updates: I’m the only one in the office, the fake alma mater, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

1. What’s the point of making me work from the office to “collaborate” if no one else is here?

I originally wrote to you in December 2021. During the omicron wave, as you suggested, I was able to speak to my supervisor about an exception to the policy and get my office time down to 1 day a week under the premise of not feeling comfortable with so much face time with covid circulating so highly. Initially this decision was meant to be reviewed by March or so, but for various reasons the review kept getting pushed off and I continued to come in only once a week. This arrangement was amazing – since I was only coming in once, I was able to make sure it was always at the very least a day when my boss was in, and since it was the only day I was available in person, others made an effort to schedule meetings that day too. Going to the office went from feeling like a horrible, pointless, depressing waste of time to a productive day. I actually do like seeing my coworkers in person sometimes, and with this arrangement I actually was seeing them when I went in! And I also wasn’t wasting so much time commuting and was able to have a quiet environment 4/5 days to do the work that takes more concentration. My morale was greatly impacted.

Finally, in July my supervisor let me know that due to several recent and upcoming new hires to the team, we are running out of desk space and need some people to be in the office more part time in order to share desks. I have now been approved to come in only once a week indefinitely for that reason. That said, upper management officially still has the 3 day policy in place despite the fact that many people are unhappy with it – and not everyone across the organization has been able to successfully negotiate down.

2. When I give my employee feedback, she tells me her previous boss loved her (#2 at the link)

I’m the person who managed someone who was underperforming and when I gave them feedback, they told me their previous boss loved them and found no faults.

A few commenters pointed out my original email didn’t include explicit examples of how Jane’s work didn’t meet the mark, so I’ll include them here (heavily anonymized):

  • She prepared a document that had notable flaws. I and others on the team provided notes that those flaws are not acceptable in multiple reviews. They were unactioned until another person at her level grabbed the document right before it went out to fix it.
  • Her documents often have things like spelling errors, continuity errors, and other somewhat obvious errors. When I ask her to fix them she argues with me that I am wrong.
  • When I’ve witnessed peers telling her something doesn’t make sense or has an error, she has a lengthy list of reasons that say something clearly wrong is actually right. For instance, chapter 4 comes after chapter 5, but she thinks that makes more sense so she reversed them, and another book she read has that order, so it’s fine.
  • Let’s assume we use MLA, she repeatedly uses APA, or Chicago, or some mix of both depending on the project. She will argue that APA makes more sense when told we use MLA, even if it’s inconsistent and doesn’t match what our company uses elsewhere.

She and I met with HR to go over what was wrong, and why she was not meeting expectations. She felt she had too much work on her plate. I reduced her workload to one project and took the rest on myself. Unfortunately, her work didn’t improve. We met weekly to go over the documents she prepared and I consistently found and raised errors, misalignments with our business, etc. Shortly after this, I conducted her performance review, where she had given herself a “greatly exceeds expectations” and I gave her a “below expectations.” We talked about the misalignment and ultimately it came down to the fact her role looks really different than it has in the past, and her work style and output haven’t changed to match. I used a lot of the advice you gave in your column, “the expectations have changed,” “But I’m not talking about the past, I’m talking about this project.” etc. In these conversations, I was met with a lot of deflection and defensiveness, including that she believes I am looking for problems in her work. I did ultimately have to part ways with Jane. She took this news very poorly, and immediately listed all of the reasons her being fired is wrong, and raised a number of reasons why I am actually ill-suited to my role, am not qualified to give her feedback, and a conspiracy had been launched against her. Honestly, I’ve had to part ways with employees before and this was by far the worst reaction I’ve seen.

I appreciate all the commenters who brought their perspective and stories to the thread. It was important for me to see how others had felt when they disagreed with their boss’s assessment of their performance, and how frustrating it can be to think you’re looking at the same situation so differently. I went back and checked (and anxiously re-checked and re-checked) that I was basing the feedback on clear outcomes. I also reached out to some external mentors (same industry), and internal leaders I could trust to gut-check before we ultimately made the call. I do hope I handled this with care and respect, while still upholding the needs of the business and ensuring our department creates results.

3. My constantly available coworkers keep commenting on my healthier work-life balance

I changed my responses as you suggested and stopped brushing off the “wow your work life balance is great!” remarks so quickly. Reading your response (as well as all the comments) helped me approach those remarks with more curiosity and less insecurity. In particular, I talked with my colleague Anna many times about her overload of work and need for more personal time. Instead of referring to my need for evenings, weekends, and PTO as a personal quirk, I started being more frank about why I think everyone should hold reasonable boundaries and asked more probing questions about how she could try to claw back some private time. She ended up taking a real vacation without being available just in case, and is she also taking the entire month of December off because she has so much rolled over PTO. Our second level manager has also been very actively encouraging people to take PTO – I think this is the biggest reason Anna started feeling more comfortable using up her PTO. I don’t claim credit for these developments, but I really appreciate seeing them around me and I’m especially happy that a person in leadership is vocally supportive of time off.

4. Did my candidate invent his alma mater?

I wish I had a more exciting update! It actually made me wonder if the candidate read AAM. Less than a day after the post went up, he withdrew without explanation. I’m grateful to you and the AAM community for the great advice; it was such a weird situation!

{ 66 comments… read them below }

  1. ladyhouseoflove*

    #4 You know what, I’m going to pretend to believe that’s what happened because I just really like that possibility.

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      If he does read AAM, I would be forever grateful if he would to close the loop and (anonymously) out himself and tell us what was up with that.

      1. Elsajeni*

        The only sensible explanations I could think of were “he’s lying, but he’s bad at it” and “some kind of resume template editing disaster?” Like… maybe he went to replace the placeholder text on a template, or his friend’s text on their resume that they shared with him so he could copy the format, with his own information but somehow messed it up and saved the wrong version, or…? But I think it’s somewhat more likely, especially given the quick withdrawal from the process, that he just tried out lying on his resume and then either had a crisis of conscience or realized he wasn’t going to be able to maintain the lie.

        1. Clobberin' Time*

          My uninformed guess is that he had gotten some gumption advice – “Just fudge it a little! Everybody does it! It’ll get you in the door and then you can wow them!” sort of thing, and quickly realized it was a terrible idea.

        2. OpsAm*

          The only explanation I could think of was that it’s possible the school changed its name and/or the name of the major was changed. This does happen occasionally. But in that instance, you would still be able to find information with the previous name of the school or major.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The other thing I was wondering is whether someone else helped him write the resume ….but it would still reflect badly on him that he didn’t notice the error before sending it to this company.

  2. Still having flashbacks*

    #2 I could have written that one. Down to her self evaluation being “exceeds expectations” and my evaluation being “does not meet.” Because it was a union represented position I had to go through a step schedule performance improvement plan.
    At one point my supervisor suggested made up projects for her. This allowed me to have documentation of her not meeting expectations but also her lack of work would not effect the department.
    And yes despite my previous 20 years of experience as a manager, I questioned myself and my actions during that year and a half of hours devoted to supervising, coaching, and documenting this person.

    1. OP#2*

      Hi OP#2 here! I’m so sad you also had this experience, but I feel weirdly glad someone else knows what it’s like to feel truly crazy, and deeply doubt your own judgment. A year and a half of coaching and documented performance feedback makes me wonder why or how someone wouldn’t just quit the role?

      1. meowwwwww*

        I also managed a Jane, but she did quit right before her due dates for targets in her PIP. She asked my boss to be her reference for future jobs and removed our connection on LinkedIn. I questioned myself a lot and still do sometimes.

      2. Poppy*

        I worked with a Jane who tried to get me fired because she was so insecure about her own work and position (she had no clue how to do half the things she was hired for and refused to learn). She ended up being assigned exclusively to the only person patient enough to either do half her work or talk her through every single step like a child. She started sobbing when the office manager called her out on her bullying.

      3. Michelle Smith*

        Because they have the paycheck until they get fired and they can draw unemployment if they don’t quit.

      4. TheLinguistManager*

        I recently had to fire someone, and the feeling of going back to check and re-check that you’ve been clear about feedback, clear about outcomes, documented what you talked about, and generally given the person every chance in the world is very familiar.

        In the week or two leading up to letting my employee go, I had such self-doubt. I wanted to make it clear-cut for myself (and them) and make sure I had given every opportunity to be coached and improve before taking away someone’s livelihood. Had I in fact been fair? Had I made the consequences clear? Had I given them the right kinds of support? Is it true that this is solely down to the performance of the employee?

        Ultimately, on the day, I could look back and see that yes, yes, yes, and yes. (Partially due to all the documentation I had — and that my wonderful HR partner asked for.) But the self-doubt in the week or two leading up, when I was solidifying the decision to fire, was nerve-wracking.

        Having that self-doubt is the sign of a caring and conscientious manager. But being able to make the decision anyway is the sign of an effective one.

    2. ferrina*

      OP2, sounds like you did everything right. I had someone that wasn’t quite as bad as Jane, but still so frustrating. She would brush off feedback with “it’s not that bad” or “everyone makes mistakes”, made no changes, then got mad when she didn’t get a promotion. She had no self-awareness where her performance was concerned. It was such a weird feeling- like “are my standards too high?” Never mind that junior staff could meet the standards.
      I’m glad you let Jane go.

  3. Miss Muffet*

    I feel like so often, the ones that need to be fired are the ones who think they are “greatly exceeding”. I managed a person exactly like the one you describe but she ended up getting another job before I could fire her. Hopefully it was a better fit for her – no one ever called for a reference (even though it was an internal transfer).

    1. All Het Up About It*

      That’s what got me. Not just exceeding expectations – but GREATLY exceeding expectations.

      Also the MLA/APA example is such a great one. Because you can hate MLA and make a case for why APA is superior, but if your company uses MLA, you still need to use MLA! To me that was one of the most clear-cut examples of why Jane was completely the problem. We all have things that we would do differently or pick differently if we had free reign at our jobs. But we don’t and part of every job is following basic directions, even if you personally would prefer not to. Poor Jane would have done herself a favor if she could have seen the writing on the wall and found a new job instead of fighting an unwinnable battle.

      1. WillowSunstar*

        Agree. You have to follow the documented processes at most companies, or they can and will write you up for insubordination. Doesn’t matter all the arguments you have against said processes and that you hate them. There’s no rule that says you have to honestly like your job (though at some companies you’d better be darn good at pretending or they’ll fire you), but you do have to actually perform your job duties.

      2. Fishsticks*

        Yep. I’m an Oxford comma devotee, but my current job uses APA and I’ve had to learn to stop using the Oxford comma. I dislike it immensely, but that’s just part of the job! And honestly, it’s actually been beneficial because going back to catch the times I forget and accidentally add it also helps me with catching other small grammar or spelling errors that Word doesn’t necessarily notice.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect. Which is also the reason managers should not give group scoldings or warnings, even after speaking to an individual, because your office Jane is sitting there thinking “I knew this wasn’t about me.” Meanwhile, all your competent employees are anxiously rechecking their work. I think it’s relevant too that OP has gone over and over their part in this as a manager. Competent people are paranoid!

      1. Irish Teacher*

        I think part of it is that you can’t improve if you don’t even acknowledge your work is less than perfect. There definitely are people who are working to the best of their ability and taking on feedback and just don’t have the skills for a job or aren’t a good fit for it, but…there are also people who would be perfectly able to do the job if they put in a bit of effort or took feedback on board and adapted their practice but they are so sure they are doing a good job and that anybody who criticises them, even their boss, is “just jealous” or “clearly doesn’t know the best way to do things” that they don’t even try to do things the right way.

        I’ve worked with a couple of people like that, one who refused pointblank to even consider he’d made a mistake. If his numbers weren’t adding up, clearly there was something wrong with the technology he was using.

        People who accept they can make mistakes or not meet expectations change their practice when they get poor feedback or outcomes and while some may simply be in the wrong job, a lot will meet expectations once they are clarified to them, whereas people who think they know best…won’t.

      2. Mere Anarchy*

        I’ve noticed that it’s often the best employees who are most worried about their performance and job security. The person who’s about to be put on a PIP goes into their review wondering how big their raise will be, while your top performer goes in ready to defend themselves from being summarily fired.

  4. Box of Kittens*

    The #2 employee sounds like my uncle. That man has a pathological need to be right. If he’s wrong it’s because 1) no he’s not, you’re wrong; 2) you were mistaken on something irrelevant that he tries to make relevant; 3) there were niche extenuating factors that you didn’t think of; and on and on and on. I despise talking to him about literally anything because it’s exhausting.

    1. Not Australian*

      That’s plain old narcissism:

      That didn’t happen.
      And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
      And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
      And if it is, that’s not my fault.
      And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
      And if I did, you deserved it.

    2. No Thanks in Advance*

      “The #2 employee sounds like my uncle.”

      Are you my cousin?

      Also, I would like a box of kittens, please!

    3. dmowl*

      I know some people who give me those vibes too. I’m in a casual discussion group regarding work issues, and there are a handful of people in there who continuously complain they are passed over for jobs and promotions, for reasons that they can only guess but basically come down to some variation of “I’m overqualified/cost too much/won’t let people take advantage of me.” I can’t help but wonder, is that what the employee in the #2 letter thinks of themselves? It’s just not possible they’re the problem.

    4. WS*

      Yes, I used to work with one of these and it was exhausting, especially because, one day out of ten or so, she’d turn around and everything was her fault and she was terrible and the worst and she should just die and everyone hates her…to garner sympathy. Which was annoying, because she was, in fact, basically competent, just couldn’t accept any correction or adjustment ever. I was so, so happy when she flounced and quit because she was, in her words, too good to be working here.

    1. Born to Rune*

      Just want to comment to acknowledge your username as I’m currently listening to the new audio of Soul Music during my commute this week

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      To me they sound like two different extremes of the exact same problem – “I don’t like my job description, so I’m going to make up my own and excel at it.”

  5. ferrina*

    LW 3, thanks for talking to your coworkers about work-life balance! It really does take multiple people to change a culture, and having you there to encourage her definitely made a difference to Anna. Sometimes we need someone to push us and tell us it’s okay to let go of bad habits (especially ones that our work drilled into us). Kudos!

    1. Maglev+to+Crazytown*

      I can really relate to LW3. I have always held strong work-life balance lines out of necessity, due to having to also manage incurable chronic illness and its associated effects and required appointments to keep everything between the rails. I also had to experience nearly losing a close family member about 10 years ago to a stroke at a relatively young age, resulting in their early medical retirement (can’t be a teacher anymore when you are learning to re-read from Dr. Seuss). I try to encourage other coworkers to that their health and their families are priority, and work itself isn’t going to care if you toast your own health or similar happens to a close family member (altho certainly individual coworkers will care). It is the workplace equivalent of having to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help the person next to you.

  6. Gary+Patterson’s+Cat*

    #1 This is so great!
    Corporate America really needs to reassess what the office is for post-covid. Coming in for meetings, planning or brainstorming sessions can be so productive in person, but deep work often better solo.

    1. In the office but out to lunch*

      Completely agree! Projects that require sustained concentration I find so much more difficult to complete in the office. It was a revelation tbh when I started working from home and realized how much easier certain things were when I could completely control my environment (my own cats aside – they cannot be controlled).

      1. Random Bystander*

        For me, the cats are a bonus–when I have something happen that is really frustrating, I step away from my desk, and go pet a cat–instant stress relief.

        1. Avery*

          Clearly you don’t have the cats I’m with right now, who will climb on top of me and sit in my lap, immobilizing my arms and thus preventing any work, for half an hour at a time.

    2. Sara without an H*

      I think the Covid pandemic accelerated a process that’s been going on for awhile now. A lot of office culture derives from the days when distance communication was limited to telephone and snail mail, and you had to maintain extensive paper files to document business. Obviously, all that has changed. (When was the last time you saw a job posting for a “file clerk”?) We really need new workplace practices that reflect the new environment.

      What I especially like about OP#1’s letter is that she was able to structure her days in the office so that she overlapped with her boss, and could actually make the time productive. If I were going to set up a hybrid home-office system, I’d structure it specifically for collaborative activities, not just tell workers to show up and do on site what they could just as well have done at home.

    3. Part*

      Agreed! I don’t understand why employers have the hide to whine about “shortages” of workers and skills, but then cut off their nose to spite their face by insisting that people pointlessly drag into offices that they don’t need to be in.

      If the workers want to work at home, or on a hybrid basis, and you need workers (who don’t need to be in the office to do the jobs you need them to do), why pointlessly insist on the office? It’s stupid.

    4. An Australian in London*

      Well done #1: sounds like a great outcome!

      I recently used a version of #1’s original argument to be exempted from the requirement for 2-3 days on-site. Even when all five of my team were in the office the same day, our meetings were still via webcam from our desks. What was the point of being there? Management reluctantly agreed.

  7. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    LW2, I don’t know you, but you sound like a pretty conscientious person. It sounds like you did everything you could to try to bring this person up to the level you needed. Because yeah, that’s a big problem making factual errors in her deliverables.

  8. Danish*

    Marking yourself as “exceeds expectations” when you have already sat through a meeting with HR and your boss has taken away all but one of your projects specifically because you were explicitly underperforming is such a remarkable level of SOMETHING that I’m almost in awe.

      1. JustaTech*

        Honestly, it’s reading about people like this who give me the push I need to rate myself higher. Like, do *I* think I’m awesome at my job all day every day? Heck no.

        But if someone like Jane can give herself an “exceeds” then I, an utterly competent and occasionally very good employee, can also give myself an exceeds on one or two things.
        (Will this make any difference in my overall rating, given my company’s corporate overlords are stuck in an early 2000’s Microsoft way of dealing with people? No, of course not, but it makes me and my immediate boss feel good, and it reminds my next-level-up bosses that I’m not a total invertebrate.)

    1. dmowl*

      I was just noting something similar today. My boss and I have been in evaluation meetings with a number of different teams all week. Teams can choose whether or not to hire a professional for this one particular area we evaluate, we encourage it but in the end it’s their decision. And while some teams really do fine without that professional position being filled, the ones who do have it always do better. But, without fail, when we ask teams who don’t haven’t hired this expert how they think they do in this area they say “oh we’re great! I bet we’re the best team who does this!” Meanwhile, the teams that DO have this person rate themselves lower and will point out all the areas where they’d like to improve. It’s like the people who do a good job do a good job because they understand how much is really left to do.

        1. linger*

          The findings of Kruger & Dunning 1999 encompass three different effects, which can be teased apart in some situations:
          (i) Metacognitive limit: individuals less competent in some domain are also, as a direct result, less able to evaluate competence levels (of themselves and others) in that domain. The practical upshot of this is that less competent individuals are less likely to recognise that they lack competence. (This is the “Dunning-Kruger effect” proper.)
          (ii) False consensus effect: highly competent individuals tend to underestimate their own relative competence level, because they think others are more like themselves, and as a result they overestimate the average level. (The extreme case is imposter syndrome.) But, given exposure to actual output of average-competence individuals, highly competent individuals are able to correct their self-evaluations upwards. By contrast, less competent individuals given the same exposure cannot correct their self-evaluations downwards — see (i). Instead, less competent individuals need training to increase their competence.
          (iii) Above-average effect: most individuals tend to consider themselves above average. This can be explained as a general tendency for people to have a positive self-image (because we can make justifications to excuse our own faults). However, the impact varies depending on the task: it is strongest with tasks for which people can reasonably believe they have some untrained ability, such as the three assessed by K&D (native-language grammar judgements, logical reasoning, sense of humour), but weaker for tasks where explicit training is easily recognised to be necessary (e.g. foreign-language grammar judgements). And it varies depending on the cultural appropriateness of asserting individual prowess: hence it is stronger in more individual-oriented cultures such as America (e.g. K&D’s Cornell university students), but weaker in more group-oriented cultures such as Japan.

    2. Part*

      It’s pretty common, to be honest. Managers aren’t always right, either, especially when they can’t do the job themselves.

  9. Pico de Gallo*

    #2 Gotta say, having been in extremely male dominated fields the first half of my working life, and the second half in predominantly women’s fields, I saw a huge difference in how quickly former would release underperformers compared to the latter where we all kind of had to put up with underperforming colleagues before they went through the lengthy stages of being fired.

    Everyone deserves due diligence and a second chance (maybe even a 3rd in some cases) before the hammer drops, and that’s after the additional hurdles people contend with are beaten like the sickeningly numerous forms of discrimination, sexism, and bigotry.

    I’ve only been a manager for 7-8 years and still have a constant stream of anxiety if I’m coaching my team well enough, giving enough, have realistic expectations, etc despite being generally very confident in the work I do.

    Thank you to Alison and the AAM community for the wealth of advice and incredibly thoughtful support!

    1. JelloStapler*

      This is why I welcomed a re-org where I did not supervise any longer and have not gone after jobs where that would be a thing. I much prefer to mentor and support unofficially than officially manage, even if people regularly tell me I am good at it.

  10. Plumeria*

    “helped me approach those remarks with more curiosity and less insecurity.”

    That’s a great outcome!

  11. Sister George Michael*

    LW2. Jane: ‘You’re firing me?? No, I’m firing you!’ I’m surprised George Costanza didn’t try this.

  12. Moose*

    OP1, I feel your pain. But I am so, so glad that you have been able to work it out! I do not understand the insistence on in-office work when not only is it not required, but it doesn’t even make sense.

    I started a job earlier in the year on the understanding that I would be in the office once a fortnight, at most, as the rest of my team worked in different cities. (There was literally no point in me being in the office. I also have a health condition which means WFH is my preferred way of working.) The 4 other specialists on the team all worked in different cities, so they all worked from home.

    But a new senior manager came in just as I was starting and insisted that I needed to be in the office 5 days a week. She provided several different (absurd) reasons as to why I was “required” in the office 5 days a week, before stooping to lying about what was agreed to in my interview (which she was not present in), and stated in my contract. She somehow convinced my direct manager, who conducted my interview, to lie about what was said in the interview, despite the 2 other panel members refusing to do so.

    This was – obviously – the tip of the iceberg of the problems present in the workplace, and I resigned after less than 5 months in the role. The 4 other specialists have all resigned, too.

    HR and upper management have been told that the main reason everyone is leaving is the absurd anti-WFH policy. The management team does not have any of the specialist skills required for the essential work, and has not been able to replace any of us. (The 2 other specialist people they did hire after we all left soon quit themselves, again over being mislead about the WFH policy.)

    1. WillowSunstar*

      Sounds like a manager who couldn’t adjust to not being able to manage by walking around.

  13. That One Person*

    #3 – I think you still helped inspire. The wording change here gives more of a feeling that it’s possible rather than some uniquely personal thing you’re capable of – and I especially like the little exploration into how she could get some of that personal time back! Even if she was able to do it thanks to multiple people I think this was still a good contribution to help make it feel like a reality instead of a fantasy!

    #2 – This does sound hard and I hope if you see this issue arise in someone else they’re more capable of change. Ultimately though its better to have this mess out of your hair rather than trying to figure out best ways to work around it as its less work in the long run. The employees who had to fix her mistakes will also be thankful in the long run I imagine. I also appreciate you double checking that everything was done out of fact from the work rather than feelings on the matter, good job!

  14. Happy Little Cog*

    Oof, I have a degree “weirdness.” I attended a year-long trade-school program in teapot-making, and students were told that, at the end of the program, we would receive a teapot-making diploma. They could not offer us an Associates degree because they lacked the English Composition classes needed to complete the degree, but if we wanted the AA, we were free to take the English Comp classes at an accredited school, and the trade school would combine them into the degree. Which I tried to do years later. Unfortunately, my school had been purchased by another teapot-making trade school, who ignored my communications about the degree. They then shuttered all of their school permanently a few years later.
    Because I did the work (and because it still rankles), I will use a conversational shortcut and tell people that I have an AA in teapot-making.
    The difference between myself and the job applicant is
    A. I’ve never written that I have an AA on a resume, just that I have a diploma from that school;
    B. If someone were to challenge my wording, I would further explain the gray area my “degree” is sitting in;
    C. I work in llama-herding now, so the teapot-making degree is just some fun fact, or an asterisk in my life journey story.
    It’s entirely possible that the job candidate also has a degree weirdness like mine or, as Alison suggested, was possibly connected to some niche school connected to the original school listed on the resume as a “shortcut.” But it seems far more likely that Clobberin’ Times’ comment about the candidate receiving “fake it til you make it” advice, was correct.

    1. LJ*

      I get where you’re coming from, and certainly calling it an associate’s program conversationally is probably “close enough”, but it’s hardly a gray area – it’s like saying if I was 1 credit short of a computer science degree, and then years later I took the last class, but my older credits “expired” (or whatever circumstance happened) – the point is, the original degree was not ever completed – I can say I did X years of a CS degree, but it’s more of a cheat than a shortcut to say I have a CS degree (asterisk I earned the last credit years later and couldn’t get the degree issued anymore at that time)

    2. Velociraptor Attack*

      I’m also going to push back a little on this as a gray area. I was one credit shy of a dual major in college (a class that, like you, at the time I decided not to take), I don’t say I’m a dual major because it’s just not true.

      I guess since it’s a fun anecdote, I don’t know why you don’t just say you have a diploma in this program and why you feel like you need to call it an AA.

  15. I'm Just Here For the Cats!*

    I love that we got an update on oatmeal university guy!
    I wondered if he didn’t use some sort of shady resume company. You know the kind that try and bolster and inflate their client’s resumes. Or it was some really odd typo or something from a template. And he didn’t realize it until he read the AAM and was so embarrassed that he just removed himself as a candidate. OH how I wish the OP could have called him

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