I’m being used as free doggy daycare, interviewer refused to give me his last name, and more

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

1. I’m being used as free doggy daycare

I feel I may be being used as free doggy daycare. I like dogs, and don’t mind walking an office dog occasionally. But a lawyer who no longer works at my office sometimes drops her dog off without asking, and I’m usually the one who ends up walking her. This dog is not fully house-trained and has pooped in the office four times and counting. How do I get this moo demon dog banned?

She was a pretty good office dog when she first started coming in years ago when her owner still worked here. The pooping thing is a relatively new development that I don’t think anyone is okay with, but maybe we are all too polite to say anything, since the dog’s owner refers clients to us and vice versa.

It’s incredibly weird that a former employee is still dropping her dog off at her old workplace. Is there any chance she’s arranged it with someone in authority there? If she hasn’t, and she’s bringing her by anyway … that is a truly impressive level of chutzpah. It’s also a troubling level of passivity from people in your office!

If we didn’t have to think about the dog herself, I’d say that you should just stop walking the dog and if she poops in the office enough, presumably at some point someone will deal with the situation. But while that’s the right advice from a strictly work perspective, it hurts my heart for the poor dog.

Given that, it’s worth doing a little digging. Has someone at your office okayed this? Ask around and see what you can find out. If it turns out to be the case, then talk to the person who okayed it, explain the dog-walking has fallen to you and you can’t do it anymore, and ask that they make different arrangements. If the hierarchy at your office is such that you can’t really approach that person, then go through your boss (or that person’s assistant, or whoever makes sense).

But if no one has okayed this and the ex-employee really has just decided on her own that it’s fine to do … well, you should still talk to someone with some authority in your office, explain you can’t keep walking the dog, and suggest the owner be told to make other arrangements.

Either way, the next time the owner comes in, try saying to her, “Have you arranged with someone to be in charge of her? I’m not able to keep walking her so I want to make sure someone else is in charge of her before you leave her here.”

2. My interviewer refused to give me his last name

In one of my last interviews, I was connected to my interviewer / future boss through an email invite with a link through a third party software, meaning I didn’t actually see their name before joining.

Most times in the past I knew beforehand who would be there and could connect to the people on LinkedIn, see their portfolio websites, and know who I would be working with. Lots of times it turned out we had some colleagues in common, as well as workplaces. Afterwards this made it possible to send a thank-you note and possibly stay in touch for later opportunities.

When my interviewer joined the call, only his first name was shown. I asked for his last name, and that I would love to see his other, previous works, but he refused. We then continued the interview, which I felt started on the wrong foot.

Is this a thing I could be legitimately miffed by? I feel like I have no chance to learn about my future boss beforehand, and that there was a huge information imbalance, as I was not given the option to hide my identity, and had to offer all details about myself.

It’s definitely weird. Refusing to give his last name when he had all your information and you were meeting specifically to contemplate the possibility of working together is pretty adversarial. It’s normal to want to know who your boss would be.

Your miffed-ness was reasonable.

3. How does salary fairness work when someone tries to negotiate?

You often mention that employers can’t pay a man and a woman doing the same job different salaries without justification, and I think you’ve said that the justification can’t be that one of the two asked for more money. But what happens if, at the time when you are hiring two people with equivalent backgrounds to fill the same role, the male candidate negotiates for substantially more? Do you then have to give the female candidate the same salary even though she may have already accepted the first offer? And what about if they aren’t hired at the same time? Once you’ve hired a male candidate at a certain negotiated salary, does that have to be the starting salary offered to all subsequent female candidates with the same qualifications? Or, after you’ve hired a female candidate at the given salary, do you then have to automatically raise her salary if a later equivalent male candidate negotiates for more?

I can see the trend toward salary transparency putting a big monkey wrench into wages if the answer to all of these is “yes” or “probably,” although I’m not sure how it would shake out. I can see employers being reluctant to ever negotiate up, setting rigid salaries matched with set qualifications, possibly putting a damper on wages. And of course I can see the possibility of wage inflationary effects as well, perhaps ones that are well due but that could lead to spiraling price inflation.

The answer is yes to all your questions. If you’re hiring two people with the same qualifications to fill the same role and the male candidate negotiates for substantially more, you either hold firm on the salary you’ve offered or, yes, you need to increase the salary of the female candidate even if she already accepted your lower offer. It doesn’t matter if they’re hired at different times; the law requires you to pay men and women the same for the same work if they have the same qualifications (unless it’s due to seniority or an established merit system).

And yes, that means that employers who follow the law and are invested in ensuring they have salary equity might not negotiate. In fact, equity experts often recommend that companies be transparent from the start about salary ranges and that they don’t negotiate. (Negotiating is one of the spots where inequities tend to enter a company’s salary structure; loads of data show that women and people of color negotiate less often and less successfully, so a company that cares about equity and following the law has to account for that.)

4. Using Global Entry and TSA PreCheck when traveling with coworkers

I run a small, five-person office, which is a division of a large corporation based in another state. While we all work for the large corporation, I am senior director level, but my employees are not.

My question is about using Global Entry and TSA PreCheck while traveling with members of my team. I pay for these privileges personally, even though I travel for work both domestically and internationally because (1) our parent company doesn’t and (2) I travel more for personal reasons than I do for business these days.

But recently I’ve traveled with members of my team who don’t have either pass, and it feels awkward as we approach the TSA checkpoint and/or passport control. (We’re a very collaborative, casual office.)

Is it okay to leave them to the long lines, and wait on the other side? I would never board a plane without them, if it’s a connecting flight, but can I go through anyway? And if we’re heading home, can I use Global Entry and … leave the airport? We all make our separate ways to and from.

Yes and yes. At the TSA checkpoint, it’s fine to say, “I’m in this line so I’ll see you at the gate.” And on the return trip, it’s fine to say, “I’ll say goodbye here since I’m heading for Global Entry. Have a safe trip home and see you at the office!”

(Also, this has nothing to do with your question, but you shouldn’t feel like you need to sit together on planes either. A lot of people strongly prefer being able to have space from their boss when traveling and will appreciate it if your tickets seat you separately.)

5. I was close to getting an offer when the job was put on hold … but then they hired someone else

I recently interviewed with a company. I was invited to the final round of interviews. Afterwards, the recruiter told me that the team loved me, but they needed approval from higher-ups before making an offer. While they were obtaining approval, I was asked to complete a background check, provide references, equipment specifications, and my start date; it seemed like the offer was imminent.

After weeks of back and forth with the recruiter asking for updates, I was told the position was put on hold due to budget cuts. I was disappointed but hopeful the job might come back around. The hiring manager and I have mutual connections on LinkedIn, and in my feed I saw someone else post they had just accepted the same job I was interviewing for! I feel like I was lied to. Can I contact the company and ask what happened?

There’s not a lot of point in doing that. The most likely answer is that they did put the position on hold, but then something changed and they decided to hire someone, and for whatever reason it ended up not being you. Who knows why. Maybe the person emerged at the last minute and was a stronger fit … maybe they’d worked with her previously and she had a leg up for that reason … maybe she was internal and what you saw was a reshuffling, not an outside hire … it could be any number of things. Sometimes this stuff happens. It’s unlikely that they intentionally deceived you; it’s more likely that things happened behind the scenes that you weren’t privy to. (And if they did intentionally lie, they’re even less likely to give you a useful answer if you ask about it.)

I think you’re thinking of this as if the job was yours, but you’ve got to remember they hadn’t actually offered it to you yet. If they’d made you a formal offer, then yanked it, and then hired someone else for the job soon afterwards, it would be more reasonable to check in. But in this case they hadn’t offered you the job (even though you were getting lots of good signs) and ended up telling you not to expect an offer, and so they didn’t really have any obligation to check back in with you when they decided to hire someone else. I’m sorry!

{ 449 comments… read them below }

  1. raincoaster*

    For #1, you should really talk to the dog’s owner and mention the pooping. Make a big deal about how this is new and unusual for the dog, and you feel strongly that the dog needs to see a vet about this, and in the meantime, obviously, so sorry but you cannot be responsible for the dog and they should find good care for the dog in a doggy daycare or whatever the vet recommends.

    As a longtime petsitter, it’s obvious to me that mentioning possible medical issues is the right thing to do here, AND it lets you off petsitting.

    1. Not Australian*

      Yep, my first thought was that the dog is distressed and it could be that the daycare arrangements are really not helping.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        The dog can probably sense that OP resents having to walk it. I mean, dogs do sense a lot of stuff, just like children, even if neither can actually put any of it into words.

    2. theothermadeline*

      My first thought was the dog is entering senior/incontinent years (since they mentioned knowing the dog for a long time) and that doesn’t change much of the tactics of this solution except that the owner may shrug and say “yeah that’s old age for ya”

      1. raincoaster*

        Yes, but they tend to take it more seriously when third parties are calling them out for it and telling them to take poor Foofoo to a vet for a proper checkup. Along with the implied “or you’ll be buying us new Aubussons soon” unsaid. I hope the dog does get checked up, because it could be behavioural, it could be medical, or it could be dementia. They all need a pro to look into them.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If this person does NOT have authorization from all the current partners (assuming law firm), I’d be asking THEM to tell former employee that they authorize you to contact animal control about an abandoned animal.

      But take me with a grain of salt because I’m in a terrible mood today.

      1. ferrina*

        I’d def get the boss involved (whether that’s current partners or other). Your company is not a pet service, and this ex-employee is expecting you to work for them as a pet sitter while you are on the clock at your actual job. I suspect your boss will not be amused.

        1. AngelS.*

          This! OP does not specify what their role is, and why they are specially ‘targeted’. This seems unfair. As someone who has been admin, I have dealt with people assuming I’m responsible for any task that comes my way.

        2. I am Emily's failing memory*

          Also not for nothing, if it’s a law firm, this is directly eating into potential billable hours!

          1. JB*

            And a law firm should be aware of liability issues if the dog bites someone or gets injured while they have possession of it.

    4. Judge Judy and Executioner*

      As my lab aged, in her last months of life she had trouble making it to the bathroom in time and would frequently poop a trail on her way out the door. Not sure if that’s what’s happening here, but the owner should know and be aware.

  2. Artemesia*

    Salary negotiations. Lots of examples out there women actually lose the job when they ‘negotiate’; I personally know of two women who didn’t lose the offer, but were treated badly on the job and had a strong sense it was because they were uppity women who negotiated. So it isn’t that manly man is just such an awesome negotiator — it is a system that is inherently biased and corrupt. Time to pay everyone hired into similar roles in an organization with similar qualification the same.

    1. raincoaster*

      And part of the reason the law is written the way it’s written is that men are trained to negotiate, and women are trained to “just make it work” from the moment they’re born. If the law allowed negotiators to be paid more, that’s a perfect example of systemic bias. It’s a good law.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Also, even when women are trained to negotiate, they’re much more likely to be seen as aggressive/pushy/unpleasant than a man who did the same. This isn’t a situation that can be solved just by advising women to “lean in”.

    2. MK*

      The truth is negotiating isn’t a “good” thing. It’s a necessary evil because employers are often offering the lowest possible compensation; ideally, there should be no need to negotiate if they offered you a fair salary in the first place.

      No offense, OP, but your second paragraph sounds like the scare tactics used by people arguing against labour rights who try to convince workers that having legal protections and guaranteed wages and PTO will somehow turn out in their disadvantage and probably ruin society.

      1. scandi*

        That’s why negotiations should be collective instead of individual – no need to trust the employer to offer a reasonable salary from the start, but women/minorities are also compensated fairly without being seen as “uppity” for asking.

        1. anon for this*

          Negotiations can’t be collective in small companies, and there are a LOT of small companies. I had to channel my Inner Alison (and also my Inner B*tch) last month to make sure that I got a raise that wasn’t below the inflation rate . . . and I have a C-suite title.

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              I think what Anon is saying is that you can’t necessarily fight for a collective raise when there’s a grand total of one of your position or anything close.

              IE – I can’t fight for all Environmental Engineers at my singular facility to be paid the same. They all are. It’s just me. I’m the only one. And there’s no one else similar to me. That’s not a collective negotiation, that’s just me negotiating.

              1. Anonomite*

                There are other people at your job, though, and collective bargaining doesn’t have to be only all people with your same title.

                1. Environmental Compliance*

                  For sure, but negotiations can be more difficult when there’s less of you to do that fight.

      2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        It is true that if every company suddenly shifted to equitable salaries, some men (especially some white men) would make less money, because presumably the company wouldn’t be able to just print more money to pay its currently-underpaid women and POC more. But… that’s the entire point. Right now the pie is being distributed unfairly.

        1. hbc*

          Yes, transparency doesn’t suppress wages like the OP said, but it will probably decrease the *highest* wages for any job. Instead of paying $80K, $72K, and $70K, everyone gets $74K.

          Though it doesn’t need to be that strict, because you can (and should) use actual performance to justify pay differences.

          1. Clobberin' Time*

            Or it may increase wages for all, because fairer pay will help retain and reward good workers (instead of just rewarding those of the ‘right’ race, gender, etc), leading to better productivity and profits.

        2. Smithy*

          In situations where I’ve seen salary bands are andjusted for equity, it’s usually not a case where those at the top end have money taken away from them – but rather they find themselves in a situation where they find their room for growth stunted. So instead of being in a position where they’ve have had regular annual raises or promotions at xyz larger level, they’re at more modest level or not available for any at all.

          And while on paper and from a distance, this is easy to understand as “not a punishment”. However, the lived reality of scaling back your expectations that you were “on track” for ABC in X years and now that’s no longer possible rarely feels good. And being told that societal inequity was part of the cause for ABC track in X years, more often than not puts people even more on the defensive.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            Maybe it doesn’t feel good, and puts people on the defensive. So, how would you make it better?

          2. Robin*

            I hear that it is an upsetting feeling, but with all the gentleness I can muster, you do realize that this feeling and result is exactly what minorities have been experiencing, right?

            Company/society presents a path towards advancement that is theoretically “available to all”. You put in the work, you get good feedback and yet the advancement is not seen. You work harder. Eventually, somebody either says it to you explicitly or you realize on your own that it is because you are not a cis, straight, able bodied, etc. white man. So all that work, the expected reward, and you find out it is not actually a possibility.


            (insert disclaimer for “exceptions to the rule” – that only prove the rule but nuance exists)

            Adjustment is hard, and equity feels like a punishment when inequity was in your favor. Work through it.

            1. Smithy*

              I respect that how I wrote this may have made it seem like the frustration and defensiveness was mine. However, it’s more or less been adjustment, processing, frustration and and defensiveness that I’ve mostly observed in various shapes and sizes from all sorts of coworkers who’ve been at the high end of the salary band.

              And the reality is watching your bosses and other senior staff go through that is also exhausting. It can take the air out the room for all sorts of conversations and a lot of effort gets into putting inequity back into structures in different ways.

              1. Bookmark*

                This is how I read your initial comment, Smithy. It’s not about excusing the behavior of the people who’ve benefited from privilege or arguing that things shouldn’t change, but about understanding the likely reaction from these types of people and being prepared for how the reaction is going to seep out in other ways.

              2. Robin*

                It is not whether the defensiveness is yours. It is that your comment made it out to seem like the defensiveness is a reason to change course. It is not.

                Is it exhausting / demoralizing to feel like your career came to a sudden stop? To watch others realize that? Absolutely.

                But the response had better not be “well then we should keep the status quo because change is too hard”. The response is “wow this does really suck! We had such terrible systems if fixing them hits so hard.” Companies should be encouraging folks to process what it means to shift to more equitable forms of compensation and emphasizing that this is righting a wrong. You can feel exhausted, you can feel demoralized, and you can go to the meetings to talk it out/through, but the company is *not* going to back down from this new system.

                The feelings of the privileged and powerful have been used as reasons to slow down efforts towards justice since forever. The folks who get screwed by this system are *incredibly* sensitive to discussions of those feelings because “white man is sad that a woman said no” is used as an excuse for him being violent against her. That same dynamic happens with salaries and careers. “White man is pissed his culturally promised promotion did not happen” is and has been used as a reason not to promote others.

                1. Robin*

                  Realized I forgot to add: the sensitivity of these groups means the ambiguity in your original comment is a problem. Lots of us interpreted it as a warning to “slow down” rather than “these are consequences, we should prepare for them” because the latter was not explicitly stated. If you do not make it very clear that you are going for the latter, the assumption will be the former because that is the direction that vagueness generally indicates.

              3. Clobberin' Time*

                The solution to their defensiveness should not be “let’s keep things unfair so we don’t upset them”, wouldn’t you agree?

          3. Emmy Noether*

            What’s the saying? For those used to priviledge, equality feels like oppression.

            I don’t know if there’s a way around that, if their feelings are more important to them than other people’s rights.

          4. Aitch Arr*

            The way organizations I’ve worked for have dealt with this is:
            – review salary bands annually and adjust (so the max isn’t the max forever and ever amen)
            – if an employee is at the max, they get a lump sum bonus equivalent to the percentage increase they would have gotten (I know this does not compound, but it’s something)
            – variable compensation is reviewed annually and is more lucrative than base

      3. Ellis Bell*

        Yes, I’m so scared that employers will stop being generous with men purely because of the assumption that a woman will be along any minute to make up the shortfall; Frightening! Somehow I think the original poster has never been asked about kids in an interview. If the OP genuinely thinks women will negotiate without fear and that they won’t be penalised for it, then the money is theirs anyway; so why not formalise it in a pay structure?

      4. bamcheeks*

        It’s hilarious to me that OP frames this as “dampening” wages (and also a little scaremongering about wage inflation, just to cover all the bases!)

        Uh, yeah, maybe slower wage increases for the few who have historically earned the highest wages. Not for the for the rest.

        1. Jaydee*

          I know, right?

          “Paying women fairly will dampen wages!” – No. Unless you have extreme pay disparities now, which don’t reflect the actual market value for the work performed, it shouldn’t dampen wages overall. Some men might not see their wages rise as much or as quickly as they used to. And some women will likely see their wages rise more or faster than before. But overall the wages should level out so that they are fair and based on the actual value of the employee’s work rather than on their gender.

          From your wording, LW, I worry that you may see men’s wages as “real” wages and women’s wages as…something else? Like a cute little allowance so she can get her hair done and get a nice new dress? Nope. Wages are wages. So if female employees are systematically being paid less than their male colleagues for the same work, wages are already dampened.

          “Paying women fairly will cause wage inflation!” – Again, it shouldn’t. If you have a workforce that has a high percentage of women employees who are currently underpaid relative to their male peers, the average wages for those positions may need to increase so the women are being paid equitably with the men. But this isn’t going to cause the wages to exceed the value of the work performed. It will just keep women from being underpaid for the value of their work.

          Unless you’re telling me that currently men are being paid more money than their work is worth? Are you telling me that? Please speak clearly and into the microphone so everyone in the back can hear.

          “Paying women fairly will cause price inflation!” Seriously, no! Don’t just jack up prices and then blame your female employees for wanting to be paid a fair wage. “Sorry the new Llama-Rama Series Q costs so much more than the Series P did. Our lady workers got all pissy about what we were paying ‘em and we had to raise their wages. It’s unfortunate, but an increase in production costs means a higher price tag on the shelf.”

          Have you ever thought about paying your highest paid executives (who are probably predominantly male, probably make more than any female executives your company has, and probably don’t really need to be paid anywhere near as much as they’re currently paid)…less? Maybe try that. Because it was decisions by upper management to systematically pay women less than men that caused inequitable pay in the first place, so maybe those people responsible should be the ones to feel the pinch.

      5. Jaydee*

        I read that paragraph and instantly distilled it to “but paying women equitably will cause… inflation!”

        If the LW genuinely thinks that, he must be dramatically and systematically underpaying women!

        1. Artemesia*

          whenever medical care for all is discussed, there is always someone who says but then could we have good healthcare i.e. my effective health care requires some people to die in the streets — or quietly at home untreated.

          1. whingedrinking*

            My favourite is “in Canada they have waiting lists”. And yes, it’s true that for some procedures you may have to wait (though generally not if your condition is life-threatening – knee surgery comes to mind). People who argue on that basis tend not to like it when you point out that in a private system, some people have a wait time of “forever” because they can’t afford to get treated at all.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Not to mention the wait times even with insurance — just because specialists tend to book a long way out, anyway.

            2. Mid*

              Also, in the US, I definitely have run into waitlists for even *basic* care. I can’t see my PCP for two months, because there’s a waitlist! I had to wait 5 months for a surgery because there was a waitlist! I have to book my dentist 3 months out because there’s a waitlist!

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                I live in a rural area in the US and there is *always* a waitlist because of that. But that’s somehow ok…/s

      6. Government Worker*

        Completely agree! LW is making it sound as if negotiating is both necessary and good and should be saved, but honestly if I could remove anything from corporate life, it would be salary negotiation. It is terribly unfair for the majority of people and should not be an expectation. The much smaller number of people (cis white men with the right personality type to successfully negotiate) who benefit about it do not outweigh all of the people for which negotiating leaves them with less than what a set salary would give.

        I am forever happy to work for the government which has mandated salary that is publicly available information for anyone and increases each year incrementally. I am a data analyst, not a sales person, I shouldn’t be penalized because I’m a woman and don’t like conflict.

        1. Nina*

          Yeah, neurodivergent queer woman here. Negotiating sucks because I’m pretty good at my job (science, I’m usually alone in a lab and definitely not interacting with customers, and there’s objective data at the end of it to determine whether I did a good job or not) and pretty bad at negotiating (people skills, advocating for myself, outcome is largely dependent on someone else’s feelings) and it’s unfair that my salary is set based on something that is not my job, not any part of my job, and completely irrelevant to my ability to do my job.

        2. Budgie Buddy*

          To be honest, my respect for a company would go up if during the interview process they told me: “We don’t do salary negotiations, because we’ve researched the market rate and we want to be sure we’re paying the same rate for the same work. If you need more flexibility for life circumstances, or you have a special qualification, we’ll talk about it.”

          I would think “Cool this lot puts their cards on the table and don’t play mind games.”

      7. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I had to go back and reread the second paragraph and… yeah. Because blaming our current inflation on (high-ranking gov official who shall remain nameless) wasn’t annoying enough, we are now going to blame it on the women wanting equal pay for the same work that the men do? but the men being consistently able to negotiate up in the past has not contributed to inflation in any way, got it.

    3. Fily*

      Wait, you mean a system where more than 50% of people are paid less due to discrimination isn’t the best system? But how else will companies make a profit, if they can’t break the law all over the place???

      Take it one step further, and don’t pay people based on their qualifications. Pay them based on the actual work they will be doing. In most cases (and yes, there are times when the role changes based on who they can hire, but that’s not most cases) the role they need filled does not change based on who they hire. It should be compensated the same regardless of who they hire.

      1. Emmy Noether*

        I don’t completely agree. I do think that qualification (in the sense of relevant schooling and relevant experience) has a good likelihood* of changing how efficiently this person works, and maybe the quality of the work. And they’ll be quicker to train, maybe need less supervision. Most roles, even if they stay “the same” have some possibility of doing more work, or better work. So, if that’s the case, the company is getting more for their money, which justifies paying more.

        *all of this is just likelihood, because we all know people with a whole list of qualifications that are incompetent slackers.

        1. Varthema*

          I was dubious about this, and then I thought about my own previous field, where some teachers would study for and get a special advanced diploma that was well known in the field. It was a monster of a diploma, hard to pass, and teachers who had trained for and studied for that diploma really were in a position to provide a higher quality of work (teaching students English) than, say, a teacher with just a pre-service cert. This seems reasonable – even if the job is technically the same, the quality of work would be vastly superior. (Probably – but if it isn’t, you probably shouldn’t hire that person at all!)

          1. Emmy Noether*

            I’ve always worked in jobs where the amount of work was pretty much infinite (to the point where when people here comment on someone having “finished all their work for the day” it just does not compute for me.) So it’s very possible for one person to do it more quickly, never run out, and therefore end up doing more in total than another person in the same role.

            An example close to my field would be, say, candidate A has a certification and 5 years experience with Teapot Modeling Software (TMS). Candidate B doesn’t. You could hire candidate B, and send him to be certified, supervise him closely and have him be a bit slow for a year until he no longer has to check the manual for everything. Or you could hire candidate A, and pay her more.

            Now, you could argue that those are different roles (junior teapot designer and senior teapot designer), but that’s not really a thing in my field. Experienced people are so rare that we can’t hold out for them when we have an opening and often have to hire and train the inexperienced person.

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          But they’re getting more, and hopefully paying more, because of the quality of the work, not because of the certificate. You note yourself that the qualification is no guarantee of the improved performance.

          There are some fields where the certificate itself can be used as a marketing tool (“hey look, even our paralegal has a Masters!”) but generally speaking it isn’t the qualification per se but the learned skills that matter.

          1. Emmy Noether*

            Sure, but at the time of hiring/negotiating, the quality of work is largely unknown. So the pay is set on the basis of expected performance, which depends on qualification, not actual performance.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              This is my pet peeve actually. As a woman, at the time of hiring/negotiating, I haven’t been able to negotiate anything (with a few exceptions). Then a few years down the road it becomes “yeah you’re great, we value your work, but you’ve got to understand that we’ve only been approved for 3% raise across the board this year”, rinse, repeat every year. At this point, I’ve accepted that this is my reality and I should be budgeting for it.

              At one job I was actually given this line after, at hiring, I was offered 15% less than they’d initially said the pay for the position would be, and told that it was non-negotiable, “but we’ll make it up to you at your anniversary” then at anniversary, it was “I talked to HR and they said we cannot give more than a 3% raise and definitely not what you’re asking for” like it was my idea and not the money they’d shorted me by to begin with.

              (one of the exceptions was someone who I’d worked for in the past. I didn’t even have to negotiate, he gave me more than I would’ve asked for, of his own volition; based on my actual past performance. It felt great! But what are the odds of me getting hired by a former boss again?)

              1. Emmy Noether*

                Oh yeah, this is one of the issues with negotiating. Performance expectations are subject to all sorts of biases, and so the salary negotiated at the beginning is often quite unfair… but once the job is accepted, the employee’s negotiating power goes way down. Later adjustments almost never work out to what they should be.

              2. Curmudgeon in California*

                I’ve been done by that before “Oh, we start everybody low, but we have a Bonus, and can adjust your salary after the first year”. Then when bonus time rolls around “Oh, we never pay out bonuses in this group”. When your anniversary or salary adjustment time comes around “Sorry, everyone gets the same 2% ‘merit’ raise, and we don’t do inflation adjustments.”

                So if you don’t get your right money going in, they will never give it to you. It’s a big scam, especially in the non-profit academic world.

        3. Jackalope*

          Yes, it’s entirely possible to have set wages that are adjusted for candidate-specific factors; for example, if you have a specific relevant license or degree you get paid $X, if you don’t you get paid $X – $5,000, and for each year of experience your salary goes up by $Y. The latter is especially something you can do anyway; give people with prior experience a higher starting salary, but then for each anniversary for the first few years give the inexperienced person an adjustment until after a few years their salary has gone up to match the more experienced person. Or something along those lines.

          1. Anonomite*

            Government jobs do this already. It’s not a perfect system, but when I tried to negotiate at my current role, I was told it was good that I tried, but everything is put into a formula (years of experience, education) and a number is spit out and that’s what you get. Once you pass your probationary period, you get a bump, and once per year you get a merit increase. In between, there are increases dictated by the union contract (COL, longevity bonuses), but there shouldn’t be wild disparities between people with similar base titles.

      2. Irish Teacher*

        And it’s not just women. Alison mentioned POC and I’d be very surprised if it weren’t also true of people from working class backgrounds. And then there are people with anxiety disorders or who have been abused or have worked in very toxic workplaces where retaliation was common, all of whom might be reluctant to negotiate or anxious about doing so. And there are groups like autistic people who are less likely to know whether negotiation is an option if they are not explicitly told.

        I think the main people who benefit from a system where those who negotiate can get higher wages are neurotypical cis white middle-class males and pretty much everybody else is likely to be at a disadvantage. That specific group are both more likely to be aware of the options for negotiation (and to have been taught how to do it) and also less likely to face retaliation or negative repercussions for doing so.

        And I think this is one major benefit of unions, the ability to negotiate collectively, so it isn’t just a case of the person with the confidence to speak up getting more.

      3. Lyngend (Canada)*

        Coming from minimum wage jobs I disagree with this approach. Not paying people for their experience reduces wages. I’ve been working for 16 years. None of the companies I have worked for except the newest considered the experience I came with. Which kept me at minimum wage for 15. 5 of those years. They are also the companies that are against giving performance or cost of living raises. (or they go “you don’t get a raise because minimum wage went up”)
        got a job that considers my 16 years of experience, wage offer went up $4/hr.

        1. Robin*

          Nothing here says that paying for experience is not allowed. In fact, Alison explicitly calls out that the people have to have the same qualifications in order to be paid the same. Years of experience is a totally valid qualification! It matters if somebody has 1, 4, 6, 9 years of experience doing ABC and it makes complete sense to pay more for more experience.

          What is *not* okay, is paying Candidate A, with 16 years experience, more than Candidate B, who also has 16 years experience.

          If the qualifications are the same, so should be the starting pay.

          1. Lyngend (Canada)*

            The person I’m replying to did in fact say not to pay based on experience. But only the job you are hired to do

      4. Ace in the Hole*

        In every job I’ve had, a more highly qualified person would be able to work more efficiently and independently than a less experienced one, and would be able to start doing productive work after a much shorter training period. They’re also likely to do occasional tasks that are not technically part of the job description, which the employer would otherwise have to hire a contractor for. Even if the job doesn’t change, “we can schedule Jane on any shift but Betty can only work when a senior employee is present” makes Jane a more valuable candidate.

    4. TJ*

      I often find it kind of weird reading about all this salary negotiation as an Australian. I know it happens here a bit, but almost every job I’ve ever had worked to a collective agreement and you got the pay that was specified for that job at that level. Negotiation as a concept for job salary just seems so fraught!

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Yes, it is. Welcome to America.
        It also creates a system where people who are aggressive and overconfident get the best jobs and move up the fastest, and they are not necessarily the best people for the jobs. You can imagine the problems this causes.

        1. ferrina*

          And where hiring managers will be happier to negotiate with people who remind them of themselves, so you get a lot of homogeneity in the more highly paid upper ranks

    5. Emmy Noether*

      Yes, thank you for saying this. Some people keep telling me that women earn less because we negotiate less, implying that it’s our own dang fault!
      It’s just not that simple. Even people who do believe in equality often have unspoken biases that make them perceive the same amount of negotiating more negatively if it comes from a woman. We can’t win.

      1. ferrina*

        Truth. I worked at a company where men were paid based on potential and women were paid based on repeatedly proving outcomes.
        For a male job candidate- “Oh, he’s young and has only a few months of experience, but he’s got so much potential! And he’s negotiating- clearly he knows his worth.”
        For a female job candidate- “Yes, she’s got a few years of experience, but not as much as the senior people. Let’s pay her less than midrange. And she’s negotiating- she really is full of herself, maybe we won’t hire her.”

        This wasn’t just a trend, it explicitly happened with back-to-back candidates for the same position (multiple openings). White male and woman of color, same age and experience, same role, treated very differently.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          Oh that’s just nasty!

          But yeah, I, as an AFAB presenting person, have been lowballed in spite of having decades of experience, whereas a younger male with less experience was brought in at a higher rate because of his “potential” (read cis, male, conventionally attractive, young, thin.)

          I’ve been on the interviewing team and wanted to hire a black guy as a junior, because he was eager to learn, in a job where OJT is how you learn it, and was told “we can do better”. The guy that was hired was a skinny white guy, with only a smidge more experience, who turned out to be a total flake who didn’t take the job seriously. I would have much rather had the person who was willing to learn rather than the overconfident one we got. But apparently the other biases were more important. (The white guy was hired for his potential, the black one was turned down for inexperience.) I don’t even think my manager was aware of his bias.

    6. amoeba*

      I mean, there’s still always some room for negotiation even with fixed salary bands – but more along the lines of “I believe my x years of doing y are relevant experience and I should be placed in a higher starting salary band because of that”. Just not in the “I want 20.000 € more per year please” way.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yes, I have negotiated for higher salaries before, but always within published bands. I’ve made a case for being pushed into a higher band.

        Frankly, if I could make that case based on my experience/qualifications, then something went wrong in the process. Either something was missed and I had to point out the error (understandable, happens, can be fixed while sorting contracts out) or someone was trying to shortchange me and was hoping I didn’t notice (I have worked for that employer, there was an ‘error’ on every contract, pay slip, assignment that I had to fight to correct.)

    7. mreasy*

      100%. I always negotiate and have always gotten increases, but I know I’m an exception among women candidates. And I may not have done so if I was coming from a toxic job or being unemployed. Salary negotiation is never an aspect of the job role, so paying someone more for doing it doesn’t make sense!

      1. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

        Salary negotiation is not an aspect of the job role per se, no, but surely there could be relevant factors that the candidate could bring to the employer’s attention that could affect the agreed-upon salary?

        Salary is also an aspect of whether a candidate is willing to work for a company (something this site emphasizes a lot). How would you recommend dealing with the fact that one company might be on a shoestring budget, while another has money to throw around, so the value of the dollar is different to each of them? Or one company might be really hurting because they’re having trouble filling a much-needed role, whereas the same role at another company is a nice-to-have, so the second company’s more willing to let a candidate walk over not liking the salary?

        While I think systemic pay equities are very bad and need to be addressed, it seems to me that there are various legitimate considerations that go into an economic arrangement, and that the value of a dollar to a company and the value of a person’s skills are not static across all companies at all times.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          AFAIK, different companies are free to pay different wages, so that’s fine. It’s just the same company paying equivalent employees different wages that is not ok.

          It’s like… supermarket A can sell bananas at a higher price than supermarket B, that’s fine. What supermarket A cannot do is sell the same bananas at a higher price to women than men (not that they don’t sometimes *try* to do exactly that… probably by putting a pink bow on).

          1. MigraineMonth*

            When my women’s electric trimmer stopped working, I ended up finding a men’s electric trimmer for half the price. Not only that, it could also be set to 5 different lengths for beard/hair trimming and had an extension for nose/ear hair trimming.

          2. Ace in the Hole*

            And furthermore, we don’t expect to haggle/negotiate over the price of bananas. We expect it to be clearly marked upfront. I don’t expect to walk into a store full of unlabeled produce, ask the manager how much it costs, then negotiate a better deal for myself.

            1. Jasper*

              pre-Self-Service-Stores, which is going further back than before supermarkets even, having to ask the attendant for pricing was pretty common. I would bet heavily that those stores did in fact charge people a “I don’t like the looks of you” surcharge.

        2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          I agree that education and experience may be relevant to the salary, but putting the burden of that on the candidate seems backwards, particularly because implicit bias is going to devalue that for women and POC. The company can be transparent about that and actually factor it in objectively, in advance.

          I don’t understand your other points, though. If a company is operating on a shoestring, what does that have to do with pay equity? Same for the “much-needed” role, if there are women and men performing that role, they should all be paid commensurate to the importance of the role. Pay equity doesn’t mean Company A has to pay what Company B pays, it means they have to pay their own employees equitably.

          1. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

            The part I was responding to was “Salary negotiation is never an aspect of the job role, so paying someone more for doing it doesn’t make sense!”

            My point is that if Company B wants Employee X enough to offer them more than Company A offered, why shouldn’t Employee X use that to say, “Offer me more, or I’ll join Company B instead”? And why shouldn’t Company A pay that employee more than they originally offered, even though negotiation isn’t an aspect relevant to the job?

            1. Anonomite*

              Because if they wanted them that badly, and were willing to go that high, they should have just offered that amount from the start.

        3. I should really pick a name*

          It’s worth distinguishing between types of negotiating. There’s “You should pay me more”, and “You should pay me more because I have X skill”.

          But further to that, in an ideal world, interviewers would proactively ask candidates about factors that influence salary. That way, they don’t end up paying two people with the same skills differently because the second person didn’t happen to bring it up.

    8. Poppy*

      I once lost a job offer because I asked the employer to pay the fee for the license they asked me to get before the formal offer. It cost $250 and I would have no use for it if I didn’t take the job and would be paid for if I was an employee. The employer immediately went cold and ghosted me. Looking back I’m grateful I couldn’t afford the cost and dodged a bullet!

    9. Laney Boggs*

      joining the chorus of women who lost the offer for negotiating :)

      they were paying $43K in Alexandria, Virginia. I was asking for $45K. Bullet dodged, honestly, because it was late 2021 and inflation hadn’t exploded yet.

    10. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yeah, at one point my boss was hiring for two positions, one to help me and the other to help my colleague. The best candidate to help me was a guy, and his minimum requirement in terms of salary was literally double what I was being paid. The boss told me this, scratching his head and wondering how he’d be able to afford it (while I discreetly researched taking him to court for paying a man double what the woman training him was getting).

      My colleague suggested contacting a woman who had previously worked for us as an intern, since she had probably just finished her studies. The boss called her, and she told him she’d be interested “if it pays well”. She probably meant that she was expecting a proper salary rather than the meagre 33% of minimum wage that interns are paid, but the boss went off the deep end in a raging rant along the lines of “who does she think she is!”.

      Before anyone counters there could have been other differences between the two candidates, she definitely had the most experience in the job.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        Are you saying that the intern didn’t even give a number, just said “if it pays well,” and your boss was mad about….some wanting to be paid well for their work? What the actual eff.

      2. ferrina*

        I am utterly unsurprised by this. I’ve worked for a boss that did the same thing.
        A woman asking for a fair salary was “uppity” (never mind that at that company, it was well known that the top performers were all women. Yet all the VPs were men, and most of them were known to have their female staff do most of their job, including strategic planning and setting priorities).

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I’ve never been in on the employer’s side of salary negotiations, but one of my previous managers called a female project manager “uppity” for contacting me directly about a project I was working on (instead of going through him).

          I was so surprised I laughed, but was able to follow up with something about disagreeing completely and also he shouldn’t ever use that word.

          Along with some of his “all in good fun” bullying behaviors, it really made me wonder what he was saying about me behind my back.

    11. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I am a woman who was raised with a lot of privilege, and one of the things I try to pass on from that background is “Always negotiate salary.” If you are not going to hire me because I asked for more money, then I don’t want to work for you anyway. If you say no, that’s fine — it’s a negotiation, and it’s up to me to decide if I want to sign up at the original rate.

    12. Tesuji*

      I mean, guys can screw themselves over by negotiating, too.

      I can still vividly remember my first post-college job, with a guy who would brag proudly about what a great negotiator he was, cutting a deal where he took less salary in exchange for a much larger performance bonus at the end of his first year, which he was confident he could meet.

      And he probably could have, but everyone (except him) saw it coming when he was fired 11 months into the job, because it was exactly the kind of place that would do that sort of thing.

      1. Jasper*

        I would argue that even with everything that guy contributed to the situation, it was still the employer who screwed him, not himself.

        Also, your labor laws, of course.

    13. Loch Lomond*

      Yes, the advice that women and POC need to negotiate more ignores the fact that they are often punished for negotiating, as though they should be grateful for whatever they’re given.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        I joked several years ago that if I’d been born with a twig and berries I’d be making at least $50K more a year. It’s still true. Plus I’d be a manager, instead of getting told that I need to be a (non-technical) project manager first. I had 15 years experience at the time, and males were seen as potential managers with only ten years experience.

        In my field (tech), white or Indian men with ten years are seen as senior and promotable, but women and other PoC are seen as middle or even junior with ten years, not promotable. It’s entrenched.

    14. MigraineMonth*

      For another perspective on this issue, I accepted what I considered to be a pretty generous offer for my first professional job without negotiating. Several weeks later, before my start date, the company told me that they were increasing the offered salary.

      I don’t know if it was due to adjusting the salary bands to be competitive, or whether a male colleague negotiated a higher starting salary. In either case, it felt that the company was being generous (even if what they were actually being was fair) to offer more than they had to, and it inspired a lot of loyalty.

    15. Caroline*

      Or even – aiming nice and low – within the same range, so that there might be a *little* bit of a range, but everyone doing the same job or *very similar* jobs earns roughly the same.

      Where it falls apart – and I am an old recruitment HR person, so it came up quite a bit – is that people are usually not virtually identical in education, experience and so on. This muddies the waters, because SURPRISE so often there’s much justification around why the white guy is paid better than the WOC doing the same role, I mean, he has A MASTERS! She only has a Bachelor’s, so. Yes, these degrees are entirely unrelated to the job at hand, and they were acquired a decade or more ago, but still, he’s worth more (insert eye roll).

      Bleurgh. So glad to be out of that arena.

    16. zuzu*

      Kinda makes me miss the transparent, lockstep nature of associate base pay in law firms — all associates at the same level got paid the same, and everyone knew what they got paid. No negotiating.

      Now, when it came to bonuses and partnership, that’s when the gender and race differences came in, because suddenly, it was all “you aren’t a team player” or “you’re not giving as much to the firm as the men” or “you just don’t fit the firm culture.” And they wonder why so many women and BIPOC attorneys go in-house or to the government.

  3. Educator*

    LW4, I would really take the point about giving your team some space when you travel to heart. Being together from the moment you get to the airport, through the whole journey, and for the work when you arrive is…a lot of “on” time. At least give the folks you work with an out, like “I am going to grab a sandwich—want to join me or stay here?” And “I am a front-of-the plane person on Southwest. Do you want me to try to grab seats together, or do you like to spread out more at the back?”

    I was thrilled to get Global Entry in part because it gave me a good excuse to break away from my colleagues at security on conference return trips. Medical stuff may come up with the TSA, and I don’t want to know or share. And I cannot take people seriously after seeing them in sock feet, but that is my issue.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Our workplace has an actual policy that we should not deliberately pick seats on planes by our coworkers unless specifically invited

        1. La Triviata*

          A number of companies limit the number of staff who can be on one flight. One place I worked limited the number of upper-level people who could be on one flight. This was often ignored, but the policy was in place. FYI, it was to limit the damage to expertise in case of a crash.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            “limited the number of upper-level people who could be on one flight”

            It was also a requirement in the group life insurance my company sold – to minimize the total claim amount in the event of a crash.

          2. Jasper*

            Similar policies apply to the President and Vice-President, apparently. And, hell, if you believe Designated Survivor it even applies in a limited fashion to other locations than high risk ones like airports.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          As someone whose coworker (who lived 1+ hr from me) once almost made it off the plane on the return flight with my work laptop, because our company-issued laptop bags looked the same, I applaud this policy, though I’m sure that’s not what caused it.

          (I bought myself a laptop bag in a different color after that incident, and… we never traveled for work again. Oh well, it’s a nice bag.)

    2. amoeba*

      I do believe it depends on your relationship with you coworkers though. I’ve always been friendly with mine to a point where it would actually seem very strange to not sit together/go out for dinner/etc. at conferences. But I’m sure you can normally tell by the relationship you have in general! (We’re also very comfortable to just sit next to each other in silence, reading a book, so that probably helps…)

      1. Lily Rowan*

        The plane is so different from dinner, though!

        I remember the first time I was traveling one-on-one with a senior person, and we had a good couple of days together and then when we were getting on the plane home, he said “see you tomorrow!” I was taken aback at first and then very relieved! I knew we weren’t sitting together, but that meant I was totally off-duty at that point, didn’t have to look for him to say good-bye getting off the plane, etc.

        1. peacock limit*

          Totally agree. I was very close to a previous boss and regarded him as a father figure, and I still a) picked my flight without telling him which flight I was taking to minimize the chances we traveled together, and b) literally hid around the corner in the gate area when we did happen to be on the same flight. I do not like traveling with other people. People typically defer to my leadership in a group setting, and I do not want to be in charge of anyone other than me while traveling.

          1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

            I did something similar. I usually waited until they booked their flight then had a timing conflict or had a mileage account on a different airline, etc.

          2. Bookmark*

            I’m with you, once I get to the airport (especially on the way home!) I just want to be off the clock and in my comfy clothes. The funniest is when traveling home from some kind of large meeting or conference where there’s a ton of people you know in the airport, and everybody just sort of mutually and silently agrees that we’re all invisible to each other on the other side of security.

          3. All Het Up About It*

            Oh I am so glad that I am not the only person who does not like traveling with other co-workers. Plans especially. Carpooling, doesn’t bother me so much, particularly if it’s a under 2 hour drive, but daaaang, let me do my plane ritual in peace, please!

            However, if we are at the same gate, there is some appeal to having someone watch your bags. Taking luggage into the restroom is literally the number one thing I hate about solo travel.

        2. Jack Straw from Wichita*

          “The plane is so different from dinner, though!” – exactly what I was thinking. Planes are small, uncomfortable spaces and most people have specific preferences when travelling period, not just on planes. If I have to sit in the middle seat to sit with my coworkers — ima have to say no thank you. Dinner on the other hand, is fun and social, I can also escape back to my room when I want to or grab an Uber to the hotel.

          Also, as a plus size person, I absolutely DREAD being with people other than my partner, my kids, or my best friend on planes. I need a buckle extender (which I purchased myself rather than experiencing the mortification I feel having to ask a flight attendant for one on every flight) and I always spill over into the other seat unless I squash myself up against the wall or lean out in the aisle. Just the thought of flying with a coworker, even those I consider friends and socialize with, raised my blood pressure.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            Oh gods, yes! I’m plus sized, and I am starting to need the seat belt extender on flights. I prefer a window seat, or an aisle.

            I can’t even stand up as I go into the row because they are too close together now. I can’t afford business class, so have to contort myself into a steerage seat, which, as a disabled person, is difficult for me.

      2. TomatoSoup*

        I can see doing things together at a conference but it can be nice to have some off time while in transit. You’re already going to be spending more time together than usual during the trip, a little time apart can be helpful even if you get along well. Personally, I like to be in my own world when travelling, especially when flying and I doubt I’m the only one.

      3. zuzu*

        I had a flight once with not only my current boss on the plane, but my previous boss, so that was fun. And I dreaded both of them.

        Current boss had us booked in first class, which made it kind of satisfying when previous boss boarded and saw me sitting there. I stared him down, we nodded at each other, and never saw each other again. But I didn’t get to relax and enjoy first class, because current boss, who was one of the most tightly wound individuals I ever met, was sitting in the seat in front of me and kept popping up every few minutes to ask me a question or bark orders at me.

        Our return tickets were open-ended, because we were doing a trial, and you never know when those end, so the paralegal and I booked our return flights from the courtroom the SECOND things wrapped up, and we hauled ass to pack up our exhibits and get out of there. The bosses had to stay an extra day, so we enjoyed our flight back.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I have a TSA card that jumps me to the front of the line, because of a disability I don’t necessarily want to discuss with coworkers.

      I would very gladly meet up at the destination airport to find a cab together, or indeed meet in the hotel lobby or conference centre (etc) once we’ve had a chance to change our clothes and brush our teeth!

    4. Yoyoyo*

      That is a great point about medical stuff or disabilities coming up with TSA checkpoints. I have to admit that I was clueless and hadn’t even thought about that.

    5. Smithy*

      In addition to medical stuff with TSA, should TSA check through anyone’s bag – having them go through medication, under garments, pajamas, etc – all of that having distance can be a blessing.

      Additionally, a lot of work travel requires getting up early or leaving late. And unless it’s specifically flagged that time in transit will be required to prepare for the trip, giving people the chance to catch up on sleep or relaxing without as much worker judgement is a true kindness. Whether a book or tv show is or isn’t too spicy or dorky, whether someone has medication to take they do/don’t want you to know about, whether they snore when they sleep sitting up, etc. Not to mention – preferences around aisle or window or feeling *someone* needs to sit in the middle seat??

    6. Still cranky*

      Flashback time! I once had a job where I traveled a lot, and the company used a travel agency. The agent had my preference for aisle seats, and got them for me.

      I went on a 2-week sales trip in Europe with a colleague. So there was the long transatlantic flights, and then flights within Europe. The agent put him in the aisle seat and me in the middle seat. I had NO desire to sit in a middle seat at all, and no particular interest in sitting next to him.

      I called her to complain, and she said she’d assumed we’d want to sit together. I asked why she assumed that his seat preference was more important than mine. She didn’t have an answer for that.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Oh, how nasty!

        Yes, folks, even women have unconscious sexism embedded in processes.

    7. Me*

      Another issue is that, if you are work-friends only, and you’ve been sitting with this person waiting to board the plane for 30-60 minutes already, you’re already running out of things to say. You can’t talk about work in detail in a public place. To have a one-on-one conversation for a five or six hour cross country flight could be torture for both parties.

      Also the person lower in the hierarchy has to think about what movie they are watching etc.

    8. sacados*

      Jumping on this comment to share.
      For any US-ians out there, get the passport app, it’s called “Mobile Passport” and it always shocks me how few people actually know about it! You know the kiosks where you have to go and input your information before going through passport control, well this basically allows you to do that via the app and thus skip those lines.
      Not at all an exaggeration to say this is REGULARLY as fast if not faster than the Global Entry line. And it’s free!
      I heavily, heavily encourage everyone to check it out.
      End PSA.

      1. Friendly Lurker*

        Thank you for the reminder of this! It’s been a while since I traveled internationally, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get Global Entry before my next trip.

      2. tamarack etc.*

        Thanks, I’ll try that!

        As for the OP, it’s completely normal that people’s travel trajectories are slightly different. People may have different nationalities and travel on different ID documents, requiring different screening processes. Some may have preferred status with the airline and others not (super common where I am – there’s one major, US second tier I’d say, airline that serves our location, so established colleagues nearly always have one of the high-mileage statuses). When I travel with a group of colleagues, and I have several times in recent months, we have an unspoken protocol of congregating at the gates. Also, those with lounge subscriptions bring in the juniors as guests :-) .

        As for Global Entry, I totally understand why people get it but have a strong aversion to paying to receive preferential government services, so as long as it’s not going to be too much of an inconvenience I’m not getting it.

        It’s a good soft skill to be able to say “ah, I guess you go this way and I go that way – see you when we get to the arrival gate”

    9. MsClaw*

      When you are traveling with a group, whether you’re all getting transported to the airport together or happen to run into each other at the ticket counter or something, just say ‘see you at the gate’ or something like that and move on.

      You do *not* need to form a cluster, and it’s very likely your colleagues would like distance to be able to go to the restroom, get a snack, grab a beer, buy a paperback, watch a game on their phone, prowl the hallways to stretch their legs before the flight, etc without being stuck in a group or feeling like they have to be in ‘work’ mode the whole time.

      Not to mention the possibility that you may need to partially strip down and/or get uncomfortable areas patted by TSA, which is mortifying enough in front of people you don’t have to share an office with.

      I never sat with coworkers on a plane. We always just got whatever seats travel arranged for us. I want to be able to read/knit/watch an episode without having to chat with strangers OR coworkers.

  4. Zanshin*

    I would go further…. There are legal ramifications for being responsible for the well being of someone’s pet! It’s hard to believe a law office would countenance this. If you’re simply the first person encountered on entering the office, I suggest you smile and say “I’m sorry, I simply can’t accept this responsibility without clear guidelines from my supervisor.”

    1. raincoaster*

      And ramifications for one’s pet ruining the carpet of a law office, I would think. But I shudder to think of an arrangement so casual as to be nonexistent for something like a $7,000 French bulldog or something. Your pet insurance would likely not cover that if something went wrong.

    2. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I mean an alternative approach would be to give the lawyer a doggie day care agreement to sign holding the person harmless and charging $60/hour for dogsitting…

  5. Missing person*

    For #3 I’m going to express a bit of…frustration. I love Alison, but her statement that a company must pay men and women the same with all factors being equal is somewhat facile.

    She’s not wrong because it is the law. However, if a company chooses to not follow the law, a lowly worker has no way to compel them to. I’ve filed with the EEOC with reams of supporting documentation only to have them refuse to investigate due to lack of personnel. I’ve talked to multiple lawyers who either told me that there was not enough money in a single case and/or that they are afraid of the corporation’s lawyers.

    In my experience, the number of times that gender-based pay discrepancies have been corrected is zero out of 4 times over 30 years. I appreciate all that Alison does, but sometimes life just sucks, the law is no help and you lose.

    1. ASD*

      The question was about what the law requires and that’s what the answer was about. Not sure what was facile.

      1. Katie Impact*

        Plus, it was advice for someone asking from a hiring perspective rather than an employee one. Alison is pretty consistent about never advising people “you can break the law because you’ll probably get away with it”.

    2. Feral Humanist*

      She answered the direct question and provided the ethical context for the law. You can be frustrated about how difficult a law is to enforce but that doesn’t make the answer wrong or facile. Would you have preferred she point out to the LW how easy it is to circumvent it?

      1. tamarack etc.*

        This. It was a question about what the right course of action was for an employer. And that’s what it is – this is how this *should* be thought about given the law.

        Alison has many times answered questions asked from the employee perspective, with the usual problems present of incomplete insight into the actual salary structure. That’s when the difficulty of actually enforcing this or getting one’s due when on the employee side.

    3. Massmatt*

      I agree that discrimination cases are far too hard to prove but there are certainly many instances where it does work in the employee’s favor to be able to say “this is against the law” versus “this is unfair” or “I don’t like this” when faced with bad employer behavior. I’m thinking of cases where employers are withholding final paychecks, or failing to pay employees by mischaracterizing them as contractors or volunteers. Not all legal remedies are hopeless.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      The wheels of justice turn slowly, but finely. The law is still the law and it’s still an idiotic move for companies to ignore the existence of what’s required of them. I imagine Alison’s reply would be different if it was asked from an employee’s perspective, particularly if that employee was being unsuccessful in the fight, but the question was about employer’s policies. An employer who thinks they can skate by because the legal system is overworked, and because they’ve gotten by in the past is still a fool. One or more of these types of employer will come a cropper eventually, and for what? Just so they can make up the salary of a male employee with money from the salary of a female?

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Here’s a true example of it actually being corrected:

      I was working a job around 2011 and through discussion with my coworkers found out that the straight guys with actually less experience than the rest of us were being paid more. A lot more.

      The rest of us being women and a gay man.

      I asked my boss what was going on and he said that ‘they just interviewed better’. I took it to HR who at first didn’t believe me but agreed to an investigation when I reminded them that this was illegal.

      It took months and a few calls to a lawyer to clarify things but the rest of us got our salaries changed to match our coworkers.

      Now I work for a firm that has very strict salary bands and you literally can’t negotiate above the set range for a job. Much fairer.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I have a related story, though not as impressive. I gave notice in the midst of a mass exodus. After years of not replacing anyone that left, the company found itself shortstaffed and needing to finally hire. On my last week, I was walking past my boss’s office and he waved me in, wanting to chat. He said “last night, the other managers and I were all here in my office until late, making a list of all the positions we need to fill and the base pay for each, right here on this board” and he motioned at a whiteboard behind his back. I looked and on the board were mine and my other departed teammates’ positions listed for a base pay of 30% more than we were making after years of work for the company.

        I said something like “wow, 30% more than yall paid us, that is pretty cold.”

        Boss turned all shades of pale, said “I was supposed to erase this!!” and begged not to tell anyone.

        So I only told two people, the day before I left, one-on-one each time, and swore each of them to secrecy. Then I left and started my new job.

        Just as I planned, my two former coworkers told EVERYONE. There was a mass outrage. I’d hoped it would result in raises across the board (which was why I did it in the first place), sadly it didn’t. Instead they flew the CIO in from the corporate HQ and called an all-hands meeting where he explained that the higher salary actually included the cost of the benefits like PTO and insurance (lmao no it didn’t) and that no one was in fact being underpaid, or paid less than the new hires would be. Everyone took it as being told “you’re going to continue to be underpaid and that’s that” and left it at that.

    6. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      You do have a recourse. It’s moving on to a better position with a better company.

      1. Marie*

        I’d love to get a new job that pays me more. But I’m trying to get pregnant and want FMLA. To get FMLA, I need to work for my employer for 12 months before I have my baby. I do not know how long it’ll take to get pregnant. I didn’t get FMLA for my first pregnancy and it sucked big time and I’ll never ever do that again if I can avoid it. Some people are stuck at their jobs for a period of time….like women. It feels like a never ending cycle. While leaving is an option (same with unionizing) there’s a lot of factors some employees who have /are historically discriminated against have to juggle and a comment saying “just quit!” is dismissive of the larger issue.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          Unfortunately, it’s not a free recourse.

          But that is your leverage. Law or no, being unable to attract and retain employees is what’s going to force the business into better pay practices, or out of business.

          1. pieces_of_flair*

            This is incredibly dismissive and out of touch. First, not everyone is in a position to “just quit.” Second, individual choices to opt out don’t solve systemic problems, and unfettered capitalism will never solve societal injustice. Laws – and functional mechanisms for enforcing those laws – are the only way to force companies into performing any semblance of equity. To use a somewhat dramatic analogy, would you have advised Rosa Parks to just get a car if she didn’t like sitting in the back of the bus?

            1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

              I didn’t tell anyone to “just quit.” Good jobs and good employers are keepers. Bad jobs and bad employers are disposable. When you need the job, there’s no sense cutting off your nose to spite your face, but staying with a bad job and bad employer longer than strictly necessary just rewards (and subsidizes) their bad behavior.

        2. ttc job hunting*

          Marie, for what it’s worth, I got a job offer while ttc and they wanted a decision on Friday when my first possible pregnancy test day was the following Tuesday, and I asked for more time to consider, and after some hemming and hawing basically came out and said “look, I might be pregnant right now but I won’t know until Tuesday, and I don’t want to take the job and not be eligible for any maternity leave” (since I figured, at that point, they had made me an offer so rescinding it would be pretty obviously pregnancy discrimination). It actually prompted a formal offer of maternity leave benefits in my 1st 12 months/after the 1st 12 months, which I hadn’t expected (it was also a small business where FMLA wouldn’t have applied anyway). So, you may be surprised by an employer going beyond the legal requirements and it may be worth job hunting anyway. [In my case, I took the job before taking the pregnancy test. I was not pregnant that month but got pregnant my 2nd month on the job (several months later due to a long notice period bc of industry expectations). :-) ]

          1. Somehow_I_Manage*

            Hey- that’s fodder for the good news thread! Congrats!

            And such a wonderful example that (when the moment is right) we should all be direct and ASK for what we want. It’s their job to say no.

            I hope that more and more companies see investing in staff with young families and treating them right is just that- a long term investment. There will be moments where it doesn’t pay off, but the long term view is you want to have the best potential leaders in your program and keep them! So happy you found a company that recognizes this.

      2. PoolLounger*

        Seems like this person has, at least 4 times. But considering most companies don’t seem to actually follow this law moving companies isn’t going to help much. If it’s illegal I wonder why negotiating salary is still legal.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        That was something I did all the time 20-25 years ago. Not as easy to do now as it was then. To be fair, I’ve also become a lot more selective in who I want to work for. I have left one dysfunctional job for another, just as dysfunctional, one, too many times in the past.

    7. Sylvan*

      Unfortunately, I agree with you. Alison’s response covers how things are supposed to be, not necessarily how things are.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        But…that was the question? If an employee had written in, Alison may point out that yes, it’s illegal to have the pay difference, and they *could* pursue a case, but it may not be worth their while, and the best case scenario for them would be getting a new job and leaving an honest Glassdoor review. But if an employer is asking, then yes, the advice is going to be “you need to follow the law which says X” not ‘well, the law says X, but nobody’s going to take the time to sue you, so you know, whatever”.

        1. Feral Humanist*

          People seem to be having a hard time with the shift in perspective from employee to employer. The answer, for an employer, was complete and had nothing to do with “the world as it should be.” For employers, this is the law as it is currently written. This is what they must do to be in compliance (and, I would argue, decent human beings). I’m baffled by the pushback because Alison didn’t answer the question as though an employee had written in.

    8. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I read the LW as asking from the employer’s perspective, not a female-employee perspective. The end bits about wage inflation/depression sounded to me like trying to justify paying men more at the expense of women.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      This. I have traveled with people several times over the past year where I have PreCheck and they do not. I say “see you on the other side!” and then meet them past security.

    2. to varying degrees*

      Same. I’ve used my Global Entry when I travel with friends, I sure as heck would use it with coworkers.

    3. WantonSeedStitch*

      My husband has PreCheck. I don’t. Sometimes when we travel together, they’ll give it to me too for that trip, but not always. If not, he waits for me on the other side of security and then we go on together to the gate.

      1. AY*

        Ditto for me and my husband! He’s a total ball of nerves and a comprehensive grouch before he gets through security, so I am usually happy to wait separately. It’s like he goes through a personality shift when he goes through the metal detector and becomes his normal self again!

        1. MigraineMonth*

          Ugh, I had an ex who had a whole rant about how security screening was just security theater. I agree that TSA and similar are not terribly effective, but the time to complain about it is *not* while going through the security line in a communist country!

      2. tamarack etc.*

        My spouse and I have different passports. If traveling in Europe or to Canada we’re bound to end up in different queues. It’s no biggie.

    4. Sister Spider*

      I would leave any capable adult behind if they didn’t have PreCheck. I’m not taking my shoes off at the airport if I don’t have to.

    5. Heidi*

      I’m not taking off shoes and removing items from my bag just because a coworker doesn’t have pre check.

      1. tamarack etc.*

        Other than not intentionally getting PreCheck/GlobalEntry (as I explained above), sometimes people randomly *get* PreCheck marked on the boarding pass. It happened even to me (Green Card holder, non-citizen) on a very short flight.

  6. John Smith*

    Re #1. Away from the dogs welfare, I love the idea of just allowing it to poop on the floor but I cant help thinking someone will come along to the LW and ask why they allowed it to happen, having an (unreasonable) expectation that LW is the dog walker. I’d just approach HR/manager, ask wtf is going on and where in my contract does it say I walk Cuthberts dog.

    There’s all kinds of silliness going on in this office.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      First, that poor dog and it sounds like they need to be seen by a vet. What chutzpah the ex-employee has. In a million years, I wouldn’t have thought up such a ridiculous scenario as possible.

      Yes, I would go straight to HR and ask what the hell is going on that *someone who no longer works there* drops off her dog that poops on the floor. Ask HR or comparable person with authority to communicate with the owner today (assuming they have contact info) and tell her this cannot continue one more day. Ask HR to send out a memo to all employees that they cannot say yes when the ex-employee shows up because HR has prohibited it, in case HR/authority isn’t around in person when the dog and owner show up to draw the line themselves. This gives you an out if you’re the person the owner talks to, “I’ve been instructed by HR/manager/authority that the dog cannot be left at our office.”

      OP, I hope you’ll send in an update!

      1. Colette*

        This isn’t an HR thing in any way, and the OP is not in a position to make demands. They should follow Alison’s advice.

        1. Cait*

          Honestly, I’d be tempted to not even go to upper management! Who knows how long that would take and this situation is already unacceptable enough that it should be nipped in the bud immediately.

          This person is a former employee! If someone higher up okayed this then something has been lost in translation but, either way, I see nothing wrong with OP just telling the owner, “I’m not sure where the wires got crossed but I can’t be responsible for your dog anymore. I did it at first because I wanted to help but I wasn’t prepared to do this regularly. If someone in this office okayed this, please talk to them about making other arrangements because no one has talked to me about it.” Not rude, just firm.

          If she gets angry just tell her to speak to whoever okayed it. If no one okayed it, then you’re in the clear! If a higher-up okayed it then wait to hear from them and explain why it’s not possible for you to do your job and be an unwilling dogwalker. But I definitely wouldn’t wait to figure out what’s going on before refusing to be a human pooper scooper.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      I will add my +1 to the all kinds of silliness diagnosis. OP even says they “don’t mind walking an office dog occasionally” but that’s not.. a thing? I don’t think? Granted, I’m coming at this from an angle of someone who’s never worked in a dog friendly office, but my understanding was that just being able to bring them in is the perk. A perk that gets taken away as soon as you inconvenience your co-workers with the doggo; I cannot imagine one colleague asking another to walk their dog, even with a lot of seniority. It’s a fair bit more than a favour, and way more servile once you add in poop-a-scooping! I hope I am not inferring too much, but it sounds like this could be a thing that happens in this office. One you add in that the dog owner doesn’t even work there any more and this is all kinds of banana crackers.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        I’ve worked in a dog friendly office before and people definitely occasionally walked other people’s dogs, and the odds of that increased the higher up the dog’s owner was in the org chart. I never walked anyone’s dog myself, but I was surprised how few people pushed back on it.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          I would much rather walk the dog than have it poo next to my computer (which is what happened when ToxicBoss1 brought his puppy to work).
          FWIW, I also walked his baby up and down because he and his wife were both able to work happily while the baby screamed in the next room, and I couldn’t. So I asked for permission, and tended to the baby until the mother finally agreed to breastfeed him.
          Of course, I didn’t get much work done while I was doing that, but it wasn’t as if I could get anything done while the baby screamed, and at least he was calm while I walked him up and down.
          (I have always maintained that these two people would have been accused of neglect and had their children removed had they not been white and well-educated. The children and puppy were very definitely neglected)

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            I’m accusing them of neglect. There’s nothing to stop anyone from reporting them to social services if they are neglecting their children, regardless of skin color.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              Reporting, sure. Anyone could be reported.

              Actually removing the child from the family due to neglect is far more likely for poor families and BIPOC families.

        2. Hlao-roo*

          I’m curious: do you know/remember who did the asking? Did the dog owner ask “hey, Fergus, can you take Spot for a walk this afternoon?” Or did Fergus ask the dog owner “hey, can I take Spot for a quick walk? I need to get away from my desk for a few minutes.”

          I’ve never worked in a dog-friendly office, but I like dogs and could see myself occasionally walking a coworker’s dog as a win-win: dog and I both get a walk. However, I would not be happy if coworkers (or especially managers) assumed that because we were both in the office, I was an appropriate resource to walk their dog for them.

          1. Ellis Bell*

            Yeah that’s more to my point really. I can see someone who loves dogs and walking possibly offering, sure, (particularly if it’s a trade off) but being asked to walk someone’s dog just because is completely different. Honestly, I think that’s outrageous.

          2. Filosofickle*

            I worked in an office where we were told to walk the dog. (The dog owner was the company owner, so hierarchy was involved.) While no individual was ever directly ordered to, she thought we should of course WANT to to and it was a stated expectation that we (collectively) should be proactively playing with and walking this very needy and anxious dog, especially as the owner was out of office frequently. The dog initially had her home in my department and…we didn’t want to. We got all sorts of comments and side-eye about it, from owner and co-workers. They thought we were mean. Ultimately, the dog was relocated to an area with co-workers who were thrilled to take breaks with the dog and it worked out a whole lot better. And better still when they got a companion dog. Ever since then I have avoided dog-friendly offices.

        3. sundae funday*

          I’d probably jump at the chance to walk someone’s dog because it gets me out of the office and lets me breathe for a little bit! But I would definitely be unhappy if it became an “expectation” thing rather than just me doing a favor for someone!

      1. Stitch*

        This place is messed up. I’m a lawyer and our support staff are a precious resource that you do not mess with. A good legal secretary can make your life a lot easier. This firm clearly treats their staff with little respect.

  7. Elsa*

    LW1: I used to work in an office that was pretty child-friendly, and on occasion I would bring one of my children to work with me. After reading your letter, I started to wonder if maybe I could continue to drop off a child there even though I don’t work there! They wouldn’t even poop on the floor! Just imagine the possibilities…

    1. Jane Brain*

      This letter reminded me of the tv show Damages, when one of the lawyers ( as I hazily recall) was pretend-fired so he could conduct some kind of secret investigation. If he had kept dropping off his dog to be walked no one would have believed he had been fired because OBVIOUSLY that’s a crazy thing to do.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      When you hear these outrageous stories of people just dropping their kids or pets off onto other people to mind, I always wonder if they’d be okay with it in reverse.

    3. MigraineMonth*

      I worked at a toy store, and there was one child who was regularly dropped off for several hours to play with the demo toys. The parent never even stepped foot in the store and they never bought anything.

  8. Heidi*

    For Letter 2, not giving a last name during an interview seems so counterproductive (how would anyone contact you if they had questions?). The only reasons I could think of were: 1) he finds his last name super-embarassing; 2) he’s related to someone famous with a distinctive last name and doesn’t want that to dominate the conversation; 3) he has a side gig where he weaves straw into gold and makes people guess his name to mess with them.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Or 4) – he has such an awful reputation in his field that he knows anyone who was told his full name would run away screaming.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        That was 100% my suspicion. I hope OP doesn’t go work for him because this is obviously just the tip of the iceberg. Such a power move, not being willing to reveal YOUR NAME to someone you are interviewing, just imagine how he is to his subordinates with whom he works.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Yeah, it seems like the OP did want to look up his work (which could seem a bit much – or could be totally standard for their field) and that might have freaked him out in some way. But some weird power thing or an awful reputation are probably the two most likely explanations.

          1. ferrina*

            Looking up your potential boss is pretty normal. A lot of people (myself included) like to take a quick look at their LinkedIn to see what their work history is and if they ever worked at the same place/with the same people.

            1. The Prettiest Curse*

              Looking up potential bosses is totally normal, but the OP mentioned that they wanted to look at the interviewer’s other works – so that part may have been the sticking point.

        2. Cmdrshpard*

          My take was that this was all a power move, the interviewer was offended that OP would want to look them up, check references on boss/interviewer. Boss viewed hiring as a one way street with OP trying to jump through hoops and do anything to get the job, but not the other way around.

          If the interviewer was the boss/supervisor for the position, I would not be moving forward. That is such a small thing to get upset about, that I would expect that they get upset even more about bigger things.

      2. Malarkey01*

        Or 5) he doesn’t want to be contacted by applicants until they’ve gotten further in the hiring process (in which case he should say that directly). I once had a job where we would hire about 100 people at a time and I would interview around 1,000 as part of a team. Being inundated by a thousand people that want to connect with you, email you, thank you, etc is overwhelming.
        In our case we were clear that we did not give out any contact information until you had gotten to the final stage, and yes the power balance was off with us getting to research them and not them us.

    2. Erin*

      As someone with a v long, v complicated, v unique last name (repeating vowels and repeating consonants that should be separated by a vowel or two) of which, there are 6 of us in the world, I frequently hesitate to give my last name. Or, I offer an abbreviated version.

      I get fatigued on repeating the spelling and answering the small talk & follow up questions about where it’s from, why it’s so weird & whoa, they have never met anyone w my last name (same here, buddy!)

      None of the 6 people who have my last name have done anything shady. We just have zero anonymity, and we can’t hide in a sea of more common names in a Google search. Stalking and unwanted contact have definitely happened to all of us for professional and romantic reasons.

      1. Your Computer Guy*

        From the letter it sounds like this was a video call, so couldn’t the interviewer have just put his name or email address into the chat? My name is frequently misspelled, so I either put my contact info into chats, or initiate the email chain (“I’ll email you directly after this call so you have my contact info.”).

      2. Dona Florinda*

        Ugh, same. I’ve searched public records and so I know that I’m only person in the entire country with my first name + last name. I often refuse to give my real name and just use a shorter version since, like you said, it gives me no anonymity.

        That being said, I wouldn’t mind giving the candidate my contact information and the non-official last name I use and it’s definitely shady that the interviewer chose full anonymity about himself.

      3. Curmudgeon in California*

        There are less than 100 households in the US with my last name. I always have to spell it for people. I use a pseudonym on all but my professional stuff on the web. I’ve never thought of not giving an interviewee my last name.

    3. Green great dragon*

      I wondered if they’ve been hassled by candidates before, so they’re trying to prevent the interviewee finding their contact details.

      It seems a massive overreaction and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s possible.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        That’s what I assumed when I read the letter. Agreed that refusing to tell all/any future candidates your last name is not the best way to deal with this problem.

      2. Nathan*

        This is exactly what I was thinking. I honestly think it would even be reasonable if it were a random employee, but for the hiring manager to do it does feel like an overreaction.

        Also, as a side note, I love your name and I understood that reference ;)

    4. Corporate Goth*

      This is common in some security and defense industries as a matter of course, along with it being fairly unusual to have LinkedIn. It’s referred to as good OPSEC (operational security). Just because “everything” has been provided on a candidate doesn’t mean a background check has authorized this person as a viable hire yet; interviews only authorize the investigation that could turn up hidden serial killer tendencies. Doesn’t sound like this is the OP’s industry norm, but all it takes is a single incident to implement personal policies like this.

      1. TomatoSoup*

        Considering, OP mentioned people having portfolio websites in their field, I think we can rule that out.

    5. Llama Llama*

      I figured it had to do with a desire for privacy. Just like we wouldn’t give out our last names here. Probably if he had thought about it after the fact, he would realize that it would have been fine but out in the spot it was a n.

      1. Susan Calvin*

        Exactly! My first reaction to someone going “hey, give me your full name so I can see what I can dig up on you online” will always be an instinctive “heck no??” and if that made it out of my mouth quicker than the logic unit of my brain can point out that in *this* context, that’s actually a normal thing to ask, I might be too embarrassed to walk it back later…

        1. Cmdrshpard*

          I think there is a huge difference between a stranger, person you just met in a general setting, or online forum, versus a candidate you are interviewing for a position where they would be your subordinate and report to you. Potential employees should be able to look up you, and do their own reference checks if they can.

          If you “might be too embarrassed to walk it back later…” well that says something about you that a candidate should take into consideration when deciding if they want to work for you or not. Once they work for you will you admit/own up to mistakes or will you be to embarrassed to admit them?

      2. Ellis Bell*

        Some roles are public, or semi public or at least involve revealing names to clients and contacts as a matter of course. I remember going through a patch where it would have been really bad for my name to be out there, but part of my job as a local reporter involved being a community presence and having my name and contact details on a website, so I just used another name profesionally. I don’t know why people never think to do this. I used to get it all the time from barristers and solicitors in magistrates court. The law says that any published report must feature their words and be attributed to them by name in order to be considered accurate. The lawyers themselves are told “there is no expectation of privacy in personal data which is processed by the judiciary exercising judicial functions”, but they still refused to abide by the rules even though it would have affected my ability to use their words of defence for their client. I wonder if this interview is this guy’s first one, and he was not expecting the question, or if it’s a standard part of his job and he thinks his right to privacy trumps the interview being a two way street.

      3. no.*

        Except this wasn’t some message board or discord server. This was an INTERVIEW where the interviewer already had the candidate’s info, including (presumably) their full legal name. It’s not out of line for the candidate to want to know info as basic as the interviewer’s last name.

    6. Colette*

      Or a google search will turn up stuff he doesn’t want to discuss with random interviewees.

      I do think the OP is putting too much emphasis on finding out about her interviewer in advance, though. And she didn’t just ask for his name – I asked for his last name, and that I would love to see his other, previous works, but he refused.

      That seems … odd. (Maybe he came from another industry, or has an unusual job history, or just doesn’t want a candidate digging through his previous work.)

    7. Sylvan*

      It might be an attempt to avoid being contacted by applicants who didn’t get the job? That’s all I can come up with.

    8. WillowSunstar*

      It’s at least an orange flag, if not red. I would have to be pretty desperate to want to work in a company like that. Imagine what else the company is trying to hide.

    9. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      These are such creative reasons. I find it most likely the person was probably just a self-important jerk.

    10. ButtonUp*

      I wonder if it was a knee jerk reaction. We’re so constantly bombarded with requests for personal info these days so people can spam us or scam us, I definitely find myself reacting initially with suspicion even when a question is totally reasonable in hindsight. (And grumbling when I have to give my full name to sign up for some service only to then input my email address that’s very obviously firstname.lastname)

  9. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    #4, I agree with Alison! If you’re worried about the optics, I might recommend mentioning at some point, as you did in your letter, that you got the PreCheck & Global Entry for personal travel reasons. That would stave off employees wondering “huh, does Employer pay for OP to get these perks, but not for me?”

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Although it wouldn’t stave off “must be nice to be paid so much and have so much time off that OP travels a lot”…!

      If you have that pre-check thing, is there an option to not make use of it on any given trip? If it’s an option to go through the same line as the colleagues… I would think seriously about doing that if I were in OPs position. (I expect I’ll be piled on for saying that!)

      1. MK*

        I have Nexus (which includes Pre-check, Global Entry and some other things) and at every North American airport that supports them that I’ve been to you can go in whatever line you’d like but Pre-check at least is written on your boarding pass so they steer you towards that line. It confounds TSA when you try to go in the regular line and annoying them isn’t the best move.

        Same thing with customs, which is what Global Entry amounts to, in my experience they want you to go through the speedy line up. To have one of these passes you’ve gone through an interview with USCBP so they’re pretty invested in you using it. It vastly reduces their workload which is why they want you to use Global Entry if you have it.

        Basically, OP#4 could probably go in the same line up but it’s likely going to be a pain.

        1. LJ*

          Also it’s like $50 for 5 years. If the colleagues are traveling for work with any regularity, they may even consider getting it themselves as a convenience.

          1. Comorannt*

            My personal credit card reimburses my Global Entry fee. There’s no way I wouldn’t make use of it!

          2. skunklet*

            Not everyone can pass the background check for GE, and it’s taking forever to get appts anyways, to get approved.

            If available at the inbound airport, Mobile Passport (which is a CBP app) is just as fast as GE. And it’s free.

        2. CheeryO*

          Yeah, I live in an international border city and am very used to my travel buddies peeling off for Pre-Check because they have Nexus. It’s a win-win for everyone since it makes the regular line shorter and gives everyone a moment of alone time and peace during the stress that is airport security. There’s absolutely no reason not to use it.

      2. allathian*

        Nah, any reason that gets the boss out of the reports’ hair when they’re traveling together is a good one.

        I really like my boss, but I find travel stressful, and if I had to travel with her, the effort of being “on” for the boss would make travel even more unpleasant for me than it has to be. The same thing applies to coworkers, but to a slightly lesser extent.

        Besides which, any manager who can’t deal with the fact that their reports are probably envious of their salary (even if they wouldn’t want to do the job) and vacation perks, should quit management.

        I’m not a manager, but there’s absolutely no way I’d ever inconvenience myself while traveling to make someone else feel better about the choices they’ve made or been forced to make. That said, I work for the government and all my coworkers except my manager are within about three salary bands from me, so the difference amounts to a few K per year at most, which is rather less in real terms thanks to our highly progressive taxes. And I mostly travel by train rather than fly, so security checks aren’t an issue.

        Obviously in my case it also helps that I work for the government and we have a collective agreement, so things like the amount of vacation you get and the basic salary band for a given position are both public information and absolutely non-negotiable. We do have a performance-based salary in addition to the basic one that can be up to 50 percent of the basic salary, so in theory a new person in a role could be paid 30K and their experienced peer 45K, but in practice, by the time the performance-based salary reaches about 20 percent, it’s time to talk about a promotion to the next salary band.

      3. Allonge*

        I don’t think this is unreasonable for OP to consider (probably the reason they wrote in in the first place).

        But it’s one of those things where the “solution” – not making use of the fast access options – is actually making things worse for everyone else: if OP stands in the long lines with their staff, the line will just be that longer – there is only an apparent solidarity, no real benefit.

        Plus, as mentioned by many, the presence of boss may not be desired.

        But for sure there may be people who are upset about this – boss is too good to travel with us now? I guess my point is, there may be some people upset eihter way, and OP could be comfortable while they are upset as it makes no substantive difference anyway.

        1. Be Gneiss*

          Can I call it “solidarity theater?” It’s the equivalent of taking your 3 items at the grocery store through the long line instead of the express lane…because you don’t want the people standing in the longer line with full carts to feel bad? You’re literally just making the regular line longer.

      4. Kat*

        That PreCheck thing? And yes, anyone can choose to go through regular security. Healthy adults are able to board a plane themselves on a business trip. There is no reason to forego a service and security clearance you’ve already paid for.

      5. lunchtime caller*

        I’ve had pre-check since I made low five figures and I haven’t had paid time off in basically my entire career, so if you think it’s only for the elite I have wonderful news for you and your future flights! For those who don’t have it, it’s not just about the wait times (though that helps a lot); it’s also about not taking anything out of your bag or off your person and that TSA is a lot more lenient about your liquids in pre-check. My colleagues are not worth that kind of inconvenience to me, as much as I like them; I’ll save them a spot in the mile-long Starbucks line on the other side.

        1. doreen*

          I only fly maybe twice a year – and the $15 a year or so Precheck costs is still worth it to me. Definitely not just for the elite or people who fly frequently.

      6. Colette*

        Even if it’s possible, I don’t know why you would. I’ve travelled with colleagues who have Nexus, and I just meet them on the other side of security. It’s not a big deal.

      7. tamarack etc.*

        Huh, even though I wouldn’t get PreCheck (see above), that’s just a bizarre reaction and I would book it under “unpleasant personality”. There are many people in less economically advantaged situations than me, or in more manual or more strenuous jobs, who have travel privileges I don’t have. That maybe comes from working in a state where a lot of people fly out-of-state very often (we must be one of the most travel-happy in the US). Also, working in academia, groups usually include a wide variety of people, including some on temporary visa, some with considerable travel savvy (and maybe clout / money), people who are related to airline staff and get privileges that way. Some get business class upgrades. Some get free drinks. Some get first boarding. It’s not a big deal.

        A well-functioning, collegial group of co-workers doesn’t let minor travel status differences get in the way of cohesion. You make sure those with more strenuous procedural burdens don’t have to trail behind (ie, you wait for each other at the exit) and spread privileges around a little, and it’s good.

    2. Green great dragon*

      Agreed. While there can be good reasons for an employer paying for fancier travel options for senior grades, it doesn’t always feel that way to those who aren’t getting them. Better to head it off if you can.

    3. CTT*

      Would people frame it as a perk though? It’s a government process that (most likely) is an option open to their entire staff. It’s not a first class ticket or going to the fancy sky lounge.

      1. tamarack etc.*

        Uh, that’s unlikely. These programs are only available for citizens of a small range of countries.

  10. Young Business*

    For LW #5, I was recently in a similar situation.

    I completed final interviews (the recruiter said I was being expedited through the hiring process) but then I heard nothing back for a few days. I nudged the recruiter gently, they said they had to align with the hiring manager on next steps. A couple of weeks later, the recruiter emails me to say they enjoyed meeting me but company leadership still needed to approve the role. The hiring manager followed up in a separate email thanking me for my patience and saying they were working hard with leadership to get the role approved and that they hoped to have positive news to share shortly — they never did.

    A month later I saw that the hiring manager accepted a new role elsewhere, so who knows what else was happening behind the scenes.

    I guess my takeaway is that if a company is hemming and hawing about an offer be extra vigilant and take heed of the implicit cues or signals the company is conveying, even if they are explicitly telling you something entirely different.

    And if the hiring process isn’t straightforward then there might be other problematic things down the road. (Not to say that a dysfunctional company can’t mask its true colours, especially during hiring and onboarding).

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      I really think Alison’s final point is the most important. However you slice it, LW was never actually offered a job. The rest of it is all just typical interview crappe.

      You don’t have a job offer until you have a job offer, and you don’t have the job until you have the job. Lots of companies take candidates through several interviews and say promising things and promise that the next step is an offer and say they’re talking to their higher-ups and figuring things out on their end and you’ll likely hear good news from them soon. That’s all nice, but it doesn’t always end in a job offer.

      LW can try to go digging for answers*, but the fact is that they were never offered the job, and someone else has it now. There may be many reasons why that happened (internal candidate, the job changed, the salary changed, LW was great but the other person was a unicorn, et cetera, et cetera), but that’s really all you need to know.

      *I listen to a dating and relationships podcast where the hosts often discuss a similar phenomenon with dating. When someone doesn’t get a call back, or they go on a couple of good dates and then get ghosted, or even have someone promising break up with them after a few months or even a few years, they want to demand answers about why. One of the hosts often is like, “The answer is that they liked you, but you weren’t the one. That’s really all you need to know.”

      1. EngineeringFun*

        Offers must be in writing. I was verbally offered a senior engineering Job, but then magically there was another interview/math test (which I am not good doing math on the fly) and written offer was extended. I did get a call apologizing to me and explaining that the ceo wanted all employees to derive equations in front of clients (that has never happened in my 20 years of experience). I think the only reason I got the call was because I worked with people at the company before and I have a PhD. I was miffed at the time, but looking back it was probably a bad fit.

        1. Relentlessly Socratic*

          Good gravy–before I moved into consulting, I used to teach statistics with all the equations on the board and such. But I also do not do math on the fly very well, and I can’t do kitchen math without using fingers and toes to count. Having to do this in front of clients on the regular would probably make me cry.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ve seen my company post two positions — and then have cuts so only one could be hired.
      And I’ve seen postings retracted so someone who would otherwise be laid off can be transferred into it. And I’ve seen postings retracted when hiring manager learned a former employee is willing to return.

    3. Lizzo*

      Yeah, I recall interviewing for a very good job several years ago and was into the final rounds, with things looking promising…and then there was a pretty long pause in communications…and then there was a hiring freeze. They did communicate with me, and I’m not sure how things eventually ended up because I didn’t have time to sit around and wait for it to pan out.

      The best thing you can do during a job search is assume that nothing is certain until you actually show up for your first day of your new job, and keep as many irons in the fire as possible, as long as possible. Heck, keep your options open even through your first month. One of my ancestors gave notice at his very steady job to take on a new role (at a well-know advertising firm), and when he came home from his last day at OldJob, there was a telegram from NewJob that said, “You’re no longer needed at NewJob. Here’s a bit of money for your trouble.” That was the start of decades of dragging his wife and three kids around the country chasing jobs and living a precarious paycheck-to-paycheck life.

  11. Despachito*

    OP1 – I’d ask your supervisor what is going on here.

    It is very weird indeed. Is there some unwritten agreement that the dog owner will refer clients to OP’s office in exchange of free dog-sitting? They may stop doing that if refused free dog walking. Is it something so valuable for your office that your superiors would not want to risk that? If so, it is up to them to find a solution, not to dump it on you (and it would still be very weird).

    1. Tesuji*

      Honestly, maybe it’s just that I’m not a dog person, but this entire thing is incomprehensible to me.

      If I’m reading this correctly, it sounds like walking dogs isn’t the LW’s actual job; it’s just something she’s doing out of the goodness of her heart… except this is such a dog-centric office that people feel free to just dump their dog off and expect that *someone* is going to take care of them.

      An office with random dogs roaming around, shitting where they please, sounds like a circle of hell to me. Dog people, man.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        My dog-friendly office allowed well-behaved dogs to sit next to their owner’s desk with the understanding that the dog needed to be supervised/walked/cleaned up after by the owner.

        I think some people offered to watch a dog while the owner was in a meeting, or to take the dog for a walk, but it was always freely offered.

    2. tamarack etc.*

      My guess – also based on this being a lawyer – is that there is an unspoken, golf-club / country-club, you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours thing going on. From the perspective of a professionally run office these things look rather incompatible, and at best quaint. And the quaintness ends quickly as soon as the dog has house training issues.

  12. Green great dragon*

    I’m so glad I don’t have to negotiate salary. Aside from all the discrimination angles, why should generic middle-class white man #1 get paid £1,000s more than generic middle-class white man #2 for doing the same job, just because he is a better negotiator? Assuming negotiations play no part in job success?

    It’s even a bit short-sighted from the company’s side. Sure you get someone on board cheaper, but if you’re underpaying them relative to what you would have been willing to pay, you’re probably underpaying them relative to what someone else would pay, and they’re likely to find out eventually. And turnover costs money.

    1. Boof*

      In theory negotiations should be more about moving elements around in a total compensation package rather than increasing or decreasing the total package for non-productivity related reasons (say, increasing pto for working weekends, idk).

      1. Green great dragon*

        Now that makes sense to me. As do bonuses for work performance.

        Though the way we do it is that everyone gets the ability to buy up to 10 days extra leave (same overall impact as taking 10 days unpaid but spreading the cost evenly over the year), opt-ins for health cover etc, which gets you to a similar place with more flexibility.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I’m a bit confused that nobody seems to consider just … not paying the (white) guy more than you want to pay. Why is it automatic that he’ll get more?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        There are some companies that don’t negotiate on salary. The offer is the offer, and if that doesn’t work for you then best of luck in your job search.

        But at companies that do negotiate on salary, there are lots of ways sexism and other biases, conscious or unconscious, creep into the negotiation process that lead to men being paid more than women and white people being paid more than non-white people.

      2. TomatoSoup*

        I don’t think they’re paying more than they want to pay. Instead, they’re lowballing to see how little they can get away with paying.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        “But the white guy has so much potential and really knows his worth! He’s probably headed right for the leadership track. If we don’t pay him as much as he’s asking for, he’ll get snatched up by a competitor.

        “That black woman who asked for more money, on the other hand, seemed really angry and not a team player at all. What if she accuses me of racism for something I said, even if I didn’t mean it that way? She probably has a bunch of kids or will get pregnant and won’t be committed to the job the way a man would be. Not to mention, it’s not like she’d get as much as she’s asking at a competitor, not with a degree from that black college.”


  13. QuinFirefrorefiddle*

    LW4- this is an easy fix. Just break away from the group as soon as you get to the airport with, “see you at the gate!,” and go into the bathroom for a minute. Gives everybody space.

  14. Irishgal*

    LW 4 I used to travel a lot pre Covid and regularly with others. I am not the best traveller so need my own time and definitely not to be sitting beside a colleague on a flight. I would love those few mins where someone went in a different line, got a coffee whatever they want do and not have to be in work mode the whole time

    1. ZSD*

      4. I agree. I would be *relieved* if, after an international flight, my boss took off for global entry so that I could stop making forced chitchat and just be alone with my exhaustion.

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        I would be relived if they took off after/before a 55 minute connecting flight. I barely like the process of travelling to a place with my family, I def don’t want to do it with co-workers. lol

      2. My Cabbages!*

        I like spending my flight time writing fanfiction, so sitting next to a coworker all flight would be awful.

    2. TomatoSoup*

      I worked in an office where certain people travelled a lot and usually it was two people. There was an unofficial policy that people essentially travelled solo. Unless there were limited options within budget, people often took different flights. It helped that this was in NYC with multiple large airports nearby. People could pick the airport and timing most convenient as long as it was within budget and got them where they needed to be on time.

  15. Melissa*


    My husband works in BigLaw and they do not negotiate salaries for associates. I have always appreciated that. The scales are in fact published publicly— “first year associates get x, second years get y, third years get z….” It eliminates any need for negotiation, and removes any suspicion that so-and-so could be getting more because he’s the favorite, etc.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      It depends. If they are well behaved and their owner makes sure that their needs are taken care of I don’t mind them. Even if the long haired dachshund is timid around others, and the shepherd stares longingly at my lunch while I am eating it. They are both good and well trained. (and rarely in the office at the same time.)

      1. TomatoSoup*

        I would struggle not to speak to the dogs in the pet version of baby voice, which is not something I want my colleagues hearing me do.

    2. NeonFireworks*

      There are occasionally dogs in my office, and it secretly kind of bothers me but I’ve never said anything because what kind of horrible heartless person doesn’t like dogs?

      1. Yoyoyo*

        I think if you are bothered by them, you should be able to say something. Maybe there is a solution like you working in a different area when dogs are present. There are a lot of valid reasons not to want to share a work space with dogs. Allergies, fears, disruptive behaviors by the dogs, dogs sometimes don’t smell the best, being easily distracted by cute animals, etc.

        1. WhyAreThereSoManyBadManagers*

          Once had a boss who brought in their dog they’d just adopted and it had a horrible skin condition that smelled SO BAD, it wafted through the office and hallways and was gag-inducing. But because of power dynamics none of us could say anything to the boss about it without risking our jobs, so we just had to suffer and wait it out…the day they didn’t bring in the dog anymore was cause for olfactory celebration.

        2. Dasein9*

          Sure, we should be able to say something. But then people don’t like us. Many people interpret any sign of not caring for dogs as evidence that one is a bad person. People tend to deal with the loss of most privileges with indignation and that would be compounded by it involving their dogs.

          1. Yoyoyo*

            I hear you, people can be really unreasonable when it comes to their pets. But I think in a functional workplace, there’s no reason why anyone else would need to know who brought the concern up. I do understand that not all workplaces are functional though.

            1. Cmdrshpard*

              I think it depends on what the level of bother is in regards to dogs. There are lots of things people/coworkers do in general that bother me, but I don’t bring up because it is not worth the time, effort, and capital.

              Is it just dogs existing in the workplace in general and you don’t think they should, then yes I think don’t bring it up.

              Is it some dogs are barking, running up and down the halls, peeing/pooping everywhere, coming into your office/space and trying to distract you, then yes absolutely bring up the problem dogs.

              I love dogs, and I think I would enjoy having office dogs, but if they caused disruptions I would not want them in the office.

          2. Tangential Tangerine*

            Once I told a friend I didn’t like dogs. She replied that if she were writing a villain one of the telling characteristics she’d give them to tip off their villainous nature would be that they didn’t like dogs. Which validated why I usually don’t admit it.

          3. My Cabbages!*

            Yup. Which is so weird to me, because it’s a preference, not a moral choice. It’s like deciding someone is evil because they don’t like french fries or something.

      2. Stitch*

        I mean I love dogs but I definitely don’t want dogs at my workplace, particularly ill behaved ones. If the dog just quietly stayed in its owner’s office maybe, but that has never been my experience.

    3. thatoneoverthere*

      I disagree. I worked for a small company and the head of the company brought his dog nearly everyday. We loved having her around. On a few occasions I brought my dog too. Our dogs were “middle-aged” and they weren’t romping around the office. They curled up at our feet and napped most of the day.

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        It was a mild surprise when I was working in my cubical in the lab and a dog walked in and wanted some loving. When she was around, we were careful to keep the chemical sample room door closed, etc.

        Hank just tends to stick close to his owner, but when we are together for company wide meetings (15-20 folk), the dog makes the rounds to maximize the attention.

      2. Appletini*

        This conversation reminds me of the letter from the woman allergic to dogs who was hired by a dog friendly company and didn’t find out till her first day at work (the arrangement of the office plus no one mentioning the dogs kept her from knowing) and she was fairly quickly frozen out and forced out by her coworkers. But then dog-loving people often do say they’d choose dogs over other humans.

        Does anyone have the link?

        1. Hlao-roo*

          The letter was titled “my new office is full of dogs — and I’m allergic” posted July 29, 2015.

          The update was posted December 1, 2015.

          I’ll post links in a follow-up comment.

        2. Cmdrshpard*

          To be fair, I would choose most animals over humans, not just dogs. I would much rather work while being surrounded by a bunch of animals versus a bunch of humans.

          Bad behaved animals are often easier to deal with and have a better chance of changing behaviors than bad behaved humans.

  16. münchner kindl*

    LW 3, the easiest solution is that the company stops negotiating and offers fixed salary (Bands).

    So a teapot painter starts at X salary, and every 2 years of experience, they get a small raise (Seperate from automatic Cost of Living raise at end of each year for every employee), until they reach end of band.

    Because why should people negotiate at all? It doesn’t benefit the employees, because some (women, PoC) know they might get negative consequences for daring to be uppity; and even among white men, those who are socially akward will get less salary then those who are confident – but this is irrelevant to how good teapot painters they are on the job!

    It also doesn’t benefit the company: they aren’t hiring rock stars for a high salary, they are hiring those who are good at selling themselves during the interview. Which does not automatically correlate to how competent a teapot painter they are on the job.
    And if company is aiming to lowball employees who don’t negotiate – then, as has also been pointed out often, the employees will notice and will either leave to work for a more reasonable company (which knows that good work deserves a fair salary), or they will “work to the job” because their salary is not adequate for good work.

    So just because a few guys good at selling themselves are paid more money than their work is worth, or a few guys who don’t know how to hire well and treat good employees well believe they are the best at underpaying employees – doesn’t justify that the majority of employees are hurt, and that companies are damaging themselves in the long run.

    Much easier to just stop, and let managers asses the actual work – then, after 1 year, the silent nerd, or the woman, or the POC whose output of painted teapots is 110% gets a raise for the work done, while the smarmy guy who talks big put who’s output is only 90% … stays at base level.

    1. Emmy Noether*

      This is all true. The problem often is that the smarmy guy who talks big is the CEO, and he’d rather keep the status quo that benefits him and people like him, rather than implement a change that benefits anyone else, including his company.

      Oftentimes he will honestly believe that being good at negotiating is a skill that *merits* more money, and that it is perfectly fair to remunerate it over other skills. He also believes that it’s [insert group]’s own fault for not negotiating better, and that he’s helping them learn to negotiate better by incentivizing it.

      1. mreasy*

        Negotiating salary is nothing like negotiating contracts or business deals, though, as a person who does both. It’s just about having chutzpah about this one thing – and often that comes from a place of specific privilege, feeling like you can walk away.

    2. TechWorker*

      Whilst plenty of union jobs work like this I’m not sure it’s the best thing either – it’s possible for two employees to have the same experience and start at the same time but progress differently. If you have bands flexible enough to put them each in a different role, maybe that’s fine, but I do think it’s valid to pay more for more contribution, which may not correlate precisely with seniority or years or experience.

      1. Robin*

        Right, but merit based raises are fine. That is based on actual work done, if one person does better/more work than the other it is totally legal (and, in this case, reasonably ethical) to compensate them more for that! The question here is about *starting* pay, where you have no concrete evidence for how the person does on the job yet.

    3. Snow Globe*

      I agree with new hires having a set salary based on experience, relevant education, certifications, etc. But I do think that once someone has been hired, future salary increases should be based on actual job performance, not just X% per year. Once you’ve actually demonstrated how well you can do the job (in terms of both quality/quantity of output), that is what should matter most.

    4. Some guy*

      I was wondering, the hypothetical is a 1 to 1 comparisons of two employees, but how would it work at a company where you have multiple people in the same job level and because of negotiations etc you have a range of different salaries. So any given woman may make less than some men but the same or more than others, all for the same work. How does that get sorted?

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        Our company had this for an entry level role. Competitors were paying about $3/hour more than we were hiring people in at. When the org made the decision to up our entry-level rate by $3/hr, they gave everyone in that role a flat amount raise of $3/hour. That said, we are a pretty employee- and equity-focused company, and I suspect this isn’t the standard practice.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        The company isn’t allowed to pay workers differently based on sex, even if some negotiated and others didn’t. HR should not have allowed that in the first place and is responsible for making sure the offers are equitable. This may include adjusting up already-accepted offers.

        Many companies do regular across-the-board adjustments where they give raises to keep up with the market and to get everyone within the same band. These are usually done as raises, since it’s bad for morale to decrease salaries.

      3. Aitch Arr*

        Regular market / equity adjustments should be built into budgets and separate from merit / COLA / promotions.

    5. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      There is still room to negotiate in bands though. I’m in an D band role, and I know there are people in the higher E band make less than I do.

  17. Sabine the Very Mean*

    I wonder if I can start saying, “$85,000 unless you’re paying a man more for the same role. In that case whichever is higher.”

    1. irene adler*

      I like this!

      Decades ago, my dad suggested that, after they tell me the salary, I should ask what the salary would be if I were a man.

      I never had the guts to actually follow this suggestion. But I sure think it.

    2. CharlieBrown*

      I am a male and I think this is brilliant.

      The fact that a woman who is doing the same work that I am doing is also getting paid the same that I am should (nor does it) in no way diminish me. Guys who feel otherwise…you probably need to think about a lot of things.

  18. Swift*

    “Is it okay to leave them to the long lines, and wait on the other side? I would never board a plane without them, if it’s a connecting flight, but can I go through anyway? And if we’re heading home, can I use Global Entry and … leave the airport?”
    You paid for the TSA Precheck and Global Entry, you get to use it. That’s why it exists. If your coworkers want to get through TSA without having to take off their shoes or unload their toiletries, they can sign up for it too (everyone, please spare me the “not everyone can afford PreCheck!” or whatever arguments. If you can’t afford it, then you don’t sign up for it. That’s life).
    If I were traveling with someone who had Pre-Check but didn’t want to invoke it because I didn’t, or whatever, I’d be like “a little weird that you like setting money on fire but go off, fam.”

  19. I should really pick a name*

    Ask yourself this: Why does someone deserve better pay just because they’re a better negotiator?

    Rigid salaries based on objective criteria are a feature, not a bug.

  20. Hiring Mgr*

    It can be hard to stick to a no negotiating position when you are desperate to hire. In 2021 we had to offer candidates (of all genders) signing bonuses and other incentives because they had multiple offers and it was either do that or nothing

    1. AngryOctopus*

      But then everyone will get the SAME signing bonus/incentive/whatever you’re offering to entice candidates. Still much better than negotiating.

    2. Somehow_I_Manage*

      My take is that that is fine, but it should be part of a feedback loop. “Goodness, we need to pay new hires $80k to attract the candidates we need. We’re only paying our current staff $60k!”
      The conclusion from this is twofold:
      A) We need to raise our internal pay scale, because it’s out of line with the market rate, and if we don’t they will leave!
      B) Offer competitive salaries to potential candidates.

      Electing to to B without also doing A is unsustainable and unethical.

    3. Still*

      If people don’t want to come work to you for what you’re offering, without negotiating, for new hires and current employees alike, then you’re not paying enough, period. You can raise the salaries across the board to make them competitive… Or you can’t afford to hire people.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Or you can’t afford to hire people.

        This. I am so sick of businesses saying “If we offered more than minimum wage we would go out of business!” IMO, if you have to lowball people to make your books balance you are doing business wrong, and probably should not be hiring anyone until you figure that out.

    4. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      Offering bonuses and incentives doesn’t really sound like negotiating salaries, though, especially if you were offering them up-front rather than in response to negotiations. (I assume you were offering them across the board? And making sure your existing people also got bonuses?)

  21. Lily Potter*

    A couple of US legal questions on #3:

    a) in a company without formalized salary bands, how does a company recruit a “superstar” from another company without blowing their entire payroll? In order to lure said superstar to your company, you’ll have to open the checkbook…….does that mean everyone at the company is supposed to get raises to match?

    b) similar question to above but with PTO or other benefits instead of salary. Superstar is recruited in at a salary comparable to others in the company but will only take the job if they give two more weeks of PTO than is standard at new job. Is it illegal to grant that without giving the same to others?

    1. Person from the Resume*

      “Superstar” is not equivalent to a non-superstar employee. Whatever superior performance, outcomes, experience, skill makes them a superstar is the justification for paying them more.

      I’m pretty sure the law applies to salary and not benefits. You can’t use a protected class as justification for treating employees to benefits differently but being a superstar / not being a superstar is not a protected class.

      1. TechWorker*

        Still think the question is valid tho because the hiring market goes through upturns and downturns. Sometimes companies may have to pay more to get ‘anyone’ not just a superstar, and whilst in an ideal world they’d then make sure they’re paying everyone else more too… that feels a bit unrealistic to me.

        1. tg33*

          Depends where you are. In government jobs the bands are rigid, and if it doesn’t suit someone, then they don’t sign on.

        2. Person from the Resume*

          The answer to valid for Lilly Potter’s question about a high performer. Two superstars male and female are legally required to be paid the same. But a superstar and non-superstar do not have to be. And, yes, the company should be able to articulate how someone is a superstar. But the US law is not saying everyone gets paid the same for the same work regardless of experience, skills, training, merit.

          If you’re hiring two people with the same qualifications to fill the same role and the male candidate negotiates for substantially more, you either hold firm on the salary you’ve offered or, yes, you need to increase the salary of the female candidate even if she already accepted your lower offer. It doesn’t matter if they’re hired at different times; the law requires you to pay men and women the same for the same work if they have the same qualifications (unless it’s due to seniority or an established merit system).

    2. I should really pick a name*

      Presumably if they’re a superstar, there are skills that they provide that your existing employees don’t.
      If you can clearly identify what distinguishes them, that can justify the higher pay.

      The idea isn’t that you pay everyone the same. The idea is that pay is based on actual, measurable criteria and not just “he asked for more”.

      The problem is when you get into a situation where you just think they’re great but can’t articulate why. That’s usually where unexamined biases start creeping in.

      1. Czhorat*


        And those unconscious biases tend to favor those groups already overrepresented in whatever field.

        Do you want to pay more for years of experience in a similar role? Relevant certifications? That makes sense. That’s they asked you on a day you were in a good mood and that madea good impression? No.

    3. Generic Name*

      As someone who works for a small company, sometimes the answer is that you can’t afford to hire the superstar.

  22. Introverted manager*

    For letter #2, back when I conducted in person interviews, I used to (politely) refuse to give my last name. The reason being that my last name is unusual and as letter writer pointed out, you could usual figure out my work email from that. When people did figure it out, I would get emails about how the process was going and whether we decided to hire them. For a variety of reasons (mainly because my VP had final say and we have a recruiting department trained to answer/triage those types of questions) I didn’t feel comfortable answering those questions. People would send me thank you letters through the recruiting team. Now that most interviews I conduct are remote and the software shows my last name, I don’t really have much choice in the matter. But that might be why. Of course framing it politely is key. I would say “oh, it’s just Jane” on the occasion I was asked.

    1. Introverted manager*

      Also, I am the only person with my title at my company, so if they wanted to, they can and do pretty easily find me on LinkedIn, if they were really curious about me

    2. TechWorker*

      Right, depending on the role and how many people they interview, the interviewer may not consider the possibility of you adding them on linked in and contacting them in the future a positive. Also whilst there are positive ways to say ‘I wanted to look up your work history’ there are probably ways to say it that come across negatively.

    3. Samwise*

      Eh, candidates always have my email address when I;m chairing a search committee.

      I have template emails for people inquiring:
      1. not yet applied: directs to online application system
      2. applied, hasn’t heard anything: we will contact you if we wish to interview you
      3. invited to interview: I answer these individually
      4. Interviewed, hasn’t heard more: I answer these individually
      5. Interviewed, rejected: repeats the rejection letter
      6. Persistent after rejection: refer to HR
      7. Yet more persistent after rejection: filter out and save, don’t respond, alert my boss and HR
      8. Crazy town: same as #7, generally U legal and campus police are brought in to address

      So, that’s a bit of time, even with templates, but not a huge amount of time, and I see it as part of the hiring process.

      In general, I think candidates should have my full name, and finalists meet with the hiring officer and get their name. A smart candidate will look me up and certainly should do some digging on the hiring officer.

    4. Meep*

      Yeah… Maybe it is the sexist world we live in, but as a woman, it made my hackles rise at the idea of someone wanting to know my last name just to look me up. It just seems impolite to even ask when the info isn’t volunteered.

      Besides… on top of being annoying and getting emails from interviewees, you have no interest in continuing with, it can actually be a security risk for women. And yes, there are men (and women) who will happily break that boundary.

      I have been openly stalked by someone using this info to find where I live, flirted with, messaged on Facebook, etc. No thank you.

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        “as a woman, it made my hackles rise at the idea of someone wanting to know my last name” – THIS. And yes, I’d feel this way even if it was another woman asking.

      2. Hen in a Windstorm*

        You’re ignoring the context, though. They don’t want to know the last name of some random stranger, it’s their potential future boss. How often do we read about truly terrible bosses here? How will you find out more about them without being able to “just look them up?”

        The hiring manager has *all* of the candidate’s contact info. What if the hiring manger is a stalker? Why do your hackles only care about the manager? It can also be a security risk for the candidate.

  23. Happily Retired*

    Re: #4: Many don’t realize it, but you can now sign up for PreCheck at a local Staples (business supply stores.) Took about four days for us, no traveling to major airport. It was wonderful.

      1. doreen*

        I don’t know that I would call it an interview, but the initial application for Precheck requires an in-person appointment ( I think you get fingerprinted) and the enrollment centers are sometimes located inside a Staples.

  24. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    (Am I the only one trying to figure out what the phrase “moo demon dog” means?)

    1. Zap R.*

      This is driving me nuts. Is it an Australian Cattle Dog? Is it black and white? Can I safely google “moo demon” at work? So many questions!

      1. Be Gneiss*

        On your personal device, in incognito mode. At least that’s what I do when I need to cautiously google something to satisfy my curiosity. I haven’t tried it on “moo demon.”

        1. Zap R.*

          Okay, after some googling, all I have is a character from Hamtaro. It was probably the fist time I thought about Hamtaro in 20 years.

      2. Brave Little Roaster*

        Going to call my Australian cattle dog a “moo demon dog” from now on. It suits him.

  25. Czhorat*

    LW #3 is not writing a good-faith question; he’s throwing a series of comments he considers clever in opposition to the very reasonable idea that gender discrimination in salaries is wrong.

    As lots of people here have pointed out, “ability to negotiate salary” is not a great predictor of success at any job. There is no reason why this should be the most valued trait in deciding compensation

    1. CharlieBrown*

      I don’t think it’s a bad-faith question. The LW is probably asking about actual scenarios that they have seen, and how they relate to the law.

      Wanting to stay on the right side of the law is not a bad thing for a company to do.

      1. Czhorat*

        You’re kinder than I am; a lot of it feels as if it is trying to make wage equity feel unreasonable. In particular, the stuff about possible inflationary pressure and wage dampening (which are contradictory issues) felt like a search for a problem.

        1. CharlieBrown*

          It’s quite possible that LW was arguing in favor of pay equity and this was the kind of blowback they got.

          There’s no point in automatically assuming the worst of people.

    2. Ask A Manatee*

      Agree. Especially the part about “higher wages can lead to inflation” (I’m paraphrasing). I mean, what if you hire a man at a higher salary, you have to raise the salary of an existing female employee, she adopts a Corgi with the extra money, and the Corgi bites someone? Could lead to an outbreak of dog bites!

    3. Sloanicota*

      As I said above, I’m not sure why it’s a given that the man will ask for – and should receive – more than what the company wants to pay. Why is it discounted that everyone receive the fair, reasonable wage? Maybe instead of having to pay multiple employees more than a fair wage, you tell the guy no.

      1. Czhorat*

        Too often getting a job is like buying a used car or a Persian rug; the number they give you isn’t what they actually expect and there’s the expectation that you’ll play a little game to end up at the “real” price.

        Having someone’s livelihood wrapped up in a game like this is absurd; it punishes people with an immediate need, it punishes people with less skill at negotiating, and it gives TONS of space for the hiring manager’s implicit and explicit biases to determine the results.

        It’s a system that needs to go away.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          Yup, and it punishes people who don’t even know it is a game and that the company is actually expecting to pay more, whether this is because they take things very literally or because they are from a different culture and are not familiar with local norms or because they haven’t been taught business norms or have been raised not to question those “in authority.”

      2. SarahKay*

        I don’t think that is a given that men will get more than the company wants to pay. I think the issue is that companies go in thinking ‘We’ll pay between $x and $x+10, depending on the candidate’ and with a preference for making a starting offer of $x.
        At which point studies show that (probably white) men are both more likely to negotiate, and more likely to have that negotiation seen as acceptable, thus more likely to get the $x+10. No-one is deliberately acting in bad faith, and the company got someone within their acceptable range, but the end result is still inequities in pay.

        1. Sloanicota*

          it’s just feels really backwards to come at that system with a borderline-bad-faith question like, “but since this law won’t let us pay women less, won’t that cause inflation??”

      3. Qwerty*

        What is likely to happen doesn’t fit into a neat box. The company may have a range of X – X+10k, but the male candidate says he currently makes X+20k and will turn down the offer to avoid taking a pay cut. Company decides that his current salary = what he’s worth and justifies it because he has skills Y and Z and clearly his current salary shows what his market rate is, so male candidate gets above the pay range and Company thinks they got a good deal.

        The root of the problem is that companies are valuing men and their skills more than women and their skills, so they view it as Fergus and Jane are each making a fair wage for their skillsets despite it being different salaries, rather than looking at Fergus and Jane are doing the same job at different salaries. And human minds like to self-justify, so if asked about it the manager will find a way to say Fergus is a higher performer regardless of if there is actual proof of that.

    4. Keymaster of Gozer*

      It reminds me a little bit of the ‘if we raise minimum wage then costs will go up and companies won’t be able to run’ argument.

      Which is a flaw in logic. If the response to inequality is to argue the point of the privileged over the actual reality then literally nothing gets done. You remain at the faulty status quo.

      What should be looked at is ‘how do we rise up those suffering under the heels of another?’ and not ‘but what if the privileged party doesn’t like it?’

    5. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      100% – The tone is very “This can’t possibly work and I will write in to show everyone how it can’t work and get confirmation from an expert that it can’t work and then I can share that information because it’s ridiculous for organizations to pay women the same as they pay men if this is what is required of them to do so.”

      But maybe that’s just me.

  26. MurpMaureep*

    LW 5 says they provided references and submitted to a background check. I know no wants to think this, but could those have turned up something and the company/recruiter didn’t want to give the exact reason for “pausing” the process and, eventually, going with someone else?

    1. ecnaseener*

      Sure, it’s possible. It’s also possible they did references and background checks for their top two (or more) candidates though, and LW just wasn’t the first choice for whatever benign reason.

      1. MurpMaureep*

        Oh absolutely, none of these are mutually exclusive. One thing that led me to this was that LW was asked about equipment specifications and start date. Typically (not always) companies don’t get into those details unless they close to extending an offer and starting to plan onboarding.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          Yes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t asking their top three candidates all those questions. This way, if candidate 1 turns them down, they’re ready to move with candidate 2, and if candidate 2 says “oh my start date needs to be 8 weeks from now because [reasons]”, and the company needs someone sooner, then they can pivot to candidate 3.

    2. RecentlyRetired*

      Please make certain that there is not ANYTHING in your background check that would prohibit you from getting the job. If this is a Government Contractor position, the security background checks can be very detailed. They don’t just interview the people that you listed, they often ask those references for additional names of people who know/knew you in both personal and work situations.

  27. ABCYaBYE*

    LW1 – When you approach HR or someone with authority in your office, mention that you’re taking that dog on walks and cleaning up after the dog and that’s taking away from your work. That might help shut things down more quickly. If your productivity is diminished (and I’m all for inflating the actual amount if need be here) because you’re caring for a dog that belongs to someone who DOESN’T EVEN WORK THERE that should be all the reason necessary (not that there wasn’t already) to have this silly charade stop.

    Now, if there’s a dog that comes in to the office with a coworker and you get some joy from taking that dog for a walk, that’s a different story. I’d be happy to take a quick walk with an office dog every once in awhile. But that’s not what is happening here. If your office has become doggy daycare and you’re spending time caring for and cleaning up after the dog, that’s a problem.

    Also, seconding all the suggestions previously to suggest that the dog probably needs to see a vet. Either there’s some sort of medical issue causing the pooping or the dog is just anxious. Either way, there’s more that the owner needs to take responsibility for here. Like Billy Madison said, “You’ve got a pet. You’ve got a responsibility.”

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I think it’s highly likely that the dog is anxious, being left randomly at an office where a resentful person deals with their poop and takes them out for a walk.

  28. I should really pick a name*

    I would love to now how the situation in #1 occurred.
    Did other people walk the dog when the previous employee still worked there?
    How do the drop offs happen? Does the previous employee give the dog to a specific person? Do they leave them by the front door and drive off?
    How did LW#1 end up being the one walking the dog?
    Has anyone spoken to the previous employee about this?
    Is there someone who knows what’s going on and just isn’t saying anything?

    1. Person from the Resume*

      I do not excuse it, but the former employee is a lawyer and refers clients back to what I assume is her old law office. I’m picturing the wierdness that takes place in law offices where the lawyers and especially the partners are king and often have no clue how to manage people.

      “Bluey missed the office and you guys so much. I’ll just leave him here for the day.”

      But, yeah, what happened that very first day. Did someone other than the LW agree to it and just never did anything with the dog assuming LW would do it.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I agree, this is a weird situation! After the first day, how did this not get addressed?! Also, for the OP – dogs are pretty sensitive and the pooping on the floor could be either because she got in the habit once and it wasn’t addressed, so now she thinks it’s okay (particularly if she can smell where it happened before, that will cue her to do it again, or even because she’s picking up on the weirdness of the situation and doesn’t want to be left with people who don’t want her there!

  29. Alice*

    OP4, if you can’t afford to pay everyone doing the job the white man rate, and you can’t explain why the qualifications and productivity of the white man warrants higher salary than everyone else – maybe you shouldn’t have negotiated the higher salary.

  30. Autumn leaves*

    For salary negotiations, now I’m curious about this scenario…. You have two people with the same job title. Same number of years of experience( toward the lower end)

    One comes from a less notable company and a less notable education and the other comes from a reputable tech company and a top school

    The job is engineering /tech. Would they need to be offered the same salary? Because for these hypothet ical positions, education and previous employers can make a big difference in knowledge.

    We are happy to hire someone with less prestigious background if they are bright people. The problem is, the one coming from less known places would probably need more guidance and training in our company.

    There are companies out there and education’s out there which basically tell you they can come in able to work and do what we need to do immediately

    1. Person from the Resume*

      It’s tricky because do you know for sure that their prestiage eductation and prestiage former employer really mean they need less guidance and training?

      However it should be perfectly legal to say I hired two people for the same job and am paying this guy more because he can hit the ground running and whereas this woman will need some additional training and guidance before she can produce at the same level the guy is expected to. And the the point where the company reevaluates salary if the woman is now performing at the same level as her male coworker, she should then be paid the same as him.

      1. Autumn leaves*

        No, we don’t know for sure and that’s why we are willing to hire from anywhere depending on the person

        We won’t hire someone just because they attended a certain program. You have to interview them and ask them questions and check their knowledge. But somebody who attended. MIT or any of the strong engineering schools will have a stronger base across the board because more courses are offered than a smaller state school. We also completely understand that extremely intelligent people are lost in the college process, but they may take a little longer to get up to speed

        Just for the record, we do offer the best we can and people seem happy. We are trying for diversity but we don’t get a lot of options in the hiring process and we are not large enough to hire and train yet.

        1. Czhorat*

          It feels better to measure candidates by the specific courses and programs they took and not the name on the school letterhead. Otherwise it’s possible that you’re buying prestige and not actual skills.

          One way to have less diversity is to focus your recruiting on smaller number of schools or companies which may already have their own diversity issues.

      2. ijustworkhere*

        I used to work for a guy who would only hire graduates from specific schools because he felt that these were the only schools that provided a rigorous education. Of course, the schools he didn’t like were HBCUs, public universities (except Berkeley) and women’s colleges (I didn’t work for him long!).

    2. AngryOctopus*

      I mean, presumably if this is the case, you can point to the resume of the one from the more ‘prestigious’ background and say “we are paying a higher salary to this person based on their 2 years of experience using software X that is our mainstay, with their resume showing results based on using this software. Candidate 2 is aware of this software but has never used it in practice and will need more training, therefore we are hiring them as a more junior person.” And if that junior person is performing the same as the other person after six months–you need to raise the junior person’s salary to reflect that.
      And I mostly disagree with your last line. Where I was educated has little to no bearing on how fast I can pick up new skills–most of the time it has to do with what was affordable to me as a student. The only valid part is saying maybe the company they came from has an effect, but usually only in that the previous company has already trained them on software X, so they are much more familiar with how it works. A ‘less prestigious’ company may not use that software, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t pick up how to use it efficiently with a minimum of training.

      1. Czhorat*

        There are lots of assumptions here; it’s possible that the less prestigious company uses the same software you do, while the more prestigious one uses something different or even custom. Do you KNOW that the “prestigious firm” is giving better experience, or is that another bias?

        It’s also possible that some experience won’t be a fit, regardless of “prestige”.

        (real life example – I’ve worked for some very well-regarded firms in the commercial audiovisual industry focused on corporate interiors, command and control spaces, and higher-education. I was interviewing for a firm that specializes in performing arts spaces. While I have AV experience, it’s not at all relevant; midway into the conversation we mutually agreed that it wasn’t a fit).

        if the experience is relevant, then pay them for it. If it isn’t relevant, then don’t consider it.

      2. doreen*

        I don’t think that last line has to do with picking up new skills – I think it has to do with the fact that that certain education/employment means that the person has previous experience with X and therefore does not need to be trained on X and can hit the ground running while someone with a different background has never encountered X and will need training on it. And the skill(s) may not be software – when I was originally hired at my last employer, people were only hired for that job (Llama Groomer) if they had three years of pretty specific experience. People without that experience could be hired as a Llama Groomer Trainee – and there was a $22K difference in starting salary. Trainees would advance to Trainee 2 later one year and Llama Groomer after an additional year so they weren’t permanently at the lower salary but someone hired as a Trainee in 2022 would earn less than someone hired as a Llama Groomer in 2022 until they got to the top of the paygrade.

      3. Autumn leaves*

        I understand your point but it’s not so much a question of learning a software for us. We are a hardware company. Our software engineers need a more global education

        1. birb*

          Can you explain what a “more global education” looks like? This sounds like a euphemism for “rich and connected”.

          1. TechWorker*

            Of industries that you need to be ‘rich and connected’ to get into, software engineering is not near the top of the list…

    3. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      Would you request transcripts from the universities?

      Because a 3.9 at a less well known institution makes someone a far more desirable employee than someone who graduated with a 2.7.

      Also, what are we considering “less notable” and by whom? I live in State A, and I know loads of really good small schools here, but that wouldn’t be the case if I was hiring someone from State X. Being well known in the industry is one thing, but being a good reputable school where someone received an excellent education is a whole other thing.

    4. Parenthesis Guy*

      Maybe the answer is to make starting salary dependent on testing.

      When you give the technical interview, give each test a score and use that to help determine where an employee falls in the band. Grab a few other metrics that are important, and find some way to quantify them. So, Amy gets $110k because she scored a 9 on the technical interview, a 7 on the behavioral part and has a resume graded as an 8. Bob gets $100k because he scored an 8 on the test, a 4 on the behavioral and a resume graded as a 9.

      The issue is that some people are just bad at interviewing. I suppose the status quo isn’t kind to them anyway though.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        Some people are bad at taking tests, especially when the test is based on somebody’s college coursework, and thus excludes people with different degrees, or no degree, and have no actual bearing on the work.

        1. Parenthesis Guy*

          In engineering/tech, it’s standard for there to be a technical interview/practice exercise to show whether you understand the material. It’s never based on college coursework, but rather the technologies used and therefore by definition includes people with different degree or no degrees.

    5. anon for this*

      I’ve been thinking about the same question, but kind of in reverse. We talk a lot about the “market rate” for a job or role, but is that based on the *work*, or based on the *person*?

      Let’s say Alice is a typical employee in terms of her background for the role and the field, and she’s a strong performer. Based on their research of other companies in the area, her employer determines that the market rate for her role and level is $X, so they make sure they’re paying her accordingly. Pretty easy.

      But now let’s say that we also have Beth, whose background is atypical for the role: what type of degree(s) she has, what roles she’s been in before, or whatever. In any case, she has fewer options than Alice in terms of what organizations would be willing to hire her, and for which types of roles, and for what salary. But her work is even better than Alice’s. The question is, what should the company pay her? The same as Alice? More than Alice? Less than Alice? (If the company makes Alice a counteroffer, should they increase Beth’s salary too?)

      I think there are no easy answers here. (I am a “Beth” and I’m significantly overpaid — more money is great, but the knowledge that I’d have to take a pay cut to leave if I become dissatisfied with my current job is depressing.)

      1. Scooby Doo*

        In my experience, there are survey companies that collect information like title and salary on each worker. When companies set up pay bands, they might use one of those companies to get access to their database. They’ll get a list of roles with generic names, a description of what the role does and at what level, and average salary ranges for different countries and regions around the world.

        So that’s how they determine the market rate. It has nothing to do with the employee’s performance in the role or background. But it’s still a range, so the employer can look at Beth’s higher degrees of education or unique background that makes her even better suited for the role than Alice, and offer her X+10% when she applies.

        There is a whole subfield of HR that focuses on what basis is valid to determine salary, and how to use compensation to retain the best employees. Lots to learn there!

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      The problem is, the one coming from less known places would probably need more guidance and training in our company.

      I don’t agree with this assessment at all. I came from a non-traditional background (education) to work at a name-brand tech company, and it didn’t take long at all to figure out Atlassian products for ticketing and documentation. I was a high performer right away. At the same time, I see plenty of people from FAANG companies who still don’t know what they’re doing even though they have X years’ “experience” with A, B, and C products.

      Assess skills and aptitude, not just number of years of exposure.

    7. Allonge*

      What’s wrong with offering them the same starting salary and adjusting it based on actual performance in a year’s time (or six months, whatever works)?

  31. Dilly*

    #3 – Back around 2009 or 2010 my boss called me into his office. He gave me a letter from HR and said that I was being given an out of sequence raise. At this point I had been with the company for about 4 years and had gotten the average salary increases and the higher end of the merit bonuses (which were piddly compared to corporate America but typical for my niche industry). He didn’t say why I was getting the $3K bump but it was clear to me. I am a woman of color and we had just hired a white man with the same years of experience and educational attainment to join our team at my level. I was on his interview panel so I had seen his CV and knew that we had essentially the same career progression. Because of the weird niche industry, there is a gov’t form that we often submitted when applying for jobs in the industry that had salary history (form has since been revised to remove salary history) on it so I knew when we interviewed him that he made more than I did. The main reason that he made more than I did was that he job hopped every 2 years, which gets you a 5%-10% bump (usually), whereas 10 years into my career I was only at my second company. So they actually didn’t offer him any raise to join our team (we did have much better benefits than his previous job) and gave me a raise to match our salaries. I’m no longer with that company and I do have a lot of issues with them because of other “stuff”, but I respect that someone in HR was keeping an eye on this kind of thing and sought to quickly remedy an inequity.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      … and yes, men job-hop more than women. In many countries, women only get maternity leave if they’ve been working at a company for X amount of time (usually at least a year), so they obviously can’t move if they’re planning to have a baby.

    2. Monday Monday*

      YUP!! Same happened to me. I am a woman in a STEM field. I got “the letter” and so did several of my female coworkers.
      However, they only gave me a $200 a YEAR raise!!!!!! I know for a fact that others and even male colleagues were making more.
      What was funny was the letter was given to me during my 2-week notice period before I left for another role within the company.
      I left the company last year and coincidentally I got “top performer” and the highest bonus before I left. I guess it is easier to pay those out when you don’t have to continue to do that. I had been working toward a promotion and met all the criteria and had excellent reviews, but they kept changing the requirements for promotion (one of the many reasons I left).

    3. LTR FTW*

      I (a woman) landed a job at a startup in the late 90s making $38K, which I thought was pretty great salary for me at the time (it was a big jump from my last gig). About four months in, I got an “out of sequence” pay raise to $50K, which absolutely blew my mind.

      It took me a while to realize that the dude (my age, same education – literally, we went to the same university, same experience) that had the same job as I did must have been making that much more money than I was.

  32. MicroManagered*

    OP5 this happened at my company recently. I was hiring for a position and had a good external candidate AND a really good internal. I ended up hiring/promoting InternalCandidate but I recommended ExternalCandidate for Internal’s backfill posting.

    External interviewed for that job, was a finalist, and then *just before* the offer stage, we found out someone from a different-but-related department was being laid off. Well Layoff used to do InternalCandidate’s job, so she was qualified and had already worked with the team and we knew she was a fit–so Layoff got InternalCandidate’s old job.

    ExternalCandidate wasn’t hired for either position, unfortunately, but it’s really not anything about HIM that influenced the decision.

  33. bean*

    Re #3: I saw a tweet recently where the person was salty about getting a response from a company saying that they don’t negotiate at all, for equity reasons — several of the responses were along the lines of “so unfair!! they should unionize!!!” and I have to wonder what people even think unions DO???

    I have a union job! I couldn’t negotiate when I took it, because the whole idea of a union is that we’ve ~collectively bargained~ for fair salaries across the board, and I didn’t/shouldn’t have to do it individually. That’s kind of the point of being unionized, right??

    1. Phony Genius*

      They must be thinking of professional sports and the like where the players are unionized AND they get to negotiate individual salaries.

  34. MusicWithRocksIn*

    I usually negotiate for more vacation time. The industry I work in has a very big focus on earning vacation time via spending more time at a company – but I am at a point in my life where one week vacation is just not acceptable, and I’m not taking a job unless they offer more. I remember the first time I negotiated for more vacation time they refused to give and I just turned the whole job down, they were *shocked*.

    1. urguncle*

      I’ve never understood, in this day and age, the “vacation depending on how long you’ve been at the company.” People don’t work for companies for 25, 30 years as often now, and you’re telling me that a 40 year old with a family and/or disposable income is supposed to survive at a senior level job for several years at 1 week of vacation without burning out? Not achievable or attainable.

      1. ijustworkhere*

        In the old days, I guess increasing someone’s leave based on years of employment was a retention incentive. I’d be in favor of giving every employee the same amount of vacation and thinking of different approaches to retention.

        1. Filosofickle*

          I wouldn’t mind it being used as a retention method as long as everyone starts at 2-3 weeks (not including sick) and goes up from there. I worked for a company that did that, and there were longtimers who 5-6 weeks of leave but no one suffered in their first couple of years.

    2. Lily Potter*

      I know, right? I asked for additional PTO at the company where I work now, and was refused. Company said it wouldn’t be fair to long-time employees to give that much to me. I shudder to think of what salary negotiations would have been like if there’d been another employee there with my same job title. Sort of “pay equity” in reverse.

      I took the job anyway for a variety of reasons, but made it known that if I run out of PTO and get an opportunity to go on a fabulous vacation (as an example) we’d be having further discussions. It’s something that I’m willing to quit the job and find another one over. My supervisor (who I’ve known professionally for years) has been good about not making me take PTO for random one-off needs, so all may be okay in the end. Still was a very weird experience, and I’ve wondered how many good candidates the company has lost over this over the years.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I was hired by people I knew and had worked for, and was given the impression that they had no power over the (incredibly crappy at the time) PTO policy of the larger company our startup was a subsidiary of. I got zero vacation, two personal, and three sick days at the start, with the promise of five days PTO after six months, and ten days PTO, three personal, and three sick after a year. I had a lot of personal stuff happening that year (kid’s college visits and college orientation, terminally ill dog, romantic partner insisted on taking a vacation together and then ended the relationship three days after we got back from it… had I known, I would not have taken the vacation) and was stoked that my boss, whom I’d known from the previous job, allowed me to borrow from the future PTO. By the time my 6-month anniversary rolled around, I was deep in PTO debt. Went from negative 6 days to negative 1 and then I still had to keep borrowing.

        Meanwhile, a guy got hired and just nonchalantly asked for three weeks PTO at the start and got it. He told me about it and was surprised that I hadn’t negotiated mine and… I did not know what to say to it.

    3. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      This makes me really miss the org I worked for that let us buy 1-2 additional weeks of vacation. Everyone gets X amount, but if you are a person who wants more time off, it allows you to make that choice. I always maxed out my vacation there.

  35. Edward Williams*

    #2: A related situation — I called the telephone company to dispute a monthly bill. The person with whom I spoke refused to correct the bill. She identified herself as “Sally;” I asked for her last name and she snarkily said “I don’t give out my last name!” I escalated the matter to a manager, who asked “Who did you talk to?” [not “With whom did you speak?”]. “Sally.” “Sally who?” “She wouldn’t say.” “I can’t help you.” [click].
    I teach university classes part-time. Neither the department chairperson, nor the Dean, nor the Provost, would ever countenance my beginning a semester: “Hi. I’m Ed. I’ll be your teacher.”

    1. scurvycapn*

      While I can’t explain the part with the manager expecting a last name, when I did internet phone support twenty years ago, company policy forbade giving out your last name, the location of the call center, etc. for safety purposes. There had been issues with unhinged customers attacking/stalking people.

    2. Appletini*

      There is no way in this society that I would give out my real last name to a customer, let alone an angry one. (Or my first name, which is unusual). At my last customer service job we all had noms de guerre so that I could tell a customer my name was, say, Sally Williams and if someone called back and asked for Sally Williams my coworker would transfer them to me, but if someone tried to find the home address of Sally Williams who works for Widgets, Inc, they would not find me.

    3. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      As someone who trains sand works with customer service agents–I’ll never, ever, EVER give out their names. EVER. EH-VER.

      You would be shocked at the number of callers who track them down on social media and harass them–and this is just for agents who have really unique first names (e.g Saromine). Several have sleuthed out their churches and children’s schools to contact them and defame the customer service rep. One showed up at the animal shelter where an agent volunteered.

    4. Jackalope*

      Honestly, if you’re working in customer service that makes perfect sense. Between giving customers a slightly easier route to complaining, vs. protecting my employees from having to give out their information to random strangers that could look them up online and stalk or attack them for not having issued a refund, I’ll take the latter. Being the professor of a class is a more long-term relationship, and while it’s not risk-free, there’s more constraint for students who generally want to continue to have a relationship with the school so they can get their degree.

      (And “Who did you talk to?” is a perfectly acceptable way to ask you that question. Not sure why you’re worried about that.)

    5. no.*

      This is comparing apples to oranges. The CSR had no obligation to give you her full name. What exactly were you planning on doing with that info anyway?

    6. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      I find it amusing? weird? you are comparing being a department chairperson, nor the Dean, nor the Provost with being a call center customer service representative. It’s like comparing apples and dolphins.

  36. Suz*

    Letter #4 reminded me of a time I was traveling to a conference with my boss and a few coworkers. We all arrived at the airport separately. My boss and I saw each other while I was waiting in the non-TSA precheck line and she was in the TSA precheck line. Of course she got through security much sooner than I did. My wait was so long I missed the flight.

  37. I Work for Cats*

    #2 I once had an interview where the interviewer said their name was Pat, no last name. I later found out they were the spouse of the owner. I have no idea if they even worked at the company.

  38. Meep*

    RE #2: I guess I am the only one who hates LinkedIn requests from people I haven’t even met and would’ve been off-put by someone I was interviewing demanded to know my last name.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      The reason why this confuses me is that, from my experience as an interviewer (and what I’ve read on this site), thank-you notes are expected and how do you send one in this situation? I’ve had my candidates suss out my email address and send the thank-yous to me. I admit it felt weird and I as a candidate have preferred to email my contact (HR/internal recruiter) and ask them to pass my letter of thanks to my interviewers, but how does one say “can you please forward this note to Pat” when there are thousands of Pats at the company?

      1. Qwerty*

        Two options that work well

        1) The recruiter set up the interview, they should know which interviewer was in the interview, especially if the candidate sends the thank you by responding to the thread with the recruiter where they pick a date/time. I used to work with another Qwerty who regularly interviewed the same type of candidates as me and we always seemed to to work out it. Sometimes someone would IM us individually to figure out who interviewed Fergus for a trainee role last Thursday, other times they would just forward it to both of us.

        2) Write the thank you to the recruiter/interview team and mention Pat specifically about the things to thank him for. Recruiter can forward to the interview team, everybody gets to see the nice note. Something like “thank you for blah blah blah. I especially appreciated Pat’s explanation of X. blah blah blah. The Y aspect of Pat’s team is intruiging to me given my background in Z” (ok, this example sucks, its been a while since I’ve had to write one)

  39. BeeMused*

    I once had a phone interview where the admin called me then transferred to someone who only identified herself by first name. In answer to one question, I began to explain my process, defining a certain term, and she snapped, “I have a master’s degree in [term].” How would I have known that? Then she asked, “In five years, would you rather be a llama feeder, llama groomer, or llama photographer?” when none of those options was exactly on the career trajectory from this job. I said I’d be interested in learning more about all, but I probably had the most applicable skills to llama grooming. Then at the end, I asked if there were any issues I could clear up, and she said “I’m not going to hire someone for this job who really wants to be grooming llamas instead.” It was all so bizarre I had to guess that maybe this was an obligatory interview and she had already decided on someone else.

  40. Yes And*

    Adjacent to LW#2: Is connecting on LinkedIn with people at the initial interview phase a thing?? I’ve been on both sides of the table multiple times in the past two years, and I’ve never seen this.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I tried once, when my interviewer turned out to be someone I’d worked with at my very first US job in the 90s. He did not accept my request, told the internal recruiter he couldn’t make it that day (when he previously was going to, no problem), and sent someone else in his place. That sent me into a year-long spiral of wondering exactly how badly I’d messed up at that first job, where I’d previously thought I’d done well. 1/10 do not recommend. I would look my interviewers up on LI, but haven’t sent them invites just because they’re my interviewers. I interview very infrequently though. Curious if it is indeed a thing.

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I wasn’t even at the interview, and was contacted by a potential hire. Did not accept but felt very weird about the situation.

      2. TechWorker*

        I mean… he might have also cancelled for a completely unrelated reason! I wouldn’t read too much into that…

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          True, and besides, I left that job almost 25 years ago, the skills I used in it are not transferable to anything that’s in demand today, I took it off my resume eons ago… even if it was for a related reason, it truly does not matter.

  41. AngelS.*

    This! OP does not specify what their role is, and why they are specially ‘targeted’. This seems unfair. As someone who has been admin, I have dealt with people assuming I’m responsible for any task that comes my way.

  42. Student*

    For #4:

    I was the junior colleague on business travel for a while. I was never surprised nor upset when my senior colleagues took advantage of their various travel perks! I would’ve been mortified if they decided to suffer more inconvenience at the airport to stay with me. As the junior colleague, I didn’t want them to think I was so helplesss/naive/dependent that I needed an escort through the airport. I also wouldn’t have wanted them to give up their often hard-earned or already-paid-for perks.

    Things you can do instead: If your company pays for any of the travel-related perks you use, tell your colleagues about that and what the eligibility requirements are. If they take an interest in a specific perk, give them a quick run-down of what they’d need to do to get it, or how you got it. Clue your travel colleagues in on any major travel tips that are helpful at work – this might mean explaining obtuse travel-expensing rules they may run into or want to take advantage of, etc. I was grateful that senior colleagues explained some of the weirder things we could and could not expense, for example – it would never have occurred to me on my own to submit reimbursement requests for laundry expenses while on travel, for example.

  43. Olive*

    Unfortunately, there are ways that companies can discriminate against women without appearing to pay them different salaries for the same job. In my previous company, there were a million different job titles, seemingly reflecting that different people had different job responsibilities… but a new job title would be created every time it was time for a man to move up, women didn’t get these invented promotion opportunities.

    At my current job it’s a little more complicated because the title “senior llama groomer” covers a wide range of experience and qualifications. The salary band is large because it both covers people who have been great workers for 30 years, know everything there is about llama grooming, but don’t want to become a people or product manager, and people who have just moved up to that position and still have a lot to learn. It’s hard to cover all the possible differences between individuals, even when they have the same title.

  44. ijustworkhere*

    I am going to assume that LW #3 was asking genuine questions and not trying to find a way to justify behavior their company has already engaged in. And I am very glad Allison’s answer was so emphatically straightforward. We will never get rid of pay inequity unless and until we are willing to call it out for what it is.

    I am forwarding that Q and A to our HR department. They are trying their best to address pay inequity and getting a lot of pushback. I hope this exchange will help them with their talking points back to hiring managers.

  45. McS*

    LW3 I honestly believe that if this throws a monkey wrench into wages at your company, you are doing it wrong. Also, the monkey wrench has been thrown because this is already the law. You can only negotiate for a significant increase if you were lowballed in the first place, and workplaces that prioritize great performance also prioritize employees feeling valuable and recognized.

  46. Ex-prof*

    #2 — My assumption would be that if the interviewer gave his last name, and you googled him, you’d find something that would make you run for the hills.

    The other possibilities are that he’s extremely paranoid and thinks you would stalk him, or that an unhired interviewee in fact has stalked him in the past, but the first would tend to get my vote.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Stalking sounds like a valid concern, but to me it kind of created a weird dynamic when they knew LW’s last name, but LW did not know theirs. The kind of dynamics that I’d think a hiring manager would not want to create unnecessarily with someone they might end up hiring! This makes me think your first hunch is correct.

  47. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    For the Job Offer that never materialized, I hope the OP just completed the Authorization for the Background Check, and they never ran one on them. In the majority of jurisdictions in the US, employers cannot run a Background Check prior to an offer of employment being made.

  48. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    Dog question: I’m kinda thinking that LW is the admin of the office, because that’s who is likely to get dumped on.
    So this leads to the excellent next encounter: “Good morning, Former Colleague. Good morning, Dog. With whom are you meeting today?”
    and then… “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t see an appointment on my calendar for Dog today. Was there someone else who was going to meet with him? Oh, I’m sorry. Perhaps there’s a doggy daycare who has drop-in hours.”
    and then … returning to Very Important Work and pointedly not assisting in this fiasco.

  49. another_scientist*

    LW3, just to give you a perspective of the upsides here: I work for a large organization with lots of red tape. We employ compensation analysts in HR that advise the hiring manager for each role. They tell the HM what the salary band is, and where that candidate should fall based on their qualifications. There is a bit of room for negotiations, but not a ton. The salary bands are also public, if anyone bothers to look them up. This way, I knew that the offer I was getting was fair. They came up by 2% when I negotiated out of principle, and I was happy to take the offer.

    Our raises are modest but regular, and I am sure a good negotiator here or there will push the salary bands over time. If you have long time staff that perform well but end up in the lower half of the salary band this way, they receive equity increases. It is a thing that truly happens and let me tell you, it is a huge retention factor. I don’t need to wonder whether I am being paid fairly – I can check. There are of course higher paying companies out there – but just knowing that we are consistent internally eliminates a lot of potential frustration.

  50. Parenthesis Guy*

    #3 – I worked somewhere where there was a female and male candidate both hired for the same junior position at a company. The male candidate negotiated for more money. After discussing, they decided to pay the female candidate the same amount for these reasons.

    The challenge is that not all people at the same level are equal and it’s hard to give someone a pay cut.

  51. BorisTheGrump*

    As a lawyer, I would like to respectfully request an article/list of Lawyers Who Had The Audacity. And that this one lawyer who leaves her dog at her previous firm as a form of daycare be put at the top of that list.

    I’m dying to know what her practice area is.

    1. Clobberin' Time*

      It is a practice area where everybody is “too polite to say anything”, so it can’t be a practice area like family law or civil litigation where the conflict-averse are weeded out early on.

      1. Avery*

        Something like corporate law or contract law, perhaps, where it’s not so adversarial?
        Though your phrasing tickles me a bit, as I work in family law myself and I’m still pretty conflict-averse… but a) it’s a trait I’m trying to lessen in myself, not one I want to lean into, and b) I’m a remote paralegal so I’m not the one making the arguments in front of the judge, or even fielding phone calls from angry clients/opposing counsel/whathaveyou, I mostly get to hide behind nicely but firmly worded emails.

    2. anon for this*

      Oh I love this idea. I once worked for a consortium of lawyers who all smoked in their offices (and this was YEARS past when it was illegal in NYC). The unvoiced “so sue me” is so loud.

  52. dedicated1776*

    #4: You should use PreCheck, not only because you paid for it and it’s a great perk, but because it takes you out of the regular line. You are taking up a spot in the regular line that should go to someone without PreCheck. Yes, all the lines go through the same scanners but PreCheck usually has its own TSA agent checking IDs/boarding passes. So that saves a few seconds for a regular line person. And sometimes PreCheck has its own scanner (sharing with crew/employees). So, again, that’s saving time for someone in the regular line. Not to mention the time for each person to shuffle forwards in the line.

    Use the PreCheck lane!

  53. Phony Genius*

    On #4, I feel like there are some parallels with last week’s story about Jane and the elevator. Same answer, essentially.

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

    #4 I don’t travel for work but I think the best option is to ask your travel companions what they would like when it comes to seating on a plane. As someone who has not traveled much, and never by plane, I would find comfort if my boss or another coworker was sitting near me and could guide me on what to do.

    1. antisocial when flying*

      I’m aware this makes me seem pretty unkind, but…the news that a nervous coworker or employee was expecting me to guide and comfort them through hours of travel would be what made me book another flight, tbh.

  55. Database Developer Dude*

    Regarding LW#4, stuff that you pay for, you should use.

    I’m a contractor working in federal spaces, and I’m also an Army Reserve Soldier. When I’m in military spaces, I’ll pop into the PX or the Commissary if I need something. As a Reservist, I’m entitled to do so. If I do so on my lunch break while I’m acting in my capacity as a civilian contractor, so what? If my non-military coworkers wanted the privilege, they could get it the same way I did.

    If your coworkers want Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, they can pay for it. Just like you did.

    The idea that one shouldn’t use something one earned because other people can’t use it is straight outta Kindergarden.

  56. DomaneSL5*

    For me the last name would be something I would have asked about, and really listened to the answer. I am not going to say that this would be a deal breaker for me, but I am really having a hard time finding a reason that would satisfy me for that–other than oops my bad.

  57. DivergentStitches*

    #5 I think it couldn’t hurt to ask the recruiter about it, since OP has developed a relationship with him/her.

    I’m on a job hunt and I applied through LinkedIn for a job. The HR person emailed me directly, we had a good phone interview, and then a few days later I got an email from LinkedIn that the job had been closed and they wouldn’t be moving forward with me.

    I was bummed but sent a polite note saying it had been nice to speak with her, I got the email from LinkedIn, appreciated the follow-up, and asked if she had any feedback for me to be a better candidate in the future.

    She responded that they had just put the LinkedIn job on hold because they had a good pool of candidates to consider, me included, and that I was still in the running.

    So sometimes following up politely does help!

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