can my employer fire me if I move to a different state, should I take a job working for my husband, and more

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

1. Can my remote employer fire me if I move to a different state?

I’m a remote worker for an all-remote national nonprofit organization. My partner applied for a job in a different state, one we’ve wanted to relocate to for a while. The employer offered the job to someone else but they were so impressed with my partner they invited him to propose a whole new program he could run. They have a solid lead on funding it, but I’m not holding my breath. It would be a good career move for my partner but it wouldn’t replace my full-time income.

So we won’t be moving in the next couple of months but might be in the next year. But when I spoke to my HR director, she said if we move there I have to apply to the board of directors to see if it’s in the organization’s best interest to expand their employment certification to the new state. I would have looked into this earlier but I was under the impression that my organization was already certified to hire nationwide. So now I’m even more stressed about the prospect of the move–what are the chances my employer would actually fire me rather than get certified in the new state? Would I get unemployment if this happens or would my move be considered a resignation?

It depends on how motivated they are to keep you. Setting themselves up to have an employee in a new state can be expensive. They’ll also have to ensure they’re following the new state’s employment laws, which can be a significant difference depending on which states are involved, and can affect how they handle vacation accrual, paychecks, overtime eligibility, time tracking, and more.

They might be willing to do it if you’re highly valued or if they think they might want other employees there in the future. But if they don’t, don’t take it personally, like as a sign that they don’t value you. Again, it’s expensive! And if they’re just doing it for you, it could be the equivalent of adding tens of thousands of dollars to your salary over time.

If they don’t let you work from the new state and you move anyway, they would indeed almost certainly fire you — but it would typically be considered a resignation for the purpose of unemployment (i.e., you wouldn’t get benefits since you chose to move).

my boss won’t let me move to another state — but I’m remote

2. Should I take a job working for my husband?

I’m struggling to decide if I should accept a new job offer. I enjoy my job, but my company doesn’t offer me benefits. Recently, a few employees have quit/been laid off and I am the only employee still on payroll aside from the bosses (it is a small company). So I am left to do everything. I have yet to get a raise along with these new responsibilities.

I was approached by my husband’s company to come work for them. They offered me $1/hour more than I am making now. They offer company benefits, bonuses, free clothing, etc. The kicker is having to work for my husband, who is the office manager. What do you think I should do?

Don’t accept a job working for your husband. An extra dollar an hour isn’t worth the risk to your relationship, your professional reputation (from people who resent your extra access to him, assume you get special privileges because you’re married to the boss, or otherwise see you differently because of the relationship), the burden of both of you bringing work home with you (you’ll now have a coworker you can’t escape), the weirdness of having your spouse charged with assessing your work and professional value, the power dynamic it will inject into your marriage, and the risk that you could both lose your jobs at once if the company has financial issues.

But your choices aren’t between your current job and the job working for your husband. Look for a third option!

3. I do my coworker’s work while he plays video games

I work in a group that has a shared email for people to place orders, ask questions, etc. My colleague was assigned by a previous supervisor to monitor and deal with these emails and I handle them on days he is off. We now have a new supervisor who is in a different building and does not check to see if the emails are being addressed.

I usually let the messages sit for as long as is prudent and then answer them. My colleague plays video games and watches YouTube for about seven hours of his day, so I know he has time to do them. How do I point out to my colleague that group emails need to be done? I don’t want to “tell” on him to the supervisor and I am not his boss.

If the system is that your coworker is supposed to handle all the emails except on days he’s off, you should stop doing them entirely on days when he’s there! But because this is a change to what you’ve been doing, you should mention it to him — as in, “I’ve been filling in for you with the shared email when I see messages have been sitting there, but my understanding is that I’m only supposed to answer those on days when you’re off. So going forward, I’m going to stop answering them on days you’re here, and you should take them over again. I’ll let (new manager) know that’s the plan as well.”

And then do let your boss know: “(Old manager) assigned Cedric to manage the X email account when he’s here and asked me to do them when he’s out. I’ve somehow fallen into the habit of answering emails there more frequently and realized it’s interfering with my other work, so I reminded Cedric those fall to him on days when he’s here and I wanted to loop you in on that too.” The point of doing this is so that if you stop answering the emails and Cedric doesn’t step up, you’re not blamed for it.

That’s not “telling on” Cedric (although frankly you’d be on solid ground if it were since you’re having to pick up his work because he’s playing video games all day). But if you want to try a step that doesn’t involve your manager first, then just tell Cedric, “Hey, I’ve been covering for you on the shared email account but can’t anymore. You should take over answering messages there again.”

4. I think my intern is a scam artist on the side

This morning, one of my reports showed me a Facebook message that appeared to come from one of my student interns. The message is clearly one that is an attempt to initiate a “relationship” in order to bilk money from a victim.

The name from the FB message is the full name of the intern, who uses an abbreviated version of the name as an intern.

We work for a government agency that has made a number of headlines for the wrong reasons, and if the allegations are true, then I suspect this would lead to another one.

I plan to reach out to the internship coordinator to see what can be done, if anything. The intern does good work and contributes, but I am wary of the blowback on myself as a manager — my unit in particular is already under a microscope, and this would only add fuel to the fire.

Well, wait! You’re jumping to conclusions without any investigation. Certainly if your intern is in fact an internet scammer, feel free to cut ties with him — but lots of people’s Facebook accounts get hacked and then are used for this kind of thing. Or it could be someone with the same name, or someone who “borrowed” his photo and name, or all sorts of other possibilities. If anything, it’s probably more likely to be one of these explanations than that your intern is openly trying to run scams on fellow employees (under his own name, no less).

Talk to your intern before you assume anything.

5. How to get to know a colleague who does similar work when they don’t know I exist

I am a solo designer working in a huge corporate company with a manager who knows nothing about design or what I do. I miss having a design informed manager and lately I noticed my company has an internal design team run by a creative director, just in a completely different part of the company. I would love to meet this director and get to know them a bit just in case an opening comes up on their team. How do I make myself known and set up a conversation without it being awkward? We will never run into each other otherwise and I not sure what to say to start a conversation.

It makes a ton of sense to suggest meeting since you’re doing such similar work! Message them and say something like, “Because I do (describe the work you do) for the X team, I wanted to introduce myself. Given the overlaps in our work, I’d love to grab coffee sometime.” You could add, “I’d really like to know more of the company’s designers.”

{ 313 comments… read them below }

  1. Janelle*

    LW2 – I wouldn’t want to work for a company that allows someone to manage their spouse. Even if he could be a fair manager, the perception to other employees would be that you have an unfair advantage. And just to avoid all the other problems Alison mentioned, I would look elsewhere for another job.

    1. allathian*

      In most cases this is absolutely true. Family-run smallish businesses are the main exception, and in those the normal nepotism rules don’t apply, because it’s a given that most owners of family businesses want the next generation to take over.

      It can also happen in academia. My parents are retired marine biologists who met at university, and for much of their early careers, my mom worked as my dad’s research assistant. It basically meant that they were more or less always working when my mom returned to work when my younger sister started school. I grew up listening to them talk shop at the dinner table and decided early that I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. My sister did, though, and no doubt benefited at least somewhat from their contacts. But my dad retired before my sister got her Ph.D. so she’s definitely earned her career advancements on her own merits.

      I work for a fairly large governmental agency and while we do have married couples and people in committed long-term relationships working for us, they aren’t allowed to work on the same team or in the same department, and one partner isn’t allowed to supervise the other. We also have a brother and sister (in their late 50s/early 60s) working for the same team, but neither is allowed to supervise the other.

      But absent info to the contrary, it sounds like the LW’s husband is working for a for-profit company that isn’t tiny or a family business, so none of the above applies.

      1. MK*

        “But my dad retired before my sister got her Ph.D. so she’s definitely earned her career advancements on her own merits.”

        That’s not how it works.

        1. cabbagepants*

          I’m not the person you replied to but I find your comment pretty unhelpful. I can sort of guess at what you mean by this (and I agree with the thing I guess you are trying to say), but rather than making people guess, could you please just come out and say what you mean?

          1. Feral FatCat*

            About a third of tenure track professors have a parent with a PhD, while 2% of people have a PhD. There is a lot of social capital that gets transferred from parent to child, name association that happens, and ways that having an academic parent benefits a child in academia even if they don’t do research in the same area but certainly if they do. I’m sure allathian’s sister is accomplished in her own right, but she did not do it entirely on her own merits because that’s not how it works. There’s a *lot* of research backing this up. And, thankfully, today most universities have rules that prohibit you from being in a romantic relationship with your research assistant (!!!).

            Now, whether this applies here, maybe not. But the more we are truthful about how not-a-meritocracy the world is, the better. And in any case, Janelle is right that companies that allow someone to supervise their spouse aren’t thinking through the impact on other employees — even in academia.

            1. Peacheslcg*

              Thank you for saying this! You don’t stop getting associated with a parent because they retire. There is a lot of unconscious bias. Although someone may be well qualified, if you know they are connected to Bill, and you think very positively of Bill, I think it’s easy to then transfer some of this goodwill to that individual.

            2. Fierce Jindo*

              All of this is true. But interestingly, the chance that a professor has/had a professor parent is not as high as the comparable chance for many other professions. Professions, white, blue, and pink collar, get passed down over generations (even more so now that daughters are more able to have their fathers’ job).

              1. MK*

                Sure, but I think the pretense of complete meritocracy in some fields grates on people more than simply inheriting a business. If a plumber takes his daughter on as an associate as soon as she finished her training, and then leaves the business to her, there has been no arduous selection process to supposedly assure impartiality. If a company owner makes his son CEO, everyone knows he didn’t get the job because he is the best person for it. Academia especially places a lot of emphasis on personal merit, which makes nepotism more apparent.

            3. Smithy*

              I think you see this in lots of professional track fields (i.e. medicine, law) where the nepotism isn’t as obvious as it can be in business.

              Having a parent who knows those smaller details about the “really good but less competitive” programs/internships/fellowships/scholarships, things to focus on vs things where you can be more relaxed, etc etc. All of that inevitably has enormous value throughout the education process and in getting those early professional placements, that position someone to repeatedly prove themselves.

              Beginning with summers during college, I got a few placements in a hospital based on my mom working there. If I did a bad job, I wouldn’t have kept them – but because I did a good job, I was able to move a volunteer positing into a temporary staff position, and then move a temporary staff position into a part-time hospital hire, to finally a full time. Now, while I did a good job and was able to build out an early professional resume, I didn’t want a career in the medical field. Had I wanted that, by the time I was 24 – my early resume would have been amazing.

              It wasn’t that I wasn’t showing up and contributing, but my mom was involved. And also, because I wanted to be in a different field – I had to ultimately find a way to pivot that experience into fields I actually wanted to work in. It’s no different with the children of celebrities becoming models. Lily Rose Depp and Kaia Gerber clearly work at modeling and want to do it, while Ireland Baldwin and Paris Jackson have had opportunities, but for whatever reason have not stuck with it.

            4. Yeah...*

              “But the more we are truthful about how not-a-meritocracy the world is, the better.”

              Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

            5. amoeba*

              Eh, I do know several cases where the partner works in the same group, as senior scientist or something similar. Sometimes this makes a lot of sense! Academia is brutal for having to move a lot depending on where positions are available (including abroad, at least here in Europe) and managing dual science careers is extremely hard. Negotiating for a job for the partner at the same place or working in the same group are two of the only ways in which that is at all possible, except for the incredible rare luck of finding two positions in the same field at unconnected, but geographically close locations. Or, of course, one of you giving up the job.

              And there are tons of dual career couples within academia, especially science, because well, you basically spend your entire twenties in the lab with your labmates as your social circle…

              1. Indigo a la mode*

                Totally. Same reasons so many military couples are both military. These can be very insular communities!

            6. Boof*

              Or maybe everyone else has the sense to nope out of a PhD because it’s an increasingly drawn out, low paying, and pyramid scheme type process? (why yes I do have a parent who is a phd and one who is an MD, started a at first a research focus, then decided medicine was pretty cool but still tried to do research and got into an MD-phd program, and noped out with a masters +MD eventually – and now I do almost all clinical work and trials, zero bench research – even if it’s helpful to have done it in understanding things the path was way more winding than it could have been and ugh, I would not advise anyone to go into a phd program right now unless they had a very clear professional path that didn’t involve academia; or were independently wealthy I guess)

            7. n.m.*

              For sure, my own parents are a tenured prof and a non tenure track prof—both in totally different fields from my phd, but there was a TON of general knowledge about how grad school works, what is/isnt normal in a working relationship with your professors, how the phd relates to your career, which I absorbed from them chatting about their day at work, which my peers just didn’t have when their families weren’t professors.

            8. MigraineMonth*

              My dad’s a college professor. I think I avoided direct name-recognition even in the same field (pretty common last name, went halfway across the country for college and grad school, didn’t go for PhD). On the other hand, I know I got a lot of advice (and financial support) that most didn’t have access to.

              It did lead to an odd moment in grad school when I realized the powerpoint slides I was reviewing were written by my father, even though I doubt my teacher made the connection.

            9. Jamjari*

              Even beyond academia, just having those connections, even if you don’t end up working for them or directly getting a job via them, can have an impact on career progression. Being able to ask them questions, one of them mentioning you to someone else … things like that accrue over time.

            10. Nina*

              Seconding, my parents both have Masters degrees, albeit in very different fields from both each other and me (I was actually alive while Dad was getting his, so hey) and I definitely benefited from knowing how to, e.g. write formally, get the best out of exams, approach professors for extra help, navigate university systems, that a first-generation student wouldn’t have.

              Then my brother and sister benefited from all that plus my experience that was actually in the same millennium. It snowballs.

            11. tamarack etc.*

              Well, sure, yes – as a first-gen NTT researcher, I know very well that this is true. But once you boil it down to the level of one individual all it does is to interrogate the notion of “on their own merits” altogether.

              We all know there are advantages some get that are wildly out of synch with the ideas of merits and fairness – such as hiring nepotism, protection from dismissal through connections etc. More commonly, the advantages are not outright unethical, but a function of privilege – the stuff you have been listing. But even more common, not to say ubiquitous, are the teacher who nurtured some talent or the neighbor, librarian, … or relative who had a key impact on someone’s development.

              The professor’s daughter who was able to follow her dad around *did* have a priceless advantage, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t get her PhD through as much work as anyone else and didn’t turn out a fine scientist who deserves the recognition she gets. And – hello intersectionality ! – she may have to deal with her own areas of marginalization notwithstanding her privilege. Yes, we need to spread opportunity wide and far; yes, we need to look at candidates for their potential and not discount, say, the professor’s daughter’s competitors if they had a longer way to go; but as for a level playing field, it’s more reasonable to acknowledge that both privilege and obstacles are widespread and are part of the playing field, rather than toot-toot anyone’s achievement that came to blossom with someone’s help. We basically all had *some* help somewhere.

              As it applies here, I’m less negative about relatives and close friends working together than the norm here. I see the potential problems. But I’ve also successfully managed a close friend, with very high expectations of fairness (AND we managed to remain friends). I’m also now in a place where the scientific community is so small that family members in the same org are simply unavoidable. And it’s no more fair to require people to resign in the face of conflicts of interest than to manage them. If you have two marine biologist spouses in the same institute, chances are there’ll be at least per-project reporting relationships at one point. The alternative would be for one not to be able to be a marine biologist! And I’d also rather put guard rails (eg. external examinors, cross-grading of exams) in to make it possible for the returning student spouse of the math professor to take his wife’s differential equations class that he needs for his intended degree than to tell the two of them mechanically that their very existence is an ethics violation.

          2. MK*

            What I mean is, “father retired” does not mean “daughter definitely earned her career accomplishments on her own metits”. It’s neither realistic nor logical to claim that the moment the father retired, all and any influence he had over his child career ended, or that her privilege went away instantly. I am sure the sister worked hard and is very accomplished, but she was never in an even playing field with her peers, either before or after her parent’s retirement.

            1. Temperance*

              And he presumably wasn’t retired when she started, and the early career leg up is what likely set her up for success in the future.

          1. Quite anon*

            Probably that while the father retired, he still had connections with lots of people when it came time for the sister to get her PhD, so she definitely benefitted from her father’s connections.

            1. ferrina*

              This is really likely.
              I know a few people who got a gentle boost in their career from a retired parent. The parent called a former coworker/friend to say “hey, my kid just applied to your company, just fyi”. The coworker/friend is high enough that them saying “keep an eye out for this resume” instantly guarantees an interview (even if they don’t intend it that way, the power imbalance is such that it becomes implied). There was never any pressure around “hire my kid”, it was all a simple fyi, but that alone came with ripples.

              Even assuming the father didn’t do that, the daughter comes in as a somewhat known quantity because her father’s reputation precedes here, and “the apple doesn’t fall from the tree/I know father, he’s a good guy and I bet his daughter’s the same/she grew up hearing about this from her dad, who was brilliant”

              1. Veruca Salt*

                Even beyond that, those dinner table work conversations, inside knowledge of how academia and research works is a huge leg up.

                The sister knows of academic professional norms that first generation college/university grads have to struggle to find out. There is coming to be a lot of information on those small things that lead to someone in an interview being seen as in the ‘in group’ or ‘one of us’.

                Even in academia that interviews over dinner are often still the norm and the sister would know that and have the ‘correct’ table manners for that would be a leg up from someone who came from a non academic background and maybe has less formal dinner manners. It all adds up.

                1. Rainy*

                  Also, the children of tenured faculty who know they want to go into research tend to get a leg up with research experience and/or fieldwork, experience with equipment or instrumentation, with common data analysis methods–and even if we look outside the lab, if your parent is tenured faculty in a humanities field, you’re probably well ahead of your peers in research knowledge when you hit university, because you’ve accompanied them on research trips to archives or libraries etc.

                  I had an undergrad many years ago who started as a first-year at university with multiple summers of fieldwork experience already on her CV, and her “high school jobs” weren’t at McDonald’s or the local greenhouse, they were in, e.g., the McDonald Research Group at the local university, where her parent was tenured faculty. The idea that she didn’t have a significant leg up when she applied to grad programs is absurd.

          2. Nonanon*

            Aside from connections, there’s also the issue of income; tenure track professors tend to make more money than, say, a middle manager at a family owned store (A LOT of intrinsic variance but hold for the example). Depending on the field, all or part of your PhD can be self-funded; if your parents are highly paid enough, you’re more likely to “scrape by” and be able to fund the 3-10 year program. I’m taking OP at their word and agreeing sister is accomplished in her own right, independent of the parents; PhDs are like any career where names HELP but if you’re BAD bad at what you do there’s only so much that can be done (for example, it’s easier to publish if you share the name of Bigname, but if you’re not actually publishing… you’re not going to last, even if you do get “extra” chances from your institution). That being said, there is a certain privilege for having academic parents solely because of the support they can provide.
            Same proof of concept for you’re more likely to become a doctor or a lawyer if your parents are doctors or lawyers; not necessarily a measure of accomplishment, just who has enough money to pursue the career.

      2. The Shenanigans*

        Yeah, it doesn’t really matter if the parent retired before she got her PhD if he’s well known and respected. Hell he doesn’t even have to be as a close as a parent or to be alive for his reputation to give her an advantage. Now, there is very much a difference between “Daddy’s job protected sister from nasty politics that would have prevented her getting a PhD she absolutely earned” vs “Sister didn’t earn it but Daddy made sure she got it anyway”. There’s also a lot in between. I’m gonna assume with your sister it was closer to the first than the second. But that’s still not the same thing as “Daddy’s job had NO influence AT ALL”. That’s just unrealistic to believe.

    2. I hate forced potlucks*

      I worked at a company that was rife with nepotism and it was truly awful. We eventually were moved to have a senior leader over us and she was married to one of my colleagues. The worst part is, she was truly awful, just plain mean and spiteful. My colleague was not and it put him (and his marriage) in a terrible place. Not to mention it made the rest of feel like he was untouchable and could do no wrong. We also had brother and sisters working and supervising each other. Never ever again will I work for a place with that much nepotism.

  2. Tottenham*

    #4: Infinitely more likely that someone is using their name/profile. This happens to my relatives fairly often, unfortunately.

    1. Jessen*

      Yeah this is a super common facebook scam. Scammer copies someone’s name and profile picture and then uses it to hit up all their contacts. They’re hoping people will fall for it because the message is presumably coming from someone they know rather than a stranger. Most likely the intern has no idea this is even happening.

      1. Worldwalker*

        The fact that the scammer is using the intern’s full name (scraped from their Facebook profile) instead of the version they actually use is a red flag, too.

        One thing I would do is advise the intern to run a good virus scan, especially if they’re not using an antivirus program. They could have something sneaky and unwanted lurking in their computer.

      2. Alcott*

        And Facebook won’t remove the fake profiles if you report them! I had an impersonator and reported the profile, multiple of my friends reported it, and FB kept saying the profile didn’t violate their terms. I deleted my profile years ago and people will still sometimes ask about the friend request they got from “me.”

        1. Everything Bagel*

          Same thing happened to me, but it was probably about 10 years ago. My email had been hacked and then about a year later a Facebook profile with my name attempted to friend a bunch of people who had been copied on some of my emails. I didn’t know anything about it until my best friend texted me asking why I was friending her again on Facebook and if it was really me. I explained the whole situation to Facebook and they did nothing, said the account didn’t violate their terms. I left Facebook a long time ago, and good riddance.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        Impersonation is one of the most effective ways to run a scam, since most people lower their guards around friends and family. (It’s also really easy to spoof the “sender” email, unfortunately.) My mom is very intelligent, but she lost money to a scammer who impersonated an elderly acquaintance asking for her help buying a gift card for their grandchild.

        If I think a communication is weird/suspicious, the first thing I do is contact the person to see if it really came from them. Give your intern at least this much grace.

    2. I am Emily's failing memory*

      Yep, and most people have at least a few friends who will indiscriminately accept all friend requests, and after a few of those have accepted, it even looks like your mutual friends have vouched for the requester’s identity by adding them back! So easy to think, “Oh, Friend must have lost their account and had to set up a new one,” because Facebook is famously terrible and I’ve seen enough people in the past get locked out of, scammed out of, or lost the login to their pages and be unable to recover them through support that it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. You really have to check those profiles closely before you accept the request, which also means you need to know what you need to be checking, and a lot of people sadly get taken advantage of because they didn’t know.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I mostly use Facebook for my baseball history stuff, which is to say my use has an element of marketing. I will accept a friend request from anyone whose wall suggests an interest in baseball. I also will accept messaging requests, as it could be someone with a baseball history question. When they give a vague “What’s up?” message I give them one chance, with a “What can I do for you?” If they come back with another vague conversational ploy, I block them.

      2. many bells down*

        Yeah quite a few of the ones I get show that we have at least one mutual friend. When I ask Mutual Friend, they don’t know the guy and just assumed they met him at a conference or something.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Me too. My friends usually post that they were hacked and not to accept friend requests from them. If a friend sees this is happening, they make sure the person who was hacked is aware. OP would not know if intern has done this because they’re not connected on Facebook.

        1. TooTiredTooThink*

          To provide a bit of info and clarification – anytime a new account has been created; their account hasn’t been hacked – it’s been cloned.

          The #1 way to protect yourself from being cloned on Facebook is to hide your Friend’s list. That’s what the scammers go after; because many people don’t know they can (and should) hide their Friends list from being seen globally. That’s how they “get” people’s friends lists too to send messages from the newly created account.

          When people start posting things that are scammy, etc… that’s when they have been hacked. Which does still happen too :(

          From Facebook help:

          Adjust who can see your Friends section
          Click your profile picture in the top right of Facebook.
          Select Settings & privacy, then click Settings.
          In the left column, click Privacy.
          Look for the setting Who can see your friends list? and click Edit to the far right.
          Select the audience of people (such as Friends) you’d like to have access to your friends list.

          1. Desk Dragon*

            I had no idea this was possible, and will also be sending this info to my mother right away! Her account gets cloned about once a month.

          2. learnedthehardway*

            Thanks – just made some changes, and was surprised that I had to do so. It was also not intuitive how to get to the page I could make changes, even with your instructions – Facebook really isn’t all that interested in user privacy, IMHSHO.

            1. MigraineMonth*

              Indeed. As someone who’s studied usability, the pathway Settings & Privacy > Settings > Privacy is objectively terrible.

              (Of course Facebook doesn’t care about user privacy, user data is the product they sell!)

          3. Miss Muffet*

            Thanks for this! I just checked mine. I noticed it’s a bit diff on the app (at least this is what I see in iOS):
            On mobile, you go from Settings and Privacy to Audience and Visibility —> How people find and contact you —> Who can see your friends list

          4. DJ Abbott*

            Thanks! :) it’s different on my phone. It’s Settings icon-Audience and Visibility-How People Find and Contact You.

            It looks like some of the privacy settings are in a program called Meta, which is another thing to worry about.

    3. Harper the Other One*

      A friend of mine just got this exact scam… from one of her deceased friends who she misses dearly.

      OP, a gentle note – it’s not your fault you don’t know that spoofing Facebook contacts is a common scam technique, but this is why you do an investigation. I doubt it would have taken much of one to uncover how these profile duplications work. Don’t let your worries about your department being under scrutiny cause you to rush or skip steps.

      1. Ro*

        This x100. OP starts skipping steps and suddenly their department is under scrutiny because an intern is suing them for libel or posting on social media how they were fired because the company has no basic scam literacy.

      2. PhyllisB*

        I got a friend request from someone who, not only have I not seen in over 50 years, they’ve been dead for at least a year.

    4. FashionablyEvil*

      Scammers have gotten increasingly creative, too! I have a friend who works for a small organization and they have had repeated issues with someone spoofing the ED’s email and asking the assistants to do things like buy gift cards in bulk (nominally somewhat plausible since they are a direct service organization.)

      1. ClaireW*

        Yeah this one is getting super common, I’ve even seen it in my (software engineering) company where it makes no sense that the CEO would need me to buy him an Amazon or Best Buy voucher (bonus points that half of us aren’t even in the US lol)

        1. Sally Rhubarb*

          I’ve gotten that one too and it’s hilarious because as if the bloody CEO is ever going to speak to me, let alone tell me to make purchases in his name.

          1. Ama*

            See I work at a small nonprofit (only about 30 employees) and it actually *isn’t* unusual for our CEO to ask random admin staff to help with things (she doesn’t have an assistant of her own) but luckily so far the scammers keep using language she would never use (i.e. referring to needing the gift cards for a “client” when there’s no group of stakeholders that we use that term for at our org) so it’s pretty easy to spot.

            The latest one we had to get trained on was emails purporting to be recordings of voicemail messages — we just moved to a phone system where we are going to get emailed any voicemail messages and apparently that’s a very popular message to spoof so we needed to get trained on what the actual system messages would look like vs. the scam message.

        2. Quite anon*

          And from my perspective this isn’t particularly creative and is something they’ve been doing for years lol. The latest “improvements” have been to do reconaissance on the company first, figure out what people generally have in their email signatures, then use that when composing the email “from the ED”.

        3. many bells down*

          I work for a church and I get these from the “minister” on a regular basis. Mostly they don’t even bother to spoof her email, but they do get her very long, non-American name correct right down to the accent marks.

        4. Anna*

          Ya the “Hello this is the CEO I need a bunch of money in the form of crypto and/or gift cards right now immediately” scam is a *thing* in software engineering, for some reason. It’s deeply annoying, but I have trouble imagining it actually works that often.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Unfortunately, it doesn’t have to work often to be profitable; cast a wide enough net and you’ll catch some fish.

            I think we also underestimate how convincing these scams can be based on some basic knowledge and/or coincidences. I filed my state taxes incorrectly one year (the year I moved out of that state) and was contacted by the IRS seven years later to fix it. A week later, I was contacted by the police, saying that I’d failed to pay another one of that state’s taxes and they had sent an officer to my apartment (they gave the address) to either ensure the payment was received or arrest me.

            I believed them because they knew more information about me than I expected (name, phone, physical address, university, years I’d gone to that university) and I’d just gone through an issue with state taxes. The scammer had some pretty effective techniques to keep me on the phone and doing things instead of giving me a chance to think, and they directed me to go to the real state taxes site to make the payment.

            It was only when they then directed me to send a money order instead of use the real website to pay that all the niggling suspicions snapped into place. Even then I was concerned that someone impersonating a police officer would show up at my door, and my sister had to talk me down from nearly having a panic attack.

            I’m smart and security-conscious, so I never thought I’d be that susceptible to that kind of manipulation, but it does happen and there’s too much shame around it when it does.

            1. Anna*

              Ooooof, that’s fair. I’m sorry that happened to you! Scams that prey on people’s fears like that (e.g., “do this or you’ll get arrested” or “your loved one is dying and/or in jail”) are the worst.

      2. Ferret*

        Asking people to buy gift cards has been an incredibly common scam for years – you used to see it a lot in scams involving supposed fines or payments to police/IRS/FBI that could somehow be dealt with via the magic of Amazon gift cards

        Seems to have slowed down a bit as people have become more aware/places know to flag someone purchasing a large amount of gift cards as a risk but inevitably something else will crop up in its place

      3. Lexie*

        A “friend” contacted me through messenger asking for a favor. Now it’s not impossible there’s something I could help him out with so I asked what he needed. Then I got a story about not being able to get into Facebook from his new phone and he needs a code and Facebook listed two friends that could receive the code and there were me and someone who wasn’t online and could I receive the code for him and at that point I was done. I have to give them points for something that is at least a bit more believable than my “nephew” hitting my parents up for best buy gift cards to pay his bail.

        1. MsM*

          Yeah, I like to think I’m reasonably internet-savvy, and I still got fooled by someone who made a tiny tweak to a high school acquaintance’s name and then hit me up with a sob story about a pet needing emergency surgery. Unfortunately for them, they then overplayed their hand and tried to ask for gift cards, at which point I caught on.

        2. It's Marie - Not Maria*

          I got a similar scam message. It was from an acquaintance who would never message me for something like this. I noped out and immediately contacted the person via text message. Looked into it afterwards, and had I done it, it would have given them control of my Facebook Account. Nope, nope and more nope.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            I remember a few years ago, getting a message from my then-boyfriend at stupid o’clock in the morning just saying “hi”. Knowing he wouldn’t message me at that time just for that and if he did need to message me at that time he’d put some context in the message, I’d questioned it. Turned out some dude he only knew on FB had sent him the same message about wanting codes, he’d given them, he ended up getting his account taken over with the hacker giving him a fake nickname and liking lots of random posts as well as messaging me (dude who originally requested the codes then sent me a friend request from his own account, which I blocked). Then-boyfriend was panicking and I ended up having to find the way to get his account back.

      4. nonprofit writer*

        Yes, it happens with ministers too–my church has had to send out numerous notices to members reminding them not to send gift cards in reply to an email that is allegedly from the minister.

        1. many bells down*

          Hah same. You can usually tell with ours though because we’re Unitarians and the message will say the minister is in a “Bible study” or “prayer meeting” which generally aren’t terms we use.

          1. nonprofit writer*

            Haha, small world, I’m a UU too. I wonder if we are in the same congregation? (suburbs of NYC) Probably not–it’s a pretty common scam.

        2. Miss Muffet*

          Our pastors get this scam happening to them ALL THE TIME and one of them recently was receiving medical treatment so it made one of the scams even more believable. So worried for our older congregants who can much more easily fall for this stuff.

        3. Mianaai*

          I even got one recently “from” the editor-in-chief of a journal where I serve on the editorial board! At least for that one they needed to put some effort in to connect my name on the board rolls to my staff page with my email address.

      5. Loredena*

        I even got a text like this! Was super confused because it was someone in my management chain but really high. No idea how the spammers connected my phone with my at the time very new job.

      6. Emikyu*

        Something similar recently happened at my workplace too. A brand new employee, during her first week, got a message supposedly from the owner saying he kindly requested that she go to the nearest store and buy gift cards. As it happened, she got the message right before I came over to talk to her about something, and she showed it to me saying “This is weird, right? I don’t think this is real.”

        I reassured her that it was definitely a scam, both because 1) our boss knows full well that “the nearest store” is the Target he can see from his office window, and 2) he wouldn’t “kindly request” anything, he’d just tell her to do it.

        Anyway, the point is that my boss is definitely not trying to scam his own employees this way, and most likely the intern is also not the one behind the scam in #4. It’s definitely worth giving them the benefit of the doubt while looking into a little – and also giving them a heads up that someone is using their info this way.

    5. Llama Llama*

      It is insanely common and Facebook doesn’t care. It’s one of those things that irks me, so I always report profiles that are obviously scams and always there is no issue with them (except them trying to steal people’s money and all).

      1. Willow Pillow*

        They really don’t care. I used to do social media for a theatre and popular events would attract scammers pretending to resell tickets – I’d always report them as fake profiles and nothing ever happened.

    6. I hate forced potlucks*

      Yes, this so incredibly common. You may even want to bring to the intern’s attention as its possible they don’t know.

    7. Buster*

      Had something similar happen to my Instagram account. Someone had cloned my account and was dm’ing people I haven’t personally talked to in a decade. Only way I found out was when the recipients of the scammy messages let me know. Took way too long to get that account shut down. It’s 1000% more likely it’s not the intern, and a good chance they have no idea it’s happening.

      1. Veruca*

        My daughter’s friend actually lost control of her Instagram account to a scammer. She was DM’d by an account with the name of a friend of a friend, claiming he had won $1000 and saying she had also won $1000 and all she needed to do to claim it was to give them her password so they could post a promotional pic on her page. She’s a teenager and very naive so she didn’t question it. She was quickly locked out of her account, and the scammer was able to use her actual account to perpetuate the scam on all her friends.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          My friend lost both her FB and Instagram by something similar: a friend that had already lost control of their account sent her a text with some request for a code, and she replied. I’m not sure of the exact details, but it wasn’t a cloned account but her actual accounts that were lost. I notified her FB friends to unfriend that account – something she could no longer do.

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      If I were going to run a scam asking people to send me money, it would not be under my real name. But I know these things can be more successful if the basics would hold up to a first level outside crosscheck, like there really is a Mabel Bialys in Portland.

      Step back, OP! And go in with the assumption that you’re alerting the intern to a FB hack or a fraud run with their name.

      1. 2e asteroid*

        Your last sentence is the correct advice. But I find it really funny that it boils down to a sincere use of the sentence “I feel you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.”

    9. Ex-prof*

      I regularly get emails “from” my elderly uncle saying I should take a look at these old family photos he found, see attached. His name, his email addy, even kind of his tone. The only thing that saved me from clicking on the attachment the first time was the knowledge that while my uncle would find the photos, and decide to send them to me, my aunt would be the one who sent them.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I have the opposite problem! My uncle isn’t very tech-savvy. He sends me weirdly vague emails (e.g. “Saw this and thought of you”) with attachments, and it turns out they really are family photos. I haven’t had the heart to tell him that I keep mistaking his emails for scams.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I have this problem with emails from the central HR people at my actual job! No, I will not go to some random site I’ve never heard of before when they send me an external email telling me it’s the new whatever portal or that it’s how we’re tracking covid vaccinations or whatever it is this time. Get a link to it on our intranet and let us know about it through internal channels that we use regularly.

          (I pretty much have a policy of not entering information into any site that I visited as the result of an emailed link, so generally when I get a “time to do compliance training” email or whatever I then go find that provider on our intranet from the home page link I already have bookmarked. I feel like everyone should do it this way, but I don’t think our HR people have any idea why or do anything to encourage that workflow.)

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        I’ve started getting those from supposedly my old flatmate from university with some photos she thinks I need to see. If she really wanted to share some old photos from those days, she’d just tag me on Facebook, so I didn’t click the links. I did message her about it and she said her family have been getting the same messages.

    10. Jay*

      O.P., you need to contact your IT department immediately. Most likely it is a generic Facebook scam, but you also work for a Government agency. They are often very specifically targeted, and often by more serious people than your standard “Nigerian Prince”. I’ve worked for state agencies before and currently work for a Government contractor. I have no real access, no influence of any kind, and no appreciable power over anything whatsoever. And I’ve been targeted more than once by people looking for an “in”.

      1. kiki*

        Yes! I feel like LW was right to think this is a big deal that needs to be escalated but they had the wrong reason! Somebody impersonating government employees is no joke.

      2. Betty*

        I’d probably reach out to Intern first and let them know that their FB has been hacked or cloned, and also say that you’re going to send a follow up email connecting them with IT to help make sure their work systems are still secure. If their account itself was breached, and they have bad “password hygiene” and reused the same password for FB and work, that could create access issues IT needs to be aware of. There’s a lot of “ifs” in there, to be clear! It’s entirely possible everything is fine, but it would probably be a service to the intern to help initiate that process if you can do that in a low-key way.

      3. Anna*

        Ya – talk to the intern, and then check in with your InfoSec team.

        What you’re describing in the letter sounds like it’s closer to an opportunistic hacker taking advantage of the first name they found, but targeted “impersonate employee at [X] to try and see if they can get private info from [X]” is a social engineering attack that sometimes happens (and your InfoSec team is better equipped to make decisions about how much they want to worry about that in this case). And it sounds like some scam literacy and identity protection training would be warranted anyways. The bar is higher for watching out for that sort of thing when you’re in government.

      4. MigraineMonth*

        Very good point! I know my government IT department has been on high alert the last few years, since there have been probing attacks on government systems at all levels (federal, state, county and municipal).

    11. kiki*

      Yes! This is way more likely to be somebody impersonating the employee than the employee themselves. It feel like it was pretty common for a while with friends who are around my age (20s) who had long-abandoned but not deleted Facebook profiles. A scammer was able to find the login info in a leak then could start reaching out to connections. Some more sophisticated hackers may even cross-reference other social media sites like LinkedIn to find more connections.

    12. Lilac*

      Yeah, it’s really common. Sometimes they’ll create a new account using an existing account’s name and profile photo, and sometimes they’ll just hack into the person’s real account and send messages from there. I’ve also seen a lot of Facebook posts that say things like, “I did not create a new account, so if you get a friend request from ‘me’ it’s a scam” or “My account was hacked, so if you get any messages from this account don’t click on any links.”

      I would say that these messages are almost definitely not coming from the intern. In fact, somebody should let him know that this is happening, because he may not be aware of it.

    13. Anon for this*

      I recently witnessed a whole family in uproar, conference calls rapidly being set up at ten pm, people from different states getting on calls together planning an intervention, all because an elderly female family member has received FB messages p*rn photos from a middle-aged male family member. Finally they got the offender on the phone and the first words out of his mouth were “I got hacked, don’t open my messages”. OP, please look into that possibility before you rain fire and brimstone on the intern. I myself get FB messages from my friends pretty regularly that I can tell came from them being hacked (most recent one was “guess who died??” and a link. I did not check to see who’d died, and contacted the friend instead, and sure enough, hacked.) FB is notorious for this stuff.

    14. PhyllisB*

      Absolutely!! I’ve had people trying to pull this on me, and the first time I thought it was semi legit because it was someone I trust.
      After that I realized, and let them know. I’ve also had three people tell me that they got the same thing from me and thought it was on the up and up.
      Talk to the intern first.

    15. Lady Blerd*

      I’ve had four fake accounts from friends and family send me a friend request in the last year. One was a hacked account, two were stolen ID and picture. As I was reading them letter it was immediately clear to me it was a takw account.

    16. Katefish*

      I just received a “friend request” from a deceased family friend this week. Pretty sure she’s not on FB anymore!

    17. Jinni*

      This happened to a friend of mine who had long Covid, which induced me to read that first message. It was awkwardly written, and in my mind – and some friends, it was because of the brain fog of her illness. Eventually we all contacted her. Nothing happened to the scammer and the account has never been deleted. It’s really a thing. I mean there is that show Catfish….

    18. ina*

      My first thought. It’s a common scammer move to scrape your name and a picture then target people you might know (who work at the same place as you, because they’re more likely to be receptive.) It’s a gamble, but always on someone else’s reputation so no risk to the scammer.

      It could be the intern running a scam or hitting on a colleague, but LW jumping to conclusions seems misguided.

    19. Sharkie*

      yeah. It sounds like OP doesnt like the intern and thought this was a “gotcha” to get rid of them.

    20. The Shenanigans*

      Yup that just happened to a friend of mine. I got alerts that someone was trying to get into my account just the other day, too. This happens All. The. Time. Manager sounds like they have a hair trigger and are letting that cloud their judgement here. They need to follow Alison’s advice and slow their roll WAY the hell down.

    21. 1-800-BrownCow*

      Definitely this! I have a family member who’s Facebook account got hacked and it’s constantly posting scam messages. My understanding is that she’s well aware of it, even changed her password and it’s still being hacked. FB hasn’t been very helpful fixing it either.

    22. Claire*

      It happened to my cousin. I knew the messages I was getting weren’t from him because they were written in clear sentences and everything was spelled correctly.

      LW4 doesn’t seem to use Facebook, which is fine, but it’s making her jump to conclusions waaaaaayy too fast. A five-minute Google search on “Facebook scams” would have set her mind a little more at ease.

  3. yvve*

    lw2: ooh, no, definitely not– when i first saw “working for my husband” i figured you meant “working at the small business which my husband owns”– while that can have its own issues, its sometimes a reasonable choice. at least in that case, i would assume the bosses wife was the “unofficial second owner”, so having special access matters way less.

    but as a regular employee, at a big company?? noooo. im suprised theyd even allow it

    1. Quite anon*

      Yeah, I can see the temptation because it’s more than just the small raise, it’s also benefits, and even going from no PTO to a handful of PTO days can make all the difference in the world. But where there’s one company that will offer this, there are more.

    2. Lexie*

      My husband and I have already said that if one of us ever starts their own business the other will not work there. Help out occasionally if they’re short handed? Sure. Actually be a regular employee? Absolutely not.

    3. ferrina*

      What would it look like if the LW wanted to quit? Let’s say LW takes the job, but LW and Husband decide that it would be better for LW to look for a job that pays and extra $2 per hour/has a shorter commute/better hours/more interesting work. How would the Husband/Manager handle that? Would he be obligated to tell his boss that LW is looking? Remove her from longer term projects? Would his reputation take a hit? Would he have to choose between supporting his spouse looking for a new job and his responsibility to his company?

    4. Juicebox Hero*

      My rule of thumb in these matters is “never work for, or closely with, a family member or close friend.” The boss/employee dymanic especially doesn’t jive well with the family or friendship dynamic. Even the best relationship has its bumps in the road and they WILL affect your working relationship.

      In my sister’s case, she and her ex-husband worked in the same department of a large company and were roughly equal. They started dating and got married after they started working there. But they could never quite leave work at work, or leave home at home. When things started getting rough for their marriage it was a disaster at work: coworkers taking sides (usually with the ex, unfortunately. She’s my sister; hell yes I’m prejudiced.) and in general acting like bit players in a 1980s high school movie. And the juvenile behavior continued after their divorce until the ex moved out of the area.

      Epilogue: he has since remarried and had a family. My sister is a respected elder statesperson at the same company, long outlasting the catty poopheads who gave her such a hard time.

    5. learnedthehardway*

      I would flag the issue to the company and ask if there are other roles, in other reporting lines that don’t go up to the husband, where the wife can work.

      It’s entirely legitimate for family members to work for the same company, just so long as they are not reporting to each other.

    6. Dona Florinda*

      Right. At a previous job that didn’t have a nepotism policy, a director’s wife was hired for a high-level position. We were wary of her from the beginning, and I think she had trouble connecting with her peers, because she quit after three months.
      At the same company a few years later, the owner created a position specially for his nephew and again, people either avoided him completely or sucked up to him.
      In both cases, the impact the relationships had on the job was clear, and I can’t even imagine how it would affect the home life.

  4. Observer*

    #2 – Thinking of working for your husband.

    The others are right – do NOT do it. Yes, it’s not just the extra $1 per hour. But still.

    You asking for trouble. And, in addition to what Allison and the others mentioned, you really don’t want *both* of your incomes dependent on one employer.

    You have skills – start looking.

      1. DD*

        I would take the position that you believe the message/scam didn’t come from them. I would say something like I got a message from your account and it looks like you’ve been hacked

        1. KateM*

          I understood that the name is a bit different – using full name instead of abbreviated – so it may be a whole new fake account instead.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, from what I’ve heard, that – the changing of a name in a subtle, completely plausible manner – is actually not an unusual M. O. for scammers.

            1. GythaOgden*

              Been there, done that. I let the person know because the demand for £200 in gift cards was way, way beyond the limit that anyone gets anyone else as a gift. The sicko used the name of our parish priest as well.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Yeah, don’t. I love my husband but working with him would mean divorce, let alone working FOR him. He’s many things but not managerial material.

      Also who you are at work and who you are in a marriage are two different things. You run the risk of finding out that your loving partner absolutely rubs you up the wrong way with their work persona.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Yep. I won’t even work on the same cooking team at church with my husband. It…doesn’t work well.

    2. Sunflower*

      Honestly, it could be a hit to your reputation even if it’s brief and nothing else untoward happens. People will know of both of you that you agreed to an arrangement where you worked for him, which will inform their impressions of both of your professional judgement.

      Do leave your job, just go anywhere else!

  5. Seashell*

    I had a scammer on Facebook copy my name and picture and hit my aunt up for money. Luckily, no money was given. I reported the faker to Facebook, and I warned others who had accepted the scammer’s friend requests that it wasn’t me.

    I am not a part-time scammer.

    1. Sage*

      That was my first thought too, that it would be someone impersonating the coworker. If I was a scammer I would never ever use my own real name or my real face.

    2. Satan’s Panties*

      A few years ago, I and another coworker received frantic messages from our supervisor, who was supposedly stranded in a foreign country and desperately needed funds to get out and home. Except we could see him from where we were, calmly sitting at his desk.

      1. ina*

        I’m tittering at my desk. I, too, am desperately stuck in a foreign land (at the office) and desperately wish to go home (to watch TV and eat curry). If it had been him at his desk, it adds a ripple of intrigue as to what goes on behind the eyes. Lol!

  6. Dina*

    It’s ususally pretty easy to tell the scammer accounts on Facebook – the account will be mostly blank and will have been created recently. If you look at the actual account that sent the message and that’s the case, it’s probably safe to assume it’s a scammer. Although that’s probably harder to do if you only have a screenshot of a message.

    1. The Shenanigans*

      Which is why they take over real accounts, too. It could very well be the intern’s account but that doesn’t make it likely that intern sent the scam messages. It seems like this manager doesn’t have a good grasp of social media. I’m surprised government training doesn’t cover basics like this.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I’m not surprised. My IT security training was pretty focused on protecting government systems from attacks, not on social-media-only scams and impersonation.

        1. The Shenanigans*

          Yeah this comment definitely shows the need for that kind of training. “social media only” isn’t really a thing. Social media isn’t some separate siloed entity. It’s actually has real-world implications, and has for at least a decade. But the fact the gov thinks about it that way helps explain the massive attacks and hacks that are happening across agencies currently.

  7. M. from P.*

    Re:5, does it matter that the OP would be reaching out to someone at the director level rather than a peer? I come from a fairly hierarchical environment and I wonder how a similar email could sound for a more hierarchical company.

    1. amoeba*

      For us, Director level would just be one level up from us “regular scientist”, so this would be absolutely fine. (And I’ve done similar things many times in my years at my current job and vice versa!)

      However, if that could potentially be a problem in your company, you could always reach out to somebody on the team first? But it does sound like it’s just one level up (their boss?) there too, so I’d probably assume it’s ok and makes sense to go to their group lead.

    2. I am Emily's failing memory*

      For corporate design in particular, my guess is most creative directors would be thrilled to have more visibility into design products being created by solo designers embedded in individual departments. It’s an opportunity to increase branding consistency and corporate designers put a high value on that.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Yes, I always have someone doing some marketing and comms in my team, and I always want them to reach out to the corporate marketing and comms team! There’s usually some corporate assets they need to share and some coordination they need to do, maybe an email list they ought to be on, as well as the opportunity for my marketing-person-in-a-non-work team to have a chance to talk shop with wither marketing people.

        LW, in the large organisation I work in, it would be fine for you to email the director of the comms team to say, “Hi, I do some design work specifically for the Flamingo Preening project, but it would be great to talk to someone in your team and see if there are any other opportunities to work together. Who would be the best person for me to contact?” Good luck!

    3. Anonym*

      I work in a pretty hierarchical environment for a major international firm (finance) and most senior folks are extremely welcoming, even if you’re not in the same function. It’s considered good practice and good for the company to have strong networks across the firm, and for senior execs to invest in career development. I work in communications now, and before I moved into this direction, I met with about 5 different comms directors and managing directors to learn about their work.

      If you suggest coffee, they may give you a 15 minute meeting instead, but I’ve never heard of one saying no. :)

    4. A Datum*

      I would have kissed a lot more ass. The nature of the business I work in means I have to cold reach out to people and introduce myself so I can beg them to recommend me for programs. Even when they are my peers job title wise, I kiss ass.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      For #5? That’s a pretty low-key script. You could say a 15 minute call instead of a coffee, but if you’re never going to interact without reaching out there’s not a terribly casual way to make that connection.

    2. JR*

      If the company is very hierarchical, you could also consider asking your boss to email the creative director to ask them to connect with you. (I think they could cc you and frame it as an introduction, this isn’t a situation where the boss would need to director’s ok to make the connection, nor would the boss need an existing relationship with the creative director.) Then, the boss is framing it as, I have this person on my team and I think it would serve their work to be connected to you and your team – fully work-related, not asking for a favor. Which is what OP would be doing by reaching out directly, in any case, so I don’t think this is necessary! But if you’re worried, it could work, too.

  8. GythaOgden*

    Frankly, you should just let your manager know Cedric is playing games on company time. That’s just not on in any organisation and has a pretty simple solution. If someone isn’t doing their job and there’s no direct oversight on site then that’s ample grounds already for some sort of heads-up to management.

  9. GiraffeGirl*

    LW #1: I used to work for the unemployment office and in my state, you would probably still be eligible for benefits (because you moved due to your spouse’s job). so it’s definitely worth inquiring and/or applying for benefits in your state, if you end up losing your job. Note: you would apply in the state you live in now, not the state you move to. Hope that helps.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I would love to see this change in the future, since we’re moving to a more remote work economy, and in theory it could be a boon for places that have lost population and are more affordable to have remote workers be more able to move. Right now, I believe each state has different rules, some more arduous than others (there’s that thing where just a conference makes a “nexus” – I wanna say it’s Georgia? Tennessee?). My boss told me some states are pretty easy to handle this and some are a no-go. I wonder if at this point it’s easier within EU countries than between US states!

      1. GythaOgden*

        Probably not — each state will have residency laws and so on that don’t have a direct impact on the ability to be employed in a country but do ensure that people are e.g. paying the right taxes and health insurance and so on. They have monetary union but not fiscal union, so although you’d be being paid in euro, you’d still be bound by the country of residency laws. They naturally, just like US states, want to prevent brain drain or capital flight across borders and ensure the people living on their soil and using their services are also paying for them, which is what remote workers would hopefully be doing in the US. There are already tax agreements between NYC and neighbouring dormitory states that mean some tax per worker is going to support NYC infrastructure when many people actually live in Connecticut or New Jersey. If someone goes to live in Illinois and sends their kids to Illinois schools, it’s only fair that Illinois gets to see some of that cash. If you are laid off, you’re going to need to play with the Illinois unemployment rules etc, and so you will benefit more from paying into their system than you would into a system which you were able to leave behind you.

        There’s a curious place where a single town is carved up between Belgium and the Netherlands, not just slashed in half but into a crazy-paving of different parcels of land. The local authorities decided that a house that sat on the border between the two countries would be in whichever state its front door opened into. One enterprising Belgian moved his house door to open into the Netherlands to take advantage of a law or tax policy that suited him. It sounds absurd, but the economy of, say, New York or California is going to be very different to that of Louisiana or Nevada, and thus allowing different states to set different monetary and taxation policies preserves those economies from the bad aspects of a more mobile class of people. Don’t forget only about 20-25% of people have ever had the opportunity to be remote, so the 75-80% rest of us also need our own economies to work for us, not for a privileged class. So it’s not really that bad to ask the privileged class in this context to help fund the schools etc that the less privileged depend upon and presumably run.

        The advantage of different subdivisions either within a country or between countries is that the state can regulate itself according to its local needs and priorities. Another case study is Czechoslovakia — originally, it was better for Czechia and Slovakia to be two parts of a larger state, as it was better protection against the outside world. But in a modern economy, the problem with the two nations sharing a single government was that the economic policy that suited Czechia’s service economy decimated the industry located in Slovakia. So the Slovaks saw what was happening and, with a healthy dose of nationalism (or unhealthy given they had a bad government during the 1990s), split off. Running their own affairs helped them get on an equal footing as a nation state and make laws and policy that reflected their own society rather than that of Prague.

        So states aren’t doing this to be mean and nasty. They’re doing it to preserve their economic needs and protect their revenue streams. If everyone moving in to a small town is paying tax as if they never left large town, then small town doesn’t benefit at all from that influx in terms of public money, and you tend to get situations like the carpetbagging that went on after the American Civil War or

        Your footprint in a low cost of living place is still deep even if you technically work in another state. The locality you live in can’t just work for the privileged people who can up sticks on a whim. It’s got to work for us as well.

        1. GythaOgden*

          …after the American civil war or German reunification or whatever. Obviously the political will for reunification was very strong, but the economic impact on the former DDR was catastrophic economically as suddenly West Germany had the absolute right to asset-strip the east and the population had the immediate right to go west. A similar thing happened when the bulk of the old Eastern bloc entered the EU — the damage to Poland and Lithuania of the brain drain to the UK was again, pretty devastating. It’s not that I’m anti-immigration — far from it; I speak Polish and it’s awesome to be able to go to a Polish deli and buy pierogi as a matter of routine (and it was the cause of a lot of weight gain in my early 30s that I’ve never quite shed because my metabolism slowed down at the same time :(((…). However, it sucked most of the young educated people out of Poland and Lithuania before their own economies had time to adjust to EU membership, and while I applaud Tony Blair for being decent in opening the UK’s borders from day 1, the more cautious approach of other continental countries would have been a bit more beneficial to those economies in the long run.

          What’s done is done, of course, and we can’t turn back time on Eastern Europe. But we can prevent that kind of impact on LCOL economies and the less privileged, in-person workers they rely on. We can also hopefully prevent a class divide widening between people who can work from home and those who support their ability to do so but can’t actually take advantage of those same benefits. Much of the media and government attention is on placating WFHers, but few of those platforms have given much of a voice to those of us have-nots in this situation, and I hope in time things will be rebalanced.

          So changing an economic system for the benefit of a small proportion of the population who already reap the lifestyle rewards from WFH and to the detriment of the vast majority who can’t would be utterly regressive. Use your privilege and voice to stick up for those of us who can’t WFH and generally earn less than those who can, not to warp the economy still further towards that privileged minority.

        2. John*

          But there’s a big difference between making sure that people’s tax money goes to the right state and making it so workers can’t move at all.

          If I work for a company headquartered in X state, I should be able to move to any state as long as I pay the proper tax on my own earnings. But the company itself shouldn’t be subject to regulations of the state I move to.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Yeah, I have no problem with people paying to support the programs of the places they live … I just think it’s frustrating that the individual laws of each state apparently vary so much that companies and workers can’t make it work when they’d otherwise agree to the working conditions.

      2. SchuylerSeestra*

        It’s actually harder in the EU. I have worked for several international companies. Not only does each country have specific regulations, but it can get as granular as city or municipality. It’s really complex.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          Disagree. From what I read here, it seems extremely complicated in the US, with different rules in different states, individual agreements between states, etc. While of course it’s not simple to work cross-border in the EU, there is a general principle of “tax residence”, which is generally the place one lives more than 50% of the year, or has one’s center of life (nuclear family). Once tax residence is established, that’s where income taxes are paid, not some of them in some random place where one once worked for a few days.

    2. lilsheba*

      I was going to say this too. I got unemployment years ago because of the exact same thing. My first husband decided to take a job in a different state and I had to quit my job to move with him. I got benefits for “domestic relocation”.

    3. Black cat lady*

      Spouse used to work as CPA. It’s pretty complicated to work in one state while the employer is located in another. Many states will have reciprocal agreements with neighboring states, especially on East coast – think MD, PA, VA and DC. But our government is set up to give states autonomy and each state tax system is different. Even if that employer is located in many states they may not have agreements with all states. Is your HR director 100% sure your new state is not under the umbrella? You may just have to job search if and when your partner moves.

      1. Van Wilder*

        Agreed with all this.

        However – OP#1 – does your employer already have employees in that state? I’m confused by the “nationwide” aspect of this. Is it possible that the HR person didn’t realize there are already employees in that state? If by any chance they’re already set up there, the additional cost of your move would be much less significant.

        1. GythaOgden*

          I’d hope HR had done more of their homework than that if they have turned OP down for remote work.

        2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          I suspect that the organization conducts “nationwide” job searches for open roles, but finalists are hired only where they already have a business operation. OP might see those postings or hear “we’re coast to coast” and assume it means they literally operate in all 50 states, when in reality the org is only set up in 35 or 40 and it doesn’t make sense to open any more states at this time.

          In any case, the answer to this and virtually all questions that boil down to “can my employer make me follow their rules?” the answer is YES! Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you aren’t subject to location bound regulations!

          1. texasanon*

            I work for a major public company but we only have operations in 12 states and although we run “nationwide” job searches those job searches come with relocation budgets for the people who are hired.

          2. Orange You Glad*

            OP’s organization may also be conducting business/providing services in all 50 states and thus be “nationwide” but only employs people in 5 states. Different levels of business registration/rules/taxes/etc are required depending on what the organization is doing in each state. Having just 1 employee somewhere can drastically change the rules for other business operations in a jurisdiction.

      2. Magpie*

        This tax complication only applies if you’re living in one state and working from an office in another state. In the case of remote workers, they’re working at home which means that’s the state where they’re earning their wages even if the company headquarters is in a different state. This is my situation right now, I work remotely and live several states away from my company’s headquarters. They classify me as working in my home state so I only file one tax return and pay taxes just to my home state.

        1. GythaOgden*

          Yeah — but your company has to be registered with the authorities in that state because they employ someone who lives there. It’s simple for you but very complicated for them.

    4. BS*

      Yes, this happened to me. Spouse got a new job in MD that required us to leave CA, and I got unemployment.

  10. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP3 (coworker slacking at answering emails) – I think this guy has realised that the supervisor doesn’t know about the shared email box, and of course hasn’t been in a hurry to tell them (and even if he does, he won’t mention that the old boss assigned it specifically to him!).

    This is another case of previous managers having made decisions and whether they still stand when that manager leaves or is replaced. (YES – but a lot of people don’t seem to think so!)

    OP needs to loop in the supervisor and make them aware of what the previous arrangement was. They can decide whether it should continue to be handled as it was or if a change is needed.

    This is not “tattling” on the coworker, bit giving the new supervisor relevant information about workload that they need to act on.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      The coworker has discovered that if he goofs off most of the day, the work somehow still all gets done in the end. OP should stop causing that to be true.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Of course he plays video games 7 hours a day, OP is handling the work for him.

        It is not tattling to discuss a workload issue with your boss.

      2. Capybarely*

        This email inbox is the work equivalent of that comedy sketch about the magically tidying coffee table. It just somehow all gets taken care of!

    2. ferrina*

      Yeah, this is definitely something OP needs to talk to the boss about. Boss might not be aware that this email exists- especially if they are in another building and not regularly checking on your work, they don’t realize this disparity is there.

      Tell the boss this exists, state that it is Cedric’s job, then stop doing it. Let Cedric know that you aren’t doing it. Let the emails pile up. Only answer the ones you receive on Cedric’s day off. Let people get annoyed and don’t fix it- say “That’s Cedric’s responsibility, so you’ll need to talk to him about it.”

      It’s not “tattling”. First, tattling is a silly concept. It’s a good thing to make your manager aware of a process that they don’t know about! A decent manager would want to know this.

    3. Office Lobster DJ*

      I 100% agree that OP3 should stop answering the emails and loop in the new supervisor because they may not be aware of the arrangement. I like the script in the answer because it focuses on OP and doesn’t get into Cedric’s behavior.

      While I trust the OP that they let the emails sit “as long as [they feel] is prudent,” that is a subjective unit of time. I could see myself getting more and more involved with the inbox the more irritated I got with Slackin’ Cedric. Maybe everyone would be fine with Cedric batch-tasking these emails in 45 minutes once a day. Or maybe they wouldn’t! Either way, step back, let it be known you’re stepping back, and let Cedric figure it out.

  11. Balagia*

    OP2, I’ve worked with and for my spouse – we met through work – and have known many people who have worked with and for their partner or spouse. So it certainly can work, and it is more common than many people think. On average, I’ve found working with or for your partner to be a more successful undertaking than working for a friend or other family member.

    Especially if you are the only person who would be reporting to your husband, and you really want or need get out of where you’re currently working, there’s no harm in trying it, even if you actively look for something else.

    OP4, from experience, I would advise serious caution. People can hack into other people’s social media accounts, people can create fake accounts in other people’s names, and they can also share a name with someone else.

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      I’ve found working with or for your partner to be a more successful undertaking than working for a friend or other family member.

      This may, indeed, be true. But it’s still a horrible idea, as is the idea of working for a friend or family member. Why take the risk to potentially ruin a relationship for what amounts to less than $200 a month?

      1. jj*

        This is pretty oblivious/insensitive, tbh. I 100% agree it’s ill advised to work for a spouse, but “just 200” a month sounds really glib and out of touch. Some people have very little money and an extra $2000 a year would make a significant impact on their life. I’m glad you are secure enough that isn’t your situation, but we don’t need to judge the significance of the $ to give sound advice.

        1. Butterfly Counter*

          Extra money is wonderful. Changing jobs to get extra money is something that most people should do.

          But changing jobs in a way that will potentially endanger my most significant relationship for $2000 a year is complete madness in my opinion.

          I seriously doubt there are only two options available to the LW, a job that pays low or a job that could wreck her marriage. I was trying to inject some perspective along the lines of what Allison said and encourage looking for a third option: a job that pays more AND won’t endanger a relationship.

          Please don’t think I don’t know what I am talking about. My husband and I have both turned down higher-paying jobs (at increases exceeding $2000 a year at a time when we were struggling) to prioritize our relationship. And guess what? Another job with similar benefits and no risk to our marriage came along within weeks for each of us that we DID take. The job market is rarely and either/or entity.

  12. Roobidy*

    LW2, as Alison said the choice isn’t just these two options. See this as a sign that there are other jobs with better benefits than your current one, and your consideration of moving to work for your husband a sign that you are ready and willing to change jobs.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      ^ This!

      LW already knows that some company would hire them with better pay and benefits.
      Time to dust off the resume and see what else is out there.

  13. Anna*

    LW 4: unless your intern has given you reason to think they’re particularly foolish or arrogant, my money’s on this being either a hacked account or a catfish. Most people running scams don’t do it under their own name, let alone try them on people they work with!

    People trying to copy someone’s name and profile picture in the hopes that their distant connections won’t question friend requests is unfortunately not that uncommon. And I know at least in my industry external bad actors trying to spoof the names of coworkers is moderately common, too.

    Talk to the intern – there are many potential explanations that aren’t “intern is a part-time scammer,” and if someone is using the intern’s name to pull scams, the intern needs to know. (And if they do in fact turn out to be a part-time scammer, telling them you know a coworker got a suspicious message from someone who appeared to be them does not make a huge difference)

    1. ecnaseener*

      LW says the manager isn’t present and isn’t checking to see that the work is done, so that’s part of it. The other part is having a coworker pick up his slack! (And yeah I think we can assume the email inbox is not the only thing he’s neglecting, but again the manager isn’t paying attention.)

    2. Jackalope*

      Yeah, this was wild to me too. In my job it’s possible someone could get away with that for a day or two maybe if they timed it right? Maybe? But beyond that someone is going to notice that the TPS reports aren’t getting filed, etc. and there would be consequences.

      1. I am Emily's failing memory*

        Honestly at my company streaming video on the network all day would trigger an automated notice to IT that someone is using a ton of bandwidth on YouTube, and they’d very likely get in touch with the employee to learn if there was a work-related reason for all the video streaming and tell them to knock it off if there weren’t.

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I think this happens more than we’d like to admit. Some jobs just don’t have a lot of oversight, and some managers fall down on the job. I could certainly exploit my time more than I do, if I were so inclined. As it stands I earmark my time on AAM is “professional development”.

      1. I Have RBF*

        I do too. I have learned things here that have helped me in my job. I’ve also referred other people here as a resource on job searching and professional norms.

      2. Ole Pammy's Getting What She Wants*

        so do i, haha. thank you Alison for such a valuable and entertaining site!

    4. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      OP is covering. But I’m side eyeing manager too. The manager should know how the work flow works, even they don’t know the exact parameters of the shared email. Another building is not really an excuse.

    5. Nina*

      If their job involves a lot of stuff nobody else in the office realizes can be automated, and they’re even reasonably handy with VBA, it’s possible to spend a week working hard (writing the scripts) and then basically the entire rest of your time in the company hardly working.

  14. Nene Poppy*

    OP3 – One has to wonder since Cedric is on youtube and playing games all day, how much work is he actually doing? And why hasn’t this been picked up by the old or new manager or others in the team?

    It would not be surprising if OP3 suddenly finds that they are now responsible for the emails.

    1. The Username Lost to Time*

      I also wonder if an absentee manager would just tell OP3 that they are now responsible for the shared inbox.

      Perhaps they could respond with the good old “Here are my tasks. If I officially take on this new task, here are the tasks that I will not be able to cover alone. How would you like us to divvy up the labor?”

    2. Wannabe Expat*

      That would be awful but also entirely plausible now. The new manager doesn’t seem to know how to manage so if Cedric already told the new manager that answering emails is the OPs job and the OP says it isn’t but has been handling it, the new manager could say things work the way they are now and Cedric has other duties he’s attending to. Which is apparently World of Warcraft.

  15. DJ Abbott*

    #2, yes, you absolutely should look for another job. Never stay in a job without benefits! Also it sounds like the one you have won’t be around much longer, with people leaving and not being replaced. At some point it will close its doors.
    There are good, decent jobs out there. Keep looking till you find one.
    Good luck! :)

  16. WellRed*

    OP 1, if you and your partner really want to relocate to this particular state, it may be time to really come up with a plan. Start job searching yourself. It also sounds like your husband hasn’t even been hired by the company? Is he looking at other options? Maybe I’m pessimistic, but between your job not set up in new state and his “opportunity” this all feels a little nebulous.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Not pessimistic. His opportunity is a maybe at best, and it doesn’t sound like it would be substantial to cover a move on his own. It’s also highly unlikely OP’s current employer would set up a state nexus for one employee, so if that works out it would just be luck that OP’s desire to move aligned with existing business interests they’re unaware of. Definitely time to do some planning.

      1. Not a Real Giraffe*

        I don’t really understand what OP1 means by “certified to hire nationwide.” Maybe the org is open to hiring anywhere in the US, but doesn’t actually have nexuses in every single state until there is a business care to do so, like a prominent new hire? Maybe the board approval is simply a formality?

        At any rate, I agree this all sounds like a big “maybe” at the moment anyway, so it seems like OP has enough time to do some more investigating to figure out what’s truly required of them and how interested the Board may or may not be in accommodating them.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          It just sounds to me like OP doesn’t understand how having employees in different states works. Which is pretty normal, it’s super complicated. But they also describe it as a national nonprofit so I think they just assumed that doing business anywhere domestic meant they could have employees anywhere domestic.

          1. Not a Real Giraffe*

            Yeah, that’s what I assumed at first: that OP wasn’t understanding the difference between a “nationwide presence” and the ability to hire staff in every state in the nation.

    2. kiki*

      It can be really intimidating to start planning a move like this where you have to consider the employment of two folks rather than one. The timing is really hard because for most jobs, you kind of get the offer and start when you start, so I can understand why LW might be confused about how is best to proceed. The truth is that you just have to get started and see what’s the options are.

      I think it would behoove LW to get as much information about whether they can work from the new state as soon as possible. It sounds like LW is very serious about making the move, even if they’re not certain on exact timing yet. In the meantime, I would start applying to new jobs in the destination state or that would allow LW to work from there.

      It’s important for LW to talk to their partner about what conditions would need to be true for the partner to take the job. It sounds like two incomes are needed. Are LW and their partner willing to live separately for a while? Would partner be willing to find a higher paying but less dreamy job that allows them to support both LW and themself?

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, if you guys want to live there anyway then you should go ahead and start looking at job opportunities for yourself while you prepare to see if your current company would let you live there.

  17. Melissa*


    I had a situation like that and I was not able to solve it! I eventually quit the job. I told my supervisor “Hey, Jane is assigned to do this task, but she doesn’t, so I’ve been covering for it.” The supervisor would tell Jane to do it, Jane would say okay, then supervisor would leave and Jane didn’t change her behavior at all. This happed several times (on the same issue). Our supervisor was swamped with other responsibilities— and just a poor manager, and the workplace was a disaster— so she never dealt with it. And I am a responsible person, so I just couldn’t bring myself to ignore the voicemails and emails forever (we work in healthcare and these were patient calls), so I did Jane’s job until I quit.

    1. Boof*

      That’s so sad. I hear you that it’s a lot harder to just let the ball drop if it’s fairly life-changing stuff that might happen as a consequence. Boo on your manager/org, and good for you for getting out.

    2. StarTrek Nutcase*

      I worked in accounting at a public 400+ residential facility for the severely developmentally disabled. A coworker, S, was discovered to not be processing invoices only when vendors completely cut off supplies after 4+ months of nonpayment – like oxygen tanks, phone service for the entire facility, etc.

      As senior accountant, I was assigned the task of solving this asap to ensure no further delays which took hours of pleading with vendors and figuring out payment on multiple large complex invoices. The supervisor knew S was problematic and changed procedures always convinced with more time S would do her job properly – she never did. I was partially responsible for the recurring problems as I couldn’t bring myself to not fix things in an emergency because of the direct effect on our residents. Ten years later, S was still screwing around and I retired. Hopefully someone else gets oxygen delivered!

      So LW go to supervisor, explain about coworker’s habits, and don’t be a sucker like me.

  18. Sally Rhubarb*

    LW4: Google the Spanish Prisoner scan. That’s probably what’s happening here.

    Also maybe time to think about why your immediate conclusion about your intern was “they’re a horrible scam artist” instead of “this doesn’t sound like them, maybe their account got hacked/spoofed “

    1. Lexie*

      It might be a knee jerk reaction since OP says their organization and department are under scrutiny. It might be a case of waiting for the other show to drop and just jumping to the worst case scenario for any situation that has the potential to be negative.

      1. Observer*

        It might be a knee jerk reaction since OP says their organization and department are under scrutiny.

        That seems like a fairly solid conclusion, given what the LW says.

        Having said that, it is *still* a problem. Because this is also the absolutely *least likely* scenario. Jumping to it, and then trying to take action on it is something that is really likely to have just the kind of blowback they are worried about. And, to be honest, it would be deserved.

    2. lunchtime caller*

      It sounds a bit silly to those of us who are more online savvy, but I’ve encountered people who almost never think that someone might be lying on a grand scale. In this example I can see that person thinking “well the Facebook profile has their name on it, and Facebook is supposed to be tied to your real name, so surely it must be them!” without it even entering their brain as a possibility that a complete stranger could have indeed made an account with the intention of lying about who they were and going to lengths to fake it.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Sure, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that is worth reflecting on! If OP is worried about scrutiny that is already happening, they have even more reason to work on pausing to think through all possibilities rather than rushing and reacting to the first possibility they think of.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          And if their company does not already have trainings around common scams, then they should look into implementing one! This kind of blind spot is a huge risk to any company.

          1. Observer*

            And if their company does not already have trainings around common scams, then they should look into implementing one! This kind of blind spot is a huge risk to any company.


            A while ago there was a letter from a retailer whose staff person was scammed out of something like $300 cash from the store. There were a number of people who were insisting that the cashier was either complicit or too dumb and ignorant to be trusted. That was an over-reaction, but to be honest to react to something like this while totally ignoriing the possibility and extremely high likelyhood of this kind of scam is really troubling from a security POV.

          2. Indigo a la mode*

            Let alone a government organization! Cybersecurity is the #1 concern for all the agencies my consulting firm works with.

      2. The Shenanigans*

        That’s surprising to me. Internet scams of this nature are literally decades old at this point. This isn’t like the latest meme. This is a basic identity theft scam that has existed since ICQ and AOL. Sounds like the government agency there needs to do some basic Internet Safety And Scams 101 training.

    3. metadata minion*

      “Maybe their account got spoofed” isn’t going to pop up as the most likely explanation if you’re not aware that account spoofing is a really common scam. I’m not saying to *not* analyze why the LW immediately blamed the intern, but it could just be because “the intern sent the message himself” was the only explanation they were aware of.

  19. Dover*

    Re #1, we recently implemented a similar policy for exactly the reason Allison described. We told an employee that moving to a new state would be no issue, and we did honor that. But after seeing how much compliance cost we added a process for requesting moves to states where we don’t already have a presence so the executive team could look at and approve the cost.

    Even adding new people to a state where we already have a presence can be expensive if it triggers a compliance threshold. And some cities even have onerous employment rules we have to follow (everyone works from home).

    1. Pretty as a Princess*

      We have a core set of states that get approval at one level, a set of states we are licensed to do business in that require another level of approvals because of very specific rules (like we pay our exempt staff monthly and that state requires employees to be able to be paid biweekly, which means there are special business processes), and then anything outside of those states gets approved by a top level committee – precisely for the kinds of reasons you have cited.

      And I’ve had to turn down candidates because they wanted to be remote and while we list a remote option on my positions, I have to look at where specifically they are and what that location is proximal to, in order to determine if I would be able to make a business case to the committee. I can’t even just name all our business-presence states because there are so many different rules.

  20. Caz*

    LW2, my husband took a job in a different section of the overall department I was a manager in last year. We had no managerial relationship between us, the relationship was fully disclosed and discussed at interview (under a banner of “obviously you can’t be managed by Caz”). When he started in the job, someone made the connection with our surnames. That someone then speculated – out loud, while he was in the room – about him being appointed just because of who he was married to. Things got easier for him when I left the organisation, but until then there was a tension that made us both unhappy.

    What I’m saying here is, consider very carefully before taking any role at the same place your husband works at – and definitely don’t take a job where you’d be reporting to him.

  21. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

    OP5 (reaching out to central design team) I wonder if there are political factors in play here. A centralised team with a duplicated “outpost” function usually ends up in the outpost being merged into the central team (or its responsibilities transferred to the central team). It may be that the central team not knowing there’s a “local” design function is deliberate on the part of the local office. Before reaching out I would feel out local management about that.

  22. Ex-prof*

    LW4, I think it extremely likely your intern was hacked. I’ve received many scam emails with the full name and email address of people I know. Using the full name and email address of someone you know is a scammer’s stock in trade.

  23. Not A Manager*

    LW1 – Another possibility is that you continue to reside in your current state, and he resides in the other state. I’m not suggesting fraud. There are a lot of couples who have different residencies for all kinds of reasons. A typical one is that one spouse retires to a warm state before the other spouse is through working.

    It might be less onerous that one would imagine for you to continue to be a resident of your current state while still legally spending a lot of time in your spouse’s state.

    I’m not an expert in this area, and all the information I have is regarding which state you pay income taxes in. I don’t know if the rules are stricter when the issue is your own employer’s nexus to a certain state. But it might be worth looking into.

      1. Dinwar*

        Seconded. My career involves a lot of travel, including situations (like I’m in) where you live apart from your spouse for long periods of time. Even without cheating or other issues like that, it’s REALLY hard to maintain such a relationship. You’re living separate lives, and tend to drift apart over time, in ways that aren’t noticed until you suddenly realize that you’re nothing more than a guest in your partner’s home.

        I have seen a LOT of marriages end because of this sort of thing, and am going through an extremely rocky portion of my marriage right now because of it. It’s not impossible–I also know a number of married couples that are just fine with this sort of arrangement–but it’s a tremendous risk. Both parties have to be absolutely committed to it, understand the risks involved, and be willing to communicate openly and honestly without becoming hostile.

        1. Nina*

          I was about to say ‘I know an awful lot of people including me who have done this successfully for a really long time’ and then realized that a) most of my friends are autistic and b) apparently time-based relationship decay is not really something that happens to us (e.g. If I don’t see someone for a year I can just pick up where we left off, and with other aspies that usually works great, and with normal people it… doesn’t… because they apparently aren’t able to park a relationship in stasis until the next time they see the relation.)

          So there are exceptions, but on the whole I guess you’re right.

    1. Smithy*

      I think another thing to look into would be to have a more honest sit-down with their supervisor around what the exact issue would be. Again, in the spirit of genuinely not committing fraud as well as the organization’s limits on relocation.

      The OP writes that their nonprofit is national and all-remote, so it might be worth having a sit down to discuss what options would be about their working from City/State A for X time a month and then City/State X for Y time a month.

      During COVID, a lot of national nonprofits gave a temporary relaxed position on where you worked from but have since rolled that back to have more restrictions. Some are related to cost of living, so a nonprofit that hires staff across the US – they don’t want scenarios of staff being hired with high COLA salaries moving to areas where they also hire staff on lower COL salaries.

      The other nonprofit reality is with in-person meetings/trainings returning, for teams that have highly dispersed teams – that means an increase in travel budgets. I was hired by a nonprofit in 2020 that said I could live anywhere in the US. By 2021, a similar job was posted on my team, and it was limited to 4 major US metro areas that were considered to have organization benefit (and easy travel to HQ). Now this meant someone could live anywhere considered “metro area”, of that city but plenty of other major US cities were now ruled out.

      The reasons might be COL equity based. They might be organization travel budget based. They might be some other reason. But if the other genuine option is unemployment or maintaining separate residences – taking the time to really learn what the issues are is valuable.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        It’s also just incredibly expensive to set up a state nexus and nonprofits can’t always make that upfront investment. Many have to choose a handful of states they’ll operate in.

        1. Smithy*

          The OP’s letter says it’s a national nonprofit, so my feedback was working from an assumption that legally the OP could work from any state – and her team would still say no.

          Legally my team can hire someone anywhere in the US. However, if you told them you were relocating to Hawaii or Alaska with a spouse, it would be the equivalent of saying you were quitting. And beyond that, even places more remote/rural not near priority cities. Like someone moving to a farm two hours outside of NYC would be fine, but two hours outside of Denver wouldn’t, and honestly getting approved for Denver would be unlikely. Getting a nexus is definitely expensive, but for nonprofits – eyes on team meeting travel meeting travel costs could get a request like this turned down.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            “National nonprofit” doesn’t mean “you can work from any state.” It refers to the scope of their work: the organization functions nationally, like they advocate for issue X nationwide rather than just in one state or so forth. But they would still need to pay money to set themselves up to have employees in all states they had employees in (buying workers comp insurance for each individual state, etc.).

            1. Smithy*

              Very true, and honestly – a far more cut and dry reason to deny someone working from another state. Just giving some other reasons where even when there is the legal set up for someone to work in all 50 states, a specific team might decline the request. Just something I’ve been seeing more of in the last few years in a few nonprofits where I’ve worked post-COVID “remote work anywhere you like, we’re registered for you to work everywhere!”

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Conversely, it might be time to sit down with the LW’s self and partner and decide what they really want, assuming that there is a very real chance they won’t be able to have it all. If moving is a priority, the LW should be prepared to job-hunt, too. If not having to change jobs is a priority, then they should be prepared to work something else out.

    2. mf*

      If it’s financially possible, it might make sense for OP to reside in their current state while OP’s husband moves to the new state. It doesn’t have to be permanent–it can be transitional while OP job hunts and/or confirms his/her employer can allow for remote work in the new state. Maintaining two residents is expensive but can be worth it if the husband’s new job is a great career opportunity.

    3. Sloanicota*

      “Can my employer fire me – ” yes. These letters crack me up. Yes, they can nearly always fire you for any reason or no reason. Minor exceptions. Yes.

      1. metadata minion*

        I don’t think that’s really helpful in this case. Yes, an employer can almost always fire you on a whim, but in this situation, they’re pretty much *obligated* to fire someone if they don’t have the tax setup to have employees in a given state.

      2. Nina*

        (I’m in New Zealand and I just wanna note that at-will employment is so effing weird seen from here)

    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      The issue is that employment law is state-specific, and, for some, doing any work or doing work over X number of hours while physically present in the state creates a business nexus and exposes the business to costs and risks. Before proceeding with this, the laws in the specific state(s) in question need to be reviewed and the employer should be consulted as they’re the ones on the hook for taxes, workers, comp, incorporation, etc. or if there are any reciprocity agreements.

      I genuinely don’t think people appreciate how complicated employment and tax law is for employers at the state level. The logistics of having remote workers is not that challenging – a computer, internet connection, and access to software is fairly easy to provide – and employees don’t realize how much corporate registration/renewal, workers’ comp insurance, unemployment fund contributions, and taxes (plus the cost of tracking and keeping all of these up to date) really cost. I would love to hire back one of my former employees who moved out of state, but I work for a smaller employer and simply cannot justify the cost of setting up shop in that employee’s state for one person.

      1. Pretty as a Princess*

        When we rolled out our (extensively researched) new formal policy on remote work, the HR folks did a roadshow. We talked about it down in our team meetings. We have a nice intranet site that explains all the rules and processes and forms and has all the policies available for reference. The policies are written in plain language.

        But it still surprises people who have worked remotely from, say CA (where we have historically had a business presence) and want to do a pre-retirement move to say northern Maine, where we do not have a business presence nor a business justification, that “I have done a good job as a remote employee in CA” is unfortunately not a business justification for us to allow remote work from northern Maine.

  24. HonorBox*

    OP3 – I’m really nervous for you about this situation. What other “responsibilities” does Cedric have? Could he claim to be busy with those and need help in covering those emails? Will he take it to the new boss himself and claim that he doesn’t have time? Since you’re already covering what he’s not, there’s a distinct possibility that the situation won’t be resolved properly. Saying something to Cedric is the right first step but if he’s figured out how to fart around for seven hours it may be that he’s figured out how to cover his tracks with other “things” that he’s responsible for and just do enough to get by. Do you have any specific proof of him playing video games and watching YouTube? That would be helpful if you do have to raise it to your boss. Not that you want to be a tattle tale, but if you do have proof, any and all documentation is going to help. Otherwise it may end up ending in a way that isn’t helpful to you.

  25. Darkwing Duck*

    LW1: If your partner gets a job in remote state X, is there a nearby state that you all could live in and commute from that would allow you to keep the job? Like, your company is not set up to work in Kentucky, but your partner’s job is in Louisville. Your company is able to work from Indiana, so you live there, and your partner commutes. See if geographically this would be feasible.

  26. Industry Behemoth*

    LW4: Also Google the New York Times and “Devumi.” The latter was a supplier of fake followers to people or businesses who were trying to look more impressive online.

    For its fake social media accounts, Devumi was lifting names and photos from real Twitter and Facebook users.

  27. Irish Teacher*

    LW2, like everybody else, I would definitely try to avoid working for your husband if there are any other options. As well as the business issues, such as the perception of favouritism, there’s also stuff like say a coworker was really annoying you or slacking off and leaving you with the work or something, could you really come home and vent about it, when doing so is likely to affect the boss’s view of the coworker? I’m talking about small things here, stuff that’s annoying but not stuff that you would ever consider reporting to management.

    Or say your husband had to put somebody on a PIP or fire them. He wouldn’t be able to talk to you about it, as it would put you in a really awkward position working with them and knowing that in advance, when he might want some reassurance that yes, he is approaching this the right way.

    And what if you were friendly with the person? How would you feel if your husband had to discipline or fire your work bestie? How would they feel? What if you disagreed with his decisions, like he fired somebody you were friendly with or wouldn’t fire somebody you thought was making life very difficult for somebody else? What if he was much tougher or easier as a manager than you thought right? Or what if he was just a generally incompetent boss, the type that is really frustrating to work for?

    And even without any of that, most managers probably have to make some decisions that are annoying for their employees. Would you really be able to complain about that really annoying project, knowing that it was your husband who assigned you to it?

    It’s also possible you’ll see a different side to each other, which might be good or bad.

    LW4, I agree with everybody else. My first thought was that your intern was likely hacked

  28. Knope Knope Knope*

    LW 3: As a manager I would definitely want to know about this!

    Also, consider that your new manager may not really know about this division of labor. If your new manager included it in tons of handover documents and didn’t cover it directly, or covered it quickly while getting new manager up to speed on many things, or ran out of time cover all of the handover materials, there’s a high probability new manager saw it briefly, and because nothing is falling through the cracks has no reason to believe it’s something that needs close supervision.

    Finally, you don’t want to “tattle” but by doing your coworkers work you’re not just not tattling, you’re actively covering for them. Why do that? If you care about your customers/clients/patients or whatever or you just don’t like things falling through the cracks, consider that by continuing to cover for your coworker you are complicit in creating a system that guarantees if you ever take vacation, get sick, or find a new job they will be neglected.

    Talk to your manager!

  29. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Ways to spot hacks/spoof messages on a social media account:

    Text is overly dramatic or excited. Lots of exclamation marks are common.
    Text is badly spelt.
    There’s a link enclosed in it (do NOT click it EVER)
    It’s very different from anything else on that account that gets posted regularly
    It mentions money, taxes, laws you’ve never heard of.

    When you see something like this (I cannot count how many times we’ve seen it in IT) it’s always worth saying to the person ‘I noticed something very strange/heard of something very strange on your social media account. It’s worth running an antivirus and changing your passwords’.

    And as for working for your husband – absolutely do NOT. Both me and the spousal unit work in IT but never at the same firm. He wouldn’t be as comfortable with my paranoia round here as Network Security are!

    1. Indigo a la mode*

      Another key spot of a spoof or scam: Turns of phrase that aren’t common in your language. Whenever I see “Greetings of the day!” or “Do x kindly” or “Hello Dear” in an email, I know it won’t be something I should respond to. Those just aren’t things we say in the U.S., especially in a professional context.

  30. Nancy*

    Lw4: let your intern know so they can contact facebook to rove the cloned page. If they weee hacked they need to change their password (if they can still log in) or work with facebook to get access again. One of these is almost certainly what happened and it happens all the time. Similar to getting scam emails that look like they came from friends, but really aren’t. Things like this have been happening pretty much since the internet began.

  31. and on the radio was legal tender*

    #4: Facebook messages are private between the sender and recip so how did your employee even get this supposed screenshot????

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      It doesn’t say it’s a screenshot it says they showed OP the message, so I assume it was sent to the employee. But if not there are tons of groups that share messages from scammers as a community warning system.

        1. The Shenanigans*

          Is the hacked employee one that usually messages the other employee? If not, that’s yet another indication that this is a scam. I agree with the advice to seriously slow your roll, take a deep breath, and look at what is actually probable. And there is a 99.9% chance that the employee was hacked. Contact the employee and help them contact IT, and stress they are not in trouble for it. It’s not the intern’s fault your department has been in the news for the wrong reasons. He had nothing to do with any of that and its deeply unfair to lump this in with that.

  32. New Senior Mgr*

    LW2 – Nooooo. Hard pass.

    There was old letter here from a wife supervised by her husband as they went through a divorce (and even afterwards I believe). It was bad. My heart went out to her as it does to you. That doesn’t mean you may end up in the same situation, but from an outside perspective, it’s bad for all the reasons Alison listed.

    Read all the “how to get a job” advice here and make sure your cover letter and resume are on point, then job search like your life depends on it.

    Good luck!

    1. Cedrus Libani*

      This. I love my husband and have no reason to mistrust him, but there’s just no way I’m putting that much of my life into one person’s hands. If my home life blows up, I don’t want my job to blow up with it!

      Also, there are load balancing issues. If it’s crunch time at work for one of us, the other steps in to lighten the load at home. If you’re both working on the same things, you’re always crunching at the same time, so that’s not an option. We’re also likely to be on PTO at the same time, whether for vacation, illness, or family emergencies, and it’s easier to get cover for one missing person rather than two.

  33. el l*

    If you can possibly avoid it, don’t mix business and family. (Or, if you prefer, personal relationships and money)

    It might feel safer, but it’s just not worth the complications.

    The good news is that you can avoid it in this case: There are other work places.

  34. Be kind, rewind*

    #5 setting up a get-to-know-you meeting because you do similar work is such a normal thing to do! I did that once at a previous job and hit it off with that person really well. And then that person ended up becoming my boss months later in a re-org! So it was nice to have already connected with her.

    Just make sure you set the tone of the meeting as making a connection and learning about another group in the company instead of coming off as wanting a job some day.

  35. Ess Ess*

    OP #1, working in a different state opens up tax issues. If you work from another state, your employer has to legally take out the residence state income tax and the city income tax (if the residence city has an income tax). If your current employer is not set up to do that for your new state, they can deny employing you in that state and yes they would have to fire you if you work from home in the state that they are not registered in.

  36. I should really pick a name*


    In the future, if you find yourself in a situation like this, your first step when the emails aren’t being addressed should be to talk to your coworker or your manager, not handling them yourself.

  37. Yeah...*

    LW#4. I don’t know if it has been suggested elsewhere, but can your IT department or you offer some educational information about scamming to the entire staff. People need to be educated on how to be discerning regarding this.

  38. OP #4*

    OP4 here! To provide more context and a mini-update

    – The messages were sent almost a year ago, months before applying for the internship program, so at the time they would have been complete strangers on the platform
    – The messages read “your pics caught my attention, and i really like you, let’s get to know each other more,” “please send me a request so we can chat,” etc
    – The recipient (who is one of my reports) had blocked the sending account, but happened to come across it within her DMs
    – I am familiar with the spoofing and other sorts of scams, but cannot dig into the offending profile myself since I do not have a Facebook profile

    I did reach out to the internal head of the program through which we obtained an intern to get a second opinion, and she indicated that as it stands, nothing was actionable.

    1. Nancy*

      Yep, romance scams are also common and I still doubt it was actually the intern sending them. It’s possible they have a mutual friend or some other connection and that’s how she ended up on a list of people for the scammer to contact.

    2. Not A Manager*

      It still strikes me as sort of odd that you immediately jumped to “my intern is a scam artist” as opposed to “my intern was spoofed.” Do you have any other doubts about this person? In particular, the “please send me a request” is very typical of spoof accounts. A real person who wanted to be friends would send the request themselves.

      I know you said it’s not actionable, but I think it’s really too bad that your intern is laboring under a cloud of suspicion, at least in your eyes.

      1. Sally Rhubarb*

        Immediately assuming your intern is a scam artist seems quite harsh and quite the leap given the scammy phrasing.

      2. Tilly*

        Yeah, I’m a bit curious to know how the LW felt about the intern before they found out about the messages.

    3. I edit everything*

      I have gotten DMs and replies on comments using that exact same phrasing. The profiles are always fakes. It’s a coincidence that whoever spoofed your interns profile targeted your employee, or was perhaps based on your employee’s proximity to the location of the spoofed account. No one sends this kind of thing with their real name/picture. Your intern was the victim of the scam/spoofing here.

    4. Anna*

      Talking to the intern head first might not have been the best move, but what’s done is done.

      I would still recommend talking to the actual intern, if you haven’t already. There’s a pretty decent chance this was indeed a spoof or a hack, and if so the intern needs to know. Both in case the scammer is targeting your interns contacts or leading to other consequences for them (like, say, someone assuming they were the scammer and taking adverse employment action against them because of it), and because it could be a sign the intern needs training on how to deal with stuff like this.

      And I truly don’t mean to be harsh, but you might also benefit from some training in this regard, yourself! Running to the head of the intern program is an interesting first response, and one that could actually get you into deeper trouble. Causing employment consequences for something it turns out the person didn’t do also causes drama!

      I’d check in with whoever handles information security concerns for your workplace on how they want people to handle potential impersonation or hacked social media accounts – usually the risk of that is higher when you’re working in government, so I’d hazard a guess they have a protocol. And an investigation on their end would likely reveal if the intern was indeed intentionally scamming, too, and they can properly check if the intern had done anything with what they handle in their internship that could cause problems. And then you’d be in a much less PR-risky place to take adverse employment action if you needed to.

    5. Observer*

      I am familiar with the spoofing and other sorts of scams, but cannot dig into the offending profile myself since I do not have a Facebook profile

      I don’t understand. You are aware of these scams but you still think that the most likely thing is that it actually was the intern? Why? As one of the other responses noted, it’s unfair that the intern still seems to be under a cloud of suspicion that is almost certainly unwarranted.

      And why do you think you need to “dig into” the offending profile? How would you even do so and what to you think you would be able to accomplish or find out? Unless you are a trained forensic investigator with subpoena power, there is nothing you could do relative to the account that would give you any useful information.

      I did reach out to the internal head of the program through which we obtained an intern to get a second opinion, and she indicated that as it stands, nothing was actionable.

      I’m glad to hear it! Given this additional information, there is clearly nothing you can actually do here.

      Please realize that your intern is almost certainly totally innocent here. Please reach out to your IT people for some training, and for some general guidance into how to handle situations where you have reason to believe the one of your staff has had their personal accounts hacked / spoofed / cloned.

      1. The Shenanigans*

        Yeah I’m glad to hear the intern head assumes innocence, at least. But the intern really needs to know, still.

    6. Aquatic*

      I don’t want to pile on but you really need to walk us through your thought process of:
      1: weird message claiming to be from intern even though it’s obviously a fake
      2: intern is obviously running a scam under their own name and photo!!!!!!!?!?!1

      This type of jumping to conclusions coupled with severe overreactions (why have you talked to everyone but the actual intern????) is a really bad look for anyone in charge of anyone else in the workplace. Especially people new to the workforce like your intern. So that’s why I’m being blunt.

    7. Kali*

      I have a professional license that I do not use – the license number is public by law. It (and my name) got used to set up a scam that bilked people out of thousands and thousands of dollars. It went on for months before I even knew about it. I found out when someone got suspicious (before they sent the money) and had enough internet know-how to dig around and get my *parents’* home phone number. I then found websites that had been set up with my name and license number plastered all over them, although they didn’t hold up to close scrutiny.

      Then I started to get complaints through the professional organization – people were filing official complaints against me, thinking that I had used my real name and license number to steal from them. The professional organization was very understanding, and I am still in good standing, but it was awful and really upset me. There are still people that think that I’m a thief. At least one threatened to sue me. It was really a nightmare, and it bothers me still. I’m telling you this because your intern – if they even know about it – may have very similar feelings of guilt and shame, even when they didn’t do anything wrong.

      It is very obvious your intern is a victim of their information being used, and I hope you come to that realization and have some empathy for this person.

    8. ogre time*

      even if these are legitimate messages (which as others have said, there is plenty of reason to doubt) nothing about “your pics caught my attention, i really like you, lets get to know each other more) this reads as scam to me? If there is a history of this intern behaving poorly with your report I would understand why you escalated the situation so quickly, but otherwise this seems like an overreaction

    9. The Shenanigans*

      Yep that’s textbook scam language and very, very common from hackers who take over people’s accounts. I’m surprised you don’t know that, given that you say you are familiar with this. The fact they were strangers at the time also suggests the employee was hacked.

      You also don’t need to have to have a FB account yourself to look at the account. Simply let your intern know about the messages, walk them to IT, and have IT look through it.

      Also, you should be asking why the employee who got the messages is just now showing them to you, more than a year after they got them.

    10. A Datum*

      – I am familiar with the spoofing and other sorts of scams

      I am curious now why you jumped to “intern is a scammer” rather than “intern was spoofed by a scammer.” Have you talked to the intern yet? I bet they would like to know that someone is spoofing them.

    11. Claire*

      Here’s a very valuable lesson I’ve learned in my years of employment both as a manager and as a managee: accusing a report of wrongdoing is a very, very serious matter and should never be done unless you are absolutely sure that wrongdoing occurred.

      *I did reach out to the internal head of the program through which we obtained an intern to get a second opinion*

      People usually get second opinions because they don’t like the first one. You not only got a second opinion, but you got it from this poor guy’s intern program. Even though you’re saying you’re familiar with “the spoofing” and internet scams in general, you seem very determined to find that your intern is guilty of some sort of wrongdoing, even though if he had sent the messages you quoted, there would be no indication that he was doing anything other than clumsily hitting on someone.

      I think you need to take a careful look at what dog you have in this race before you do something that really does put another black mark on your department, or cause the intern program to blacklist you.

  39. StressedButOkay*

    OP1, my husband’s previous job ran into issues with having remote workers in states they weren’t properly set up in. They hadn’t really done any research into the laws and realized, months later, that they were required to give them sick and vacation days, amongst other things. They ended up retroactively making 5 PTO days for everyone sick days in their scramble to meet requirements for the other workers, which screwed up a bunch of things for everyone.

    Basically, it’s far more difficult at times to set up a worker in another state than we think it is. Especially now, when remote work seems so easy to us that it’s real easy to forget that there are business implications.

  40. Observer*

    Removed — this is excessively harsh. You’re welcome to repost this in a way that follows the “if your comment is critical, ask yourself how you’d word it to a friend who was having a bad day and say it that way” commenting rule. – Alison

    1. Observer*

      ou’re welcome to repost this in a way that follows the “if your comment is critical, ask yourself how you’d word it to a friend who was having a bad day and say it that way” commenting rule

      I hear that. The thing is I’m not sure what I would say to my friend having a bad day. Because I’d honestly be worried about the risk to them. I’m serious about that – this has the potential to blow things up in a way that makes the problems the OP’s unit already have look like a walk in the park.

      OP the conclusion you jumped to is the worst case scenario. As others have noted, it’s a good idea to think about why you went there, so strongly that your step was to see what you could do about the intern.

      What makes it worse and more concerning over all for your organization is that this is actually the *least likely* scenario. That makes me concerned that you (and your over all organization, based on your internship program person’s response) have very little understanding of basic security and the common scams and how they work. What else in your organization’s security is being neglected? That’s not something you can deal with directly, but I’d seriously push for some training for yourself, your staff and the organization as whole. And also see if you can get a security assessment done.

      I did see your comment where you say that you are aware of scams, but it’s fairly clear that you don’t really understand how they work. I’m not talking about the nitty gritty technical details, but the basics of how they play out. And it really sounds like this is a problem across the board in your agency, because your internship head should have explained to you that not only is this not actionable, it doesn’t even say anything at all about your intern. That she didn’t do that indicates that there is an overall lack of basic cybersecurity knowledge in your organization.

  41. Lemon Zinger*

    Regarding LW #1, it’s going to depend on business needs and how much they like you.

    We had someone move in 2020 without saying anything (same state but hours away from the office). When their team was required to return to the office in 2021, they pushed back. They were given the option to resign or be fired. They resigned. I was amused when they applied for their old job in 2022. Of course they didn’t get an offer.

    We had another person move in 2020, this time for family reasons. This move was across the country. This person made an excellent business case for why this would benefit the employer. They were approved to work for us from their new state. They did a wonderful job but unfortunately had to resign in 2022 for a job that better met their family’s needs.

  42. LW1 (gnomic heresy)*

    So it sounds like I have to ask about the move before we decide whether to consider the possibility of moving for this other job.

    Ugh this puts me into a rough spot… partner has to decide whether to make this proposal or not rather quickly, and doesn’t want to burn bridges by proposing it and then retracting it. And also right now I’m causing them some slightly expensive ADA headaches and I don’t want to make it seem like they should cut their losses by ditching me.

    I hate the “your career vs mine” trade off. Anyone else been in this position? How did you resolve it?

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      “Which one of us could find a new job more easily?” is the big one for my marriage. My husband has a job you can find in most places, mine is pretty specific to cities. “Who is making more money now and in the long term?” can be a big one, depending on your situation. “What are the next steps in upward mobility for each person?” “What is each person’s relative happiness in their current job?” “What other factors do we need to consider in this particular situation?” – so for moving, that could be buying/selling a house, cost of living, moving away from support systems, moving TO a more desireable location, etc etc.

      Unfortunately the answers to and weight of all factors will be individual calculus so the only people who can decide how much any of those things matter are you and your husband.

    2. Temperance*

      In my household, we weigh the ability to find work for each of us as well as the amount of money coming in.

      Will your husband’s proposed project be a dream role for him, and would he be bringing in decent income? Would it support your family if you did move and needed to look for work?

      1. Ama*

        Yup, we moved several states away from my office in January and while I knew there was a good chance I would be allowed to keep my job (my employer is already incorporated in the state I move to plus I do quite a bit of crucial work that no one else at my work fully understands), I was prepared for the possibility they’d say no.

        My husband’s workplace is primarily a remote workstaff and actually able to hire pretty much anywhere so we knew he would be fine, and we had enough savings to get me through a few months of unemployment if necessary. It also helped that I’ve hit the end of my career trajectory in this sector and am exploring what I want to do next so I am not emotionally attached to my job or my current career path.

        I did get to keep my job ultimately but being okay with the possibility of a no made the conversation with my employer much easier.

    3. Rara Avis*

      My husband and I work in fairly niche roles, and the rule we follow has been who finds a job they like first. In both of our major moves (from coast to coast in the US), it was me. He has gotten pretty good at being the trailing spouse. We also had a situation where he worked for an employer that moved out of state, and so he was travelling every week for a while until he could find something else.

  43. PhyllisB*

    Yes!! I got a friend request from a young woman that I knew I was already friends with ( this was before I knew about all this.) I responded we were already friends. She said that she had to make a new account. So I accepted. Then I got a notification that it was ” Mary’s” 70th birthday. The real “Mary” is barely 50. So I asked her how did we meet. and her mother’s name. She deleted all of it. I notified my friend and we had a good laugh.

  44. Platypus*

    LW #4 don’t fire your intern! This type of hacking is very common on Facebook- I have had friends get hacked and send me suspicious links or post them on their page, and my own page has been hacked as well. Additionally, most interns would not send such brazen messages to their supervisor. Please do some more research before making a hasty decision

    1. platypus*

      In hindsight this may have been a bit harsh of me- I think I was just shocked at the immediacy with which the LW believed the intern had sent the message and wanted to kick it up the ladder without actually talking to the intern in question about it first, but not everyone is familiar with how common this scam is on facebook

  45. FattyMPH*

    LW5 – I worked at a large nonprofit where two departments you would expect to work closely together or be co-managed were operated out of entirely different divisions. Turns out there were office politics driving the org chart and it was a symptom of some much deeper dysfunction. All of which is to say, definitely get to know the other designers, and also maybe prepare yourself to possibly hear some weird stories that explain your weird job configuration?

  46. Lauren*

    AAM – Do you know of a per state resource of how difficult, timeline or expensive it is to add a state for HR? It seems some states are cheaper and easier than others, and sometimes they combine them with other states (tri-state / new england). Google is not my friend when trying to look myself.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I can only speak for New England, but you can’t set up a regional nexus you still need to do it by state. A lot of people commute from other states, but that’s different. NJ/NY/CT I believe may have some sort of reciprocal tax situation but I’m not positive how that works. Maine and NH have something similar for sales tax.

      It’s a decent amount of work to set a nexus up, though I’m not completely sure how the cost varies by state. The other thing is that each additional state complicates your taxes from that point on. Nonprofits often have a harder time with this.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        MA and NH have a tax agreement for those who go cross-border for work. My mom used to work in MA but we lived in NH–it was a little more complicated b/c she worked for the state of MA (university) but they had an agreement all worked out and there was nothing she needed to do, paycheck wise. IDK about tax time, but I’m sure she was informed immediately on hire how to file taxes.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Generally, if you search for business nexus or foreign qualification (the ability to have workers in a state other than the one the business if formed in), that will get you started.

      The “combination” with other states is not the same thing – that’s a state-by-state reciprocity agreement that is common in areas that border other states. I work in DC, but I live in a bordering state. DC, Maryland, and Virginia have reciprocity agreements with one another that make the live/work dichotomy easier. Reciprocity agreements are not standardized and can include income tax, sales tax, etc. provisions that may or may not cover all the liabilities of working in one’s home state versus the business state. (We just have so many people who live in Virginia or Maryland that it was worth setting up to do business in them on top of the tax provisions.)

    3. fhqwhgads*

      I have no idea on the costs, but I’ve worked for various employers that allow hiring remote workers in all 50 states but it the standard I’ve seen repeated is that if you’re about to hire someone in a new state we weren’t already in, HR needs 90 days notice to get stuff set up. Hopefully that helps on the timeline part of your question.

      1. Antilles*

        Interesting, good info.
        I’m wonder how much that 90 day timeline is helped by the companies having at least a passing familiarity with the overall process for setting up for new states. If they’ve got an actual standard/policy on how long it takes, presumably they’ve done it a few times and have some experience to lean on (even though each state has wildly differing rules) rather than completely starting from scratch.

    4. Pretty as a Princess*

      There are entire companies whose business model is just to sort this stuff out for companies, or even manage it for them. The problem I suspect you are facing with Google is that there are so many dimensions: taxation, benefits, salary transparency (& what that means), local aspects of licensing & taxation & compliance.

      In MA you have the right to be paid biweekly (or it might be semi-monthly, I don’t recall). Employees can waive that, but you can’t make them. If your payroll is set up to pay people monthly, then even if you have all the other stuff done, your hands are tied until you have the ability to modify your payroll to account for that pay frequency. But if how you log billables is done on a monthly basis, do you have to touch your time logging system? Do you have the ability to set up exceptions? There are all sorts of enterprise business system implications that go hand in hand with the compliance stuff.

  47. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    LW2, in your shoes I’d probably consider the offer only as a stopgap, because the company you’re describing leaving sounds like it could be going under anyway. I’d keep searching for the next good job, both within the new organization as a transfer and outside it, for all the reasons others have already articulated better than I can.

    I’d also articulate this all to your spouse in explicit terms and detail lest there be any misunderstandings about it.

    But in the shortest run, a paycheque and benefits, even if inideal, beat having neither.

  48. PotatoBug*

    LW#4: My mother unfortunately recently lost a not insignificant amount of money through a Facebook scam. She received a friend request from someone purporting to be a former coworker of hers, who sent a just-generic-enough opening message that it could have come from someone she knew IRL. When she finally called her friend on the phone, after several weeks and tens of thousands of dollars lost, her friend said that she doesn’t even use Facebook anymore and had deactivated her account. It’s been a very upsetting time.

    I would be willing to bet that your employee has been chosen as the face of one such scam and they have no idea.

  49. abca*

    Related to LW1, worldwide remote jobs are quite common in tech. It’s usually done through a third party company that handles all the legal stuff. If that exists for hiring remote people from around the world, it seems something like that must exist for just within the US too? Of course it will cost some money and the company may not find it worth it for all roles to do that – but maybe they do if “this all seems too complicated” is the main reason to not want to allow it.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      The calculus isn’t necessarily “it all seems to complicated” as much as it is “this is too complicated to set up FOR ONE EMPLOYEE”. If the laws are significantly different and the employee isn’t a high performing in a niche role and/or hard to hire person, it’s likely that the setup and ongoing costs to be in a new state will outweigh the cost of simply hiring someone in a state you’re already in

      1. abca*

        Yes, that’s complicated to set up if you insist on doing all the work by yourself. If you use a third party company it does not matter at all whether the laws in another state are different; that’s what you pay the remote payroll company for. There is no such thing as “the setup and ongoing costs to be in a new state” when you arrange this through a third party company, because the company will not be “in a new state”. There are different ways to do this, but one obvious one is that the third party company hires LW and bills LW’s company. Of course they may not want to do this, but it seems worth looking into as an alternative to “LW’s company will have to become legal and tax experts for this new states all by themselves”.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          This is still an added expense and hassle to the company when they could simply hire someone who lives in a state they’re already present in.

    2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      You’re talking about agencies. I’m a tech writer and most of my work is year-long contracts where I work FOR xyz company and they have me PLACED AT abc company. So I have a login to abc systems but my paycheck comes from xyz. And yes, this absolutely exists everywhere, with agencies of various sizes — some will specialize in just a region, which is a lot easier to work with, honestly, because they will understand things like “this commute is super easy while that commute is super-awful”. Many more specialize in skillsets, like there are agencies for accountants, and nurses, and programmers, and some of those are international in scope.

  50. Coin Purse*

    Re : #1…..a colleague of mine wanted to work remotely from California, we are a Midwest company. She thought it would be a no brainer but the company said it would be over 100K to establish a presence there, regardless of how many employees. HR said absolutely not and that it was the reason we don’t write business there.

    She was very annoyed but the math was eye opening.

    1. Melissa*

      This was all new to me during the pandemic, too! When so many people (including my husband) went remote, I thought, “Sweet, everybody can move to Bermuda and work!” I learned that it isn’t that easy; if you’re living somewhere else, your company is doing business in that place, which means a whole new set of regulations for them.

    2. Antilles*

      Wow. I knew there was some costs involved, but I would have figured more on the order of thousands (or maybe $10k) than $100k. That’s a number that for a lot of roles would be hard to justify over “sorry but if you move, we’ll have to replace you” – even once you account for the various costs of recruiting your replacement, onboarding, lowered productivity, etc.

    3. Ama*

      California is one of the most difficult states to set up a presence in — our CEO has said several times that if our org hadn’t been founded in CA and NY originally so the costs of being based there have always been built into our budgets we never would be able to allow people to work in those states now.

    4. Bruce*

      I went remote during Covid, but was lucky my employer already had offices in my new state. It was a bigger deal than I expected, luckily worked out OK in the end.

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      California is also burdensome for non-CA companies from a policy standpoint. If I had employees in California, they would have an entirely different policy manual to address the differences in break requirements, OT calculation, and other labor law differences between CA and DC (or rewrite all of our polices to the more restrictive standards). It’s too much of a hassle for an organization of our size for one or two people.

    1. Dahlia*

      Sorry, OP4. Regardless, probably a scam done by a random person and your intern is an innocent victim. They’re quiet common.

  51. Anna*

    For LW#5, I work in the head office design team of a large corporation that has individual designers working on different projects. We usually don’t know those designers, but are always happy if they reach out to talk. We love to hear what the individual projects are doing, and are happy to answer any general branding questions that come up, so I hope that you find that your company is the same!

  52. A Datum*

    LW #2–
    I wouldn’t automatically rule this opportunity out. I know a lot of people have seen family members, including spice, working together go wrong, but I’ve seen it go right often enough that I don’t make assumptions about how it’s going to go.
    My advice is to ask questions about how the reporting relationship would work, how they protect against perceptions of nepotism & favoritism, and who would actually do your reviews. If they have reasonable answers, then consider the job.
    If you have a third option, that would certainly be less complicated, though.

  53. Sugarplum Visionary*

    OP2: Allison is spot-on; do NOT work in a setting in which either you or your husband is managed by the other! Aside from colleagues assuming favoritism, a host of problems could arise and at least one WILL arise.

    1. What happens if you make a serious error at work and your manager/husband must correct
    what you’re doing? What if he must speak to you AS your boss and not your equal? How will
    either of you be able to separate your home life from your relationship at work? (Spoiler
    alert: you will NOT be able to do that!)

    2. How will having your husband as your boss affect your marriage? How will either of you be
    able to go from a relationship of equal partners to one in which HE can and must order YOU
    around? Unless you already have an “ultra-traditional” marriage in which the husband IS
    automatically always in charge and in which he ALREADY bosses you around, neither of you
    will find it possible to maintain your marriage with this new dynamic throwing a monkey
    wrench into the works.

    TL/DR: Do NOT accept a job in which your husband is your boss. No good can come of it, either personally or professionally!

  54. vito*

    #4 In hotels, especially late at night, there is the Mr. Patel Call. It is a call late at night from someone claiming to be the owner of the hotel. They always claim to be Mr. Patel (a common name for hotel owners) looking for some sort of money (gift cards, crypto, etc.). It is a badge of honor to get a call and not get taken.

  55. Champagne Cocktail*

    Please talk to the intern first. Facebook accounts get hacked on a startlingly regular basis

  56. Bruce*

    LW4: people get impersonated on Facebook all the time, and using a known name to target people they are associated with is Scammer Standard Operating Procedure… I’ve personally been targeted by 2 different scammers who knew my name and many of my connections, so has my son. So definitely talk to the intern before jumping to conclusions.

  57. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    LW 2: I do contract Human Resources for my Husband’s Business. He is not my boss, and we have a very clear separation when we are talking about any issues (I go into his home office and treat it like I would any other consulting client.) I am just as fair and consistent with his business as any other. But I am not his employee, and it is going to stay that way. There is no way on this blue green orb we call Earth I would ever want him for a Manager, as our working styles are far too different!

  58. That Lady in HR*

    Re: #1, some states do grant unemployment insurance based on having to move for a spouse’s job. It just might be a bit tricky since you’re moving from one state to another – the last time I was granted UI for this reason, I was moving within the same state.

    1. Observer*


      But this is a case where it really doesn’t matter. It certainly doesn’t change the advice, and I really would be surprised if it had any effect on the OP’s reaction.

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