open thread – November 24-25, 2023

It’s the Friday open thread!

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

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

{ 378 comments… read them below }

  1. seeking giles*

    Does anyone have recommendations for workplace/ work culture blogs that deal exclusively with libraries? Daily life as a librarian, challenges, etc. etc.? Would even be interested in the blogs of library students. I know a lot of this stuff is on TikTok now but I miss the blogging days :(

    1. Bog Witch*

      Not a blog, but /r/libraries on Reddit might fit the bill! I don’t subscribe to it, but it’s been recommended to me by Reddit’s algorithm and the posts I’ve seen run akin to what you’re looking for in terms of content and the people seem nice.

      1. Kathy the Librarian*

        I’m a librarian and I follow that one but it’s not just librarians. There are lots of people on that subreddit asking questions about libraries as well as library school students asking about jobs. So it’s kind of a mish mash of library related things.
        Maybe we should start a librarian Reddit!

        1. LAM*

          There is one! Libraries is what you are describing, but r/librarians are specific to the library setting. There’s some shoot offs for the archivists and museum folks.

          I’m quite fond of In the Library with the Lead Pipe. It’s a peer reviewed journal where people are publishing because they case what they are researching rather than the typical I’m publishing for tenure (and what my tenure committee) likes.

      1. Just another librarian on AAM*

        This isn’t a particularly helpful comment to leave for someone who was clearly looking for personal recommendations. I can google “podcasts” but that doesn’t do much for me if I want to know what podcasts my fellow movie buffs are listening to.

        Also, as a librarian who’s algorithm well knows it by now, I tried this, and the results were all lists of *library* blogs or *Librarianship* blogs, ie, institutions promoting their services or professional organizations “blogging” about themselves, not professionals in the field sharing their experiences.

        1. Kathy the Librarian*

          I’ve had patrons tell me to Google something for them. I tell them there are other ways to find things. They don’t understand.

        2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          Not really. It is far more efficient than to go through card catalog searches.

          An example = how do you find out about Pearl Harbor? go to Google. Type in Pearl Harbor attack. You’ll find out = December 7, 1941. Then you can go to and listen to news reports (radio) from 12/7/41, and then if you have access to a newspaper’s archives, look up December 8, 1941.

          A Google search / research takes around 30 seconds. Searching through the old card catalogs — ehhhh… no. And I don’t need a librarian or old card catalogs, hey I don’t have to leave the house.

          Technologies often make things easier. Librarians are still needed, and always will be, but a lot of the lookup and research functions are simplfied.

        3. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          I might also add = historically, any time a new technology comes along, there is disruption of a sort. Those attached to or embracing the old technologies fear the new.

          And if they do not adapt, they will be left behind. Libraries should be teaching effective use of search engines, and what is good and bad about them.

          1. Single Noun*

            I believe the point is that librarians are already teaching how to use search engines effectively (and protip, if you have access to a newspaper’s archives from your house? I’d bet money it’s because a library is paying for you to have that). Have you really not been in a library since the card catalog days? I think the last time I saw one was my elementary school in 2003: by middle school they were all about teaching us database use and internet literacy.

    2. Just another librarian on AAM*

      Alas, I think the online librarian community used to be mostly on Twitter, and have since migrated to TikTok and Instagram in the short video format. I used to follow a few blogs circa 2010-2016, and when I went back to check, pretty much none of them were still meaningfully active.

      One I will add is that Hiring Librarians came back this year after a several year hiatus, and although it definitely leans towards the venting side of things at time, I think the survey responses are an interesting insight into the day to day for job hunters. I followed it much more closely when I was early career, and back then it often posted interviews with librarians not just about the hiring process but about their day to day as well as the surveys. I don’t think they’ve quite gotten back into that yet, but hopefully they do!

      1. Tara*

        Seconding Hiring Librarians! I really like the survey response format–it’s a really good way to get a direct look into how people approach job hunts, how they’re feeling about them, etc. I’m really hoping the blog continues that format with surveys about other topics because it really is such a good way to read people’s transparent thoughts about the field, not so polished up and/or softened like they might be be on one’s personal blog or a post attached to professional orgs (not that I don’t like those too)

    3. LibrarianA*

      Here are a few:
      Information wants to be free
      LibTech Insights (from Choice)
      Others: Daring Librarian, Librarian by day, Unquiet Librarian

    4. Miki*

      When I was in Library school I found Swiss Army librarian’s blog interesting (mainly reference questions from public libraries), looks like the last he posted was in 2020, but he was posting from 2006-2020.

      1. Another academic librarian*

        Wow, just read this “Open Offices are Neither More Open nor More Equitable” on the Information Wants to be Free blog. Boy did that fire me up.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        I would also recommend the cartoons of Tom Gauld, both in the New Scientist and the Guardian. He gives away waaay too many librarian secrets…

    5. Another academic librarian*

      Vent and question
      Big HR at my institution is doing a “job family study”
      Are there HR specialists out there who can help me understand HR stuff?

      I used to take all of this very seriously and thoughtful but after 10 years, I am just tired.
      This “job study thing” we were required to revise our job description to include everything we actually do. GREAT!
      Did that.
      Oh too much detail. HAHA
      Told to revise again AND put percentages of how much time is spent in each category.
      Okay, I’m game.
      Oh, then told to revise again and no percentage can be less than a certain percentage of the job description.
      Did that.
      Then an all staff zoom meeting with HR in this job category. Presented with why this process was SO SO Important. They are trying to “get good market data on all positions in the library
      job family so that we can tell if the salaries in the job family are above/equal to/below market.”
      They do not need a survey for this- the salaries are not fair and equitable- some people in the same classes make $50,000 less than others, there is no vertical movement, there is no union, and raises range from reduction (Covid), none, to a whopping 2.5 % “merit “(with increases in benefit co-pays etc.)
      Question from the zoom gallery- What will be the outcome of this process? Equity raises? Redistribution of weight of job tasks?
      Nada. Thats right NO expected outcome that will impact any of us.
      AND this week we received a directive to redo the job description in a new format and with more detail to ensure they are able to conduct a fair and equitable review for everyone.
      I really really don’t want to put anymore time and effort into this.
      Am I missing something?
      Feeling super mean about this.

    6. Cwaeth*

      You can try the “Libraries” or “Librarians” subreddits on Reddit. Both have discussion topics related to library work culture and challenges.

    7. Kathy the Librarian*

      On instagram, there’s a wonderful young man who is a librarian. He posts about his interactions with patrons. It’s so sweet! Just look for Mychal3ts on Instagram.

    8. MCL*

      In the Library with a Lead Pipe is an open access journal that’s a bit blog like. Hack Library School is a true blog, but it hasn’t been updated since April. It is student centric and might be interesting.

    9. I take tea*

      It’s not a blog, but I would like to recommend the web series Unshelved. I enjoyed it a lot. Read from the beginning, there is a development there, although most strips also work fine on their own.

    10. I take tea*

      Jane Secker has an interesting blog called Libraries, Information Literacy and E-learning – reflections from the digital age. It’s not really been maintained lately, but the latest post is called Information Literacy at 50, where she writes both about the past and the future. I found it very interesting.

      1. I take tea*

        And another interesting blog in the same area might be Information Literacy Spaces at wordpress com written by a group of researchers, teachers and librarians from New Zealand.

        I heard a couple of them do a really interesting presentation at a conference about the Rauru Whakarare Evaluation Framework, where they do a Māori-informed approach to information evaluation. I thought it was a good example of using local concepts respectfully.

  2. Pizza Rat*

    I hope all the USA folks had a good Thanksgiving!

    Because I don’t get the day after off and wanted to save my PTO, I decided to stay home by myself. I slept in, had some pasta I picked up at an Italian market with a lot of cheese, and read a lot.

    1. Rage*

      We don’t get the day off after, either. But it’s quiet up here and I’ll be able to get a lot done – once I’m done reading AAM, of course.

      1. Pizza Rat*

        There are more people here than I expected, but nobody is on calls, so it’s delightfull quiet. I too am getting a lot done.

      2. Stephanie*

        Federal employee — we don’t get the day off unless the president declares it a holiday. It’s quiet, though, so I’m doing all these trainings today.

    2. 653-CXK*

      The day after Thanksgiving was the most popular day off at ExJob – so much so that they had to have lotteries to determine who could get it off, and if you weren’t selected or had limited PTO, you had to work all day Sunday to get Friday off. They had to have a skeleton crew working to do medical claims processing, and as there was hardly anybody on the roads and it was quiet, I almost always worked that day. I think in the 21+ years I worked there, I’ve only taken the day after Thanksgiving off three times – once because I was impanelled on a jury, once because we had a family function, and once because I was on vacation.

      At CurrentJob, I could take the day after Thanksgiving off, but I had taken the week before off for my birthday. Also, I can concentrate on working on projects without interruptions.

      1. 653-CXK*

        A little more about the skeleton crew: As ExJob had tight turn around times for medical claims processing, upper management required 20% of staff to work that day (or 2 employees for every 10). We did not get extra compensation for it, but one of the perks was that it was dead quiet – meaning I could catch up on things that I had been setting aside, and that the commute back and forth by public transportation was cut by at least 15 to 20 minutes.

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I’ve never gotten it either. I’m in medicine. But it’s a light day work-wise.

      I beats working Thanksgiving itself – one year the hospital gave our department a thank you ham because the cafeteria was closed. Just ham, no sides. And not even enough because it ran out before I got any. This was in the South but also like not everyone eats ham, ya know? Terrible gift idea.

    4. DJ Abbott*

      I do have today off, but I did the same thing. In fact, I crashed. It’s been a strenuous roller-coaster three years, beginning with pandemic unemployment after my position was eliminated at the end of 2019, then moving and working for a grocery store beginning the same month, then getting a new job last year that’s rewarding and very hard work. And then moving again this year, to an area I had never been to before I looked at the apartment.
      I slept 10 hours Wednesday night and was still tired for most of the day yesterday Today back to more or less normal with errands and chores for the weekend. I haven’t been able to find any social events, sadly.

  3. I can't remember my username*

    Any advice for job hunting when your job description doesn’t appear to match available jobs? Or how to translate what you do into resume lingo?

    I don’t want to dox myself but I don’t know how to find another job doing what I do now which is basically keeping vendors on schedule so we can make our different flavored teapots on time.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      Vendor Scheduler, Production Planner, Procurement / Purchasing (Analyst, Administrator)?

    2. Jane Bingley*

      While it’s important to put your actual job title at the top, this is where I add a brief description to clarify! Here’s an example from a past role of mine where my job title did not at all match my work:

      Employer Name, Customer Service Representative
      – Supported 3,000 donors annually by email, phone, and in person with a response time of less than 24 hours
      – Coached overseas staff in our product quality standards, improving compliance from 35% to 95% over a two-year period
      – Oversaw and adapted administrative processes, including a switch from annual to monthly audits that improved product shipment delays from 6 months to 3 weeks

    3. Rick Tq*

      You are an Expediter. An old coworker had that job for a major engineering constructor and he traveled all over the world visiting vendors to keep them on schedule for delivering major components.

    4. Awkwardness*

      I would say this is along the lines of procurment/purchasing/supply chain management.
      Probably not production planning (unless you really were responsible for scheduling production processes).

      Just enter those keywords into a job site. The profiles that match your job description might give you a good idea what your job is called most of the time (or if there is a certain variety).

    5. Hazelfizz*

      Play with ChatGPT prompts based on the other answers here. That thing is surprisingly helpful with rewording, paraphrasing. and brainstorming!

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Have you tried Alison’s job hunting book yet? That and scanning the archives for discussions we’ve had might give you more ideas because a lot of us are not here today. (I’m here but mentally not due to yesterday’s overindulgence. )

      1. I forgot my username*

        No. My job laid off close to half the staff on Wednesday so I’m in panic mode. Sorry.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          Oof, that sucks, I’m sorry.

          And no apologies needed for your question. @Second’s suggestion wasn’t meant as a reprimand, it was meant as a way to get you some ideas/help more immediately.

          The “resume” and “job searching” sections of AAM’s archive will be great suggestions. And then maybe do a search for “resume”, to see what has been said on open threads like this one.

          Good luck!

    7. Stephanie*

      This sounds like supply chain/procurement project or program manager. I did this role at an auto OEM — I imagine industries like auto or aerospace that have complex supply chains would have plenty of these roles.

      1. I forgot my username*

        Thanks for the tip! I kinda fell into my role by accident so I didn’t even know where to look outside this niche industry I’m in.

        1. Stephanie*

          You’re welcome! I had a couple of roles where I did this. In one, I make sure the Tier 1 suppliers (i.e., the ones OldCompany purchased components from) were tracking to vehicle build milestones and worked to resolve issues with functional leads, escalate as needed, etc. Another, I worked with various internal functions (sales, marketing, engineering) to do similar.

  4. Pizza Rat*

    Can anyone recommend a note-taking app that isn’t Microsoft OneNote that can be used on multiple devices AND via the web?

    I’ve been using Evernote, then they almost tripled the price of what I was paying. This is something I use both at home and at work. I don’t mind paying a reasonable fee, but my idea of reasonable is closer to $10/month vs what is now $15 (I was paying $5.99 USD)

    1. Generic Name*

      Can I ask why it can’t be OneNote? I used to use Evernote, but when they dropped the free version, I switched to………..OneNote.

      1. Pizza Rat*

        Since my office uses Teams, OneNote could only be accessed with my Active Directory account. I need to be able to access an app on the web at work and I don’t want it tied to my work. I need an app where I do my notes and thinking before I organize and put into documents I share.

        I can’t use my phone or a tablet at work because they would want to manage it and no.

        1. Roland*

          If you don’t find another app you like more, one thing you can do it sign in with your personal office account in a different browser, or an incognito browser. That’s what I do at work with google – work google account in my main browser, my personal one to read email and listen to music on youtube etc in a different browser. Might not work depending on your preferences and your job’s infosec, but it’s an option if you otherwise like onenote.

    2. JustForThis*

      I haven’t tried it myself, but heard really good things about it: Obsidian. Apparently you can sync it across multiple devices for $8 per month. I’ll post a link in reply.

      1. Tech Nerd*

        I use obsidian and it’s amazing. I use it at work (and don’t sync because that’s only for work) and for personal purposes on my owns computer I sync using iCloud (no extra charge).

        1. NewPoster*

          They’ve just added some formatting to Keep (at least where I am, I don’t know if it’s global). Might be worth taking a look again, depending on what you need.

    3. Not sponsored by Obsidian*

      It’s a little less fancy, but I like Obsidian. Base version is free, the version that syncs across devices is $8. You do have to know (or learn) a little markdown to do some of the text formatting, but some of the visualization tools to see connections between note pages is really cool, and it is fairly easy to get started.

      One downside: I’m not sure it has any system to port in old notes from other systems like Evernote.

    4. beep beep*

      When I moved from Evernote. the experience was infuriating, but now I use Joplin which can be used across devices and I enjoy it. It’s made to take in the Evernote format and convert it, too, so you don’t have to lose your data, just make sure to export your notes before you close your account. It is a little thin on features, but it does the job for me.

      1. beep beep*

        There is a small fee for the cross-device use, but the fee is indeed small, and I’m happy to support the devs’ open-source work.

      2. Pizza Rat*

        Can you use Joplin on the web? I thought it was app-only and I can’t install anythng on my work computer.

    5. Arlo*

      If you haven’t looked at Notion you might want to, there’s a bit of a learning curve getting used to the block editing but otherwise it’s got a lot of features and the web version works really well.

    6. Rick Tq*

      I used the Drafts section of my Gmail mailbox for notes, you can probably use any email account the same way.

      As long as the message isn’t addressed it will sit there forever in Gmail.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          A workaround I’ve done for this is to send the email to myself at the end of each day, then copy the text into a reply, send the reply at the end of the day, and repeat.

    7. kalli*

      following – I’m looking for an app that works on any device but will wrap text as I type; for some reason I can only find ones that have preset ‘screen’ sizes and only drop to the next row at a particular width regardless of zoom or font size, so I end up typing and not seeing what I type!

    8. English Rose*

      Google Tiago Forte’s website and his YouTube channel. He has some great recommendations for note-taking apps that specifically suit different personality types and use models.

    9. Xmas music*

      I use workflowy – you can use the mobile app, desktop app, or just use it in a browser on any device. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have end to end encryption.

    10. Goddess47*

      Late to the discussion but I use Standard Notes (standardnotes dot com).

      There’s a free version that works across platforms you can try. I bought in early and got a lifetime license but $45 a year with the added features isn’t bad.

  5. Dr. Doll*

    Is this a matter of organizational POLICY or federal/state LAW?

    University. Tenured professor. Literally decades of complaints about racist, sexist behavior. Terrible teacher. Vindictive and punitive toward anyone who complains. Tons of documentation. Chair talks to dean every term, also takes professor to task every term. Nothing is ever, ever done administratively. Professor still teaching.

    This is because nothing is ever quite so blatant that you can for sure, for SURE, say it’s sexist or racist. So despite the piles and piles of documentation, the Offices That Be say that the STUDENTS who are affected must be the ones to make a complaint, they must come forward.

    This seems absolutely ludicrous to me, like Kafka-esque in its insanity.

    So: Is the requirement that the *student*, the most vulnerable person in the situation, be the one to complain, a matter of LAW, or of institutional POLICY?

    ‘Cause institutional policy can be changed. Not easily, but hella lot easier than federal law.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      IANAL, but that definitely sounds like a policy issue. People are complaining in the context of the university and who it chooses to employ, this isn’t a criminal complaint to the police.

    2. Generic Name*

      Maybe it’s more that the institution cares more about their own policies than federal law? If the professor is doing something illegal under federal law, has anyone alerted he federal agency charged with overseeing the law? The EEOC, or if it’s a criminal matter, the local police?

    3. Observer*

      Is the requirement that the *student*, the most vulnerable person in the situation, be the one to complain, a matter of LAW, or of institutional POLICY?

      Definitely policy. It is possible that technically, the law only *requires* action when someone directly affected complains. But, the law definitely *allows* action without it. Tenure issues might complicate that, but that’s not a matter of law. Also, as a matter of law, when an organization “knew about” or “should have known about” an issue, their liability goes waaaay up if they get sued or the EEOC (or whatever agency) goes after them.

    4. Fancy Ass Crackers*

      IANAL but I agree that it sounds like institutional policy. You don’t have to be the target of racist/sexist comments to have a legal claim to hostile work environment, especially if you’re a witness

      1. Rage*

        Right. Because even if it’s not aimed at me, it’s going to impact me. Because I will know that it’s not safe to speak up, or raise a question or concern – or even just “he said that about HER, what will he say about me?”

    5. University Worker*

      Policy. Tenure has nothing to do with federal law, and it’s not meant to be a cover for bad behavior. Title IX *is* federal law, and that’s theoretically supposed to protect students.

      The university is at fault here (along with the bigot professor, obviously). They can act, and they’re choosing not to.

      1. Snooks*

        Retired tenured prof here. It is policy! Even when I offered to accompany the students when they reported the problem, they always refused. A very few times in my 39 year career I took the concerns forward, and some action took place. These were very serious situations.


    6. RNL*

      I’m not in the US nor in academia, but I re-wrote the policy at my last workplace (with legal advice) for this exact reason, to explicitly allow (and actually require) leaders to make certain kinds of complaints on information and belief. The absolutely obtuse audacity to put the onus on the most vulnerable (in my case junior staff and students) to bring forward complaints the facts of which are well-known to the organization is shocking.

      We lowered the at least perceived bar to make complaints (for instance, by calling it workplace conduct instead of bullying/harassment) and leaders started bringing matters forward at much earlier stages. I feel like it was a really positive development.

    7. Rainy*

      It’s policy–each institution interprets the law, and they all tend to interpret it slightly differently. In my institution, anyone who is made aware of a behaviour that violates the law must report it to the office that handles such things.

      There have recently been some policy changes here that mean that reports from third parties are more likely to be deemed actionable now than they were several years ago, due to a really horrific situation that everyone knew about, many reported, but the office that handles such things didn’t act on because the perpetrator was taking advantage of a loophole baked into the institutional interpretation of the relevant legislation.

      That loophole has since been removed, but I am still extremely leery of reporting things that fall in that gray area due to the reception I got about six years ago when I reported something that I *knew*–not suspected, knew, and could provide ample proof of–the person had done at another institution that formed a pattern of behaviour that was intolerable and a legal risk for our institution if we were later found to have shielded the person, and I was told that I was wasting the office’s time by reporting a pattern of behaviour that had happened elsewhere.

    8. dear liza dear liza*

      I’ve been in academia for 20+ years. Is there a third choice beyond POLICY and LAW? Because these kinds of things happen all the time but they are not written down in any kind of formal way. University administrators are most afraid of unions, and of lawsuits. So if a known bad actor is tenured and is still in their position, it’s probably FEAR. They can hide a lot from the press by saying “we don’t discuss personnel issues” so it’s very, very rare that they fear bad press.

      If a tenured professor brings in a lot of grant money, has close ties to someone on the board, or is connected to big donors, they are nearly untouchable.

      I worked on a campus where a professor had a long history of inappropriate behavior and finally, a student recorded him on her phone and then she shared the recording with a family member who was a lawyer. The prof was put on (paid) leave for the rest of the semester and then took “early retirement” in the next round of buyouts.

      1. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

        Now I’m thinking of Sara Ahmed’s book “Complaint”. That’s about the nature of this kind of thing.

      2. Fungible token*

        Yeah- going to the press also works. Happened in the 90’s where I went to school. Once it becomes public, the pressure helps them get off their a$$es.

    9. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      Nothing is topping you from doing two things: consulting an attorney, and opening a case file with the EEOC. Neither of those two things will necessarily launch any action, if you’re concerned about your job. A really good attorney can clarify a lot of questions, and some do free consultations — just make sure to do the work of finding a reputable one through the local chapter of the American Bar Association.

      Also, opening a case file at the EEOC does not start an action. You can make an appointment, go see an agent, give them all of the details, and at the end they ask you if you want to file a claim — you can say no. They then hold on to your case for a year. Between that, and getting questions clarified with an attorney, you’ll feel a whole lot more capable of figuring out what to do, even if you end up not doing anything.

    10. KathyG*

      Dr. Doll, would it be possible to quietly poll students who have nothing more to fear from this professor, e.g., students in their final year with no intention of doing grad studies at your institution? Perhaps one or more of them would be willing to bring forward a complaint.

    11. Red Flags Everywhere*

      Is the tenured professor doing any federally funded research? Because a complaint to a funding agency will be escalated. There are all sorts of new requirements for NIH/NSF (among others) recipients. And take advantage of the anonymous hotline. Also agree with those who suggest going to the media. Let them do the research, dig up the previous victims, etc.

    12. Moo*

      Something that might be relevant and helpful was the Review report Harvard did on Sexual Harassment recently. It was in response to pretty egregious persistent failure to protect people from a known offender. It outlines many of the systemic failures. It’s not perfect, but I found it useful and providing an additional viewpoint to the stuff I already had in the area

  6. Single Noun*

    A commenter mentioned a bit ago that they work in a morgue- I believe it was Pdweasel? If you see this, I have a bunch of weird random questions I’d love to ask (for vampire larp backstory purposes, I promise I’m not planning a heist).

    (Happy to wait and put this on the weekend thread, not sure if this counts as work-related or non.)

      1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

        Sounds like an excellent job focus role interview thingy that Alison has done in the past?

    1. Rainy*

      I would read the hell out of “Alison and a commenter interview someone who works in a morgue”, for the record. ;)

    2. RagingADHD*

      If the commenter doesn’t see this, I recommend DP Lyle’s books “Forensics and Fiction,” “Murder and Mayhem,” and I think there’s at least one more.

      The author is a doctor and used to have a Q&A blog for mystery writers, which he turned into books. He helped me with the details on my first mystery, actually.

    3. Mornington Cresent*

      There’s always Ask a Mortician on YouTube, I bet some of her videos might answer some of your questions!

  7. Square Root of Minus One*

    Hello everyone, hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.
    I’m looking for some wisdom from the hive mind. I’ve seen questions similar to mine in the archive, but the usual answer (“just leave it off the resume”) is not really an option here.

    I used to have the almost-dream job, well-paid and rewarding, with government (non-American). I’m still with them, but for personal reasons, I had to transfer to another city 15 months ago… the job here is different, and I hate it now.
    Lots of reasons but mostly we’re severely understaffed here and as a result I don’t have the team I should have. I work almost entirely alone. I do the job of the two paygrades below mine, and barely even have time to do, much less enjoy, my own job as I used to. Imagine being an architect doing the bulk of construction work. (Not that I think badly of construction work, nor their equivalent in my field, but it’s not my strength.)

    I’m thinking of leaving, but I’ll need time, and I’m worried my abilities as an architect will wither with time (I already feel like my brain is shrinking), and that my resume will be weaker.

    So… is there a spin I could put on it to have accomplishments in a below-my-grade job, that I’m not thinking of?

    (So far I’ve put something like “single-handedly plans, executes and reports department’s X function” but I’m not sure)

    1. Tio*

      So, you’re doing your level job + the lower level jobs? Or just the lower level jobs?

      If it’s the first, then I wouldn’t mention the lower level aspects all that much. What you have is a good line, but try and drive the attention to the higher level functions.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Agree if your current work is mostly the lower level work.

        Have your current job list a smaller number of bullets (maybe 1-2) of accomplishments, then have morbe bullets in your previous job (3-5), so reviewers get to that faster and can see more of what you’ve done that’s relevant to the more senior work.

        Adding a risky suggestion: You could include in the first bullet something about your current situation, e.g.,

        *Successfully balanced the state’s budget, despite also having to process payments receivable and purchase orders for the entire branch.

        It shows you’re accomplishing/handling work that normally would be distributed to more junior teammates, which may inform the screener that you don’t have a typical team. The risk is seeming like a micromanager or like you can’t delegate, so maybe put it into your cover letter instead (or expand on it in your cover letter).

        1. linger*

          Another risk in including the lower-level duties is that OP presumably does not want to keep doing those as part of any future role. So they’re left with a tricky balance between {focussing CV on the skills they have for the job they want} and
          {explaining lower-than-ideal progress in current role}.
          I think the CV has to prioritize the first of these; the second could wait until an interview, and then only if directly asked, and with an immediate pivot to what OP finds attractive about the role sought.

      2. Square Root of Minus One*

        I do both jobs… as well as I can.
        But the lower-level work tends to have a higher proportion of time-sensitive tasks… so most higher-level is done only when it’s calm.
        Thanks for the answer, it’s close to what I’m doing already. I was mostly worried about “that’s really not many bullet points” :)

    2. That’s a nice motorcycle*

      I had to take over tasks a step below mine this summer but with exposure to software I hadn’t used before, and spun it as that on my resume. I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks. Sorry that happened to you! It can really suck when you’re stuck with extra work and it doesn’t even feel like anyone else understands the extent of it (if I’m not just projecting).

      1. Square Root of Minus One*

        I may be able to do something like the software (some machine maintenance, which I didn’t do that much before).
        If I had a clear end date to this I would push through, but I’ve been misled already: mostly, someone got hired, I was supposed to share him with another team… and they took him 100% because KPIs say they need him more -_- (which is true, if you don’t consider how weary I am). So, back to square one.
        How much they understand, idk, and I’m past caring. I’ve expressed I don’t like it, the result is the same.

        Congrats on the new job!

        1. That’s a nice motorcycle*

          Thanks and sorry. Hope you can get back to “architecting” soon.

          I actually had trouble expressing that my “construction work” was part of why I was leaving. Every process is triplicated, every move wildly redundant, and I couldn’t figure out how to streamline. My boss seems to want to put it down to personalities of the 2nd department but I really don’t get the sense she’s paying attention to me when I’m trying to explain my job… which isn’t really my problem anymore!

    3. Trawna*

      I suggest not addressing the difference is circumstance, and just putting in both locations:

      Architect, Company, City 20xx-20xx & City 20xx-20xx

      1. Square Root of Minus One*

        Ah… I didn’t mention that, but both sites aren’t similar, they don’t deal with the same… kind of buildings. Like live-in buildings vs public halls. Wouldn’t that be misleading on my experience on both?

    4. JSPA*

      maybe, “won plaudits for X months’ temporary coverage of workload of entire department (normally covered by 3 full-time staff)”? Or, “cross-trained in two hands-on construction roles”?

    5. linger*

      One spin to consider (for interviews rather than the CV) is: what have you learned, from wearing multiple hats in your current role, about how to work with/ manage others performing the lower-level roles?

  8. Freelancing volunteer*

    I’d really appreciate some advice about norms for where volunteering and freelancing intersect! There’s a situation I’m pretty upset about.

    I’m trying to break into freelancing in a niche creative area (let’s say approximately interior design). In order to build up my confidence and experience, and hopefully get good some references so I can approach commercial/corporate spaces with some work under my belt, I approached a community space about doing some work for them pro bono. (Minimal paid staff, mostly volunteer-run, operates to help members of a marginalised group of which I’m a member, raises funds through a cafe area). I spoke to the manager “Aiden” (who was just about to transition to a part-time role) who was very enthusiastic about my services, and we set up a meeting to discuss things the following week with him and the other (full-time) manager “Betty”. When I arrived for the meeting, both Aiden and Betty were off sick, but I spoke with volunteer “Cass” who was similarly excited, showed me around the space, and let me take a lot of notes and photographs so I could get to work on a plan. Cass sent an email to Aiden and Betty, saying I’d come in for the meeting and was preparing some ideas. I didn’t hear back from anyone, but was in the cafe space a week later, so asked staff member “Demi” if A, B, or C happened to be around. She asked me what it was about, I said it was about doing [specific interior design/maintenance thing], and she said: “Oh, no, we’ve already got someone who does that.” I asked if she was sure, because I’d spoken to management and multiple volunteers and this had been on the cards for nearly a month, and she replied “nobody mentioned this to me, I’m the volunteer coordinator, and I brought on my buddy Egbert to do it a couple weeks ago because I noticed nobody was doing it”. I said I’d spoken to Aiden and had had a meeting booked with him and Betty to discuss it; Demi said that Aiden had left. I was super surprised and (maybe disproportionately?) hurt by this – I’m sure it wasn’t malicious from Demi, but wow it felt shitty to have put a bunch of effort into this client and then be told unceremoniously that I wasn’t needed. I sent a message to Cass asking what had happened, and clarifying that for me this hadn’t just been about taking on a generic volunteer shift, but having a chance to build my skills and career opportunities as a member of [marginalised group]. She apologised that I’d been messed around so badly and said she’d look into it. That was a week ago. I checked in with her today and she said she still hadn’t had any clarity on what had happened.

    I realise that this is probably just the kind of disorganisation that happens in volunteer-run orgs, but I feel so upset about this! There was definitely some amount of paper trail showing that I’d pitched this to management and been met with approval, and I feel like Demi and Egbert gazumped me in a really cruddy way, even if it was unintentional. And like, maybe Egbert is also trying to build skills for breaking into this niche interior design thing, but in the absence of any info about that, I’ve got this really bitter feeling that something I really wanted/needed has been taken by someone who maybe doesn’t want/need it as much, AND I got here first and was talking to someone at a higher level than Demi. Is there anything I can/should be doing about this, or should I just chalk it up to experience and consider the opportunity lost unless I hear from Cass?

    (I suspect I will be advised to just let it go. Which is probably the sensible thing to do, but also, urggghhhh. I would also appreciate some sense of how ‘valid’ my emotional response to all this is.)

    1. Rachel*

      I am only saying this because you specifically asked for it.

      I think if you are sincerely interested in transitioning into a freelance, small business, role you need to get a contract for services rendered, even if it’s volunteer, and do not get attached to anything until you have a contract.

      I am also going to say that your line of thinking that the other person doesn’t want it as badly as you is not going to help you long term. Contracts are not awarded or declined on who wants it more, partially because this is impossible to measure. If you can let anything go in this situation, it would be this.

      1. Freelancing volunteer*

        Thank you, this is really helpful. I got the impression there was going to be a contract at the meeting with Aiden and Betty, but Cass didn’t have the authority to do the paperwork for it. And yeah, I’m rationally aware that I know almost nothing about Egbert’s desires or skills, it’s just an insidious feeling – and one that I clearly do need to pick apart and get rid of.

    2. Observer*

      I think you are probably taking this way more personally than is warranted. And also, probably more emotionally than is wise.

      Even if paid gigs stuff happens. Change of plans, disorganization, etc. Also, while people owe it to you to be respectful of your time, I see no indication that most of the players were being disrespectful. Aiden should have told you that he was on his way out. But not Cass, and *certainly* not Demi and Egbert.

      Other than that, no one owes you anything here. Certainly not this gig. *Especially* not Demi and even less so Egbert. On top of which, you have no idea why he is doing this and whether he “needs it less” than you. That’s all fiction that does you no good. Not that that would make a difference – even he didn’t need it as much as you do, there would be no obligation on his part. The fact that you have no idea is just another thing that would be useful for you to recognize.

      I get it – this really does stink. And it feels like you were jerked around. But the bitterness is not going to help you. On the other hand, now you know how badly you can get bitten by disorganized organizations, volunteer run or not. It’s probably worth your while to figure out how to spot these kinds of issues and protect yourself going forward.

      1. Freelancing volunteer*

        Thank you for this shot of perspective – I appreciate the validation of how much this sucks plus the reminder that this almost certainly wasn’t as personal as it feels. It does feel like I’ve been jerked around, but yeah, in a sort of emergent way rather than in a way where any one person can be blamed. Looking at it rationally, it’s “just one of those things” that happens. I was super invested because I’m a regular user of the space and a member of the community and it felt like such a positive opportunity.

        (I don’t know if Demi meant Aiden had left the organisation entirely or just had left management. My feeling about being gazumped was coming from the (entirely fictional) supposition that maybe Demi had seen Cass’ email about the service I was offering and brought in her pal to do it before I could close the deal, but yeah, that’s paranoid fanfiction and very unlikely to have actually happened.)

    3. Gyne*

      Definitely valid to be upset! It sounds like this place is pretty disorganized and in hindsight, not meeting with anyone in leadership ever was kind of a red flag. I also think it’s a case where if people don’t pay for something, they don’t value it – you were already offering up your services for free, so nobody in this organization was out any time or money by not using your labor. I hope this doesn’t sound victim-blamey because I really don’t mean it that way!! But you also don’t have any recourse here – you didn’t have a contract, your work was going to be pro bono anyway. And you did kind of gain some experience – although not the kind you wanted or had in mind – but experience navigating the leadership structure in a disorganized community org. It’s 100% in your best interest to just drop this place and find somebody else, and now you’ve got a little more experience about setting up an agreement with a place that values your time and effort before investing a lot of time and energy into it.

      1. Freelancing volunteer*

        Thank you! I didn’t read it as victim-blamey, don’t worry :) Aiden was in leadership at the time we spoke, but yeah, if he was on the way out then it really matters that I didn’t get to meet Betty. I guess one reason I’m quite emotionally invested is because I’ve been using the space as a member of the community and intend to continue doing so – a lot of events are held there, so I can’t just fully cut ties / forget about it, so I think part of me just really wants this to work so I don’t feel crappy every time I’m there. But I can at least try and let it go!

      2. Sharon*

        That’s really an excellent point – OP did gain experience needed for running a freelance business, because LOTS of times you have a bunch of conversations that end up going nowhere and you need to learn how to evaluate potential clients and set boundaries so that you don’t spend all of your time marketing/pitching/drawing up bids for people that are unlikely to actually hire you.

        1. Malarkey01*

          This would be my biggest advice. With these types of freelance services you are often spending time on pitches that go nowhere or where you lose out to another provider. There are also meetings that don’t result in anything and you need to get really clear in meetings on WHO can make the decision, WHAT they need to make it, and HOW do we move forward at the end of the meeting.
          It stings a little more since you were volunteering but this is a big lesson for future projects.
          (It’s also 100% valid to be sad it didn’t work, frustrated that you didn’t get further, and disappointed at a missed chance).
          If you’re still looking to volunteer you can let Demi know and ask if there are ways you and E could split the work or collaborate.
          Best of luck!!

    4. WellRed*

      But you never met with anyone in leadership? I wouldn’t have taken on all that planning on the say so of a volunteer (maybe I’m missing something here). Also, the organization does not owe you the chance to build your portfolio. Finally look at your comments about Egbert. Totally unfair and full of assumptions. He didn’t “take” anything from you. It wasn’t yours to begin with. Step way back and take a breath.

      1. Freelancing volunteer*

        Aiden was paid management, about to transition to part-time volunteer for personal reasons, and set up the meeting for me to talk to the other paid manager Betty. Demi said that Aiden “left” but I don’t know if that means he’s now fully gone from the organisation, or just that he left his management role.

        I know that my feeling about Egbert is based on very little information – I hope I was clear that it was a _feeling_ rather than a reasoned assessment, and one that I’m trying to unpick, so I do appreciate the perspective that it’s unfair. My sense of the gig having been “taken” was because it really felt like it was in the bag, I’d been talking to management, there was a paper trail, there was no indication that they’d even considered they might want this service before I pitched it to Aiden. I guess on some level I was feeling like maybe Demi saw the email about the service I was offering and decided to bring in someone she personally knew/liked to do this, hence feeling gazumped. But that’s quite a paranoid reading, and the simplest explanation is probably just that it’s normal lapses in communication, especially with someone transitioning out of management.

        Thank you for the advice. I will do my best to step back and breathe.

        1. JSPA*

          while it’s not impossible, it’s also true that if you saw the need, then the need was there for others to see, as well.

          And, well, you sailed past some reddish flags, even if the exact nature wasn’t clear. “people who are stepping back / do not have authority like my stuff, but not enough to show up for a meeting” or “people who are stepping back / do not have authority like my stuff, but what little status they have is fast-disappearing” or “this organization isn’t actually organized in any meaningful sense of the word, so nobody can put me in touch with someone who has signing authority” are all possible readings… and none bode well for doing a bunch of work up-front.

          But the work can still go in your portfolio; a lot of portfolios are “concept”-rich.

    5. Cordelia*

      both of the things in your last paragraph can be true at once. Your emotional response is valid, but also I think you will have to let it go
      It sounds like you thought you were “freelancing” – drawing up plans and making a pitch – but this doesn’t seem to have been agreed by anyone else, who presumably thought you were “volunteering”.
      It’s not very fair though to blame this on Demi and Egbert (its not really a matter for blame at all, really) – you have no idea why Egbert is doing it, but perhaps he is just volunteering his time to be helpful, which is what it seems the organisation thought you were also doing. Demi and Egbert didn’t know you existed, so they were hardly “gazumping” you. You will need to be able to take things less personally if you are going to have a freelance career.
      Volunteering and freelancing(even pro bono) don’t really intersect, they are two different things, so next time you probably need to be clearer about what you are offering, and don’t start drawing up lots of plans before the organisation confirms what they want from you.

    6. RagingADHD*

      If you’re going to be mad, be mad at the right person. Aiden is the one who “gazumped” you if anyone did.

      He was the one with actual authority to approve a major project. He was the one who apparently left without documenting or telling anyone you were working on the project.

      Why blame Demi or Egbert? They had no idea you existed, much less that you were working on this.

      1. Posting from my dang phone*

        Just for clarity, “gazumped” doesn’t mean “generically screwed over”, it’s sniping someone on a deal that was verbally agreed, so they lose out on the contract at the last minute

    7. JSPA*

      Many / most designs you pitch will not lead to contracts. That’s the nature of things. For everyone. And you have to temper your expectations, build in checkpoints, have contracts (or conditional payments for paid work), accordingly. Same reason that tradespeople often have a set fee to come and diagnose (or write proposals) which is then applied to the cost of the job, if & when they get the job. If the client instead decides to go on youtube and fix the appliance themselves, the person who diagnosed at least has their $50 or $75 for doing the diagnosis.

  9. Fancy Ass Crackers*

    What should I bring to the work holiday potluck? I was thinking a fancy charcuterie board, but I’m worried that would be showing off. I don’t feel like cooking

    1. Freelancing volunteer*

      Will most people even know it’s from you? (Also, is that username a reference to Cheap Ass Rolls? :D )

    2. Single Noun*

      For something a bit less fancy but similarly storebought, maybe chips and seven-layer dip or artichoke dip?

    3. Bluebell*

      Less pricey but there’s always the crudites, hummus and crackers of varying fanciness option. or nice cut fruit platter? These are both very low effort, especially if you have a nicer grocery store and you don’t want to chop anything yourself.

    4. Jm*

      If you’re worried about too fancy, maybe narrow your focus, like fruit and cheese, fancy olives and pickles, cheese and crackers. I love charcuterie

    5. Amber Rose*

      Is dessert an option? Nobody turns their nose up at a big plate of cookies, and you can buy cookies anywhere.

    6. Be Gneiss*

      I think if that is what you want to bring and you **enjoy** bringing it, then that’s a great idea. I don’t find it show-off-y when people genuinely like it, whether that’s making something from scratch, or getting a treat from the fancy bakery, or doing a charcuterie board. It’s only showing off when they spend the whole event talking about how much work it was and/or how much it cost. I love to bake and don’t have a lot of reason to in my real life, so when I can bring something for work it’s fun to do something that might be a little “extra” because I have a reason to do it. Similarly, we have a guy who works remotely, but when he’s in the office once a quarter or so, he brings a treat from a local place because it gives him an excuse to go there. I guess it’s like finding an excuse to wear fancy shoes or use the good dishes or whatever.

      1. RLC*

        Agree 100%! Once had a colleague who made homemade peanut butter cup sweets, obviously a LOT of work but such a delight, there were 60 – some employees and she made enough for all. Another colleague brought ultra-fancy fruit tarts from bakery near her home. After many ooohs and aaahs at the beauty we all enjoyed a treat we’d never normally indulge in. Thirty years on I still remember the widespread joy when those yummy treats appeared.

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      My go-to is an old-school cheese ball (Stonewall Kitchen old farmhouse chutney cheese ball) and some crackers. It’s cream cheese, shredded cheese (I usually use sharp cheddar), chutney (mango or something similar works the best), garlic, and green onions. The key is to chop the chutney very fine so it mixes well with the cheeses. I first made it for a retro-themed potluck at work and then had to make it for every other potluck (regardless of the theme) because people really loved it.

    8. Observer*

      but I’m worried that would be showing off.

      Why? Is this something that is so expensive that most of the staff could not afford it? Other than something like that, I can’t see how it would read like “show off”. Unless you made a Big Deal about it. But that’s not happening.

    9. Csethiro Ceredin*

      I suppose it depends on the workplace but it would never occur to me to think someone was showing off – I would just think yum. Unless you go full “cheese made from sheep’s milk only gathered at dawn and rolled in fresh Provencal herbs” or whatever.

      We always have WAY too many sweets so I usually do a dip and crudites, which is generally popular and you can make it look pretty. Someone also makes bocconcini and cherry tomato and basil skewers drizzled with balsamic – everyone loves those.

      But personally I would be thrilled to see charcuterie!

    10. Fancy Ass Crackers*

      Thanks, everyone! These were good words of advice and I feel better about making a decision now.

  10. Blueprint blues*

    does anyone have any recommendations on how to up my SQL skills? preferably in the intermediate to advanced level, with answers.

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      What kinds of things are you currently using SQL for and do you have anything specific in mind about where you’d like to go with the new skills you’re hoping to learn?

        1. Observer*

          The question still remains – what kind of work would you be doing? Like, if you are in HR and you can show off some queries on surveys or performance reviews, etc. that’s going to be interesting. And it might even cross over to sales, where you are looking at customer surveys. But if you are in logistics management, no one is going to care. There, queries around time management, supplier information etc. are going to be a lot more interesting.

          I’m obviously being *extremely* generic. But my *actionable* advice here is to think about the kinds of information people in your area of work / areas your work interfaces with would be interested in and build out from there. Because having someone who understands the field and what “people like me” (whoever “me” is) are looking for makes you far more valuable and can really give you an edge. This is especially true if you are not primarily a developer, but use SQL as part of a larger role.

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      HackerRank has a lot of “puzzles” on SQL and various other languages. I think the best way though (and provides material for a resume) is to create your own project, make up your own use cases. Show that you know how to apply it as well as ‘academically’ knowing the answer.

    3. Busy Middle Manager*

      How do you classify intermediate/advanced? Have you been making and updating your own tables? Creating processes to update tables or email out reports at set intervals? Have you truly dealt with all of the date and number formatting issues out there (some of which are labelled “beginner” but don’t come up until many of us are more advanced)?

      At a certain point, what is considered advanced to one person may sound simply to one person because they worked with different data.

      For example, I recently struggled to create a process to add fees based on the number of calendar months but I also wanted it to round months up or down depending on the customer type but my process kept rounding up. This was a hard one for me personally to get to work and I had to go through 100 articles to find the one quick trick that worked

      I also found that once I self-labelled as advanced I needed to back and clean up old queries I keep reusing. Some for example could use better date formatting formulas. Some could use the datediff function instead of my longer if before or after formulas. Some queries created duplicate rows for 1 in 10K rows because another table (erroneously) had a duplicate row in there when it shouldn’t have so I had to create a workaround for those rare situations I hadn’t noticed….

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Yes, this! I love cleaning up my old queries. Really, what happens is I look at one that I haven’t looked at in six months or a year and suddenly see all these ways it could be so much better based on what I’ve learned in the time since I originally wrote it. Learning how to use temporary tables was a game changer for my particular work and I’m still finding old queries that can benefit from being updated to included them.

        1. Busy Middle Manager*

          Oh I use so many temporary tables because one database I use does not calculate so many obvious figures. For example, customer balance is not a field you can query. You need to create it and do lots of math and deal with the number formatting issues involved in that! So dumb BTW. Then there are a bunch of data issues, for example, bills on file that got reversed or never went out, so you end up creating a complicated query with lots of items in the where clause, just to get the “invoiced” side of the equation. So you end up breaking it all down into separate temp tables, so in case something goes wrong, you can create each table one at a time and find the issue.

    4. ildrummer*

      If you haven’t yet, learn about database normalization, primary/foreign keys, and indexing. although not directly SQL skills, knowing some of the fundamental concepts of database design will help you develop intelligent queries. You can practice creating your own db on paper, too, no need to program your own.

    5. A.P.*

      SQL is not really a big language. There are only a couple of dozen statements in the base implementation. (Although each version has their own twists.) Do you know all the statements? I would start there. Try to go through the entire language at or a similar site and see how much you know and how much you don’t. Then get some sample data, start writing sample queries until you know how to construct a query using any of the statements.

      I’ve done a lot of SQL interviews over the year and I’d say what trips up most people are the GROUP BY and HAVING clauses. If you understand when and how to use those, I can almost guarantee you will do well on any SQL interview.

      I would also focus on some understanding of database concepts, particularly primary & foreign keys and how to use them for query optimization.

  11. Amber Rose*

    Having a social committee has sucked the fun straight out of event planning for me. Everyone wants to do things that interest them but would likely make the event miserable for everyone around them. Also they have a habit of promising things then changing their minds last minute, which is why I have to go out today and try and find a microphone for tonight.

    I’ve been doing this for 7 years now, this is the first year I’m forced to include the others, and I don’t wanna anymore. But I dread what kind of nonsense will fall upon us if I’m not around to at least veto the worst of it.

    I’ve asked 6 questions in the group chat and had zero answers and one thumbs up emoji and I just. Hate everyone today.

    1. Lilith*

      I’ve been on many a social committee, and I know exactly what you mean – I don’t think I have any advice, but lots of commiserations!

    2. BellaStella*

      Haha I can commiserate. I tried to plan some fun lunches out because big boss likes fun things but they never attended any of these lunches. And when we did a poll on dates and places I got told not to do polls, then two weeks later was told to do a poll because again this person’s calendar was not up to date so i had no idea they were gone. So as of now I do not plan anything at all. Sadly my attempts were in response to a well being survey to try to improve morale.

    3. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Ugh. I could never do that – it stresses me out enough to begin with to be able to handle the situations you’re describing!

      I’ve done versions of this where I’ve collected input and then said “ok I have gotten xyz input, the plan is for x to happen unless you let me know otherwise by x date”. And then when I get the inevitable good idea fairy, I just tell them great idea! We will make note of it for next year.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      You get sympathy from me rather than any good advice because it’s something I have trouble navigating myself.

      When this is all over, I suggest you go watch the 1992 movie “Buffy the vampire slayer” and let out your frustration by laughing at the dance-committee the sub plot. :)

    5. English Rose*

      It’s the 80/20 rule, but half the time it feels like 99/1. One percent of the people making the effort on behalf of the 99 percent who want to be spoonfed. Commiserations from me too.

    6. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      Why not just quit the social committee? Your Auntie (this would be Aunt Mental Health) has taken a turn for the worse and you need to minister to her. Let your coworkers grouse — apparently they like to do so, and are really good at it, so consider it a gift to them as well as to yourself.

    7. Goddess47*

      Tagging on to what Tangerina said…

      Quit and let it get really bad. Think of it as Malicious Compliance. If it gets really bad, someone (maybe even the boss) will finally speak up. If you’re lucky, the committee will even go away.

      Good luck!

  12. Lilith*

    I’m about to start a new job which will be completely office-based, after working solely from home since 2020. I think my social skills are still just about acceptable, but I have lost all track of style and clothing choices I used to make for business-casual office – does anyone have any recommendations for websites or blogs that are fairly up to date?

    I am a plus-sized, nearly-middle-aged person and when I look online everything I find seems to be very ‘instagram looks’ (I’m not sure entirely what I mean with that, but I hope you know what I mean?), but when I try to put together outfits myself it’s all just frumpier and more sedate than I would like to present myself. Any ideas? Anyone else gone through this?

    1. Elle*

      As a middle aged person in an office it seems that most of us our Lands End fans. Lots of washable mix and match. Nothing fancy or overly stylish. Some of us have had success mixing things up using Stitch Fix.

    2. Jan Levinson Gould*

      If it works with your budget, I have had good experiences with the personal shopper service at Nordstrom. Stress to them that you are seeking classic looks / designs that will not go out of style soon. I’ve also done Stitchfix – I kind of hate subscription services, but I’ve obtained some nice pieces from them as well.

      1. Crunchy Granola*

        I’ve also done StitchFix and while they are not cheap, I did get some nice pieces. Most importantly, they fit my short plump body. No hemming needed!

      2. Firebird*

        How do you get started with a personal shopper? I’m petite, short-waisted and overweight, but not obese. I hate shopping and I don’t even know what size I am now. Do they want an upfront budget? Will they admit it if they don’t carry my size?

        1. Insinuendo*

          I’ve used the personal shopper at Nordstrom a few times, and it helped me figure out the styles that look good on my short-waisted body. You give them your measurements and/or tell them the size clothing you’re wearing now, even if it doesn’t fit well. They may pull a few pieces for you to try on right away but they will adjust what they select based on how you look in those items. They will shop across departments, including shoes and undergarments if you need them. They’ll bring it all to you, including alterations if you need them. That was helpful for me because I didn’t realize certain things could be altered to have clothing look better on my body type. You can let them know your budget before you start or let them know, for instance, you are looking for only one item. You’ll have a conversation with the stylist before you come in so they have an idea of what you need. Don’t feel obligated to buy everything or anything but you might get some ideas from the items they bring to complete a look.

      3. JSPA*

        Even without a shopper, nordstrom were very kind and helpful when I went in (in cargo shorts and tank top) and said “unexpected funeral” or “unexpected in-person interview.” My only requests were “fits semi-loose, not too feminine, and nothing dramatic or memorable, as it’s not about my clothing.” They know that if they pick well, you’ll be back.

    3. Pam Adams*

      I’m also plus size. My business casual- at a university- is black slacks and branded polos or a nice top.

    4. Damn it, Hardison!*

      J Crew and J Crew Factory have good basics and sizing. The latter is a bit less expensive and is always having sales. Most of my work clothes come from there these days, and I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve bought. Talbots and J Jill are also good.

      1. carcinization*

        I used to do this too, but over the past couple of years all of the shirts I ordered were a couple of inches too short to be work-appropriate… like, I can still wear an old size L shirt of theirs and not worry about my midriff showing, but the XXLs I buy now are shorter than the old size Ls, whether or not the fabric is stretchy. I wonder if they’ve turned this around very recently? I’d love to buy basics there again but no way can I be showing my belly button at work, nor do I want to.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      No real suggestions but solidarity – I haven’t worked in an office since 2015, and I donated almost all my work clothes way back then under the notion that if I was high enough up the org chart to have to be on site more than two or three times a year, I could cross that bridge when I came to it. (And I am not the same size I was then anyway. :-P )

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Actually one weird suggestion, but hear me out – the dress code website for female LDS missionaries is actually a halfway decent visual reference for office appropriate business casual, without being overly conservative, and they don’t even require their female missionaries to wear hose with knee length skirts. Their models are also (last I looked) not all skinny or white in their pictures, though they do trend a little younger than middle age because of the normal age of the missionaries.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That’s actually extremely historically interesting: It’s the origin of the classical Catholic nuns’ habit as well. The black&white outfit was instituted at a time when that matched what a respectable middle class woman would wear.

      2. Mztery1*

        I I’m also middle-aged and plus size and I will say Old Navy plus size clothes are really well-made and wear my office staples for a long time. I also like. Gudrun Sjojen (sp) but only their sale prices

    6. That’s a nice motorcycle*

      I have the same question but for a man. Every bit of marketing directed my way is either geek chic or a click away from a Joe Rogan podcast.

      1. English Rose*

        Check out the Gentleman’s Gazette website and YouTube channel for ideas. A lot of their stuff is a) expensive and b) extremely formal, but bear with me.
        Look out for videos by Kyle Thibodeaux, who has some great outfit formulas for business casual. I don’t mean necessarily to choose the clothes, but the ideas. (And no I’m not a man but I think male clothing is so much more interesting than I see for women.)

    7. KarenInKansas*

      Hi Lilith, I am in the same situation. Returning to the office setting in a new job, and all of my work clothes from before the pandemic magically shrunk in my closet over the past few years of freelancing. I went to JCPenney’s and found a couple of pieces that I really liked. I made note of the style and size (especially important with pants. Curvy vs slim fit can make a big difference! I think it’s odd to wear a plus size and order a slim fit but that’s what fits me best!) and have been ordering online like a crazy person every sale I find a sale. I have them delivered to my house, and can do returns when I am in town for free. St Johns Bay, Liz Claiborne, and a.n.a. work well for me: plus size, mid-50s, Midwest USA.

    8. Heather*

      I also did stitch fix and got great items to flesh out my wardrobe. For work pants, avenue has lots of options that are affordable online.
      I suggest going classic. Neutral plain pants, blouses and sweaters. Amazon has a few nice sweater options that come in many colors. Always looks out together and isn’t showy .

      Don’t be afraid to bring a few items to the tailor. If you get pants that are relatively cheap but can be tailored to look good, it can be worth it.

  13. Discouraged seeker*

    I am getting to the point where I feel like my resume and cover letter are just drowning in an ocean of other cover letters and resumes….I’ve heard anecdotally that HR staff in my field are astonished at the sheer volume of applications for roles.

    A part of me wants to contact recruiters or the hiring manager directly? To stand out and ask specific questions about the role. I think this approach has been discouraged in the past…but to be honest job applications feel like a lottery sometimes!

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      You’ll be better off making sure your cover letters and resume are effective than to be pestering people out of the blue. You’ll stand out stalking people, but not in a good way.
      Are you taking the time to write customized cover letters and tailor your resume for each job?
      Have you had someone in your field look over your resume and give suggestions?

    2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Don’t contact hiring managers unless you have a real connection (i.e., someone who has worked with you can refer you).

      Contacting an external recruiter is fine, though it probably won’t help.

      You are probably right, your cover letter and resume probably are competing with lots of others. There isn’t a workaround, besides:

      1) Having good, tailored materials and/or

      2) having highly desirable skills+experience, and

      3) Having a connection to a particular role.

      My latest job search (mid 2019-mid 2022) included almost 200 applications, almost everyone customized to the job. It sucked. A lot. So I would take breaks tonr

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        …take breaks from searching and applying, asked my network, volunteered, etc. You don’t need lots of job offers, you just need one good one.

        Hang in there!

    3. Qwerty*

      Contacting the hiring manager does not make you stand out. At least not in a good way. I have yet to see a cold message from a candidate that made me think it was worth skipping or bypassing the application process.

      Focusing on your cover letter is a better bet. When writing it, focus on explaining why your background is a good fit for this specific job. Read it out loud to yourself. Try skimming both cover letter and resume to see how it looks to a tired brain.

      Are there any industry or networking events you can go to? This is a good way to meet hiring managers, connect on LinkedIn and expand your network. If one of them mentions having an opening at their company, then it makes sense to message them after saying that you enjoyed meeting them and applied to the X position they mentioned.

    4. Banana Pyjamas*

      Personally I’ve had good luck with cold calling, but true cold calling where there’s no open positions posted. In 2016 one place refused to see me, the second hired me. They had to create a job posting to do so. In 2022, no response from 2, the 3rd forwarded my information to others in their network. 2023 I accidentally let it fall through the cracks but I was supposed to set up a phone interview after my initial email conversations went well. In 2016 I was cold calling in person, in 2022/23 I was cold calling via email, one via mail.

      On to your resume. Even though most applicant tracking systems (ATS) have you upload a word or pdf, many still convert to plain text. Save your resume as a plain text file and see if everything is still in order. You would be surprised how jumbled it can get.

      Headings can matter to the ATS. I suggest uploading your resume to Indeed to see if anything ends up in the miscellaneous category. I called my skills section Core Competencies and my skills ended up in Misc. I would definitely stick with traditional headings.

      Some systems don’t recognize derivatives. This means it’s important to match the verb tenses in the job listing. Some people are finicky about verb tense, but you have pass the ATS to get to a person.

  14. Anima*

    I did a stupid.
    My boss asked me and my collegue to review someones application, and we thought the guy sounded capable. I set an interview meeting (online), which I then could not attend because I forgot I had scheduled myself a holiday that day. Two colleagues interviewed the applicant. I revamped our take-home-assignment for applicants and was ready to sent it out when my boss called me and told me that we have no budget for a new person on the team. Now we’re in a pickle – interview went well, assignment went fairly well (we need to talk to the applicant again because I’m not totally happy with the assignment, this time I’ll make sure I can meet him) – but we can’t hire him.
    Granted, this was a bit my mistake because boss never exactly said to schedule an interview and I should have asked if we are ready to go. But I’ve interviewed people before and when I got the application, it always meant we are ready to hire them.
    What do I do now? Meet the applicant again, then reject him anyway (I might want to reject him anyway, depending what he explains about his assignment)? I’m wasting everybodys time here.

    Tell him now our budget changed and we can’t hire him? We might be able to hire in the spring, should I tell him?
    Any help is appreciated!

    1. Cordelia*

      he’s already done the assignment? If this was in any way time-consuming, I think you should compensate him for his time. And don’t waste his time any further by continuing the interview process.

    2. Crunchy Granola*

      Be honest and tell him the budget changed. Another interview would only lead him on and waste time, as you noted.

    3. Observer*

      Meet the applicant again, then reject him anyway

      Why is that even an option? I’m not being snarky. I’m confused.

      Tell him now our budget changed and we can’t hire him?

      That sounds like the obvious answer. Why would you *not* tell him that?

      1. Anima*

        No, I get you, it is stupid to proceed with the interview process. We (me, boss and colleagues) are waiting for big boss to maybe find some money, since we really need a person in that role, but when there is no money, I will not proceed with the interview process, of course. I also don’t want to waste my own time. ;)

    4. mreasy*

      I would just tell him your plans for the role have changed. No need to go into specifics if you haven’t made an offer that you have to pull. There’s no guarantee you would have hired him even if you hadn’t had the budget thing come up. (Though I agree that regardless any assignment more than an hour should be compensated, and I would make sure his work isn’t used and let him know that if you haven’t already.)

      1. Anima*

        I’m just glad I revamped the assignment, because it can’t be used – it’s already out. I also cut the expected time for completion in half, so we might compensate him.

  15. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I had to do two terminations this week, and thanks all for the advice and support in last week’s thread about it! They both went fairly well, though one of them no-showed her originally scheduled termination meeting (which was calendared as a 1:1 specific to her problem issue, obviously, not “Firing Fergusina”) and informed me later in the day that she would be available to meet with me at thus-and-such date and time instead, which was a bit of a shocker. But nobody cried or shouted, everyone was fairly calm and collected and the deed was done. And then I ate a giant wodge of pumpkin cheesecake.

    I also have suggested to someone in our education group (the section that handles leadership training and so on) that they should consider recording an on-demand style training/education session for managers on how to handle corrective actions and terminations, from both a logistics perspective and an emotional intelligence perspective. (Nobody wants to see that their boss is scheduled for a monthly session of “Punishing and Firing People 101,” and not doing it live removes some opportunities for interaction and Q&A, but on-demand would’ve let me address it in my own time when I needed the info.)

    1. Observer*

      though one of them no-showed her originally scheduled termination meeting (which was calendared as a 1:1 specific to her problem issue, obviously, not “Firing Fergusina”) and informed me later in the day that she would be available to meet with me at thus-and-such date and time instead,

      That seems to be an indicator of some of the problems I imagine you were having with her. How did you respond to her after the fact rescheduling attempt?

      I also have suggested to someone in our education group (the section that handles leadership training and so on) that they should consider recording an on-demand style training/education session for managers on how to handle corrective actions and terminations, from both a logistics perspective and an emotional intelligence perspective.

      That’s an *excellent* idea!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Since I knew she was out anyway, I just rolled my eyes and sent a rescheduled meeting for her given time, with a reminder that a requirement for scheduling flexibility is that all scheduled-and-accepted meetings must be attended.

    2. Camelid coordinator*

      I saw you posted yesterday that those went ok, and I was so relieved. Your suggestion about training is a good one.

      A combination of logistics perspective and emotional intelligence perspective is what AAM gives us, I think.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Right? If I hadn’t asked the HR rep a whole checklist of questions, some of which came from my previous postings here, I would have no idea whether, say, insurance goes through the last of this month or the first of next month or today or when? We’re remote, how long do they have to return their computer equipment and what’s the process for that, can they drop it off in person or do we have to get them shipping boxes or what? And what kind of idiot would I look like, having to go “Um, I’m not sure about that, let me get back to you” about all of those things. It’s stuff we, knock wood, don’t need very often, so please don’t make me rely on my memory or what I can glean from other managers who haven’t had to do this in two years and have no idea what may have changed. The last time my boss terminated anyone, term meetings were required to be in person, which for a fully remote team was a pain in the ass in about six different ways, the least of which is that it was REALLY FRIGGING OBVIOUS that something was going to happen.

  16. lavender latte*

    A former marketing colleague moved to a medical device company, and I had to mute her on LinkedIn. I really don’t appreciate my feed including graphic photographs of surgical procedures. *barf*

    My naive younger self wished people would stop using that platform for political rants and personal issues, but it turns out that it could get worse. Does anyone else work in a field that’s iffy in this regard? How do you decide where to draw the line?

    1. I should really pick a name*

      I’d say draw it wherever you want.

      I’ve never been interested in anything posted by people I’m connected to on linkedIn. I just use it as a contact method.

      I don’t see any cost to muting someone.

    2. English Rose*

      In my experience LinkedIn is just like any other social channel. There are some really interesting people who share great information, but you have to choose them and mute the ones you don’t appreciate.
      I mute everyone who shares ‘inspirational quotes’ for example. Because they inspire me to buy a hatchet…
      Also, you don’t have to connect with everyone on LinkedIn, following is just as effective.

    3. Cedrus Libani*

      I’m in a medical-adjacent field too. When you work with a bunch of MDs who will happily spend their lunch breaks talking about things that would make David Cronenberg cover his ears, sometimes you forget what’s socially acceptable in the rest of the world. That said, I have learned to keep the blood and gore away from tender sensibilities; I’d put the surgeries under some kind of click-wall.

      Part of effective communication is adapting to your audience. The former co-worker likely isn’t trying to run off their non-medical connections, so it’s in their best interest to post things that won’t leave those people looking for brain bleach. (I do think the average person would not want to see surgery photos, at least not without warning; that’s regular sensitive, not overly so.) If you have that kind of relationship, it might be a kindness to say something, but if you don’t then the mute button is an easy option.

    4. Another marketer*

      I am also in the med device industry, and I can attest that it’s easy to get desensitized when you are around these images or the actual surgeries every day. My personal bar – would my squeamish mother or my young son want to see this? If not, then it’s best not to pull out that medical journal with graphic illustrations to read on an airplane, or post such things in a public forum liked LinkedIn. Clearly your former colleague has a different bar. If you are close to them, perhaps cluing them in that they may be a little over the top would be helpful, especially if they are new or young and just don’t realize. If you’re not that close, then muting seems to be a good option.

  17. Toxic Workplace Survivor*

    So glad you made it through. Termination is obviously difficult for everyone involved and that includes the individual’s direct manager. Firing someone who was trying hard and simply not able to do the job is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a manager. I’m sure there’s a lot of relief.

  18. My cat is my boss*

    I’m curious about people’s thoughts on which benefits package they would prefer. I’m in the running for two jobs: Job A requires three days a week in-person and has pretty decent vacation (first year is three weeks vacation, which bumps up to four weeks in the second year plus sick leave and holidays). Job B is fully remote with fewer vacation days (starts off with 12 days, which bumps up to three weeks in the third year. Includes seperate sick leave and holidays). Both are government jobs so there’s no ability to negotiate benefits. They also both have similar job descriptions and pay. All else being equal, would you prefer Job A or Job B?

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      PTO means little to me and life has driven home lately how much I value remote work, so I wouldn’t even consider job A. I’d be all-in on job B.

      1. MikeM_inMD*

        Otoh, I prefer to not be 100% WFH and I crave PTO and would probably go for A. As @WellRed said below, it depends on what each of prefers. (Despite what some management seem to think, we are not interchangeable cogs. “I am not a number! I am a free man!”)

      2. Filosofickle*

        B for me! I like more time off but commuting 3 days a week more than offsets that time gain. Fully remote is the benefit that is most valuable to me, above salary, health care, and PTO.

    2. WellRed*

      What do you value more? WFH or paid time off? And are you someone who actually takes the time off? Also pay and benefits might be equivalent but there’s a time and financial cost to commuting.

    3. a small bit of fluff*

      Have you worked fully remote before? Do you know if it suits you? If the commute isn’t awful, I’d tend to A. 4 weeks off vacation means a lot. Job B is 3 weeks in year 3 plus separate sick leave? or the 3 weeks includes sick leave?

    4. lavender latte*

      Less PTO can be fine if a remote job is flexible and autonomous.

      As an office worker, I burned the majority of my time off for things like dentist appointments and plumber appointments. Now I have a remote role that’s mostly independent work, and leadership doesn’t care if we disappear for a couple of hours mid-day, as long as deadlines are met. So when I use PTO, I really use it: travel, day trips, etc.

      I’ve never worked in gov, so I don’t know what the flexibility culture is there. If the remote job was something like a call center, where your availability is tracked by the minute, I’d say no to less PTO. In my current company’s culture, it would definitely be worth accepting less PTO to get full remote.

    5. FromCanada*

      It really depends on your commute but assuming it isn’t horrible, I would go with A for sure. But I do better with some time in the office. I personally, would not take a fully remote job.

    6. Caramel & Cheddar*

      Do you know how long it takes to jump to 4 weeks in Job B? That’s the only real enticing thing about Job A for me, because so many places make you wait forever to get four weeks off. But everywhere I’ve worked, two weeks for the first two years is common (if also measly), so starting with twelve is already an improvement on that.

    7. Stephanie*

      If it’s the US federal government, you can negotiate! Will depend on budget and how badly they want you, but I was successfully able to negotiate.

      I’d say take Job A (due to more vacation), unless going into the office is a total dealbreaker.

    8. Two Fish*

      I’d also go for Job A, for the vacation time.

      Since I don’t have a separate work space at home, 100% remote isn’t important to me. I also realized during lockdown that I’d still want to be close enough to the office, to get there fairly quick if I needed to for some reason. Like the time my home Internet went down on the day of a key deadline.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      How flexible are your hours at the job with less PTO? Would they let you start an hour early and end an hour late on days you have appointments so you do not have to take PTO for doctors and repairs to home/car?

    10. Double A*

      This is so personal and also depends on the commute. I work fully remote and I think I personally would enjoy the structure of having to be out of the house 3 days a week (I could build in errands and exercise into my day more easily). That plus vacation would be the winner for me. But I also have kid responsibilities so it would also depend how it fit with that schedule.

    11. amoeba*

      I mean, that’s extremely personal, obviously – I’d take 3 days in the office over fully remote in a heartbeat, even with all other things being equal. I know myself and would absolutely hate a fully remote position, so no-brainer here.

      But then I’d definitely think my preferred hybrid/in office model would be more important than PTO – as in, I’d actually take the hybrid role even if it had less PTO because it’s so much more important for me every day job satisfaction. So in case it’s the other way round for you and you hugely prefer WFH, I’d probably go with B!

    12. amoeba*

      For me, fully remote would be a nightmare, not a benefit, so very clearly A. Obviously won’t help you if you prefer it, sorry!

    13. My cat is my boss*

      Thanks for the replies! So interesting to see everyone’s different preferences. The commute for Job A would only be about 10 min drive or 30 min bike/bus ride. I’ve been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic and although I like it, I would also be fine going in person a couple days a week. I think I’m leaning towards Job A.

    14. Not Totally Subclinical*

      Much as I like working at home, I’ve found I do best mentally and professionally coming into the office two or three days a week, so that would put Job A in front.

      However, it would also depend on the commute. Currently I have a commute that’s about 25-30 minutes in the morning and 30-40 in the evening; it’s easy for me to stop at a grocery store on the way to work or home, and the place where I do one of my hobbies is on the route so it’s very convenient to get there for evening events. If Job A had a similar commute, great! But if the commute were longer or were a different route with fewer amenities, I’d lean towards Job B; even three days a week, that can eat a lot of time.

    15. Reluctant Mezzo*

      How long is the commute? That would make a huge difference to me about going into the office v. totally WFH.

    16. I take tea*

      I would definitely pick more PTO, but I prefer going into the office anyway. Especially as you can work from home occasionally, if needed or wanted.

    17. linger*

      If you’re being swayed by the prospect of having more vacation time available at job A, some hidden variables to consider are:
      (1) whether or not the role will in practice allow you to take all the vacation time nominally available; and
      (2) whether or not any unused vacation time can roll over, and if so, for how long.
      (Though these might also affect job B, they’re perhaps less likely with a 100% remote role.)

    18. JSPA*

      Depends if you’re signing in & out & being key-tracked when remote. The ability to freely grab a bathroom break or snack, scoop the cat box, let the dog out during the work day, that’s all a big plus, without significantly affecting work performance. But if I didn’t gain that flexibility, I’d be less jazzed to be 100% at home.

  19. Busy Middle Manager*

    Wonder if anyone else has had this thought or experience where someone got promoted into a role and it changed what the role is so much that it was no longer said role?

    My coworker has a reputation for basically quiet quitting and only knowing our industry at one level about superficial but not detailed enough to lets say train new hires. Top management doesn’t see it because he says the right things. He just doesn’t do the detailed things we all do to get to the point to have the credibility and data to back up those things, but upper management doesn’t seem to care or notice. He also outsources stuff other departments figure out in-house so the same technical work just gets done, it’s just that he doesn’t actually do his department’s.

    So he has been promoted to let’s say Director of Strategy. This had been a respected coveted role that one works towards and respects the person in. It’s a head-scratcher why top management didn’t try to recruit anyone.

    I thought my staff and coworkers would be really upset and a strange to me thing happened. They all said in their own words, oh ok, “I guess Director of Strategy isn’t a thing anymore? I guess it’s not a prestigious job anymore” and sort of moved on with their day. Two asked who they are going to go to if they need a “real” Director of Strategy but they didn’t seem annoyed, it seemed like a genuine question because they have real problems needing solutions.

    On the one hand, I am glad there isn’t mutiny. On the other hand, I don’t want people on my team to get disillusioned and think things don’t matter or have no meaning. For example, I don’t want them now all asking for inflated titles because they view them as fictional things and not things that have meaning.

    I’m curious where upper managements’ head is at. Are we about to go bankrupt so nothing matters? Why of all cases are we “giving someone a chance” when it’s the department that outsources the most work (meaning the manager of said area has to learn the least company-specific work and details since contractors take care of the details)? I guess I should breath a sigh of relief that the bar has been set lower?

  20. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

    Hello hive mind

    I have my first in person team meeting next week, which I’m really looking forward to. We came together as a team in February this year, and we’re a pretty good balance of personalities. (We’re also all happy to have the time together and get involved in stuff).

    We have an hour free at the end of the day before we go to our evening meal, and my manager asked me think of some ideas for what we can do, still in the work space/vaguely work related.

    We all deliver training to different departments within (for example) llama experiences so our jobs are all the same just with different content.

    I’ve got a couple of ideas but wondered if anyone had some semi-serious suggestions for team time (not saying team building on purpose!) that I could consider?

    1. kalli*

      Share training successes and fails, crowdsourcing ‘how else could that have gone’ and ‘wait, that happened to me but they also brought in an alpaca!’ Can be anonymised with a ‘put your anecdote in the hat’ and someone else sharing them, is work-related but not serious, and sometimes sharing experiences like that is accidentally team-building!

    2. Observer*

      Maybe have each person present a short anecdote about their training experience, that is not something that’s already common knowledge. Whether in this organization or prior experiences.

    3. Toxic Workplace Survivor*

      I love kalli’s idea of discussing something as a group to see what different people would have done. I’ve heard in the past of people asking “what could a co-worker do to make your job easier?” there is likely a better way to ask it, but the idea is to tease out communication styles. I’d suggest the moderator use an example. So you aren’t asking for no fish in the microwave, you’re saying “when I have my headphones on, it’s usually because I’m concentrating on something, so if it can wait I’d rather not be interrupted” or “I prefer a DM rather than an email if the topic is blah blah”

    4. Stephanie*

      Show and tell, basically? My last job was similar — we all had the same job, but for different vehicle lines (I worked at a car company). We tended to work in silos, so I never knew what was going on with my coworkers unless they told me. Could be interesting to hear what success or challenges they had and how it could apply to my work.

      1. RLC*

        Another vote for show and tell! I worked for a government agency with technical staff having similar job duties but scattered over a huge, diverse geographic area. We met in person every two years, leader had us all plan to share a project story specific to our work unit. Educational, fun, and useful. Got us talking and sharing, bonus was learning who had unique skills and could be a helpful resource.

  21. Dee Dee*

    We re-orged last week.

    I went from being a (senior) individual contributor to having three direct reports. The direct reports learned about this before me.

    My title didn’t change; it was just presented to me as “Hey, you have direct reports now.” There was no talk of compensation adjustments or anything like that, either.

    It didn’t hit me at the time—I was too busy recovering from being anxious all day about the changes that were happening all around me—but is that weird? I mean, I feel like taking on direct reports should mean some kind of a bump.

    (FWIW, I used to have more direct reports. I changed roles to one that had no direct reports—as in, applied for another internal position and was hired for it. The team under me now is half the peopl I used to lead.)

    1. a small bit of fluff*

      not necessarily? At my company there is at least one manager who has a higher-earning direct report, so it’s definitely company dependent. In any case, this is the way my company does re-orgs. Changes the job description without the money.

      1. Clisby*

        At the company I retired from, it would not have been at all unusual for a senior individual contributor to earn more than his/her manager.

    2. Busy Middle Manager*

      “The direct reports learned about this before me” – THAT is the bad part. They also should have run it by you. I would ask the to-be manager beforehand!

      As per money, I feel like there is a dichotomy between the internet and real life. On the internet everyone always says you have to get the raise up front or the company is messing with you. In real life, I’ve always seen the person (or been the person) who does the job for a few months and then the money comes. This can be to your benefit. For example, what if they give you 5K up front but then you are awesome in the job? You may have been able to get 10K+ if you waited. But now upper management and HR and finance are all going to push back on any additional requests for money this year. Or conversely, you may fail. But if you didn’t get the raise beforehand, there is no target on your back now. You’re just in the same place.

      1. Darlingpants*

        I did not get any more money when I got a direct report (I also didn’t really get asked if I wanted one, it was presented as a done deal). People in my job title may or may not manage a person or 3, and it doesn’t impact compensation.

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I think getting direct reports should always come with an increase and/or title change because you’re supervising/managing people and are thus responsible for all sorts of new and exciting things related to that. Managing people can be a total time suck if you’re doing it right! So unless they reduced your other duties significantly to compensate for having to manage three people, it’s unreasonable to expect you to be happy with the status quo. If they can’t give you a salary bump, then they should at least give you a title bump; title changes cost literally nothing.

      I realise that in real life it happens all the time that people are made managers without any kind of compensation (or even consultation, in your case) whatsoever, but I think just because it’s common doesn’t make it okay.

      1. Blueprint blues*

        does that mean when dee dee went from managing more people to none they should’ve been docked pay or had a title reduction?

        1. Florence Reese*

          I’m struggling with why this comment feels so unkind and “gotcha”-y! But ultimately: yes? Of course it means that. You’re paid for what your job is.

          If Dee Dee was managing three reports and suddenly *their manager* removed those employees from their reporting structure, I would absolutely expect that they’d be paid less going forward. Well, more accurately, I’d expect that it was a demotion since that’s functionally what would’ve happened. I’d be very surprised if that didn’t come with a title change too. Their role has changed, fundamentally. You’re not going to be called a Llama Supervisor if you don’t supervise anybody anymore.

          If, as in this case, Dee Dee intentionally sought out and accepted a role that had no management component, I would also expect their pay and title to change because they’re no longer in the first role.

          I’m not sure why your title and salary would stay static regardless of the work you’re assigned?

      2. English Rose*

        Definitely managing is a real skill and too few people do it well, but there are precious few career paths (in most sectors) which don’t involve managing people.
        Not everyone wants to manage or has the aptitude for it, but that shouldn’t mean everyone is stuck at a lower career level. I think a lot of sectors need to put serious work into developing non-manager career paths in order to develop and keep their best.

    4. Unkempt Flatware*

      Yes it is very weird and there should be a pretty significant pay bump as you are now responsible for the work of others and for coaching and reviewing them for their own merit increases. If they fail, you fail. I’d quit over this. At least start looking in serious earnest.

    5. English Rose*

      Bizarre that you weren’t told before your direct reports. Regardless of whether you want to manage or not, the lack of consultation would be a huge red flag to me.

    6. linger*

      When you moved from managing a team to being an IC, was there any change in salary, and did it reflect the (presumably higher skill set) requirements of the IC role? Because there is your answer, as far as your org is concerned: they are now asking you to do again something you have done before, and so, unless you took a salary cut to escape management, your salary need not change on adding it back in. The other part of the equation is whether the change in duties comes as an addition to, or a replacement for, some of your existing workload. If it’s additional work with no other changes to your personal expected output, that should be compensated. But if (as could well be the case) the re-org is aimed at upskilling your former team members to take on some of your existing workload, then (beyond some learning curve period) maybe your own overall workload won’t change much, and in that case it’s harder to argue for a salary increase. However, if that’s the goal, it’s also possible that your existing role could eventually be phased out as a result.

  22. Cheese and crackers*

    “What’s your biggest professional weakness” is a classic interview question. I haven’t ever gotten it per se, but always prepare an answer. That got me thinking:
    1. What do you SAY your biggest weakness is?
    2. What do you think is your ACTUAL biggest weakness?

    1. Cheese and crackers*

      1. I’m not good at prioritizing bureaucratic paperwork, but I know it needs to get done. I’ve learned to put deadlines in my calendar with blocked out time to get this paperwork done.

      2. I’ve succeeded because I’m *very* good at getting things done. But sometimes I’m too focused on getting things done and not so patient with hearing about why people can’t, you know, just do their jobs.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        Your second one is what I use for my answer, although I phrase it a little differently of course. (My real answer is “I’m very disabled in multiple ways and probably shouldn’t be working”.)

    2. kalli*

      I usually say that I can get too focused on one task (data entry!) and forget about others. I see it as a problem because I lose time or I end up going ‘nah just one more sheet it’ll take 5 minutes’ and then it’s finish time, but interviewers keep just going ‘oh that means you like detail’ and don’t really ‘get’ the problem I’m describing, where I focus on trees to the exclusion of the forest. It’s a fantastic tree but I need a supervisor who can clearly communicate priorities and deadlines so I can plan for the forest.

      My actual biggest weakness is that I’ll do lots of small tasks more often and won’t always get to the big tasks before they snowball, unless they’re data entry.

    3. Busy Middle Manager*

      For low level / entry level jobs I think it’s good to say a concrete technical thing and then explain how you plan to improve it.

      for mid-level/senior level jobs, I think you start by thinking about what was the last thing that really got your gears grinding and got you annoyed. Then work backwards from that, mentally taking the question as “what are you mentally unable to handle.” I think this is a better approach at the senior level because you assume they can figure out the concrete day to day work, but you want an idea of where they are emotionally and mentally, and how far along in the process of personal and emotional realization they are. So at a higher level it might be “I get burnt out dealing with too many customer complaints at once and I need to start viewing it as part of the job and better anticipate and prevent some types of complaints” or “I don’t know how to be creative given the regulatory landscape” versus “I can’t code well” (20 years into your career).

    4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I answer truthfully; I have little patience for cutting corners and selling tomorrow down the river to try to salvage today. Those things never work out well for me when I’m forced to allow them.

      If I get the side eye, then my answer has just revealed a big red flag.

    5. Pita Chips*

      Last time I got this question, I answered, “Chocolate.” When the interviewer pushed for a “real” answer I honestly can’t remember what I said, but it was one of those, “this weakness can be a strength in the right context” answers.

      It’s a dumb question and I have never asked it when interviewing. Sure, it’s good for a candidate to show self-awareness, but I don’t think it’s good to ask a candidate to dis themselves.

      My actual biggest weakness? I don’t suffer fools gladly. My boss can work with and through them with a smile on his face. I admire him for many other reasons too.

      1. Sharon*

        I like to ask the question as “What is something that you either aren’t very good at *OR* would prefer not to spend a lot of time doing even if you are good at it?” Both are important to know.

    6. Pizza Rat*

      I’m a project manager and when I was last asked this, I said I had to look up all the formulas that can be used in the job. None of my other jobs have ever required this.

      1. Pizza Rat*

        My actual biggest weekness is having no patience for people who don’t document when they need to. Which is almost all the time.

        1. Chauncy Gardener*

          O.M.G. Yes!
          And how about a manager not documenting anything when they have a problem employee and want to fire them? But they haven’t documented one.single.thing.ever. in spite of being told to do so numerous times. And haven’t even had straightforward discussions with the employee regarding the employee’s performance issues?
          And then of course they’re upset they can’t just fire someone randomly….

      2. Project Maker-Happener*

        Could you explain what that means – ‘all the formulas that can be used in the job’? I’m a project manager (I…think) but we don’t use that job title in my industry. I’m in non-profits, and have not had project management training. I’m trying to learn how similar or different my work is to the work of official P Ms.
        What’s a formula, in this context?

    7. English Rose*

      Excuse an unserious answer but I’ve always loved the cartoon where the person answers “Honesty.” Interviewer: “I don’t think honesty is a weakness.” “I don’t give a shit what you think.”

    8. The New Wanderer*

      It’s been so long since I was asked that in an interview (and have only done a handful of interviews in the last decade) that I don’t remember what I said.

      But if I were asked tomorrow, I’d probably say it’s that I’m a “just in time” kind of person both for work and personal stuff. I don’t miss deadlines but I do procrastinate a LOT until the last minute, then go into extreme focus mode and complete the task, which doesn’t always leave room for revising. I show up for meetings at start time or a minute past (for the ones I know have a buffer built in). Back when I had an official start time, I showed up at exactly the start time and not a minute sooner. If I was working in an environment or for a boss that believed early is on time and on time is late, I’d do terribly.

      My actual biggest weakness (other than that) is a complete inability to tolerate execu-speak and any and all promotional rah rah stuff a company puts out. I could not care less when a CEO, VP, or whoever is giving a quarterly speech to the masses. If it’s about company values or mission statements, it’s completely meaningless to me.

    9. Qwerty*

      Same answer for both: DevOps. I’m not a fan of messing with configurations.

      I think its fine to not be good at something and to look for a role that doesn’t need those skills. Most engineers I know can set up their own cloud configurations and deployment pipelines. That’s not me – not only am I not good at it, I hate doing it, so I focus on being more valuable elsewhere. Even in jobs where these types of tasks were supposed to be evenly distributed, I’ve always been able to trade my tasks away because I’m happy to swap a 2hr DevOps task for a 6hr boring task that my teammates dislike. My bosses learn pretty quickly they’d rather have me focus on bigger design stuff anyway.

    10. Square Root of Minus One*

      I can’t remember having been asked this question ever.
      1. Depending on the job, my prepared answer is either something on the difficult balance between delicate diplomacy and being firm on my stance, or spending too much time making something perfect when 80% perfect would be enough.
      2. My real weakness, there’s two : first is the same intolerance to “execu-speak” The New Wanderer said (we had a greenwashing seance just last week and grrrrrr) and the second one is “I’m not very good at asking for help early, before the situation goes from not great to really bad”.

    11. Cedrus Libani*

      1) My greatest strength is my intuition. On the plus side, I can walk into a giant mess and point out the root cause(s). I’d put my speed and accuracy up against literally anyone’s. But on the minus side, I might not be able to explain what I’m reacting to, even to myself. I just point like a bird dog and then have to figure out why. This can make it difficult for people with more deliberative styles to work with me. (I’ve learned some patience and communication strategies over the years, but I’m still not eager to work for someone who would take issue with that answer. Been there, done that, it was bad.)

      2) I have the executive function of a houseplant. Yes, I know all the tricks, and therefore I can manage to cosplay as a functioning adult…except when I can’t, which is more often than either of us would like. But I will save you on the regular if you let me; see #1.

    12. carcinization*

      I say my biggest weakness is making eye contact. I would have to take a lot of time to put into words what my actual biggest weakness is!

  23. Cheese and crackers*

    1. I’m not good at prioritizing bureaucratic paperwork, but I know it needs to get done. I’ve learned to put deadlines in my calendar with blocked out time to get this paperwork done.

    2. I’ve succeeded because I’m *very* good at getting things done. But sometimes I’m too focused on getting things done and not so patient with hearing about why people can’t, you know, just do their jobs.

  24. idle question*

    I don’t know whether this belongs in the work thread or not, but I was just wondering: how would you rate Kermit the Frog as a manager, and which (if any) of the Muppets would make a decent work colleague? I personally think Robin would do a pretty good job as long as he has the right support.

    1. fhqwhgads*

      100% Scooter to work with.
      Not sure about the Kermit question…I’m assuming you mean Muppet Show context specifically?

    2. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I would rate Kermit pretty low as a manager unfortunately…easily flustered and panics, no backbone to stand up to Miss Piggy, doesn’t seem to have a strategic plan…

      A good muppet manager would be Dr. Teeth…i mean he somehow keeps Animal on task…keeps calm, steady leadership of the band, and they all seem to trust and respect him.

    3. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Waaaait…*is* Kermit the official manager? Or is he attempting to manage because no else will?

      I’ve tended to assume the latter, to help explain why there’s so much chaos. And in this scenario, he does a pretty good job.

      Maybe a controversial pick, but maybe Gonzo as a colleague? He seems like someone who could be a “bunny ears lawyer” (i.e., has quirks that don’t interfere with the work and is actually quite good at the work).

  25. Two Fish*

    We’ve talked about people who either knowingly took hybrid jobs and then tried to make them 100% remote, or asked multiple times during the interview process if the in-person aspect was necessary.

    What was the reason an in-person task at your workplace was non-negotiable? Did you find the right hire for the job?

    I’m wondering if people push back less against a legal or official requirement, as opposed to this-is-how-the-employer-does-it. For instance, during Covid lockdown one reader still had to come in and personally review their postal mail. Their job involved access to sensitive information which couldn’t be transmitted electronically. Said access also required a security clearance, so the onsite mailroom staff couldn’t open their mail for them either.

    Long before Covid, I took a job that was based in the head office, but which I knew required me to work occasionally in a satellite office across town. I upheld the duty, but other people who’d also known before hire would later swear, “You never told me I’d have to go to Satellite Office!”

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Have a technical writer who works with hardware and software. Some of this I can do from home very effectively. At least once every big project though. I need to physically handle the equipment and test assembly instructions to be sure reality matches the specification I was given.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Man, my auto correct is doing weird things to day. It changed “I am” into “Have”.

        As I’ve said before, my kingdom for an edit button.

      2. Super Duper Anon*

        Yeah this makes sense to me. I currently am a technical writer for just software, but have done hardware before too. There would be no way I could just work from home without going in some points to handle the equipment, test it, take pictures/notes while doing it.

  26. Hunting again*

    Where do folks look for remote jobs? Is Indeed reasonable, or have you had better luck elsewhere? Thanks.

  27. Accounts Payable resume accomplishments*

    Hi AAM accountants! I’m miserable in my 1st staff accountant position (6 months) and am working on my resume so I can jump more respectably close to 1 year.

    My question is: how do I write up my A/P experience (1.75 years, same company) to support that I would be a good entry level GL/staff accountant? Whenever I try to follow the advice here, it sounds like badmouthing my company or more like I’m selling myself as an admin/office manager (exactly the job I don’t want)

    Since I’m new to the field, what are some ways I can describe my experience so that an accounting manager could read between the lines?
    – hospitality management company, so I did daily AP, credit apps, 1099’s for multiple small-medium businesses with different owners, including intercompany stuff. Plus hospitality corporate is a shot show in similar ways to restaurants.
    – figured out how our 3rd party payments vendor had done our basic setup in an opaquely incorrect way and solved some vendor data issues we were having
    – minimal training and ZERO written documentation/SOPs. I taught myself a ton about our software but produced no documentation due to high workload and strict limits on overtime
    – lack of common software-based and procedural controls (PO’s, official chain of approvals) so my team had to enforce informal controls via tons of emails
    – managers/purchasers failed to submit up to 50% of invoices at times so tons of reconciling and follow up with offsite, high turnover restaurant managers and marketing folks, and vendors

    1. Lifelong student*

      Identify your accomplishments and list them! Not “did daily ap” Achieved timely processing of vendor balances. Reviewed and analyzed credit application. Maintain intercompany transaction records. Solved vendor issues such as… Set up and implemented the first internal accounting controls to improve financial reporting accuracy in a timely manner. Adapt as needed to actual experience. Communicated with internal and external stakeholder to improve information flow. The more accounting buzzwords you can use the better- without sounding like a cliche. If you had any part in preparing income statements, balance sheets or cash flow analysis- throw that in.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        This +100. If you are doing intercompany accounts every month, you’re pretty darn close to being a good staff accountant. I would highlight that (top of the list of bullets) and any other G/L (journal entries?) and financial statement work you’re doing. You do need some A/R experience, so maybe try to read up on it somewhere? Sorry, I don’t have a recommendation for where.
        The only concern I would have with hiring you to be a staff accountant (IF that included the whole ball of wax-A/R, A/P, G/L and “staff accountant” can mean different things in different companies) is that collections is a completely different kind of task than A/P functions and requires a different personality type to do successfully.
        Good luck!

    2. Lurker*

      To be honest, if I was hiring for an entry level GL person and you didn’t have any receivable experience I wouldn’t hire you. If it was an entry level general staff accountant, it would depend on whether your experience matches or is easily transferable to what the position’s primary responsibilities are.

      1. Accounts Payable resume accomplishments*

        That’s interesting and helpful. I can keep an eye out for AR focused accountant positions. Since my current staff accountant/full cycle bookkeeper role is with our casual restaurants and convenience stores (and I guess this would apply to small consumer retail more generally) there aren’t receivables per se. I will say that some of the other businesses we manage have actual receivables but they aren’t recorded in a GAAP compliant manner. Plus there isn’t really anywhere to move up in this chaos mess.

      2. Generic Name*

        Maybe this is a dumb question, but if you require experience for a position, wouldn’t that make it something other than entry level?

        1. Enough*

          Unfortunately often entry level is not first job ever with no experience. It means the lowest level at this company and also might mean limited training.

        2. Lurker*

          The way I was thinking of it is was that AP and AR are lower level positions than a GL accountant; have some basic experience doing AP/AR would be like a prerequisite for an entry level GL position.

  28. Aggretsuko*

    An update on my horrible situation: I go back to work on Monday, my leave will be used up then. I got laryngitis this week that extended my leave for a few more days, at least.

    Since going on leave, the following has happened:
    (a) I got put on psychiatric medication, I went on leave for 2 weeks in case I reacted to it badly. PCP was all “oh, nobody reacts to Wellbutrin, you’ll be fine, but sure, all you’re allowed is 2 weeks but I’ll give it” since I will be written up for any mistakes I make while drugged.
    (b) I reacted poorly to the psychiatric medication, and had to go off of it about two weeks in. Couldn’t sleep or eat much and my throat finally said “no more” to pill swallowing entirely and I just kept barfing them up. If it had any psychiatric benefits, can’t say I noticed them.
    (c) I have been referred to a psychiatrist before I try anything else because the PCP thinks that mild little Wellbutrin may have made me bipolar-ish. I don’t think I’ve ever been manic in my life, I don’t need THAT too, thanks.
    (d) My HMO is pushing back on the psychiatrist recommendation and being difficult about it.
    (e) I had one ADHD evaluation and was deemed “inconclusive” because I don’t have much in the way of evidence from my childhood, I probably won’t be able to get more of that since no paper evidence exists, the school didn’t keep my records and my mother doesn’t remember much either and nobody else is left to ask. Also now that I have DEPRESSION on my record, they said I will probably only get diagnosed with that. They really don’t want to diagnose me with ADHD even though the first evaluator said it sounded like I had symptoms.
    (f) I tried to line up an ADHD evaluation elsewhere, nowhere would take me.
    (g) I have a second ADHD evaluation with the HMO, but not for a few weeks.
    (h) My union wants me to file a grievance, which I have no arguments against and they have me dead to rights, but basically it’s to stall for time while I wait on a diagnosis that may not happen. He was going to do it on the last day possible, I haven’t heard back on this yet and truthfully I don’t know what to think. I can’t fight this and I don’t see the point in fighting a losing battle for years, but he thinks it’ll stall my firing for a bit at least. My relatives kept saying “hostile work environment” and I wanted to say, “according to AAM that’s not the case….”

    I feel worse on some levels than I did before “reaching out for help,” I wish I hadn’t had to do it, it didn’t improve *anything*, everything that I was afraid of having happen if I went on psychiatric medication happened, at best I’m right where I started on day one. I’m exhausted, I’m brain dead, I’m still not sleeping very well, I’m not allowed to go on a longer mental health leave, and I can’t job hunt worth a damn to save myself right now. I truly don’t think I can survive 2024 and my firing. I shouldn’t be hired, I’m horrible, I can’t interact with people (or at least these people) without being considered awful, and I just want to never get out of bed again. I’m utterly crushed. I don’t think I can get out of this pit. I’m so drowning that the water is in my lungs. And on Monday I have to go back to being scrutinized for every little thing while feeling like roadkill. I have to string this out as long as I can for the insurance, but they have broken me.

    1. Pita Chips*

      Oh wow, that’s a lot.

      It’s hard to get an ADHD diagnosis as an adult. From what I’ve researched, the tests seem to be designed to diagnose children who have behavioral problems related to ADHD vs adults who have learned to cope with and mask their symptoms.

      Best of luck. Please keep updating us!

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yes, that’s the exact problem right there. The DSM is specifically designed for “little boys who can’t stay in their seats.” Literally the question about not being able to stay in my seat is ridiculous as an adult. I note my mother has been tracing the ADHD history in our gene pool and guess who’s diagnosed? Boys. Who were little boys.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I am not trying to bag on you and I sympathize with your frustration, but it is not a ridiculous question at all. ADHD has different subtypes and a variety of presentations within those subtypes. Many adults with ADHD, including adult women, have hyperactive symptoms and have difficulty sitting still in situations where they are expected to do so.

          They have usually just figured out some socially acceptable reasons to avoid such situations (like taking highly physical jobs, not enjoying theater or going to the movies) or ways to excuse themselves (like unnecessary bathroom trips or offering to “help” with something that requires moving around the room).

          The assessment is designed to capture many different symptoms. Nobody has all of them, and not having a particular one does not exclude diagnosis.

    2. Rage*

      It’s very hard to get an ADHD diagnosis as an adult, even WITH evidence of symptoms in childhood – I had to hack the system to get mine, but now that I’m on stimulant meds, I’m 10,000x better, so, yeah, I definitely have it.

      I encourage you to look into getting a GeneSight test done. Ask your doctor. It will give you a list of which psychotropic medications are likely to work well for you, given your genetic makeup, and which ones to avoid at all costs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wellbutrin is your “red zone”. The test covers about sixty or so different medications for a variety of conditions (depression, anxiety, mood stabilizers, etc.) – it will take so much guesswork out of figuring out your psych meds.

      Are you seeing a therapist? If not, go make an appointment now.

      Why did you only get 2 weeks of leave? Is that just because your doctor didn’t think you’d have any problems with Wellbutrin? Or does your employer restrict that?

      Because, seriously, your last paragraph – you should qualify for some sort of leave based on those symptoms alone. A therapist or counselor can also assist you in possibly getting additional leave, even if your doctor is being a jerk about it.

      I’m sorry you are going through this. You’re not alone; I was in your shoes just a month ago (though it sounds like my workplace is a lot more understanding than yours – they were very supportive, I was just a complete wreck).

      1. Aggretsuko*

        My HMO will not give mental health leave or any leave over two weeks under ANY circumstances. “It doesn’t help, you should just go back to work. We want people to go back to work.” I only got out for medical problems, specifically for the two weeks of starting on Wellbutrin. Unless I go on some other drug again, I’m out of luck on that score. My therapist said she wasn’t permitted to sign off on mental health leave, only an actual MD can, and the MD’s won’t.

        I have a therapist for the time being, but I will lose that with my employment. She canceled on me this week because of the laryngitis and then holidays.

    3. Flowers*

      I hear you. I’ve been there too, several times in my life. IT WILL GET BETTER. I know it’s hard to believe that right now, but it will. It’s tremendously hard when you feel so defeated and “awful.” But you are NOT awful. You are going through a really hard time. That makes the situation awful, not you.

      It sounds like you could really use more support in your life. Would you consider texting an organization that helps people in crisis? Text the word NAMI ( all caps) to 741741.. First if you want you can go to their website at to see who they are. They exist only to help people. They will be in your corner.

      Having suffered from depression and anxiety much of my life (which I’m not saying you have, just explaining where I’m coming from), I can attest that sometimes you have to try different things before something clicks. Of course that feels like an added burden! But eventually You find something or someone that helps, you crawl outta that hole, and life is better.

      Please contact NAMI.

      I wish you much better days ahead. We are all rooting for you.

        1. Flowers*

          Good for you. Totally understand writing it down but not being sure you will call. Even one step is hard to take when you feel this way, so writing it down is fantastic.

    4. Curtain*

      I am so sorry this is going on for you. I agree with the advice above about contacting a recommended helpful service by text or by phone. I’ve done that a couple of times, in a true crisis. The new perspective was valuable. They didn’t fix my problem but they helped me feel less alone and offered a bit of perspective and a bit of help, and in a total crisis that really was valuable.
      About ADHD diagnosis: after a few years of chasing a diagnosis, frustrated with (for me) a lack of strong evidence from my childhood, I now have a different view on my situation. I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, and for me this explains my ADHD-like characteristics. (Please just ignore if not relevant to you…)
      I am sending mental support and hope.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I don’t know on PTSD, but this job probably did some of that to me too.

        Where I lose it is the job situation and thinking of how I’m going to fall through the cracks very soon. I don’t think calling 988 or whoever is going to help that situation. I wish someone else could just apply for jobs for me at this point because I can’t bring myself to.

    5. Brevity*

      If it were me, I”d go to the Emergency Room, right now. ERs royally suck, I know; but you are critically ill. You can ask for a social worker, to help you with maybe going on Medicaid, or something. They’ll know the options.
      ALL the Jedi hugs and support.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I don’t think that would go well during a holiday weekend. I’m not sure what they’d do anyway (I note a friend of mine was in the ER for 12 hours
        recently, does not seem worth it for mental health). I’m not going to um…do anything to myself right now, if that helps.

    6. Dancing Otter*

      I’m so sorry for your troubles.
      HMOs are horrible about wanting to authorize as little as they can. Can you change coverage during open enrollment?

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Open enrollment just ended, but they upped the prices so much I could not afford to change HMO’s. Also I am going to be fired in a few months so I would lose the new HMO if I’d switched anyway. I note I can keep my current one once I’m unemployed, still, because they have some deal going on with the state.

    7. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know if it’s available where you live, but if you can find a provider who uses Q-b testing, the results of that test are very objective and useful for ruling ADHD in or out. It measures stuff like eye tracking, impulsive movement, and variability of reaction time, that are really distinctive.

      There are a lot of things that can look like ADHD but aren’t. And a lot of different comorbidities that can come alongside ADHD. For a number of those conditions, ADHD meds would either mask the symptoms until they got drastically worse, or the meds themselves could make it worse.

      So you really want to get it right, and the more complex your problems are, the harder it is to be sure that ADHD is the main problem, or the thing that needs to get treated first.

      I hope you can get the right kind of help, quickly, and things turn around for you. I think the suggestion to call NAMI could be a big help.

    8. kalli*

      The union know what they’re doing – trust them. And ask them if they can point you to a social worker or someone covered by your insurance or EAP to help you navigate this so you can allocate your spoons more appropriately.

    9. Anonymous 75*

      “My relatives kept saying “hostile work environment” and I wanted to say, “according to AAM that’s not the case….”

      If I were you I would see if your union, or on your own, get a recommendation to an employment law. Sure there’s a very large chance that they are legally in the right but while this place has some good advice no one here is giving you legal advice because either they are not attorneys or they are not your attorney (and are not privy to the exact details of your issue and the everyone involved).

      1. annabelle*

        “My relatives kept saying “hostile work environment” and I wanted to say, “according to AAM that’s not the case….If I were you I would see if your union, or on your own, get a recommendation to an employment law. Sure there’s a very large chance that they are legally in the right but while this place has some good advice no one here is giving you legal advice because either they are not attorneys or they are not your attorney (and are not privy to the exact details of your issue and the everyone involved).”

        Seconding all of this. I know it’s normal to put a lot of stock into what Alison says especially if you’re a regular reader of her blog. But she’s not an employment lawyer, her work expertise is all focused on mission-driven nonprofits (with very questionable ethics, at that), and she hasn’t actually worked in those roles for over 10 years now. So I think you’d be a lot better off calling/texting NAMI, calling 988, and then following Anonymous 75’s advice above. And keeping Raging ADHD’s advice in mind too.

    10. Any Name At All*

      Please listen to those who posted above. Please contact NAMI, please contact your union, please contact the National Lifeline at 988. They are available to help with what you’re going through right now. It may seem like a permanent struggle, but it is only temporary.

      The fact that you’re still reading and responding to people means that you’re not ready to give up.

    11. Helewise*

      You deserve to be hired, you’re a good person, and there are so many people who interact with you and think you’re funny, or kind, or clever. I know that doesn’t feel true right now, but it very much is.

    12. Clare*

      Background context: the main thing with ADHD is not enough dopamine receptors firing off (for reasons of low dopamine, dodgy receptors, other). When you’re stressed and/or tired and/or sick and/or anxious you also have low dopamine. That’s why people say rubbish like “Everyone’s a bit ADHD”, because sometimes we are. It’s just not a 24/7 thing requiring treatment for most of us. So with that said, I’m going to talk like you definitely have ADHD, because right now, essentially you do, lifelong or not.

      Anyway, one of the features of ADHD is a lack of time perception. Everything is either ‘now’ or ‘not now’. The future doesn’t really exist except as a sort of amorphous conceptual blob. Sure, you know it’s coming, but for those with ADHD it doesn’t really exist as a sort of logical line stretching away from ‘now’ with nice neat little easily conceptualised parcels. It’s just a big hazy mess of your entire life, decades jumbled together with the days of next week in a terrifying looming mess.

      So when people say “You’ll feel better” or “Things will work out”, you’re going to really struggle to ‘get’ that. “Sure, things might improve, but they won’t be better tomorrow, and if tomorrow and next decade aren’t really separable, you’ll probably still feel like that then, too, and you’ll have to have dealt with everything by then AND everything else from a decades worth of life and and and…. Ahhh!”. 2033 is both identical to tomorrow and an unbearable forever away. That’s a lot to carry.

      When everything that exists is ‘now’ or ‘not now’ it’s hard to believe in change. Everything that you’re feeling is completely valid. Take anyone and put them through your entire life up until now, and I almost guarantee they’d feel the same. Honestly, they probably wouldn’t have dealt with it as well as you have. Your situation is objectively rubbish. You’re allowed to feel mad and sad and annoyed.

      But also, please know that even though it might not seem like it, you won’t always feel like this. As almost impossible as it is to believe, things will change. You’ve been strong and clever and well-balanced enough to exist through all the garbage thrown at you up until this point. White knuckled, with gritted teeth and grim determination, you’ve clung to existence as entropy fought to wrestle it from you, and all this time you’ve WON. You’ve got the skills to deal with this until the change comes, even though you can’t anticipate the coming change like others can.

      Your feelings are correct. You’re not crazy. You’re reacting correctly and normally. You’ve also got some other feelings coming. You won’t have to feel like this forever. Promise.

  29. SofiaDeo*

    I am sorry to hear you are feeling awful. People can and do have awful reactions to medication, as well as stress, and I wonder to what extent both of these things are affecting you now. Because thinking you are awful, should not be hired anywhere, etc. is a sign you are still really ill IME. You aren’t a horrible human being, you are just sick and very few people interact well with others or do well at job tasks when ill. I don’t think seeking a specific diagnosis is critical so much as getting feeling physically and mentally “better”. Is there some way you can continue leave? Can you get someone to drive you to an Urgent Care site for your HMO TODAY, and insist on seeing someone? You can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you are throwing up, your throat is sore & voice is hoarse, and you can barely drag yourself out of bed. These aren’t necessarily “mental health symptoms” only, you sound like there is physically going on making you ill. I can’t see how a union job can fire you if you are actually physically ill, but of course I don’t know your specifics. So it may be worthwhile to look at filing a grievance if you are physically ill and are not allowed time off to deal with it? And perhaps consider alternative diagnoses for your symptoms, instead of being overly concerned with an ADHD or whatever mental health diagnosis at this time. When your body heals a bit some of the mental stress should also ease up, and you can better deal with the job situation. Did you have Covid at all, could any of this be Long Covid related? Focus on the *actual symptoms* causing problems, don’t jump to trying to diagnose yourself. And if you need a hospital admission to help figure this out, please consider doing it.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      The eating, sleeping, and throat issues are a lot less than they were. It’s not bad enough to qualify for leave at this point.

      Unfortunately work is requiring that I come up with a disability such as ADHD and that will be the only thing to postpone my firing. Which I’d have to get within oh, a month. So no pressure! I don’t think major depression counts as a disability for that.

      I haven’t had covid, so we can’t blame that.

      1. Flowers*

        Major depression may indeed count as a disability, including under the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA). Go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website (eeoc dot gov) or search for “depression and americans with disabilities act.” If it is a disability under the ADA, my understanding is that your work has to work with you on accommodations. Finding someone who can help with this might be useful. Your union? Or a disability rights organization (google “disability rights” and also if you call NAMI, talk to them about this. Of course there are private lawyers who are experts in this but if you cannot afford that, a disability rights organization may be able to help. I might even call the United Way and see if they can get you a social worker to aid you with all these issues, or at least give you referrals to organizations that can help. Because it is hard to do this stuff on your own, especially when you are depressed! Time to get some help on your side. Lastly…I’ve been where you are. There was a time I literally could not get out of bed (eventually I did). There was a time I was fired and thought I would never find work again (I did). There was a boss who made me miserable for years, and I was so demoralized I couldn’t apply for jobs (I outlasted him). I survived all this and you will too. I still have depression but it’s so much better now. It does change. It does get better. You are fighting. That’s amazing. Hang in there.

      2. RagingADHD*

        ADA doesn’t define disability by particular conditions, but by the extent to which you are impaired and need accommodations. If a health professional documents that you need x, y, or z accommodation, then the exact name of the condition is none of the employer’s business.

  30. fashion challenged sourpuss*

    Any advice on clothes for a person who feels most comfortable in jeans & a T-shirt? Current job has no dress code so I can get away with dressing in mentally comfortable clothes.

    Unfortunately, I need to get interview clothes. Dresses and skirts are out. Ladies’ dress pants also make me feel dysphoric but I look awful in men’s dress pants.

    I’m short and I guess average build but cursed with hips and tits which is probably why man pants (apart from one style of jeans from Old Navy of all places) look awful on me.

    1. Csethiro Ceredin*

      That’s tricky for sure!

      It really depends on the industry you’re interviewing in but sometimes you can find ‘jeans’ in fabrics/colours other than denim, which are still cut like jeans. I have a different build from you, but have some from both Old Navy and RW&Co that were called jeans but didn’t look like them, fabric wise.

      Even black jeans, if they’re a true black and maybe a straight leg, might work – I wear these to work pretty constantly, usually with a blazer, and if you cover the waist they don’t really read as jeans. I also have some flat grey and coloured jeans which I can wear to work and look pretty dress in the right combinations.

      I’m guessing you already tried to see if ON has something similar to the men’s jeans you like in a pant fabric. Or maybe Gap/Banana Republic as they’re the same company?

    2. Generic Name*

      What is it about ladies pants that feels off to you? Is it the tightness? I’d suggest more “classic” brands like lands end or Eddie Bauer. They have more relaxed fit and straight leg styles but accommodate hips.

    3. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Hm…would tailoring the “men’s” pants help at all?

      Or…chinos or khaki style? Those styles might be more casual than is expected, but are more formal than jeans.

      Also, when you say dress pants look awful on you, do you mean fashion-awful, that you feel less confident, or that you look untidy?

      If it’s the first one, then it doesn’t matter nearly as much as the other two. Unless you’re interviewing somewhere that you’re expected to look polished daily, I think a suit you don’t look great in but feel fine in is good enough.

    4. Qwerty*

      What about colored jeans in a dark color like black or burgundy? Pair with a blazor that covers your hips / top of the pants. Interviewers are unlikely to look close enough to pay attention to what the fabric content is of your pants – as long as you look polished, it’ll work. I think department stores like Kohls and JC Pennys are the best place to find colored jeans.

      My most complimented “dress pants” are actually Old Navy’s Pixie pant line – they usually have one or two that are black with pinstripe or windowpane pattern and made from fabric that is less stretchy than the solid colors. I buy mine one size up so that it has more structure than stretch (the waist is a bit roomy from this, but I find I appreciate that after a big lunch or if I need to tuck in my shirt)

      Finally, go deep on the browsing on Amazon, especially if you have Prime shipping. When I got my current job I bought a lot of random styles and returned the ones that didn’t look good on me. Was very surprised by what ended up working for me and since I had low expectations I wasn’t bothered by the stuff that didn’t work, so it was less depressing than going to the mall.

    5. Unkempt Flatware*

      Check out the performance tech ankle pant at Quince. I’m also short with hips and thighs and I don’t dress femininely. I could hike in these, sleep in these, go to a club in these, and go to a nice dinner in these.

    6. Sudsy Malone*

      I also get dysphoric in most typical “women’s” office clothes! 90% of my work clothes come from the brand Peau de Loup. They have button-downs and chinos that are very comfortable and are suited for bigger hips and chests. And I think they’ve got a Black Friday sale going!

    7. Wheeee!*

      You might try Wild Fang. They’re designed to (mostly) be more androgynous styles. I’m also mostly in jeans and tshirts. For work, I ended up with a bunch of shells (sleeveless tops) from Kasper and Calvin Klein that are easy and I don’t have to think much about. I wear them over jeans, but they go well over any type of dress pants. JC Penney has a line, Worthington, which might have dress pants you could wear. They come in petite and I think they have them in a bunch of different styles. They have good simple tops as well.

    8. RM*

      Classic men’s dress pants (pleated with loose, straight leg) from thrift stores work well for me, if you don’t need a matching jacket. I wore with a belt just above my hip bones. But, the lining and heavier fabric meant they draped pretty nicely even though they didn’t “fit” Classic cabled sweaters a la the “knives out” sweater usually are unshaped and gender neutral.

    9. Clare*

      My best tip for any t-shirt wearer who needs to look office-y is 100% cotton knit textured ‘blouses’. They wear like a t-shirt, fit like a t-shirt, breathe like a t-shirt and wash like a t-shirt, but the texture makes them read as ‘appropriate women’s officewear’ in a way that cotton usually doesn’t. A pattern-textured cotton shirt either alone or with a blazer would be smart enough for an interview in most jeans-and-shirts fields. The gaps in the knit are slightly see-through so do make sure you wear something skin toned underneath in formal situations. You might think you’re fine if you dress in low light, but trust me, the shirt tells lies!

      It’s really hard to describe what they look like and the style doesn’t have a name, so it’s hard to google without a reverse image search – I’ll reply with a link to the sort of shirt I’m describing.

  31. Mbarr*

    Any scripts for how to tell a former student employee that you don’t want to be a reference for them? (Or should I reconsider this statement, and maybe give a reference after all?)

    This student employee did very mediocre work for me. But, I acknowledge it could be a job/skill mismatch for the 4 months we worked with them. They had a good personality, and seemed to want to learn. I partially think I dropped the ball when it came to coaching them to be better.

    They’re applying for their first full time job. I don’t want to torpedo their chances, but I also know that I’d personally never hire them again.

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Well, maybe have a conversation with them, to tell them what you would say in a reference check,

      “This is what I would likely say about you during a reference check. You did very mediocre work, but that could have been a skills/experience mismatch with the job and I could have done a better job of coaching you.

      “I appreciated that you showed up on time consistently and communicated promptly when your schedule changed (if this is true; hiring people new to the workforce means it’s a plus if they demonstrated basic professionalism in other jobs).

      “However, and this is a big one: If asked, I would have to say I wouldn’t rehire you due to the skills mismatch. That could be a huge red flag for a potential employer, but if the roles you’re applying to don’t need the same skills, it might not matter as much.

      “Given all of this, do you still want me to be a reference?”

    2. Phryne*

      They worked for you for 4 months and although they were not the best employee, they also were not a nightmare. Fresh out of college they probably don’t have a lot of people to ask for a reference, and you refusing might tank their opportunities unnecessarily. So especially is they are not applying for a job with that same skillset they did not do well on, I’d not outright refuse.

      Be clear to them that you won’t give a glowing report, but that you can confirm they worked there and had a good attitude. In conflicted in mentioning the mismatch on skills, as you admit you had a part in that as well. Then it is up to them if they want to use it.

      You could write up what you are willing to say for them and offer to send that letter to potential employers. Then it is clear to them exactly what you are offering to say or not say.

  32. Thankfully Former Emotional Support Employee*

    I’m now about 4.5 months into a new amazing job. I was so thrilled to get away from my last gig that I didn’t realize how resentful I had become of things at Old Job. My boss was a man 10 years older than I with the same level of education as I. He was the director of a small planning firm and he had three female staff. We were all his little emotional supporters and personal assistants even though none of us were in administrative roles but rather were mid-career professionals. We did everything from dial him into conference calls to drive him in his personal car to his meetings to sitting with him while he collected himself after a tough meeting. He made no decisions on his own–all had to be made by committee of us all.

    Once, I got up and went back to my office during one of his sit-in-silence-and-think sessions and he literally called me back into the “meeting” so that I can sit for 10 mins watching him exhale loudly. It was similar to what he expected of his wife when he got home from work; he needed company and silence at the same time and expected her to comply. He didn’t seem to think this was odd or self-centered when he shared that info with me. Another time, he called me at 10:50am to say he needed me to come to his hotel room at help him pack and carry his things to the car because he overslept and the room needed to be vacated. I was smart enough to lie that I had already left the conference venue.

    But I think the thing that made me the most resentful of him was how he was so “busy” that he thought he needed such an extreme level of administrative support when in fact, he simply had a couple other gigs outside of our organization that kept him working through midnight. One of those was as a self-proclaimed “professor” at the state university (he was adjunct faculty without a terminal degree and the fact that he called himself a professor and made his students call him professor added to my impression of him as an emotionally needy mess of a boss). He was never present in anything he did; he wrote emails during meetings he called and made us repeat constantly and was never prepared for anything he needed to do.

    I guess I don’t need advice so much as a place to vent and maybe commiserate. Now that I feel safe at work, I have the space to be mad about my last situation and that this is the world we live in. Man-babies advance at the expense of the advancement of women.

    1. Lion Sent Me Out To Buy His Avocado Wrap*

      Yes. Been a hand-holder to a few male bosses in my time. (Not so unusual in early stages of my industry.) My work was all about creating the context in which he could do his best work. He was the Lion, I was the Wallflower who helped him be Lion. I mean, it’s a job and it doesn’t have to be horrible. But it’s also – total crap. Congratulations – you are gone!

    2. Piscera*

      This brings back memories. One time I had to fetch a big binder of materials from our expert witness’s hotel because he “couldn’t carry it.” The hotel was only a block from our office.

      In the same case, I arranged a Fed Ex pickup from another expert’s home. I don’t know whether he couldn’t or wouldn’t take it to his own local Fed Ex location. And this expert was for the other side, though he dropped out shortly after this.

  33. WorkerBee*

    I would appreciate thoughts on this…

    I am currently very underpaid in my job, and I don’t see a lot of opportunity for advancement. I was asked to apply for a much higher paid and more senior job at another company I work with (a customer). For personal reasons (family stuff), I am not really inclined to leave my current job, though for a high enough raise I could make it work. I feel really guilty about applying for the new job, because I think there’s a small chance I would take it (though not impossible) – they would really have to come through on salary, flexible schedule, etc for it to work for me. I would also feel guilty getting an offer and trying to get my current company to make a counter offer. Maybe I am overthinking this and this would all be acceptable and normal behavior, but somehow I feel like it would be unfair to apply for a job I wasn’t sure I wanted. What do you all think? I just need a sanity check…

    1. RagingADHD*

      Everyone who applies for a job can’t be sure they want it, because they haven’t interviewed and found out the whole package yet.

      Applying means you’re interested *if it works out.*

      You’re not “marrying” the job. You’re just having coffee.

    2. Oysters and Gender Freedoms*

      Applying for a job is not a commitment to take the job. It’s not even a commitment to go to every interview. It is an opportunity to get out there and look at other jobs, talk to other people, see a little more of the job world. If there is a chance that you would take it if it’s right for you, then by all means apply. If you interview, remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, and you want to ask the questions that tell you that.

    3. Kuleta*

      Since you were asked to apply, I’d do it and just see what happens. At the least you’ll get the interview experience, and a sense of what else is out there if you find yourself actively looking later. Extra knowledge never hurts.

      Does it make a difference who asked you to apply for this job, and why they did? Your post somehow reminded me of an acquaintance “Sammy,” who went from BigCompany to Vendor in expectation that Sammy could steer more of BC’s business to Vendor. Right afterward BC changed its policy about hiring providers of Vendor’s service, and Vendor didn’t make the cut.

    4. allx*

      Answer for yourself what it is that you want. You say you are underpaid and have no real opportunity for advancement. Do you want those things-higher salary and more senior work? Or are you happy with your job and company as is, even if the pay and challenges are low? If you ever wanted a “much higher paid and more senior role,” this is the perfect time to explore the option. Someone has asked you to apply. They are a customer. They are already familiar with you, your work, your work ethic. As stated by O+GF, looking into a job opportunity is not a commitment to take it if they offer it. There is benefit to exploring the market for your skills, even if you ultimately decide to stay where you are. It can boost your morale just to know that someone else wanted to hire you. If your only reason to apply would be as a strategy to get a counter-offer from your company, that may not work out–a company that is willing to drastically underpay its employees is not likely to get in a bidding war. Whatever you decide, you should feel good that your customers notice that you do a good job and want you to join their team.

    5. Red Flags Everywhere*

      Anecdotally, I just talked to a friend who has had a similar situation at work (underpaid, no chance for advancement), but she wasn’t interested in putting herself out there and having to learn a new job. 2 months ago she was invited to apply for a job that would have been a great fit, but she didn’t want to bother. She was just notified her job is being outsourced. Because she hasn’t taken any opportunities to upgrade her skillset in several years, she’s now looking at the possibility of taking a paycut in a couple of months (she can work for the contractor) when she was already barely getting by. I say don’t let opportunities pass you by lightly.

    6. Clare*

      Interviewing is a two-way street. It’s not dishonest if there’s even the tiniest chance you might take the job. Just like it’s not dishonest if someone else interviews thinking there’s a high chance they might take a job, but they turn it down after the interview because the hiring manager is sexist. You have the right to make up your mind based on what you learn from an interview. The business isn’t sure they want you, either. It’s not unfair. There’s no power imbalance here. You’re not doing the wrong thing :)

  34. HRBear*

    Hi All,

    A question I’m posting for a friend actually. He’s looking for a professional mentor to help him figure out his career path forward from where he is. Specifically someone with knowledge of career options for those in the database developing/cloud data engineer/Azure work realm. He’s States based.

    Does anyone have any leads I could give him? He’s beyond intro-level so really looking for someone who can help him plan his mid/end-career trajectory. Thank you in advance!!

    1. LuckySophia*

      I know a person in the U.S. who does career coaching professionally — he has formal training/certification in it and started his coaching company (I think) 6 years ago. Prior to that he spent maybe 20 years as a technical recruiter and resume writer/editor. His name is Rich Collins and his company name is rxreboot . You can find him on Linked In, and his web site is the company name followed by (dot) net. Hope that at least gives you friend a lead to look into!

    2. Former prof*

      Check ADPList. It’s a mentoring platform and there are a lot of technical people there. It’s free.

  35. JustAnotherLemur*

    I saw a bit in the news about a young woman complaining about how much time a full time job takes (40 hours). I had a few thoughts about this.

    1. She has a point.
    2. It’s not a good idea to say so publicly – could make it harder to get or keep a job.
    3. After working part time while going to college, a full time job seemed great! Maybe the woman in question didn’t work while going to school or didn’t spend a lot of time on school.

    1. the bean moves on*

      working a full time job definitely made me more tired than going to school (even when I went back to school in my 30s!). I worked during my school years too, but they were all on-campus jobs. Some of the differences for me are:
      New rules to learn and lots of new people.
      More fixed schedule, at school if I was tired I could take a nap and study at a different time.
      Less support – my good friends were far away.
      Higher standards and other people relying on you. If I couldnt hit a deadline at school – I could turn in what I had and got partial credit. At work, its a constant decisions of working extra, negotiating deadlines and making tradeoffs of and it never lets up.

  36. the bean moves on*

    Does anyone have experience applying for US federal government jobs? Any tips for a resume?
    This one section is a little different than what I’m used to seeing for resumes:
    “Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the required specialized experience”. Is this in addition to the regular resume job bullets or intended to replace different Jobs on the resume. How long should it be?

    1. k8orado*

      Federal resumes are very, very long. As someone hiring in the federal government, yes, we do all hate reading them! But mine is I think 14 pages? Nightmare.

      There’s lots of advice online about how to write them, but my one big tip is to read the language in the posting very carefully and then take bits of that exact language and map them onto your previous experience. So each job will have at least a full paragraph explaining duties and accomplishments, with chunks of text that are word for word from the posting. Assume the first level of screening will be done by someone who understands absolutely nothing about your field and is just looking to match all the key phrases so they can fill in a checklist.

      1. the bean moves on*

        Wow, thanks for your response. I’ve been applying to fed. jobs not realizing the difference.

      2. Pumpkin Pie*

        This is exactly correct, as someone who is somewhat close to the process. Get your stuff word-for-word.

  37. Junebug*

    Has anyone ever had an in-person diversity training at their work? How did it go? There’s been some problematic phrase usage at my job lately and I’d like to suggest someone come in and present / lead a discussion with my work team. But not sure if it would actually do any good.

    1. Ann*

      I’ve read many times that generic training does very little good, because the main offenders tune it out and it’s also often too vague to address a specific issue. You probably already have some kind of generic training that addresses what’s considered harassment and who it can be reported to. Beyond that, it may be more effective to have HR talk directly to the person or group that’s causing the problem.

      1. Junebug*

        Appreciate the insight and suggestion! We do have the generic video trainings but a 1on1 HR talk does sound best.

  38. Ellie*

    Hi All,
    I have a question, how would you word a cover letter if you wanted to time utransition from a Specialist in your field to a Manager? The job title I’m applying for is ‘Lead’ but basically it’s a management position.

    I have some Acting Manager time up my sleeve, but I haven’t managed in my field before (although I was promoted as a manager in my early 20’s and did that for a year in another field altogether)

Comments are closed.