open thread – January 20-21, 2023

It’s the Friday open thread!

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

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

{ 1,187 comments… read them below }

  1. Samantha P*

    What’s the best way to negotiate a higher salary once you have an offer? Is it better to do it over email or phone? What do you do if you email the HR person and you don’t hear back?

    And what exactly should you say? For instance if the role lists a salary range of $85,000 – $110,000 in the posting, and they give you an offer of $100,000 or $105,000, how do you ask for that additional $5,000? I would love specific scripts!

    1. Sloanicota*

      Ideally, over the phone I think, although most recently with a promotion I did it over Slack (!) because that was the way the manager was most responsive. Alison has a great post about the right tone to strike and the exact wording. Let me try to find it and I’ll link it in my next comment, which will probably go to spam and be fished out later.

        1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

          Another vote for using these scripts/approaches. I did with my current job and negotiated for the first time in my 30+ professional career. There is also the consideration that women (I am, not sure if you are) are often penalized for negotiating or for negotiating too much/too high where the same is not true for men. Because I was nervous to do it, I practiced saying, “I’m thrilled to accept the position. I was hoping for closer to $X, is there room to negotiate on that?”

          In my case, I asked for a $3,500 difference from the offer which put me at the top of the pay range. I knew my interview went extremely well through, and it was clear the hiring manager wanted me. The HR recruiter said that she’d have to check with the hiring manager since it was their budget and she’d get back with me. I had a revised offer in my inbox in less than 5 minutes.

          1. Kw10*

            This wording actually sounds odd to me because you shouldn’t accept before negotiating! That gives away all of your leverage. It would seem better to say something like “I’m really excited about the job” (instead of “I’m thrilled to accept the position”). And then go into the suggested language like “I was hoping for closer to $X, is there room to negotiate on that?”

    2. Sunflower*

      Most likely, an HR person will call you (hopefully a scheduled call) to discuss the offer. They’ll read off the full package (salary, bonus, etc) and benefits. Write all of this down and don’t say anything except ‘got it’, ‘yes’, ‘uh-huh’- basically acknowledgement you are hearing them. If something is confusing like when coverage starts, vesting dates, etc ask that but don’t ask about the numbers at this time. Let them go through everything. When they are done, Thank them for your offer and express your excitement at hearing from them. Ask them to send you over their entire benefits package to review and anything else in writing if possible. Tell them you’d like a few days to review and they should give you 48-72 hours before scheduling a follow up call (ask for a follow up call if they don’t suggest one IMO). On the follow up, say ‘Thank you again for the offer, I’ve read over everything and I was hoping there is flexibility to come up to X on salary? (or whatever else you want) and then be silent. They’ll most likely tell you that they need to check in with someone and get back to you. If they say sorry it’s firm, I would say ‘Are you positive there isn’t anything else that can be done (or ask for another benefit that you’d like).’ After that, if they’re still firm, it’s up to you whether you feel comfortable saying ‘I would need X to leave my job’. IME most employers won’t pull an offer even if they don’t come up to that amount.

      1. ILoveLlamas*

        This is great advice. The key is that once you counter, be quiet. Do not negotiate against yourself. Even if the silence feels awkward…. Take time to analyze the offer – also key. They want you and think you will be a valued asset to the team. Good luck!

    3. I should really pick a name*

      I don’t think there’s a best way. Probably makes sense to use the contact method you’ve been using up to then.

      It can be as simple as “would you be able to increase the salary to $X?”. It can help if you can provide a concrete reason for the increase, but it isn’t a requirement.

      If you don’t hear back, I’d suggest a follow-up email confirming your email was received, or a phone call.

    4. DEJ*

      Something like ‘I think I’m worth this because of A, B, and C value I will bring to the company.’ is one of the things generally recommended to say. Look up the article ‘what to say when you negotiate salary’ from July 19, 2012 (not posting link in case it goes to moderation).

    5. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      For my current job, I received the offer, called the HR lady and said, “I got the offer letter at $X, and I like it, but I would like it better at $X+10,000.” She said she would take that to the hiring manager, and got back to me that same afternoon at the number I had selected.

      1. mreasy*

        That is similar to what I’ve said – if you could go up on the salary by $X it would make the decision a lot easier for me. Or, for this role I think $X would be appropriate. Will that work?

    6. BlueWolf*

      When I was hired at my current company, the internal recruiter called me with a verbal offer first. When he told me the salary, I said I was really hoping for something like x+$5k. He said that they were pretty firm on the salary, but he would see what they could do. When I got the written offer, I saw that they met me in the middle. It wasn’t a significant amount, but I felt pretty good because it was my first time negotiating salary. I’ve been at the same company 6 years and they have been pretty generous with raises/promotions, so I haven’t even needed to negotiate since then!

      1. Mztery*

        So much of this is depending on why you want the increase at the top of the scale. I would certainly have a list ready of why you feel you deserve to be at the top.

    7. Midwestern Weegie*

      When I recently negotiated a promotion, I did it over Slack (my manager’s preferred contact method). I said “Thanks for the offer. I’m really excited about the potential here. Regarding the salary- given my lengthy experience in llama grooming and proven track record in my current role, I was hoping for something closer to $X (offer + 5K). Is that something we could do?”

      I got an immediate response of “Hey- thank you for advocating for yourself, let me talk to (Big Boss) and get back to you”.

      I got an offer the next morning for 2k over what I had asked for. All good.

  2. Jo*

    Change Management Courses:

    Looking for something I can use my training budget on this year, and change management is an area that is relevant to my role that I’d be interested in diving into a bit more. Does anyone have recommendations for courses in this field they’ve taken? Ideally offered online

    And more specifically, has anyone taken any courses offered by Prosci? How would you rate them? They are more on the expensive side so would like to make sure they are value for money!

    Alternative topics also interesting to me if anyone has recommendations: service design, organisational design


    1. Shorty Spice*

      I haven’t done the Prosci coursebut my work friend has and she really liked it. It’s pretty rigorous but over a short period (hers was M-F).

      Something to consider is the certification’s portability and reputation. So if the standard is Prosci then if this is about positioning yourself for a career or industry change meaning you don’t necessarily have relevant experience, I would go with the name brands vs more generic.

      1. Jo*

        Yeah, my job inherently has change management aspects to it, so I do have some experience, but thinking more about setting myself up in future and what will help me really grow in this sphere. I’ve generally liked what I’ve read from Prosci in the past so like you say, good name to have on there and good to hear the course was worth it!

      2. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        Another vote for Prosci. Exactly what Shorty Spice said — it’s recognized by change management professionals and one you can use no matter the job or company.

    2. Change Manager*

      I did the ProSci training virtually this fall and recommend it. Yes, it’s expensive but it’s also one of the only change management certifications that is regularly called out in job ads. It’s 3 days of intensive training with a few hours of prework before the course and each night. At the same time, you are asked to work on an actual work initiative so you are able to connect the learning to actual work you are doing right away.

    3. Josh Lyman*

      I took the Prosci certification this summer and loved it. I did the virtual course and it was engaging and practical. Lots of real-world applicability and you come away with a lot of templates/resources that you can use. You will need to come with a robust ‘change’ project to work through.

      It’s also helpful to note that many local chapters of the Association of Change Management Practitioners (ACMP) have a deal with Prosci to save money off the tuition (I saved $800 after factoring in membership dues). Find your local chapter, then go to their events page. If reduced-rate Prosci certification is available it will be listed. Mine offered options for in-person and virtual.

    4. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      I’ve taken the 3-day Prosci course, fully remote, and found it very useful. (And I have low tolerance for nonsense that’s built from some dude’s shower thoughts rather than evidence). There was a lot of information and my brain was kinda full by the end of each day. The cool thing is that we were asked to use an example from our actual jobs to work on during the course, so we ended up with useful draft materials to build on at the end.

  3. Person from the Resume*

    What are your thoughts on Alec Baldwin being charged with involuntary manslaughter in the on-set shooting death? It was a workplace death.
    Baldwin, who was holding the gun at the time it fired, and “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter,
    The Santa Fe District Attorney said, “After a thorough review of the evidence and the laws of the state of New Mexico, I have determined that there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges against Alec Baldwin and other members of the ‘Rust’ film crew. On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice.”
    Carmack-Altwies told NBC Nightly News on Thursday that “prison is not necessarily the goal” of bringing charges against the defendants.
    Assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun that day, signed a plea deal for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the DA’s office. He has a suspended sentence and six months probation.
    I’m not even a fan of Alec Baldwin, but I am shocked. I also not a huge movie fan so I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it strikes me that the armorer should be charged because it’s her job to make sure the gun is safe and not loaded with live ammunition. Even in a tragic accident, she did cause the death by doing her job badly. But in a case like this Alec Baldwin had no reason to suspect the gun was loaded, and in the role of an actor they need to trust what the armorer tells them about safety. The armorer is responsible for getting the gun loading it with the correct rounds, and handing it over to the actor and relaying to them how to handle it safely so I think it is not his fault. I haven’t seen anything saying he was acting unsafely on the set handling the gun.
    OTOH apparently Baldwin has claimed he didn’t even pull the trigger and I don’t buy that. I think he did pull the trigger on what he believed was a safe weapon and is denial about that. It’s understandable to be shock after something so awful happened. Or he’s doing CYA.

    The counter argument explained is that Alec Baldwin was also producer on the film and he may be being charged in that role because there may be evidence that his set was “fast and loose when it came to weapons” and that could be his fault as management. That isn’t captured in the headlines, though, hence my shock.

    News sources:

    1. Tuesday*

      It makes sense to me. He was also handling the gun in an unsafe manner and, as a producer, contributed to the unsafe environment on set. It doesn’t really matter if it wasn’t his job to make sure the gun was unloaded, it was still his responsibility. The “involuntary” part acknowledges that of course it was a horrible accident, but it was still negligence resulting in a death.

      1. Tuesday*

        Sorry, I should have clarified – it’s unsafe to point a gun at anyone without checking if it’s loaded first. If that wasn’t part of the protocol on set, it should have been. Especially since the armorer wasn’t even present when this happened.

        1. SofiaDeo*

          But blanks look like bullets. And produce smoke like a real bullet, which is probably the “look” they were trying to capture on film. So IMO this doesn’t apply. Whoever handed him the gun should/likely did verify there was *something* in there, otherwise the scene would probably have to be reshot. The slight recoil and smoke would be needed for authenticity.

          If Alec Baldwin was only there as an actor, I don’t think he should be held responsible. But since he is also a producer, *that* is the basis of the criminal charge. Producers, like other “top people” in dangerous situations, are responsible for safety protocols being followed.

        2. Despachito*

          In normal settings, yes.

          But this was a film, and the gun was SUPPOSED to be loaded (with blanks but is it possible to tell?).

          1. SnappinTerrapin*

            Yes. Blanks do not look like bullets. They don’t have that heavy lead projectile in front. Instead, they are crimped or closed with a paper wad to keep the propellant from falling out.

            1. Najek Yuma*

              Blanks look different than live rounds when they are out of a firearm, but when loaded into a firearm- especially a revolver, which I assume was being used since this was a western, they would look identical. The difference between a live round and a blank is at the “front” of the round, where the brass casing is crimped together rather than having a bullet inserted.

              But in a revolver, the only part of the round that is generally visible without unloading the firearm or pointing it at your face (no recommended, even with blanks), is the rear of the bullet – which looks identical between blanks and a live round. I assume that on a film set the armorer is responsible for loading all firearms, and you don’t want actors loading and unloading even blanks. So I would expect an actor to totally rely on the armorer and not be expected to check the loadout (or have the knowledge to do so of a firearm). (Source: Have been shooting firearms of different types for 20 years and have a gun range membership).

              1. Despachito*

                This is my take too – that as an actor, you are not supposed to check everything, and you just rely on the armorer.

                However, if it is true that the staff were horsing around with those guns shooting with real bullets during breaks, it was an awful safety risk and no wonder it ended bad.

                I am wondering who is responsible for that (likely the armourer?) and how much power did she have to make them stop? I am wildly speculating now but how likely it is that the producer was kind of cheap, did not hire the best professionals and the atmosphere was not very professional either, and as he was a celebrity the armourer was afraid to impose strict rules /felt she couldn’t? Still her fault, but I can see how the producer could contribute to this if I am right.

                I wonder whether AB is sued just as an actor (which I would find unjust) or as the producer as well (which I would find justified)?

              2. SnappinTerrapin*

                A responsible person handling a firearm opens the firearm and personally verifies what it holds. If that means extracting each cartridge (as in the old single action, gate loading revolvers), that is the standard of care.

                A responsible person also does not point a firearm loaded with blanks at another human being. At close ranges, the wadding can cause death or serious injury.

                A person who doesn’t know for certain what a “safe” distance is for shooting a blank cartridge toward another person should assume there is no such thing as a safe distance.

                Handling firearms is a tremendous responsibility. Hollywood has mis-educated a lot of people about the inherent risks. Relying on someone else to prevent oneself from killing another human being, rather than accepting that responsibility personally, is the height of blame-shifting. Some responsibilities can be shared, but that doesn’t absolve the individual from personal responsibility.

                1. AcademiaNut*

                  The fact that someone was shot and killed means that there was multiple points of failure – there are supposed to be layers of protection; from having someone in charge of firearms on the set as a whole, locking up live ammunition and real guns when not specifically being used (and having live ammo separate from blanks at all times), having a check-out process and safety clearance when a fire arm is used, to having any person using a gun personally and carefully checking the loading status, to not firing a gun in the direction of someone. All of those had to fail.

                  And really, there’s no reason they *have* to use real guns an ammunition (I know, it looks more authentic, but movies have figured out how to simulate sex and death without actual intercourse or murder, because they can’t explain dead bodies or assault as “but it looks better”.)

                  So yes, I can see that they want to make it very, very clear that this is a serious issue which will result in significant punishment, *and* the people in charge can’t throw lower level employees under the bus to avoid that punishment. It’s not just for this case, it’s to set a precedent so it doesn’t keep happening.

      2. Totally Minnie*

        I remember seeing a lot of actors at the time of the incident talking about how they always went through the weapons check alongside their props crew so both the actor and the armorer/props specialist would know the weapon was safe. The consensus at the time was that not doing that was a dereliction of duty for both the props crew AND the actor.

        Also, Alec Baldwin is a veteran actor with decades of experience and large amounts of power on any film set he inhabits. If he noticed that weapons were not being handled at the safety level that is otherwise standard in the industry, he had both the obligation and the authority to make sure the process was corrected. He was negligent in this as well, and it’s right for the court to acknowledge that.

      3. NotRealAnonforThis*

        That’s where I keep coming back to – assuming you’re being given the correct information is just not how I was raised with regards to firearms. (Hunting and law enforcement adjacent family) If you are handed a firearm or pick up a firearm, you verify if it is loaded or not, first.

    2. Nicki Name*

      I think that unless the DA thinks someone really wanted someone dead or injured, nobody should be facing criminal charges. This should be handled by OSHA as a workplace accident.

      But I think that from a workplace safety perspective, Baldwin absolutely shares responsibility. Everyone who is handling a dangerous tool needs to make sure for themselves that they are doing so in a safe manner.

      I used to work in an industrial environment, and one of the safety principles constantly repeated there was that safety is everyone’s responsibility. You don’t ever just assume something you’re coming into contact with is safe. You always check for yourself that the thing is switched off, or the lockbox is secure, or the safety harness is in good condition, or the gun is unloaded.

      1. Bess*

        It’s guns, though. There’s no accidents with guns, there’s only negligence. That’s what brings it into the criminal realm.

      2. Bess*

        Also, what you are describing is the difference between murder and manslaughter. Manslaughter is on the table.

        1. Clisby*

          More than that – he’s charged with involuntary manslaughter. At least in my state, voluntary manslaughter is a much more serious crime (and of course murder is even more serious.)

      3. Meep*

        The main reason he is charged is because he didn’t pay to have an armorer on set that day. She was technically being paid for props. I think the reason the armorer is charged is she didn’t technically leave and did handle the guns earlier that day despite not being paid and insured to.

        Hence the involuntary manslaughter charges.

      4. Person from the Resume*

        I disagree with this “I think that unless the DA thinks someone really wanted someone dead or injured, nobody should be facing criminal charges.”

        Involuntary Manslaughter charge means that it wasn’t on purpose, but negligence of the accused caused a death.

        But I appreciate all the additional info and nuisance the commenters are bringing to this. As I said, I was initially viewing it from the actor being charged, not the producer who was setting the tone for the work place environment.

      5. SofiaDeo*

        But this would mean it would be OK to shoot someone while teaching a shooting class at a shooting range, if you didn’t mean to hurt someone. Or make it OK to kill someone while driving a bus or truck impaired, because you didn’t mean to kill someone. Or hurt people in a boating accident, because you didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I call BS, sorry. As adults, we have to be aware of potentially dangerous things that affect others, and act accordingly. “Involuntary Manslaughter” IS the charge when it is assumed the effect is not intentional! But there have GOT to be repercussions for choosing to not take care, when doing dangerous things that might affect others.

    3. Other Alice*

      I’m not an expert but I read a bit about gun safety on film sets after the accident. I do believe in this case Baldwin was negligent because when he was given the weapon he should have watched the armourer inspect it to confirm it wasn’t loaded, then checked it himself. It is protocol for actors handling firearms on set. Of course the armourer is also responsible, and it seems there were previous incidents that show this production was not following safety rules. It’s a very sad story.

      1. Sunshine*

        He also should not have had his hand on the trigger when they weren’t even filming the actual scene. He claims he didn’t, but how else did the gun get fired?

      2. Meep*

        Couldn’t watch the armorer, unfortunately, because there was none on set. Hannah was on props that day. :)

    4. Rosemary*

      I agree that it was the armorer’s fault. But I think as producer it makes sense that A.B. is also held accountable – similar to how a company may be held accountable when one of their truck drivers kills someone in an accident.

      1. Meep*

        FYI – There are no armorer on set that day. Hannah was, but she was being paid for props and wasn’t insured as an armorer, because Baldwin refused to pay her for it

        1. Sunshine*

          I feel for Hannah in all of this. It sounds like she was not given the resources to do her job safely. I don’t think that’s entirely an excuse, but she’s very young and I can easily see why she wouldn’t feel comfortable pushing back to Alec freaking Baldwin.

          1. BuildMeUp*

            Wait, why would she need to push back against Baldwin specifically? I’m confused. My understanding is that she didn’t do her job and that’s why she’s being charged.

            1. Sunshine*

              Casper Lives commented about it down this thread a little, but Baldwin was producing the movie and was responsible for a lot of the things that happened that day.

              1. BuildMeUp*

                Okay, but… she’s not a child. She’s still the one who handed the gun over to the AD without properly checking it.

                1. Casper Lives*

                  I want to be clear I’m not excusing her actions. I think she shouldn’t have held the position as top armorer, based on reports coming out about her inexperience and lack of professionalism. But I don’t think Baldwin is in the clear. Not only is he much more experienced, but he took on the role of executive producer and was around set to see Hannah’s performance every day.

                  But this set operated strangely and unsafely, from what I understand from friends in film. I live in Atlanta so there’s lots of film industry around.

                  Hannah was in charge of both props and armory. Usually 1 person is paid for each position. She was told to be on props that day. Then they wanted to do the gun scene blocking. So she was told to load up 3 guns with blanks and leave it on a cart (improper!!).

                  The AD, who later took a plea deal and also was shot but lived, grabbed the gun, declared it was safe to the set without checking it, and gave to Baldwin. Baldwin didn’t check it, nor did anyone else. Baldwin shoots. It’s murky whether he was supposed to shoot, there was a misfire, or he wasn’t supposed to shoot. The director dies and AD is wounded.

                  Now, there’s more coming out about the story. I did the best I could but I might’ve gotten some details wrong. The trial should flesh out details.

                  It’s tragic. No one meant to kill or harm anyone so it’s appropriate to have charges of manslaughter instead of murder. The question is whether there was criminal negligence. I expect that’s going to come down to expert testimony on the responsibilities of an executive producer, duties of a head armorer, specific details about what Baldwin and Hannah knew, etc.

          2. Meep*

            I agree. Like I don’t disagree with her being charged with manslaughter as she should’ve put her foot down, but I also acknowledge, she is nobody in comparison to Baldwin and he was a nasty piece of work before this.

        2. BuildMeUp*

          Do you have a source that says Baldwin specifically refused to pay her? It seems unlikely that Baldwin would be involved in a decision like that as a high-level producer.

          1. Meep*

            So he was paying her. He refused to pay for her to be an armorer and the insurance that is required past eight days. This was day 12, I believe? So she was being paid, but for props while being expected to also act as an armorer.

            The OSHA report is a good place to start. They found her not responsible because she wasn’t being paid as armor that day (and not even on set when it happened!) and Baldwin and Rust were responsible (and fined the production) for not having an armorer on site.

            Another note, few hours previously, union workers had walked off set for safety reasons. Though, it is also possible they used that because he was threatening to replace them with non-union workers and were all about to be fired.

            1. BuildMeUp*

              he refused to pay her

              …he’s not paying her, the production company is paying her. The production company hired her.

              Nowhere in the OSHA report does it say the number of paid armorer days was something Baldwin was involved in. The report specifically cites Gabrielle Pickle, the line producer, as being the one involved in that discussion.

              Which is what I expected, because a line producer is the level of producer who would be making decisions like that.

              The overall safety of the set was absolutely Baldwin’s (and all other producers’) responsibility, but these day-to-day decisions would be handled by lower level producers on pretty much any set.

              1. Despachito*

                So if I understand it well, the chief producer was a cheap ass trying to save money wherever possible and that’s why they let Hannah handle two jobs with unclear boundaries. It absolutely does not let her off the hook but she would by far not the only one to be accused.

                1. BuildMeUp*

                  Yeah, I’m mostly responding to the above commenter’s assumption that Baldwin would have been involved in the decision to have her handle two jobs; a producer at his level is generally much more bigger-picture than that.

                  I’m honestly surprised that the producers who were aware of the safety issues aren’t being charged with anything.

    5. Wild*

      My husband is a criminal attorney and wasn’t surprised at all. We aren’t in New Mexico, but my husband said he’d have likely been charged in our state too. He said it has more to do with Baldwin being a producer and cost cutting measures they took, which jeopardized safety.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        This is the correct answer. The charge is (IIRC) 4th degree manslaughter. This is the criminal version of wrongful death in civil litigation. The D.A. appears to believe that Baldwin had a duty of care to the deceased because he was a producer of the film, he breached that duty, and the death resulted.

      2. irene adler*

        I was not in agreement with the charge.
        But your explanation makes sense (it was not the aspect I was viewing things from). I now understand charging him is the correct thing to do.
        Thank you.

    6. Gun Safety Matters*

      He absolutely should be charged.

      I am a concealed carry holder, and go to the range frequently. The person who has the gun in hand is *always* responsible for each and every projectile that leaves the muzzle of said gun. Period. It doesn’t matter that it was for a movie, if one is holding a gun, one is responsible for the safe handling of said firearm which means following the rules of gun safety (which were neglected by a number of people according to the reports). If you are handling a gun which is capable of firing live rounds, you are personally responsible for what happens while you are handling it.

      Rule #1 All guns are always loaded (until you have *personally* verified otherwise–you do *not* rely on someone else telling you so)
      Rule #2 Never let the muzzle cover something/someone you are unwilling to destroy (ie point the gun at a thing or person that you don’t intend to shoot)
      Rule #3 Keep your finger off the trigger until you have verified target and made the decision to fire.
      Rule #4 Know your target and what is beyond your target.

      Now with rule #1 … multiple people (including the armorer) violated this rule and reports that they did shoot live rounds at times with apparently the same firearms … well, this is why it is rule #1. Had that rule been followed, the shooting would not have happened.
      Rule #2 .. Mr Baldwin violated this rule.
      Rule #3 .. Mr Baldwin violated this rule
      Rule #4 does not apply to this situation because there was no intended target

      And yes, the fact that he was the producer and hired the armorer does factor into things, too, but the bottom line for me is that he violated 3 out of 4 gun safety rules and was the direct cause of the negligent discharge which killed another human being.

      1. Sunshine*

        I do think rule #2 is tricky on a film set – it sounds like they wanted him to point the gun near the camera in order to test that shot, and guns are pointed at people in movies all the time. But maybe that’s a lesson for the film industry as a whole, and if other safety rules were followed it wouldn’t have had this outcome.

        1. Warrior Princess Xena*

          I’m surprised they had live ammo on set at all. Surely blanks would have been a better choice?

          1. Sunshine*

            I thought that too. Or even prop guns? I don’t know the industry, but why have live weapons on set at all?

            1. Casper Lives*

              Yes. Sadly, the crew took guns to shoot for fun on off days. The guns used on set should have been key in a locked set, accessible only by the armorer, and never been near live ammo, only blanks.

              The armorer repeatedly sent emails and sounded the alarm to all the producers, including Baldwin, about lax safety standards. They were so cheap they kept pulling her to prop duty instead of armory.

              The gun wasn’t supposed to be used that day at all. It was a rehearsal with no armorer scheduled. Baldwin wanted to do it anyway, so they did. That’s another reason he’s being held responsible.

              1. Not Australian*

                “Sadly, the crew took guns to shoot for fun on off days. The guns used on set should have been key in a locked set, accessible only by the armorer, and never been near live ammo, only blanks.”

                Yep, that’s what makes the difference: this was negligence, pure and simple, and as the producer Baldwin is ultimately responsible.

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Can confirm. I do not currently have a gun but I have had multiple family members take me to the range, from both sides of my family, and from both a hunting and a military background. The first and greatest rule of gun handling is that you should ALWAYS assume the gun is loaded and the second rule is that you never point the gun at something you want to shoot.

        1. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

          I don’t own a gun, but I also have been drilled in gun safety, but as an adult.

          A friend of mine handed me her pistol one day. By reflex, I checked to see if it was loaded. It was. I left the chamber open and handed it back to her.

          IMO, this should be taught to all students at the high school level, not left to friends training adults. If you are going to have a “gun culture” like the US has, then you should also have a “gun safety culture” promulgated in schools.

          1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            What an excellent idea! I don’t own a gun (except for a family antique that can’t be fired), and I’d never own a gun, but I think it’s something everyone should be taught. I’d suggest middle school, though, with some basics taught even earlier.

        2. Clisby*

          Actually you ONLY point the gun at something you want to shoot. You never point the gun at people, animals, things you don’t want to shoot.

    7. Proofin' Amy*

      Yes, I’m surprised that there isn’t more emphasis on his role as producer in the coverage I’m reading. I think a lot of the blame lies there. I remember reading several months ago that set employees were taking guns with live ammo to go shooting off set, and someone should have shut that down.

      1. The cat's pajamas*

        I still want to know why there is any live ammo on a film set in the first place, I thought they just used blanks? So weird and tragic.

        1. calonkat*

          But keep in mind that blanks can (and have) killed people at short range. Gun safety is important even if there are no live rounds on set.

            1. Liane*

              Also Jon-Erik Hexum, one of the lead actors in the 1970s spy TV series Cover-up.
              He got bored on set during a filming delay and, as a joke, put the muzzle of a blank-loaded pistol to his temple and pulled the trigger. I was in college at the time and I recall my Dad explaining to me and my girlfriends how something we (&, no doubt, Jon-Erik) thought was “safe” had killed the actor.

        2. SofiaDeo*

          A piece of something could have accidentally been broken off from a previous round. Which is why there are protocols for cleaning afterwards, verifying it’s a blank before loading, type of blank, etc. A tragic ending of a failed number of safety checks.

    8. Yorick*

      I don’t know enough about how it came to happen. Were they actually filming/rehearsing the scene and he was meant to be pointing the gun at a person? Or was he goofing around with a gun on set?

      You shouldn’t ever hold a gun so that it points at someone, even if you think it’s unloaded. I learned that as a child before I was ever allowed to touch a gun, and I feel like an actor who received any sort of gun safety training would have been told that too.

      1. Sunshine*

        From what I read, they were setting up the camera and asked him to point the gun at the camera to test the shot. Or something like that. I’m sure it’s pretty common in movies to have a shot where a gun is pointed right at the camera, but it does seem to contradict basic gun safety.

    9. Saligator*

      The phrase that keeps coming to mind is “safety rules are written in blood.”

      There are rumors that multiple safety rules were flagrantly disregarded (some say they went shooting with the same gun with live rounds that very morning), but we probably won’t know the truth of these rumors until trial. We do know of at least one rule that was definitely broken – the police department reports finding mixed live/dummy/blank ammo on set. That is a huge no-no. Therefore, I think it’s totally justified to charge Hannah and Alec, since they were responsible for enforcing safety rules as armorer and producer, respectively.

      It’ll be interesting to watch the trial, just to see what evidence comes forward.

    10. Meep*

      100% should be held responsible. Not only was he playing around with the gun when he wasn’t supposed to, lied about pulling the trigger, etc., he refused to pay for an armorer on set to make sure the gun was safe and OSHA already found him liable. It is time for him to be criminally liable.

    11. BuildMeUp*

      What confuses me is that if Baldwin is being charged in his capacity as a producer, why aren’t the other producers also being charged? I guarantee you that these issues were brought to other producers. If Baldwin was negligent, so were they.

      1. Casper Lives*

        They were and maybe they should be charged. But there’s more evidence for Baldwin. He was on set day to day. He chose to use the gun that day on a rehearsal when the gun wasn’t scheduled to be used. They were supposedly framing the shot so he wasn’t supposed to pull the trigger, yet he did. Accidentally or playing around or otherwise. He actually pointed and shot two people.

        1. BuildMeUp*

          Other producers would have also been on set day-to-day, and more closely involved in the smaller decision-making that led to this. Like the line producer. It just seems odd that they’re not being charged too. A lot of people did things wrong in this situation.

    12. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      I used to work in a prop house, and yes it is the armorer job to make sure the gun is safe and not loaded with live ammunition. The assumption is the actors don’t know shit about firearms (rightly so) they’re actors used to having fake props.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        YES! That’s what I keep coming back to. All these rules about what a person should do if they touch a gun seem (verify it’s safe yourself) seem hard to apply to a random actor who may or may not be trained in gun safety in real life. And who has to point the gun in the direction of other people or the camera and pull the trigger in the course of their acting role. But that’s why there’s supposed to be this specialist on set responsible for the weapons and the safe use of them.

        There’s all kind of nuisance here and now I understand a lot more why AB is being charged, and it now makes sense to me.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Any actor who will be handling a firearm must be trained in standard on-set protocols. It was certainly not the first time Mr Baldwin had been in a scene with a gun. He was well aware of what was supposed to be happening, and what wasn’t.

        2. SnappinTerrapin*

          I never hand a firearm to another person without verifying that they know how to handle it responsibly. That’s not an unreasonable standard of care. It’s the way responsible gun owners live.

          It’s also not a particularly burdensome standard of care. It only takes a few minutes to brief someone on the fundamental rules of safety. It only requires a little effort for the trainer to observe the trainee and ensure they are paying attention, and a few more minutes to test their understanding with a simple dialogue.

          The next step of responsibility is to observe their behavior and to enforce those safety rules.

          There were multiple failures in this incident, and someone was killed because several people were grossly neglectful of their responsibility to prevent this foreseeable tragedy.

          Several individuals failed to meet their responsibility. Each of them is culpable in this death. Blaming each other won’t erase their own guilt.

    13. Qwerty*

      Being an executive producer means that you are on the hook when you allow negligence on set. It looks murkier because he was also the actor in that scene, but its mostly because he was the executive producer and saw enough to know the guns weren’t being handled responsibly. I’m a bit frustrated there isn’t more emphasis in media about his producer responsiblities. Who knows if he was even doing the work of a producer – plenty of actors get the title for the pay bump and don’t realize that it comes with added accountability.

      For example – there’s no reason for there to be live ammo. But people were shooting cans/bottles for fun. Baldwin knew that (can’t remember if he participated). Stuff like that leads to mixups like this.

    14. RagingADHD*

      According to industry standard rules and procedures, as a performer, he should not have even had that gun in his hands at the time. He certainly should not have pointed it at anyone.

      **He should not even have had it in his hands.** He was breaking the rules just by holding it.

      As a union member and particularly as the leading man / name actor, he had the power to refuse to work in unsafe conditions or in violation of protocols.

      As the producer, he was aware of many safety violations on the set, and had the power to insist on changes. There should not have been live ammo anywhere near the same set where performers were working. The crew should have had a safety barrier for any rehearsal involving a firearm. The list goes on.

      He knew the rules. He knew the violations were happening. He broke rules himself. He bears responsibility for his choices.

    15. SnappinTerrapin*

      There are two types of liability in this case, direct and vicarious.

      Baldwin and his company are at risk of vicarious liability for potential negligence in policies and procedures that appear to have contributed to this tragedy.

      Any person who picks up a firearm shoulders personal responsibility for the way he handles it. The first step in managing that responsibility is to personally ascertain whether it is loaded. Not knowing is inexcusable. The second step in managing that responsibility is to keep the finger off the trigger until it is time to pull it. The third step is to know what or who is in front of the muzzle.

      Yes, it is possible for a responsible person to let the hammer drop on a live round, but a responsible person knows where the muzzle is pointed, and does not point it at a human who is not directly threatening the shooter or someone he is entitled to defend.

      If an entertainer wants a “realistic” picture of the muzzle of a firearm being discharged, it is his responsibility to ensure that no humans are in front of that firearm.

      As others have noted, the wadding of a blank can cause serious damage, including injury or death to a human, at very close ranges. It is irresponsible to risk human life when the risks are so obvious.

    16. Loch Lomond*

      I believe it’s more the negligence as a producer; I read many film safety personnel after it happened saying that the protocols on that set were far more lax than the norm.

      If he hadn’t been a producer with heavy influence over which corners were cut, I would agree that it’s pretty wild to charge him and doesn’t seem to make sense on that level.

  4. Pre-doxxing*

    I’m one of 3 finalists for a job that will be very visible (not nationally, but within a large metro area) and may attract anger from members of the public from time to time. Is there such a thing as “pre-doxxing” yourself, to get an idea of what strangers digging around could find to use against you? Like a small-time version of the public image work that’s done for politicians or Hollywood types? I don’t use social media, but I’m sure there’s something floating around.

    1. bunniferous*

      Real estate agents can easily access your homebuying records-what you paid for properties, where they are located, whether or not you have ever been in foreclosure, that sort of thing.

      1. Sabine the Very Mean*

        Anyone can. Go to your county assessor’s website and you can find out if someone even did repairs on the house.

        1. Clisby*

          Yep. At least they can in my state. I can find out whether you’re involved with any lawsuits. I can see if you’re on the state sexual offender registry. If you happen to currently be a state employee making at least $50,000/year, I can find your actual salary. I can find out if you have any business permits. If you’re AirBnBing a mother-in-law suite in your house, I (living in Charleston, SC) can easily find out online whether your short-term rental is legal. If you happen to be renovating your old house here, I can find out whether you’re applied for the right permissions to alter an old house.

          Of course, a lot depends on where you live, but if you live here and want to go to work for a coastal environmental protection nonprofit, don’t think for one moment that your application to fill wetlands won’t be found. It will. This is all public record.

        1. Morgan Proctor*

          This IS the correct answer, though. Put your full name in quotes in an Incognito browser and start there. Do this in as many search engines as you can – Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc. They all work a bit differently and will return different results. Go at least 50 pages in on each search. You almost certainly WILL show up in doxxing aggregators like White Pages. Each of those websites has its own method for removing your data, some easy, some complicated. There’s not much you can do about removing your address from your local tax assessor’s website. If you’re finding things you don’t like, watch a couple SEO guides on youtube, make sure they’re from the last 12 months because SEO guidelines shift a lot depending on how google’s algorithms change.

          Don’t be sassy to people helping you. They are correct. Signed, someone who occasionally has to do a deep dive on a stranger for a living.

          1. Cut and Run*

            Hi! I’m curious why it should be a private browser or a privacy focused browser like DDG? Would using your regular browser settings affect the results?

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I know that if you’re signed in with a Google account, it will sometimes return results that are tagged “from your email” or “from recent search”, which obviously wouldn’t appear on any other Google account (or incognito).

              I don’t know if there are other considerations.

            2. The cat's pajamas*

              There is a phenomenon called “search bubbling”. If you use google or other mainstream search engines, especially while logged into google if you have a google account, it knows who you are. Even if you have location turned off, browsers can approximate your location by your IP address. In the Google example, google knows all about you from what’s in your email, your search history etc. So when you search, it’s less objective. If you search for a restaurant, it’s going to show you restaurants based on where you live, and whatever secret data it gets from the algorithm, likely based on maybe emails from food delivery services or past searches you’ve done, ads you’ve clicked on etc.

              DuckDuckGo is a privacy focused browser and has less of a search bubble. Location might still factor in, but it’s not using that extra data. If you have a VPN you can simulate searches from other locations, too. Private browsing will de-bubble you a little bit but not as much as a fully separate browser, or searching from a different computer/location, like at the library.

          2. m2*

            Do this and if you own your home or can find your addy on any websites lots if times they have ways to get that information off the website. and like others stated you can find that if you really dig, but it makes it more difficult for people.

            My partner works in an industry where we were worried certain people might get angry and show up or write to our home. Nothing has happened yet, but we did it just to be extra cautious.

      1. nans cats mama*

        Depending on the state or county you live in, there are various publicly available databases that would have information on you. The local property appraiser/assessor may have information on any property you own, the address, how much its worth, how much you paid for it, sometimes even a map and a picture of the property. Similarly, the local clerk or whichever office maintains official records may have information about liens, judgements, deeds,marriage licenses, any other document that is recorded. Also court records may be available for criminal or civil cases, including traffic that you may have been a party t0.

      2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Oooh, I just did this and while nothing bad or unprofessional came up, my age and year of birth did! RIP job search. No one will call me back after they see that info.

        1. Been There*

          I have the good (bad?) fortune to share the same name as a popular teen book series protagonist. The FULL name. So when you google me, you get this book series, which is always interesting LOL.

        2. ToS*

          The original post was about pre-doxxing – hiring should not include age (and other protected identity factors) in any part of the hiring process. Generally if you are a strong candidate, you will make it to interview status based on factors within your resume/application – so get that search going, your talents are worth the consideration of other employers!

      3. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        Sarra mentions this, too, but find someone who has recently online dated. They will be your best bet. Truly. I was able to find things like foreclosures, lawsuits, bankruptcy filings, divorce records (or not, in one case), even traffic tickets.

        These two were found via a PI background search/digging–in order to discredit them, a friend of mine found out that their family member who was trying to remove the child/friend from their own parent’s healthcare POA voted 2-3 times in each of the past five elections. Another family member was posing as an RN in our state when she was only licensed as a PA in another state–and had been sued twice there for misrepresentation.

        I say the best bet is to hire a PI to do a deep dive on you. It’s what folks in opposition to you would do.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      So I think you want a different word. Dox/Doxing means to reveal someone’s identity behind their username. Like saying you dislike JoPancakes1234’s opinion, so you post his real name and home address. It’s considered bad.

      You just want to see what exists online under your real name. You can try asking your friends to google your name. You could pay for one of those background checks yourself and see what turns up. Google shows results by location so you may want to search yourself both regularly and with cookies disabled in a private tab. Or from a public computer. Try your name + a site name (facebook, meta, etc). Try variations on your name. Try your name with your old addresses, sometimes property linked stuff comes up. There’s also property tax type city pages, you can’t google directly but if you go to your city webpage you can often find a property database searchable by name or address which contains information about the value of your home and any permits. A lot of scandals though, are just reporters paying people money to tell about the time that now politician peed his pants in 2nd grade. You can’t really predict those. Also you can see amazon reviews by name and google or yelp reviews by name, maybe make sure those aren’t too visible or that you’ve said anything rude….

      Do sanitize your own social media. Untag or ask friends not to tag you at parties. Have a public social media account if you need it separate from your private ones. Don’t post anything non sanitized to your public one.

        1. Not a Real Giraffe*

          Yep! We call it self due diligence in my industry, and as others note, it’s a lot of Googling yourself and using other publicly available (i.e., legal) forums to search your own name. Searching your name on social media sites, whether you have a presence on them or not, is also smart.

    3. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      Small time folk hire publicits from PR firms to do this plenty! You could also look into hiring a private investigator to do it, probably for lower rates than a PR firm.

    4. Pez*

      You can google yourself or do one of those background checks on yourself.

      You might also want to look into a privacy protecting service such as DeleteMe (I know there are others and this is not an ad, I’ve just used their service before and know of them). That kind of service is something you have to pay for, but it kind of follows your records around tidying them up off of the internet.

    5. Sarra N. Dipity*

      This is a skillset I’ve developed over the years – I only use it for good (finding out for a friend that the guy she’d matched with on OKCupid was a QAnon freak, for example), and if you’re comfortable sharing your name/location, I’ve got some free time today…
      (email is my first name dot johanssen at gmail)

      1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        I’m doing online dating now and it’s amazing how many guys aren’t who they say they are. Like if you tell me you’re a surgeon named Ivan in [small city] I can totally find the name of every surgeon in that city and discover that none of them is named Ivan.

    6. Mockingjay*

      It’s worth asking a follow-up question: how do you handle public antagonism on employee behalf? Can you use a nickname to provide anonymity when dealing with public? How have previous incidents been handled? Is there a lawyer on retainer? Who clears public statements? And so on.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        In my city, they’ve voted to increase penalties for assault if the target is a public official, or a government worker or an election worker in their official capacity. As two of those, I found that… somewhat comforting?

    7. Gov't employee*

      I have a pretty boring social media presence but I recently got a Director level local government job in a smaller city – and the local paper printed a whole article about me where they printed my salary and everything I ever put up on LinkedIn. Employees when I arrived also had researched my financial history (what I paid for the past few houses I purchased while moving around), they knew what house I bought here in town and how much I paid for it. I was internally annoyed but just let it slide off me when people talked about it.

    8. Anon4This*

      This is part of what I do as my side gig. The people suggesting searching your name and town, and looking at data broker results, are correct. Try doing image searches (e.g. at images dot google dot com) as well, as images will often be cached longer than webpage text by search engines. Note that there are reasonably affordable services like DeleteMe that you can use to opt out of data brokers, and you can also do it yourself for free, though it’s a lot more cumbersome and you have to re-check every few months.

      A couple of other thoughts:

      Go to the website haveibeenpwned dot com and run all the email addresses and phone numbers that you use through it. It will tell you what data breaches, if any, those email addresses and phone numbers have shown up in, and what other information (passwords, IP addresses, VINs, etc) were in those data breaches. Don’t forget about email addresses that you had when you were younger – I’ve seen people get burned by accounts that they hadn’t used in several years and forgot existed.

      There is a facial recognition search engine called PimEyes. Upload a good selfie or two and run a search (without a paid account you get three free searches per day). It’ll find other places your face turns up online.

      If you own real estate, that’s indeed public record, though if you get yourself out of the data brokers, a lot of people won’t know how to find the public records, or have the energy to bother. There are ways around this but they’re pretty complicated (if you really want the details get the latest edition of Bazzell’s book Extreme Privacy). Voter registration is also potentially an issue, especially if you live in one of the states that has a public online database of voter registrations. If your job and/or your life history by any chance qualify you for your state’s address confidentiality program (if it has one), that could be an option for protection on that front.

      Check privacy settings/what’s visible to someone who’s not logged in, on any apps that you use. I know you said you don’t use social media, but if you use LinkedIn, or payment apps like PayPal/Venmo/CashApp/Trello, or fitness apps that let members see each other’s profiles, that’s something to look at.

      If you have a Google account, someone with the know-how who knows the email address can find all your public Maps contributions (like Google reviews), so check on those.

  5. The Post It Always Sticks Twice*

    Our annual reviews are next month and I’m nervous because my manager is extremely controlling and either tells me what to do or just does everything himself. Even after a year he still doesn’t even trust me to confirm via email about something (i.e.. our program) going live. I feel like if I try to explain or stand up for myself, I’ll get called defensive.

    For additional context, I’ve been at my job 3 years, he’s only been here 1 year.

    1. PassThePeasPlease*

      If you haven’t already I would definitely make “making more autonomous contributions to the team” one of your goals for the next cycle (or whatever wording makes sense in this context). It’s annoying dealing with a micromanager but sometimes they just need to hear someone wants to take on more to work on ceding some of their control. And if you voice this and nothing changes it might be worth a chat with your manager’s manager who might not be aware of the day to day. I wouldn’t frame it based on what’s been already done though, more looking to the future, especially if you think they would view that negatively.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      This is so difficult, but you really need to approach the annual review with curiosity rather than defensiveness. Start by thanking them for the feedback. Ask for some time to process it if you need it, then bring it up again yourself when you’re able to set down your defensiveness and hurt.

      When you are able to discuss the feedback, you need to stay curious. If something rings false to you, dig into it to make sure you’re on exactly the same page. Ask for examples, ask how they would like you to handle a situation differently in the future, ask them if there’s someone else who does this well that you should model your behavior on, etc. The purpose of the questions needs to be informational, though. You cannot ask questions to defend yourself or to point out how much of the problems are their fault.

      After you’re sure you understand exactly what they meant by the feedback, come up with a plan (and a timeline) to improve in those areas and bring them back to your manager. That’s how you turn “my report is doing X wrong” to “my report is so good at accepting feedback, they started doing X correctly as soon as I told them to” (even if you had been doing X correctly the whole time).

      Receiving critical feedback is never easy. Good luck.

    3. cardigarden*

      That sounds really hard to deal with! What I would suggest is write down examples of places where you’ve shined in the past year and practice talking about them. It’ll help you feel good about what you’ve done and you’ll have ready examples to talk about. Then, I would make a list anticipating potential areas that your boss may critique so you can practice answers to that, too. That can help your delivery during the meeting and maybe blunt some accusations of defensiveness.

      But for feedback that’s on par with “send me email confirmations for everything”, your best bet may be to just respond with “Yep, got it, I’ll make sure to do that.” Which is annoying, but probably not the fight you want to pick. Good luck!

  6. Sarra N. Dipity*

    So… I wrote last week while I was freaking out about my upcoming year-end review, and having to write my self-assessment for it.

    Well, good news and bad news:
    Good: I no longer have to worry about writing my self-assessment
    Bad: I was laid off yesterday

    I’m not 100% surprised; like I said last week, I know that my performance has been suffering over the last several months. I was, however, surprised by the timing. Less than a week after I filed for FMLA/short-term disability (reduction in hours, not full leave) to have some more space to deal with the health problems I’ve been struggling with. Part of my brain (the part that was laid off over 15 years ago, when I was 8 months pregnant) is saying this is connected. But another part of my brain is saying that no, they couldn’t be so stupid. Could they? Should I be talking to a lawyer here?

    Anyhow. I’m no longer employed, I’m kind of wrecked, and yesterday was the crappiest day I’ve had in months, but I did want to thank everyone who offered advice and support last week on my freakout post. I read them all, and they were all really kind and helpful, and I’ve saved them for next time around.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Aw, I’m so sorry to hear this. No advice, just commiseration. I remember your post and was hoping it would turn out okay.

      1. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Thank you! Spouse just informed me that even if I don’t find something by the summer, we’ll be FINE. (yes, we have some financial transparency issues at home, but we’re working on it)

    2. The Other Evil HR Lady*

      I say: talk to a lawyer. It won’t cost anything to see what your options are. If the attorney is interested, they’ll take up your case. If not, well.. there’s your answer.

      I’m so sorry you had to go through this in the midst of health problems. Layoffs never come at an opportune time.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Totally agreed. There’s no harm in having an initial discussion with a lawyer. With the limited information we have, it does sound sketchy.

      2. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Thanks, I appreciate it. Do you have any tips on finding a good one? I suppose I could just ask my network, but I will definitely have to be circumspect. :(

    3. Podkayne*

      Visit both of these sites: and to arm yourself with some solid info (also check out your state’s similar agencies) re: possible discrimination.

      Even if the “intent” to discriminate might not have been present, it’s the impact 4hat might be relevant.

      Also take note of who else was laid off. Any similarities that fall under EEOC? That would be a possible “tell.”

      1. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Thanks. No idea who else was affected, other than 1 person. I do have a friend in IT; they might be able to help. I suppose I could also just haunt LinkedIn.

    4. Lady_Lessa*

      Like “The other Evil HR Lady”, I would check with a lawyer. They can be useful in employment situations. (For me, I had to pay one because of a non-compete agreement and that fact that the company wanted me to sign paperwork saying I was leaving voluntarily to receive severance. Since it wasn’t my first lay off, I refused because I knew it would cause problems with unemployment insurance)

      My coincidence meter just spiked when I read about the timing of your FMLA request and the lay off.

      Take care and enjoy your favorite adult comfort beverage.

      1. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Thank you! My girlfriend just stopped by with a grande hot chocolate (my adult comfort beverage of choice), which made such a huge difference.

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

      Not a lawyer but…did they offer any severance? If they did, and you accepted it, that usually comes with an agreement about not making any claims on unlawful termination. If you still have time to consult a lawyer, you can decline the severance if you think you’ll get more by suing, but it’s risky — if you pursue unlawful termination, they’ll pretty likely want the severance back or withdraw the offer, and you might not win your case.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I wonder if it’s possible to *negotiate* for severance at the time – or even after. Probably tough to do.

      2. Sara N. Dipity*

        Yes, I’m supposed to get 4 weeks severance. I haven’t gotten any of the paperwork yet. You can bet your bippy I’ll be reading it extra carefully.

        1. Rhymetime*

          Not a lawyer, just reporting what I heard secondhand about an acquaintance. Assuming the story is accurate, there was something about accepting her severance that left her ineligible for unemployment. Don’t know if that was a rule from the agency or if she signed something in her severance agreement that she couldn’t apply.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            My understanding is you are ineligible while receiving severance. So if you get 4 weeks severance, and in 5 weeks you still don’t have a new job, then you’re eligible then. In other words, you can’t collect both at the same time.

          2. Lifelong student*

            In Pennsylvania, I was once terminated from a job but given two pay in lieu of notice. While I could not collect for those two weeks because my pay exceeded the UE benefit, the time did cover what is called the “waiting week” which is the first week of unemployment. The company challenged and lost because even tho I was being paid, I was Unemployed. So apply immediately.

    6. Observer*

      Part of my brain (the part that was laid off over 15 years ago, when I was 8 months pregnant) is saying this is connected. But another part of my brain is saying that no, they couldn’t be so stupid. Could they? Should I be talking to a lawyer here?

      Without knowing your employer, it’s hard to know. But there ARE employers that most definitely ARE that stupid. So talking to a lawyer might be useful.

      A few questions that might help you figure out whether you are likely to have a case:

      1. How long does it typically take for your company to process a firing or layoff from the original decision to actual firing?

      2. Did your employer follow their standard process in terminating your employment. It sounds like you were not even give any notice. Is this normal at your employer?

      3. Did they give you a reason for the firing? Does it make sense?

      4. Was your employer aware of the health problems before your request for FMLA leave?

      1. Sara N. Dipity*

        1. Heck if I know. I think the company’s M.O. was to see news about massive tech layoffs and panic and then find a few of their own to lay off in response (I was one of 5 in this round)

        2. Very normal. It’s also normal for the company to not communicate to people who stay that there have been any layoffs.

        3. They said it’s because there’s not enough work. Which… sure. But I know there’s proposals out and the company is definitely going to win some of them.

        4. My manager (and their manager who is a VP) were definitely aware. I told my manager early this week about my FMLA request in the pipeline; I’m assuming they told up the line.

    7. theletter*

      Hugs and good vibes!

      Is it possible that the unemployment benefits would be a better deal than the FMLA in the long run?

      In my experience, layoffs are usually a sign of trouble at the company or department level. You should give yourself a well-earned vacation, for your mind, at the very least. Whatever was going on there is not your problem anymore!

      A lot of people I know say that for their experience, a layoff had been a blessing in disguise. You have a little time now to focus on immediate needs, and you’ll be able to search full time, with an open mind and more experience.

      Many people find better jobs with more money after layoffs. You will join their ranks soon!

      1. Sloanicota*

        I had a friend who was worried she’d never be hired again after being fired for cause. But after some reflection she came up with a great explanation for interviews about why that job wasn’t the right fit for her, and how she’s realized that (something relevant to the job she’s applying for) is the perfect fit, and she got a great new job that is much better for her.

    8. Bess*

      Depends on whether your place would fire someone that quickly–in many places it takes a long time and is in the works for a while, longer than a week or two, at least. Since you mention performance issues, that possibility can’t be ruled out. I also imagine that might make a legal case more difficult, particularly if your performance issues are documented or such that can be objectively “proven,” even if your FMLA request was a factor.

      I’m sorry this happened to you, and hope you can recover and get a new position soon.

      1. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Thanks. I have no documentation from management about performance – conversations were all over non-recorded Zoom calls. I was never officially put on a PIP. Hm. Thanks for the food for thought.

    9. Anonforthisoneoff*

      I’m so sorry! I suspect the same will happen to me next week. They will claim it’s for cause but it’s unfair and possibly retaliation. I can’t prove it though. If offered to resign instead, would that be a better option even if I don’t have anything else lined up? I doubt I’d be able to file for unemployment if they say it was for cause. Any advice appreciated!

      1. Sloanicota*

        Oh, I’m sorry. That’s exactly the tradeoff – if you want unemployment, you have to let them fire you, and even then I believe they can fight you if they claim it was for cause (unemployment is usually for layoffs or no-fault separation, I believe). One possibility is to sign an agreement that states you won’t sue or make trouble if they don’t block your application for unemployment, or even to offer resignation if they give you severance $$, thus forgoing the insurance. Unfortunately, labor lawsuits are difficult to wage and it could be a long time before you see the money.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            Keep in mind that “for cause” is usually a pretty high bar. If you were fired for stealing from the company, or for sexual harassment, or leaking confidential information, they have good grounds for contesting it. Being fired for simply being bad at your job, or a poor cultural fit for your company is usually fine (check your jurisdiction, though).

            1. Anonforthisoneoff*

              Thank you for the additional info! Nothing as bad as that, so there’s some hope I guess. I was in late a few times last year due to car issues and illness. 10-15 minutes late or so. It didn’t affect any coworkers, I’m not client facing, don’t work in a hospital or anything like that. Still did all my work well, made up the time as needed. It was not enough apparently.

      2. Lifelong student*

        If you resign there would probably not be unemployment. Not all for causes are the same. Even if the employer says it is for cause, it would have to be an acceptable cause. If unemployment is denied, you can appeal it. I have seen people win those appeals. In PA you do not need an attorney to appeal.

    10. JSPA*

      Depends a bit if it was part of a wave of layoffs, or just you. If just you, I’m thinking you could talk to a lawyer…but if there’s documented performance stuff, there’s unlikely to be a clean and easy case. You might, I guess, be able to parlay, “looks bad, that timing” into “we will give you glowing recommendations for your next job search,” but IANAL.

      1. Sarra N. Dipity*

        Yeah, that’s the angle my spouse suggested. I was 1 of 5 let go, but I don’t know who else was laid off in this round. :(

    11. 1LFTW*

      I went through something similar once, and talked to a few lawyers I found on NOLO’s website. I think I talked to two or three who were willing to do short, free consultations, and they all thought I had grounds for a case. So I’ll chime in on the advice to talk to a lawyer, because it can’t hurt!

      Also look at the EEOC website and your state’s labor board. It sounds like the company didn’t document your performance issues very well (if at all), and the timing with the FMLA reduction in hours sounds very fishy.

  7. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    My company makes it really clear, and I make it really clear during orientation, that vacation has no cash value and will not be paid out at the end of someone’s tenure. Also, we don’t use words like “earned,” or “accrued” when describing vacation time, so that the Dept. of Labor can’t say it’s deferred compensation. We want to make sure everyone takes time off while working for us, and we almost always approve vacation requests.

    This employee, Pat, quit and gave three weeks’ notice. Then, at the end of the second week, Pat decided they weren’t going to work the last week of their notice and wanted to use vacation. We don’t pay for vacation during a notice period (another policy), and they worked the minimum notice period, so we decided not to cash out his vacation (because: policy). Let’s face it, we’re a small company, and if we make one exception, we’ll have to make several exceptions forevermore. It’s not sustainable.

    Pat’s argument is that they worked really hard and earned their vacation and forewent their vacation to make sure their jobs were covered. Although laudable, we didn’t ask them to make this “sacrifice,” and would have approved his vacation had he asked. Their final question was, “Is this really not something [company] is willing to do?” I have several answers, but honestly, my evil side wants to take over. What do I say??

    1. CharlieBrown*

      Your only real answer is a simple “no” because these policies honestly suck, and you don’t want to get into that argument.

      The most you want to say is “No, sorry, it’s policy.”

      1. Sloanicota*

        I kind of agree, this employee did you a favor by giving three weeks notice instead of two; they could have taken the vacation and then given notice, but they were presumably trying to be helpful. It’s not your job to make it right that they are now losing leave, but it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit sympathetic that this is an unfortunate side effect for the employee because of inflexible policies.

        1. WellRed*

          Not sure how helpful it is. The employee works two weeks and then isn’t available that third week. How is that better than…just giving two weeks?

          1. Sloanicota*

            I guess you’re right, I was assuming they initially were genuinely planning to work the three weeks and then the senioritis got the best of them or they realized they didn’t really need to be there. Either way, they could have taken the week off and then quit, and now they can’t because they were too transparent or spoke up too early or whatever, so I think it’s free to be a bit sympathetic about it.

      2. The Other Evil HR Lady*

        They do suck, but my company has saved $40,000 per year by updating this policy. In order to pay this out to every terminated employee throughout the year, we would have to bring in an extra $400,000. I explain all this during orientation, since we are employee-owned and therefore we owe a fiduciary responsibility to each other. $40,000 nearly pays for one extra person to have a job. $40,000 nearly pays for everyone’s health insurance for a month. It matters.

          1. The Other Evil HR Lady*

            High with our crew laborers (who leave our employ and return, but who do it on their own schedule – as opposed to being seasonal), low with everyone else (admin and above). Our crew also get vacation, therefore the need for the policy. Most crew laborers in the area don’t get vacation or holidays paid, and we do. In order to provide equity in one aspect, we had to implement the “no cash value” rule.

      3. Acronyms are Life (AAL)*

        I agree. No use will come from adding any additional commentary other than ‘this is our policy as described in your contract and/or the employee handbook.’ If you give more rationale that will lead to Pat thinking they can argue with you, or if you go evil side, that will only backfire on you because Pat is leaving either way, so you’ll just be tagged as the evil HR lady in real life because people will be gossiping about how you were rude to Pat.

    2. CheesePlease*

      This sucks but you just simply state “We have to follow our company policy, and HR isn’t revisiting it at this time. We wish you the best at your next job. But right now, there is no policy that allows employees to paid for vacation time during a notice period”

    3. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I’d say, I know it’s a super super super shitty policy and I have no justification for it. It’s a terrible policy and I know you’re hoping we do better but we won’t.

      1. Rosyglasses*

        Reading through the thread where they explain why and that they are employee owned, it makes sense and is not a shitty policy. It would be if it were for, say, a high finance law firm that could easily pull in that extra revenue to cover the payouts – but they were clear, transparent from the beginning and are having to unfortunately make a policy stick for consistency sake, regardless of whether they would want to accommodate for one person.

    4. Sunflower*

      Not the answer you want to hear but when you have policies about vacation like you do, you’re opening yourself up to employees doing stuff like this. While it’s nice you approve vacations, you know that employees can’t control job offer timings and no one wants to run on nor is it smart to run on zero vacation time. If I was Pat, I would have asked for week’s vacation the day I got my offer- starting the following week – and then given my 2 weeks the day I got back. Stick to your policies but know that it’s a detriment to keeping and hiring quality employees

      1. Engineery*

        > If I was Pat, I would have asked for week’s vacation the day I got my offer- starting the following week – and then given my 2 weeks the day I got back.

        As I see it, once I’ve made the decision to move on, I’m out in two weeks, and I’m getting all my PTO. With no PTO payout policy, that might mean a 1 week vacation and 1 week notice, or a 2-3 week vacation and no notice at all. I won’t be manipulated into surrendering thousands of dollars of banked PTO, or working beyond my desired end date, just because HR has crappy policies.

        The standard of 2 weeks notice only applies when your workplace does not punish employees for giving notice. If you have HR policies that pay out PTO, and allow employees to work through the 2 weeks (or pay in lieu), you’ve earned the right for proper notice. If you have HR policies that take PTO away from employees when they give notice, your employees are going to take that into account.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I mean, the smart thing to do is start using up your vacation balance when you start interviewing for jobs, and I do think a fair number of people do this. But it is one of those sort of unwritten rules, and I have heard supervisors get suspicious, so it’s still a burden on the employee.

      2. JSPA*

        Pat could perhaps have bargained in advance, and could certainly have planned in advance, but failed to do either one. But, well, sometimes you can’t book a ticket before the $200 airline “sorry we had to bump you” voucher expires. Sometimes you forget the coupon book and pay full price at the restaurant after inviting people to come take advantage of the super deal. Pat’s having “coulda / shoulda,” which is 100% understandable. It’s free to say, “yeah, it stinks when you realize you could have done things differently, and come out better, I can’t tell you how often I’ve kicked myself over something like that, but this isn’t a policy I can break.”

    5. The Other Evil HR Lady*

      I’ll reply to my own by stating the following:
      The policy does suck, I get it, but my company has saved $40,000 per year by updating this policy. In order to pay this out to every terminated employee throughout the year, we would have to bring in an extra $400,000. I explain all this during orientation, since we are employee-owned and therefore we owe a fiduciary responsibility to each other. $40,000 nearly pays for one extra person to have a job. $40,000 nearly pays for everyone’s health insurance for a month. It matters.

      1. Sloanicota*

        While true, I don’t think the employee cares how much money the company saves – this is just going to upset them because it “feels” like the company is benefiting at the employee expense. Just tell them unfortunately it’s a policy that’s not going to change and it’s beyond your control. Perhaps there’s something you can offer whether that’s that they’re welcome to take the last week unpaid or that they can leave early or take a long lunch or something.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Oh sorry I misread your comment and I thought that’s what you were proposing to tell the employee. Upon rereading I see you were telling us that, not them.

        2. Anon E. Mouse*

          It “feels” like the company is benefit at the employee’s expense because the company IS benefiting at the employee’s expense. They’ve “saved” $40k by taking $40k in earned vacation time away from employees.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Well, I mean – let me preface by saying I’m always Team Employee, but AFAIK there’s no obligation for companies in the US to offer paid leave at all, outside certainly tightly prescribed circumstances, except maybe in CA.

            1. Dotted & Striped*

              This is state dependent certain states treat PTO as wages and others do not. Many companies do only pay out wages if required.

            2. fhqwhgads*

              24 states require payout of unused vacation on termination, but there are nuances that differ among them. So, yeah, nobody has to offer pto in the first place, but once they do, basically half the country would be legally required a payout of some form. I’m assuming OP isn’t in one of those states.

      2. Tedious Cat*

        Honestly, you don’t sound like you think this policy sucks at all. You sound pretty proud of it.

      3. I heart Paul Buchman*

        It must be a reasonably large employer to have $40k worth of unpaid leave a year to resigning employees? Am I misunderstanding? So many people leave each year that the total leave they are owed is $40k?

        In my country this would be illegal and companies with 20 full time equivalent employees in the books are considered large enough to pay people properly. I wouldn’t be proud to administer this policy is this snark?

    6. Camellia*

      I didn’t know that vacation could be treated like that. So, when they do take vacation days, are they paid for them? Because it sounds like it would be unpaid time off, if they have no cash value.

      1. The Other Evil HR Lady*

        Yes, it’s paid. The “no cash value” is language that our lawyers had us implement to signify that, for example, you don’t get paid out your vacation time at the end of your tenure. Another example is padding their paycheck with vacation hours even if they worked a full week. That’s not allowed. Vacation is a benefit paid for taking time off, not a piggy bank – that’s what the language signifies.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I don’t think this is uncommon, FWIW; it’s the same as when companies go “unlimited” so they don’t carry the unpaid leave on their books as a liability, which is a real risk for some places. My company also doesn’t pay out any leave, or even let it roll over; they state they want you to use up all your leave in the year and enjoy time off so you can be rested. It’s not a generous policy but it is clearly spelled out and I accept it. I take them at their word and try to use up every penny. I would also give two weeks notice on the dot and not a penny more. It is what it is!

          1. Aerin*

            Hell, my company is pretty generous with leave, but the limit on rolling over vacation is 40 hours. You can cash out unused hours, but the deadline to do so is sometime in September. If you miss that deadline and have more than 40 left at the end of the year, that’s lost. I always stress a bit about making sure I’m including the floating holidays I might pick up after the deadline, since they don’t show up in the payroll system until they happen.

            (I will add that, at least in my department, managers are very proactive about making sure those vacation hours all get scheduled, especially since we have coverage needs so we can’t just blanket approve whatever anyone might want.)

        2. Aerin*

          Have you ever run into this with anyone else? If so, you may need to massage the language on your policy a bit, and also ensure that managers are paying attention to vacation balances and making sure people can and do take that time (to avoid any future misguided martyrs). If you uncover any obstacles to people being able to take all of their hours, that’s where you might need to put some energy.

          But if this is an aberration, then it’s just one person who made some incorrect assumptions. There’s only so much you can do about that.

          1. Sloanicota*

            I did wonder, when the employee pronounced a longer-than-mandatory leave, did the supervisor say anything about this? That seems like the time, while the employee could still sort of “take it back” as it were. You actually don’t want resentful employees feeling like they’re being forced to work when they don’t want to.

      2. The Other Evil HR Lady*

        P.S.: I meant to say that some states *can* treat it like that, and some states consider vacation deferred compensation. My state is the former, as long as the language in the policy makes it clear.

      1. The Other Evil HR Lady*

        I can get defensive (look ^^^ at my replies) and I just want to point out (nicely) that, although we appreciate Pat’s effort, we never asked them to not take vacation, we would have approved their vacation had they asked, our policy is what it is and we can’t make exceptions. We’re not heartless – we did make an exception to the policy when someone passed away unexpectedly and their family needed the money. We would probably have made an exception for Pat if they had asked for time off and we had been unable to approve it. But that’s not what happened. Pat wasn’t high enough in the chain of command to decide for themselves whether or not we would approve his vacation.

        1. annie*

          I mean, it’s a shitty policy and it sounds like working there in HR has blinded you to that? It’s your job to enforce it but nothing requires you to wear blinders about the fact that it’s shitty or to make snarky comments (here or in real life) toward employees who see that it’s shitty. Step back and think about why you’re defending this.

        2. A Penguin!*

          I was begrudgingly accepting of your policy/stance until this reply. I don’t like the policy (and I don’t believe it’s legal where I am – but apparently it is where you are), but it was apparently consistent and made clear to everyone. But you *have* made at least one exception, which means it’s not an ironclad no-exceptions policy, which you seemed to imply in your initial post and several other follow-ups. This damages your ‘if we do it once we have to do it a bunch’ rationale from the original posting. Now you need a reason for denying Pat which isn’t just “it’s policy, no exceptions”.

          1. JSPA*

            There’s some ambiguity, but the “exception” is either that the employee themselves died, or that their “vacation” was not vacation but bereavement leave. That’s pretty clearly different from, “I forgot I don’t get vacation payed out, so I’d like to take it now.”

        3. Wannessa*

          I agree that the best option is to kindly but firmly point back to policies. Pat will not be happy, but it sounds like there’s no real way to avoid that. Definitely don’t rub his face in his decision to forgo PTO while working for your company – that strikes me as antagonistic and maybe like you’re hoping he’ll reassure you about your policies, which isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter to him anymore if you would have approved his PTO last year, he’s out the door.

          I can see your side of this, but I have the benefit of knowing you would have approved Pat’s vacation if he had requested it. Did Pat have that benefit? Not just in the sense of the policy being there, but did he have support from his leadership that he could take time away? This would prompt me to make very, very sure that all employees understand both policies listed here *and* that they feel capable of actually using their PTO before they decide to leave your company. It’s often the folks who are NOT high in the chain of command who believe their PTO requests will not be approved, or will be approved but will also significantly damage their reputation/relationship with their boss/opportunities down the line/whatever. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for those fears to be completely true despite policies regarding PTO, so the onus is on the employer to sustain an environment where people really can take PTO without hurting their job or without coming back to mountains of late work that was ignored in their absence.

        4. Here for the Insurance*

          I think your best bet is to just say what you said here: although the company appreciates Pat’s effort, you never asked them to not take vacation, you would have approved their vacation had they asked, the policy is what it is, and you won’t* make exceptions.

          *Note that I changed your “can’t” to “won’t” because you said you made an exception for someone else, so it’s not a function of can’t. Actually, to be super nitpicky, it wouldn’t be can’t even without the exception, since no one but yourselves is keeping you from doing it. If a business is going to make a particular policy, they should own that decision.

          It sounds like the problem isn’t enforcing the policy; it’s enforcing the policy without Pat having a negative reaction and you/the company feeling bad. Pat made their choice and your company made theirs. Now everybody gets to live with those choices.

    7. Parenthesis Guy*

      This is reasonably standard. I think the only case where Pat may have a claim is if you refused his requests a few times or if he was consistently working overtime. But otherwise, most people understand that they should leave right before they quit and not afterword.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah (I realize the username isn’t helping but) I don’t think this is an unreasonable situation, actually. It’s just unfortunate this employee didn’t realize the implications of what they were doing at the time they gave notice, I guess. Just explain with some sympathy that this is the policy.

        My own similar situation is that I was at a company for five years and gave notice with a new job lined up that started 30 days later. I requested to make my last day three weeks out, which put me at the start of a new month – in part because I know they cut insurance at the end of the month and I didn’t want a gap. I was too honest about that and the HR lady told me my last day would be two weeks out, the last day of the month, because “the company needed to save the money” of that insurance. I was nice about it but it left a bad taste. I worked the two weeks and left without a second thought, even though it left my department a bit high and dry.

    8. Beth*

      Vaguely blame the higher-ups and don’t try to make a point with Pat. You’ll get nowhere, and you run the risk of coming across as genuinely evil.

      The answer to his question is “Yes, the company is not at all willing to do this, and they aren’t going to change. Sorry.” (Even though you aren’t sorry.)

  8. Sloanicota*

    How do you, as a supervisor, decide what tasks you will ask someone else to do versus do yourself? My new (interim) boss is nice, but not at all a good manager, because she wants things done just a certain way, but can’t describe it very well, and then makes you do a bunch of “happy-to-glad” edits that undermine your confidence. You end up thinking she should have done it herself, even though a Director is supposed to delegate – so somehow she’s either delegating the wrong things, or not letting go enough once she has delegated. This has made me realize I would have exactly the same problem as a manager.

    1. Mockingjay*

      If Boss is temporary, the problem will resolve itself when she leaves. If Boss ends up permanent, likely she’ll relax as she becomes accustomed to the role and the two of you establish a work rhythm.

      Often temp managers are given a lot of strings hampering their role, so she might be overcompensating or second-guessing herself to ensure her bosses get what they want. Make the changes and keep supporting her as best you can.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah, unfortunately I think she has more confidence in her workhorse ability to do small things, and not much confidence in her leadership/strategic thinking and especially fundraising (it’s a small nonprofit and what we really need is sustainable funding, not changing the text from “every Wednesday” to “on Wednesdays.”).

    2. I should really pick a name*

      I would look at it as “which tasks can only be done by me” and then work from there.
      But it looks like you’ve found the main answer yourself. You have to be okay with people doing things differently than you would. Ask yourself, “does it do what it’s supposed to do?”. If it does, let go of the fact that it’s not how you would have done it.

    3. Kes*

      Ideally, tasks you delegate are things that you don’t have capacity to do and that your employee that you’re delegating to should be able to accomplish. That could mean either that the work is fairly clear or that the employee knows enough that they should be able to handle it regardless, although in some cases it may be worth delegating anyway if it’s something the employee needs to learn or simply that the boss doesn’t have time to take it on themself and it has to be done.
      Needing some level of oversight and revision doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth delegating either – it may still save the boss time and let the employee earn.
      In this case it sounds like she’s not very good at describing what she wants, which is a flaw on her part. The edits could just be because of that, or because there are things you need to improve, or because she’s nitpicky, or because she just wants to feel she had a say in it – it’s hard to say from here.

    4. A Manager for Now*

      I have a couple questions I ask myself when assigning work vs taking it on myself:
      1) Is the task a good opportunity for my report to learn something or is it too challenging for their level of expertise? Alternatively, I ask if it’s something they’re very capable of doing already.
      2) Is the task a good opportunity for my report to gain exposure to management?
      3) How critical is the task? How picky am I about how it gets done?
      4) How at capacity is my report?
      5) Do I like doing the task? For better or worse, sometimes being a manager means I pass on stuff I actually just don’t like doing and keep some of the work I really like.

      I try to give my reports a mix of easy/growth and stuff I don’t want to do/stuff that gets them in front of other managers/upper level folks.

      I do really try to let go of My Way of Doing It when I assign work and try to be really specific if the outcome needs to look a certain way. I’m also pretty open to questions and suggest working sessions if my reports seem to be stuck.

      It sounds mostly like your interim boss is having a hard time both communicating the expectation (which is a skill!) and letting go of the task once she’s passed it on (common, especially if she was an individual contributor before this).

    5. HelpReframe*

      I think rather then talking about how I delegate, it might be more helpful if I talk about how I work with boss’s who aren’t great at communicating their wants.

      First, don’t take minor changes personally or as a sign you are doing a bad job. Do take notes about there likes. I had a boss for example who hated seeing charts sorted by quantity he wanted it alphabetical. It’s not wrong or dumb to do it one way or the other first, it’s a preference thing. I made a note to sort alphabetically.

      The other thing you should do is get a “mock up” with partial or mock data early on and get feedback on what they think of your design and methodology. That will cut down on water time and hopefully reduce frustration.

      Lastly remember that what is obvious to you or the delgater isn’t obvious to the other. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said build a report like an apple and I got a pineapple back. I attributed it to personal interpretations, corrected what I wanted, and then they did rework. If they kept bringing me pineapples after that then I would have concerns but if it’s a different type of report I didn’t hold it against them that we weren’t on the same page.

      I hope this helps some.

    6. Rosyglasses*

      I will say that it took me about a year to really be able to shift from high achieving independent contributor to high achieving manager and realizing that my achievement as a manager was higher WHEN I delegated and helped build my reports skills, let them lean into strengths, and released my mental need to have everything look a certain way. There are still times where I will insist on something done a particular way if I have to utilize it regularly because there are times that I need that consistency – but it does take time and the mental “release” of “oh wait, I don’t actually need to do that report – I can have X do it and just sign off on it. Ugh, they did everything in purple highlights… just smile, it doesn’t need to be green highlights, the outcome is what matters”.

      Managing up around this with my current boss in the hierarchy is also a way that I end up helping with that process also of having him give me more things that he really shouldn’t be spending his time doing.

      1. The cat's pajamas*

        I have not been a manager of full-time employees, but I have worked in lots of places where there is an in-between level where you delegate 75-90% of a task to an employee and then you finish it, like having them ghostwrite reports that your name will be on, preparing presentations, messages to higher ups, etc. These have been useful for me to learn higher level work and then see how my boss finishes/edits it

    7. Temperance*

      Sounds like a combination of a micromanager and someone who doesn’t know what they want. LOVELY.

      I mostly delegate things I really don’t want to do combined with things that are easy for someone else to take over.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Oh sorry, it might be an editing term – it suggests someone who strikes “happy” in a text (“I’m happy to see you”) and replaces it with “glad” (“I’m glad to see you” ) and then feels like they did something to really improve the product. The point being that the words are pretty much interchangeable but you made a point of having me change it. That said, it’s possible one is more correct so perhaps it’s a bad example, but it’s not like we work in publishing, this was text in the body of an email she wanted sent. I don’t remember where I first heard the term … possibly here!

        1. MigraineMonth*

          While not familiar with the term, I am familiar with the practice! It’s really irritating.

      2. Mockingjay*

        These are small changes that don’t affect the (technical, in my work) content or message. These are usually requested by timid/inept managers who are very uncomfortable with providing substantive reviews and editing for clarity and accuracy.

        Also frequently used by managers and co-irkers to add their personal “brand” to a document. (Really fun when you have to ping-pong between two managers “making it their own.” *eyeroll)

    8. Acronyms are Life (AAL)*

      Not exactly what you asked, but have you looked to see if the happy to glad edits are different each time you give her a product or are they similar in nature? Sometimes it could be that she knows it needs to be written a certain way and feels like it may be annoying to respond back to you saying ‘change line ‘there are three llamas’ to ‘there are three (3) llamas'” when it would take less time to just do the edit, or if she’s really bad at explaining things, you might be able to pick up the patterns on what she changes and fix them before sending. Not ideal, but not going to lie, I do the first a lot, especially if they are small editorials, and I also hate getting something back from my boss that says something like ‘there’s an extra space between paragraphs 3 and 4.’ Like you couldn’t have just deleted it and signed it out instead of sending me an email to delete it, I have to do it and then send it back to you, and then you sign it?

    9. A Penguin!*

      I moved from individual contributor to management.

      My thought process pretty much comes down to ‘can one of my employees do this work on time?’ Then she gets it. It’s important to include estimation of not only time on task, but time required for ramp up, rework, and review. And I try to make sure I judge the final product by how well it meets the need, not by how close it resembles how I would have done it (this part is a work in process). The harder part is deciding which employee gets it when I have multiple who could complete it.

      If not, assuming I could I still take a moment to think about whether the deadline is reasonable or if I should push back on it.

      There’s always more for me to do as a manager; I make sure my crew are engaged (but hopefully not overworked) before I take anything myself, unless it’s something none of them can do, and don’t have the time (or interest) to learn to do.

    10. Camelid coordinator*

      One situation in which I wouldn’t delegate is if I had a strong idea of how something should be done and realized that reading my mind would be necessary for the product to come out the way I wanted. If I had such a strong vision and couldn’t explain it on the first pass it was probably faster for me to do it.

      Something else I thought of as I read your comment and the responses is that my bosses thought I was a much stronger writer once I started deliberately channeling them and their word choices when I was writing something they’d have to sign off on. So if they tend to use glad instead of happy, glad it is. One dean always said ‘faculty members’ instead of ‘faculty’ as in ‘we offer grants to faculty for course development.’ So we offered grants to faculty members. I realize this doesn’t get at the point that the director may be focusing on areas where she is comfortable as opposed to the areas where your org needs her to lead.

  9. Empress Matilda*

    People who work outside the home, where do you live and what’s your commute time?

    I live in Toronto, less than 10km (6 miles) from my office, and my commute takes an hour by public transit. I’m curious because I often see people talking about an hour commute as if it’s a big barrier, whereas for me it’s just a fact of life!

    1. Watry*

      Outside of Atlanta, roughly 30 minutes’ drive. I think it might be that last part that makes the difference, though. An hour of driving is a lot different than an hour of riding, and we have no public transit here.

    2. On Fire*

      I’m in Arkansas. I live in a rural area but work in (what passes for) a metro. My commute is almost an hour, and I don’t mind it at all. Years ago, I had a 5-minute commute when I worked in my hometown. It didn’t give me time to decompress or escape from work, so I like my longer drive (no public transportation available here).

    3. Purple Loves Snow*

      Fellow Canadian here, I am in Saskatchewan and live 2.5 km from my office. My drive takes roughly 4 minutes if no traffic, and about 6 in traffic. I work downtown and live in a well established neighbourhood.

    4. Generic Name*

      Denver metro area suburb, 7-mile commute is approx 15 mins by car

      My personal commute max is 30 mins. I’ve done longer, and I’ve decided to not take jobs that have a long commute

    5. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      I work outside the home( don’t we all?) To my office ( I go there twice weekly) it’s 15 minutes ( so 30 round trip I guess) I go to various appointments and they can be anywhere from 5 minutes from home to 45. The farthest I’ve had is an hour from home so two hours round trip.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I work outside the home( don’t we all?) – I think OP was hoping to head off all the folks who work from home saying their commute is 20 seconds from their bedrooms to their living rooms haha. There are more fully-remote roles than ever post-pandemic.

    6. ThatGirl*

      I live in suburban Chicago; two jobs ago my commute was about 25 miles, 30 minutes on a good day but frequently more like 45-60.

      My second most recent job was about a 15 minute drive, and that was a huge improvement. Currently I live a mile from my office so I have no complaints. Many many people in this area have longer commutes due to distance and/or traffic.

      But I do think there’s a big difference between an hour on public transit and an hour in a car.

      1. zoomzoom*

        Chicago, but close to public transit for me. I’m very fortunate to have a 20 minute walking, 15 minute train commute, but if I had to go back to the days of commuting more than an hour via the El (with transfers!) I’d be very tempted to get a car.

    7. londonedit*

      I live in London and when I commute in to the office, it’s a distance of about 9 miles. I allow an hour so I can get a coffee and build in a transport cock-up buffer, but if all goes well my commute can be as short as about 35-40 minutes door to door.

      Hour-long commutes are common if you work in London, because most people live fairly far out from the city centre. My friends who live in the rural area where I grew up would be horrified at an hour’s commute, because to them that would mean driving to the nearest big city and back every day. Some people do that, but it’s definitely not the norm – whereas here if you can find a commute under an hour then you’re doing really well.

      1. londonedit*

        Oh – should clarify that almost no one drives to work in central London. It’s all public transport. If you live further out then it’ll be mainline train plus a walk/bus and/or Tube, or if you live on the Tube network then it’ll be a walk/bus and then Tube.

    8. Sloanicota*

      I used to commute 45 minutes by public transit (train, my favorite), and it wasn’t nearly as big a deal as that same amount of time driving in gridlock traffic would have been. Driving at rush hour by me is extremely stressful and would literally take years off your life.

    9. Hotdog not dog*

      New Jersey. I work in 2 different locations, one is about an hour and the other is about an hour and 15 minutes. I don’t love it, but I like where I live, which happens to be in the middle of nowhere. (NJ has more rural areas than people think!)

    10. CTT*

      Mid-sized city in the southeast US and I go to the office almost every weekday. It’s 17-ish minutes if I walk to work, and 7-ish minutes on the occasions I have to drive. I’m looking into houses now, and for most of the areas I’m looking at it would be a 15-ish minute drive (there a lot of traffic lights between my office and my current place)

    11. Feen*

      2.2 miles. I would love to bike to work, but I’d get hit by a car. These crowded suburban roads around here are just not bike-friendly. But I do love my short commute, even though with traffic it can take 15 minutes.

      1. J*

        When I wasn’t WAH I was 3 miles from my office but the office was located in a heavy construction zone (for 8+ years now, there haven’t even been unobstructed sidewalks for that time) so biking was next to impossible. I had to replace 2 tires and patch them 4 times a year just because of the road debris and my car got hit once. It’s part of why I work from home (one of many) and it’s such a shame because I have an ebike and everything, but I’m not dying for my job.

    12. rayray*

      I live in Salt Lake City. I’m about 15 miles from my office, and I commute against the normal traffic to work (I live closer to downtown and commute south to a suburb area). It’s basically a straight shoot down the free way and my commute to work is about 20 minutes and commute home about 25.

    13. Person from the Resume*

      I used to commute about 45 min to an hour each way. There were frustrations related to traffic. I commuted across a havily trafficed long bridge and never personally had a problem. But sometimes there was an accident on another bridge and both lanes in one direction were shut down or slowed signifigantly. I personally got frustrated with sections with busy intersections and stop and go traffice with the potential for accidents . Busy / dangerous roads make for a worse commute than a same time of easy driving.

      But I answered someone on the weekend thread about having to drive from a small town to a bigger city frequently just for life. People who have to make that kind of drive a lot get used to it. Think nothing of it. View it as the cost of living where they live, similarly to you.

      I think it’s different for a driver, though, that if the roads were not so crowded, you could make the trip a lot faster and the length of time is caused by traffic. That’s stressful driving and the idea it could be shorter if only …

    14. Anon In VA*

      In Virginia, 15 miles from my office in downtown Richmond (our state capital) — 21 minutes in the car with no traffic. Commute is generally around 25-30. If my commute is 40 minutes, that’s highly unusual. We do have public transit but I’ve never used it so can’t speak to how that would change things.

      It’s not uncommon for people in my area to have 1 hour+ commutes, but I’ve done that in the past and purposefully chose to live somewhere I don’t have to anymore.

      1. anon in RVA*

        I’m also in Richmond. Many years ago, I worked downtown and commuted by city bus. It was 3.5 miles and took about 40 minutes door to door. I had a half block walk to and from the bus stops at either end, no transfers. Got a lot of reading done!

        Currently working about a mile from home, but I drive because I have a child to transport.

        When looking for jobs, I limit my search to places with less than a 30 minute commute. I wouldn’t mind taking the bus downtown again, though. If we ever move, my kid and I have talked about going somewhere where a car is not necessary.

    15. Rara Avis*

      San Jose, CA. 6 miles as the crow flies but maybe 10 by road; 20-30 minutes by car depending on traffic. (Public transportation would be multiple transfers and 2 1/2 hours.)

    16. HannahS*

      I live in Ontario, too. My commute is generally 30-40 minutes on foot (2.5 km), or if I happen to be at a more distant site, closer to an hour on transit and the same on foot (4 km). My partner commutes anywhere from 35-70 minutes by car to go 60 km.

      I’m from Toronto originally, and I think that in the GTA, people are used to hour-long commutes, because getting around within Toronto is, let’s face it, a nightmare, and because many people in neighbouring regions tend to commute in to Toronto. So it is kind of a fact of life around here. In mid-size cities (Hamilton, London ON) if you’re commuting an hour you’re probably covering greater distance. I’d be really shocked if someone living and working in, say, Oakville had to commute an hour within Oakville, or even to neighbouring Burlington, you know?

      1. Empress Matilda*

        This is true! And I’m commuting from downtown to a different place in downtown, so there’s really no way around it. Even driving to work takes half an hour, because of all the traffic and road closures.

    17. Not Elizabeth*

      Suburban Boston here (about 10 miles from my office). If everything is going smoothly (which it does now and then), my commute on public transit takes about an hour.

      1. BostonTransit*

        Similar here- as the crow flies its 6 miles, the most direct vehicular route is about 7.5 miles. Driving is 30-45 mins (20 if no traffic but that’s rare), public transit about an hour, depending on the timing of the busses and assuming none of the trains are on fire or crashed.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          People who live other places will think you are joking about the trains being on fire…

          Also Boston metro, live 1.5 miles from the office, so either walk 30 minutes or take the subway one stop for a 20 minute commute.

      2. Ainsley Hayes*

        Also suburban Boston commuting to less-suburban Boston – mileage is about 15 miles, commute takes 45-60 minutes in rush hour on main roads, or 30-35 minutes on back roads.

    18. CheeryO*

      It definitely depends on where you live. I’m in a small city and am hoping to never have a commute over 30 minutes. I don’t think most people in the GTA can afford to live that close to work, though, right?

      1. Empress Matilda*

        Oh, definitely not! We got lucky and bought a house right before the market crashed in 2008. I can’t even imagine where we’d be living if we were trying to buy something now…

    19. Bunny Girl*

      I live in the Midwest U.S. My commute is 30 minutes if I drive. It would be over 2 hours if I took public transit.

    20. Your Social Work Friend*

      Living in the midwest, I commute about 5 minutes (2ish miles) and my better half commutes an hour (80 miles) one way. We used to live about 35 miles outside of DC and both commuted an hour (40 miles for me going away from the city and 15-20 miles for him going toward the city).

    21. amoeba*

      Europe. Commute is around 14 km (9 miles, I guess), takes me 35-50 mins, depending on traffic etc. I live in the city centre, my work is outside, so moving closer is not an option for me personally.

      There’s a company shuttle bus though, which is very convenient, unless there’s a lot of traffic, in which case the train’s better. Going by bike is also possible and not much slower (40-45 min).
      And the last 10 minutes are anyway walking across the campus as our building is located in the far corner…

    22. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Holy shit! That blows my mind away. How long would it take to walk (just curious)? I work 100 miles away in a rural county (I live in a top-5 large city in the US) and it takes me an hour and 45 mins. I only go in once a week though.

      1. Empress Matilda*

        Hmm…I’ve never done it, but I would guess about an hour and a half. I wouldn’t walk to work, but I could potentially walk home under the right circumstances! (Shoes, weather, no laptop, no teenagers starving to death while they wait for me…)

    23. Kimmy Schmidt*

      I live in a small city on the east coast. I’m about a mile from work – 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk. I value a short commute, and at this point in my life I’d have to think long and hard about moving to a larger city if it meant a commute longer than half an hour.

    24. EMP*

      greater Boston area and my commute is 30/40 minutes by car or 60 minutes on transit (office park shuttle, because our bus network is pathetic). I find the longer commute by transit doesn’t feel as long because I can do things I enjoy during it or just zone out, which I can’t do while driving. 60 minutes each way driving would be totally unsustainable for me.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I had a transit commute that was about 1 hr in the morning and 1.5 hr in the evening (switching from bus to subway was always faster than switching from subway to bus because the trains run more frequently). That commute was just about my upper bound for a transit commute, and no way would I want to have a driving commute that long for all the reasons you mentioned. I currently have a driving commute that’s about 15 min in the morning and 20 min in the evening (about 6 miles).

    25. I should really pick a name*

      That’s a super personal thing. Some people hate a long commute, some are fine with it.

      My commutes have ranged from 15min to 1.5hr. The 1.5hr was a short term position and not something I would have been okay with long term. Also, it was 1.5hr on roads that weren’t busy, I don’t think I could handle 1.5hr on the 401.

    26. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Large metro area in Northeast Midwest US. When I did work outside the home, I tried to keep my commute under 30 min, which in my area would be 20-25 miles. We don’t have good enough public transportation to use for commuting, though I know people working downtown who park at a park N ride stop and then take a train from there, because downtown parking is of course atrocious. I had an hour commute once, it was to the opposite end of my metro area and was 65 miles one way – I’d be spending my whole paycheck on gas and car repairs if I had one today, so it’d be a dealbreaker for me. I left that job after three months and the long commute (that I’d been bait and switched into) was one of the main reasons.

    27. LuckyClover*

      I work for a university in California in a larger city and live in a small suburb just North of campus. When class is in session my drive is about 10-15 mins, and on holidays about 5-7. The longest I’ve commuted from is 20 minutes, and anything longer than 30 would be not ideal for me. I hate driving, I hate spending time in my car. I hate rushing but love sleeping in, so a short commute is definitely a quality-of-life factor for me when picking places to work/live.

    28. Nonny Not a Mouse*

      I also live in Toronto but my commute is about a 20 minute walk (live downtown). Where I used to live my commute was about half an hour by transit.
      Obviously longer commutes are more normalized in cities like the GTA, but it also varies by person and priorities – I wouldn’t love the idea of having an hour commute because that adds up to a lot of time really, but at the same time I know a lot of people who have moved farther away in order to be able to buy housing within their price range, for example, or to have a yard for their dogs, etc.
      It also can depend on method of transit – I’d take an hour on the go train over an hour in gridlock on the 401, but other people might prefer being in their own car, and a rural commute with little traffic might feel very different from a city commute with lots of traffic.

    29. I edit everything*

      I live in a small Midwestern US town. My work is maaaybe a mile from home, and my commute is about 7 minutes. An hour would be prohibitive in my current situation. I’ve done hour+ commutes in previous lives, both by train and driving, but couldn’t do it now for several reasons.

    30. Lady_Lessa*

      Northeast OH, just over an hour by car. I ended up with a long commute since I didn’t want to start over socially, since I have lived in the area since around 2006. Most of mine is turnpike, so fewer entrances/exits which means that traffic has a smoother flow, and because I am paying for the privilege, ODOT takes decent care of the road. (Except like last winter when a snowplow driver went WAY too fast and damaged a number of cars going in the opposite direction)

      I don’t mind it especially since the classical music radio station is now strong enough to cover my whole journey. (about 50 miles)

    31. Specialized Skillets*

      Phoenix, AZ metro area. 13 miles, 25-ish minutes each way (22 mins with no traffic, 35 in heavy traffic – usually faster in the morningthan evening).

      1. Al*

        Also in the Phoenix metro, my husband’s commute is 4 miles and takes about 15 minutes if traffic is normal, 25 when there’s an event on campus.

    32. Certified Scorpion Trainer*

      i live in a smaller country town ~30 miles outside of Dallas and drive to my job in Dallas M-F. it’s about a 40 min commute if traffic conditions are perfect (i drive myself). but in cases of accidents, it’s taken me upwards of 2 hours to get to work (luckily my job is understanding.)

      i honestly don’t mind my commute as it’s the only time i get to myself throughout the day lol though gas prices are…inconvenient at best. at worst, i was spending around 25-30% of my pay on just the gas to get to work.

    33. Jaid*

      My train ride is about half an hour, but the drive to the station (and stop for coffee/paper, etc) and any traffic can make the whole commute longer. I think it’s pretty reasonable, given that I live on the outskirts of the city and work is downtown, though.

    34. Employed Minion*

      I live in NE US. I live in a rural area and drive 30ish miles one way to a slightly less rural area. It takes 45min on a good day (like when everyone was wfh) but typically its an hour drive.

      If it was public transit and I could DO something it wouldn’t be so bad. Podcasts help a ton!

    35. Sylv*

      Just north of Newmarket and door to door 1 hour and 20 minutes on the GO (this includes driving to the station and walking from Union to the office).

      1. debbietrash*

        Oh wow, another person describing where they’re from as “just north of Newmarket”! I’m now based in Toronto, but still use this phrasing because my hometown is so comically small and unknown.

        1. Sylv*

          Yep! Very small place I’d never heard of before moving here (starts with an “S” and is part of EG – if you know it, you know it :) ).

          1. debbietrash*

            Ah yes, I am familiar with your area. EG is one of those areas that you don’t know unless you or someone you know spends a significant amount of time there.

    36. Arizona worker*

      I do a hybrid job and I’m in the office two days a week. I’m in Phoenix where the public transit system is woefully inadequate, so I drive myself. It’s 22 miles, and usually takes me about 50 minutes in the morning and around an hour to come home in the afternoon. I work a non-standard schedule, so if I were going in for a standard 8-5 (which I did for my first two weeks for training), it would add another 15-20 minutes each way.

      I don’t love it, but the 3 days WFH mostly make up for it.

      1. Arizona worker*

        I just checked the public transit website out of curiosity. If I took the bus, my commute time would bump up to 2.25 hours.

    37. J*

      I’m work at home now but I moved 3 miles away from my main employer hub and commuted for years. This is St. Louis, MO. Even when I changed jobs, I got one in that hub. 3 miles = 10-12 minute drive, 15-20 minutes on ebike (if it were safe enough, too much construction) and 55 minutes using transit, despite there being a station literally at the building. I was previously living a 60-80 minute commute away all in a car on multiple highways and it broke me as a human. Moving meant I could come home on lunch breaks to prep dinner, take care of a new puppy, etc. The improvement to my mental health was tenfold when I shortened my commute compared to shifting to Work at Home.

    38. AnonyForThis*

      I live in a part of Florida that has dismal public transportation, so I have to use a car. A 1-hour commute somewhere (which I’ve done) drops me off about 50 miles away from home, because it would be mostly me in my car traveling at highway speeds. I don’t like it – people drive stupid. My commute right now is a total of 12 miles in 20 minutes. I also take the back roads and HATE the main roads with a passion. However, there is parking everywhere here – which I’m guessing is not as plentiful in a city like Toronto, and would cost a arm/leg/kidney.

    39. costello music*

      Chicago suburbs. I’ve had a few jobs, as low as 5 minutes (just across the highway from my house) and as high as 40 minutes. My current full time job is about 35 minutes.

      I would never go above 45 minutes for a full time and 30 minutes for part time. I don’t work in the city, and while I have some regrets about that, I also think my quality of life would significantly be worse. If I was closer, then maybe, but whatever.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I’m in a similar boat as you – I don’t want to work in Chicago proper; it’s just too big of a hassle to get there.

    40. Kim*

      I live in Utrecht, work in Houten (the Netherlands, Europe) and my commute is 30 minutes. Because of my children, this is my maximum.

    41. Lexi Vipond*

      UK, about 5 miles, hourish. 10-15 minutes walk at each end, and 15-25 minutes on the bus. I can change and get the bus closer, but unless it’s pouring with rain then by the time you’ve waited for the new bus it’s hardly worth it – I like walking, and it’s either along the edge of a huge park, or right through what was the medieval city centre.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        Driving would be longer on the road, because most of the route has bus lanes and the bus can go flying past the queues – slightly shorter overall, I suppose, but there’s nowhere to park when you get there.

    42. Cendol*

      Before I started WFH, I used to lived in Chicago, about 3 miles from my office, and the commute also took an hour by public transit! On nice days I would walk–it took the same amount of time.

      I think the difference is whether you’re driving or taking transit. I now live about an hour’s drive north of the biggest city in my state and would not take a job that required that commute.

    43. cat with thumbs*

      UK, 2 miles from city centre. My commute is half an hour of cycling at a leisurely pace. It’s about 15 minutes by car if you miss the worst of rush hour, but I Would Not Take a job that required rush hour car commuting in this city.

    44. Alex*

      Yeah I think this is common in big cities. I live in Boston and I’m lucky if my commute is only an hour! I think this is just a function of a huge number of people in a densely populated area all on the move at the same time. It takes a long long time to go a short distance.

      When it is good weather I ride a bike, which is the fastest way to get around.

      1. Anonymous Bostonian*

        When I worked in Boston, I was so surprised by that! I lived in the suburbs and my colleagues who “lived closer” still had long commutes, it’s mind-boggling!

    45. GoryDetails*

      I’m retired, but when I was working, the longest commute I had was about a 25 minutes’ drive. (I live in southern NH; my city and the one I commuted to have populations of roughly 100,000.) For most of my working life the commute was a lot shorter – within a couple of miles of my house. I did bike to work at times, though the narrow roads and bad winter weather made that less appealing for much of the year.

      I did choose this arrangement, given how much I value my at-home time and how much I detest rush-hour traffic; was lucky enough to be in an industry with lots of options, at a time when finding a new job was almost ridiculously easy. If I’d had to choose between a long commute and actually moving house, I’d have been torn – though I’ve found that a good audiobook does help a LOT with a long drive in heavy traffic, so I might have been able to cope. Still wouldn’t have wanted a commute longer than half an hour if I could avoid it.

    46. RMNPgirl*

      Des Moines, Iowa. I’m about 11 miles from work and during rush hour it takes about 20 minutes, other times of the day 10-15 minutes. When I lived in West Des Moines at about 9 miles away, it could take 30-40 minutes during rush hour because that’s where all the growth is!

    47. SereneScientist*

      I live in Chicago and it takes me about 35-40 min one way to commute to our downtown office on public transit.

    48. Sparkle Llama*

      I live in an inner ring suburb of Minneapolis and work in an outer ring one. It is about 10 miles and takes me 15-20 minutes. If I was going the other way it would be at least 30 since I am going against traffic.

    49. Estimator*

      I live in a suburb of a large Florida city. Work is 15 miles away and either takes 25 min or 60 min depending on what time I’m traveling. Most of my past jobs have had a 30-45 min commute each way but one place was 90 min each way. 90 min was way too long but that was back 2010 and I couldn’t afford to be too picky. Anything consistently over an hour is too long for me.

    50. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I was never able to use transit to commute. I live in Allentown, PA (small city in eastern PA). When we first moved here I had a 45-minute commute and I hated it. I worked long hours – arrive at work by 8:00, leave around 6:00 – and the additional 90 minutes made the day much too long. I also had to work weekends about once month and it was A Lot. After ten years we moved and my commute dropped to about 10 miles and 20 minutes. Much much much better. Long enough to decompress, not so long that I felt like I lost a huge chunk of my day.

      1. Queen Ruby*

        No way, another LV person! I live a little west of Allentown and commute to Bethlehem. It’s about 19 miles and usually takes 30 minutes, but a good chunk of that time is on 22, and you just never know what you’re going to run into there. I had to WFH yesterday because of an accident on 78. It would’ve taken me over an hour to get to work. When traffic is bad around here, it is very bad!

        1. Jay (no, the other one)*

          Yes! Although a few years ago I took my daughter to LA to look at colleges and after a week of driving around SoCal I swore I’d never complain about 22 again. That lasted maybe six months….

    51. Random Bystander*

      While I no longer work outside the home, I’ll apply what was the case when I was in office. I live just over 1.5 miles (2.4km if my conversion math is correct) from where my office was located. I used to joke that my commute from driveway to parking spot was almost as long as my commute from parking spot to desk (fifth floor of the building .. it could easily take 10 minutes to get there, especially if I ended up in the elevator with people getting off at each of the floors).

      I had a number of co-workers who lived 20+ miles (32+ km) away, and they had drive times between a half-hour and an hour. But then again, this is not big city territory, and there is not mass transit that would connect the various points that co-workers were coming from (and to get to where mass transit might have picked me up would have involved traveling close to half the distance from my house to the work place … and if the weather was right, walking was doable).

    52. KatCardigans*

      Central North Carolina. 3.8 miles, or about 15 minutes to drive in the morning (school traffic) and about 10 minutes on the way home (it’s 7 in no traffic). Commuting distance was a big factor in our house search! I’d like to be able to walk once in a while, but there aren’t sidewalks the whole way.

    53. ThisIshRightHere*

      Washington DC Metro Area. Commute door-to-door is 35 minutes driving, 45 minutes on the train, and 75 minutes on the bus. I always take the train.

    54. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      I live in the Milwaukee, WI area, in the suburbs. Public transportation does not reach out to where I live, so this is all driving time.

      For the first half of my career, I worked downtown and had a 30 minute commute on a good day, which could go as long as 60 or 75 minutes if there were weather issues or a bad accident. Then I had a couple of jobs where I didn’t have to get on the expressway and the drive was consistently 20 minutes. I’m WFH now and hope to stay that way for the rest of my working life, but if I did have to go back to the office I’d never go back to that longer commute.

      I have to agree with the folks saying that public transport vs. driving can make a big difference. If I could take a bus to work I could read, write, surf the internet or play my Switch to pass the time. In a car my only options are podcasts and/or audio books, which I’m unfortunately unable to enjoy – I think I have some flavor of auditory processing neurodivergence, but I’ve never been officially diagnosed.

      1. Anonymous Bostonian*

        I used to work in Boston, and the train was a nightmare. Their public transit is overcrowded and underfunded. Don’t believe the fantasies about “just getting work done on the train.” You can hardly get a seat from overcrowding, and if you do, you are squeezed in and can’t reach to pull your laptop out of your bag, etc. The trains are often late or canceled, or you miss your train because the subway was delayed etc.

        My commute started at an hour and change, which included walking to a subway station, going a few stops, then switching to the commuter train, plus walking 10-15 minutes home. It gradually ballooned into 1.5-2 hours each way, worse in winter. I had another job where I drove half the commute to a closer train station, then took the train for the other half to save some time, but the quality degraded over time, too.

        I made way more money in the city and it was worth it for a while but I eventually burned out. After marijuana was legalized, I kept getting sick from people smoking near the train, even though smoking in public is technically illegal, and that was the last straw.

        In general, commutes are a good indicator for me of how much your job is getting toxic. A miserable commute for a well paying job is tolerable, a miserable commute to a miserable job is not.

        I haven’t had a major commute since the pandemic but don’t miss it as much as I thought. I was hybrid for a while which was nice, I was able to go to work late enough to have minimally bad traffic most days and listen to audiobooks in the car etc. The job before that was commuting mostly on back roads and not the highway, also 45 minutes-ish which was way less stressful. I like WFH but it’s also nice to get out of the house occasionally for hybrid.

        If you have good public transit, it’s nice not to drive but it’s also nice to be in your own car where you have complete control of your schedule, music, and environment. A lot of that comes down to personal preference and what resources/transit options you have access to.

        I tried carpooling for a while, which was nice since my colleague didn’t mind driving in Boston, but our schedules didn’t sync up enough to carpool every day. Then they took another job but it was nice while it lasted. Some companies will give you carpool stipends, parking discounts or even a few places would let you use a van provided by the company if you had enough people. I once knew someone who had a 3-4 hour commute from another state and this option worked well for them. (pre-pandemic)

        I look at both stress and time for commuting. I think a 20-30min ish commute to a hybrid job on backroads or less major roads would be my ideal max for my tolerance/benefit but I’ve never found a job in that range.

    55. Tau*

      Berlin (as in Germany), one hour on public transit. This is on the longer side but not super unusual for Berlin. In other parts of Germany it’d definitely be considered high.

      I do suspect that public transit vs driving, and for public transit how many times you have to change and how crowded it is, makes a big difference. I honestly mind my commute less than I thought I would, because I can always get a seat for at least part of the trip and I generally do a lot of the things I’d be doing at home – read, do Duolingo or vocabulary practice, during NaNo I even did part of my daily word count on the way to and back from work.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        public transit how many times you have to change and how crowded it is, makes a big difference

        Definitely this! I wrote above that when I had a transit commute, it was ~1 hr in the morning, on relatively uncrowded buses and trains. I took the bus to the train station and rarely had to wait more than 10 minutes for the train. I was always able to get a seat on the bus and the train, so I could read my book.

        My commute home took ~1.5 hours. The train was always crowded so I always had to stand, I usually had to wait for the bus (my least favorite part of that commute) and then the bus was usually crowded. I could sit on the bus home maybe half the time and had to stand the other half the time.

        If I had worked at that job longer, I would have tried to move to somewhere along the train line, to avoid the evening train to bus transfer. If both ways were like the morning commute, I would not have thought about moving. And if both ways were like the evening commute, I would have been miserable.

        1. Tau*

          I can definitely understand that! I take light rail the whole way, with only a single change that’s fairly easy. Part of the reason for the lengthy commute is that I live on the outskirts… but that also means I live near the last stop of the line, which means that the train is near-empty when I get on in the morning and empties in the evening so that I pretty much always have a seat for at least the second half of the trip. A bus transfer would make this significantly less pleasant. Same if the train were absolutely packed at the time I leave work, or if I had to board and leave a busy train.

          I’ve never had a driving commute and don’t expect to, but I imagine that to be even worse since you can’t zone out and do something else in the time.

      2. Lily Rowan*

        YES. When I lived in NYC, I took the shorter, more crowded route in the morning, and often took the longer way home, because I could reliably get a seat.

    56. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      My office is a 15 minute drive to my house. Public transportation is two busses and a 10 minute walk – about 55 minutes.

      When I worked in Manhattan and lived in northern NJ, my commute was about an hour and I read a lot of books on the bus. (But when I lived in Hoboken the door to desk was a blessed 28 minutes after a convenient relocation of my office to Greenwich Village.)

    57. Robin Ellacott*

      I’m very lucky… I live in a suburb of Vancouver and I walk to work, which takes about 15 minutes walking quickly. My walk takes me past the grocery store, pharmacy, library, etc. while still being quite pleasant, so I only use my car occasionally these days.

      When I bought my place in 2021 I deliberately screened for one that would allow me to walk rather than drive, but some of that is only possible because my office is in a central area and right on the main street. My last place was even closer, but the walk was actually too short to feel like a transition time, and a chunk of it was always just waiting at an intersection.

    58. Irish Teacher*

      Live in the south of Ireland (not getting closer than that, as a lot of places in Ireland are quite small) and work 20 miles away, but have a commute of just over an hour because I take the train (20-25 minutes journey) and the school I work in is about 35-40 minutes walk from the train station.

    59. Beth*

      South Florida. My wife and I live in a house that she bought before we got together, which is a 10-minute drive from where she works.

      My office is about 35 miles from home, in a different city in a different county. I work an offset schedule to reduce the impact of the commute: by working 7-3, I can usually keep my commute down to about an hour, maybe an hour and a quarter.

      Public transit is NOT an option, full stop. The US sucks at public transit.

      The issue is traffic, not distance: during lockdown, when traffic dropped by 90%, it took me 35-40 minutes. Florida traffic isn’t as heavy as many other metro areas, but the drivers are worse than most (speaking as someone who has driven in most of the major US traffic h3llholes.) So the two hours plus that I spend driving each day has to be in a state of high alert, ready to slam either the brakes or the gas when someone pulls something truly batshit bananacrackers.

      The worst time was when there was a murder on the expressway. My commute took 6 hours that day (one way).

      I’ve had it worse: at one point, I was working in Seattle and living with a BF out in the woods on the other side of Puget Sound. My commute, which included a lift by car, a ferry ride, a bus ride, and a walk, took two hours each way. That’s 20 hours a week spent just commuting. I became very good at very short naps on the ferry. It was a huge relief when the BF dumped me (not just because of the commute, though).

    60. debbietrash*

      I’m also in Toronto and <10km from my main job. It takes me 45 minutes on transit door to door if things cooperate (oh those service disruptions). I also work part time in Scarborough, which I drive to, and will always give myself an hour as I'm usually going during high traffic times.
      That being said, when I search jobs I will see what my approximate commute time is, what kind of transit (streetcar, bus, subway) and how many change overs are required for the route. This gets factored into considering the job.

      1. debbietrash*

        Adding that when the weather is good I LOVE cycling to work. And thankfully Toronto is slowly getting better with bike lanes and bike-able roads. This usually trims 10-15 minutes off my commute (downhill only though).

        1. Anon Just for This*

          Yup, my commute into downtown from the west end is reliably faster, since it’s vaguely downhill the whole way and going home is the reverse.

      2. Anon Just for This*

        Yes, it’s the transfers that get you. Posted downthread about how my 10km commute to work and my 4.5km trip to the vet both take 40-45 minutes by transit. They both have 2 changeovers. Or a long walk.

    61. Workerbee*

      I just realized that for my entire working career, I’ve been about 40 minutes one way from the office, assuming no road accidents or weather issues. I am remote now but the current office, while still 40 mins away, is thankfully not one where I need to use the freeway to get to. Our freeway system here was built at a time when they evidently didn’t plan for humanity’s inevitable expansion.

    62. Siege*

      My commute when I have one is about 20 minutes there and 25 minutes back (I have never successfully answered why it’s longer back because it’s the identical route and that’s pretty consistent at any time of day). It’s also a reverse commute where I’m commuting out of the city into a suburb. I wouldn’t personally want to have a longer commute because while I love driving 30 minutes is about what I can face for a commute. But public transit is very different, to me – I can just get lost in a book and I don’t have to deal with anything that happens.

    63. Anon Just for This*

      Also in Toronto, with a 10km commute, though I haven’t had to do it regularly in nearly 3 years. My commute takes about 45 minutes by transit or by bicycle. Heck, a lot of places take me about 45 minutes to get to by transit. Heck, my vet is like 4.5km from my house and it still takes 40 minutes on transit.

      Doesn’t help that apparently Toronto is one of the most gridlocked cities in the world…

    64. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      30 mins driving + parking/walking (but parking $$$$$)
      35 minutes bussing (unless the buses are overful – it’s the busiest bus route in North America) or 35 minutes cycling (but I have to factor in the shower after the ride, instead of before like if I bike or drive)

      Now that I’ve been home for most of the last 3 years though, I really resent any hour spent in the car or bus, and the idea of two hours per day makes me preemptively rage-y. Still love the bike ride when my body can handle it!

    65. Hen in a Windstorm*

      I agree with others that transit is very different than driving. Transit allows you to do other things with that time, while driving requires focus.

      Additionally, an hour “on a good day” is different than whatever reality is with traffic and accidents and road work. My husband once took a job that he thought was a 45 minute commute because he interviewed midday. Reality was 60-75 minutes during rush hour. And then they started construction – his commute became 90-120 *each way*, which ruined his quality of life. Quitting that job gave him back 3-4 hours every single day.

      Also, if you’ve never had a shorter commute, by definition you don’t know what you’re missing, so of course you think it’s normal.

    66. Orsoneko*

      I live in northern VA, about 12 miles away from my DC office, and commute by car two days per week. It’s technically possible to make the drive in 25 minutes when there’s no traffic, but that’s happened literally twice (both times when I had to leave in the middle of the day). Usually it’s more like 45 minutes, but if the traffic is particularly horrendous (as opposed to the run-of-the-mill horrendous it usually is), it can take over an hour. In addition to that, even though there’s a garage in my building, I have to park about 10 minutes away because they only issue permits to government employees (I’m a Federal contractor). This would be less of an issue if I weren’t lugging a heavy breast pump back and forth each time.

      Anyway, it sucks but really isn’t out of the ordinary for this area. My problem is that, prior to a year ago, I lived one Metro stop away from my office and had a door-to-door commute of ~10 minutes. I’d only been living there a year before COVID hit and I became 99% remote for the next 2.5 years, but it was long enough for me to get used to it and really, really resent my current situation (compounded by the fact that I now have a baby and need to leave the office at 5:00 on the dot to ensure I’m not late picking him up for daycare; I get so much more accomplished on the days I WFH, and there’s usually no reason I need to be on-site at all apart from the fact that our contract requires it. Sigh).

    67. Ann Perkins*

      I live in a suburb of Tulsa, OK and commute to downtown – 17 minutes to work, driving. You can get just about anywhere in Tulsa in 20 minutes or less. An hour would be a deal breaker for me but obviously it’s not what I’m used to.

    68. Emily S.*

      I’ve got it easy. I only go to the office one day a week, and I live just a couple miles from there (downtown Cincinnati, Ohio), on a bus line. So I can take a bus and end up less than a block from my office. It takes about 20 minutes in the morning and 25 in the evening (including time walking to/from the bus stop). I love being able to chill and listen to music and podcasts rather than deal with the stress and cost of driving and parking. My employer even has a program to provide free monthly bus passes, so soon, I will be able to use those.

    69. kiwiii*

      I live outside of Madison, Wisconsin (USA) and commute in on average once per week. I live ~40 miles give or take from the office. It’s about 45 minutes one way in off-hours, but usually more like 50 minutes in, an hour and a little out — up to an hour and a half in bad traffic either way at worst. The actual drive is fine, it’s the traffic that’s stressful/draining.

      1. kiwiii*

        There is no public transport that’s available for my current job; a previous job went into the government area of the city and there were commuter vans i took advantage of most of the time.

      2. kiwiii*

        We looked into moving a little closer, but husband’s job is 15-20 minutes the other way and there’s not much ~10-15 minutes closer to Madison unfortunately.

    70. Ariana Grande's Ponytail*

      I live in Chicago, about 2.5-3 mi from my office downtown. I take public transit 3 times a week. During the pandemic, it was 20 min door to door if I lined up my arrival to the station right, but now it’s taking me closer to 45 min and has gotten a lot more miserable to boot.

      Our public radio has been doing a series about how bad the trains have gotten now that so many people are being called back into the office, especially T-Th, but our transit system does not have appropriate staffing to provide the necessary frequency of service during rush hour (among other problems like safety and cleanliness). Unfortunately, it is also unsafe for me to bike, I don’t have a car, and it would feel kind of silly to walk for an hour one way.

    71. Bagpuss*

      I live in rural village in the UK and my commute time is about 10-15 minutes,
      But I have long-standing issue with chronic pain which is exacerbated by driving, and I made a very conscious decision to buy a home close to my job.

    72. Acronyms are Life (AAL)*

      I work in DC and live in VA. I’m about 20mi away from my office, and with DC traffic it can be anywhere from 30min to 2hrs to drive, so I take the more predictable train (not the metro LOL, DC people you know why) which door to door is around 1 hr 15min. But I don’t have to deal with parking or the beltway so I call that a win!

    73. Chaordic One*

      I live in northern Utah, 7 miles away from my office, and my commute takes anywhere from between 20 to 45 minutes. (Usually 25 to 30 minutes, but you never know.)

    74. cardigarden*

      I live outside of Washington, D.C., where my 50 mile drive can be anywhere from an hour and a half to 2 hours and 15 minutes. (The best drive of my life was during covid lockdown and it took an hour.)

    75. Reed Weird*

      Cincinnati OH area here, my commute now is about 10 miles and during rush hour, takes 20 minutes on the highway. I have a couple backroads routes I can take if Google lets me know there’s an accident, and that usually will be 20-25 minutes if everyone else also decides to avoid the highway. I had a longer commute before I moved this summer, and I don’t think I ever want to go back to 35+ minutes.

      Public transportation isn’t an option for me. I just looked out of curiosity and it would be two hours, with a three mile walk on a state route with no sidewalks. The state of public transport in this country is awful.

    76. CG*

      Washington DC metro area, 3-4 miles from my office, 40-60 minutes on public transit (or more if it’s a rough Metro day)

    77. OlympiasEpiriot*

      NYC. I live in the same borough that I work in. If all transit connects perfectly, I can go door-to-door in 20 minutes. If I walk, depending on my route and luck w/ hitting stoplights, it’s 45 min to an hour. That usually includes some brief stop at a store for an ingredient or two.

    78. RussianInTexas*

      Houston metro area.
      When I did commute, it was 7.5-9 miles (depending on the route, as in do I pay to sit in traffic on the tollway or do I take surface streets), and 35 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather mostly. In non-rush hour I can get to the office if needed in 17 minutes flat.
      Pretty standard times for the area.

    79. SemiAnon*

      Taipei; about 45 minutes one way (with some variation depending on bus route/traffic). About 15 minutes of that is walking to and from the bus stop and waiting for the bus. A straight run in a taxi takes about 15 minutes (but if I were driving, it would be another 15 minutes for extracting the car from the parking elevator and getting to and from the parking garage at work). Commutes for my colleagues vary from 15 minutes (lives in walking distance) to over an hour and a half by car (the distance you have to move to afford to buy). I can stop off and do multiple errands on the route home, which is a major bonus (grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s office, bakery, gym, picking up take out, etc).

      I will say that my city has excellent, heavily subsidized public transit, and is very committed to improving and expanding it – the subway keeps growing, there are buses, and they’ve done a really good job of integrating bike shares into the transit system.

    80. Rose is a roseis a rose*

      Coastal BC, Canada. Rural, <5 km. 10 minutes drive, 30 minutes bicycle (actually, 30 minutes up, 15 minutes down), 1 hour walking.

    81. The Dude Abides*

      Central IL, mid-sized city.

      Home to office is maybe 5 minutes by car, 20-30 minutes walking. I end up driving most days since I end up running errands on my lunch break.

      When I adjuncted a decade ago, I lived on the outskirts of a town of 500 and had to drive 30 minutes (mostly on I-35) each way to the downtown of a large metropolis.

    82. Susie*

      I used to live in Oakville, outside Toronto (for those outside Ontario)
      Worked at Bay andYonge
      That commute could be 25 min or 90 depending on time of day, weather etc

      I relocated to the Niagara area, the commute is now 2 hours but I only go once every 10 days

    83. Little beans*

      I’m in the SF Bay Area, and my 9 mile commute takes about 45 minutes by car; public transit would take something like 2 hours and require multiple transfers. It is a huge imposition to me. I have a 2 year old and 0 hours to spare – an extra 90 minutes a day is easily the difference between cooking dinner or getting take out, going to the grocery store or heating up something frozen, etc.

    84. allathian*

      Finland, Helsinki metro area, I live about 16 km/10 miles from the office. My commute by bus and train takes between 35 minutes and an hour door to door, depending on how well the bus and train match. If I’m lucky, I can walk to the bus stop, wait 3 minutes for the bus, walk to the train station just in time to get on the train. My office is right next door to a big railway station, so it takes about 5 minutes for me to walk from the train to the office. On the return trip, if I have to wait for more than 15 minutes for the bus, I’ll usually walk to get some exercise.

    85. Not Australian*

      My commute in York was 3.5 miles and due to congestion could take up to an hour and a half on two buses. I learned that in good weather I could walk it in less by taking a number of short-cuts (along the river-bank, for example.) Getting home at the end of the day was usually the worst part due to the city being a tourist hub, so I ended up compromising on taking the bus in the morning to arrive reasonably fresh and then walking home…

    86. Mornington Cresent*

      I’m in Nottinghamshire in the UK, and my commute is about 1.6 miles, or 10 minutes in the car. I plan on walking or cycling when the weather improves, and the only reason I won’t whilst it’s still winter is that I live up a hill. I don’t fancy tackling that in icy conditions very much!

    87. Nightengale*


      10 minutes walk to bus/wait for bus
      12 minutes on the bus
      10 minutes walk from bus to office

      In great weather I sometimes walk home, 50 minutes

      Googlemaps tells me it would be a 7 minute drive although I don’t think googlemaps accounts for what I am told is a terrible parking situation for employees at the hospital where I work. But that is moot because I moved to Pittsburgh so I could quit driving for my health. The job I moved here for was a 3 minute bus/25 minute walk because I chose my apt in relationship to the job.

  10. Another New Job?*

    Is there ever a situation where applying for an internal role just after starting a new job makes sense?

    In my case, I just started a new role this week, in a small team of 2 officers (including me) and 2 senior officers, all reporting into the same manager. Between me accepting the role and starting, one of the senior officers left the team and they are about to advertise the vacancy.

    I’d never consider applying for an internal move so soon normally, but I can’t help but think if this role was advertised earlier (or came up in 6-12 months) I would have definitely applied (and I think been a strong candidate), and this role reports to the same person as my role does.

    I don’t want to seem out of touch / like I’ll be looking for a promotion as soon as possible (it’s the fact it’s in this specific team which interests me!), and definitely wouldn’t want to make things awkward with the other officer in the team if they might apply. On the other hand, it’s a small team and who knows when the next time this role would become available would be, and I’d much rather stay in this team doing this work for a long time than have to apply in other teams for internal promotions down the line.

    What do you think, is there any way to raise this with my manager or do I need to accept that it’s just bad timing and put it out if my mind?

    1. Sloanicota*

      Ooh, fine line! On one hand, I would think my manager would bring it up to me if it was something that was possible. But maybe there’s a very delicate way to raise it and give the boss an opening, just in case that hasn’t crossed their mind? It’s just so early in the tenure that very small missteps can have an outsized impact, and I wouldn’t want to give my boss the impression I’m not 100% focused on my current role.

    2. SnowyRose*

      I would review the policy manual or employee handbook first. I can’t speak to all companies and associations, but it’s pretty common that new hires need to be in their position for a period of time before applying for new internal job.

    3. Shorty Spice*

      I would definitely talk to your manager. It’s not inconceivable that they could put you in the senior role then fill the officer role (possibly there was a strong runner up when you applied). This scenario is less work for the manager if there were another officer candidate.

      I’d be inclined to phrase it as you did in your letter: if that role were advertised I’d have applied and here’s why I’m strong candidate. If I were your manager I wouldn’t think you weren’t committed to the new role.

    4. Another New Job?*

      Thanks all! It’s definitely a tricky one!

      I’ve since found out that the org will offer to second/third choice candidates if a role becomes vacant again within 3 months; so they wouldn’t necessarily need to re-recruit if I was offered the role.

      However there’s also a policy that employees need to be in role for 3 months to apply for vacancies, so it would mean asking for them to make an exception. I’m kind of hoping my new manager brings it up but not super hopeful!

      1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        With this additional info, I would go with just mentioning it in passing to manager as “oh, if the timing were better and I had been with the organization longer, I would have loved the opportunity to apply for Jane’s role. Welp, next time!” That way, they know both you are interested in internal opportunities AND that you understand the policy around those.

  11. EmKay*

    Question for my neurospicy people. Do you also have a harder time masking at work when your stress levels increase? How do you deal with that? Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated :)

        1. Anonymous Allspice*

          Yeah same. That happens to me, too but I would love to hear the advice. Working from home during the pandemic has helped a bit, since I don’t have to mask outside of meetings/interactions like you do in person, but still a struggle. Sending solidarity.

    1. RetailisDetail*

      Masking is MUCH, MUCH harder when I’m stressed/upset for sure! I just gave notice earlier this week {escaping a giant dumpster fire} and I was surprised at how much easier it was to mask afterwards because … I just don’t care anymore (!) and I’m so relieved to be leaving that – surprisingly – all of a sudden I got a major burst of patience.

      In general, it’s been helpful for me to SLOW DOWN as much as possible – paying close attention to how fast I speak or move – which makes it easier for me to respond calmly to NTs (neurotypicals). Antidepressants definitely helped with this – over the past ten years I’ve tried two – of course YMMV. Also, when I actively control how much I speak – and don’t let myself run on and on about my ideas – it’s easier for me to keep my face/body language neutral. Not ideal, and although I’m grateful to be ABLE to mask, it’s EXHAUSTING at the best of times, so remember to cut yourself some slack when you’re already tired and stressed! Take care :)

      1. EmKay*

        Thank you! I also “speed up” the mask drops, and it’s usually the first thing that others notice.

    2. Cendol*

      I sometimes go nonverbal and find meetings very difficult. Fortunately, my job is mostly conducted in solitude, but on those days when I know I’ll be talking to a lot of people, I have to radically recalibrate my expectations. I accept that I will not be getting a lot done in between meetings, and I also give myself permission to be less smiley and bubbly. After work I take about an hour in a dark quiet room to relax.

      1. EmKay*

        How do you recalibrate my expectations? By that I mean what is your process? Do you think about it the night before, the morning of, do you write the steps down, etc?

        1. Standard Human*

          I’m not the same person but:
          – If I have more than three hours of meetings in a day I don’t expect to accomplish any difficult mental work that day (and adjust deadlines and work beforehand accordingly)
          – After an all-day training or meeting I allow myself to be less masked/social the following day — either WFH, or like a big chunk of the day in headphones. It seems like it’s more acceptable to be like “I’m just trying to get back on track after <> and I’m a little tired!” if it’s occasional and tied to a specific event.
          – I set aside low-stress work for times when I’m a little fried and I keep a list of it so I don’t have to remember what I have set aside.
          – I take a lot of notes during the meeting because I know that I won’t really remember a lot of specifics three conversations later.

    3. Neurospicy*

      I definitely have a harder time masking when I’m stressed out….honestly probably because high stress situations are where I’m least able to unmask for even a second’s relief.

      I deal with it the same way I deal with burnout; I push through in the moment, go to the bathroom more often for breaks/to cry, and after work I do literally NOTHING that involves people. Is it healthy? Maybe not. But I commiserate with you, and wish we didn’t have to deal with this.

      1. EmKay*

        That has been my go-to technique in the past, when I was living alone. Now though I share an apartment with my partner so I can’t properly melt down in private at the end of the day :(

        1. Neurospicy*

          I live with a partner too! He’s learned over time that some days, I need a LOT of alone time after work. (It helps that we each have our own little areas where we retreat when we need time, but even when we had a smaller place, we each had our own corner of the apartment). Maybe try talking to your partner about it? Arrange some kind of signal or phrase that means “I did too much masking today at work, and need to melt down/be alone.” Not to give relationship advice, but they should understand that when you’re allowed to be yourself (including meltdowns and time alone), you will ultimately be able to be a better partner to them in return.

          But returning to the dealing with masking during stress, I also try to give myself a break. I’m REALLY mentally hard on myself when I can’t be a superhero, and the thing is, we are not always able to do all the things. Acknowledging to myself “this is hard for me” helps me allow myself to take care of myself, and take the easy way out (delivery instead of cooking, fetch with the dog instead of a long walk) to give myself a break.

        2. Mockingjay*

          I’m not ‘neurospicy,’ but I do need to decompress after work. I swear by meditation podcasts. Put the headphones on and a calm, pleasant voice (w/ or w/o soft music) talks you into relaxing muscles, slowing your heartrate and breathing, and resting your brain. You don’t have to be “into” yoga or meditative practices for it to work.

          There are all kinds out there – some as short as 3 minutes for a recharge during work (I’ve used it!), to 15 minute nap, full yoga nidra practices, all-night sleep meditations… Spotify, YouTube, Apple, etc., even Fitbit streams these.

          I tend to get stress headaches and a half-hour meditation (I usually doze off) can make it go away. Then I’m ready to spend time with Hubby.

        3. Hen in a Windstorm*

          Not true! Tell your partner what you need. I used to try to talk to my husband when he came home from work with a long commute and it always ended badly. I suggested after a while that he seemed to need some quiet time after getting home and he agreed.

          He comes in, I say hi, but don’t ask any questions, he goes upstairs, changes into comfy clothes, then closes the door and meditates and writes in his journal. About 30-45 minutes later, he comes downstairs and we can talk. A new thing he has added is that if he is feeling overwhelmed, he mists his pillow with lavender spray and lays down in the dark for a few minutes first.

        4. Onomatopoetic*

          It’s doable with a partner, even in a small apartment, if you can agree on a vocabulary. My partner tells me that they need to do some stimming and go and sit in a certain spot with headphones on. Then I know not to disturb. It has cut down a lot of the quarrels we used to have because of stress.

    4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Yup and if I’m hungry it’s terrible. I was in an unnecessary in person meeting and just went * weird* next time I’m grabbing my actual mask ( why do I feel better wearing one? I don’t know) and peppermints! Lol)

      1. EmKay*

        Being hungry 100% makes it so much worse. I’ve learned to carry a small stash of purse snacks at all times :)

        1. Filosofickle*

          The most helpful tip I got out of The Happiness Project is her commandment to treat herself “like a toddler” — meaning always have snacks, recognize your limits, and stay ahead of overwhelm.

          This is an excerpt from her article on it:

          Similarly, I imagine myself as a toddler. “Gretchen gets cranky when she’s over-tired. We really need to stick to the usual bedtimes.” “Gretchen gets frantic when she’s really hungry, so she can’t wait too long for dinner.” “Gretchen needs some quiet time each day.” “Gretchen really feels the cold, so we can’t be outside for too long.”

          The fact is, if you’re dealing with a toddler, you have to plan. You have to think ahead about eating, sleeping, proper winter clothes, necessary equipment, a limit on sweets, etc. Because with a toddler, the consequences can be very unpleasant. In the same way, to be good-humored and well-behaved, I need to make sure I have my coffee, my cell-phone charger, my constant snacks, and my eight hours of sleep.

      2. 1LFTW*

        I’ve founf that wearing a mask has cut WAY down on people misinterpreting my face, and therefore the emotional labor I expend making sure my face is arranged acceptably. Or, when it inevitably isn’t, reassuring people that yes, I’m fine! And no, I’m not mad!

    5. Filosofickle*

      Of course! The first thing I do generally is separate myself or go quiet (I’m a talker) — it won’t help exactly, but at least I’ll avoid saying/doing something that makes it worse. If I’m engaged directly, I ask for time to think and get back to them. I take a few minutes by myself where it’s quiet to breathe and settle, and figure out one thing I can focus on or do next. I make lists.

      This isn’t limited to us…NT folks struggle with emotional regulation and maintaining an appropriate demeanor / mood in times of stress, too!

    6. Neurodivergent in Germany*

      Love your terminology too.
      Do you like to stim?
      If you have privacy, you could do anything that makes you feel relaxed. I like to turn on favorite music and rock (i.e. move my upper body back and forth).
      If you need to be unobtrusive, think wearing your favorite color/fabric of clothing or a favorite scent. Do something with your hands (yarncraft, fidget spinner….).
      Use phrases and routines to ground yourself. I like to come up with these myself and combine them with a deliberate gesture (stretching my back and standing up proud or symbolically draw down the shutters in front of my face to “put on my armor”.

    7. Higher Ed Cube Farmer*

      1. Yes.
      Of course masking or coping or self-management or self-regulation or “holding it together” is harder under increased tress for me, a neuroscpicy person, just as it is for the majority of people of most neurotypes.
      (I understand there’s a small minority of folks who flourish under the kinds of stress that negatively affect the rest of us in varying ways/degrees. Lucky them, I guess? Being in that minority probably has its own drawbacks, though. )

      2. I don’t mask, or very little.
      At least, I don’t do what I think most people mean by “masking,” because I don’t think of what I do as trying to hide my individuality to appear “normal.” The psychological toll of dishonesty/self-denial/shame makes masking (being closeted/stealth/passing in another identity dimension) significantly more taxing than doing the exact same *presentation behaviors* for a more affirming reason. So, I don’t mask; instead, I think of my my self-presentation choices as finding a flexible balance between my own needs/comfort/self-expression, and the needs or expectations of the situation and other people in it. I balance those considerations differently under higher or unusual stresses than under familiar or baseline stresses. And because I’m not trying to misrepresent myself as not struggling, I can communicate with people about what I need, what I’m doing, or why.

      Because neurotypical people also struggle with self-regulation under stress, many are able to be sympathetic or accommodating when given the information they need to do so (unless they’re *also* struggling under stress at the time, have poor interpersonal skills generally, or are just jerks). It often doesn’t need to be a Formal Accommodation and folks don’t usually need or want to know my identity or diagnoses. I can just tell what’s going on or ask for what I need, like:
      “I’m really overwhelmed with X and Y coming up, so I’m going to close my door and mute notifications, and put non-urgent stuff on the back burner so I can focus on the highest priorities. I may not respond promptly as I usually do–expect replies to non urgent items in about 3-5 business days. If something’s an emergency, email me with ‘URGENT’ in the subject line and I’ll get to it as soon as possible, probably same day. Or ask [other coworker].”
      or like
      “I’m dealing with some personal/health/whatever stuff and I don’t think I need to take sick leave, but I am kind of off my game. I might seem [fidgetty, depressed, snappish, anxious, withdrawn, tear-y, emotional, whatever], and I might need to take some extra breaks to [take a walk /put my head down / have a snack /whatever I think will help]. If that’s not a problem for others, I think I’d feel better if I had the opportunity to get some work done. If it’s likely to bother others, can I delegate the interactional parts of my job to [coworker] and hide in my office, or work from home? ”

      For things that are fully within norms and my choice, I just do it in the way that works best for me.
      “I know I said I’d do Z thing for you as a favor, but it turns out I’m not able to. I hope this gives you enough notice to make other arrangements.”
      “Thanks for the invite to lunch with the group, I need to decline this time.”

      These are work examples, but I do similar in my non-work personal relationships, especially with close family, partner, or friends (many of whom are neurodivergent, so they have an extra layer of getting where I’m coming from).

      “Spouse, you’re on your own for dinner tonight. I’m out of energy for dealing with humans, even loved ones. I’m going to go [meltdown/ do selfcare things], don’t disturb me unless you need me to call 911. Love you, see you in the morning.”
      “Friend, I need some hard exercise endorphins to break this anxiety spiral, but I’m not motivated to do it alone the way I would be if someone else was expecting me. Can we make an exercise date for soon? No talking, no socializing, just sweating?”

    8. Not So Little My*

      Watching this closely. I have to start going into the office 3 days a week and this was my first week, after nearly 3 years WFH. I let myself take lots of breaks and stim in private (rocking in the bathroom) but I haven’t had to face overwhelm yet. I have gotten better about setting boundaries at home so I have given myself permission to do that at work. The biggest one so far is telling myself “you don’t have to fix everything that’s wrong all at once”, prioritizing and delegating.

  12. MaybeBaby*

    I’m trying to get pregnant and wondering how it might affect site work for my job – I’m an architect and go to construction sites about once a week for a few hours.

    Some projects are historic and have things like lead paint and asbestos being mitigated. Both new and renovation projects will have some hazards on site some of the time – think paint fumes, welding gas.

    My first step will be talking to my doctor if/when I get pregnant, but has anyone else been in a similar situation?

    Did you tell your office sooner than you planned? The contractor running job sites? Did you have to stop going on site? Wear a mask on site?

    I’m already the only woman on site most times and don’t want to be seen as delicate, but also want to keep me and my future baby to be safe.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      I know on Good Bones the main woman wore extra ventilation gear while pregnant on job sites. You could just frame it as wanting extra protection from dust etc if you’re trying not to disclose you’re pregnant. Maybe just “My doctor told me to avoid more fumes recently” and not the why. You could say you’ve got some weird reverse covid situation where now everything smells extra to you, my friend who was scent blind for 6months with covid does now find regular scents very strong.

      And good luck with the baby!

    2. CheesePlease*

      I worked in a manufacturing facility when I was pregnant. I suggest you talk to your doctor about what environmental risks you should manage, and then you can bring them up to your manager as “I recently saw my doctor and due to some new medical conditions (don’t worry everything is fine!) I need to manage my exposure to X and Y. I need company to provide me with [type of PPE] when I visit site. Who do I talk to to make it happen? I can get the specifics in writing from my doctor if needed”

      I didn’t have to stop working in my facility, but I did avoid the chemical processing areas (acids etc) as much as possible, and didn’t lift or carry anything heaver than 10-15lbs. I was a manager so it was easy to get other to help me with my tasks. I worked until 38 weeks in the summer. It’s possible! But certainly talk to your doctor first.

    3. Generic Name*

      For lead and asbestos, unless you are doing the removal yourself inside the plastic zone, you should have zero exposure. If you are suiting up and doing the work, I’d try to transition away from that work now.

      I’d also start wearing an N95 mask on job sites now. Just in case. I don’t think you have to tell anyone before you normally would, based on the description of your job. I’m an environmental scientist, and I was working at an airport when I was pregnant, and I didn’t have to change anything about my job really because I wasn’t exposed to nasty stuff.

    4. Environmental Compliance*

      So, never been pregnant, but I’m HSE. We set up additional resources like this all the time for pregnant staff, staff who have a short term ergo need (i.e. injury), etc. in review with the person’s medical team.

      Not all HSE departments are set up to handle this, but it is worth thinking about whether you have a Safety person you can go to to review this and get you set up with any additional PPE or whatnot you might need.

    5. Squawkberries*

      I would say you should disclose, even at risk of seeming “delicate”. The people who are at the site day to day may be able to warn you of hazards that you might not be aware of coming onsite. I told the people in the hospital I worked at very very early because I wanted their help to help me avoid xrays, teratogens, etc.

      1. amoeba*

        Yup, chemist here and we definitely need to disclose as soon as we know we’re pregnant to prevent any exposure. (Sounds as though the risk of exposures might be much lower on this case though – if only because there hasn’t been prior info on this while I’ve basically been told every year since I was a student…)

        1. anonie for this*

          This. I certainly tell all my workers all the possible hazards (several times a year) and we use appropriate protective equipment, but in turn they have to tell me very early about their reproductive and other health situations so we can adjust their duties. I sympathize with not wanting to tell people about health issues, and I’m not really comfortable with needing to ask, but IMO, [b]not[/b] telling me about pregnancy or other applicable health stuff is an even worse option.

          I’m also not sure that ‘just wear a mask’ will solve the problem. Depending on the substance, different protective equipment or another accommodation may be better for avoiding exposure. I’d recommend looking at the safety data sheets (all available online) and consulting with either your doctor or the environmental health and safety expert for your site, preferably both due to the differences in expertise.

    6. lilchickshan*

      I worked in the construction industry as a project manager during my first pregnancy and was on and off jobsites and in and out of plants all the time. My main jobsite was 11 miles of rail through DC at the time, so I did a LOT of walking, throughout my pregnancy. I didn’t announce until about 5 months, and after talking to my doctor didn’t worry too much, just made sure to follow all recommended safety precautions anyway. I mean as a project manager I’m known for being the max on safety anyway to walk the walk. I had no issues and a healthy baby, who’s now 9 and awesome! 9 months pregnant my safety gear finally fit right too. I did only get 2.5 weeks off post c-section and pumping was a bigger adventure on sites then pregnancy. My second pregnancy I was working as a scheduler only, so still the only woman in the room but less on site time. It’s a tough industry to grow humans in, but can be done and good luck!

    7. Stitch*

      I mean lead and asbestos are active risks to anyone and you should wearing filtered masks around those anyway. Lead accumulated pre-pregnancy can be a risk too.

      I’d also say disclose ASAP. No one wants you risking damage.

      1. Bess*

        This. Act now as if you are pregnant, because lead can accumulate over a lifetime and particularly a first pregnancy can be impacted by that due to how the fetus draws on your resources where lead may be stored. Not to freak you out, just know this is a big deal since you have industry exposure.

        You should really be proactive here and not wait until you are pregnant to figure out what would be safest. Unless you are working with a fertility situation, they generally don’t want to see you for your first appointment until 2-3 months into the pregnancy. Because you are in an industry with exposure, you could consider getting your blood tested for lead to know where you’re at compared to normal levels, and if you have elevated levels address that prior to pregnancy.

        My main point is, there are many health issues and considerations like this where standard pregnancy health care doesn’t really prepare you or monitor in the way you would expect. Maybe wearing a quality mask is enough, but I would find out now and act as if you are pregnant now and take the appropriate steps.

      2. Observer*

        Yes. Especially on taking precautions anyway.

        OP, if you are not wearing a mask on site, start NOW. And talk to whoever is tasked with safety about this. No one should be around this stuff without one.

        Asbestos and lead abatement are actually not likely to be your biggest risks, I expect, because that tends to be pretty well sealed off and most companies that do abatement don’t let anyone who is not suited up properly into the actual area that the abatement is going on. But there is plenty of other stuff flying around that no one should be breathing in.

    8. Observer*

      Wear a mask on site?

      People wear masks on construction sites all the time, especially in the times of sites you describe.

      When Covid hit, we had a few K95 masks in the house because we’d had work done in the house and the contractor left the masks behind.

      1. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*


        I used to work in the safety area. If there was high dust on a site, we wore particulate masks. Organic vapors? A elastomeric respirator with the correct cartridges.

        Talk to your safety person about the hazards on the sites that may impact medically sensitive people, and then wear the appropriate PPE.

    9. HannahS*

      Not exactly the same, but when I was a pregnant healthcare worker, I didn’t work with patients with certain illnesses or who were on cytotoxic medications. When I was early in pregnancy, I told my supervisor that I was having a medical issue resulting in immunocompromise and couldn’t see certain types of cases–which was reasonable since we work on teams, so it wasn’t like I was ever the only person available. When I was publicly pregnant, I did the same, but just said that it was because I was pregnant. I was matter-of-fact and straightforward. I used more PPE than others to protect myself in situations where there was increased risk to me, but not so much that I wouldn’t see the patient.

      It would also probably be helpful to speak to your doctor prior to becoming pregnant, to know exactly what situations are more or less risky, how to protect yourself, and when you need to start taking certain measures. There are some precautions advised during pregnancy that actually start before one is pregnant, some that are most important in the early weeks/months, and some that don’t matter until closer to the end.

      1. HannahS*

        Oh, and I wore PPE as if the most dangerous situation was occurring. It is really awful to be in a situation where you were exposed to something because someone else missed something. For me, that meant that when I was pregnant I wore full contact precautions every time I touched a patient, even if I had been told they didn’t have a communicable illness, because sometimes, whoops! They had shingles.

    10. Nesprin*

      Off the top of my (lab worker) head, you may need different styles/levels of PPE for these different hazards- dusty particulate hazards like asbestos and paint flecks are easier to manage (think disposable N100 mask+ possibly a gown) vs. welding fumes which could require a cartridge respirator (those should be fitted to your face and you may need to go through lung function tests to qualify).

      You should talk to your doctor now because toxic things are often most hazardous to a fetus very early in pregnancy.

      Does your company have a health and safety person or (ideally) an industrial chemist? You could go have a talk with them of “hypothetically if I were trying to conceive, what should I be doing about these hazards?”

      By law, anything that you’re exposed to should have a SDS sheet- you can google those for paints/gasses etc- they’ll have a PEL (i.e. the amount it’s ok to be exposed to if you don’t have other risks i.e. pregnancy), hazards in pregnancy section, and a section on appropriate PPE.

    11. ScruffyInternHerder*

      I was on a new build addition/retrofit of a major hospital from conception through week 40 of my first pregnancy as a professional site staff member.

      1. My doctor assured me that I was fine unless I did X, Y, and Z things (that were so outside the realm of reason that I could guarantee the site safety officer would have kicked me off the site for even pondering them). So yes, talk to your doctor.
      2. I was found out on a random drug screen. ::side-eye-of-the-major-sort:: The site safety officer on that project tried six ways to heck to remove me from the site and was informed in all cases that he was not permitted to do so because there was no reason to do so that was legitimate and legal. In light of this, even though its been a solid decade, talk to your doctor and if the pair of you deem it needed, have documentation on hand stating any/no restrictions.
      3. I made sure I had the most comfortable work boots possible. Our safety director (not the jerk above, he was a different company) made sure to get me appropriate hi-viz in the correct size.

      The tradesmen I worked with were all very familiar with me and knew me to NOT be a delicate flower by any means. At the same time, they turned into a bit of slightly protective loons some days. Most of the time, this manifested in carrying rolls of prints for me, and given the size in hindsight, yeah, they probably were over my weight limit.

      1. lilchickshan*

        I’ve been following this and am pleased to see another chill mom response from someone in the construction management industry. Direct chemist/chemical interaction/healthcare or even in trades are likely to have more impact and concerns, but management in the construction industry didn’t seem too bad. Hiding it was definitely the right choice for as long as possible in the male dominated industry.

        Did you also struggle with the post birth challenges in a male dominated industry?

    12. Not that Leia*

      I’m also an architect and was out at construction sites off and on through two pregnancies. Based on my experience, I would guess it’s HIGHLY unlikely that you would encounter enough of any hazards in your observational capacity with the potential to affect the pregnancy. Standard site safety protocols should provide adequate protection (though obviously confirm with your doctor.)
      I second the recommendation for comfortable shoes. And would plan ahead for bathroom breaks. I personally did not actively disclose either pregnancy, but I also didn’t hide it. It eventually became apparent, and I just acted really matter of fact about it. I did at some point stop climbing on scaffolding, which was probably more dangerous than any chemical substance out there.

  13. rayray*

    anyone else job hunting and feeling hopeless? I go in and out of spurts of motivation but sometimes I feel like I will never find anything I like and that will pay me what I need to live comfortably.

    1. Squawkberries*

      \hug/ if you want one. Job hunting is demoralizing. Try to reward yourself for self-created milestones (every 10 applications submitted, etc). Good luck !

    2. Bunny Girl*

      I’m about a month in to my job hunt as I am getting closer to graduation and I’m already starting to feel pretty blah, even though I know that isn’t a long time. I am a late in life student so I have work history (about ten years worth) but less than a year in my field. All of the “starter” positions in my industry, the ones that are basically needed to get your foot in the door, all pay horribly. Like impossible to live on horribly. I’ve found a couple jobs that I sort of qualify for, but they typically want to see a year or two in those “starting” positions. I would be taking an almost 50% paycut for most of them, and I just can’t do it. I am barely surviving as is.

    3. amoeba*

      Yup. Started searching almost a year ago now. There’s so few jobs in my field (even though I’m one major European hubs) that during the whole time I applied to maximum one job per month. Most jobs, I was out after round one (which actually never happened in my previous job searches, no idea what’s different).
      Since November now, no jobs have been posted. I check every day but just not being able to do anything is killing me.

      (I do have a job, but I really, really want to change sub-fields and I’m also scared that’ll get harder the longer it takes…)

      1. rayray*

        Sounds similar to what I am going through. I am skilled and have had a variety of jobs, but the road block I have is that I am not really specialized in anything specific. I see job postings sometimes that sound like something I can do, but I don’t meet the threshold of X years of experience in very specific task, though I have done very similar work.

        I am being a little picky, I made the mistake before of leaving a job I hated and ending up in a worse job. I also just feel like I see so few postings lately so I am hoping to see things pick up as budgets and such are figured out at companies. I was doing really well a few months ago, got a few interviews but so many of them ended up in “We really like you and would love to have you apply again, but we offered the position to someone else”

        I am trying to feel hopeful but I worry a lot too. Good luck to you!

        1. Lil Sebastian*

          Also similar here. Can’t imagine trying any harder than I have been for a year, have come so close several times, opportunities are thin as ice, and my self-confidence has dwindled to nothing. Nice to know we’re not alone!

        2. amoeba*

          Yeah, it will definitely pick up again, just waiting’s not exactly my strong suit! Indeed good to read I’m not alone – good luck to everybody and hopefully see you in the good news some time this year!

    4. BellyButton*

      I just started my new job a week ago. 6 months laid off, I applied to 15-50 jobs a day, got 5 interviews, 3 that went to final stages before accepting this position. It was exhausting and frustrating. Keep at it!! Good luck!

      1. Feline Outerwear Catalog*

        I’ve been feeling this way. too. I’m trying to break out of higher ed and into industry and surprised at the salary ranges. Corporate is supposed to pay more but it doesn’t! I’m feeling like I missed the boat, I have friends who left and they all came out with huge salaries.

        1. MediumEd*

          I’m also trying to leave higher ed. It is a tough industry to break into AND break out of, I am noticing. Keep it up and you will find something! This is our year!

    5. Moon Moon*

      Absolutely. In fact, I just had a slight breakdown about it this afternoon! Just prior to the pandemic I went back to school in an attempt to make a significant career change, but COVID torpedoed that and I haven’t been able to get back on track since. I also go through periods when I feel like I will never find a job that I actually like that will pay enough to live off of. Solidarity!

    6. D in Ohio*

      Right here. I really haven’t come across anything I would love to have, and anything else I’ve applied to are more lateral moves. I just started, though, so I’m hoping it picks up soon. Good luck to you/us all!

    7. Alternative Person*

      Virtual hugs and support if you want them.

      But, yeah. It feels like there’s nowhere really to go right now. It’s frustrating as I’m ready for a new challenge but so many next step positions seem to have either been weeded out or be filled with people who also have nowhere to go.

      It’s not like the pay/conditions are keeping up either.

  14. Flowers*

    Interacting in an open office – I was talking to a friend and they said that joining into a conversation is inappropriate, no exceptions.   

    I disagree because open office = public. with caveats. To me the obvious cues are tone, volume, topic, body language etc. And this excludes people who are in their offices/behind closed doors.

    So, a few examples: let’s say 4 ppl are at their desks joking and chatting, its OK if person 5 laughs with them.
    Or if one person is sharing a personal anecdote to a group, it’s not being nosy to look up and listen to them if it’s a topic of interest and share something related.
    Or if there’s a work related conversation going on and you know the answer and can help, it’s OK to interject.

    (let’s just assume here that all the non-work conversations are all SFW and appropriate).

    OTOH if two people are standing or sitting close together and speaking in low tones in the open area, to me it’s a sign for me to mind my own business.

    What do you guys think? 

    1. EMP*

      I think you’re right – or at least, that’s the social norm in my open plan/cubicle office. If people are standing up, talking about something (work or not work) in normal voices, or joking around, it’s totally normal and expected for other people to join in. We look like gophers all popping our heads up over the cube walls lol

    2. urguncle*

      IMO, if you’re talking about something loud enough for me to hear in an open office, it’s public and not eavesdropping. If you have something private to talk about, go for a walk or get an office space. When I have things I want to talk about privately with coworkers, the cue is usually like “hey, do you need a coffee?”

      1. rayray*

        I agree with you. I won’t always hop into conversations, but at the same time, I don’t understand people who will hang out in a desk pod and whisper about things. Why not just leave the area? Most conversations are casual and friendly and it’s not a huge deal to anyone if someone pipes in, but more intimate conversations could be taken elsewhere or be done over teams chat. I don’t purposely eavesdrop, but at the same time, whispered conversations will pique my interest more so than a conversation being had at normal speaking volumes.

    3. Employed Minion*

      I think it depends on the culture of the office.
      At my previous job, I would pipe in regularly. At some point my boss made a comment (I forget the wording) but I got the message and stopped doing it. Conversely, jumping in is encouraged at my current job

      1. MigraineMonth*

        When I was new at a previous open-office job, I would ask the person next to me how we did X, and I would end up with 5 people weighing in to disagree on the best way to do X. It seemed to be a hazard of working in an open office with many opinionated (and bored?) people.

    4. Admin of Sys*

      Depends on the conversation. If it’s right near your cube, then it’s fine. And if it’s related to your work, then it’s also fine. But if it’s a general social conversation, I treat it like I do a coffee shop with tables near by. Sure, it’s a public conversation, and the people chatting might love your opinions on the recent movie, but it is still a little intrusive to jump in if no one has made eye contact / said hello / invited you to join.

      1. urguncle*

        This isn’t in cubes, though. It’s in an open office. I think it’s reasonable if you’re in a cubicle that you’re not going to join in on conversations that you can’t see and know who is there. But if you’re at a table with 4 people and 2 are having a conversation about a customer that you have helped before, it’s reasonable to jump in.

    5. Kes*

      I’m with you – I generally try and pretend I’m not overhearing other people’s conversations happening around me but there are times when I’ll join in provided it seems like a general conversation and not that they’re trying to have a private discussion, and there’s typically indicators as you’ve mentioned – closer together, further away from others, talking in lower tones, and if it’s really private they’ll probably go talk in a meeting room anyway.

      Joining a general conversation is like if they were casually chatting in the break room. If it’s people I don’t know as well, I probably wouldn’t join, but if it’s people I know, the discussion and group positioning seem pretty open, and they’re talking about something I’m interested in, I don’t see any problem in joining the conversation.

      1. Purrscilla*

        I interject in work conversations all the time, and that’s exactly the point of open offices – so you can hear conversations that might be relevant to you.

        If you want a private conversation, get a meeting room or go out for coffee.

    6. Eyes Kiwami*

      I think this really varies by office, context, setting. If I want to jump in, I try to indicate with eye contact, hanging close by if it’s a break room/if we’re at desks, sitting back in my chair and indicating I’m not focused on work…

      I think it can be a little weird if person 5 is quite far away or it wasn’t clear they were listening in. But I don’t think people chatting in an open office should expect to be able to exclude listeners. That’s the whole point of ~in-person collaboration~ isn’t it, that we can jump into each other’s conversations like that?

  15. Watry*

    Two weeks ago I commented in the open thread asking for interview advice, last week I updated that I did great and had a second interview. This week I can report I got (and accepted) the job roughly fifteen minutes after walking out of the interview*! I’m both very excited and very anxious, as it’s an enormous step up in responsibility but also a decent raise–not commensurate with the work but it’s local government so not much to be done there.

    *I’m just moving departments so this is not the red flag it would be otherwise.

  16. Anon today*

    More of a complaint than a question. I work for a state agency, and state law requires us to file a declaration of extra income. I understand the purpose — detecting conflicts of interest, etc. — but it still annoys me, because management could decide “This person doesn’t need a raise this year because they have XYZ extra income.”

    Our salaries are limited by the state budget, but of course our management determines where in that band we fit, and how much of the budgeted raise we get. And I know some managers would decide to not give Sally the full raise she qualifies for, because she has a side gig, but Joe doesn’t, so he gets the full amount. Ugh.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Yeah, ideally your managers shouldn’t have access to those – they should just know things like “Sally can’t handle the inspection for Acme, Co – there’s a conflict of interest form filed”. That sort of measure should not affect your compensation.

    2. Hotdog not dog*

      We have to report outside activities, but not compensation. Because there could potentially be a conflict of interest whether the role is paid or volunteer.

      1. AnonFed*

        Same, I’m a fed. I actually report to someone in my agency in the ethics office and they just send me an email saying “don’t conduct business with any of these companies” (basically, just my spouse’s job). My manager and her manager don’t see it.

      2. Anon today*

        We have to get approval before we can engage in outside employment, and then have to submit the source and amount of any extra income (including investments, etc.) received in our name. So I didn’t have to report the inheritance my spouse received, but I do have to report anything paid to my name.

        1. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

          Even investments? Wow. I’d be surprised if my small amounts of common stock had any impact on my job.

      3. Totally Minnie*

        Same. I work for state government and I’m required to report any outside employment, including self employment, but I’m not required to report any salary information for the outside employment.

      4. JelloStapler*

        This. It’s about the conflict not being paid for it. if we volunteered somewhere that was a conflict of interest we’d have to report it.

    3. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I flagrantly break this rule. My state agency thinks they can pay terribly and tell me I can’t supplement without approval? Feck no. I work on the weekends sometimes and I will never ever tell anyone. It’s worth any risk to me.

      1. AnonFed*

        I have to tell you I think this is a very bad idea. I’ve never been denied outside work, they send me a list of ethics guidelines and how to identify myself (biographical information versus associating myself with the agency). It’s a very simple process.

          1. AnonFed*

            I mean okay? You posted on a public forum. If you’re breaking government policy, you can get fired. If you’re not reporting outside jobs and potentially working on conflicts of interest you could end up in serious trouble. If you want to be cavalier about it, that’s your choice. But don’t pretend you’re morally justified or it’s a good idea. Those reporting requirements are in place to prevent corruption.

              1. MaryB*

                Maybe don’t post on a public forum if you won’t want people to reply to you. That’s how these things work.

              2. JelloStapler*

                Did you think you would only get “Wooo go you, stick it the man” replies? I think AnonFed was very kind to warn you of the repercussions of something YOU posted. You can choose to post on forums but not avoid replies.

    4. Observer*

      but it still annoys me, because management could decide “This person doesn’t need a raise this year because they have XYZ extra income.”

      No, government agencies rarely work that way. If you are in a unionized environment that would absolutely violate any CBA. In if you are in management ranks, pay is still pretty rigidly defined by all sorts of rules and regulations.

      1. Anon today*

        1. State employees in my state aren’t unionized.
        2. People are people, and managers do make those kinds of decisions. (I’ve seen it happen; this isn’t me catastrophizing.)

      2. Govt Manager*

        Only about 1/3 of government employees in the USA are unionized. And if you work for a government that has performance pay (like mine) managers absolutely have discretion on pay raises. I have to stay within a budgetary amount, but I can give Julie a 5% increase and Jenny only 1%. As long as I’m under my budget, no one will challenge that.

        We also have financial disclosure forms where I work, but I never see the dollar values. They are filed with the ethics office. I don’t want to see those financial details. I like to think they wouldn’t influence me, but I’m glad I don’t have the temptation

    5. Rosemary*

      Does this apply to any form of extra income, or extra income from another job that may be a conflict of interest? I am thinking of someone with a trust fund, or rental property – that income is passive, has no impact on the job, etc – so seems like it is none of the employer’s business. Do they also demand to know the amount of the extra income, or just the source?

      1. AnonFed*

        For me I have to report any outside jobs, stock holdings over a certain dollar amount, things like prizes over a certain amount (say I won concert tickets over the radio). But I don’t have to report amounts.

        1. AnonFed*

          Wow, that’s a bit excessive. Do they have exceptions? Like I’m not required to report gifts from family, for instance.

        2. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

          Wow, that’s below the 1099 filing limit of $600/year. That’s bonkers.

          I have a self owned side gig that grosses maybe $2000/year. I let employers know I have the business, but it’s very unrelated to my day job, and I never could live on it.

  17. HelpReframe*

    I am starting to really dislike my boss and I am not sure if there is a way to reframe my feelings. I’m afraid my dislike is going to show through.

    I was promoted this fall and seemed to instantly click on a personal level, and we have a lot of hobbies and tastes in common. When we have casual chats it’s fine.

    But when it comes to work I’m quickly finding myself to strongly dislike “Bob”.
    For starters he goes on about the “good ol’ days” and is vocal in his dislike for new processes. It’s become apparent to me that he hasn’t engaged with these changes so our team is in a bad position as these changes go live next month.

    Bob also talks over me and ignores me on meetings so much, that I was on mute for our recent call and didn’t notice because the amount he was ignoring my input was on par with a call when I’m not on mute.

    He’s quick to get frustrated – he doesn’t yell or anything like that but he gets an edge to his voice when he’s flustered and he’s had that edge with me on many calls this week as I learned a new process. I attribute it to impatience since I only made one mistake on the new report, but I found 4 mistakes from the prior year so I felt like I got the hang of it pretty fast.

    Finally, and this is his most annoying trait, he prattles on. For example we just had a call that started off with me saying A is done and I only need to focus on B right? . 45 Minutes! later he wraps up the call with “and that’s why A is done and you need to focus on B”.

    Any assistance in reframing his temper/talking over people would be amazing because right now I just feel like Bobs a sexist Dinosaur and that’s not conducive to working well together.

    1. Phoenix*

      I think you may end up needing to quit/transfer roles :( I’ve worked with Bobs. It’s definitely him who’s the problem here, not you. And he’s very unlikely to change.

      … any chance he’s going to retire soon?

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I worked for a Bob, too, and my first team meeting ran *over* by 45 minutes. It was only scheduled to be a 30 minute meeting. He also had a dynamic where he would “roast” other people and encourage them to do the same to him, which made me very uncomfortable.

        Let’s just say I’m glad he retired.

    2. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      While there are probably things you *could* do to reframe, do you definitely want to? Are there things about this job that make it worth it to you, or other reasons that you need to stay here for the moment? Because you typed up most of a page about legitimate complaints about your boss, and I don’t see anything that’s compensating for that.

      If there ARE reasons to stay, keeping those in mind while Bob is being Bob may be your best bet.

      1. HelpReframe*

        Basically I love the company and I finally broke into the department that my experience/is in. I’m afraid if I go back to my old role, I’d be shutting the door to getting back into this work at this company and since I love this work and I want to retire from this company I’m very hesitant to do that.

    3. Sherm*

      Well, it sounds like your take on Bob is accurate (unless he’s also talking over and ignoring the men, in which case he’s an equal-opportunity jerk). Reframing could end up harmful if in your next job you bring with you the distorted perspective you applied to cope at your current job.

      As for not letting your dislike show, perhaps it would help to remember that you don’t have to be his friend, just politely professional. No rolling your eyes at him, or snapping at him — a pretty low bar!

    4. OtterB*

      If you get along well with Bob in general, I think you can approach some of these with him as impacting your work. Not, I fear, the frustrating prattling – you can’t control the meeting agenda (though you might be able to affect it if these are 1-1. Could you do at least some of them as email? Schedule them so that you have another meeting right after and will need to go?) And not the good ol’ days attitude. But being talked over/ignored I think you could try addressing by asking if there’s some better way to get his attention or to participate.

      Otherwise, you could try the anthropologist point of view. Mentally say to yourself, in a David Attenborough voice, “And here is typical behavior of a Boss of this age and gender, [doing whatever]. See how he disregards younger members of the herd.” Or keep a mental bingo card, but that may not be conducive to working well. The anthropologist lets you get a little distance and make it less personal.

      1. Danish*

        Yes, this is my suggestion. Possibly only works because of the good personal rapport, but sometimes you just need to say to someone hey you talk over me and I’m not a fan of that. In a professional way.

        If nothing else, if you’re at the end of your rope with hiding your annoyance, you may as well just let them know that being interrupted/ignored is annoying you!

    5. Kes*

      Are there work related areas which Bob is good at? Reasons you can think of as to why he’s in this position? If so, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still suck, but at least you can remind yourself of these. If not, (and even if so), you probably need to ask yourself whether this is enough to make you want to leave the position. Then you can reframe to ‘Bob sucks but overall this position is still worth it’ or ‘Bob sucks but hopefully I’ll be out of here soon’

  18. new year, new name*

    I’m looking for reassurance that it’s ok to quit my job!

    I’m about 15 years into my career, the first 10 years at one organization and the past 5 at my current employer. I have lots of reasons why this job is no longer good for me, and I know I can’t figure out my next step while I’m still working here. Financially, I’m in a position where I can swing at least six months without a day job. I’m confident that leaving my current role will have real benefits for my mental and physical health, my relationship, the community work I love but never have enough time for, etc. My therapist agrees. My spouse agrees. My friends agree.

    It just seems so… selfish? irresponsible? over-privileged? like a waste of “potential” or that I’m throwing away all of the support and investments that others have made in me? to quit without anything lined up. But I know I don’t want to stay in my current field (an area of advocacy that is so, so important but I just. can’t. do it anymore), and I need time to figure out what to do next.

    I should do it, right? It’s allowed?

    1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      It’s allowed!

      If you’re worried about your “potential”… How much of that “potential” are you really fulfilling in a job that you have lots of good reasons to leave? How much more could you be doing somewhere else that wasn’t draining your time and energy?

      Also, it sounds like you’re either in burnout or headed that way, and working yourself into a place where you need to spend that entire financial cushion just getting yourself back into a mental/physical state where you can do a full-time job again isn’t going to do you or anyone else any good.

    2. Empress Matilda*

      Yep, totally allowed. Your health is suffering at your current job, and you have enough financial security to hold you over if you’re unemployed for a while. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself!

      It’s also not a terrible thing to take advantage of your privilege. We talk about it a lot in social justice circles, often in a comparative way – the impact of one group of people having more (or less) privilege than another. But it’s not always comparative. You do have privilege here obviously, but it’s not harming anyone else if you use it. In fact you could think of it as a benefit – not only do you get a break, but also there’s a job opening that wasn’t available before, and somebody else can take advantage of it.

      Your therapist, your spouse, and your friends are right – and I expect this particular bunch of internet strangers would agree as well. ;) Good luck!

    3. OtterB*

      It’s allowed! It is a privilege to be able to do something like this, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you shouldn’t expect that everyone in your situation would be able to act that way.

      I would say frame it as giving yourself space to, as you say, figure out what’s next. It’s harder to do that when you’re constantly fighting a battle that it sounds like is burning you out. You have potential. You have a contribution to make. Take some time to decide where your best fit is now, with the experience you have now, and what you know about yourself now.

    4. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

      Yes :-)

      The thing about how it’s a “waste”: it’s like you’re assuming that all the value of your built-up experience of this job ends when you stop doing it. But you’re going to take your experience & wisdom & “transferable skills” to whatever you do next.

      You could just as well argue that it would be a “waste” for you to stay where you are, and never find out what your new contribution will be in your next role! Who knows what you might be able to accomplish there?

      (not to say it would be a “waste” if you were stopping to retire & take care of yourself, either, because your own experience of life as a human is also a valuable and worthwhile thing. But that’s often harder to accept, in a capitalist world, & in a world where you’ve got used to helping other people at your own expense. So it’s probably easier to go with the simpler reframe about the potential value of your next work role.)

      Just because it’s where you are now, doesn’t mean it’s the best place to be!

    5. Tio*

      The main person whose buy in you need is your spouse – if they’re ok with it, and you’re feeling like this job might break you soon, go for it. Worst case scenario, you need to be willing to pick up some retail or service work if your job search extends beyond what you’d prepared for. Whatever people “invested” in you is still there – you’re just holding on to it to move to a better place. (It also might be better to reframe that kind of thinking. Investing in you makes it sound like you owe them or they bought a part of you with their time and energy, and they didn’t.)

    6. Jobless*

      Please do it! I left my job with nothing lined up in the fall. I was feeling very off-kilter mentally, emotionally, and physically, so it did not make sense for me to jump right into something else. But I also know that feeling you’re describing — like you’re doing something very WRONG by leaving the workforce for a bit, lol.

      Society hasn’t caught up to this idea yet, but taking time and space to restore your own sense of inner balance and wellness is so beneficial not only for you, but for everyone else in your life, including those who you may be impacted by the work you do in the future. You’re a human being, not a machine. Take good care of yourself!

    7. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Do it. I needed to do that two jobs ago and felt exactly as you do, so I found and accepted another job as an escape hatch. I did not do my due diligence. The “escape hatch” turned out to be a very very bad fit and three months later I was jobless – which exactly what I needed. I wish I’d had the fortitude to say “I am doing what’s best for me” and just quit the first job.

    8. Aerin*

      I had to really push Spouse to leave his job last fall without anything lined up. He wanted to, it was killing him, he was finding it hard to job hunt on top of work and his last semester of grad school, and there were signs of serious instability at the company that indicated the job might have an end date whether he set one or not. But he was still really hesitant.

      We didn’t have a lot of liquid cash available, so while he was still working I took out a loan for about 6mo of his salary. (It’s a bit risky, but I made sure the payment is something we’d still be able to manage even if that money ran out.) We budget using an envelope system, so we take the monthly payment and his “paycheck” from that envelope and otherwise don’t touch it.

      We’re about 4 months into that 6, and he’s really struggling. He’s never ever had trouble finding a job before, and making this career move was a bit of a leap and now he’s worried it was a huge mistake. The main problem is he’s missing a certification that he thought he wouldn’t need because of the masters’ degree, but nope. Luckily the rules for that cert were recently revised to make it less of a nightmarish catch-22, and he’s now got a clear path to getting it (even though he still grumbles that it’s gatekeeping BS, and he’s not wrong).

      The biggest thing I’d recommend would be to set yourself a timeline. Like, I’m not going to think about it at all until date A, then I will start applying but will be super picky until date B, when either I will have to start getting less picky, pick up some side/temporary work, or look at ways to cut costs and stretch our cushion. And also have some kind of plan for how you will spend your days during this time, which has been the hardest part for Spouse.

      I’m not gonna say it’s super easy and not scary. But I’m confident that Spouse will find something that’s a much better fit, and that this will all be worth it in the end.

      Make your game plan, then take the leap. You’re worth it.

    9. calonkat*

      Point by point:
      selfish? – You are allowed to invest time in yourself. Making yourself a stable and well rounded person will benefit you, your future employers and your community.

      irresponsible? -You addressed this. You have the financial stability for a set amount of time without employment.

      over-privileged? -Well, everyone has some sort of privilege, only you know your own morality here. But generally, having the financial ability to do something, does not make it over privileged to do that thing.

      like a waste of “potential” or that I’m throwing away all of the support and investments that others have made in me? – Go back to the first point. Making yourself a stable and well rounded person will benefit you, your future employers and your community.

      Do not spend more of your finite time in this existence in a job that makes you actively unhappy if you have an alternative.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Came here to say this, but not as well

        I also want to add, “over-privileged” in terms of what? You’ve been working hard and been frugal enough to have built a buffer? Those have been your choices, not your privilege (since I have no idea what your background is etc)

        Please just quit your job and give yourself the space and grace to figure out what you want to do next!

    10. the cat's pajamas*

      Totally allowed. You can start applying and interviewing to get an idea of what’s out there. If that’s too intimidating, just start looking at job postings. Even if you got an offer you’re not obligated to accept it, and it never hurts to look. Good luck!

    11. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Permission granted!

      It sounds like you’ve thought this through and you have the support of your spouse, which is important before making big financial decisions. I also don’t see it as throwing away investments that others have made in you. You will take your skills and knowledge with you and do other stuff with it. And if you’re worried about other people being salty about it, please remember that you contributed to the organization with your work!

    12. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      I just spent the last two months convincing my spouse to do just this! For him it’s been less about ‘potential’ and more about wasting his knowledge of his fairly niche industry, which he might not be able to find another job in right away (it’s small with low turnover). But as I have said on repeat for months, that isn’t worth being unhappy all day every day – he learned this industry, he can learn another.
      My advice is to make sure you spend some of that time enjoying being job-free before you start worrying about your next steps! Take a breath, and enjoy the privilege of having the stability to rest.

    13. Hen in a Windstorm*

      Why do you have that money saved up? Emergency funds, FU money, whatever you call it, this is what you saved it for. It is selfish and that is okay. Not really following the wasted potential part. You’re wasting all the potential stress-relief you squirreled away.

      You have the money.
      You don’t have the time.
      You don’t want to stay in your field.
      You need time to figure out next steps (ahem, <this is where the potential is being wasted).
      Your spouse is on board.

      Nobody but you can tell you it's okay, but it seems like you are letting some emotional stuff get in the way of your facts.

    14. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

      Yes, it’s allowed.

      After I got gaslit, railroaded and fired from one job I literally liquidated my 401k and didn’t even look for work for six months while I put my head back together. It cost me a lot in the long term, but I was an unproductive, resentful mess and needed to get my mojo back. It worked.

      If you can afford it, taking a break between jobs in different fields is a good idea. You can even frame it as time used in preparation for your desired new role. A few good videos or tutorials are nice to be able to focus on as you pick a new direction. Plus, there’s always “temping” while consider your new direction.

    15. Emily S.*

      Go for it. I think at certain points, we could all benefit from taking a “sabbatical” from work (or school, or whatever).

      You clearly need to step back and recharge your batteries. So do it.

    16. Mill Miker*

      You just gave a pros list that contains a bunch of reasons why it’s a good idea, and then a cons list that was just rephrasing “but maybe too good of an idea, so I don’t deserve it” over and over again.

      And honestly, deserve doesn’t factor in. You don’t have to “earn” taking care of yourself.

    17. Cathullu*

      HOOO BOY! This one is for me. I’m currently making the most money I’ve ever made by A LOT and making probably $30k+ more/annually than I would in similar roles. However, I’m burned out AF and while I like my colleagues and team, I am sinking (mentally). I don’t have the capacity to job search right now or figure out what I want to do in my future (just like you!). I had an opportunity to volunteer for layoffs and I took it. While I still have some time go before I’m truly gone, I’m already feeling 100% better. I too agonized about not bringing in money, about finding a new job in this environment, etc., I also have the support of my partner, friends, and my management team!! for my decision. You get one precious life. If you can financially afford to do, 6 months of not working will make a big impact on you right now when you need it while quickly becoming a blip in your career radar pretty shortly, especially if your resume is otherwise strong. We don’t ask the land to continuously produce; we know fields gotta lie fallow to have a strong growing season. People are no different. It’s good to recognize your privilege and hopefully you’ll have a chance to pay it forward, but it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for taking advantage of this opportunity. Do it do it do it.

    18. Happily Retired*

      This is taking care of self, which is NOT the same thing as “selfish”. Plan (very loosely) what you’re going to do, including occasionally absolutely nothing whatsoever, and you will recharge your batteries and your spirit.

  19. Desperately Seeking Approval*

    Concurrence and product approval processes!

    What’s your office process? How did you develop your concurrence processes? What concurrence or workflow type resources do you know? (Trust me, google ain’t super helpful here.)

    Struggling to get documents and other products approved in an office with a loosy goosy system and too many cooks who all have “just one more thing.” Right now our process is “give it to all the managers/approvers at once, hold a contentious meeting, and then get stuck in editing purgatory forever.” I don’t have the authority to tell people to please just review once, review well, and let it go (so things like automated workflows don’t help)…but I do have some control over how I manage my projects.

    Open to any suggestions or resources!

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      The Department of Defense uses a Comment Review Matrix. You can google the format. Everyone gets a tasker that says to provide their comments to document x. Then they have to write in to the CRM that paragraph 5a of the policy reads X but due to changes in law, should now read Y (I always make people write in their exact proposed language as well as their reasoning). Then it goes to the central person for adjudication.

      I’ve done the editing purgatory in one room and having everyone argue over every word is never productive. And then a person always comes in on day 2 and has a reason for undoing a big chunk of work the group did on day 1, and it’s just a mess of a process unless you have a tough facilitator.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Would it help to set guidelines about types of changes? or edit in stages?

      “Draft 1 gets reviewed for accuracy of information and organization and here’s the deadline.
      Draft 2 goes out for an accuracy re-check and gets reviewed for grammar, spelling, and format, and here’s the deadline for that.
      Draft 3 is a final approval and here’s the deadline for that.
      NOTE THAT major changes in draft 2 and 3 will negatively affect the delivery date.”

      That way you can help manage folks’ expectations about what will get changed, limit any rearranging of deck chairs on the sinking ships, and have something to point to when someone comes in at the last minute and adds a whole new section.

      1. Desperately Seeking Approval*

        I do like having established phases, I’ll have to figure out how to set that up so I can get a modicum of compliance with them…

  20. maternity shmaternity*

    Has anyone (successfully) negotiated maternity/parental leave?

    I work for a start up in Massachusetts, and our only published leave policy is what the state offers (paid FMLA). I would like to negotiate for more time off, more pay during my time off (PFML covers less than half my salary) and WFH/part time return. As with many things, some of these are more deal breakers for me than others. Has anyone been in this situation? Would you go in swinging with your ideal and then compromise, or first ask the company what they’re willing to do and see if they come up with something better than what’s on paper? I think I’ll be the first person go to on maternity leave since PFML and our current HR came in. TIA!

    1. Moira Rose's Closet*

      How long have you worked for them? Has anyone at your company negotiated for any of these things before? We got no parental leave at all at my job (you could only take accrued vacation and unpaid leave for up to six months), and it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to negotiate — what’s the leverage? Will you leave the company if they don’t give better leave?

      Would you be arguing for a better leave policy for all employees going forward, or are you seeing this as a one-time thing?

      My wife did successfully petition her org for a broader parental leave than they were getting, but it wasn’t very substantial — the office expanded the leave to two weeks from one. There was another employee whose wife was expecting at the time, and they were able to argue for the change together, which probably helped.

      1. maternity shmaternity*

        It’s selfish of me but I was going to focus on my own leave. I feel like I have much more leverage there because I’ve been here longer than most of the company and I know I’m a high performer. I would hope if I’m successful it would set other people up for more leave too and at least let them know that I think their current policy is insufficient.
        As for leverage, besides my own tenure/performance I could get the same paid FMLA benefit from the state if I quit outright. I’m on my spouse’s medical plan, so if they won’t give me anything else, I could just leave, and I wouldn’t be losing much. I feel like that gives me a ton of leverage here.

        1. Moira Rose's Closet*

          It’s not selfish to focus on your leave! I was just asking because it can help to have multiple people making a case for a stronger policy overall.

          I’m of late childbearing age, have multiple children, and have dozens of friends with children — and to be honest with you, I’ve never heard of a *current* employee negotiating a higher leave pay for themselves individually when that is not what the written policy affords. I think you’d be more successful if you went in saying that their policy is inconsistent with the rest of your industry (if that is the case, and it sounds like it might be?), tends to be disproportionately harmful to certain groups of people (including historically disadvantaged minority groups), will hurt their retention rates (of you and other great employees), etc.

          This is definitely a good time to be pushing for more generous parental leave policies because companies are under general pressure to provide better parental leave these days.

          I don’t see how a company could deviate from a written policy for a single person without opening themselves up to future issues with other employees.

          Good luck! My org has a shitty leave policy, and it has been a huge struggle for some of my colleagues, so I understand the frustration.

          1. maternity shmaternity*

            It is definitely less than industry standard. My previous experience with this management/HR is they prefer to do individual exceptions than change policy (which is bad! This is how inequalities persist!) but I think either angle could serve me. Thank you! I can’t believe leave policies are still such crap across the board.

    2. Finding a way out*

      A guy at my old company was able to negotiate three months off. He was interviewing internally and requested three months off for paternity leave. He started at the beginning of November, wife had the baby in mid-November and he came back in February. My old company only offered two weeks of paternity time at the time so him getting three months was a pretty big deal.

    3. DataSci*

      I did. When we adopted our son (his birth parents made their placement decision at birth, so we had 24 hours notice he was coming) I requested maternity leave only to be told it only applied to gestational parents, and I would get two weeks. I was a high performer and they clearly were uncomfortable with the situation (especially once I reminded them of daycare minimum ages) and was able to negotiate for a longer mixture of paid and unpaid. (Kiddo turns ten in a couple weeks, so I’m fuzzy on the details.)

      It helped that I was arguing against a biased policy rather than asking for a special exemption, I think.

      1. maternity shmaternity*

        I don’t think ours is biased because the state law already includes adoption in the policy (though you can get extra weeks for medical recovery if you give birth), but I do think it is insufficient. I would lose a few benefits if I quit (like short term disability) but I could literally quit my job and get the same paid leave from the state! I hope I can point out that this policy isn’t serving them long term.

    4. Rara Avis*

      My employer (in CA) has always been open to longer requests, but in education, being gone for a whole semester or a whole year can actually make more sense because it’s easier to find someone to take the position. HR was very helpful in working with me to cover the 6 months I took with disability, FMLA, and accumulated sick time, so almost the whole leave was covered.

      1. maternity shmaternity*

        This is good to hear! We have “unlimited” PTO (eyeroll), so I don’t have a “bank” to pull from for this, but part of what I’m hoping to bring to the negotiation is pointing out that in other circumstances I’d be able to use PTO to have at least a few weeks fully paid.

    5. fhqwhgads*

      I have never encountered someone who successfully negotiated this for just themselves outside of an establish parental leave policy. I have seen companies approached by so many employees about their existing policy that the policy got changed.
      It’s sort of interestingly counter-intuitive because it’s super common for one person to negotiate for, say, extra vacation to start, without that having any effect on the starting vacation amount for everyone, but in my experience parental leave is the opposite. You don’t need to convince them that just you are worth the extra time off (as with vacation). Generally to get extra parental leave you need to convince them that their existing policy is insuffient/bad for everyone and get it changed at that level. ( A bunch of us just recently made enough noise that my company changed its policy from 6 paid weeks to 12 paid weeks.)

  21. Poppy Peridot*

    A boss from a previous job has reached out to me about a job with her new company. I’m going through the interview process and am wondering what I’ll do if I am offered the job.

    For context, I’ve been Current Job for less than a year. It is pretty good, but has definite drawbacks. Possible Job is fully remote (a positive for me) and would allow me to focus more on the parts of my work that I like. The boss who has referred me is someone that I really like and trust, so working with her again would be great (she wouldn’t be my manager, but would work on a team adjacent to mine).

    In terms of benefits the two companies are pretty much on par. Current Job has some pros and Possible Job has others. In terms of salary I think Possible Job might come in a bit higher than where I’m at currently, but Current Job has a bonus structure that I haven’t fully experienced yet that could make them pretty similar in terms of pay.

    I’m trying not to take this into consideration too much, but Current Job is understaffed so I’d be leaving them in a tough spot.

    I’m not actively looking because it has been less than a year, but this new opportunity is appealing to me. On the other hand, I am currently studying for a professional certification that I will have at the end of 2023, so maybe I should stay where I am until then and then have more options to consider than just these two?

    Any advice on how to make this decision or things I should ask Possible Job to help me get clarity on what to do?

    1. scandi*

      One thing to ask Possible Job is which career paths/opportunities will open up internally once you finish the professional qualification. If it seems like a good place to be, and more opportunities will open up internally when you finish the qualification that would be good to know. Or conversely, if they tell you that it would have no effect on your standing in the company.

    2. Kes*

      From what you’ve described, everything about Possible Job sounds the same or better than Current Job. The only points you’ve mentioned are that current job is understaffed, which it’s good that you’re empathetic for your coworkers but don’t let that hold that back from making a move if it will be better for you. As to the certification, will moving jobs affect getting it? If not, I wouldn’t let possible more opportunities in a year hold you back from an actual better opportunity now.
      That said, it sounds like you’re still in early stages, so definitely keep your mind and ears open during the interviews for any flags. Make sure you do your due diligence and if you’re leaving current job after less than a year, plan to stay either at the next job or, if something way better comes up once you get certified, at that job for at least a couple years.

  22. Job Hopper?*

    I’m almost certainly going to get a job offer next week, and I need help thinking through whether I should take it. There’s a lot of emotions tied up in this, and I’m struggling to think about it from a purely professional perspective.

    My first job out of college; I’ve been here for about 1.5 years. I like the work, I like the people, and I have a boss who is dedicated to mentoring me. I get to work with a lot of people who are great at their jobs and are well-established in the field. I’m just now getting to a place where I’m feeling confident that I can handle my duties. My boss has made clear (with words, at least) that he wants to retain me.

    The same type of work as CurrentJob, but in a specific industry (so, much less variety). Would allow me to move to a better (warmer) part of the country and work remotely. Would allow me to have much more client contact (close to zero at CurrentJob), but I’m unclear on whether I could grow my technical skills. Company is much younger, and new employees have been able to take on a lot of responsibility very quickly.

    Other Factors:
    Pay is comparable between jobs (10-15% difference, but both are more than enough for me to live comfortably)
    Both jobs are generally recession-resistant, if not recession-proof.
    I am studying for the LSAT, and if everything goes to plan, I’ll be off to law school in fall of 2024 (and quitting my job in spring 2024 to travel for a couple of months).
    Family and Boyfriend would prefer that I take NewJob and move.

    So: How should I be thinking about this? I’m leaning towards staying, because all things considered, I have a pretty sweet gig here, and I’m not sure if I want to give it up for an uncertain reward, especially if law school pans out. What do you think?

    1. Jujyfruits*

      Honestly, wait until you have an offer. Right now you have the possibility of an offer and it’s so tempting for the brain to dig in. But save your energy. If you get an offer, great, then you can decide with all the info you need. But until then, try not to overthink it.

    2. Tio*

      If they’re about comparable and you’re only going to be in the new job around a year or so, I kinda say stay. Moving is a lot of money and hassle, remember. Especially if you have a team you like and a boss who wants to grow you, try talking to him about some of the things you think would be pros at newJob (Without mentioning the offer) and ask if there’s any way to do a little more of things like those to expand your skills.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      A few questions for you to consider (you don’t need to answer them here, just for you to think about):

      – What do you want to do after law school (assuming you get in and graduate)? Anything where having 2.5 years in CurrentJob will make a difference over 1.5 years in CurrentJob and 1 year in NewJob?

      – What’s your plan if you don’t get into law school (and how likely do you think that is)? Retake the LSATs and apply again next year, continue in your current career path, or something else?

      – Are you thinking of applying to law schools mostly/exclusively in the warmer part of the country you would move to if you are offered and accept NewJob? Or would you move to that part of the country and then potentially move again a year later when/if you are accepted to law school?

      Without knowing the details, it sounds to me like professionally CurrentJob and NewJob are kind of a wash (assuming you get into law school and that your career now will have little bearing on your career post-law school). So I would focus more on the non-professional side:

      – are you excited about the possibility of moving to a warmer place?
      – how do you feel about working remotely vs working in person?
      – will your boyfriend move with you?
      – are you ok with moving for NewJob and then moving again for law school (if applicable) vs staying with CurrentJob and then moving for law school?

    4. M2*

      I wouldn’t worry until you have an offer but if you’re thinking about law school in a year then I would stay put and try and get more money/ promotion if you have a new offer.
      Granted, you may not get into law school or may want to defer enrollment. What do you want to do after law school and is your current or potential job going to help you get there?

      I don’t know your industry but many industries being somewhere 1.5 then 1 year is job hopping. I’m interviewing for two newly created roles on my team and I have seen many resumes where people have been somewhere 1.5 years or less their last 2 or more roles —- unless they were somewhere for many years prior and have some reason in the cover letter I’m not going to interview them. It shocked me how many people have worked somewhere 1.5 years or less for their last 4 or more roles! I’m not interested in training someone who then leaves after a year. It’s a waste of my time.

      In my previous industry it was normal to move around a lot (humanitarian/emergency response), so it depends on the sector. It was also normal to see gaps as people would take months off due to burn out and trauma.

      You’re at the beginning of your career and if you pivot after law school all that will matter are your first year grades and summer internship. So I think if you get an offer seriously think it over, but think it over with your long- term plan as well.

      Good luck!

  23. Folklorist*

    Man, I’m having trouble at my new job–and I think it’s a case of, “your manager sucks and isn’t going to change.” I’ve been here for 1.5 months and I’m already having mental health crises because of my boss’s style of baiting and switching and then blaming stuff on me for being too slow and not picking things up quickly enough and “having to handhold” me all the time.

    My question is–I was referred to this job by someone who loved me and my resume but didn’t have a good job for me but thought he might in the future. At the same time, my (now) boss, a good friend of his, asked him if he knew of any candidates with my skillset.

    Truth is, I think I would work really well with the original guy. But how do I bring up to him that his friend and I are crashing and burning and she’s likely to trash me to him? (She trashes former employees all the time and mocks the people she’s fired while not understanding why she can’t find good help and has to keep firing people from her tiny company and having massive turnover.)

    I’m leaning toward saying, “Our work and communication styles are incompatible” while thanking him for the referral.

    Is there a way to thread that needle, or have I burned both these bridges?

    1. Folklorist*

      To be clear–I don’t think the original guy has ever worked with my boss before and is just professional friends. My boss is very charming and great at saying whatever you need to hear to charm you. Then she turns around and says horrible things behind people’s backs.

    2. Isben Takes Tea*

      That sounds like a truly professional and diplomatic response! It certainly would “thread the needle” for a reasonable person. (One would assume he knows the character of your boss, so he’s probably either going to 1) understand completely, or 2) take their side by default, which nothing you could say would alter.) Good luck!

    3. ecnaseener*

      I think content-wise that’s perfect, tone-wise a little stiff (in a way that might betray that there’s more going on here) — so if I were you I’d go with “not a good fit”/”match” over “incompatible”

      1. Folklorist*

        I think you make a good point…so this is the email as I have it now:
        Hi ____,

        I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
        I wanted to thank you again for introducing me to (company). (Boss) is a wonderful person and the (topic) is fascinating! Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I’m a great fit in this role. It’s nothing against (boss) or her company, but I think that our communication and work styles may be bad fit, long-term. We have both noted that I am more process and structure-oriented, where her company has a lot of random projects thrown at it quickly.
        I’m still doing my best to make it work, and I have the utmost respect for (Boss) and what she does.

        That said, I still truly think that I would be great in an (your dept) or other (institution) position. If you are still looking for (position) candidates or need someone to (duties we discussed), please let me know! I think that I’m more cut out for a (his institute) position or company that has more structure and infrastructure.

        1. Isben Takes Tea*

          Ah! I missed that you’re still employed with the bad boss.

          One thought: I would hold off sending anything until you have left the current job; there’s no guarantee that this won’t immediately come back to your current boss, even innocently. (It might make the referrer feel like he’s in an awkward position with his friend that somebody he referred to the job is actively looking, and his loyalty will be with his friend over you.)

          I think it would be a great email to send after you’ve left, to show your appreciation and keep your options open for the future, but if you are unable to leave the current company without a new job lined up, it’s probably best to move on from both for the immediate future.

          1. Folklorist*

            Gotcha, thanks! That’s a big concern of mine as well. I’m going to try and last out my 3-month probation period (just to get credit cards paid off an stash away some more money), but I don’t think I’ll be able to be here long-term. Either I’m going to get fired or rage quit, though I prefer not to do either. I’d like to be professional and responsible, but I’m not sure that’s how this will go. Luckily, I was at my previous job for 8 years, so it’s not like this is something I’ve done a lot recently.

        2. Pocket Mouse*

          This draft is great. The only thing I’d suggest altering is the section: “Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I’m a great fit in this role. It’s nothing against (boss) or her company, but I think that our communication and work styles may be bad fit, long-term. We have both noted that I am more process and structure-oriented, where her company has a lot of random projects thrown at it quickly.”

          I think this wording assumes more responsibility for the mismatch than you want to convey, and has a slightly sour note. I’d suggest something like: “Unfortunately, I’ve come to realize that this role isn’t the best fit due to the frequently ad-hoc nature of projects coming onto my plate at this company, whereas I’m very process and structure oriented—a strength that would be best applied in a different type of setting.” With that, you can also tweak the wording in your last paragraph to reduce any overlap in sentiment. Good luck!

          1. Folklorist*

            That’s a great idea! The thing with my boss is that she doesn’t have any sort of structure or schedule and assumes that everyone should want to work 24/7 like she does, never says “no” to a random project that a client wants to do, even if it’s not feasible, and expects us to read her mind about what she wants and when she wants the work back. I keep asking her about deadlines, scheduling structures, and when/how I should do things, and she just goes, “OH, you’re one of those people who can’t work in a fast-paced industry and needs lots of structure and handholding.” It’s like…I can–but I need some basic communication and to know what is expected of me.

            1. Pocket Mouse*

              Oh yeah, definitely don’t take responsibility for that! It may need to be phrased delicately due to their friendship, but I think the overall sentiment of “my strengths can be put to better use in a different environment” stands.

  24. Jennifer Paige*

    i’m embarrassed to talk about this but…how would you describe these feelings? is this a crush?
    I really like my boss. Work is going fine and we get along well. But I had one of *those* dreams a while back and….ack! for the record I am NOT attracted to them nor would I ever pursue anything.

    BUT… I do find myself constantly thinking about them. Usually it’s non work topics to discuss or things to say, which they initiate. I struggle with initiating even though I want to. I look forward to Mondays. When they’re not onsite I feel like somethings off. And when they’re talking to people in the group I hang on their every word.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I have had “those” dreams about people I’m not attracted to – really! – so I believe you. The brain is a funny place. Do you feel like work has an outsized role in your life right now? Do you need to find more engagement in the outside world, perhaps with hobbies, other relationships, etc etc?

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      Do yourself a favor and refocus that energy. Find a new tv actor to crush on instead. Fall inlove with a book character. Download some apps and start swiping on cuties. If you can’t refocus that at all, take up cold showers and jogging. Just telling your brain to stop is hard, give those emotions somewhere to go instead.

      When you find yourself thinking romantic feelings (the hanging on to their every word vibe) remind yourself of a thing about them that annoys you, maybe its how they clear their throat grossly, maybe its the time you saw them pick their nose, maybe its them farting.

      Deliberately friend some other coworkers, give yourself some other people to be excited to talk to at work.

      1. Aerin*

        Yes to this, although when I got an inconvenient crush, rather than thinking about annoying stuff, I basically treated it as any other intrusive thought. “Okay, brain, but we know very well that doing that in reality would be a very bad idea. We can enjoy the fuzzy feeling, but it’s not worth blowing up our life for. Let’s focus on the thing we’re supposed to be focusing on right now, maybe?” Eventually it went away.

    3. Sarra N. Dipity*

      Sounds like a crush to me (and I’ve had a LOT of work crushes…)

      Tread carefully, even though you’ve got no intention of pursuing anything with them. You’re probably going to have to work on re-training your brain to think of them in work-only terms.

      But think about why your brain might have fixated on this person – do they have some quality that you’ve been wishing you had? Or could they kind of represent something else (other than them, personally) that you want to have in your life? This situation could be a step towards finding something else that’s important.

    4. Onward*

      I’ve had “those” dreams about people I’m not actually attracted to as well… I think psychologically it might be like a power dynamic thing? Did the constant thoughts happen before or after the dream? How long have you been working with them?

      1. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

        There was an episode of Mythic Quest (a great workplace dramedy on AppleTV) where a female programmer had a sex dream about her male boss and she was mortified because she wasn’t attracted to him at all. It turned out that nearly everyone in the company – even the straight men – had had sex dreams about him too because he was so charismatic and powerful in his role.

    5. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I’m asexual, aromantic and have never been sexually or romantically attracted to anyone and I’ve still had NSFW dreams involving people I know. You aren’t alone and it isn’t a subconscious sign you want to jump their bones.

      However, it sounds like you might actually be romantically attracted to them? I have had a lot of people I really respect and admire and whose friendship warms my soul, but what you’re describing sounds fairly different to those experiences.

      Just offering perspective from someone who has thought about the different types of attraction more than the average person trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. :) (It’s nothing! At least, nothing about my sexuality lol)

    6. Irish Teacher.*

      Could be just simple admiration. I find myself feeling that way sometimes about people I like and admire. Some I don’t even want a close friendship with. If they’re an awesome boss and somebody you would like to be like professionally, that could explain it.

      1. Robin Ellacott*

        That’s my take too… you admire them and this brings a desire for closeness. Not THAT kind of closeness, but the dreaming brain seems to work in metaphors.

        (I’ve had some very surprising dreams too and sometimes it’s just a thing that happens and you wake up and go …huh. No more late night cheese for you, brain.)

      2. Jennifer Paige*

        That actually makes a whole lot of sense. This is the first boss I’ve had who has said that they like me and complimented my work. I don’t have much in common with anyone here but I appreciate how boss has tried to find ways to connect with me.

    7. Despachito*

      Has a lot of interesting things happen lately in your life, or is it rather “boring” right now? It may be just your brain wanting some distraction.

      I’d say – indulge in your fantasies as much as you want, there is absolutely nothing wrong in it and do not be ashamed for it.

      But do not act on it. I think you are sufficiently aware of this as well.

      You may want to distract yourself eventually, and if you find a very interesting hobby, good for you.

    8. D in Ohio*

      I think others have already covered this by now, but at least in my experience, “*those* dreams” only come about when I feel like something is missing in my life—big or small. The way I look at it is that it’s my subconscious overcompensating for that lack of something. Once I get to the root of it, poof, they’re gone.

      There’s also a chance that, by thinking so much about it, you’re giving it a lot more weight than it ever was “supposed” to be. The more attention you give it, the more power you give it over you, which makes you think that something bigger is happening when it might not really be.

      I’m also a big believer in something I call “energy crushes.” There are members of the opposite sex that I’m not at all sexually attracted to, but I just really love being around them and their energy—usually they’re really funny, accomplished, insightful, or carry some other positive and who I would want to impress. Could it be that?

    9. allathian*

      Sounds like a work crush. I’ve also had *those* dreams about coworkers, even when I wasn’t really attracted to them. When it happens, I just know that I need to focus more on what I do when I’m not working.

      Granted, the vast majority of work crushes have happened when I was single, but the one that happened during my marriage was when we were going through some issues at home. So I decided to invest more of my emotional energy on my marriage, which led to my husband doing the same, and things improved almost without effort. As an added bonus, my crush faded away. That coworker’s still one of my favorite coworkers, but now we’re work friends, nothing more.

  25. New Advisor*

    First “real” job, and looking for any advice I can get!

    I finished my Ph.D. in May, and I’ve been working part time in a college writing center ever since. I’ve now accepted an offer for a full-time graduate advising position at the same university. This will be the first time I’ve ever had a standard-business-hours type job, after years of graduate school and setting my own hours and work pace. Does anyone else here who works in university staff/student support have any advice or thoughts? I was thrilled to get the job offer (very good pay and benefits) but now the anxiety is kicking in. :-D

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Hopefully you’ve got a decent relationship with some non-faculty staff members – like a departmental office admin. Those people are gold mines of good information, especially the ones with 10+ years of experience. They see people make these transitions all the time.

    2. Jackrabbit*

      I’m not there yet, so this is from watching others – the “work all the time” mindset of a PhD can be incredibly difficult to get out of and can be unnecessary or detrimental in a more standard setting. I had a 9-to-5 briefly before starting and the amount of free time was so far beyond what I was used to that I had trouble with it. I hope/plan to acquire several time-consuming hobbies when I make that transition again; I would strongly recommended figuring out what the standard schedule is and sticking to it, with copious self-bribes to leave and stop working if necessary.

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        I agree with this point about having to keep the 9-5 schedule. You’ll have more free time and yet also be more tired than you expect. The other transition that may be difficult is having a boss. Your supervisor may be telling you what to do at a level that is more granular than you are used to. It may feel a little micromanagey at the beginning as they make sure you can do the work they need in the appropriate time frame.

    3. Rosyglasses*

      No thoughts on your role specifically – but I highly recommend reading “The Unspoken Rules” by Gorick Ng (he is a Harvard Careers professional) as he really lays out brilliantly the mindsets and actions to help navigate the professional business world of work. It’s something I have put on my list to give to any college graduate in my circle.

    4. A Non E Mouse*

      First, congrats on finishing the PhD and finding a job you’re excited about! Having worked previously in student affairs, and having completed a PhD and now five years into full time work post phd, here are my thoughts…

      1. Be prepared for a very different feeling of “value”. Institutions, departments, and programs can differ, but when you’re on the “faculty” path, you may be treated with more respect than someone who has opted into a less-prestigious-within-the-university role of “advising”. Your work will be extremely valuable, but you may be exposed to a sense of hierarchy that you had not seen before. Some of my academic advisor friends/colleagues have struggled with that.

      2. Definitely pace yourself on filling your outside of work commitments. You won’t know what to do with yourself, but, also, trying to just fill that time to fill it won’t give you time to recover from the intensity of pursuing a PhD. Learn how to relax and be lazy. Learn how to let go of the “I should be…” feeling.

      3. Learn to work with “good enough”. Likely you’ll have too many tasks to perfectly research, compose, articulate, etc written items or other creative tasks. Perfectionism, or even just a love of going deep on a topic, can be difficult habit to break post PhD role (speaking from both my own experience and supervising someone in their first post-PhD non-academic but academia adjacent).

      4. Seek out university professional communities. NACADA (though more focused on undergraduates) is a great national professional community in academic advising. If you are working in a department different from your own field, seek out the Disciplinary Based Education Research and other communities in your field to learn about the challenges/new experimentation in undergraduate and graduate education in your field of specialty (a place that research and deep dives will serve you). (And do this even if you are staying in your own field – the education of your field research is different than the core topical research). This will help you better understand the learning experiences of students in your field (beyond your own).

      5. Your day will likely be meeting/appointment driven. If possible, use tools like Outlook’s “focus time” or intentional blocking to reserve time for professional development/reading, and to give yourself time to catch up on email, documentation, and other ongoing projects you may have.

      6. Get clear with your boss about the annual rhythms of the office and your role. Do you coordinate graduate admissions for your department and so December to February is intense? Do you have to organize graduate orientation, and therefore, starting in August you will be very busy? Do you have a role in graduation, and therefore April and May are no goes for travel etc? When are there slow times? I always found myself feeling guilty in June when I did not have a lot of work to do….but in August I was working 90 hour weeks. So, understanding the flow will help you give yourself grace.

  26. sapphires and snark*

    I am feeling kind of pissy after a recruiter interaction yesterday and wanted to vent a little bit. This recruiter reached out to me earlier this week, unsolicited, about an opening her company has. (I am in the very early stages of determining whether it is time for me to move on from my current position.) We arranged to have a phone conversation yesterday.

    She opened the conversation with, “Now, I don’t remember–did I reach out to you or did you submit an application?” That was my first WTF moment. She goes on to describe a little bit about the benefits, which sounded very run-of-the-mill, and with less PTO than I currently get (3 weeks vs. 4 weeks I get now). Then, she gets right into an excruciatingly detailed accounting my work history, and she wanted to go back even further than the 12 years my resume currently covers (that is when I broke into my current field). Not that she shouldn’t want to get a better feel for my experience than my LinkedIn profile can convey, but she wanted to know the exact structure of documents I worked on for previous companies. I thought that was a little bit much for an initial screening with a recruiter.

    She wrapped up by asking whether I would want to interview with the hiring manager should she want to talk to me. I said it depended largely on what salary they were willing to pay. She replied that she didn’t know the range (yeah, sure), then said she assumed I wanted to be making more than I am now. When I responded that of course I want to make more than I am now, she asked what my current salary is! I mean, she reached out to me unsolicited, then pulls that?

    The entire interaction just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Between the lack of transparency regarding salary; the recruiter having the gall to ask for my current salary instead of honestly answering my question; not disclosing whether the position was WFH, hybrid, or in-office; and her general failure to sell me on the company at all, I am tempted to email her back and ask to outright be removed from consideration. Am I wrong to not want anything else to do with this company?

    1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      Not remembering might be innocent or might be a weird power play. But you are very justified in being annoyed at all the other stuff. If this were a legitimately interesting job it might be worth talking to the manager and hoping that it’s just a bad recruiter, but it sounds like she’s given you absolutely nothing to make further engagement worth your time.

    2. Totally Minnie*

      I’m not a recruiter, but I make and receive a lot of calls in the process of my work. I keep a spreadsheet so I can keep track of whether I reached out to them or vice versa, and I can’t imagine someone dealing with the volume of contacts a recruiter is dealing with wouldn’t have some kind of a system to track that.

      1. Danish*

        It seems like if you were a recruiter, having that kind of system would almost be a standard requirement/assumption for the position!

    3. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

      Ewww. That’s my first gut reaction.

      If a recruiter pings me, I don’t interview without knowing :
      A) The salary range – I get lowballed way too often. I am sick of it.
      B) The environment – I need 100% remote, not Hybrid or “Remote unless you’re local”
      C) What the company and their business is – There are some places that are too unethical for me to be comfortable working for them.

      There are other things that are nice to know, like the basic benefits, but those three are the deal killers.

      Before someone trashes me for being “too picky”, I will state that I have over 20 years of experience in my field, learn new technologies rapidly, and have a proven track record. If I’m already working, I don’t need to engage with blind searches with sketchy recruiters.

      1. A.D. Kay*

        I’m right there with you! I actually am looking for work and so many jobs described as “remote”… aren’t.

  27. Bob*

    Mid level boss was walked out last week. His 2nd in command is throwing an informal party at his house to for all staff to say goodbye. Is it me or is this really really odd? (Well loved boss)

    1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I would think it’s odd, personally, but I have stricter boundaries separating work and personal life than most people I know IRL.

    2. Hiring Mgr*

      It doesn’t sound that odd to me, assuming the boss wasn’t fired for something truly horrendous. Just people wanting to get together for a goodbye for a well loved boss.

      Doesnt’ sound like there’s any reason to mention it to grandboss unless it’s to invite him

    3. Educator*

      Walking people out is not an indication that they have done anything wrong. A lot of companies do it even after routine resignations to protect their proprietary information. I once worked for a company where everyone knew you had to stealthily pack up before you resigned because all employees above a certain level got walked out. I think it is silly, but there you go. If the boss was well loved, I would not jump to any conclusions based on the manner of their departure.

    4. Data Nerd*

      Is it typical for your company/industry for people leaving to be walked out? Because in mine that would be a sign that something was very wrong and I would think very carefully about future involvement with that person. But if, for instance, you deal with sensitive information and everyone gets walked out when they give notice, maybe this isn’t that big a deal and you could go say goodbye?

        1. Irish Teacher*

          I think it really depends on the full context then. If he were fired for not meeting targets or coming in late all the time or something, not weird at all, in my opinion. If he was fired for major embezzlement or punching a coworker or something of that level, then maybe. If he were fired for sexual harrassment or racism or something like that, then it’s problematic.

    5. MurpMaureep*

      I don’t think that the desire to have the gathering is that odd. It might not be the most politically savvy move by the second in command, depending on how it’s being promoted and discussed, but when there are unexpected dismissals people can feel a little thrown. Of course this does create an atmosphere where the former boss will likely talk some trash about the organization, in fact it might be encouraged.

      So is your question prompted because lines are being drawn? Are you feeling pressure to attend the event and worry it might have in-office ramifications? If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation and stay about the immediate drama. In fact that’s probably the smart play.

      Even “well loved” superiors can have all kinds of things going on behind the scenes. I had a similar situation in my former department. I was gone before the actual firing happened, but as a manager reporting to the director who was fired I knew so much that staff didn’t. When this guy was let go it definitely upset many even though the firing was 100% justified.

    6. Qwerty*

      I’ve organized farewell happy hours after coworkers were let go. Personal connections don’t have to disappear just because the work connection did. Doesn’t seem weird to me, especially since the boss was well loved.

      Is it maybe that the party is at someone’s house that feels weird? Personally I would have organized it at a bar, but I can see some people finding a thinking a home would be less alcohol focused or more laid back.

    7. NaoNao*

      It depends on if mid-level boss was “walked out” for like…theft vs. “walked out” because it’s an IT and proprietary information risk. I resigned from a very ordinary independent contributor role and a few days into my notice my big boss called me very apologetically to let me know they might have to “walk me out” due to me going to work for a competitor. (it didn’t turn out that way but could have).

      So in that case, it doesn’t seem odd to me at all. He was well loved and it actually seems nice and thoughtful to have someone throw a party.

  28. sam_i_am*

    I have a day coming up that’s set aside for professional development, reading interesting papers, etc. I work as a programmer in academia doing both mathematical modeling and web development, alongside my work mentoring students and doing management on the projects I work on.

    I know it’s a specific ask, but does anyone have prof development materials that might be relevant? I’m struggling a bit right now with balancing my workload and long-term planning, as well as holding boundaries around the types of work that are and aren’t my purview (i.e., holding ground on not doing more project management than I should). I guess what I’m asking for is anything I could read about balancing being an individual contributor with doing more of the overarching planning work!

    1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      You might want to look into Chelsea Troy’s blog (google the name; it’s a wordpress site). I don’t know for sure that she has resources on that specifically, but I’ve found her very interesting on a lot of meta-aspects of programming and computer work generally. (Stuff like how to make sure you’re evaluating “soft skills,” or talking about managing tech debt.)

    2. Derivative Poster*

      Maybe not what you’re looking for exactly, but check out the US Research Software Engineering association if you haven’t already. Some of their talks have focused more on the soft skills side of RSE work.

  29. costello music*

    I posted a similar question last week, but posted too late. So asking again.

    There’s a supervisor position that I’m interested in. I would be in charge of people, not a department, and it seems like some of the duties are what I currently do—reports, whatever. I’ve never been a supervisor before.

    Are there things you wished you knew before becoming a supervisor? Things to know to decide if someone’s fit to be managing people? I know AAM just posted a masterpost of new manager info, but I’m looking more for like if, should I be a manager. What questions should I ask if I were to get an interview?

    Many thanks!!

    1. sam_i_am*

      I don’t manage people any more, but I think one thing I wish I’d done is assessing whether I felt like I was a good fit for management! I found it incredibly stressful and difficult because my personality doesn’t mesh with supervising individuals. Luckily I never had to have any tough conversations with my former supervisee, I don’t think I would have handled that well.

      One thing that really helped was learning about Motivational Interviewing and how that can help in a management context. It can be really helpful to drive change when needed.

      1. A Penguin!*

        Interestingly, I didn’t think I’d be good at management, and fought against my eventual promotion for a year. Eventually I took it largely because I felt it was the best option for the team. And I surprised myself with how well it went – difficult conversations included (which I hated, but they had to be done and they went about as ‘good’ as they could have). As much as I loved my IC role, I actually do think I am more valuable as a manager.

    2. CheeryO*

      Is it an internal promotion? Some things to ask yourself, just off the top of my head:

      -Do you like and respect the people you’d be supervising, as people and as coworkers? Do you have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses? Would you be okay with re-drawing boundaries with coworkers who might currently be your peers?
      -Would the person who would be your boss support you? Mentor you? Throw you under the bus at the first sign of trouble?
      -What is the turnover like? Does the company have good practices in place for hiring and on-boarding, or do they fly by the seat of their pants? What kind of culture are you dealing with? Are people generally happy?
      -Would you have an exit strategy if you decided that it wasn’t for you in the future?

      If there is any way to start out with just one or two reports, that would be nice. I went from one to five pretty much overnight, and it’s been hard. When you’re the one who has to decide who to hire, how to divide the work, how to keep morale up when there are major problems that are out of your control, when and how to have tough conversations, how to support one person without throwing another one under the bus, all while also making sure the actual work product meets expectations… it’s a lot. On the other hand, having the opportunity to be a good boss and a positive influence on someone’s career is pretty cool.

    3. Kes*

      caveat: I’m not actually a manager yet, although I’m working towards becoming one.
      Have you had to direct or mentor people in your current role? Did you enjoy it? Do you think you would enjoy doing more of that? How much do you know about the duties of the role? (might be something to ask about if you don’t know, or observe other supervisors if you can to see what they typically spend their time doing) Are you okay with potentially spending less time on the work you do now, and more time managing people instead? Would you miss seeing direct and concrete results of your work, vs indirect results of managing people? What support will you have in learning how to be a manager?

      1. Kes*

        There are also books about becoming a manager, like The Making of A Manager, that might be interesting reading for you, as well as Alison’s resources. As you read about the work, think about whether you think you would actually like and be good at doing these things – do you enjoy dealing with people, and do you have good people skills? Are you able to have difficult conversations, or would you shy away from telling someone that you’re seeing issues with their work? Do you find it easy in your current role to make and maintain good relationships with whoever you have to work with? (keep in mind you may not be able to choose your employees) If upper management tells you about a new rule or initiative that you don’t totally agree with, do you think you’d be able to deal with that?

    4. Former Retail Manager*

      In addition to the great stuff from other commenters, some questions for yourself:
      – Do you have a hard time having “tough” conversations?
      – If you have to address performance issues, do you care if the employee ends up disliking you?
      – In some management positions, managers are held accountable for results that they have a limited ability to impact, and they end up being called on the carpet for things their employees did/didn’t do even though the manager could not take any action to substantially change the outcome (this may or may not apply). If this is your employer, can you deal with that?
      – Not a question, but just an awareness…..your perception of someone as a co-worker and your perception of them as a manager may be drastically different. For example, I have seen work from peers that I considered to be “good” employees…..their work was not good. Because I had never been intimately involved in their work before, I had no idea the quality of their work was not the greatest. It was a shock.
      – Do you have a desire to be a leader?
      – Are you willing to risk your own behind to back an employee with upper mgmt if the employee is doing the right thing, has a good, but unpopular, idea, etc.? No one likes a manager that doesn’t have their back or just says “well, that’s the policy, X person’s directive, or whatever” People want to feel supported. This really requires some level of being comfortable with confrontation.
      – This position sounds like a “middle manager” position whereby you have reports, but you also have upper management above you. It’s unlikely that both of these parties will ever be happy….someone will always be unhappy about something. The employees are happy….upper mgmt isn’t, or vice versa. It’s not necessarily because it’s a negative work environment. I’ve just observed that the goals of upper mgmt don’t always align with the day to day work performed by the employees and the two parties seem to be disconnected.
      – And maybe most importantly, why is this position open to begin with? Who was the prior manager and how long did they stay? Are there known “problem employees” in the group? What does the supervisor in this position need to accomplish and are those goals realistic?

    5. MurpMaureep*

      Be very clear about the duties of the job and honest with yourself about how you’d handle the worst case version of those duties (performance management, being short staffed, having to impose policies with which you don’t agree, employee conflict).

      Determine (as much as you can) how much support you’d get from your higher ups and whether they’d have your back if something goes awry. Again, think of a worst case scenario and imagine how your boss would help you thought it – situations like a big deadline being missed because of factors outside your direct control, having to let an employee go, dealing with a serious HR issue, having to cover work when understaffed, etc.

      Hopefully the worst cases are rare, but consider how you’d deal with them and, almost more importantly, what backing you’d have from your organization. It wouldn’t hurt to raise the organizational support question during the interview process. Organizations that support their managers will be happy to give examples of such.

      The other thing to consider is why you want this job. Is it because you genuinely want to help others grow and your organization succeed in its goals, while also developing your own leadership skills? Or is it because you don’t want someone from the outside coming in as your boss, or maybe feel pressure to “advance”. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to take this on for more money or recognition, but it shouldn’t be that alone.

      While I’m not exactly regretful that I went into management, I don’t think I did it for the right reasons, and there are parts of it that I find incredibly difficult (and all feedback I get is that I’m really good at it!).

  30. BalanceofThemis*

    Good morning. For many reasons, have decided it is time to leave the museum and non-profit world. A large part of it is the low pay.

    My professional background is in educational programming and research. I am looking hard at training and development jobs, as I think I have a lot of transferable skills, but I am open to other suggestions. The big thing is that I cannot take a pay cut.

    If you work in training and development, especially managers, does the switch seem feasible? What should I highlight I’m my resume?

    1. SereneScientist*

      100% doable! I used to work in training and development for a corporate environment in my last job, and your experience will definitely give you a leg up on this transition if you want to do private sector.

      While not necessarily the case in all such jobs, my role was primarily split into two pieces: onboarding new hires (a fairly static “curriculum”) and developing new training content based on the org’s needs. Depending on what sector you want to land in, I would look around a bit online to see the language they use and tailor your resume with that wording.

    2. M2*

      Yes! Totally doable I would also say look in higher Ed for roles as well. Cast a wide net, good luck!

  31. Former Admin Assistant, now Operations Coordinator*

    Does anyone have any professional development recommendations for project management training or meeting facilitation training? I work for a small nonprofit in an admin position, and my role has been expanding into more of those areas. I think I’d be able to do my job more efficiently if I were able to approach those tasks with more intentionality, and my boss is about to distribute a form where staff can request courses and other professional development for the coming year. I don’t know much about budget or other considerations for my organization, but are there classes that people have found helpful?
    If it helps, the projects and meetings I’m coordinating are all related to internal office things: creating a pilot wellness program, getting vendors to improve the office space, surveying staff about their workplace experience and creating a report, creating an office inventory, etc.

    1. Lalitah92*

      For training on the cheap, read The Organized Executive by Stephanie Winston and concentrate on the chapter 8 for the basics of project management. For more sophisticated treatment, see if your local library or your state library if you’re in the US has access to video training with use of a library card (the NY city public library has this program, see here where you can take an online course for free. Barring that, check out’s offering to get an idea of prices ( and Also, ask your librarian on resources to locate training providers. Most of what’s out there will cater to IT related project management, which might be overkill at this stage in your career.

    2. Llellayena*

      There’s an online, non-profit oriented conference at the end of January called Princeton Community Works. Some of their sessions might cover what you’re looking for.

    3. Fluffy*

      Check out Google’s Project Management certificate. Run by Google and Coursera, if I remember correctly.

  32. fine tipped pen aficionado*

    Any tips on how to co-exist with a coworker you’re so fed up with that merely the sound of their voice grates your nerves? I have a private office near their workspace in an open area and I am, at this point, driven to rage merely by their laugh. They are unlikely to go anywhere soon (though management & HR are in constant discussion of how to deal with them) but I refuse to let them ruin a job I like and am not finished with yet.

    So far I have tried: closing my door (can only be done so often without damaging my own reputation & frankly the walls are thin), noise canceling headphones (more effective but also limited use), recognizing and writing down things she does that are good (there isn’t much).

    Emphasizing that I am looking for ways to trick my brain out of this unhelpful thought pattern because changing the material facts of the situation is not something I am able/prepared to do at this time.

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      Can you find some small thing that you like and every time you hear them laugh or they bug you, give yourself a treat? Like, have one M&M, or have a small swatch of really soft fabric that you pet, or give yourself a really good stretch? Could have the opposite effect, though, I guess. You might start to hate M&Ms.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        It’s worth a shot! Thanks for the suggestion. It IS almost starburst jelly bean season…

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

      Instead of headphones would a white noise machine or a desktop fountain help? Anything to cut the edge of her voice/laugh without blocking your ability to hear. I run a fan and it does a really good job of blocking noise even though I don’t intend for it to do that; I often have to turn it off if someone is talking to me.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I have a fan I am usually running because I’m always hot, but I did also get a white noise machine I forgot I had until just now to help with me overhearing my manager’s meetings in the office next to mine. When I say paper thin walls, I am not kidding! I will plug that in and it may take the edge off a little. Thanks for the reminder!

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I am sorry that this is relatable and I wish for you a new, better job or a winning lottery ticket or that your Dreaded Coworker decides to quit their job and Eat, Pray, Love across the globe.

    3. aubrey*

      Pretend you are an actor in a scene and they are playing a character? This helped me deal with terrible customers in customer service, not sure how feasible it is to do all day though!

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I imagine myself playing roles to get through social situations all the time so I don’t know why it never occurred to me!!! It’s not something I could sustain all the time, but definitely a tool for when other tools aren’t available/working. Thank you!

    4. Isben Takes Tea*

      Ooooh! It seems you are in the “Bitch Eating Crackers” mode (you can do a quick google to find its origins and examples): the most helpful thing I found was to actually use that label for my feelings in my head, which allowed me to laugh at it a bit more and take a bit more responsibility for my reactions.

      Similarly, maybe if you can imagine David Attenborough narrating their behavior as unique behavioral phenomena in your head, it can help you mentally separate yourself from the situation: you are an anthropological observer, as opposed to feeling like a direct recipient of their behavior.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        Okay this is genius. I can usually identify my Bitch Eating Crackers feelings but it hasn’t helped me reduce them (yet! these things can take time). David Attenborough, however… how could I not giggle while doing this. Bless you.

    5. scandi*

      I would try to reset a little with a vacation if that’s possible. I know for me little annoyances becoming unbearable is a sign that I’m overdue for some time off.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        You may have a good point. I am definitely feeling more overwhelmed lately and I think it may be exacerbating my feelings to an un-live-with-able level. I’ll have to take a hard look at my schedule and see where I can cram in the things that are causing me anxiety, dump what I can, and take some time off to reset.

        Thank you!

    6. Hiring Mgr*

      If you’re really driven to “rage” by her just laughing, that’s not typical so it’s hard to give a specific tip that will help here and get you back on track. If it’s truly this bad and you or she can’t move areas, you might just need to get used to it while employing the headphones/closed door as often as feasible.

      But this doesn’t sound sustainable if it upsets you this much!

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        Okay the “rage” was definitely a bit of hyperbole for dramatic effect which doesn’t always translate well in internet comments. But it is unsustainable!

        My manager is working with HR to deal with this employee (I am not the only person feeling like this about her) but we’re government and they’ve been passed to multiple departments and managers over the last 20 years for the same reasons I’m fed up with them. I am optimistic that now, having rolled over almost all of our senior leadership over the last 3-4 years, this person might actually face some accountability and either change their ways or be fired. But it will be a slow process and I refuse to let them make me miserable while it plays out!

    7. Not my real name*

      One thing that has worked for me in the past is playing “Annoying Trait Bingo” where you establish the bingo card in advance.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        That’s a fun idea! I think if I keep it in my bullet journal I could successfully play bingo without anyone seeing my bingo card and getting hurt feelings.

    8. Roscoe da Cat*

      Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it every time you start thinking annoyed thoughts. My therapist recommended it to me as a way to train my brain out of going down that path and it really works.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        Oh that’s an interesting idea! There is always an element of like… physically doing something that makes thought patterns easier to tame.

    9. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      How about you getting a different office, or getting them moved? If it is truly affecting your work, it might be bothering others. This is a very triggering memory for me… I recently left a job where I was in the same situation, and wow, I love not hearing the obnoxious coworker anymore. They weren’t themselves a factor in my leaving, but management refusing to address their disruptive, loud behavior was part of a pattern of poor management that played out in all sorts of ways.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        Oh I’m sorry you were in this situation too. It’s not ideal! Unfortunately they are at the front desk and if I wanted to move I would have to move into a shared office, which would be worse.

        Honestly this person should have been fired years ago and it’s really poor management that they’ve just been shuffled around every time the complaints got too bad. But almost all our senior management has retired over the last 3-4 years and I’m optimistic there will be accountability and expectations coming. It’s just going to come at the pace of government, which is not fast.

    10. Hen in a Windstorm*

      Is there any element of her behavior that you can reframe as a positive? Like try to imagine a positive motivation for why she does things?

      For example, I used to have a boss I resented because she loved to suck up to management by saying yes to any request, and never once did she check-in with us first to see if we had room for the work. I successfully reframed it in my head as “Gina is an optimist who loves to say yes to people. She doesn’t check with us because she’s so confident that we can handle anything thrown our way.” Both of these statements are true, they are the same scenario from a different perspective. I was better able to push back on some things after that because I could talk to her while seeing it from her point of view.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        I have done my best but it’s possible my imagination may be limited by my dislike.

        The thing that bothers me most about them is the constant negativity, defensiveness, and jumping to blame. It’s just a constant stream of bitterness over things that happened 10 years ago involving people that have all left the org and they talk about how everyone in X department is incompetent and everyone in Y department is lazy and their number one response to anything is to scoff.

        The only good thing I can say about this person is they have enormous institutional knowledge. However, they treat every question you ask as a personal attack. I have reflected on whether there was something in my tone that sounded judgmental and made them feel like I was looking for ammunition, not information, but they seem to react that way to every single person and no one else has ever reacted that way to me.

        It would be really great if there was some pathos I could give them in my mind because I am actually very understanding of people with good intentions going sideways or just not communicating well, but I have not been able to find anything empathetic with this person. I really think they may just be miserable and unable to keep that misery from spilling out over everyone around them.

        If you see something I don’t though, it would be immensely helpful!

    11. Podkayne*

      For me, I try these:
      1. I’m allowing her to be my higher power. She’s not my higher power. [X] is my higher power.
      2. I’m allowing her to live in my head rent-free. This is me evicting her while I focus on the here-and-now.
      3. Remind myself: In this moment, I am safe.
      4. Time for combat breathing.

    12. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      Ok, she is a loud-mouthed complainer at reception. When the zombies attack, they will be drawn to her first, and this should give you more time to silently slip away.

  33. Grumbles*

    Any tips on negotiation for an internal promotion? This will be a very informal process, no posting or salary range was ever posted so I am at a loss of how to proceed. Do you feel there is room to negotiate in this kind of situation?

    1. Another Michael*

      Recently in a similar situation, thought did have a formal application/interview – are you able to talk to the person who previously held the role or others at the same level in the organization openly and frankly? I’m forever grateful to my former supervisor for reaching out to me after she transitioned to a new role at the organization to tell me what I should expect in terms of salary and the absolute floor that I should not accept lower than.

      1. Grumbles*

        Thanks for the reply! There is no person I am replacing, we are growing the team and I am being moved into a newly created role as a result. So it is wait and see what they have to offer I guess!

  34. Please Just Do Your Job*

    I’m looking for advice on how to give feedback to a direct report who is constantly using her personal life as a reason for her poor work performance.

    I have an employee who, for 3 years now, has used her messy divorce as a reason for her poor work performance. Her performance since joining the company hasn’t been great, but as soon as someone talks to her about it, she improves it just enough to not go on a PIP. If she’s not constantly being monitored, it tanks again.

    Any time anyone talks to her about her lack of productivity, though, she cites the stress from her divorce as the reason she can’t perform at work. I was really sympathetic at first to this and gave her flexibility to handle what she needed to (as many of her past managers have), but this has gone on for so long now that it has started to grate.

    I have a background in law, so some of the things she tells me about the divorce I know are likely not true. For example, she told me that late in the divorce proceedings the judge ordered them to go to couples counseling because her ex did something dramatic in court. I know that a judge in 2022 would not force a couple to stay married against their will and force them into couple’s therapy. I also don’t ask her anything about her personal life – she just word vomits all of this unprompted.

    I know that divorce can be really, really hard but after being cried at 1,000 times, I’m just out of sympathy for this woman. I know it seems harsh, but she’s telling me the same sob story over and over again. It’s making me feel really manipulated. How can I address this with her? When I discuss her performance, she often tries to redirect to the divorce. I’ll say something along the lines of “I know that your personal life is rough right now, but I need you to hit these metrics. Can you do that?” That doesn’t seem to stop her from talking about it, though, and saying “I need you to stop telling me about your divorce” seems like a minefield. How can I keep her focused on just the performance without the theatrics? I know I might seem like I’m being harsh in talking about her, but it’s been three years (over various managers – not just me – but I’ve managed her off and on again), and I’m really tired of hearing about it. How much grace should I be giving her here?

    1. Bob*

      Take the divorce out of your conversations with her and reframe it to “this is what I need you to do” and if push back, “this is what the job requires, are you about to do this?” Divorce is hard, but three years is a long time. If she talks about the divorce, you can say, “that sounds really hard, I encourage you to use our explore assistance program for support”.

    2. EMP*

      I think you’re saying the right thing, keeping it focused on metrics/work, and you’ve given enough grace. If you’re her manager, do you have the authority to start a PIP? It sounds like that might be the next step.

      1. RunShaker*

        if she brings the divorce up, I think you have to say that I understand this is hard for you but we need to focus on your work. When she cries, I think Alison has suggested in the past to ask if she needs a moment and when she’s ready, move forward with work conversation. I think you’ll have to interrupt her by saying I’m sorry divorce is taking so long but we need to focus on your work. Also suggest she utilize EAP if it’s benefit offered. It comes down to interrupting and redirecting her back to work. I also think you need to put her on a PIP now.

    3. Camellia*

      “…as soon as someone talks to her about it, she improves it just enough to not go on a PIP…”

      Sounds like she’s been talked to enough. Go ahead and put her on a PIP and tell her if she does not MAINTAIN the improvements, she will be let go.

    4. Hotdog not dog*

      It seems like she’s been given plenty of grace. Our office has one who has spent several years stressed out by a divorce, and when he was told (by his manager) that 8 years(!!) should have been long enough to adapt to single life, his mother became seriously ill and for the past year and a half has been unable to focus because of that.
      While I sincerely wish good health for his mother, it’s impossible to take him seriously at all anymore.
      It seems like a kind of weaponized incompetence, since it’s just easier to do things ourselves than to hold him to his responsibilities. Could something similar be the case with yours?

    5. Riot Grrrl*

      I just went through something very similar. Except instead of a divorce it was… just general life trauma.

      I would encourage you to think about your other staff members. My situation started about 6 months before the pandemic. Then when the pandemic hit, my employee completely bottomed out. Because it was the pandemic, she became somewhat untouchable. But after two years, I had reached my limit of–you guessed it–being cried at whenever a deadline was missed or project specs weren’t followed.

      As difficult as it was, we ultimately terminated her. And here’s the kicker: the remaining crew on her team has now completely begun to soar. They are more productive and seemingly happier than they’ve been in a while. I was so preoccupied with her and with my relationship to her that I failed to see how she was also dragging down the rest of the staff. I wish I had made that decision a year sooner.

    6. Qwerty*

      Do you have an HR team you can consult with? It’s time to bring them in and getting your paperwork lined up.

      3yrs of low performance is a long time. If she is constantly monitored, she performed just enough to avoid a PIP. I think it is time for a PIP, with some of the milestones being that she can accomplish her work/metrics without the constant monitoring.

      The thing is, you don’t need her to agree with you on what the problem is in order to move forward. You need to stay focused on performance in performance reviews, but she wants to dwell on the divorce excuse, then just kindly cut her off and redirect. You can’t save her from herself here.

      I don’t think you sound harsh at all. This has been going on for 3yrs and she wasn’t that great beforehand. Her personal life might be rough right now, but after 3yrs this is her new reality and she has to be evaluated on whether she can do the job she has.

    7. There's that*

      Well the judge in my divorce case force couples counseling. He was a sex addict and the judge thought we could learn to co parent. This after the judge did supervised visitation because my ex was also abusive when using. Took 9 years to get divorced due to a really bad judge and greedy lawyers on both sides. Took me years to be productive… it’s an absolute nightmare in a court setting with an active addict…

  35. Lil Sebastian*

    Ex-academics, lookin at you!

    I’m a humanities PhD who was pommeled by the academic job market but landed a post doc in public history/museums (and I loved every second of it). Since my post doc ended a year ago, I’ve been similarly crushed by the museum job market. I’ve sought advice from mentors, revamped my job materials (leading to more interviews), etc. I have made it to the final rounds of several jobs, received interviews at places I never dreamed I’d be qualified for, and been told by mentors that I’m doing all the right things and have what I need to land a job. Every final-round rejection comes with assurances it was a tough/close decision (who knows if this is just politeness, but it’s all I have to go on). The constant rejection is beginning to affect my mental health to the point that I’ve set a cut-off for when to begin a career shift. But….where do I go? All the traditional “alt-ac” fields that fit my interests and skills are similarly competitive. My family and I were willing to move for a job in my current field, but for a complete career shift, I want to stay put. I live in a mid-sized metro area. My favorite part of my job has always been writing and editing (whether it’s journal articles for academic audiences or exhibit labels for public audiences), but alas I doubt I’ll land a job in publishing without having to relocate. Any suggestions?

    1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

      I’m also a humanities PhD who left academia! My initial shift out of academia (to a secondary ed teaching position) happened quickly; this past job hunt I was a lot more intentional in thinking about what I liked/didn’t like about my current position. Writing and editing happens in lots of forms in lots of jobs, so there are more options out there than just publishing! But I bet there are other aspects of the job you liked (working on a team? Seeing projects from start to finish?) that can help you figure out other transferable skills.

      I started my recent job hunt by connecting with alums of my PhD institution who had gone through different career transitions. As I narrowed down the type of role I wanted, I started reaching out to people on LinkedIn (again, using my alum network and referrals from other people) who were in roles I was interested in for informational interviews. Those convos could also point me to local orgs that I could keep an eye on for open jobs. You may know about these already, but there’s a fairly active former academic community on LinkedIn; there is also a “The Professor is Out” facebook group full of folks who have been where you are and many are happy to connect and chat and bounce ideas off of.

    2. The Sweet One*

      Any interest in tech? You may need some additional education or training, but going from academics to tech was a great move for me.

      1. Fluffy*

        Can you tell us more about how you made the change? How much time did you have to put into acquiring new skills before you were job ready, and how did you manage that? Thanks!

    3. BalanceofThemis*

      I work in the museum field, I don’t know if this will help, but it is NOT you. You can absolutely do everything right, and still get rejected. There are a lot of people trying to get paying work in museums, far more than there are job openings.
      Even with experience, it’s tough to get a job in a museum. There’s a growing movement among museum employees leaving the sector.

      If you really want to work in a museum, I would recommend expanding what jobs you are looking at. Curatorial jobs are very hard to get. Education usually has more openings. You could also look at communications jobs. But don’t take a job to get your foot in the door thinking you can move later, it’s almost impossible.

      1. Lil Sebastian*

        Definitely helpful to hear! It’s nice to have things I’ve assumed from my experience confirmed. It’s not all in my head after all!

      2. MuseumNerd*

        This is absolutely true. I’m a hiring manager in Visitor Services for a small museum and I get so many applicants with a Masters or PhD looking to get their foot in the door doing anything. It’s a tough field to get into.

    4. Rex Libris*

      A number of libraries (both larger public and academic) local governments, etc. support some sort of local history department, agency or program. Have you considered the public history route?

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        Ex-academic but not a PhD, I’ve known a few people who did that in the “alt-ac” space, might be worth searching for that term to see what others have done. Good luck!

      2. Lil Sebastian*

        Yes! I’ve applied quite a bit in this space. I’ve found it challenging to find openings at my level (I apply anyway), but perhaps that’s a regional quirk or a timing thing. I’ll keep looking. Thanks for the suggestion!

    5. Lily Rowan*

      I’ve worked with a few grant writers (foundation grants, mostly) with humanities PhDs — their writing and research skills were a good fit. The only issue is potentially starting at a lower level than your age might suggest, but if you’re OK with that, you could move up quickly.

    6. M2*

      I would say look in higher Ed but non academic roles, look for administration jobs and cast a wide net. I know you don’t want to move, but many people I know in academic or administration roles have had to move. What about where you did your post-doc? Do they have any open roles?

      Grant writing or work at non-profits, or foundations.

      Sounds like you have great experience and I wish you luck getting a great role.

  36. Bunny Girl*

    Has anyone asked for accommodations for stomach/gastrointestinal issues? What did that look like? I have IBS and while it’s normally pretty well controlled, I do have days where I do not feel good.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      I am very fortunate that I was able to get accommodations without actually needing to be specific. I told my boss that I have a medical condition that occasionally requires me to work from home, and he said that was fine as long as my work was still up to standards. If he had asked, I was prepared to be non specific and just say it was a gastrointestinal issue, but it didn’t come up. (He’s been a manager long enough that he probably knows not to ask for too much detail, or he just might have to hear it!) I just got a new manager, and so far she hasn’t asked and I haven’t told why my hybrid schedule isn’t fixed.

      1. WorkForYourPay*

        You should not be advising people to be nonspecific about this. The interactive process has a fairly clear way to handle reasonable accommodations. There should be a physician note certifying the need, a clear explanation of what the disability is, and what the reasonable accommodation is.

        Not doing this puts the business at a potential jeopardy. They haven’t done what they were supposed to, so they are still at risk of you claiming your needs weren’t being met.

        Handling it in such a blasé manner also makes it look like all disability accommodations are probably based on a farce.

        1. nena*

          What? This is not correct. If you get the accommodation you need without going through a formal process, that’s fine. It doesn’t put the business in jeopardy or make it look like all accommodations are a farce. How strange.

    2. CheeryO*

      I have an employee with IBS issues, and for him, it’s just a little extra flexibility in terms of changing his days around (we are on a more or less fixed hybrid WFH schedule) or occasionally taking sick leave on short notice. No need for graphic details, just a heads up email when it happens.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        Thank you. I get one work from home day, and I don’t normally need weekly accommodations. I kind of wanted to have a general discussion with my supervisor. She knows I have some “stomach issues” but I kind of wanted to give her a head’s up talk with her in case I need to ask for another day here and there.

    3. PurplePeopleEater*

      I have stomach issues, rather than IBS, but it goes from long stretches of being well controlled to having weeks where I have dash from a meeting.

      I already work from home, but I’ve given my boss a head’s up that sometimes I may not be able to travel to company meetings on site, depending on how my health is doing. We have a culture with a lot of flexibility and remote work built in, so I haven’t raised it as formal accommodations. Folks I work with closely know I have “chronic stuff” and they’ve been flexible when I need to be out for extra time after lunch and then catch up later.

    4. Data/Lore*

      I have both UC and IBS-M (stellar combo). I work remotely, and when I was going through the internal hiring process I disclosed that I do have a medical condition that does not require formal accommodations (specifically because I am remote, if I had needed to remain in office I would have requested a more formal set of accommodations to allow for remote work days during flares) but I have made my boss aware when I have something come up like a flare or new issues that will have an impact on my ability to get things done at my usual pace. Travel to our main office involved discussing dietary limitations because they all wanted to take me out to eat every night.

      Prior to my internal move I didn’t share a lot of detail after my diagnosis, but let my manager and office mates know that bathroom access and medical appointments and working from home were things that would happen, especially at the height of the pandemic (UC is an autoimmune disorder so we pretty much locked down the office I worked in and made sure there was a very slim chance of any exposure to me).

      I would be clear and concise: “I have a chronic condition that needs to be accommodated in this way (wfh on bad days, additional breaks, etc). Here is documentation from my medical team detailing what I need” and leave it at that. There’s no need to get super detailed, I tend to revert to “autoimmune disorder” to anyone outside my core team- my core team is pretty awesome imo, and haven’t treated me any differently with the amount of detail I have given them vs anyone else. Ymmv on that, so I’d avoid more than the basic. No one you work with or for is entitled to all the details.

  37. Make it anon*

    IT and city government people, how would you make a business case for an in-department IT person? I work for a library in a mid sized city, an our in-house IT was one of the casualties of austerity during covid. We’ve been limping along with a tech committee and a go-between person, but it’s far too much work on top of other responsibilities and we really need an actual IT professional for the volume and breadth of work (to the point where the last two committee chairs have quit and now the go-between is on the way out). I expect that city IT would be fully in support and could probably provide some “customer” statistics if we asked right.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

    1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I’m in municipal P&R and I would say you approach like any other budget add. Find customer feedback that could have been prevented or could be solved by IT professionals. Show the number of hours staff have spent working on something (and the cost of those hours) that an IT professional could solved more quickly or prevented. Also show what staff could do with the hours they’d save NOT doing IT (ideally something that’s a Council or whatever governing body you have priority). Contact other libraries with in house IT and see if they can give you some data on what’s improved/how much it cost. I’d also present a couple of options: full time permanent IT staff, contracted IT staff, part time/temporary IT staff.

    2. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      Your department head and the IT department head need to get together, identify where the funding would come from, and put it in one or the other of their department budget requests for 23-24. This is the right time of year to do it!

      1. Specialized Skillets*

        In my municipality it’s nearly too late to start the convo for FY24! (Forms were due last week to begin the long process of internal review but aren’t officially submitted until beginning of Feb.) Depending on your budget and funding source you may be able to finagle mid-year contract funding or squeeze a request in for next fiscal though. Best of luck!

    3. Free Meerkats*

      I’ve been working for government since 1974 and from what I’ve seen, something may need to fail spectacularly to get a body back. This is in addition to fine tipped pen aficionado’s comment. You’ve shown you can get along without dedicated IT, why can’t you continue?

  38. Isben Takes Tea*

    I wanted to share a tip if you’re job searching after not working due to mental health issues: I got a lot of mileage out of “I took a break to deal with some health issues, which have since been resolved. I’m excited to get back to work!”

    It did a pretty good job of being honest without leaving myself open to disclosing more than I wanted. Good luck to any and all of you in similar positions!

    1. Stripes*

      Thanks for the tip. I’m glad it really worked for you. Can I ask what period you were out of work for – weeks, months, years? I wonder how long is too long for using a phrase like this. But maybe that’s just my anxiety bugging me…

      1. Isben Takes Tea*

        A year and a half. But I would have felt comfortable using it for at least 2-3 years; most people understand some health issues can really wipe you out (and since the prevalence of Long Covid, unfortunately, there’s even more general awareness of that fact).

  39. FridayBrain*

    Why does “My doctor has agreed to continue my sick leave until the right job opens up” rankle me so?

    I’ve heard this second hand and not sure how true it is. The person in question is on leave; and for sure, if you are not well, please extend the leave until you are well enough to return. But if it’s the role itself that’s the issue (rumour has it she was unhappy), and you have the right to apply to any other job while on any kind of leave (union contract), staying on sick leave until you can win a “better” role in the same company is one way to do it.

    But backfilling someone on sick leave is an administrative burden involving a LOT of people at our workplace. Unable to plan beyond a couple of months or weeks with each extension impacts workplanning. But, if the person is truly not well…

    I’m open to having my POV changed on this, as my first gut reaction was “That’s not fair!” Now I’m challenging myself as to why that was my first reaction.

    1. Onward*

      I think it would rankle me too because it seems very manipulative. It doesn’t seem to be based on being sick, it seems to be based on “the right job”. Plus, why would the doctor have an opinion about what “the right job” is unless this employee can’t do like heavy lifting in their condition or some other physical constraint? And if that’s what’s required for the job they were hired for, and now they can no longer do it, the company isn’t obliged to move them to a desk job or something.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      I agree with you. It sounds like some sort of con. If you’re too sick to work, you’re too sick to work anywhere. Not entirely true because someone may no longer be able to do physical work and may be looking for sit down office only job now, but the sentence you wrote doesn’t quite match that sentiment.

      I sounds like I don’t like my job or my boss or my coworkers, and got a doctor to write a fake sick note because illness so severe you can’t work doesn’t magically end with a new job.

      And also it is a huge inconveience to you even if an entirely legitmate sick leave so that’s frustrating no matter what.

      1. FridayBrain*

        “If you’re too sick to work, you’re too sick to work anywhere.” Okay. But what if the job is toxic so a change in role/boss/office would stop making you sick? The job they’ve applied for is one desk job to another but with a very different office and boss.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          There is that, but if the problem is a toxic boss what is the sick employee doing to recover from the boss and job so that they can return? That’s the trying to get better, develop coping skills to deal with the stress versus not bothering to try to get better and waiting for a new job.

          If a boss is that toxic aren’t they that toxic to all of their employees? If they are won’t the business eventually fire them. IDK. I’m sorry this isn’t helping to reverse your “that’s not fair” reaction. I agree with it.

          1. Person from the Resume*

            OTOH I think you can tell yourself. This is second hand and could definately be untrue so I’m going to try to forget it. And that is possibly the tack I’d take to be more positive about the situation.

          2. Stuck in a toxic workplace*


            If you’re sick because of a toxic workplace/boss and you’ve tried all else in your power to resolve the situation and can’t, then why shouldn’t you go off sick? Your workplace has made you ill, you shouldn’t be forced back if they’re not going to change, and a job may have nearly killed you if it’s had that much of an effect on your mental health.

            I haven’t had to do this, yet, but my doctor has already told me that if I need to, they can sign me off as long as needed in order for me to escape my toxic workplace. It’s a last resort, but I can see entirely why it’s justified. Especially when those that have already left have been explicit in why they left but leadership still won’t see it and always blame the employees who have left.

            I’d be looking more at the people and culture in the workplace than jumping to how unfair it is that someone is doing this.

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      It rankles because it means that others are basically earning the person’s pay (such as it would be on sick leave) for them, but not getting the same deal in return. It sounds like this person has no intention of coming back to their current position, which means nobody else can move forward to fill the role.

      I had a comparable situation years ago. A coworker got management to interpret “reasonable accommodation” to mean that everyone else did a large portion of their work. And refused to try to move to a role that was a better fit because they “needed the money.” It was a bad situation for everyone. (I am a strong supporter of the ADA – the misapplication of its rules & premise irritated me no end. And we were never told what the accommodations were supposed to be. It just seemed to be whatever they didn’t feel like doing or being trained on.)

      1. FridayBrain*

        We had one of those too. They did the minimum and there was no official record of what the accommodation was. Finally, they retired. And we could get someone in who did, well, real work!

    4. I should really pick a name*

      Considering it’s second hand, I’d suggest pretending you just never heard that.

    5. Kes*

      I don’t think you’re out of line. It feels like they’re stringing the employer along – normally with sick leave there’s an assumption that they will be on leave until they’re able to return to the job. Here they have no intention of returning to the job, they’re just using the sick leave as a shield to keep the employer hanging indefinitely while supporting them, while preventing the employer from being able to terminate them and find a replacement to actually do the job.
      That said, it does sound like they may legitimately have been on sick leave from the job, which suggests it was pretty bad for them, and there may other factors at play here – for example, if they actually left the job would it be much harder for them to get a different position when one does come up? If so that would make the approach more understandable, if still not really great.

    6. CheeryO*

      We have something similar going on at our office (maybe not quite so egregious). I would highly recommend not thinking about it unless you are the person’s manager, because there is nothing you can do about it, and it will only make you angry. There will always be people who take advantage in union workplaces. Be glad that you are not them, because everyone sees through their shenanigans. They are only making their life more difficult in the long run.

    7. Sick leave anon*

      I can’t speak to union jobs or internal moves, I did just come off a sick leave where I stayed sick until my new job started (I live somewhere with legally defined notice periods which can only be shortened by mutual agreement or illness). My former boss was harassing me to the point I got physically ill with an autoimmune flare up I have literally once a decade. I recovered enough from that, being away from him, then promptly got Covid. By the time I got over Covid, I was ten days from my new (external) job’s start date. My doctor decided after speaking to me to extend my leave despite me being baseline fit to work because why compromise my health to go back to the yelling dude for seven working days. All this to say that if the person on sick leave you know has a situation where they want an internal move due to team ambiance or a manager situation, it’s kind of like Chris rock said, it’s not right but I understand. Did I screw over my former coworkers on leave? Yes. Would I have comprised my future health, my current mental health and ability to pay my rent at a new job just to « do the right thing » and finish a notice? Also yes. Sometimes people are gaming the system, sometimes it is more complicated than that. I choose grace because wow life is complicated and jobs are too.

    8. Madeleine Matilda*

      Because you heard it second hand, if I were you, I would assume that some details of the retelling probably were inaccurate. But for the sake of discussion, if this person’s doctor had said that they would allow them to stay on sick leave until another job opened there are still several possibilities why that is.
      1. Could be dr and employee are fraudulently claiming the employee can’t return to work even though they could because the employee hates the job.
      2. Could be that the patient medically cannot perform the current job, but is applying for jobs which their dr says they could perform.
      3. The truth is something else.

    9. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I definitely understand the reaction, but keep in mind really the only people who know enough information to determine if this person is truly not well is this person and their medical provider. There are some jobs where returning to work is possible or that accommodations can be made to make it possible; there are some jobs where returning to work would make you sicker. Especially if your sickness is of the mental variety.

      I also try to remember the person to blame when you’re shortstaffed and overwork is not the staff who are just trying to live their lives but whoever is raking in the profit for pressuring managers to limit staffing and keep those margins razor thin.

    10. Danish*

      Hm, I understand why you’re rankled, but my feeling is like… not your business, not worth your energy getting rankled about. ESPECIALLY since you heard it second hand. You can’t know for certain if this is a health-saving maneuver that is getting communicated in a blase way, or what, so getting wound up about it is just not worth your time.

      Also post-2020 me thinks that you know what, you gotta look out for yourself. We live in a society and it is sad it’s making coworker’s lives slightly more difficult… but jobs cannot be relied on to take care of you, so if a worker decides to be Somewhat Selfish to protect their physical or mental health… I can’t really get that upset about it.

    11. Albert Barenstein*

      Here’s the thing about health and jobs: You can be unable to do a job sufficiently entirely because of your direct manager or coworkers’ attitudes towards your needs, even though the job itself is totally doable for you. So my immediate thought here is that, if this person is out on medical leave and that there were issues with their current position before that, this is a case of needing a position that will accommodate their health needs. And that often has nothing to do with the job description and everything to do with the personality an expectations of your boss, or even some tiny practical issue you wouldn’t ever think about, like the layout or scheduling setup of the office.

      Also, doctors have certain obligations. Your doctor is not going to sham up you needing to be on fake medical leave so you can find a job you like. But a good doctor will absolutely take your specific job into consideration when deciding on an appropriate return-to-work plan. “See if you can transfer to a different position within your company that will be able to accommodate your needs” is a really common way to deal with a change in someone’s health that requires some changes to their work life.

      Since you didn’t even hear this first hand I would really strongly recommend that you resist the “that’s not fair!” urge. It’s much much more likely that this is a poorly described entirely reasonable scenario than some sort of nefarious scam. Why wouldn’t you give this person the benefit of the doubt, especially since all probability says they’re not doing anything wrong?

      Also, remember that stuff like this isn’t hurting anyone else. No one is being harmed by this person and their doctor trying to find them a different position within the company that will work better for whatever their medical needs are. People have a strong tendency to lean into the “that’s not fair” reaction when seeing someone ask for accommodation, and to take it as everyone else losing something by that person getting what they needs. But you’re not! There is no reason to be angry with someone for needing something different.

  40. Chidi has a stomach ache*

    I have a new job, and it’s a remote role! I’ll be starting in February. I’ve been in education, so aside from a 6-mo period when all classes were online, I’ve always been “in-person” for my work. I do like having some socialization, so while I’m glad to be giving up a lengthy commute, I am nervous about losing that. Would love to hear what worked/didn’t work from folks who made the transition.

    1. scandi*

      Coworking spaces can be really nice if you want more interaction. You can determine how often you’re there vs in your home depending on personal preferences (e.g. once a week, three half-days, every day). Or, if your job is like mine and has half-days with zero meetings several times a week, spending a meeting-free morning or afternoon in a coffee shop.

      I also found that no commute gave me more time and energy to socialise after work instead. Less chatter around the coffee machine and more spending time with friends and family and with various hobby groups.

    2. Employed Minion*

      A friend of mine runs a coworking space. For a fee, people can use the space with wifi, electric, kitchen and meeting rooms. They even have private phone booths. People use it for a change of scene and work level socializing.

      A coworker friend and I will sometimes call each other (personal lines) and just talk for a couple hours while we work.

      1. Fluffy*

        Similar: a friend used to Skype her friend (they were not colleagues) and they would each just work while on Skype. As if they were sharing an office.

    3. Woring at Home*

      I have weekly or bi-weekly scheduled “chit-chats” with my co-workers. We talk about work and personal stuff and when I proposed it to them I said that it was to get to know each other just like we are in the office. They sometimes get cancelled but makes it easier to reach out midweek for a chat. I also do a lot more after work then I ever have. I joined a weekly sports league, have lunch/dinner with friends, joined a book club, I go to the main library a few nights a month, go to the local Art Museum on discount nights. My summers are packed because there is a lot going on, but winter is slower. It took time to build up because I was used to being exhausted from working and commuting everyday until I realized I was not. I also do a lot of errands I used to do on the weekend during my lunch (bank, groceries, Costco..) so i have more time on the weekends to be social then I used to.

  41. Aloy*

    Others prone to anxiety–what are you doing to manage your stress with all the layoffs and the tightening economy?

    I’ve got a savings buffer and a safety net, and have no indication that my job is in trouble, but having graduated into the 08 recession, part of me can never quite relax and feel employment is stable.

    1. J*

      I honestly assume nothing is stable. I graduated into that last recession as a recent cancer survivor and I honestly feel like I will be thrown to the wolves when things get rough. I got dumped when Covid hit because they declared my recent promotion made me a new hire and they axed the newest hires.

      My real reaction is to focus on what I can control. I aggressively manage my budget and keep funds that allow me to be unemployed fully for at least a year, potentially longer. I know that might sound crazy but with the cancer recurrence risk and economy, it is something I feel better having. I sacrifice things to keep that fund there and when Covid hit I honestly had a sense of calm I didn’t expect and was able to focus on healing my burnout before job searching. I have a home that’s designed for me getting sick again, so a full work at home setup, a deep freeze and basement pantry with excessive storage for dry goods or food so I can stock up during sales, a Costco membership so I can keep getting eggs at not totally ridiculous prices.

      I also have been gaining skills in my life so now I have a huge range of career paths, including self employment, open to me. Honestly, I can tell a huge difference in how I feel with all of that in my control. I am likely to lose/change jobs this year but I feel excited at the possibility of being able to take a moment to decide what comes next.
      I also spent a good deal of time in therapy, talking about unemployment + cancer hitting at the same time back then, which I really think helped (though my therapist and I disagreed on my hypervigilance but she saw how ready I was when Covid hit and now has complex feelings about my prepping). 2008 unemployed me would never believe how calm I am about this now.

      1. Aloy*

        Thanks for sharing. My tendency to prep is probably not quite on your scale but I do similar things, particularly having a wide cash buffer that could go at least 6-8 months. At times I think about putting a portion of that toward mortgage principal where it’d do more work down the road, but I’ve never felt like I could quite do it. That feeling of safety is worth quite a lot, and cash can open up options and keep you flexible with the unexpected.

      2. Jilly*

        That’s encouraging. I am recovering and could possibly lose my job, and I’m living on not much but prices are soaring, so I am anxious. I’m curious about how you acquired a wide range of skills – did you formally train or what? I’m thinking “money money money!”

    2. CheeryO*

      I’m a bit younger than you, but I feel similarly since things were still screwy when I graduated in 2012. Honestly, I took a pretty big salary hit to stay in the public sector where things are more stable. I have enough seniority now that a lay-off would be really unlikely.

      In general, I think keeping as many options open as possible would be helpful. Maintain your network, don’t burn bridges, stay up-to-date in your field, keep an eye on postings just so you know what’s out there. If you have a safety net, you’re doing better than most, so try not to be too anxious (easier said than done, I know!).

    3. Linda*

      I manage my anxiety by imaging the worst that could happen and then gaming out all the different ways I could handle it. A savings buffer and a safety net are great to have and will really help should disaster strike, but what are all the actions you could take? Reaching out to your network, applying for new jobs, etc., are sensible and obvious, but what about indulging in some out-of-the-box thinking? What if you went back to school instead, or gave it all up to become a roving chicken farmer? What if you knitted socks or wrote romance novels and sold them for pocket money in between job interviews? You wouldn’t have to do any of it, obviously, it just might be helpful to remember that the dichotomy isn’t job/no job, and that you have a lot more control over how situations play out than you might think.

      1. Anonymous staffer*

        I graduated in the ’00 recession, and have known nothing but recessions my whole career, so I’m personally pretty cynical. However, on a recent call with my investment advisor, I asked them about potential for recession and they told me that the markets are cyclical, things are really prosperous for a while until they get out of hand, and then they rebalance and sometimes go into recession. (This is paraphrased and not accurate in financial terms.) This made me feel a little better, they also told me that the media always over-sensationalizes recessions. I’m trying to think of it as just part of the lifecycle of the economy, which helps.

        1. Aloy*

          Yeah, it’s funny because it’s not like this recession is looking all that grim compared to others, but knowing personally a few people who have been laid off is really skewing how I feel about this round of it.

      2. Aloy*

        Helpful! When I can tamp down my panic brain I do sometimes try to redirect thoughts to cool possibilities that could result from bad luck/a layoff. Good reminder not to be so black & white in thinking.

      3. Hen in a Windstorm*

        This was going to be my recommendation. I don’t have anxiety generally, but when Covid happened and everyone was freaking out, I made a plan. Like:

        What if I get fired and somehow don’t get unemployment?
        What if I become disabled?
        What if I become disabled and husband gets laid off?
        What if we both get fired and somehow neither gets unemployment?
        What if landlord decides to sell the house and we get thrown out?

        And I went through which money stuff would happen first and in what order. Like:
        1. Cut subscriptions and stop eating out.
        2. Spend down savings fund.
        3. Move to a cheaper apartment.
        4. Spend down emergency fund.
        4. Move to a cheaper city.
        5. Move in with family.
        6. Tap into my retirement accounts.

        Be really super detailed. Because then, no matter what happens, you’ve already thought it through. Anxiety thrives on uncertainty. You have a plan.

    4. Chaordic One*

      The savings buffer is good. I would recommend updating your resume, just in case, so that you have it ready to go and also have a “tentative” list of references ready to go. Be sure to ask the people on the list if you need to use them, to give them a “heads up,” but just keep people in mind. Again, just in case.

      I’m feeling the same way myself. I’m about to make a major purchase and usually I would blow my entire savings on the down payment, but this time I’m saving extra so that the down payment doesn’t take all of my savings.

  42. Cruciatus*

    Does anyone know why a job might only be posted for 4-5 days? My guess is it’s just a formality and they know who they wanted but, argh! A job was posted last Friday at a company I’ve been trying to apply to. I started the application but it needed me to put in references (it had been a while–been at my current job 5 years) so I contacted them and didn’t hear back from some until Monday (because they weren’t checking email over the weekend), went to finish up on Wednesday and–it’s gone. Frustrating! And I’m assuming even if I had applied in time I wouldn’t have been brought in for an interview anyway.

    I’ve been trying to get into this insurance company because they are known as a really good employer in my area (they have pensions!), my former coworker who just started there said, even after only being there for 12 days she got a year-end 2.5% raise! (I don’t even get 2% at my current company after annual review), and this was the first non-insurance job in a long time (admin assistant). Sigh. It’s so frustrating watching for jobs there and mostly seeing ones I’m not qualified for and having one I was gone so fast.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      It could be a formality. But it could be they got enough applications in the first 4-5 days that they closed it since they’re known to be a good employer.

      I’d say you won’t know, but be ready to jump on the next opening right away.

    2. Jessica*

      You probably have an idea of whether this is plausible here, but if it’s a position that will draw a lot of applications, they may open it for just a short time because they think that’ll be enough and don’t want to have to wade through 200 more applications than they need.

    3. Llama Wrangler*

      In addition to the ideas above, it is possible they posted the role and then something shifted so that they are no longer hiring at all – a person who said they were leaving isn’t leaving, there was a reorg and the role was slashed, etc.

    4. Ginger Pet Lady*

      In my job search, I’ve seen jobs on Linked In that opened that day and already have 600+ applicants. I can totally see closing that listing early to limit how many applications to wade through.

  43. Llama Wrangler*

    I have a question that’s a little existential and a little work related. I am a knowledge worker and a large amount of my work involves synthesizing and drawing connections between disparate bodies of work. This is something that I do naturally, in part because I am detail oriented and have an excellent memory for technical details and past conversations. I recently started a new job, and one my close coworkers has commented on my excellent memory multiple times.

    However, I have seen in both my father and my grandfather – who relied heavily on their own (similar) cognitive abilities in their work successes – struggle with the decline in their abilities as they aged. In particular, my grandfather had internalized being a really sharp thinker as part of his identity, and became deeply depressed as he experienced age-related memory loss because his sense of self was so disrupted. Obviously, a lot of that is for me to deal with personally – and it is not imminent. (Neither my dad or my grandfather experienced early dementia, and I’m still barely middle aged).

    But I’m curious about ways that I can handle this better at work, both in terms of talking about it within coworkers and my own professional work. This doesn’t make a ton of sense to share in depth with coworkers – the last time my coworker said something about my great memory, I just said “Oh, well, I try not count on it.” I also imagine at some point I will have to create more systems for tracking things, so I do try to write things down and document where I can (but I don’t create in depth systems that I don’t need because it would really slow me down.) Any other thoughts?

    1. Sloanicota*

      Hmm, interesting! I do know many people who over-identify with certain roles that are fleeting in life, and I think it’s a detriment to their happiness … if we are lucky enough to live long lives, we will all become less attractive, less mentally sharp, less physically able with age – but hopefully we will still be just as kind, just as compassionate, just as loving. If I were in your situation, I would probably not spend a ton of time creating backups I don’t need yet, but I would perhaps plan for an earlier retirement or a shift in my career in later life. When you are at the top of your game, enjoy being at the top of your game!

    2. Isben Takes Tea*

      I’m going through this a little bit, as my background is in copyediting and proofreading. I’m fairly young but have noticed my brain has already started to change in very specific ways (I’m starting to misspell things phonetically when I type, such as angsiety for anxiety, which I never used to do and still don’t quite understand why I do it now). I think the only reason I’m not freaking out about it more is that I’ve shifted away from that work for the most part.

      I think the fact that you’re already thinking about it and aware of the likelihood is a great start; if you know that this will likely become an issue, you can either look for roles that diversify your skill set now or at least be prepared to have a productive exit strategy, either early retirement or knowledge of roles that are adjacent or related to your current work but draw on different skills, or roles that don’t require the same level of mental rigor (such as going from full-time in-house to part-time consultant).

      1. Nicosloanica*

        I was simply stunned the first time I used the wrong “you’re / your” or “there / their” – this were mistakes I never made in my life because the words felt totally different to me. Honestly, I think between social media and fanfiction I had seen it wrong SO MANY TIMES that it ground me down and now I have to check myself more carefully … sad times.

      2. Llama Wrangler*

        Thanks! This is an aside, but about the phonetic spelling – I never had the issue until I lived in other countries where I was often navigating in languages other than my first language. It was very bad when living in those countries, and now persists but only when I’m particularly tired. (Lack of sleep more of a contributor than cognitive strain).

        1. Isben Takes Tea*

          Oooh, interesting! I have watched a lot of foreign language television the last few years, I wonder if that has anything to do with it? So curious!

    3. CheeryO*

      Well, hopefully you will be able to retire before you notice significant changes! I don’t think you really need to address it at all, to be honest. If you notice yourself forgetting things, you’ll just need to step up your documentation and tracking systems, like you said.

      My memory is terrible, so I have to stay super organized if I have any hope of being able to come up with information quickly. I still get compliments on my great memory, so apparently no one can tell the difference!

    4. Kes*

      I think a multifaceted approach including not placing too much emphasis on one aspect of your life (memory, or work success even) in terms of identity and worth and how you see yourself, and also getting in the habit of building in some level of systems now so that you’re not totally dependent on your memory and it isn’t a problem or shock if your memory does fail you.
      That said, I also wouldn’t overfocus on this or spend too much time worrying about it since it is a future problem, although it’s good to be aware of so you can avoid the same challenges you’ve seen your dad and grandfather face by not relying as solely on memory for work or identity

    5. Ginger Baker*

      I would check out Building a Second Brain (by Tiago Forte – fair warning he looks a lot like Elon Musk, but isn’t, I swear!); if you keep good, searchable, notes on things, you will need to rely a lot less on instant recall (so, especially helpful if you start that practice now and it’s in place if your memory begins getting a bit fuzzier).

    6. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I am 62 and now rely on a calendar when in my 20s I could keep three or four people’s schedules in my head without writing them down. I’m in no way cognitively impaired; it’s also clear that my memory is not what it was. The kind of synthesis you describe is also one of my strengths and that has not changed as my memory has shifted, so I don’t know that you will ever need to talk to coworkers about it. I haven’t. No one at work cared how I managed to show up for meetings as long as I was on time.

      People still comment on my memory because I can still retain what is said almost verbatim during a meeting or complex conversation. It doesn’t stick for long – I can’t repeat this morning’s conversation at dinnertime – but it’s very useful in a lot of situations. This also hasn’t changed much over the years.

      The kind of short-term memory that enables us to recall dates and specific facts is a different brain function than the complex synthesis and tracking I think you’re talking about.

      That said, I have been working for a while to shift out of my own “fixed mindset” – the part of me that feels my value is based on what I am (“smart”) rather than what I do (“listens and thinks carefully”) and that could help protect against the grief your grandfather experienced.

    7. Sociology rocks!*

      I feel like the bigger picture solution is to build up other parts of your identity, so that when you inevitably find you aren’t as sharp as before, you have other traits/hobbies/relationships/memberships etc. that you can use to help counter the idea you’ve lost your defining sense of self. The more multifaceted your sense of who you are is, the less of a blow to your self esteem and self concept it will be.

    8. Irish Teacher*

      However, I have seen in both my father and my grandfather – who relied heavily on their own (similar) cognitive abilities in their work successes – struggle with the decline in their abilities as they aged.

      I absolutely know what you mean, as I had my thyroid removed three years ago and one of the possible side effects if the medication didn’t work well was memory problems. My mum laughed, saying I could afford to take a loss in that area, but…like your grandfather, that is a core part of my identity.

      And yeah, I don’t really have the sort of systems people talk about for keeping track of stuff because…I’ve never needed them.

      Thankfully, it didn’t happen. And I don’t think significant memory loss is inevitable as a part of aging either. My grandmother lived to 92 and was doing puzzles either the day she died or the day before. And was the one to tell my uncles that she was dying, a few days before it happened because she noticed the signs before they did. My mum was actually laughing when she took my gran to a doctor’s appointment and they tested her cognative abilities and asked her to count back in 7s from 100 and she rattled it off (she was probably in her mid-80s at the time) because my mum hates Maths and said she didn’t think she could have done that.

      And as others have said, any age related degeneration is likely to be after you retire anyway.

    9. Llama Wrangler*

      I appreciate all these replies – what I am taking away from this is:
      -Appreciate being on the top of my game while I’m at the top of my game
      -BUT also appreciate it in a way that does not become foundational to my sense of self (I do already cultivate interests and skills outside of work, but point taken there as well)
      -Continue to build in systems that shore myself up so that if something fails (once or regularly) I have backups
      -Know that I can shift the way I do my work over time (into other roles or structures) and/or that people may not even notice changes the way I do.

      The early retirement is interesting because that is not at all how my family operates. My grandfather “retired” at 60 or 65 and then did essentially full-time volunteer work (still as a knowledge worker) until his mid 80s. My dad promises he’ll retire at 70, but he’s 67 and still working 50+ hour weeks, so we’ll see how that pans out…

    10. Person from the Resume*

      I’m wondering if you apply something like they tell parents about kids about school and good grades. Don’t praise kids for being smart; praise them for working/studying hard or persistance. Smart implies some inherent, unchangable fact about themselves and if the child struggles in the future, they can immediately conclude they’re just not good at X or smart. Hard work, study, and persistance can be applied to all kinds of subjects and skills.

      You can focus on your job and doing well without always thinking that it’s your excellent memory that makes you good at your job. I think the key fact is that you don’t make good memory such a center of your identity, though, and you’ll probably be fine even though cognative decline can be such a game change.

    11. RagingADHD*

      Machines can remember things. The value you bring is insight, and communicating those insights / connections to other people.

  44. Haru*

    How do you go back to your original industry after a 6 year absence? I worked in industry A for 5 years after graduating college, and then I did freelancer-ish work in industry B (which is not even remotely related to industry A) after that. Since the beginning of covid, the work for industry B has steadily declined.

    At the time I quit my job, I was burnout (partially b/c I was promoted to a level of incompetence. I think I might have stayed in my first job if my manager had agreed to demote me back to my original position). And then I somehow earned enough from monetizing my hobby, so I didn’t go back to the stable industry.

    I regret that now. I think most employers would rather hire fresh college students or people with relevant experience. I’m not sure how to fix it.

    1. Foxgloves*

      I think transitioning from a freelance role is actually a good way to re-enter an old work industry. Unless you’re in an industry where skills from six years ago would be wildly out of date, I wouldn’t be concerned about someone who had taken a diversion to work for themselves. You could phrase this as “I’ve enjoyed working for myself for the last six years, but for a variety of reasons working in a larger company would now be a better fit for me”. Then big up your previous experience and any key transferrable skills from your freelance career. Good luck!

      1. Haru*

        Sorry, I should have been more detailed.

        My first job was compliance/data related. Freelancer-ish job is creating entertaining content for tips (was surprisingly lucrative pre-covid). I can’t think of any overlapping transferrable skills between the two or even who to ask for references because there’s minimal communication between me and the tippers.

  45. Foxgloves*

    I’ve been interviewing for a new hire this week, and all have been strong candidates who could do the role, but only want to take three of the candidates forward to the next round. I have some personalised feedback for each, but I mostly want to say to them “It’s not that you weren’t great, it’s just that someone else was better!”- what’s the most appropriate way to say this?

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      As a candidate, we know! (or I hope we do) and maybe saying that you’ll keep their resume on file, or offering to apply again if there are more openings in the future, would get that message across?

    2. Sabine the Very Mean*

      No you don’t need to say that. As Alison advises, I think email is best for rejection so the candidate doesn’t need to regulate their emotions and voice and tone.
      “The competition was especially strong this round and unfortunately we are not moving forward with your candidacy” or something like that.

    3. irene adler*

      “someone else was better!”
      So tell me, how they are better? Yeah, that segues into some place you don’t want to go.
      Please go with Sabine the Very Mean’s suggestion.

      1. Foxgloves*

        Interesting- I don’t see that as an “ouch”, because realistically, isn’t that the case for all rejections? To be specific, in this case it’s more about breadth of experience, and knowledge of developing areas for our business, and not about anything nebulous like ‘cultural fit’. I could literally say that, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment specifically on another candidates experience/ background…!
        I mostly just want to acknowledge that I know they met all the criteria, and did interview well, but in the interviews some things came up with other candidates that meant they fell to the lower end of the pack. Perhaps Sabine’s wording is the only way to do this. Thanks!

        1. ecnaseener*

          I would just avoid talking about “someone else” at all – stick with “we had a lot of great candidates and sadly only one opening, I hope you’ll apply again in the future” or something.

    4. CheeryO*

      Something like: We are sorry to notify you that we will not be moving forward with your candidacy for X job. We interviewed a number of especially qualified candidates for this position. We appreciate your time and encourage you to apply for additional opportunities in the future.

      I probably wouldn’t offer personalized feedback unless asked. It’s not worth the risk of having someone take it the wrong way.

    5. Kes*

      Yeah, I would say it more as ‘There was a very strong candidate pool and it was a hard decision, but at the end of the day we only have one opening at the moment. We encourage you to apply for any future opportunities’. If you’re actually saying this rather than writing it you could even say I would definitely encourage to really emphasize that you think they are a qualified candidate for the role, even if they didn’t get it this time. As others have mentioned, I would stay away from ‘someone else was better’

  46. Just Playing Games*

    I’ve started a couple extracurricular from work groups, i.e., a board game group and an Among Us group for team members in other offices. It’s been generally well recieved, it’s not exclusive, and my boss has given us permission to use the office as a meeting place since it’s just coworkers.
    I originally sent out an invitation to the whole team for each group, let them know when and where it’ll be, and then made a separate group chat for the people who were interested.
    A coworker is now claiming to have been excluded from the planning. They aren’t new, they told me in writing that “the idea sounded dumb” when I brought it up, and so I didn’t push and didn’t invite them again after the initial calendar invite. Not everyone wants to play board games with coworkers, and I thought it was a good, non-alcoholic bonding method instead of team happy hours, which I do not organize. I told them that if they’d changed their mind and were interested now, I would be happy if they joined in, it’s at X time once a month, I’ll resend the calendar invite. They again told me it was a dumb idea, and I pointed out that if they wanted to attend, they could, but if not, why not just leave it alone? It’s just a bunch of folks playing games.
    They tried complaining to our mutual manager, but he’s part of the game groups as well and has agreed that unless there’s a legitimate complaint besides “it’s dumb”, there’s not really a way to address concerns.
    Is there a better way to tell the Coworker to drop it if their only complaint is “it’s dumb and you didn’t consult me”? We DO still have team happy hours, but again I don’t organize those and we have multiple coworkers who don’t drink.

    1. Trina*

      What happens if you just ignore further (insubstantial) complaints? If Coworker insists on being grumpy about it but just grumps by themselves, that seems workable? If they are actively complaining and directly asking them to stop doesn’t work (“I understand these activities aren’t of interest to you, but no one is forced to participate and you are free to organize activities you would enjoy, so I need you stop IMing me about it every week” or somesuch), I think that calls for your manager to be more explicit about shutting it down.

      The only caveats I can possibly think of that could possibly be at play are:
      1) are these activities done during work hours, where Coworker would feel they had to choose between “activity I don’t like” and “working while everyone else is having fun”?
      2) is the makeup of the group resulting in discrimination, whether intentional or not? We’ve seen this come up in other letters with stuff like golf (traditionally excludes women) and physically demanding activities (excludes some with disabilties); is your group maybe all younger employees where Coworker is older? You also mention that your manager is part of the groups, so could participating in the games theoretically lead to other members having an advantage at work because of bonding over these activities?

      1. Just Playing Games*

        1) the activities are after work hours
        2) looking at the groups, the Board Game group is great and fits the local team members, and the Among Us group is scheduled to take place when people in different timezones are all off work.

        I tried saying “So?” As a response to the dumb, and the coworker acted like I committed violence. Then I tried ignoring any sort of insults and only responding for work related topics and any non-insults and they told the manager I was purposefully ignoring them. I’m glad it was in Teams so i could point to what I was ignoring but wow.

        1. JelloStapler*

          This person sounds miserable and wants everyone to cater to their negativity. Perhaps say ‘I am done going in circles about this- you were invited, but you are not interested. I am not sure what else you hope to gain from this discussion.” Then change the subject.

    2. ecnaseener*

      Lol this person sounds like a lot. I think the best thing to do is just cheerfully grey-rock them with the same answer every time, something like “If you’ve decided you want to come, you’re welcome to, but if you don’t think you’d enjoy it that’s fine!”

    3. Heem Machine*

      Oof, that coworkers sounds like a friend of a friend I used to hang out with sometimes – let’s call him Steve. Steve hated most of the activities the rest of the group likes, but he had FOMO when he didn’t attend. The result: either he was attending and complaining the whole time, or he wasn’t attending and complaining (in the group chat) that the activities were stupid.

      I can’t know if this is exactly what’s going on, but the fact that your coworker is saying they were excluded from the planning gives me a whiff that it could be what’s underneath. Maybe it’s strictly a feeling of being excluded, or maybe it’s a worry that they’re missing out on important networking, who knows.

      The thing is though, no one back then was stopping Steve from organizing a beer tasting or trivia night or hiking trip so he could participate and not hate the activity – and no one is stopping your coworker either from suggesting or organizing other stuff either. I’m assuming that you chose board games and Among Us because you like those things and as the person putting in the effort of organizing, you should get to pick the activity! Unless organizing social events for your coworkers is in fact your job, then it’s not your responsibility to make every single person happy (and it’s a good thing your boss understands that your coworker being unhappy doesn’t automatically mean you did something wrong).

      I don’t know if your coworker would respond well to that but, maybe you could try talking to them and suggest that they take the lead on organizing other things they would like? Like a bit of a “I’d be glad to show up if you organized a book club/Wikipedia editing marathon/community shore cleaning”. It might make them realize that you don’t in fact owe it to them to tailor the activity to their liking – or it might open up the conversation towards what the real issue is. Heck, you could end up finding out that your coworker is afraid the group is too cliquey, or that they’re worried they’ll be made fun of if they suck at games, in which case that can actually be addressed.

      1. Just Playing Games*

        It is not my job to organize these, but we have a very like, “outside of work we can hang out!” kind of mesh? I was very frustrated myself because we do have frequent alcohol related activities like happy hours, and I don’t like to drink a lot.

        There’s other groups that all do different things, and the coworker COULD go to any of these events, but has proclaimed all of them dumb. Sure, games might not be Cranky Grump’s cup of tea, but apparently neither is Book Club, Bike Club, Saturday Hiking Buddies, Happy Hour… these are all outside of working hours. I suggested Among Us or Jackbox games as an option because I work with people in different timezones and they were interested in a virtual bonding experience, Among Us won.

        1. Madeleine Matilda*

          Perhaps you could encourage co-worker to start a complainers club where he sits and complains about how dumb everything is including the complainers club :).

        2. Heem Machine*

          Wow, your coworker does seem to have a lot of options available if they want to socialize after-hours! Unless there’s something deeper going on with the culture of the organization like Trina pointed out (in which case it’s still not really on you to fix since like Alison often says, regular employees don’t usually have the power and sway to alter culture), then yeah, it’s looking like a Them Problem.

          Above though you’ve mentioned that this coworker was insulting you on Teams and then claimed you ignored them because you didn’t respond to those messages – and if I’m following, you showed the messages to your manager later on. Did your manager say anything about how that coworker shouldn’t be talking to you like that?

          ‘Cause like, it’s not alright for a coworker to harass you like that, no matter the pretext but perhaps especially for a reason like having feelings about board game night. I get that what was said might not have been so black-and-white that you immediately went “wow over the line” but if that person is continuously spewing negativity at you over this matter and your manager isn’t doing anything, that’s not great of them!

          1. Just Playing Games*

            My manager, who is rad, I love working with him, actually said “I’m gonna tell them to knock it off” at that point, and now the coworker is mad that I “ran to complain” when I honestly just looked at it as “I don’t have the time or energy to tell you that adults choosing to spend time playing a game isn’t dumb.”
            Best case they’re just contrarian. Worst case it’s bullying.

    4. Kes*

      Yeah, coworker is out of line. Unless they bring it up again, I would just leave it. If they do bring it up again, I would just say “Coworker, nobody is obliging you to participate. You may not be interested in this and that’s fine, but we enjoy it. If there is something else you would like to do, feel free to organize that. Otherwise, please stop insulting things we enjoy just because you don’t like them.”

    5. RagingADHD*

      You could agree with them.

      “Yep, I expect it does sound dumb if you don’t like games. I think it’s good that we have different types of activities for different tastes.”

  47. Dazed and Confused*

    How do you network effectively and find a mentor? I’m early/mid-career, asked someone for career advice and she said I was doing fine on my own. I tried working within my organization, but people seem ok with sitting back and watching my career unfold organically while I ask for help and generally feel directionless. I may look like I’ve got everything down pat, but I really need mentorship (or feel like I need it) as to long-term career direction. Who do you go to when everyone you’ve asked doesn’t feel like offering tips? I know nobody’s obliged to help out but I’m jealous of people who network, exchange biz cards and get 5 job offers in a week (this happened to an in-law). FWIW, I’m a female POC and in-law is a white male.

    1. EMP*

      When you asked for career advice, were you asking really generically like “what would you advise me to do” or more specific about the person you asked, like “what was your career path to get to X?/what would you advise if I want to get to X level?” I think people have a hard time answering the former, unless they’re a professional advisor, but they’ll have an easier time talking about themselves or specific outcomes, which can still help you understand possibilities for your own career, and hopefully lead to a closer work/mentorship relationship if you click.
      It definitely sounds like your in-law is benefiting from bias and the old boy’s club. I hope you can find someone willing to work with you!

    2. irene adler*

      Is there a professional organization pertaining to the industry you work in? If so, they may offer mentoring. If they are local, you might see if you can attend one of their meetings or networking events where folks will be very amenable to introducing you to people in the industry who can offer up good career advice.

      1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

        Great advice. Professional associations are wonderful stepping stones to long term business relationships which can include formal or informal stepping stones. Join one or two and get casually involved (committee member for a one-off event, for example) to start.

    3. Kes*

      Have you talked to your manager? They might be a good place to start in terms of what a career within your organization could look like, what skills you could stand to work on and would need for senior roles, etc.
      Some of it is also going to be on you to determine where you want your career to go. What more senior roles do you see in your organization or in other organizations in your field? Which of those interest you? From there, see if you can find out about the career path of people in those roles – by asking, if you have a chance to talk to some of them, by attending networking or career events, especially ones which have speakers or panel discussions etc on these topics. You can even look on linkedin and see if you can find people in these roles and look at what kind of past roles they had to get a sense of the typical trajectory.

  48. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    I’m going to give notice on Monday, and I’m slightly nervous that I’ll be asked to leave early, mostly because I need the money. On the one hand, it’s state government and they don’t tend to move quickly; on the other I have been there about 4 months and i’m not sure how much value the two weeks will be to them. Has anyone ever been escorted out of a state position after they gave notice?

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I’ve seen it happen, but the person spent some time spewing a lot of negativity & upsetting coworkers first.

      Otherwise, everyone I’ve seen leave at my agency has been allowed to work their full notice period.

    2. Sabine the Very Mean*

      No. I’ve mostly worked in such orgs and I’ve never seen it except when the top brass leaves. I’d almost put money on it that you’ll be allowed to finish it out.

    3. CheeryO*

      If it’s anything like my state agency, they’ll be scrambling to figure out how to off-board you in two weeks. If you’re worried about it, you could offer to draft up a manual or other document to help with the transition. That would easily buy you the time, and I’m sure you have some value to add even though it’s only been four months.

    4. Educator*

      It might be helpful (mostly just to your own peace of mind) to be ready to say a bit about what you want to accomplish during those two weeks. How will you help with interpersonal transitions, document the status of things, and set your successor and anyone covering until they are hired up for success? If you share a transition plan as you resign, your manager can be more confident that those weeks won’t be wasted.

    5. Former Retail Manager*

      I think it will depend on whether you are still in training or if you are already working independently. I worked for city government very briefly, was still in training and had been there less than a month, and received an offer from another govt agency, so I gave notice. The supervisor and I agreed that there was no point in paying me to remain because I was not providing any value to the department. They were training me for a job that I would never actually do. So I left that afternoon. If you really need the money, I’d suggest waiting a week and giving a one week notice. While not ideal, you’re still giving some notice and typically all levels of govt can only provided your dates of employment, position, and maybe pay, to any future reference checker, so I would not be terribly concerned about a negative reference, if you even list them on the resume at all.

  49. Zzzzzz*

    COVER LETTERS ON ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS: what to do when there isn’t a place?!

    I haven’t applied to jobs in 10 years, and this wasn’t much of a thing then. So I don’t know what to do! Company has a portal (looks standard) and no email address I can find anywhere. Only connections to company are distant via LinkedIn (like third level, and and the first person isn’t someone I really know). The site lets me upload a resume- should that doc include a cover letter? I have specific details that make me a great fit, but it’s a level of detail/background that’s not really appropriate in the resume.

    So generally, how to handle?
    Specifically for this job, now that I applied with my resume only on their website, should I just email my resume and cover letter to someone out of the blue in the department I’m interested in, being nice and asking to pass it along? Would that be disqualifying? It seems like worst case they just delete, as long as I’m not demanding or pushy or anything.

    ANY thoughts as I begin my job search journey are appreciated!

    1. amoeba*

      I generally include the cover letter with the resume for that kind of portal.
      In this specific case, I’d probably either let it go or, if possible, withdraw and submit a new application to the system (including the letter)?

    2. Hlao-roo*

      There are two ways to handle a company portal that has no place for a cover letter:

      1 – Just upload your resume, don’t include the cover letter. Good for cases where (1) there are explicit instructions not to include a cover letter, (2) the jobs/accomplishments on your resume are a strong fit for the position and don’t require much explanation, and (3) you don’t feel strongly about the position and don’t want to spend time writing a cover letter that may never be read.

      2 – Compile your cover letter and resume into one document (cover letter first) and upload in the space for a resume. Good for cases where the jobs/accomplishments on your resume need some explanation to be connected to the requirements in the job ad and where you feel strongly about the job and want to put your best foot forward.

      If I got an out-of-the-blue email from a candidate who was applying to my department, that would weird me out a little bit (especially because I am in no way in charge of hiring) so I don’t recommend that.

    3. Gigi*

      Nowadays, some places truly don’t want a cover letter. It’s just that simple.

      If you really feel the need to, you can add a cover letter to your resume. However, there’s the risk that their scanning software might disqualify you for it before a human being gets to reading it. Definitely don’t try to reach out to someone in the department unless you know them very well. Best case, your application gets rejected. Worst case, you’re blacklisted because you didn’t follow instructions.

      If anything, just enjoy the fact that not every job will make you write a cover letter these days!

    4. Robin Ellacott*

      I recently helped a friend’s daughter with her application to a place which just asked for the resume, but she wanted to highlight some very specific interest and non-work experience that was closely related to that company and job. We just added a few lines near the top of the resume making the points which genuinely did make her stand out as a candidate at this very competitive company.

      If what you’d put in the cover letter is truly relevant, that might be a middle ground. Of course if the ad is adamant about no cover letter I’d be cautious, but in this case she did get the job, so at least it wasn’t a deterrent.

      Good luck!

  50. MCL*

    Higher ed person (large R1) here – I have a preliminary phone interview next week for a position in another department. I’ve been in my current position for over twelve years, and turn 40 this year. I still enjoy my role. It’s in my field, familiar, and there are opportunities for new and interesting projects, plus room for growth. I have a ton of autonomy and I’m successful. I just got a nice raise a few months ago, and my department is growing and full of cool folks. It’s just… I’ve been here for so long! So I’m in the very fortunate position of very choosily applying for things that seem interesting.

    This role does seem interesting, and I wouldn’t leave my current position unless I got a pay raise (which… ugh I looked at their department’s salaries and I out-earn everyone on the interview committee so I’m already flagging that!). I’m curious – for those of you who changed out of a job that’s a good thing, what made you decide to stay or go?

    1. title?*

      Would you mind sharing your current job title? I am in Higher Ed as well and I do not see many internal positions posted that have opportunities for new and interesting projects and room for growth. I thrive on variety and once I know my job I start thinking about moving on. Thanks!

        1. MCL*

          And just to specify, my program is pretty small and there are only two of us on the team, but there is a lot of opportunity for involvement in broader projects, as well as projects in my field (I serve a particular profession with my program, a profession I have a degree in!).

          1. title?*

            Not sure if you will see this, but thank you! I am a program manager as well, so this makes me think I am probably in the correct position, at least for the time being. Best wishes.

  51. Coffee for days*

    I work in marketing and communications, and have for the past 15 years. I have been with my current company for a few years and am ready for a change. My current role will end later this year.

    I have been applying for internal roles (communications) but cant even get interviews. Im qualified for the roles i am applying for, but Im never moved forward in the process. For the last role I applied to, I was even asked directly to apply for the open role – and still got rejected.

    This happened at my last company to. I was at the company for several years and never, ever got an interview for a marketing or communications role – even though i have experience in both.

    Has this happened to anyone else? Im feeling discouraged.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe*