my former employee lied to get a new job — should I do anything?

A reader writes:

Recently I became aware that a former employee of mine had landed a new job with a new employer. Kudos to him! But the job he got is well beyond his abilities and experience, by about 10 years. He jumped about three levels, to an equivalent level to mine. Curious, I checked out his LinkedIn and his professional site, and what I found is rather shocking. He has made it sound like he was doing my job. He completely exaggerated his role and responsibilities and taken credit, not just for my work, but for all the work of his former coworkers.

I am no longer with the company where we worked together. He was fired from that job a few months after I left, for, among other things, malfeasance and insubordination. I was keeping him in check while I was his boss, but once I left, he went completely off the rails. His new boss was formerly an executive at the same company where we worked together, but he wouldn’t have been aware of this guy’s antics. I know his new boss, and so do many of his teammates.

Suffice it say, his former teammates are pretty disgusted with him, and some of them have talked about outing him to his new employer. It would be very easy for them to do so.

I’m no longer in that sector, so this doesn’t impact me directly, and I’m pretty sure his behavior is going to get him fired again. But I’m pretty insulted by what he did. Should I just let this play out? Should I drop him a note letting him know that I and his former teammates are on to him? Should I contact his boss?

I answer this question — and three others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Should graduating students prioritize interviews or schoolwork?
  • My employee doesn’t tip
  • I’m bilingual but my coworker translates for me anyway

{ 301 comments… read them below }

  1. Justme, The OG*

    I realize that I am not the target demographic for the “prioritizes schoolwork over interviews” interviewer but I would absolutely not want to work for a company that pushed back on this.

    To put it another way, these students are prioritizing something due now rather than something potentially off in the future. That’s a good trait to have.

    1. ecnaseener*

      And specifically “exams and presentations” — we’re not talking about missing a random lecture here, we’re talking about potentially getting a zero on a major assignment! (In a lot of cases they should still prioritize the random lecture, but I would understand better why the LW was asking.) For an interview that may or may not lead to an offer! And I bet when the offer does come through it’s contingent on the candidate actually graduating.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        And I bet when the offer does come through it’s contingent on the candidate actually graduating.

        Exactly what I was thinking.

      2. Daisy-dog*

        Yeah, I was shocked when I read that! I wouldn’t have even been okay with scheduling an interview during class when I was a student.

        1. Beth*

          I do think it’s broadly okay for a graduating senior to skip class for an interview. Professors know that students are juggling competing priorities. Students should think about it first–if there’s a reason that skipping that specific session would seriously impact their grade, obviously they shouldn’t do that–but for the most part, missing one lecture isn’t that big a deal.

          Employers shouldn’t expect it, though! The student has the context to evaluate if a given class is safe to skip. The employer interviewing them doesn’t.

          1. pandop*

            Some of my Uni lecturers could barely get their head round the idea that we were taking other modules, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect understanding.

        2. ScruffyInternHerder*

          I witnessed a classmate fight tooth and nail to get an exam rescheduled for medical reasons; they’d been in the hospital undergoing emergency surgery during the exam, and because there wasn’t advance notice, the prof was attempting to draw a hard line. It took too long for voices of reason to step in guys, too long, too many steps, and too many upper levels of university administration. This should have been a completely obvious “of course we will reschedule this exam for you as you were in emergency surgery, when are you going to be done with the mind altering narcotic pain meds?” situation, rather than involving department heads and chair amongst others.

          Side note: this is NOT how you instill any semblance of confidence in your students.

          Hence my “no way would I have continued in the interview process” spit-take on this one. Have to GRADUATE to get the job offer, my dude.

          1. Orv*

            I’ve seen that sort of thing happen with profs, too. The sticking point seems to be fear of cheating (students who get exams early can leak the questions to other students) and fear of creating an unlevel playing field for other students. I think these are overblown but some profs feel very strongly about them.

            1. Nina*

              At my college there are two versions of every final exam – one for students who take it on The Day and at The Time, and the other for students who for any reason have to take it earlier or later in the day, on another day, from home, from Paris, whatever.

            2. Phryne*

              Well, fraud is an issue. Which is why profs here have to make more than one test. They will have to make at least three here for each of their subjects per year. And no re-using from year to year either.

          2. Phryne*

            Whenever I hear stories like this I am so amazed that apparently the teacher/professor can just arbitrarily decide this on their own? Where I work, that is not up to the professor. There is an exam committee that decides on whether an extra opportunity to take the test is warranted, and there are guidelines they have to follow. A medical reason is a no-brainer.
            There is also a department to help students with all sorts of issues, from needed arrangements for neurodivergence (extra time on tests for dyslexia or ADHD for example) and to help them get the support they need. If this Decaan says a student has a good reason to miss the test for personal reasons, the exam committee has to accept that decision and grant the extra chance. That way rules are applied equally, students do not have to share their personal circumstances with every teacher or professor individually and there is little chance of students taking unfair advantage.

        3. Glen*

          it would depend on the class and the job, for me. Dream job wants to take the time I would have been going to a lecture for that introductory sociology unit I took as an elective in final semester because it sounded interesting and I couldn’t find anything else? Fine. I only watched about half the lectures in the end, anyway. But if it’s the final capstone unit for my degree with an infamously difficult professor in the same semester? Not so much.

      3. Winstonian*

        Yeah, I’d be curious if the recruiter is still cool with hiring the student when they don’t get their degree because the recruiter insisted on scheduling the interview over an exam???

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          To be fair, I get the impression that the LW doesn’t realise that the degree can (and likely does) depend on these exams. The “finish strong” sounds like they think this is just about being able to say “and I never skipped a exam or presentation in my four years of college” or as if they think the students just don’t want to look like they are getting lazy towards the end rather than this being a matter of determining their grade.

          I wonder if the LW attended a college that was very much based on continuous assessment, to the point that most people would have passed before doing the exams and where the last presentation/exam was only worth a small amount and might be the difference between an A and a B or a B and a C, so she thinks “well, unless they are on the verge of failing, does it really matter that much if they get 3Bs and 1C instead of 4Bs?” And it doesn’t occur to her that not all colleges have the same set up?

      4. Beth*

        Exactly! What does OP expect students to do–tank their GPA for a chance at maybe getting a job? GPA may not matter much later in life, but when you don’t have any career experience yet, people absolutely do judge on it. Prioritizing this one interview over other job opportunities (as well as grad school admissions if they see that in their future) would be a stupid, shortsighted thing to do.

        Not to mention, I’m betting if a hypothetical student skipped an exam for this interview, got an offer, but failed the class the exam was in (exams are often worth a large % of the final grade!) and couldn’t graduate on time as a result…OP likely wouldn’t be excited to follow through on that offer. Shortsighted.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          This! You don’t want to hire someone who would make the tradeoff of tanking their GPA/not graduating just for the [probably small] chance of getting a job.

      5. Sarah M*


        LW2:You *do* realize that if a student “skips” an exam or presentation they could fail the class?? It’s not like rescheduling a work meeting, FFS. Professors aren’t likely to allow a student to miss a Final for something trivial that can be scheduled at any other time vs a real emergency. A job interview is NOT an emergency.

        Sorry, not sorry. But there is no way on god’s green earth I’d fail – or risk failing – a class for a lousy job interview. College is ludicrously expensive these days, so a failed class/bad grade is not just a major black mark on your transcript (which can cause problems on its own), but a LOT of money down the drain. Nothing I’ve said so far is shrouded in mystery or rocket science. SMDH.

        1. Sparkly Tuxedo*

          When I was in college for my journalism degree, I wrote for the student newspaper. It was a job in that I got a paltry stipend every month, but it wasn’t going to be a lifelong job. It would look good on a resume until I had a couple professional gigs under my belt.

          9/11 happened to occur a couple of weeks into the school year. The newspaper called me and wanted me to come in and work. I had a class that afternoon that the professor had told us that we could only miss if we were in the hospital or dead. If we missed it, we’d fail the class, no excuses. So I told the newspaper I couldn’t come in, I had to go to class. And they were shocked. “This is an unprecedented day,” they said. Okay, well, I’m here at college to get a degree first and foremost. Having a byline on a story in the college newspaper is nice and all, but the degree is nicer.

          I went to class and it was a damn good thing I did, because that insensitive ass of a professor just started teaching it like it was a normal Tuesday. When we protested, he said, “What, it’s not like they’re going to fly a plane into us.” So one of the worst days in our nation’s history was apparently not a good excuse to miss his class.

          All this to say, I’m not skipping a final or a required class to go to a job interview and an interviewer who can’t wrap their head around that is as much of an ass as that professor was.

          1. Vio*

            I get the idea that life has to continue after tragedy and education is important. But expecting anybody to be in the right mindset to learn so soon after a sudden and public tragedy is just ridiculous. Demanding it is unreasonable, irrational and callous.
            Far more sensible and human to offer learning to anybody who can use the distraction and allow everybody else to either stay and be among people if it’ll help or go and do whatever will help them.

      6. Christine*

        It doesn’t take much for graduating with honors to slip down to just plain graduating. The difference can affect one’s future significantly!

      7. Laura*

        That’s the thing! A candidate never knows if their interview will actually lead to a job offer. In fact, it’s more likely than not that it won’t! I wouldn’t miss something important to my life just for an interview.

      8. Vio*

        Not just that but an interview will likely involve just a small number of people being inconvenienced if rescheduled. An exam involves a lot of people and in most cases CANNOT possibly be rescheduled. It’s an argument on whether to move the boat or the lighthouse. There is only one answer and it’s not going to be moving the lighthouse.

    2. Antilles*

      100% agree. If anything, it makes me want to actively run in the other direction because it clearly implies the company/hiring manager has no concept of work-life balance.

      1. Random Dice*

        That was a doozy of a letter from someone who didn’t realize they were deeply deeply wrong-headed on this topic. May they learn and change!

      2. Madre del becchino*

        Bet that this LW wouldn’t let their employee have time off for their graduation ceremony, either…

        1. Reality.Bites*

          Not letting them sit for exams neatly solves the grad ceremony issue before it could ever come up!

          My big question is do they get their birthday off even if they’re a leap year baby!

          1. DannyG*

            My granddaughter is scheduled for induction 2/29/24. We may have that issue to deal with in the future.

            1. Cyndi*

              My mom was originally scheduled for C-Section on Leap Day, but there was a delay and I wound up being a boring old March 1 baby, so you may be safe from PTO shenanigans after all.

              Congrats to you and your family!

            2. ChiliHeeler*

              Inductions are usually started in the evening with a birth some time the following day. The odds are in this child’s favor that they will get full birthday privileges every year.

    3. bamcheeks*

      Right? You are actively choosing to select for employees who are prioritising getting the next job over succeeding at the thing they’re doing now? I mean, it’s an option, but, uh–

      1. Dorothy Zpornak*

        This! Like, this person is saying, “What I really want in an employee is someone who blows off their commitments.”

      2. Observer**

        You are actively choosing to select for employees who are prioritising getting the next job over succeeding at the thing they’re doing now?

        It’s even worse than that – it’s prioritizing the POSSIBILITY of getting the next job. An offer is not guaranteed.

    4. Dr Wizard, PhD*

      Absolutely. I’ve worked in places before (government) where you could expense taxis if needed, but they didn’t cover tips, which always felt bad.

    5. LCH*

      seriously. they are prioritizing graduating from college, something they have spent multiple years on and possibly a lot of money, over something that may not lead to anything. their priorities are completely in order.

      basically, school is their current serious job. if they worked for you already, wouldn’t you want them prioritizing their current serious job over future maybes?

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Good point. Might be worth the LW thinking of it that way: if she employed any of these students, would she want them to drop a major presentation or other big work even because they had an interview for a possible other job?

        If they are willing to risk failing a course and having to repeat in order to attend an interview, I think you’d have to assume the odds are high, if they ever decided to move on from your company, they’d be willing to risk losing the company a major account to attend interviews then.

    6. Czhorat*

      Do you know who else has potential conflicts with a job interview?

      A candidate will very often have a current job, and constraints on when they can take time off to interview.

      A candidate might have family obligations.

      A candidate might belong to a school board, a PTA, a civic association.

      A candidate might have a *life* outside the job search.

      The specific circumstance that it’s gratuation from school makes this more egregious, but hiring managers need to know that not only are they not the only priority in someone’s life, but they are at most a *potential* opportunity; there’s no guarantee that an interview will end in an offer or even that the candidate would WANT an offer after the interview.

    7. Nea*

      I once lost a job offer because they expected me to give up on a Master’s degree 3 months from graduating. They also used the “but it’s a career!” line – as if it was going help my career in the long term to not have a degree in my field!

      Never, ever expect more loyalty out of employees than you’re going to provide. Ever.

      1. Velawciraptor*

        And super never expect more loyalty out of POTENTIAL employees than you’ll ever provide. That’s just bonkers.

        1. Observer**

          Very bonkers.

          The very idea that a non-employee has to show “loyalty” to a *prospective* employer who has not made any offers just does not compute.

      2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        A job tried that with my now spouse back in the day – hey come start with us and you can finish up your degree online (spoiler: in the early ‘00’s you couldn’t do lab based classes online). Spouse passed on the job because his university wouldn’t let him finish online.

        He took the job seven months later when he was offered it a second time because it was still open. But yeah, the boss was a bit unreasonable about things outside his narrow window for that job.

    8. Lurker*

      Also most people interview for multiple jobs. So 1) if all interviewers expected their candidates to interview even during times when it would impact their grade, there’s a very real chance the person wouldn’t graduate, 2) the students could very easily schedule an interview with a different company that’s more flexible, so they’re probably not missing out on opportunities, and 3) students who know how to manage their time and prioritize well are likely higher-quality candidates who this company is now missing out on due to their inflexibility. The only short-sighted person here is the interviewer. I wouldn’t want to interview with a company who already set an unreasonable expectation like that.

    9. MigraineMonth*

      I’d say that prioritizing schoolwork while you’re in school *is* planning for the future. Getting their degree is going to better their chances at landing every job they apply for in the future, whereas prioritizing this one interview will only give them a chance at a single job.

      So while a grad student might want to land a job right now, the cost/benefit analysis shows that schoolwork–especially exams!–should come first.

    10. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Same side, different coin:
      Dear Alison,
      I’m having trouble with mid level candidates pushing back on interview dates because they have work obligations. These people have been working in the industry for one or two years. They are not mission critical level executives. Shouldn’t an interview for a potential job trump a staff meeting or work deadline? I’ve been willing to look at alternative dates for people I’m very interested in, but shouldn’t they be trying to make a good impression on their future company?

      1. Daisy*

        What future company? You are going to interview 5-8 employees, or more and MAYBE offer one of them a job. So for 7/8 of them it is lost PTO and potential negative response to their work.
        If their current employer finds they are interviewing elsewhere it is likely they will be put on the “let go first” list.
        It is always a cost, and for many employees a risk to interview elsewhere . Those with backup funding, or know they will be quitting soon anyway the risk is less. Many excellent employees stay in jobs with low pay, or a bad boss, etc because they are risk adverse due to personal circumstances (need medical benefits, no emergency savings, bills to pay, etc).

    11. Global Cat Herder*

      This employer doesn’t seem to understand that if they want to hire people who have a college degree, they have to actually ALLOW THAT PERSON TO DO THE WORK THAT IS MANDATORY TO GET THAT COLLEGE DEGREE.

      Failing to connect those particular dots is an entire parade of red flags.

    12. I Have RBF*

      Yeah, I would advise any student to prioritize their schoolwork, especially tests! over interviewing. To me putting interviews over school work is like counting chickens before the eggs are even laid, much less hatched.

    13. Lusara*

      Why are the students giving this much information to the recruiter? They should only be providing their availability, period. There is no reason to be saying “I can’t do 3 pm on Thursday because I have to work on a presentation.” Just a simple, “I’m not available at 3 pm Thursday, what other times do you have available?”

      1. Media Monkey*

        i can imagine that being the first conversation, this OP pushing back and saying “well this is important for your future career” and the candidate saying “oh it’s an exam i can’t miss” and thinking that will make it clear why they definitely can’t move things around. i’m a long way away from being a student but i wouldn’t want to work with this OP based on that letter!

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        I would be surprised if most students knew that.

        It would never have occurred to me at 21 that you could reschedule an interview. I would have assumed that if a potential employer calls and offers you an interview for 3pm on Thursday (or more likely back then, sends you a letter saying, “we are pleased to say you have been shortlisted and we are offering you an interview at 3pm on Thursday”) you either attend then or they just interview those who can attend at the times and you miss out on the opportunity. I could imagine saying I had an exam, very tentatively, in the hopes that maybe they might be interviewing over two days or something and be able to reschedule, considering I have an unavoidable commitment, though honestly, I wouldn’t have been holding out much hope.

        College students are still a) used to not having much power and to simply being told what to do, b) unaware of the norms of the working world and c) genuinely not in a position where they hold much power. They aren’t likely to be in a position where they can make many demands because they are unlikely to be majorly in demand themselves and they likely haven’t the experience to know what counts as a demand for special treatment and what is a perfectly normal thing to ask, so it would be very usual for them to try and excuse anything they ask for.

    14. Moonstone*

      Yeah LW2 kinda pissed me off. When I was a student I didn’t even like to miss regular classes; I would never have skipped an exam or presentation for a job interview! LW should want to work with those students that are conscientious and diligent about their studies, and that take them seriously. Expecting a student to blow that off for the chance just to interview somewhere?? Oh hell no. This says way more about LW, the environment of their office, and how they prioritize work/life balance, and none of it is good.

    15. Sleve*

      A student would be foolish to blow off an assessment for an interview, because an interview is no guarantee of a job. Even if the student is a genius who is fully confident that he excels in every skill required for a job, there is always the possibility he’ll be beaten by a candidate who is overqualified and taking a step backwards because she wants a break. No employer wants to hire a fool, so I can’t understand why anyone would be so interested in hiring someone who skipped an assessment.

      It reflects well on the intelligence of today’s students that they seem to all be turning this interviewer down.

    16. Also-ADHD*

      It seems really odd that anyone would want to hire someone who would blow off exams. And I’m not in a new grad demographic (though I use education benefits and my most recent Masters isn’t that long ago, I am definitely middle aged).

  2. Jennifer Strange*

    For the non-tipping employee, please do let them know that the company is going to cover that. If they’re new to the industry or haven’t traveled for work they may assume they should cover that (and may be giving cash or something).

    1. Umiel12*

      Yes. My employer does not reimburse for tipping. When I was just taking taxis, I would ask the driver for a receipt that just included the total without breaking it down so I could reimbursed for all of it. I don’t really know if I could do that with an Uber, but I would love it if the organization reimbursed for tipping.

      1. Jennifer Strange*

        Your employer should absolutely reimburse for tipping (assuming it’s within a suitable range and not you giving someone a $100 tip for a $25 ride or something). It’s still a cost being accrued for work purposes.

      2. Judge Judy and Executioner*

        If your org is in the US, there is no reason why they should not be reimbursing you for tipping, other than cheapskate policies. It is very normal for reimbursement to include any tips including cash tips. I’ve traveled for 5+ different jobs and all reimbursed me for tipping. Now, one org wouldn’t reimburse over 18% for tips (this was 10+ years ago and the org had a miserly owner) and you had to eat the difference if you wanted to tip more. But to not reimburse employees for reasonable tips is a red flag.

        1. an infinite number of monkeys*

          State agency employee here and it’s expressly prohibited by law for tips to be reimbursed on travel expenses.

            1. Ccbac*

              obviously not sure of the specific state, but a lot of the no tipping policies relate to concerns about bribery/corruption.

        2. Ace in the Hole*

          My state only recently (2020!) changed the rules so government employees are allowed to claim tips on meals/transportation as a travel expense.

    2. HappilyJF*

      I would go a step further and make it part of the official company travel policy. I know that in my first years of work travel, there was always the balance of doing what the policy says, and then somehow being expected to “just know” the unspoken nuances.

      When I wasn’t sure and didn’t have the budget to absorb any expenses that were denied (or even just unofficially looked down-upon), I erred on the side of not incurring the expense to begin with. Being very specific to what the company will and won’t pay for is really, really important.

      1. Smithy*

        Absolutely this.

        Where I used to work, you were give a flat dollar amount for “travel to the airport” that was determined based on where you were flying from and flying to. While this amount of money was well more than what was needed to cover public transportation, it just about covered airport shuttle costs and would only cover taxis/ride shares if you were close to the airport or were lucky in the pricing. Now clearly, if you could take public transportation both ways – you’d come out with “extra money”. But I remember telling a few coworkers I was going to take a taxi to the hotel when I was landing in a country I’d never been to that spoke a language I didn’t know at 11pm. I got so much “you know you could take the subway”….where, thank you – but no thank you???

        All to say, the idea that an employer would just expense taxis/rideshares to the airport as a matter of course AND include tips was not a given to me after that experience. In addition, a lot of people I knew who left and took new jobs would still take public transportation when traveling for work even if it resulted in no extra money for them. One former coworker’s take was that she felt bad expensing a taxi when she could figure out public transportation – no matter how long that took her, how many transfers from train, bus, to subway, etc. And fair enough if that’s what she wants to do, but to think of anyone reporting into her thinking they have or should travel for work that way unless there’s a huge excuse (disability, injury, etc) just seems inevitable. If my boss was adding an extra hour to their travel time, saying I wanted to use a taxi would be really hard for me – especially early in my career.

        1. Glen*

          wow, yeah, I like public transport and usually get a kick out of navigating a foreign metro service but not at 11pm when I don’t speak the language. I’ll do the Shanghai metro in the daytime though!

    3. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Yes! or sometimes the company will only cover up to a certain amount and so they are afraid of going over that amount. Or they may have worked someplace that would not cover tips

      I also wouldn’t assume that the employee is not tipping. They could be tipping in cash, because its going on an expense report and thinks they would get in trouble for tipping so they just use cash.
      Or they are a novice and don’t realize how to tip on uber.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Agree that they might be tipping in cash and only expensing the headline fee.

        Some people do this on principle anyway because employers are not always super generous about how line item tips/service charges are distributed.

    4. MikeM_inMD*

      For LW3, I would do what Alison suggests **in** the language of the document the co-worker is translating.

      1. Mrspotatohead*

        depending on what’s happening, they may not notice. I visited an ex’s home country, where I didn’t speak the language, and he got so used to translating that he would occasionally translate English to English for me. I thought this was hilarious, so I would just smile politely while I waited for him to realize what he was doing.

    5. Zee*

      My last job we were told they wouldn’t cover tips (this was in reference to a restaurant, but since that’s the one place tipping is considered *really* essential I’m positive it would extend to an Uber if it ever came up). It’s possible their previous employer(s) had a similarly awful policy so they assumed it was standard.

    6. DannyG*

      I tip cash, and don’t want to leave a paper trail in case the Infernal Revenue Service audits my drivers. I can afford the $10-20. And it keeps my top rating with the drivers.

    7. TPS Reporter*

      it’s possible the employee is tipping but they are using the first email receipt from Uber for the reimbursement. I get two receipts, one for the original ride and one with tip later. If I tip way later (as I sometimes am delayed) then I do end up forgetting to send the later receipt. So it could be a timing thing, or they could think that they aren’t allowed to send in the tip for reimbursement. I wouldn’t assume they are not tipping generally they just may be delayed like I am often.

  3. John*

    Tipping on rideshares seems kind of arbitrary – the driver is already getting paid some specific portion of your fare and they’re already allowed to take or refuse your ride depending on how much Uber is offering to pay them to do the trip. So it doesn’t really feel analogous to a restaurant where the waiters are a. making effectively 0 as a base wage and b. not directly getting any portion of the cost of items you order.

    1. ldub*

      Uber (and Lyft) are terrible companies that take over 50-70% of the cost of the ride, which has increased dramatically over the past decade, and offer no employee benefits or protections, and are in fact lobbying heavily to codify the lack of employee protections into law in many states. One driver I talked to recently said that he has to work 6 days per week for 12 hours a day to make as much as he made in four 8 hour days 10 years ago. Tipping is essential for these workers and should not be arbitrary.

      tl/dr: tip your rideshare drivers, whether it’s for personal or professional use

      1. Cat Tree*

        Yes. Tipping culture is really messed up, but shorting the employees who make the least money and have the least amount of power does NOT solve anything.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          The fix to tipping culture is to pass minimum-wage laws that make it unnecessary. Refusing to tip in a context where it is relied upon doesn’t fix anything, it just makes you a jerk.

          1. Observer**


            These laws are beginning to be passed. But till that happens? Don’t be a jerk. And don’t make up phony reasons to be that jerk.

            1. Starbuck*

              Not quite true, in some places, these laws have existed for many years – my state got rid of the tipped minimum wage over three decades ago, and we’ve had the highest minimum wage in the country for many years now. It hasn’t budged tipping culture as far as I can tell, 20% is still the norm. So something else is clearly needed.

          2. Starbuck*

            I wish that worked! I live in the state with the highest minimum wage in the country, and there is no tipped minimum allowed (everyone must get paid the same base hourly wage, there is no discount for assumed tips) and yet the tipping culture here seems not to have budged at all, even years later. I know it’s still tight, but it feels bizarre to be adding 20% plus when other minimum wage workers don’t get that and there’s no expectation to tip them. I don’t know what it will actually take to change tipping culture but it’s not just wages, clearly.

        2. Laser99*

          I’m a gig worker and we RELY on our tips. Oh, and the “stereotype” of the wealthy stiffing us? Totally accurate.

    2. Bee*

      It’s very annoying because originally one of the selling points of Uber & Lyft was that you weren’t expected to tip, and indeed they didn’t offer a way to do so in the app. Then they introduced the ability to but usually suggested 5%, and now they’re suggesting 15-20% as a matter of course – all so the companies can take a larger share without appearing to increase prices for the customer. This person may not take them frequently and therefore not be aware of the way expectations have changed, so the LW should indeed let them know they should do so and the company will cover it.

      Personally I view tipping well on the company dime as both a personal obligation and a delight to do, so I tend to err on the side of ~25% (high enough to feel notable, not so high it’ll raise red flags for the company).

      1. ldub*

        “Personally I view tipping well on the company dime as both a personal obligation and a delight to do, so I tend to err on the side of ~25%”

        This is the correct answer and anyone who doesn’t have this view is doing it wrong!

    3. Beth*

      The impetus behind tipping as a strong social norm is that the workers in that job aren’t paid a reasonable wage to do the service they’re providing you. Yes, the legal structures behind paying rideshare drivers peanuts are different than waitstaff–but fundamentally both are paid peanuts. So you should tip for the service they’re providing.

      1. Treena*

        But that’s not logical in places that have good (ie not $2/hour) minimum wages. NYC, Portland, cities in California, etc. all require at least $15/hour, the same as any other minimum wage worker, ie retail, etc. So why are we tipping 20% to a waiter in NYC and nothing to the grocery store worker? Both are making the same base wage, both are on their feet for their entire shift, it’s simply an outdated social norm that no longer matches with reality.

    4. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      Happily, the state I live in does not have a “tipped minimum wage”, meaning that everyone makes at least the actual minimum wage, even in tipped industries. (This is true of some other states also.) Do I still tip? You bet I do. I know and have known many people who work in those jobs and those tips matter. Does it help support the crappy status-quo? Maybe? I’m just one person, but I do what I can. (And when I can, I tip in cash.)

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Actual minimum wage is a good first step! The next step to fixing tipping culture is to raise that minimum wage to a livable one.

        (Tipping is bad. It leads to a host of discrimination and harassment issues, it obscures the real cost of services, it provides an inconsistent income stream, etc. We need laws to fix the system.)

      2. Indolent Libertine*

        That’s great for everyone who is considered an employee! In most states, however, rideshare drivers are independent contractors, so that minimum wage law probably doesn’t apply to them.

    5. Rainy*

      Please do some research into the gig economy and the ways that these workers are being exploited. If you are going to use rideshare services, you need to tip. If you don’t plan to tip, ride the bus.

      1. Tip o' the Hat*

        A 2019 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that approximately 16% of Uber rides are tipped. 60% of riders never tip. Only 1% tip on every trip.

        Even if some of these tipping rates increased during the pandemic, it is clear that most riders disagree with you. That’s OK. There is such as thing as supply and demand equilibrating, and if Uber’s base pay is too low to attract drivers, the company will need to raise the rate. Alternatively, if drivers are willing to continue driving at the prevailing rate, particularly in a good economy, that suggests they are satisfied with their compensation. (You look at what people actually do, not what they say.)

        1. Moonstone*

          Are you serious or just trolling with this comment? Have you ever stopped to consider that ride share drivers may not be happy with the compensation but it is the only job they are able to do at the moment for myriad reasons? This is just so condescending and narrow-minded.

    6. Artemesia*

      Taxi and Uber drivers literally cannot make living wage without tips. Not tipping is stealing service.

    7. Kella*

      Uber and Lyft drivers are VERY dependent on tips for income. Also, many Lyft drivers are also renting the car they drive *from Lyft* which further cuts into the amount they are paid for each ride. In big cities where cost of living is high, drivers have to drive 12 hours a day every day to make enough to live on. Tip your drivers.

    8. Observer**

      So it doesn’t really feel analogous to a restaurant where the waiters are a. making effectively 0 as a base wage

      Waiters are actually required to be paid 2.35 per hour (I think – it might be a tiny bit more) as a federal minimum, and it’s a bit more in some states. Which is about what some “rideshare” drivers wind up with by the time everything is taken out of the fee. And that’s before the reality that all of the upkeep of the vehicle is factored in.

      they’re already allowed to take or refuse your ride depending on how much Uber is offering to pay them to do the trip.

      That’s quite limited – if they turn down too many trips in their area, they will get booted.

      Stop looking for reasons to not pay people a decent price for their service.

      1. Cicely*

        “…Stop looking for reasons to not pay people a decent price for their service.”

        …which is exactly what companies should abide by. Interesting that society at large makes that demand of individuals but not the companies themselves.

        1. Observer**

          There is a reason why there is a push to change that. In CA, the companies had to spend a mint campaigning against a law that would force them to pay decently – and the story is not over yet. In NYC the TLC (the govt agency that regulates the industry) is requiring a raise in the minimum per trip wage paid to drivers, and there has been a push to set the floor higher.

          I know that similar efforts are under way in other cities / states. There is some talk changes to Federal law to deal with this whole new type of employment situation. Lyft and Uber drivers are doing some organizing.

          All of this is to the good. But I see no reason why that’s incompatible with being a decent human being on a personal level. There is no reason you cannot lobby your legislators, choose the companies with the best record of treating their employees (gig workers) well AND tipping as appropriate. It’s not either / or, it’s (ideally) both / and.

        2. Dek*

          This feels a bit “And yet you participate in society”

          Ideally, yes, companies would pay their workers a fair and decent wage. We should absolutely strive for that, and do our best to push for laws and policies that will make that a reality.

          But At The Moment… it’s not the case. And it’s not a secret or a surprise. People working poorly-paid service jobs are relying on tips until we create the policies that will have them paid well regardless. So if we’re using those services, we should consider that part of the price.

  4. Jane Bingley*

    Wow, that second question. You’re expecting students to skip an exam, which could limit their ability to get their degree, for an interview that has no promise of a job? No matter how promising a candidate is on paper, it would frankly be a sign of bad judgment to make that kind of gamble.

    1. Dan*

      I wonder if this letter writer even went to college because how do they not know that your ability to graduate can be rescinded at the drop of a hat.

      1. Cyndi*

        I wondered the same, because they seem to have a really unreasonably concept of how much power (zero) students have to alter their exam schedule, short of a genuine emergency.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          Yeah there was an undertone of “can’t they reschedule?” which, no, that’s not how school works.

      2. House On The Rock*

        I wondered the same thing. I don’t mean this in a, for lack of a better term, elitist way, but this doesn’t feel like a question anyone who graduated from college/university would ask.

        I’ve been out of school for decades and the thought of missing an exam or planned presentation still caused panic! Heck, I wouldn’t expect a student to attend an interview during class or study time and would probably think less of them if they offered to.

        1. Smithy*

          I did miss a final exam that I needed to graduate (met a core requirement) – and up until the second I was told that another solution could be found – I was doing all of this math in my head to see if there was any way I could still get the minimum passing grade if that final turned up as a zero.

          While failing any college course isn’t desired by most students – most schedules can have padding that there are classes you *can* fail and then just retake another semester. That final semester can be the most stressful because missing anything mandatory can add at least a summer term if not the fall semester. And just for one class.

      3. HG*

        It seems like they either didn’t go to college, otherwise feel that college is unimportant except possibly to get a degree and check that box, or just need to get their interview slots filled and don’t care about anything else.

      4. Irish Teacher.*

        I wonder if she went to a college that was very much based on continuous assessment and generally, the last presentation or exam didn’t have much impact on most people’s grades. Her use of the term “finish strong” sounds to me like she thinks these exams aren’t that important and it’s just about the students wanting to be able to say they maintained their work ethic right to the end.

    2. pope suburban*

      I had a job in college that expected this. It was, of all things, a seasonal job at a toy store. The day I interviewed, I brought in both my class schedule and my finals schedule. They hired me knowing full well my availability for that entire semester. Imagine my surprise when they scheduled me for a shift in the middle of the final for my capstone seminar! I told them I could not come in, which ended up being doubly true because my exam happened during a blizzard that shut down my (very snowy, never shuts down) state. These people called and called and called me during my exam, leaving more and more unhinged messages and finally telling me “not to bother” coming in if I wasn’t going to take it seriously. And so I didn’t, because no, I did not take a part-time seasonal job wrapping gifts more seriously than MY WHOLE G-D BACHELORS DEGREE! But yeah, people like this are out there and they are exactly that reasonable. Bleh. I support these students for honoring their commitments and prioritizing appropriately. This employer has strong “no one wants to work” and “we’re like a (dysfunctional, abusive) family here” vibes.

      1. WS*

        Yes, my brother’s first job did this, only it was a large national grocery chain – he gave them six weeks’ advance notice on the exam dates, they scheduled him on for 3 out of the 4 dates, and when he told them he couldn’t come in they never scheduled him again.

      2. Rainbow Brite*

        I worked part-time at a supermarket in high school, and when I gave (2-3 months) notice in my senior year that I’d be leaving to go to university in another state, my boss started laying into me about how he “seriously questioned my loyalty” and other BS. Because I wouldn’t … give up a university degree to work in a local supermarket forever? Seriously unhinged. I ended up quitting early and just getting a different job to work for the summer.

    3. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah, not even just a single day of class which is sort of understandable depending on the class, an EXAM.

    4. Elbe*

      Yeah, that question made me wince.

      These students are prioritizing an education that will qualify them for many jobs (and which they’ve worked hard and likely gone into debt for) over the faint possibility of a single job, and the LW think that THEY’RE shortsighted?

      Someone here has poor judgement, and it’s not the students.

  5. MonkeyPrincess*

    Does #2 think that students can just tell their professor “Nah, can’t make the exam that day. I’ll just take it some other day.” That’s not how school works.

    If they want to hire people who actually graduated, they need to let applicants actually finish school…

    1. chocolate lover*

      Exactly this. I work with college students, faculty don’t have to excuse or accommodate job interviews and a student could get a 0 with no option for taking the exam or assignment at another time, which means they could get a lower grade or failing grade, etc.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      I once missed a final exam when I misread the schedule. This was an upper division class of modest size, so the professor actually knew me and had an opinion about my work. He was concerned when I missed the exam, in a “Was he run over by a bus?” sort of way. One of the other students came by my apartment to find out what had happened. This resulted in my panicking, resolved by the professor handing me the exam the next day and sending me to the library.

      I would never consider counting on this. It worked out, but this was contingent on the specific circumstances.

      1. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

        Agreed! I *once* asked an instructor (in advance) if I could take an exam early in his office, because there was a guest lecture being given by a speaker from another university that I was interested in attending, and the lecture was being given at the time of the exam. The instructor was very reluctant, and finally said, “Okay, but only because my girlfriend went to that university, so I have a soft spot for it.”

        Not something I would count on, in other words!

      2. Rocket Raccoon*

        I once did the same, got the hour wrong and showed up to an empty exam hall. At which point I realized my mistake, tracked down the professor, and begged forgiveness and another shot.

        He was known for being a hardass but because I had a good track record and pled idiocy (instead of an excuse) he let me reschedule.

      3. pope suburban*

        I feel like the kind of student who would count on this would categorically not be the kind of student who would have that kind of goodwill.

    3. Tired*

      At the university where I teach, students swipe in to every class with their student card – we have both attendance reporting requirements set by the state for any international students and a “duty of care” expectation that if a student is absent from all classes in a week without getting it excused (sending an email to explain, it’s not onerous), someone from the university will contact them to ensure they are OK and offer help if not – it’s too easy these days for students away from home to slide into a mental health crisis or a teen making poor decisions crisis or a financial crisis meaning they’re working a paid job for too many hours, and spotting it early matters in terms of helping them back on track – swipe in monitoring lets us see if they’re just missing one class (less serious) or all their classes (could be serious) and respond appropriately, plus makes expectations standard across academics & about “these are the requirements set” rather than any “us against them, this prof is mean” situations.

      It’s not how it was when I was a student & im not sure it’s what I’d choose if I ran the university, but I do understand why it’s there. And yes, attending an interview is an excusable reason for absence, but students are expected to make up the work.

    4. Media Monkey*

      when i was at uni one of my friends was called for Jury Duty in the middle of our finals. despite letters from our professor, if she had been selected (in the UK they call in double the number of people needed and then choose the final jury), she would have had to resit this course and would have lost her management consultancy job offer (as they didn’t accept resits for any reason). luckily she went to the first day, wasn’t selected and sat and passed the exam! but i can’t imagine skipping one for an interview!

  6. OrigCassandra*

    Okay if I also call out certain professional schools as running roughshod over applicants’ existing college schedules?

    I had a student last semester who missed about a third of my class sessions to go to interviews at schools of dentistry. I now warn my synchronous classes that this is not an excused absence, and if it’s going to happen more than the one-or-two-times I give all students for any reason, they need to drop my class.

    It’s like employers and some grad/professional schools think what students and I do in the classroom is utterly without purpose or use.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Students need to get excused absences for a college class? That seems weird (assuming it’s a lecture)

      1. Filosofickle*

        My assumption here is that not that every absence must be excused, but that absences can be waived if they are — for example, due to illness or injury. When I was in college, we were allowed up to x days as freebies and after that more absences could lower your grade. But if you could get absences formally waived for a good reason they didn’t count agains the allotment.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          I’m more getting at the idea of taking attendance in a college class at all.

          I understand if it’s something like a lab or exam that has to be done. But for lectures, my experience has been that the professors don’t do anything about missing students. It’s up to them to learn the material whether they show up or not.

          1. OrigCassandra*

            Several of my classes, though they are not labs, are not lecture-based; they’re as close as I can get them to what’s called “active learning.” So a lot of the work of the class — the thinking, the bouncing ideas around, the coming-up-with-solutions — happens IN the class. There’s no way to “learn the material” without being there.

            So yes, attendance in these classes is not optional and is (through start-of-class reflections that are graded) reflected in student grades.

            I didn’t always have to run classes this way; pre-COVID, I could often let attendance be an implicit requirement. I can’t do that now, because a lot of students would skive off and not do a lot of the work of the class — which, again, happens IN THE CLASSROOM.

            1. I should really pick a name*

              If you don’t mind saying, what subject is being taught?

              Generally what I’ve seen is that the consequence of skipping classes is that you don’t know the material well enough to succeed at assignments and exams, so attendance tracking is kind of superfluous in that situation.

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                I was an English major. Once you’re close to graduation, you are in smaller classes with more writing and discussion. You definitely need to be there.

                1. EmF*

                  Yep. Even when not close to graduation – I TA’d intro English and a big part of the grade came from your ability to discuss the material you’d read and ask useful questions (“What IS it with Gertrude Stein and commas?”)

                  I had some backups in place for folks who missed some classes (religious reasons, health reasons, one student was on the university sports team and at a tournament across the country, that sort of thing) but it was very much designed for the occasional absence.

                2. Anonny NonErson*

                  I was going to chime in with this; the classes that were either required but not from my degree, OR were lower level of my degree, I could miss and just get notes from a buddy later.

                  But the higher level classes I took in my degree? I guess I could have technically missed class but I would have not learned the material. Full stop.

                  {This also goes for my language electives.}

              2. OrigCassandra*

                These courses are generally social-sciencey and professionalish in outlook and design. It’s not problem sets, it’s not exams (I hate exams, especially online with grossly intrusive proctoring software), it’s a lot of give-and-take discussion (whole-class and small group) and other small-group work and stuff like that. Lecture is occasional background at most, though typically a bit heavier toward the beginning of the course. Grades are partly rewarding attendance, partly project-based, partly writing-based (but not “term papers” because I consider those a bankrupt genre — often I ask students to try out writing genres from the Real WorldTM, policy papers and incident reports and suchlike).

                For example, I teach an intro-to-infosec course this way (when it’s in-person, which it isn’t always). One of the culminating class experiences is students playing the Backdoors and Breaches tabletop incident-response roleplaying game during class. Not only is tabletopping a fairly common Real WorldTM industry practice, the game helps students experience a little of what incident response is like in the moment — which is very different from what they can learn only by reading about it! — and it gently shows them some of what I haven’t had time to teach them about infosec tech, which is also useful.

                I can’t do this online/asynch. (I have a weekly assignment for the online version of this course that also uses B&B cards, but honestly it’s not as good.) And, I mean, what’s the point of synchronous face-to-face learning that doesn’t do anything that can’t be done online/asynch? (This is, by the way, a fairly pressing question in the higher-ed trade press and related discourse, if you look.)

                I really do try my best to answer that question in my own pedagogy… and that means that students who don’t show up are not actually doing major chunks of the work of the class.

          2. Cyndi*

            My college had a standardized attendance policy–I graduated in 2013 so I don’t remember the specifics but after 3 absences something drastic happened to your grade, though some instructors enforced it more seriously than others. I was in art school so many of my classes were studio classes that only met once a week for 4 hours, but the 3 absence policy applied just the same to lectures that met on a more normal schedule of 2 or 3 shorter classes per week.

            This was a real struggle for me, a person with lifelong punctuality issues who hadn’t yet been diagnosed with ADHD and still thought it was some kind of moral failing. I’m always surprised–not judgmental in either direction, just plain surprised–to hear from other people whose schools’ overall attendance policy was “eh, whatever, do what you want.”

            1. Rainy*

              The university where I did my master’s had a policy based on how many times per week the class met. You were allowed 3 for a standard MWF class, 2 for a TR class, and one if your class only met once a week. Anything over that that wasn’t excused hit your grade.

          3. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            In my experience it depended on the prof. In one class the prof passed around the attendance sheet to be signed at the end of the class to keep people from signing in and leaving. They also had a point system, you lost a point off your final grade for every absence. Other profs didn’t bother with attendance and often lectured to less than half the class.

          4. Filosofickle*

            Ah, got it. Yes, many of my instructors didn’t care about attendance at all or at least didn’t attempt to track (esp lectures) but some paid attention to it.

            1. Artemesia*

              Even where professors don’t require class attendance they are smart to maintain attendance records for the day that some moneybags parents complains about how their poor Johnny has been unfairly graded by that professor. Showing that Johnny showed up a handful of times all semester generally lays that to rest. It only has to happen a couple of times for professors to realize they always need to CYA.

      2. Elbe*

        I’m assuming it’s just for classes (like a science lab) where attendance is part of their grade. If they don’t want an absence to count against their grade, it makes sense that they would have to have a legitimate reason for the absence.

      3. Jackalope*

        At the college I attended, most of my professors (all but 1 over the course of my 4 years there) had an attendance policy that basically meant that if we missed a number of classes over the number of classes in a week (so more than 3 classes for a class meeting 3x per week, or more than 2 classes for classes meeting 2x per week) then we would have our grade go down and/or fail the class. There is no way that I would have risked skipping a class to go to an interview. And because my college was smaller, I had classes of anything from 8-30 students, so it wasn’t a case of being able to assume that my absence would be missed.

      4. Rainy*

        When I was teaching during grad school we were required to ding students for every missed class over the allowed number set by the College my department belonged to. It wasn’t something I would have done if I’d had a choice.

    2. DrSalty*

      This doesn’t make sense. What do you expect your students to do, not apply to dental school? That is the entire point of why they are in college, taking your class …

      1. badger*

        I may be reading into it, but my assumption on reading was that the dental schools would not be flexible on the interview times, which forced students to miss class if they wanted to interview. Of course they should be able to interview, but the interviewers also need to realize that their applicants need to go to class to learn the skills to succeed in professional school.

        1. OrigCassandra*

          Yep, that’s it. Every single time, it was “this is the only time they’ll talk to me.” I don’t suspect this particular student of lying — they were painfully honest and straightforward — so I absolutely think the responsibility for this mess was on the dental schools.

          1. DrSalty*

            Yeah but you’re not penalizing the dental schools, you’re penalizing the students applying. Are they supposed to jeopardize their futures in favor of your class?

            1. Rainy*

              How are they going to go to dental school if they fail a class and their GPA takes a hit? Or if they don’t graduate? Actually going to dental school is contingent on meeting the admissions requirements.

            2. OrigCassandra*

              They’re supposed to be in my class. To learn things. If they can’t regularly attend my class to learn the things, they need to drop my class and find another one that either fits better with their schedule or is more flexible than mine. I don’t hold face-to-face classes for my own self-aggrandizement — in fact, I’ve done a lot of thinking about what they should be for and what should happen in them to make them worthwhile at all, given often-available alternatives.

              I also teach asynchronous-online classes where this particular issue doesn’t come up. Heck, I happily and willingly teach in an all-online graduate program, have for over a decade. I’m not maintaining that classes have to be synchronous, face-to-face, or both — just that if they ARE synchronous, both instructor and students need to show up, in all senses of that phrase.

      2. AEW*

        I have to disagree.

        Hopefully, these students are taking the course to actually learn something, but at bare minimum, they’re taking the course to receive a degree, a degree that they are required to have before they can start dental school.

        They have to meet the requirements of that degree in order to receive it, and professors are under no obligation to give credit to students who don’t meet the requirements for passing, which are outlined in the syllabus/handbook/catalog.

    3. Anonynon*

      Yeah, one of our undergrad employees, who is currently taking our PI’s course, scheduled a grad school interview over an exam and then was shocked when he wasn’t allowed to reschedule it… despite the syllabus being abundantly clear that exams won’t be rescheduled.

      1. DrSalty*

        I doubt the student picked the date of the interview weekend. This is typically not something applicants get a choice about. In my experience, grad programs have designated weekends where all prospective students come visit together. It’s not a 1:1 interview you can negotiate the details about. Frankly I think it’s extremely shortsighted and selfish for professors to refuse to make any accommodations in situations like this. What do you expect students to do, turn down the opportunity to go to what could be their first choice graduate program in favor of taking an undergrad exam? What’s the point of the undergrad exam if not to get into professional school? This is crazy to me.

    4. BigLawEx*

      When I was in law school, the expectation was that you’d miss class. Same for MBAs there. The idea being that the job was the goal. Not at all the same for undergrad, though they were VERY forgiving for finance jobs. (School in Mass, jobs in NYC).

  7. Ridger*

    Is there some reason to assume, from the expense forms, that the employee isn’t tipping rather than isn’t claiming tips? He may just think they aren’t reimbursable.

    1. doreen*

      Or they might not want to be bothered with claiming a cash tip for a rideshare. If I take Uber/Lyft, the ride goes on a credit card but if I tip in cash, I won’t get a receipt unless I ask for one ( and maybe not even then- in the pre-Uber days, plenty of the receipts I got from cabs were scrawled on the back of business cards, which I doubt rideshare drivers carry). Probably wouldn’t bother for a single $5 or $10 tip

      1. Rainy*

        I assumed a travel card, which of course your boss and your dep’t administrator see the expenses on.

        I do think it’s sometimes not clear to people that you can still claim a cash tip–my org’s travel policy just asks you to document cash expenses as best you can and turn them in with everything else–we have a line item for cash tips that doesn’t require an accompanying receipt.

    2. Kathy the Librarian*

      Our company only re-imburses up to 15% tips. I’m not stingy and I tip 18%-20%. It’s just easier to tip in cash and not claim it. Plus that leaves more for re-imbursements in other categories like food!

  8. Jimmy Allston*

    1) Do nothing – not your concern or your business at this point. There’s no reason at all for you to get involved.

    3) Tipping – yes you can let them know that the company covers it, but I wouldn’t continue policing their expenses for it.

  9. Emily (Not a Bot)*

    If you already know someone’s boss and you have firsthand knowledge of this level of bad behavior, it’s totally reasonable to reach out and say something! If I were managing someone in that situation, I’d be annoyed if someone I knew (multiple people, even!) had this information and didn’t pass it along.

    1. LCH*

      except.. the new place didn’t seem to do a very good reference check prior to hiring. so why think they’d want the info now?

    2. Antilles*

      I’d be annoyed if someone I knew (multiple people, even!) had this information and didn’t pass it along.
      But if you knew there was a shared connection, would you refuse to do any digging on your own? The fact the dude got fired for insubordination and malfeasance should have been easily uncovered by a quick reference check, calling the last company’s HR, or contacting some of the shared connections.
      If NewBoss was too lazy to do due diligence, that’s on him. Not my circus, not my monkeys, not my problem.

      1. Emily (Not a Bot)*

        But just because you’re managing someone doesn’t mean you were involved in hiring, much less at the level of checking references. I agree the company almost certainly messed up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this shared connection was involved in it.

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          But just because you’re managing someone doesn’t mean you were involved in hiring

          Um…I think something is being lost in communication, as it’s very unusual for the hiring manager to not be involved in the hiring process.

          And it’s pretty accepted that hiring teams will use their networks for additional reference calls beyond the list a candidate offers.

        2. LCH*

          i could only see this happening if the new boss was hired *after* the bad employee. so new boss is managing him, but wasn’t involved in the hiring. which does not sound like the case here.

          i have never interviewed for a job where the person who would manage me isn’t involved. sometimes there is an initial HR screening, but if i’ve gotten the job, at some point i was interviewed by the supervisor.

      1. Jade*

        Dropping a note threatening to out someone and destroy their professional and financial life is neither smart nor safe. This is not LW concern anymore.

    3. Chauncy Gardener*

      New Boss should have done a backdoor reference call to Old Boss. If they can’t be bothered to do that base level of info gathering, this is the way they’re going to learn this lesson, I’m afraid.

    4. Mina the Company Prom Queen*

      This is none of the precious manager’s or previous co-workers’ business. And it would be bad karma to say something to the former employee’s new boss. And who knows- either this person will implode at some point, or maybe they have found the right position and will end up thriving. And you don’t know the former employee’s side of the story. How would you like it if you had a bad experience somewhere and were finally able to get a fresh start only to have vindictive former boss or co-worker ruin it for you?

  10. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

    For the LW who doesn’t need translation but gets it anyway, make sure that you decline the offer of help in your second language / the language your colleague is trying to help you with. It’ll help make your point.

    1. My Useless 2 Cents*

      This might come across a bit snarky which might be appropriate if the coworker was coming from a snarky place but OP seems to think they are just trying to be helpful. Given that the coworker teaches the second language, I’d come at this more along the lines of “Thanks for all the translations but I’ll never get better if I don’t do the translating myself.” Even if you are completely fluent already. Let’s them know that the most helpful thing they can do is not help.

      1. Kotow*

        I actually wouldn’t pretend to lack proficiency if that’s not the case for the OP. Especially if the OP is a native English speaker, so many people assume that English speakers will always need translations and people respond along the lines of “I need to practice.” You practice with paid tutors and language exchanges. In a work environment, you’re not “practicing,” you’re working. The OP sounds completely capable of functioning in the second language and I can’t see how it would help her to understate her proficiency. Alison’s script works (in either English or the second language, depending on what the working language is in this context).

        1. Joron Twiner*

          Agreed. The issue is coworker assuming OP needs help. “I need to practice” suggests OP needs help. OP does not need help.

  11. I'm just here for the cats!*

    #2 I know this is an older letter, but it just amazes me at some people. Most universities have their finals listed on their website. It would be easy to find out what week it is and then you can plan accordingly. If you really want to hire a student that will be graduating you should ask them what their schedule is like for that week of finals. you will be able to be more flexible than they would be.

    Also, it’s not the student wants to “finish strong”. They want to finish and graduate. So many times the final is a crucial part of the final grade. I’ve had classes where its 30% because it was a huge project or something. You can’t expect someone to screw up not graduating for the chance of getting this job. And I’m sure your offer would be only valid if they graduated with a degree.

    1. Anonymous cat*

      Yep! My last mandatory course senior year was midterm, final, and big term paper.

      And that particular class was only offered in the spring. If I missed that final, it would delay graduation another year.

    2. Random Dice*

      That’s unreasonable in the opposite direction. No hiring manager who’s wading through a stack of resumes is going to have time to go internet-sleuth through all of the classes of all of the applicants to find when all of their exams are.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        But what is not unreasonable is to recognize the situation and spread out the interview window to accommodate reality. They are interviewing on campus during finals. This issue is not subtle. And certainly don’t get huffy about The Kidz nowadays and how they need to get their heads screwed on straight.

      2. Jackalope*

        I think the recommendation was more to see what week is Finals Week. Normally all students will have their final exams during that same week. Honestly it would be best to avoid interviews both that week and the week before so they can study.

        1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

          Yes, this. A week or two before Exam Week will have in-class presentations, but that last week is when students really just are not available for other things.

        2. Antilles*

          Exactly. You don’t need to know the exact times of each final, just take 30 seconds to Google “(X University) 2023-2024 academic calendar” and see what is listed as Exam Week.

      3. AngryOctopus*

        If they live in a university town and are hiring entry level applicants, it certainly will be to their benefit to spend half an hour figuring out rough finals schedules for any/all schools in the area.

      4. KatieP*

        I disagree. I think it’s reasonable for a hiring manager looking to hire recent college graduates to check the school’s academic calendar and see that finals week is May 6 – 10, and not try to schedule interviews until May 13 or so. They don’t need to know the student’s exact schedule.

      5. Moira's Rose's Garden*

        But that’s not the scope of work you wind up doing if you are recruiting from college grads. LW says “I’m responsible for hiring, and we have a lot of entry-level opportunities for graduating seniors. As a result, I do a lot of on-campus recruiting at career fairs and frequently engage with students who are about to graduate and are looking for their first career move”.

        I supervise a team with positions that are almost all filled by new college grads looking for a leg up on professional experiences. Think I’m a Senior Llama Trainer and our entry level Llama Walker positions are targeted at new grads who didn’t get into the Llama Husbandry school of choice, but their experiences at our training center will make them better applicants in a couple of years, and their college classes make them a great candidate pool for our entry positions. On my team, we have 1 or 2 positions posted every year, and I wade through a stack of resumes and applications.

        I don’t have to internet sleuth to know that colleges in the US get out in May & Spring Breaks are in March, so mid-terms are going to cluster in Feb/Early March, & finals in late April/Early May. When I start interviewing, I hold blocks of times that give applicants a wide variety of times through the week, with early and late availability (for before or after classes, not just mid-day). Responses to schedule interviews list those blocks and also ask for 3 alternate date/times if none of those happen to work for the (still a) student. Zoom facilitates this really well, I have to say. I also plan for stuff like the start date has to accommodate the academic schedule. I usually can’t expect them to start before the July holiday if they have to move.

        It would be a little weird if LW2 didn’t have the same sense of the academic calendar as I do. Plus, they know the schools their candidate pool comes from, which should remove the legwork involved in knowing the general academic schedule, at least for the applicants they’re actively recruiting!

        Tbh, knowing we’re predominantly attracting an applicant pool working within an academic calendar, makes it easier for us to plan our staffing & work with HR at Drama Llama Trainers, Inc. Each year we can count on the same windows for when an entry worker’s tenure is going to end, getting the position posted, interviewing, making the offers, and new start dates. If LW hasn’t quite worked this all out for themselves, they’re making their own work harder. And if you are “moving more quickly” and need a position filled STAT, someone who hasn’t graduated yet most likely is not the right candidate for what you need.

        1. NotThatStandardized*

          Depends on the college. My college ran from October through June. We had finals in December, March, and June. My grad school ran from Sept through late May with finals in December and May. Every school is slightly different. So if you’re recruiting from multiple schools you probably need a range of available interview windows.

      6. Nina*

        Granted I am not in the US, land of a zillion universities and ‘universities’, but where I am the university years all have exams in the same three-week period, and if the person you want to talk to is a university student, you just have zero expectation of talking to them during those three weeks.

    3. finals week?*

      Is finals *week* an American thing? I’m not American but in my country uni finals are generally over a 3-week period, and usually worth 40-80% of the mark, even in 4th year, at least in science and engineering. Humanities courses would generally have a large paper due in that time – think 20-30 pages for each course.

      1. Runner up*

        In my experience, finals in US higher education are normally spread across “finals week,” but the week may actually be more like 1.5 weeks. And, depending on the course, the final exam grade can be a big chunk of the grade.

      2. Cyndi*

        In my first attempt at undergrad, a semester was 15 weeks of classes and then 1 finals week, where we had no regular class times, ONLY exams and/or project due dates, and your schedule was otherwise open for prep time. The second time around I was an art major, and we didn’t have that separate finals week, but all the major projects were due the last week of classes so it worked out pretty much the same.

        I’m curious about spreading exams over three weeks–a standard courseload here in the US is 3-5 classes, and it seems strange to me to spread that number of exams over three weeks if you aren’t still having classes. If you are still having regular class meetings in that time, and the final is two or three weeks before the end of term, what are you doing in class after that?

        1. doreen*

          My guess is that it works somewhat like state exams worked when I was in high school – the exams would be spread over two weeks or so, but no individual person took more than three of them per semester. They were 3 hours long and to avoid any conflicts, only one exam was given at a time – Biology might be scheduled Monday morning and US History Monday afternoon. Because there was only one exam given at a time, there wee no conflicts like there were in college, where I might have had two or more exams scheduled at the same time. ( It happened often enough that there was a procedure although I don’t remember what it was)

        2. finals week?*

          Here, a standard course load is 5 courses, a semester is 12 weeks, and having just checked, my kid’s final exam period is the 10th to the 30th of the last month of the semester. Uni’s have 2 to 3 semesters per year – each semester fits in a 4-month block. The finals period: has no classes, you’re just studying for the final exam in your class, and the exam is generally 3 hours. You can be having mid-terms/quizzes (any form of in-class test until the last class). So, it’s entirely possible to have in-class test/quizzes on the 5,8,9th of the month, when finals start on the 10th. If all your finals are in the early part of the exam period, you’re a little bit screwed, since each exam takes a good week to study for, if you do it properly. But you don’t get that luxury. So, yeah, the finals period: you are doing nothing but studying for your final exams, with all the coffee and chocolate consumption that implies.

        3. Lexi Vipond*

          Apparently my university ran 671 exams across four weeks last May – some of those will be cases where a class of students all had to sit the same three exams, but more are cases where 100 students had to pick 3 of 15 courses, or had two compulsory courses but could choose from a hundred or so courses for the last one (which students from 20 other compulsory courses might also be doing). The four weeks is mostly to spread out the possible clashes (and a bit for revision).

        4. Glen*

          my university has somewhere around 30,000 students on the main campus. Exams aren’t spread over two weeks for the student’s benefit, but rather because there are a lot of them.

          Also, the exam period starts one week after the end of the semester, so there’s a week off to revise before exams start. All of my units had their exam in the second week, too, so I consistently got two weeks of study time before exams and often only one or two exams.

      3. doreen*

        In my experience (and my kids’) , finals are spread over approximately a week and a half – but that’s only written final exams. Any papers or projects in addition to or instead of an exam would have been due by the last day of classes. How much is was worth depended on the class – I had a few social science classes where there was only a midterm and final , so the final was worth 50% or more while in some of my science classes, I had a midterm and a final and lab grades and the final was worth maybe 30% of the grade.

      4. Filosofickle*

        At my US university we just talked about “finals” and i don’t remember hearing “finals week” — we just had end of semester final paper/projects/exams, and due dates were defined by instructors. So, many fell in the same one two-week period but some instructors would move their due dates up to stagger them for students (or themselves).

      5. Charlotte Lucas*

        In my experience, finals week is after the (usually) 15 weeks of class. No classes are held, and there’s a separate schedule for exams. The final week of classes is “dark week” (or something similar). Papers and projects can be due, but there are no exams.

        Remembering back to my undergrad days, if you had more than 4 exams scheduled on the same day, you could arrange with the professor to get one moved. (This was school policy.)

        1. Glen*

          four? Good grief. They’re usually three hours each here, two is the max that even can be scheduled for one day!

    4. Pizza Rat*

      You can’t expect someone to screw up not graduating for the chance of getting this job.

      Bingo. Besides, don’t you want to hire someone who finishes what they start?

    5. Daisy-dog*

      When I was a graduating senior, most of my interviews were in the first 2 months of the semester, not the last few weeks.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I was thinking that this seems like poor planning. Many students have their jobs lined up well before the end of their last semester.

        1. Daisy-dog*

          I did not have a job lined up because of a ~recession~. But there were also no on-campus interviews during finals time and I wasn’t actively applying then.

    6. Chirpy*

      I had one class where a single assignment was worth 90% of your grade. Sure, you had most of the semester to complete it (big research paper), but there was no possible way to pass the class if you didn’t turn it in on time.

      I also had multiple classes necessary for my major where you had a midterm, a final, and little to no other graded assignments. Missing one exam would automatically fail you and could possibly set back graduation by a full year.

    7. Observer**

      Also, it’s not the student wants to “finish strong”.

      Even if it were? The OP was being a jerk, because for new students, finishing strong IS important. There comes a point where GPA doesn’t matter, at least with reasonable employers. But for new grads? The idea that students should risk something that has a reasonable chance of making them more employable over a broader swath of employers over the *possibility* of a good job is . . . not reflecting well on the person who suggested that. Talk about being short sighted!

      Having said that, the OP says that sometimes they push back not just because they need prep time, but because they actually have a test or presentation.

      Which mean that “They want to finish and graduate. So many times the final is a crucial part of the final grade” *should* have been obvious to the OP. Because not only is the grade on those exams a huge part of the grade – if you don’t take it or you fail, you fail the course even if you got 100% on every other exam, assignment and attendance.

      I share your amazement.

  12. Jenga*

    I’d leave it alone. It will be pretty clear pretty quickly that this person doesn’t have the experience they claim to have.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Yes – either he will struggle, which they’ll notice; or he’ll thrive, in which case his position inflation probably doesn’t matter. Either way, doesn’t need your input.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Yeah, I can see why OP is doing a double take because the employee has ripped off OP’s own job experience as theirs, and it sounds like such a small world that it’s an extra bold claim; somewhat akin to saying something in person which is a complete lie while standing right next to someone who could contradict you. But the upshot is that it’s not being said to you … because they didn’t care enough to check references, and why should you care more than them?

  13. Returning Awkward to Sender*

    Letter 3: I work for an organization that does not reimburse for tips. I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Either I pay work-related travel expenses for which I cannot get reimbursed, or I behave like a bad-mannered person.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        That doesn’t change the fact that they’re not getting reimbursed for work-related spending.

      2. Andrew*

        How does tipping in cash solve the “I pay work-related travel expenses for which I cannot get reimbursed” problem?

        They are still paying out-of-pocket (whether it’s cash or credit) for a work-related expense.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      In your shoes I would either accept the tips as the cost of doing business and pay for them myself or I would eat only at places where tips are not expected. Which isn’t great, but I can’t justify sitting at a table in the US and being served and not tipping.

      If you’re expected to entertain clients and they don’t reimburse you for tips, that is a huge policy problem.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I literally cannot do my work travel without taking rideshares/taxis. It’s not an option to just use something that doesn’t require tipping. It’s not just about dining.

        FWIW, I do still tip, but I find it deeply frustrating because it’s not like I asked to be there.

  14. Yep*

    For #1, this happened to me too. I looked at the LinkedIn of someone who contributed a very small amount to one of my projects and then left (he really couldn’t keep up), and saw that he took responsibility for almost the entire project. It was jarring and a little insulting, but then I just decided to let it go.

  15. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

    OP1, if I were in your position the only action I would take would be to stock up on popcorn.

    1. Generic Name*

      Ha ha, same. I’m someone who normally avoids gossip and drama in my personal life (I’ve stopped being friends with people who openly talked about others behind their back), but I love corporate gossip/drama. I worked with a guy who got fired because he at least exaggerated his qualifications. He interviewed at a company where the interviewer was friends with a coworker at his last company, and the interviewer of course called their friend and asked about the guy. Turns out he took credit for all kinds of stuff (things like saying he “did a lot of training” on a topic he was not proficient at). He was not hired at that company.

    2. Pizza Rat*

      Definitely. Allison called it when she said this situation would implode. It’s just a matter of time.

      It’s fun to watch karma at work.

  16. Rayray*

    Letter 1, why concern yourself with it? The company can decide who they want to hire. It’s their responsibility to do their due diligence on candidates.

    1. gmg22*

      Agreed. I do think Alison’s caveat to the answer — intervene only if the person is working with vulnerable populations or his lack of qualifications poses a public safety issue — is a good one.

  17. Ink*

    The non-tipping employee may be tipping in cash. That’s really common advice, because the rideshare company (or food delivery like Ubereats, etc) takes a portion of everything paid through them. If you tip $5 cash, the driver takes home the full $5.

  18. Cacofonix*

    For LW1, I’ve always wondered about unintended consequences for *not* outing someone who vastly overstated, misrepresented or lied to get a job 3 levels higher than their experience or abilities would warrant. So the employer loses out but even if lying employee implodes at new job, they have a legitimate title and duties to put on their resume for their next unsuspecting employer who also fails to do a proper background check. I’ve seen this happen and you’d like to think it would catch up to lying employee but some inoculate themselves through charm and relationships making their peers and employees suffer.

    1. el l*

      Failing upwards will always exist. Incompetent charmers who lie will always exist. OP can’t prevent that, either here or in general.

      In fact, the liar has already succeeded. Even if the best case happens – OP outs them, it’s believed, and liar gets fired – they can already put the higher position on their resume.

      1. RVA Cat*

        This. It’s like a certain liar will always be at former Congressman. At least he’s infamous though.

    2. Zee*

      I’ve had multiple jobs where I discovered my predecessor was really bad at their job, but they got to list the experience on their résumé same as I did. It burns me up but there’s not really much you can do about it.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        That sucks. And it’s why hiring teams should ask about accomplishments and not job duties. And, of course, do reference checks (both from those the candidate offers and from their own networks).

  19. Irish Teacher.*

    LW2, I don’t know if it is similar in the US, but in my college, I think 2/3s of your result came from your performance in your final year, so it wasn’t about finishing strong. It was about determining your result. (OK, our 3rd year was an off-campus one, so that probably contributed to it.)

    They have the rest of their lives to apply for jobs but only one chance to get a good degree and honestly, in most cases, missing out on one interview isn’t going to make much difference anyway. Missing an exam or presentation (which would likely lead to failing a course and having to repeat in September) for an interview where the odds are probably against your getting the job is probably not the best option for most people.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Mine was 4x3hr written exams in the final year. Any assessment before that only qualified you to move on, and didn’t count towards your final result.

      If anyone had suggested I skip one of those four exams for anything short of a parent’s deathbed I would have laughed in their face.

    2. call me wheels*

      It’s the same on my course (Im in the UK) final year is worth twice 2nd year and 1st year doesn’t count at all, so it’s basically impossible to go into 3rd year with a strong enough lead to be able to easily skip out on exams or anything like that.

    3. londonedit*

      My degree (20-odd years ago) was weighted 1:3:5, so the third year counted the most. First year was basically about learning how to be at uni; it wasn’t the end of the world if you didn’t do as well at the end of your first year, as long as you passed your exams. In my (English) degree there were no exams at the end of the second and third years; instead we had four 2,500-word essays due in January and four 6,000-word essays due in the first week of May – lectures stopped before the Easter holiday so the time between Easter and May was for essay writing. Which means I could feasibly have taken time off for a job interview, but if I was on a course with exams at the end of the year? No way. I don’t know what it’s like now but when I was at uni exams were administrated by a) the English department and b) the university itself, it wasn’t like ‘go and ask your lecturer if you can take an exam another time’. You’d have needed a medical exemption to sit an exam at a different time.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        For us, all you had to do was pass first year. So long as you got the grades to continue, well, they remained on your transcript, but they were no longer counted for anything. Then 2nd year was worth 1/3rd of your overall grade. 3rd year was an off-campus year, which you again just had to pass as students doing French or German often went to study in those countries, through those languages so it wouldn’t be fair to include their grades there. And 4th year was 2/3s.

        And yeah, same about the college (Ireland tends to use the word college as the Americans do) deciding exam times. Lecturers could give exemptions on things like essays and the majority of ours were very good about that (there were one or two who would give it just because somebody said, “hey, can I have a few extra days?”) but to get an I grade, allowing you to get the grade you earned in the September repeats (if you missed an exam and your absence wasn’t excused or if you failed, your grade in the repeat was capped at a C, no matter how well you did), you would need permission from the college which was a much more formal thing.

  20. Jam on Toast*

    I remember reading a recent letter from someone asking about bringing an informal warning to their manager’s attention after they were contacted by a person in their network, warning them about a new hire that they’d had problems with previously. This sounds like a similar situation. Does LW1 know anyone who works on the same team or company? This might be the time to fire up the professional network and re-connect with them. If you ask how things are going on their team, it would be a good segueway to ‘I saw Fergus has joined your team as a Senior Teapot Manager. I was his manager at Teapots Inc. for X years and I was surprised I wasn’t approached for a reference. Given my knowledge of Fergus’ skills, his work history, and the nature of his exit from Teapots Inc., it’s interesting to see him joining your company as a manager/director/leadership role. How have you found it working with him?” Nothing you’ve said is untrue, or even unkind, but it leaves space to read between the lines. If the company skipped over the references or took him at his word, this might start the wheels turning. At a minimum, your contact will know to tread carefully with their new manager, and take extra steps to CYA.

    1. HR Friend*

      This is a totally different situation though. In your example, LW was dealing with a new coworker. In this case, LW would be contacting someone at Fergus’s new company to.. what.. warn them that he’s dishonest? It’s just creating drama. LW is annoyed that Fergus landed a job under false pretenses. Which makes sense, I would be too! But what happens next isn’t anywhere close to being her problem.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        I think the idea is that the LW in this letter is in the same position as the person from the network who got in touch in the first letter.

  21. BellyButton*

    Of course students have to prioritize exams and presentations, those things are not usually flexible. What an an odd question.

  22. Falling Diphthong*

    OP1, do not send him a note in which you list out all the people who are onto him. That’s a set-up for a new cozy mystery series if ever I read one.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        12 former coworkers all receive notes informing they have won a surprise vacation. When they show up at the remote island mansion, they discover it deserted except for themselves. At midnight, the lights go out and a mysterious note appears…

        1. Melissa*

          But all 12 of them have a motive! The victim stole Wakeems lunch and complained it was too spicy, turned the air con colder than the agreed minimum causing Jane to freeze, brought a gnat infested plant into the office and destroyed Fergus’ plant family, got hired over Sandra as a medical receptionist without a background in medical reception work, wouldn’t give an employee a birthday off on non leap years and…worst of all…was the bringer of the cheap ass rolls.

    1. Jam on Toast*

      Allison needs to be the sleuth, though! A perceptive advice columnist finds herself forced to solve the murder after an unpleasant worker is found murdered and the Letter Writer who wrote in to complain is the main suspect. And of course, the book title would need to have a workplace pun. Maybe Killing It At Work or Managing a Murder?! :)

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        This needs to be written. AAM fanfiction!

        (I especially love the “was the bringer of the cheap ass rolls” revelation.)

  23. Dasein9 (he/him)*

    LW #2, students are typically going into a great deal of debt to go to school. Their senior year is when 4 or more years’ hard work culminates in difficult courses and capstone projects. Expecting a mere interview to take priority over that is unrealistic. Whether you intend to or not, the message you’re sending is that your organization doesn’t value the very education these students are pursuing.

  24. Tippingcows*

    For #3, I want to second what a couple of people have said. The tip might have been in cash. Some organizations don’t reimburse tips (and it’s easier to just tip in cash then deal with only getting reimbursement for part of a receipt). And I like to tip in cash because anyone who gets tips will tell you cash is king.

  25. AnonThisTime*

    For LW #1, I really see it as a failure on the part of the new company that this guy now works for, that they clearly did not reference check, or if they did they did not do a very good job. Obviously this guy lying is a huge deal, and not at all okay, but it seems like that could have been easily found out by some very basic checking around on the part of the company he now works for. (I once worked somewhere where a site director got fired for having a relationship with someone they supervised and then promoting that person to a management role all while keeping the relationship a secret. The person who got promoted to the management role quickly started threatening people that they would be fired if they said anything. Anyway, the relationship got found out, they both (the site director and the newly hired manager) got fired, and the person who had been the site director got a job at the agency that oversaw us, which of course we quickly found out about because we had a ton of interaction with that agency. (Apparently that agency couldn’t be bothered to do even the most basic sort of background/reference check).

    1. gmg22*

      I worked at a small company that, a few years prior to my tenure when it was still somewhat in startup mode, did not regularly check references and therefore mistakenly hired a full-on con man to do a job involving sensitive business analysis. He got caught making up information to tell a client about certain high-level decision-making in a certain large five-sided government building (about where said decision-makers were planning to, let’s say … move some important stuff). His experience, resume and everything else unraveled pretty quickly from there.

  26. Nerdgal*

    I graduated from college in the 1970s so I’m sure many things have changed. The vast majority of my professors were very accommodating of interviews and typically would allow us to re-schedule exams or projects for them. They wanted us to find jobs. I’m sad that it doesn’t seem to work that way anymore.

    1. Colette*

      University final exam schedules are usually set more than a year in advance, and once the final exam week is over, faculty has only a few days to get final grades turned in. Professors often don’t have a lot of flexibility around rescheduling finals, particularly spring finals.

      I agree with what many posters have said above, an organization that expects you to have a degree while penalizing you for doing what is necessary to get that degree is not an organization that will treat you well if they hire you. Why would anyone risk their college degree, a culmination of years of effort and expense, to interview for a job they may not get?

    2. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Confirming that by the late 90s, this was already NOT the norm in my area of study at least. They wanted us to find jobs, but the firms who were looking for entry level employees were also aware of when exams were, and if they were interviewing on campus? They wouldn’t have been slotted in during exams week.

    3. Sarah M*

      This was no longer true when I went to college in the late 80s-early 90s, and would definitely NOT fly when I went back to law school in the early 2000s. You’d have to be dead or dying for the Professor to even consider it. They’d already heard every excuse in the book by that point. At *this* point, the last excuses have literally become memes.

      LW may not have gone to college themselves (at least it read that way to me), but if they’re in charge of recruiting fresh college graduates, then it’s their responsibility to know these things.

    4. Glen*

      I’m fine with it, to be honest. It’s not proper to prioritise an interview over an exam, one of them is inherently flexible while rescheduling the other presents fairness issues.

    5. Irish Teacher.*

      I suspect the numbers going to college makes a big difference. Back in the 1970s, college was mostly the privilege of the few, so I’m guessing classes were smaller and lecturers knew their students and therefore it might be possible to reschedule an exams.

      Today, when nearly everybody goes to college and classes might have a couple of hundred students, it’s a lot more complicated.

  27. cosmicgorilla*

    That last one…I would ask my colleague why they felt the need to translate, but I would ask in the other language. That would underscore my message.

  28. Lady Kelvin*

    My company does not reimburse tips. Period. So your employee may be coming from a similar place. Meals and such are straight per diem so technically tips are covered there, but ubers, taxis, etc., anywhere we put in actual cost we are not allowed to claim tips as well. As much as it sucks for the drivers, I can understand why some people wouldn’t tip on trips like that.

  29. lost academic*

    When I use a cab or a rideshare, I usually tip in cash whenever possible. It’s not always cut and dried if my company (or contract with client if it’s billable work) will allow tipping to be reimbursed or at the level I will tip at (this is written into some contracts I’ve reviewed) and even for nonbillable but reimbursable expenses I’ve heard of and see approvers push back on the level of tip. I just take the tipping on myself (with the exception for the most part of restaurants) and don’t claim it – and I keep my receipts consistent that way because of potential auditing or typo issues. I also prefer to tip in cash so I can be sure the entirety of the tip goes to the person I am intending.

    So, don’t just assume your employee isn’t tipping at all.

  30. Nameless*

    In LW1’s position I would have been so tempted to just casually reach out on LinkedIn & slid in a mention of “oh I see so-and-so joined you… I managed them at X” mention to see if they took the bait

  31. Decidedly Me*

    For #1 – it sadly doesn’t surprise me at all that new boss didn’t check with old boss about this guy before hiring him. I’m finding more and more people aren’t checking references at all, but the worst case was when our parent company hired someone I fired without checking on why with me or anyone else at our brand. The reason we fired them? Sexual harassment.

  32. HonorBox*

    Regarding the tipping… I think the way the advice is phrased is good. It gives the employee some plausible deniability on the chance they didn’t want to tip and get in trouble since work is paying for it.

  33. call me wheels*

    Ah relevant to me today, I’m graduating soon and had a half-day online assessment centre starting at 8am. They told us in the intial email it would last 3-4 hours, but once it started some people found out their finish time would be after 4pm! Luckily mine finished at 1:30pm but I still found it disrespectful to our time for not being upfront about the timings. Sadly there’s not much ability for grads to push back against these things, they make clear how competitive it is and if you can’t go with their timings they can easily pick someone else who can it feels.

  34. Chad H.*

    Someone really expects an interview to take priority over an exam or presentation? Does that LW not understand how these things work. The exam is when it is, not when you want it to be. You don’t get to move it, and you put yourself at risk of having to redo the unit.

    1. Michelle Smith*

      And if they don’t graduate because they failed a required class, they’re probably going to retake it instead of coming to work for you!

  35. Mina the Company Prom Queen*

    I also have to wonder whether LW1 is simply resentful that the former employee was able to land a position at their previous manager’s level. It’s possible that the previous manager and former employee didn’t get along and previous manager was holding this employee back, and maybe the new manager knows that. We don’t know the former employee’s side of the story. I have a former co-worker who was put on a PIP in their previous role only to thrive and get promoted quickly at their next employer.

    1. Redaktorin*

      I could see this for situations in which LW might, I dunno, complain that the former employee was “insubordinate” or some other vague-ish word that can mean the employee was not a fit for any FT job but also gets used to mean “pushed back on my bad ideas.”

      “Lied about their experience on LinkedIn after being fired for malfeasance” is not that, though. It’s pretty concrete and provable.

  36. Sharpie*

    For the unnecessarily translating co-worker, I would be so tempted to reply to them in that second language that you’re perfectly fine without having them translate for you, you can manage in that language but thanks for their helpfulness

  37. Jiminy Cricket*

    On top of all the other good points made about the interviewer huffy about exam times: I’m so sick of the attitude that work trumps all else. “But they could get a JOB!” “It’s for WORK!” “It’s their CAREER!”

    It’s their education. Let them have that. Let them have it for its own sake. They won’t get this time again. You can move your interview times. (Signed, someone who schedules a lot of interviews and knows that the professional world is a whole lot more flexible than we make it out to be.)

  38. Lusara*

    On #2, the students need to learn that they shouldn’t be providing all this info to the recruiters. They should only be providing their availability, period. There is no reason to be saying “I can’t do 3 pm on Thursday because I have to work on a presentation.” A simple, “I’m not available at 3 pm Thursday, what other times do you have available?”

    1. Glen*

      There is no way that a large chunk of the people they want to interview are just volunteering that info. This is someone who’s pressing them for the reason they need to reschedule. In any case, “actually that’s [university]’s exam period” is a perfectly reasonable response to a request to a proposed interview time, and if LW were reasonable they should be grateful for the useful info.

  39. Michelle Smith*

    LW3: You don’t actually know that your employee doesn’t tip. I have to submit receipts for reimbursement and Uber actually sends me two, one that has the tip included and one that doesn’t. Because tips are not always reimbursed for me (e.g. if I’m traveling on the federal government’s grant dollars), I prefer to just submit the receipt I get from Uber at the end of the ride, before I’ve rated the driver and added a tip.

    Don’t make assumptions. Just tell the person that tips are reimbursable and that 15-20% is expected.

  40. Nat20*

    From the perspective of one who teaches undergrads: a student who blows off a final exam or presentation, even if they’re graduating soon, could end up hurting their academic standing right at the end. Finals often constitute a large portion of their grades. I’ve heard of seniors who failed a class in their last semester and were technically allowed to graduate, but afterward still had to re-take the class over the summer to round out their credits before they could actually get their diploma. I don’t think any reasonable senior on the brink of graduating would torpedo their chance to finish college on time just for an interview. As Alison said, an interview isn’t a guarantee of anything, so potentially sacrificing an important grade for one would be pretty shortsighted.

    And yeah, a company that demands you give up other important obligations for them is probably not a good company.

    1. Glen*

      Exams are consistently required to pass, here. Skipping one for an interview would result in a failed unit every single time. My circumstances are such that I would have been forced to drop out. So I would have incurred all that debt, and wasted the last few years of my life, for a job interview – and I would most likely now not even be eligible for the job. LW2 really needs to get it together. Job interviews offer absolutely zero guarantees and as such are actually pretty low priority. If you want me to prioritise it over other things you need to guarantee a positive outcome – and you’re not going to, are you?;) (I mean even my commie rear thinks you shouldn’t…)

  41. ThatOtherClare*

    For situations like letter #4, humour is a possible alternative if Alison’s suggestion feels a little more blunt than you’d prefer. For example:

    “Ha ha, there’s no way to stop a teacher from trying to teach, is there? You’re very kind, but I’ve got this.”


    “Whoops, Co-worker, you’ve accidentally left your teaching hat on again! I’m not one of your students!”

    Telling someone you don’t want their help pushes them down a rung on the conversational ladder. Sometimes it’s not an issue, but if it doesn’t feel great, that’s why. However, it’s possible to reverse the process and pull them back up again. Complimenting their teaching skills and/or their kindness is one way to do it. Showing that they’ve given you the gift of a good mood by smiling and joking is another – so long as they feel you’re laughing with them, not at them.

    Of course, people’s feelings about polite and factual statements are not your problem, and nobody should feel crushed by Alison’s script. But if her script feels a bit out of character for you, then you are allowed to re-work it.

  42. TheBunny*

    LW who thinks college students should skip exams for interviews…an interview is a 2 way street. If these new grads would be so lucky to work for you, they will be just as lucky to work for someone else.

    Ask yourself…if you wanted to schedule an interview with a company and the only time they had conflicted with a doctor’s appointment you’d been waiting 3 months for (or about the time a class takes on the quarter system) and prospective employer expected you to cancel the appointment to interview for a job you aren’t guaranteed to get… wouldn’t you be furious and decide you didn’t want to work for the company?

    A new grad isn’t so desperate for a job out of college that indentured servitude sounds good.

    And it’s not a good look for your company either.

  43. UWAlum*

    I had to re-read LW2’s letter a few times after reading some of the comments. Asking a student to reschedule a final exam or presentation because it doesn’t fit with a hiring timeline is not OK. But if the LW is offering interview times on say, three days in a given week and the students are saying “none of those times work for me because I’m studying and/or in exams that entire week”, I can see how the LW might become frustrated.

    I went to a university whose Co-op program is known country-wide. We would often have to duck out of lectures for a co-op interview. Most of the interviews were on-campus, so I feel like in at least one instance, I would go to my lecture, leave for an interview and then come back, although I tried to schedule interviews in the breaks between classes if I could. Our interviews usually hit around the time of midterm exams too, so while nobody would leave a midterm to go to an interview, midterm studying and interview prep would have to take place at the same time.

    1. Also a UW Alum*

      One thing to consider is that UW’s co-op program is very well established.

      Professors know that students will have interviews.
      The co-op coordinators are in direct contact with employers and can tell them directly “That’s mid-term week, so you might want to pick another week for interviews.” It still happens, but less often than it could,

      1. UWalum*

        Yes, true. Also if a manager is coming on campus to do interviews, it makes sense that there would be more collaboration with academic departments vs. a company that came on campus for a job fair or information session and then did interviews separately.

        I really just wanted to point out that at UW it’s expected that students can study for midterms and prepare for/attend interviews during the same time period, which I found reasonable.

  44. Wintermute*

    For the tipping employee I would also be very clear:

    This is considered to be extremely rude to the point of hostility, and that will affect the rating of our corporate uber accounts and could lead to them refusing to service us or to drivers refusing to take rides they know they won’t be tipped for.

    We consider this a reputation issue, while you are on business for us you will tip no less than 15% under any circumstance (since guys like this often also think “tipping is only for exceptional service”)

  45. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    People put so much work and money into their studies! Of course they want to graduate! Exams and presentations are the culmination of all that work. And, I say it again, in most cases, money. People get tremendous debts for getting an education. They’re not going to blow off their exams.

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