in the UK especially at the kind of discount shops that sell a lot of energy drinks. I’ve never bought one but I think it’s just another spin on the “fruit flavour high caffeine fizzy drink with an eye catching name” that is currently trendy.

  24. Rufus Bumblesplat*

    Alison, I’m wondering if the product name should be removed from #2?

    I haven’t checked, but I would hope that there aren’t a lot of drinks with that name. Identifying the company may identify LW2’s daughter.

    1. ecnaseener*

      The company the daughter interviewed for isn’t the company that sells that drink, they just work WITH that company. There are likely several of those.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I dunno, “We do work for a company that sells a drink…” could mean “we are employed by a company that”, not doing contract (e.g., marketing) work for another company. It wasn’t hard to find the CEO of the company that makes that product, and it sounds like that wouldn’t be out of line for him, although unfortunately that hardly makes him unique. Either way, as others have said, it’s probably too much of a risk for her to take to be honest, with a minuscule chance of it accomplishing anything.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I’m removing it. (If nothing else, a few people have assumed that’s the company where she interviewed even though it’s just a client, and they shouldn’t be wrongly tagged with this behavior.)

  25. Bookworm*

    #1: I’d personally go with Alison’s answer if it comes up–you’ve had inconsistent messaging and since your manager already said that you are remote for them anyway, hopefully this isn’t a problem! Good luck!

  26. Falling Diphthong*

    CEO: Are you going to tell me to go to hell if I pay you less?
    Latest departing employee: We’re not being paid the full amount owed on our paychecks.

    Even though these two things seem closely related, my experience of mid-level management suggests that they would be “astonished” to learn that employees were not being paid, or didn’t understand the nuanced reasons behind why they were not being paid.

    The rest of this dumpster fire completely aside, “Can’t make payroll” is an iron clad reason for any prospective employees to sprint for the hills. (Maybe the CEO thinks that by putting this line in the interview, he’s legally covered for the bait-and-switch salaries?)

  27. Katie*

    Doe LW1, could you just bring it up to your new manager as more of a complaint about the silliness of coming in when 1)no one you work with works there 2)the building manager says it’s silly. Perhaps she will say the same thing your former boss said? I certainly would.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I’d wait for the manager to bring it up–and the six month remote placement might well end before that happens.

      The last set of people made it clear that this is not a thing they care about, but also that they felt like someone up the ladder with a spreadsheet is very convinced that if Burt in Toledo finds out that Angie in Compton is fully remote the whole system is in danger. So I’d further advise LW to try not to mention this with her team–sometimes “no one cares” accommodations have hit the skids when one of the people benefitting wound up at a party of high-ranking people and laughed about the stupid regulation everyone ignored.

  28. Falling Diphthong*

    OP5, in a past discussion on standing out from the competition in interviews, commenters observed that if you didn’t get the job, then you didn’t want to stand out in the interviewers’ memories. Because a couple of years from now that’s going to be Bob in the banana suit, not Fred about whom they have a lingering vague positive impression.

    Alison is right that you probably haven’t tanked all future chances… but that requires you gracefully fading into the background on this particular application and waiting for another role to open.

    1. metadata minion*

      Or at least, you want to stand out in roughly the same way that the candidate who was hired did. I’ve been on hiring committees where not-hired candidates stood out all the time, but usually in a “oh, wow, I wish we had two openings; this is going to be a really hard decision!” or “this person is impressively badass, but unfortunately it’s in a slightly different skillset than we’re actually hiring for”.

    2. Letter Write #5*

      Hi! OP5 here. I also hire staff under me at my current role, and I actually disagree with this. Sometimes great, memorable candidates stand out but don’t get hired for many other reasons, I’ve had 1 that was wildly overqualified (the position I hire for is one where the position name doesn’t change with seniority, so it has the tendency to attract overqualified candidates despite doing what we can with the ad to negate this), 1 that decided to return to study and we couldn’t facilitate a part time role for them, and 1 that had to resign in their probation period due to personal family reasons, all of which I would happily hire if the right roles came up. I know this isn’t the case every time, but I don’t think people should try not to be memorable or anything like that.

      As for gracefully fading out – I certainly don’t intend to send any further emails, and its with much relief that I agree with Alison, most of my obsessing won’t have actually been noticed by the company, so I’m definetely sitting back and leaving the ball in their court.

  29. anonymous73*

    #1 you say you got permission to work remote for 6 months to be closer to you BF – was that a verbal agreement or in writing? Even if it was verbal, you could claim that this agreement was made and that going into the closest office was not part of that agreement since you don’t work with any of those employees. I would just continue to work remotely, and not worry about it until it comes up (if it comes up). As Alison said, I doubt anyone would fire you immediately if they found this out.

    And for the love of god, companies need to STOP forcing people into the office when it makes no logical sense!!!

  30. Be kind, rewind*

    Well, the way #2 is written, it’s not clear that the manager and CEO were in the same interview together, just that OP interviewed with both of them at that stage (could have been 2 different slots).

    I think that matters because then it might not be obvious to the manager why OP turned it down. Personally, if the turnover is really bad, I think they’re probably really desperate to hire and want to point to something they can fix, like salary, and not have to address the large elephant in the room (the awful culture).

    That’s all speculation, but ultimately I don’t think OP’s feedback will help. This place is full of bees and can’t be fixed with a CEO like that.

  31. anonymous73*

    #2 There are a lot of people saying that the daughter shouldn’t say anything because it won’t do any good. Would you give the same advice to a woman who’s been assaulted? This situation may not be as serious as an assault, but if nobody every says anything, it will NEVER change. But if 1 person, and then another person, etc. start speaking up, it could potentially lead to change. Staying quiet is what allows men in positions of power to continue to abuse that power. And seeing that OP’s daughter is not an employee, it would be very easy to provide honest feedback without negative consequences.

    1. Emm*

      This seems pretty disingenuous. It’s not an interviewee’s responsibility to fix a company culture from the outside.

      1. anonymous73*

        I never said it was her responsibility, but if she wants to speak up, she should do so. Saying she shouldn’t simply because it wouldn’t make a difference is problematic.

        1. Emm*

          Sure, if she wants to raise concerns, then she should feel empowered to do so. But I would hope she feels similarly enabled to not speak up, if that’s what she feels comfortable doing.

          Please explain if I’m misinterpreting your words, but your statement that “staying quiet is what allows men in positions of power to continue to abuse that power” feels a lot like saying that it’s her responsibility. Putting the onus for change on an interviewee who was witness to the problem rather than the people in leadership positions on the inside feels very misplaced. And as commenters have mentioned below, to what realistic end?

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      To a woman who has been assaulted, I would say that she needed to look out for herself, and if she thought that reporting it would hurt her more than it helped, I absolutely do not blame her if she chooses to protect herself rather than go off on a quixotic quest to see justice done when she has good reason to believe that hurts her more than him.

      In this case “This one interviewee pointed out the obnoxious stuff that our CEO said right in front of me” is not the stunning shot to the heart you seem to be picturing. Nor is “This one interviewee pointed out that existing staff aren’t getting paid” going to be a stunning insight into their staffing problems they could not possibly have gleaned except by following up with this one person who never worked there.

      1. anonymous73*

        I never said I would blame her if she chose not to be honest. And providing honest feedback is not going “on a quixotic quest” to see justice done.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          In both cases the real calculus is: will doing this be more likely to help or hurt? (or accomplish nothing) and then choose from there. You seem to be taking “doing nothing is OK” as “encouraging to do nothing”. They’re not the same.

    3. Just another queer reader*

      I hear you. But I think the hope is that the company collapses. It seems well on the road to collapse already.

      Better to have this misogynistic dumpster fire of a man not in a CEO position, I think.

    4. Sylvan*

      This situation may not be as serious as an assault

      Right!

      Also, if someone had been assaulted here, my advice to them would be to put their own safety and comfort first.

    5. Ferret*

      This is not a good analogy. And in fact I wouldn’t judge a victim of assault for not reporting given the demonstrable negative impacts and the second guessing their own judgement of the risks and benefits and saying that their reluctance ” is what allows men in positions of power to continue to abuse” is classic victim blaming

      1. Ferret*

        In addition this doesn’t make sense as she wouldn’t be reporting to any kind of authority or external force who could properly address the problem.

        In your analogy it would be reporting an assaulter to someone subordinate to them and some how expecting that to change something….. how?

        1. Antilles*

          Bingo. Reporting an assaulter to the police brings in someone with the authority and power to address the situation. It doesn’t always work out that way, unfortunately, but there’s at least someone with the potential ability to impose consequences.

          But this is the CEO. What authority is going to come in with the power to address things and force changes?
          -Certainly not the hiring manager who’s junior to him.
          -HR obviously doesn’t have any power because if they did, they’d be addressing his blatant violation of paycheck laws for current employees.
          -There’s no more senior person inside the company than the CEO; there’s no way to go above the guy’s head to his boss because he doesn’t have one.
          -Given how the current employee referred to “leadership”, it’s likely that either the CEO is the only leadership or perhaps that there are other execs but they’re his flunkies/have the same mentality.
          -The outside investors / board members (if they even exist) are never going to hear about this story.

      2. anonymous73*

        Please show me where I said I would blame her for not speaking up? Everyone here seems to be missing the point of my comment.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I think you are the one missing the point of your comment. It’s a point many people have heard before and the meaning comes through clearly even when choosing to make it in such an unrelated context.

        2. Observer*

          What exactly IS the point of saying that “Staying quiet is what allows men in positions of power to continue to abuse that power”? If you didn’t mean that, then you should back track. But if you did mean that, then you need to stop blaming the people who are calling you in it for “misunderstanding”.

    6. Bagpuss*

      I don’t think that’s a valid comparison.

      Firstly, while ideally an assault victim would feel safe and able to report, there are many situations where they don’t feel able to , often for very good reasons ( look at #MeToo, there were women who did report and who were silenced and frozen out of the thier careers as a result) It’s not the victim’s responsibility to save others, and can easily become another type of victom blaming.

      Yes, speaking up is important, but it’s worth bearing in mind that often, what is needed os for those who have power to use it.

      In the case of women being assaulted, other men speaking up when they witness it, hear about it. Other men stepping up to intervene when they see it, Men, and women who are older / more sucessful / more senior speaking out and actively creating and enforcing policies and processes which make it harder to hide, and easier for victims to safely speak outpeople with power using their power for good,rather than expecting people with little if any power being blamed for not stopping the powerful from harming them.

      Speaking up is hard and it often comes at a cost, and not eveyone can afford that cost, especially at the time when they are experienceing the mistreatment.

      In this case, expecting a very young woman at the start of their career to stick their neck out is unrealistic and places an inappropriate burden on her. Also, there was another member of staff right theer, who saw and heard what happened.
      Either they know just fine why the job offer was rejected, becasue it is obvious, and the issue is not that they need telling, it’s that they lack the will, or the power, or both, to change things.
      Or they share their CEOs atitudes and can’t see the problem even when it was right in front of them, in which case they are unlikely to be convinced by a junior applicant mentioning it .

      If OP’s friend feels they can post a glassdoor review without identifyingthemselves then that would be a good thing to do. If they have friendswho may apply for the same job or to the same company then she can warn them, but she doesn’t have to set herself on fire to be a warning beacon.

      1. anonymous73*

        Again, reading things into my comments. I am NOT victim blaming or judging the daughter if she chooses not to provide feedback. I was simply saying that if there’s no repercussions from speaking up, you should do so, because standing back and doing nothing when you could potentially make a difference is not the way to go.

        1. Hannah*

          If everyone is reading the same “things” into your comments, the things might be there – for example, saying “doing nothing when you could potentially make a difference is not the way to go” does indeed sound like you are judging anyone who chooses inaction.

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            “If everyone is reading the same ‘things’ into your comments, the things might be there”

            Agreed!

            Communication isn’t a one way street. What you say may not land the way you intended; what matters is how it’s interpreted.

            If your ideas aren’t being heard correctly, then restating them in a different way is going to get you where you want to go; stopping at “That’s not what I meant” isn’t helpful to you (even if you add “…and you know it”, since the audience clearly does not know it).

        2. Coconutty*

          The way you’ve rephrased it here also sounds very judgmental to me, and it would be wildly unfair in both (completely incomparable) scenarios

    7. MCMonkeyBean*

      This is a wildly inappropriate and inaccurate comparison, wtf.

      And as other people have pointed out, not saying anything is probably the most helpful thing she can do for future candidates, because if she says “I’m not taking the job because your CEO was so clearly as POS in the interview” it’s likely that if anything changes at all, it would just be the CEO pretending not to be a POS for the interview. As it is, she can expect future applicants to have most of the same info she does and make the same choice.

    8. New Jack Karyn*

      Terrible, terrible analogy. And just as you say that she could provide feedback with little negative consequence–any feedback she might give will be disregarded. If they’re not listening to actual employees who are leaving, they’re not going to listen to a hire they missed out on.

      There is zero benefit to her, zero chance that anything she says will effect change, and non-zero cost to her.

    9. Sarita*

      I would not recommend someone who was assaulted report her assault to the person who assaulted her- like if they were the police chief or something. Which is basically what this would be. LW daughter would be reporting bad interview practices and company culture to THE COMPANY. I might make a glassdoor post about my experience, but in no way am I talking to that company again.

    10. Generic Name*

      The reason sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes is partly because of attitudes like this. A woman who has been raped is traumatized and often fears for her life, especially if the rape was perpetrated by an intimate partner. Every survivor goes through a complex calculus of will reporting make her more or less safe. Even if reporting would not be dangerous to her, she will be put under the microscope. The defense will scrutinize the way she dresses, her job, her friends, her sex life, and her character. Testifying in court re-traumatizes her. She will be blamed no matter what she chooses.

    11. Churlish Gambino*

      The LW’s daughter isn’t taking the job and therefore has no horse in this race. Her energy is better spent chalking this up to a learning experience and applying and interviewing for other, better jobs.

      A CEO who acts the way they did is not going to be moved by feedback sent from a job candidate who rejected the offer anyway. The LW’s daughter does not actually have any agency here to enact change. It’s up to the people on the inside to either band together and stand up to the CEO or leave.

    12. Observer*

      Would you give the same advice to a woman who’s been assaulted?

      It would totally depend on the specifics of the situation. If reporting would mean that the vitcim gets help and / or the aggressor gets arrested, then I would urge her to report. On the other hand, if all that is going to happen is that she’s going to be attacked by all the people who worry about “false accusations ruining a good man’s life”, I would advise her to only talk t0 people who are close to her who she can trust.

      but if nobody every says anything, it will NEVER change

      I get it. But that doesn’t mean that someone has an obligation to do something that WILL NOT WORK and that might harm them.

      In a case like this, there is simply nothing the OP can say that will change anything. Even if 10 other people, or 100 other people, have said something similar.

  32. Just a thought*

    #1 – First it is unlikely you would get fired outright for something like this. You are working fully remote and go into an office only to check a box and don’t work any differently than you do from home. If asked about it, I would say that given the commute to the nearest office is 2-3 hours and you don’t interact with anyone in that office while you are there, that it seemed reasonable that your situation would be an exception. Apologize and correct course if necessary. Easy for me to say, but if they fire you without a write up for something like this, it’s not a great place to work anyway and there are tons of fully remote jobs out there right now.

  33. Doctors Whom*

    LW 2: GlassDoor.

    The feedback to give here here is to warn other people away from this fetid bucket of rotten kumquats. I’d urge this kindness to other job-seekers.

  34. C.*

    #4—I don’t know that there’s an absolute to this as there was even just a few years ago. It’s clear that things have changed and are continuing to change. So while I don’t think the pendulum has swung totally over to the side of “everyone feel free to leave after 6 months,” I also don’t know that the opposite of that is totally true anymore, either. Anecdotally, but I know of plenty of people who were hired into more senior-level roles last year who have either given their notice in recent months or plan to shortly.

  35. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    LW #5: There’s a good chance that your follow up email fell into the category of “Emails from candidates whose names I don’t recognize and which are asking for status updates for which I have nothing to say, and the odds of remembering this email are slim to none.”

    If you want to reapply for a reposted position for which you got no call or response, I’d make sure that your resume uses the exact same terms for the key requirements from the job posting so that when they type in search terms you’re more likely to come up, and then see if they discover it this time. Because there’s a chance no human actually saw the first one.

    Your follow up email provided an opportunity for the recruiter to decide whether to pull you out of the pool by name. They may have … or they may have had a meeting in two minutes, and didn’t take the bait, and by the time they got back, there was another 50 emails to deal with.

    Apply again. It’s a job you want.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      Agree with the first part, but no don’t apply again!!!! Right now you have not really done anything wrong, submitting a new application would cross into the territory you are worried about being in. They have your application, they don’t need a new one. It is way too soon for that. They’ll contact you if they are interested.

    2. Letter Write #5*

      Thanks! I’m hoping that’s the case – it went to a generic HR email and I ended up getting a fairly generic email back saying the recruitment manager is travelling and will have more time to review applications after the cut off date of the second advertisement. I’ve had a look at their online portal (I know, must stop! I’ve since deleted the link) and my application is still active, so I will leave it at that.

  36. Lacey*

    On #2, I would say that it’s quite possible HR is soliciting feedback to support their own.

    I’ve been in situations both as an employee & a consumer where I found out that everyone knew about a problem, but when they told the people in charge they said, “We haven’t had any complaints! You’re just imagining that this gross behavior is the problem!” and so they began soliciting feedback in order to prove that actually, yes, being super gross IS the problem.

  37. MMB*

    I’m sorry OP1 but I would fire you on the spot. Both managers may have felt that they were being nice but they didn’t do you any favors. This entire situation is about ethics and integrity and I would simply never be able to trust your judgement again if I found out you were doing something like this.

    1. Nia*

      Lol if you would fire the LW on the spot for this then the LW would be better off. Any manager that would insist that an employee waste 3 hours a day for purely for optics is terrible and probably deserved to be fired on the spot themselves.

      1. MMB*

        This situation speaks directly to the LW’s decision making and honesty. It doesn’t matter why the company has this policy, nor does it matter if people like the policy. It is a clearly stated policy and the LW is knowingly and deliberately circumventing it. If she doesn’t agree with it, she needs to discuss alternatives with her manager or HR and see if they can come up with a solution. “I’m just going to ignore company policy and do what I want” is not an appropriate or professional solution/response.

        1. Nia*

          Following pointless rules just because someone said so isn’t the virtue you seem to think it is. I much prefer people who can think for themselves. If it’s a stupid policy and the person who handed down the stupid policy has no way of knowing it’s being violated there’s no reason to follow it.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Oh come on. If you flat out ask the employee if they’re going into the office and they lie about it to your face, that’s one thing. But otherwise, it’s on you for not noticing.

    3. Just another queer reader*

      I mean, pretty much everyone bends/breaks rules – from dress code to the new performance review software to email signatures and brand standards.

      I think it’s a matter of judgement and ethics to know what rules need to be followed to the letter, and which can be ignored for the sake of expediency. I think “pointless in-person requirements” fall into the latter category.

    4. londonedit*

      Where I live you definitely wouldn’t be able to fire someone on the spot for this. In the first instance the manager should have a civil conversation with the OP and say ‘It’s come to my attention that you’ve been working fully remotely; we do now require all staff to be in the office at least two days as week, and I’ll need you to do that from now on’. Of course the OP can then explain that they had an agreement in place with Jane or Sally and assumed that would continue. The manager may or may not accept that and agree to them carrying on working remotely, but they’d be within their rights to insist that the OP starts coming to the office at least two days a week if that’s the official policy. If the OP then kept working from home without permission, the manager could escalate to a series of verbal warnings, a disciplinary meeting, written warnings and eventually firing. But they’d have to demonstrate that the OP was either deliberately lying about coming to the office, or repeatedly ignoring requests to come into the office, before they could fire the OP for it.

    5. Sarita*

      Bwhahaha. Have fun trying to hire someone in to my position for 30% more in pay if you can even find someone with my qualifications.

  38. calvin blick*

    Regarding #4, at least part of the “new normal-ish” of job-hopping is the fact that most companies seem to have pretty strict rules regarding their internal employees compensation, where raises are capped, baselined at a small percentage, etc, but new hires get more or less the market rate. I know quite a few people–and have seen a number of stories on this website and others–of people who were mostly happy at their jobs, were high performers, but left to work for another company after getting offered a much higher salary.

    In the long run that has to cost the original job more as they now have to hire at least one and maybe more employees to take the original employee’s place, some stuff will probably get missed after they leave, other employees might start looking, etc, but companies will do practically anything rather than pay their current employees what they are worth.

    1. C.*

      Yes, this is a good point. I work in higher education and once you’re in “the cycle,” it’s near impossible to get out of the institution’s capped salary structure. And similar—I know plenty of people who enjoyed their jobs here but found that they could be making a lot more money elsewhere and fled. Our leadership is coming to terms with this fact as we speak, so I’m hoping there are changes on the horizon for those who choose to stay.

  39. WantonSeedStitch*

    OP #4: as a manager trying to hire someone to fill a position on my team, what I would look for in a resume that included frequent job changes would be increasing levels of responsibility with those changes. If you’re moving from place to place often but not actually growing in your career, I’d want to know why. If there were something else fairly obvious to explain it–say, if it was obvious you were moving to a new area or a new industry with each change–I wouldn’t be as concerned. But if you were staying within the same area and the same field, not moving up in responsibility, and simply seemed to be trying different companies on for size, I would probably comment on it and see what you had to say.

  40. M2*

    4- two of our most recent hires (I did not hire them our president did but I interviewed both and recommended others be hired) are job hoppers meaning they leave jobs after 1-2 years. I raised this as a huge red flag and was on the hiring committee but my concerns were dismissed.

    We are required to be in the office 4 days a week (and yes it is needed to be in the office) but some departments allow 3. There are also periods of the year where departments will allow 4 day WFH or there is so much travel you won’t be in the office.

    One of the people hardly ever comes in and is outsourcing all their work! For events outsourced an events company (part of their job) and another big party of their job this summer again they hired a third party! My work overlaps with both so I did question outsourcing instead of doing the work yourself. I have no idea what this person does is they outsource 75% if their job! I brought this up as both of these are part of this high level managers job but was told we have the money (for now). Many people are getting upset and pushing back on the above person. I can’t outsource my work as it’s confidential but must be nice to not do much work and get more paycheck than the person before (who retired)!

    We had a big event recently and the two job hoppers did not come to any of the events. One is new and the other switched departments so it would have been good for them to come by some time better understand what we do. It’s beyond me. One is a parent (so am I) but it was clear in hiring this is not a 9-5 (and is paid better due to the hours of occasional weekends nights and occasional travel). It was VERY clear in both hires as I told them! They both seem to be the bare minimum or not even minimum work and think it’s ok.

    If you can’t tell I am looking elsewhere because the fact this is allowed while some of us work hard is bad morale.

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I don’t understand people who think they can just outsource their responsibilities (for a significantly higher fee that if they’d just done it themselves). We were recently hiring a head of a new events department, so they will be setting and running a full calendar of conferences and events every year – it’s a meaty job but completely doable. One of the candidates (who my boss wanted to hire, ugh) outright said in the interview that she would outsource the event management, budgeting, and marketing for each event. WHAT??? What would she plan to do all day, just “direct the team”?? No thanks.

  41. A Poster Has No Name*

    #1, this sounds like a “don’t ask, don’t tell” type of situation. Don’t ask for clarification. Don’t say outright you’re not going in. Just keep doing what you do and, most likely, nobody will bring it up.

    If they do at some point, I agree with the advice to plead ignorance because it really makes no damn sense whatsoever that you should be required to waste 3 hours of your day going into an office for no reason.

    We had a town hall with our CEO the other day and he said outright that they need to give people a reason to be in the office, and of course people aren’t going to want to go in the office if they just sit on conference calls all day, anyway, and why would they ask anyone to do that? Even if the reason is having a minimum number of people you work with in the office on certain days to make collaboration worthwhile.

    1. Help Us All*

      Yes, don’t ask, don’t tell is sometimes good policy. Worked for the US military for a long time.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        No. No, it did not. It was actively harmful for many people in the armed forces (not all of whom were queer).

  42. C*

    I really think this blog does candidates a disservice in its emphasis on job hopping. I was terrified of not being hired — in the past 5 years, I’ve had 3 roles of 1-2 years each. All were at volatile, small orgs that turned toxic, but I did strong work at each. By moving roles, I more than doubled my salary in 5 years. If I’d stayed at these places, I’d be making $50K less. And job hopping didn’t even come up as a concern in a single interview! Just go out and get the pay and conditions you need, and don’t feel bad about it because I don’t think good companies even bat an eye.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Generally, the advice isn’t to never job hop. It’s to be conscious about the potential affects.

    2. C.*

      Yes, I agree, and I’m glad someone is raising this. I think Alison is right to point out that this will cross some hiring managers’ minds, but I also think it is rooted in the fact that employees must be deferential to their employees.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s really not. It’s rooted in looking at patterns and needing to ask, “Do I want to hire someone who looks likely to leave after a year, and I’ll need to hire again a year from now?”

        1. C.*

          I understand this completely, and like I said—I think you’re absolutely right to point out that shorter stints will cause some (maybe more than some!) hiring managers to raise their eyebrows. I don’t disagree. But I think there are stronger forces afoot here. Hiring managers are well within their rights to look for candidates with longer job histories. But if someone is leaving a company after a year or two, I don’t know that it’s always as much a reflection of them as it is the state of the workforce today.

          If a company isn’t paying enough or providing enough benefits or enabling new career growth opportunities (or whatever it might be), I can’t fault someone for leaving. People rarely leave a situation because everything is going well. Employers have used loyalty as currency for a long time now, and that is starting to erode. I believe that, if you want loyalty from your employees, you have to pay for it by giving it back.

      2. NoviceManagerGuy*

        I mean, employees literally are subordinate to their employers. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t stand up for themselves or that it’s a betrayal to move. But they do need to be trying to benefit their employer while working there.

        1. C.*

          Yes, I agree. I don’t think these dynamics happen in a vacuum—like I said, I’m certain a period of shorter stints will cause some hiring managers to raise their eyebrows. I get that. But I also think it has a tendency to be somewhat overstated here—especially in the comments. I know of many people who have moved around quite a bit and have been rewarded handsomely for it. I don’t mean that they’re in one role for 6 months and onto the next. But within a year or two of employment? They’re starting to looking elsewhere. And I realize that’s anecdotal and might not apply to everyone in every field/industry, but I don’t think it’s that rare anymore.

    3. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      THANK YOU. I’m not really sure why everyone is on the 1-2 years is job hopping train here, but I kinda suspect that age plays into it. Let’s be honest, after 2 years with a company most of us know if there is going to be any kind of growth or promotion available. If it’s not, then why stick around? Especially when you can vastly increase your pay by moving to another company?
      In my personal experience if you want to make actual money that will keep up with inflation? You need to be moving every two years. It’s not the 80s or 90s anymore where companies promote from within and you can increase your salary that way. Companies aren’t hiring from within and if they are you’re not getting the same attractive offer an outside candidate is getting.

      1. Just Another Starving Artist*

        It’s not just age, but field and level. In my field? Well, it’s mostly contract work, so job hopping by definition. In another field in my industry, leaving after a year or two stops being normal after the mid-levels of a career. In say, elementary education, it’s not going to look great.

        Saying “job hopping is normal” assumes every field in every industry at every level is the same. That’s just not true.

        1. Parakeet*

          Alison has been pretty clear in many past posts that contract work is not job hopping, though – that job hopping only refers to short stays at permanent positions.

      2. Sloanicota*

        I admit my blood pressure rises when I read about hiring managers who discriminate against candidates who have multiple two year jobs (three two-year jobs is still looks hoppy, according to most). How many organizations have been able to keep staff in place for more than two years? In my field, it seems orgs have near-complete turnover except for the most senior roles, but it’s not held against them the same way it is held against employees. Two years feels like a long time to me to stay in an unrewarding job that isn’t going to give you advancement, just to keep a clean record so that hiring managers will consider you. I really hope the job market makes this easier, but I’m not really seeing evidence of it in my field, and now I hear the economy will be tanking.

    4. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      I disagree.

      It’s great that it’s worked for you. That said, it won’t for most people, because the majority of fields and hiring managers see this as an orange to red flag. There’s a name for this type of thinking, as it sounds like you’re saying something along the lines of, “It worked for me, so it should always work.” There are always exceptions to rules like avoid job hopping but they are exceptions.

  43. Egmont Apostrophe*

    The person who turned down the job: Hell, burn down the CEO. Say you were so horrified by meeting him for 15 minutes that you wouldn’t take that job even if they put locks on all the dumpsters. Might as well have fun with the question– and it’s not far from the truth, is it?

  44. Egmont Apostrophe*

    In my experience, job hopping is industry specific. My wife is an attorney and has had three jobs in 30 years: the first job to build skills, the second one to pick a place where you want to make partner, the third to downshift your life a little and see your kids.

    I worked in advertising and the two times I stayed somewhere for four whole years, that was LONG. Part of the reason I went freelance after a while was the conviction that I kind of already was even with a “permanent” job.

    So know the attitudes in your specific field.

    1. bookworm*

      I think this is true, and related to the point Alison made in her response to this question about different industry-specific norms. It did make me curious, though, if there really is a small group of industries where job-hopping is normal, it seems like it’d be helpful to give a list of them (or at least the most prominent ones)? I’ve always found the “there’s a small group of industries where this is true, you’ll know if you’re in one” answer frustratingly vague, particularly given the general focus on this website of demystifying parts of the working world that aren’t necessarily obvious for early-career folks.

      Here’s my initial list of some of the more job-hoppy fields I’m aware of: tech/startups, politics (especially electoral campaigns, but also more political positions in government agencies), advertising, restaurants, retail, warehousing/logistics. I’m hoping other commenters can add!

      1. cappucino girl*

        Entertainment & media – depending on the field/area – tend to be more job hoppy, just bc it can be hard to grow in any other way, and a lot of the entry level jobs are temporary/gigs.

  45. Egmont Apostrophe*

    How would they know if Letter 1 has been going into the office or not? “Yeah, twice a week, you bet. I guess they don’t notice because I don’t work with anybody there.”

    1. Popinki(she/her)*

      Someone upthread mentioned security badge data, if they use those. Security camera footage. Just asking other people in the vicinity if someone matching OP1’s description has been around lately. If they wanted to find OP1 out, they’d find a way.

      I feel bad for OP1 because it’s a stupid and pointless policy. But it’s like exploiting a bug in a video game that makes winning it a ton easier. Once it’s patched, you have to decide whether to play the game the “right” way or move on to something else.

    2. Doctors Whom*

      I am purely responding to the “how would they know” question (I think the 2x/wk mandate is silly if there is no onsite engagement).

      In a modern workplace with any half decent infrastructure it’s *really* easy to figure out if someone has been coming in to an office or not. If you have badged access control to the facility, piece of cake. Even if you don’t control facility access with badging, your IT records show where, in a network sense, the individual was logging in from. I have had to work with our HR to request this kind of data in extreme circumstances (investigating serious misconduct allegations, used to validate/substantiate other documentation).

      I do not believe in big-brothering (and my workplace policies prohibit using this data for routine attendance monitoring kinds of stuff). I do not advocate managers big-brother their adult employees by tracking their badge swipes and login data. I do not feel the need to surveil my employees. BUT we are required to track & maintain the facility & network access data. And even places with fewer legal and regulatory requirements – if they have remote workers, they have a way to tell where they are logging in from.

      *If* LW1’s company decides they care if LW1 was actually physically in an office, they can determine it quite easily. Whether or not they care (and if they should) is a separate conversation. But LW1 should absolutely be truthful if asked.

      1. Egmont Apostrophe*

        Well, they have all this data– and absolutely do not look at it now. I’d just keep going like that.

        1. Doctors Whom*

          You asked “how” and the answer is it’s easy enough if they want to try to verify/audit.

          It’s probably easy enough for the LW to skirt this in the fog of all the change of managers, and they can easily assert, if asked, that there was a lack of clarity that led them to believe that not going in 2x/week was ok. But they should never say “Yeah, been in twice a week” if they haven’t. (Because it’s stuff like that, that turns this data from audit/verification to big-brother continual monitoring and compliance.)

    3. ACA*

      This! I’m supposed to go into the office three times a week – but since I don’t have to go in on set days or let anyone know when I’m in the office, I tend to go in more like twice a week. Or once. (Or, occasionally, not at all.) It also helps that none of my bosses even work in my building, so the odds of anyone noticing are extremely slim.

      To the point of badge data, while my building technically is badge access only, it’s easy to piggyback on someone, and I can also get in via a connected non-badge access building. My office suite is technically badge-access, but it’s unlocked between 8:30am and 5pm. I could theoretically be in the office every day and never use my badge at all.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      I wouldn’t outright lie if asked (there probably is a way to tell if for some reason someone wanted to check, like badge access or something).

      Personally I’d just keep going with the unofficial setup you had with the previous boss and then if the new boss brings it up just be like “oh, sorry, when I talked to [old manager] about it I was left with the impression that I could remain remote, but maybe I misunderstood. I guess I should have clarified with you when you started, sorry!”

      Then if they decide to push coming in twice a week I’d honestly look for a new job, but obviously that’s a personal decision. Working from home is something I would leave over now, but luckily my boss is also fine with me being unofficially remote. (Most of my team is technically “hybrid” now but she and one other employee on my team are full-time remote, so all our team communication would continue to be remote anyway).

  46. Lobsterman*

    LW1: You’ll be fine until you aren’t. Either get a job locally or get an actually remote job. You can probably skate for the next year or two, but at some point your manager will notice and will not be interested in running interference.

    LW2: The hiring manager is in on it. You’re much better off going full ghost.

    LW4: Yes, a lot of people job hop now. No, nobody cares. Will they in the future? Who knows? The most likely result is that we keep throwing away working-age people due to new pandemics, so if you’re lucky enough to be a survivor who is healthy enough to work, you’re probably going to be fine.

    1. Jellyfish*

      LW1 – It’s not a year or two though. It’s three more months in an office where she doesn’t directly work with anyone and had quiet permission to work remotely.

      I’d keep my mouth shut, do my job, and save a great deal of time and gas money if it were me. If her boss brings it up, she can revisit the subject, but that seems unlikely at this point.

  47. Morgan Proctor*

    I find the response to the job-hopping question a little outdated. For many industries, and for many people under the age of 45, what was previously known as “job-hopping” is just normal now. It’s the only way for any of us to get a significant raise. Staying in a job for 2 years is totally normal and fine. Even 1 year is considered normal in many industries. My resume is full of this and I’m doing just fine, and I can say the same for many people I know. There’s simply no point in expressing loyalty to an employer anymore.

    1. Colette*

      It’s not about loyalty, it’s about whether it makes sense to hire someone who will leave as soon as (or before) they’ve mastered the job, forcing you to start over with someone new.

      Job hopping is fine until suddenly it isn’t, and you may not be in control of when that happens.

      That being said, if you’re usually staying 2 years, that’s probably not a big concern in many industries.

      1. Johanna Cabal*

        “Job hopping is fine until suddenly it isn’t, and you may not be in control of when that happens.”

        This right here.

        I’ve heard of cases where job hopping across a person’s career was fine and dandy until they were over 40 and then it started becoming an issue (I guess employers expect to see someone with a more stable work history by the time they reach that age, or perhaps, another way to screen out older employees?).

        I’m looking at this myself right now. I was at my previous job for eight years and then switched to a new job in 2020. New job was awesome until systemic problems grew within my department and came to ahead a few months ago. So, I’m looking and trying to identify a role where I plan to stay for awhile. I’m actually sad because I wanted to stay at New Job for at least 4-5 years but things are falling apart at the seems. But the fact that I’m almost 40 is making me really picky about my next move.

      2. C.*

        Then you keep looking if your resume is somehow an issue for hiring managers? You can say “something is fine until it suddenly isn’t” about pretty much anything. I’ve said above that it’s perfectly fine for hiring managers to use longer periods of employment as criteria for their position. I get it, and I don’t necessarily fault them for that. But I don’t think the stigma around “job-hopping” is as pervasive an issue as people here seem to think it is. Things really are changing, and if employers are not going to up their games to retain their current workforce, then I guarantee you they’re going to see a lot more “job-hopping” in the future.

        1. Colette*

          People have been saying job hopping was OK for at least 20 years. The people saying it aren’t typically people who hire.

          The way you’re using stigma makes me think you think that job hopping is a character flaw, or something that will result in someone being shunned – but it’s just something that will make it harder to job hunt. In an employee market, it won’t cause you a big problem. But when jobs are scarce, it can be the difference between working and not working.

          1. C.*

            I don’t think of job-hopping as a character flaw at all. I think people should put themselves in the best possible situation for themselves and their families, and if that means moving around for them, then I don’t begrudge them of that. I don’t know of another word to use, however, for others who paint it with such a negative brush.

    2. Captain Swan*

      I have over 20 years experience in my field and I am still asked about a 6 month stint on my resume from 10 years ago. The 6 month was a temp to perm contract position that did convert to permanent. All my other jobs had length that could counted in multiple years. So it really is industry/company specific.

    3. cappucino girl*

      If I can eventually get to a job where I am paid a salary I’m happy with (right now I’d love for less than half my take home pay to go to rent!) I definitely wouldn’t leave until I had a kid/was ready to have a kid (at which point my salary would need to go up, so I’d need to go to a different company for a raise that’s more than inflation.)

  48. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    LW#1 – This sounds strongly like a “don’t ask” situation. Nobody really cares if YOU come in to the office but nobody wants to be in a position of making exceptions for some workers but not others. If someone complains or if you ask they will have to make you come in.

    1. Sarita*

      This is 100% the answer. I am absolutely shocked by the folks in the comments who are calling LW dishonest and saying they would fire her.

      1. Aggresuko*

        Yup. In a realistic/sane world, they’d let OP openly work from home. They are not operating in a realistic/sane world, and OP being unofficially/quietly/tacitly permitted to not go in is as good as that’s going to get. As long as nobody calls it out, because if blunt honesty and calling it out happens, OP’s driving 3 hours a day a lot because “everyone has to.”

  49. Ask A Human*

    This is something I don’t think I fully understand. If they are explicitly asking for feedback, why is the automatic assumption that they won’t receive the feedback? Maybe the won’t, but they are asking, so they actually might be primed to take it into consideration. They might not, but a lot of the advice is “nah, just ignore.” Yes, that is a perfectly acceptable answer to their inquiry, but at the same time, they are asking for it. If you have things to say, why not just tell them? Yes, they have other ways of finding out the information, but one way they are trying to find out is by asking the candidates.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      There are lots of examples of companies asking for feedback, and then it turns out they didn’t want the feedback, or don’t use it in a helpful way. A past example I recall was saying “A, B, C are great, and it would be good if we did D too” got rendered as “Macrodata Refinement is mad about D.” But more often that putting something on the completely anonymous employee engagement survey got them a talk from management about how they shouldn’t feel that way and were wrong. If a company wants honest feedback it has to lower the perceived risks of giving that–and if you can’t get honest feedback from anyone still working there, nor from the people charging out the door after two months, it’s not on someone who isn’t even willing to work for you to finally spell things out. The risks are some singing of bridges daughter might want intact in the future, and an unpleasant confrontation when people try to convince her that She’s Wrong. The good-for-the-world outcome, where the CEO is fired because the board realizes he’s an ass, and everyone is paid including their missing back pay, and it was all because one job seeker removed herself from the running–that doesn’t seem remotely likely.

      Daughter should not reveal the part about not getting paid because that risks outing her source. No company should need a former job applicant who withdrew to tell them “Just so you know, not paying people is a retention problem.”
      Daughter could reveal the frat boy stuff, but: Hiring manager was there. It’s extremely unlikely that this is his special interview persona and if you work there he never treats you this way–the company knows. Telling a low-ranking person that the top-ranking person is a twit is not going to get the twit fired.

      1. Aggresuko*

        Look up “Ask vs. Guess Culture” sometime. Bottom line is, when some people/companies ask, THEY DON’T ACTUALLY MEAN THEY WANT A TRUTHFUL ANSWER if the answer isn’t 100% positive. You are supposed to know that you are supposed to lie/be cheerful and optimistic when asked. The odds of things going poorly for you if you answer honestly can be fairly high and the consequences can be bad, especially when they track your answers. Most places aren’t going to do huge systematic change to solve problems, they just want to put on a show of looking like they care, and want you to put on a happy employee show.

        1. Luna*

          Ah, basically the “How are you?” question. The one where you genuinely don’t care how the other person is doing, nor do they how you are doing, but you still expected to say “Fine” because saying anything else is just ‘weird’ and ‘uncomfortable’.

      2. Ask A Human*

        None of this tells me that it doesn’t hurt for the candidate to say something, especially when they are seeking feedback. Again, not replying is a perfectly legit response, but they still asked and might be open to receiving the feedback. I mean, we know that consultants are listened to more than employees. We know that some people need to hear things from other sources in order to fully comprehend the depth of the problem/situation/question/whatever. I am just saying that maybe hearing candidly “your boss sucks and I couldn’t work for him” might be that lightbulb moment for some.

        1. Observer*

          The thing is that while it is sometimes true that the question is honestly meant and the asked will actually listen to the answer, there are times when it is manifestly obvious that the answer is not going to change anything.

          In this case, the latter is true. You have to ignore the specifics of the particular situation to really seriously believe that there is any chance that anything is going to change based on what she says.

  50. Bell*

    LW1, it is because of people like you that employers want people in the office. You’ve been given trust and privilege and you’re abusing it. And what’s more, you’re bragging about it online. It was your decision to move far away from your office and it’s your obligation to make it work. Your attitude is what’s the worst about the cult of WFH: everybody wants total flexibility for themselves and also that all the processes run seamlessly. Yes, you should be fired. If not for disobedience then definitely for the lack of critical thinking.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      This is really nonsensical. OP works remotely; when she goes into the office it’s to work remotely at the first office from the second office, while she usually works remotely at the first office from her temporary home.

      Further, she asked for the accommodation to go fully remote for 6 months and only after she’d moved did they decide that she had to go into a distant office–information that would likely have weighed heavily on her decisions if it had been given upfront, rather than as a late-arriving “by the way…” And it seems like the person who changed the conditions didn’t care enough to follow through, and the people directly impacted (the second office’s manager, OP’s manager) really didn’t care.

      I have worked remotely from before the pandemic–it’s not about trust and privilege and bragging online, it’s about having a role that can be performed remotely.

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      “And what’s more, you’re bragging about it online”

      I’m not seeing any bragging (i.e., “To talk or write about oneself in a proud or self-impressed way.” Source: The Free Dictionary). I see someone asking a genuine question, an act which generally comes from a humble mindset.

      “It was your decision to move far away from your office and it’s your obligation to make it work.”

      All evidence I’m seeing points to OP having made it work just fine, since no one is noticing OP’s location, so what point are you making?

  51. Grace*

    #4: Job hoppers cause a lot of problems in my husband’s field. Husband is a millennial who has been at his job for 14 years. He works as an engineer for a vehicle company. It takes well over a year to become proficient at that job because there’s so much you just can’t learn in school. They’ve had a lot of job hoppers come in and stay for a year or 2 and it just seems like a waste of everyone’s time. Husband has to spend so much time sitting in on interviews and training new people because he’s the team lead and most experienced person there. He’s not a manager; he’s responsible for technical work so it takes away from doing his actual job. Whatever the reasons for people’s job hopping, Husband has no power to fix it but still has to suffer for it.

    1. pancakes*

      If the job hoppers are going to work for someplace else that pays better, maybe he doesn’t. If that’s not the reason so many people leave quickly, it’s likely something else, not just fickleness. Most people don’t uproot their work lives just for fun.

    2. cappucino girl*

      Maybe have him bring that up to the company so they can consider paying a living wage

  52. Dragon*

    LW2: A few years ago there was a story on LinkedIn about a company who looked the other way on a toxic manager, until he cost them a job candidate they really wanted.

    “Freddy” didn’t hide his true colors in the interview, and the candidate accepted a post-rejection lunch invitation at which she told the host that Freddy was why she declined. She would’ve brought the company a lot of new clients, some of whom were coming only if they could continue working with her.

    1. Observer*

      When the OP’s daughter has that kind of clout, that might be a good time to speak openly. Now? The boss has made it crystal clear that anything she says is going to be brushed off as “girls crying over everything.”

    2. Eyes Kiwami*

      Unfortunately in this scenario the toxic person is the CEO. How is the company going to get rid of him…?

  53. Justin*

    For the first letter I feel like this is removed enough from the spirit of the policy to not matter. Sort of like how you’re not really supposed to do dishes when you WFH but everyone does a little bit of cleaning sometimes.

    You’re not trying to lie or fudge badge data, you’re temporarily half assing a very unimportant part of your job. And while they could theoretically catch you it’s so unlikely that I wouldn’t worry about it. If they call you out just frame it like you got into a bad habit and then start going in more often.

  54. Fleur-de-Lis*

    Thanks for your email, OP#3. I’m managing an issue where someone has been avoiding work duties fairly actively since before the pandemic, but their previous – now-retired – manager was already halfway onto the golf course and didn’t pay much attention to what wasn’t happening. The manager was just happy to have a warm body and not have to do a recruitment in their waning days. Then pandemic, with a gap in leadership for the 2020-21 FY resulting in no real oversight while this person “worked” remotely. It’s clear that they haven’t been doing much of anything for quite some time. Now here I am, pushing to get this person to do their work. I’m beginning the progressive discipline process now based on some recent events (within the last nine months, so within this evaluation period) that have just come to light. Written evaluations are due at the end of next month, and I have to get these issues documented now. I respectfully disagree with the commenter above; if it’s happened in this evaluation period, especially if there is something that’s just come forward and it’s pretty serious, don’t let it go. Especially if you are writing evaluations that cover the timeframe where truly egregious stuff has been happening, have that conversation and be clear that it’s going in the record as a caution; this happened once, and will not be allowed to happen again.
    I am wiping the slate as clean as I can, but the pattern is unmistakable and I can’t let too much of it go by. We have some critical projects using grant funding that mean we are extra-accountable and can’t let projects fail.

    I’m also definitely feeling the push-pull between my instinct for compassion in these terrible times/my political solidarity with labor and the fact that the work *simply must be done, completely finished, and not dumped on nice colleagues who are reluctant to say anything*. It isn’t difficult work; it’s more work to avoid the duties, to be honest! It’s a frustrating time, to be sure.

  55. Justin*

    With LW2 I get a little bit of a “young person trying to save the world” vibe. It’s just not really her place to try to fix this. Even withdrawing the application seems like she’s trying to make a statement. She doesn’t have the clout really for it to nale a difference. And I also can’t help but wonder if LW is driving some of this, they remind me of the LW who was upset that her colleagues didn’t hire her daughter and were mildly rude to her in the interview.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      If my daughter ever had an interview like this, I certainly hope that any one of a) the CEO was a jerk b) the company is hemorrhaging workers c) the company is failing to pay the workers they do still have–would convince her to not work there.

      Withdrawing the application is a totally normal thing to do if you’ve decided that you don’t want the job, just as the company sending a “sorry but we’re going in another direction for the role” email to the candidates who won’t be moving on is a totally normal thing to do. There’s no point to negotiating conditions of a job you won’t take under any condition.

  56. cappucino girl*

    does it count as job hopping if you’re talking about internal moves? (not promotions, transferring teams/departments within a company)

    1. Letter Write #5*

      I wonder this too – I’ve had 4 roles in 5 years at a company, and while I don’t think it has the same negative connotation as changing companies, I think it could be perceived as being a ladder climber, so if someone was hiring for a job that isn’t likely to have room for promotion in the immediate it could mean the candidate is seen as too ambitious/won’t be content in role long-term, and the other thing I think’s worth considering is whether the candidate has spent enough time in each role to get the benefit of experience, the generalization I’ve heard is that 12 months in a role is the time it takes to really learn everything, the following 12 months is where people can effect change, contribute at a higher level, so looking at a min 2 years. This is just what I’ve heard/learnt in my time and would obviously be dependent on what kind of positions were included. If it was within the same company and you were seconded to specific projects which only took x time frame to complete for example, I dont think this would matter at all.

    2. Eyes Kiwami*

      No as that is usually due to ambition or business needs of the company. Frequently changing companies may suggest that the worker is easily annoyed by normal things and quits, or they are often fired for being difficult to work with, or that they don’t intend to stay at your company long either. Those connotations don’t apply to internal moves.

  57. Luna*

    “Any feedback would be appreciated.”

    Call it burning the bridge, but said feedback would involve sentences like, “If I tell you that I don’t like how your CEO talked to me during the interview, would you go home in tears?” and “Are you going to tell me to go to hell if I say that your company’s environment is toxic?”
    Basically hold up a very direct mirror to show them exactly what is going on during interviews, and how it comes across. It feels incredibly unprofessional to talk that way, and like they won’t take any criticism, feedback, or even just a question for more information regarding a work task seriously.

    LW4 – I would love to believe that ‘job hopping’ is not a thing anymore or doesn’t appear negative to employers. But I honestly can’t say that it is or isn’t. My ‘job hopping’ occured before the pandemic, leaving two jobs after 3 months each, but both times it was not I that decided to stop my employment.
    Yes, it likely looked bad. Especially if at least one of them I could not give an adequate reason as to why I was let go, because the reason I was given did not seem to really hit the nail on the head.

    As for ‘nobody’ staying at places longer anymore, I would disagree. Many people are staying at jobs longer. Perhaps not the case of the older days, where you got a job shortly after finishing school and worked there until you were near retirement age, but long enough. Due to my employment issues of being let go of a few months, I was and still aim for jobs that have me working there *at least* a year, if not longer. Not only does it look better, I like to think, but it also is just nice for me to have a job that doesn’t disappear after a months.

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