open thread – May 27-28, 2022

It’s the Friday open thread!

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

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

{ 1,028 comments… read them below }

  1. Eileen*

    Hi there,

I had my 1st interview with this global company last week and the hiring manager immediately invited me to a 2nd round. I completed a task and delivered a long presentation to the hiring manager and another department head on Monday. They were both very impressed and said that they’d talk to their boss. He was already in the 2nd interview’s Outlook invite but didn’t turn up by the way.

On Tuesday HR contacted me to schedule a 20 min informal chat with the Director for that day, apologizing for the short notice. I made myself available immediately and we arranged the call shortly.

I thought it started off well, however shortly after what was meant to be an informal chat turned into what felt like an interrogation. He kept asking very basic questions I’ve already covered in-depth previously. He also sounded bit negative in his questions such as ‘Why would you leave your current job after such short time?’. I’ve been at my job for the last 3 years for info and switching jobs regularly for experience is common in my industry. And a quick LinkedIn search revealed that during the time I was at my current job, this person changed 3 jobs himself… Audacity!!

The worst of all was when I was giving him my responses, he was watching me like one the Easter Island statues…

I’m quite put off by this as it felt like a stress test. And still haven’t heard back from the company despite the Director saying they’d make a decision and get back by the end of this week… What do you make of this?

    1. ferrina*

      Would the Director be your Grandboss? If so, that’s not a great thing. I’m not as concerned about having to rehash info on your resume- that can be pretty normal- but asking about why you’d leave after a “short” 3 years? That’s weirdly combative. Based on what you saw of him, is this someone you’d really want to work for? These weirdnesses have a way of trickling down (see Allison’s response to LW1 earlier today). I’d trust your gut (whatever it tells you)

      Not hearing back is totally normal- companies get delayed on hiring all the time. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t moving forward, but it doesn’t mean that they are.

      1. Eileen*

        Thanks so much for your comment.

        And I apologize from everyone as my phone skewed the text which originally had paragraphs!

        Very valid concern and a friend of mine said that he seems to have micromanaging tendencies (due to not trusting his 2 direct reports’ perspective)

    2. Observer*

      If this is who you would be working for, I’d not take the job.

      You currently have a job, so you can afford to be a little picky. Because even if your current job is bad, it sounds like working for this guy would be toxic.

    3. londonedit*

      Was everyone else you met nice and approachable, and it was just him being a bit of a dick? And would you be working for him directly? It’s possible that he just has no idea how to interview people effectively and somehow believes he has to make it weirdly adversarial, and that he either wouldn’t be like that once you actually joined the company and were ‘on the team’. It’s also possible that you wouldn’t have to work with him directly and it’d just be a case of ‘oh yeah, that’s Fergus, he’s weirdly combative about things but stand your ground and he’ll back down eventually’. The problem is, it’s hard to know whether either of those is the case, or whether he actually is a massive dick AND you’d have to work with him on a daily basis. If you didn’t get a generally good feeling from the company and the other people you interviewed with, I’d probably suggest not going for this job if you get an offer. But if everyone else seemed nice and the place had a good vibe about it, if you do hear from them again with an offer then maybe consider asking a few more questions about how this guy’s role intersects with yours before you accept.

      1. Eileen*

        Thanks. The direct manager and the other department head were absolutely delightful. They kept complimenting my qualifications/background. That’s one of the reasons I was so taken aback by the Director’s coldness.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          If you’re willing to turn down the job, I think you can be quite direct with the questions you ask the direct manager and other department head.
          You can express your concerns from your interaction with him and see what they have to say about it.

        2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

          Wow, and this is as good as it gets – he’s on his ‘best’ behavior now as they’re wooing you. How closely would you work with him if you worked there?

    4. Carpe Manana*

      I once had an interview very much like that where I was interrogated on every basic point. Everything was twisted to make it look like a negative and put me on the defensive. I thought I could never work for that individual, but despite all my resolve, I ended up taking the job anyway.

      That was nearly ten years ago, and the “interrogator” has turned out to be an amazing boss and mentor. He later explained that for better or worse, he likes to see how interviewees respond when they’re on the hot seat. Do they get defensive? Can they keep their composure? We deal with a lot of high-strung and emotionally overwrought individuals at this place, and he wanted some inkling for how a candidate might respond in such situations.

      Your experience might be something completely different and he might just lack basic interviewing skills. But it’s a different perspective and worth keeping in mind.

    5. PollyQ*

      The fact that they haven’t gotten back to you by now is so common as to be irrelevant to anything else. Everything in hiring always takes longer than the company thinks or says.

    6. linger*

      Also possible Director already had a particular individual earmarked for the position, and so was predisposed to find negatives in the competitors to “justify” that to others involved in the hiring decision. (Which still wouldn’t excuse their behaviour toward those other candidates; if anything, it’d make it worse.)

  2. Stressed*

    Update on my problem employee: she had to be taught how to save a file to her desktop on Wednesday. I asked our other admin to clarify, certain that she was exaggerating out of frustration.

    She wasn’t. This is *infuriating.*

    1. Imaginary Number*

      Is there any sort of basic computer-skills training course you can make her take?

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          No one is ever past that point. If refresher or development is needed, either do it (suggest it) or let her go. Since you don’t have the power to let her go, then suggest a course or a book or whatever. Or… you accept that this is something that won’t change and you manage your own frustration.

          But no one is ever beyond or above skills-honing. If my boss said to me, “I need you to brush up your business communications or we have to talk about your future,” then I’ll take a course, even if I think my business communication skills are exceptional.

          1. Stressed*

            She’s an admin with 20 years of experience (allegedly) who doesn’t know how to do a bare bones basic level task for an admin. It’s past that point.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              Ok…? Then what can YOU do? Nothing? Or sit and stew? If you have no control, then I get that it’s frustrating, but either keep talking to management and/or accept that this will not change and it is Not Your Problem. You’ve had good suggestions made, but if you’re truly powerless then you have to focus on your own work rather than building up resentment over hers.

              1. Stressed*

                Her incompetence means that my coworker & I have even more work on our plates, and we’re already understaffed. I’m gonna vent!

                1. Unkempt Flatware*

                  This sounds absolutely maddening and I’m sorry you’re getting such odd responses to your post. I would likely stand and look at her in shock if she told me she didn’t know how to do that.

                2. WantonSeedStitch*

                  Then it sounds like the only thing you can do is set limits with your boss, and say “I can’t do X and Y for Problem Employee unless you take something else off my plate, because I’m spending # hours a day helping her and correcting her mistakes. I’m unable to do my job and hers too.” And if boss is not helpful, it might be time to start looking for another job that doesn’t make you so stressed!

                3. Meep*

                  I totally get it. I once had to fight a coworker on using excel to store her client information. We were moving away from tracking sales in a single excel spreadsheet and into an automated system with all the bells and whistles. Not only did she not want to move to this new sales system, but she very rudely insisted that I am to still send her updated excel spreadsheets via email with her entire client list because she doesn’t know how to add rows in excel… Like just use the new system, ffs.

                4. JelloStapler*

                  I had a boss who woudl go through her deleted emails file when Outlook said it was full. She could not understand that she had already decided these emails would go in the trash. She also thought we had to arrange attachments a certain way in emails so people could find them.

                  She was a Director.

            2. tamarak & fireweed*

              I appreciate you’re venting.

              Once you’re done venting, and you will be, the choice I see is:
              *** Can you get her dismissed from her role?
              yes –> it IS past the point of trying to teach her
              no –> it is not past the point, as even now having her in a basics skills class is probably the best use of her time

    2. Observer*

      Does anyone have a plan?

      If nothing else, keep on informing both YOUR manager and HER manager every. single. time. something gets held up because of her. And don’t do her work, even if it means stuff falls behind.

      MAKE IT MANAGEMENT’S problem.

      1. irene adler*

        Yes, this!
        And document -in writing-what you can. Don’t let management wiggle out of this by saying they can’t do anything until they can accumulate the documentation to take action.

        1. Momma Bear*

          This is what I’m thinking. Make it very clear to the bosses that you can/can’t do x and y because Problem Coworker isn’t able to complete her portion of the tasks. This our workload, this is how it’s distributed, and why. Given this information, does Boss have a plan to reassign tasks or prioritize differently than what you’re already doing? Sometimes you need to make it impact them to get a response.

    3. Spaghetti isn't sticking to the wall*

      Oh, I am here. I had a conversation with my staffer about a link they shared with someone. They said the link wasn’t working. The link they shared was to a PDF on their computer. Meaning, they copied the pathway to the document on their computer and shared it with someone outside the company. It was not a digital document. It did not live online. It therefore could not be shared with someone who wasn’t sitting at their computer. And then when I told them this, they were annoyed that I clarified it was their mistake.

      1. TheAce*

        I am boggling here at the fact that someone knows how to find the file path on their computer and yet doesn’t know how to do an attachm

        1. Spaghetti isn't sticking to the wall*

          Oh, they know how to attach a document. They literally thought the pathway on their computer could be accessed by someone not using their computer. Why they think that, I could not say. I would think someone who can find the file path would realize the file path couldn’t be used on another computer. But, my staffer does not think logically, so this is just one example of the types of conversations I have where I am taking down a rabbit hole of assumptions they make that seem bizarre and disconnected from actuality.

            1. Miss Betty*

              That’s a mistake I’ve seen attorney’s 20 years younger than me make this week.

            2. Yes to that*

              We have another poster today who handles all of their company’s global claims, and yes thinks going from 70K to 100K is a 30 percent raise.

              Everyone I know is better than me at multiple things, and also struggles to do things I can do easily. Be kind.

            3. linger*

              Actually very easy to do in some Windows systems where a file’s directory entry displays in a folder’s directory list as a “ghost” file with the same name as the file itself. Keep scrolling down the directory, and you find the actual file; but if you just select the first appropriately-named entry you come to, you’ll make exactly this error.

          1. Dromaius*

            It sounds like they don’t know the difference between being on the Cloud or an intranet, and being on an individual’s hard drive.

            1. RetailEscapee*

              Agreed. I am 40 and was a high level manager but in a field where email was much less of a tool that intranet forms/portals and had to brush up on cloud vs harddrive in my new admin type role.

            2. JR*

              This. If they’re used to working in Box or Dropbox or a y other cloud storage/shared drive that’s integrated into their Finder, this would be a pretty easy mistake to make. I’m not sure I’ve ever worked anywhere where people regularly saved documents on their own computer, and I’m 40.

      2. Meep*

        I literally called at that one, but my bar is pretty low when it comes to stupid vs silly. I had a problem coworker who couldn’t figure out how to send an image via email she wanted to be resized. Of course, the main issue was she didn’t know how to resize it.

      3. Dragon*

        Long ago, my boss sent a document containing multiple links to PDFs on our network to an outside contractor. She needed that person to do something else with the document and send it back.

        Well of course all the links got lost, which my boss may have known would happen but she needed the contractor to do his thing with it.

        Copying the links back into the revised document was easy enough, because we had multiple versions of the document. Guess who got to do that.

        This was also before 2 external monitors were standard office operating equipment. When I asked our IT department if I could borrow a second monitor to make this project easier, you’d have thought I asked for our company’s list of executive year-end bonuses.

    4. Anon today*

      This was the conversation I needed today. You aren’t the only one in this boat.

    5. WellRed*

      I’m not the most patient person. I’d probably be saying directly to the problem employee; “I dont understand, you don’t know how to do x? But you have 20 years of experience.” Or stop showing her. “It’s pretty simple, google it.” Every time until she realizes she’s not capable and quits. But I also know there are truly oblivious people out there.

    6. Researchalator Lady*

      Hahahahaha! Oh my. Have you thought of sending her lmgtfy.app (let me Google that for you) links?

  3. Lunch question*

    Low stakes question: is it weird to eat lunch (or any other meals) alone in the office cafetaria?

    1. Pascall*

      Totally not weird. I eat lunch by myself quite a bit! I just put in my headphones and scroll Tiktok lol.

    2. JustKnope*

      Nah, I do it all the time! I personally find it a nice way to reset in the middle of the day. You do you.

    3. soontoberetired*

      No.
      I used to take my 45 minute lunch alone to read and totally unplug from work, and I was not the only person in my office to do that. I did this primarily during high stress periods, but I am not the only one who ate alone in the cafeteria.

    4. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      In my in office days I would occasionally eat lunch alone, or use the fitness equipment. Very rarely would I eat with others. No one seemed to care.

      If someone says something, you can just say you need some alone time.

    5. Susan Calvin*

      There’s certainly ways to be weird *about* it, like if you aggressively avoid eye contact with the rest of your team sitting at the next table and trying to invite you over – but in principle, absolutely not.

    6. A Poster Has No Name*

      Not weird. Lots of people eat lunch alone. In fact, I know quite a few who prefer it. Time to read a book or watch some YT or play games or whatever and not have to deal with people.

    7. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      No? It takes too much time to see whether other people have time to eat w me. Also nobody uses the office anymore at my job lol

    8. Charlotte Lucas*

      Absolutely not weird. When I had access to a bigger cafeteria, I ate alone & read or did crosswords.

    9. Kes*

      No.
      But if I’m eating alone (or want to eat alone) I’ll often do something at the same time, like read a book on my phone while I eat

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It is always OK to eat alone anywhere. It is ok if this happens out of necessity and also ok if it’s your choice. And it’s ok to say EITHER “Please join me” or “No thanks, I’m enjoying some quiet time.”

    11. Lady_Lessa*

      I do that all the time, and have my Kindle propped up so that I can easily read it, but I do enjoy the conversation from others, should it happen.

    12. Jora Malli*

      I love solo lunch dates! It’s a great opportunity to rest and refresh yourself for the rest of the day. If you’re comfortable with it and it’s something you enjoy doing, I say go for it.

    13. Richard Hershberger*

      The only people who think it is weird are the ones confused about the difference between an office and high school. Not that there is anything wrong with eating alone in high school, but there was a consensus that who you ate with was A Thing.

    14. Me!*

      Nah, not weird. At OldExjob, I often wrote at lunch, so I took my laptop into the break room with me. I would sit for the last 15 minutes of the shop personnel’s second lunch break, to socialize a bit, and then I had the rest of the time to myself.

      The only issue I ever had was when sales would come in and ask me to do stuff and get mad when I couldn’t. I was off the clock; I couldn’t legally work without clocking back in, and I was not going to give up my time for stuff that could wait. I was polite but firm about it, and eventually they stopped asking.

    15. Eff Walsingham*

      At my last company, we ran into problems because there were employees who refused to eat alone.

      We went from a culture of set breaks — all the more crucial during Early Covid due to break room capacity restrictions — to an expectation that if you were nearly finished a task, you should finish it before taking your break. Since we were phasing in a new data management system and testing a lot of timings, this didn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation to me. Previously, a single staffer would see an order through to completion and ship it, so you couldn’t really delay anyone else. But under the new system, one worker would need to finish a particular task before responsibility for the order passed to a designated shipper. Who would be unable to complete their task, print their paperwork, and assign a driver in the system until this hand-off occurred.

      Personally, I felt that plus or minus 15 minutes was reasonable. If I could move the work along by delaying my break by 15 minutes or less, that was a reasonable expectation. If it was likely IMO to take more like half an hour, I would be willing to lean on the health and safety aspect (I have a condition that is mostly manageable IF I eat at regular times) and my supervisor would have the option of reassigning the task. By the same token, if I finished an assignment and it was that close to my usual break time, I’d go a bit early.

      But we had multiple people who were willing to repeatedly screw up the entire workflow by just walking off the floor because of the time on the clock. Then saying, once they were located, “I had to go. I always eat with Freddie and Dolores, and we always go at 12:00.” Even being willing to endure the wrath of the coordinator, who was kind of an unhinged ranter when things went poorly. I couldn’t get my head around it. We’re not 10, and it’s not recess time. Shouldn’t the needs of the business count for something? This went on for months. The change in expectations was clearly communicated in regular meetings. And yet some people were willing to inconvenience 2 departments rather than potentially eat alone or with strangers??

      I spent 20 months eating in a semi-sheltered loading bay due to covid restrictions, mostly alone because this is Canada and we have weather, so this may be the root of my confusion. But of all the hills to die on, this was one that I found mystifying.

    16. WantonSeedStitch*

      Nope. I’ve done that before. Brought a book or fooled around with my phone. If it’s what you WANT to do and someone asks if you want to join them, it’s perfectly fine to say “thanks for the invitation, but I need a little ‘me’ time!” or something similar.

    17. snert*

      Not weird at all! Many of the staff in my company spend their lunch break watching shows on their phone with their headphones in. It’s funny to walk in there and see everyone in their own little world.

    18. Pointy's in the North Tower*

      Not at all! I used to go out to eat by myself or to Pint Nights by myself in Before Times. It was a nice way to unwind and get some reading done.

      I eat lunch by myself now in an office because it’s the only downtime I get during the work day. I need it in order to function for the rest of the day.

    19. Momma Bear*

      I think no weirder than eating alone anywhere else. I have called it my “down time” and people leave me alone.

    20. The Jobless Wonder*

      Another vote for Not Weird.

      Downtime is important, however you prefer to get it. I’ve eaten lunch alone at various places I’ve worked. Sometimes it was the only way to get a little bit of quiet and calm.

    21. mreasy*

      Not at all. I talk all day to these jokers, I want to read AAM in peace during lunch!!

    22. London Calling*

      I did this after being invited to join the team for lunch during a temp assignment. Sat down at the table and all promptly got their phones out and stared wordlessly at them for the 30 minutes we were allowed. After a couple of days of that I gracefully excused myself and ate at my desk then went for a walk (cafeteria was a bit small and anyway, I like the break from people).

    23. learnedthehardway*

      Where else would you eat lunch? I mean, cafeterias are kind of MADE for that activity.

      If the question is whether it is weird to eat alone – no. You eat at work when you need to eat or when you have an opportunity to do so. If that doesn’t coincide with when other people eat, that’s just the way it is.

    24. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Naahh — If you enjoy being alone during lunch, absolutely go for it! Source: Am introvert who needs some solo downtime to function.

    25. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      Most at people at my office (of hundreds) eat alone. Personally, I would love to have people to eat with but it’s not really our culture so I eat at my desk and go for a walk. Nobody bats an eye at people sitting in the eating area alone.

  4. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

    I an offer this week!! Some 30ish interviews in the past two months (all over video) I finally got an offer, which is nearly double my current salary! This will truly be life changing for my family.

    And it wasn’t on paper the one I was originally the most excited about. But in the interview, I already felt like I was apart of the team. So apply for jobs that may not seem at first glance they’d be a fit. Job descriptions aren’t usually great. Do the interview, ask the questions, and you might be surprised at what job might be the one you actually end up wanting.

    1. Elle Woods*

      CONGRATULATIONS! (Yep, meant to shout that one.) So excited and happy for you and your family!

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Thank you! I still am a bit in disbelief about the salary. It’s the first time I didn’t negotiate because it was already above the original range, has a great bonus and 401k match. I had zero justification for asking for more, so I took it.

        My start date isn’t until July, my new boss has a vacation planned and I have one the week after, so it didn’t make sense to start before then. And I feel better giving my current job more notice. They have been fantastic to work for, and we have someone on medical leave until mid-June so I’ll be able to hand things off when they return. I could not have worked out better.

    2. ABK*

      Congratulations! And thanks for the advice about applying for jobs that may not seem like a fit at first.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        I did most during my lunch break. I’ll be happy to have that time back!

  5. I want a quiet job*

    Can you help me brainstorm some ideas?

    I’m an introvert who’s been working customer service jobs for the last 20 years and I’m beyond exhausted and burnt out. I need to change to a new line of work, but every time I think about doing research on what kinds of jobs there are and what they all mean it all feels too overwhelming.

    Are there any jobs where people spend most of their time sitting quietly at a desk doing independent tasks? I’m not looking for a forever job, just something really calm and boring where I can start recovering from this burnout and figure out what to do next.

    1. JustKnope*

      The initial type of job that comes to mind is data entry! Can you look for roles that have you doing a lot of data inputs? That sounds quiet and solo-work driven.

      1. ferrina*

        Seconding! Data entry may be a great option, and there’s a lot of roles that have this.

      2. Hen in a Windstorm*

        That’s exactly what I was going to say. Data entry. Boring, quiet, likely no one else to talk to.

        Also, if you’re not looking for a forever job, check temp agencies. I was once hired into an admin job that had a literal stack of papers 3 feet high that needed inputting on top of my regular duties. I never made a dent, so they finally hired a temp to only do that.

        Another option might be inventory work. I once had a 2nd PT job doing this – you usually go into stores after hours to do their inventories for them (so no customer interactions). You do have to be on your feet a lot, but it’s solo work. I worked for RGIS and I see they’re still around (and still have the burgundy polo shirts!).

        1. OyHiOh*

          I worked for RGIS decades ago and loved the work. I don’t know if I would have described 3rd party inventory as boring/quiet though! Seemed like every job site had it’s own challenges and difficulties (although after about the 3rd Dollar Tree, those get to be routine; Michael’s was the worst – especially in the papers rows).

          1. Former Imventory*

            I worked at WIS, loved Michael’s bead section. I think I was an outlier, because I loved being stuck with all the tiny fiddly stuff. My managers learned to save it all for me because I got the right count the first time and never burned out on it. Work three hours at a stretch without saying a word? Yes, please.

      3. WantonSeedStitch*

        Oh, totally! Especially if you’re someone who has good attention to detail. Another option might be transcription work.

    2. ABK*

      I don’t have an answer but am definitely interested in reading responses to this, but I feel the same way and have been staying where I am because “the devil you know…” Maybe there will be an answer here that will help me too!

    3. soontoberetired*

      the Tech industry has a lot of jobs done primarily alone, but some require a lot of skills.

      the other thing that comes to mind are Library related jobs.

      1. aubrey*

        Library related jobs often require a lot of interaction with the public, unless it’s a part-time shelving job or something.

        1. Renee Remains the Same*

          If you’re looking at library jobs, don’t look to be a public librarian. I would recommend back office jobs like cataloging. Public librarians deal with some frustrating ish.

          1. Gracely*

            Cataloging takes a lot of training. And usually, cataloging is only a part of the job, because these days, librarians have to wear many hats. Most involve working with the public, even at academic libraries.

            1. Loulou*

              I really don’t think this is true, at least in big academic/research libraries. There are plenty of technician/assistant jobs that are not public facing. Do they pay well or offer mobility? Not usually that I’ve seen, but they’re out there.

              1. Gracely*

                I have and do work in academic libraries. In tech services. As a cataloger. Most tech services jobs are not going to be available to someone just looking for a change. Most academic libraries don’t have a ton of non-public facing jobs, period. As Paris Geller points out, their library has 2 positions out of 50 that fit that bill. And most libraries do not have *50* positions. Mine has 20. We have one position that fits that bill–and we would never hire someone new to libraries into that position. They need experience with at least some kind of library software program, at the bare minimum. The last time we hired for that role, we chose someone with 5 years of library experience, plus another 5 years experience in book purchasing. There are enough librarians and library parapros out there looking for something new that most academic libraries can afford to be picky about those technical positions.

                Now, an assistant circulation position? Absolutely we’d hire someone new to libraries into that–but that’s ALL public/patron facing, all the time. Which is explicitly what the OP doesn’t want.

                1. Loulou*

                  Then it sounds like we’ve had different experiences! I’m not discounting yours, just pointing out that your library’s situation is not universal (nor do I think mine is). Most libraries don’t have 50 staff members, sure, but by definition a big library does!

            2. Paris Geller*

              I’m a librarian and I agree, but there are a few roles that don’t. My library has technical services associates positions that don’t do the cataloging (the librarian does that), but do processing and more admin things and don’t work with the public at all. That being said, they are few and far between and we have 2 of those associate positions out of 50 employees. All the other roles are customer-facing at least part of the time.

            3. Renee Remains the Same*

              I never got the hang of cataloging, so big props to those who do it. It does take training! But, just for reference, I work for a large public library system with a centralized staff for the ordering, cataloging, distributing of books. The staff involved work at a central facility and don’t interact with the public.

              1. Loulou*

                Same here, and it’s not like there’s only one of these in the country. Would it be a fit for OP? No clue, and I don’t know if they live near such a library. But it’s a totally reasonable suggestion.

        2. Trina*

          There are non-public facing librarian positions! The first one that comes to mind is collection librarians, who are responsible for ordering books for the library, entering them in the online catalog, and adding on any labels or barcodes the library system uses. There are also specialty libraries where although you are doing the same reference help as at a public library, your “patrons” are limited to a pool of professionals, like doctors for a medical library.

          1. Bikirl*

            I’m a librarian employed in a very large metropolitan system with a 100 percent non-public facing/interacting job. I’m introverted and my work suits me really well. These kinds of jobs in the library profession are grouped under technical services: they include archivist, cataloger, metadata specialist, conservator, photographer, programmer and many more. Public services positions, such as a branch or reference librarian involve much more interaction with the public. I recommend this field highly for both those that like working with the public, and those that prefer not to. I agree though that it’s a field to go into because you love libraries, or prefer working in a public field with a great mission. Professional librarian positions require a master’s degree. There are also para-professional positions in libraries that do not. I won’t disagree that library work is hard work and that some staff are facing burnout.

          2. Anon for this*

            Technical Services Manager here… Collection development or cataloging librarians generally have a Master’s degree in Library or Info sciences. In medium to large systems with centralized collection development and technical services departments, there are usually lower tier jobs that are basically “sit at a desk and process invoices, or “open boxes and put stickers on books” but those don’t exactly pay much, and are often part-time.

      2. Gracely*

        Omg, please do not recommend library jobs to people looking to escape burnout. Most people working in libraries that I know are severely burnt out already, because we keep having to do more and more work with fewer resources.

        Not to mention, the few non-public facing roles usually require a lot of training/experience to get hired into.

        1. Another Public Librarian*

          Amen to this. Don’t believe us? Check out the LIS Grievances twitter. We’re all exhausted and burnt out.

        2. AnotherLibrarian*

          Yes, this. My staff and I are all exhausted and grouchy. There’s so much “librarianship must be wonderful” perception and it’s not reality. I love my job and I love working in libraries, but I am 100% on the edge of burnout and so are many of my colleagues.

      3. talos*

        Careful about tech jobs – a lot of them are high on collaboration or communicating with people elsewhere in your process. Not to the degree customer service is, but developers and testers and PMs do all talk a fair amount.

        1. David*

          That’s true, but there’s a world of difference between those tech jobs where you might have to spend 30 minutes a day interacting with people – most of whom you know – and a customer service job where (I would imagine) you have to spend 6+ hours a day interacting with strangers. Plenty of tech jobs are very well suited for introverts despite involving some amount of human interaction.

    4. Harried HR*

      Some jobs that come to mind are…
      Data Entry
      Accounts Payable
      Payroll (processing)
      Analytics
      Try going to job boards and using key words that you would like to focus on…(Data Entry / Analytics etc)

      1. London Calling*

        Well, accounts payable except when you’re trying to do a payment run and you have told everyone the cut-off date for invoice submission (which has passed) but there is always someone who tries to wheedle more on because it’s URGENT and WE NEED THESE GOODS. Every month. Without fail.

        But doing AP data entry was my favourite part of the job. Headphones on as a ‘do not disturb’ signal and type away for hours. Very soothing.

    5. Part-time in a full-time world*

      Anything in software/programming/data analysis will be done mostly independently at a desk, though you will still have to communicate with other people via e-mail and meetings.

    6. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Get some excel skills under your belt, that is how I solved this same dilemma for myself; I also got Google Analytics certified (free online course).

      1. I want a quiet job*

        I have a lot of excel skills, I just don’t know which jobs to apply for to use them! :)

        1. Put the Blame on Edamame*

          Well I went into digital marketing, starting in search. You could also look at building dashboards, consultancy, and software assessment/testing.

        2. Lady_Lessa*

          If you have any lab skills, then look for quality assurance technicians. Most of the time, we have to train them on the details of the work, but small group of folks, not much interaction (especially with a large company), detailed orientated, and reasonable computer skills.

    7. Charlotte Lucas*

      I was thinking the same thing! Also, when I was in a CS role, there were some roles that were often a good fit for CSRs with phone flu. Basically, they were deeper dives into issues. Some required a bit of phone work, but some just required writing letters or emails.

    8. Furgig*

      Have you ever thought about Software Engineering? You can learn a lot on your own without having to go back to school, and a large part of the job will involve sitting at a computer solving problems through programming. I don’t know if this would appeal to you, but it’s been a good job for me as an introvert, and has also given me opportunity to work on how I present my energy to others so I don’t come off as too cold or disinterested (I’m inside my head a LOT).

      You won’t be able to completely avoid people, but the kinds of interactions you’ll have with your team are vastly different from customer service interactions, and usually won’t be enough to totally drain you.

      Just a thought as an introvert who has a relatively quiet job sitting at a computer.

    9. Hillary*

      how important is the at a desk part? inventory coordinator/clerk is usually very independent and pretty low stakes, but it’s a lot of going and checking things. “Cycle count” is a good keyword for that.

      I’d stay away from AP, they usually have to talk to vendors asking for their money.

      1. I want a quiet job*

        I have some back issues so jobs that involve a lot of physical activity would be hard.

    10. Eff Walsingham*

      Seriously, try data entry for accounting/ payroll/ payables and receivables. Most people will leave you alone because they’re afraid that the ‘boring’ will rub off!

      1. London Calling*

        People leave you alone in accounts payable? I’ve been in the wrong jobs! mostly I found people coming to see me so I’ll add invoices to the payment run after the cut-off date. And pay expenses. And sort out non-payment. And chase invoices. And speak to suppliers. Etc. Etc.

        1. Eff Walsingham*

          Well, my job was more with the paying, less with the following up…. And when I did (seasonally) take over the follow-up for expenses coming out of a certain mining/ exploration project, it was all long distance so no one visited me. So I could work uninterrupted for a block of time, then return any calls or emails as needed.

          Actually I met (over the phone) a few quite interesting characters. One guy invariably made mistakes in his hand written and faxed (!!!!!! This was like 2010!) invoicing, generally in his own favour. And when I would call and explain why he wasn’t going to get as much money as he thought, he would say, “If you’re ever in this neck of the woods and need a job, I’ll hire you!” Such a nice guy, and here I kept calling and picking on his arithmetic.

          There have been times, since then, when things are tough and stressful, when I’ve thought, “Why am I doing this? I have a standing job offer in the Yukon!” :)

    11. Academic fibro warrior*

      How about test rating? I do that and it pays pretty well though the hours are variable and pay differs depending on the test. Training is largely automated and since the focus is on the test, interaction is fairly limited.

      I have…qualms about contributing to student test culture. But for a fellow introvert with chronic fatigue and that I can do all this at home, it’s been a godsend through graduate schools.

      Some companies require unpaid training, sometimes passing initial training isn’t easy, some companies do benefits but those vary (I get retirement from one even though it’s part time), so look around.

    12. Tricia*

      Check out some government jobs – any place that people apply for benefits – lots of times there are employees who do nothing but adjudicate those benefit applications.

    13. London Calling*

      Finance is a great job for spending a lot of time staring at screens, especially if you’re doing any sort of data analysis, because you’re surrounded by people doing the same thing.

    14. Tango*

      Accounts payable might be a good fit?! Finance/Accounting is also generally a good area to get into as there’s more jobs than people.

    15. Plain Jane*

      I did inventory/data entry at a time in my life when I was recovering from burnout. It was exactly what I needed. Mine did involve carrying and opening boxes, but not everywhere has that. It was wonderfully boring. I highly recommend it!

    16. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I worked at a county government assessor’s office for a while, checking the accuracy of property on microfilm and occasionally doing research with plat maps. It was routine but not uninteresting. The killer part for me was having to be in a cubicle farm. There wasn’t much talking on the job, and breaks and lunch could be social or solo.

  6. Free Meerkats*

    With my pending retirement, my managers have decided to hire someone in advance of me leaving to learn the ropes here. The City never does this, we always wait until someone is gone and then fill the hole.

    Part of that is to rewrite the job specification to reflect what the job actually is, not what HR thought it was 10 years ago. There have been two people in this job, one from when the program was started in 1987 and me, who was promoted when he retired about 4 years ago. Neither one of us would be qualified under the current job spec. :) I have a good handle on the technical requirements, but writing the management parts will be a learning experience for me.

    If you were writing a job spec for your manager, what would you like to see in it?

    1. 867-5309*

      Usually there is just a line or two about managing a team,

      – Managing a team of x people.
      – Ability to hire, develop and grow talent.

    2. Jane*

      If I were the manager (and the person coming into the role) I would like to get some sense of how much time you spend in each task, because otherwise I might end up making assumptions based on how complicated the task looks on paper. That’s what happened to me in my new role. One of my tasks is to process and file Widget Forms, and there’s a full page and a half of instructions about how to do that so I assumed I would need a detailed tracking sheet and would spend a lot of time on those. Nope, another department does most of the heavy lifting and is responsible for keeping track. Instead I spend most of my time doing something that had at most a modest paragraph, but which involves “collecting information from other departments.” Departments which don’t feel like they should have to do this, and do a half-assed job and drag their feet (which is also something that would have been nice to see in the document, in a more politically-correct way).

      1. Zee*

        I second this. I re-wrote my job description in my last job, and I broke it down into something like:
        Area A (30%)
        Area B (40%)
        Area C (15%)
        Area D (15%)
        With bullet points of what fell into each area.

        I love seeing this when I’m applying for jobs, and I wish it was more common! It’s super common in my field to have a job title like “X and Y Director/Manager/Coordinator/whatever”, which could mean a 50/50 split between X and Y, but it could be a 90/10 split too.

        It was also really helpful for my boss, because if she knew that things in Area B peak in July, I really can’t take on anything else. But if September is a busy month in Area D, that’s not actually that much of a workload increase.

        Also a note: in the above situation, Area D was “general administration/miscellaneous”, which I strongly encourage everyone to account for in their time. It’s easy to ignore tasks here and there that don’t exactly fall into your job description, but 15% of my time is almost an entire day a week! And in my current job, they left out a lot of those things and only put in the really big points, and now I’m spending so much time on things I thought I wasn’t going to be responsible for that I am actively applying for other jobs.

    3. Policy Wonk*

      Since you say you work for the city, I recommend you start with your own HR office. Governments often have standardized language for use in position descriptions. I’d hate to have you spend a lot of time crafting something you like only to have them replace it with whatever they have in the approved position guide. If there is standard language, ask how much you can add to it to get what you want.

      Good luck!

  7. Rayray*

    I have a job interview on Tuesday!

    This is an organization I’ve tried to get into in the past, they’re routinely named as a top place to work. A friend works there and loves it. I passed the phone screen and assessment for the role this week. It’s moving fast but I’m excited. My company has recently laid off many people and I’ve been casually hunting for months because I feared the layoffs would happen. Although I was spared, I kept on looking. This would be a much better job for many reasons!

    My friend sent me some questions that might get asked in the interview and gave me some tips and told me about the company core values. I also plan to use the magic question. The interview is over zoom so I reserved a study room at the library. I tend to get nervous and flustered in interviews but zoom may be easier.

    What are your best interview tips for success?

    1. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Dry run with a friend! Not always possible but very useful. Have about 3 good examples of work you’ve done that you can use as different examples. When you get a tricky question, rephrase it to check you have the gist of it. Slow down your breathing.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Definitely practice some of the standard issue questions out loud, before hand. things like why are you looking for a new job, why are you interested in THIS job, strengths and weaknesses, etc.

    3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I’ve done a lot of virtual interviews lately. Tips would be:
      – Dress as you would for an in person. But be prepared for the person on the other end to be dressed down.
      -Some platforms didn’t let me blur or use a fake background, so make sure what’s behind you is neutral.
      -Since they can only see your face, you need to use facial expressions to show interest, smile, nod, look directly at the camera

      But those really are the only differences. Be yourself. Be prepared. Ask questions. And good luck!!!

    4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Since you’ll be on Zoom, don’t be afraid to set up plenty of notes you can peek at to answer questions. just spread them out on the desk in front of you.

      Google some lists of typical questions and then think of ways you could answer them with an example from your previous experience — in terms of what the new job will need you to do. Write out the full answer, but use just some prompts for the actual cheat sheets. (Or bold just the good bits, if you’re really afraid of losing a script to lean on in a panicked moment.)

      Also, don’t be afraid to say that you’re nervous. That can be part of your Tell Me About Yourself. You could do a quick intro and then say “I’ve been looking forward to interviewing with your company for so long — I’ve heard so much good about it whether in the ranking lists or even from a friend who works here. I’m super nervous – but excited about this opportunity.” If the interviewer is a nice human, they’re likely to reassure you at this point, and then you can both put the fretting aside.

      1. LunaLena*

        Adding to this, not only be prepared with notes (including questions you want to ask about the role and/or organization), but feel free to openly take notes! I’ve been to many interviews, both in-person and on Zoom, where the candidates take notes and refer to them throughout the interview. Sometimes they say “I’m just taking some notes; writing it down helps me remember.”

        Good luck!

        1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          Yes mention you are taking notes, because they can’t see that and you don’t want to give the impression that you’re looking at your phone or otherwise distracted.

    5. Hopeful Ex-Librarian*

      that’s awesome, congrats!

      i also get nervous and flustered during interviews, so i practice as much as i can beforehand – running through questions, taking notes on the company, etc.

      but i also try to remember to think of interviews as more conversations, and also that i’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. thinking of it as more of a two-way street helps. :)

    6. Kramerica Industries*

      For my video interview, I kept a sticky note at the side of my computer screen that said “BREAHTE. SLOW DOWN.” and I think that helped me to calm down since I have a tendency to babble/lose my point when I’m nervous.

    7. WantonSeedStitch*

      The last time I interviewed and had a good idea about questions that might get asked, I sat down and wrote out answers to the questions in advance. I didn’t try to memorize them, but the act of writing them down helped me really think them through fully and remember details (these were mostly behavioral interview style questions of the “tell me about a time when…” type). Also, if you can pick out some stuff you’ve done in your work that shows that you embody those company core values, write that down too.

    8. StellaBella*

      Go to the archives here on interviewing. see the right side there >>> category/interviewing and ask the magic question:
      Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?
      Good luck!

    9. Lina*

      Answer the questions! I recently interviewed (successfully) for a new role, and two of my colleagues were on interview panels for similar roles. My two colleagues complained that almost none of the interviewees actually fully answered the question that was asked, they either gave one sentence and then stopped or they gave an answer that was unrelated to the original question.

      When I debriefed my interview with a mentor who was on the interview panel, she said that one of the reasons I was offered the job was that I was the only candidate who fully answered the questions they asked with enough detail that they could understand a) my experience with the skill set, b) my role in using the skills on current projects, and c) how I thought my past experience related to or would be useful to the skill set they were hiring for.

    10. Perpetual Job Searcher*

      I record myself answering the “tell me about yourself” question until I’m happy with what I’m saying. Then for zoom interviews I leave up a bulleted list in Word so I don’t get flustered. This question always flusters me and it sets the tone for the rest of the interview, so it helps to NOT be flustered in the first 3 minutes! Good luck!

    11. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Lean very slightly forward when the other person is speaking. It makes you look more interested. Then lean back ever so slightly in your chair when you’re talking. It makes you look confident and relaxed. Most people unconsciously do the opposite and it makes them look nervous or overly aggressive on the forward move, and bored on the listening.

  8. Kimmy Schmidt*

    I got a new job (with a 20% pay increase) and I’m so excited!

    What’s your best advice for learning the new style at a new job? Basically, I want to do everything in my power to avoid being that “well at my last job” person. How do you leave behind your bad work habits?

    1. Dragonfly7*

      I take a lot of notes so I don’t mix up policies and procedures if the jobs are similar. I also openly acknowledge that I don’t want to be the “well, at my last job…” person, which usually gets a laugh, but some folks ARE interested in hearing what was different in case that method might work better for them.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I usually give myself 2-3 months to hold my tongue. I’ll make quiet notes to myself about “Maybe this could be improved,” but I try to immerse myself and ask lots of questions to understand why they may do something that seems inefficient or wrong to me. Then, after 2-3 months, I’ll know which ones truly need fixing and which ones may seem odd but are okay for now.

    3. anonymous73*

      Ask a lot of questions and be open to new ideas. And when being trained, don’t question the “why” of the process. Sometimes it may not make logical sense to you, but there may be a legit reason it’s done a certain way. If there are processes that are done only because “It’s always been done that way” there may be an opportunity to help improve them, but only after you’ve been there for a while and see how everything works together.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        Ugh! Yes! Please don’t keep asking, “Why?” during training as it bogs the process down. I was a trainer for many months at my last job, and generally the people who were the most receptive during training did the best in the long run. People who seemed to want to direct the conversation, ask “Why?”, make suggestions, or come up with theories about the company or products… they didn’t seem to retain as much useful information and therefore the training took longer. It’s better to take notes, particularly if notes are helpful for you, and do ask questions about what you’re learning to show that your mind is engaged.

        We had some people rise to ‘superstar’ status in quite a short time while I was there, but they started off by just soaking up information and thinking about it during the training process. Then, when they later asked, “If the new system can do X, then are we going to add that function to increase efficiency?” nobody seemed to feel like they were overstepping. Even though the answer might be, “Nobody who works in this building is privy to that information.” Because they took the trouble to understand the status quo before proposing solutions, others were more willing to consider that they might be right.

    4. BlueDijon*

      Congrats! The way I’ve been approaching this has been to assume there’s a good reason for everything, and to ask as many questions as I can to understand those reasons. That gives you the space to ask all your questions, and by assuming positive intent it helps them give more context and additional information that might come up in a more defensive way if the practice was questioned in a more challenging way. It also lets the question turn into more of a conversation that’s based in understanding – and if you understand something, and can demonstrate that (which will probably take time as well, like Anonymous Educator mentioned too), it makes a conversation about potential changes a lower stakes, more open type of chat too.

    5. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Congratulations! I just got a new job too.

      One thing with starting something new is to be patient. You will not learn everything you need to know in a week, month, or even a year. Don’t let imposter syndrome set in. Listen, ask appropriate questions. Ask for clear ramp up expectations from your leader.

    6. Me ... Just Me*

      If your job is a staff job, just be ready to listen and learn the current processes. Later, once you’ve got some time under your belt, make suggestions. But I wouldn’t do this for the first few months.

      If your job is a management one, you’ll still need to be ready to listen and learn the current processes. But, in this role you’ll likely be expected to implement changes to the process that you foresee need changing. I would not direct change immediately (to your reports) but rather information gather and then report up to your manager/director the things you’ve observed/learned and see if this is an area that they’ve also identified as needing addressed. I wouldn’t offer a solution as part of this discussion unless they enthusiastically respond with something along the lines of “that’s why we hired you” and, “this is absolutely a problem, do you have anything in mind to address it?”

      People hate change. Even positive change is very uncomfortable for a whole lot of people. As the new person, you need to make sure that you have the authority, responsibility, and credibility to enact change.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        *Applause*

        This is all wonderful stuff!

        Truly, people hate change. Even necessary and / or positive change is usually met with some resistance at first.

  9. TimeBlind*

    Two weeks ago I was in despair thinking I’d blown my chances at a dream job with a dream org because of messing up past dates of employment on my resume and background check. Well, I haven’t heard back from any of the HR people, but I did just get a notification from a shipment company that 48lbs of packages from the org’s home city are out for delivery to me today! I’m guessing that’s a good sign. :)

    1. Rayray*

      I remember seeing your post. I know I tend to over think and worry and would’ve been a wreck in your situation so I’m very happy for you that things seem to be working out. :)

      1. TimeBlind*

        It was all the computer stuff I will need for the job! (I had already accepted the conditional offer, which is double what I’ve ever made anywhere else, and more than I ever thought I’d make working in academica/nonprofits) Though I told them I didn’t need monitors/peripherals, they sent them anyways. Oh well, Those will stay in boxes in my closet. (I have a KVM switch for the ergo monitors/keyboard/mouse/etc mounted to my standing desk in my home office to go from my personal computer to a work computer.)

        1. Can Can Cannot*

          Congratulations. And I agree with the value of a good KVM switch. I am typing this on my personal computer, but with a couple keystrokes I can switch my screen to my work computer without needing to move out of my chair. I love it.

          1. TimeBlind*

            I will evangelize about KVMs to anyone who will listen. “But why don’t you just use a USB hub?” They just don’t understand the joy of The Button. *PLONK* Work mode! *PLONK* Play mode!

    2. WellRed*

      I think it’s a little weird to not have an offer if they are sending you stuff. What if you don’t like the offer?

      1. TimeBlind*

        I had accepted a conditional offer, and have a presumptive start date, but they needed to run their full background check, drug screen, etc before it’s “official.” I’ve worked in this type of org before (but in direct client-facing and care roles, not the research/informatics side) and this order of operations is pretty normal. Also considering the type of information I’m going to be working with, and being fully remote, I’m not surprised they sprang for a more in-depth background check.

          1. TimeBlind*

            The confusion is understandable, my post was pretty vague if you hadn’t read/remembered it from a fortnight ago! :) For some reason I was having difficulty getting the AAM site to load so when I finally did I just “spat” it out into the comment box to take seize the moment, ha ha.

  10. Jane*

    I am trying to parse out where the line is between being helpful and overcommitting myself while trying to get an “exceeds expectations” on my performance review. For example, my supervisor and I were talking the other day about how we have to get a user to do a training module, but for various work reasons the person doesn’t have access to our systems to take it. I found myself blurting out that I would try to track the training down and get a PDF version of it, which is proving onerous and time-consuming. I want to be seen as a supportive team player but I also don’t want to keep stretching myself too thin. Does anyone else have a rule of thumb or a way to figure out if you’re overcommitting yourself vs. doing stuff that will make your boss see you as a big asset?

    1. ferrina*

      First, put the performance review out of your mind. Those can be notoriously subjective- I had one experience where my team of 3 got cut to 1, and still got 80% of my team’s goals done (so 270% of one person’s job). My boss still gave me “meets expectations” because she expected me to do well when I had to do all that work. A good supervisor will understand nuance; a bad one won’t care. And that will be out of your control.

      What is in your control is your own prioritization and time management. How many hours do you work per week? Are you getting the expected work done? (i.e., meeting goals and deadlines?) Then how much time do you have left over? Do you actively make suggestions and look for solutions? Do you flag for your boss when something is proving more time consuming than planned (so your boss can help you prioritize)? Those are the nuances that I would look for. (And don’t run yourself ragged for the sake of being a “team player”. Part of being a team player is taking care of the whole team, including yourself.)

    2. RagingADHD*

      Well, I think the key is to focus on results rather than process. Whether or not you are an asset isn’t about how hard you work, but about the results you produce.

      This avenue of getting the training doesn’t seem to be working, so if you just give up entirely you have wasted a lot of time and effort with no result. You’re probably better off thinking of a different way that to continue pursuing this one way.

      1. Jane*

        Results aren’t a good metric, as I always get very good results, I just feel stretched thin. I understand the very basic concept that something needs to be pursued a different way if one way doesn’t work. That wasn’t my question.

        1. RagingADHD*

          The question you literally asked was: “a way to figure out if you’re overcommitting yourself vs. doing stuff that will make your boss see you as a big asset?”

          The thing is, those two items are not mutually exclusive. There is no VS. You could be a great asset to the company and also overcommit yourself in a way that isn’t healthy for you.

          If you are getting tangible results that are worth more than the time you spent on it, you are being an asset, and your boss will see you that way (unless they are stupid).

          If you are spending a lot of time and effort pursuing things for little or no result, you are not being a good asset.

          If you are working so hard that it isn’t worth the money or potential advancement, that has nothing to do with whether your boss sees you as an asset. That’s about your own boundaries with work, and you have to decide where that tipping point is for yourself.

    3. Kes*

      I think a key question here is, what would your supervisor probably prefer you to be doing? Is tracking down the training the most important thing or are there other tasks they would probably consider a higher priority? It’s nice to offer to help but not at the cost of derailing your main work in most cases. In this cases it seems like it looked like something you could easily take on for them and get out of the way but is proving otherwise, so I think it’s reasonable to limit the amount of time you spend on this one thing and instead bring the challenges you’re seeing back up to your supervisor so they can judge if there might be an alternate or better approach, if they want you to keep going, or if they want to take it back off your plate

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        Oh, this. Very much. Like when a member of my team goes investigating everywhere, turning over every rock on a treasure hunt for a piece of information that is absolutely not critical to their assignment, and then doesn’t have time to take another assignment that needs to be done because they spent so much time finding that piece of irrelevant information. (Fortunately, I think most of them are over this by now.)

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          Er, that was not supposed to be done yet. To add: I would finish up the thing you said you’d do, because you said you’d do it, unless you think it’s going to take a really long time and make it hard for you to accomplish the other stuff you need to do. If that’s the case, I’d go to your boss and say “hey, I was trying to do this, but it’s proving really time consuming and challenging. Before I spend more time on it, do you consider it a priority, or is there anything else you’d prefer me to work on instead?”

          1. Invisible today*

            I’d say you should follow up saying you’ve looked/tried xyz but no luck yet. Then ask explicitly if you should continue to search or if they’re okay with you moving on.

  11. Pascall*

    I’m an hourly employee and in the interest of keeping me with my current workplace, I was recommended to apply to an actual Director position here in my department. My grandboss knows I’m interviewing with other orgs, simply because I would prefer to WFH. But this director position would be a $40k raise and would be managing the district’s recruitment and retention plan.

    Very hard to pass up, so I threw my hat in the ring with the idea that I could put up with the commute for an additional $40k and also it may put me in a position to push our leadership more towards hybrid working options in general. Not sure if this is overly optimistic of me, but I know for a fact that it’s been a topic of interest in some of the upper echelons here and there.

    We’ll see what happens. There are other applicants who are in salaried positions who probably have more experience than me, but it’s hard to ignore when someone on the hiring committee tells you to do it. Am I being a little overly optimistic?

    1. Observer*

      You sound reasonable. It doesn’t sound like you EXPECT to get the job. It’s not unreasonable to think you have a chance, though.

      I wouldn’t stop applying elsewhere, though.

    2. ferrina*

      By applying when you were recommended to apply? No, that sounds very normal and smart! All you are saying is that you are interested! That’s a good thing to do when you are indeed interested! I don’t know who told you that you are overly optimistic, but I’m giving them some side-eye.

      1. Pascall*

        Nobody specific told me that, just my internal imposter syndrome I guess, haha!

        Thank you for the support!

    3. Pop*

      I’m not sure what your current salary is, but a $40k increase is a LOT of money. It would cover gas for commute, sure, but also probably some other things that would make working in the office/having less time at home easier: you could get lunch out more, instead of packing it or meal prepping; you could get takeout for dinner more, for when you’re too tired to cook; you could pay for a cleaning service, so you don’t spend your limited time at home cleaning; pay for a dog walking service or doggy daycare so a pet doesn’t mind being at home as much, etc etc etc. My husband and I have collectively increased our household salary by about $35k over the last six years and while we’re not rolling in money, we feel a LOT less stressed about money on a day-to-day basis and are able to save for the future.

      1. Pascall*

        My current salary is $42k, so it would be double what I currently make. The director position starts at $84k. It would be a HUGE jump.

        A cleaning service is a fantastic idea- I keep forgetting that’s an option lol.

        Thank you for the info and support!

    4. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      It’s like Allison’s says…apply and then put the job out of your mind :)

  12. CatCat*

    Anyone willing to share tales of mortification in which your parent or (other parental type figure) interfered in your work life?

    I was thinking about this yesterday with the post about whether to allow one’s mother to help make connections (it definitely involves whether the mother is the interfering, overbearing type!)

    1. Andjazzy*

      Not work, but my MIL had an RA at my husband’s college request a restraining order against her because she called him

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I am sure people here who work in education especially higher ed have stories. I think we had an “RA Stories” post fairly recently.

        A dearly departed friend of mine was the assistant to the Dean of Students for a very well known and prestigious law school. She had a lot of helicopter parent stories, and a few of students who really didn’t want to be in law school but Mommy and Daddy insisted, so were trying to flunk out. (This is a well known school – horrible waste of a spot on someone who didn’t want one IMO.)

    2. Jellyfish*

      This is low stakes, but one of my parents endorsed me for dozens of skills on LinkedIn. Most of them were skills I do not actually have…
      It was well meaning and sweet, but definitely not helpful!

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        My dad does this still. It’s how I know he’s finally logged into LinkedIn for the first time in months – I suddenly have all these random recommendations. He does at least choose things that are actually relevant to what I do, but he’s not really going to know if I’m good at them or not.

    3. ferrina*

      My mom did the opposite- recommended against me working at her workplace. I was in high school and had volunteered at the non-profit where she worked. Unbeknownst to me, they were interested in having me work for them during the summer. She tried to shoot down the idea, but the hiring manager completely ignored her. I had no idea that they were even considering me until they offered me the job (it turned out fine- we worked in two completely different departments and had roles that didn’t interact or impact each other at all)

    4. RagingADHD*

      When I was home from college looking for a summer job, my mom answered a call from a recruiter and barged into the bathroom *while I was audibly using the toilet* to bring me the phone.

      If the bathroom noises didn’t ruin it, I’m sure hearing me shriek “Mooom!!!!!” didn’t do me any favors.

    5. Bagpuss*

      Not my parents, but I did get an application letter from somneone’s mother…
      The ‘child’ would have been at least 22, with a degree.
      It was also a really bad application – saying that he was interested in specifc areas of law, which were fields we don’t cover, for instance.
      The mother mentioned in the letter that she was a GP, so a professional person herself, which made it even weirder from my perspective.

    6. MJ*

      I was moving back to my home country (but a different city) after 20+ years abroad. My parents had moved to this new city around the same time I moved abroad and I was planning to stay with them for the first few months to give me time to find somewhere to live.

      My dad offered to scope out a driving route and parking options near my new job – great. But I was mortified on my first day when one of my colleagues said “Oh yes, I was chatting to your dad in the lobby and brought him up to see the office.” I’m in my 50s and moved to / lived in another country for decades. I didn’t need my dad checking out my job like I was a teenager! Figuring out a good route traffic-wise; helpful. Hanging about in the building lobby until someone took him up to the restricted level and let him into the office; embarrassing as all f*ck.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        WOWWW!!!!

        How utterly mortifying, and yet I can readily imagine my father-in-law doing this. He loves to talk and meet new people, and he *always* wants to be super helpful to all of us “kids”! (We’re not kids.) And yet he’s extremely lovable in his own weird way.

        1. MJ*

          Yeah, I just remind myself it’s coming from a loving heart.

          But I got a chuckle when I offered to have one of my friends in another city do something for him and he said maybe it would be better to ask someone more mature. I’m like “50 years old isn’t mature enough?” Proof positive that he still thinks I’m a flighty teenager. :)

      2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        I worked in a cool old building, and I think most of the staff brought in family members at some point to see it, and introduced them to co-workers while they were there. The workers ranged from 20s through late 60s, so it wasn’t just the younger ones doing it. Heck, our division head brought his mother in when she was in town, and made a point of introducing her to me because we had a similar sense of humor and would hit it off. We did!

        1. MJ*

          Bringing in your family to see where you work I’m totally fine with. It’s having your parent visit your new employer to check them out before you’ve even arrived in the country and met them in person yourself that’s embarrassing!

    7. Cookies for Breakfast*

      My father is an endless source of unsolicited advice, and careers are his favourite topic. He had the same public sector job for 30+ years, knows next to nothing about job searching and career paths today, and yet loves to tell people what they should be doing next. It’s usually some flavour of going back to school or applying for a government or academia job (in our home country! Known for nepotism and mindblowing inefficiency!).

      I told him in no uncertain terms to stop trying that with me years ago (it took MANY instances of telling in no uncertain terms). I also had to tell him to stop giving career advice to my friends, because he would often bring up the subject with those he met. So now he’s resorted to telling me that a certain friend’s job has been on his mind, and asking me to pass on the message (nope, not happening). The conversation always starts with something like “I know you don’t want my advice, but perhaps Fergus might appreciate knowing…”, and ends with “just trying to be helpful”.

      A friend have a running joke about this. She has job hopped quite a bit, and because our families are close, my father gets to find out every time she’s looking. Most recently, she was trying to leave a Big-Brothery call centre-type job which was taking a big toll on her mental health. My father mentioned a huge recruitment drive at a government branch she has lots of transferable skills for, so I figured I’d share the tip for once. We visited the applications portal, and…there were zero vacancies listed. None. Nil. Not a single job opening to even read about.

      My friend and I had a good laugh about it. I told my father too, so he could see what I mean when I say his sources are not relevant. I see a glimmer of hope that this is the time he stops for good.

    8. Hillary*

      Parents at one of my past employers routinely interfered in their kids’ work lives, but overall it was for the greater good. It was a manufacturer that hires a lot of summer help. It pays well, but it’s hot, hard work.

      Parents would make their kids apply and take the job if they hadn’t found something to do for the summer, and the jobs were inadvertently designed to make people want to go back to college and figure out what they wanted to do with their lives.

      1. Asenath*

        One of my grandfathers did something similar with one of my uncles. Well, officially his interference was on the level of “If you don’t want to continue your education (probably insert here some comments on the importance of education) you’re going to get a paying job”, but I was never sure if it was the lack of local paying jobs or my grandfather’s influence that caused my uncle to work at a important job, one many local men did for their working life, but also a difficult and somewhat dangerous one that didn’t pay very much, especially at the “young and unskilled laborer” stage. After a short period, my uncle decided to continue his education, and in fact qualified for and worked in a much more pleasant and higher-paying one for his adult life.

    9. Texan In Exile*

      In this vein – a VP at my old job likes how I write and asked me to help her high-school daughter with daughter’s college essays.

      I did not want to do this, mostly because the daughter should be writing her own essays, but also because I see this as a way that privilege perpetuates itself.

    10. Meep*

      Not my parents but I worked in a grocery store in an influential area from 2011-2013 roughly. We had one girl, Julia, who would quit every other week because she just didn’t want to be there. Cue her mom marching her back in insisting that she didn’t quit.

    11. Wishful thinking*

      My granny has form for doing this type of thing. One of her more recent ones was at a time when we got snow forecast (I’m in a country that where snow is a treat that normally shuts us down) and my aunt was working as a teacher.
      One day, my aunt is at work and walks past reception. The receptionist says “Auntie, your mother called.”
      My aunt does a double take wondering what on earth has gone wrong for her mother to be calling while she’s at work.
      Receptionist: “She said it’s forecast to snow later and we (the school) might like to take that on board.”
      She once called my uncle (working in a skyscraper in another country) to tell him it was raining, got his boss instead and told the boss to pass on the message.

    12. chilipepper*

      When I was 42ish I got a master’s degree. My parents had recently moved to be near my family and the grandkid. So I invited them to the graduation.

      The chair of the department walked up to congratulate me and my dad launched into a long diatribe about his contributions to my success in this degree starting when I was a child. I was mortified both at his monopoly of the chair and the way he inserted himself into my accomplishment!

    13. Striped Sandwiches*

      A much older friend tried to sell me on hiring her son for a job. I wondered why he didn’t just investigate the job himself. Turns out he was on holidays with his girlfriend. No idea why the mom thought she should be calling around trying to find him a job. BTW he’s a mid level professional.

  13. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    How should I handle team building exercises? Now I thought I was over my fear but last weeks collection of no COVID safety ( my body doesn’t do infections. It’s weeks of misery, no matter what), crowds, not being able to escape easily did my head in. I thought I was better than years ago when I started crying during an especially publicly humiliating activity. How can I avoid these all together? What should I say to my boss? Do I need a doctors note,

    1. ferrina*

      I’m so sorry you’re having to worry about this! This sounds like a lot of stress on you!

      It sounds like they are making you do this in-person, right? I’d definitely plead “doctor’s recommendation” (and get a note if you can. just in case.) If your team does remote work, can you offer a remote alternative? In my experience bosses do better when you say “I can’t do X, but I can do Y” rather than just “I can’t do X” (you shouldn’t have to do this for something like an in-person non-essential exercise during a pandemic, but it could help you get what you need). Good luck!

    2. RagingADHD*

      This is a very extreme response and your first port of call should be your therapist, or if you don’t have one, your company’s EAP. If there’s not one, try your GP.

      If it’s coming up immediately and you can’t deal, call in sick. But you need a longer – term strategy to cope with a pretty normal / common work expectation.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Well I do go to therapy bi weekly but being stuck in a crowd with no escape during a pandemic surge is actually pretty scary. With public humiliation you can pretend nobody cares but the specter of illness and lifelong disability is too much. I survived almost 2 hours

        1. RagingADHD*

          It’s great that you have someone IRL to ask who is familiar with your personal needs. That is where you should work out a viable strategy that pertains to your specific situation.

          Being “stuck in a crowd with no escape” doesn’t sound like a typical team building event, so either the situation itself is unusual, or your response to it is making it hard for you to see options. Either way, talk to your IRL support about it.

          1. peasblossom*

            I completely agree! OP, check in with someone who knows you personally and ideally knows the situation who can be a barometer. Obviously it’s not ok to be stuck in a crowd with no escape especially considering Covid, but as RagingADHD points out, that would be an extraordinarily unusual team building event. Talking to someone you know (and ideally knows the company) might help you determine how much of it is the company being way out of line and how much of it is your own anxieties.

      2. MeepMeep02*

        In a pandemic, I think it’s a perfectly normal response. 1 in 5 COVID cases end up with Long COVID, which is a disabling illness. Even without that, OP has a perfectly reasonable apprehension of being miserably ill for weeks after such an activity, and has a perfectly reasonable desire to not be miserably ill.

        I would just take a sick day for every such activity. There’s kinda no reasoning with the people who want to “move on” from COVID and pretend it’s not there. The only thing one can do is find workarounds that let them keep up their cute little pretend game (until they are the ones with COVID) while staying away from risky activities.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Not wanting to do it is reasonable. Plenty of reasons to not want to do it, even before the pandemic.

          But the reference to breaking down crying in public and the general panicked tone is unusually intense in the context of a) a future or hypothetical thing, not something that is actually happening at the moment, and b) a pretty common work thing that happened routinely before the pandemic, and in many places is already considered routine again.

          Also the references to fear, escape, and “I thought I was better.” None of that is a normal reaction for an adult making a reasonable judgment about what they do or don’t want to do.

          1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

            Oh I was freaked out because it happened and it was terrible and I’d like to prevent this from reoccurring. I understand that hazing is normal but like it’s not related to my job or its functions! Random public humiliation should be optional ( and I think people who like being embarrassed in public are the weird ones tbh. Along with people who like getting sick)

            1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

              Wait – your team building has purposeful public humiliation? Like hazing? Yeah, call in sick every time.

    3. Anonymous healthcare person*

      I’m so sorry that team building exercises even pre-pandemic were so tough for you. If it was a “normal” team-building activity (that is, NOT the kind of thing that engenders horror on AAM threads), a therapist who specializes in work/social anxiety would probably be helpful for the longer term. Actually even if it was one of those horror inducing work experiences, a therapist could probably help you to work through that! Anxiety is a nasty, nasty thing but fortunately highly treatable. Of course please ignore this comment if I have got the wrong end of the stick. Good luck on getting support from your doctor with this current situation!

      Another thought: some jobs don’t involve team building exercises hardly at all, maybe consider looking around in and out of your field to see if there are other employment options for you? Again best of luck!

      1. RagingADHD*

        Meh, you might need a different bar than what engenders horror on AAM threads. I’ve seen some bizarrely horrified reactions to totally average and reasonable things.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          Oh it was horrifying for me but at least nobody verbally mocked us. I managed to calm another freaking out person by reminding her that we could not get fired for failing at this activity! Yea most people don’t know that public humiliation is very triggering.

      2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Yea my therapist works mostly with CBT which doesn’t work well for things that did happen and were worse than you thought!

        Yea my job does do too much wacky time wasting nonsense. I don’t have the energy to be promoted anyway

      3. Eff Walsingham*

        Your response as described doesn’t sound extreme to me. There’s still a pandemic going on. I wouldn’t be prepared to subject myself to a group activity involving 100 people. Last month I was part of an audience of maybe 60 people, and that was extremely stressful, even though we were just sitting together and not supposed to be interacting. And although I could physically have gotten up and left at any time, there’s an expectation at the theatre that you don’t just stand up and walk out unless you’re rude or in medical distress. It wasn’t *that bad* but it was an uncomfortable situation.

        That wasn’t where I caught Covid though. That happened a couple of weeks later, and has been about as much fun as I anticipated. My body has difficulty throwing off respiratory viruses. Fortunately I’m triple vaxxed.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          Yea I’m triple vaxxed and my body acts * brand new* ( vomit warning( I’ll be like dude you got three shots AND COVID before and my body’s like nope gotta cough til you throw up!

          1. Eff Walsingham*

            Same! Fortunately, for me that was only one day. But I woke up this morning coughing and feeling like cr@p again. It’s been almost 3 weeks. It’s depressing.

    4. Can Can Cannot*

      If it’s a single day or two, go ahead and take a sick day. If it is multiple days, consider your options. If your apprehension is due to a medical issue, you might be able to formally ask for an ADA accommodation. If it is not medical, you can talk to either your boss or HR and ask them to excuse you from the event.

  14. Gnome*

    Is it a red flag if a smaller company (under 100 staff) that’s young (10-20 yes old) emphasizes their social events, is that a red flag? We’re talking wine tasting, camping, hiking, beer garden social hours all listed on the website.

    Does this indicate that they are still in startup mode?

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Not necessarily. I’m just spitballing, but here are some reasons:
      * Corporate inertia.
      * They keep hiring young employees and think (or get actual feedback) that that’s what young employees want.
      * They consider these to be important perqs, regardless of age/experience of employees.
      * That the person who’s in charge of doing this stuff is really energetic and good at their job, and so you see a lot of this stuff on the website. Whereas there’s not really anything for the infosecurity people or facilities management department to post.

    2. fueled by coffee*

      I think this depends on what their other benefits are! Is this a “we have great health insurance and PTO, and also we do an annual wine tasting” or is it “our benefits are terrible but look! Wine! Camping!”

      Also, if these types of activities are not your cup of tea, are they (truly) optional or a requirement (and are you okay with that)?

      1. Hen in a Windstorm*

        Yeah, I was just reading a Glassdoor recently for a <100 company where the pro was: bowling on Fridays and the con was: low salary, management doesn't make expectations clear.

      2. Gnome*

        There were maybe 12 things listed for social events, which struck me as a lot of emphasis on socializing vs working. They are also apparently very into providing food, which feels very start-up to me. They do have other benefits (401k, health, etc.). It does seem to skew young, but isn’t entirely young.

        1. Eff Walsingham*

          For me the food is a yellow flag. Didn’t startups originally feed people in lieu of letting them go home?

          I would be asking questions to try and see if their idea of work-life balance and mine were aligned.

          1. anonymous cable knit sweater*

            It’s a potential flag for me if it’s not inclusive, a lot of outdoor activities can be unintentionally ableist. Camping? See every post about sharing hotel rooms with coworkers, ew. A day trip with smores or hiking would be less sketchy to me. Do the wine tasting events offer anything for people who don’t drink?

          2. David*

            I’m sure some startups have done that, but the problem isn’t the food, the problem is not letting people go home.

      3. Excel-sior*

        I think this hits the nail on the head. If the perks are truly optional and in addition to good benefits, then great. But definitely worth checking to see if that really is the case.

    3. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Could be a post COVID (I know we are not post it!) response, our company is big on that to push people back into the office but also build team rapport.

    4. Bagpuss*

      It may also be that the person responsible for their website / social media enjoys those events , and/or that they are being told they need to be active on their social medisaand those are things it’s easy to update, hwheras writing ‘proper’ contnet needs more time and energy, possibly from someone more senior.

      I wouldn’t see it as a red flag in itself, but do looka bit more closely at the rest of the benefits, and maybe ask about it in the interview to trtry to get a feel for whether this is all mandatory fun, or genuinely optional

    5. Paris Geller*

      I think in a vacuum I would consider that a yellow flag. Not a “run screaming” red flag, but something that most people want to be aware of and poke around a bit more.
      HOWEVER, I think for some people (including me) it would be a red flag. It just doesn’t sound like a company culture I would enjoy.

      1. Me!*

        Me either. Food is always nice, but I’m not usually into socializing outside the office with coworkers. Particularly in lieu of pay, benefits, etc.

    6. Rose*

      If they are touting these things in an effort to hide a lack of benefits like good PTO, health insurance, 401K, flexibility, etc – then yes, red flag. If they are touting these things as perks in addition to real benefits, then I’d say it is only a red flag if a) you get these sense that these are “required”/”expected”, and b) you dislike this kind of thing in a work environment.

    7. PollyQ*

      If it’s not the kind of culture you like, then it might be a personal red flag. By itself, I wouldn’t take it as a general red flag for the company though.

    8. Esmeralda*

      Take a look at SAS for instance. That’s not a startup, and those kinds of benefits are meant to appeal to people who have a lot of choices about where they work.

      It really depends on the employer.

      If you don’t like those things, and you get the sense that “everyone must participate in camping and wine tasting”, then it’s not for you…

  15. ThatGirl*

    My husband, who was totally miserable in his job, has had several interviews with two different colleges over the past two weeks, and was a wee bit stressed about the timing of potential offers. This morning he heard from college A, who wants one final interview with a VP on Tuesday. And he was a little worried about hearing from college B. And then half an hour later… they called him too! And want to check his references!

    So… everything’s coming up Millhouse!

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Congratulations. (And that is one of my oft quotes Simpsons lines, right after “They have the internet on computers now”)

      1. ThatGirl*

        My husband is an enormous (first 10 seasons) Simpsons fan, so yeah, a lot of quotes get thrown around here.

  16. Part-time in a full-time world*

    After 8 years of aggressively paying off my student loans and 2 years of debating, I finally asked to decrease my FTE to 0.8. My manager approved it… but she doesn’t seem too happy. And now I’m feeling weird about. And confused because my manager also works part-time. She knows my salary; I don’t need 90k to live. I’d rather have time to myself.

    Is there anyone out there who has chosen to work part-time who can reassure me??

    1. missb*

      Not me, but my dh works part time. He’s near the end of his career and used to work 70 hour weeks (salary, no overtime). His company offers a modified part time option where he can work 30 hours. If he works 40, not big deal; it’s hourly pay. Overtime over 40. Seriously a sweet spot for him.

      Just letting you know there are companies out there that allow this and don’t sweat it.

    2. Jellyfish*

      Good for you! I think lots of people would opt to work fewer hours and do other things with their time if they could afford it.
      My partner works part time and handles things like grocery shopping and cooking while my full time salary covers our primary expenses. That way we both have time and energy to do some fun things together outside of work hours.
      He occasionally gets some judgement from family members who believe in living to work, but we’re both happier this way.

      My best friend works in a highly skilled, emotionally demanding job and negotiated to four days a week. It keeps her from burning out and, again, gives her the energy to have a life outside of work. She gets paid well enough to do that, and I can see what a difference it made in her mental and physical health.

    3. Hunnybee*

      I think that people do this all the time, for various reasons. I know many people at the moment, myself included, who have stepped away from salary jobs to get some perspective and recover from burnout.

      I think there’s a lot of pressure — and noise — from people who have opinions about how we’re supposed to be spending our time. I think that in the US there is more pressure for us to always be working, and have a side hustle or two. But it’s healthy to question that. If you have the opportunity to work part-time and your manager approved it, don’t worry about her reaction. You may also find that your work can easily fit into the PT role once you’ve eliminated the extra meetings and such that aren’t necessary.

      Congratulations for taking the initiative to make your life what you want it to be!

    4. Annie Nonimus*

      Your manager is probably more concerned about who she’s going to get to do that extra 0.2 of work. Like she can’t just turn to the higher ups and be like “yeah sorry our team just produces less now, get used to it” so it’s probably a question of figuring out if there’s budget to hire another part-time person, if there’s enough work to justify an additional worker, can they get by on a smaller team…

      1. Part-time in a full-time world*

        We’ve been hiring lots of new people anyway. I brought it up now partly because I knew they just hired new people. They’re going to assign the 0.2 to a new hire.

    5. Bagpuss*

      Your manager may be concered about whther she is going to end up having to do the extra work. I’d guess that hiiring someone for 1 day a week would be tricky

      1. WellRed*

        Yep. We had a 4 day a weeker and it was an absolute pain at times. That said, the world would be a better place if we all worked less.

      2. JessicaTate*

        This. It’s good for you. But your happiness is not her sole concern. Unless you’re saying, “I can do everything I was doing just at 80% time,” she now has to figure out how to cover 20% of your workload. That’s not a reason to NOT approve it for a valued employee; she probably understands that it’s good for you. But it’s a reason she’s not seeming excited about it.

        If you are still handling a full load, well, she’s a mystery.

      3. Part-time in a full-time world*

        (As I just wrote to someone else) We’ve been hiring lots of new people anyway. I brought it up now partly because I knew they just hired new people.

        TBH I’m sure I could do a full-time load on 80%. But I’m not going out of way to offer that.

    6. LNLN*

      Yes! I cut back my work hours from 40/week to 30/week for the last 7 years of my working life. I was much happier and retired later than I would have otherwise. I was the top performer on my team and my company seemed happy to have me stay those extra years. Enjoy your new work schedule!

    7. Margali*

      I worked full-time, then took 10 years off to be a stay-at-home-parent, and then went back to work part-time and have remained part-time ever since. I LOVE it!!! I contribute to our household income, but also have time to do personal and church work that is important to me. More $$ would be nice, and would allow for more luxuries, but our necessities are covered, as is some fun stuff and some savings, and quality of life is priceless.

    8. Asenath*

      I haven’t personally, but I know someone who went on a reduced (part-time) schedule when her child was born. The child is now university age and she’s approaching retirement, in the same job, and still on the part-time schedule. She has always seemed happy with her work arrangement.

    9. All Monkeys are French*

      I work four days a week at my current job, which is not common at my workplace. I still, a year in, get a few comments here and there, but the big boss told me I was doing great and making that schedule work, so I ignore them. It helps that I agree to work a fifth day when things are really busy. That could be hard in some workplaces where the pressure might be higher. It mostly surprises people because I don’t have kids or a second job, I just like my free time (and have a spouse with a good salary). If you can afford it, don’t hesitate.

    10. Adara*

      I worked part time for almost a decade up until last summer when we decided a temporary move to full time would help us with some goals later on.
      Working part time worked really well for us! My spouse is military, so that’s more than full time most weeks. I was able to handle all of the household logistics, pet appointments, bills, shopping, etc. and we could spend time together as a family. When he switched to an office assignment with more regular hours, I went full time in my current position to be able to sock away the extra money for our upcoming reassignment and we reshuffled the household responsibilities so no one feels overburdened.
      Good for you for reevaluating things and having the ability to make that change!

    11. Jay*

      I worked part-time for seven years after my daughter was born and for the last two years before I retired – it took me a couple of years to negotiate that or I would have done it sooner. And my first employer counted 4.5 days/week as full-time so that’s what I did for the two years I worked there. The time/money tradeoff was definitely worth it for me and sounds like it clearly will be for you. It never affected my relationships with my co-workers or my managers. I held the boundary very firmly: my day off I was *off*. I did not check Email and I did not carry my pager when I had one or my work phone later on. Every now and then there was an actual emergency (I’m a doctor) and someone would call my personal phone, which I didn’t mind.

      Keep an eye on your interactions with your manager after you start the new schedule to see if “not happy” translates into something concrete. If it doesn’t, then let your manager take care of their own emotions.

    12. Massive Dynamic*

      I’m at 40-hr but my firm heavily promotes and supports FTE 0.8 and 0.6 – it’s been one of our main hiring tools. (Also transparent pay in the job adv).

    13. Texan In Exile*

      Yes. Me. Last summer, when I told a friend I was miserable and needed to figure out how much money we needed to survive, he said “The question is not how much you need but how little you need.”

      That shift in mindset led Mr T and me to look at our finances through a different lens and I quit my F100, FT job.

      Last month, I went back as a temporary, part-time – 5-15 hours/week – contractor in a different group. (They called me – this has never happened before in my life.) My boss just hired another person for for 20 hours a week. The company is so desperate for people that they will take us part time.

      The only thing is that it is very easy to let the hours creep up and work more than planned. At least I’m being paid by the hour. But I still would rather have more free time. As soon as I finish this big project – one of the things I was hired to do, I will cut back my hours.

      Do it. Three of my college classmates and a friend have died in the past ten months from natural causes. In their last months of cancer, they did not increase their time at work.

    14. Cindy*

      At my company, salary folks typically work 9 hrs/day for 4 days/week and 8 hrs on alternate Fridays (with every other Friday off) totaling 80 hrs worked over 2 weeks.
      I cut to 4 days/week, 9 hrs/day (total 36 hrs/week) after my mom had a stroke and brought her to my house to live with me. I hired homecare for 12 hrs/day, 5 days/week so that I could spend Fridays getting some extra sleep and pick up Groceries. I took care of her for dinner and overnights and weekends.
      One negative I had was that my Paid Time Off accrual was reduced proportionately. Another was that a team I was on set up regular meetings on their “working Friday” that I couldn’t attend, and I think that my performance review reflected that I didn’t participate enough on the project.
      After my mom passed away (a year after her stroke, when she couldn’t think of a reason to keep living) I regretted that I didn’t cut back more than that so that I could have spent more time with her.

    15. Striped Sandwiches*

      I hope to be this in a few years once I pay off my mortgage. Id rather have the free time and dont need that much to live on. Good luck to you!

    16. Weegie*

      Yes, me! I went to 0.8 three years ago and it’s been brilliant. I’m more rested, and more engaged in work when I’m there. I have a flexible employer, so it was never an issue – plus, I’m more experienced now and can get through my work more quickly, so no one is actually losing out.
      Also, where I am the actual number of hours I work still qualifies as full-time, so I don’t think of myself as part-time and neither does anyone else.

  17. Andjazzy*

    So, I was working at a horrible job that I absolutely hated, people were leaving 2 or 3 a week. I was in auto claims.

    I got hired to a CGL position internally for a self insured manufacturer, I handle all claims for them globally. They’re paying me just shy of 70k a year, which I pointed out at the time was extremely low.

    I ended up taking it and it’s a great place to work, but I’m at least 30k under market. I handle large PD to the the of hundreds of thousands, litigation, severe bodily injury. And I’ve done very well, and all my managers have said this.

    My boss is aware I’m not well paid and has offered to pay for a CPCU designation, however I would have to stay for 2 years or pay it back. It took them nearly a year to hire this position because of the low salary.

    I am extremely in demand, I get messages from recruiters with 100k+ positions daily. I am pending an offer from 2 of them.

    My company is so laid back and I never with beyond 40 hours which is so rare in this industry. What would it take for you to jump ship for a 30% raise? I’m just so torn.

    1. Bluburry*

      You’ll have to decide what is more important- the laid back culture and atmosphere of your current position? Or a large salary bump? Can you afford not to take it? Is your time worth more than the salary bump you’d be getting? (Since it sounds like you’d be working more.) Lots to consider there.

    2. LDN Layabout*

      All boils down to lifestyle. Is that money going to change my life enough to make the trade-off (e.g. more hours, worse commute) worth it? If yes, then I take the job, if no, not the right job.

    3. Ins mom*

      You did mention your boss knows you are underpaid- was it no raise until you get CPCU? That stinks . I get that it’s a great place to work, but that’s not work $30k if they are underpaying you.

      1. Andjazzy*

        He has no control over money. Pay is entirely dictated by our HR compensation department. If he wanted to give a raise around them he would have to go to our vp 4 levels above him.

        It took a lot of capital for him to get approval for the CPCU, which is essentially a masters degree

        1. Jim Bob*

          Which is great, but if it would cost you less to repay than the salary differential, it’s not worth it to stay. Or you may even be able to negotiate a signing bonus equal to the repayment amount from the new place.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      I’m near the end of my career, and have been in many different jobs. For me, a low stress job with lower pay (what I have now) beats the high stress for more money. What would it look like if you did get that certification and stayed for 2+ years? For that matter, how would the job offers differ if you had the certification?

    5. Hunnybee*

      You might easily find another laid-back company and the salary you want! If your job is in demand, and your current job is both underpaying and aware of that, it might feel empowering to start having conversations with other companies to see what’s out there. You might be very pleasantly surprised.

    6. MJ*

      If you do go for the certification but get an offer and want to leave before the two years is up, mention it to the company trying to recruit you. If you are in enough demand the recruiting company may be able to offer a signing bonus equal to what you need to repay.

    7. Irish girl*

      The CPCU books and classes are like $500 each now and you need 8 of them so $4k… Most ins companies will pay that and not likley make you pay it back plus give you a bonus for it and send you to the conference. Mine paid for me to go to Hawaii!!! I would say jump ship. Yes its more stressful but the pay and bonuses at most ins companies has been really good the last few years. And most are doing better with balance and hybrid work. You may even have the qualifications to go into the major case unit rather than awful auto claims.

      1. Andjazzy*

        I’ve been in claims for 9 years, in many different departments. I’ve done personal auto, commercial auto, total loss, physical damage appraising, fraud investigation, premises liability, product liability, auto bodily injury, cargo and transportation and some work comp.

        I’m licensed nearly everywhere in the United States as well.

        I just feel like that experience is worth more than 70k

    8. Venus*

      Would the places that pay you 30% more expect you to work 30% more? Figure out your hourly rate before you complain about pay.

  18. Bluburry*

    Question- is basic reading comprehension going the way of punctuation and grammar? It seems like someone always has a question about something that was thoroughly and overly covered in emails that I’ve sent out to my staff. I know they see these emails, and I know it’s not the way I’m writing. (I’ve asked several staff members if they easily understand instructions that I send out.) Is it a lack of comprehension, a lack of respect? Both? I do not flood their inboxes, so there isn’t a reason to ignore them, and I try to keep them as short as possible. Insight would be appreciated!

    1. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      I think people are distracted, more than anything, and that is affecting everything.

    2. Gnome*

      It’s possible that it’s not that you are flooding their emails, but that other people are. The older I get the harder it is to remember stuff. For instance, I can tell you I have read the COVID policies for my work and my kids’ schools, but I can’t tell you what’s in them. Particularly when there’s a topic (like covid) that happens in lots of places, I will need a confirmation of details because there’s just too much information to keep in my head or I think it might have changed.

    3. Observer*

      I get that you are frustrated. But I hope that the snark only shows up in places like this forum, not at work.

      Without knowing more about people’s roles, company culture etc. it’s hard to know what’s happening. But do keep in mind that it’s not necessarily either a lack of basic reading comprehension or a lack of respect. It could be either or both, but there could be a lot of other issues going on as well.

      1. Bluburry*

        Interesting that you find this question snarky when it’s actually very literal and low-stakes. Never had anyone tell me I’m snarky before from my writing. Tones can be conveyed different ways so I’m guessing that’s what your interpreting. Thanks for the input.

        1. Loulou*

          For what it’s worth, this reply came off as pretty snarky to me (and I’m not at all sure what the “tone can be conveyed…” sentence means). Since the topic at hand is people not understanding your written communications, I actually do think it’s worth considering if your emails are not as clear as you think.

        2. I exist*

          It didn’t read as snarky to me!
          I feel you on the not understanding emails that others think are clear. I don’t know what it is, and I’ve had it from people in their 20s-60s, so . I’ve meticulously typed and gone over emails to make them as clear as possible while keeping them concise(unlike this post), then watched people open their email and read maybe the subject line and a sentence (out of only a few sentences) and immediately ask what it means. Then another coworker who took the 30 seconds to read 4 sentences will explain it to the others as they get to the email and don’t read it. I’ve seen them do it with other people’s emails, too, that are very straightforward.

        3. Observer*

          You really think that the only two possible reasons why people are having trouble with your emails is that they lack basic competence or respect? Because that’s what you just said.

          So, either your writing is not as clear as you think it is or you really, really don’t respect the people who work at your company.

    4. Camelid coordinator*

      They may need to also have it explained verbally also. When big policy changes were afoot at my workplace, my supervisor would give her direct reports a verbal preview of what was coming. This would help us take the policy memo in better.

      1. Bluburry*

        Yeah this is happening too. I often cover things briefly in a staff meeting and send a follow up email a day, maybe two later. My staff are still missing key elements of what needs to happen.

    5. Anon in NJ*

      Not sure if it’s basic reading comprehension, or folks being overwhelmed by he amount of emails (from everyone, not just from you) that they receive and therefore not reading them…

    6. fueled by coffee*

      I don’t think it’s reading comprehension – I think it’s just not fully reading your emails.

      Also – YOU might not be flooding their inboxes, but their inboxes might be flooded by emails from a variety of sources. I’d try subject lines labeled “IMPORTANT: ____” or “ACTION NEEDED: _____” or whatever, and if that doesn’t improve things, having a conversation about how they do need to read your emails because you’ve been handling a lot of questions about things you explain in the emails.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        See, that labeling wouldn’t help in my inbox, since 3/4 of what I receive is labeled URGENT! IMPORTANT! TIME SENSITIVE! ACTION REQUIRED! PLEASE HELP!

        I typically conduct a primary sort – without opening – based on who the sender is, and what are the odds that anything they’re sending will actually be urgent *to me*. Many people are losing the ability to assess the relevance of their message to the receiver. I get subject lines that sound like ransom demands, only to find that it’s a forwarded opportunity to renew a subscription for a service I rarely use.

        My advice would be to avoid all caps, and make sure that your subject lines are as clear and concise as possible. Then you might have a shot at training people by saying, “TPS reports? Oh, I sent out an email with the new format late last week, under the subject line ‘New TPS Format’. Try searching Thursday and Friday’s dates!”

        Or it may not work. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him read your emails.

    7. SpicySpice*

      It’s not just you. People just don’t read much anymore, and the more busy they are, the worse it gets. All you have to do is page through Not Always Right to see that people don’t even read giant signs in front of their faces. What I’ve had to do is adjust how I write the email. I’m now aware that most people look at their emails on their phone (your folks may be different) and they are paging through them in between other tasks. Long explanations may feel satisfying but no one will look at that.
      Now I’m all about calling out an action item in the subject line, bullet points instead of paragraphs, and really, really stripped down wording. For example I totally stopped explaining WHY a thing is done the way it is – now it’s just “click here, then click there”. If they’re interested in the why, they can do that on their own time.

      1. Loulou*

        I think your “anymore” is a big “citation needed”…. Was there ever a time when customers reliably read signs and processed the information? I really doubt it!

        1. Lily Rowan*

          At a job in the 90s with no email, my boss approached a coworker’s cube one day and was annoyed that they were reading a book. They pointed out the “at lunch” sign tacked to the outside of the cube. My boss said, “I don’t read signs!!!”

          1. pancakes*

            That’s one person being a bit weird, though, or having a dry sense of humor. That wasn’t a common 90s thing.

            1. slashgirl*

              People not reading signs has been around since, well, signs were invented, I’d say. I’ve worked with the public since I was about 9 years old–I’m currently 51 (parents owned a corner store and yes, I helped out starting at that age) and I can guarantee you–most people do. not. read. signs. And have never read them. Just look at push/pull doors. People who come into a store at 5 mins before closing, when the hours are posted at eye level on the door they used to enter the building, to rent a movie (and when you start turning out the lights ask if you’re closing…).

              I’m currently support staff in education (and have been doing this job for 25 years)–parents don’t read signs, they don’t read the materials we send home for them to read, including things that need signatures. I work in elementary so students reading signs, well, tbh, the youngest can’t read/read well….and sometimes staff are sign challenged as well.

              Cell phones have simply made it worse because many folks don’t raise their heads long enough to notice a sign, let alone read it.

            2. Observer*

              People not reading signs has always been a problem. Or pretending to not read them.

    8. Loulou*

      Your framing makes it sound like this is a new thing you’re noticing on your team — is it? If so, maybe there is a reason that has nothing to do with the quality of your emails, but we don’t have enough information to say what that is.

      But in general, I think there have always been people who don’t read carefully (or write carefully, for that matter), or retain information well, or listen closely in meetings. It is indeed very frustrating, but I would urge you not to see it as a sign of disrespect. That’s pretty unlikely compared to “they forgot” or “they read quickly and missed a detail.”

    9. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      Are you perhaps over-communicating? I get told that I do that a lot when I try to be thorough – by putting all the information into text, some of my coworkers find it overwhelming/time-consuming, and just skim instead of comprehending.

      I’ve found it useful to put major points into a bulleted list at the beginning of my message, and then explain before – just like an executive summary of a project or conference presentation. I’ve stuck a bit at the end of this post which is formatted the same way I would begin an email with important points I needed people to take away from it.

      Key Takeaways:
      -You may be writing too much.
      -Most people are more likely to pick up on the distinct importance of a bulleted list than paragraphs of text.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        It’s also worth considering that different kinds of people may read things better in different ways. My own team tends to be the type that does well with lengthy, explanatory paragraphs that cover every contingency. They want ALLLLL the info. Our clients, OTOH, tend to be the type who need things brief and are more likely to pay attention to bullet points. I will write differently for both audiences.

    10. Generic Name*

      If sending out emails to your staff is the *only* way you are disseminating important information, yeah, people probably are missing things. Maybe it’s lack of reading comprehension, or they just don’t open/read some emails. Hard to know. Communicating information to employees often requires telling people something more than once, and in different ways. It was a running joke at my company for a while of “well, didn’t you get the email about that?” when someone had a question about a policy or whatever. Maybe they did get the email, but it was sent out six years ago. Or they did not get an email sent out six years ago because they were hired three years ago. Or maybe the information didn’t apply to them in the past and it does now, so they deleted the irrelevant email when they received it. There are a ton of explanations that have nothing to do with reading comprehension.

      Plenty of people don’t remember something they’ve read once. So you need to tell people more than once. Annoying? Sure, but it’s how things go. Do you have a staff meeting? Maybe tell them information in the meeting, then follow up in an email. If you have a company intranet, you could post it there. Maybe have a central location for instructions so when someone asks you can send them a link to the instructions (rather than saying “didn’t you get my email?”).

        1. Generic Name*

          Okay, so you’re telling them twice. That’s a great start! I’m in a position where I communicate policy changes and instructions to my entire company, and we’ve found that we have to tell people over, and over, and over again for something to really stick. I think it’s normal, honestly. Frustrating? Sure. But entirely normal.

    11. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      Even if you’re not flooding their inboxes, if they’re getting lots of e-mail in general – or just juggling a lot in general – things may be getting read but forgotten. I definitely wouldn’t jump to “this is disrespect.” Is it the same couple of staff members who always ask the questions, or is it across the board? If it’s lots of people, try naming it in a staff meeting: “I’ve been getting a lot of questions that had already been answered in communications about X. I know there can be a lot of details to remember, so please do a search in your archived emails to look for the answer to your question before coming to me with it.” Don’t accuse them of being disrespectful or having poor reading comprehension; that will make them feel defensive and won’t help you get the results you want. If it’s only a few people doing this, you could say something similar to each of them one-on-one.

    12. RagingADHD*

      I think you must not have been in this position very long if you think it is new for there to be follow up questions about emailed information.

      That is baseline, normal, the way things have always been.

      If you need to communicate something to a group of people, you cannot simply say it one time, one way. You will always, always, always need to repeat the message, use different formats, and / or respond to follow up questions.

      It isn’t “kids these days.” Nothing is “going the way of” anything. It’s just the way group communication has always worked.

      If you never had questions in the past, I suspect you were dealing with a much smaller group, or you were dealing with people who took their questions elsewhere instead of asking you.

      1. Loulou*

        +100. This is sort of the flip side of the “is this the new normal?” thing Alison mentioned in this morning’s post. Not only is it the new normal, it’s the old normal.

      2. Lynn Whitehat*

        This. Also you will always have problems if people are second-language speakers, dyslexic, or otherwise not great readers.

    13. Hunnybee*

      People scan vs read. I’ve been getting feedback from clients to use more bullet points and less paragraphs because bullet points are easily visually digested. As a former English Lit Major, this is a bummer.

    14. Jora Malli*

      I never used to have trouble parsing emails and remembering information, but the last two and a half years have given me a kind of trauma induced brain fog. The entire world is overwhelming right now and fully processing information takes me a few tries these days. And I feel like such a dummy when I can’t immediately understand something that I know is probably very simple. But my brain is tired and it’s not always running at full comprehension strength right now.

    15. tamarak & fireweed*

      Complaints about how some kind of standard is slipping among the next bunch of young people, or as time progresses, are as old as culture. I think it’s completely inevitable to sometimes feel like that. But it’s not lack of respect – it’s just that those who enter your corner of working life now operate under incrementally changed incentives and assumptions. They aren’t any lacking in any personal, professional, or ethical capacity, all things averaged out. They’re just slightly different in what they prioritize, just as you or me were different from what our respective parents were expecting.

      It’s part of life that we have to re-evaluate periodically how to communicate in order to achieve our goals. (And don’t worry, it’ll happen to them, too.)

  19. L-squared*

    Its been over a month since I emailed, so I’m assuming its not getting answered. So curious what the readers think.

    I work for a company that has employees spread out across the country, but I happen to work in the city with the home office. For reference, there are a few other coworking spaces in other cities where multiple employees work. Because we work in the home office, we are required to come in at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. None of the coworking spaces have this requirement. We do get additional things for coming in like free lunches and monthly transit passes (I won’t call them perks, because I think we would all happily give them up for the ability to WFH all the time). Also, for a bit of context, when I took the job, it was right before Covid started, and we were not the HQ city at the time, so all of this has evolved over the last couple of years, so its not like I took the job with this information. My question is, would it be wildly out of line to ask for a raise because of this?

    Literally ¾ of our company has a level of freedom and flexibility to their jobs that those of us in my city do not. I’ve seen people working remotely from all sorts of vacation spots, but if we take a long weekend out of town that overlaps with one of our required in office days, we have to get approval. Those of us in the office have a 30-60 min commute daily that no one else has to deal with unless they choose to. Also, there are members of various teams here, so its not like it’s just the marketing team in one place, it’s literally members of just about every team in the company. We have all brought this up at various times, and senior management says that since we are home office, we have additional “responsibilities”, so I feel that if our “responsibilities” are greater than our remote team members, we should get ACTUAL compensation for that, not just some random things that we don’t want, and that the overall cost of doesn’t even come close to offsetting our time spent commuting.

    Would asking for this come across badly? For the most part I really do like my job, and I do good work. I’m not looking to take some kind of moral stand, I just want to be treated fairly, and if there will be a difference, be compensated for that.

    1. anonymous73*

      So you want a raise because you’re required to come into the office 3 days a week now? Would you be willing to take a decrease in salary if you were approved for full time WFH? If you have a problem with the policy around coming to the office, you should address that, but asking for a raise seems like the wrong way to go to me.

      1. L-squared*

        No, I wouldn’t take a pay cut to do what 3/4 of my company is already doing. That is my issue. Most of the company already gets paid AND has the flexibility.

    2. ferrina*

      First, I think your frustration is totally warranted. This would frustrate me to no end (and I’ve been known to just….keep working from home until someone seriously makes me. Which no one ever does. A few people started that conversation, then I pointed out that they get more hours out of me because of lack of commute.)

      Unfortunately I don’t think a raise is something that they’d be open to. Mostly because the Sr Mgmt is claiming that you have additional “responsibilities” based on your geography (and not anything around the role). I just think this conversation would go nowhere and be a waste of your political capital. Also, compensation doesn’t include commute time. I get that in a remote or hybrid environment, commute time is a necessary evil that some employees need to endure and others don’t, but you’re not exactly working during that time and it’s not something that has been historically paid. It would look out-of-touch to claim that this is something that is usually paid.

      1. L-squared*

        Its interesting. Because I don’t think commute time should necessarily be compensated for. But they have presented things like paying for our transit pass as “compensation” already. But in reality, it doesn’t come close to covering it.

        1. Me ... Just Me*

          Do you not use the transit pass or are there additional expenses related to travel that are uncompensated?
          Just wondering. When you took the job, was it entirely WFH?

          1. L-squared*

            Yes, I use the transit pass. But me and all of my colleagues would happily give it up to have the flexibility to come in when we want to. When I took the job, there were no attendance requirements in the city I’m in, as it was a coworking space. Now they have leased an actual office space.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Have you asked specifcally what the additional responsibilities are?
      It may be that they apply o some roles but not all, and if they define the additional responsibilitiesyou might then be able to request a pay rise to reflect them, or alternatively argue that as they don’t actually apply to your speifc role that you would request that you return to WFH

    4. Green Goose*

      I’m in the exact same situation, it takes me anywhere from 45-65 minutes each way to get in. At my office asking for a commuting raise would come across as out of touch but I do feel your frustration.
      Does your actual boss work in your office? If not, who is checking to see who is in every day? I ask because I was originally told “three days a week” but since my manager is in a different state I realized no one was really paying attention and I now go in like once a week and just don’t say anything.

      1. L-squared*

        My boss does not. Nor does she really care if I’m there. Her boss is in the office and knows who is in every day. He also is the one who decided we need to come in.

        1. ferrina*

          Can you get your boss to vouch for you? “Oh, I asked L-squared to work from home so I could get ahold of them earlier in the day. I couldn’t reach them when they were commuting, and being able to reach them during that commuting time makes the work smoother”.

          Pleading productivity can get great responses- I stopped working hybrid and went full remote so I could log on earlier (I was working a lot of extra hours). I pointed out to Big Boss that I needed to do this to keep up with the demands of Giant Client Project, and I got no further complaints. I’ve done similar for my direct reports.

    5. Rose*

      What were the requirements pre-Covid/when your city office was not HQ? Are you having to come in more/less than you were when you started the job? Did requirements change for the remote people at all? If when you started you were coming in the same/more than you are now (post-Covid), and the remote folks were always remote…then not sure you have grounds to argue for a pay increase.

      1. L-squared*

        So, I started right when covid started. But my understanding is that the office in my city was a coworking space with no actual attendance requirements. Since Covid, nothing has changed for remote employees, but people who live in my city have now been mandated to come in a few times a week. When I asked about it during the interview, they said there were no attendance requirements.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      I think it is unreasonable to ask for a raise over this.
      It would be reasonable to ask for WFH 100%, given it sounds like that’s what you had when you signed on and nothing has changed besides being in the same city as the physical office?

  20. noname23*

    If someone is in a management position gets fired for doing something really egregious towards their direct reports, are there ways to prevent that person from being hired as a manager at other companies? If someone abuses their power as manager, assuming they have not taken any responsibility for their bad actions, how do they end up getting other management jobs after that?

    1. missb*

      I’ve always wondered this too! Our program had a manager that actually struck someone and was finally fired. That manager caused so many issues during their tenure. I’ve always wondered if that manager hit the ground running with another company.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        I think in that particular (egregious!) situation, the employee could have filed an assault charge on the manager for physical injury. It’s not an easy or fast process but an assault conviction would be flagged in a background check.

      2. Hunnybee*

        As a contractor, I’ve often seen bad bosses from one company resurface at an equal or higher situation in other companies.

    2. irene adler*

      Other than being contacted as a reference for this person, there’s not much you can do to prevent a bad manager from being hired elsewhere.
      I suppose you could go out and warn other companies against hiring this person. But that crosses the line into slander.
      There is always the hope that they have learned from the firing and have changed their ways. Maybe they use this approach in subsequent interviews to get the job. They don’t have to believe this; they just have to get the interviewer to think this is the situation.

        1. irene adler*

          You are correct. My bad!!!!
          It is merely gossip. And that is usually frowned upon.

    3. ferrina*

      You can’t and shouldn’t (short of giving honest feedback when asked). Unless this is something that should be in the news (even the local news), there isn’t really a database on how to share the news. And even if there were, how do you assure people that your depiction is accurate (and not some out of line retribution, which is more frequent in job scenarios than in other types of scenarios)?

      Some bad people will continue to succeed. But some won’t. Some will succeed for a time, then cross the wrong line and have a very dramatic fall from grace. I had a manager who was fired for sexual assault of an employee (well, the CEO didn’t initially fire him. But when the entire rest of the company refused to work with him, the CEO finally caved). If the rumor mill is to be believed, he hasn’t had nearly close to the same level of job again. Hard to do that when no one will be your reference.

    4. RagingADHD*

      This is what references are supposed to be for, but leaders are often able to negotiate to have a resignation instead of a firing on their work history. Short of criminal charges that would show up on a background check, there’s not much that can be done to ensure someone’s history follows them the way it should.

    5. Bernice Clifton*

      I agree with Irene regarding the first part.

      Regarding the second part of how someone gets hired in another job, some employers just stick to the reference list provided by the candidate, don’t check references, some organizations will only confirm employment dates for employees they fired, some employers underpay so they don’t care if you’ve been fired if you seem to be qualified.

      1. Johanna Cabal*

        And generally these types of toxic individuals have no qualms about lying either. A firing becomes a “layoff” or they list their employment as current. Or even use friends as references (I wonder about this. I know Alison recommends contacting the reference via their company’s main number but with so many remote companies that have staff use either their own phones or even Google Voice numbers, which mine does, I think that’s going to be harder and harder).

        A toxic manager at my old job was able to move to a similar role by moving to a different area. I guess, the companies that person has worked for in that location really needed their skillset because based on their LinkedIn, they seem to have moved up a bit. That said, I try to keep an open mind that maybe the change of environment has helped mend their toxic ways. Or I hope so, at least.

    6. Decidedly Me*

      They get another because people don’t check references. Not a manager, but a direct report who did something pretty egregious and got hired at their next company with no reference check from me (or anyone at my company). What’s stranger still is that their new company is has a connection with my current one, so it would have been even easier to seek feedback from us. They didn’t leave off their job with us either.

      1. Johanna Cabal*

        I’m not surprised. Just as a lot of employees and jobseekers have misconceptions about references (that negative ones are illegal, is one I’ve heard), employers and managers do as well.

        I worked at a startup where I was in a hiring role but explicitly told not to waste my time calling references because “references only say positive things” and “companies aren’t allowed to give them anyway, so what’s the use?”.

        You know what happened? I ended up with a bad employee that caused a lot of cleanup after they were fired three weeks later. A thorough reference check might have prevented it. And I still wasn’t allowed to ask for references.

    7. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Wrong way of thinking. The egregious stuff always gets found out easily enough. The much more insidious issue is people who are below average but good enough to coast (and earning a high salary, after convincing everyone they’re great). I wish I could get heads up on those!

    8. Observer*

      are there ways to prevent that person from being hired as a manager at other companies?

      Not for most types of jobs.

      If someone abuses their power as manager, assuming they have not taken any responsibility for their bad actions, how do they end up getting other management jobs after that?

      Lots of different ways. References don’t get checked, references get checked but don’t give useful information, people spin a good story, people go into other fields which can make it hard to get good information, people get lucky, etc.

  21. Eva*

    Does anyone have any tips for the first day of a new job? I’m starting a new internship in a week, and while I’ve had internships before, this is my first time actually working in an office. Right now my only plans are to (a) wear a dress and blazer on my first day and then adapt depending on what everyone else wears and (b) pay attention and take notes if needed… but I feel like I’m missing something. Those of you who supervise interns: what can they do to make a good impression?

    1. Bluburry*

      Communicate questions before you begin if you have them and answer questions they may have! Also don’t be afraid to ask questions. DO pay attention! It’s very important, but most of us don’t expect entry level interns to remember everything from your first day. Plus it could be that your first week will be mostly training. Ask for a tour of the facility is large enough and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself! (Respectfully, of course!)

    2. ThatGirl*

      We have a crop of interns who just started, and they have all made good impressions by being polite, engaged and asking good questions. Show interest in what’s happening around you, ask people to show you things, and do what you’re already planning to do :)

      1. ferrina*

        Yes yes yes! And take notes- there is no way that you will remember all the information that you are given in the first week. (also note down who gave you information/trainings on what. That will make it easier to go back to them later when you have questions)

    3. Jellyfish*

      Take notes on any kind of training or process explanation. Take notes on people’s name and jobs if that info isn’t readily available. Office stuff can seem intuitive when covering it for the first time, but after the information dump of the first couple days, those processes are harder to remember. Note taking also makes you look engaged and interested.

      Ask about acronyms and industry jargon if you need to. Often people get used to using those terms and forget to explain themselves. It’s unlikely anyone will judge you for not knowing those things without any prior experience.

      Bring a water bottle and wear professional but comfortable shoes. You may be on your feet more than you expect.

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        Totally agree to bring a water bottle and comfortable shoes!
        Also make sure your outfit is something you are comfortable in.
        Something to take notes with.
        Smile, be polite and remember everyone you meet will have been in your position before.
        Stay engaged and don’t be afraid to ask questions (just don’t derail the training or conversation completely to your questions).

    4. Lily Rowan*

      Maybe don’t bring your lunch that first day, until you get the lay of the land around that stuff (where to store it/where to eat it). Also, they may take you out to lunch your first day.

      (Because I am always desperate to eat lunch, often before noon, I would bring a shelf-stable snack in my bag just in case.)

      Honestly, just asking the question here means you are in good shape! Good luck!

      1. Me ... Just Me*

        I’d definitely bring something to eat. Some places have a culture where everyone brings lunch, and it can be awkward (and time consuming) to have to run out and pick something up while everyone else is eating in. I’d bring something that doesn’t require too much care or that needs to be heated — think school lunch. If you have one of those lunch bags that you can slip an ice pack in, that would be perfect. Just stow it with your purse/bag where they tell you to. Also, bring a bottle of water or something along those lines (that cannot be easily spilled).

    5. PollyQ*

      Forget “if needed.” Take notes. Take notes early & often. They’re going to be throwing lots of information at you, so take lots of notes. You could also ask ahead of time about the dress code. It’s possible that dress + blazer will be significantly more formal than the prevailing standard which might make you feel a little uncomfortable.

  22. Amber Rose*

    We’re hiring one of our employees as a contractor to provide extra services for an obscene rate. Normally I would just roll my eyes at upper management and their nonsense but they’ve made this my problem to solve and I just… ugh.

    Anyone in Canada have any experience with and/or advice for Deeming Orders? How to complete them, how to get them approved, how long it takes? Because this is just a dude, so he’s not a company, which means we have to get him under our WCB account somehow and this form I don’t understand is the only way I figure we can do it.

    1. Anonymous healthcare person*

      When I worked as a contractor, in my contract it specified what coverage the company was responsible for and what coverage I was responsible for. Like, as I’m in healthcare, I covered my own professional liability insurance, for example. I had to show proof that I had the coverage to the company. I can’t remember for WCB but maybe this is the contractor’s responsibility to figure out, not yours?

      I did have a corporation BUT I was often the only employee, and I paid for my own WCB coverage. Pretty sure I dealt with it through my accountant so can your company accountant help? If not, just call WCB yourself to find out? Sorry if this is stuff you have already thought of, and I know WCB changes from province to province. Maybe your local Small Business Association could also be helpful? Also, what do stabdard contractor employment contracts in your business look like for your province? Good luck!

  23. Ann O'Nemity*

    What do your annual raises look like this year? I just found out our annual merit increase pool is only 3%, despite inflation and rising cost of living. This is going to be hard news to deliver.

    1. londonedit*

      We don’t have merit raises but our company-wide annual pay rise was 5% in March thanks to the cost of living crisis (in previous years it’s been 2%). Obviously it isn’t doing much to offset the massive rise in inflation we’re seeing here in the UK, or the astronomical rises in people’s energy bills, but it’s better than nothing!

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        That’s a really good raise. We got around 3.5% this year for COL but from a merit perspective we’ve gotten a decent bonus and RSU.

    2. Kimmy Schmidt*

      Nothing. I received a 1.5% raise last summer, and it’s the only raise I’ve gotten in four years.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Oh, I lied, I got 3% – but 4% is the biggest raise I’ve ever gotten without switching jobs.

    3. fueled by coffee*

      COL adjustment less than inflation, so my raise this year is effectively a pay cut. Yay.

    4. Dragonfly7*

      We won’t know our across-the-board percentage increase for several more months, but 2-3 percent would be normal.
      I earn 62-63 percent of the local average median income for a family of one, and our annual increase keeps me at that level (maybe 64 percent in a really good year). However, our annual raise would need to be nearly 8 percent this year for me to stay at that level, which I don’t see happening.

    5. Amber Rose*

      Also 3% and on track for 3% each year, but if you include my bonuses it sort of not really evens out. :/

    6. anonymous73*

      In my 25+ year career, I have never gotten more than a 3% raise unless I switched companies/job role.

    7. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      They were finalized a couple of weeks ago: 0.5% COLA. 1.5% Merit based increase for exceeding expectations in all metrics: I’ve gotten a 2% merit based for the same achievement every year for the last half decade, but no COLAs before now.

      No, they don’t compound.

      I’ve gone from rage to depression to job-searching, not surprisingly.

    8. Gracely*

      Most years I would kill to get any raise. The handful of years we’ve gotten one, it’s been 1%. This year was actually first substantial raise I’ve ever received, and it was entirely because our governor is trying to buy support from the education sector (that he usually, at best, ignores; at worst, actively works against). It was the same for everyone across the board, regardless of your current salary. For me, it worked out to 12%. Which, again, after a decade of mostly no raises with a few 1% years, I’m really still making less than I was when I started if you look at COL/inflation (and it’s only guaranteed for this year and next year). But something is definitely better than nothing.

    9. Bagpuss*

      We gave 5% across the board – this was on top of a raise in September (normally we only do pay reviews once a year, so Setpmber was extra) which gave around 3%, so in total in line with or slightly above inflation

      We did give higher raises based on merit to some staff .

      We are quite small so we just had a meeting of the owners and went through the salary list

      We are in the UK –

    10. AnonToday*

      Our company (new-ish biopharma based out of a HCOL city) was merit-based with a cap of 5%.

    11. Generic Name*

      I got a 3% merit raise at the beginning of the year, and another 3% cost of living raise last month, so total 6% this year.

    12. ecnaseener*

      We got 3% COL, no merit raises (merit pay is a “future goal for the organization” *eyeroll*) at the new calendar year, which I thought was stingy with 6-7% inflation but I guess it’s better than your situation of up to 3%!

    13. Lily Rowan*

      I’ve heard ours is going to be 4% this year, for people at full effectiveness. Below that gets less, above that gets a bonus.

    14. Lizabeth*

      We don’t get raises, we get year-end bonuses based on the year’s profit. Sometimes they will give an additional bonus if at the end of the actual accounting (following March) there was more profit than projected in December.

    15. Prospect Gone Bad*

      We got much higher than average ones. I keep having to remind my reports that this is not normal, some are getting too used to big raises that won’t continue!

    16. brightbetween*

      There’s no such thing as merit raises in my organization, we recently found out this year the union negotiated COL raise is 5% plus $2K one time payment at the beginning of the FY (July 1)

    17. WantonSeedStitch*

      Ours looks very much the same, but that is absolutely par for the course for us. That said, many of our peers had salary freezes for the past couple years, whereas we did not (though we didn’t get much of an increase). Also, there was an across-the-board increase of about the same amount recently (for all employees) that helped out a lot. We divide the pool up such that folks who receive above-and-beyond ratings in their annual review get a bit more of a bump, while those who are starting to nudge up against the top of their salary band after being with us for a long time might get slightly lower increases (so there will be more equity among people with the same job description).

    18. Angry socialist*

      I got 1.5% this year. It’s effectively a pay cut. I’m looking for a new job.

    19. AnotherLibrarian*

      We are getting a 2% which is pretty awful, but our state institution has faced budget cuts every year for the last 5 years, so things are bad, but at least we’re getting something.

    20. anonynonnon*

      Guessing ours will be 3% as well. Just because inflation is high doesn’t mean we have the revenue to cover the gap, and with an economic recession looming – I’m not comfortable doing more than we can handle as a company because that will just result in layoffs. The hard part with salaries is that it feels like we have to “keep up” with inflation but when it’s this out of whack, it’s not like you can take people’s salary away once the market falls out. But… most employees aren’t in a place to navigate that conversation when it just comes down to what they need to live and the pinch they are feeling.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Yes that’s an interesting one – would all the people wanting increases because of “inflation” be happy to take a pay cut if/when the economy goes into deflation? Didn’t think so…

        1. Cthulhu’s Librarian*

          I don’t give a rotting fig’s concern about idiotic hypotheticals regarding deflation (which has never happened in this country during the last half century), at the moment. I care about the fact that I can barely afford groceries and rent, and that I’m going to have to start making decisions on whether I pay the electric bill or my car’s registration.

          Your “inflation” incenses me.

    21. Anon for this*

      Ours is entirely merit based, and is calculated based on annual performance review and where you fall in your pay grade. Someone who gets a 3 on a 1-5 scale (strong performer, meets expectations) who is in the middle of their pay grade gets 3%.

    22. Five after Midnight*

      Just adding another data point. Our annual raises are effective 1 Mar in HCOL area on the US East Coast. There is no merit vs COLA, it’s all lumped into one, but some people get more than others. Got 4% this year vs 5% in 2021 vs nada in 2020 (because that thing you may have heard about started back then). We have no annual bonuses.

    23. RowanUK*

      My company (in the UK and very small) never gives annual or cost of living raises. I generally wait for a few years (sometimes more depending on the client situation) and then put my case for a pay rise.

      Thankfully, I’d been promised one for a few years and it finally got approved in December, so my pay is now 8.5% more (with most of it being swallowed by the cost of living situation). I’m supposed to get another raise later in the year, but time will tell!

    24. Ugh*

      Ours is 0% … After 0% last year, and pay cut the year before and 1.5% if you got a high score on performance eval.

  24. Is equity, diversity, and inclusion, important to you?*

    So, I was asked this question and I think my answer might have been a bit ……radical, at least for an organization that chose to ask this.

    My answer included that yes it was, obviously through my own experiences as a person of colour but also through learning about the lived experience of others, and acknowledging that the biases of the settlers on this land has led to enshrined prejudices in our systems and infrastructure.

    Oof…..I should have been a bit more…. gentle?

    1. Hen in a Windstorm*

      Maybe I’m radical too, but I don’t think this is a problematic answer. They asked! It’s a really good answer if they’re serious about DEI.

    2. fueled by coffee*

      This doesn’t strike me as a particularly *radical* answer, though obviously this depends on the political outlook of your interviewer.

      When answering this question in interviews, though, I think it’s worth thinking about what DEI means in the scope of what the organization/company does and what your role would be there. Your answer strikes me as totally fine for, say, an advocacy organization aimed at institutional issues like criminal justice reform or indigenous sovereignty.

      For a random Teapot Manufacturer, though, while I don’t think this answer was wrong (again, pending your take on your interviewers’ politics and how willing you are to cater to them to get the job), it’s worth tailoring your response to things that would be within your purview in the job. You could instead say something like: “DEI is important to me, obviously through my own experiences as a POC but also through learning about the lived experiences of others. It’s very important to me to work on a diverse team and I’m very supportive of professional development opportunities for members of [marginalized group]” or “I know that historically members of X group have been underrepresented in the teapot industry, so it’s important to me to work for a company that values inclusive hiring practices.”

      In other words, it’s not that your view on historical realities are “radical” or that you need to be more “gentle,” but that in an interview context, your future employer is focused mostly on what’s relevant to your job, so I’d pick a response that directly targets how DEI matters in the role you’re interviewing for.

      1. Is equity, diversity, and inclusion, important to you?*

        Hi! So I did provide some job related examples for this answer.

        But it was my inclusion of the statements mentioned above that stuck in my head after the interview.

    3. ferrina*

      I love this answer so much! And I definitely know companies where this answer would be very much appreciated. But I also know some where this would evoke some subtle and not-subtle repercussions.

      Should you answer differently? Well, if the world was more just and honest place you wouldn’t even need to ask that question. But the world being what it is- depends on what you know of your company and what risks you are willing to take/trouble you are willing to stir. You get to do what is right for you and your situation.

      1. ferrina*

        Just saw your follow-up comment that this was in an interview.
        So- yes, I think that this phrasing is just fine. You want to work for a place that aligns with your values, and this is a good way to state your values to make sure that the company aligns with that.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Agreed.

          As a finalist candidate one time, when they asked if I had any more questions, I asked if they really wanted to add one more white woman to the team (based on the work of the nonprofit and what I had seen of the staff). I got the job, and those dynamics were problematic, IMO! I was glad I had named it up front.

          1. Pam Adams*

            and that’s why Archie Goodwin loves and respects you! (Wolfe just respects you, but will never admit it)

    4. TCO*

      That would have been a great answer at my org (a nonprofit that values DEI). But we also would have asked a more directed question about DEI, not just “is it important to you.” I want to hear about candidates’ experience with translating that value into workplace action. (What that would look like varies by role, obviously.)

      Would you want to work anywhere that thought your answer was too radical? You might and that’s fine! But either way, their response to your answer might give you a good sense of how this organization handles DEI issues as you consider fit.

    5. Policy Wonk*

      If this was in a job interview, I like the first part of your answer about lived experiences, but I would replace the part about the settlers on this land to something more relevant to the workplace. If this was in your current employer in some kind of session I think it’s fine.

    6. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Two posters have used the world radical or not. I don’t think that’s the actual question though. I think you should be wondering, is this information useful in the workplace.

      I think your answer is too broad and while not radical, a bit hyperbolic. If your company is going to get any useful actionable insights into how to improve the company in 2022, I don’t think it’s helpful at all to go back to settlers. That can actually be used as a deflection by people who don’t want change.

      In other words, no one is going to take any action if the to-do is framed as “change the county back to the time of settlers.” That’s way too big. But if you have more specific questions pertaining to now (like, “POC hired for front desk roles and tend not to rise the ranks, can we set up a transitionary role?”) then you will get people listening to you.

    7. WantonSeedStitch*

      If they are asking that question and actually care about the answer, that was a good one.

      1. Cordelia*

        I like your answer, I just don’t like the question – is anyone going to say no? Surely a “how have you demonstrated/will you demonstrate that EDI is important to you” type of question would be better? sorry OP, I know that’s not the point of your question…

    8. Texan In Exile*

      I love your answer because it’s true but if I were trying to convince others of the value of diversity, I would go with things that hit execs in the pocketbook.

      For instance, I would cite the research that diverse teams create better products and give examples of what happens when there is a lack of diversity (the motion-activated soap dispenser that didn’t detect non-white skin, FitBit didn’t add a period tracker until it had been on the market for years).

      I would also note that diverse leadership leads to higher profits: companies with more women in leadership are more profitable.

    9. Irish Teacher*

      That sounds pretty mild to me. As a teacher, I would expect that anything short of that would be considered indicative you didn’t really understand how serious the issue is (I included “as a teacher,” because obviously, teachers are expected to be concerned with such issues and the bar for us might be higher than the one for somebody working with adults). That would be less than we would have learnt in our teacher training.

      I wouldn’t see that as in the least radical. It’s…basically a simplified version of what we learnt in secondary school. If anything, I’d see it as a bit gentle, but again, that is coming from the perspective of somebody who is expected to teach young people about these issues. In the corporate world, it may well be sufficient.

  25. Internproblems*

    I need advice about how to set expectations about working hours with my intern. He’s been working odd hours without running it by me first. I thought I’d been clear to him that his working hours should be within core business hours and should stay consistent week to week (like, I literally typed that out and sent it in an email, and we set his weekly schedule hours). But he’s been sending me messages around midnight and logging off early without asking me first.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t REALLY matter when he does his work, but I think I’m chaffing a bit because 1) he’s not following directions 2) (and so) it feels like a challenge to my authority 3) I’m skeptical how productive he’s being overall, and this is part of the reason why, and 4) i need to make sure he’s logging all his hours.

    Also, maybe this is petty, but I’m getting the impression that he’s acting entitled to a level of flexibility of working hours that I had to fight to get. So that is kind of pissing me off from a privilege point of view.

    But I don’t want to tell him you have to work hours as agreed upon because I said so. But I’m pretty frustrated and because he’s remote, I don’t have great insight into his working hours. And I’m also worried I waited too long to address it, so he might have thought it was okay. I was thinking at hour next check in saying: I’m fine being flexible but I need a heads up so I know when to expect that you’ll be online and available to work. We had talked about your hours being X – Y. Does that schedule still work for you? It’s important I’m online when you are, etc. Etc.

    1. Bluburry*

      Call a meeting with him. In person. Sit down. Ask for a review of what he’s been up to. Ask why he isn’t sticking to a schedule. It could be that he’s afraid to ask for more flexibility but is having a personal reason for not being able to stick to that. Coke from the angle of concern for his well being and the productivity he is providing. If he doesn’t have a reason be explicit. If he can’t stick to the agreed upon schedule, set up a PIP where you are both involved. If he can’t cut it after that- it’s so long intern.

    2. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      Your scripts there at the end look good to me, other than drop “I’m fine being flexible” because obviously he has a different interpretation of flexible than you do. You can also start with “You need to reset your expectations for your work hours.”

      1. Observer*

        I agree. Clearly, you have different expectations of the word. Getting into that is not going to be helpful to you.

        The rest is good because it’s crystal clear, and it sounds like he needs that kind of clarity.

      2. WantonSeedStitch*

        Agreed. Instead of “I’m fine with being flexible,” I’d recommend being more specific about what kind of flexibility is OK with you: “I’m not going to have a problem with a few minutes of wiggle room on either side of start and end times, but if you’re going to be changing your scheduled working hours by more than 15 minutes on either side of the start or end time, I need you to send me an e-mail/text/chat message as soon as you know it’s going to happen. It’s important for me to know when I will be able to reach you and when I won’t.”

    3. A Simple Narwhal*

      I think it can’t hurt to start the conversation with “Hey we talked about you sticking to core business hours, but you’re still logging off early and sending messages in the middle of the night. What’s going on?”. That should hopefully offer some insight into his thought process or reveal any issues he’s working around. If there’s no good reason, then I think pieces of your planned conversation of “I’m fine being flexible but I need a heads up so I know when to expect you’ll be online” and “It’s important I’m online when you are [with an added explanation of why it’s important]” should be next.

      1. Policy Wonk*

        I agree with this approach. Your original script is putting the burden on you rather than him. Is this a paid internship, or for college credit? If he is getting paid, tell him you won’t pay for hours he’s not working. If it is for credit, you will need to note this in the evaluation you provide to his school. You already think he is acting entitled – I agree with that. if you don’t put your foot down it will get worse.

    4. AdequateArchaeologist*

      I typed out a whole response then re-read the first paragraph where you said you’ve told him core hours + consistent schedule.

      You shouldn’t feel bad about saying “no, stick to what we previously agreed”. It’s perfectly acceptable to say “these are the parameters” and not have to have a whole conversation about justifying it. Especially since you have to verify his hours and it sounds like you have some potential concerns about the work completion/quality.

      1. Internproblems*

        I appreciate this response (and all the others — I’m on mobile so it’s clunky to respond to each). I think I was worrying that my personal irritation with the situation was making me want to be more harsh than the situation warranted. But I’m getting the opposite impression from these responses — that in my worry I would be harsh, I was instead going to approach the conversation too timidly. I appreciate the wisdom of the commentariat as always! We’re fully remote until next month, but I’ll start our next check in with a “we need to reset expectations, what’s been going on that’s been causing these discrepancies?” I generally want to have a hands off approach, but unfortunately I don’t think he’s earned that.

        1. JessicaTate*

          Yes, you are completely reasonable in setting these expectations and expecting them to be followed. (I’ve been there, exactly this set of problems, with a junior employee. Eventually, they never improved. It was part of what led to their leaving our company.)

          From my experience, I wouldn’t just address the “what’s been causing the time/hours discrepancies” – which is part of it! I would also give specifics about your concerns of his productivity, which you mention in the list. If flexibility might ever be an option, it comes after someone has proven they are productive on their own; he hasn’t. So, can you name some of your expectations for productivity or examples of where he’s fallen short? Also, I would very specifically address the timekeeping as part of this, and why that is a critical and non-flexible part of his job. And the fact that he hasn’t been responsible about time requests or time reporting is yet another reason I need you to be working when you are supposed to be working, and off when you are not.

          Good luck!

    5. Emm*

      I think you can emphasize the importance of working the set hours without falling to “because I said so.” Presumably the work needs to be done within business hours to keep other people, including yourself, in the loop on his work and he needs to be available for meetings, messages, etc. That’s the reason in and of itself, and I think that’s a reasonable expectation to set.

      I think it’s important to stick to your guns here, but I like the suggestion of others commenters to open the conversation by asking what’s going on. It’s possible he may not realize that this isn’t okay. He may have assumed that because he’s remote, that comes with a flexibility in hours. If there’s no office to report to, why report at a certain time? When I was an intern, I assumed A LOT about my workplace, and a guiding hand with a little grace might have saved me from embarrassment years later when I realized how many faux pas I’d been committing without anyone ever telling me.

      1. MJ*

        Also, be clear that “flexible” doesn’t mean “any hour of the day, whenever you want”. In this case it means that there are set hours, which occasionally may be adjusted for appointments or other things WITH PRIOR NOTICE, but generally should be worked as scheduled.
        Remember, as an intern they likely don’t have much business experience, so clearly spelling out common sense things that “everyone should know” is a kindness.

      2. Lily Rowan*

        Part of being an intern is learning all of that stuff! So OP, you’re doing him a favor to lay it out super-clearly and not let him do whatever he feels like.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          Yes, this is such an important thing to remember! I’ve definitely had to remind myself that our interns aren’t just regular coworkers there to do a job, they’re also there to learn important skills – both the ones required to do the job but also skills to survive/exist in a work environment.

    6. Observer*

      OK, does your company require core business hours, do you have an ACTUAL problem, or are you just ticked off that this intern waltzed in a took for granted something you had to fight for.

      If the latter, back down. And find some better way to deal with the frustrations you encounter.

      If your company actually requires business hours ignore the rest of my message and just tell him that he needs to work core hours. He doesn’t have to like it, he doesn’t need to agree that it’s a good idea, and you are actually sympathetic to his desire for more flexible schedules. But this is what the company requires and he doesn’t have the standing to just skip the rules he doesn’t like.

      If you have a genuine problem with his productivity, you need to address that. Address it *directly*. Only bring up the hours if it becomes clear that it really is affecting his productivity or it actually does affect your ability to manage him.

      Figure out what his productivity should actually be and how you would normally measure it if you were both in the office. If you need him to be working during normal hours in order to do that, then you should tell him that he needs to do his work during business hours. Also, look at his work and figure out how much of what he does requires overlap with others (eg two way conversations with other staff). Same thing applies.

      If neither issue is significantly affected by whether he works core hours, leave that alone. Focus on what you need to see from him in terms of his work. If it’s hard for you to track what he’s doing when you can’t just get hold of him in the moment, then that a legitimate issue for you to raise, by the way. But the point is that you need focus on the work he is supposed to be doing and the direct impact his current schedule is having on his work / you.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        For interns, this is a different situation than for an established employee. I’ve run into this with student summer positions – they’re used to working student hours, so they think that working 9am to noon one day, and 6pm to 9am the next and then 2-4pm the following day is perfectly normal. Part of the internship is learning how workplaces operate, and most workplaces, particularly for junior jobs, don’t operate on the principles of “Ignore directions from your boss and do what you like”, “work whatever random hours feel good to you.” or “slack off for weeks and then cram all the work into three days of no sleep and it’s all good as long as the work gets done” – the latter two being particularly student-ish approaches.

        Sometimes you have to tell students things like that flexibility means you fit most of your work into 8 hour days that fit within 7am – 7 pm on weekdays, but if you need to come in late/leave early sometimes or take an extra long lunch occasionally and make up the work later it’s okay, as long as you attend scheduled meetings, and that if you’re going to be off for a half day or more you should take formal leave. Or that they need to read work emails while they are at work. Or that regular bathing and deodorant are not optional. Or that when your boss tells you to do something you are actually expected to do it.

        1. Observer*

          I don’t really disagree with anything you said. I also don’t think that it conflicts with what I said.

          You seem to think that I’m suggesting that the OP should just let the intern keep whatever schedule they want, regardless of what else is going on, but I’m not sure how you get there.

          My bottom line is this: If the company requires this, the OP should just say so. Interns absolutely need to learnt that the employer gets to set those parameters, and they get to either follow the rules or find a new job. Pushing make, for the most part, only comes once you have some knowledge and capital to spend.

          If it’s not a company requirement, then the OP should focus on the more concrete problems. From what they say, it’s good bet that it’s going to mean a real change in schedule for the intern, and that’s fine. And it’s a good learning experience for him, as well. Because the biggest issue that tends to come up is a failure to realize that what you do affects others and you simply cannot ignore that. And also that when Boss tells you to do something it’s not ok to assume that you can do things differently because “who really cares”, because Boss probably has some good reasons for whatever it is that they told you. If you REALLY think it’s no big deal, you’d better check.

          To be clear I am talking about the theoretical you of a conversation between boss and intern

    7. Prospect Gone Bad*

      TBH this should be a non-issue. Just call him and tell him. I don’t word is so bluntly to make you sound bad, I am on your side, I just think this should be a tiny blip on your radar you address directly, and then move on.

      I could see if being an issue if you have a higher level high performing employee you need more access to. But an intern? Nah. Tell them people tend to EARN flexibility after accomplishing something in the real world.

    8. Esmeralda*

      Is he working ADDITIONAL hours at odd times? Or is he working HIS MAIN HOURS at odd times?

      If it’s additional hours, have a discussion about that.
      If it’s his main work hours, have a discussion about that.

      BTW, I think your feeling butt-hurt about this is ok — we feel what we feel — but those feelings do not need to be part of your interactions with him. If he’s an intern, he may not realize that it’s unprofessional and looks bad to ignore your requirement about hours. He may not in fact be trying to challenge your authority at all.

      If the problem is that he’s not available to work during core hours and you need him online and working then, you need to tell him that.

      If you need to have an accurate log of his actual work hours, you need to tell him that.

      It just sounds to me like you have legitimate reasons for having him working certain hours, but you need to make it clear.

      Doesn’t matter if you didn’t do so before. It’s never too late. You can say (and I’d do this in a zoom call, not just over email), I’m sorry if you got the impression that you could work flexible hours — that’s on me for not being clear enough. [even if you think you were clear enough, because, again, intern] Going forward, I need you to work [fill in details] and I need you to keep track of your hours by [fill in details]. It’s really important for you to do this because [fill in details]

      Then follow up with an email recap.

      Explaining why is important in general, but especially with an intern. Interns are often still learning about the world of work, and part of your job as his supervisor or trainer or mentor is to teach him.

    9. InternSupervisor*

      Interns are supposed to work with supervision, which even with flexibility and remote work means during hours when they can get questions answered from a supervisor. It’s not unreasonable to expect core hours or to stick to a schedule. Universities may even expect that or have guidelines about it. Be firm and direct.

  26. I think I'm ready*

    I’m being offered an opportunity to step into a management position on an interim basis but with the potential to apply for the position on a permanent basis (government job). I’d be managing my current coworkers and some managers as well. I’ve known most of these folks for over a decade. The position comes with a small bump in pay, and I’m currently at the top of my pay scale with no other opportunities to make more money other than through COLAs.

    I’ve already stepped into the position previously but just for a short period of time and with no oversight over other managers. I’ve been a lead as well, so I’ve had the required management training.

    I’m hesitant for a few reasons:

    I don’t love public speaking. I do fine – have presented at national conferences etc but it isn’t my fav thing to do. This position probably requires more of that sort of thing.

    It is definitely a higher pressure position. I prefer keeping people happy; this position wouldn’t allow me to do that. It’d be a shift in thinking for me and would throw me into more of the politics that I’m shielded from in my current position.

    I have good relationships with my coworkers – we socialize outside of work. My manager used to be one of us; there is clearly a shift there that happens and I don’t look forward to it.

    The pay isn’t likely to improve much. Managers make more, but sometimes it takes awhile to move the entire class of managers up in pay vs the union pay bumps. I’d be at the top of the range for that classification too. I’m towards the end of my career, so my pension calculation is based on my highest earning years and any bump in that sort of pay ultimately serves me well. I’m reasonably confident that if I end up making less than the folks in my current position that I’d be bumped up in classification or pay to exceed their salary.

    I guess I’m trying to figure out any reasons to say no – not that I don’t want to make the move, just trying to see if I’ve overlooked any negatives. I’ve asked for a week to consider.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Do you want to do this job, on either an interim or permanent basis? If the answer is “no,” that’s enough reason to decline.

      The only other thing I’d consider before declining is: if you don’t take it, who is likely to end up in the interim position? And is working for that person better or worse than holding the job yourself for a short period of time?

      1. I think I'm ready*

        I think I do want the job, despite me listing only the negatives!

        I did reach for a management position a few years ago but it wasn’t the best choice for me or for the position. This one is perfect (other than the drawbacks I listed). It’s actually a natural progression for my career.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Ah, I missed that! I can’t think of any more drawbacks. I think you are wise to fully consider that it will be more stress for less pay and that you won’t be able to be as close to your current coworkers once you’re their manager before you accept the position.

          Best of luck, and I hope you enjoy the new role!

    2. Policy Wonk*

      It certainly sounds like you have already talked yourself out of the position. Honestly, if you are looking to retire in the not-so-distant future and want to do this for three years to get the salary bump, I would recommend you do it. But if you are not planning to retire soon and are looking at doing this for a long term, no amount of money is worth making yourself unhappy by taking a job you don’t want and won’t like.

      Given how long it takes to fill a government job, you might want to take it for the interim period. Depending on how quickly they advertise, maybe even apply for it. But be honest with your boss about what you don’t like, so if you decide not to take it on a permanent basis, she won’t be surprised. (And don’t be surprised if they hire someone other than you even if you do want to take it. I’ve seen that happen more than once.)

      Good luck with whatever you decide.

      1. I think I'm ready*

        Thanks! I actually was only listing the negatives, to see if there were some that I was missing.

        I will likely say yes and even apply for it. It’s such a tough job in general – it takes about 5 years to ramp someone up to be competent in the technical position, so the number of folks that could fill the position is quite small. Being asked to do the interim makes the transition to permanent easy plus it gives me a pretty good picture of what the job would entail.

    3. Anonymous Koala*

      Why not take it for the interim period and see what happens? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to apply for the permanent position when it comes up, and you’ll have a better idea of whether this kind of management is something you might want to do in the future (even if you don’t want it now).

      1. I think I'm ready*

        I think that is my approach!

        I’m already really busy, but yes, it will give me a window into the position and will give me an idea of whether I like/want the additional stress.

  27. A Simple Narwhal*

    I was starting to get worried when the open thread wasn’t up at 11:02, was wondering if I missed an announcement!

    Relatively low-stakes question – I need to announce my pregnancy/upcoming maternity leave at work soon (my boss and HR have known for months), and it was suggested by my boss that I announce it at our upcoming department meeting, where great-grandboss always opens the call with “anyone have any good news to share?”, so perfect segue, and 95% of the people I work with get the news in one fell swoop. My question is, should I tell the rest of my team first? I hadn’t planned on it, but I wasn’t sure if people would feel blindsided. Knowing my coworkers I wouldn’t think so, but I wanted a gut check from the lovely AAM crowd or to hear how their announcements went if you have experience with it.

    (FWIW I’ve been WFH my entire pregnancy, otherwise I’m sure the news would have gotten out sooner/been impossible to keep hidden!)

    1. Recruiter*

      I recommend announcing to your immediate team first, especially if they will be covering your work while you’re out.

    2. ferrina*

      Yeah, I’d definitely tell the rest of your team first. I’d be a little sad if the first I was hearing about a close coworkers’ life-changing news was as an fyi in a large meeting. Do you have a smaller team meeting where you can tell them?

    3. Taxidermybobcat*

      I have been WFH for my entire pregnancy (now month 9, 36 weeks). I waited until I was 6 months pregnant to tell anyone. I told my team first, but asked them not to share, and set some ground rules (I didn’t want advice, or to talk about it frequently, just wanted them to be in the know. I added this prerequisite because there was one team member who is a “misery loves company” type and was notorious for complaining about fatherhood and I wanted to nip that in the bud up front). I then had an opportunity to give an update at a larger meeting, where I announced it to the rest. I don’t know that they would have been offended or anything, but I just felt like it was a courtesy to tell the people I work more frequently with first.

      Also, about every time someone asks me how I’m doing, if I dare say “I’m tired” or answer with anything other than “awesome”, they immediately pounce on my answer with “oh you think you’re tired now? just wait until blah blah blah…” To which I tell them they have to put a dollar in the “just wait until” jar. To fund my baby. Because that’s obnoxious. People and their unsolicited comments :p

    4. Storm in a teacup*

      One of my closest friends from college (who lives on another continent from the rest of us) announced her pregnancy on FB and then also the birth too.
      We all thought we would have found out separately first from her via our group chat but we all get why it’s easier to do in one fell swoop and ultimately it’s lovely news and we are all just happy for her!
      Don’t sweat it and do what is best for you!

    5. WantonSeedStitch*

      Congratulations on the pregnancy! I think it’s best to tell your immediate team first. When I announced my pregnancy at work a couple years ago, I started with my boss and HR, then my direct reports, then my immediate peers, then my indirect reports, then the whole overall team. Basically, I started with those most likely to be directly affected by my absence and moved outwards from that circle.

  28. Spaghetti isn't sticking to the wall*

    Ch-ch-ch-changes. I’ve worked for my boss for over 10 years. She’s leaving. This will mean — at least temporarily — that I will be relied on for support that I am not looking forward to. I’m not a decision maker. Unfortunately, many folks in my department are also not decision makers. When my boss was on leave or on extended vacation (which has happened a few times), I was usually looked as her replacement to make decisions. It sucked. I expect this change to suck as well.

    To be perfectly honest, I’ve been thinking about making a move and considering a career pivot/change. But regardless if I stay or if I go….

    I’m now being asked what I want. What do I want for my position (current or future). What do I want at the company (current and future). What do I need. I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, because for a VERY long time I gave people what they wanted and didn’t factor in myself. So my question to thhe commentariat:

    HOW DO I FIGURE OUT WHAT I WANT?

    What questions should I ask myself? What things should I consider? What lists should I make? Any and all advice welcome.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I would start by looking at your position as it currently is:

      What parts do you like? You want these to stay the same.

      What parts do you not like? Can any of these be eliminated/reduced by making changes in your role or bigger changes in the company?

      Hopefully starting with “what do I like/not like?” and moving on from there will be less daunting than “plan out your entire professional future right now!”

      1. Kes*

        Agreed with the above and also, are there any things that aren’t currently part of your role but you wish they were or would be interested in learning about/getting involved with/taking on? Areas that are tangential to your role but look interesting, or aspects of what your boss does that you have enjoyed covering?

        When you say you’re thinking about a career change, what is it that you want to move away from, and is there anything in particular you have in mind to move to? What about that do you find appealing?

        Also, not just what parts of your job do you like or dislike but what about them do you like or dislike, and what other kinds of work would share or not share those same traits?

        You say you don’t know what you like but you do know some things (you don’t like making decisions, you want a change) so it seems like you maybe just need some more self reflection and analysis to think about what you enjoy and dislike about your job or other potential roles, and dig into why a bit in order to figure out what might work better for you

  29. Marian the Librarian*

    I work in a rather dysfunctional college library. Part of my team’s summer tasks is to clean all the bookshelves. The other day, I was in the stacks and I saw a book cart full of cleaning supplies. A coworker on another team was nearby and I asked her about the cart. She said she was told last year that this summer, it is part of her duties to clean the bookshelves. I told her I was confused–that my supervisor was planning on having my team do it. She said, “Well, I can stop doing it then, if that’s the case.” I backtracked quickly (I do NOT want to do this task, especially considering that it was her team’s boss’s idea to start doing this, and it used to be done by students and not the staff) and said I didn’t want to get anybody into trouble, and we mutually agreed not to say anything further about it.
    Now I’m noticing the cart has disappeared and the shelves are not being cleaned.
    Part of the dysfunctionality: We don’t have a library director, as such. We have an acting director (there’s an active search on) and though she says staff meetings will be held regularly, none have been planned yet. I wonder if I put my foot into it on this one. Coworker and I wondered if this cleaning issue should be brought up at one of those meetings.
    Another part of the problem is, my boss dislikes everyone on every other team. He doesn’t want to work with or cooperate with anyone else, and is very angry about the way our team has been treated during the pandemic (more dysfunctionality).
    My question is: What can I do? Let the whole thing go? Mention it to my supervisor? Keep my mouth shut?
    (Yes, I realize I should probably find another job, but that’s a whole other post). Thanks for listening.

    1. Gracely*

      Damn, I thought my library was dysfunctional.

      Honestly, I would let it go. Focus on the other stuff you have to do.

      1. Hopeful Ex-Librarian*

        i agree with this. if the situation/management were different, i’d say bring it up. but given the situation, i would let it go.

        if your boss asks about this at some point later on, like why the shelves aren’t being cleaned, then maybe you could ask for clarification on who’s team is supposed to be cleaning.

      2. BRR*

        As a non-library worker maybe I’m missing something but this doesn’t sound that dysfunctional. I agree with LouLou below, just ask your supervisor “I ran into Jane the other day in the stacks cleaning. Was there an update on who is cleaning the stacks this summer?”

    2. Loulou*

      I say this as someone in a different library with very bad communication: you’re overthinking this! Just tell your supervisor that you aren’t clear on who is supposed to be cleaning the shelves and have noticed it’s not getting done. If they say it’s now your job, maybe explain why you think X team should be handling it.

      1. AnotherLibrarian*

        Yeah, 100% this. You just need clarity and I think the dysfunction is getting under your skin (100% understandable) and making this into a mountain when it’s a molehill. Just ask.

      2. Marian the Librarian*

        I think I left something important out. My team isn’t supposed to start cleaning until we finish another project. So bringing it up now might not be appropriate.

        The dysfunction stuff is separate. Everything has been handled very poorly since the start of the pandemic. It was kind of bad before that but got worse. You have to tread carefully around this place.

  30. Skye*

    So one of my coworkers is having trouble getting her (w4?) witholdings updated so that she has the appropriate taxes taken out each paycheck. She only noticed at tax time, so that’s between her and the IRS, but going forward it’d obviously be easier for this to not be an issue. She keeps getting sent from our company to the payroll company back to our company. Is there any resources I can point her to for help with this, assuming it hasn’t been fixed since I last asked her about it? (We’re in Texas if that makes a difference.)

    1. fueled by coffee*

      I’m not sure how your company is structured, but I have a W4 over the summers (I’m in grad school, so I get a W2 during the academic year when teaching), and the way I make changes is by printing out copies of the federal and state W4 forms, filling them out, and taking them to HR (who also handle our payroll).

      Who did she originally file her tax paperwork with when she was hired (your company? payroll?)? I imagine they should be able to update the system. Otherwise, what do they do when people’s tax situations change because they get married or have children who become adults and are no longer dependents? This should just be an issue of changing the tax forms over.

      1. BRR*

        If it’s that she’s submitting changes but her withholdings aren’t being updated in her paycheck, I would suggest a three way call with the payroll company and someone from her company. This should do a lot to help with the back and forth.

        If it’s that she doesn’t know what to select for her withholdings, there are numerous calculators online.

        1. Skye*

          It’s that she’s supposed to have withholdings and she’s sent updated updated w4 forms and has gotten the runaround on who is supposed to be in charge of updating it. This is not her first job and she hasn’t had this issue before. I’ll suggest the three way call bit to her, though with payroll being outsourced that might be difficult to make happen.

    2. Snarky McSnarkerson*

      You can get a Form W-4 online at irs.gov. Have her fill it out and then send it to the payroll department. Follow up in a week. Keep sending it to the payroll company. Heck – send it to every person she’s already talked to. You don’t have to wait for them to send you a form. Here’s a link to the PDF version of the form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf. I hope it gets through moderation!

    3. Payroll Lady*

      She can go to the IRS . gov website and print out a W-4. Read the directions, make the appropriate changes and submit that form to your company/payroll company. The forms use to be easy, however with the payroll tax changes made a few years ago, the form was totally revamped and makes no sense to most of us in Payroll. It is suppose to make it so you break even at year end. (I have yet to but getting closer!)

        1. Wheee!*

          THIS! You can put in a ton of information into the IRS form (from your paystubs) and they’ll give you a reasonably accurate answer on how to fill out the W-4 to get close to a refund/payment of $0.

      1. Skye*

        Yeah, the problem is that there’s *zero* taxes being withheld on her paycheck despite her w4 being set up for having at least some amount of federal taxes being taken out. (Afaik she’s done her w4 correctly, and as she’s not had this problem at other jobs…) And when she’s tried to get her withholdings updated, payroll (which is outsourced) and HR keep pointing at the other for being the one to take care of it.

        1. Librarianmom*

          Seems to me that the company is responsible to make sure that the payroll company is doing their job properly —- they are the payroll company’s customer. Your friend should insist that HR be involved in straightening out the matter, and if they refuse I would threaten to notify the state attorney’s office.

  31. Scoffrio*

    Has anyone ever successfully negotiated a “tier bump” with their org? My org has me in “tier 3”, but I think the job description and my experience should actually put me in “tier 4.” There is some acknowledgement of that – I have a corporate card which is a “tier 4” thing, but don’t have an personal office because I’m in “tier 3.” Would love any advice on how to approach this as I’m pretty frustrated by the inconsistency (and honestly, I would not care if I just got a personal office, I HATE cubicles and cannot work in them). I have tried to just ask for an office, but they are holding the line firm there that offices are only for tier 4+.

    1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      The only place I’ve worked that had a strict tiering system was very strict across the board, so they wouldn’t have given someone a card or an office if they weren’t in the right job category. In order to get a promotion to the next tier you *already* had to be doing the work of the next level up. I had a colleague who was a “tier 3” but was obviously qualified to be “tier 4”. Our manager formally assigned her to “informally manager” our other colleague, also a “tier 3”, so that she could demonstrate the responsibilities of tier 4 and get the formal title bump the following year. Predictably, it did not go well (the other tier 3 really did not appreciate being managed by a peer) so she was recruited to another department where she could get hired into tier 4 from the start.

      That’s probably not a helpful story, but I guess my point is these strict tiering systems usually have pretty hard and fast rules, and you’re better off demonstrating you’re qualified for the tier 4 role instead of asking for it on the basis of wanting an office.

  32. Hestia*

    I’m hoping that this community will have some suggestions for an exhausted training professional.

    I work in healthcare and we have a good deal of government mandated training, which is what you would expect given the serious and personal nature of healthcare. My company is a large one and the vast majority are great people who never push back on completing their training. However…we get a lot of people who just ignore the training – falling way overdue and exposing the company to liability.

    I’m at the end of my rope. We have made the courses shorter (think 7 minutes for an online course) and they are very visually engaging. We created an automated manager report so that every manager could see their employees’ training status (overdue, etc.) and we have automated email reminders!

    What has worked (or hasn’t worked) in your organization in terms of getting people to just take their #*%$ training?

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Do their managers get reports on incomplete training? Ours do, & they send reminders to their staff, which helps.

      Is there any budget for prizes? You could do a drawing for people who complete training on time or even early.

    2. Bernice Clifton*

      The only thing that ever worked for me was CCing their supervisor on the reminder, or sending the supervisor an email saying: “Joey and Chandler were supposed to complete their training by the 20th and haven’t responded to reminders. Please advise”

    3. ferrina*

      I’ve found that putting a name to the person haranguing you really helps. Then it’s not just a system thing- it’s an individual person that needs you to do X (and may or may not hunt you down when you don’t do X). Can you go to a particular site or department that is a frequent offender and introduce yourself? Reach out to a few key managers and personally ask them for help?

      I’ve also personalized myself in emails. At one particular place, I threatened to write limericks if people didn’t take our employee engagement survey (and this wasn’t a one-time threat….it was several years running). Or send really bad jokes- “what do you call a first-year resident on an orthopedic rotation? A Train-Knee!….If we don’t get 90% compliance by Friday there will be more puns. The puns will continue until the training gets done.”

      I also like the idea of prizes. Free pizza for departments that have a certain rate of compliance?

      1. ferrina*

        What do you call someone who needs to write bad jokes as a response to incomplete trainings?

        A mandated retort-er!

    4. Storm in a teacup*

      So when I worked frontline healthcare we had the following carrot and sticks:
      Annual flu jab – get a free hot drink
      Mandatory training must be up to date if you’re wanting to do another course or attend a conference or similar.
      Make it a part of the mid year and annual appraisal process so if you have to sign off with your manager your training is complete as a mandatory step.
      Maybe all those who have completed their training in time can get entered into a draw for a prize.
      Finally – MAKE TIME FOR STAFF to do their training. The best way out hospital did it was to lump all of the mandatory training (F2F and online) into a single day a year. Much easier to leave a ward or department for a whole day and have your shift covered than try and squeeze in time to do your training in your regular day. Especially at the moment with Covid pressures. Also if you give free lunch that’s always a bonus.
      Mind you I say this whilst writing this reply to avoid doing my mandatory training!

      1. t-vex*

        I agree that it’s important to give people time to take the training (because how else could they be expected do do it), lumping it all into one day sounds like a surefire way for people to immediately forget everything. I assume the end goal is to have Staff That Are trained, not just Staff Who Sat Through A Slide Deck

        1. CatMintCat*

          I have sat through basically the same slide deck every year for twenty two years. It’s not life-threatening stuff. I set it to run, do something else and answer the questions at the end.

    5. Ginger Pet Lady*

      I work in a hospital, and here you get fired if you refuse to complete a government mandated training. If you forget and miss the deadline, you’re not allowed to work until you finish it. You cannot clock in, you must take the training and report your time to your manager who verifies completion, submits your time for payroll and lifts the hold. If you do not finish it within 7 days of the missed deadline, you’re gone. They do not mess around.
      (They do make exceptions to the 7 day time frame for people who are out on parental leave or FMLA, but that’s it. They do still need to do the training before coming back to work.)

    6. Anon for This*

      Ours cuts off our access to the computer system if we haven’t completed required training (not all of it is related to computer security, though that is one of the courses.) It focuses people wonderfully when they can’t access their e-mail or the internet.

      1. No name yet*

        Yup – I also work in healthcare, and if we don’t do the really important ones (HIPAA, info security, etc) they will turn off our access. So no email, no medical record access, nothing. I like the idea of both carrots and sticks, it would be nice to get something for doing the things I’m supposed to do on time!

    7. Diatryma*

      I am behind on training because it requires two-factor authentication and I’m not allowed to have my cellphone in the lab. I’m also in a position where I can’t set aside an unknown amount of time to train because, well, work. I plan to clock in from home after work and do the training then, taking as much time as is recommended.

      “Visually engaging” matters less to me than “is really, really clear with a limit on jargon” and “applies to me”.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

        Is there somewhere else (an office area for instance) you can take that training ans book on your calendar like you would for a meeting? Can an exception be made to the no phone policy just for the time it takes you to complete this? There are several ways around this – I don’t think “work off the clock” (which that would be) is the best answer.

    8. WantonSeedStitch*

      For us, the only way we can reliably get people to take training is to withhold access to key things until they take it. For example, “you want access to the database? You need to take your database training, take the confidentiality training, and sign the confidentiality policy.” If you don’t do the training, you can’t do your job, basically.

    9. acmx*

      At my company, if mandatory training is not completed on time the employee cannot clock in. They have to go to a supervisor who would then have them take the training immediately (but manament is also tracking status).

    10. Cordelia*

      I think the managers need to be invested in getting their staff to do the training; do they take any action when they receive your reports? maybe it’s the managers who need the sticks and carrots. They might then be more likely to address the issue with individual staff, to ensure staff are being given paid time to complete the training, to make sure staff are up to date on the mandatory training before approving any more desirable training, etc.

    11. Me ... Just Me*

      If it’s online education through an education portal that is assigned to each individual, please make it available at the beginning of the year and due at the end of the year, or is open as long as possible. Please, none of this assigning 20 things that need to be done by the end of the month. As an employee, I find that I’m better about getting things done if I have plenty of time and plenty of reminders.

    12. Hillary*

      For employees we use carrots like swag. But on the manager side we use sticks, it’s in the manager’s incentives. 20% of my goals are non-negotiable HR requirements including if my reports have completed their mandatory trainings. The management system tracks it.

      Also, shame. During campaigns HR reports on completion rates by manager during staff meetings. If someone’s team is behind their boss immediately asks why and what they’re doing to make sure everyone is done on time.

    13. Cedrus Libani*

      The only effective method I’ve seen is to increase the pressure. Nagging email every so often from an automated system? Ignored. Pissed-off boss who won’t get their bonus until team is 100% up-to-date with their training? Good luck ignoring THAT.

      Also, at my current workplace, you can’t work (and don’t get paid) if your training isn’t up-to-date. It’s a liability risk, as you say, and they’re not getting sued because you’re too lazy to go clicky-click for a few minutes.

      Otherwise, I’ve seen accessibility be an issue – in one case, the web-based training was old enough to vote, and I didn’t have the budget or authority to replace it, so I stuck an ancient computer in the break room for everyone who literally could not access the stupid thing on their own computers.

    14. Chaordic One*

      What really worked for us was having the different supervisors specifically allocate a certain block of time dedicated to doing the training. They aren’t going to do it on their own time and that means arranging for coverage while they are doing the training.

      Other than that, I would say, please make sure the training materials are current. We have far too many powerpoint presentations that include policies and procedures that are no longer being used, or links that no longer work because they’ve been updated. We recently had a database update and a whole bunch of things no longer work and it is a pain and a real turn-off for already overworked employees with a ton of things on their plates. When that happens, they tune out right away.

    15. Incognito today*

      Provide time for it.
      My company recently declared a recurring, scheduled Development Day and reminders are sent to clear off meetings & deliverables from that day. (I’m not sure how this affects factory production schedules, but engineering’s Agile cycles are cut by a day.)
      It took a couple of repeats before people realize that upper management was serious, then managers started to reschedule their regular meetings away from that day of the week. It has now become my most productive day of the week for tasks that require deep concentration.

    16. Ezri Dax*

      At my company, they make it a performance requirement. If you don’t complete your mandatory trainings by the due date, you’re not eligible for raises or bonuses. Managers are also kept in the loop to monitor progress. I have access to my team’s information in the portal, and I get email alerts when trainings are coming due, overdue, and completed.

    17. Dancing Otter*

      When my F100 client was changing software, they had a 3rd party training provider that gave us statistics 2x/week. My deliverable was a tiered report dashboard for every reporting level, from the lowest manager with only one direct report, all the way to the CEO. I doubt the CEO drilled down to actual employee names, but she definitely *discussed* training compliance (or otherwise) with some SVPs. Firmly. The company eventually reached 98% compliance, and I suspect the 2% may have been people on extended leave.
      For background, people who refused to train on the purchasing module the previous year caused such a problem with bills not getting paid that (a) the auditors took an interest, and (b) one of the food processing plants had to shut down because the pest control vendor stopped working until they got paid.

    18. Nightengale*

      For me, visually engaging trainings are completely inaccessible.. Any chance you could offer a plain text version, just the text of the training and then the test questions?

  33. Newbie without managing talent*

    I’m a new manager and Director of Grooming. I have two direct reports, a Llama Groomer and a Poodle Groomer. We are a sub-division to a larger division and don’t sit in the same location as the other colleagues in the division.

    I therefore thought we should have weekly team meetings the three of us. My problem is that they are turning into reporting meetings, which aren’t necessarily useful because they do the same updates in our 1:1. It might perhaps be useful for them what the other one is doing.

    How can I turn these meetings into something useful for all of use and move away from reporting only? I don’t know what to bring up at these meetings, but feel I ought to have them.

    I’d be grateful for any advice, I’m a little lost here and my learning curve seems to be steeper than I had first thought…

    1. Scott*

      I think you need to decide what your goals are for the meetings and go from there. If you don’t actually have a goal, then what is the point of the meeting? Your employees need to understand the purpose of the meetings and they need to get that from you.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Agreed. To be blunt, few things are more annoying than mandatory meetings that are only happening because someone has a vague sense there ought to be a meeting!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Don’t have meetings just for the sake of having meetings. Figure out what purpose you want to address with your weekly team meetings and do that. If you can’t come up with a reason for the meeting, then you probably don’t need it. (My monthly team meetings are about 15 minutes and turn into emails about every other month.)

    3. Pop*

      If you don’t know what the meetings are for, weekly is a lot! Maybe switch to monthly, or at least biweekly? And agreed with the other commenter – what are you hoping to accomplish during these meetings? Are they to keep everyone updated about grooming best practices, or brainstorming solutions as a team to individual problems, or get to know each other better, or…? This will help shape what you do with your agenda.

    4. Everything Bagel*

      If you don’t have anything to discuss in these meetings, I’m not sure why you feel the nee,d to have them other than a sense of camaraderie in your group. Maybe monthly team meetings would be more appropriate and useful to you all.

    5. Parakeet*

      I’m one of my manager’s two reports, and what we do is:

      Every week: 1:1s that give reports an opportunity to get support, for managers to give time-sensitive updates, and for manager and report a chance to discuss performance

      Once every two weeks: All three of us meet. we have a section of the meeting for reporting (updates on the llamas/poodles!), an if-needed section for certain kinds of field-specific discussions that I’m not sure how to turn into a metaphor, and an if-needed section to discuss any teamwide programmatic stuff (criteria for determining which animals have the most severe grooming needs, updates to the budget for grooming supplies) that anyone wants to discuss

    6. Texan In Exile*

      In our team meetings, our boss asks us to give a quick update and then make any collaboration asks from the other team members.

      We do a deep dive into our own work and what we need from the boss in our 1 on 1s.

  34. Scott*

    I don’t have a question but wanted to share something I learned recently regarding preparing for an interview on an internal job posting.
    I work in a division headed by our Division Director (DD). There are four groups in the division headed by a first-line manager (Group Lead) with two or three engineers in each group. I’ve worked in this division for 5+ years. Recently one of our Group Leads (GL1) transferred to a different division. Another Group Lead (GL2) moved into this vacant position and the DD posted the open GL2 position. I applied for this job. The interview panel consisted of the DD, GL1, GL3, and my own supervisor GL4 (so we all know one another well).
    Each group in the division works with different people outside of our organization (think contractors). I considered discussing the ins-and-outs of the GL2 job with the person who just left that position (the new GL1) but it seemed like I would be trying to gain an unfair advantage over others who applied.
    So during the interview I was asked questions about some specific things Group 2 is working on. I had a basic understanding but didn’t know many details and admitted I would have to learn some of those things.
    I was not selected for this position and part of the feedback I received from the DD is that I should have asked the former GL2 for insight into the job. It’s not cheating and would not be gaining an unfair advantage, since anyone who applied from other divisions could do the same.
    So – if you are applying to an internal job posting, take advantage of the proximity to the person who has the job (or recently left it) or others in the group to find out all you can.

    1. Me ... Just Me*

      Do you happen to work in government? The reason that I ask is that my husband did get some feedback similar to this on a position he had applied for internally. He’s already in a management role, but was seeking to move up into higher management position in a different department. He did reach a out to a few people that he knew, including the person that had previously held the position. Evidently, other candidates scheduled 1:1 meetings with this person as well as with some of their staff members in order to research the position. This was the first time that I had ever heard of going to such great lengths as an internal candidate to prepare for an interview. I’ve never heard of anyone doing anything similar to this in my industry (healthcare) and wasn’t sure how prevalent it was in the wider business world. It seems that this would take up considerable time if all internal applicants did this? And, I imagine, that it could lead to some bias — what if the outgoing manager didn’t like you and didn’t give you the same information as others?

      1. Scott*

        I do work for the federal government. I’ve been a civilian employee for 10 1/2 years after retiring from a 30 year military career.

  35. Miss. Bianca*

    I posted the below last week. HR ended up sending the wrong job description! I’m so irritated at this point. I asked him what the people already in the Sr. positions do to get them at the level and he couldn’t give me an answer. I’m assuming there isn’t any criteria that shows a difference in my level and the Sr. level. 

    What can I do at this point? Frankly, if it’s taken MONTHS to get a job description and NO ONE can tell me what I need to do to get to the next level, it’s not going to happen and I’m going to continue to get more work dumped on me and have to lead the most complex projects. However I can try to put together some ideas on what I need to work on, but I’m tired of trying to guess. I don’t care, management should be able to tell me in 5 minutes what a brief difference is between my level and the level above!

    Previous Post –
     I have a skip-level meeting with my grand-boss this afternoon. I am a Llama Grooming Manager and trying to get information on the next role up from me (Senior Llama Grooming Manager) and frankly it’s been a frustrating process. For more context, I’ve been with the company for over 2 years and my grand-boss has only been with the company about 6 months. I’ve mentioned to him before that I need this information so I know what I need to work on in order to get to the next level. A few months ago he said he would get the job descriptions for both for me, but then never did. A few weeks ago I sent in a request to HR asking for both job descriptions, when I hadn’t heard anything after a week I let him know and he said he would ask the HR person later that day, but again I never heard back. What makes it extra frustrating, is that I had a manager who refused to go over my 1:1 in detail (so why I got a “good job” instead of an “excellent job” and what an “excellent job” looked like) and only said the difference between the positions was salary…Thankfully he quit a few weeks ago.I’m really frustrated at this point. I have a feeling our company doesn’t know how to differentiate between those 2 positions, making it that much harder to make a case for a promotion or more responsibility. Again, I’m not demanding a promotion, but I’ve been with the company over 2 years, have continuously been given more responsibility and am able to lead projects without my guidance so I think it’s fair I’m asking more on what I need to do to get promoted.I plan on asking him what he heard back from HR. I also think it’s fair I express my frustration with the lack of clarity on this, is there a way to do so without coming off bratty? If he comes back without clarification between the roles, how should I tell him that I really need him to articulate to me what I need to do to get promoted?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I don’t have any advice, I just want to validate that management should be able to explain the difference between your current level and one level above. Frustrating and not a good look for them that they can’t!

      1. Miss. Bianca*

        Thank you lol. Right? Every other place I’ve worked has been able to do that.

    2. PollyQ*

      What you can do at this point is start job-hunting. This question should be a piece of cake for your manager to answer, and that fact that it isn’t says nothing good about him, the organization, or your prospects for advancement.

    3. The New Wanderer*

      At my previous company, I felt like I was ready and qualified for promotion for several years. I proactively had conversations with every manager (they changed every 6 months on average) for years about what that path looked like, how I could best position myself for the next level, and so on. The posted job descriptions used vague terms to differentiate the expectations of each level (junior, mid-career, senior) and the managers’ feedback was keep doing what I was doing. Except, that wasn’t getting me anywhere and I had two colleagues with similar or less experience breeze past me in the meantime. When I had the final conversation, which had clear implications of “promote me or I walk,” I was told I needed to put in another 1-2 years before maybe being considered. I left.

      Sometimes a manager can’t tell you what they’re looking for because ultimately they don’t want to promote you but also don’t want to say that out loud. If I had to guess, even if your grandboss comes back with clarification on what it takes for you to get promoted, it isn’t going to be what you want or deserve to hear. More than likely it’ll be vague promises based on continuing to work those complex projects successfully (also known as, keep doing what you’re doing).

      I forget if you mentioned whether you’re currently job searching, but it’s probably your best path forward and upward. What I asked myself was, if I knew for certain that nothing will change in six months would I still be okay working here? My own answer was no.

      1. Miss. Bianca*

        Wow, this is fantastic insight. Def what I need to hear lol.
        Thank you for sharing this :)

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      It sounds to me like the “senior” role doesn’t really exist as such. If other people have the senior title already, I bet it’s generally given on the basis of “time served”, or in response to someone wanting to leave for a better opportunity, etc. If you job search (which you should imo) and decide to move on… the “senior” position would probably pop out of the woodwork!

      1. Miss. Bianca*

        It does though! Up until last November there was a Senior Llama Grooming Manager. We had a merger a year ago and he was actually part of a layoff, and my Grand-boss started either right when he left or right after he left.

        And in my department there are two other Senior Grooming Managers (think more of Miniature Alpacas than Llamas). However I manage the larger Llamas than them and deal with high profile projects.

        I asked the Grand-boss what they all did to put them at that senior level (because from what I can see I’m dealing with senior level work and autonomy) and he couldn’t answer.

  36. BlueDijon*

    How do you know what a reasonable pace/workload is, during a ‘normal’ period? I got a new job in a very different industry 2.5 months ago, and am struggling to calibrate my sense of what is normal after burning out in a deeply toxic, high stress (entirely internally-created) environment where workload was too high, there was a sense of urgency at all points, and it was the expectation to be working at every moment you were on the job (including multitasking and answering emails or doing other work while being in meetings).

    I am almost certain I’m going too hard on myself about wasting their time, and am definitely trying to dial my urgency levels back to ‘normal’ rather than ‘everything is on fire’, but it would be helpful to have a sense from folks what they would consider a normal pace/workload as well.

    1. Gracely*

      It’s going to depend on the industry/work/etc., but a useful baseline might be, can you take a lunch break easily? Can you finish what you need to get done before it’s due? Most weeks, do you have a couple hours a week to do some professional development (webinars/reading industry reports/networking/skills training/etc.) or something that isn’t strictly related to your output, but that is still “work”? And, once you’ve been there a few months, can you get ahead/caught up enough that you can take a few days of vacation without seriously worrying about what you’ll come back to?

    2. RagingADHD*

      I’d say an ideal workload allows you to get all your work done (or stay on top of ongoing projects) in 40 hours a week, and that about 10-20 percent of that time is spent on non-urgent maintenance, planning, or backlog-clearing tasks that will prevent future problems.

      Constant urgency and overwhelm create a vicious cycle where nobody is looking ahead to foresee preventable problems, or keeping up with routines that make the work easier. So you wind up with everything on fire all the time (which comes down to poor management, usually).

      I’d say things are super slow if you’re spending less than 4 hours a day on current / urgent work, average if you’re spending 5-6, and slammed if you’re doing 7+.

      But I have a history of (and tend to do best in) jobs that have massive short-term crunches with a lot of slow days in between. YMMV.

    3. Cookies for Breakfast*

      I’m in a very similar position! So far, taking cues from my manager and team has been helpful. Every week I have a 1:1 meeting with my manager and one that includes the other team members, and I use them as opportunities to share what I’ve done and what I plan to do next, as well as asking for feedback on my work in progress. I’m mostly hearing “sounds good, keep going!”, which reassures me I’m spending my time on the right things, even when it’s not a full 8 hours of hands-on work. Slow days continue to seem weird, but my manager has said work will pick up a bit once I’m more familiar with the subject matter. Even though I can’t imagine this job ever being as hectic as the previous one, I’m sure my days will fill up some more.

      I’ve also seen, so far, no pressure to pick up work after hours / on my personal devices, and a conscious effort to not tag people in questions and messages when they have time off, which all fits my concept of “normal” and “reasonable”.

    4. GelieFish*

      I think it depends on the industry, but if you are genuinely working then what you can get done is what you can get done. I’d take a look at your organization and balance of short tasks and long-term tasks. How do you feel you’re doing? As someone who recently started a job, I check in with manager weekly to gauge priorities.

    5. BlueDijon*

      Thanks, all! It’s tricky because it varies so much right now – but that’s onboarding, from what I’m hearing! I really appreciate the specifics too – it’s a remote job, too, so hearing metrics from others here is really helpful to consider as baselines.

  37. soontoberetired*

    My company has a range of salary for each job category. I had been consistently at the midpoint of the salary range in my level (highest for me in my job category) until a couple of years ago when the range was upped by a lot. I am $8000 off the midrange now, and will not hit it since I will be retiring right before the next pay raise, and they won’t give me that much either. In previous years, when the midpoint changed, I received enough of a raise to hit the midpoint again, but we’re just talking $2000 or so.

    what do other companies do about range changes? do they up people accordingly? My company also has this thing where if you hit the midpoint, you can expect not to see much in raises. There’s no real explanation why they have a higher range if they never let people hit it.

    1. linger*

      If no incumbents are allowed to reach it, I’d start to suspect that the high end of the range exists only for publication purposes, to attract in external candidates when hiring for those positions. So … do new hires at your company often come in making more than existing staff in comparable roles?

  38. FoxInABox*

    Can some other people bitch a bit about Salesforce Marketing Cloud so I feel like I’m not alone?

    1. Twisted Lion*

      Ha yes. Failsforce. I hated it SO MUCH at my non-profit job. Litterally the worst software ever.

      1. MJ*

        Interesting. We are currently looking at their NPSP for donor management and grant tracking (grant disbursing rather than receiving for spending on programs). I’d love to know what sorts of problems you encounter?

    2. Come On Eileen*

      We moved from Eloqua to SFMC a year and a half ago, and it’s been such a challenge and a struggle.

    3. Oprah*

      oooh oooh me! My biggest rant is that the sales team that is supposed to enter data so that I can glean marketing insights from it…just doesn’t. And they lost their whole sales pipeline over the last three months, haven’t replaced it, so the managers are supposed to be handling leads at the moment. I guess this isn’t a Salesforce rant after all.

      1. Oprah*

        Also I just realized you meant Marketing Cloud and not the DB. I’ll show myself out.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        RE Sales team not entering data. Yep – that was the issue with us at my old job. I wanted to identify customer pain points so we could take them to R&D. But the sales team usually entered “price too high” as the reason for losing the sale. (“Lowest price” was never the reason for winning, though.)

        I don’t know about actual SF problems, but when your company does not have good data practices – looking at you, former employer – then you get garbage data.

  39. JackJack*

    I need a little ego check about how to respond to a job rejection email. I was a finalist for a job that had a lot of downsides (low pay, not great benefits, no WFH options etc) but I kept sticking with it just to see the outcome and while working my way through a much better job’s interview process. After a few interviews and a coffee with the potential manager this week I just sent a rejection email. In the email she says something along the lines of “I am sure you are really disappointed”. It is probably best for me just to send a quick note thanking her for her time, right? A big part of me wants to be like I understand and agree it wasn’t the best fit. Something about her assuming I am disappointed really bugs me.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Uh, her letter makes complete sense to me, and so here’s your requested ego check.

      From her perspective, you applied for a job and went through the interview process. Ergo, you wanted the job. Ergo, you not getting the job would be disappointing.

      She didn’t know that you were just considering the whole thing as a practice interview or a mostly-undesired fallback position, did she?

      Not to mention, that kind of line is just standard bread-and-butter language. Would you expect the letter to say “you didn’t get the job, and I’m sure you must be relieved”?

      1. Jackjack*

        Haha you’re totally right. I’m just completely burnt out by job searching and feeling annoyed I put a lot of energy into this job I wasn’t sure I wanted just to end up rejected anyway. Thank you!!

    2. Scott*

      I can see how you would receive that comment the way you did but I’d let it go. It is probably not going to get you anywhere to correct their thinking.

    3. Trina*

      I don’t think it was an unreasonable assumption for her to make; you did not withdraw from the process, so as far as she knew you wanted the job to some degree, and of course there is disappointment whenever you don’t get something you want. That said, “I understand and agree it wasn’t the best fit” doesn’t sound to me like a message that would convey annoyance? But it does sounds like unnecessary time/thought investment for you where a generic “thanks for your time” would be fine.

    4. Jellyfish*

      She’s probably trying to be gentle because no one likes being rejected. Say thanks and let it go. Anything else would be weird.

      I get the impulse to say more! In my last search, I was a finalist for two jobs and decided Job A was a significantly better fit than Job B. Job A called me with an offer, which I happily accepted. Before I could withdraw from Job B, they called me with a rejection. It made total sense, I wasn’t going to take the job at that point anyway, and it still stung when the director said, “I’m sad to say we’re going in another direction.”

      That bit about being sad got under my skin because they rejected me AND assumed I’d be upset about it. They were just trying to be kind though.

      In any case, best of luck with your job search going forward!

    5. Lily Rowan*

      “Oh no, I’m not disappointed at all! I didn’t want your crappy job anyway!”

      You can just save that response in your heart.

  40. Put the Blame on Edamame*

    Working on a project that is kicking my arse, I’ve been dreading it since I knew I’d be PM and I am indeed out of my depth. We are blowing past deadlines and even though the client is OK with it, I hate it. I can barely imagine it finishing, but it has to, I am sick of waking up in a state of anxiety every morning. It’s not gonna break me but it’s coming close…

    1. ferrina*

      I’ve been there. It’s okay.

      A perspective shift can help. You aren’t “blowing past deadlines”- you are adjusting them (something that I regularly need to do when a client completely misses their deadline- cool, I’ll just move everything else back). If you are still moving forward, then the end is inevitable. Out of your depth? You’re just charting new waters (okay, that may be a bit of a stretch. But trust me, after the Project From Hell, regular old Projects From Heck hold no terrors).

      In the meantime, take your own breaks. As much as possible, leave work at work. Schedule out time that you absolutely will not work. And give yourself permission to eat lots of chocolate (I recommend Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Raisins- those got me through a lot of late nights.) Good luck!

      1. Put the Blame on Edamame*

        Thank you so much for responding to my vent post, I’m trying to be reasonable with myself, but it’s so hard right now? And chocolate is definitely a great idea. You’re very kind. I feel like I should be working all evening but it’s 7pm where I am and I’ve got so little done in the last hour I might just stop and pick up tomorrow.

    2. Ranon*

      Sometimes deadlines adjust, that is okay. If the client is okay with it that means either they think the reason for adjusting it is a good one or it wasn’t that important to meet it, and either way that means there’s very little reason to beat yourself up about it.

      For us deadline oriented folks seeing schedules slip is super frustrating, but there are also people out there like my former boss who would straight up plan on missing a deadline literally weeks if not months in advance of said deadline. Sometimes no amount of pushing on your part is going to make a date happen and the best thing to do is to save your effort until it can be impactful.

  41. Emma*

    We have our annual reviews coming up in July and I haven’t exceeded any expectations this year: rather the opposite. I’d like to have a conversation with my boss before July to make him more favourable towards me. He keeps piling more work on me but I struggle under the workload and am performing badly. I’m also rather shy and bad at highlighting my achievements, so this year I am worried I will get 2 in my annual review.
    I know it’s very last minute, is there anything I can do to prep for the July review meeting?

    1. Gracely*

      Lay out all the things you’re normally expected to do, and then add all the extra things your boss is piling on top of you, and maybe point out the difference between last year and this year, and maybe point out that there is only so much time to do all of the things? And maybe ask for the boss to prioritize the work for you? If he won’t, then figure out what is most important and make your own priorities, so that what work you are able to do is done well.

      1. ferrina*

        And do this now! Tell your boss that there isn’t enough hours for the extra responsibilities- what would they like you to prioritize? Then keep them updated. This will work for a reasonable boss. (and an unreasonable boss is a lost cause).

        In the meantime, start prepping an achievement list now! Especially if this is something that you struggle with. Practice noting your accomplishments- there will be a lot that you have forgotten. Practice bragging- it will feel strange, but do it until you can speak about your accomplishments with confidence. Ideally we would all be as comfortable talking about our accomplishments as we are talking about our areas for growth.

        1. Gracely*

          Yes! An achievement list is a great idea. And after this year, keep one year-round: I have a post-it next to my computer where I make note of anything I’m doing that’s outside of my normal job requirements so that I can remember to include it in my self-eval at the end of the year. You might prefer a digital version or some other way of keeping track, but do keep track!

          1. Hen in a Windstorm*

            Yep, our system was a 1-5 system, and my boss would respond “Five!” to things she thought were excellent, so I had a document titled “Fives.” I also had an email folder where I put any kudos I received through the year so I could go back through it at year end. (Otherwise I might forget that awesome thing I did in March that saved everyone’s bacon.)

    2. Policy Wonk*

      Start with what was written in your original work requirements. Everything your boss has piled on you since then is over and above expectations. So maybe you are exceeding expectations. Since this isn’t until July you have plenty of time to prepare. Start a document now – if you haven’t kept track of what you have done over the year, go through your logs or e-mails – list everything you’ve done, and highlight accomplishments. Then turn it into a script. When your review comes, if you are too shy to say what you’ve accomplished, you can read it to him. Or at worst, hand it to him.

      I really hate the way some bosses take advantage of their employees. He knows you are shy so he piles the work on you because you won’t say no! Make sure you get credit for it being over and above what was expected.

  42. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

    I need some scripts for telling my staff (8 direct reports, 7 more grand-reports) and colleagues that I am leaving without another job lined up! My core reasons for leaving are: I personally have too much work (as do most of them) and too many tasks I dislike (as do most of them) and I am underpaid (which they are too), and I am financially secure enough that I can live off savings for a while and decompress. Basically, Great Resignation. But I don’t want to demoralize them by saying that out loud. I could fall back on “I want to spend more time with my kids this summer”, which is also true as far as it goes. But as a woman I don’t necessarily want to play into stereotypes about being a mom comes first. My boss just shrugged and said say whatever I want, when I asked him if he wanted to message it together.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      You: “I’m resigning effective June first”
      That’s it.

      If you get asked “Oh where are you going?”, you can answer “I don’t know yet. I have some ideas and leads, but I want to take a break for a few months.”

      The amount of money you have saved up, your kids, etc. are all irrelevant.

      1. ferrina*

        I really like this wording. Some of your employees (if not all) will read between the lines, and I’d argue that that’s a good thing! It’s okay if they’re demoralized by having too much work and work that they dislike! The right thing to do in that situation is find a better situation- which you’re doing! This is just another way of setting a good example.

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      Do you need to tell them anything? I think you’re fine just saying “I’ll be leaving [organization] on [date], here are the plans for who’s taking over what, etc…I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’m looking forward to what comes next.”

      1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        I think someone out of my 15 will ask “Why?” and I don’t want to be too weird about it. It’s not like I owe them an explanation but it’s nice for them to have some information to help process the change.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          Possibly, and something vague like “it was the right time” or “it was the right move for me” should cover your bases. But you said that most of your team is also overworked and underpaid, so I can’t imagine anyone is going to be surprised or shocked at you leaving.

          I was also worried about answering questions after I gave notice at my last job with nothing lined up, but no one ended up actually asking – they knew what the work environment was like, no one was surprised that I was getting out. Almost all of them ended up getting out shortly after too. Granted I worked on a smaller team and wasn’t the boss like it sounds like you are, but that might mean they’re even less inclined to ask somewhat personal questions of you.

    3. Alice*

      Congrats :)
      Without saying anything bitter or grumpy or otherwise unpressional, I would say things that are true, if I say anything. (And btw, “I want to spend more time with my kids” is true, but “I am resigning because I want to spend more time with my kids” is not true, it sounds like.)
      If your staff are overworked, dislike their tasks, and are underpaid, they are not going to suddenly switch from being fully-gruntled to disgruntled because of anything you say about why you are leaving. I suspect your boss shrugged because there’s not really anything that can be said to re-gruntle the staff in this situation. Except for “we are expanding the team to make the workload manageable, allowing you to delegate the tasks you all dislike, and increasing salaries.” That would probably do it :)
      What I think you should say is, are you willing to serve as a reference for these people and how should they get in touch with you about that.

    4. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Is there no way to make this work? It seems like you’re leaving at the peak of your career with many signs pointing to a recession. We know from the last one that many experienced professionals were then willing to take anything, but no one wanted them because they were “overqualified.” Great resignation is really industry specific so there isn’t a way for us to know how easy it will be to jump back in.

      Just asking about something you didn’t ask, if I were you, I’d make one more last ditch effort to shuffle things around before I left. Make someone else a Director to share workload, for example.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        Just to clarify, I see the sentiment “i am leaving my job because too much work” online. I have no way to know how overwhelmed people actually are or how much leeway they have to change the situation. I know from my work life that many people who are overwhelmed actually just need help moving certain projects along or with certain people and it’s not truly a “literally too much work” scenario. And the situation can be worked on.

        And from a hiring manager perspective, this can be a huge red flag. As in, the ability to handle alot of a cornerstone of a mid-career applicant or manager. you usually ask “how do you handle stress”

        Just saying, I don’t want you fighting an uphill battle trying to get back into the work world.

      2. All Monkeys are French*

        This is concern trolling, and not what Lunch Eating Mid Manager asked for. They’ve already given notice and are seeking advice on how to tell their team.

        1. Prospect Gone Bad*

          No this isn’t concern trolling. Concern trolling is pretending to care about something and being fake nice.

          I am simply being upfront and telling them that I don’t think they’re addressing the real issues here. There isn’t a term for that beyond “saying what I think”

          1. All Monkeys are French*

            Well, it’s most certainly offering unsolicited advice with the sense that you know better. I called it concern trolling because it is about trying to get someone to comply with more traditional norms rather than let them make a different choice, under the guise of being worried about their welfare (or career trajectory, in this case).

      3. A Simple Narwhal*

        I can appreciate your concern at distance, but people rarely leave their jobs with nothing lined up on a whim – they’ve typically exhausted their options and are just jumping into a life boat.

        “Are you sure you can’t make it work” is the exact sentiment my parents expressed that made me not want to share with them that I was quitting a job with nothing lined up. They probably meant it out of concern, but it was not helpful to hear when they hadn’t seen how I had been dry-heaving from stress and crying daily for months when I was “trying to make it work”, and it made me feel that they didn’t trust me to make good decisions, even though I was a fully independent adult with a career and life separate from them.

        So maybe it’s my personal experience speaking, but I trust that when Lunch Eating Mid Manager says she needs to leave, she’s tried to make it work and it’s not working.

        1. Prospect Gone Bad*

          Yup. I think this is the issue with internet advice in general, a person is often asking about the snowball on the top of the iceberg and telling you to ignore the iceberg. Or just as often the person responding has them confused.

          Every case is different. Your case happens. I’ve also seen people afraid to ask for changes and assume they’re impossible and not try. Only OP can know. But it is worth mentioning. And doing. If you’re going to be unemployed with the real risk of never finding comparable work again (which they may not want, but still), it sure as hell is worth a 30 minute conversation like “can we promote Sally to a Junior Director” or “can we split this into two teams.”

          You mention your parents. Well, older people give out advice because they don’t want us repeating their mistakes. If it doesn’t apply in one’s situation, you can just say “tried that, didn’t work” and move on. I don’t know, I feel like I am getting more lax in middle age and become fine with people throwing advice at me and taking some and throwing out others and telling people that I tried theirs and it didn’t work, and moving on. I don’t see the cause for conflict here. I wasted so much time in my 20s being mad that someone gave me advice in passing, like it was this huge criticism of how I do stuff. Now I literally don’t care. I realized that it’s not as deep as people make it out to be.

          That’s why I don’t get one of the replies above. In this case, it’s not like they asked about work and I gave them weight loss tips in response:-)

    5. SofiaDeo*

      I am sorry to hear that your job has gotten you so stressed out that you think business staff/grand reports and colleagues need any “reason” why you are making a personal decision/doing a personal thing. It’s not business related, there is no “need to know” regarding your reasons. They don’t need to know any reasons regarding why you haven’t lined up another job, do they? What if it was an urgent family health situation? What if you won the lottery? What if you were starting a competing business? I don’t see how your “reasons” are any of their business, as something they are “owed”. Alton Brown’s Evil Twin and A Simple Narwhal stated it beautifully. You can comment on how to reach you as a reference if willing to do so to your direct reports. For colleagues, if you converse with them casually, let it come up organically if your job affects theirs. For people who are actual friends, most likely they already know why you are leaving. I do thing a “grand announcement” other than “I will be leaving as of such and such” would affect people more if you started trotting out reasons. Just gently deflect as others have suggested.

      Others have mentioned

      1. SofiaDeo*

        Others have mentioned perhaps you should reconsider, but if you are so stressed/exhausted/not thinking clearly, you probably are making the right choice. There’s a Great Resignation going on for a for a reason.

    6. Manchmal*

      How about burnout? It sounds like it is true to some extent and it’s definitely something people understand! Your coworkers sound burnt out too, but you don’t have to protect them from the fact that you’re in a position to take time off. I’m sure their first thought will be – good for her!

  43. Hopeful Ex-Librarian*

    * cue the “i’m back again” tiktok song *

    more cover letter questions! for context, i’m applying for jobs in quality control, document management, other roles like that. i know my library experience transfers, but unfortunately i’m having a hard time getting anything other than rejections haha. i know a lot of it is probably on me and how i do my cover letters, and i am doing my best to fix any mistakes going forward.

    however, i wonder if part of the problem is that i do have my mlis (masters of library and information science) and that might make people think i’m overqualified? is there wording i can use to let people know i know i am overqualified (to be clear, i’m only talking specifically degree-wise) but i don’t mind? i know i shouldn’t take the degree off, but i don’t know how to handle having it….

    thanks, everyone. this site and commenters have all been so helpful and i can’t think y’all enough. i posted here in january about other options that i could do, and specific experience i have, and you gave me several suggestions, which gave me hope when i really didn’t have any and really needed something.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      If you are specifically worried about your MLIS, you can take it off of your resume and not mention it in your cover letters. Some people in other fields might have a general idea that an MLIS is required for librarian jobs, but even those people won’t say “job title = librarian, hmm this person must have a master’s degree. overqualified!” when they’re scanning your resume/reading your cover letter.

      If you’re worried that taking the degree off will create a gap (or anything else about taking it off), you can have two versions of the resume: one with the degree and one without. Apply to about half of jobs with one version, and the other half with the other version. You could even do this for a limited period of time and keep track of which job received which version of your resume so you can see if there’s any change in responses from companies.

      Best of luck with your search!

      1. Hopeful Ex-Librarian*

        ooo, thank you! i like the idea of kind of testing the degree thing out!

        i don’t know if people actually care about my mlis, but i feel like some people might just write me off because i have a masters of any kind, so we’ll see….

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      As Hlao-roo mentioned, you don’t need to put your MLIS on your resume. I know tons of people with PhD’s who have omitted them from their resumes when they think it’s more of a harm than I help. You don’t want to put a degree you don’t have on your resume, but leaving one you do have off? 100% kosher and fine.

      I