new company is really micromanagery, I got promoted but they won’t change my salary for months, and more

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

1. My new job is really micromanagery

I am an exempt salaried employee at a nonprofit. I’m relatively new to the org, but am already sensing significant lack of trust from the top. At first, I wrote it off as me being new, but I’m beginning to worry that it’s a larger culture issue. Since I’ve started, there hasn’t been a week that’s gone by that we haven’t had multiple resignations (we have a total of 110 positions). Perhaps that’s normal, but it feels like a lot. I’ve noticed my CEO micromanages director and manager level staff (myself included) and, in turn, my director micromanages me. I’ve been asked on multiple occasions to sign out for lunch, provide when I intend to return and notate where I will be while I am out. To me, this seems to be an overreach and invasion of privacy, especially as an exempt employee. I’ve also been denied flex time after working 60 hours in one week. Every email I send to our constituents, board, or potential partners has to be approved by my supervisor, then printed and approved by my CEO. So much of my work gets bogged down by these seemingly minor things, but it makes me feel as though I’m not trusted to do my job. I don’t want to leave this job per se, but I also don’t want to stay in a position or at an organization that is unhealthy.

Am I overreacting or is this a normal amount of supervision? How can I bring my concerns up without being seen as “entitled” or “whiny”?

No, that’s a lot. It’s not terribly unusual for the CEO to sign off on communications to the board or the full membership, but all emails to potential partners? I could see that with the occasional very high-stakes communication, but not all partner communications across the board. It’s not that odd to ask you to sign out for lunch and note when you’ll return (so people know when you’ll be available), but needing to say where you’ll be is weird. (And why? Are they going to show up at your doctor’s appointment with a work question for you?) Also, the turnover is extremely high — at that rate you’ll have 100% turnover of the staff in less than a year.

These problems all sound entrenched enough that I’m skeptical that much will come of raising your concerns, as opposed to simply working on getting out.

2. I got promoted to a manager job — but they won’t change my salary until months from now

I recently applied for a supervisory role at my organization and was successful. However, people began to congratulate me and discuss the announcement before there had been any mention of salary. I asked about salary and at first didn’t receive a reply. After following up, I was told that our organization only adjusts annual salary once a year at the end of the year and that I’d have to wait until then to receive my pay increase. How unusual or typical is this policy?

This position has more in-person meetings and in-office demands. With commuting and pet care costs, I don’t want to feel like I’m losing money to take this opportunity. I also don’t know what the end of year pay increase will be. I am going from being an individual contributor to managing a team of 10, and I’d hope the pay increase would be considerable to reflect the expanded role.

I raised both of these concerns with my boss. She explained that there were various avenues to increase my salary, and to stay in touch with her on how I felt regarding compensation.

I’m currently being pursued by another organization whose salary range for their position is higher than my current salary. I hadn’t been seriously considering them, but now I’m thinking twice.

More than anything, I’m disappointed that the salary adjustment policy wasn’t explained to me during the application process, before I was asked to accept the role or at the very least directly after I accepted the role. Even if I don’t have increased commuting costs and do receive an end of year increase I feel is fair, I feel like I’m taking on these new responsibilities for six months for free.

What?! This is ridiculous. It’s one thing to only do raises for an existing position at the end of the year — but you’re moving into an entirely new job with significantly higher responsibilities, which should have its own salary. How are you even supposed to know if you want to accept the job when you won’t know how much money it pays until months from now? Plus, at that point you’ll have no leverage to negotiate because you’ll already have been doing the job for months. And it’s not okay to make you to work at a lower salary than your work deserves for months.

Ideally you would have explained you couldn’t accept the promotion without agreeing on salary, and certainly couldn’t begin doing the work before that — just as they wouldn’t expect an external candidate to take the role without settling the salary. At this point you have a lot less negotiating power, but you can still meet with your boss and make the points above (as well as finding out what “various avenues to increase my salary” means — and emphasizing your need to take action on these avenues ASAP). If they won’t budge, you should indeed look at jobs elsewhere, and tell them why when you leave.

3. I told my boss I wanted reduced hours and she said she’ll “try”

I work two jobs: one is my full-time day job and the other is in food service, where I work about three shifts a week. I’ve worked at job #2 for a few years and knew I would be leaving at the end of the summer, so back in June, I told my boss so she had enough notice.

The full-time job, which I started at the beginning of July, has taken more of my time than I thought it would. Plus, I don’t have to work a second job, so I don’t want to. I asked my boss at job #2 if it would be possible to move me down to working one day a week after about two weeks (how far the schedule is out), and she said that she didn’t know because we’re short staffed, but she would try.

Is it unreasonable for me to expect this right away when the next schedule comes out? She has also talked about me picking up shifts after I leave at the end of the summer, which concerns me since I will be six months pregnant and the work will be much more difficult. My coworker said I should turn my two weeks in as soon as possible since my boss might not reduce my hours, but I don’t want to leave them without training someone for the work I currently do.

Nope, you’re not being unreasonable. Talk to your boss now (don’t wait) and say, “I wanted to make sure I was clear the other day — I will only be available one day a week starting on (date) and don’t have any flexibility on that. If that’s not possible on your end, I need to give you two weeks notice now and have (date) be my last day.” If she says anything else about you picking up shifts after you leave, you should say, “I won’t be available after I leave — I’m going to have my hands full.” After that, she can talk about it all she wants but you’ll have warned her you’re not doing it and you don’t need to budge.

4. Job candidate ghosted us when we called with an offer … we think?

We’ve been hiring for a new position at my organization and had a great candidate who we wanted to offer the position to. Our HR manager called the candidate on Friday morning and again on Monday morning, and it’s now Tuesday and we have not heard back. It’s very bizarre because it was kind of a long and involved interview process: a phone screen, followed up by a Zoom call with the hiring manager, and then two panel Zoom calls with a handful of our team members. The whole process has taken about six weeks, and the candidate sent personal thankyou emails to the HR manager and some of the panel interviewers as well.

Our first thought is that this person is ghosting us and is no longer interested … but I can’t help but wonder if we should be concerned and keep trying to reach her. I realize we don’t really know this candidate, but going off our previous conversations and interactions with her, this seems so out of character and is very unexpected. This salary and benefits for this position are both very generous and higher than market standards. Our HR manager is going to give it a few more days before she emails the candidate as one final contact to close the loop. Do you have any other thoughts or advice for how we should handle this situation?

It could be so many things — she could be on vacation, or sick, or dealing with a family emergency. Or yes, she might have simply decided she’s not interested and is handling that by just not responding, which is a thing some people do, sometimes even people who have been very responsive up until that point.

Ideally when your HR manager left the second voicemail message, she would have emailed over the offer at the same time. It’s not too late to do that now, with a message saying that you’ve been trying to reach her and thought you’d just send her the offer meanwhile. (No need to wait a few days; do it now.) If there’s some tech issue with her phone, that way you’ll at least have tried two methods. But then if you don’t hear back in a few more days, it makes sense to move on.

Read an update to this letter

5. Can I claim my job was eliminated?

I work as an accounting assistant in a brokerage firm. Recently, I learned through a third party that the duties I was originally hired for are being moved to a team in a different state. I confirmed with my immediate supervisor that this is the case, but she states there are other things I can be trained on so I will still have a job.

This company is a bad culture fit and I was already planning to look for another job after sticking it our for a year. However, the recent changes make me feel like I should go ahead and start looking now. Would it be appropriate to state that my job was eliminated in interviews or would I be better off just using the culture as an excuse for leaving after six months?

You could say, “My job was moved to another state, and while they offered me another role, I’m really interested in doing X.”

It gets the same point across without potentially running into a situation where what your employer says doesn’t match up with what you said, plus it emphasizes that they wanted to keep you (which reflects well on you).

{ 399 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymouse*

    #1. The hard part will be when the director and the CEO send back your resignation letter with notes before they approve it.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      With revisions (e.g. Your final date is now 2022-10-01, not 2022-09-01, etc).

    2. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      This actually happened where I work–a manager edited someone’s resignation letter.

    3. I Need Coffee*

      I had a manager who insisted on reviewing every communication I sent. In one instance, I took a previous letter, changed the recipient information and sent it to my manager for the required review. She changed a word (purely a matter of preference, not meaning). SHE had written the original letter I used as a template. That was the epiphany moment where I knew it wasn’t me and it wasn’t going to change.

      1. Sarah*

        I had an old grand boss who would have you edit something so many times that eventually you would be back at your original version. The (not really) joke was to always keep each version because you would eventually get back to that.

        1. Burn After Writing*

          Had a boss like that. Eventually got to where I’d deliberately put two misspelled words in what I wrote. That usually satiated his red pen fixation and got me out of the revision loop faster.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            I had to do that once with an intern tasked with proofreading my work but for the opposite reason! She handed a couple of things back to me saying they were perfect, and it suddenly occurred to me that she was afraid to correct me, 15 years her senior with oodles of experience.
            So I left say two mistakes in on purpose and told her there were several, and that way she did find some mistakes that really did need correcting.

          2. Carly L*

            If I sent my old boss an email that said “Here is a rough draft of this communication, please review”, he’d approve it with no changes. If I sent the exact same thing but my email read “Please review this communication before it’s sent to all parties”, he would treat me in the revision loop for hours or days.

      2. The Bat*

        This happens at both my current and last position more times than I can count. Thankfully, my manager (in both cases) wasn’t reviewing everything I sent out, but when I did ask them to review a public facing piece, they frequently point out language that didn’t sit right with them, and every time, I’m like, “Got it. I had taken that directly from [X previously published language].” It ain’t me, it’s you, friend.

        1. Koalafied*

          That’s can be a common thing even in places that aren’t overly dysfunctional. At my org they call it “zombie content” – something that was previously approved, so writers keep reusing it to avoid having to go through program review for every little thing they write, but it’s actually no longer supposed to be in use because more recent guidance has supplanted it.

          Due to internal challenges with disseminating information to all the right people – marketing/PR/comms get the memo but all the random writers embedded in other departments often don’t – this content that is supposed to be dead keeps showing up in official materials from time to time, like a zombie.

          Of course, it’s not like anyone gets castigated or “in trouble” if they’re caught using zombie content. They’re just told, “Oh, hey, you must not have heard – we’re supposed to say X instead of Y now.”

        2. Splotchy Dot*

          Ugh gosh I had one of those as well and was in the exact same situation. Boss was also just really bad at communicating what she actually wanted/envisioned, so often I’d model my work on what had been done for all the years previous, then she’d totally rewrite as something brand new. And I always thought, “You know I could have done this if you’d told me that’s what you wanted…”

      3. Lucy P*

        This is SOP at the company I work for. 97% of all correspondence, regardless of department, is reviewed and edited by top management before it is sent out.

        And yes, things are often re-written to say the exact same thing (with the same tone) as the original write-up, but in someone else’ preferred text.

        1. Koalafied*

          Yep. As a writer I always look at it this way – I’m writing for an audience of millions of potential readers. I may think what I wrote is perfectly eloquent and comprehensible, and when someone flags something as sounding “off” or “confusing” sometimes my gut reaction is along the lines of, “There’s nothing wrong with what I wrote, you’re the one who’s parsing it weirdly!” But then I immediately tell myself that if this reviewer was capable of parsing my writing that way, even if it’s not how I intended, odds are that there are a lot of people in my audience of millions of potential readers who would parse it the exact same way. So even if I think the original was fine, and I don’t like the edited version as much, it’s still usually going to be more comprehensible to more people if it’s been reviewed by multiple writers/editors.

          1. wellfleet*

            One: you have an admirable and inspiring attitude about this. Two, it does help if the person doing the revision doesn’t add comments like, “did you go to high school?” or “what was that word salad?” to their corrections.

            1. Koalafied*

              Oh, hundo P! To produce great creative work you need to be able to accept critical feedback on your work with grace, but to do that, you need to be working in a psychologically safe environment.

      4. Saraquill*

        Boss at OldJob gave me an assignment less than a month before I was let go. It was a quick thing that could be accomplished in less than a day. Manager was incensed that I didn’t consult her and inserted herself into the project, insisting I should no better than to follow instructions from Boss. After Manager finished putting in her two cents, she had another employee undo everything I did, including the stuff she approved herself.

      5. Cremedelagremlin*

        Yep, I have a client who insists on reviewing every communication before I send it. Sometimes communications go out more than once and they will regularly edit their own edits on the 2nd time around. I’ve given up trying to anticipate what they might change or to ask questions to help get closer to what they’re looking for because there isn’t really any rhyme or reason.

      6. Emmy Noether*

        I once tested my micro-manager by re-using one of her paragraphs from another document. She changed it and commented, and I quote, “I would not have written it like that” (and no, it was not outdated or wrong for that document. She just changed the wording for the same content. For the hell of it, apparently). I did not dare to point out that that statement was demonstrably wrong, and instead increased my efforts at job searching.

    4. AnonInCanada*

      Thank you for giving me that giggle. It made this hellish day here a lot more tolerable :-D

  2. Estrella Zorro*

    Wow I literally came to AAM to look for questions/answers about micromanaging and it feels like kismet that the first question was about that

    Are there ever ways to effectively communicate about it to the top? I’ve talked to HR casually and they validated my experience— and it’s nowhere near as bad as this post. But man has this exact thing burned me in the past and I am reticent to get entrenched in it again.

    Managers, trust your people to be good at their jobs!!!

      1. Estrella Zorro*

        Wow thank you for pointing me in the right direction!!! I absolutely love this site and all your advice.

    1. Miette*

      “Are there ever ways to effectively communicate about it to the top?”

      Not that I’ve seen, not without board intervention at least. At a former job, even a CEO change couldn’t remove the micromanagey aspects of the place, it was that conditioned into people. Now, years later, the exec team has been refreshed as well and they seem to be on a better path. But it was hard going.

      1. Smithy*

        This is my experience. The behavior becomes so ingrained. People are just used to cc’ing everyone, sending emails over for review, etc. Even without it operating as a threat, those behaviors can become very ingrained as “how business is done”.

        People who are used to working on vacation, say they don’t mind, etc – that’s not something fixed by one manager saying once “you really don’t have to”. Functioning with this level of micromanagement is the same. People may not love it, but anyone who’s stuck around there for a while has found some way to become used to it. And breaking those systems takes time.

        1. Antilles*

          It takes time, but more importantly it takes upper management focus and buy-in.
          If upper management really wants to change, they can effect a change (usually over months if not years) through a mix of discussions, cajoling, reorganizations, and even discipline/layoffs of people who are too stuck in their ways.
          But if upper management doesn’t see it as a problem or doesn’t truly care enough to make it a priority? It’s never changing.

          1. Koalafied*

            Yes to all of this. My organization had to undertake a pretty large effort to reform decision-making after employee surveys revealed that people were increasingly frustrated by the pace and difficulty of decision-making because departments that had one been small enough to operate on an a consensus decision model had grown too large for that to be practical, but department heads were uncomfortable making decisions without consensus, so you’d end up with these endless, intractable debates where the decision keeps getting punted down the road and the debate keeps getting rehashed over and over again without ever being resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.

            We devoted an entire yearly retreat one year to training on decision-making models. There were a half dozen follow-up half-day trainings over the next couple of years, and it helped somewhat, but adoption was spotty because ultimately the department heads needed to not only use the models themselves but make sure all the managers under them understood that using these decision frameworks was not a helpful suggestion they could take or leave, it was how all decisions must be made from now on.

            I think we were pretty successful in the end, but it took 1) C-suite leadership in identifying the new frameworks and setting up multiple trainings across the org, 2) department leadership using the new frameworks AND ensuring everyone else in their department did, and 3) about five years of repeated reminders and re-training to unlearn old habits and name the new ones stick.

            Changing a business culture is possible, but it’s a big effort that as you say, takes time and widespread buy-in to succeed.

    2. EPLawyer*

      Change has to be wanted. If the CEO believes this is the way to run things (and OMG how do they do any CEO type work if they approving EMAILS all the time) then it is not going to change.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I think there’s virtually no way for the junior employee to shift the culture around micromanaging. As others have said, it has to be something senior people are willing to do. You can certainly raise the issue but if that doesn’t work there’s not much else for you. Sometimes you can carve out a few specific types of task that your manager/senior folks don’t care about, and have that all to yourself, but that’s pretty weak consolation.

        1. ferrina*

          And honestly junior employees may not have the experience to know when micromanaging is warranted. I’ve had staff that started making errors regularly, and they were mad when I wanted to review what they sent.
          Them: “I can send an email on my own”
          Me: “When you email a VP, you need to have accurate data and include relevant information that the VP needs to be aware of. The last three times you emailed a VP, your information was inaccurate, your communication was confusing bordering on inflammatory, and it created a logistical and political mess that took me weeks to clean up. So if you need to email a VP, you loop me in so I can proof the email first.”

          ….that said, when someone is doing well at their job, often the best thing to do is clear obstacles out of their way (including yourself) so they can do a great job! When I turned into a review bottle neck, I designated my strongest editors as alternatives to my review- they could do just as well, if not better, and would flag anything I actually needed to know.

        2. Darsynia*

          Yeah, I feel like the only way junior employees shift the culture is by noticeable, debilitating turnover.

          1. Lady Pomona*

            Unfortunately, it sounds as if the LW’s workplace ALREADY has noticeable, debilitating turnover and that hasn’t budged the micromanagement-needle one millimeter. Company cultures are almost never changed by one person alone – even if that person is at the very top of the hierarchy, which the LW is not. It takes difficult, even painful, honesty about what is wrong with the culture, how the problems are being perpetuated and what must change in order for the culture to improve. Since very few people really enjoy looking hard at themselves and acknowledging what they’ve been doing to contribute to a problem, this doesn’t often happen.

            1. NoiShin*

              Indeed. It seems like a lot of companies treat high turnover as “the cost of doing business in our industry”.

              1. londonedit*

                Yeah, I worked for a tyrant of an owner/micromanager once and they just could not see that they were the cause of the company’s ridiculously high turnover. The pattern was: hire the Next Great Thing who would finally Solve All The Problems, Not Like You Terrible People; micromanage said Next Great Thing so that they were in fact incapable of doing their job effectively and also miserable; Next Great Thing departs; owner goes on a rant about how you Just Can’t Find Decent People These Days and Why Does No One Want To Work.

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        I worked at a non-profit with an ED like this. We only had about a dozen employees, and we still thought he really needed to hire a deputy to take care of the day-to-day business. How a CEO manages to micromanage 110 people…well, it’s kind of impressive, really (in an “I would only want to observe it from far, far away” sort of way).

        1. Migraine Month*

          The CEO probably works incredibly long hours and has no idea they’re doing it to themselves.

          1. Not A Racoon Keeper*

            I would also put money on them not doing the actual work of leading the organization well.

            I worked at a small company in western Canada that was owned by a big US conglomerate. The guy we reported to in the corp was in NYC, and instead of leading us at a strategic level, he was providing feedback on the sales sheets that went out to (approx 200) retailers and other dumb stuff. Real feedback we got the week I handed in my resignation was “get a better cover photo for Sept sales sheet, apples are TOO OBVIOUS”

          2. Sloanicota*

            Yes, this. Most of the micromanagers I know are avoiding duties they should be doing and don’t want to do, so they’d rather dabble in the low-stakes stuff that they know won’t get them in trouble and torture the little people. Fussing over typos is more fun than trying to raise capital.

        2. The OTHER Other*

          I always wonder this when hearing about an extreme micromanager with lots of reports. I remember a letter where the manager (of like 12 people?) demanded to be CC’d on every single email. Either they are reading emails 18 hours a day or they are not getting any actual work done. Or both!

          Maybe people like this are reincarnated Stasi agents?

          In this case, demanding the whereabouts of someone going to lunch… why?

    3. The Bat*

      I currently work for someone (last day tomorrow) who doesn’t *think* he micromanages but every time he lets us off the leash, he panics and reels it back in. He has no idea he does this. In his mind, he trusts us. His actions, no.

      1. The OTHER Other*

        No one ever describes themselves as a micromanager, they might use terms like “hands-on”. You really need to read between the lines and ask people currently working for them to find out whether “hands on” means “they like to be informed of important things going on” or “Oh My God, I feel like I am in a grammar school run by a paranoid dictator!”

      2. Estrella Zorro*

        Congrats on getting out!!! I used to work for someone like this and it was an absolute nightmare. Same deal—thought he was very trusting but never let anyone do their damn job and spent most of his day nitpicking eeeeveryyyttthiiing. Then being shocked when things weren’t getting done by the time he thought they should be done—well of course they’re not done we all had to run everything through you!! And you’re too busy being overly involved in someone else’s project to answer a simple question in a timely manner. And it was always justified. “Well if I wasn’t super involved with X then we would have missed Y, or Z could have happened!!” Nightmare.

    4. Waving not Drowning*

      One big issue is if (and that a huge if) the micromanager is able to reform their micromanaging ways, are you able to work with them, or have they caused too much stress/trauma so your trust in them is broken?

      I worked for a micromanager – she came into our high performing team, and completely destroyed it! Out of a team of 9, only 2 were left standing at the end of her 2 year stint. At least 3 of us were seeing therapists to cope. I jumped at about the 18 month mark, into another department, where the manager presumed competence in her staff.

      I had raised the micromanaging issues with HR and with my managers manager. Managers manager was conflict avoidant, so ignored it. HR – was interesting. I had a meeting after returning from 2 weeks sick leave (it had gotten so bad that I had heart pounding anxiety driving in to work and in tears on the way home – culminating in one weekend where I couldn’t get out of bed and my partner made me make an appointment with my doctor – who took one look at my blood pressure and said I wasn’t working for at least a week, and gave me 2 weeks off). It was initially brushed off as a personality conflict, but I gave multiple, multiple examples where we were reduced to spectators at work, watching micromanager doing our work, because she didn’t trust us to do it properly (despite there being no complaints, and we’d been a high performing team). Using 2 spaces after a full stop – major transgression, and how is anyone able to trust the accuracy of our work if we do that!!! Things like that. That one was a 30 minute lecture.

      HR evidently did speak to her, as she made a passing announcement the next day she acknowledged we were professional staff, and that she was taking a more hands off approach – which funnily enough didn’t last.

      However, I couldn’t work with her any more – my trust in her had been completely shattered. She’s moved into different roles (crashed and burned in one, and shunted into a job that isn’t really a job role – but still on high $$), but, even if she has reformed, if I were told tomorrow that I was tranferring into her team, I would refuse, because, I would always be waiting for her to go back to her old ways.

    5. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      When working at a tiny firm where all four of us reported to Big Boss, the only way I got him off my back was by acting the know-all bitch, by saying such scandalous things as “OK I reckon I’ve got this” when he tried to dictate a “please find attached” email to me.
      Or even worse, taking initiative and sending the email, copied to him so he knew I had done it. If he blew up saying I needed him to check it first, I’d ask him to check it right then. Any corrections he wanted to make, I’d point to the fact that he’d previously told me to do it the way I had done it.
      He hated my guts but could hardly fire me for doing exactly what was needed.
      Once he found a mistake in an estimate I sent out, and I showed him that I’d copied that bit off his previous estimate… Luckily, in France, bosses can’t just fire you because you’re too smart for them.

  3. Zombeyonce*

    #2: What do they do when they hire external people, make them wait until the salary changes at the end of the year to get paid because $0 to $x is a pay change? Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s exactly how ridiculous this employer sounds.

    Don’t do the work until they are paying you for it and when you know exactly how much and are happy with it. You get the option to decline if it’s not enough to justify the extra responsibilities.

    1. Barry*

      They were not honest on pay, they have not said what the increase will be, and the OP has what sounds like a good alternate opportunity. Take it.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Betcha a bag of cheap ass rolls, it won’t be retroactive either. IF you don’t get the salary increase now, you will be working the new job at the lower salary, with no chance of recouping your losses.

        1. LT*

          Yes, a coworker at my last job got stuck with this kind of bait and switch, promised the salary would be adjust in X months and would be retroactive. After a few months of badgering, she moved on to another department

        2. Wendy Darling*

          And if they’re like a job I quit a while back due to similar shenanigans, when salary increase time comes around there will be a “salary freeze” due to “economic uncertainty” and they’ll just expect you to do the work of the higher title at the lower salary indefinitely.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        OP, the current company has shown you who they are – explore those other options.

        Oh, and in the mean time I would also be declining to to the new job until they were willing to pay the salary of the new job.

    2. Miette*

      Amen! I worked somewhere where I was promoted from admin assistant to sales rep but told the salary wouldn’t be changed until annual review time and it was literal BS. The only thing I had going for me was that I was still nonexempt so I booked a hell of a lot of OT.

      1. Rake*

        A similar thing happened to me once. I went from receptionist to marketing assistant with no pay raise. I was in that role for a few years and never saw a raise beyond 2-5% COL. The company owner loved to brag about how they promoted from within. One day when he was going on and on listing all the talent he spotted and promoted it occured to me it was almost exclusively women who were hired as receptionists then went to other departments as assistants and associates… And that’s how you get nasty gender pay gaps.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Personally I think OP should have refused to accept the “promotion” until the end of the year, if they were unable to budge on this.

      1. CoffeeFail*

        Definitely. I would like to think that my response would have been, great, I’ll start doing the job at the end of the year.

        1. Migraine Month*

          And yet, my actual response probably would have been, “Yay, I get a promotion, I guess the rest can wait. Can it wait? Why does this feel weird and wrong? Maybe if I stick around a while longer…”

      2. Clobberin' Time*

        Notice how the employer just kinda slid the OP into the new position (with all the “congratulations”) so that there was no clear bright line where she could stop to ask for more pay?

        This company is absolutely not going to pay the OP more. Come end of the year review time, there will be some excuse about a “probationary period” or how they only review new promotions after a full calendar year, or how the OP isn’t meeting vague targets, or some other nonsense that boils down to: Why should we pay you more, when we know you’ll do the job for less?

    4. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Yeah, I would go back and say “I’m sorry, since I’m not getting paid as an X, I am unable to do that work. We can revisit the promotion when the company is able to pay me in that position”.

    5. Books and Cooks*

      Especially when for all we/LW knows, she’s going to get to that end-of-year-raise time and be told, “The company is just not doing that well in this recession, so we can’t afford to give anyone raises this year,” or be given what is basically only a percentage or two above her current pay due to “budget issues.”

      Did her current boss do the work without getting paid for it, for months, too? Or any of the other people who’ve been promoted in their time at the company? Because this just seems ridiculous, and like something OP would have heard about before if it were truly a policy dating back to the company’s inception.

    6. FYI*

      Boss: “Stay in touch with me on how you feel regarding compensation.”
      LW: “How I ‘feel’ is that I want to be compensated for more responsibility. And I am in touch with you at this very moment.”

      Boss’ response is manipulative, condescending, and very deceitful.

      1. This is Artemesia*

        This. OP needs to lay out the ‘would you pay 0 to someone hired from outside till the end of the year? Paying me to do X when I am doing the new Y role is similar to that. If I am not going to be paid for the job, I will not be doing the job till the end of the year.’

        Then hustle like crazy to find another job and leave. These people will never treat you well.

  4. Passionfruit Tea*

    LW4 don’t assume from the get-go that the applicant is being a dirk and ghosting you. Many things could have happened, including them being in hospital or some other major emergency. Go into this with a bit more good faith.

    1. Kate*

      OP literally says that – ‘I can’t help but wonder if we should be concerned’. Maybe you should comment with a bit more good faith?

      1. Observer*

        No. Because the HR manager is not even thinking about that possibility. And the OP is not even sure they should be thinking that way. But it should be their FIRST position, not “well maybe…..” Especially given how anemic their attempts to contact the candidate were and the way the HR manger is handling it.

        Even without “the benefit of the doubt” following the calls with an immediate email (not just to “close the loop”) is such a basic thing to do, that it makes no sense why they haven’t done so yet.

    2. Cate*

      Or on a yoga retreat, or on a holiday where they don’t have their phone. I think I’d wait at least a full week before thinking there’s an issue.

      1. Loulou*

        Would you do any of those things while waiting to hear back from a job you just interviewed for, without telling the interviewer that you’ll be out of contact for whatever amount of time? That would be an odd choice!

        1. ferrina*

          It’s been a six week process- the candidate probably didn’t know when they’d hear back about the job. While they should still be checking communications every few days, it makes sense that they might take a vacation/retreat and miss something. (though if OP’s company literally said “expect a decision at X point” and the offer was made at that point, that’s more on the candidate)

          1. OP #4*

            I should have included this in my email to Alison, but neglected to do so: HR had been in pretty regular communication with the candidate at this point (at least weekly if not more often), and advised her she would hear from us by the end of the week. That was last Friday, and now it’s Thursday. Still no response despite 2 phone calls/voicemails and now 1 email!

            1. fhqwhgads*

              Definitely worth emphasizing: should’ve gone to a second method of communication sooner. Especially if it’s out of character. Next time this happens, email after the first voicemail. Don’t just wait for the callback.

            2. Chilipepper Attitude*

              I think the OP is worried for the well being of the candidate, not just about hiring them. So would anyone recommend taking any steps to make sure they are ok?

            3. ILoveLlamas*

              I was at a company that had made an offer to a guy, he accepted and before his start date had a horrible car accident and was hospitalized. Things happen. I hope your candidate is OK.

        2. Pool Lounger*

          Yes, because often people take months applying for jobs, and unless a job tells you their exact timeline you never know when they’ll make a decision. People also appky for multiple jobs. I wouldn’t put off a hiking trip or retreat for months on the hope a job would contact me that week.

          1. pancakes*

            I’m inclined to say this is particularly likely to be the case for mid-career and up jobs. Someone looking for an entry level job is often going to be expected to accept and start pretty much right away. The more senior the role is, the less urgent the process often is.

            1. No Longer Looking*

              If their process was urgent, they wouldn’t have taken six weeks to make up their mind. I think it is patently ridiculous to expect a 2-day turnaround response to a process that the company dragged out for several weeks, and if they give any less than a full week and a day they are being hypocritical and unfair.

          2. Another freelancer*

            Also: Sometimes the hiring timeline goes off the rails! I have interviewed plenty of times and have had few instances of decisions being made when they said they would. Although the candidate should still check their voicemail and email to a certain extent, I can see where a candidate would take a more relaxed approach while on vacation and not check diligently every day.

        3. Darsynia*

          I mean, we’ve heard multiple pieces of advice and questions asked over the years on here that could be converging.

          = Don’t overshare with a future employer about your upcoming plans! They don’t need to know you might be going on vacation during the weeks after your interview
          = Help! I interviewed 2 months ago and haven’t heard back yet! (Sometimes it do be like that)


        4. Observer*

          Because they were clearly not give a time line. If the candidate were going to be out of touch for an extended period, that would be one thing. But a few days?

        5. Tesuji*

          Would someone take a long weekend during the summer, even though maybe, possibly a company they interviewed with weeks ago might want to contact them on that Friday/Monday?

          Yes? How is this even a question?

          OP didn’t bother specifying when the last time they were in contact with this person was, nor did they say that they had given the applicant a timeframe for the decision, so to me this is coming across as “We spent weeks figuring out which direction we wanted to go, while giving zero information to the applicant, but it’s been a full *two* business days and they haven’t responded. Millennials just don’t want to work…”

          1. OP #4*

            Yikes, OP here chiming in to clear up some misconceptions:

            1) After the applicant’s final interview (which just happened last Wednesday), The HR Manager told the applicant she would be in touch with her by the end of the week (which was last Friday). Applicant gave no indication she would be out of touch. HR Manager called the applicant on Friday morning and again on Monday.
            2) I’m fairly new to my org and found their practice is to offer positions via a phone call. I’m the hiring manager, not the HR manager. I suggested to the HR manager we also email to close the loop, and it’s my understanding that happened yesterday. It’s early on Thursday, but still no response.
            3) Yes the interview process was lengthy, but this was explained to the applicant ahead of time by both myself and the HR Manager. HR was in touch with her via email/phone at least on a weekly basis.
            4) Maybe you should not assume the worst in people and try asking questions before making accusations or jumping to conclusions, just like what we are doing here… I mentioned in my original email that I am concerned about the applicant’s lack of response, which was why I took the time to write to Alison.
            5) I am a millennial myself and know better than to assume anything about a person’s work ethic based on their age. FWIW, this applicant is Gen X.

            I hope this helps clear things up for you and some others who have chimes in, but feel free to let me know if I can help clear anything else up. :)

            1. Hlao-roo*

              Thanks for commenting with the additional details! Sounds like your company has done their due diligence throughout the interview process. I hope the applicant responds one way or another.

        6. Avril Ludgateaux*

          If the process was drawn out for 6 weeks, I would expect at least the same amount of patience and grace that I (the candidate) had extended to the employer, to be extended to me.

          Friday to Monday is not some extreme absence.

        7. Mid*

          Yes. When it’s a 6+-week process, and if I wasn’t told that there’s an offer forthcoming, I would absolutely take my vacation without a phone without looping in every company I’m interviewing with. I’m waiting on funding for a position that I all but have now, and I’m planning to travel internationally and will not be accessible for 2 weeks. I’ve been talking to this company for over 3 months and have no clue when the official offer will come, so I’m not taking them into consideration as I live my life. If companies want transparency, they need to be transparent as well. Tell me the timeline and I’ll tell you if I have conflicts.

        8. wellfleet*

          Would I go to the hospital if necessary without delaying until I could contact my job prospects? um, yes.

    3. Asenath*

      I’d always try two methods of communication before giving up and assuming I was being ghosted, particularly for such an important thing. And I’d continue for at least a few more days, say a week from the first Friday notification until the following Friday. She could easily be away for a weekend, even a long weekend, with her phone turned off.

    4. Katie*

      While I do think OP had good faith about this, I think there are many good reasons that the OP is unavailable.
      Heck I went on a cruise and had no phone service for a week. No one could call or email during that time.

      1. Old Cynic*

        I’ve had instances, at home, where my (cell) phone service dropped and I didn’t know for several days. This included voice mail notifications and text messages. Data service worked though, so I had no idea about the phone issue because I don’t get a lot of calls. The phone service only resolves when I reboot the phone.

        So, yeah, multiple means of contact is a good thing.

        1. COHikerGirl*

          I just went through this myself! I only noticed texts weren’t arriving because I needed a texted auth code that never arrived. I was still receiving calls but no voicemails (except a batch one day after about a week and a half). I wasn’t able to get it resolved for a couple of weeks (and that required talking with Verizon’s tech support…after talking with Apple and Verizon’s in-store people).

          People I know knew to email me or use another service but anyone else…not so much.

          I did not miss all the spam texts during that time!

    5. ScruffyInternHerder*

      If this is recently written – its summer where I am and my department is at about 50% attendance daily right now due to vacations. I have in the past month been in two locations where I just have NO service whatsoever. It may not even be something as concerning as a medical emergency.

      It sounds like they’re worried about this after two or three business days surrounding a weekend…I’d give it a few.

    6. kathy*

      I am just now coming out of a COVID fog. I haven’t been able to talk for a few days too, so I’m definitely not spending any time on my phone. And limited time on email/text given my energy levels. Especially in this new pandemic wave I would suggest the applicant might have a reason for not replying immediately.

    7. Love to WFH*

      A contractor didn’t show up on their first day, or second, and hadn’t contacted the hiring manager. HR knew that I’d worked with the contractor before, and asked me if they were reliable. I said ABSOLUTELY. They thought to check their spam folder, and found a message from the contractor saying that he’d been hit a truck.

      It was a pickup truck, and he “only” had a broken collar bone, but he was shaky and on pain meds and needed to push back his start date.

    8. Ann Onymous*

      Yes, please keep trying and try other methods! When I was job hunting after grad school, my phone was having a bunch of issues and I couldn’t afford to replace it until I got a job. One of the issues was that it wasn’t receiving voicemails, but I didn’t know it wasn’t receiving voicemails until I finally got a new phone and several weeks worth of unheard voicemails suddenly showed up. If the HR person I was working with had just left a voicemail and given up, I would have missed out on the job offer I ended up accepting.

    9. Curmudgeon in California*

      Even getting sick with Covid, but not ending up in the hospital, can put a person out of touch due to being too sick to do phone or email. I know that several of my friends who have had it, even vaccinated, were out of commission for over a week – not even up to reading email.

  5. Passionfruit Tea*

    Welcome to the wonderful and abusive world of non-profits. Get out while you can.

    1. John Smith*

      It’s not limited to NPs (and not all NPs are like this). I remember in a FP role having to submit to my manager any written communications intended for customers. Invariably, the email/letter would come back with a variety of errors and a succinct, well thought out document would be reduced to what I can only call baby talk.

      This NP is beyond the joke though and I would bet they will not budge. I’d run.

      1. Passionfruit Tea*

        No, not all NP but the worst employer stories I’ve heard are pretty much all NPs. There seems to be a real issue among NP when it comes to exploiting employees for ‘the cause’.

        1. allathian*

          Mmm, that’s true. Although FPs are certainly just as capable of exploiting their employees if it benefits their C-suite and shareholders. And some manage to combine the two, like private healthcare, where nurses are expected to work hard for peanuts to line the pockets of shareholders.

          That said, some of the worst employer stories I’ve heard involve boundary crossing small businesses and startups.

          I guess it all comes down to what you consider to be the worst kind of stories. I’ve always worked to live rather than lived to work, so I’m extremely unlikely to buy into working for the cause. For the same reason, I also really value work/life balance, and would be unhappy if I’d be expected to work longer than 40 hours a week regularly, or if my manager didn’t trust me to do my job without constant supervision, or if I wasn’t able to disengage from my job when I’m not actually working, or if I had to deal with constant office polics and interpersonal drama.

          1. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

            The small business I am at is trying it right now, and when I tell you we’re all very, VERY much over it…

            Right now, I’m trying not to start cursing every single human who crosses my path out just for breathing near me.

            Instead, I’m going to have a conversation with whoever I need to in order to establish what we’re not going to do. Which is suddenly stay extra late for potty breaks for dogs who aren’t going to need to poop before midnight, when we have an overnight shift person who can do that.

            Or they could demand the Am shift start earlier, instead. We’re already overworked.

        2. BubbleTea*

          As Alison has pointed out repeatedly, this is partly because almost no one announces that they work at a “for profit”. They say shop or medical practice or whatever it is. Retail and food service both have plenty of horror stories and they’re both for profit industries.

        3. Brooklyn*

          I worked in tech startups before big tech before moving to a non-profit. Startup culture is entirely like this. They promise to change the world, and make you a billionaire to boot, and then work you 80 hours a week. I interviewed at a place that, when I asked about salary, said, “we pay people enough to be comfortable when they get home,” and when I asked about a 401k said, “we expect most employees will retire on their stock options in fifteen years.” Also informed me that everyone worked 80-100 hours and the CEO bragged about saving $1500 on equipment by having 3 software engineers assemble stockroom shelving for a week.

          You hear horror stories about the things you’re close to. I hadn’t heard of NP problems before joining one, because I knew relatively few people who worked at one, but knew dozens of startup explosions.

          1. pancakes*

            “They promise to change the world” – Anyone still falling for that needs an urgent remedial education on the history of the industry. Likewise the stock option talk. I was a recent college grad during the late 1990s tech boom and there’s plenty of reading about that to catch up on and people with experience to talk to.

          2. Boof*

            “saving $1500 on equipment by having 3 software engineers assemble stockroom shelving for a week” one wonders how much they truly saved once the salaries are considered; certainly hope software engineers are being paid at least $500/week!
            Run from any start up CEO who can’t do basic business math like that

              1. pancakes*

                You still have to pay the taxes on those when the company goes underwater. I hope people didn’t miss that lesson from the 90s boom. A brief excerpt from a summary of what can happen:

                “For example, take Jeffrey Chou, a then-32-year-old hardware engineer at Cisco Systems who exercised 106,560 ISOs at around 5 cents per share in 2000, spending around $5,300 to do so. When he exercised, he triggered a $2.7 million AMT tax bill, because Cisco’s stock had been worth $64.69 per share at the time — giving him an assumed gain (on paper) of nearly $6.9 million.

                But Cisco shares cratered in 2000, and by April 2001, were hovering around $17 per share, not enough to cover the engineer’s tax bill. He estimated he’d have to sell everything he owned, including his townhouse and 401(k), to get close to paying his tax liability.

                ‘I’ve lost sleep. I can’t eat. I cannot pay, and we’re ruined,’ Chou told reporters at the time.”

        4. quill*

          I think it’s a combination of “for the cause” and NP’s failing slower. (Whereas FP startups are more likely to crash and burn.)

          1. Smithy*

            100% this.

            It’s the very rare occasion of someone who works for a nonprofit just because they desperately need the money but rather because they need a job and the mission speaks to them. So when the work environment fails them, it’s often feeling like a mission of social good beyond just making money is also failing them. So the personal hurt in the failure can be much greater.

            Furthermore….because of how the money to operate comes in, failure can be a lot slower. Multiyear grants and/or unrestricted funding means that with creative or dubious financial practices – you can hold on for a while even if some systems or practices have serious weaknesses.

            I will also add that while on AAM, we read about nonprofits stripped of their mission. Often when you add that context into the letters….why people are tolerant of bad management or business practices, the picture can become more nuanced. Someone working in the last abortion clinic in their state, or a small community organization reaching a uniquely marginalized community may be painfully aware that there really just isn’t more money or another similar employer. And that while they can certainly quit and/or seek out jobs in other nonprofits or employers that means taking away talent that 100% may not be able to be replaced. It doesn’t mean people shouldn’t leave, step back, take care of themselves and their finances – but why making those choices can be really hard.

            1. Boof*

              I understand the social pressure but in the end of course good nonprofits treat their employees well I think… I remember reading a little bit of an interview on one of the only late abortion clinics in the USA and the reason those are so expensive is because the physician/head HAS to pay their people super well to make it worth all the harassment and danger. It’s also why that clinic will probably not be around once the physician/head is no longer able or willing to run it because they mostly do it out of a desire to keep the service available and put up with A LOT of stress and danger etc, and probably no one else will want to pick up that mantel.
              So I get it there’s a lot of ways to socially pressure people to do things against their best interest and I don’t think that’s unique to nonprofits though the exact form it takes is a little different for those

              1. Smithy*

                Yeah – I think the pressure, honestly, is also internal. I say this having worked for a small organization in a country where it was hated by the government, the funding opportunities were what they were, and everyone in my life was more than happy to tell me that I could make more money elsewhere.

                I just share this because I think the pain, angsty and willingness to stay to the points where the comments are just screaming “omg leave” ends up with far more internal pressure than external.

        5. Observer*

          No, not all NP but the worst employer stories I’ve heard are pretty much all NPs. There seems to be a real issue among NP when it comes to exploiting employees for ‘the cause’.

          Please notice that #2 and #3 are not NFPs, and it’s hard to say that they are being less abuse, although in a different way.

          I suggest you read the archives here and notice how many insanely abusive bosses have been described here? I’m not just talking about the ones that have become legend (like the guy who wouldn’t let his best staffer reduce some “mandatory overtime” to go to her own graduation!). But the guy who showed up to a funeral, the one who showed up to a wedding to ask the BRIDE questions, the one who was demanding that his employers get tested as liver donors, the one who showed up to someone’s chemo. Or even just more mundane stuff like the bosses who won’t let people take any time off even though they officially get PTO as part of their package – and often even though the person is working far more than 40 hours a week. Or the bosses who yell and cream at people?

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      As someone who’s worked in functional and supportive nonprofits for many years, this perspective is unfair. There are “abusive” workplaces in every sector, as evidenced by the letters we read here often.

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        Agreed. In a 25+ year career, with 3 NPO and 4 FPO organizations, the NPO ones have absolutely been the best at truly promoting work-life balance. Do they have notoriously low pay? Yes. Do they sometimes have odd, cause-related perks? Yep. Are they abusive? Absolutely not.

    3. bamcheeks*

      I think the more relevant distinction is big organisation vs small organisation, with NFP tending to be smaller. Big organisations tend to smooth out the dysfunction / wonderfulness and cluster in the middle of “not great” to “decent” — a big company which is amazing my from top to bottom is rare, but so is the big company which is simply bananacrackers from top to bottom. Smaller companies have more ability to be dominated by one or two people’s personalities, and in some cases that can be very, VERY good and in others it can be very, VERY bad. But there are fewer layers and structures to dilute or ameliorate one person’s bad practice— especially if they have the power to hire in their own image — so it’s easier for bad to be much worse.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        This is my take as well. I work in a small law office. My boss is great! My previous job was also in a small law office. The boss was a horror. I have also worked in big law offices. They are all bad, but in a generic way.

      2. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

        But it’s really not that simple- my worst experiences have been for large companies, because the decision makers are insulated from the people who have to deal with the fall-out from their bad choices, and layers of bureaucracy make it really hard for them to change. It really comes down to the fact that any company has the potential to be awful, yay?

        1. WantonSeedStitch*

          Universities are also very large nonprofits. And they definitely, IME, have the issue of different parts of it varying widely in how good a place they are to work. I work at one, and my department is simply wonderful. I have known other people working in completely different areas of the same university who have been miserable because of abusive practices, poor organization, etc.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Yeah, I worked for a major non-profit university, and it varied widely how various schools and departments were to work for.

            The head of the department where I worked felt that employees were one-trick ponies and replaceable cogs, and didn’t like generalists, so would regularly eliminate positions then later hire for different ones instead of cross-training existing employees and retaining their tribal knowledge. Just in the few years I worked there they lost a lot of their depth of expertise due to this. He also like to outsource stuff, even if it was inferior to what had been developed in house, because then he could eliminate the position of the experts who developed it, and get “commodity” level people to handle the (usually inadequate) off-the-shelf “solution”. Annual “merit” increases never met inflation, and there were no COLAs. Needless to say, morale was often very poor.

      3. Smithy*

        I think this is a common assumption but not entirely true. My experience has actually been that the worst nonprofit experiences have been on teams with rapid growth. And that can happen at large NGO’s as easily as small ones. I don’t think that any NGO gets well resourced for growth, because that often means larger investment in administrative systems. And large NGO’s still aren’t looking to wildly increase their percentage of funds spend on administration.

    4. Observer*

      Welcome to the wonderful and abusive world of non-profits.

      This has nothing to do with non-profits. Perpetuating that myth does no one any good.

      Get out while you can.

      That is true – this is ridiculous and is going make your life miserable.

      1. Lexie*

        Having worked in nonprofits I think that they get the reputations of being worse employers because it’s expected they will be good ones. That people who want to save the (fill in cause here) aren’t going to exploit their employees. Whereas we expect the for profit companies to grow their profits at the expense of the worker. So it’s not a surprise when they do just that.

    5. Susan Calvin*

      Real talk, my former For-F500-Profit employer did it *exactly* like that. Compensation review, tied to your performance review, was in March, no exceptions, unless your manager completed the 12 tasks of Hercules on your behalf. If you changed your role within the previous 12 months? Good for you, hope you like it. Newly moved into a management role? Congrats, extra 2% on top of your performance based increase! … wait, where are you going

  6. Zombeyonce*

    #4: Some people rarely, if ever, check their voicemail. And yes, even people waiting to hear from a job might not check it for a few days. She might be one of them.

    1. Mockingbird*

      Especially lately when the only calls you get are spam. Or she may not be able to take calls at work, and returning it after work is just going to lead to VM tag. Or they just hate talking on the phone. If someone can reply to your VM with an email, say so in your VM. And shoot over an email, too.

    2. This is Artemesia*

      We were really contacted about a horrific personal family tragedy by police; the cop called from a personal phone and it was not identifiable even by number. My husband just cancelled it twice before picking it up on the third call for the worst news of our lives. There is so much junk that lots of people are in the habit of not picking up phone calls. Obviously very important stuff can get missed.

      Obviously also someone job searching should pick up every call and check voice mail but at least try to reach them through other means.

      1. FashionablyEvil*

        Ugh, I’m so sorry. I’ve been in a similar situation recently (cops calling to tell me about a serious accident and me not picking up) and it’s just awful. Sending hugs to you and your family!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Oh wow. So very sorry for the tragedy. Totally understandable about the phone call but some how these things seem to add to the sense of tragedy, ugh.

      3. turquoisecow*

        Yeah I don’t usually answer the phone if I don’t recognize the number, so I could see this happening to me.

        1. This is Artemesia*

          Thanks. It has only been a month and the loss is raw. And terrible. I am just grateful my husband did pick up so we knew and could do what little we could do.

    3. Emmy Noether*

      Mmmh, with modern phones, one doesn’t have to randomly check voicemail from time to time to see if there’s a message though. My phone will alert me to missed calls, display the number, and even tell me if there was a message left! If I was job searching, I’d check it as soon as I got the alert, or, if that wasn’t possible (I’ve been locked out of my voicemail when out of the country for example), call back.

      There are a bunch of other explanations though. Defective or lost phone comes to mind. I’d try another means of communication for sure.

    4. Working Mom Too*

      My cell phone voice mail either notifies me of new messags every 22 seconds until I listen to them, or not at all. If I was not in my service area when the call came in, I might not get a missed call notification either.

      My email is WAY more reliable.

      1. ferrina*

        My phone does this too. It may or may not tell me if I have a voicemail or email; it will reliably tell me if I haven’t played Random Game for ten minutes *eye roll*

    5. Meowsy*

      Last week I had a voicemail come through. I thought that was odd, because my phone hadn’t rang. When I listened to it, it had come the month before. Never rang, never notified me beforehand. It was time sensitive, but luckily they contacted me a different route and I’d taken care of it.

      1. It's All Elementary*

        Verizon once failed to forward to me my voicemails when they changed their software or program until I “signed up for voicemail”. Problem was that there was no clear instructions that this needed to be done to get my voicemail (which I always had prior to whatever they changed). I hadn’t purchased a new phone and hadn’t changed anything so I didn’t know I needed to do it. By the time I realized I wasn’t getting any voicemails it was over 6 months!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I’ve had this with both voicemails and texts. Not often, but enough to underscore the “try a different medium” message.

      3. AnonInCanada*

        That’s typical of VOIP services as well. The VOIP provider we have at work has a tendency to not email certain voicemails that come in until days later. Good ol’ RingCentral. Happy to give them a plug.

    6. KelseyCorvo*

      But they’ll still see that the company called. They don’t have to actually listen to their voicemail to see that.

      1. Cringing 24/7*

        Not always, depending on a person’s service. I sometimes get voicemail notifications with no missed call notification and it varies as to whether the voicemail is even recent (I once got a notification for a voicemail left almost 3 weeks beforehand!). Don’t know if it’s a T-Mobile thing, an issue with my area, or what – but it is absolutely imperative that people try multiple methods of contact if they want to get in touch with someone and are unable to with just one method.

    7. Mill Miker*

      My old phone had an annoying tendency to suddenly stop showing voicemail notifications until I rebooted it. I don’t know how many times I let an unknown number ring with the logic of “if it’s important they’ll leave a message”, and then find out days later that they did leave a message, and I never got the notification.

      But I’m also struggling to remember if any of those missed voicemails were every anything but spam.

      1. Delta Delta*

        My work phone randomly doesn’t give me voicemails until a day or two later sometimes, which isn’t all that helpful since it’s for, you know, work.

    8. The OTHER Other.*

      I make a lot of outbound calls to existing clients and it used to amaze me how often I would get a recording saying the voice mailbox was full. It was a flashback to the 80’s when answering machines used those mini cassette tapes that only held a small number of calls and you had to make a special trip to Radio Shack to replace. A LOT of people are not checking their VM much, and honestly most of the calls I get are spam, despite being on do not call lists.

      1. Cringing 24/7*

        Oh, or that a mailbox isn’t set up! I used to get that with outbound calls when I worked in a fraud department and I *needed* customers to pick up or potentially *lose money*! I’m like – “You see me calling over and over again, you have to know it *just might be* important or at least know that your voicemail is jacked up.”

        1. pancakes*

          My bank sends calls and texts for those alerts. I’m glad they don’t insist on only calls because for many people that’s not the best way to get in touch.

          1. mlem*

            I get constant fraud alert texts … for a bank I’ve never used, pushing me to click a link with urgency, because they’re actually phishing. A lot of people wouldn’t trust (certain formats of) text alert, with good reason.

            (I have gotten one legitimate maybe-fraud alert from my real credit card, for what turned out to be a valid purchase I’d just made, and I was reassured that it didn’t expect me to go to some sketchy link.)

            1. pancakes*

              I get those too. They don’t look anything like the alerts from my bank, but for good measure I added my bank to my contacts and now anything from them has the little bank icon I added. Anything without that gets blocked.

      2. Emmy Noether*

        In the 90s my parents had this really snazzy answering machine that could flip the mini cassette tape by itself! It was so fascinating to watch the little mechanism do it. And never “full”, because it would just flip again and record over whatever was already there. That was one seriously cool and quickly obsolete piece of technology, lol.

    9. Paris Geller*

      I use to check my voicemail religiously. Then I realized 90% of the voicemails I got were spam recordings (your extended warranty is about to expire!). Now I only check if I’m expecting a message from someplace like my doctor’s office. Granted, if I was job searching I would check my voicemails, but I do also know people who pretty much never check voicemails. Also, my phone has an annoying habit of only actually alerting me to about every third voicemail message.

    10. hamburke*

      I love the feature on my phone where my VM gets transcribed! Usually not very accurately which makes it even more fun!

      1. Books and Cooks*

        I love those!

        “Hi Mrs uh fable, this is non calling from the nurse of Lady Ben Four high school. Um your daughter mortgage is here and uh shes a headache so she like you to corner rent her and taken home for punch.”

  7. Julia*

    I’m surprised no one brought up what seems to me like the most likely explanation for the situation in #4: the candidate is waiting on another offer she wants more, and is hoping it will come through soon so she can turn down this job without risking being sans options. When I have delayed responding to an employer’s offer in the past, it’s always something like this.

    Of course the logical thing would be to ask the other employer what their timeline looks like and then ask this employer for X more days to consider the offer, but when you ask employers about their timelines they’re often so vague that it can be hard to know how much more time you’ll need. It can be tempting to just try to ride out the clock on the vague pretense that you didn’t receive the offeror’s communications yet. Plus it’s always a little awkward to ask for more time; even if you say “I’m very excited about this opportunity”, the subtext is that you’re more excited about something else.

    1. MK*

      That seems a lot more risky (and rude) than just asking for time to consider the offer. You risk the potential employer simply writing you off and thinking you unresponsive and possibly flaky. I can maybe see not answering the call if you are expecting to hear from another company that day, or the next, but to ignore them for more than a week?

      1. Green great dragon*

        It does, but I can totally picture someone wrongly believing they can’t admit to job a they might prefer job B and just delaying responding. I suggest the email and and more voicemails gives them a deadline to respond.

      2. Julia*

        Yeah, it’s not advisable, which is why my comment addressed some reasons it can be tempting to do it. Note however that it had been less than a week at the time LW was writing, not more (Friday to Tuesday). I can see someone justifying to themselves that it’s okay to delay responding over a weekend when people might not be checking email religiously anyway.

      3. pinetree*

        At this point the candidate would have to come up with a plausible explanation as to why they’ve ignored the calls. If they plan to lie and say a tech issue for example, more power to them, because I’d be terrible at trying to pull that lie off.

      4. KRM*

        Yeah that’s bad. A friend of mine got an offer after our layoffs (so we all knew she was interviewing, etc, and were updated on her process). She got the offer on Wed, I think, and they said they’d like to know by Friday. She wanted the weekend to think, but utterly failed to ask for it. So on Monday when she called to accept they said they had already given the job to the next candidate, because they hadn’t heard from her by the deadline. And this person wasn’t even waiting on a second offer, just wanted to talk it over with her spouse (which is a normal thing to ask for more time for!). Apparently she was afraid they’d say no and insist on the deadline. But as you can see, ignoring them was a dangerous game that a candidate is unlikely to win. It’s much more likely for the candidate to be somewhere with no cell service. If you send an email, you’re more likely to get a “I’m on vacation with limited connectivity until [Date X]. I will get back to you at that time.” message. I certainly don’t change my voicemail when I’m gone, but I do put an OOO if I’m expecting something important (did this when I was waiting on a second interview invite but was on a cruise in Alaska. They got the autoreply and we scheduled the interview when I was back).

    2. I should really pick a name*

      It’s a possibility, but I don’t think it’s the most likely one.
      Riding out the clock has a greater chance of getting your offer pulled than asking for more time

      Assuming the employer didn’t give a solid timeline on when to expect a response, I’d assume that the applicant just wasn’t able to check messages (maybe out of the country on a trip).

      1. Snow Globe*

        If you were going on a trip while in the midst of interviewing for a job, wouldn’t you somehow communicate to the company you are interviewing with that you will be unavailable during that time? That seems unlikely to me (that the person is unavailable because of pre-planned travel).

        I also wanted to add – if the OP follows Alison’s advice and emails the offer, they should include a firm date by which they would need to hear a response. Otherwise, the OP may eventually move on and make an offer to someone else, only to have the original candidate accept the offer a month from now.

        1. ScruffyInternHerder*

          Maybe? Depends on the timeline – the LW does state its been a pretty intense interviewing process, which to me says lengthy. If I went through that, and was going on vacation next week, I might not mention it (assuming the interviewing process took a month), especially if they’d noted a different timeline.

          This could be the case, but its been 2-3 business days spanning a weekend.

          1. MsM*

            You wouldn’t set up some kind of general “FYI, might be slow to respond” message, though? If I were actively job searching, I’d be worried about other places who didn’t have any kind of investment in me yet reaching out to send me initial interview requests.

            1. KRM*

              Not on my voicemail. But on my email. Which is why they need to reach out to other forms of communication as well!

        2. hbc*

          You might not realize that there will be a problem with getting messages until you’re there. I also think a lot of job seekers don’t expect a company to take 2 months for a selection process and then start biting their nails after 1.5 business days when a candidate doesn’t respond. They almost always do, but unless you’ve been through it from the hiring side, it’s very easy to see a lack of urgency.

        3. Observer*

          If you were going on a trip while in the midst of interviewing for a job, wouldn’t you somehow communicate to the company you are interviewing with that you will be unavailable during that time?

          Not necessarily. A trip might not have been pre-planned. Also, if you don’t have a timeline, and it sounds like there wasn’t, most people are not going to tell every prospective employer about every long weekend they might be taking. Why would they?

          Keep in mind that the OP and their HR manager have jumped to ghosting based on literally a long weekend with two calls and no email. That really is only a long weekend.

      2. Julia*

        Being inaccessible when you go out of the country is not really a thing anymore. I’d rate this as much less likely than the candidate choosing not to respond.

        Also, remember it’s only been a couple of business days. She might have been planning to ride out the clock for just a business day or two, which she would probably not rate as likely to get the offer pulled.

        1. KRM*

          Lots of people don’t bother setting up cell service if they’re going out of the country, especially not if they’ll have WiFi and will only be gone a relatively short time. So yes, you can be unreachable by phone but get your emails easily.

          1. Loredena*

            This. I don’t think anyone in my family has set up voice when traveling. We rely on texts and emails.

          2. quill*

            Yeah, I just had a family member go on a research trip to south america. Cell service? Quite a quandary.

          3. Observer*

            You can get your emails and phone calls from family who call you on WhatsApp / Signal / Duo whatever other messaging service can work over wifi.

            So, yes. I can see it easily happening.

          4. Falling Diphthong*

            One reason we have stuck with T-mobile is that it is really good for international coverage, e.g. when child is working in Europe or spouse in Asia.

            Even with that making it effortless for most of our travel, when we went to Costa Rica it was too complicated and expensive and so we just emailed and used the phones to view downloaded maps.

          1. OP #4*

            “Give me a break?” The majority of your comments in response to my letter have been negative and completely unhelpful. Can you please try to respond with a little bit of compassion? I never said we expected a response within one business day, so I’m not sure where you got that.

            The candidate was informed during her first interview with me that the entire process would take about 6 weeks. She was regularly updated about next steps and how long each process would take. She was told on a Wednesday to expect to hear from us by Friday, and she seemed very excited to talk again and did not mention she would be unreachable, away, etc…. which is why it was so odd when a few days had passed by and we didn’t hear anything from her. One of the voicemails that was left for her mentioned moving forward with a background check, and we’re wondering if that spooked her off.

            It’s now been almost a week and we still haven’t heard from her, so we’re pretty sure she’s either not interested OR something else has happened. I would hate to find out she’s not OK and would feel horrible, but we don’t want to continue bugging her if she just doesn’t want the job. We’ll try one more method of contacting her tomorrow, but after that we’re moving on.

      3. Observer*

        Riding out the clock has a greater chance of getting your offer pulled than asking for more time


        Assuming the employer didn’t give a solid timeline on when to expect a response, I’d assume that the applicant just wasn’t able to check messages

        This makes a lot more sense.

      4. OP #4*

        Hi, LW #4 here! I replied to another comment, but I’d like to add here that the applicant was told (last Wednesday) she would hear from us by the end of last week (last Friday). She told HR she was looking forward to it and gave no indication she would be unreachable or unavailable… which is why I’m a bit worried that something may have happened.

    3. Lily Rowan*

      Yeah, I don’t know that I’d say that’s the MOST likely explanation for not being in touch over a Friday and Monday in the summer. It’s certainly one possibility, though.

    4. Saberise*

      This. Every time we have had this happen to us, they have turned down the job because they got a better offer. They just were putting us off until they had finalized things at the other job.

    5. Observer*

      I’m surprised no one brought up what seems to me like the most likely explanation for the situation in #4: the candidate is waiting on another offer she wants more, and is hoping it will come through soon so she can turn down this job without risking being sans options. When I have delayed responding to an employer’s offer in the past, it’s always something like this.

      Well, just because you do that, doesn’t make it the most likely reason. At all. Most people will signal that they got your message and either ask for more information or more time.


      1. Julia*

        Haha. Well, to be clear, I don’t do stuff like this *anymore*. But the list of things I’ve done at past jobs that I’ve learned not to do anymore is quite long. I offered this as an example of what a candidate might be thinking rather than as an exemplar. Lots of us don’t act in an ideal manner in situations like this.

  8. Waving not Drowning*

    OP3 – I recommend trying to contact in multiple formats.

    I had an interview this week for a role I’ve been acting in for 6 months, which has come up for permanency. Because I was moved into the role with no applications called for in the first instance, our organisation required that it be advertised internally once it became a permanent role. I of course applied, because I really like the job. Unfortunately someone (or someones) else applied, and it had to go to interview. I was waiting for the interview invite to be sent to me, but I didn’t want to annoy my manager – I knew interviews would be the following day, because we had a short timeframe to fill the position (its one that can’t be vacant long).

    My manager queried with me at 5pm, asking if I’d received the interview invite (sent around 1pm), because I hadn’t accepted it – and, it was nowhere! It was in her sent invites, but, it didn’t make it down the corridor to my computer – she even resent it, and the second invite didn’t hit my inbox either! I felt awful, she ended up creating a new invite and sending that, which luckily I received. The missing invites x 2 turned up in my inbox the next day, 1 hour before the scheduled interview. It was very weird and very random, but, it was lucky that she knew how much I wanted the role to follow it up with me because it was unusual that I not accept that particular invite.

    If my manager hadn’t suspected something was up, I would have potentially missed out on an interview for a role that I really wanted.

    (and yes, I got the job :-) )

  9. Spearmint*

    LW2 – This would be playing hardball, but could you rescind your acceptance and say you’ll refuse to take the new position without a raise, and simply continue in your old position? I’d be tempted to in your shoes. Of course, that may be ill advised, I’ve never been in anything like that situation before.

    1. Lab Boss*

      I’m posting my own more detailed comment below, but this type of hardball can work really well if 1) OP’s old position paid well enough that they would honestly be OK without the promotion, and 2) if OP can provide a detailed list of the job duties they won’t be doing if they stay in that old position. That can really open management’s eyes to the fact that they’d rather pay you more than have to deal with the things they were counting on you handling.

    2. Shirley Keeldar*

      Maybe I’m naïeve, but it doesn’t seem like hardball to me, because I don’t see how the OP can be said to have accepted a job she doesn’t have a full offer for. An offer includes a clear statement of salary, and she doesn’t have that!

      Maybe play the confusion angle to the hilt? Go back to the boss and say, “I’m so excited about this new opportunity, but I realized that I’m not quite clear on the timeline after our last conversation. You can’t address salary until six months, so I’m assuming I’ll stay in my current role until that time. And then you’ll be able to make me the full offer, with salary. So we’re on the same page, right?” [Boss stammers something about wanting OP to start the new role now…] “Sorry, I’m still really confused—you’re not expecting me to act as a Teapot Manager while at a Lid Polisher’s salary, right? Because that’s just.. that’s not how things work, right?”

      1. I should really pick a name*

        That’s fun in theory, but the boss is the one with the power here. They can just say “Yes, that’s how things work”.

        1. Shirley Keeldar*

          Yes, I guess that’s true…but then at least OP would have clarity about the fact that her boss is a) ridiculous and b) unfair, and OP should eagerly pursue that other opportunity. And there’s a bit of satisfaction in making people say what they actually mean–as in, “Yep, we are indeed exploiting you” instead of “Stay in touch regarding how you feel about compensation” (insert eye roll so hard my eyeballs are glued to the top of my skull).

          1. I should really pick a name*

            But if the OP wants to hang on to this job until they find something better, they probably shouldn’t take a mocking approach with their employer.
            Totally reasonable to ask for clarification, but I wouldn’t suggest this as a way to go about it.

            1. Shirley Keeldar*

              Oh, yes, for sure; I didn’t mean it as mocking (interesting that it reads that way to someone else. More as a very earnest, “Surely you’re not suggesting…?” But if it comes across as sarcastic, not a good plan.

      2. ferrina*

        I’ve tried that (I was literally doing the work of three roles and just wanted to have a title change, even if they couldn’t do a salary boost). My boss told me that my job was what she said it was, she could change the description at any time and this was “other duties as assigned”, so I needed to do them or be disciplined.

        I didn’t want to be left without a job, so I had to do it. I really wish I’d updated my resume and started applying to other places at that point, but I was a young professional that had just broken in after four years of trying (and during a recession).

    3. pancakes*

      “Playing hardball” means being uncompromising and ruthless. Someone who has accepted (or been given) a promotion without even knowing how much it pays is simply not in a position to do that effectively. They should’ve refused it from the start, and they should take the other offer they have rather than trying to become further entangled in this role. The employer is bad and the situation is bad.

  10. Almost Academic*

    LW 4- I have been this candidate! Had an unofficial offer for a position in a lab, didn’t realize that HR would be contacting me to formally offer the position. I was out of the country for two weeks with no cell phone coverage (not even voicemail notifications). Thankfully the HR office sent me one last email asking if I actually wanted the position before moving on to the next candidate – please please try another method of contact if the voicemails are not working!

    1. OP #4*

      Thanks for your input! She was sent an e-mail yesterday AM with still no response. It’s been about a week now with no sign of contact from her… this is the longest we have gone without hearing from her during this whole process!

      We’ll give it a bit and try once more before we move on. At this point, we really just want to make sure she’s OK.

      1. Mahalia*

        I always raise an eyebrow at the comments who bend over backbridge to exonerate job candidates and vilify employers. I get that capitalism sucks, but assuming good intentions as a first move doesn’t preclude us from changing our opinion when new information comes along. Quite frankly the most likely explanation is that she is trying to run out the clock while waiting on another offer or she’s no longer interested and is ghosting, and I think you’ve made a good faith effort.

        You’ve tried 2 methods of communication (and I agree with other commenters that that should be the default approach) and so once you hit a week I think you’re fine to send one last email saying something like “Hello, we hope everything is ok with you. As we haven’t heard from you, we’ll be moving on with other candidates. If you were unable to respond due to urgent personal circumstances, we would be happy to discuss other opportunities you’re able to contact us again.”

        Basically, pull the offer but leave room for her to get back in touch if there were extenuating circumstances.

  11. Sharon*

    My boss was trying to offer a job at my organization to a friend of mine, one who I recommended. She was perplexed at not being able to reach her to make the offer. Turns out her father had a heart attack and passed away that week. 3 years later, she still works with us.
    Long story short, there are a lot of good reasons for people to not be available for 4 days, especially if they don’t work for you and aren’t obligated to let you know when they will or won’t be available.

  12. Crazy Dog Lady*

    #3 Most companies have a policy regarding the time frame in which shift changes can be made. It’s typically the next unpublished schedule period unless it’s some kind of emergency. Depending on the timing of when you ask, you may have to wait just days, a week, 2 weeks or a month or more. Are you saying that it’s unrealistic for companies to have a policy like this and you should give your notice if your schedule isn’t changed immediately or is this answer because of the “I’ll try, we’re short staffed” aspect?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No, this is about her specific situation. She’s started a full time job and she’s leaving the part time job soon. She doesn’t need the part-time job at all now but is willing to stay a bit longer if she can go down to one shift a week, but otherwise it makes sense for her to just give her notice now. It would be different if this were her main job/she were planning to stay for a while.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Because she is leaving, OP has the power.

      But otherwise, in food service and retail the bosses pretty much rule the roost. I was classified part time as were other people. I had all I could to to keep my hours at 40 hours per week, I overran a number of times. Meanwhile, others were begging for hours. smh. It’s pretty normal to hear, “I will try” to a request for limited hours.

      Some reasons are legit, especially if being called in is a norm. But other reasons just boil down to poor management. The only time employees really get listened to is if they are leaving.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        We had that problem with my youngest in high school and a retail job. Because they were doing dual enrollment (they were not physically going to high school, their classes were at the local community college three days a week), they could work days. This lead to their supervisor deciding they were an adult and not in high school who could work whenever they were scheduled, as much as they were scheduled – including past legal times for a high schooler and including during classes. You can’t do that to a minor high schooler in our state. They kept talking to their boss who kept saying “call in sick if we schedule you when you have class” – and then they got fired for too much calling in sick (because it was twice a week they had class when they were scheduled).

    3. EPLawyer*

      She did ask that it be changed at the next schedule — which is 2 weeks out. Boss just said “I’ll try” while also talking about shifts beyond when OP will even be AT the employer because she has already said she will be done at the end of summer.

      This is a case of an employer refusing to accept reality. They are short staffed already, they know someone is leaving but it does not appear they are actually HIRING anyone. They are just going on hope that OP doesn’t really mean they want fewer hours before they leave all together.

      1. Rain's Small Hands*

        Had that one too when I was in college myself. Retail job. Gave notice. Appeared on schedule AFTER my last day – and during the time I had finals. Told boss that I had quit. I got “fired” for not showing up.

          1. Rain's Small Hands*

            I didn’t know I had been fired until a year later when I though “maybe I’ll pick up a few shifts over the holidays – they always need people”

    4. Generic Name*

      I mean, sure, companies can have all kinds of “good” reasons to want what they consider adequate notice from departing employees (notice how many letters here from people whose bosses want 6 months notice or to be informed as soon as one begins job hunting), but in the US at least, most employees are working at will. Meaning an employee can quit with no notice if they want. And because most employees can be laid off or fired at any time, workers have no reason or incentive to comply with their company’s demands about the timing of their departure.

    5. Mahalia*

      Frankly, retail is so rife with poor management that I’d assume “I’ll try” is pretty much code for “I don’t wanna deal with this so I’ll put it off and hope you stop asking about it”. I wouldn’t expect OP‘s boss to put any actual work into her request unless she makes it abundantly clear that she’ll leave without this accommodation, AND the boss cares enough to retain her that they’re willing to put some effort into changing the schedule around.

  13. Not Always Right*

    OP#4 I am adding my plea to send an email and maybe even use snail mail. One time when I was job searching a gremlin got to my phone and it just would not ring and all calls went straight to VM but I never received the notice that I had voice mail. To add insult to injury, I wasn’t able to receive text messages either, although I was able to make phone calls. I only figured this out when I couldn’t find my phone and I used my DH’s phone to call mine. I found out the hard way that you sometimes have to power off your phone every once in a while in order for it to update. (this was back in the day) Thank the Good Lord, HR sent me an email! I ended up working there for 13 years

    1. ceiswyn*

      I’ve had more than one phone that has developed a similar error with age; they don’t ring, but eventually I get a notification about voicemail.

    2. Flower necklace*

      I had an issue where my phone number was wrong in the system. My phone number had changed after I’d applied, and I’d forgotten to follow up and change it on the application. I had no idea until I got the email with a request to call them. That was 2017. I’m still here five years later.

    3. EvilQueenRegina*

      I had one where it went wrong with old age and wouldn’t notify me about voicemails for about a week. Calls could come through, so if I did see a missed call that would prompt me to check it, but if I had no reason to know there was a voicemail it could go unnoticed for a while (such as the voicemail left for me that my watch was back from repair, they’d called while I was at a wedding and my phone was off, and I wasn’t particularly expecting that call that day so had had no reason to check until it came through a week later). If I’d been job hunting at the time, something like that could have easily happened. Please, OP, don’t write this candidate off without trying another way first.

    4. Rosacolleti*

      Surely you would have mentioned this this if you thought a job offer was highly likely?

      1. Mill Miker*

        I read that as the offer coming in after the phone developed the problem, but before Not Always Right noticed. The point being that modern smartphones are not as reliable as we’d all like to think they are.

    5. Mahalia*

      Ehh, I think snail mail is pushing it. But in this day and age there’s really no reason not to both send an email and make a phone call. It’s a miniscule effort that significantly decreases the chances that a message will get fail to be received.

  14. Rainbow*

    I wish I’d have done #5 – now been here over 2 years and only just now moving on. I don’t think they were ever planning on letting me do the job I came here for.

  15. philmar*

    LW3: Part time food service shift work? Just… quit showing up. It’s not school, they can’t send your to the principal or call your parents. Don’t screw them over and train your relief as best you can, but if they put you on the schedule, tell them you won’t be there for that shift.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It’s nice of OP to want to train the next person, but reality is that many of these places do not place a value on that. OP, it might be helpful to see if you value training the next person more than the company does. Then adjust accordingly.

      1. EPLawyer*


        OP you can’t care more about the business than your boss does. If your boss is not making sure there is a replacement, that’s a THEM problem, not a YOU problem.

        The MegaMillions is 1.025 BILLION. What if you won that and just called in rich? They would have to figure out how to go on without you. Well same thing, you have already informed them of your end date, you are just moving it up because you cannot continue working TWO JOBS anymore.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        They have a full time job now. Unless it implodes quickly, OP’s not going to need a reference from the fast food gig.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      There’s no need to quit showing up when she can just… quit! OP, you have all the power here for once. It sounds like you don’t need to stay at this job at all and are only trying to do so to help them out for a few more weeks. Tell them “this is when I will be available, if that won’t work then I’m going to need to bump up my notice and quit now.”

    3. Critical Rolls*

      Yeah, we’ve had a number of letters where management in this type of job seems to think *they* get to decide employees’ availability and whether/how they can quit. Buuuuuuut they don’t! LW, you can just tell them your availability, don’t come in for shifts you didn’t agree to, and quit if they give you a hard time.

    4. Frustrated Front Desk*

      Um, just not showing up IS screwing over your coworkers, at least for that first shift. At least give a few hours of notice so they have a chance to find coverage.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        While I thought philmar’s first sentence too stark at first, the rest of the paragraph makes clear that this means:
        a) Tell your boss the 8th is your last day.
        b) When the boss tells you that they have scheduled you for the 12th and 15th, remind them that you will already have left.
        c) Under no circumstances show up to work on the 12th and 15th, no matter what your boss says about how they don’t have the shift covered and so you have to work it until they can hire a replacement for you.

  16. TechWorker*

    #2 – perhaps my company is very weird but I have never known anyone to turn down or even really have the opportunity not to accept a promotion, nor to have info about what their pay rise will be prior to that point. That’s mostly because it’s common to slowly take on more responsibility rather than a sudden jump (so is different to this situation where LW is going from no reports to 10 – wow!); so you’re often doing some aspects of the new role prior to the promotion. And budgets are set from way way up the chain so if someone is working towards a promotion in 6 months, neither them or their mgmt chain could give a precise pay rise figure, it depends what budget is allocated at pay review time. On the technical side it’s similar, you have to prove yourself and your contribution *before* getting the promotion so I literally cannot imagine anyone ever saying ‘no’. (If you don’t want the promotion you don’t take on the responsibility/extra work in the first place). The pay does work itself out though and there are ways of doing out of band pay rises in unusual situations – from what LWs manager has said (‘various avenues’ and ‘stay in touch’) I would expect there is some ‘exception’ process possible here, but it’s a hassle. I would definitely take that as an invitation to push further, personally not along the lines of ‘I don’t want to accept the promotion’ but more ‘my responsibility has increased and I need that to be reflected before next year to be happy in the role’.

    1. MsSolo UK*

      This isn’t taking on a little extra responsibility, like going from 5 reports to 6, or picking up the quarterly reports on top of the monthly – this is an entirely different job. If OP was going from accounting to sales, they’d expect to start being paid for the new role immediately. Going from non-manager to manager is the same thing. Just because this is in the same department, the higher-ups are trying to treat it like an increase in responsibilities and a merit-base raise, not a new job with its own pay band. I am willing to bet if OP does wait it out, they’ll get a much smaller increase compared with someone from outside coming in to the role (and no backdating), because by then they’ll have been doing it long enough it’ll be handwaved as a much smaller change than it was.

      OP really needs to find out who is currently doing the equivalent role and what they’re being paid (and keep an eye out for any differences between staff who were promoted vs hired externally!), so they can argue for an appropriate rise immediately.

      1. The OTHER Other.*

        That last sentence is key, it sounds as though this employer screws with internal transfers/promotions in a way that would be impossible if they were hiring externally. It’s demoralizing and wrong, but sadly not uncommon.

    2. Snow Globe*

      I think that is just your company being weird. It IS unusual for someone to turn down an internal promotion, primarily because you have to apply for it and, presumably, since you already work for the company you have a good idea about what the job is like and what the boss is like, etc., so you wouldn’t apply unless you want the job. But I’ve always been given a salary bump with any kind of promotion or even upgrade to job title (Analyst 2 to Analyst 3, for example), and I think that is pretty normal.

      1. hbc*

        Or at least an explanation. “You’ve maxed out your Analyst salary because of your stellar performance, and that puts you into the lower middle of the salaries for Manager 1. This is actually above where I’d put an outside candidate with zero management experience, so I’d like to keep you there for now. If you pick up management as fast as everything else you’ve done, I know we’ll be increasing you come reviews in November.”

        I’d believe that from a company that’s been reasonable about pay in the past.

      2. TechWorker*

        Yea, I missed they had applied – and do agree this seems like a step change in role, not a minor change.

        I guess in our case the formal promotion comes with a salary bump (on my last promotion, a laughably tiny one hence why I ended up going through some exception process..) but the formal promotion doesn’t necessarily line up with taking on new duties or more reports (& I’ve never applied for any of them). Again, change in role is more gradual than this… but I guess I don’t have quite the same ‘wtf this is ridiculous’ reaction because to some extent I’m used to being expected to do some elements of the role before you get promoted to it (& whilst that’s arguably crap, I don’t think it’s exclusive to where I work either).

    3. Critical Rolls*

      That’s not typical of the (non-tech) places I’ve worked. It’s hard for me to imagine anywhere that going from an non-management role to a management role wouldn’t be a very clear difference in position. There’s no incrementalism available. I’ve also never seen internal positions that didn’t have a pay range established, because the company is deciding when it needs another Llama Wrangler II, and that opportunity then becomes available to the Llama Wrangler I’s. So the decision is based on an existing budget, because it’s happening now and not at some future point. I have never worked anywhere you could *manifest* a promotion by taking on additional responsibilities. You could do that so you’d be well positioned when the opportunity arose, but in my experience a promotion doesn’t happen unless the company needs another Llama Wrangler II for whatever reason.

    4. MCMonkeyBean*

      I think there are really two main kinds of promotions: 1) the kind where you are doing very well in your current job so they promote you to a higher level, and 2) the kind where you actively apply for a different role that is above your current one.

      I agree that what you have described is fairly common for the first kind of promotion. But it sounds like this is the second kind, where OP went through an application process just like you would for an external role. That kind of promotion should come with offers and salary negotiations just like any external candidate would receive!

  17. Ewing46*

    Am I reading #4 correctly that its only been a couple of days? A call on Friday, then the following Monday? Was this person expecting a communication from you? The expectation of an immediate response struck me as unreasonable. Even enthusiastic candidates don’t stand by the phone awaiting your call- she could be on vacation, having a busy week at her current job, etc. If she has been engaged throughout the process, I see no reason to panic after only 3 business days (especially when one of those days is a Friday in the summer, assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere!)

    1. KateM*

      The employer took six weeks for one phone screen and three Zoom calls, but when the employee hasn’t answered a call in two days, it must be ghosting.

      1. Middle Name Danger*

        My thoughts exactly. Yes, the candidate is job searching, so you’d hope she’d be watching for calls, but if we’re more than six weeks into the process she’s not going to be as alert 100% of the time anymore! People have to live their lives.

      2. OP #4*

        Good lord, I am sorry I didn’t mention this before – but the candidate had been well informed of the timeline and next steps. At the conclusion of her last interview on Wednesday, she was told she would hear from us by the end of the week (last Friday). She had been so highly communicative and pretty responsive with us up to that point that it was bizarre not hearing back from her with the same speed as usual.

        For the record, it’s now Thursday and we haven’t heard anything from her (despite 2 calls/voicemails and a follow up email). Still worried that something may have happened to her because this is so unexpected.

        1. desdemona*

          I’ve also had plenty of interview processes that say “you’ll hear from us by end of next week” and then I don’t hear anything for 2 weeks or more, because the process of solidifying the offer took longer than they had anticipated.

          Also, this is unlikely, but based on personal experience – in the offer email, did you send her a new one or reply to an existing email chain? I personally have had people interview me, go to offer – and manage to typo my email address in the offer email, leading to confusion. Luckily in my case, the interviewer was able to email me & check in, and we figured out what had happened.

        2. NancyDrew*

          I cannot believe the weird hostility people are treating your question with. I’m sorry! They’re being so accusatory and glib.

          1. Mahalia*

            Agreed. I basically said the same thing above in another comment. I think people are really reaching for reasons to criticize OP and it’s a bit excessive. OP didn’t say she was planning to rescind the offer, she was just saying that she was a little concerned or confused about the lack of response and wondering what to do next. Some comments in response to OP are quite frankly downright aggressive.

    2. Dr Crusher*

      Yes, she could be on holiday. She could be somewhere remote without good connectivity. There are plenty of pockets of the world that are still unconnected to cell networks, or at least to certain cell networks, especially if it’s a vacation situation where someone might be staying in a rented accommodation where there is bad internet. I stayed in one this time last year. (And was delighted with the situation.)

    3. J*

      I had an ED call me on a Friday at 6 pm to give an offer. I called back first thing Monday and got voicemail so I left a message. Tuesday he sent me an email “We’ve tried to get in touch with you” but it turns out they don’t check their own messages. I wish I could pretend that was the only time I’ve experienced that.

    4. kiki*

      Yeah, I get that it’s unusual given how immediately connected we’re used to being, but 3 business days isn’t really a long time. So many things could be going on. Make sure you reach out via email as well.

      All sorts of things could be happening. Recently, a friend of mine went to Canada (from the US) for a short vacation while applying for jobs. She didn’t predict she’d have issues receiving calls because she really shouldn’t have according to her carrier and plan, but she did. She came back to quite a few missed calls and messages, including one from a company she had applied to.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      Huh. I was focused on the responses saying maybe she’s out of town with no service and thinking it would be silly to be unreachable without letting them know near the end of this process that… I did not stop to think about the actual timeline. You are right that two business days is fairly unreasonable to already be at “I can’t believe they haven’t gotten back to us yet.”

  18. Sarah*

    For LW2 – is the company intending to backdate pay and offer a lump sum when the salary adjustments happen? If not, is that something you could request? That might also mean them committing to telling you when the increase will be…

    Going from 0 to 10 reports is a huge jump, having no salary adjustment seems crazy!

  19. Irish Teacher*

    Multiple resignations on a weekly basis are definitely not normal. OK, teaching is a bit different from the private sector, but still, we would generally have maybe two resignations a year. With a staff about half the size of the one mentioned.

    1. ferrina*

      Yes, that amount of resignations is super not normal. I work for an organization that is slightly larger than LW’s, and we have about 1 resignation every 2-3 weeks. And we’re actively working to bring that number down! (revisiting policies, providing additional resources, promoting and enforcing work-life balance, etc.)

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      Agreed with one * — depends on the age of the workers and how homogeneous the group is. If the non-profit is mostly a bunch of 20 somethings and entry level jobs, it’s not unusual for them to be more mobile in their early careers and stay only 2-4 years, so lots of turn over for the non-profit. But if the group is very diverse age-wise, and the people leaving are all different points of their career, it’s definitely a big red flag.

      On the age flip side it feels like a mass exodus for my org right now, but it’s mostly retirements. Our org isn’t terribly old and it just turns out that a lot of the founding people are hitting retirement all about the same time. It’s definitely the pandemic too — people who thought they would work another 2-3 years are deciding to go now.

  20. Gnome*

    LW #4 – Definitely try another method AND also leave a message saying you haven’t heard back. Why? Sometimes tech goes funky.

    I work at a relatively large company (over 700 people at the time) and my spouse was applying for a position in another department. They made an offer, but it was contingent on a lot of things that were very far out time-wise (like a contract coming in, etc.), so it didn’t make sense on our end to accept. My spouse emailed back a very nice response (I was asked to check it and watched them hit “send”). A couple days later, Spouse got an email that… seemed like they didn’t get the “no thanks” email. So my spouse sent ANOTHER email, made sure HR was CCd on it, and called it a day.

    About 6 months later, I was talking with our head of recruiting and he made a comment in passing about it. Somehow, neither email showed up and the hiring manager was Highly Irritated. I had watched my spouse send two emails, and verified the addresses on both, so I know the issue wasn’t that Spouse never replied. I’m guessing somehow the SPAM filter ate them. We wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t worked there, and fortunately, I was able to clear this up with Recruiting, and I’m pretty sure that since then recruiting has been doing more phone follow-ups.

    1. TiredImmigrant*

      I finally put a filter on my work email so that nothing ever goes to spam, because the default filter kept sending stuff like conference registry confirmations and replies to emails I’d sent to the junk folder. Caused way more trouble than it was worth.

    2. Ann*

      Tech can glitch in all kinds of crazy ways. Phones that stop ringing, voicemails that randomly show up weeks after they were sent, a hidden spam filter that randomly eats emails from family (I’ve got one of those on a personal email), a calendar that hides new meeting requests, and my favorite – the fake WiFi. Apparently if you connect your phone to a WiFi that then changes its password, it will pretend it’s connected but actually not be. I once had the brilliant idea of connecting my phone to the office WiFi to save bandwidth. A few days later, I notice no one messages me during the day, but as soon as I leave, there’s an avalanche of messages. People are funny, everyone must be texting on the train home! A week later, I try to message someone on WhatsApp, and the messages refuse to come through because of “poor connection”. Odd, considering I’ve got cell service AND WiFi. It’s only when I accidentally turned the WiFi off that I realized that while I’m in the office, it takes over for my regular phone connection, but will not transmit anything…

  21. Meowsy*

    You could not pay me enough to work long term for someone who double reviews all of my external communication.

    1. Paris Geller*

      Honestly if they’re approving every email, when do they have time to get anything else done?? That seems like a full-time job itself.

      1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        Not just when but where! I can sometimes understand wanting to know or schedule when people take lunches, if meetings need to be planned around for instance, but where is not their concern.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Seriously! Even when I worked jobs that required coverage that wanted strict in and out times for lunch they never demanded to know where I was taking lunch. My answer to that question would usually have been “I don’t know, I won’t decide until I am outside.” Sheesh!

  22. olddog*

    Fri-Tues does not seem like a long time to not get a response, particularly in summer. It’s essentially a long weekend and the candidate may be vacationing in a remote area. (Im currently typing this from a mountainous vacation area with very very spotty internet).

    1. Avril Ludgateaux*

      Employer: takes 6 weeks and 4 interviews to extend an offer
      Candidate: takes more than one business day to respond
      Employer: (surprised Pikachu face)

      1. OP #4*

        Maybe try asking some more questions instead of jumping straight to conclusions… we told her last Wednesday to expect to hear from us by the end of the week (last Friday). We had been in touch with her often during the entire process, and she was always informed of what to expect and when she would hear back.

        It’s now almost a week later and we still haven’t heard back from her. We also emailed her and she still hasn’t responded. She never indicated she would be unreachable, which is why we are worried.

        Lesson learned for me – based on the rudeness I’ve seen in the comments, I won’t be writing in with any more questions… unless I include every single detail under the sun so nothing will be misconstrued.

        1. Chilipepper Attitude*

          I’m so sorry OP4 and thanks for participating in the comments despite the tone! I understood your initial question and I really hope the applicant is ok. I was hoping to see some suggestions like call the local police non emergency line for a wellness check.

          1. desdemona*

            I think that would be a HUGE overstep. They are not the candidate’s current employer, they don’t know what’s going on in her life. Yes, something could be wrong – but that’s for her family/friends/current employer to flag.
            Say for example, as some other commenters have experienced, someone in her family had a medical event and she’s busy dealing with that. Having the police come by for a wellness check because she hasn’t returned a phone call this week would be disturbing.

        2. len*

          I don’t think these details actually change anything about the question or responses. I agree you’re overreacting to a very reasonable response delay.

        3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          I have seen some rudeness, but a lot of what I’m seeing is along the lines of “technology has been known to fail, please extend the candidate some grace.” And there has also been a solid dosing of “personal emergencies happen leaving candidates incommunicado” for various reasons. Even if you had been in constant contact, and had very open timelines, “Stuff” can and does happen.

          I had my younger child’s school call me all furious with me about not doing sign ups and responding to their teacher’s emails, so they were going to unenroll Mini Orchestra five days before school – this is your curtesy notice call to that effect. I went all blast on them because their curtesy call was the first contact we had received at all (and this was a public school, but Kindergarten is extremely optional in my state), and I was not willing to accept them booting us for their inability to contact us. Finally got face to face with the teacher – they were misspelling our last name (which was the bulk of the email address) and so all the emails were going undelivered…..nope, never got an actual apology, just an oops, I spelled it wrong in all my before school communication attempts, but it’s fixed now.

          Point being – please calm down and be a bit more patient, it has only been a week after all.

          1. OP #4*

            There have been some constructive comments and some helpful advice/input which I appreciate, but there have also been way too many snarky and rude comments that are just completely unhelpful and unwarranted. I don’t understand it, but I guess it’s easier for people to act tough when they’re hiding behind a computer or phone screen.

            I guess from my perspective, I think about the times when I’ve been on the other side of the job search and I have always attempted to respond to a prospective employer pretty quickly to convey my interest and enthusiasm in the position. I never would have taken nearly a week to get back to them, whether I was interested in moving forward or not.

            We felt this person was very interested and she was pretty communicative with us up until now… which is why we’re wondering if she is either ghosting us or if something more sinister happened to her. I confirmed with HR that in one of the voicemails that was left, there was mention of moving forward with a background check. I’m now wondering if that spooked the candidate off.

        4. This is Artemesia*

          In a public forum the answers are not just for YOU — they are about similar situations. After all, no one cares about YOU (or ME) and our unique concerns — these are questions that illuminate similar situations for all of us. So some of the issues raised may not be relevant at all to your particular situation, but be very useful for someone else facing similar issues — or who someday reads the archives because they are experiencing something similar.

          There are lots of tech screw ups that can get in the way of communication and lots of personal circumstances as well. None of this may be relevant to your applicant who may just be a flake but some of it will be very relevant to someone else with similar issues down the road.

          It is a public forum.

        5. MCMonkeyBean*

          People were drawing conclusions from the letter as written which include the very specific facts that you reached out on Friday and hadn’t heard back by Tuesday. Based on those facts, Tuesday is too early to say she is ghosting.

          Now it has been two more days and I do think it is more reasonable to say Friday to Thursday gives a lot more pause than Friday to Tuesday.

        6. fhqwhgads*

          It’s kind that you’re worried after such a short period based on all the info you’ve given the in the comments. To give you another angle on it, 90%+ times when employers say “by the end of this week”, they actually contact the applicant much later. You can see dozens in the archives of people writing in to ask just that “they said by the end of the week and it’s been two and I haven’t heard! What do I do?” and the answer is generally “wait patiently if they want to hire you they won’t forget to call”. It also makes sense you got worried given how communicative the person has been in the past. Still, in general, unless you’re normally in daily contact with someone, 2 business days is short to start to worry. If you can find it in yourself to see through some of the harshness other people are throwing at you – which I agree is unwarranted – I hope you’ll consider the many valid reasons why a lot of folks think it out of place to feel ghosted after this short an interval.

        7. Cpt Morgan*

          Yeah, I don’t blame you. Even if you did include all of these details — as you can see from the other comments to you already — it wouldn’t have mattered because some people don’t care what the details are; you’re a manager, therefore you suck.

          It’s also good to note that many of the regular commenters here are chronically underemployed and unemployed, so I’d take their griping with a grain of salt anyway.

          Best of luck to you!

  23. Lab Boss*

    LW2- I was in a similar situation and this is how I handled it, it seems like your case has progressed a little further but hopefully this might help? Or help someone else in the same boat?

    I had to negotiate hard over salary after being offered well under industry standard/our own posted ranges for a planned promotion. The initial negotiation isn’t relevant to your issue of a delayed raise so I’ll skip it- long story short, I requested a large raise (call it 25%). The company’s counter offer was “we can’t give anyone that big of a raise. We’ll promote you in June and give you 12.5%, then in January we’ll give you another raise that will bring you up to the number you asked for.” They also wouldn’t put that deal in writing, because “we can’t make guarantees about what January will look like.” (Take my word for it that they do that kind of thing often, I’ve never seen it be a deliberate lie but it’s still more uncertainty than I liked).

    My counter-counter proposal was that I would take on the additional duties (the ones I wasn’t already doing) in June, and get the 12.5% raise, but that my title wouldn’t change until I was given my full salary. If we couldn’t reach the right number in January, I would revert to the duties of my current title and (list of important stuff they wanted from me) wouldn’t be my responsibility any more. They accepted. It’s not perfect, but at least it gave me SOME additional money as I took on more work, and gave me an escape hatch if the promised “someday” raise failed to materialize.

    1. TW1968*

      LW2: They’re taking advantage of you. Check out the other company offer and when you accept their offer, you can tell your current company that your new employer is giving you more money NOW rather than waiting and that’s why you’re leaving. I’d guess THEN they’d give you the raise but at that point you still say NO THANKS, if I have to get a new job every year to force a raise you’re not the kind of employer I want to work for.

  24. They Called Me Skeletor*

    OP 4….the timing on this sounds like it could be my best friend. She was in the running for a job, was their number one choice, sent her thank you notes, and then she dropped dead at 42 years old. Her husband disconnected her phone without bothering to call anyone back. If you’re in Tennessee this could very well be your company. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. This sounds exactly like the process she went through. And yes I know there are thousands of other jobs out there that are looking to be filled, I’m just saying this sounds exactly exactly like the process she went through.

    I’m auditioning for a new best friend.

    1. OP #4*

      Hi, I’m not in Tennessee, but I appreciate you chiming in to check. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  25. Admiral Thrawn Is Always Blue*

    #4 – I kind of did this. My company was shutting down, so I interviewed with multiple places. I accepted one position but I have some emotional damage from losing my last two jobs, so when the second offer was emailed in, I just…. waited. I wanted to see if the first place was going to work out. The second offer was a state job, and they took their sweet time about offering anything. I was just afraid to let go of any other potential jobs until I had to. I am not really proud of that, it’s just a matter of survival. I don’t make changes easily, so this entire process has been kind of traumatic for me.

  26. Gnome*

    Re: #4

    Does it strike anyone else that applicants have lots of waiting and guessing in just about any process (not calling out the OP, their process sounds reasonably quick), but once the company decides who it wants, there’s an expectation that they will hear back within 24-48 hours? If companies can understand that stuff pops up and they can’t always make those return calls when they want to on their own end, why can’t they understand it in the applicant end? If it takes a week to set up a time for a 30 minute interview, figure it will take 2-3 days to hear back from someone, and anything less is good luck.

    1. Books and Cooks*

      I once had a company tell me they had hired someone else, so I went away to visit friends for a week. Turned out the person they hired either didn’t show up or quit after his first day, so they called me back–and were actually really annoyed that I was out of town! Like, lectured me when I got back about how I shouldn’t have gone away like that and left them waiting. Um…you hired somebody else, and told me that I didn’t get the job? What was I supposed to do, assume the person you did hire wouldn’t work out and you’d be hiring me after all?

    2. OP #4*

      We told her on Wednesday she would hear back from us by the end of the week. I really wish I had included this in my first email to Alison. Maybe readers/commenters would have been a bit kinder instead of jumping down my throat.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I honestly don’t see how that changes anything? I also don’t think anyone is jumping down your throat here.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          It does change things. “We’ll let you know,” is very different from “You’ll hear from us by COB Friday.” And a few posters have got after OP4’s employer for a long process but then expecting a response in a short time. She’s explained in the comments, but a few folks have had strong opinions.

        2. Mahalia*

          You might not have read through all the comments but I have seen some pretty aggressive? derisive? comments directed at OP and they’re all basically in the vein of “how dare she expect a response in two or three days after a six week interview process?” And I think that’s a pretty aggressive take because OP said she was wondering if something had happened and was wondering what to do next so I think some people have been quick to essentially jump down her throat. I do think some commenters here could stand to respond with a little more grace.

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        I’ve been told on Wednesday that I would hear back on Friday from an employer, after weeks of back-and-forth interviewing, etc. Well, I did hear back on Friday… of the next week! Yes, crickets for a week!

        What I learned from that is never to take an employer’s word on what their communication timeline really is. I never stopped interviewing until I had a firm offer in hand, and I never put off planned vacations on the idea that an employer was going to communicate by the end of a week. Because quite frankly, the odds of that actually happening, for reasons outside of the hiring manager’s control, are pretty slim. Good on you for actually meeting that turn around, but it’s not common. I can understand an applicant not believing it, especially after a month and a half of interview-go-round.

      3. Gnome*

        I’m sorry if you felt I was jumping down your throat. :(

        I really was thinking about this in broader strokes and tried to be clear about that. It’s something I have been thinking about in general and I feel like it comes up periodically.

      4. Books and Cooks*

        I’m very sorry if my little anecdote (about being told I didn’t get the job and then, when the person they did hire fell through, they were angry that I’d gone out of town) seemed like it was aimed at, or was any sort of commentary about, you/your question. I just thought it was an amusing addendum to the comment to which I replied (like, “Hey, some places think you owe them something even after they tell you that you don’t have the job!”), which I didn’t think was really aimed at you, either. I definitely think the comments here were way harder on you than necessary, some to the point of real nastiness, and I’m truly sorry if I contributed in any way to you feeling insulted or attacked.

        I really hope that you hear from her, and that you at least learn that she’s okay.

  27. Grits McGee*

    LW1- I was in an environment like this, although in government (so some of the nitpicks about timekeeping were a little more understandable). Take it from me, it will not get better. Leadership see this kind micromanaging as a feature rather than a bug, and nothing will convince them otherwise- there was 200% turnover in 5 years, staff gave feedback in every annual review, and there were even overpriced paid management consultants telling leadership how toxic the environment was. Nothing changed.
    And all the time spent on micromanaging and reading every email going in and out of the office had knock-on effects elsewhere. First line supervisors were paralyzed when it came to decision-making, so even basic issues took months to resolve. We were constantly in crisis mode because no one was able to act proactively, and head off emergencies before they devolved into full-blown, all-hands-on-deck crises. The workload got even more chaotic because people were constantly out sick due to stress-related illnesses. When I left the office I had a recurring muscle spasm under my eye and mystery ailment that resulted in me regularly fainting in the shower. One of my coworkers got shingles *twice* in the 2 years I was there.
    The only thing that’s made any positive impact is a massive change in leadership when the head of the organization retired, but there’s still a level of distrust in staff and a fair amount of turnover.

  28. Madeleine Matilda*

    OP 4 – Please give your chosen candidate more time to respond. Three days is hardly any time at all. A few years ago my peer Molly was hiring. After all the interviews, Molly had two excellent top candidates. She emailed the top choice. We didn’t hear back immediately and Molly decided it meant top candidate wasn’t the right person for her team and decided to make an offer to our second choice. Top choice was out of the country so was delayed in replying to us by 4 days. Molly’s second choice was hired by Molly, but she took her time deciding and negotiating, and has since left Molly’s team for another team in our org. I have since hired the top choice for my team and she is outstanding.

  29. Skye*

    #3: My pt food service job actually has a minimum hours/week now, so it’d actually be really hard to meet that and be scheduled only one day a week. (8 hour shifts are already miserable here with breaks not being given because it’s ‘too busy’; 12 hours would be brutal.) Being short staffed daily is generally the norm as well and not your fault. If you need to put in your two weeks, do it with zero regrets. I’m always happy to see my coworkers move on to bigger and better things, even when I’ll miss them as someone who knew what they were doing.

    1. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Even with the culture of inflexibility and random shifts of food service aside, I’d still hesitate to only have someone working 1 day a week. They’d have a 6/7 chance of missing any news and training and would slowly unlearn the job/culture/where stuff is/maybe get lax with safety rules, by simple virtue of not being there enough.

      There is also all of the learning by omission they’d be missing. For example, let’s say the same complaint occurred 4X that week already. People working one day a week would be handling it like it’s the first one and be interrupting the manager again.

      Someone would have to be super stellar and have done it for so long that they’re great at it and can actually handle the job while also barely being there. I know people will say “it’s just food service” but I worked at a non-chain place decades ago that had a few middle aged ladies who have presence and who’d rarely come in and work the counter with command and know how to talk up pushy, rushing customers. They had more leeway than a shy teen who’d robotically take orders and not be able to chat with customers or handle problems.

      1. Observer*

        So, the OP is not new at this job and clearly knows enough that she can train someone else. Also, she is LEAVING. *AND* she does not need this job even for the next few weeks. So the boss has two choices. Accept the reduced schedule for the rest of the month or have the OP leave immediately.

        Either choice is fine. What is not fine is acting like the OP has to accept a refusal to make either choice.

  30. just another queer reader*

    #2: in my department, the standard procedure is to give a person more responsibility, and then give them the title and pay bump 6-12 months later. Even for big changes, like Individual Contributor –> Manager of 4 People.

    Imo, it makes no sense at all, but the managers insist it’s a good idea. They say it’s like a trial period to make sure you can handle the role(?).

    Anyway, at least I know this is how they operate so I’m expecting it if I’m ever up for promotion.

    1. kiki*

      It’s a good idea for the company because they get 6-12 months of cheap labor out of it and minimize their risk. I know there are companies out there, like yours, that do work that way, but it’s not common and most workers don’t receive the policy positively. A former company I worked at operated that way and leadership was continually surprised when their promoted folks would leave shortly after receiving their promotion. It’s demoralizing and a lot of folks use the new title to get a job elsewhere for an actual, immediate raise.

    2. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Of course the company thinks it’s a good idea! They get up to a year (!) of extra work out of people for no extra pay. I’m sure they’d like to wait 6-12 months to pay new employees, too, if they could, “to make sure you can handle the role.”

      1. Mahalia*

        Ha ha yup very convenient for the company but that’s exploitational and I wouldn’t be happy to be told that I had to do a job for 6 to 12 months before being paid fairly for it. Quite frankly, after 12 months, unless they gave me a really good raise I would be looking outside the company to see if I could parlay this year of higher level experience into an even bigger promotion. I wonder how many times the company has lost good employees that way and if they factor that calculation into their assessment of how effective this is as a general practice.

    3. irene adler*

      That procedure is similar to the one my prior company followed. Only difference was an interim title like “Junior” Llama Groomer before becoming a Llama Groomer. They rationalized this 6 months as a “Junior” as being the training period for the new title. After completing the training, the salary was increased.
      This was a major household products company.

      So yeah, 6 months of cheap labor as you toil away at new/additional responsibilities at the same salary.
      But then you are learning how to do the new/additional tasks. That may be some justification. Although it seems to me like there should be an interim bump in salary to justify taking on the new role. Even if one is training as they do the job.

      1. Mahalia*

        I mean I could except they’re being an interim step where you’re essentially [new job title]-in-training with a partial salary bump that is then followed by [full job title] with full salary. But it’s pretty cheeky to act like your reward for doing more work at the same pay level is that hopefully one day you get to do more work at a new pay level.

  31. PandaM*

    #2- Yes this is a thing. My former (moderate size) company’s investors hired a new CEO from a huge, household name multi-billion corporation. New CEO instituted the exact same “promote but don’t increase salary except once annually” policy you described. He said that’s how they did it at big fancy company, as if that’s how it’s done at a “real” company. Yeah, no. The first person he tried it on (high-level manager) resigned on the spot quite dramatically- an inspiration to us all. New CEO was apparently shellshocked and legitimately couldn’t understand “but, but… that’s how we always did it at xxx.” Was delicious to see it backfire.

    Honestly I’d recommend getting out. It speaks volumes to how a company values their employees’ contributions and how much power they believe they hold. I’m guessing in hindsight from the outside you’ll look back and see this is one of many ludicrous and exploitative practices embedded in the culture there, like I did. Best of luck to you.

    1. Mahalia*

      The whole thing is so very clearly an attempt to depress wages and remove negotiating power from employees. Note how there is also no mention of retroactive pay. Pretty convenient, huh?

  32. Lorelai*

    Re #1. I wonder if they want to know where you go for lunch so they can ensure you’re not interviewing elsewhere.

    1. pancakes*

      Why on earth would they expect someone going to to an interview on their break to be candid about that? Anyone with even a little bit of sense wouldn’t reveal that.

      1. Observer*

        Well, why on earth are they even asking the question? Anyone with actual professional expectations is not answering the question.

      2. Mahalia*

        I mean this company seems to be run by a kindergarten teacher who never realized that they are now working with adults, So while it’s possible they are trying to catch employees in a lie (make them feel so uncomfortable about leaving the office during the day that they just never do) I am more inclined to believe that this is just part of the general culture of obsessive micromanagement.

  33. Bunny Girl*

    I put in my notice this week because of an absolutely horrible micromanager. She policed every single little thing, including emailing people I was meeting with to make sure I was going to meet with them and trying to get me to change my surgery date that I had for months because we were low on coverage. She even micromanaged my notice to my team.

    Honestly there’s nothing much you can do other than move on. A lot of micromanagement comes from insecurity and lack of insight and it’s way too hard to change that without some deep, personal introspection that some of these people aren’t capable of. Just scoot.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      “A lot of micromanagement comes from insecurity and lack of insight.”

      Well said. My last job promoted a micromanager into a director position, and all of her direct reports turned over three times in three years. As in, 100% of her direct reports quit after a year, three times.

      She was finally laterally moved to a BS ‘director’ job without any direct reports but it took nearly four years.

    2. Don't Call Me Shirley*

      I do think that enough companies say you will hear by the end of the week, and then something comes up, that changing plans or calling if they somehow didn’t get the message is unlikely to be a priority.

      I’ll hear by Friday? If I am going on a 4 day trip starting 3pm on Friday, I might just assume it was slightly delayed and go.

  34. voyager1*

    LW4: You have given them Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to check their voicemails or see a missed call. I would call one more time and say you need a response by X date or your moving on. Waiting on someone like this could mean you lose out on the next candidate you would hire.

    Honestly, I check my phone pretty regularly when I am job hunting. Your call isn’t exactly unexpected here.

    1. wellfleet*

      This won’t help if the issue is the phone, or a random mischance — I’d advise that LW #4 try one other method such as email. And be mindful of all the potential mishaps mentioned by other commenters — each one is unlikely but the possibility of *something* having happened isn’t that unlikely.

    2. Mahalia*

      I do agree that generally if you’re excited about a job offer you’re not going to wait to respond. However some people have mentioned potential tech issues and I think it’s a good general practice to reach out by email if a phone call doesn’t seem to be getting through. We could hypothesize what if scenarios all day but I think that the odds of something going wrong with both phone and email are low enough, and the effort of adding a second method of communication is minor enough, that it should be standard procedure. We go from, let’s say a 70% chance of success with one method of communication, to a 95% chance of success with two, while increasing effort by like, 5%. The percentages are obviously made up but hopefully the principle makes sense.

  35. Cthulhu's Librarian*

    OP 2 – So, weird question that you may not know the answer to, but did they conduct any external interviews for the role you were promoted into? I ask because I’ve seen a scenario like this play out a couple of times in the non-profit world, and each time there was an internal ‘promotion’ but salary couldn’t be adjusted until end of year, it really meant that the problem was with the budget – they’d determined they needed someone in that role (often due to underperformers who weren’t being let go for one reason or another), but the budget for the current year was set, and the organization would ‘promote’ internally, but never interview external candidates. They knew they had no more money to spend on additional salary, and wouldn’t until the next budget cycle, so there was no point in even considering a new person who would have to be added to the payroll.

    I bring this up not to excuse what they’re doing (there is no excuse, and if it is the issue, the pay almost definitely won’t be retroactive, because the accountants will complain about spending funds from the new budget cycle to cover expenses for the old cycle), but to highlight that IF that is how things happened, they gave you the promotion with the explicit intent and desire to take advantage of you, and you should be out the door as quickly as you can – these are intentionally unethical people and bad actors, who acted in deliberate bad faith. They aren’t worthy of you, and they aren’t managing their organization well.

    If they did interview external candidates, you may be dealing with the fall out of an officious prick in HR or something along those lines, because there clearly was money to pay for the position – in which case, your problem is people not being willing to spend capital on fixing the officious jerk’s pettiness. Might still be worth leaving over, but if you know which one it is, you can judge where to focus your efforts better.

    1. Mahalia*

      I hadn’t considered that option, but it makes sense! However I don’t think it really matters for OP one way or another. OP needs to make it clear that they need to know now what their future compensation will be. Quite frankly, I would only be willing to except deferred compensation with an agreement in writing that it would be retroactive to the day I actually started the work. I saw another commenter who mentioned negotiating something like they would start the new duties on the day the new compensation started. Boss’s milquetoast comment to “keep in communication about compensation” makes absolutely no sense, though, and in OP‘s case I fear they would be put in a position of having to use a lot of political capital to push back on additional duties until their compensation was updated.

  36. ABCYaBye*

    LW2- if you have an option to leave and are willing to take that, at least in theory, then I think you absolutely should push back and demand some clarity. They’re not asking you to take on an additional project or two here and there. They’re asking you to go from individual contributor to managing 10 people, which involves additional responsibility and scrutiny… plus the actual costs your letter outlined.

    It is probably worth going to your boss and asking them what the salary would be had they hired someone from outside to take the role. As others have mentioned, an outsider wouldn’t be willing to take on the role and be paid $0 for six months. They don’t get a sweetheart deal just because you were already receiving a paycheck from them. Let them know that you expect to have that conversation about the specific salary for the new job title now. If they’re not willing to get their act together in a reasonable timeframe, take the opportunity that you have elsewhere. If they’re unable to now, what guarantees do you have that they will at the end of the year?

  37. kiki*

    I also don’t know what the end of year pay increase will be.

    To me, this is the most ridiculous part of letter two. Not giving the raise immediately is also ridiculous, don’t get me wrong, but expecting you to work in a position for several months for an unknown amount of compensation is absolutely wild. Just bonkers.

    1. Cj*

      Actually, they do know what they will be paid for those few months, and it is zero. What they don’t know is what they will be paid from January going forward. Both things suck.

  38. Observer*

    #1 – Get out ASAP.

    In the meantime, one thing you can do is to passively refuse to indicate where you are going for lunch and to refuse to work more so many hours. Where are you going for your lunch break? Lunch.

    1. PeaceWeaver*

      That leaped out at me, too! Why on earth would an employer need to know where an employee is going to be on their lunch break? Do they demand that vacationing employees submit a minute-to-minute itinerary listing exactly where they’ll be during every second of their vacation time, too?

      Seriously – it sounds as if this is an unhealthy-level control measure…get people used to being tracked every millisecond and they’ll start to assume that this level of control is normal. Please, OP – read up on some of Alison’s essays about how toxic workplaces normalize their toxicity, follow your instinct here and get out ASAP!

      1. All Het Up About It*

        My first “professional” job post college, pre-grad school, I worked for one of the most micro-managey micro-managers ever. Some of the stuff about reviewing emails, printing them off, etc. is giving me some flash backs.

        But even HE only asked me where I was going to lunch occasionally in a friendly, where are you going way.

    2. Gnome*

      Malicious compliance time.

      First I’m going to walk out the front door. Then turn left. Then…

      And if you stop to pick something up at the pharmacy, list it… Because picking up tampons or miralax is what they need to know about

    3. Mahalia*

      I’m wondering how exactly this lunch order is enforced. Is someone standing at the door checking permission forms when people try to leave? Or did the boss maybe say something like “When you go out for lunch please let us know when you plan to be back” (which isn’t super unreasonable in a highly responsive workplace), and then the first time OP tried to casually say they were going out the boss got really nosey about asking exactly where they were going? What would happen if OP just said something like “I have a personal appointment”, or “I haven’t decided yet”?

  39. A Rusted Fence*

    Promotion & more responsibilities without pay raise?

    You do realize promotions can be an opportunity for negotiation (salary, vacation, benefits) just like getting hired by a new company?

    Notify them you can’t take this promotion (or perform the additional responsibilities) unless you can come to some understanding–in writing.

    What will you new pay rate be? None of this “we’ll talk about that come review time”. You need a number. When will it take effect. Again, you need a number–a specific date.

    If they can’t (or won’t) raise your pay now, negotiate some other benefits they can deliver now. Some extra vacation (like a MONTH extra over the next year), flexible hours, work from home, or allowing you to work half days on Fridays. All without decreasing your pay, of course.

    If you can’t come to an agreement that increases your pay or benefits NOW, simply turn down the offer. You’re allowed to do that.

    I suspect many of the people you are dealing with agree with you, but don’t say anything because they are charged with carrying out company policy. You may have more sympathetic ears at work than you think.

    You already have a lead at another company. Use this opportunity to practice your negotiating skills.

  40. Avril Ludgateaux*

    #4 one time I was unexpectedly in the midst of an interview process that was interrupted by an international vacation. I make a point not to check my e-mail on vacation; workwise, my vacations are always notified-of well in advance, I don’t work in an environment where real emergencies happen, and the people who absolutely need to reach me (family, close friends) know how to. Nobody else gets to interrupt my much-needed time off. I stand firmly on the line of work-life balance.

    That said, I did communicate to the interested employer that I would be away from such-and-such to such-and-such date without access to email. They rushed to extend an offer the day before I left, and I asked if I could think about it over the week. I said I would not be reachable until I returned, and the person I spoke to was fine with that.

    Nonetheless, I came back to several “urgent” emails from their HR asking for things like my SSN to get started enrolling me in their health insurance – apparently they somehow got the message I was taking the offer?

    (In the end I passed on the job, mostly for wage and benefit concerns. They were only offering marginally more than I made at the time, with worse PTO and insurance, and I ended up getting a raise that brought me over their offer within a month, anyway.)

    I will say, though I know it is normal in some industries, stringing a candidate along for 6 weeks of interviewing is excessive. If she isn’t away or dealing with some emergency and inaccessible, she may have simply burnt out of the process, her prior enthusiasm waned, or she was applying elsewhere and somebody snatched her up while your team dragged their feet. Especially now, as it is a sellers’ market for labor. I know sometimes it can’t be helped, but I urge all employers to evaluate and streamline their interview processes. Did this position really require 3 interviews and a phone screen, and if so, did it really have to be drawn out for a month and a half?

      1. OP #4*

        She was told on Wednesday she would hear back on Friday. She was enthusiastic and said she was looking forward to it.

        I also told her in my interview with her that the process may take about 6 weeks. This is a very important role and required buy in from a number of team members. The candidate was well aware of the process, and was kept up to date and well informed every step of the way.

        You’re right though, I am doing some self reflection… currently asking myself if it’s worth writing in for advice here again. Based on the “help” I have received from some of the judgmental commenters, the answer is a resounding NO.

        1. AnonyAnony*

          Maybe look at it this way: regardless of whether the tone of the comments were judgmental or not, Allison and the vast majority of commenters are giving you the same feedback: your thought process and problem solving around this problem seem to be a bit off.

          It didn’t seem like you went through all the common steps to solve the problem (called AND emailed, texted, etc), or indicated that you considered common reasons for not returning your call promptly (on vacation, lost their phone, dealing with family emergency, etc.) but instead you 1). leaped to “ghosted” after only 1-2 business days, and 2). wrote to an advice blog – but how would Allison know what exactly happened to your job candidate?

          Your addition about being in touch by end of the week isn’t as useful as you think. Maybe consider that many, many candidates hear “We’ll be in touch by end of the week!” but never heard back? Of course your candidate responded enthusiastically to that, because that was the “correct” response to give to the employers. However, she probably took that with a grain of salt and wasn’t hanging too tightly onto that.

        2. Cthulhu's Librarian*

          It doesn’t matter when you told her should would be hearing – the clock on “is this candidate taking too long to get back to us” doesn’t start until you’ve sent the actual offer to her. And really, shouldn’t start any time the same day – many people aren’t able to check and respond to personal emails during the same working day (because they’re at work).

          Your hiring process took 6 weeks – are you really that concerned about a couple of days without response now, at this late point? I mean, you may still have a whole round of negotiations to deal with after they look at the offer letter, which could be another week or more of back and forth (I’m assuming you are willing to negotiate – if you aren’t, and this is a take it or leave it offer… well, *shrug*)

          Serious question for you to reflect on – why are you in such a rush to hear back from this candidate immediately? Are you worried about losing out on your second choices, or is their a work specific reason?

          1. OP #4*

            We really like this candidate and were excited to move forward with her. We’re aware of how long the interviewing process took, and you’re correct in that once an offer is extended, there could still be delays (counter-offering, background check, etc.). We really just wanted to wrap things up as quickly as possible so we could all move forward and get started with her onboarding.

            This role is also heavily involved in internal/external communication, and it was odd to not hear back from her with the same urgency that she had previously demonstrated. We need a fantastic communicator for this role, and her lack of response was concerning for multiple reasons. We still haven’t heard from her, and we’re still not sure what to think. We’ve now tried to reach her through multiple methods and will wait a bit before contacting her one more time… then we’ll move on.

            1. Avril Ludgateaux*

              We really just wanted to wrap things up as quickly as possible so we could all move forward and get started with her onboarding.

              I once again urge you to re-visit your 6-week interview process if time is of the essence. 4 interviews could be done in one week if you prioritize the process the same way you’re expecting her to.

        3. Nopetopus*

          I’m so sorry for the response you’re getting! I hope the candidate is alright, and for me at least it came through loud and clear that you’re worried for her wellbeing, not that you’re being a greedy hiring manager who hasn’t given the candidate time to respond.

      2. NancyDrew*

        My god, the hostility. Projecting much? Perhaps do your own self-reflection on why you’re being so incredibly unkind.

  41. Observer*

    #2- Please seriously consider the new company, even if your current one does come through. The whole way this has been handled says that this place is badly run and makes some seriously problematic assumptions. And the fact that your biggest beef is that they didn’t explain this rather than the idea that anyone even thinks this is reasonable much less taking it for granted, tells me that your norms may be warping a bit.

    So, getting out is probably a good idea regardless of the pay bump.

  42. Observer*

    #3 – Alison says: After that, she can talk about it all she wants but you’ll have warned her you’re not doing it and you don’t need to budge

    Please burn that in your brain. She can say what she wants but you do not belong to her. We don’t do slavery in the US. “I need you” does not place any obligation on you. And while she *could* technically require you to come in for more shifts as a condition of your employment, not only is it an unreasonable thing for her to do, it’s seriously stupid. Because YOU do not need the job. Which means that it’s perfectly reasonable for you to say “OK, then. I’ll be leaving.” Not only reasonable, but a sensible manager would EXPECT it.

    Which is to say, any negative consequences (eg no one gets trained) are on HER, not you.

  43. Observer*

    #4 – If I were the candidate and read this, I’d be having severe second thoughts about accepting your offer.

    You had a 6 week process, which from YOUR pov is not long, but means that life goes along for the candidate. You make two calls during work hours and despite having her email address are deliberately not following up with an email. In fact, it sounds like the HR manager is planning to email to withdraw the offer. Despite knowing that this person has in the past followed up on interviews.

    Why? Did you make sure to leave a clear message? Why did your HR manager not bother to send a follow email saying that they are trying to reach her?

    There are SO many reasons why you might not hear back from a candidate, ESPECIALLY if you did not leave a short but VERY clear message – Not “Please call me” but “This is Jane Smith from OurCompany. We are interested in moving forward. Could you give me a call to discuss?”

    1. OP #4*

      Let me provide some additional context:

      1) The candidate was informed at the very beginning (by myself) that the process involved multiple interviews and would take approximately 6 weeks. This is a crucial role that required buy-in from multiple team members, and unfortunately we could not speed up the process due to other hiring and major projects that are happening. Regardless, the candidate did not seem to be put off by the timeline.
      2) Up until now, this candidate has been highly responsive, which we took as a great sign for this role. This position requires very heavy, time sensitive internal/external communication. When 2.5 business days went by and we didn’t hear anything back from her, we found it odd and not at all like our previous communication with her.
      3) I confirmed with the HR Manager who left the voicemails that she specifically said we’re excited to move forward, want to discuss next steps including the initial offer and a background check. *I am now wondering if the background check spooked her off, as I’m not 100% certain it was mentioned before.* Anyway, I’m not really sure how this isn’t clear?
      4) As for not sending an initial e-mail as a follow-up to that first phone call… I admit I do not understand that. I asked the HR Manager to follow-up with an e-mail which she did, but we still haven’t received any kind of response.

      Maybe this changes your opinion, maybe not. Regardless, if we don’t hear back from the candidate by EOD tomorrow (1 week since our initial communication with her), we’ll send her one more form of communication letting her know that we need to move on.

  44. Avril Ludgateaux*


    (I am full of relevant anecdotes today!)

    Over the pandemic a colleague got promoted to an interim dept. manager position (which requires more in-office presence and site/partner visits) from a non-managerial (and fully remote-able) position when we abruptly lost her predecessor. She served over 3 months as interim with NO raise, then was officially promoted full-time to that title and still had to fight for a raise. When she finally got what was owed her, well, our office has an infernally stupid policy of a 6% cap on raises – including promotions to entirely new titles. Then, while she was told she would be paid the difference she was owed retroactive to when she started, all the way back to the interim role, the lie detector test determined that was a lie. Suddenly we have an as-yet-unknown policy of “no retro pay” (even though historically this was not the case).

    So anyway not for nothing but we are bleeding employees. 20% turnover in just the last 12 months – and go figure, our offers are not attractive enough to fill the vacancies!

    OP2, it’s not too much to expect the remuneration for a new job with new responsibilities to be laid out up front. I know this is still controversial with some employers, even in this market, but people work for money. We pay bills with money. We need money to survive. As an employer if you want to attract people, you present them with money, and you tell them how much up front. This includes internal candidates! I would strongly consider connecting with the company pursuing you – there’s no guarantee they’ll be any better, but you should at least investigate the option.

  45. Crencestre*

    “She explained that there were various avenues to increase my salary, and to stay in touch with her on how I felt regarding compensation.”

    Ahh…how about feeling that you should be properly compensated for the increased work inherent in your new position and that the avenue to increase your salary is the hallway leading to the HR office?

    This isn’t summer camp and you’re not singing “Kumbayah”! This is a paid position, your company is getting management-level work out of you for non-managerial compensation and they’re trying to soft-soap you into thinking that this is just ducky. It isn’t!
    If I were you, I’d start to look very seriously at that other position that’s in the offing…it just might come with a more professional approach to salary and benefits.

    1. Mahalia*

      If there are various avenues to Improve your salary than that should be happening right now. The fact that the boss is presenting this as “if you really can’t wait then I guess we can try and dip into an emergency budget” doesn’t speak well to them. I’m curious what would happen if OP went back and said something like “I can’t take on a new role for an undetermined increase several months from now.”? I suspect that these avenues, if they even exist, are something along the lines of having to get a new job offer and threaten to quit in order to get a counter offer. I would encourage OP to push back on the boss and ask “what are those new avenues and why are we not pursuing them by default?”

  46. Books and Cooks*

    Genuine question: Would it be out of line for #4 to call the candidate at her workplace, if they still don’t get a response after several more days? Not by identifying why they’re calling, and not attempting to say anything on the phone that could compromise her if overheard, but just to A) make sure that she is in fact all right; and B) ask her to call you back at her earliest convenience? (i.e. “This is Jane, we spoke last week. I just wanted to ask her a quick question,” or, if/when you’re connected, “This is Jane Warbleworth. I just wanted to ask you to call me back when it’s convenient for you. I’ve sent you an email, so the particulars are there.” No identifying info of the company, even, unless it’s a company the candidate could expect to get a call from for other reasons, and no mention of jobs or offers or anything over the phone.)

    Calling her office might provide some info like “She’s out,” or “she had a family emergency,” too, that would settle the LW’s mind.

    I’m genuinely asking here, because I’m not sure that would be appropriate to do. I hate to suggest chasing this poor woman down or overstepping, but I hate to think of her losing a job offer because her phone/email is on the fritz or there was an emergency or something, too.

    1. OP #4*

      Hi, LW #4 here. I get this line of thinking, but the candidate is recently unemployed and doesn’t have a workplace. We still haven’t heard from her in almost a week (despite calling AND emailing now), and we are keeping an eye on her social media to see if she posts anything… not to be creepy, but we are genuinely a bit worried about her well being now.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        What a good idea Books and Crooks!

        Is posting in her social media too much? Just a quick, “trying to reach you, please contact us?”

        What do others think?

      2. Chilipepper Attitude*

        Great idea Books and Crooks!

        What about posting in her social media; “trying to reach you, please contact us”

        Is that too much? What do others think?

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          While I like the idea of posting on her social media, I would hesitate with your wording. I’d do something that she might respond to and if that works a private message via the same media.

          I’m just hesitant, as a single living alone, to have your question out in public.

        1. Eyes Kiwami*

          This seems like an overreach to me. At the end of the day this is a prospective employer with no responsibility for the candidate. What could OP possibly do if they discovered she was at a local hospital (like the hospital is going to just release her name to any rando calling to look for her)? They can’t contact her next of kin.

          Can you imagine ghosting an employer and they start calling hospitals around looking for you… just let her miss out on the job offer, too bad so sad.

          1. Books and Cooks*

            (I think Not One… was actually being sarcastic and making fun of me, not genuinely suggesting someone start calling hospitals. But hey, I’m okay with being made fun of for caring and worrying about people who suddenly drop out of sight, and I did outright ask if people thought it was worth considering or if it was too much, so it’s all good.)

      3. Books and Cooks*

        Ah, yeah, that definitely rules that out anyway, then, doesn’t it?

        FWIW, I would be doing the same thing you’re doing, and keeping a loose eye on her socials, not out of creepiness or anger but because I would be concerned, too. Especially after there have been comments here describing people who had sudden serious family emergencies, or medical emergencies, or even died–yes, it’s rare, but it obviously happens often enough that more than one commenter here has seen or experienced it. If I were in your shoes, I would be concerned, too, about someone who always responded quickly and seemed enthusiastic but then just suddenly dropped out of sight; “I hope nothing happened to her,” wouldn’t necessarily be my first thought, but it would definitely be *a* thought. You obviously liked and connected with this woman enough to want to offer her a job, so of course you’re dismayed at the thought of something going very wrong in her life. I don’t think that’s being a busybody, a creep, or a “helicopter acquaintance” (so to speak); I think it’s being a pretty normal person who is surprised and concerned when a contact drops out of sight when further contact was expected.

        And yes, people can say, “It’s just a job offer, leave her alone,” all they want, but I know a lot of people who would be very upset indeed to find that they missed an opportunity because of some electronic malfunction or unexpected travel…just like I know quite a few people who would, if (Heaven forbid) the worst happened and the candidate was found to have had a stroke or something alone in her home and not been discovered for a week, wonder why the company trying to hire her hadn’t “bothered” to find other ways to reach out to her, and blame them for not caring enough to make sure she was all right. You just can’t win sometimes.

        Either way, I really hope you at least discover that she’s fine soon, and I hope all goes well with the hiring, too. And I think you can absolve yourself of feeling you didn’t do enough at this point, especially with keeping a loose non-creepy eye on her socials. You can’t call the police for a wellness check, because that would definitely be too much, but you’ve reached out in a few different ways and are watching to set your mind at ease. (I like the idea of dropping her a DM/PM, though, if you feel your conversations previously were warm/friendly enough to say, “Just trying this one last method of reaching you!” or even, “I don’t mean to be pushy, but I’m starting to genuinely worry that something is wrong?” IF you feel you had enough of a connection previously…it might be too much for some, but some would appreciate it, too, and ultimately, what’s the worst that can happen? She thinks you guys were a little too pushy after she dropped completely out of sight when she knew you expected to speak to her?)

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Calling the workplace seems very much out of line.

      When you apply to a job, you give the employer ways to contact you. Going out of these methods feels like an overstep to me.
      Yes, it would suck to miss out on a job, but applying to a job doesn’t give the prospective license to intrude on other aspects of your life.

      1. Books and Cooks*

        Thank you! I can totally see why you feel that way–like I said in my OP, I didn’t know if it would be considered appropriate or not, so I didn’t want to make it an outright suggestion, but I can totally see myself in the LW’s position being genuinely worried about this woman (especially given the further information LW has given) and wanting to at least set my mind at ease, too. So I really wasn’t sure if the general sense would be, “Yes, given the situation this would be okay, as long as the LW didn’t breathe even a hint about job offers etc. over the phone, in order to protect the candidate,” or if it would be an overreach no matter how kind or genuinely concerned was the intent. I really appreciate your input!

    3. Mahalia*

      I agree with a second method of communication but honestly trying too hard can come off as aggressive. IMO using a method of communication that the candidate has not provided would be an excessive overreach.

      1. Books and Cooks*

        Yes, that’s very true, too! I was assuming (probably wrongly, I guess!) that the candidate had given the LW her work number as part of her contact details, but as a secondary (non-preferred) number or a direct extension–so I wasn’t seeing it so much as, “Hunt down her workplace number and call!” but as, “Instead of calling her cell or just dialing her extension, maybe try that switchboard number and ask to be connected that way.” Either way, though, I really was hoping to hear a few different viewpoints, so I really appreciate your response. Thank you!

  47. Cake or Death?*

    LW #3:

    “She has also talked about me picking up shifts after I leave at the end of the summer, which concerns me since I will be six months pregnant and the work will be much more difficult.”

    …you seem to be under the impression that if she wants you to pick up shifts are you leave, you HAVE to.
    You will no longer be their employee, they have literally zero leverage or control over you.
    And frankly, they don’t right now either. You literally said you don’t need this job, so I’m confused as to why you would feel like you’d have to work whatever shifts you were scheduled for. “well, if she schedules me for more than one shift, I’ll have to work it.” No. You’re not an indentured servant. You can leave their employment whenever you choose.
    Maybe you feel some sort of obligation to them out of loyalty? But think about this: do you really think they would ever show the same courtesy to you?

    1. Mahalia*

      Yes I am also concerned that OP seems to be talking as if they have no agency in the situation. I know what it’s like to feel such a strong sense of personal responsibility that we forget that we can just choose to walk away. I think OP needs to reaffirm that they can act of their own volition regardless of whether or not their manager agrees. At this point the worst case scenario of getting fired for asserting themselves is still a win for OP, so it’s a good opportunity to practice their assertiveness.

  48. Goldenrod*

    Hey OP#1 – There are a lot of red flags in your letter and it reminds me of my HORRIBLE last job. My advice would be to get out at the earliest opportunity! When people micromanage that much, it’s all about control…in other words, the bosses are satisfying their own emotional needs for control at the expense of actually getting the work done.

    In my experience, these types of situations never get better – only worse. Run for the hills!

  49. mlem*

    For LW2: My organization promotes only from within and doesn’t hire anything but entry-level. Promotions are *entirely* separate from compensation. You might get a title and new duties in March but see no change in compensation until your annual review months later. That review would then compare you to everyone else in your new position … but you would still get only a certain percent relative to your own prior-year salary point, and all review numbers have to be approved by a small central committee. I’ve known people who have taken about a decade to reach parity with their peers, thanks to ineffective advocacy from their management team.

    It is a terrible system, but it does exist, so it amuses me to see Alison’s reaction.

    1. This is Artemesia*

      exploitation of employees and especially of women is pretty standard in organizations but these are times when many competent people are finding they can find new employment and get raises they deserve; so yeah — this is common and she absolutely should be looking elsewhere — without saying a word beyond what her expectations are. Just give two weeks notice when she finds something better that she wants.

      The ‘tell us about your expectation about compensation’ line is grotesquely condescending. She has told them. She expects to be paid for the new job she is doing. They don’t wanna. So she needs to be gone if she finds something better – but on her timetable and to her convenience not theirs. If her two weeks is right before ‘big busy time’ well — they should have thought of that.

    2. New Jack Karyn*

      I’m not sure why you’re amused by a terrible system that exploits their employees. That doesn’t sound funny to me at all.

      1. mlem*

        It’s a Gen-X “laugh so you don’t cry” kind of “amusement”. It’s such an insular system that it was a very, very long time before I realized my company’s system wasn’t normal.

  50. Irishgal*

    LW3 I feel like if this was the candidate writing in we would all say RUN. You’ve taken 6 weeks and multiple meetings to make a decision and now that you have you want an answer now! There are many reasons why they haven’t yet responded but my overwhelming feeling is yes you are being ghosted and for good reason by the sounds of your expectations.

    1. OP #4*

      I’m assuming this is directed at me (LW #4)? The candidate was informed at the very beginning of this process that it would take about 6 weeks. She was kept up-to-date and well-informed every step of the way. After her last interview on Wednesday, she was told that we would be in touch by Friday, and she expressed enthusiasm at re-connecting again.

      This is a crucial role that involves heavy, time-sensitive internal/external communication, and it was a little concerning to us that we had heard nothing from her by Tuesday when she previously responded to us with more urgency. She never mentioned she would be out of touch, and she had always been very responsive up until this point. It’s now been almost a week and we still haven’t heard from her; this is the longest amount of time we have gone without hearing from her since she initially applied for the position. I don’t see anything out of line or over the top about our process/expectations in regards to this position, but to each their own.

    2. pancakes*

      Why? 6 weeks and multiple meetings is not in itself a sign that something is wrong, and I don’t share the opinion many seem to have the letter writer is somehow hounding this candidate to respond. I don’t think they’d have written in at all if they wanted to go that route. The responses to this one are odd.

    3. Mahalia*

      I don’t understand why people are commenting on the six-week interview process as if OP had last spoken to the candidate six weeks ago. A six week interview process could be as short as three or four interviews with around a business week’s worth of time in between each one. That is not excessive at all. Furthermore OP was *wondering* whether or not they had been ghosted and was writing in to *ask for advice and a second opinion*. Some comments are acting as if OP hadn’t spoken to the interviewee in six weeks and was planning to rescind the offer in three days. It’s a very uncharitable interpretation of the limited information presented in the letter.

      1. OP #4*

        Thank you for this. I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind… I’ve submitted letters before that have been posted on here and I have never received so many negative responses!

        I appreciate the input I received from Alison, but I’ll definitely think twice before writing in again.

        1. linus bk*

          You’re fine. Really. You were clear and upfront with the candidate about the timeline, and you communicated with her through the whole process — which should be exactly what candidates want! so it’s odd that people are jumping on you this way. Also, presumably someone applying for this kind of job would have some inkling of what the hiring process would be like (and if not, it sounds like you communicated to her what it would be like).

        2. Nan*

          If you appreciate her advice why not just write in and skip the comment section altogether which as far as I can tell is what most writers do here and at other advice columns as well? Comments sections seem to be a minority taste, they’re not an essential part of any site.

          1. Mahalia*

            I personally like reading responses from LWs, and I think the commenting section is doing itself a disservice by speculating and then responding as if their speculations are correct — especially when those speculations are uncharitable towards the person who wrote in. Allison always says “take LWs at their word”, but I think I would go further and say “respond as if you were face to face with the person writing in”. The phenomenon of being unkind behind the safety of a computer screen is nothing new.

          2. pancakes*

            That’s true, but it’s also not in itself a reason for commenters to pop off.

            I am inclined to think a lot of people are emotional about this one because they’re imagining themselves immobilized on the floor, awaiting a welfare check that can somehow only come from the last prospective employer they were in touch with. That would be really, really bad, but it’s likely not what it happening here.

        3. Mahalia*

          I think a lot of commenters take out their frustrations with systemic inequality on employers who write in because it feels like the only way they get to have a voice. It’s not a nice feeling but I hope you can try to reframe it as “I’m a convenient stand-in for their own tormentors and it’s about them, not me”.

    4. Ben Marcus Consulting*

      You’re way off base. It would be an extreme reg flag for a role like this to have an expedited interview process. That’s a signal that the organization isn’t being judicious about the candidates they’re bringing in.

  51. surprisedcannuk*

    After reading the responses to LW4 has everyone lost their minds. Yes it’s been less than a week. It’s not normal to take this long to return a call. A six week process isn’t terrible. Just because it took six weeks doesn’t mean they should get six weeks to respond. That’s crazy. I guess send another email and leave another message. If you don’t hear back by middle of next week move on to the next candidate.

  52. xtinerat*

    #1 If it weren’t for the thing about lunch, I would genuinely wonder if this was my former workplace. Get out if you can.

  53. antisocialite*

    I have an issue similar to #2, which I’d appreciate people’s perspectives on.

    Our company brags that our remote positions are completely portable and you are paid based on the market value of your zip code, so if you move to a higher cost of living area, you will be “taken care of”.

    Side note: remote positions come with zero perks or stipends. You pay for everything but your work computer, and need to use your personal phone to log into said work computer. An entire large team which was blended was forced to permanently work from home since the start of the pandemic, to save money on office rent.

    Several of us just learned the hard way, despite asking lots of questions on the process beforehand, that this “pay is based on location” is very disingenuous.

    They only update the salaries once, at the end of the calendar year when they are also determining merit based “raises” (I use that term loosely because they’re so low, they’re not even cost of living adjustments).
    Then the new salary goes into effect the second paycheck of January, and it’s not retroactive.

    So people are working months, sometimes almost a year, in a much higher cost of living area with no adjustment, despite the propaganda that your pay is based on your location.

    I feel like there’s no real business need reason to do this over than to screw people out of money.
    They use a free website to determine the salaries based on zip codes, so they’re not paying a consultant or anything to crunch numbers.
    It doesn’t “cost” anything to update someone’s salary other than, you know, paying them for their work at a fair market value rate.

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