open thread – July 1-2, 2022

It’s the Friday open thread!

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

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

{ 1,151 comments… read them below }

  1. Advice Seeker*

    I’ve very disabled by Long Covid and I need to change career as a result. I’m hoping for readers’ advice about two career change ideas: Becoming a front end developer from being a coding beginner (!) and copy writing.

    More context: I’m in the UK, and female. I haven’t been able to work since 2020. Now I see signs of recovery and I hope to work again within couple of years. But although my brain is fine, I may be physically disabled for some years, so it will have to be desk-based and mostly remote.

    I know that going from a coding beginner to a professional might sound like a dream, but I just might have the right kind of brain for it… I customized a website once and it took about a million years but I really enjoyed teaching myself and figuring it out – it felt like learning magic! Is it realistic to expect to get a job in front end development if I teach myself, or do bootcamps, and if I turn out to be reasonably good at it? My career background has NO tech in it, so my current CV won’t help me here :/

    As for copywriting: I love using words and story (and image, and everything really) to engage folk. I’ve seen copywriting courses advertised online and they claim amazing things but…is there really a demand for all the hungry copywriters coming out of these courses? Is a course like that really a viable route to a career?

    1. Excel Jedi*

      I’ve known quite a very very successful programmers who are mostly self taught or taught through boot camps. Portfolios are very important in that business, and a lot of companies have practical interviews (including skill tests). It’s actually a bit of a problem because people wind up spending an enormous amount of time on those skill tests – but it also makes sure that hiring prioritizes actual skills over how candidates learned those skills. (I’m in an adjacent career in data analysis and visualization, so I have some experience with this as well.)

      Definitely talk to a few people to get their personal experiences and see if it’s a good fit for you.

    2. 867-5309*

      More than training, I think you will need some kind of work-related samples (not just personal side projects). My recommendation would be to explore classes and certifications but combine that with either an internship or volunteer experience so you have published deliverables to share.

      Good luck!

      1. Anna Badger*

        you can absolutely include personal projects in your portfolio, as well as things like contributions to open source software.

        the UK has lots of initiatives for getting women into coding – depending on where you are, you might be able to study at a boootcamp for free. Jess Rose also runs free frontend online bootcamps that might be worth looking at.

        please also don’t discount your non-tech experience! we’re desperately in need of engineers with domain specific knowledge and experience, so once you’re trained up, you may want to look for software companies that serve whatever your old industry was.

        1. Advice Seeker*

          Advice Seeker here. Thanks very much for everyone’s thoughts so far. Anna Badger, can you recommend some specific UK initiatives for getting women into coding? I’m in Scotland and I’m googling around but for some reason haven’t found anything specific just yet. Thanks for the Jess Rose recommendation, I’m looking into her work now…

          1. Peachtree*

            Code First Girls! They offer everything from short courses to degree qualifications. And it’s free, designed specifically for women changing career in a lot of cases.

            1. Advice Seeker*

              Thanks Peachtree. Do you have experience of Code First Girls yourself? I’m curious to get personal recommendations so I am all ears if you do.

          2. Anna Badger*

            ah, the free ones I know specifically are in Birmingham and London. Institute of Coding are doing a bunch of free stuff nationally, and it’s also worth seeing if there are any codebar workshops near you – I know a few of the codebar folks and they’re good people.

          3. Scot Librarian*

            I know someone who trained with Code Clan in Edinburgh and she has good things to say about them. They have worked with Inspiring Scotlandcto be more disability friendly (although still not perfect, they do seem to be trying)

        2. 867-5309*

          Thanks for adding this note, Anna Badger. I do think contribution to open source falls under the volunteer experience.

          As someone who manages a copywriting team, though, I would not be interested in seeing personal projects unless there was an element to them that gave some gravitas beyond just OP being the only audience/recipient of the work.

          1. Anna Badger*

            d’oh! you were talking about copywriting and I assumed you were talking about frontend development. it is definitely Friday. my bad, completely agree with you.

    3. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      The thing with a career in coding is that you have to code all the time, even when you’re not being paid for it. Whether you’re self-taught or do a boot camp, you need completed projects and you need to continue to code frequently. There are so many free tools out there to get started so I’d recommend doing more research since you’re exploring multiple paths.

      1. Ainsley*

        Yeah seconding this – my husband says you lose your skills quickly if you don’t code regularly and he works on personal side projects a lot as a resume booster/somewhat for fun.

        1. Migraine Month*

          If I’m between jobs, it’s definitely true that I lose my skills after a couple months. When I have a full-time coding job, I haven’t needed to study or practice coding on my own time.

    4. Baeolophus bicolor*

      There are definitely coding boot camps you can take that will get you to a developer position. Are any of those run by universities an option for you?

      I can’t speak for copywriting, but have you considered technical writing? If you can learn DITA (XML based markup language) and basic CSS, get topic based writing down, and develop a portfolio by practicing documenting software (pick your favorite open source) you should be able to land a job adjacent to your former field or in software documentation, which could hold you over till you have the skills to be a developer. Tech writing can easily be remote, low physical impact, and generally pays decent.

      Whatever you pick, good luck!

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Thanks Baeolophus bicolor. I must admit, I don’t even really know what you mean when you talk about documenting software, which maybe shows how far I have to go! (When I think of technical writing, I think about writing which translates the instructions for products so that customers can understand how to use them, eg, the instructions for a washing machine.) I will google what you’ve said :)

        I’ll ask look into university coding camps. Thanks for the luck!

        1. Trawna*

          Yes, check into that, and also into proposal management for professional service firms (digital; engineering; accounting; etc). They get most of their work by responding to Requests for Proposal/ Information/Qualification (RFx — RFP; RFI; RFQ). This combines quick technical understanding, writing, graphics/visualization, and management skills. Most submissions are electronic, so remote is possible and preferable.

          All the best to you!

    5. kina lillet*

      For coding, there are avenues of employment for people coming out of coding bootcamps. Often these are not the super-high-paying developer positions you might want, especially for front-end development, but you are certainly hireable. In my experience people coming out of bootcamps do need more on-the-job education than people coming out of full-fledged computer science programs. So you many encounter a more resistant job market than you expect.

      I would expect it to be more feasible than a copywriting bootcamp, though. And it’s fun!

      1. kina lillet*

        Adding—a portfolio is a helpful addition/substitute for educational experience if you’re going the code+bootcamp route. It will be more important to know angular, react, vue, etc—frontend coding frameworks—than HTML, and you would want to have projects on your github. Bootcamps often have you post a project on your github, but it’s pretty apparent when they’re paint-by-numbers projects rather than demonstrations of understanding.

    6. Ainsley*

      My husband is a programmer and is completely self-taught – he has a PhD in political science and has no formal training in programming. He has a decent job as a programmer now. However he is self-taught in that he’s been doing it off and on almost his whole life. He didn’t take a bootcamp course.

    7. desdemona*

      I’m in the USA, so grains of salt here –
      My partner is in tech – he says it’ll be easier to enter the workforce from a bootcamp, and they have online-only bootcamps that give certificates. He also says if you’re interested in more theory-stuff, you could try auditing classes at nearby universities or taking a summer course, for things like how computers work, and the math behind coding. (computer systems, architecture, etc)

      For other folks reading this – he added that if you’re currently working, self-teaching will be an easier transition because of the full-time-ness of bootcamps; you could self-teach while maintaining your current career.

      Also – a friend of mine did a bootcamp (switched from teaching to coding) and she now has an amazing career!

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Interestingly, my partner is in tech in a large but non tech company that is pivoting to more tech (energy sector but not an actual oil company) . He himself is self-taught, but he’s been doing this for 30 years, since college, with major in math.
        His company highly prefer to higher CS grads, and preferably with masters. They actively recruit from few universities in the state.
        He does the technical part of many interviews and is always disappointed in the bootcamp grads. When they do get hired, they are hired at least 2 paybands lower than their prefered Masters in CS, and a payband lower than bachelor in CS. That may mean a good $40k difference in the starting salary.
        No, this is back end development, cyber security, and architecture. So it is possibly very different from what OP is saying.

    8. Excel-sior*

      Whilst not coding, work as a Data or MI Analyst could be close to what you’re looking for. Like a lot of roles, the job description varies from place to place, but quite a lot of places pay decent money for just being quite good at Excel (something for which i have my entire career to thank for).

      A fair few job adverts will say “advanced Excel skills like Pivot Tables, Vlookups and formulas” and honestly, they’re not that advanced/difficult to learn. Learn Pivot Tables, vlookups, count and sumifs and thats a pretty good start and probably be worth learning even if it isn’t a route you want to go down. But if you do, theres lots of other formula’s and you could go on to learn VBA to help automate processes.

      From what I’ve seen looking around my part of the UK, there is some pretty good options for remote working available.

      Good luck!

        1. Excel-sior*

          My pleasure. And remember, google (and Stack Overflow) is your friend. If you have a question, someone, somewhere will have already asked it.

    9. Freelance Anything*

      Check out places like CodeNation for accredited training and work experience in coding and cybersecurity.

      It is 12 weeks full-time, but there are options to have it fully and partially funded. Obviously depends on your specific situation.

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Advice Seeker here. I notice there are two Code Nations but I presume you mean the one that’s for grown ups rather than schools! Nice recommendation, thank you, I’ve just had a glance and I like their emphasis on accessibility and preparing people for a professional career…

    10. OperaArt*

      I don’t know if this is true as much for front end coding, but there are a large number of open source projects on GitHub that can always use volunteer programmers. It would be a way to show skills in working on large, multi-person projects.

    11. Alexis Rosay*

      It is definitely doable, but getting your first job will be hard, so look for a bootcamp with an established alumni network and good career services. (I’ve heard of people coming out of bootcamps sending out 400+ applications). Once you get your first job and have a few years of experience, things will become much easier. What bootcamps teach you is really the bare minimum, you have to be driven to self-teach and work on your own quite a lot beyond that, whether you’re going the portfolio route (you’ll need some polished independent projects) or the CS route (you’ll need to spend a lot of time prepping for interviews on data structures & algorithms).

    12. Maybe Coding*

      I wokred with a Woman who did a bootcamp with Machester Codes in the UK. She was a front end programmer with the London based comapny I worked for and became a part-time teacher for Machester Codes. She credits the coding course with getting her a job. They have a free intro course so you can learn about coding and thier progam. Apparently there were a number of poeple at the comapny that come through thier program.

    13. Gnome*

      Definitely do-able. I see resumes like that frequently. One thing that you might want to consider (and I’m not in the UK, so your milage may vary) is setting up a GitHab account and putting some samples there people can see. I do look at these when people include them in resumes.

    14. SpringIsForPlanting!*

      Another commenter mentioned technical writing–I want to also point out the area of ‘product management’ or the ‘product owner’ role. It’s what I do–I fell into it sideways with a mix of technical, writing, and analysis skills and no formal qualifications in that area. Happy to elaborate if interested.

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Advice Seeker here. I’m curious and would definitely read with interest if you elaborated! :)

      2. Anna Badger*

        second this! I got into product management via an odd combination of tech support/ customer service/ qualitative data analysis, as a university dropout with no formal qualifications beyond A levels.

      3. one of the meg murrys*

        SpringIsForPlanting, I am also interested in hearing more: I am in the US, not a developer and similar to Advice Seeker’s situation in needing a career shift disability/burnout. At Old Job in a non-tech setting, I did a lot of tech-adjacent and analytical work + project management. I was often the “owner” of homegrown apps & did user documentation /training. In a tech setting, would this mean I’d be putting out fires and begging for more developer support, or would there be a team that could back me up in fluctuating health (maybe even as part-time)?

        1. Anna Badger*

          I am a part time product manager! my team has three engineers of varying seniority and a tech lead – plenty enough people to get the work done. I’d say the ratio of putting out fires versus just lining up the right work on the right order for your engineers varies widely between teams even in the same organization (and sometimes in the same team between quarters) – the more stable your tech stack and sensible your stakeholders, the less firefighting. definitely something to ask about in an interview.

          1. one of the meg murrys*

            Thank you, that’s good to know! I suspect US companies might have more of a tendency to understaff, given that we don’t plan for people to take vacations ever :(

    15. Hecuba*

      What’s your career background?
      There may be various ways to spin your experience to be more effective when trying to change careers.

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Advice Seeker here. Blown away by all the (very helpful) answers so far. Hi Hecuba, my career background is a mix of: the arts, charity sector (ie. nonprofit), community engagement, training people, equalities and accessibility strategy, and managing projects in arts and healthcare settings.

        1. Anna Badger*

          this is honestly a fab mix. some sectors you might want to think about:

          – charities that use tech for anything more complicated than maintaining a website and a CRM
          – organisations that serve any of the specific communities you’ve worked with
          – edtech
          – SAAS (software as a service) companies that target charities or arts orgs as a major customer group (e.g. fundraising software, accounting software – think about the technologies that have been standard across all your charity organisations)

    16. Migraine Month*

      The thing I wish I’d learned in school is that 95% of coding is about reading code, rather than writing it. Most classes and interview skills tests test the ability to write code, but once you’re hired most of the job is maintaining or debugging code written by others (or by yourself 3 months ago). You can find online “find and fix the bug in this code” puzzles that will give you a taste of what it’s like to do that part of the job.

      On a personal note, I dislike plain JavaScript. I’d recommend learning a particular version like jQuery or TypeScript. (One of my coworkers memorably described plain JavaScript as a dog turd, and jQuery as the plastic bag you used to pick it up so you didn’t get your hands dirty.)

      1. Gnome*

        That is literally the opposite of every job I have had that involves code. So, your milage may vary:)

    17. Kim Dokja Company*

      So you’ve gotten a lot of advice for coding already, let me give you a little for copywriting. Caveat: I’m from the US, so things may or may not be different in your neck of the woods.

      My day job is in editing, but I’ve been a freelance copywriter before and also have an extensive background in fiction writing. Right off the bat, I’ll say that marketing copywriting is VASTLY different from fiction writing. There’s definitely some overlap in skills, especially nowadays when a lot of marketing is about “”””””brand storytelling”””””, but what your goal is with each type is always so different. If you’ve only ever done fiction writing, I’d recommend doing a little more research into how marketing writing works. There might be basic/free courses out there that give you an overview and tips. I’d really recommend against the courses that cost money and/or give you a certificate at the end. Maybe they’re great and magical, but in my experience, you can get the same results just by being a half-decent writer and understanding the fundamentals of marketing writing.

      Now here’s where coding and copywriting are similar: you’ve got to have a portfolio. If you have absolutely zero writing credits to your name, I’d recommend starting a blog and writing on a topic you’re interested in, like a product or a philosophy on design or one of the million observations and opinions on the job market today. It just needs to be something you can either research fairly easily or already have a decent grasp of. You just need to show two things: one, you understand how to talk about something and impart information clearly, and two, that you understand how basic webpage formatting works (so headers, linking to sources, adding images, that sort of thing). Even better if you can convince a family member or friend to let you help them write a landing page or blog post.

      Once you have that under your belt, you can try your hand on the freelancing platforms or contract work for companies. I’d recommend the former before jumping into the latter, so you’re absolutely sure you have something “professional” to show off. I don’t know your limits with your health concerns, OP, so how close you want to be to a traditional 9 to 5 is up to you!

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Thanks Kim Dokja Company. Advice Seeker here. I don’t exactly have a prose fiction writing background – I’ve written rather for live performance. In terms of marketing, I got into that kind of writing through the arts and community engagement – basically always writing bits and pieces of text to engage the public with arts events or with free community programmes or events, or with the work of a particular organisation. But I would be new to marketing physical products and commercial services. And new to the official copywriting job market, so just “huh??” about where to get started! I hear what you’re saying about creating a portfolio with concrete experience first.

        1. Kim Dokja Company*

          Oh, I didn’t notice in your original post if you mentioned what kind of experience you DID have, but your work with community engagement writing sounds like something you could easily leverage!

          Admittedly, my advice about gathering clients will be far less helpful since I lucked into a lot of my long-time ones, but if you absolutely have no clue where to start, there are tons of freelancing platforms of various types and commitments. There’s no harm in putting yourself out there and on those to see if it’s something you’d even enjoy.

          1. Advice Seeker*

            No, I hadn’t mentioned my experience in my original post – I was trying to make it as brief as possible while getting the essentials across, which was like a copywriting exercise in itself! Thanks very much for your advice here.

    18. kayci*

      I’m a Lead software engineer (our company is swe > senior > lead > principle) for a F500 company with 2 people in my team without any cs education. One of the swe’s worked at our call center and only has his HS diploma but taught himself python, before moving on to C++ and Java.

      The other swe has a business degree but worked in project management before jumping into a bootcamp. Programming itself is pretty easy to learn as it just syntax and concepts. I would recommend learning about cs basics using something like A+ before jumping into learning the language.

      I personally think bootcamps are a waste of money for how much charge since you could learn many of those things on your own, but they do give you the chance to work with an instructor. When I look at resumes, if someone doesn’t have any experience, I’m more interested in their github repos and a website if they have one.

      “I know that going from a coding beginner to a professional might sound like a dream”

      Not a dream at all, if you decide to start learning it and find it enjoyable, keep at it, build your portfolio, and keep interviewing.

    19. Lucky*

      Coding can be a great option for a second career. Are their coding camps in the UK, 6-8 week programs to help you get started, maybe tuition subsidized for re-entering/older students? My husbeast is a developer working in an academic environment, and he often hires new coders out of coding camps. After a year (or even less – record is 4 months) they all get recruited to bigger/better positions (academia can’t pay enough to compete with Google). Good luck!

    20. Anne with an E*

      You might want to check out free code camp:

      https://www.freecodecamp.org/

      It’s free training, and they have you work on building nonprofit sites to build your portfolio and apply what you learn. They also have resources on how to leverage the training to land a job.

      I haven’t done it myself but have heard good things about it.

      Good luck!

    21. RagingADHD*

      Re: copywriting.

      It is a viable career/business model, but the courses you are probably seeing are not at all realistic about the amount of time & effort you need to put in or the amount of money you’re likely to earn as a newbie.

      The course descriptions are written by copywriters, after all. They are sales copy.

      The best and most comprehensive free resource I’ve seen about getting into professional copywriting is the wiki page at the “freelanceWriters” sub red dit. I’ll put a link in a reply.

        1. Advice Seeker*

          Thanks so much, RagingADHD. Yes, you’ve pointed to one reason I’m doubtful about the ‘amazing’ copywriting courses – they are being hard-promoted to me by copywriters. It’s very circular…
          I will gladly check out that wiki.

    22. Mill Miker*

      One tricky thing with front-end development to be aware of, is that (in my experience, anyway) many of the people doing the hiring do not know how to evaluate the actual coding, and will instead focus on the visuals.
      So, from a professionalism/craftsperson point of view, it’s important to learn about quality code, and performance, and accessibility, and how to keep up with the changes to the fundamental technologies (HTML, CSS, JS).
      But, from a “getting a job” and “getting promotions” point of view, it’s important to be able to create visually appealing designs, and know how to get them built and working (even if they’re a complete mess behind the scenes).
      If only the first thing appeals to you, I’d recommend looking at more back-end jobs. If you can do the second, you’ll probably always be able to find a job somewhere. If you can swing both, you’ll do amazing.

    23. Weegie*

      I was advised many years ago to stay away from those copywriting courses. A lot of them are a bit scammy, but even where they’re legit they’re not going to get you into a copywriting career, and you’d be lucky to make even a little income. There are similar courses for editors all over the place (I work in editing) and although they do teach you skills, they’re not recognised courses and won’t get you a job – the market is flooded with editors, and there isn’t enough work to go around.
      Since you already have some writing experience, I suggest thinking about what specific kind of writing you want to do and then, as others have advised, build up a portfolio to show potential clients – I had a friend who did this and was quite successful in getting writing commissions, although there wasn’t enough work to make a living and eventually he gave up. He was very good at marketing himself, which is a skill you will need!
      If you can afford it, taking a master’s degree in writing and publishing seems to get most graduates into writing or editing jobs.

      1. Advice Seeker*

        Thanks for these honest insights – it’s important to me to hear the bad or the “meh” as well as the “you can do this!!!!!!!” stuff. Reality matters :)

    24. Bookindexer*

      You might also consider book indexing. It isn’t a quick learning curve, but you can make a decent living and it is all remote. It sounds as if you might have the roght kind of (slightly weird!) brain.The Society of Indexers has a training course and a lot of really nice people. Indexers.org.uk.

      Good luck to you!

      1. Advice Seeker*

        This too is very interesting and a great recommendation, thank you Bookindexer.

    25. the Viking Diva*

      No advice to offer on these topics, but just popped in to say I see you, Advice Seeker.

      1. Advice Seeker*

        If you’re going through something similar, then very best of luck with it Viking Diva.

    26. Quidge*

      Bit late, but maybe useful still?
      Sounds like you’re already mostly qualified for (and/or would be a great fit for) software technical documentation/UX writing!
      I use HTML/CSS regularly (DITA/XML is just a slightly more stringent set of tags – if you can HTML/CSS you’ll pick up DITA), but didn’t need them to get the job, just a portfolio of written work (instructions I’d written in past roles rather than software-specific; would be easy to create e.g. basic tutorials or mock help content for your favourite software if you don’t have any). Being able to use or at least understand Git is a big leg up too, but again not essential.
      Freelancing or remote working is fast becoming the default for tech writers in the UK. Check out the UX Writing Hub for a great newsletter and a useful-but-not-comprehensive jobs board! Lots of useful links and advice on UX writing portfolios and getting into the industry, lots of it applicable to straight tech writing too.

  2. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

    Has anyone started a new job while living in a stressful situation at home? Physically i am safe but it is a mentally & emotionally volatile situation that I cannot leave just yet.

    I struggle with new situations, esp new jobs. I do not have the time, energy, money or capacity for therapy right now. Once I begin getting paid I’ll be seeking legal help but I for now I need practical suggestions on how to keep my focus on doing well at my new job. I just need to get from point A to point B. I can give more detail if necessary. I just wanted to keep this concise.

    TIA for any advice & suggestions.

    1. Anon for this*

      I moved overseas with my now-ex-husband and was in a situation similar to yours… New country and I started a new job. When I was leaving, I confided in my boss but felt safe doing so, which might not be right for everyone.

      These are things I did in the interim,

      1. I saved money into my own bank account. (I actually didn’t have one for awhile as a new person in the country and all my money went into my husband’s account. My start-up employer for a time sent part of my paycheck to cover my rent each month until I was approved for one.)

      2. I used work as an escape… I focused on it being my future and would tell me then-husband that it was busy or tough to check messages during the day so I could center-in on my work responsibilities.

      3. Have you considered meditating for 1-5 minutes at the start and end of each work day to both prepare you to let go while you’re there and steel your resolve before you go home?

      4. You mention not having money for therapy (and definitely believe that!) but if you can carve out a small bit for even online therapy once a month it could be useful. I’m loath to recommend those platforms as they are not great for privacy and are experiencing some other issues but I used them when I was overseas as a stopgap since I wanted a U.S. therapist. I did 30 minute virtual sessions over lunch. (OP, I would be willing to pay for you to go once a month. Reply if you’re interested and we’ll connect through Alison.)

      5. I kept a to do list if milestones for leaving my marriage, which I kept at my desk. (Hidden of course.) It helped remind me that there was light at the end of the dark tunnel.

      Hang in there, OP.

      1. M_Lynn*

        Adding more to this wonderful list, esp. #2. To make work an escape, try to make it as joyful as possible. When I was in a terrible home situation, I found it extra important to recognize and celebrate little wins at work. Even something as simple as “I wrote a really great email.” or “I figured out the answer to this question all by myself.” I found it vital to make work the place I could feel confident and in control. Mentally, it made work a respite. Learning a new job is hard, but I hope you can try to focus on the progress you’re making and what you’re improving on.

        I also found a lot of joy in having positive relationships with coworkers. I never shared anything about what was happening at home, because I tried to put home out of my mind when I was at work, and it also could have sent me emotionally spiraling. But low stakes, pleasant conversations were so delightful. It was nice to look at cute baby pics or talk about movies or what have you. It made it so my whole life wasn’t subsumed in my home situation.

        Those two things made going to work a lot easier, and I found myself having more energy to devote to work because it was a bright spot in my life. Good luck!

      2. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

        Fortunately I do have my own bank account but I have always had a hard time saving money because I use shopping & spending as a way to feel better about myself. The irony isn’t lost on me. Thank you so much for the offer, that’s very kind of you <3

    2. Verbsy*

      Ooof. Hugs. Could you leave the house early before work? There are lots of mindfulness practices (breathing, I like the Waking Up app) maybe you could do in your car before you go in the office. Schedule a buffer to refocus and transition to being in the office, and think about what you will accomplish that day.

    3. I feel ya*

      I didn’t start a new job, but I did get a new manager while I was going through a very stressful home situation a few months ago. I was also in a mentally/emotionally volatile situation, and was in the process of leaving, but the timeline was slower than ideal.

      I broke down at work a few times, I felt like I wasn’t totally *there* as far as concentration goes. So I get where you’re at. The only real advice I have is to just be honest with your manager/team. I gave my manager the basic, “I’m in a stressful home situation right now; I’m safe, but it’s far from ideal. I’m taking steps to get out of it, but I am not working at my full mental capacity right now.” And he was understanding, cut me some slack, etc. If you have a good manager, just be as honest as you are comfortable being. The trick, though, was that I really did live up to what I said – once I got out of my bad situation, I made sure to be fully present at work.

      1. one of the meg murrys*

        Co-sign saying something to your manager. Depending on how positive you feel about them so far, I might start with something a little vaguer than the script above–like “dealing with challenging family issues”–and if they seem supportive and concerned, consider disclosing more. I was two months into a new job when I started going through a breakup and it was so awful because I didn’t feel secure in my job yet! One day I got so upset by a disturbing message from my ex that I left work in the middle of the day. I sent an awkward and vague email to my manager about needing to go home, and she ended up calling me later, not angry but concerned. Sharing a little more with her and telling her I was safe, but expected to be struggling for a bit, was so helpful, and she believed me that leaving work abruptly was not typical for me. She was amazing, and it helped work be a haven, even though I was still adjusting to the new job.

        There are lots of good tips in these responses about really small steps like brief mindfulness breaks, going outside, etc.–even for a few minutes! This sounds so hard. Hang in there!

        1. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

          I’m not opposed to letting them know. I just worry that because I’m “unknown” it’ll sound like an excuse and not a reason. I was fired from a temp job many years ago when I was at a really low point in my life and I really don’t want history to repeat itself.

    4. Lynn*

      Some random thoughts without knowing all the details of this situation
      -Could you negotiate for a small upfront bonus at this point? You don’t have to explain to your new job why and / or could couch it as helping with the adjustment to the new position and then you’d be front-loaded a little money to start those processes
      -If you are going to be in person, capitalize on having neutral spaces. Spend as much time as possible at the office and networking / coffee chatting with new coworkers. Take onsight or computer based trainings that keep you there.
      -Starting a new job can also be exhausting. Try to plan at least a 2 week reprieve for yourself where you do minimal chores, have plenty of time for sleep, and prioritize activities that give you energy

      1. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

        I didn’t know an upfront bonus is even a thing – I’m coming in at a lower-mid level with a salary that’s decent – enough to build on but not to leave my situation just yet. I’m not sure if I can spend extra time in the office since I have a small child but I can definitely make the time there count as much as possible.

    5. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Compartmentalizing might be the only way you survive what you’re suggesting — a hard stop on letting work and home mix at all.

      But consider whether you have options to find legal and therapeutic supports now. Check your local legal aid organization, and human services/domestic violence/mental health services for free consultations and guidance. Even if you just had a one hour phone call that could help you map out your steps, it could calm your attention bandwidth a bit.

      In my area we can call 211 for information about support services of all kinds — you just tell them what’s going on and they can track down the appropriate resources that would apply. Another place you could look is your county or municipal website — there’s usually a “I need some help” sort of section that would provide links and information about the resources available in your area.

    6. Podkayne*

      Some strategies I’ve found helpful:
      “Bibliotherapy”:
      For mindfulness especially in time of crisis: Wherever You Go, There You Are; Fear, by Thich Nhat Hanh
      For neutral responses that protect me and which don’t add to a conflict dance: Codependent No More; online resources on “gray rock” and “Oh Zone” statements; Al-Anon podcasts (even if addiction in your home is not an issue).

      Re: the mindfulness books: even just reading for 5 minutes in them is a restorative experience for me.

      Avoid stress amplifiers such as following the news. Replace with a feel-good music playlist that you create. …. And also a kick-butt playlist that makes you feel more powerful. M.I.A’s sing, Bad Girls is one of my go-to’s for that.

    7. hamsterpants*

      Oof, I’m sorry you have to deal with this. You would not be the first person to use “sorry, had to work late!” as an excuse to not come home until bedtime.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Home was difficult when I first started working. I had very poor concentration. This lead to mistakes, of course.

      I developed habits of double checking finished work and using memory triggers as part of doing the tasks. If I made a mistake that others caught, I would vow not to make that particular mistake again. Quietly promising myself to stay sharp not to repeat mistakes turned out to be super helpful. I felt like I was taking good care of me and my own interests.

      When I started a job I would use quiet time to try to review what I learned about the job the day before. I would try to picture tasks in my head. Even a half-hearted, half-baked attempt at these imaginary reviews did help to rope me back into the “work mindset”.

      It might not always be possible, but I found times where I could take 15 minutes of quiet time so I could refocus myself on the workplace. One job I had I walked to work, so this was that quiet time during the walk. Other jobs I had the drive in and home from work to do my mental gear shifting that I needed to do.

      This is going to sound too basic to be meaningful, but don’t underestimate the power of being a pleasant and helpful cohort. People will over look things if a new employee is generally pleasant and shows interest in sincerely helping.

      And here’s a key point, just because someone is submarining us at home does not mean everyone in the world is standing around with a baseball bat waiting to see our knees. (Although it can feel that way, I know.) One of the problems I had was trusting people to mean what they say. And yeah, this came directly from my home life where questioning the meaning of what was said was necessary for survival.

      One rebuttal I came up with for this problem was to tell myself, “It does not matter if people are not trustworthy or insincere. All that actually matters is that *I* am trustworthy and sincere. It’s funny how this one works because once we see our own sincerity and our own trustworthiness, we start to see it in others too. It’s weird how this can work.

    9. little helper*

      Carving out time for your own emotional regulation, daily if you can. Make it a part of your schedule and routine so that you don’t miss it. This can sometimes look like doing an activity you really love, but should often consist of active emotional regulation practice. Practice feeling your feelings about your situation and comforting yourself. I like to do a meditation where I go to my “safe place” (for me, it’s a meadow lined by trees” and practice feeling safe in your body.

      Also, boundaries. What boundaries do you need set (and what can you safely set) to ensure that you are able to show up to work and do your job?

    10. NaoNao*

      Captain Awkward has an advice column called #450 “How to Tighten Up Your Game at Work When You’re Depressed” if you do a Google search it should come right up.

      I think many of the tips there will apply and be helpful. Best of luck, it sounds very rough.

      1. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

        I googled it and will read it. Thanks for the suggestion!

    11. A Frayed Knot*

      As soon as you start the new job, find out if you have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). That can give you immediate access to assistance and most of it should be free (at least for a few initial consultations). They have seen it all and know how to help! Good luck.

      1. kittycontractor*

        Second this. I actually had to use it for the last few months at my last job just due to the job itself and it was great. It was through an app, so no traveling, and she was willing to work around my time parameters. It also had reminders and walk-throughs (brief) for breathing exercises and mindfullness (someone above mentioned these), in addition to short journal exercises. Nothing was mandatory, so no pressure and I know where I was at the EAP was available from Day one regardless of any wait for insurance for new employees.

        Outside of EAP, working on a meditating or mindfullness activities as you are going into work may help as well. I would do a five minute exercise in my car before I walked into my building.

    12. no ducking on the dance floor*

      Grey rock tactic can help, esp if the other person in your house starts to sense changes that will negatively impact them. Watch out for sabotage too. Anything from ‘losing’ your car keys to calling a new workplace to tell them some unsavory garbage about you. I had a tough time compartmentalizing at work because I didn’t know what chaos or fuckery I would come home to. Locking down as many loose ends as possible helped. Keep passwords and account info hidden & changed often, have spare keys or anything you need to get to work on time so you can’t be tripped up by lost keys/bus pass etc.
      Try to make getting into work like going through an airlock into a safe zone.

    13. Kay*

      My number one suggestion is to stay as busy as possible. Even better if you can find a way to do so while engaging with your co-workers – think active dialog training with your co-worker & note taking over watching training videos by yourself. Find ways to force yourself to focus on the task at hand – find some way to keep yourself engaged. Instead of mindlessly making the 100 copies you’re tasked with, also jot down matchsticks to keep track while repeating 5 different colors in the same order – that type of thing. Literally talking out in your head your every move. Work distraction is your friend.

      When you need your personal distraction – what do you love, what has distracted you before? For me it is a walk in nature where there are living things – a bird doing something weird, a cool bunch of flowers, lizards chasing each other and there went far too much time. If I don’t have that, exercise and music both help. Duolingo is a good diversion too. Good luck OP!

    14. Anonymous to protect my privacy*

      Thank you all so much for the kind words and suggestions <3 . There are a lot of great ideas here that I'll try to utilize for my situation. I have a young child in daycare and a spouse that will be responsible for the drop offs and pick ups. Spouse is a good parent to our child so luckily I don't have to worry about their safety but things between us are not great and have been deteriorating for a while now. I'm hoping that by getting a job and saving money, I can help get things on track – either together or separated.

    15. Chirpy*

      I used the commute as “alone time”. Plenty of extra-long-way-home routes as needed, definitely a good place to let out some frustration and cry. The job itself sucked too, but having coworkers who liked me and didn’t treat me as a failure did help. And it helped just being able to get out of the house/ having an excuse to step back because “I have to work “.

  3. Minimal Pear*

    A few weeks ago I asked if it would make me seem out of touch to ask for an even higher raise than what my boss originally offered. Commenters said no, and boy were you right! She read my email in probably two minutes and immediately replied and said, “Yeah, this higher amount is no problem.” I almost wish I’d asked for even more!

    1. Merci Dee*

      Last week, I was called into the CFO’s office near the end of the day and handed a letter — our annual raises had come through. While they’re typically 3%, my merit raise for the year was 15%! From what I later heard, many people at my level in the company had receive raises of similar dollar amounts. Turns out our company had done a market value study on many of the salaried office positions and determined that our salaries were paid below market rate. So we were given substantial raises to bring our base salaries in line with other companies in our industry. Considering everything that’s been going on with inflation lately, this was a huge relief!

    2. Indubitably Delicious*

      This is just to say that I greatly appreciate your username, Minimal Pear.

  4. RFlaum*

    There was a story I saw on AAM a while ago but I can’t find, and I’d appreciate some help in finding it. It was about a guy who kept filling out some forms incorrectly so they gave him a written list of explicit instructions. After a while they saw him filling out the forms incorrectly again and asked him where the list was, and he tapped his head and said “It’s all up here”. Anyone know where this story is?

    1. not a doctor*

      Not sure about AAM, but that’s totally a plot in an episode of the cancelled-too-soon show “Happy Endings.”

    2. BlueBalloon*

      I remember that! It was a comment on Alison’s request for astounding first impressions from March 24 of this year. It was comment-3799187 by Stackson, if you want to search that page or plug it into the address bar.

      Bill, tapping side of head: “I’ve got it allllll right here!”

      1. Lilith*

        Thanks for the reminder of that thread! I didn’t have time to read through it at the time and forgot to come back to it :)

  5. I want to make a difference!*

    Vent, vent, vent

    After last week’s corruption of justice, I had a definite moment of “Why am I wasting my life answering someone’s else’s phones for barely over minimum wage to make a bunch of old conservative rich white guys even richer?” Granted, I have this thought multiple times every day working on the reception front desk. But last Friday, I was the closest I’d ever come to screaming “F*** all you jerks, I’m quitting to go do something GOOD with my life!” and walking out.

    I desperately want to work in something that makes the world a better place. I want to work for equal rights for everyone who isn’t racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQIA+ bigot trash. I want to fight for the environment. I want to be part of something that provides for people in need. I want to work somewhere, maybe female/AFAB-dominated, where I’m not constantly being hit on by married male coworkers and visitors, and called “baby” or “baby doll(!)” or a million other gross diminutive terms that men only seem to apply to people they perceive as female. (I’m also nonbinary and reeeeaaallly don’t appreciate having my dysphoria triggered every day by men focusing on my perceived “femininity.”) I want to not be a receptionist, administrative assistant, or something related for the rest of my life, and I’m resentful I keep getting shoved into this box where I have never even fit. I want to do good within my strengths!

    But I am not social. I have severe trauma-based anxiety disorder (and that’s after therapy and medication), and I’m rapidly burning out at the front desk admin assistant position I got pushed into because my anxiety can’t handle dealing with all these people and phone calls every day. Effecting social change seems to be very…social. :( Where are all the jobs for the people who need solitude and self-supervision and love working alone and don’t mind being shoved into a back room and left to do their work solo and in peace? It’s discouraging. I’d love to make activism my career, but I’m not social enough for effecting social change, it seems.

    I’d like to add as a tangent, all these states becoming much less safe places to live overnight oughta drive home how important it is to offer fully remote or as-remote-as-possible options for positions whenever you can! You shouldn’t have to leave a good job just because you’re being forced to relocate your home to a safer place where you have access to the legal and healthcare options you need–or for any other reason, really. If your job doesn’t require your physical presence, you should be able to do it from anywhere, without worrying that you’ll have to resign and move away when your state’s government suddenly goes from progressive to a self-destructive, bigoted nightmare.

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      I do not know. I’d try to see if you had any energy to do some small stuff first in existing activist groups. Even making a database for them might help.

    2. bunniferous*

      I’m thinking accounting/bookkeeping. One of my children is an extreme introvert and she does data entry/accounts receivable for a company and loves it. I imagine that every organization needs bean counters/admin people to include organizations doing the type of things you support.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        I’m doing data entry/bookkeeping right now, and it’s great! My only issue is that I can’t do it remotely, which is not great given my immune system…

        1. Christmas Carol*

          Keep looking, for the right company you can do this work from home. During COVID my company sent the entire accounting department home, expecting it to last for two weeks, four tops.. While about half of the department eventually had returned to the office one or two days a week, the rest of us have been declared permanently remote. And the one or two days a week has now been changed to “come in if you need to, if not, don’t bother” The material handling/shipping clerks who do who generate the data I need to do my invoicing-A/R job scan their paperwork into the computer, and I do my billing from PDF copies in my jammies. The only co-worker who needs to come into the office regularly at all is one woman who does A/P, and that’s only because she needs to get the blank check forms from the safe and load them into the printer for the handful of vendors we can’t pay electronically. I think she only goes in a couple of times a month.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            This work will soon be doable from home, although I doubt I’ll get to work remotely. They’ve put me in a windowless storage room away from everyone else with a bunch of filing cabinets and a few spiders, so I pretty much do everything on my own as long as I receive everything I need. Which may sound like a special circle of hell to everyone else, but I am very happy in my box with the spiders who are keeping worse arthropods like cockroaches at bay. My only complaints are that the internet is spotty in here (which, fair enough) and that the current lightbulb kind of stinks when I have to dig through the remaining files to scan something (but I bring my own very good flashlight from home for that problem).

      2. BlueWolf*

        Major introvert here. This is exactly what I was going to say. I’m in an accounting related role and work fully remote now. I do occasionally have to talk to people on the phone, but most of my communications are by email. You may be able to find an entry level role as a billing specialist, accounts receivable/payable specialist or something similar. I used to be in a front desk type role in a previous job and having to talk to so many different people on the phone and also deal with so many different people in person was not ideal for me. My current role is a much better fit for my introversion and social anxiety.

    3. BAgpuss*

      Is it the fornt desl part which is most difficult? Would admin work which involved less direct contact be a possibility? If so maybe looking at admin / EA jobs in a charity or a progressive legal organisation focused on human rights?
      Or even start looking into jobs that involve data entry or research that are, in not actively working for those issues, nt supporting working agsint them, and see whether if work is less stressful, you have a bit more mental energy to be able to volunteer?

      1. Danni*

        Thirding academia! I work for a school of nursing on the staff side and it’s amazing. The workplace is super liberal and the benefits are great. The pay is so-so but it pays way more than my last job and is such a step up. I work independently 99 percent of the time and am left to my own devices which is amazing. Plus I am helping future nurses which is definitely a worthwhile cause.

    4. adminextraordinaire*

      Have you thought about Academia? I’ve spent my whole life in higher ed and have found it a very left-leaning enjoyable place to be. I know a lot of people talk about it being insane and stressful, but it my opinion that is really more for the faculty side of things. My jobs have always been very manageable and there’s a strong HR. It’s not directly working in activism, but I consider working in higher education to be a pretty worthwhile use of my time, I remind myself that my university really is at the forefront of scientific advances and cultural arts that make the world better and I’m helping them do that. At least I’m not, like you said, working my ass off to make someone else richer. If you are looking for a change, this might be a good idea. I know my university is currently desperately hiring for “clinical research coordinators” this is an admin type job that you don’t need a lot of experience for and it often has the opportunity to be hybrid (I will admit, Academia is not into work from home, but that’s changing slowly). A friend a know who has this job and your description of ” jobs for the people who need solitude and self-supervision and love working alone and don’t mind being shoved into a back room and left to do their work solo and in peace” almost perfectly describes her in-office days. Might be worth checking out.

      1. Shellfish Constable*

        Seconding academia or academia-adjacent. Working with both/either students or faculty can be exhausting, but there are lots of “hidden” jobs in every institution — from community colleges to an R1s — that all add up to supporting the mission of higher education. At my university, for example, there are whole non-“client-facing” staffs for orgs like our JEDI office, our student internship programs, our student financial aid officers, our continuing/adult ed program, our women’s commission — and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head at a relatively small university. Anecdotally, in professional development seminars here I’ve met back-office staff in accounting and HR and admissions who all passionately describe themselves as having found their calling because they work in higher ed.

        Sidebar: a lot of schools will also let employees take classes either for free or for reduced tuition. So, even if you end up in an office doing stuff that you don’t necessarily find fulfilling, as staff you might still be able to take classes on, say, LGBTQ+ studies or the history of public activism and organizing in the U.S.

        Food for thought and best of luck! Illegitimi non carborundum!

      2. burning it down, but later*

        Generally, I agree, and I love working in academia (research administration/project management). I will say, though, that academia in a red state may be just as stressful to OP. Where I live, and it’s similar in many states, higher education is under attack by the conservative white men who prefer people to remain uneducated and powerless. My institution is constantly tiptoeing the line of “valuing diversity and innovation” and “keeping the legislature from eliminating tenure or reducing our funding (AGAIN).”

        Others have mentioned database coordinators. Any activist or non-profit org should have a position similar to this.

        1. Shellfish Constable*

          Good point!

          That said, I am actually in a [notoriously and ludicrously] red state where said conservative white dudes are doing their darndest to undermine public education. I am at a Shiny & Expensive Private School (which has its own issues that would fill several letters to Alison) but have friends/colleagues at the Big Commuter Public School across town, the Positively Enormous City College, and at two of the Small & Niche Private Schools nearby. Despite the chest-thumping of the dudes at the state capital, all four types of schools are focused on delivering quality education to everyone, raising the educational standard for all their students, and making their community better.

          My experience is obviously not universal (I live/work in a big, big city), but if OP is in a red state and decides to look into academia what I would say is that many higher ed institutions are still pretty liberal and welcoming to all kinds of folks. They can often be a little turquoise island in a sea of red.

      3. Cedrus Libani*

        Thirding academia or adjacent. There are a lot of administrative positions, many of which are back-office, and there are opportunities to grow into a specialty (e.g. grant administration, visas, etc). It’s also a magnet for people who have generic skills but want to feel like they’re contributing to a specific mission. (For example, I did my PhD at an AIDS-focused research institute; the support staff was highly enriched for middle-aged non-straight. They might be HR, IT, whatever, but they had a personal grudge against the virus in question and wanted to do what they could. Also, one senior admin had alopecia, and while I never had the chutzpah to ask…I suspect she preferred working with immunologists, because we’d know why she was hairless and thus wouldn’t be weird about it.)

    5. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      There has to be non-social aspects of activism: writing content, data analysis, processing payments. .. Maybe look at the volunteer/career pages of organizations you admire and start to make a list of behind the scenes roles you’re interested in.

      1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

        Was stopping by to say this. There are a lot of positions which are needed to support activism campaigns that don’t necessarily require you be social – policy analysts who keep track of pending legislation and draft notes to legislators about why X is a good/bad idea, for instance, are often not the people talking to those legislators; your analysis is part of the background data that the actual lobbyist uses. Ditto this for people proposing legislation. Data and engagement metrics have to be looked at, advertising and planning things have to be done – a social movement isn’t a whole lot dissimilar from an army, in that logistics are vital to both.

      2. Jora Malli*

        Right. The people who do the social parts of the work at activist organizations still need support staff to keep the lights on and the operation running. They’ll need accountants to keep track of spending and donations, data entry staff to make sure their mailing lists are up to date, writers to craft speeches and ad content, and any number of other things that don’t involve mingling with strangers.

      3. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Also, volunteering may provide a little outlet so you could feel like you are doing something, even if you can’t find something paid. Getting the foot in the door at an organization you believe in could lead to other opportunities or introduce you to people in that field that could point you in the right direction.

        I would love to volunteer more. I think it would greatly help with my mental outlook. Unfortunately, my own social anxiety gets in the way :(

      4. Kess*

        Popped in to say this – my partner works as a data analysis/entry person for a really great nonprofit, and the job requires 0 talking to people outside the organization’s staff. All her work is about doing the quiet administrative/data stuff that supports the socializers who often don’t want to do that quieter/slower paced work if given the option, or need someone who can give an external view of how to improve that work.

        Something that might help getting your foot in the door would be looking into some volunteering for an organization you care about that has the capacity to support a volunteer, or using the online “volunteer match” sites to find something that would get you some experience in that area.

        I relate too much to your pain, from a few years ago in my own career, and I send good vibes and the assertion that you will find something and it will be better.

    6. MI Dawn*

      Come to New Jersey! I know my employer is looking for people and they are VERY D/E/I focused. If you told our HR people you’re being hit on or called infantilizing names, that person would be talking to them so fast their head would be spinning. While some work is full time in the office, there are many full time WFH positions or hybrid (some days in the office, some days at home)

      Yes, I work in health insurance and no, it’s not an ideal place. But the pay is fair, the benefits are good, and NJ is planning on being a refuge state. I can understand not wanting to relocate, but, due to different state tax rules, there are only a few other choices for my employer (you can live in state, nearby states, and 1 southern state)

    7. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      I’ve been thinking the same. I’d like to work in SJ but I don’t have it in me to canvass, doorstep, debate, phone bank, etc. Surely there are orgs who need people to stuff envelopes and do data entry??

    8. I want to make a difference!*

      Everyone: you are making some fantastic suggestions here! I am trying to make individual replies, but the way these Friday posts always blow up so quickly is choking my browser. You’re giving me some new things to consider!

      BTW, I’ve thought about academia! Great suggestion! I wondered if there are jobs that aren’t phone/public-facing, or non-teaching jobs. While I don’t mind the idea of teaching, I’m guessing it’s a no-go since I have a bachelor’s in English (science and arts, not education, since I didn’t figure I’d ever teach), but not a master’s. And I don’t really have money, time, or energy to return to school. I never seem to see jobs that don’t require a master’s unless it’s more admin assistant/front desk-type work that is way too social for my anxiety. But I will keep watching!

      1. Danni*

        I have a bachelors in English and now work at a university in their school of nursing! There’s a ton of staff jobs (not professors) at universities – check out some job listings!

      2. adminextraordinaire*

        There are so many non-phone and non-public-facing jobs in Academia. Most of the jobs are just office jobs in places like, finance, legal, HR, facilities, admissions, communications, even the individual schools and colleges have tons of behind the scenes admin roles.

        1. Indubitably Delicious*

          Agree with folks recommending staff positions in academia. Even “front desk” jobs in academia are sometimes a lot slower paced in terms of public contact — for perspective, my officemate is our office manager, the first person you see when you walk in the door, and he *maybe* talks on the phone 5 times a day, and greets 5-20 people, most of whom are known to him. (As an admin specializing in a particular area, my numbers are lower.) It’s one of his responsibilities but it doesn’t take a ton of his bandwidth. You can get a good sense of this in an interview, or by asking if there’s a full job description (a lot of times there will be).

      3. jane's nemesis*

        Look into university fundraising – there are a lot of behind-the-scenes type jobs that are perfect for introverts. I have worked in both gift processing (totally behind the scenes, no extroversion needed) and prospect research (does involve more relationship building but is still behind the scenes). You can feel like you’re making a difference (helping young minds receive scholarships to afford higher education) while getting out of front-desk/admin work.

    9. Joielle*

      Depends what the politics are like where you live, but working for the government could be a good option! There are lots of different state/county/city jobs with very different levels of social interaction required. I work for my state government and I get to do interesting work that directly helps people, while not having to deal with the low pay/nonexistent benefits/sometimes weird dynamics of small nonprofits (which I’ve also done before). Our agency has lots of positions that rarely interact with the public but still are essential to the important work we do.

    10. anti “passion for work” club*

      I don’t think we really affect social change through paid jobs. you need to find a job that isn’t draining for you and then use your limited energy wisely outside of your career.

    11. All Het Up About It*

      Data entry / advancement services (the backend of fundraising) might work for you. Non-profits/social justice orgs need people in the office keeping donor data clean, doing accounting, supporting systems, doing donor research, etc. It could be a way for you to support a cause with your work, but still just be that back office person. Or even better, that remote office work person. I know someone else on this thread said they can’t do data entry remote, but I’ve seen it work at several of my past orgs. Just depends on the processes and procedures (and software!)

    12. Chris too*

      Maybe it wouldn’t be practical for you as you’d need to train for most of it, but there are jobs, many government, working with or monitoring the actual physical things that make up our environment and help it thrive.

      Although I think you‘d have to be able to be social “enough,” a lot of the work involves at least partly doing something physical, interacting with “things,” not people, often by yourself.

      It’s not the social justice part of what you’re talking about, but it helps make the world a better place.

    13. RagingADHD*

      What about hands-on practical work? Volunteering for something local and physical can be a great way to find opportunities and organizations you’re aligned with that can turn into, or connect you to, jobs later. Those solo / self-directed tasks are sometimes the hardest to fill.

      If you’re interested in environmental issues, there are things that need to be done outdoors away from people – field work, taking samples. Growing plants. Keeping bees. Picking up trash.

      If you’re providing for people in need, somebody has to sort the canned goods and pack up the diapers.

      There are charities that collect food from restaurants and stores and distribute it to food pantries and soup kitchens, and the people doing pickup and dropoff don’t have to chitchat with anyone beyond “Here it is, thank you.” And the food needs to be sorted and repacked into what’s spoiled, what’s for human consumption, what’s for the animal rescue, etc. I’ve spent a whole afternoon barely speaking to / seeing another person doing that.

      Another example would be a charity that provides free short or long-term housing for the families of patients who travel to our local research hospital. The apartments need to be deep-cleaned and sanitized between residents. I’ve worked on that as part of a team, but they would just as soon have someone show up and work solo.

      Most nonprofits need periodic help with document retention, archiving files, and organizing file storage. Again, it’s the kind of thing where you check in, get instructions, and check out – chitchat purely optional.

      There is lots and lots of meaningful work that needs to be done behind the scenes, and doing meaningful work in one area of your life can really change your perspective on the direction of your life overall.

    14. Maverick Jo*

      Perhaps look into medical billing jobs that provide WFH. Use your off time to volunteer in the areas to which you are passionate. Find fulfillment outside of your job.

    15. tamarak & fireweed*

      I felt similarly when I came to the point that I left the tech industry and moved to another continent to take a staff job in academia (and a pay cut), then another pay cut during my PhD. Of course, academic research has its own constraints and dysfunctions – it would be naive to expect otherwise. But ultimately, in my old job, if I did it well, a big brand would be able to do their marketing more efficiently and some very rich people would get richer. Now, maybe a student would learn a technical skill, or someone might get an insight about nature from a plot of mine.

      Now my pay is barely back to where I was 10 years ago, but my job looks sustainable for the next 3-4 years funding wise, and I am happy with where I took my professional life.

      You have the advantage that in the US, switching sectors is very well accepted! You could look for jobs at a non-profit organization – which could be a long-standing educational one, or a more militant one (which I’d expect to have more fluctuations because funding etc. may be quite volatile). One of our former project administrators went to work on the campaign staff of a member of the state legislature. All of these need back-office people just like they do people with highly social jobs! There are pretty long-standing organizations and units at universities that deal with sustainability, climate adaptation, disaster mitigation, environmental policy work … well, that’s the ones I know, and I know they don’t sound quite what you’re looking for. Just add the causes you care about most. Some are bound to be better funded than others, but all need someone who runs the office, manages their data, handles suppliers and paperwork. Heck, you could probably even be the office manager of your local organic bakery chain :-) . (This sounds “not big enough” but I am convinced that change is made by ordinary people acting locally.)

      I’d say, sign up to a few job mailing lists and boards, ideally run themselves by voluntary orgs (in my field, a network for women in my sub-discipline has the BEST jobs mailing list, completely free). Think of yourself not as someone with deficits but with things to offer, make a list of them! And then it’s just like any other job search – some potential employers will have the wrong vibe or won’t be well run, etc. But others will be at least ok. (Ideally you’d talk with a career adviser, and I don’t know how to get ahold of one, but there are websites about “how to ease into social impact work” and similar titles.)

    16. JSPA*

      Issues groups, if they do research and write position papers, have back-end people. Eco-focused groups and international aid and development come to mind. Whether you happen to have some relevant background and skills…who knows… ditto whether they pay as well as even the most basic front end corporate job.

  6. Anon Academic*

    I work in the administrative side of academia and am interested in moving into a new position running a project in a different department. The problem is that our HR department is notoriously inefficient and understaffed, and often let resumes pile up instead of sending them on. I’m tempted to contact the researcher in charge of the project directly, in addition to applying through HR. I know that’s not usually recommended, but academia is its own universe. Any thoughts? Or scripts that don’t make me sound pushy or desperate? I’m excited about the position and don’t want to fall through HR’s cracks.

    1. Accounting Gal*

      I work in academia as staff and I would say DEFINITELY reach out to someone who is not HR, or your resume will die a slow death in a system online somewhere. Have a real person flag your name for them and it will greatly increase your chances (HR at my University is also notoriously awful/slow/understaffed and the only way I’ve known people to make moves within the system is by having someone else helping move HR along). Good luck!

    2. Marmalade*

      Definitely reach out – so many university jobs like that aren’t truly competitive applications, and even if you don’t get this role, if they like you, they may design a position for you in a future project. Don’t rely on HR since they have no role beyond screening.

    3. Dr. Doll*

      Yes, reach out. The researcher can contact HR and say that they are expecting a highly qualified applicant, please ensure that the resume is forwarded. The researcher is likely just as annoyed by HR as you are.

    4. academic system navigator*

      I am in the middle of doing exactly this (I start Aug 1!). I started out by calling the recruiter, who told me I could call the hiring manager if I wanted to. Call the researcher and ask genuine questions about the project and the position. You won’t seem overeager/pushy/desperate if you make it sound like you’re considering the position but haven’t decided yet.

    5. Almost Academic*

      Yes, definitely reach out to contact directly – in academia, a lot of positions are posted by HR only for “rubber-stamping” or minimum interview purposes, and the team may already have someone who they have directly interviewed to hire into the position. I would just reach out directly, express your interest in the position, provide your CV, potentially ask a few questions about the project goals and the stage it’s at (since running projects can vary drastically in the tasks over the lifecycle of a grant, for example). It will be considered completely normal.

    6. Rapunzel Ryder*

      I am also on the admin side of higher ed. If there have been projects I have wanted to work on or a role I wanted to fill, I try to do the sneaky call of, ‘hi, I just wanted to reach out and see if I might be a good fit for this’. Or if I have a contact in that department, ask them to put out feelers for me. I am one that does not always have the official credentials but know a lot about a lot. In my experience it gets my name in their head and most faculty I have met prefer a conversation to bureaucracy and if they can circumvent the system, they will. It also gives them a heads up if HR starts prefiltering.

      1. Ron McDon*

        Just wanted to say, I love your name! Tangled is one of my favourite ‘kids’ films.

    7. Sara without an H*

      I just retired from an academic staff position. I think it would be find to contact someone in the department. It’s not uncommon in academia and the researcher in charge has probably formed their own (low) opinion in HR. Go for it!

    8. tamarak & fireweed*

      This is about a job as an administrator (and/or fiscal person) on a research project, and the hiring team is researchers, ie. the PI/Co-Is on the grant that funds it? Yes, absolutely, do reach out. Brief etc., just introduce yourself, state your enthusiasm (and one sentence about experience) & interest, and tell them that you’ve submitted your materials through the application portal. (Don’t throw shade on HR – there’s no upside to it.)

      My employer just went through several years of budget cuts, which affected centrally funded administration particularly hard, and we went from pretty good (and during my PhD on a student visa, sometimes life- or money-savingly helpful) HR to an understaffed, overworked, frazzled team with high turnover. A *brief* message from you, if you make a positive impression, can get the PI to chase up the HR side with the idea in mind that they don’t want to lose promising candidates – and presumably if they have jumped through the hooks of getting the position approved, then the money is lying around and the project is in dire need of an admin already.

    9. Anon Academic*

      Thank you all for your comments! My fingers are crossed this is a “real” posting.

  7. Lynn*

    I am trying to help my MIL find a new job but struggling a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions of what might be a good fit to an older lady with limited computer skills? The fields I am most personally familiar with involve computer skills but my lack of familiarity doesn’t preclude their existence!

    1. WomEngineer*

      I also have limited experience (early career STRM), but I’ve seen older ladies who are librarians or museum guides. There’s also substitute teaching, but that might require more computer skills.

      If it’s to have something to do and not necessarily for an income, volunteering could be an option (possibly with animal shelters or with kids).

      1. not a doctor*

        Older ladies who are librarians typically start out as younger ladies who are librarians, at least in the US. Librarian positions in most places are hugely competitive, require advanced degrees in Library Science, and often involve at least some degree of computer-based research.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Amen! Just because you see “older ladies” (?!) doing a job doesn’t mean that they only just started “now that the kids are grown.”

          Nowadays, I pretty much assume most women spend as much time in paid employment as men do, if not more.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        I worked in circulation at libraries (not a librarian, which requires a specific education, but as a page in high school & a clerk later). Even in the 80s & 90s, those jobs required computer skills.

        But in my city, almost all the people who work as ushers/ticket takers in the civic concert venue are older women.

      3. Jora Malli*

        The only library job I’d recommend for a person who’s not great with technology would be a page. That’s the person who checks the books back in and reshelves them, and in some libraries they also print the list of books on hold and go pull them from the shelves. There are only two or three very specific computer tasks they need to be trained on, but there’s a lot of bending and stooping and in some libraries, possibly climbing on stools to reach top shelves, so it’s only really feasible for people who don’t have mobility issues.

      4. Living That Teacher Life*

        Substitute teachers in my area don’t need any computer skills. They don’t have the teacher’s login information, so they just take attendance on paper and turn it in to the office. When I make my lesson plans for my class when I am going to be out, I usually give paper-based assignments or at least paper backups so the substitute doesn’t have to try to troubleshoot students’ computers. Substitute teaching also lets you set your own schedule. While you only get paid for the days you work, you can simply turn down jobs on days you don’t want to work. The pay isn’t great, but in my experience, you can work every day if you want to.

        1. Here we go again*

          A lot of substitute teachers get their next assignment through a website portal. You’ll have to be quick and moderately computer savvy use it.
          You’re more of a temp for a day. The pay and benefits are crap compared to the responsibilities and expectations. Plus most states require some college.

      5. RagingADHD*

        The search term you want for museums is docent. There are a lot of small historical societies that use docents with more interest & enthusiasm than training & experience.

        Those type of roles tend generally to be volunteer or part time with low pay, but some can be a good opportunity to pivot in a new direction.

      6. Chapeau*

        If you have a nearby community college, check to see if they have anything for older individuals who are interested in going back to work. Locally, we have a program that is government funded that pays their salary for a year or two while they update their skills and resume. The jobs are somewhat sedentary, office-type jobs, and many end up being hired where they spent their two years.
        I know several who work the circulation desk at libraries, checking books in and out, reshelving, etc. They aren’t librarians, they just work in a library.

    2. Susan Calvin*

      Going about this by method of elimination seems an odd approach – what CAN she do? What does she enjoy doing? Unless “limited computer skills” is code for “refuses to learn how to write an email”, I wouldn’t think this is much of an impediment (and even if it is, there’s probably options)!

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Also, what did she do in her last job? Even if she’s been out of the workforce for decades, most people have had at least one job when younger.

      2. Lynn*

        I may be thinking about this wrong but to the fields I know, a lack of computer skills is a major eliminator. She can work basic email (but in outlook struggles with attachments and calendars). Her primary hobby is reading but I can’t think of how to transition that into a job.

        1. Susan Calvin*

          Well, many/most retail or hospitality jobs get by perfectly fine without computer skills. It sounds like she might have been a SAHM before, so anything related to domestic work might be an option – stuff like ironing services, maybe babysitting or something. Learning how to operate an outlook calendar is probably a good idea, but you need to think outside the white collar box.

          1. Ali + Nino*

            Re: hospitality – front desk clerks need to be able to look up reservations, make changes, communicate with guests by email, etc.

            1. Susan Calvin*

              Well, yes, and in most retail environments the cash registers and stock tracking systems aren’t exactly analogue anymore – I’m not trying to imply that those fields are the exclusive domain of luddites, apologies if it came across that way, just saying there’s a lot to be done that doesn’t require the ability to touch-type or use pivot tables.

        2. quill*

          My mom retired from teaching and is a nanny now. Her computer skills are pretty minimal in regards to anything but composing word documents and dealing with emails / slideshows.

        3. Janeric*

          Have you considered security? A lot of places want candidates who will follow guidelines and not escalate situations — and depending on location, there might be some quiet time for reading.

    3. Bagpuss*

      What skills and experience does she have?
      I think there are lots of jobs where some basic computer skills are needed but not in depth knowledge – so activing as a receptionist where she might well need to be able to do things such as using electronic caledars and messageing systems but not necessarily have greater in-depth knowledge

      1. Lynn*

        That’s a good point. She struggles with outlook now but maybe instead of getting up to speed on computers as a whole she could focus on outlook proficiency.

        1. CatCat*

          It’s been an age since I temped, but when I worked as an office temp, mainly doing receptionist type duties, the temp agencies offered software training in a variety of common office programs. I wonder if a temp agency route might be a good fit.

    4. ImInSpace*

      Look up beginner short courses in computer skills in her area. I think some government offer free ones as well.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I was coming here to suggest training as well. Someone who doesn’t have computer skills can learn… if they want to.

      1. DisneyChannelThis*

        I think those will be computer heavy. I know ours does 90% of her day on the computer between emails and scheduling and tracking inventory.

    5. Charlotte Lucas*

      What are her interests? What has she done in the past? What are her abilities? Does she live somewhere with many options for employment?

    6. Anastatia Beaverhousen*

      AARP has a training program for seniors to help them find employment. Try hooking her up with that.

    7. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      are you looking for full time work for her, or is she hoping for a part time thing to keep her busy a few days a week?

    8. Gnome*

      Things I’ve see that fit that bill:
      Retail
      High school hall monitor
      Positions at the animal shelter (some, not all)
      Child care
      Personal shopper/driver/cook

      1. Sloanicota*

        I was definitely thinking child care, and it’s certainly in demand right now. Either as a nanny or babysitter for an individual family or perhaps at a child care center. I don’t think computer skills would be a barrier.

        1. Gnome*

          I, for one, and looking to find somebody to pick my kid up from school. Small private schools often don’t have busing and can be hard for parents to do dropoff/pickup.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            I was thinking of after school care for elementary school aged kids, plus babysitting on things like snow days and professional development days.

    9. DisneyChannelThis*

      Does she have any skills? What was she working in before? How are her physical abilities – can she lift, walk unassisted, be on her feet etc? Or does it need to be more a desk job?

      Pages at a library (shelve books, dust shelves). Smaller towns they’ll be volunteer roles but larger libraries its a paid position, check university, law schools too.

      Docents are sometimes paid positions as well (museum guides, also monitor visitor count, prevent defacing exhibits) but will be a lot of walking and standing.

      Security might be possible, walk a hourly lap of building, sign in visitors, sit at the post and watch for anything.

      Night auditors are in high demand at hotels right now, they might be willing to train her for the computer skills needed. That would be second shift though.

    10. maybe an option?*

      I used to work at a senior center, and senior centers often have paid, part-time positions that are very welcoming to older adults who don’t have computer skills. I’d especially look for one that’s operated by a non-profit rather than run by the city or county.

      1. Lynn*

        I had just looked at her local city one — I didn’t think to look further but will, thanks!

    11. Lynn*

      Thanks for a lot of great suggestions so far! Some additional details to address questions that have come up:
      -She is mobile but not able to be on her feet for long periods of time.
      -She still has her driver’s license but maybe shouldn’t….
      -She worked in the 80s but I am not sure in what; she was a SAHM for a long time and then a crossing guard and maybe something else before working the ticket desk at a local museum (which closed at the beginning of COVID)
      -She does need a paid position but could probably do part-time (she has an income gap she asked my partner and I to cover for her monthly and we cannot, which was the impetus for this ask)
      -Her primary hobbies are reading & singing in her church choir.

      1. Jora Malli*

        So, what I’m getting here is that you need to talk to your mom. If you don’t even know what jobs she’s had, you cannot come up with a new job plan for her. Help her make a resume that highlights her skills and experience, and that should give you, and her, a clearer picture of what jobs might be right for her now.

      2. leeapeea*

        Several retail and grocery stores in my area allow cashiers to sit or lean on stools and generally employ folks part-time. Sure a POS systems are computers, but it’s VERY targeted and she would receive training on the specific system. Our state parks department has seasonal jobs manning a parking gate or checking people’s (mainly small) watercraft for plant debris, both of which require no prior experience. These folks tend to be students or retirees, there seems to be a lot of sitting and reading between customers (especially on slower days or less popular locations). If she’s good at singing would she be interested in teaching lessons for extra income? She may even be able to reach out through her church network for students, and/or use their space during the week.

      3. Indubitably Delicious*

        If you hadn’t mentioned “maybe shouldn’t” about her driver’s license, I was going to mention mail carrier positions. I don’t know what the lifting requirements are, but I have a (younger) friend who was able to get a mail carrier position as a SAHM.

      4. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Long shot as they vary greatly by community, but our local rec center has front desk people who need minimal computer skills (to check people in/very light admin stuff). My understanding is they are typically part-time but really in demand in the summer months when kids are out of school and parents drop kids off all day to play basketball or swim. Experience as a SAHM wrangling kids would definitely be a plus.

      5. Kess*

        Oh, if she has ticket desk experience it shouldn’t be hard to pivot into other ticket-taker/greeter type jobs. Check out any local theaters or concert/event venues, many of whom will have some sort of digital system, but will train extensively on it since every software works differently. Speaking of events, it might be worth looking into florists, caterers, or event planners nearby that might need someone to do ad hoc work on the day of a given event, or to take pieacemeal work when they shop’s busy, and because all of that work is very hands-on, the digital requirements might be less burdensome. Other industries worth looking into are small elementary/middle/high schools and public works like parks & rec or summer camps.

        Jobs that require less email/admin and more focused/niche digital systems are more likely to be a good fit. When I worked in a bookstore, it didn’t matter that I was great with Microsoft Office, since we were using a made-for-bookstores system that they had to train me on in the first place. All those types of systems need is someone who is willing to learn and who will take notes for themselves to jog the ol’ memory if they’re having trouble with a given function.

      6. tamarak & fireweed*

        Some notes … my own MIL is in her 80s and has quite serious mobility issues, but she works part-time as an usher at her (large metropolis) opera house. This is paid (she doesn’t need it, but it gets her out of the house and into the opera for free).

        A friend who never had full-time paid work started to work in her 50s. She’s quite well red and has average computer skills though. She found a job as a library assistant, part-time, but doing it well meant her boss helped with continued funding, moving to a different library in the same city, and opportunities for training.

        Singing in the church choir could be a pathway to the right job. There are many reception / office assistant jobs out there, but depending on sector they vary in what kind of computer skills are required.

        As for those skills, it’s as usual better to look at them from an “assets” rather than “deficits” angle. And yes, to use targeted classes for the most bang-for-the-buck skills. Using email, a calendar, and typing for example.

      1. Chestnut Mare*

        Audiobook readers are trained voice actors or recording professionals with highly specialized skills.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Courses and programs for audiobook recording are getting pushed online as a startup freelancing opportunity with low/no barrier to entry. As with most such courses, they are selling the dream of easy money.

        There is money to be made with that type of work, but the amount of skill, equipment, and business savvy is actually a very high barrier to entry.

        And you have to be able to make and edit your own recordings – a pretty intense set of computer skills.

    12. Girasol*

      I know some folks in their 70s with mostly retail clerk experience who are working in their semi-retirement as assistants with special ed kids in one of the local schools.

    13. Girasol*

      Is she familiar with a keyboard? For some jobs it’s expected that new hires be quite familiar with the Microsoft suite, but there are a lot of jobs that involve computers where the new hire will be have trained on the company’s unique app, whether they are used to computers or not. Hotel or medical check in, for example, is likely to be on a custom app. If she knows her way around a keyboard and isn’t afraid of learning something new, she could consider something like that.

    14. Irish Teacher*

      Do ye have some kind of equivalent of Special Needs Assistants in your country? People who support students with special educational needs in the classroom? It may or may not interest her, but if she raised kids herself, it might be something she’d be able to use that experience for.

      I’m wondering at the suggestions of substitute teacher. Would she not need a teaching qualification for that? Here, they can’t even pay you unless you are a registered teacher. But there are no required qualifications for SNAs.

      By the way, does she have any qualifications? Even if she’s never used them or even if they are something vague like she majored in Geography.

      1. Flower necklace*

        Substitute teachers don’t need any kind of teaching credential, at least where I am in the US (Virginia). I think they only need a high school degree. I’m not sure about TAs.

        Most of the people who sub at my school are either young (early twenties) or older (i.e. retirement age). It’s not something that requires a lot of mobility or computer skills – I work at a high school, so it’s essentially a responsible adult who keeps an eye on the students. However, it is badly needed. This past year, there were very few, if any, days where we had enough subs in the building.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          That is so weird to me. Here, the only difference between a substitute teacher and a permanent teacher is whether you have a permanent contract or not. At secondary school level here, a sub who is working for more than a couple of days has to actually teach the class while the teacher is out. For a day or two, yeah, it’s just supervision, but sick leaves, maternity leaves, parental leaves, etc, you’re teaching your subject, just for a shorter period of time. In some ways, it’s harder, not just because of the discipline issue but because you don’t get to choose the curriculum so as an English teacher, when I was subbing, I might land into a class that is halfway through a novel I haven’t read and have to figure out lesson plans based on it overnight – usually involved taking the novel home and reading it that night.

          And yikes, it’s hard enough to get students’ respect as a sub when you are qualified in the subject and have training in discipline methods, etc. Must be so hard for people in their 20s to get respect when they don’t even have the qualifications and students may realise that.

          We did have trouble getting subs in Ireland during the covid crisis, so the government arranged some stuff like allowing student teachers to sub. One of the teaching colleges even rearranged the timetable so students had a day off from lectures or something so they could sub. But that was the extent to which the normal procedures were bent.

          1. allathian*

            Depends on the area. Even in the EU, it really varies. I don’t know how it is now, but when I was a college student, I subbed for my former homeroom teacher in junior high for 3 weeks while she was on sick leave. I taught French and English. I didn’t have to plan any lessons, but I tried to go through the material with the kids, set homework, and even had some of them take a test. We also watched a movie or two with the French classes. The thing that I remember most was that some of the kids thought they had good English skills when they were pretty basic. The biggest difference was that the French classes were much easier to teach because French is an elective, so the students had at least some motivation, but that I had to send more than one student to the Head Teacher’s office in the English classes. I also didn’t have to deal with any parents.

            It helped that I was old enough by then that my students didn’t know me as a former student at the school, but I also realized that I definitely didn’t want to be a teacher.

    15. Chimom*

      Look it into SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Program) services where you live if she may qualify, they help with job training for older workers, but I do know you need to meet certain income requirements.

    16. Anony*

      Childcare is in high demand now, especially part time help. An infant might be a lot for her, but what about watching and helping an elementary school child with homework in the afternoons?

  8. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    Happy 4th for those who celebrate. I’m working through the question of get the training to advance my career ( and sign a two year contract to work at work) or get outside training. Outside training is more flexible just in case my boss quits or something happens, but at work I wouldn’t have to find someone to train me ( I have a great deal of difficulty with this sort of thing) I haven’t been able to decide for years.

    1. Jenna Webster*

      It sounds like if you had decided to just do the work training, your 2 year contract would almost be up? If you’re not actively looking for a job right now, I’d suggest doing the work training. There is never a guarantee that your work situation won’t change in a way you don’t like, but it doesn’t sound like there is anything on the calendar that makes you think that is likely anytime soon. I’d say if you’re planning to stay where you are unless things get horrible, you might as well take advantage of their training. Two years goes by more quickly than you think.

      1. Indubitably Delicious*

        Usually too there is a “or pay $X to get out of it” clause on agreements like that. So, one approach would be to set two goals: get the work training, and save $X.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          Ah that makes sense. When my boss recovers I can ask her to send me the contract

  9. ImInSpace*

    How do I get out of doing a 5-minute task that needs to be specifically be done after work hours and I do not get paid for it? I cannot elaborate about what this task is, what I can say is, it is done remotely from home.
    Initially I used to sometimes volunteer to do it, but now the manager always hands it to me and expect me to do it. The frequency differs (once/twice a week or just once per month).
    It only takes minutes, but it means that I have to give up my evening to be at home, sometimes it’s required to stay up till midnight to be done. And it means I still have to think about work in the evening.
    When I tried to get out of it once, and the manager asked me if I really love my job. So I need to come up with a good answer!
    I was thinking of saying something along the lines of: if this task is that important and if you respect your employees’ time, then incentivize it (OT pay for 1 hr at least)?
    Really would appreciate anyone’s input! And Happy Friday everyone :)

    1. Marmalade*

      I’m guessing it is social media related? I would just say you have plans to be out that night (maybe at a movie? Something where you can’t step away) and you very much wish you could change them but you can’t. Or ask in a larger meeting where it’s not just your manager about getting flex time so you’re not expected to work extra hours for free.

      1. Artemesia*

        Have plans, ask that there be a rota of employees to do the task. And this is a lesson for us all. Volunteer for some little job once and soon it is your job.

    2. Other Alice*

      You have a prior commitment and won’t be home that evening. Repeat as needed. You don’t have to go into details. Say it’s personal, or a family thing, or whatever. You could also be direct and say you were fine to do it a few times but now it’s becoming a burden to do it so often. But really you don’t need to elaborate further than “no”. Asking you if you love your job is manipulation at its finest.

      1. ferrina*

        This. “So sorry, I have a prior commitment.” If they try to push back, you can say “I know when I’m done with my planned activities, I’m going to be exhausted. I want to make sure that this gets the attention that it needs, and I’m not going to be physically able to do that tonight. I can do that tomorrow though!”

        Also- can you make a set schedule for when you can do it? That can make it easier to say no without being accused of slacking/not loving your job? (also, what kind of boss uses that kind of guilt trip?! Some of my best employees had no love for their work, but they did an amazing job at it and were always professional.)

    3. Reportia*

      I’d start with something like “hey, how should I best note this on my timesheet?” if you’re a person who keeps one, which it sounds like you are if you’re eligible for overtime. Absolutely make sure you’re getting that money!

    4. ThatGirl*

      Maybe try something like –
      “I won’t be available for this tonight/this week/this month”
      “I have plans” (even if your plans are with yourself and going to bed at 9)

      Also, if my manager asked me if I really loved my job, I would say “I like my job, but not enough to do an unpaid task after regular work hours” … but that’s me.

    5. Unkempt Flatware*

      Gross. I would love for you to say flatly, “No” and just sit there looking at him after he asks you if you love your job.

        1. Juneybug*

          Or say “I love my job but I also love getting paid for my job.” With a big cheesy smile on your face.

    6. Bagpuss*

      I would say to your manager something like “While ths may not take every long, it means that I have to stay in ‘work mode’ for the full evening – it’s importnat t o me to maintain a work life balance and while I njoy and am committed to my job, I am able to do it well by ensuring that I also get appropraite down time.

      IF it isn’t possible to to get this task done in working hours then I’d like us to discuss some renumeration for the extra work – and perhaps arrangments for this task to be shared depending what it is and the set upat work, this might mean proposing that thatere is a rota so you only have to do it once every x weeks and that others in the department have to do it as well.

      Other than that, be unavailable when she tries to give it you . have plans that can’t be changed.

      Also, if manager tries to minimise the level of work it involves can you suggest that does it instead?

      Depending on what the task is, is there any way ot could be automated or outsourced?

    7. ImInSpace*

      Thanks for your replies. It’s not social media related.
      I am supposed to be paid for OT but for this task, it was never suggested. I guess because it just takes minutes.
      My coworkers (they could do it themselves but they never offered, so the manager never asks them) also suggested that I say I have an event after work, but that would look believable on weekdays :/

      1. Llellayena*

        Do you have to sit around waiting to be able to do this task? or is a “this task needs to be done at 8:30 pm tonight?” The first one sounds like an “engaged to wait” scenario where you would need to be paid for the time you’re waiting as well. So… maybe ask for that overtime including the waiting period?

        If it’s an actually scheduled time (just a different time for each instance), you’re busy at that time and will be unable to complete the task when requested.

        1. ImInSpace*

          It has a deadline, sometimes it’s for 11pm (this is not set by our office-beyond our control), but it can be done earlier. If it is done as close to the deadline as possible, it is more effective.
          The later the deadline, the more I can say that I will be asleep/have a commitment at the time. BUT then my manager suggests to do it before I go to sleep or before I head out. And I do not want to be tied to work after work hours especially since it’s not paid.

          1. leeapeea*

            The person responsible for running off-hours system updates/fixes/etc in our org generally offsets late nights with late mornings the next day. Next time you’re tasked with doing it, let your manager know that’s how you’ll handle it – explain it as the effect of disruption of your natural sleep schedule or what have you. If your manager says that’s not an option, the best follow up question is how to record the time (since it sounds like you’re hourly, not salaried, you have to be paid for time worked).

            1. ImInSpace*

              she used to do it herself, and I offered to do it while she was on holiday. now she thinks that I will always take on this task. She is salaried and earns much more than me.

              1. Massive Dynamic*

                You need to be billing OT for this then, every time. And ask for the backpay you are owed for doing this prior. If it’s a 5min task, bill 15. And if you have to sit and wait for it to happen, and keep checking something to see if it’s time, then ALL that time is time on the clock too.

          2. no ducking on the dance floor*

            It’s work. It should be paid. I would push on that lever, so you either get paid for the entire night or they find someone else to help them break labor laws for them.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Even if it takes 5 minutes, many places have a rule that you get paid at least for 15 minutes when doing extra work, if you’re paid hourly.

        I used to work somewhere that we would have to come in on Sundays once in a while for patch testing (remote access was not A Thing then). We were salaried so pay didn’t enter into it, but giving up part of your weekend stunk. We did it on a scheduled rotation, and anyone who did it just came in late or left early one day that week. Can you just institute a schedule?

        And you absolutely could have weeknight plans. I wouldn’t think anything of it if someone said they had plans on, say, Tuesday evening.

      3. MI Dawn*

        As Alison has often pointed out, if you are an hourly non-exempt employee, you MUST be paid for any time that falls as overtime. I would just submit the time as overtime and expect to be paid. If they push back, ask them how they want you to submit it. DO NOT work for free, even if it’s just minutes.

        1. ImInSpace*

          Yeah, I really need to be firm with being paid for it. I’ll look back at Alison’s previous articles about this subject.

          1. Pop*

            No! You don’t want to be paid for it! You don’t want to do it! You need to be firm about NOT DOING IT.

      4. Lady_Lessa*

        Both of my book clubs meet on week nights, and you can always stretch them out by saying we got into a good discussion afterwards.

      5. GelieFish*

        My thoughts are to suggest a rotation. I’m sorry nobody has volunteered but I can understand based on the reasons you have identified. Also, I agree with either just putting it on you time sheet or leaving early to compensate. Having you do work without compensation (unless you are on salary) puts the company in legal trouble.

        1. ImInSpace*

          When I initially offered I was naïve, so I do not fault my co-workers for never offering to do it.

      6. Not So NewReader*

        I agree with the idea of rotation.

        I got kind of icked-out by “do you love your job?”. NO, I don’t. I love my friends and family and my dog. Love is reserved for beings not jobs. sigh. But you can’t really say that.

        So what I would go with is, “Of course I love my job that is why I have done Task so many times over the [months/years]. But I think that it’s only fair that other people take their turn at doing Task. We can set up a calendar for the rotation so each person knows what their week is.”

        If the boss says no, then ask for a raise. Seriously. “I think I deserve extra compensation for taking on this responsibility that no one else here does. While Task itself takes very little time, I lose time from other activities while I wait for [x to happen so I can do Task]. In other words, I make myself available and ready to do work and that is worth extra consideration especially since no one else is willing to do it.”

      7. Artemesia*

        If there are others who can do it, then others should be taking turns at minimum. If you needed to do it twice a week, it would feel different. And of course report the time on time sheet.

      8. MacGillicuddy*

        If you are supposed to be paid overtime for this job, then ask your boss how to submit for it. If you aren’t salaried, asking you to work unpaid is not legal.

        And you don’t need to wait for the boss to “suggest” that you would get overtime.

        The “ do you like your job?” comment would really piss me off. I’d be tempt to ask the boss “ are you saying that if I don’t do this unpaid work, you’re likely to fire me?”

        That may be too direct, so Alison’s typical suggestion would be to say something like “you may not realize it but having someone work off the click could get the company in trouble with the wage-and-hour laws”.

    8. DisneyChannelThis*

      Do you have the sort of boss where it would work to just blame a new routine? My doctor said before switching sleeping pills to try a strict no screens 2 hrs before bed type deal.

    9. Manchmal*

      I can’t tell from your post whether you just don’t want to do the task, or if you are ok with it if you are compensated for it.
      Could you raise the conversation with your boss in this way?
      “Boss, I’d like to circle back around to the conversation we had earlier about X task. As you know, I am hourly and this task intrudes into my off hours. I normally go to bed at X:00, but when I do this task I have to stay up late / I can’t do my normal evening plans, etc. I don’t think its fair that this is my responsibility when I’m not even paid for it. Going forward, I would like to propose that this task gets taken off my plate, or that I am paid an hour of overtime to do it, not just because of the time it takes, but because doing this task really affects my evenings.”
      If your boss is a decent human being, they will recognize what you’re saying it right and fair. If they are not a decent human being, then making the excuses that people suggested above (about why you can’t do it anymore) is better.
      When your boss asks if you love your job, you can say that you love doing it during the working hours that you are paid for, but that you have other loves to attend to on your personal time.

      1. ImInSpace*

        I am kind of sitting on the fence. I am bitter that my manager only tell me to do it when this can be done by everyone (I 100% do not the others since they’d be working for free). But at the same time, I do not want to keep thinking about work after hours.
        If it’s paid, I think that the other colleagues would be on board, so I would be okay to do it on rota basis.
        The text you’ve written is awesome, seriously. I am going to rehearse it :)

    10. Jean*

      The manager asked you “if you really love your job”? I’m sorry, but what the actual f is that toxic guilt tripping BS? If you want me to work after hours, pay me for it. Love has nothing to do with it.

      1. ImInSpace*

        I said to myself the same thing, but wasn’t sure if I was overreacting…?
        Your reaction and others’ on this thread give me the boost I need to be firm with her (my boss).

    11. New Mom*

      My husband does work that requires support for website go lives, and website maintenance and it said in his contract that he would be expected to do X numbers of off hours work (sounds similar to yours, something that takes 10ish minutes if no issues). If your manager needs someone besides her to do this she needs to either pay them or put it in their contract that it’s an expectation of the job. My husband only has to do this every couple of months so doing it weekly sounds awful and disruptive and I totally know what you mean about being in work mode all night if there is a task you have to do.

      1. ImInSpace*

        Thank you for your input and understanding me!! This task was handed to our work after I started my job and it’s not in anyone’s JD. Since I’m hourly, legally I should be paid for OT. While my manager is salaried, with a much higher wage.

        1. tamarak & fireweed*

          Hold these thoughts! This task needs to go on someone’s job duties list, AND time sheet.

    12. Girasol*

      Is it possible to rearrange the situation such that the task can be done in the last half hour of the workday?

      1. ImInSpace*

        One time I accidentally fell asleep after work and missed it. Manager wasn’t happy but it still didn’t change anything

  10. Myrin*

    It’s been some time since I’ve really delved deeply into the Work Open Thread so just to make sure: can I share happy news regarding my working life here or is it “ask questions only”? I remember it’s the latter for the Weekend Open Thread but I’m totally blanking on the Friday one right now.

  11. Elle*

    Shout out to all the managers who needed to have uncomfortable conversations with their employees this week. Mine was “don’t do phone sex in the office”.

    1. Not Australian*

      Maybe it’s something to do with my age, but I honestly can’t think of *any* environment less conducive to sex of any description than a work environment…

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Not exactly with employees, but I had to send an email to another manager explaining that my team leads have situations that require their team members’ input that they have been sitting on since MARCH with FIVE ATTEMPTS to get follow-up, and can she please sit on her team and get them to do their jobs. (Though I did also make eyebrows at my TLs and ask them to loop me in a little earlier in the future so I can follow up sooner.)

    3. Generic Name*

      Uh, honestly, I think this is beyond “awkward conversation” and is well into “immediate firing” territory.

        1. Elle*

          Not yet. She’s really young and otherwise an excellent employee. HR and I are chalking it up to being out of college and only working from home for a couple of years. We’re seeing a few of these awkward issues come up with the young staff lately. But if it happens again, then more severe action is needed.

          1. tamarak & fireweed*

            In this case I hope that it was even more mortifying for her (and will grow in her recollection of the errors of her youth).

    4. retired3*

      To retired military person…I don’t care if you shout (very obscene word) at your computer, but when you do, please shut your door. Union shop steward had desk outside the door.

    5. academic system navigator*

      Mine wasn’t nearly as awkward as that, but I did have to have, AGAIN, the “promotions and raises take longer than one month to earn” talk with a new employee. “I can give you some guidance as to what the process looks like, we can discuss building your skills and projects to aspire to those levels, and we can revisit them later, but first we need you to complete the current projects.”

      What I would love to say is, “can you please do the job we hired you to do, that we told you about in your interview, that you agreed to do for the money we agreed to pay you?” Seeing as how I’ve run into this twice before, I am now extremely explicit in the interview process about the tasks required, the independence expected, and the potential for future positional advancement.

        1. acadmic system navigator*

          Mine too, sadly. When they brought that up I thought “oh thank god I am leaving in a month” and forewarned the person who will be assuming supervision of them moving forward.

          1. Workerbee*

            Could you say a variant of what you wanted to say? (I don’t have a problem with what you wanted to say, mind you.)

            “For the time being, I need you to fulfill the position you agreed to take.”

  12. A.N. O'Nyme*

    What’s the weirdest resume you’ve ever received?

    And on the other side, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen asked in a job ad?

    1. 867-5309*

      It wasn’t “weird” but rather a red flag… the job posting specifically said, “Must be able to deal with very difficult and at times aggressive personalities.”

      This was not a customer service job. It was a senior marketing role. Hard pass.

      1. Jora Malli*

        Any time I see that, or “You need to have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously,” I update my preferences on the job search website to exclude that company. I’m not signing up to be abused by my coworkers, thank you very much.

      2. New Mom*

        Similar. My friend applied for a role and was told three separate times that she needed thick skin but they wouldn’t elaborate.

    2. Mornington Cresent*

      The content itself wasn’t weird, but I once saw one where the applicant had embedded some clipart of a variety of sport balls (a football, a basketball, etc) as a watermark behind his CV. Mystifying indeed, it didn’t seem to be related to anything and didn’t even look very good.

      We had to try and remove it before anything because it made the text very hard to read. I think the hiring manager might’ve suggest he remove it when she gave him feedback.

      He also included a photo of himself- I’m in the UK, and our department had never seen this before, so we weren’t sure what to make of it. I understand photos are standard in other countries, but I’m not sure clip-art watermarks are!

    3. Ope!*

      It’s not the weirdest possible thing but I remember a previous employer listing a position that had “performs high-level budget analysis and advises C-suite accordingly” and “manages CEO’s calendar and answers reception phone” right next to each other. The ‘squishing positions together so we don’t have to re-hire multiple people’ was getting a bit excessive there. I left not long after.

      1. no ducking on the dance floor*

        This reads like every office position listed at my university. Literally both high level budget/advising stuff with first point of contact/receptionist stuff.
        And for crap pay.

    4. urguncle*

      Position was interning at a multi-lingual preschool program for high schoolers. The applicant had a 3 page CV that included everything going back to kindergarten achievements. They…did not receive a call back.

      1. Frickityfrack*

        I work in municipal government and we recently had a city council vacancy being filled by appointment, and one of the candidates did that with his application. He had things like “youngest paperboy in the city’s history” and “helped elementary school classmates with their homework.” He’s in his 50s. He was not appointed (which he blames on council being “corrupt” and hating him for his support of Trump, not the fact that there were multiple candidates who were both far more qualified and capable of submitting an application relevant to this century).

      2. Pippa K*

        Academic cvs are generally longer than résumés, but I was once on a hiring committee for a faculty position for which a senior applicant submitted a cv that was well over 30 pages. Formatted just like an ordinary cv, but including every single thing he’d ever done at work for 35 years or so. It was wild. None of us had ever seen anything like it.

        1. allathian*

          It really depends. Some academic cvs can be really long, because they list every paper the person’s ever published. I’m not in academia, but my parents were scientists, and so is my sister. She got her Ph.D. 10 years ago, and her list of publications is a couple pages long.

          The longest academic cv I’ve heard about was more than 150 pages long.

    5. Susan Calvin*

      Oh boy. I can see it before my mind’s eye – three column layout, single spaced, practically no outer margins. Inclusion of (full color!) logos of previous employers. Some illustrative pictograms and primary colored highlights sprinkled in for good measure.

      We hired the guy though, and he’s doing great.

      Honorary mention of all the 3-page publication lists, holiday selfies (photos are still quite normal here – normally you’d expect a professional headshot though), and the one that went in the opposite extreme re spacing, and ‘filled’ 2.5 pages with an amount of information that could’ve fit on a postcard.

    6. WomEngineer*

      Someone asked me “Why are you interested in [insert name of midwestern U. S. state]?” Honestly, I was more interested in the work. (No shade to the Midwest! It just wasn’t a place you hear about often…)

      This was for a new grad job in a different state. I know people talk about preferring local candidates, but this company had done an info session at my school, and plenty of graduates get recruited across the country. So yeah, it wasn’t a question I expected, but it’s one I’ll have an answer for in the future.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        So… Now I’m trying to think of the least newsworthy Midwestern state. Nebraska?

        1. Midwestern Hirer*

          “Nebraska…it’s not for everyone” is literally a tourism campaign slogan

          1. no ducking on the dance floor*

            That always come across so racist. A town in Montana had a similar slogan and a video ad which made it pretty clear that ‘not for everyone’ meant ‘for white people’.

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              The ads for NE focus on its quirkiness. But now I’ll pay more attention when one pops up.

        2. Victoria, Please*

          Nebraska is stunningly beautiful. So is Kansas. The natural beauty is breathtaking, whatever else might be troubling.

      2. Midwestern Hirer*

        That’s why we gotta ask. We know it’s not terribly desirable to live here.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          AKA, “Are you going to run to a warmer climate after experiencing your first real Minnesota winter?” without quite using those words.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Or to a drier climate after your first experience with Midwestern summer humidity?

            How do you feel about mosquitoes? Raccoons? Cougars? Even our biggest cities have those!

          2. Midwestern hirer*

            Exactly- we like to bring prospects here in the spring when everything is gorgeous and blooming. They typically make it a year before they hightail it out of here!

    7. Bagpuss*

      I got a CV once which was over 30 pages long. It wasn’t for an employee, it was for a medical expert we were instructing as an expert witness, and a lot of it was details of publications, research studies etc.
      Expert witnesses CVs are not usually like that!
      (And ironically, what we needed him for was basically wherethere was effectively a signle question where were were 99% we already knew the answer, but we needed someone with the appropriate expertise to say yes or no.
      The answer, as we had expected, was ‘no’ ) The report was shorter than his CV!

      1. Artemesia*

        That is an academic vita which can easily run that long with every paper and presentation ever made.

        1. Pippa K*

          Ha, I commented above before seeing this. It must vary by field – in mine, it’s unheard of (but clearly possible for the determined cv-extender!)

        2. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Yup. And in this case, it sounds like the answer could have been one word, but “Why should we believe your answer?” was 30 pages of CV.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        I saw a 15 page CV submitted by a candidate for an industry job (we use 1-2 page resumes). I knew the candidate and also knew that the CV was at least 75% artificially inflated (duplicate credits for the same paper under multiple headers, claiming dozens of “published articles” when a simple search reveals only three peer-reviewed articles).

        Not only was he hired, over the years he’s been elevated to fairly high ranks. Unfortunately, his actual knowledge base is much smaller than the impression he’s given to the right executives, but his area of expertise isn’t going to make or break the company.

    8. irene adler*

      Ran job ad for Lab Tech for a serology lab that manufactures test kits.

      Received resume with background and career experience in Real Estate.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Yup. Ran ad for sales account manager in a software company. Received multiple resumes from folks with real estate, landscaping, and cosmetology backgrounds
        I got nothing

    9. Sundial*

      A guy interviewing for a design role included with his resume a homemade CD of his jazz band. He spent most of the interview talking about his glory days touring the country, playing Dixieland. It was so irrelevant to the job that it felt like a prank show.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I’m aware of a lot of musicians who say they are influenced by art, and artists who say they are influenced by music. There might be some sort of connection (especially if it is graphic design or animation). Then again, it might be a bit of a stretch.

    10. Lilo*

      This was a writing sample and not a resume, but we had a guy who used “overcoming my evil ex in our divorce” as his example of something he was particularly proud of.

      We did not interview him.

      1. cleo*

        Hah hah hah. I mean, I’ve talked with friends about how some of my greatest achievements are things I can’t put on my resume. But I would never actually use “committed to decades of therapy to recover from PTSD / childhood trauma” in my application materials.

    11. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I was hiring experienced medical coders. My options among submitted resumes included an Amazon warehouse box packer, a mortgage loan processor, a bilingual customer service specialist, a veterinary technician, and an 18 year old who’s uploaded resume was a picture taken of a computer screen with a text window in which had been typed “I am extremely qualified and will take on any job duties.”

    12. ImInSpace*

      I worked for a very short time in HR and I saw all kinds of resumes and fake doctors’ sick notes. The strangest thing I encountered was when a lady had applied to one of our jobs and a few days later called our office to ask if we had reviewed her cv yet since she had not yet received a reply from us. I answered her truthfully and informed her that we have not looked at the applications yet since it had only been a few days since the job was posted.
      And then she asked if SHE should contact us in a few days’ time to set up an interview. This was not how this works, I said silently.
      Anyway, I told her that we’ll be reviewing applications first, and WE will contact those who had been shortlisted.

    13. Bunny Girl*

      Not the resume itself (although it was severely lacking for what we were asking for), but someone’s Gmail name was set to Beef Supreme. Not the email itself. But the name linked to the account.

    14. Can’t read the fine print*

      The name on the resume was huge, like 40 point font while the rest of it was tiny 6-8 point font. One of the bullet points about their experience working on a farm was, “Weighed pigs weekly.” This was for a job in clinical research. Weighing pigs weekly became a running joke in our office. “I finished that report.” “Fine, but did you weigh pigs weekly?”

      1. Texan In Exile*

        I met a guy who had to be way more involved with the pigs. His job involved doing research on pig semen. I will leave the rest to your imagination.

        1. tangerineRose*

          I think there was an episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe where they had to deal with that.

    15. Charlotte Lucas*

      A friend received a resume that included the applicant’s height. This was not for a position that might require that information (acting, modeling, etc.). And the height was pretty average, too.

    16. Elizabeth West*

      Oh boyyyyyy

      Resume:
      We got one at OldExjob with a photocopy of the dude’s driver’s license at the top and a densely written, rambling manifesto below, single-spaced, two or three pages if I remember correctly. It was . . . different. We kept all resumes for several years. I ran across it again when I was clearing out that file cabinet and my supervisor was like, “Oh my God, I forgot all about that!”
      No, this person did not get an interview.

      Job post:
      I’ve seen some amusing ones (like an ad on Indeed for an Easter bunny), but the most recent was a typo that said: Preferred candidates will have a minimum of 33 years of experience supporting a professional services firm or working in a business setting. Whoopsy!

      1. ggg*

        Name, email
        Major, Prestigious University, class of (freshman)
        Interests: sports, video games, working out

        That was the entire resume.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Oh yeah, and there was an ad for some job in Boston’s Leather District. I knew it was a historic industrial area, but my friends and I had a very immature laugh about that one.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          My dad was a printer – back in the days of paper. Specifically, he was a lithographer, which was called a “film stripper” in the trade.

          We kids never stopped thinking it was funny to see all the “STRIPPER WANTED” ads in the Classifieds when he was looking to see if he should move to work in a new shop.

          1. OyHiOh*

            My parents ran a furniture refinishing shop when I was growing up. The day I got to tell parents of a friend (I was staying with them overnight because parents were out of town) that my parents were at a stripping convention was priceless.

            I was a very quiet, “square” student. That was probably the most risque thing that had ever come out of my mouth, to that point in my life, and for several more after.

            1. Chaordic One*

              I once read about a woman who was a bit surprised when, during parent-teacher conference, her child’s teacher pointedly asked her what she did for a living. The woman worked in a candy factory that made taffy and her job was to hand-pull the taffy and stretch it out after the ingredients had been thoroughly mixed. She explained this to the teacher and added that her title was: “puller.” The teacher was profoundly relieved and confessed to the woman that her child had said she was a “pusher.”

            2. Mannequin*

              Reminds me of the high school friend who delighted in telling her very Christian parents that she had joined the Thespian Club, because she knew they’d misunderstand.

              Sure enough, “What are they teaching you down in that Drama class?!” was her dad’s immediate reaction, lol.

      3. OldEnoughToKnowThe Score*

        Re: the job post – finally an employer who might hire me! Age discrimination is real….

      4. academic system navigator*

        ah, yes, the narrative, manifesto resumes. Where do these people come from??

    17. quill*

      Definitely the one that got faxed to us…. with the usual email bit about “sent from my iPhone.”

      The “Attatched resume” was not attached.

    18. KoiFeeder*

      Weirdest resume template I was advised to use by a college career center was the one that included a full-color informative pie graph in the shape of Hello Kitty’s head. I did not use any of their templates. I have, however, always wondered if they would’ve advised me to use that one if they perceived me as male.

      Weirdest thing I’ve seen in a job ad was what was ostensibly a televangelist hotline that was written in such a way that it was completely impossible to determine if they were hiring people to provide religious support over the phone or if it was actually a phone sex hotline.

      1. cyberfog*

        Okay, I’m gonna need more details about this phone line. How do you blur the lines between those two things??

        1. KoiFeeder*

          I don’t recall the exact details of the listing, but there was a lot of interesting phrasing around leaving the callers fulfilled and attending to their needs.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Yep. Complete with the lil ribbon. I was merely a sophomore but I was not particularly impressed.

    19. Twisted Lion*

      One girl had 1/4th of her resume about how meeting a tiger changed her life.

      Another inserted his picture into this weird frame on the margin. It was for an admin role so no picture was really needed….?

    20. voluptuousfire*

      Oddest thing I saw in a job ad was a mandatory question asking if this cover letter was specifically written for this company, and not copy and pasted from another application. I saw this in 2014 and posted about it on Facebook and it came up in my memories.

      I had a woman apply to a Product Manager role at an old company. She had absolutely no experience, but her resume was the worst I’ve ever seen. Apparently she had worked as a copywriter but her cover letter and resume was word soup/salad. IIRC, one long, run-on sentence would basically boil down to something 3-5 words would have said much more clearly. She was a mess! She was also super fond of emojis. She also believed asking for contact information was a violation of her privacy. Quoi?

      Her LinkedIn profile was even worse.

    21. Migraine Month*

      I’m a computer programmer, and it’s a running joke that many job descriptions describe a one-person IT and R&D department. For example, the title will be for a “Front-End Developer”, but they also want you to do back end development, database administration, business analyst tasks, help desk support, and have at least 5 years of experience in each of 6 different niche technologies. The pay for this unicorn is rarely competitive just for a Front-End developer.

      The funniest is when they require 10 years of experience in a technology that was developed 6 years ago, and the automated system doesn’t allow you to submit because you don’t meet the minimum requirements.

      1. Nom de beurre*

        You remind me of a job description that wanted a database administrator, with social media and digital marketing, and experience of running a construction site.

        I assumed it was written with a candidate in mind to satisfy a requirement that the position had to be advertised. Perhaps visa sponsorship was required.

        Since then I sometimes amuse myself by coming up with even less likely combinations: front-end developer + park ranger + pilot + French chef, maybe?

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        This reminds of when the Sarbanes Oxley Act just came out and immediately there were multiple job postings requiring at least 5 to 10 years in Sarbanes Oxley compliance….

      1. ecnaseener*

        I love the implication that they tried asking just for a “maniacal” level of attention and that wasn’t enough for them, so they had to raise the bar even further.

    22. Seal*

      Two weird resumes stand out:

      One was from a candidate who thought it would be a good idea to use our institution’s copyrighted and logo as a watermark on his overly long resume for an entry-level position. Instant rejection. On a related note, we had a very odd candidate who sent us handmade thank you notes that also included our copyrighted logo. We had already ruled them out because they did not interview well (at one point, they disappeared behind the podium for 2 minutes during their presentation but kept talking!), so the thank you note just confirmed we made the right decision.

      Another one was from a student employee who clearly hadn’t reviewed her resume in quite some time, as she appeared to be attending a different university, making her ineligible to work for our university. Her cover letter also stated that she attended the other university. Worse, she had apparently discovered the thesaurus feature in Word because her letter read like an odd Shakespearean mashup. She eventually clarified that she had in fact transferred to our school, but I didn’t hire her because we required attention to detail and she obviously didn’t have that.

      1. L.H. Puttgrass*

        For the second, I’d be suspicious that they used the old plagiarism-plus-thesaurus trick. But even then, you’d think they’d change the name of the school!

      2. tangerineRose*

        This reminds me of an episode of Friends where Joey wrote a letter recommending Monica and Chandler as adoptive parents. He used a Thesaurus or something to make it sound more educated, and the result was odd to say the least.

    23. academic system navigator*

      My favorite ever description on a resume, under bullets for a job:

      “Learned some things about how an office works.”

      I mean, at least they focused on accomplishments?

    24. Jora Malli*

      We had one guy who applied for multiple openings at the library, and his resume included a link to a really bad youtube video he had made about how proud he was to be a notary. Scenes of him notarizing documents. Explanations of how if we hire him, he and his notary certification will revolutionize the library’s services set to stock synth music. We did not offer notary services at the library and did not intend to, and the entire focus of his resume and application was his notary skills.

    25. Water Everywhere*

      Not so much weird as out-of-touch, as this was only three years ago: an eleven-page, top to bottom, margin to margin resume containing a detailed account of this person’s education & work history from high school to present (by the dates they were aged mid-fifties at the time). It was a head-scratcher as they were not new to the field and such resumes are definitely not the norm.

    26. Gnome*

      For a technical field (think programming or engineering), I got a resume for an entry level position that was half about football. I mean, I guess it shows… Commitment, maybe? Teamwork? But since I know nothing about football and literally couldn’t care less, half the resume was effectively wasted space. Note that I saw plenty of extracurriculars that have some soft skills (chamber orchestra, athletic teams) but usually a line or two not half a page.

    27. Joanne’s Daughter*

      Many years ago I received a resume from a young woman who listed “walking beans” as a previous job. I asked my boss, who grew up in the country, if he knew what that was. He did. Farmers used to hire people to walk down endless rows of soy beans and pull weeds by hand. I ended up hiring her and she was one of the best data entry clerks I ever had!

      1. tangerineRose*

        Someone who does well at that probably has a lot of patience and stick-to-it tendencies.

    28. Lady Ann*

      We had a new college graduate apply with a 7-page resume.

      I have been working for 20 years and my resume is 1.5 pages.

      We were forced to hire her because she knew the CEO. She did not work out.

    29. Chaordic One*

      Many years ago there used to be this constantly running ad in the L.A. Times that read something along the lines of, “I’m looking for 5 people who I can work to death.” I never applied and have no idea what the job was.

    30. Margali*

      I received one where the person had accidentally uploaded her OFFER LETTER FROM ANOTHER COMPANY instead of the resume! I emailed her back to give her the opportunity to correct the mistake, but no response.

    31. Maggie*

      Weirdest resume: 9 pages of BMX photos
      Weirdest cover letter: a tie between the person who attached a word doc that said “I don’t have a cover letter” and a cover letter that said only “I am a 24 year old Christian male”

    32. Dragon*

      Our legal trade journal advertised a paralegal position as being responsible for “discovery deadliness”, instead of deadlines.

    33. Betsy Devore, Girl Sleuth*

      Not quite what you asked for, but college applications: At the turn of the ’90s, I read an article, in Sassy magazine IIRC, about what *not* to do on a college application or in an interview. I was already in college, so I didn’t pore over the main article, but there were two sidebars about sending extraneous, unrequested items. First, the videos (it was still VHS then). I think there were eight bad examples, and I remember three. Applicant was on the local news; he was on screen for less than thirty seconds, but sent in the entire hour-long segment. Another applicant sent a video of her majorette squad performing at a football game. Shakycam, bad lighting, numerous errors, and she didn’t say which one was her. And another applicant swanning around in silk blouses while the Chariots of Fire theme (or was it Love Story?) played.

      Then the non-video trinkets. First, the papier-mache bust of Shakespeare; at least they thought it was Shakespeare. Then the one that still baffles me: the school crest, in chocolate. Apparently it was a large medallion, like the size of a dinner plate, with the details of the crest in relief. Who knows if they made it by hand, or paid someone to do it. And to what purpose? I’m pretty sure no college/university has a culinary arts major; correct me if I’m wrong. Oh well, “ladies like chocolate,” right?

    34. Dragonfly7*

      One that was tailored to working in athletics, such as coaching or fitness training, for an entry-level customer service position.

    35. tamarak & fireweed*

      Our job ads are frequently… colorful. This is something I copy-pasted a few years ago for my friends’ amusement “Applicant will need to participate in remote high-latitude fieldwork. Fieldwork may be conducted in remote environments requiring travel in bear country; riding in small vessels in ocean and lagoons settings; flying in small aircraft; and/or hiking in remote, unimproved areas, over uneven terrain; and carrying a heavy pack. Field operations may be conducted in inclement conditions that may include rain and/or snow, large waves, sea ice, and low temperatures. Medical facilities may not be immediately available.”

      MUCH better than this gem from one from Stack*verflow: “”You will have the opportunity to travel the world, race 500hp supercars, go kitesurfing and snowboarding with the world’s best professionals and meet celebrities like Richard Branson and Elon Musk.” Yeah, nope, nope, nope.

      (The applications I’ve seen were nowhere near as interesting. The weirdest was misguided emphasis on one’s personal project, and odd ideas about formatting.)

    36. Curious Hedgehog*

      Back before most people had easy access to a printer, we got a handwritten resume – in a serif font. The applicant had drawn all the little serif marks on every single letter.

  13. Not in US*

    Uh, so anybody got resources / tips / things to try for USians looking to find work Not in US after the last week or so?

    My own career has been a decade plus of teaching language arts, which is a hard skill to transfer to another context (not like engineering or something, unfortunately). But I’d like to poke around. Pretty sure I’m not the only one.

    1. 867-5309*

      Teaching English?

      It’s really difficult to patriate to another country without some kind of high demand training or previous work or a connection like an immediate family member or spouse already living there.

      1. Not in US*

        Yeah, I know. But . . . this seems to be the time to throw the question out for feedback. Feeling super vulnerable these days. Want to know if the AAM folks have ideas about something I’ve missed.

      2. Kiwiapple*

        You aren’t the only one. There has been an influx on the reddits I follow and FB pages I’m part of (I’m an expat myself).
        My advice? Search before posting to these pages for the answers.
        Pick a few countries, look at the skills they want to hire for.

      3. New Mom*

        I taught English in Seoul for years and loved it. The company will sponsor your visa and many jobs can interview and hire while you are still in the states. There are university jobs, public schools, private schools and I think the nicest are at the international schools but they are pretty competitive.

    2. Susan Calvin*

      Translation work might be an option to help tide you over?

      It’s probably not applicable to you specifically, but I’m going to leave it here for others in the same situation; if you’re able to play the long game, apply to international corporations – many of those will have internal frameworks for enabling employees to relocate to another country they already operate in (not necssarily in terms of assissting with the move, but by letting you keep your job/finding one within the org you can do from there, which is already huge)

      1. allathian*

        Mmm possibly. Translation is a skill in its own right. Just because you’re bilingual doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be a good translator.

        That said, I’m a translator with nearly 20 years’ experience and I don’t have a degree in linguistics, so it can be done. I started in the classic way, getting hired to do other things, but because I was fluent in several languages, I got the chance to do some translations on the side, which I emphasized on my resume. When I decided that I wanted to work as a full time translator, I used the experience I’d had from my former jobs to do a fairly big project to translate a website, and used that to get hired for a full-time job that required a year’s experience, and a Master’s degree in any applicable field.

    3. Alexis Rosay*

      I think teaching is actually a super transferable skill! There are international schools all over the world that follow an American-ish curriculum. Plus the pay and teaching conditions tend to be way better than teaching in the US.

    4. Alexander Graham Yell*

      I mean, teaching at what level? I think the international school hiring fairs are probably done for the year, but international schools (especially in smaller places) are the first place I’d look in your shoes.

    5. DisneyChannelThis*

      If teaching doesn’t pan out you could prob do childcare. A lot of people like foreign nanny type roles to help the kids get a second language going.

    6. KX*

      Not sure of your sense of urgency but could you look for work at a multinational corporation and then slide into a non-US location/office later within that company?

      1. urguncle*

        This is my current plan. Get into a multi-national org and, most importantly for visa purposes, get into a niche in that organization.

        1. anon for this*

          If we’re naming names here, Dassault Systèmes has pretty good relocation support – they’re Europe’s second largest software company, and since their products serve a huge variety of industries, the backgrounds they hire from are pretty broad as well (think, biochem, geology, civil engineering, logistics… besides the normal sales/HR/legal and of course developer categories you’d expect)

          Wouldn’t necessarily call them as a dream employer, but they’re decent enough if you can stand top-heavy bureaucracy, so if the relocation thing is a priority, I can recommend them.

          Signed, someone who spent 6 years there and has some complicated feelings about it

      2. tamarak & fireweed*

        That’s what I would say. English teaching is crowded and frequently exploited. And in places like Europe translation is a highly competitive field requiring higher education degrees AND licensure / be sworn-in in some countries.

        1. allathian*

          In some, but not in all countries. Although it’s easier to get started if you’re fluent in a less commonly known language. At the moment, anyone who is fluent enough in Ukrainian to work as a translator or interpreter could undoubtedly get hired by someone anywhere in Europe.

    7. Hen in a Windstorm*

      This US family moved to southern Spain years ago, originally temporarily, then they decided to stay. One of their income sources is helping others to move there too. https://wagonersabroad.com/ Spain is one of the easiest EU countries to move to.

      Compare cost of living in different countries https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index

      Nomadic Matt (if you ever heard of the guy who danced all over the world with locals, it’s this guy) has a guest post from 2018 about how to move abroad from a money-saving perspective. He lives in central Mexico.

      You can search blogs using the phrase “geographic arbitrage” for more first hand experience, although a lot of them are deliberately nomadic to avoid visa issues.

    8. Irish Teacher*

      This may not work at all, but…as an English teacher in Ireland, I know the UK were actively recruiting over here as they were short of teachers. This was some years back; I went for an interview with them once before I had a permanent job. I don’t know if it would be as easy for an American teacher – the UK was still part of the EU back then and even now, Ireland and the UK usually have agreements about living and working in the other country due to proximity, so might be harder for somebody from the US. Googling seems to suggest they are open to American trained teachers, though of course, I don’t know how reliable those sites are.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        The UK does have a specific list of shortage occupations where you can get expedited visa processing if you’re qualified/experienced in a certain area. An ex-colleague had a relative who was able to relocate her family here because she had a specific skill (I think it was in animation software) that was on the list at the time.

        The UK also recruits a lot of nurses from abroad, but some of the agencies who recruit nurses have very exploitative practices (such as forcing nurses to pay huge sums of money if they leave a job early) that almost amount to indentured servitude.

    9. AcademiaNut*

      The main options are

      – work for a domestic company that has international branches, get transferred
      – work in a highly skilled, high demand field that actively recruits non-citizens
      – work in a niche field that hires non-citizens, like teaching English
      – work in jobs that hire foreigners because the locals don’t want to do the work for the pay offered (childcare, eldercare, migrant work in farms and fishing, some types of construction, cruise ships).
      – marry a citizen or primary visa holder. Note that actually moving to the country and getting work permission may take years.
      – go as a student. This requires that you are accepted into a visa-eligible program, and can demonstrate that you can support yourself financially during the program.
      – apply through the general immigration system, for countries that have one. This will depend on your profession, language skills and various other factors, and can take years to be reviewed.

      Note that migrant or domestic work visas are often set up to discourage permanent immigration, and that while many visas allow you to bring a spouse and dependent with you, they don’t necessary guarantee or allow your spouse to be able to work (also, a marriage certificate is often required for the spousal visa – most places don’t recognized common-law relationships). For English teaching jobs, the best jobs (pay, working hours, benefits, stability) typically go to people who are certified teachers with experience – if you’re a random person with a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be looking more at cram schools and daycares.

  14. Prospect Gone Bad*

    I had a nasty flu with food poisoning like symptoms recently and realized we need to stop comparing every disease to covid! That was the first question when I came back to work – was it covid or something else? Then I’d say something else, and then I got a few comments that insinuated I should’ve been back sooner or should be feeling great because it wasn’t covid. I don’t know how we got here as a society but we need to revert back to the way things were pre-2020! Personally, this flu was worse than my covid case I had last year, so I am annoyed people are minimizing it. My stomach is sore but people are telling me I’m fine because it wasn’t covid. I’m like, come again, please? Granted, they don’t say it in those words, but that’s the gist.

    It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t matter, but at the same time, I’m supposed to work with really smart people who use critical thinking skills to navigate a variety of situations, so it’s sort of disturbing to see them have such a simplistic view of human health. I hope they don’t apply this simplistic thinking to other situations.

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      People just don’t get being ill in general. If you have covid they wonder why you don’t recover in 5 days. A simple cold lasts 3 weeks ( in me don’t ask why there’s no answer)

        1. Anima*

          Love these, I also get a sore throat for no reason weeks after. I get asked if I want to go home because I’m obviously sick. I’m not, I just cough forever after a simple cold.
          (Granted COVID gave me a nice cough for a few weeks, too. There I got asked if I’m sure I’m negative, so that is that.)

    2. Irish Teacher*

      I think people are really focussed on covid at the moment to the point that they are often seeing anything else as “not a problem.” Obviously, covid IS a very serious issue, but I think some people forget that it doesn’t mean nothing else serious can exist at the same time.

    3. Overeducated*

      That’s really frustrating. I was certainly hoping that covid would make us more tolerant of people taking the sick time they need and not coming to work while still unwell. Also, it should be increasing awareness of other post-viral issues and the fact that our bodies are still affected by illnesses like flu even after the most acute symptoms are gone.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’ve been frustrated by how ignorant some people seem to be about this stuff. A vaccine for a virus (like Covid or flu) is not 100% safety. Wearing your mask might give you some safety, but it actually protects others more.

    4. Beth*

      I know that at my workplace, there’s a similar tendency where the first question is Was It Covid, followed by relief/congratulations if it wasn’t — but I don’t get the feeling that I’m supposed to take this as minimizing what I had.

      There are a couple of elements that I think may be at play: flu + food poisoning doesn’t run the risk of leaving you disabled (long Covid), and it’s less contagious (at least the food poisoning aspect is not). So the expected anxiety is lower, even if the physical suffering is worse.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have been hearing about the flu bug that is NASTY- scary bad. People around me are talking about it. Some are saying, “I sincerely believed I might not make it!” I am sorry this happened to you. Flu can be very serious. Death from flu is not “less dead” than by Covid. I am sorry to hear you got to see this up close.

      I think about rebuttals but maybe not:

      “Yeah, isn’t it something that we have all forgotten that people can die from flu also?”
      OR
      “The flu bug that is going around is nothing to play with. If you have symptoms, please, take care of yourself.”
      OR
      “Did you see the article [find a source to reference] regarding the flu bug that is going around? You might want to check it out.”

      1. Irish Teacher*

        People REALLY don’t get the flu anyway. Even the way people talk about covid as “just a bad flu,” which always has me thinking, “you do realise bad flu = killer disease, right?” People seem to think flu is another word for a cold, when it’s really not.

    6. quinks*

      This is exceedingly annoying.

      I feel like some of it’s self concern, that the others want to know if you had COVID in case they could have been exposed, but it’s not as if you couldn’t have also given them the flu!

      I will say as someone who has to deal with sick pay vs. covid pay I care about that, but I’m aware while they’re out if it’s probable covid/confirmed covid/not covid and therefore don’t ask any questions when they’re back (other then the standard “are you feeling better? do you feel like you need more time? make sure your supervisor knows if things change, glad to have you back”).

      Sorry that happened to you! The flu sucks and food poisoning also sucks!

    7. LNLN*

      Not to mention, is it really that hard to understand the only appropriate comment when someone has been ill is, “I am so sorry you were sick! Glad to have you back at work!”

    8. Mimmy*

      In addition to what everyone else said, I think part of it is also that COVID is still not well-understood, from transmissibility to long-term impacts.

      I am glad you are doing better!

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        I think it is understood now, no? I don’t think this is the place for a whole side tangent on it, but this is sort of the point. “We don’t know how it’s different from other viruses” is very 2020.

    9. My Useless 2 Cents*

      So sorry, that sounds horrible.

      As someone with year long “seasonal” allergies with accompanying massive headaches, I’ve spent the last two years saying – Not covid “just” allergies. I’ve come to the realization that they don’t really care how I am, they just want reassurance they won’t get sick. Maybe something along the lines of “Oh, yeah, I caught a nasty flu bug. Wanted to stay home until I was sure I wasn’t contagious as I would feel really bad spreading it around. It was worse than covid!”

    10. knxvil*

      Not only is the flu variant bad, but infection with listeria (aka “I ate poisoned bagged salad and now I think I have meningitis, my neck is so stiff”) is also NO JOKE. I had it for the first, and hopefully last, time a few weeks ago. It wasn’t pretty.

    11. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Aaargh.

      A friend of mine works at our local school district. She says that if the kids get covid, they are given distance learning materials and sent home – but not if they have any other disease. The result? All the local schools from elementary up got hit by a very much non covid flu bug. And I really do mean ALL the local schools, it hit absolutely everyone with children.

    12. Rara Avis*

      Even “just” colds have been hitting my family very hard this spring as we went 2+ years with no exposure and our bodies forgot how to cope.

    13. Anon for This*

      I find it also super annoying, but I also think people just aren’t as sick since the preventions measures for Covid also worked for everything else and are just forgetting how bad other illnesses can be. I also think people are really scared of Long-Covid (myself included, as I know people who have it and it destroyed their life).

      Ironically I had really bad “food poisoning” in May, the only time I didn’t test for Covid, and turns out it was actually Covid. Haven’t been that sick in years/decades.

  15. many bells down*

    Oh boy I’m not a manager but I just this week discovered something that is causing a whole crapton of uncomfortable conversations right now. Very glad I’ve already booked a vacation for next week.

  16. Not Your Interviewer*

    Blargh, I pasted in the wrong name on another post earlier…

    Good lord. What is with people not bothering to do even the most basic research before they show up to interview? I’m surprised on a daily basis at the people who come in to interview for positions, and not just the entry-level ones, and the first thing that falls out of their mouth is, “What IS this place? What do you do here?” What the actual hell, people. Google exists. Newspaper archives exist. You could even call the front desk (AKA me) and ask before you even decide to apply. This is very basic stuff to be looking up before you interview! I would be mortified if I showed up for a job interview and didn’t even know the general field of the employer. You don’t need to know that we manufacture the parts that go into building the unicorn brushes, but you should at least know we’re in manufacturing. Not to mention, the job ads we put out always spell out who we are and what we do as the literal first paragraph.

    They also frequently don’t know the name of the business they’re interviewing at, which…really? It’s legitimately on each side of every one of our buildings and branded all over the interior walls and employee clothing. I get that they may have a dozen interviews that day and it’s hard to keep it all straight, but you are doing THIS interview for THIS business at THIS time. At the very least, you need to retain the name of where you physically are for long enough to NOT look like a disorganized, disinterested mess at the interview. Like, if you have the address so you could get here, you can find out what’s at the address before you walk in the door. Jeez.

    Even more weird are the ones who show up for an interview…and don’t know what position they’re interviewing for. You somehow made it through the application process and got called back for an interview, but now you can’t tell me the job you’re interviewing for? We don’t do general position interviews, so if you’re here, you’re here for a very specific job, and you should absolutely know what it is. That way, when you completely fail to write down the name of the person you’re interviewing with and have forgotten it (ARGH), I can identify the appropriate department by the job title and tell them to send out whoever’s doing the interviews that day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this frustrating conversation:

    GUY (It’s literally always a guy. We rarely have women/AFAB’s come in to interview, and when they do, they always have their stuff together): Hey, I’ve got a 9:30 interview for a job?
    ME: Okay! Who are you interviewing with today?
    GUY: I dunno, I forgot the name.
    ME: *Thinking, oh, great, here we go again* Did they give you a number to call them at?
    GUY: I dunno. No.
    ME: What’s the job you’re interviewing for?
    GUY: I dunno. It’s in your shops. (ALL the jobs work in shops.)
    ME: …Do you know what department it’s in?
    GUY: No. I guess it’s in manufacturing. (Again, everything here involves manufacturing.)
    ME: *Screaming internally, calling every single one of the dozens of department supervisors on the list to 1: find someone who’s actually answering their phone; and 2: find out if they know who this person is and what they’re talking about*

    I’m just amazed at how often this happens. I don’t think a single person in months has showed up for an interview and actually had their facts straight, and we do interviews daily. A lot of them blame it on recruiters. (But these are questions you should be asking recruiters, and if the recruiter won’t give you a straight answer, you’re just wasting your time and ours if you don’t do your own advance follow-up.) Most of them didn’t come here through a recruiter, though. This is the kind of stuff that I’ve always been aware would count heavily against you in a job search, so why the heck is it so prevalent now (at least at my place of work)? It may be a job seeker’s market, but that doesn’t mean you can stroll in completely unprepared and walk out with a swanky job offer.

    1. Bagpuss*

      Are any of them people who are currently unemployed? I know that here (UK) people who are in receipt of state mbenefits becasue they are unemployed are required to show that they are making efforts to find work, which means that they have to show they’ve applied for x number of jobs per week, so you could end up with people who have applied becuase they have to, or who have sent off lots of applications.

      That said, while I haven’t had any quite as bad as you describe, I have had some very poorly prepared application.

      e.g. – covering letter saying that the applicant is particularly interested in Criminal Law and working in LegallAid. Which is very public spirited, but we don’t work in either of those fields. (that one applied via our website, which has sections about what types of work we do do) I’m guessing they had a generic appliation letter and had only shanged the name of the person they were sending it to, but still.. Since they were a school-lever and applying for what was basically an entry level, junior admin role we did interview them, as we tend to assume that smeone at that point may have little or no expericen of job hunting and may not have much in the way of advice / support in how to get a job, but they were not impressive in person .

      Another applicant for the same role sent a handwritten letter written in green ink. We weren’t able to respond as they got their own e-mail address wrong and didn’t provide a postal address or phone number. (Our office manager did say that they might have interviewed them, if only out of morbid curiosity and to offer a little feedback, had they been contactable)

    2. Llellayena*

      I would seriously write an email to ALL of your hiring managers with the statement that if a job candidate shows up without knowing the person, position or department they’re applying to, you’ll be sending them away. It’s not your job to do their job (either job candidate or hiring manager) and if the candidate doesn’t know what their interviewing for, you probably don’t want to hire them anyway…

      1. My Useless 2 Cents*

        Similarly, could you just say “okay, have a seat.” and wait for the hiring manager check to see if they arrived. If hiring manger doesn’t show, when candidate comes back to you to see what the hold up is… ask him the same questions “And who were you interviewing with?” “What department?” “What position?”… “Sorry, no one has indicated they are waiting for an interviewee to show up.” Waste his time like he is wasting yours. Guaranteed the next interview he goes to, he’ll know who to ask for.

        1. Not Your Interviewer*

          I like the way you think (I am not above petty malicious compliance)….

          1. Nynaeve*

            I like this, too, because you are making life difficult for both the interviewee who doesn’t know what they’re there for, AND you’re making things inconvenient for the hiring manager who didn’t tell you what external appointments they had that day and who to be on the lookout for and when. This problem could easily also be solved by a morning e-mail with a list of expected interviews for the day and who to call or where to send them when they arrive.

      2. Gary Patterson's Cat*

        At least the Company, Person and the Position. Sometimes the departments do change, or it’s not the department people think it is (had that happen). I would hate to think a candidate didn’t know the company… but you can get bad recruiters passing on bad information or even lying to candidates about the name of the company if the company has a bad reputation.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I’m not saying your company does this (and I 100% agree with you) but I’ve seen some job ads that open with a paragraph about the company that is so dense with jargon and obfuscated language that I cannot tell just from that what the company actually does. Then I go to their website and it says the exact same thing. So I’m still scratching my head.

      BUT people should not show up to an interview without at least looking at the company website. OR SOMETHING. Googling is not that hard.

      Also, what Llellayena said. ^^

    4. Snarky McSnarkerson*

      I understand your frustration, I truly do. But I also see a problem with your company’s process. Why are the hiring managers not telling you whom to expect that day? You don’t necessarily have to know the job that’s being interviewed, but each hiring manager should be able to tell you, in advance, “hey, we’re expecting Jamilla DuVille for an interview tomorrow at 3 o’clock.” You could also make a case for having access to the company’s HR system so you could at least look up the applicant and match with a job (I would find this method preferable because managers…).

      1. Fabulous*

        Right, this was my takeaway – you should be getting a list of interviews each day with who to contact for each of them.

      2. Not Your Interviewer*

        Hahaha, the company I work for is SUPER dysfunctional and I get told about maybe one in every five interviews we’re going to have that day. We don’t even really have a uniform hiring process or real hiring managers. But the people coming in completely unprepared is a new trend, so it’s been getting on my nerves much more than the disorganized hiring process I’ve always know about here. Believe me, though, I’ve definitely got a few rants in the works for the things wrong with the employer! It just would have made my home post even more of a novel to include.

      3. Jackalope*

        Yeah, I’m having flashbacks of interviewing for my most recent job. I had no idea who would be doing the interview beforehand; based on what I know now, I’m pretty sure they assigned people the morning of to do the interviews. I knew where to go and when I showed up at the appropriate door and said I had an interview they got me hooked up with the right people. But I never even thought of asking who I was going to talk to.

    5. ThursdaysGeek*

      Ok, I’d done research on the company, but for my current job, I did show up not knowing exactly what I was interviewing for.

      I was unemployed and applied to a stretch job, because at the time, I had to find 3 places to apply every week, and sometimes (usually) there weren’t any good fits. They called, and said, “you’re not qualified for this position, but we have someone else hiring that we think you’d be a good fit for. Could we send your resume to them?” Sure! I got called for the interview, and it was awkward answering questions like “why are you interested in this position?” Um, I’ve not seen anything about this position, I didn’t see the job ad, maybe you could tell me what the position is I’m interviewing for? I had to answer while also trying to suss out what they were looking for. It turns out, it was for something I was VERY familiar with, right up my alley. But it was sure awkward until I figured that out.

      1. Emily Dickinson*

        Oh – this is encouraging! I have a job interview next week with a title, “business analyst”, but no description. I’ve read up on the company, and am not sure what else to do to prepare.

      2. Not Your Interviewer*

        That’s a good theory, and I’ve asked these guys similar questions while I’m waiting for callback from the supervisors, but this seems to be the sort of thing they’re determined to not give a straight answer for. I mean, I get it…you want the interview and you don’t want to say it’s an unemployment thing. But good lord, so much of my limited time gets wasted every day dealing with these people, and I’m the one who looks incompetent when I don’t have any answers for whichever supervisors finally decide to talk to me about the mystery man standing at the front desk.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          I did have a name of the person I was interviewing with. I’d researched the company. I just didn’t know what job I was interviewing for, or what skills they were looking for. It was so awkward – I don’t think someone who is a good candidate is going to do that very often.

    6. Jean*

      Start turning them away if they can’t name the person they’re scheduled to meet with. Simple as. Frame it as a security concern if you get pushback (internal or otherwise). I know here at my company, nobody showing up claiming some ambiguous “appointment” with no name or other info is getting past the front desk.

      1. Squeakrad*

        In my role as an adjunct professor teaching business communication, I can safely say all of my students know to have all those details worked out before they get to an interview. But I have to say many employers here – I’m in the bay area — will take a poor interviewee with a crappy GPA but a pedigree diploma over one of our hard-working students from the state college. It frustrates me no end as my students are the hardest working people and the most attentive to what’s important in any job of anybody I’ve ever met.

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      THANK YOU for this! Yes! I see this all the time.
      The most recent was yesterday in a zoom interview for a sales person. The guy could not remember the name of our company to save his life. I shudder to think how he would be in prospective customer calls.

    8. SnappinTerrapin*

      I’ve seen people come to work who didn’t know the name or phone number of the contracting firm they work for. Usually the same ones who left their driving license or other ID in the car.

      Yes, you need that to get in the building to start work. You’ll need it tomorrow, too.

      No, we can’t issue a visitor badge without it. The people who decide policies told us to do it this way.

  17. Reportia*

    I recently got a raise. It’s a small one, but my first ever. Do I need to do anything other than just thank my boss? Is there some sort of raise-appreciation protocol?

    1. ThatGirl*

      Nope! You don’t even really need to thank your boss, unless they went above and beyond to negotiate it for you. Giving/getting raises is a normal thing. Or it should be.

    2. 867-5309*

      Reportia, I hope you don’t mind but I had a little chuckle at “raise-appreciation protocol.”

      As others have said, simply thanking your boss in the moment is enough. If they especially went to bat for the raise and have been a good mentor and boss, then you could consider an email follow-up but those situations are rare.

    3. strawberry time!*

      Hell, I got a 20% increase in pay this year and I didn’t thank my boss – this is money I’m earning, and *worth*. I see it as I was being underpaid, previously. I’m still angry.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        Well, if someone says “here’s your raise,” I hope you said “thank you!” If someone isn’t communicating raises verbally, that seems sort of a weird way of doing things IMO. At least in my company, managers inform employees of salary changes verbally.

    4. Beth*

      This isn’t an appreciation protocol, but it’s my own heartfelt recommendation: the first pay period, take the difference and spend it on something special for yourself. After that, use most of the difference to either pay down debt or put it into savings. If at all possible, try to continue to live on the income you had before you got the raise; if that isn’t possible, aim for a level where you’re still living on less than the entire new amount.

      This is especially important for the first couple of raises. After that, you have a better cushion already under you, and more of the new income can go to improving your life now.

  18. hopeful ex librarian*

    hi everyone!

    a relatively quick q: if i am applying for a data entry position (i can’t remember the exact title), is it normal for them to ask me to submit my credit score before they even schedule an interview? actually, i’d submit my score and then the interview would be scheduled.

    i backed out because even though my credit score is good, and even though they said it wouldn’t matter, they needed to have it because the position deals with financial transactions. i am uncomfortable with them having such personal information about me, especially before they schedule any kind of interview. i also think there are better ways to ask about responsibility that don’t involve such personal information right away.

    but if this is something that is normal, i’d like to know.

      1. Can Can Cannot*

        It is a scam. They will send you a link to a website to use to get the score. The site will steal your information.

        If you are curious, check out the scams subreddit and reddit. Lot’s of examples of this.

    1. adminextraordinaire*

      I think it’s weird that they didn’t just run a credit report themselves and instead asked you a question you could so easily lie about. Is this an entry level job? It’s possible they are just trying to weed people out early.

    2. blue orange planet*

      If they’re only asking for the score, not a credit report, I would submit it. After you’re hired, they may even require a soft pull on your credit to ensure there’s nothing nasty hanging out there. Some companies look at it from an ethics perspective – if this person has poor finances, how can the public trust them to do [insert financial position here].

      – someone who works in finance/banking and also went through this

      1. hopeful ex librarian*

        thank you for this! i guess my issue is that it happened literally step 1, before anything else in the process. like, it would be different if i had gone in for an interview or two, and then they asked for this information. still wouldn’t be okay, but i’d be less uncomfortable (if that makes sense).

      2. Mannequin*

        Because having a poor credit score can be the result of multiple things, like unpaid medical bills when one is uninsured, and shows zero indications of whether a person is dis/honest or can/‘t do the job.

    3. not a doctor*

      I’ve never, ever been asked for or submitted my credit score for a position. I’m baffled by the request.

      1. Project Manager here*

        Same. I have never been asked for this information, and I used to have access to billions of credit card numbers.

    4. 867-5309*

      Super odd.

      I wouldn’t apply for anything that made me give my information before having an offer – that includes background checks and the like. (Exceptions, of course, for law enforcement, maybe even teaching and related?)

      1. hopeful ex librarian*

        in this case (and i should have made this more clear), i didn’t know about this until i had already applied and they asked for it.

        aaaaand now i have that song in my head thanks to your username… :D

    5. Fabulous*

      That’s super weird for a data entry job. The only time my credit got looked at for a job was when I worked for a financial institution where I had access to people’s money.

      1. hopeful ex librarian*

        i can’t remember the exact title, but it sounds like they asked for it because the person in the position would have access to company credit cards or something like that. i’m just peeved that this is the literal first thing they asked for, after i applied.

    6. Beka Cooper*

      I have recently started following the r/scams subreddit on Reddit, and I think this is a scam, either to get your personal/credit card info, or to get you to pay a fee through a fake credit score site that they control. If they ask you to enter information into a website for the credit score part, I would avoid doing it.

      A couple other Data Entry job scams I’ve seen described:

      They “hire” you for a data entry job after a chat-based interview, and send you a check to buy your equipment, but they also require a portion of the check to be paid to some other third party. Although the check will initially appear to clear in your bank, it will later be discovered to be fake, and you would be out the money that you sent to the third party.

      They “hire” you for a job involving financial transactions and require you to allow them to deposit money into your account, which you then have to transfer on to some other account. They say that they are testing your ability to do this before they give you access to the company’s account or something. In reality, the money you are transferring is money stolen from some other kind of scam, and when the scam is discovered, you are the one on the hook for the stolen money rather than the scammers.

      Unfortunately, a lot of the data entry jobs out there right now are fake, taking advantage of people who want to work from home who maybe don’t have a skill set in an easily remote career area. I currently do data entry at a university but would like to find a more remote-friendly position, so I feel your pain :)

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Agreed! I’ve had to have background/credit checks in my industry. They always happen after you get the offer.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Those are money laundering schemes. Illegal AF.

        Most jobs I’ve had do a basic background check; some did a credit check but it was included. I’d be wary.

      3. Sloanicota*

        My first thought was “could this be a scam” ? – I had a job interview the last time I was looking that I’m pretty sure was a scam. I still don’t know the point of it, which makes me nervous as it could have easily been a phishing style attack to get to me click the meeting link or something. The whole process was weird from beginning to end.

      4. Hen in a Windstorm*

        Try FlexJobs.com – you have to pay a fee (on both sides), which eliminates scammers. All real, legit, WFH jobs.

    7. Can’t Sit Still*

      It depends on the industry. In financial services especially, they need to ask some very personal and invasive questions about your finances and the background checks are thorough.

      1. pancakes*

        Not before an interview, surely? That doesn’t make sense. I’ve had background checks for jobs but not at that stage of the process.

    8. Paper Jam*

      So that early on in the process is weird, but in the financial industry, specifically for Registered Investment Advisors, you will have to submit a whole lot of personal financial information, regardless of role, by law in the US. We routinely as part of compliance have to run periodic credit and criminal background checks on all employees. We also need to report any trades we make on a quarterly basis per SEC regulations – in some ways that’s even more invasive than a credit check.

      These are legal protections for people who trust us to move their money. It’s about ensuring fiduciary responsibility and making sure we’re not committing fraud or insider trading given the information and control we hold.

      Still – very weird to do it that early, especially a self reported score.

    9. BlueWolf*

      It’s standard to check background/credit for financial roles, but in my current role that was after I had accepted the offer. Basically, the offer was made contingent on everything coming back ok. Definitely not normal to have it happen before any interview, and I would be suspicious of it. Do you know if it is actually a real company? There are a lot of job scams out there, so I would definitely see this as a red flag.

    10. RagingADHD*

      Running a credit check as part of a background check is standard for certain types of regulated industries (I had to have one as a legal secretary at an investment bank, for example). I haven’t ever had to submit a credit score, though. They would just run it from your social security number and address.

      It seems kind of like a waste of time, because if they are regulated they need to run a check anyway. And if they aren’t going to check, problematic candidates could just lie. So I’m not sure what it achieves.

      Especially because they said it wouldn’t matter? If it doesn’t matter, what’s the point of doing it?

      They couldn’t use your credit score for any type of ID theft. It doesn’t strike me as shady or inappropriate, just odd.

    11. 404_FoxNotFound*

      I’m also agreeing with the group of folks who are thinking this is not the norm/sketchy. Caveat, I’ve worked in finance adjacent departments that tend to work closely with finance and handle a lot of expensive equipment, but not actually in finance itself.

      I would not submit a credit check/information for that. The most invasive I’ve had to do has been consent to various kinds of background checks/checks for fraud/legal charges, etc., but not ever a credit score.

    12. Chaordic One*

      It depends on the kind of info you’re handling and the employer. It’s not unusual for a finance-related job or for something in government. Otherwise, they probably don’t need to know.

    13. hopeful ex librarian*

      thank you, everyone for your replies!

      i’m glad i didn’t actually go through with giving any kind of information to this company. at the very least it sounds shady asking for it so early on, and at worst it’s a scam, which i obviously do not want to be a part of.

      to be clear, i know that people have to pass background checks before getting jobs, i’ve had to do that. this is a little different and asking for this information, especially without even getting an interview first, is a red flag for me on a personal level.

  19. Tech users/employees*

    Does anyone have insider info regarding whether tech companies are open to hiring people who don’t use their products? Or do they usually give preference to people who are active users?

    I’m struggling to find a way to explain not using companies’ products that doesn’t draw attention to my age (i.e., I’ve been married for a thousand years so I’ve never used online dating apps) or my finances (i.e., streaming entertainment/food delivery are not in the budget).

    1. Almost Academic*

      It really depends on the position, in my experience. You probably need to have a passing familiarity with what the product is and their ethos / market niche but don’t need to use regularly use or know the ins and outs of a given product for many positions in tech. I’ve always been upfront in interviews and connected the question back to aspects of working on the product that I am excited about.

    2. 867-5309*

      A friend of mine was an exec at Tinder and has been married forever and a day.

      I think it’s going to be app dependent. For example, I could see Netflix wanting people who love the product while the dating apps know plenty of good pros have been married for a decade+ so they wouldn’t have cause to use them.

    3. Decidedly Me*

      It depends on the role and the company – in some cases, it’s really important, but in others, they won’t care. There are also a lot of a tech companies that are not consumer facing, so that wouldn’t be an issue in those.

    4. Susan Calvin*

      Take this with a grain of salt, since I’ve personally only have experience with B2B software, but anecdotal evidence from my networks suggests that no, unless they have a *very* specific, hype-based company culture, or the role you’re applying to would somehow be strengthened by it (think, product evangelist or something), most don’t seem to care.

    5. LawLady*

      I have a friend who is an engineer at Meta, and who doesn’t have any personal social media because she’s very private.

      She has engineering skills they needed, which they cared about more than her being a devoted product user.

    6. PollyQ*

      For companies that have dating apps, it’s illegal in CA and a number of other states to discriminate based on family status, so unless they could show a bona fide requirement to have a single person do a job (which sounds darn near impossible), then it would be illegal to exclude or downgrade married people.

      Are you being specifically asked whether you use the company’s apps, or reasons why you don’t? If they’re not asking you, I wouldn’t worry about it. If they do ask, maybe a generic-ish answer like, “I’m excited to help people find their match” or “I’m passionate about streamlining people’s day-to-day tasks” would do the trick

    7. Mill Miker*

      If you just don’t need or use the kind of product the company makes at all, then you’re probably fine to say something along those lines. Especially if they’re making an app, it’s very common for the hiring pool at the target market to not have a ton of overlap.

      If you’re exclusively using the competition instead, however, then that’s going to be tougher to explain.

    8. Apple*

      When I worked at Apple a few years ago lots of people had something other than an iPhone. It was fine. Perhaps some roles that might be important but not in, for example, accounting. Probably not even all the more techy roles.

  20. Screaming in AutoCAD*

    Please tell me about your pet peeves with the software you use for work. I need some commiseration.

    1. Sundial*

      Our ancient product management system does not allow updates to usernames. Women have taken to putting their usernames in their e-mail signatures, because marriage/divorce make it impossible to know who is who. It’s such sexist garbage.

    2. SolidworksUser*

      I use Solidworks on a daily basis and it crashes more often than it should! Super annoying!

    3. CTT*

      We have a program that creates signature page packets and assembles signed documents, which is great! I’m a real estate/finance lawyer and what used to take hours now takes less than one! But for some reason, whenever I go to download a document from the software, the default option is to download the unexecuted document which makes NO sense. The point of you is signature pages! If I want an unsigned document, I’ll get that from our actual document management system.

    4. Other Alice*

      The “default” options are never the ones you want. You always have to fiddle with reports and go into settings and change a bunch of things, and invariably you’ll forget something. My company develops the software and in 20 years they have not been able to figure out that if users and clients are using “llama” option 99% of the time and “alpaca” 1% of the time, then llama should be the default. It’s an inside meme.

    5. 867-5309*

      This isn’t a pet peeve with the software but how people react to it not working…

      If I hear one more time, “I can’t get my sound to work” that derails for 30+ seconds, I’m going to lose it. Just say, “Having a tech issue. Am working to fix but proceed without me.”

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      if I fat-finger and hit control-I instead of control-O to open a new encounter, the whole thing crashes. (But only if it’s on my secondary monitor. If it’s on the main one, it’s fine.)

    7. Not Australian*

      Okay, niche grumble about Draft2Digital not accepting tables unless you go through a rigmarole of screen print, copy to clipboard, edit and re-size in graphics software and save and import as an image file. Raised a support query, waited three days – by which time I’d worked it out for myself – and was then told ‘our system is designed for fiction, not technical matter’. (Loosely translated as ‘can’t help, won’t help, bother somebody else’.)

    8. Autodesk is not my favorite thing*

      The whole Fusion360 concept of buying flagship products of much better companies, making them subscription-only, and pretending they work together. Autodesk thinks they’re Photoshop, but what works for graphic design does not work for engineering. Packaging a bunch of engineering programs into a single software suite just gets you an average single-part 3D CAD program, a below-average PCB CAD program, and (the real killer for Autodesk) a 3D assembly paradigm that does not scale. As a result, Fusion360 is marketed to “the makerspace” on the (reasonable) assumption hobbyists don’t know any better, or (more generously) because hobbyists aren’t going to use any of these software packages enough to be bothered by their limitations.

      Eagle, which was one of the best ECAD programs 10 years ago, has become so stagnant it’s now one of the worst. Its “forward-backward annotation” implementation is nightmarish. It has a terribly antiquated and complex library system, requiring a ridiculous amount of wasted effort to import, create, or edit new parts. Its graphics outputs haven’t changed since the 1990s, requiring various external programs for conversion and re-conversion to produce modern vector image documentation. Its forums are full of subscription-paying customers asking for features that all their competitors have been offering for years, and Autodesk saying “no.”

      1. Screaming in AutoCAD*

        My *favorite* thing to find while trawling through forums for a solution to a very simple problem in AutoCAD that should really have a dedicated feature by now is a customer support post from 2010 saying “Thanks for the input! We’ll pass it along to our development team.” It’s been 12 years!!! Where is it!!!

    9. Minimal Pear*

      Details would be too revealing but certain parts of the software fundamentally do not fit with the processes we’re tracking in it. Said software is being imposed by an outside force.

    10. Llellayena*

      Our timesheet program requires the creating of a new password every 4 months or so. It’s a damn TIMESHEET program. Why should I should I have to memorize a new password every 4 months! Oh and it won’t let you re-use an older password…so you can’t switch back and forth between 2 or 3.

      1. strawberry time!*

        damn, I think we use the same software. Super annoying! I have a notebook with all the passwords written down. That’s more secure, I guess (sarcasm).

      2. LizB*

        At OldJob, we had to change every 90 days, and it wouldn’t accept your TEN previous passwords. Truly a terrible system. I was thrilled when CurrentJob IT decided (pretty recently!) to stop requiring people to change their passwords regularly, noting correctly that this makes people a) less likely to use suitably complex/secure passwords, b) more likely to change just one or two elements from password to password, and c) more likely to write passwords down on a post-it or whatever which defeats the whole dang purpose.

      3. fhqwhgads*

        Those are basic security features at this point. Any system that requires a password and doesn’t make you change it – usually every 90 days – and lets you reuse recent passwords is super out of date on security practices.
        That said, use bitwarden or lastpass or keypass or some other password manager. Anything you can actually remember is probably not secure anyway.

    11. Lady_Lessa*

      Any ERP type programs. They seem to be designed for accounting and similar areas, so they fail big time in Quality Assurance, production formulations, and lab work.

      Examples, each a different program. At one company, we gave raw materials code numbers with the Alpha part at the beginning, which also designates the type of material (S=solvent,) the program insisted on listing the materials on the batch sheet alphabetically.

      Another one wouldn’t let us put in very small numbers or change the weight units. (It doesn’t take much dye to color very large batches of wax)

      Another one makes it almost impossible to review formula revisions, and this one uses the “Magnifying glass” rather than enter when you tell it to search for something, when you type something into a search box. (Enter pulls up the information.

    12. D. B.*

      My company seems to get all its software custom-made, and it’s horrible. The user interfaces are incredibly clunky and awkward, there are tons of bugs, and everything is just fragile.

      They rolled out a new set of devices last year, with brand-new software, and one of mine immediately went on the fritz. Now, this is a large, nationwide company with thousands of workers, and I’m at about the second-lowest rung on the corporate ladder, but a supervisor actually put me on the phone with the guy who wrote the program so I could explain the errors I was getting.

      For those same devices, I just learned yesterday how to correct the system date and time. We all just put up with incorrect date/time for a year because no one bothered to explain how to change it, and it’s not intuitive at all.

    13. quill*

      Pet peeve of the day: We use oracle. (Darn thing is hooked to the computer for automatically changing / invalidating passwords, but doesn’t automatically update them… how I do not know.)

    14. DEJ*

      One of the top software products that college athletics departments use to keep track of sports statistics only runs in DOS. That means finding computers old enough to run it.

      1. Generic Name*

        This is hilarious. (Well, hilarious to me because I don’t have to deal with it…..)

      2. Screaming in AutoCAD*

        God I love stuff like this. Let’s bring DOS back like we brought back vinyl.

    15. Snarktini*

      Our single sign-on system require us to log in sometimes multiple times a day, including multi-factor authentication. Often you have to do it multiple times back to back — there’s no error or failure it just loops back to the start after the final screen — then it locks you out for too many tries. I am just trying to fill out a time sheet FFS!

      Also, how Sharepoint doesn’t auto refresh folder views in my browser so I’m like, why isn’t that file here?! And I realize I have to reload the page to see all the files. Basically, every single thing Microsoft does is a pet peeve of mine. Microsoft is my BEC.

    16. WellRed*

      My god I hate working with teams. Hate how it doesn’t always sync up, hate that certain file types have to downloaded rather than opened in teams. Not fond of outlook either.

      1. Anima*

        What’s with teams and the way it sends files? I got my firms new logo via teams and struggled with it for a few days because it somehow wasn’t a .PNG but a .jpg, despite my colleague sending me a .PNG. turns out I have to *download* the original file via an extra button, it does not get downloaded automatically via clicking on it like *every other* messenger does!
        Also what’s up with teams emojis, we are not an emoji heavy workplace, but there is not “thinking” and no “waving” emoji that isn’t an urang utan!
        So I send a waving ape every Friday to my colleagues, it’s a running gag by now. Teams, why.

    17. Snarky McSnarkerson*

      SharePoint! Why can’t you expand the columns mid-list like a normal file explorer? Why do you always have to go to the top of the list? And what the heck is with the scrolling? If I have a list of 185 items, it takes SO LONG to get to the bottom because it has to decide when to re-load. And don’t even talk to me about how it always goes back to the top of the stupid list if you change the name of any document.

    18. Not So NewReader*

      Almost every day between 1 and 2 the main program that I use locks up.

      Most of the time I can just reboot the program. But once in a while, I have to do a hard reboot of the computer.
      I’d like a short after lunch nap, similar to what my computer gets, that’s all.

    19. Leslie*

      After I’ve done one specific function and press “print”, an error message always pops up with “No printer connected.” Then I have to go back to the main menu, find the file and press “print”. No problem, it prints the job. Though sometimes it looks as if the the A4 printer is the pre-chosen one and then it prints from the A5 one. Sigh. I am just glad it is not a daily task.

      For the program I do use daily, there’s this: The shortcut for “OK (finish transaction and let the customer pay)” is Ctrl + O. The shortcut for “Pause (pause transaction and return to blank main page)” is Ctrl + P. I understand the why but no one thought about the closeness of O and P on a keyboard before launch.

    20. LizB*

      Our terrible, terrible CRM system runs in a browser. If you log in and keep using that same tab for everything you’re doing, you’re fine. If, however, you accidentally close your CRM tab, you can’t just log back in – you have to completely quit out of your browser and re-open it before it’ll let you log in again. Had half a dozen tabs open for reference info, other projects, etc? Too bad! Better bookmark those if you don’t want to lose them!

    21. KX*

      OMG. This is a petty peeve. You know Microsoft Teams? In the chat window, you see three animated dots when your chat partner on another computer is typing a reply.

      There is also a list on the left of chat history. If someone in a different chat starts typing to you, you also see three animated dots in the navigation pane while they type in that other chat you are not in.

      And the animations ARE NOT THE SAME!

      Why? Why are they not the same?

    22. Ranon*

      Adobe illustrator and Photoshop are backwards from each other for mirroring and it drives me bananas. Why is mirror horizontally and mirror about a horizonal axis allowed in two products that are theoretically in one suite?

    23. The New Wanderer*

      If I got started complaining I would not be able to stop! I was a UXR (user experience researcher) before that was an official job title and I left the website/software usability field after 1.5 years and never looked back. IME it’s rare that a software company gets it right.

      Suffice to say, I no longer have to use Workday/Worklife for my current job but OMG it’s horrible. Just ridiculously poor interaction design, it should be used as a case study in every college course on software design. You should NEVER have to search a keyword on the internal search function to find a primary action (equivalent of going to a personal banking site and having to search for “transfer funds”).

      Almost all the software I do have to use for my current job is atrocious but workable, because people have built up workarounds, tips, and training to help the new employees hack through it.

      The apps I’ve had to use for (non-work) kids’ school and extra-curricular activities are just awful, but it’s kind of understandable that those companies, which are usually non-profits or low-profit, don’t have the budget to do proper design assessments.

    24. Jaid*

      I work at a three letter Federal Agency that uses software dating from the JFK era. Getting it to mesh with modern day overlays meant to make new hires off the street be able to use it ASAP and quick turn-around programming changes as a result of the whims of Congress is a hoot to observe.

      My pet peeve is limited space for names in the entity field. The abbreviations can get wild.

        1. A Taxing Person*

          With the recent phase-out of Internet Explorer and the adoption of Edge as its replacement, there are a still a ton of documents that we need to access and that are not yet compatible with Edge and won’t open. (Those of us who still have Explorer are still using it when we need to access these forms, but many of my co-workers are finding that it seems to have disappeared from their computers.) You would think our I.T. department would make having Edge function with all of the required forms would be a greater priority than deleting it from our computers but, no.

          1. Mimmy*

            We have a similar issue at my job – our timesheet program will only let you actually sign your timesheet in Explorer despite being required to move everything to Edge. I’m still able to use Explorer to sign my timesheet, but I’m dreading the day it disappears from my computer.

            Also, our case management program only worked in Explorer. Our IT department gave (excellent) instructions on getting it to work in Edge… but now we keep getting a pop-up telling us something like, “you’re in Explorer mode, switch to Edge”. Arrrrgh!!

          2. Nightengale*

            My giant health system workplace keeps telling us they are phasing out Internet Explorer, yet every link from every official e-mail they send out opens in Internet Explorer. And links from our EHR open in Internet Explorer. At one point, IT told me that my computer did not have IE even installed, after I sent them screenshots of something clearly in IE. Also “open” does not mean open and work well. At this point I generally open in IE, click on the URL and copy it into a functional browser.

    25. Another User Name*

      LabWindows. Once brilliant, but now abandoned for all practical purposes, not even migrated to c++. Still a very good solution for programming National Instruments’ data acquisition products with a standard c language environment. But they now want about $1500 per year. The licence locks completely if you do not renew. So if a bug arises 14 months later, you HAVE to spend that money just to debug and probably find a very minor error.

    26. ecnaseener*

      The submit button is small and easy to miss. The number of times people have called all confused that we don’t have their submission, because they filled out the form and clicked Finish but didn’t notice the damn tiny Submit button, and are just now 3 weeks later wondering why they haven’t heard from us…..

    27. Mill Miker*

      Industry-leading product management software sells itself on it’s ability to generate so many “useful” reports.

      The reports can only be gnerated if the people working on the tasks go out of their way to collect and manually enter most of the data, often working in really ineffecient ways (or fudging the data afterwards so it can be entered)

      At the end of the day, the PMs get a bunch of nice-looking but innaccurate charts, and a strong incentive to micro-manage.

    28. The Other Dawn*

      I work in the back office of a bank. At my current bank, we use FOUR different products to accomplish the same thing ONE product accomplished at my previous bank. I also hate the core processing platform we use. It’s not intuitive at all and it just seems so difficult to use.

    29. Chaordic One*

      I hate how, after you’ve looked an unhelpful Help menu listing a whole bunch of solutions to problems you don’t have, when you resort to using Google, up will pop a whole bunch of solutions that probably would have solved the problem, only they don’t because you have a completely different (usually newer, but not always) version of the software. Adobe Acrobat, Word, Excel, practically every browser and every free email software ever made.

    30. Dragonfly7*

      That I have to manually copy every single transaction in one piece of software to another one because no one is willing to spend the money to make them sync up with each other.

    31. tamarak & fireweed*

      Our travel software is terrible. It’s made by that big company that starts with S and ends with P two letters later. In fact, a friend of my partner and me works for this software maker in a director position (NOT in product related functions), so I half-apologized when I ranted about it on social media. They commiserated.

      One problem is that I travel infrequently enough never to learn the process. That we have no admin help. And that the software is very badly adapted to academics traveling while cutting costs, and not really having funds to cover everything that as-per university policy we could claim. That, plus very odd terminology with delegates, and authorizers, and approvals, and reports, and requests, which are extremely rigid. Like, when you make a “request” and get it “approved” and then you realize that you should have used a different option for, say, buying tickets, then there is no way to edit the approved request, or else attach the approval to a different request.

      That, plus to correspond with travel support you need to cite the request ID, which is printed in large across the screen … but cannot be copied to paste it in an email.

      It’s not a good use of time that we can’t really charge to anything in particular.

    32. Merle Grey*

      A couple of weeks ago I trained a new employee on a fairly simple task. She counted the number of things I had to click for the most simple version of the task – almost 50, with lots of awkwardly placed pop-up windows you cannot modify. My favorite things are the menu headings with only one choice to click on. GAH!!!!!! It’s always unnecessarily complicated to do everything, and I constantly wonder who the heck designed this labyrinthine mess.

      A year ago I pointed out that one important drop-down menu had duplicate entry, and the entry you saw first was the wrong one because it does not communicate with an integral outside app, and it took a dozen steps to correct it. Did they remove it? Of course not. But they did change its description to “do not use.” Eventually the team that was using it stopped. LOLsob.

      This week I have been in BEC mode with work and this is partly why.

  21. practical necromancy*

    The good news: my boss has offered me a promotion! The bad news: Its technically a trial to see if I like the new responsibilities, and during this (undetermined length) trial I’ve been asked to keep it secret from a few coworkers (who also wanted this promotion). I know my boss is a great person and I love working for them, but am I wrong that this feels like a recipe for trouble? I think I need some reassurance that this is more normal than it seems. Has anyone else done a “covert” test prior to a promotion with positive results?

    1. EMP*

      This sounds like complete nonsense. How are you supposed to “secretly” do your new responsibilities? When does this trial end? What if your coworkers notice? I’ve heard of having a trial period for promotion which doesn’t include the *pay increase* that comes with the title change (also bogus) but I’ve never heard of a secret trial promotion. This smells very fishy to me.

      1. practical necromancy*

        In some fairness, I think I probably could pull off many parts of the job under the radar, but there are going to be plenty more areas where its obvious I’m the lead on projects or interacting with leadership more than normal. I think I’m okay with a trial in general (and seeing if I’m a good fit/love the work), but the added stress of ‘secrecy’ is definitely giving me pause.

        And when it eventually comes out, how is this going to look to the coworkers who didn’t get picked, and others in our dept? I don’t want to damage my working relationships over a deception to delay hurt feelings.

        I’m supposed to learn more in a few weeks, so I guess right now I’m just ‘collecting concerns’ for that sit down.

        1. Not Your Interviewer*

          “I think I probably could pull off many parts of the job under the radar”

          And here I thought necromancy was something one did *completely* under the radar!

    2. By Golly*

      I’m with you… this sounds like a recipe for trouble. Seems like Boss is avoiding an Uncomfortable Situation by putting you in a difficult spot. and I don’t know if this is the case here, but often it’s really hard to do a higher level position without the authority to back it up, so it wouldn’t be a good test anyhow. If I were the manager in this situation, I’d go for transparency: “Hey, I know a lot of folks are interested in Y position, but I’ve asked PN to give it a trial for a couple of weeks to see how it goes. Please be supportive of her and talk to me if you have any concerns.”

      1. practical necromancy*

        I definitely think its to avoid uncomfortable talks, but I feel like its going to be glaringly obvious once I take on some of these tasks that a conversation was had. The early stages are also when I will undoubtedly have the most questions and need the most guidance – all of which I’ll have to do secretly as well, instead of just walking over and having a conversation. I think in my manager’s mind it will look like I’m just helping out, and then “after a while” they’ll announce that since I’ve been helping out they’re going to give me the role officially. But I’m worried it will permanently sour my relationships with my coworkers.

    3. smeep248*

      I have had this before. It never resulted in a promotion or more money, just me happily doing more work and them happily taking advantage of me. I would proceed with caution.

    4. Fabulous*

      My first thought was, are they offering the same thing to your coworker who wanted the promotion and hope that one of you will do better at it and one will bow out so they don’t have to make an actual decision?

    5. Purple Cat*

      This feels squishy. How are you supposed to take on new responsibilities without anybody noticing?
      And let me guess, they’re not going to pay you the increased amount either?

    6. The New Wanderer*

      I don’t even know how it could remain a secret. If the promotion puts you in a position to assign work to your coworkers, they have to know. If the promotion means you are suddenly assigned to all the Big Projects or Lead Roles over other people, they will know something’s up.

      This is not normal and I would not agree to this without a LOT more information which your manager may or may not be willing to share. Why does it have to be a secret? Just to avoid hurt feelings? If the manager isn’t willing to have this conversation with the coworkers about your trial period, what else would the manager not be willing to do on your behalf? Or what if the manager is actually dangling this over several people? And the “undetermined length” is bogus – what are the success criteria?

      1. practical necromancy*

        These are definitely all the questions I have. I’m supposed to learn more in a few weeks, so for now I’m collecting all my potential concerns and questions for that sit down. My boss pushed off having that meeting this week, and I think its because as soon as I’m in a room with the boss, and the grand-boss, its going to be fairly obvious that something is up.

        I just don’t think the secrecy will play out well, and I’m going to look bad for going along with it. We did just have a few folks get promotions and then bounce to new job offers, so maybe they’re also concerned that if they give it to me officially that I’ll get poached as well? I’m not sure, I just don’t like the lack of structure.

    7. Jean*

      This is extremely sus. I would push back and at least ask for a hard timeline. If your boss can’t or won’t give you that, turn this “opportunity” down. It’s shady as hell.

    8. pancakes*

      What is the purpose of the secrecy meant to be? Whether your boss is a good person or not really isn’t the right framing here because as I’m sure you realize, good people can have bad ideas and make bad decisions.

      1. practical necromancy*

        I think they want to delay any hurt feelings from my coworkers who didn’t get promoted. And make it seem like I’m ‘just helping,’ and then after a while since I’m doing so well ‘just helping,’ I’ll be given the role permanently. But there’s a high-risk of coworkers finding out without boss having a real conversation with them about it and feelings will be hurt regardless. What I meant by sharing my boss is a great person, is just that I don’t think this offer was made to deliberately screw me or anyone else…but I think it could definitely hurt my reputation and working relationships and will likely offend my coworkers a lot once they figure it out.

        1. pancakes*

          This sounds quite complicated and I’m not sure why. In most workplaces, if people are disappointed about not getting a promotion, they deal with their feelings on their own – the workplace doesn’t try to hide the news from them, and doesn’t let them take out their feelings on the person who was promoted, and doesn’t pretend that it’s all about being helpful rather than having the necessary skills. I can’t tell whether there’s a pattern of bad reactions happening in your workplace or whether it’s something you are concerned about happening for the first time? It seems that your boss is being very cowardly and is hoping you will soothe people’s hurt feelings instead of doing it themself. It isn’t normal for people to need their hurt feelings attended to that way.

        2. Velociraptor Attack*

          Honestly, here is no chance that your coworkers who are interested in this position don’t end up feeling like this was done to screw them, both by your boss and you.

  22. What's the Point of my Job if they respond with "No"?*

    I’m in a Quality Assurance role for financial crimes compliance; and the manager of the teams that I QA sent me a message saying that their team was feeling “beat up” and that they are “famished” (presumably from the lack of positive feedback–even though I genuinely try to recognize the positive and proactively offer to chat/walk them through/hear their point of view on items that are open to interpretation when asking for enhanced analysis). Grandboss has identified analytical quality as problematic on our teams, which is the area I focus on in my QA requests.

    I’m trying to figure out how to manage this feedback, I’ve asked others on my team and my supervisor if I’m being harsh, and to check the tone of my e-mails–and the answer has been “nope, you’re fine” and I feel like this kind of comment is the reason that our teams have poor analytics? This particular item that our supervisor supported the analyst on specifically violates how we define “isolated” in our procedures. Do I just file this away as CYA and care less? Escalate it to my supervisor? Escalate it to grandboss?

    1. Cthulhu's Librarian*

      Escalate to your supervisor – Explain that you’re entirely unsure what to say in response to this from an underperforming team that is trying to violate procedures, and ask if there’s anything you should do. Ideally, they’ll sit down and be like “No no. You do not try and guilt your QA into saying nice things when you’re underperforming and violating procedures.”

      1. What's the Point of my Job if they respond with "No"?*

        Thank you, this is validating and helpful!

    2. PollyQ*

      That’s bullshit. QA’s job isn’t to keep up morale. Making sure the employees are recognized for their successes is their manager’s job.

    3. JustMyImagination*

      I am QA but for scientific labs and FDA regulations so I’m not sure if any of this may help. I always include something positive when we have audit debrief meetings. It could be “Staff were super helpful/transparent/knowledgeable/welcoming”. “Training was all completed on time.”

      There have also been some scientists I’ve worked with that simply cannot take criticism, no matter how fact-based and impartial I tried to be so I had to revert to sprinkling in “I” statements. “I couldn’t find XYZ documentation”. “This procedure wasn’t clearly written to me” and things like that.

      I’ve found conflict resolution training to be very helpful. It is the job but pointing out deficiencies creates conflict.

      1. What's the Point of my Job if they respond with "No"?*

        I always say “I couldn’t identify “x” can we please upload it?” that way if I missed it (which does happen from time to time, not often–but occasionally, we’re all human!) Never use “You”, always try to find SOMETHING positive about every single case.

        There’s an element of subjectivity in reviewing financial transactions. But they’re like “This isn’t my job” and I’m like “But look, at this training here–by your great-grandboss, it says it is.” And then I say, because I try not to be horrible at my job “Hm! Our expectations are different! Maybe we should escalate this to our supervisors. I made this presumption based on X, Y, Z Documentation–and Great-Grand Boss’s Recorded Training X.”

        #Tryingsohard

        1. LadyByTheLake*

          As a legal professional in financial services, I feel this so hard. I wish I could give you the magic bullet, but if there is one, I haven’t found it — especially as I am femme-presenting and people seem especially resistant to taking bad news from women. The main thing is to just make sure your boss has your back.

          1. What's the Point of my Job if they respond with "No"?*

            Ughk, that’s real. And hearing from QA is ALWAYS bad news…. Cis woman here–but I’ve been told I think like a man. I’ve gotten a promotion since I started 8 months ago–so I know I’m on the right track, my supervisor is supportive, and so is grandboss… I just find myself so often thinking…. “Am I the crazy one?” I’m not. Pretty sure. Mostly sure.

        2. fhqwhgads*

          You don’t need to try to find something positive about eerything. Don’t let them trick you into compliment sandwiching them.
          It’s not your job to say “yay everything’s great”. It’s your job to find what’s wrong. They know they’re doing well when you mark things “done” without saying anything was wrong with it.

          1. What's the Point of my Job if they respond with "No"?*

            Hahaaa, I like this. We have a points based scorecard, and I do take at least a small amount of pleasure out of marking them down–especially when they’ve been jerks. Though I review those ones later to make sure it wasn’t an emotional markdown and was deserved.

  23. LookingAround*

    I am currently thinking of changing jobs, mainly do to the current Roe vWade ruling because I don’t think my current company is progressive enough for me. (Note: they haven’t said anything about the civil unrest here but mentioned supporting Ukraine). In interviews how can I bring this up to find that out or is there a way I can look it up on my own?

    1. 867-5309*

      When going to apply, just look at the company’s social media to see if they’ve commented. That is the easiest way I’ve found.

      I do want to offer a counterpoint before you decide to leave… I live in a red state, working in a conservative industry. When a law around LGBTQ+ youth was passed, I debated leaving my job (which requires executives live in the state) and moving. Then I realized two things:

      1. ) There is a greater need for allyship here than say, Brooklyn, where I lived previously. I have an opportunity to support my community in ways that have an opportunity to fill a wider gap because far fewer people will stand up.

      2.) My work is in a conservative, stay-under-the-radar type of industry. We’re publicly traded but I’d argue no one is reaching out for our comments on any issue. In speaking with our affinity groups and noting a lack of leadership courage in these areas, I further have an opportunity as highly regarded leader in the company to lend my voice more vocally than other employees might be comfortable.

      3.) I raise my concerns on the company’s silence to my boss. I tell him that today, I know there is no one else coming to him about this but maybe in two years there will be more voices so the company has to start listening and responding.

      The right choice for me was to stay but I know it’s not right for everyone.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I will say social media may not always indicate these things–my company hasn’t said anything publicly but internally we had a meeting where we talked about it and everyone had… well a great attitude seems like the wrong thing to say, but the anger was very reassuring.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        If you’re in a purple state, like WI, in addition to staying put (to help get rid of Ron Johnson), you can also help by encouraging college students from states that always go blue to register and vote in your state and by making sure that your state’s kids who are at out of state colleges vote absentee in your state.

        I discovered that the dental student I work with is registered in her home state of Illinois (which is pretty much a sure bet to go D). After we talked, she is going to change her registration to Wisconsin.

      1. Firecat*

        I would have liked for my company to show at least as much suppot for reproductive rights as they did for gender rights. When some states in our footprint came out with harsh transgender laws, my company did the right thing and:

        Came out in support of gender identity as a human right.

        Relocation assistance and potential transfers to same roles in Trans friendly states in the footprint.

        A program to pay for transportation for gender reaffirming healthcare.

        Highlighted health insurance changes that insure these procedures are always in network.

        After Roe? All my company did was say “Be nice to each other, we don’t all feel the same abouthid. Dont forget we have EAP”.

        They should have done everything above, and in addition it would have been nice if they acknowldged the impact this has on miscarriages, and offered a legal fund or discount service to defend against bounty hunter laws that accuse their pregnant people who miscarry against civil suits.

        That’s just off the top of my head but I’m sure if the DEI council got together and gave this decision even a modicum of thought they could have came out with even more supportive benefits.

      1. Jora Malli*

        Nothing’s wrong with supporting Ukraine, but it’s a real hit to the morale when the company you work for expresses support for oppressed people in other countries and ignores the oppression happening where you live.

        1. pancakes*

          I would think it depends on what the company does. I don’t think it’s necessarily entirely reasonable for people to be looking to, say, local flooring companies to lead the way on restoring their reproductive rights, or for the type of emotional support people get from friends and family.

    2. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Do you like your job otherwise? I think this is the type of thing you’ll get cheered on for online, but in reality, you’d be leaving a job about an issue that is months from being settled. Do you know what your state’s laws will be yet? That’s the clincher. This isn’t an employee-specific ruling. What if your state comes out with laws you really like? Then you switched jobs for no reason?

      You didn’t say enough about your current company but I’d be grateful if I had a company that was neutral on issues. If my company makes toothpaste, I want them focused on all aspects of toothpaste. I hated at past past job when they’d get involved in every issue. People are complaining about the issues you’re not addressing, and positions are never as clearly right or wrong as people pretend and opinions are always divided.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      One thing to keep in mind is that your current company may still be figuring out the best way to respond. Our firm just recently sent out an email saying “we know this is very hard for many of you, we’re still trying to figure out the best way to be supportive, but we’re still discussing things with our insurers so that we know what we can do in the first place and we’ll update you all as we are updated”. That is, at least, your best case.

      Otherwise, I’d figure out what you want your ideal workplace to do and then ask about it while interviewing, and I would encourage finding companies that have put their money (and their health care funding) where their mouth is.

  24. Fabulous*

    I’m about to have my year-end review (our fiscal year ends June 30) and I’m really nervous about the outcome. I guess I’m just looking for some consolation or commiseration?

    I know I’ve had a lot of accomplishments this year — was a key part in many large successful projects, was gearing up to my co-worker retiring so worked on capturing a lot of processes and created an entire manual for our job, ended up getting a new job via internal transfer that came with a good pay bump, have acclimated well on the new corporate team and am now a key part on new projects including one that has visibility up to the CEO, etc. — but of course, I can’t help but think that I’m going to get a sub-par review. Or at least Average, instead of Excellent. The imposter syndrome is terrible!

    I already had to do a written thing, which went alright, but I guess I am terrible talking about myself and my accomplishments in a way that sounds impressive. My review is going to have input from three other people – my old boss (Rachel), my cold co-worker (Monica) and another boss (Phoebe) that I had for only 2 weeks prior to my transfer who used to be a peer but had just got promoted. I know Rachel will say great things about me, but I’m not sure what the others’ input will be. I had a personality conflict at one point with Phoebe, though it was mostly a misunderstanding on her side. I worked directly with Monica for 2+ years and she was sort of a mentor to me, but I feel like she felt like I wasn’t up to par to take her place when I retired, though I could be wrong. And honestly, that’s why I transferred departments, because I didn’t really want Monica’s job and didn’t feel like I would excel at it.

    So – what are some of your success stories where you thought you’d have a terrible review and it went surprisingly well?

    1. Snarktini*

      Aw, this empathetic Internet stranger sends a warm hello.

      I had mine this week and I wrestled with all the same feelings, especially wondering what the colleagues would say as I’ve already gotten a lot of feedback (good and bad) from my direct supervisors. I think if you reflect on what you’ve written here, you’ll see that the balance is objectively in your favor. You’ve done very good work and you do know that. The anxiety is distracting you from what you know is real. There may be some “what to work on” feedback in your report, although I hope it’s not new information, and that’s okay. You also know where you don’t excel and took steps to change the situation to one that’s better for your talents — that’s not failure, it’s self-awareness. The few things that haven’t been ideal don’t erase the good.

      In the end I wouldn’t say I was happily surprised by mine, but that’s because I won’t be happily surprised by anything that doesn’t say I’m 100% perfect, which is not possible. (Even though in my heart I hope it is.) What my boss believes was a 90% rave (her words) felt more like 60% to me, because that’s how I am wired. But it was a positive review and I simply need to trust the positive feedback and not let that be overshadowed by anxiety.

      1. Snarktini*

        Follow up to say: I suppose “90% rave” should count as this having gone surprisingly well! That’s better than the voices in my head think. I knew there would be plenty of positive feedback, but my inner critic tends to play the good bits down and fixate on areas for improvement.

    2. Migraine Month*

      You know how Alison talks about interviews being a two-way street, where the candidate assesses whether the job is a good fit for them? It might help to think about the review as a new chance to see if the demands and requirements of the job still work well for you (particularly since it sounds like the job has changed recently).

      According to the feedback you’re getting, does the role still play to your strengths? Do you enjoy working with your coworkers? Does completing the main parts of your job bring you satisfaction or just frustration?

  25. Anon Today*

    I just wanted to thank everyone who commented on my post last Friday about dealing with my direct report who called me rude during a full team meeting.

    The conversation to address the issue went well and it turns out there was more outside personal issues contributing to the behavior than office items. Like so many managers I do struggle with the uncomfortable conversations at times, so even when I know I have to have one sometimes it helps to bounce ideas and thoughts off strangers on the internet!

  26. Overeducated*

    Y’all, I turned down a really cool job this week because they weren’t able to match my current job’s flex scheduling and telework options. It wouldn’t have offered a raise, so I couldn’t justify to myself “cooler work and location, but less free time due to more commuting, logistical challenges around childcare, and less day-to-day autonomy.” But now I feel bummed about that, especially because it means being real with myself that I’m a person who chooses work-life balance over dream jobs and titles, every single time, and that sort of doesn’t mesh with my self-image as a smart and ambitious person. Also that job would have opened up a relatively common and linear path to advancement in the long run that my current job doesn’t, and I’m just not sure what my long term goals are now. Any words of comfort around paths not taken? Stories of how you didn’t know what you were doing long term but it worked out anyway?