open thread – March 22-23, 2024

It’s the Friday open thread!

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

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

{ 1,069 comments… read them below }

  1. Yoimiya*

    Got this advice from my sister, not sure if I agree but should I send my references a gift card as a thank you for providing me a reference for a new job? She said she always sends her old managers $15-20 gift cards to thank them, but I’ve never heard of this. However, one of my managers has been a reference twice in the past 5 years- and I recently asked her for a reference third time- my sister thinks this is excessive & I should send her a gift card. What does everyone think?

    She works in the tech industry, I’m in accounting not sure if that matters

    1. WantonSeedStitch*

      I would be rather surprised to receive a gift of any kind from someone for whom I provided a reference. A thank you note would be very nice.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Nah, I don’t think so. You pay it forward by being a good reference to deserving colleagues. You could send the person who has done it three times a nice thank you email.

    3. CatLadyEsq*

      I have never heard of this, and would feel really weird about doing that – like it’s a bribe for a good reference. I’m in legal/government in the US Southeast for reference.

    4. londonedit*

      I’ve never heard of this – I’m in the UK, and we don’t tend to do work-related thank-you notes anyway (we don’t do them after interviews, for example), but I’ve definitely never heard of anyone sending a gift to someone for giving them a reference. It feels too much like a sort of bribe to me.

    5. Glazed Donut*

      I would feel weird if I were on the receiving end of it. If I’m giving a good reference, it’s because I think you did good work – not because I’m expecting any kind of gift in return.

      1. ForestHag*

        Same here, I view my good reference as a “thank you” to the person for being a good employee! It would weird me out to get a gift card – especially multiple gift cards. Also, as a manager I just assume being a reference is part of my job.

        A thank you note – something as simple as an email or text – is totally sufficient.

    6. Decidedly Me*

      I’d feel weird getting a gift card from someone I was a reference for. A thank you and closing the loop us fine.

      1. New Mom (of 1 7/9)*

        As someone who has served as a reference before and did not hear from the person again, I would especially love to know when somebody gets (or even doesn’t get!) the job!

      2. Venus*

        Yes, I think closing the loop is 100% it. I probably wouldn’t update them if I didn’t get far in the process and they weren’t contacted, but if they did get a call then I would absolutely let them know.

    7. Stoney Lonesome*

      I am going to join the bandwagon of don’t do this. I don’t give people good references as a favor. I give honest references so that the person hiring can make a good decision. It’s part of the job as manager. To me it would be like giving a manager a gift card for giving you a good performance review.

    8. Antilles*

      The only way I would do this is if we’re talking about the person directly linking you with the job. “Oh, I heard that Sarah over at Llama Corp is looking for a new teapot designer, send over your resume and I’ll forward it on with a good word.” In that scenario, I could see a gift card or buying a round of drinks next time you’re in the same city or something of the sort (though YMMV based on industry; if it’s government or something else with ultra-strict rules around gifting, this might not be allowable).

      If it’s just a bog-standard reference call, then that’s not necessary. All you need to do is send a polite email letting them know you got hired at ABC, thanks for being a reference, we’ll keep in touch.

    9. Cat*

      I got a gift card as thanks for being a reference once and it was nice but I definitely was not expecting it. This was from a former colleague who was my peer when we worked together. I think I would feel uncomfortable if it was from a former report.

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Nope. Don’t do it. If you want to buy your former manager a cup of coffee as a way to say thank you and to keep in touch, fine. But no gift cards.

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

      as everyone else has said do not do this. If you wanted to go beyond thanking them, you could offer to meet up for coffee or something.

      1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        That’s what I’d be doing — a thank you in the moment, and then treat them when we go out for a social moment to celebrate the new job.

        1. All Het Up About It*

          So I will say that once during strict pandemic time, I got coffee gift cards for references after I got a new job. It wasn’t something I had ever done before, but I think my brain was just like “I can’t ask them out for coffee right now to celebrate, so I’ll do this!” I had never thought about it before and didn’t run it by anyone. It came up on this site afterwards, and I’ve struggled not to feel awkward about making what was apparently such a huge faux pas. But hopefully, it was taken more as a sign of the times as it was intended and not me trying to buy a good reference.

          1. Be Gneiss*

            I think anything you did during the incredibly weird strict pandemic times was seen as nice, because there was so little context to pull from.

    12. Alex*

      No, super weird. For my references, I usually just send a follow up letting them know the results–like, Dear Jane, Just wanted to let you know I got the job at Bananas Inc. and will be starting as a Banana Masher in April! Thank you so much for providing the reference for me. I know you are super busy and I appreciate your taking the time. I hope to see you at the fruit puree conference in June!

    13. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      Compensation for references would push it beyond farce into quid pro quo. Don’t do it.

    14. AnonRN*

      I would send a nice note! But twice now I’ve given references for people and they’ve given me gift cards. They were people I helped train (so it kinda makes sense but at the same time feels more awkward). I definitely didn’t expect it.

      I do warn people that I generally can’t be a reference for them after about a year: if we haven’t worked together in that time, it’s harder for me to speak to their current work. Maybe 5 years is more common in other industries but this part seems like a big ask to me. Even so, I wouldn’t expect a gift; I’d just tell you whether I could still be a reference or not.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Refusing to provide references after a year would mean most people are restricted to references from their current job, which is pretty fraught.

      2. DJ Abbott*

        I’m glad my boss of almost 10 years didn’t have that rule when I needed his reference after two years of pandemic unemployment.

      3. Caramellow*

        I’m someone who has done a ton of references for others. I’ve also needed references many years later that helped me secure a dream job. I’m still doing references in retirement.

        Because I changed careers, the ability to draw on supervisors from many years past was critical to my ability to secure a job. One year is not enough time.

      4. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s extremely unusual — most references are from people who worked with the candidate more than a year ago, because people aren’t getting references from their current boss. You’re basically making it impossible for anyone to use you as a reference and I urge you to reconsider!

    15. RagingADHD*

      1) If we were extremely friendly and kept in touch beyond this reference, and
      2) I knew they actually exerted influence in their network to boost me, or at least had a substantive conversation with the reference checker (beyond confirming employment history / good standing), and
      3) I got the job, and
      3) It was a really good job / upgrade,

      I might take them to coffee / lunch or send flowers – as a celebration of this milestone and general appreciation for their friendship and support.

      But not just a former manager confirming that I worked for them and was good at my job.

      A gift card seems like too little for a great mentor, and way too much for a routine employment check.

      1. Be Gneiss*

        I once did this in the following context:
        (1) One was a former colleague who I hadn’t worked with in several years but who could speak to a particular type of work I had done, and the other was a boss who had just left ToxicJob and was actively encouraging me to GET OUT
        (2) NewJob was a place that makes a very desirable and giftable food
        (3) I sent it after I accepted my offer from NewJob.

        So what I sent was a thank you note and the equivalent of a nice cookie sold by NewJob.

    16. NaN*

      Everyone else has already said not to do it, but for the record: This would also be weird in the tech industry.

      1. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

        Yup, was about to say this myself. I wonder where Yomiya’s sister heard this!

    17. learnedthehardway*

      A note of thanks – yes, definitely do that. A GIFT?!??! NO – never. Even after the fact, it feels unethical.

    18. ErinW*

      I’ve never sent gifts to work references. I did send coffee shop gift cards to the professors who were references for me for grad school applications. I sent the gift cards AFTER I got the confirmations that their references were received with my application.

      1. Bruce*

        That seems OK to me, college profs probably see writing reference letters as a chore, while in industry we see giving references as a form of networking

    19. TX_TRUCKER*

      A nice thank you email or hand written note would be appreciated. I would be weirded out by a gift card for just giving honest feedback.

    20. Rex Libris*

      Personally, it would feel really awkward to receive a gift card from someone I was a reference for. I’d say just go with a thank you note.

    21. Artemesia*

      After you get the job take them out for a nice lunch or something — but gift cards feel much too bribey. The thing I appreciated was a nice letter updating me on their search success and thanking me for going to bat for them.

    22. Crazy Plant Lady*

      Please don’t! I view being a reference as a pay it forward situation. Just be a good reference for others in the future and you’ve done your part.

    23. I'm A Little Teapot*

      That is not a norm in the accounting world that I’m aware of, and I’m an auditor. Can’t speak to tech, but send a nice thank you.

    24. Ellis Bell*

      I can’t think of any additional context where this doesn’t feel a little bit bribe-y? I’m sure that’s not the intention, particularly with the small amounts, but even if it’s not read as trying to curry favour, it’s going to read as awkward and off; it’s a bit like someone tipping someone who’s not in the service industry, and even if they were, are too senior to be tipped.

    25. ccsquared*

      Even in the tech industry, the norm is that references are a professional courtesy, and most people are not going to expect anything beyond a thank you and being among the first to know when one of these opportunities pans out. Your sister’s approach is not unheard of – there are both prolific gift card senders and those uncomfortable having an unpaid social debt who will try to resolve that anxiety with gifts/money – but it’s far from the norm.

    26. Anecdata*

      what, no — to both “being a reference 2-3x in 5 years is excessive”; and the gift card (and I am in tech too).

      An email thank you is nice, and I try to send an additional thank you/follow up on my first day if I end up getting the job

    27. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I would feel really strange if I got a gift card for someone I gave a reference to. I have a couple folks I’ve worked with for whom I’m routinely a reference and it just feels like a good thing to do for the people I really feel strongly positive about. Getting a gift card would feel…transactional, make me wonder if they are trying to keep me sweet on them in a subtly manipulative way, and make me wonder if they feel insecure about our relationship.

      I think it relates to the power dynamics of gifts flowing down? I’m the reference because I was their boss, so that still feels like it’s in place a little bit.

      I vote no, don’t do it.

    28. Chauncy Gardener*

      Oh my goodness, no!
      Just my two cents. And I’ve been in tech, manufacturing, biotech….

    29. Cascadia*

      Please don’t do this! It totally feels like you are bribing them for a good reference. Also, we all need good references at some point, so I’m always happy to do it! And 3 times in 5 years does not feel like a lot. I have some folks that do contract work and I have been references for them 5 times in a single year! I really don’t mind, it takes approximately 5 minutes to do most references.

  2. Please Help*

    I work as a lobbyist for a nonprofit organization. I am the only lobbyist for the organization in the state, and do not have any contract lobbyists. We have a national headquarters that insists on reviewing all of our policies before we are able to begin work on them and they must be approved by the national headquarters. My report was due in September, and then I went through multiple rounds of edits with the national headquarters and suddenly it was November. Our legislative session ended a few weeks ago. Trying to get a bill introduced that late isn’t going to work, I tried my best and met with a bill sponsor and leadership and was told that it was too late. I have explained this multiple times to my boss and the national office. Then this week I was blindsided when my boss started asking me for what dates I worked on things, why it didn’t get introduced. I again explained that I just didn’t have enough time. He then said that the national office is “looking into it” and needs to see dates. I did everything right, I know I did, I just was unable to do this because of the timing caused by the national office. This is all compounded by the fact that the person who reviews my report used to have my position until he was promoted and, frankly, hates me. I just have a sinking feeling that I am about to be fired and don’t know what to do.

    1. Sloanicota*

      This stinks, but you can perhaps frame it as learning curve for you about how the org operates. Next time you’ll send the report up the flagpole sooner, regardless of their stated deadline, or you’ll apply more urgency and make it clear to everyone that they will miss the opportunity if they don’t respond so that it is your choice. Unfortunately lobbying is a field where you’re expected to proactively work the system rather than hanging back and letting things play out.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, give this a chance to be a surface level “So OP sent in the report to the head office in September, on the due date. After two weeks she received a request for tweaks, which she completed in four business days. This pattern repeated until the legislative session ran out. Okay, so clearly there is too much review here, or too slow a review.”

        OP, I strongly recommend that you get out of the headspace “I know I did it right” and instead focus on how you can simply and straightforwardly lay out what steps you took, and the timeline for those. Those reality facts should support your conviction that you did what you could.

        1. Momma Bear*

          I agree. If someone wants to look into it, then give them the information they are looking for as professionally as possible. Falling above suggests a good outline. Maybe you get fired. Maybe you don’t and they realize that the reviewer was the bottleneck. Keep your receipts, always. Once they have that info, focus on the work in front of you.

    2. Ducky*

      I’m sorry that does sound nerve wracking. I don’t have expert advice, but I would deal with the anxiety you’re feeling by gray rocking your supervisor. Ignore what he might think of you, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Put together a kick ass report about what you did, when you did it, and why you did it when and how you did it. Use that report to cover your ass. If they poke holes in it, that’s ok. You did your due dilligence. You can rest easy that you did everything you could do and if the result is you get fired for it, collect unemployment, lick your wounds, and take what you learned from the experience to get a better job (because you will).

    3. Please Help*

      I did send all of the dates, and got one follow-up question about why it took so long to meet with leadership (in January) to which I responded that I called, and emailed twice, to set up the meeting. This also happened to fall when I had mandatory training out of state for a few days, Thanksgiving, I took PTO for a week to visit family out of the country, Christmas, and then New Years. The report was due in September, and every weekend in September I have to travel for work, I then had to go to meetings in two different states in October. I completed everything in the required timeline, but just to say that fall is a challenging time for me at work.

      It also doesn’t help that the person who is stirring all of this up used to hold my position until he was promoted to the national office. I had worked with him in previous lobbying roles, and let’s just say he has a less than positive reputation when it deals with young women. I was concerned about having to work with him, so I asked about how much we would be overlapping casually during the interview process and they said rarely. Well, turns out that was incorrect and I now work with him regularly. One of his friends that he was pushing to apply for the role when it was originally posted was fired from his position a few months ago, and I feel like I am being pushed out so that he can recommend his friend for the job.

      I don’t know… I am just fully at a loss at the moment.

      1. theletter*

        I think it might be helpful to consider that the national office might be looking into why a report that was turned in on time went through multiple rounds of edits until the clock ran out. Someone might be trying to prove that the reviews/rewrites were an unnecessary delay.

        It might also help to think in terms of project management – were you given the due date of September, and no other information beyond that? Was there someone above you who was ultimately responsible for ensuring the final report gets to Whomever in time for the bill to be introduced?

        What I’ve found is that older men tend to think that when something is needed urgently, someone should just call and call and call until it gets done, and either the pressure campaign works, or that someone isn’t working hard enough – but that’s not reality for young women. Calling a lot can work against our needs if the person we’re pursuing has a bigoted bias.

        What does work is being the due-date reminder for Everyone involved- if you’re in charge of the due date!

        If you were not given that date, then it’s really a matter of saying ‘I was told it was due in September, and then to work with the National Office on any revisions. I was not made aware that a final draft was due by X date. So it seems that someone knew but didn’t take accountability, someone knew but wanted to delay on purpose, or no one knew and we need to invest in some project management skills.’

        Now if you were given that date, then you could say that with the national office’s mutliple rounds of a revisions, it was unclear that they needed you to be pressuring them to finalize the report by that date.

        What you can do starting today is look at all your projects, start insisting on target dates, due dates, and last chance dates, and then act like those dates are tattooed on the back of your hand. Repeat them in meetings like a mantra. Say things like “This might push us past our deadline. How do you want to proceed? If the national office won’t approve this by X date, we will miss our deadline.” If you start doing this now, they might either 1) forget that you weren’t like this last year or 2) think that you REALLY learned your lesson and they can rest assured/watch out for the new in-house deadline advancer.

        1. Cookie Monster*

          I was just going to say this. Please Help, this situation might work in your favor! If they see you did everything you could, then they might realize the problem is on THEIR end and might either revamp their process, discipline the guy who doesn’t like you for not doing his job, etc.

      2. JelloStapler*

        That stinks, it does- and you are welcome to vent here obviously. My advice is that you need to focus on what is in your control and then ask them:”what should I do differently with these challenges next time”?

      3. Artemesia*

        Unfair as it is, the buck stops with the person whose responsibility it is to get the bill introduced. When delays occur you have to act like your hair is on fire and be relentless about the drop deadline and not let up until you have what you need. I’d also probably be working with the legislator I wanted to have introduce it early on with the proviso that you need final approval — so that he or she has it on their list to get done.

        It is like a grant proposal. If you are in charge you can’t wait and then say well the IRB or the Director or whatever didn’t process it in time. You have to do whatever has to be done to shake it loose or else be directed to not proceed with it.

        I’d push for a less cumbersome process and I hope that works for you. It is awful to have to work with people you don’t trust who don’t follow through.

        1. Please Help*

          Typically, I would agree 100% with your comment. It is my responsibility to get something introduced. However, I am not allowed to do anything, meet with legislators, show them a one pager, etc. without the approval from the national office. I did get all of that stuff ready in advance so I was ready to hit the ground running the moment that I did get approval. But by the time that I was “allowed” to meet with a potential bill author, who I had been working on building a good relationship with in the meantime, they wanted sign off from leadership that it was alright. Leadership said it was too late, and that they didn’t want to see it this session.

          1. Artemesia*

            Well that truly sucks. The only thing you could have done differently is to go full defcon and be on their case until they responded. But it sounds like your main contact in the org sabotaged you on this.

          2. JSPA*

            If all of the materials were ready and the files have a timestamp, I’d include that as well, in messaging your boss.

            You seem to have been thoroughly proactive, So I don’t know why people are assuming that you did not push hard enough.

    4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      I think you may have made the (completely understandable!!) mistake of not communicating clearly and well in advance what the legislative calendar looks like in your state. Your predecessor, who’s now at the nation office, ought to know it, of course. But maybe they forgot in the press of learning 49 other state calendars. Or maybe they are out to get you.

      Do you think your boss, in general, is supportive of you? They could they be asking for these dates as a way to back you up, after all.

      1. Please Help*

        My boss is an okay guy, he is nice and everything. I will say he isn’t a very strong leader and struggles to have difficult work conversations.

        I did explain our legislative calendar multiple times, and expressed to my predecessor that I was concerned about the timing of approval. Unfortunately, this was over meetings and so there is no written trail.

        1. JelloStapler*

          It may be a good idea to start sending out summaries after a meeting

          ‘ I want to confirm that this is what we discussed and that these are my action items. Please write back if there need to be adjustments; otherwise, I will assume these are set to go.’

          If they try to tell you verbally, just tell them you are trying to be more organized. Having it written down is helpful.

          1. Momma Bear*

            100% – this is covering your own butt and I think given what you’ve described you need to make sure you have a paper trail.

        2. Mopping Up*

          It sounds like you’ve gotten some good advice, and I agree with those who have suggested trying to put aside your feelings of frustration and treat it as a growth opportunity. It might even be worth asking the jerk how he was able to successfully push bills to get reviewed on time when he was in the role. It could be that you needed to take a much more active role in staying on top of them and pushing others to review your work — maybe this is a competency for the role that you weren’t previously aware of.

          And now you know, meeting agendas and follow-up notes (with action items) should be a SOP.

    5. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      I would make a flow chart that shows the timelines of how they are doing things and then line it up with the flow chart of how the government is doing things so they can see where their process and procedure is hindering them.

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        I like this suggestion. Instead of them telling you the dates, you show them what dates are required for internal process to meet the legislative timelines that won’t wait for them to read reports.

        Good on you for building the relationship with the legislator so you have something to start from for the next session. Mention that to demonstrate that you’ve laid groundwork that you can build on. Someone new wouldn’t have that.

    6. Seven times*

      Consider that they may be having this issue with other states and that you may be providing documentation that shows that there are issues at the national office. Providing clear documentation as you did was the best response.

    7. learnedthehardway*

      Put everything down on paper, with dates.

      In fact, put together a package with the emails you send requesting feedback, and send those to your manager. They’ll then be able to see the dates you sent your info, when headquarters responded, etc.

      Now, it may be that you needed to start earlier on the work – but that’s a learning curve, and your manager should have informed you, if there was going to be a known long delay to get the approvals you needed.

    8. Polly Hedron*

      There are good suggestions above. My guess is that if you follow them, you won’t get fired. Please update us each week until your situation is resolved.

    9. Kay*

      I know how this goes, and I’ve been here. One thing that isn’t mentioned is whether or not your boss and the higher ups KNEW the consequences to what might happen if these policies weren’t approved. Not just “we really need to get this done”, but “this is URGENT and if it isn’t approved by X date we are DEAD IN THE WATER!” type urgent.

      It sounds like you followed up a couple times over a few months, and were understandably busy, but it doesn’t sound like this was pressed as urgently as I would expect. I’ve been in your situation and I 100% chased down every possible contact I could think of to help me from the state level to national to get things done.

      Working on and supporting is a huge part of this type of work. If I was the boss I would definitely be reviewing what happened if this were to transpire. Of course it is on national, but there are times when lighting fires is needed. This was one of them.

      1. RVA Cat*

        This. I’m thinking this job and organization are a poor fit for the OP, and that’s okay.

        Write up a great report and then put your energy into moving on. It says everything about this place that they promoted a sexist a-hole (especially if this goes against their mission).

    10. JSPA*

      Pull together a flow chart, spreadsheet, calendar or simple list of dates.

      Include every step you took, including things like “sent reminder of need for expedited review,” “sent reminder of timeline,” “sent request for authority to proceed on x and y pending ongoing review of subject matter z” or whatever) with date and time and method (email, phone message, slack, SMS, whatever).

  3. Mouse Rat*

    My spouse interviewed this week. They are in an industry that can be somewhat inflexible – think staffing shortages, time-sensitive work, etc. She enjoyed the interview, liked the people she met, liked what she saw in the facility, etc. But the interview came up really quickly with very little time for her to prepare, and she didn’t think to ask any workplace-culture, work-life-balance type questions. To be clear, Spouse is a wonderful human and spouse! But Spouse also will leave me holding the bag for many family emergencies because she just hates to let down her employer/team. (But so do I!) We have two kids and four aging parents in town… emergencies aren’t often, but they do happen. I’m willing to take on more of them than her because it’s true that my job is not as rigid. But I do have time-sensitive requirements and deadlines. I’m also the breadwinner and our insurance is through me.

    Anyway, regarding this potential new gig, she has no idea whether she’d be permitted to call out to deal with a family emergency or whether taking planned vacations are frowned upon, etc. (This is healthcare facility, so, a professional setting). I think she’s pretty excited by the possibility here and a good offer would be hard to ignore, but she does wonder what the culture is regarding work-life balance and emergencies and wishes she’d asked about it.

    So is there any way for her to ask any questions about the culture around time off, or work-life balance, perhaps as a quick-call follow-up if she gets an offer? If so, what could she ask or how could she phrase it in such a way that it’s not going to be offputting to the employer? She’s a dedicated, hard worker and would never call out except for infrequent, true emergencies, but the fact is that she does have a life outside of work.

    Or, additionally/alternatively, do you have any thoughts on how she, or I, can adjust our thinking on this issue? I admit I have some years of resentment because I have been stuck telling my own employer and team “I’m sorry, I can’t come in/have to rush home” SO many times even while on deadline. I need my career and sanity to matter, too.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      So is there any way for her to ask any questions about the culture around time off, or work-life balance, perhaps as a quick-call follow-up if she gets an offer?

      Yes, she definitely can do this! She can start off with “I’m very excited about this offer, but I realized in my excitement I forgot to ask some of my standard questions to learn more about the culture of the organization.” If the hiring manager calls with the offer, she can ask if they have time right then (or can schedule time within the next day or two) to go over her questions. If it’s and HR person who calls, she can ask if they can put her in touch with the hiring manager to ask her questions.

      1. Mouse Rat*

        I love that, especially the “standard questions to learn more about the culture” phrasing.

      2. JelloStapler*

        Exactly- I did this with HR when I got my offer for the organization I work at now – I wanted to be sure I could make an educated decision.

    2. WantonSeedStitch*

      I feel you on this! I think it’s absolutely a great idea to ask follow-up questions. I know Alison has had posts dealing with how to get at information like this, and it would be worth searching the archives to see those.

      Have you talked to her about how important it is to YOU that her next job provide enough flexibility to allow her to take on an equal share of the emergency/family stuff? So that she knows this is stuff she needs to find out before accepting an offer?

      1. Mouse Rat*

        We have talked about it a lot over the years. And honestly, I do think this is more of a “spouse problem” than a “workplace problem” – spouse has left it to me to draw boundaries with my employers when she has felt too uncomfortable to do that with her own, and it’s created an imbalance, both in expectations and in practice. She hates to disappoint anyone! But it’s less scary if it’s me who’s disappointed, I guess.

        Spouse’s current workplace is a little less rigid due to the nature of the work, so she’s felt a little more comfortable calling out in an emergency or requesting future days off for planned doctor appointments. I still do the majority of emergencies and appointments but it has been somewhat better with her current gig. I know she is excited about this new possibility and I want her to do what makes her the happiest, professionally. But if we go back to “I handle everything, always, no matter what,” I am 100% going to run away from home. So Spouse needs to at least know what that culture is like so they can make an informed decision.

        I guess I just feel like – I understand that some industries and facilities are really truly inflexible. But I also think employees should be allowed to participate in family life, even if it occasionally plops inconveniently into work hours. I think an employee is within their rights to promptly and apologetically contact their management during an emergency and say they are so sorry, but X has happened and they are needed at home/the hospital/etc. If the employer is cutting costs by running on minimum staff, well, this is the downside of that cost-cutting measure.

        But I know I feel this way because I HAVE had to let down bosses and teams more than I would like. The world didn’t end. Folks know I work hard and would never duck out if I had another option.

        1. DottedZebra*

          It sounds like you’re at a breaking point, which is understandable! That means you need to make that clear to your spouse.

          “I know you don’t want to disappoint your employers, but it’s very hurtful that you are so comfortable disappointing me instead. I’ve worked hard to take on most of the emergencies so that you can work the way that you want to, but I can’t do that anymore and we need to make sure this new job doesn’t repeat those patterns.”

            1. Alright Alright Alright*

              This. Couples counseling might be a great venue for hashing this out. That level of people-pleasing can be really hard to live with, and she’s pushing the fallout of her burden onto you, so you both suffer. I’m like your spouse in that I really hate to ask for “too much,” but I’m also the one with a more flexible job, so I’ve had to flex that muscle as a matter of necessity, and honestly it’s made my life better and easier as a result.

        2. DannyG*

          As to the question of asking about the culture, work/life balance, etc. a f/u email to the interviewer would be appropriate. E.g.: thanks for the opportunity to interview for X. While reviewing my notes I realized that I had a couple of questions that we didn’t cover in our discussion: xxx, yyy, etc.

        3. Rara Avis*

          This is so hard. I’ve been at my employer for 20+ years and have accumulated A LOT of sick time (we can go up to 240 hours), which I’m burning through due to medical issues of my own. My husband started a new job 2 years ago, has no accumulated sick time, and keeps getting every new germ that passes through his workplace. (We both work in education, so there are a lot of germs.) He can still take time off, but he doesn’t get paid for it. And we need that pay check. So all the emergencies and kid stuff are mine. (They usually are anyway, but even more so this year.)

        4. Ellis Bell*

          “I am 100% going to run away from home.” I’m sure that’s a very scary and realistic outcome too! Make this boundary so clear she can see it from space; that it is more likely than disappointing an employer. It will help her to choose the right workplace. You can’t be professionally dazzling if you have a burned out spouse as well as everything else. She can make a more realistic plan for career fulfillment.

          1. Debtfordays*

            I agree with this. Feeling like the only adult torpedoed my first marriage. It’s so unfair to you, and kind of disrespectful! I’d much rather my coworker be annoyed than my wife burnt out and resentful.

        5. Kay*

          What you need to do is set your own boundaries, whatever those are, and stick to them. Maybe it is something like “when I have a deadline it is your turn” or “as long as I have a deadline and you aren’t the only person who can cover what you do (and she isn’t scheduled to perform heart surgery or something)”, or “I’m not bailing on 2 deadlines in a row”, “every other time”, whatever. But you two need to figure those out ahead of time so it doesn’t come as a surprise.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      So, I truly think one of the most fraught things in a relationship can be the stuff that is supposed to fall mostly–but not exclusively–on one person. Like if your job is more flexible, you handle more emergencies. If you expect to do that 4 times out of 5, and it becomes 5 times out of 5, to the person not doing the task it feels like it’s such a small shift–just one more time!–while to the person stuck doing it again, it feels like their anticipated time NOT doing the thing always gets erased. (See also walking the dog.)

      I think your main issue is that your spouse needs to be willing to occasionally leave her team hanging. And to be willing to work with you on the larger pattern–because maybe when things go south on May 8th it really does make sense for you to handle it, but how you feel about that will depend heavily on what happened the previous 8 times. May 8th’s crisis doesn’t exist in a context-less vacuum.

      1. Cascadia*

        This feels so accurate! It’s like the death by a thousand cuts analogy, or even like microaggressions. Each one is like getting pinched – when you finally burst out “Stop! You’re hurting me!” the person says – wow! Such an overreaction. All I did was pinch you. But actually you’ve been pinched 100 times in the same spot and your arm really hurts!

      2. Part time lab tech*

        I feel this so much. I don’t mind doing most of the dishes. I resent when my husband not only doesn’t do any dishes in a week or a fortnight, he complains that the pots aren’t being washed often enough. He has assigned it to me in his head but we didn’t really negotiate it. So in my head it’s a shared task because I don’t like doing damp housework either!

    4. No name yet*

      I agree with the ideas for how to ask about this, etc. I’ll also add another piece of food for thought – maybe it would feel better for you if she took on more of the ‘planned in advance’ tasks, like scheduled appointments.

      I also work in healthcare, so urgent my schedule is less flexible for

      1. Double A*

        Yes, this seems like a great big picture conversation to have. A professional job (well, any job, but we know how that goes) should come with leave. If it doesn’t, then to me that’s her answer right there: This job offers no leave, so she should not take it.

        However, let’s assume this job offers a reasonable amount of leave but is not very amenable to last-minute leave other than for utter emergencies. She should plan to be the one to take point as much as possible on planned family stuff. So she takes the kids to well-checks, dentist appointments, handle a planned car maintenance appointment etc, while as a family you take advantage of a more flexible job to handle the emergencies and last-minute call outs.

        Now, in my family I have young kids so it’s like 90% last-minute calls outs and 10% planned stuff, so it’s still super stressful and this division might not quite work. But it’s still a starting place for the conversation.

      2. Mad Harry Crewe*

        Agreed. Equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal (and vice-versa). If she’s not comfortable calling out at the last minute (which… she probably should work on getting comfortable, but that’s not something you can solve for her), then she needs to pick up more of the planned in advance stuff so that you can maintain your flexibility for last minute emergency stuff. You don’t have to do exactly *equal* amounts of everything in order for it to be *equitable* – but only you two can figure out what equitable looks like.

        Based on your comments, it sounds like you know this, but it might be worth also pointing out to her – she is making choices about how she prioritizes her job, her spouse, her parents/inlaws, and her kids. It sounds like in the recent past, job wins out over everything else. That’s a choice she’s allowed to make! But you, spouse, are also allowed to have an opinion and make choices based on that information. If you and the rest of her family consistently come second in her life, that’s a bummer and not necessarily something you can be happy with long-term.

      3. ScruffyInternHerder*

        I’m in agreement on the “planned in advance” and taking on more of those.

        Those I can, and do, handle. Its the out of nowhere calls to come get a sick kid that are problematic in my case, in that, “I’m currently standing in the mechanical subbasement of a hospital that is three hours from home trying to figure out why something isn’t working…no, I can’t, you need to call Dad.” (My spouse does the heavy lifting on the unplanned, I do the planned, because that’s how it has to work in our world. Mileage varies.)

    5. WellRed*

      This is a spouse problem. You need to communicate to her that you “100% want to run away” and you may need to consider therapy to help you two.

    6. learnedthehardway*

      If she gets called in for a second interview, that’s a good time to bring up these questions. If she gets an offer, then she can ask these questions at that time.

      I wouldn’t bring these up in a thank you note after an interview – that’s the time to reiterate that you’re interested and why you’re a great candidate, and to redress any interview questions you might have flubbed/misunderstood (if it’s possible to do that).

    7. not nice, don't care*

      I’m still struggling to get out of this boat with my partner’s job. It finally got to the point where the stress (compounded by deaths in the family & life-changing vet bills) was causing me so many health issues that I made peace with the idea that, since I couldn’t divorce my partner’s job, I may have to divorce my partner to remain alive and functioning.
      One thing that finally pushed my partner to reevaluate was some really really shitty treatment & policies from her employer. She’s reframed her allegiance to family/household first, and is much better about spreading the work of schedule/home care juggling etc. while acknowledging that vocational awe is a trick used to steal life energy from dedicated people.
      So yeah, I adjusted my thinking to the possibility of having to solve my problems on my own, and she adjusted her thinking to that blind allegiance to a job can be relationship-ending.
      Her job/administration still suck, but at least we feel more liek a team looking for solutions than me feeling like a donkey dying in the traces while being beaten.

    8. Momma Bear*

      There are industries where it just is what it is – my friend is married to a career military guy and they haven’t had a choice in where they live their entire marriage. Another one will never have all the holidays with their spouse because they married a first responder.

      Feels to me that this is more than just what job she gets. Regardless of employer, sit down and have a heart to heart. Not just dictate “you need to…” but “I feel…” What’s equitable? What other resources do you have or need to find? Is there a relative or good friend who could pick up your kind in a pinch? Is it that she has no time to take, or that she is a workaholic? Remember why you liked each other in the first place and work on adjusting the family balance together. She doesn’t like to let down her team…but you’re also her team. She may benefit from therapy to process why she will say no to her family but not her job. That may actually be the bigger issue – not the job, but her dedication to it at the expense of her non-work life.

      It’s also HARD to be sandwiched between your parents and your kids. If you have been “the responsible one” and don’t have a lot of family support/it all fell on you, you may need to have some tough conversations with siblings and relatives, too.

    9. Astronaut Barbie*

      Workplace culture forms from the people who work there. If she is given personal days and time off, she should use them as she plans to, and maybe that would be the start of the new workplace culture, if it isn’t already work-life balance friendly.

    10. Janeric*

      I used to be in a very similar situation with my husband — his job was and is better compensated and more flexible, and mine was not as well compensated and involved a lot of remote work that was very difficult to delay and required coverage.

      This worked fine (fine…ish) when we had no children and our parents were in good health, but soon after our first child was born I had to switch fields to something more flexible — it was not feasible for him to take on 80% of toddler illnesses and parental health scares. Honestly, Covid probably delayed the necessary change for about six months, because our employers became more flexible about child-care needs.

      I have followed up during the offer phase about specifics about the workplace culture, and it felt awkward but wasn’t awkward at all. Hlao-roo has a great script

    11. Ellis Bell*

      “how could she phrase it in such a way that it’s not going to be off putting to the employer?” I feel like employers who balk at terms like”work-life balance”, or think it’s precious to want planned holidays, or to be related to humans are a bit flaggy. The red kind of flaggy. But, if your spouse wants to tiptoe into the conversation I would probably start with “I’m really interested in the more general workplace culture and how things like staff coverage works when people are out or roles are unfilled”. That seems like a good place to start if there are staff shortages in her field and it gives a good sense of retention and their general organisation. From there I’d ask how time off works, and how are emergencies handled versus approved time off.

    12. Mouse Rat*

      Thank you all so much! So, I ended up having another conversation with spouse about these concerns. Spouse is pretty sure I’m focusing on the worst-case scenario (I mean, yes?) but she thinks this workplace will not be so understaffed and poorly run that we will be in that situation again. My take was, if things work well there, and she’s allowed to deal with an emergency, be sick, etc., then terrific. But if that is NOT the case, she will have to either figure out how to disappoint/upset her manager and team sometimes, or find another job, because if we get into a situation again where “So sorry, you have to deal with this, I have to get to work no matter what because we’re so shortstaffed and it’s a hospital” is what I hear for every emergency, I will go get another job myself with a commute and force a level playing field that way.

      So, spouse is going to ask some culture questions if an offer comes through, which at this point we hope one will. I know she misses being in that sort of environment and she really was impressed by what she saw there. If it makes her happy, it makes me happy.

      Also, I highly recommend having a tense conversation while working on a shared project, such as a very involved vegetable lasagna recipe. :)

      1. Part time lab tech*

        That’s great. I do have a suggestion for your spouse told to me by a midwife. Say no every second or third time to being called in. If you say yes every time, you become the first person they call and there can be resentment on the few times you have to say no because they now expect you to say yes.

  4. helio*

    I got a really nice (verbal) job offer and I am both so excited but also kinda bummed. I really love my team and the work we do, but there has been a lack of support from the C suite that’s becoming more apparent that has crippled our team. We’re all burnt out and had 2 resignations this week. Luckily I’m not at the point where I can submit notice yet- I think if I did it today, my boss would have a little bit of a breakdown.

    1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      Don’t submit your notice until you have a written offer but also know that things will not get better because the C Suite does not want them too.

    2. abitahooey*

      Oof, been there, but don’t feel too bad. I was on an awesome team and when I found out more than half of it was leaving I noped right out of there too. I just knew the situation would deteriorate without them. And hey, congratulations! Maybe it’s an opportunity for you? My spouse just gave notice for similar reasons, and he was very transparent with his boss about why he was leaving. Hopefully you get that chance, and management will get a wake-up call.

    3. Dittany*

      Listen, you’re not leaving people in the lurch. You’re responding appropriately to having *been left*.

    4. HR Exec Popping In*

      It is always a little bitter-sweet when deciding to leave an organization when you aren’t completely miserable. And that is actually a good thing. You don’t want to wait until then. It is better to leave before you are so unhappy that your performance suffers, you burn bridges or jump at any opportunity to escape.

      And as I’m sure you know, don’t put your notice in until you clear all contingencies (background, drug test, etc.). Good luck!

    5. Ama*

      Honestly I’ve just given notice for a similar reason (we have a huge expertise drain happening here as people with lots of experience and expertise quit and the C suit cheaps out on replacing them, with dire consequences). I’m the third employee with more than 5 years’ tenure to quit in the last four months, and that doesn’t include all the newer employees who quit faster because they didn’t have any hope things would ever go back to the way they were because they never knew that version of our employer.

      My report and I (we’re a team of two) actually gave notice on the same day, I felt bad for my C-level boss as a person because I know it’s going to suck for her the next several months but she was fully aware of all the reasons we are leaving before we gave notice and didn’t do much to try to fix it.

  5. Valerie Loves Me*

    After managing my team for a few years, I found I preferred being an individual contributor. So when the opportunity came to restructure my role, I took it. We hired a new manager several months ago and I’m not impressed. He hasn’t really demonstrated an interest in what we do as a department, tends to focus on superficial opportunities that don’t address the bulk of the work we do, and seems to enjoy pointing out what we don’t do or don’t have — possibly as a way of diminishing our previous work, previous leadership, etc. While on the surface I’m getting along with everyone and have a good relationship with my grandboss, I don’t feel it’s something I should address with either and I don’t know that it would resolve anything. I am looking for jobs though I hate to leave. It’s very convenient to where I live, gives me flexibility for family, and I have built up a level of good will that serves me well. But, I now walk into work feeling depressed and irritated because it feels that I either have to justify my past work or have to train the person who is supposed to be supporting me. 

    So, the question is — how can i either reframe this situation to make it easier for me to swallow or is it just time to leave?

    1. Sloanicota*

      I feel like it’s a pretty predictable situation that someone who used to be in charge is going to be frustrated with new management. They don’t do it the way you would, you don’t have the power you used to have to fix things. If you’re sure you don’t want to be in leadership anymore, this is just a process of learning to let go off this and realizing you can only focus on your small part and that the rest is someone else’s problem. Or, perhaps it’s a sign that you do want to be a leader, or a consultant who is their own boss or something?

      1. Valerie Loves Me*

        I find the people management part of leadership exhausting, so I don’t know that I regret my decision, and I think I’m ok focusing on my one small part. The problem is that there’s work that I’m continuing to do because the manager isn’t up to speed yet. I think my position has become more of a hybrid. It’s like I’m the team lead (though that is not a position in my department).

        1. Sloanicota*

          But what if you dropped your end of the rope? If you’re too emotionally entangled in the outcomes at the company to just do *only* the work you’re being paid to do, and not take on other duties that rightfully belong to someone else who is being paid to do them, I agree that looking for another opportunity may be your best bet.

          1. Valerie Loves Me*

            Reading my mind… I am in the process of dropping the rope. It’s a little hard to do, because I’ve been here awhile and people in other departments come to me with things. But I’m trying to create distance and sharing that info with those who would be responsible. It is adding a wrinkle to this process, in that my manager isn’t as communicative about what he’s doing, so it’s not clear on my end whether it’s fallen off the radar or if there is an expectation that I’m doing it. Though I think I’m clear in my communication that I’m not working on it.

            1. BigLawEx*

              I think in the short term, you’re going to need to send a lot of emails/messages that redirect: “Oh, with the restructure, you’ll need to talk to Fergus. Here’s an email cc’ing both of you. Huge thanks.”

              1. another fed*

                Grey rock, and assume new boss is replying and just dropping you off the chain. After all, that’s a legitimate way to handle such things and you still have the receipts that you handed it back up. For verbal requests, email the person and cc: boss to CYA for the same reasons.

  6. bassclefchick*

    I work at a University. I’m a dispatcher for facilities workers. Basically, one of the trades staff will call me and tell me they are at building A with a cart of materials and tools and needs to go to building B.

    The method I use to track all of this? Paper and pen and a radio. I feel like SUCH a dinosaur!! There has GOT to be a better system. My problem is, I don’t even know where to start with looking for a digital system. My grandboss is on board with going digital, so that isn’t a battle I need to have. YAY!

    Does anyone have suggestions for where to start looking? All I can think of is taxi companies and trucking companies. But, we’re not either of those. Not really. Everything I’ve been able to Google hasn’t been quite right for my needs. Please help!

    1. Sometimes hiring*

      honestly have you tried calling other universities? I used to be on the phone operator team at my university and we would occasionally get calls from other universities asking we structured our operators.

      1. Ama*

        Yeah academia has its problems but one thing universities are really good at is creating groups to share information — I would bet there’s some kind of university operations association out there that has a forum or listserve where you can ask what others are using. But sometimes hiring is right, you can just call/email other schools and ask how they are handling things.

        1. Higher Ed Expat*

          Totally agree. When I worked in higher ed, I would always call peer institutions (similiar type, size, etc) to find out what they were doing. Same with professional orgs. I believe there is a national org for your area too. People were always so helpful and willing to talk to me about their process/software/programs, etc. You don’t have to recreate the wheel!

    2. Bernice Clifton*

      There are a lot of great web-based programs out there that can keep track of work orders.

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Yeah, this sounds like the same kind of thing an apartment management company would use, or an HVAC contractor, etc.

      2. bassclefchick*

        Well, this is separate from the work orders. We have a system for that, but I’m not sure it can integrate what I need. I don’t care what the trades staff is working on, I just need to know where they are and where they want to go.

        1. another fed*

          Ask the vendor who does the work orders if there is any kind of add-on module for what you’re looking for. sounds like a combo of scheduling and inventory management.

    3. Admin of Sys*

      What part are you trying to track? Who called and when, or what do to when they call, or how to get them from site a to b? Or all of the above?
      Sometimes hiring has a good idea – you can probably ask around to other nearby uni’s and see if someone already has invented the wheel for your exact use case.

      But if you’re looking to track who is where with what, i’d suggest looking into inventory systems. If you’re looking to track who called, when, and why, look at ticketing systems, like for a helpdesk. If you need the maps, there are a lot of options, and some of them probably connect to the inventory systems.

      At it’s heart, you’re looking for a database – the trick is to find one designed to do most of the things you need, that isn’t super expensive.

      1. bassclefchick*

        All of the above. We track who called, the pick up and drop off sites, what material they have with them, which of my drivers took the call, and how long the call took. I have had trades supervisors call me and ask where there guys have been and how long it took.

        Honestly, I’m just tired of writing all this down.

        1. TooTiredToThink*

          Check with your IT department to find out what ticketing system that others are using – like Zendesk or Freshdesk, etc… a lot of times they are meant more for customer facing issues, but you might be able to tag onto the existing licensing and get the fields added that you need just for your job.

    4. ForestHag*

      My university uses FM Systems for this. I don’t know much about it other than my IT team supports their database. You might look into that though!

    5. Kristin*

      Your university has an IT department, right? Get in touch with them, they almost certainly have staff whose job it is to find out what the community’s needs are meet them. You shouldn’t have to look for and implement a system on your own. Get in touch with IT and ask for their help.

      1. Hillary*

        This 100%! There’s a decent chance there’s someone in IT sourcing/procurement who will help you define requirements, identify options that meet those requirements, and select the solution. The easiest way to buy a bad system is to start looking at options before requirements are fully understood.

      2. Strict Extension*

        I’d ask them, too, what programs that other departments already use might have modules that can help you. I just completed a similar software search. We saw lots that had components it sounded like might help you, and one of them might be in use already as your fine arts center’s ticketing software, or your fitness center’s facility booking.

    6. Maestra*

      I teach at a boarding school and my husband works for facilities in a role that sounds a lot like yours. We use a program called SchoolDude. It’s through there that any adult on campus can submit a work order request. It’s then my husband’s job to assign the work orders to the appropriate people in the department to complete them.

    7. A Frayed Knot*

      It sounds odd, but check with your University Police or Security Dept. They need to track where their officers (and cars, bicycles, golf carts) are at any given time. They may be able to share their software.

      I also second asking other institutions. They can give you demos of how things really work instead of the sales pitch. Everyone likes to show off their success stories!

    8. Freddie Mercurial*

      As a start can you put it all in a spreadsheet (Excel or Google sheets) or Access database? Create fields for all the information you’re writing down and start recording it in the file instead. For something like Google sheets, you could share it so other people could read it to get information but not edit the form. It’ll get you away from pen and paper while you look for a more comprehensive system.

    9. RedinSC*

      I googled “Logistics delivery software” and got quite a few suggestions, so maybe something that shows up there would be helpful?

    10. ccsquared*

      You’re probably looking for a service desk or service management solution. I’m in IT at a university, and we’re setting our facilities team up on the same system we use for IT request tracking, which means they can use the information we’ve already configured around buildings, people, departments, etc.

      I second those saying go to IT, though. Software vendors are happy to tell you their tool is easy to manage and will solve all of your problems and you can just deploy it on your own, but far too often, I’ve seen teams create as much work as they eliminate with this approach, and there is actually knowledge and skill that goes into selecting and managing these systems.

    11. JPalmer*

      Options:
      0: No matter what you do, make a list of different options with pros/cons. Tabulate the cost, the platforms it works on, the expected time it’d take to manage.
      1. Call other people who have solved this problem. Other departments, colleges, friends in similar lines of work. Even asking businesses you frequent could be helpful
      2. Make some lightweight Excel/Google Sheets solutions. This isn’t too big of a step up from what you’re already doing and you can grow organically (like copying a template, then adding features as you realize you need them). You can write simple enough formulas for certain behaviors like calculating dates, costs, tax, etc.
      You can import data from other sheets, so if you say “Transporting via Boaty McBoatface” and then it autopops the link to other info about Boaty McBoatBusiness.
      You can restrict edit access to everything but certain columns/rows, making it so other folks can’t edit things they aren’t supposed to and risk breaking your sheet.
      3. I recommend making a couple different templates with different scales of schedules/cost/factors to start from.
      Like is it 1 box of things to move, vs half a department’s worth of tools.
      This can give an estimate on time for future transportations.
      Look at your existing records and sort them by volume/other factors, then figure out what your core data groups are so you can make helpful templates to work off of.

      Just some idle thoughts from someone who is typically good at logistics problems.

    12. Other Duties as Assigned*

      Like others, I suggest calling other universities first. They may have found something (cheap/free) that does everything you need to do (and it may be a piece of software that’s for something else entirely). Hold off calling your campus IT if you think they may want to start some big bid process and bring vendors in for an expensive package. However, I agree they may already have something being used in another department (campus police, etc.). You will have to get IT involved at some point if you want to put this software on the campus network.

      In my campus teaching experience, I needed a piece of software to do something and I had a student research it. He found the perfect (inexpensive) item that did exactly what we needed, but also did other things that helped streamline other processes. Everybody wins.

  7. thoyupem*

    I need some advice on how to become a “I don’t care what happens in my formerly great company. I’m just here to collect a paycheck and try to squeeze what little joy I’m able to out of my formerly fantastic job.” type of employee.

    tl;dr, wonderful startup was bought by a bigger company with toxic management. Things just keep getting worse. In the Tech sector, layoffs are continuing and this not great company does pay decently. So for now, it seems like the smart thing to do is just keep quiet, do our jobs, and decide not to care about what’s going on around us.

    Things in my part of the company are pretty much the worst thanks to a terrible, horrible VP and the people under him. They’re really, really scary. And layoffs are continuing. The most recent round seemed personal. Several highly respected senior employees who’d been with the company for several years were let go. These employees tried to right the ship by expressing their valid concerns and making sensible suggestions.

    I updated LinkedIn and my resume. I guess I should start appying. It’s hard to get started. I keep hoping things will get better — another reorg? someone in the C suite noticing how bad things are? someone noticing how many talented people have left/are leaving? someone noticing the common thread in so many exit interviews? In the meantime, it’s difficult to find that balance between “not really slacking off” but also “not so engaged that I’m bothered by whatever silly decisions come down the pike”.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, when I got to the part about how lay-offs are continuing I was like “Welp, better get your application out there. Because this job, with all its annoyances, isn’t offering certainty in return for the annoyances.”

        This isn’t like discovering that you are part of the Forgotten Department, and while you will accomplish nothing you will get paid so long as no one points out your existence.

      2. anotherfan*

        Much as I hate to be a downer, wellred is correct. I’m a longtime newspaper person who’s worked at several good papers bought by terrible corporations, driven into the ground, assets sold off, staff laid off and our mission trashed. I’d get your resume in order and look for something else sooner rather than later, while you still know what a good company and good practice looks like.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      To answer the first part, focus on detaching your self worth from you job/career. That makes it easier to put up with a lot of crap at work.

      To answer the second part, just start applying. Pick a job you don’t really want for your first application, that way you can emotionally detach a bit and just treat it as a warm up or a practice round.

      1. KOALA*

        “To answer the first part, focus on detaching your self worth from your job/career. ”

        That part definitely!

        But also maybe look into the places that those long time sensible people ended up and see if there are any positions opened with where they are now. Some of them may even be in the process of creating a new start up to get back to the core of what the original company was.

        Because it doesn’t sound like it will last long under the toxic new leadership which could mean the product or service it provided well in the beginning will be needed again in the next few years.

    2. Annony*

      They are firing the people advocating for what you want. That is a clear sign that they do not intend to take those suggestions. If they are doing multiple rounds of layoffs, they probably don’t care that people are also leaving by choice. That is just less severance to pay. And even if they did notice that multiple people cite similar reasons for leaving, they probably see it as people who were too used to the status quo being upset at needed change.

      I think starting to apply will help to shift your mindset because then the things happening at your job will become a temporary inconvenience until you manage to leave.

    3. Nea*

      Been there, done that, start looking right this minute. Nobody is going to miraculously right the ship at this point. Network, look around, save money in case you’re the next pushed out. If – when – the new management sinks the ship, you want to watch from the deck of a new vessel.

      As for how to disengage, remember that you’re not being paid to fix what management decided to break. Do the job in front of you, look for a more secure one, and accept that the good times are over.

      Yes, I do still mourn the company I once thought I’d retire from, but I couldn’t get away from their new ownership fast enough.

    4. Zephy*

      Start working on your exit plan. If things magically get better at this company sometime later, maybe you can go back, but that is a *big* if and you aren’t obligated to wait until this place is a smoking ruin before you can leave.

    5. HR Exec Popping In*

      This is a tough one. I would recommend focusing on the job search. When you find yourself getting sucked into being frustrated at your current organization, try to refocus that energy toward your next job – while working, focus on getting your work in order so that you could leave as soon as you need to without much stress and when off, focus on finding a new role. It is definitely time to leave. Good luck.

    6. Dry Erase Aficionado*

      This sounds similar to the situation I am in, and the mantra I have adopted is that I cannot care about their business more than they do. And I repeat it to myself and my team as often as necessary.

      It is super frustrating, but my experience here so far clearly shows they are not interested in suggestions for improvements, no matter how easy or low cost they are to implement and so I do what I can within my small scope of influence to make things better for my team, and then remind myself yet again that I can’t care about this business more than I do.

    7. Care Less Care Less*

      Don’t know if this will help you specifically but I’ve been repeating the mantra “Care less. Care less.” It interrupts the cycle/spiral of being so upset about things I can’t change. It’s helped me.

    8. Polly Hedron*

      This happened to me too. The only solution was to get out.
      Does the bigger company have a three-letter name?

    9. Double A*

      Definitely get your resume in order and start looking around. But if you get laid off, would you get some severance? And you’d qualify for unemployment, so you’d have some cushion. And you’re currently employed. So you don’t have to job search like your pants are on fire.

      But in the meantime, I think you can definitely just do what you’re supposed to do and what you’re told to do without putting any heart into it. Chuckle to yourself as you take these idiots’ money while your foot’s out the door. You can’t care about this job more than they do, so don’t.

    10. Busy Middle Manager*

      Start stockpiling money any way you can, to weather the storm. You sound like you’re paid decently; maybe that means trimming the 401K contributions so you get more takehome money that can go into savings. Or adding some $$ into an HSA to pay for medical expenses if you have an employment gap

    11. Jane Bingley*

      Morning and evening routines can be really helpful in defining chunks of time where you do/don’t think about work!

      Try to have a morning routine that includes at least a little bit of “you” time – maybe you take the extra time to make yourself a delicious breakfast, or set aside time to read a chapter of a book or section of a newspaper, or spend 10 mins on a craft you enjoy – anything that gets you away from doomscrolling and keeps your hands busy. If you have a commute, try putting together a playlist of pump-up songs, and try to get to work early enough to have a short (even 5-10) min walk before you head in. The goal is to get your brain and body alert and in a good mood before you head into a space that will try to bring you down.

      Ditto end of day routine – if you can plan to exercise right after work it’s a great way to get dopamine flowing, and it doesn’t have to be a full workout – a short walk, a light stretch or simple yoga routine, anything to move your body. Also a good time for prayer or meditation if either of those are your thing. Maybe play a favourite podcast or album on the drive home, or if you commute via transit bring a book to read to keep you off your phone. (If you work from home, a short walk around the block before and after work also works to help draw a line in your brain between home and work!)

      If you live with other people, set a specific chunk of time aside for talking about work and limit it to that bubble – maybe it’s the first 15 mins after you get home, or over dessert after supper. Try to avoid work talk outside of the work talk window so you don’t get sucked back into thinking about it. If/when you’re applying for jobs, set a specific time and even set a timer to ensure you’re getting that work done but not dwelling on it or letting it eat up your life. Maybe 10 mins to read and reply to any application-related emails, 15 mins to search for potential new jobs, 35 mins to personalize and send in applications – you can make good use of 60 or even 30 focused minutes.

      On a personal level, don’t beat yourself up for thinking about work outside of work but do gently redirect your brain when you realize it’s happening again! My go-to thought is “I’ll have time to process this tomorrow, right now I’d rather think about…” and then focus on literally anything else lol. Having some go-to ways to distract yourself can help – I try to keep a book handy, or a video game on our Switch, or a decluttering project I’ve had in mind – I just don’t find my phone helpful long-term because though distracting it usually leads to doom-scrolling social media.

    12. TheGirlInTheAfternoon*

      A mental reframe that might be helpful: by lessening your emotional investment, doing the minimum to maintain functionality and earn a paycheck, and focusing on finding a better opportunity elsewhere, you are helping make sure that a now-terrible company does not achieve unearned success!

    13. Mid*

      To get over the hump of starting to apply for jobs, I’ve found it can be helpful to send out a few super low effort applications. Like LinkedIn Easy Apply, click one button, low effort applications. That has helped me start getting momentum and actually apply for jobs I care about, in the past. I’ve found it can be daunting to start job hunting by only looking at positions I really wanted and liked. You can also reach out to any recruiters you know, as a more passive way to job hunt.

    14. Hermione Danger*

      I was once in a tiny, boutique firm that was wonderful and treated all of the employees really well. There were a lot of talented, knowledgeable people on that team. We were bought by a massive organization that wanted the cool stuff we brought to the table thanks to that team. Every decision Massive Co. made following the purchase was designed to bring us in line with their operations, and every one of those decisions took away our ability to do the cool stuff that was the whole reason they bought the company in the first place.

      This is just what happens when your company gets bought. It only ends well for the original owners.

    15. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      I think you’re doing all the right things on a practical level, so this is a suggestion about how to emotionally disengage. (I work at a university and have been thinking about this sort of thing for a really long time in my own life – there are some striking parallels with what you write here!)

      Can you explicitly articulate to yourself what you love(d) about your job – the meaning or purpose it connected you to, especially – and then detach that sense of purpose/achievement/meaning/joy from your actual company? Think of yourself as a member of a broad, loose collective of people across many institutions and companies who are working towards the same goal. For now, you’re stuck in a really bad posting where the leadership don’t share your values/goals, but you can (a) do what little you can to head off the worst stuff in your current job, but more importantly (b) learn from this, do whatever you can in the current situation to build your skills & networks so that you can identify the best place to go next? For me, thinking of myself as almost like a contractor or consultant, rather than identifying with my current job, helps me to feel there’s a continuity and a purpose to my working life even when the current job sucks.

  8. Stripes*

    tl;dr: a friend is applying for the same role as you using parts of your resume & continuing to seek your advice for cover letters, correspondence, etc.

    A few years ago, I worked with Krista and Ann in similar roles at the same organization. After 2020, we each left our organization and went to different companies in the same field. Now, Krista is leaving her job and has recommended both Ann and me for the role (I am unemployed currently; Ann has a job but is open to leaving it for a higher salary).

    Back in 2020, I helped Ann with her resume formatting and bullet points. I shared my resume with her, as I had just been hired. A few weeks ago, Ann asked me to look over her cover letter for Krista’s job opening. I told her I had already applied for the role, and I shared an old cover letter of mine to give her an idea of how I format mine.

    When cleaning up my Google Drive, I noticed that Ann took the resume I helped her with years ago and copied and pasted my resume bullet points into her job descriptions before submitting a few weeks ago. The bullet points don’t accurately reflect what she did in that role (and if she were asked to elaborate, I don’t think she would be able to). Overall, our backgrounds, degrees, and experiences are similar but we specialize in very different areas; I would say my area is more closely aligned to the role we applied for and my advanced degrees suit the role better.

    Well, now both Ann and I have interviewed for the role. Ann asked how my interview went, and if I had heard back, and I told her I thought it went well but haven’t heard anything. After a bit of back and forth, she finally shared that she got called for a next-round interview.

    Maybe I’m the dummy here for helping a friend (potentially) land a job that I also want. I don’t know how to respond when Ann asks how my job search is going, or how to seem interested in her interview process when it’s a role I also want and I’m the one without an income right now. We aren’t super close friends but up until this week we did talk fairly frequently, mostly surface-level convos. I realize there are much worse things going on in the world to worry about. My gut says to just ignore it and make a mental note for future help I offer to Ann. I know there’s nothing I can do about what I’ve helped Ann with – any tips for reframing my thinking?

    1. Person from the Resume*

      There’s really nothing you can do now to undo the help you gave Anna. But don’t help her in the future because you have realized that she plagiarized your resume and is using it to lie about her experience. The help you provided in 2020 was understandable, but now that you know she’s stealing your words and taking credit for things you did, you’ve learned not to do it any more.

      You were overly nice to share a cover letter, even just the format, with someone who is specifically applying to the same job you are.

      Absolutely do not talk to her about details of your interview or the process. You can be vague about how the job search is going or just don’t talk about that aspect of your life with her.

      Frankly, though, I’d ditch her entirely as a friend. Drift away, respond less and less, and slowly ghost her.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      The horse has left the barn, you can’t do anything about Krista’s job opening now. Who knows maybe after the initial wave of interviews they’ll decide none of those are right and reach back out to you for consideration.

      Stop sharing a google drive with Ann. Keep applying to new jobs. Ann might be useful as a networking contact but that doesn’t mean you have to share a lot of details. “Oh lets not talk about the job hunt today, I’m sick of it, tell me more about [hobby, family, sports team etc]”.

    3. Ideas*

      If you are friends-friends with Krista, maybe tell her how frustrating it is that you shared your resume and cover letter with Ann and she copied from them. Maybe she can level the playing field somewhat from the inside ?? Idea two is to apply to the company Krista works at for the job she currently has.

      1. Kay*

        I agree with the mentioning it to Krista part, the more professional and nonchalant you can keep the comment the better so it doesn’t seem like it is simply an emotional response.

      2. Ideas*

        oops, meant the company Ann works at (where she’s happy but would leave for more money).

    4. anon_sighing*

      You’re a saint for even thinking of associating with Ann going forward. Just from these few paragraphs, she comes off as mercenary (particularly the part where she fishes to see how your interview went before revealing her hand).

      Sometimes we do the right things for the wrong people – doesn’t mean we should stop doing the right thing. You don’t need to re-frame your thinking – you did someone a favor by sharing a reference and they abused it. A normal person would not think someone would just outright plagiarize their work. You might try more generalized advice in the future (“I do this…and this…”), links to resources, and leaving comments on a shared doc like “this seems vague” or “do you have any metrics for this? it would help boost things.” That reduces the risk of outright plagiarism while still being helpful.

  9. Edie*

    My team works remote across the country and I just moved to “Fairview” where my teammate Susan is also based out of. I’m not fond of Susan, I find her obnoxious and attention-seeking, however I’m a decade older than her so I think we’re just in different places in our life. We’re not close at all, but she seems to think since I’m also moving to Fairview, I’m going to want to be friends with her and hang out. Like last week, we connected briefly over Teams chat where she gave some helpful advice about Fairview and we briefly chatted. Then a few days later during a large department meeting, she asked me in front of everyone, to let her know if she could help me move. It just felt very performative, and I felt very put on the spot. I also hadn’t told most of the people on that call I was moving, and she pretty much announced it to everyone, which rubbed me the wrong way. This isn’t the first time she has made comments or asked me questions about things I told her one on one, in front of a large group of people.

    I’m probably being overly sensitive, but I have no desire to develop a friendship with her. The thing is, this team has weird boundaries and she’s well-liked and popular, and I don’t think telling her how I like to keep work and personal life separate would be well received by her, and she would probably tell everyone.

    I plan on getting coffee or lunch with her though. I initially thought I could do it within the next few weeks but I frankly don’t have a strong motivation. Has anyone dealt with a similar situation or have advice? Anything I could say that comes off “bubbly” but still maintains boundaries? 

    1. Turingtested*

      Well what can you tolerate? I think for her offer of help moving something like “Thank you, but I’ve made arrangements. if something falls through I’ll call you right away!” works. and hey, you might need her help.

      As for wanting to hang out, can you say something like “I’m pretty busy, but free at (wildly inconvenient time that won’t torture you) want to grab coffee then?”

    2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Wonan*

      I’m just here for the Desperate Housewives references.

      But also I think you can just say you’re busy with the move. I don’t know if you have a partner and/or kids, but I always use them as an out for doing things I don’t want to (with their permission, and they do the same)

    3. Annony*

      You aren’t particularly close with her so she probably doesn’t think anything you tell her is in confidence. Asking about your move and offering to help sounds pretty benign. Even the offer to help was phrased as letting her know, so you can just respond “Definitely!” or something along those lines and simply never bring it up again. If you think her friendliness is performative, she may not even bring up getting coffee or lunch again. If she does, you can always give a vague “we should definitely do that at some point” while also mentioning how busy you are right now.

      1. Roland*

        My thoughts exactly. She hasn’t done anything that bad really and you can just not take her up on anything.

    4. londonedit*

      I’d just make use of a variety of non-committal phrases like ‘Oh thank you, we’re still getting our bearings but I’ll let you know!’ or ‘So busy at the moment with the move, maybe things will calm down eventually!’ or ‘Taking a while to settle in, trying to spend lots of time with the family while we get used to the new place’ or whatever. If you think meeting for a brief coffee would help get her off your back, make sure you set it up for a time and place that works for you, and have an ‘out’ prepared – ‘It’ll be lovely to meet up but I can only stay until 11, need to head off to [football] [appointment] [etc]’.

    5. tired tired tired*

      I don’t think it was unreasonable for her to mention the move in front of everyone! She probably didn’t think it was private in any way and I would read the offer to help as just being polite. I think you could easily just be like “Thanks for the offer, I’ll let you know!” and then never get in touch about it. It doesn’t seem like she’s done anything yet that would require a stated boundary, just polite brushing-off.

      It probably feels different because you don’t really vibe with her, so it makes sense you would want to make sure she doesn’t get the wrong idea and you get trapped in awkward social situations. But from what you’ve mentioned so far that just reads like being polite and welcoming to a work colleague who’s moving to your city – I wouldn’t necessarily read it as anything more.

    6. Ellen Ripley*

      Why are you considering getting coffee with her? It’s hard to say whether it would dampen or fuel the fire of her interest in spending more time with you.

      I would just politely say no or something non-committal to every social request from her and hope her interest dies out on its own. Adding a friendly smile and saying “thanks” or “I appreciate that but…” can help it come across more bubbly.

      “Hey want to grab coffee sometime?”
      “I’m pretty busy right now. Thanks for the offer though :)” or “Maybe! I’ll let you know :)”

      Most people will eventually get the hint. I wouldn’t address the “big picture”, ie “I like to keep work and personal lives separate” unless she continues to make social requests of you regularly.

    7. Quinalla*

      I would 100% stop telling her anything one on one you don’t want shared as she’s shown she will share. It doesn’t sound like you asked her to keep it in confidence, so maybe she wouldn’t share if you did, but I would just stop telling her anything you don’t want shared.

      Did she know you hadn’t told people about your move? If she didn’t, then I understand being annoyed that she shared information you planned/wanted to share, but not being annoyed at HER, I’d be annoyed at myself in your shoes :) If she did know, then I get it, though it’s still mild annoyance at best.

      As for offering to help being performative, you know her better than we do, but it sounds like it could have been (like asking How are you? but not really wanting the answer) or it may have been genuine. Again, I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

      If you don’t want to be friends with her, don’t be. You can be perfectly polite, warm, and professional without needing to be friends. Only sharing very surface level things, etc. Also, if you don’t want to be friends, I wouldn’t invite her to coffee. It seems very strange to me honestly to invite a colleague out for coffee that you specifically are not looking to make friends with unless you want to discuss something work related in a more relaxed setting?

    8. SpaceySteph*

      Are you familiar with the phrase “B**** Eating Crackers?” It’s use to describe the phenomenon of someone you don’t like so everything they do becomes grating, even perfectly normal things. Even just casually snacking on crackers.

      Maybe she offered to help you move because she was trying to be nice (especially if she’s much younger, friends helping friends move is fairly standard… its not until several years post college you realize you should let professionals move that couch rather than throw your back out trying) or maybe she did it to perform niceness for the group. It doesn’t matter so much, just a polite noncommittal response is fine. I doubt she did it to out you, probably thought the move was common knowledge or at least not a secret.

      You don’t have to be friends with her but are definitely expending a lot of mental energy with trying to politely dislike her. Just tell her you’re busy with the move and can’t get lunch. Then next time she asks you, tell her you’re busy with [other thing]. She’ll get the hint eventually. And you don’t owe anyone your personal time.

      On the other hand, I don’t know your circumstances or how far “Fairview” is from your current city, but if you’re new in town and don’t know anyone, it may not hurt to be casual friends with her as a way to expand your network. Years ago I moved to a brand new city not knowing anyone. I realized to make friends I had to suppress my natural introvert tendency to stay home, and instead accepted invitations to do things even if they weren’t things I particularly enjoyed. A friend of a friend of a friend introduced me to my future husband by just me getting out and doing things. If you are looking for a social circle, it isn’t a bad idea to take whatever “ins” you can get, even if they aren’t people you directly want to be friends with, maybe they have some friends who are.

      1. Gemstones*

        Yes, this feels like real BEC territory. Susan doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong. She had no way of knowing the move was a secret…and if you dislike her so much, it seems weird to tell Susan and only Susan! And even weirder to go get coffee with someone you keep going on about how much you dislike!

        1. anon_sighing*

          I will refrain from going on more, but I don’t think Susan even wants to be friends or buddy-buddy with comment OP like that. I see zero indications here beyond the basic niceties from Susan. And comment OP is the one who’s gonna set something up between them?! I’m confused.

    9. Abundant Shrimp*

      I had a, not well-liked and popular, but terrible and not liked by anyone coworker who found a job in the city where she knew I lived, and left. On her last day I came back from lunch and was told she’d been looking for me. While I was trying to think of a good excuse not to give her my phone number, she came by and asked for my address “in case I decided to swing by after work”. Caught off guard, I blurted out “oh we are selling the house” (that was 17 years ago and my ex is still living in that house and does not plan to sell). My point is, don’t give Susan your address (so no helping with the move) until you get to know her better. Odds are she’s a good person after all (because why would she be well-liked otherwise) but best be safe… I’d back out of the coffee commitment too. You’re moving and then you’ll be unpacking and will have SO MANY BOXES to unpack! and then she’ll forget.

    10. anon_sighing*

      I’m gonna be honest – you’re a decade older but I had to re-read it twice for it to penetrate because it doesn’t feel like it, respectfully.

      It sounds, and you’ve admitted it, like you don’t like Susan. Something about her really annoys you, that’s fine, you don’t have to be her friend. We’ve all worked with a Susan and we all understand it’s just a game of polite smiles and being professional. However, if you understand she’s performative, then you should also understand that her “let’s be friend” act is also performative. I do think it was somewhat fair of her to assume everyone knew you were moving if she, someone who is a colleague, already did – did she have any reason to think this was a secret? Being irked is fine, but I wouldn’t hold it against her and her offering to help move, offering to make your move smoother (the classic “if there is anything I can do, let me know!”), or connect while you’re there (since you’re the only two based in the city, work together, and communicate in a work capacity, it seems – it would be weird to ignore this) is a basic platitude since everyone knows she is also there.

      Also, are…you the one initiating the coffee or lunch here? Did she set it up? It sounds like you’re the one who will take the next step and if you don’t want to, just…don’t. And if she asks, do it for your cursory “we had coffee/lunch as new neighbors, yay” and leave it be.

    11. RagingADHD*

      This sounds like you are tying yourself in wierd knots. Almost like you want to put on a fake personality and suck up to Susan because she’s more popular, or something? Why do you need to be bubbly? If being bubbly came naturally to you, you wouldn’t need a script for it. Just be polite.

      She gave you helpful advice, according to you. She made a kind offer, which may or may not have been totally sincere but was nevertheless a gracious and appropriate gesture. Maybe she’s well liked because she is helpful and friendly.

      You don’t have to like her or be her friend, but if you honestly find her obnoxious there’s no reason to be fake about it. Just don’t invite her to coffee, and if she invites you, be busy.

    12. Pseudo Anon*

      Maybe she just assumes that, as you aren’t close, everything personal you tell her is public knowledge?

    13. Nancy*

      Why are you planning in getting coffee or lunch with here if you dislike her so much? Just say no thank you.

      She gave you helpful advice and offered to help you move. Those aren’t bad things and there was no reason for her to think the move was private if you didn’t say it was. Why are you telling her private things if you dislike her so much?

  10. elisabeth*

    very low-stakes question here — how long would y’all wait to follow up if you’re waiting to hear back about an interview time?

    my situation: hiring manager sends me an email on Wed morning saying she’d like for me to interview in-person and cc’s the organization’s executive assistant to help with scheduling. so I email back that evening, thanking the hiring manager and saying hi to the assistant + giving some days/times that could work. haven’t heard back yet.

    I’m sure they’re just busy, but would love to get a general sense if I should follow up this afternoon or wait until Monday.

      1. Miss Ames*

        I agree, wait until Monday – and preferably Monday afternoon rather than the morning, just in case they are really busy on the scheduling side. You could probably even wait until Tuesday if you were comfortable doing so, just to give them a little extra time to get back to you. Good luck!!

      2. Synaptically Unique*

        For future reference, don’t send the times you’re available. That would irritate me as the person who has to coordinate schedules. If you are being asked to interview, tell them if there is an absolute no for a time or date, but that’s it.

        I sometimes have to look 2 or 3 weeks out to find a single overlapping slot for an interview panel. If someone who didn’t even work there yet was giving me 2 or 3 options? Nope. I would not move forward with that candidate. You want to sell yourself as someone who is going to make their lives easier, not harder.

        If you don’t hear from them by Monday morning, go ahead and reach out and let them know if there are any absolute no-go dates, but express that you can work around any other times. Good luck!

        1. elisabeth*

          thanks for the advice!

          for context, what I said was “for next week, I wouldn’t be able to come in on Tuesday, but I’m generally flexible on other weekday mornings” — should I have only said that I’m not available on Tuesday?

          I can reschedule my other weekday afternoon meetings if need be, but it would definitely be soooo much easier if I could come in on a weekday morning, hence my original response. But I can definitely follow up on Monday to say that I can make anytime other than Tuesday work!

          1. Synaptically Unique*

            I think responding that you can work with anything except Tuesday would be a good choice. But include the following week as well. If they only had afternoon slots available for next week, they may have just figured it wasn’t going to work out. Let them know you are flexible.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          Sending times you are available is very common. Not sure I understand why that’s considered such a faux pas, to the point where you would eliminate the candidate?

          1. SpaceySteph*

            I think sending broad times like OP did is fine, sending very specific time windows can be annoying. But if a company DQ’d you over this alone, its probably the kind of inflexible punitive company you don’t want to work for anyway.

            I had to be a huge diva about an interview once. I was on maternity leave with my 3rd so needed my husband to cover childcare for long enough for me to clean up and go, and fit in around nursing, and trying to work around his schedule too. Was trying to keep the reason quiet due to fear of discrimination, but eventually had to tell them what the situation was, and they were so much nicer about it once I explained. I think by rejecting every interview time they offered, I was giving the impression I didn’t want the job, which wasn’t true. I got the job and that was the best boss I ever had, herself a mother of 3 (though the oldest was in college already)

        3. Soft clothes for life*

          I know how tough scheduling those panel interviews can be – I’ve been in your position. But please have a little more compassion for job seekers. They are managing a lot of uncertainty, including the possibility of taking off an unknown number of hours on an unknown day in the very near future – and will need to make up a believable reason for their current employer. It’s very reasonable for them to give some parameters around their availability – and ultimately makes it easier for you so that you don’t have to reschedule something that works for the panel and not the candidate.

        4. Jane Bingley*

          I’m surprised by this response, I LOVE when people send me options. The wider the better, sure, but if there’s times you know won’t work or dates that are ideal, please do let me know! So note that ymmv here

    1. Just Here for the Cake*

      I would wait and follow up first thing on Monday. That way its at the top of their inbox and doesn’t get lost while their finishing up work before the weekend.

    2. I edit everything*

      Wait until at least Monday, and possibly a full week.

      Also, thumbs up on the “s” spelling. I’m also an Elisabeth, and rarely run across others.

  11. Often*

    What is the rhythm of the year like for post-docs in the social sciences? Does summer switch things up?

    If it matters, my research is ethnographic and mostly qualitative.

    1. Vincent52*

      PI of a social science lab here. In my lab, the pace of research slows down a bit in the summer, since people take needed vacation time, but it’s not going to be as stark a difference in pace (from semester to summer) as it was for you in grad school. My postdocs are on 12 month appointments, and I expect them to make research progress during the whole year. I notice that this is a cultural shift for some grad students transitioning into postdoc roles, since some are used to going all-out during the semester then pulling back quite a bit in the summer. In any case, you should be sure to ask the lab PI what the culture/expectations are for research progress, in-person vs. remote attendance, scheduled vacation, etc.

  12. Emily*

    I posted a few weeks ago about my workplace wanting to have a baby shower for me that I didn’t want. A lot of people replied and I appreciated their care and suggestions. I tried to add a comment that my neurodivergence was probably relevant, but I think it may have been caught up in a filter and never went through. It is also relevant to this update.

    I tried again to make it very clear that I did not want the shower. I was very clear and direct with my supervisor, and they finally said they would handle it. They did not. It still happened, and now it was a surprise for me because I thought it was cancelled.

    It was awful. It was loud and crowded and everyone was looking at me and I was not prepared for it at all. I had a meltdown. I don’t remember all the details, but eventually someone called my husband to come get me.

    I have not returned to work since and am looking for a new job now. My supervisor called to ask me to come back but I couldn’t talk to them. I have not had a public meltdown in several years and I would prefer not to see anyone from that job again. I am trying to find a remote job now so this can’t happen in the future.

    1. Bast*

      Oh no! I remember this letter. I am so sorry they did this to you. I hope they learn for the future that when someone says NO… they really mean NO. You are not the only person who has a hard time with parties where you are the focus.

    2. Ama*

      I am so sorry this happened to you, and I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to go back.

      If you want to go remote that’s fine, but I also want to say that at many in person workplaces this would not have happened — at my employer the manager asks the employee who is about to have a big life event *if* they want it acknowledged and if so, what kind of acknowledgment they want. I have several colleagues who have had kids who did not want to have a baby shower at all and no one here pressured them or treated them weird for not wanting one. Your workplace was completely out of line in the way they handled things.

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      Holy smokes. I remember your earlier post and I’m infuriated on your behalf. What a bunch of selfish, disrespectful assholes. From my viewpoint your neurodivergence doesn’t matter at all. Blatantly ignoring someone’s stated boundaries, lying, and tricking them are crap moves no matter whom the victim is.

      1. abitahooey*

        I agree that this isn’t unique to neurodivergence; I know plenty of people who just want to keep their personal lives out of their workplace! Also I am neurotypical and I HATE surprise parties; they just aren’t my style. Take note everyone: it’s awful to throw someone a surprise party if you aren’t sure they’ll like it! Hell, it’s awful to throw someone ANY kind of party if you aren’t sure they’ll like it!

      2. Clisby*

        No kidding. In my father’s case, it was not work-related, but he despised surprise parties. He made sure we knew that if we ever planned a surprise party for him, he’d walk away and not attend. And he meant it. (We were about the least likely people in the world to set up a surprise party for anyone, so accommodating him was no problem.)

    4. Seashell*

      I’m sorry that they went ahead with it. Maybe they thought you were declining due to not wanting them to spend money on gifts rather than party itself?

      Anyway, if they are at all decent people, they probably feel awful about what happened and would be more sensitive to your needs from here on out, so maybe it’s worth considering going back.

      1. Emily*

        I was very clear that the party was the problem.

        As I said, I don’t remember all of the details, but the meltdown was bad. There was property damage. I will not be returning.

        1. ampersand*

          Oh no, I’m so sorry! My daughter and I are both neurodivergent and I know how intense meltdowns can be. I hope you’re okay.

      2. Rex Libris*

        In my experience, people who do something “for you” when you’ve specifically told them not to are actually doing it for themselves. I doubt they thought OP was worried about their finances. They mostly thought “We’re not giving up a chance to have a party, socialize during work time (I assume), and also cake.”

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Yup. I always say if you replace the party with just about anything else, the selfishness becomes obvious. Like if somebody loved a particular sport or a particular band and knew their friend hated it but bought them tickets to a match or concert for their birthday/Christmas whatsoever, so “now you can come with me.” That would be obviously manipulative.

          I know there can be some nuance with parties, because some people like them so long as they are fairly low-key. (I am very introverted and may or may not be autistic and wouldn’t like a traditional party with drinking and dancing but I was really hoping for, and got, our traditional party at work for my 40th. It was very low key, mostly because people only realised that morning that it was my 40th and I suspect, also because they knew I wouldn’t want too much of a deal, but we had cake and a card and a gift and it was pretty awesome, even if I did get awkward, because I don’t really understand these social occasions, but I didn’t care, ’cause I trust my colleagues.) And some people may not enjoy parties but might still dislike being overlooked if everybody else got one.

          But this does not sound like one of those borderline cases. It sounds like Emily was very clear about what she felt, so I am guessing it was more a case of her colleagues thinking, “but I want a party and this is a good excuse, so we’ll have one no matter what she wants. After all, she can’t really stop us.”

    5. EMP*

      I’m so sorry. I don’t blame you on not wanting to talk to your supervisor or anyone else. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if they make the first move toward terminating your employment, I would get a lawyer involved immediately. IANAL but I expect they could at least get you a nice severance package.

      1. WellRed*

        I think Emily needs to cut her losses and move on without looking back. The company was wildly out of line but she damaged property.

        1. Gemstones*

          Yeah. Paying a lawyer in the hopes you might get a severance package feels like a waste of money given that she’s also got a baby on the way. Better to move on and look ahead.

        2. Plus +*

          Exactly. And if I were a coworker who witnessed this, I wouldn’t feel very comfortable being around this person again.

          1. Bast*

            I recall reading about a case where a man was thrown a birthday party at work after being VERY adamant that he did not want one, resulting in a severe anxiety attack and somewhat of a breakdown when he walked in and realized what had happened. Didn’t he sue his employer and win? While it may be best for OP to cut her losses and leave… there has been a (small) precedent set.

            1. Plus+*

              Okay, but did he also cause property damage? There’s a difference between a breakdown and a violent breakdown.

          2. Quandong*

            I wouldn’t be comfortable being around the *supervisor* again after they disregarded Emily’s explicit communication to cancel the party.

            Emily’s meltdown was not something she could control, and it wasn’t her fault.

            I hope you can tell the difference between a person having a meltdown due to neurodivergence and somebody who is angry and in control of their actions.

        3. Ms. Norbury*

          I’m not sure you understand what meltdown means when it comes to neurodivergence. A meltdown is not a tantrum and, as far as I know, the person having the meltdown can’t decide to stop it, just as they wouldn’t be able to stop a heart attack through sheer willpower.

          In this specific case, the only ones responsible for the property damage are the coworkers who completely ignored Emily’s clear and repeated requests not to have the blasted baby shower, and the neglectful supervisor who didn’t stop them.

          Emily, I remember your first post and I’m really sorry this happened to you. Your coworkers are inconsiderate glassbowls. I hope you’re doing ok and wish success in your hunt for a new job.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Exactly. Emily, you should absolutely not go back to that workspace again if you don’t want to, but this is TOTALLY on your coworkers. It’s the equivalent of someone being told not to touch a Ming vase, insisting on juggling with it, and then being all shocked and surprised when they drop it.

        4. GythaOgden*

          Agreed. I’ve been in this exact situation where my neurology boiled over (including property damage to an audio typing machine, without which I couldn’t do my job, since we were a two-woman outfit and only supplied with the basic necessities to do the job) and there was no way either I or my boss could work with the situation. I was fired, it was a relief (I could claim incapacity benefit and finally work on finding out what the hell was going on with my brain rather than trying to string together a patchwork of failed, miserable jobs) and although I was on otherwise good terms with my boss, it was for the best in the long run.

          The words my own boss used were ‘I’m so sorry you’re having issues but I need someone here who can do the job.’ And she was dead right.

          Lawyering up to fight an already terrible situation so you can go back into that hellscape, particularly while ALSO pregnant, when the company can point to actual damage…it’s a mess all round and OP has nothing to gain by fighting this.

          OP, you have a baby on the way. You need to focus on that. Given what happened, unfortunately, it might be difficult for the company to offer a severance package. I’m so sorry this happened — it must have been a nightmare all round. But stepping away might be the best thing right now because of the damage caused to your own actions.

    6. DivergentStitches*

      That’s so awful, I’m sorry :( When I have a meltdown (thankfully rare), I feel so guilty and silly afterwards, if you’re like me and having those sorts of feelings, that just adds to the pile of yuck.

    7. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Search the name Kevin Berling – he was the plaintiff in a legal case about a very similar situation. If I were you I would speak to an attorney and see if you have a case. I’m very sorry this happened to you, and I hope you are able to heal and move forward with a better company in the future.

      1. HR Friend*

        What?! No! OP destroyed property and quit without notice. She has no legal claim. It’s not illegal to throw a surprise party.

        1. Love to WFH*

          Your tone is over-the-top accusatory of the OP.

          They stated that they did not want a party. While they did not do a formal ADA request for accommodation, they would have been entitled to. Their manager disregarded their request, put them in a terrible position, and acknowledges it — asked for them to come back.

          That’s not to say that pursuing litigation is the right them for them personally, but let’s not jump on them.

          1. Gemstones*

            Isn’t that just a description of what happened? I feel bad for Emily, but HR Friend basically just recapped everything Emily said; there aren’t really any accusations there. Emily noted herself that she destroyed property and that she quit.

            1. Double A*

              This is like saying someone who has epilepsy and knocked over a computer tower in the midst of a seizure “destroyed property.” Emily describes that she knocked over property in the midst of a meltdown and in an attempt to leave, and that she cannot recall much of the event. This is because her coworkers’ actions triggered an involuntary response after she explicitly told them not to do something and they did it anyway.

            2. Irish Teacher.*

              But they are leaving out that she was reacting to being bullied and manipulated. Describing somebody completely ignoring her boundaries and something that she may have needed as an accommodation due to her neurodivergence as simply “organising a surprise party” sort of leaves out a lot of the context.

              Organising a surprise party may not be illegal, but well, nor is having your pet tarantula on display at work, but if somebody had a severe phobia of spiders and you knew that and brought in your pet taruntula and put him right on that person’s desk, then I would hope that you (general you, obviously, not you personally) would be fired and if the person screamed and ran, knocking over and breaking property in the process and quit without notice, I hope the employer would call them up, apologise, explain the bully had been fired and offer them their job back. If an employer framed that as “they broke property and quit and after all, it’s not illegal to own a tarantula,” well, I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know, but I would hope the victim would have some legal recourse.

              This is a very similar situation.

          2. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

            It seems to me you’re treating this as a property broken during a temper tantrum or anger that’s out of control, rather than a medical issue.

            Is that intentional or is that due to insufficient understanding of what a meltdown by a neurodivergent person is?

            I presume you wouldn’t say someone having a seizure and breaking things was committing violence (right?).

        2. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

          Huh? It doesn’t have to be “illegal to throw a surprise party” for OP to have a legal claim against the company. Are you OP’s old manager or something? You’re being weirdly aggressive and defensive about this.

          1. HR Friend*

            Sorry you misunderstood my comment. Yes it does have to be illegal to throw a surprise party for OP to sue her company. That’s what they did, she became violent, and quit. Where else would you see evidence for a claim?

            1. Emily*

              I was not violent. I attempted to flee the party and some things were knocked over in the process.

              I am not going to attempt to sue anyone. My family does not depend on my income. But I was not violent. I didn’t hurt anyone. I am not a violent person.

              1. kt*

                Emily, I’m sorry that folks are projecting onto your words things that are not true. Please know that in general the commentariat is here for you with compassion.

                Folks like HR Friend, you are probably correct that there is not grounds for a lawsuit as (as far as we know) Emily has not been fired for this, but be a little more sensitive here. Trying to run away and accidentally knocking a vase off the table or a picture off the wall as you’re getting out of the room is pretty different than ragefully flipping a table, exploding the diaper tower, and throwing the cake at your supervisor. I’m betting that Emily is looking at this event with really heightened emotions and the wording reflects that.

                Emily, virtual hugs if you want them, and please do what you can to put this in context. When you’re looking at your six-year-old, amazed at what weird facts they know about sharks and happy with your new work, I hope this looks like a blip in the past. I’m sure right now it’s looming incredibly large in your mind.

          2. Hiring Mgr*

            HR Friend said exactly what the OP herself said, so not sure what you mean.

            It’s terrible that they gave the shower, but having a major meltdown and destroying property is pretty bad also. Sounds like everyone needs a clean break

            Not a lawyer but don’t know what the basis of a lawsuit would be

            1. Ms. Norbury*

              I strongly suggest you educate yourself on what meltdown means in the context of neurodivergence, because your ignorance is making you blame the victim.

              1. Hiring Mgr*

                I’m not blaming anyone for anything. It was clearly awful for the company to have the party, but destroying property is also pretty bad. That doesn’t seem controversial

                1. Double A*

                  Have you read the other comments where OP has clarified? “Destroying property” = knocking something over while trying to leave the scene in a panic. It doesn’t mean throwing things or deliberately knocking things over or being violent at all, and if you read her further comments you’d see youre speculation is hurtful to an actual real life person who is reading this and is in an incredibly vulnerable position.

                  I’m going to reply to this with a link to flag for Alison because your comments are unkind and ableist and also ignoring further clarifications the OP has given. Or you could take the advice of other commenters and just stop being unkind.

                2. HB*

                  Y’all aren’t keeping track of the verbs. Emily said:

                  “As I said, I don’t remember all of the details, but the meltdown was bad. There was property damage. I will not be returning.”

                  HR Manager says “OP destroyed property” and “she became violent.”

                  Meltdowns are involuntary. Property damage as a result of a meltdown is NOT the same thing as “destroying property” or “becoming violent” both of which are the result of intentional acts – even if the intention is *not* to destroy property. For example, if I throw a ball to someone expecting them to catch it, but they don’t and it hits and breaks something… I have destroyed something. If I pass out while holding a laptop and the laptop breaks… *I* have not destroyed. It has been destroyed.

                  The illegal act by the company here was by not accommodating a request by someone who had a medical reason for making that request. The fact that she quit after actually doesn’t resolve them of culpability. However there is an issue of damages. Since Emily did quit, she’s basically limited to Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress which basically doesn’t exist (they would have to know that Emily was prone to meltdowns to make it IIED but even then that’s hard to quantify). Or maybe she could claim that she was effectively forced to quit due to the consequences/stress of the event.

                  But it looks like from Emily’s perspective, she’s thinks she’s best served by just moving on.

                3. Hiring Mgr*

                  I hadn’t read that update previously, but that definitely clarifies things, so thank you for pointing that out.

                  I still think it’s good that they all make a clean break here- can’t imagine OP going back to this place.

            2. Awkwardness*

              Just for the recap: Pool Noodle (sorry for shortening!) suggested to contact a lawyer, and HR Friend strongly opposed this with:
              What?! No!

              I found this reaction weirdly over the top too. It is one thing to state that one does not believe OP has a case, it is another thing to react as if OP was commiting a major faux pas.

            3. Ellis Bell*

              So if someone caused you to faint by exposing you to fumes, or gave you something against your will which made react medically (which is what meltdown means) it’s your fault if you knock something over? I think you just simply don’t really know what a ND meltdown is. You’re talking as though it’s a tantrum or a behaviour.

            4. Cicely*

              Same here. It’s an unfortunate situation, of course, but I also wonder what the grounds would be for a lawsuit.

          3. Ellis Bell*

            I think it’s Kevin Berling’s manager. Also accused of being violent while having a panic attack. The jury didn’t agree.

        3. Ellis Bell*

          I suppose it’s not illegal to have peanuts either even if you give nuts to an allergic person or arrange a physical outing for someone with a heart confition.While the specific acts aren’t illegal; it’s not exactly safe legal ground to ambush a person with something they can’t medically handle AFTER being told they really wouldn’t be safe in that situation. If you do this you’re a jerk, if not a criminal. Also, someone who was deliberately, and against their will ambushed causing a medical episode can’t be held responsible for unintended damage that the ambush caused. Come on. It’s pretty clear you’re not familiar with the ND term meltdown and are confusing it with something else, like a temper tantrum.

    8. House On The Rock*

      I’m so very sorry this happened to you. I remember your post and remember being horrified that your wishes were not being respected.

      If you have an HR and/or EAP group it’s worth talking to them about how to ensure this never happens again to you or anyone else. The fact that you feel your only recourse is to find another job (and, potentially give up parental leave/FMLA benefits) should be a huge flag for them, both from a staff support perspective and a legal one. They also could help you communicate with your supervisor and make any potential return to your current job go more smoothly.

      Good luck and, again, I’m so sorry, this is really awful.

    9. TedG*

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. Going ahead with the party is something a person in my office would have done because they wouldn’t be able to conceive of the the fact that that someone thinks differently about things than they do. I don’t blame you for not going back.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        How could she ever be able to do her job with people who have demonstrated that level of cavalier ignoring of clearly stated needs? I don’t blame her one bit–trust has been utterly destroyed here.

    10. Forrest Rhodes*

      Wow, Emily, I am so sorry they didn’t listen to you! That’s beyond rude—it’s well into “willfully unkind” territory.
      I hope you’re doing better now, and that you’re well on the way to a much better workplace.

    11. Anonymous cat*

      I’m so sorry. And I agree with the other posters that if they have any decency, they’re feeling awful too.

      I get that you don’t want to go back to this place but after some time away from this, you might want to try an in office job again.

      It sounds like a big surprise shower with you as the focus was the big trigger and a party like that is an infrequent event. Even if a new place had showers, maybe you could disappear while they honor the new parent. (My go-to is the sudden bathroom emergency.)

      I say this because I’d hate for you to feel like you have to stay home from now on.

    12. Double A*

      I am so sorry this went this way. It’s truly the worst possible outcome after you were so clear, repeatedly.

      It’s not clear that you have quit. Can you have your husband help you arrange emergency FMLA leave for you if you are eligible? This would give you some cushion to process everything and be able to decide your next moves.

      Your work caused you to have a mental health crisis. And while you’re pregnant, putting you in a terrible position. I really encourage you not to make hasty decisions and to access the protections that you do have. Wishing you the best of luck!

    13. allathian*

      I’m so sorry this happened to you and that you’re getting piled on. Accidentally damaging property as you’re trying to leave isn’t the same thing as intentionally breaking stuff. I hope the company learned a lesson from all this and won’t force parties on people in future.

      I wish you a comfortable pregnancy and safe delivery.

      I don’t mind parties in my honor, but I absolutely detest most surprises, even supposedly happy ones.

      I’m glad that surprise parties aren’t a thing in my culture, people generally host their own birthday parties and weddings. If anyone ever fixed a surprise party for me, I’d probably turn on my heels and leave.

      The only exception is stag and hen nights, but I didn’t have one because we only invited our parents, my MIL’s husband, and our siblings to our wedding.

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

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. This really sucks. I really hope that your boss and coworkers learned their lesson.

      I don’t remember the specifics of your letter but is there anyone else that you could talk to that you feel comfortable with to help? Like maybe HR? Because, even if you want to leave, you will still need to talk to someone at the company.

    15. Joelle*

      Oh my, I’m so sorry.

      As a fellow ND person, I suspect you might be catastrophizing the impact of destroying property. If some things got knocked over in your attempt to flee, that’s an *accident* and some things broke, not destruction of property during a meltdown (while your phrasing is technically correct – the best sort of correct – I suspect it’s giving an inaccurate impression of the magnitude of the impact)

      In your situation, I’d contact HR, and be like “I asked for this not to happen, I was told it was being taken care of, and it happened anyways. I should not have had to disclose my private medical information for my needs to be taken seriously. Given this incident, I no longer feel respected or safe working — how do we terminate this relationship cleanly?”

      The main reason to do this is *not* to try and get a settlement (though like, an HR person with sense will offer you severance, because my lay understanding is you might have a case since it did involve people ignoring your attempts to mitigate the impact of your disability IOW could be seen as the workplace violating the ADA), but to come to terms where when future employers call for reference or to verify employment (even if you don’t’ give anyone there as a reference, they may still call ) the narrative from your workplace isn’t “Emily walked out on the job after we tried to do something nice for her”

      Hang in there.

      1. RedinSC*

        I think this is the way to go, really good advice.

        Call to ask for the clean break, and the wording Joelle suggested is perfect.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Agreed. This is very, very spot on. And frankly her ex coworkers sound the type to be that spiteful.

    16. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

      I am so, so sorry that this happened to you – as you can probably tell by my username, I am also neurodivergent (Autism and ADHD) and I can totally empathize with how horrible that was for you. It is basically impossible to explain to people that it’s not a mere matter of just not wanting attention when they don’t understand neurodiversity.

      I hope you find a better situation for your circumstances.

    17. Ellis Bell*

      I’m just outraged on your behalf. You tell people who have a responsibility to you, that you would find a party distressing … and they just big fat do it anyway? What the what?!

    18. Rex Libris*

      I hope you’re okay, and get that it isn’t your fault that other people didn’t respect your clearly stated boundaries.

    19. The Prettiest Curse*

      You did nothing wrong. People who force celebratory events on those who don’t want to be on the receiving end of them are total a-holes. I hope that the people at your former job feel mortified forever, and I hope that you land somewhere that respects you and your wishes.

    20. anon_sighing*

      How awful. You deserve a job where a basic “no” is respected, especially after you were direct with them – that baby shower wasn’t about you at all, they wanted an excuse to have a party and they didn’t care at all that you got hurt (or they didn’t take you seriously when you emphasized how bad it would be for you). They could have gotten you a card and some simple flowers if they wanted to still show they care. This feels so excessively cruel.

      I’m pro-remote jobs, but I seriously hope this wouldn’t happen again in the future.

      1. Artemesia*

        The OP also deserve a nice severance if she is unwilling to return and really need a lawyer to negotiate that if it is not immediately forthcoming. She should have to go back and this is enough of a violation given her health status that the office should come up with a generous package to avoid a lawsuit.

    21. Quandong*

      I am so, so sorry this happened to you. I hope you find a great remote job and that your future supervisors are attentive and responsive to your very reasonable and clear requests.

    22. RagingADHD*

      I hope you’re okay and getting appropriate care. Having a memory blackout is very concerning. Pregnancy hormones can exacerbate sensory overload and emotional reactivity, so please check in with your care team if you haven’t already.

    23. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. How awful. And I’m sorry you had to deal with some commenters’ ignorance and/or unkindness. Rooting for you and wishing you and your family the best.

    24. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      Emily, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I was absolutely horrified by what you described in your comment some weeks ago and strongly identified with you, and this is the worst thing your coworkers/boss could have done. I don’t have any helpful advice or wise words but I wanted you to know that this Australian internet stranger’s heart is hurting for you.

    25. I take tea*

      I’m so sorry that happened to you and so angry that there are people who won’t listen, when you tell them what you want. I wish you good luck forwards and much joy with your new family member.

  13. Green Goose*

    If you are an hourly consultant and you make a mistake on an assignment for a client (let’s say they asked for a purple poster but you made it blue), do you charge the client for the time to fix your work?

    1. Sloanicota*

      I probably would not, in the spirit of good customer service, if it was a one-time mistake that I could fix in a reasonable number of hours given the pay I was already expecting (so if it’s a 40 hour job and I can fix the mistake in 10-30 hours, that’s my loss. If I have to completely start over, I’d maybe wonder why we didn’t put in enough safeguards or checkpoints).

    2. Genuinely Catlike*

      No. If it was your error, it would not be right to charge to fix it. Also it could hurt your reputation and ability to get other clients if word got around

    3. allx*

      If it was definitely your mistake-you knew the requirement but didn’t account for it–then you do not charge to fix it. But, if you need to do other work to implement that requirement (i.e., it is work that would have had to be done the first time around that you didn’t do) then you can charge for the work that is needed to address the requirement. For example, if you are a lawyer or a researcher and neglected to account for an aspect of the project, then the research that would be required to understand and analyze that aspect is still billable work–it is work that wasn’t done but that would need to be done to address the requirement then and now.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      If it’s your error, it’s on you to fix. As opposed to the client realizing that they now think purple is better. (And even there, sometimes you build in a review step where it would be normal and within the original time/cost estimate to change the color and introduction.)

      I also second Sloanicota’s point about how, if the time to fix it would be egregious, there should have been some checkpoints on my end to catch this.

    5. syzygistic*

      Coming in with a slightly different perspective: it depends on when and how the mistake was identified, and how significant it was. If I present something to a client and they go “Actually, we asked for purple” then yeah, I’d immediately apologize and assure them that I would handle it free of charge. But if I’ve been working on a file all morning and then realize “Oh shoot, was this supposed to be purple?” and take another half-hour fixing it, I consider it just a normal part of how long the project takes. In an salaried job, I still get paid for the time I spend working inefficiently, as long as the final numbers are worth it to my employer.
      That said…if it’s a REALLY big mistake, significantly outside the bounds of the hours allocated for the project, then yeah, I’d put a cap on the billable hours regardless of how it comes up.
      Keep in mind that the billable rate is also meant to cover “non-billable” things like admin work on the account, whether the hypothetical consultant is a solo freelancer or in an agency setup. I have been in jobs where I had to track my time in VERY small increments, and the idea of a pure money-for-time-worked exchange is a polite fiction we all sort of agree to accept for billing purposes.

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

        I agree with this — it depends on when and how the mistake was identified, and how significant it was.

        If you sent a proof and they corrected it at that stage, along with any other changes, you bill your regular amount for changes — although a consultant tends to have a certain number of proofs/changes included in their contract without additional charge to the client.

        If they received and approved a proof and the final product matches the approved proof, all fixes are at their cost — hopefully your contract or proof has stated that somewhere — once they approve the specs/proof, any problems not identified at that time are at the clients expense.

        If they didn’t approve a proof/specs before the final product delivered, or the final product they received didn’t match the approved proof, you should fix it at no additional cost to the client.

    6. HR Exec Popping In*

      If it was your error, no – do not charge. If it caused because of or in part because of the client that I would take into consideration the client. As a client I would not be happy to be billed for a clients mistake. And have found normally even things that my org was partly to blame for, the consultant just handled it and didn’t charge for the correction.

    7. Forrest Rhodes*

      This happened to me just a few weeks ago! Client needed some quick-turnaround revisions on a written project; I mistakenly revised an earlier version of the project, not the current version. I caught my error before returning the revised project to the client and spent a couple hours fixing it; no harm, no foul.

      As far as charging for the fix: I’ve always believed that if the mistake was mine, I own the fix as well; and this recent event also reminded me to make sure I’m working on the most current version of the whatever-it-is!

    8. Zona the Great*

      No and as someone who works almost exclusively with consulting firms on my projects, this would be a notch against you in the relationship and I might not hire you again if it was a pattern.

    9. anon_sighing*

      You could and personally, I wouldn’t work with you again if I knew. If the mistake was an honest one or due to clear miscommunication, then I think I would be fine with it but if it was a matter of fixing a case of not following clear directions that I gave, that’s not ok.

    10. Consultanon*

      I know this is set up as a yes/no question, but I’m still so shocked at how many people are saying a flat no without nuance! I do wonder how many of them have actually seen “how the sausage is made” from the consulting side.

      IME contracts usually have an estimated number of hours for the whole project, plus a hard limit (the client won’t get charged for any hours worked over X). That estimation already assumes there will be some minor errors, because…consultants are human! So it’s expected that not every single first draft will be perfectly on-brief, especially if you’ve got junior associates working under supervision.

      The bill isn’t going to have a line item for ‘our mistakes,’ but I PROMISE that if you’ve ever hired consultants on a substantial project, you’ve paid for some time they spent fixing their own minor mistakes and that’s actually totally fine. (Sorry if I’m bursting any bubbles.) If a consultant takes an extra hour up front to know the brief inside and out, they’d charge for that prep time; is it functionally different to draft something first, then take an hour to review the brief and fix misalignments? If it makes it all the way to client review and the client points out an error, that’s a bigger gaffe, but the locus of the problem is in managing client relations—not the actual work process itself.

      Of course, I would never, EVER frame it to a client that way, but that’s how it works under the hood. Every experienced consultant I know, from MBB to specialist agencies to solo freelancers, is aware of this dynamic. If it bothers you as a client, just think of the final cost as a per-project flat fee. (To be honest, in my solo sideline, I use flat-fee pricing specifically to prevent clients nickel-and-diming me over stuff like this.)

  14. Future*

    I was a little surprised at the number of people suggesting an interpreter for the LW husband who was contemplating an academic job for which he’d have to teach in Spanish, a language he has very little of. Is a university-provided interpreter for lectures a thing? I’ve never seen or heard of it happening but then I’ve been out of university for a long time! Surely a professional interpreter for every class would be pretty expensive, and also set a precedent the institution may not wish to keep?

    Interested to hear people’s experiences, I always learn so much here.

    1. Future*

      I mean every class by the lecturer who can’t speak the language, not every class in the whole university. In case that isn’t clear!

    2. WellRed*

      I can’t even fathom how that would work. It would take at least twice as long and I think studio will still be shortchanged. There’s a lot of nuance that could be lost.

      1. Mr Apricot*

        There is no way I could summarize instruction about a subject I don’t know anything about, especially on the fly. And that’s without adding the complication of another language. You’d have to have a subject matter expert translate, and at that point you might as well just have that person teach the class.

        1. Pocket Mouse*

          ASL interpreters do it. I imagine there’s a bit of preparation and coming pack to words/concepts that are harder to explain regardless.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            I have a friend who’s an ASL interpreter, and yes, there’s a lot of prep involved for something like this. Even a single lecture would take a lot of time.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      I also found the comments on that post very interesting! There were two comments that might have (partial) answers to your questions. They were nested pretty deeply so you might have missed them.

      The first was from Catherine:

      I had to arrange interpreters for an event at a previous job once. It cost the equivalent of a little more than $2000 USD per day. I cannot imagine any school shelling out for this!

      That comment seems to suggest to me that, no, universities don’t hire interpreters for real-time interpretation of classes (but maybe they do! some places might have a line on cheap interpreters or be willing to shell out for special scenarios).

      The second was from Kate:

      Yep, this is how the pontifical universities in Rome handle it. A new faculty member writes out their entire lecture, someone else translates it into Italian, and they just have to know enough Italian to be able to struggle through reading it out phonetically. However, it’s a very old school environment where a lot of Q and A is not expected.

      So, translators for lecture slides seem to be a thing in some places.

      I’ll link to the comments directly in a follow-up (the links have to go through moderation).

        1. Future*

          Ooh, thanks!

          Maybe universities that offer degrees in translation might have a line to cheap interpreters, in their own students? Still, with that requirement for subject matter expertise I can’t see that always working out.

          Makes me wish I excelled in a second language to the extent I could train as a translator. I’d love to specialise and be super in demand.

      1. RedinSC*

        But universities have to regularly pay for sign language interpretation for deaf/hearing impaired students, so honestly, I don’t see this as very different. In this case, I think it would be a simultaneous interpretation and the students would probably all have to wear the headsets for it. I don’t think it would be $2000K a day, that would be for multiple interpreters to cover 8+ hours of work.

        THis could probably be do-able for the first year or 2 while the professor comes up to speed on their subject. Not saying they would pay for this, or that it would be graet, BUT I think very few faculty members teach 8 hours a day every day.

        1. lost academic*

          I don’t see accommodating a protected disability in a way that is necessary for a student to learn the same as not having learned a language that is a required part of basic communication in that particular country.

          I’m also skeptical when people are dismissive about the time it takes to really become conversant in a foreign language. Some people pick up necessary proficiency very quickly but some never really do.

        2. WellRed*

          It’s one thing to interpret for one student but how is there supposed to be any class discussion if an interpreter is doing it for 3o students?

        3. SchoolDoesntPay*

          Universities don’t pay for interpreters, readers, or other assistance disabled students need. The students pay for these services, often with the help of grants or sometimes state-based/funded disability services. The New York Commission for the Blind paid for my computer (on a special grant), the first $x of my tuition, the first $y of my books, and the first $z of the cost of readers (as long as I used work study students). I paid the rest. The school administered the work study process, but that’s it. Similar, with some variation on services/amounts covered for everyone else I know who needed either readers or ASL interpreters at college.

          1. RedinSC*

            That’s interesting. My friend is an ASL interpreter and she’s paid by the universities when she works there. But perhaps it’s through a fund set up for students.

    4. sparkle emoji*

      So this is a slightly different scenario, but I took ASL classes in college which were all taught by Deaf ASL users. For the intro class, we had an interpreter on the first day for introductions and to communicate the course info clearly. There was also a class about Deaf culture which was taught by a Deaf professor who used an interpreter every class. The university already had interpreters to interpret classes for deaf ASL-using students, so there was a system in place to “reserve” an interpreter(s) for a class time.
      As a student, I had no issue with the ASL-using professor and interpreter arrangement. It could be more challenging depending on what specialized vocab is needed for a subject, but there are specialized interpreters out there. The bigger issue is if the university in the letter was going to be proactive enough to make the necessary arrangements ahead of time. Based on the letter that seems like a big If.

      1. Future*

        Fascinating, thanks for sharing! That Deaf culture class sounds really cool, I’d be so interested to have taken it.

        I don’t know a lot about ASL or other sign languages used by hearing impaired or Deaf folks, but I suppose one difference between any sort of sign language interpretation and interpretation for someone who simply doesn’t speak the language they are expected to work in is the sign language would generally have some component of support for disability, so universities in a lot of countries might be obliged (rightfully so!) to provide it. Also I suppose another difference would be signing and a spoken language can be done nearly simultaneously, while two spoken languages can’t. But good point about the subject matter being a thing that is a little easier to get around than we might think.

        1. sparkle emoji*

          I do want to clarify, at least when it comes to ASL interpreting, my understanding has been that while specialized interpreters are out there(especially with medical settings, there’s a lot of need for interpreters who can communicate medical info clearly), the level of specialization needed to teach a lecture is a pretty uncommon skill. Even for spoken language translation, the university could need to pay a premium and would need to start looking sooner rather than later. That’s what I was trying to say about my concerns in the second paragraph.

    5. Mopping Up*

      I wondered about that too! My daughter is in a STEM program at a mid-level university and she has had a few professors with what sounds like really low English proficiency. They clearly have the research chops to get the job, but they really struggle in their lectures to explain advanced concepts and make themselves understood. I assume they passed a TOEFL or something, though.

      1. OldHat*

        I took an Intro to Programming class back in the dark ages, when Rate My Professor was a new thing. It helped with figuring out what sections to avoid and which sections to avoid for courses like Biology or History, but it was lagging for the computer science classes.

        The section I did was taught by someone with low English proficiency, who mumbled. It was an unnecessary struggle and I think the only way I survived the class was to ask a lot of questions about my code during his office hours.

        Twenty year old me was disappointed and figured I didn’t have the skill set and didn’t try to learn some coding until the pandemic. Older me is pissed that I paid for a class and couldn’t understand the professor because of their communication and delivery skills.

        An interpreter probably wouldn’t have helped as we needed to follow along with the formulas and the lag would be confusing. If I had known the situation or that there would be an interpreter, I’d take a different section or another elective. If that wasn’t possible, I’d likely take the class at a different university or go to another university entirely. And that was a couple decades ago. The university might suffer in their reputation if this was a common occurrence.

  15. Part-time peon*

    I work in a small satellite office of a larger organization, as the only office person. The other employees here are mostly work outdoors or in the attached shop. I keep records for our little domain, create monthly reports, and represent our area to the public.
    This includes making reservations for our rentable facilities. We’ve recently switched over from a paper reservation system to an online system.
    The problem is that my computer and our office’s wifi/internet are both terrible. When people call me to reserve a facility, the process involves long periods while my computer attempts to load the relevant pages and information. It’s embarrassing.
    My boss knows it’s terrible. He’s ordered me a new computer, which is apparently sitting in the main office across town, but weeks have passed since it was delivered.
    I understand that upgrading the internet connections might be an involved process (this is a government office, and small-town government works at a glacial pace), but surely getting my new computer over here shouldn’t be too difficult. Right?
    How do I get some action to improve this situation?

      1. I edit everything*

        They have a contract with an IT company, and one of their folks has to do all IT work.

        1. WellRed*

          Call them every day and ask when this will be done. And keep telling your boss this s a problem, including the amount of time wasted. Frankly, if there’s a way to encourage the tax paying public to complain to him, I’d do that too.

    1. JustMyImagination*

      Take all of the information you need over the phone on paper, hang up, enter it in, and then email the customer a confirmation. It’s not ideal but it saves the awkward time on the phone until you get upgraded computers and internet.

      1. Part-time peon*

        That won’t work, because I have to be able to check availability. People want to discuss different dates, facilities, etc. And since people can get online and make reservations themselves, I have to be able to check in the moment, because what was available this morning might not be available an hour later. And I’m definitely not going to write down credit card information and leave it lying around for later.

    2. kbeers0su*

      If upgrading the internet isn’t something that will happen on a good timeline, look into getting a hotspot specifically to use with your new computer. I’m a remote employee but live in a pretty rural location. Our company just issued all remote employees cell phones, which I’ll never use because I do everything via email. BUT it’s also a hotspot. My office is on the second level of my house, on the opposite side from our router. I used to have lags, but now have none!

      1. GythaOgden*

        You can also get devices that plug into a mains socket and boost the signal from the router. Some even come with ethernet ports so you can have wired internet.

  16. Sloanicota*

    Now that some time has passed, what do we think about the Glassdoor changes per the letter from this week? Are you really going to stop using the site or recommending it to others? The headlines made it sound like Glassdoor was retroactively putting your full name on your past anonymous posts, but from what I can tell that isn’t actually what’s happening, so much that they’re trying to collect data and store it in crappy ways.

    1. mreasy*

      I have never trusted that Glassdoor is actually anonymous or that their ratings aren’t being paid for… call me jaded but tech isn’t really known for its fair dealing. So this just reinforced what I had suspected – though I will say it’s much more blatant than I would have imagined!

      1. abitahooey*

        I’ve honestly never trusted the “anonymity” of glassdoor reviews because they have always asked for SO much user info in order to leave a review. Even without names, with all the other context glassdoor gives about the person leaving the review, it is not hard for a company or even just an employee to figure out who posted something. I’ve figured it out multiple times with no help, and my company has 200+ people! Take note everyone: The internet is not anonymous, no matter what anyone says.

    2. Admin of Sys*

      I tend not to use glass door anyway, but I definitely would now assume that anything entered would eventually be linked to my actual name / self , and restrict commentary to things I’d be willing to share,

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      “They’re trying to collect data and store it in crappy ways” would be a reason for me not to use a site, if I cared at all about the data. (My real name, my credit card number, my mother’s maiden name, etc.)

      1. Sloanicota*

        I agree with this … but that’s all sites, right? Definitely FB, Tiktok, any social media site, plus any shopping you do online (amazon) and anything you pay to use (like spotify, netflix, etc). I’m not sure what they do with cookies on regular sites these days, either, like when you just click through the news headlines or google the answer to something. I’m the worst kind of consumer in this arena because I’m scared/paranoid about all of it, but also pretty ignorant about how this stuff works, and it would be tough to stay on top of because it changes a lot. I’ll put a link in my next comment about how OnStar shares user data with insurance companies, for example. This is actually pretty common, right? Data brokers connect one piece of information – say, what you browse on your phone – and connect it with other pieces of information – say, your credit card rewards program.

        1. Quinalla*

          Don’t disagree, but with a site like Glassdoor where there was some expectation of anonymity because otherwise most folks won’t ever leave a bad review since it will hurt them way more than the company, it is a different thing. And frankly Glassdoor from what I’ve read here and elsewhere is being extremely aggressive about linking the information and refusing to remove it even when requested and making it difficult to delete accounts.

          On other social media platforms, there is much less expectation of privacy, half the point is to blast information tied to you out to the world. It sounds like they want to make Glassdoor the same as other social media sites which lowers the value of it significantly and IMO leaves a giant hole in that private review of companies area that someone will definitely fill.

    4. subaru outback driver*

      Honestly, a random unverified blog from a person really doesn’t mean much to me.

      I will keep using Glassdoor to look up companies and to write reviews to if I feel so inclined. I don’t use their service for job searching.

        1. Happily Retired*

          This is behind a firewall, at least for me. Would you (or anyone else with access) be willing to summarize?

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Major news outlets reported on it all over the place, not just the random unverified blog.

    5. EMP*

      I already use a throwaway email with glassdoor so I haven’t removed my data, but I would have if I used the email connected with my work.

    6. Hermione*

      I agree with some of the others in that I never fully trusted the ratings and reviews weren’t being paid for in some cases, but I did find some of the salary band and reviews interesting/useful. I did delete my account, and if I use it in the future it will be with a throwaway email address.

      1. Sloanicota*

        To me that’s the real shame; the site was useful, and employees don’t have another comparable way to warn or inform each other about working conditions, and now it seems like it will be even less useful in the future if fewer people use it. It definitely helped me dodge a bullet with a job I was considering that would have been awful.

    7. Hiring Mgr*

      I think it was much ado about nothing tbh. Glassdoor is *extremely* unlikely to start putting names next to anonymous reviews.

    8. anotherfan*

      i have to admit that when i signed up, i was put off by requiring my real name and contact information. i gave it, but i don’t go on the site and plan not to post anything. ymmv

    9. Dannie*

      I never gave them real data in the first place. Throwaway e-mail, altered-but-adjacent name, generic-enough job description that my companies can’t use process of elimination to ID me.

      1. Kay*

        This is what I had always done, and it was interesting the amount of unrelated businesses suddenly knew my “birthday” and gobs of other info. Sadly I must have gotten lax somewhere since my main email has suddenly started receiving junk. Sigh.

    10. Mighty K*

      Oooohhhhhh, this post is making me wonder…

      I’m in the UK and today I got a text saying “I’m Katrin from xxx companies, we have vacancies, can we send some details to you”

      I asked how they got my number and they said “from our HR records”.
      I’ve worked for my current company for almost my whole working life, and when I googled the company she said she was from, it was based in Conneticut and the UK phone number came up as spam.

      So now I’m wondering whether they’ve got hold of my phone number from my ancient glassdoor account, because everything about it was odd.

  17. facepalmalmond*

    I recently had dinner with my bosses, meeting them in person for the first time. I ordered a cocktail with an ingredient that I forgot was made from something I’m allergic to. It’s not a severe allergy and I was too embarrassed to take it back because it was my mistake and was an expensive drink so I drank it anyway. Has anyone else done something this stupid? Tell me about so I feel less cringe.

    1. londonedit*

      Not work-related, but I once had a brain freeze at a theatre bar and said ‘cabernet sauvignon’ when what I wanted, and meant, was ‘sauvignon blanc’. Don’t ask me why, because I never drink red wine, but there you go. I only realised what I’d done when the glass of red arrived in front of me, and by that point, being British, I wasn’t going to say ‘Oh, sorry, I ordered completely the wrong thing for absolutely no reason, can I have a sauvignon blanc instead?’, so I just paid up and drank the glass of red, and fudged answers to my friends’ ‘You’re drinking red?? That’s unusual!’ questions so as not to look like a complete idiot.

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      Thankfully, not at work. I’m allergic to tomatoes, an allergy which developed when I was around 40. It’s a mild allergy but it makes me itch like I’ve got ants crawling all over my body. Once in a while I’ll have a brain fart and order something with tomato in it and have to play the guessing game. Eat some of it and hope? Send it back, even though it’s my fault? Pick at it and take it home “for later”?

      I carry Benadryl with me now in case of “stealth tomato” in a dish that normally wouldn’t have it.

      1. Llama face!*

        That is a crappy allergy to have but gotta say Stealth Tomato would be an awesome username.

    3. Cedrus Libani*

      For much of my 20s, I didn’t eat mammal meat. But there was this guy that I had a crush on, also he had a crush on me, but we’re both awkward nerds so we were finding reasons to be around each other but in ways that maintained plausible deniability. He invited me to a game night at his house. He’d made an elaborate pork dish, which he was clearly proud of and wanted to share…he didn’t know…so yes, I ate it. And then I couldn’t just admit that I hadn’t eaten pork for years, which would also involve admitting that I’d made an exception because I had feelings, so instead I said nothing and proceeded with life as an omnivore. Sorry pigs, I eat you now, you’re delicious. (Also I married the guy.)

      1. Anonymous cat*

        That’s great!
        Did you ever tell him?

        Extra points if he’s been pretending to like one of your faves! :)

        1. Cedrus Libani*

          I had to tell him eventually, because my family and friends were likely to bring up the mammal-free thing. He was amused.

          On our second date, he took me to a gastropub that served craft beer. This was on a random Tuesday night, so I didn’t drink very much…by my standards. Here I should note that I’m built like Brienne of Tarth, minus the fighting skills, so I don’t really think of beer as an alcoholic beverage; it’s adult Gatorade, to be consumed in quantity when you’re outdoors and sweating and would like to be faintly relaxed. You can’t actually get drunk on the stuff.

          He went drink for drink with me. Unfortunately, in his weight class, having three beers with dinner is NOT “taking it easy on a school night”. He’s short, and was scrawny at the time too, such that I had nearly a hundred pounds on him. He knew beer #3 was a bad idea but didn’t want to say so.

          I took him home, made sure he was okay, and apologized. (But also, dude…physics! You know how this works, you’re never going to win a drinking contest with me, so don’t try.)

          We’ve both gotten significantly better at using our words to communicate our wants and needs. Granted, there wasn’t much room to get worse, but even so…progress!

    4. Ellis Bell*

      I once had a really shy friend, who smoked, who didn’t want to ask these guys across the room for a light (you could smoke indoors back then). I had no idea how to get a light from someone, not being a smoker myself. I thought you just held it up to the lighter like a candle, so I agreed to get it lit for her (resentfully but I agreed). So I walk over, ask for a light, hold it up and the guy is just looking at like he’s waiting for me to do something. It then flashes on me that people usually hold the cigarette in their mouths when this happens and you must need to inhale while it’s being lit. Clearly, my friend expected me to inhale for her as well as ask. Instead of explaining, or saying not to bother, I just stand there like a shop dummy refusing to lower my hand to my head. Eventually he just touches the lighter to the cigarette like a candle, and I walk swiftly back to my friend with a slightly singed cigarette.

    5. ccsquared*

      Lol, yup – took a bite out of something and tasted the allergen, but before I could figure out how to discreetly spit it into my napkin, the VP two levels above me asked to hear my opinion on the topic of conversation. It was a hot topic and I had a hot take, which VP knew and was using as an excuse to draw me into the conversation. So I chewed, swallowed, said my piece, and spent the rest of the night trying to hide my itching and wheezing.

    6. New Mom (of 1 7/9)*

      Oh, yes. In college I had performance-related anxiety, and The Big Moment was coming up (think sports senior night or music recital). Eventually the performance anxiety got so bad that I got prescribed a rescue medication to take only when needed. Before The Big Moment I took a dose and a half. Afterwards my parents took me out to a celebratory dinner with both of my academic advisors, my then-boyfriend-now-husband, etc. I realized halfway through my glass of wine that I was absolutely, positively not supposed to have alcohol with that medication. I had more or less accidentally roofied myself.

      I wrapped up dinner as quickly as I could–and finished my glass of wine, figuring the damage had already been done (probably don’t do this). I crashed in my dorm room for the best hour and a half-long nap of my life. Still in my performance clothes. Luckily no long-term harm done.

    7. Hatchet*

      Not work related but… I may or may not unbutton my tight-at-the-waist pants while I’m driving (with my shirt covering it up while I’m seated). I got home from work this week and parked, I buttoned pants, then walked down the block to check my mail. Beautiful weather, I’m feeling good about what I wore that day, etc. Get back to my house to realize that my pants may have been buttoned, but my fly was totally unzipped (which I’m sure amused the college kids on the corner as I walked by them twice). Whoops!!! Now I know to double check!

  18. Indisch blau*

    Attention speakers of German and English speakers in academia and the humanities:
    My company is creating a survey in German and in English for our clients. Most people will answer in German. For the English version we’re stumbling on terms for various levels of higher education with no direct equivalents between the American and German systems of higher education.
    Specifically: The “Referendariat”. In Germany you go through additional (professional) training after getting an master’s level degree for professions such as teaching, library work/archives and law. The academic training comes from the degree, the practice during the referendariat. Since these programs take 1.5 to 2 years and end with exams, “student teaching” isn’t an adequate translation (and doesn’t cover the other fields). My suggestion was “additional professional certification”, but that’s pretty unspecific. Any ideas (maybe from Britain)?
    Then there’s the Habilitation. After the doctorate, there’s an additional qualification (in some places, in others it’s dying out) of the Habilitation, which entails a more complex research project culminating in a second book and exams and is the requirement for a professorship. My suggestion: “post-doctoral certification (Habilitation)”. But maybe someone has a better idea.
    Thanks / ganz herzlichen Dank!

    1. Master of the universe*

      I might if I were you go and look at similar surveys on English language institutions’ websites, and maybe also the lists of requirements potential students might need to study post-grad degrees in your fields. That might give you a good sense of the standard wording for these things.

    2. curly sue*

      I wonder if “practicum” would be a good equivalent term for the Referendariat? I think post-doctoral certification would work for Habilitation, though post-docs don’t always end in second books here.

    3. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Referendariat sounds like something along the same lines as “practicum” or “residency” – but there’s going to be nuances on those, depending on the particular field. (caveat: I’m US, not UK).

    4. Ama*

      Not a German speaker but I do create a lot of surveys. Maybe this wouldn’t work with the intent or set up of your survey but could you ask a question that asks what country someone did their academic training in, and then set up the survey so that people who studied in Germany get routed to a question with German academic options, and people who studied in the US get routed to a question with those academic options?

    5. Rick Tq*

      “Referendariat” sounds a lot like an internship in the US. My wife has a Dietetics degree but had to complete a year long internship to become a Registered Dietician, so internships aren’t just for medical doctors.

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

      Could you reach out to other universities in English countries to see what they recommend?

    7. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

      Agreed with the others that practicum might be a better fit, though they are often shorter. The one I had in library school was the semester before graduation, an unpaid internship at a local library. I had to be evaluated at the end by both my manager and my practicum advisor, along with writing a self-assessment of what I had learned and how I applied what I learned in library school to my duties during the practicum. I did another practicum when I did a post-master’s in archives, though that was for a year. Or would have been if the pandemic hadn’t cut it short.

    8. Irish Teacher.*

      Professional Certification? Post-Graduate Certification? Professional Qualification? Professional Training?

      In Ireland, we have a post-graduate qualification for secondary school teachers, which now takes 2 years and was 1 when I did it. It’s now a Masters degree. When I did it, it was a Higher Diploma. Half the day was student teaching and the other half lectures in college (it was a bit of a stressful year for me, as I was doing my student teaching in a school 20 miles from the college, so I was commuting constantly, finishing in the school at 1 and having to be in college for 2).

    9. Bagpuss*

      “Vocational training” is another option (or “Post graduate vocational training” if you need to be more specific.
      In the UK in Law there is a specif term ‘training contract’ which is a two year period of vocational training by the employer which also requires external verification and some exams, to become a fully qualified lawyer

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        In the US “vocational training” often means non-college training in a trade (think electrician or plumber) so I’d avoid that in this context (they mention American systems specifically).

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          Yeah, I’m in Ireland and I’d make a similar assumption. Probably not a trade, since that would be an apprenticeship here, but I’d assume some kind of training for a role that does not require college or training in basic workplace skills, like creating a CV, answering phones, etc.

    10. Awkwardness*

      Do you know linguee dot de?
      This will compare German/English versions of the same website and I found it quite helpful in such cases, especially if these are internationally operating companies or organisations.

    11. sozzifer*

      I worked in UK higher education for a long time – a placement sounds like the terminology most people here would understand by the Referenderiat. Maybe “postdoctoral thesis” for Habilitation?

    12. AnonyOne*

      Could it be described as a “trainee” role? I think that might be more British than American, but in the UK, lawyers will complete a two year “training contract”, working under supervision, before they are fully qualified. You will also find trainee teachers and, I think, doctors.

    13. Nesprin*

      Practicum or Residency programs would be a fair translation of the first, and postdoctoral training for the second.

      1. RedinSC*

        I was thinking Residency as well, Or perhaps apprenticeship. Post-doctoral certification sounds right for the second.

    14. anon_sighing*

      Referendariat = practicum, clinicals, residency, or internship (most masters or two year degree programs that have a clinical component will pretty much have 1 year of school and the second year will be their practice/clinicals)

      Habilitation = this sounds like “post-doctoral fellowship” (some people choose to do post-doctoral work, which is a legit position in labs, which serves as additional training with additional mentorship in your area of research – it’s a pretty common thing for PhDs but not all of them have it so it feels like good equivalent; however, it functions as a job and doesn’t require any more exams).

    15. Mynona*

      It really depends on where your audience is. Referendariat and Habilitation simply don’t exist in the U.S. (for example), and suggestions like practicum and a post-doc are not comparable. (I’ve had multiple post-doctoral fellowships, and they are nothing like a Habilitation.) If this is an English-speaking audience in Germany/EU, then just stick with Referendariat and Habilitation on the survey. If they have one, they will know! For reference: I’m an American historian (Ph.D) of Germany who works in the U.S.

    16. Artemesia*

      There is a ‘specialist ‘ degree or certification in Education that is achieved after a masters degree for people who are not going for a doctorate. I don’t know that there is anything like this outside the field of Education but there definitely is in Education.

      For habilitation, I’d go with post-doc. Usually those involve further research activity and training and are well understood by English speakers.

    17. ItsaRealThing*

      There’s actually an official program between a Master’s degree and a doctorate but it’s not widely used (my father is the only person I’ve ever met with it). It’s called a Certificate of Advanced Study and it’s 1.5-2 years of additional coursework beyond a master’s degree.

  19. this won’t end well*

    I have a similar situation to yesterday’s OP #1…in my case my supervisor is upset that I’m “out shining” them. Long story short, Supervisor joined the company 3 months after I did back in 2022, we are both new to the industry but supervisor has a few more years of work experience over me. Over the last two years I’ve been able to show a lot of growth where upper management and leadership has taken notice. Two weeks ago Grand boss asked me to work on, and present to leadership an idea I ran by them. This happened during my one on one with Grand Boss and I have not had a 1 on 1 with supervisor in the meantime (they keep cancelling). Supervisor found out from another supervisor that I will be presenting to leadership and they are throwing a fit saying that I should not be presenting, and that I should be running everything by them first. Grand Boss has already explained to supervisor that our company does not apply the whole role hierarchy as well as encourage me and colleagues to come to them with ideas and proposal since they know supervisor is not very open to ideas. Add to this that I keep being chosen to present on behalf of our team as well as attend conferences and events, where as my supervisor has not been asked once…
    so my questions are:
    1- Was it my responsibility to inform my supervisor that Grand Boss wanted me to present to leadership?
    2- Am I required to run everything first by my supervisor even if Grand Boss is saying differently ?

    1. WellRed*

      Yes you need to let your supervisor knii of w what you were doing. And maybe you would have if supervisor didn’t keep canceling the one on one.

    2. Glazed Donut*

      This has happened to me before, twice! It’s a sign of an insecure boss.
      If GB asked you to present, I don’t think it was your responsibility to tell your supervisor, but now you know what the expectation is for the next time. Maybe ask one of them how they would have preferred you handle that, and how you should operate in the future if GB gives you direct instructions.
      Could you do something that’s not a big use of your time – like creating a shared doc that your supervisor can check any time he wants, or sending a weekly update with the info? I think if you’re told yes, run things by him, then you need to do that.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I would cringe so hard if a boss said I was outshining them. I would radiate second hand embarrassment.

    3. All Het Up About It*

      For 1 – Yeah, I probably would have given them a heads up. “Hey Grandboss and I talked over an idea I had during our 1:1 today and they want me to present on it at the next leadership meeting.”

      For 2 – No, I don’t think so. As long as you are approaching things as “I have an idea I want input on” and just offer it up to the most likely individual. If you are purposefully cutting your boss out to make them look worse and you look better, that’s an issue. But that doesn’t sound like that’s the case here. In general, I think if you are given two counter-directives, it’s expected you differ to the individual higher on the org chart – even if your org isn’t particularly hierarchal.

    4. A non-mouse*

      I have had this happen to me. Make sure that your Grand Boss is aware of the situation with your manager, including how they keep canceling 1:1s, and be sure to explicitly ask GB for help protecting you from retaliation from your manager for getting opportunities that your manager is not getting. It sounds like your Grand Boss is willing to go to bat for you with your manager (yay!) so make sure they have the relevant info!

    5. this won’t end well*

      Thanks for the feedback so far, I should have added that HR is aware of the manny issues our team is having with supervisor (I’m not the only one) and has told us to keep things in a need to know basis, as well as only letting supervisor know of our plans/initiatives once they are well advanced and approved by upper management as to avoid supervisor sabotaging or rejecting our ideas. Yes I know.. we have bigger fish to fry but HR keeps reassuring us that this is being dealt with . Other than the issue with supervisor everything else is pretty great with this company and neither myself or colleagues want to leave…

      1. Sherm*

        Speaking of leaving, it sounds like Supervisor might not be long for this company.

        I would definitely follow GrandBoss and HR’s directions on keeping Supervisor out of the loop, and ask them for clarifications when needed. I know that it might feel slightly icky, but (at least in this case) there is no obligation to run everything by a supervisor when those further up the hierarchy are telling you otherwise.

      2. CrashTestHuman*

        I think this answers your question, then. It sounds like your supervisor is being cut out, and upper management is effectively asking you to report directly to them.

        This, I think, absolves you of the obligation to report things to the supervisor.

        It also means that your supervisor is probably justified in her paranoia. She can see that she’s being cut out and that it’s only a matter of time before she has to leave. The unfortunate part is that she’ll take it out on all of you, but it at least sounds like you’ll be protected by those on high.

      3. HonorBox*

        This provides great context. I think generally it is good to at least inform your supervisor about things a GB is asking you to do, if for no other reason than it might help them understand other commitments you might have. But it doesn’t need their approval…just giving them a heads up. But in your situation, it sounds like your boss is failing miserably (cancelling 1:1, HR asking you not to give them info) and you probably need to follow their lead.

    6. Synaptically Unique*

      Dealing with some of this right now. I actually really like my boss, however, so have more incentive to keep her happy.

      Every time something new comes up, I do my best to loop my boss into the conversation ASAP. I’ve also had detailed conversations with her about what degree of involvement she needs/wants on specific topics or situations, and then I do my best to meet her expectations.

      If the boss is a true problem, then I agree with talking to your grandboss and making sure they understand you are being put in a bad situation.

    7. HR Exec Popping In*

      It is generally a good idea to keep your boss informed. On when their boss has asked you to do something and even when sharing ideas with their boss.

      You know your boss is insecure. Don’t feed into that. The fact is, they are in a position to help or hurt you. Directly or indirectly. You generally don’t want them caught off guard and looking like they don’t know what is going on in their own organization. You never look good by making your boss look bad – even if it feels good. :)

    8. WantonSeedStitch*

      I would have sent your supervisor an email, INFORMING them of what you were working on, rather than “running it by them.” If your grandboss instructed you to do this, then it’s on you to do it, and your supervisor should be SUPPORTING your work rather than getting pissy about it. Your supervisor does sound insecure. That said, it also sounds like your grandboss isn’t managing them very well. Grandboss is basically trying to act like supervisor isn’t there and manage you directly, rather than manage your supervisor and coach them into being a better manager for you.

    9. Pretty as a Princess*

      So as a manager with a pretty great team, I do want a heads-up if my boss or someone in the C-suite straight-lines to someone on my team. And that’s not for micromanagement, but it’s so that I am aware of commitments my organization has to those leaders. So in a functional organization, yes, you should give your manager a heads-up.

      Because as a manager:
      – If you make that commitment, I’m ultimately responsible for it.
      – If you have that commitment, I need to know how it affects other things I have prioritized that are on your plate in order to do my job and not overload you
      – I can advise you on hot buttons/communication styles/etc for that leader
      – I can advise on items that are related, but that you may not be aware of, that may affect your task for the senior leader
      – I want to be able to brag about how valuable my team members are to senior leaders! And I mean that in a positive way – when I am nominating people for awards, for professional opportunities, for promotions, it is in your best interest that I am in the loop on these things because they are part of a bigger picture.

      In this case, it does seem you have an insecure boss. But I do think that it is still a best practice to let your boss know that their boss straight lined something to you.

      I think that it’s a bad practice in general if GrandBoss is encouraging you NOT to share this with your boss (I can’t quite tell if that is going on or not). GrandBoss ought to be dealing with the problems with Boss.

  20. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

    Suggestions on how to word signs for my outer doors at home to tell people not to knock unless it’s an emergency?

    I work from home and everyone from family to solicitors see my car in the driveway and assume I’m home and available. I don’t want to not answer the door in case it’s an emergency (like that time a couple years ago a neighbor knocked because the back yard was on fire) or I have a package to sign but it’s a problem to have to check every knock when I’m in video meetings.

    I have two doors people use: 1) the side door that family, friends, neighbors, and the mail carrier use, and 2) the front door that people who don’t know us well use (service workers, delivery drivers, solicitors). Different wording for the doors would go over better, a friendlier one for the side door and a more stern tone for the front door.

    I previously had a sign up that said something like “Currently in a meeting, please do not disturb except in case of emergency” but solicitors absolutely ignored it and neighbors would ignore it if they saw me outside (I like to stretch my legs outside on breaks, which is apparently code for I’m free for an hour long chat or to help someone move furniture).

    1. Roland*

      The only change I’d made is remove “in a meeting” because if a friend sees you outside, it’s not crazy to assume “oh the meeting is over”. But also your problem here probably can’t be fixed by a sign. With people talking to you outside, you need to end the conversation after two minutes or however long you want. With solicitors, all you can do is not answer the door unless you hear someone yelling “fire”.

    2. Antilles*

      Personally, I just don’t open the door at home unless I’m actively expecting a delivery.
      It’s 2024, if my family and friends want to stop by, they know how a cell phone works and can send me a text asking if I’m free. As for solicitors, they usually give up if you don’t answer the door within a minute or so.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Mine says, roughly:
      PLEASE DO NOT KNOCK OR RING UNLESS NECESSARY. Porch is on camera.
      Please leave deliveries on the porch unless you legitimately require a signature.
      We are set for windows, landscaping, religion, politics, and everything else, so no soliciting unless you are under the age of 12 and selling cookies.
      Have a nice day.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          It does, actually, for the most part! The most likely way for it to not work is that apparently we have a lot of delivery folks around here who like to put the delivery on the porch as requested, but then still ring the bell or hammer on the door as they’re turning to leave the porch. I really do just want them to leave it, the camera notifications will tell me that someone has been on the porch and my dogs lose their collective ish when the doorbell rings or especially when someone hammers on my door. But I try to assume good intent, that they just don’t want my stuff to be left unattended on the porch to get stolen or something, even if I’m muttering curse words under my breath as I wade through 180 pounds of ruckusing nonsense to open the door and bring it in.

          The door-to-door solicitors do occasionally come up on the porch, but I’ve only had one ring in three years – usually they see the sign and just leave flyers on the porch, if anything. I still don’t get wee cookie saleswomen though, I have to go find them at pop-up stands at the hardware store. :)

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Also, one of my dogs is the primary reason I don’t want people knocking or ringing at my door. Otherwise I’d just ignore anyone unexpected and not bother with a sign. But while we have made many training successes over the years, my Ambassador is now almost 10 and she is incredibly reactive to door noises, plus when she’s already reacting to door noises she also gets increasingly reactive to any other outside noises too. So that’s super stressful on her and really annoying to me.

        3. BigLawEx*

          Yes…and…no. Worked about 85% of the time. Other times people felt the sign somehow didn’t apply to them?!?

          But do it. Put up the well-worded sign.

          If I had to do it over, I might have taped over the doorbell or something.

          My issues were – working from home on the third floor (tall/skinny house), I had a dog who barked at the doorbell, and I had a napping baby. I didn’t want the dog barking to wake up the baby or be heard on calls. I didn’t want to run down flights of stairs for magazine sales, etc., etc.

    4. Noname*

      Could you get a video doorbell and set it up where you can see it from your work area so you can just ignore all the knocks except panicked smokey neighbors (who will also presumably knock twice) and the UPS guy?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’d go with this. I think it was Darwin? Who set up a mirror in his garden so he could see who was coming up to his door from his study window and decide if he was “home” or not.

      2. HonorBox*

        This. You need to have better awareness of who is at the door(s). If it is family or neighbor, you can text them if they show up and let them know you’re not available. If it is a solicitor or someone random, you can ignore them.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        I was coming to say this too. If you just put up a sign, they’ll assume whatever meeting made the sign go up is possibly over and you just won’t answer the door if you’re still tied up. Ignoring them consistently is the only training they’ll respond to and it sounds like you need to vet what you don’t respond to. As for stretching your legs, I’d probably go into a private area of your garden, or walk really swiftly and purposefully past any neighbours. Prepare to not stop, or even slow your stride if someone calls you; “Can’t stop, I have to get lunch/to the post office before my next meeting”.

      4. Double A*

        I despise the invasiveness of these, but in this situation it seems like the best option.

    5. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Signs never work. Everyone thinks they are the exception.
      Get a ring doorbell and answer through that? Also you can see the person. You can see if they’re holding a delivery or wearing a pest control company name and carrying brochures. You can see if they’re acting urgent or stressed, or just casual.

      1. Girasol*

        There are some very specific “no solicitor” signs in Amazon. A lot of people who go door to door seem to be uncertain of whether they are technically “solicitors,” so a sign that separately lists most of the categories of unwelcome door knockers could help.

    6. Time for Tea*

      I have an actual metal sign stuck on the door that says “no cold callers, no canvassers, no sales people, no religious organisations”, and I am fairly sure from my dog pointing at the door on occasion that some people have come to the door and gone away without knocking. Only one man selling something has knocked (I thought it was a neighbour I’d just seen outside having car trouble or wouldn’t have answered) and tried to start an argument when I pointed out the sign that it didn’t apply to him, door got shut sharp in his face mid sentence which was satisfying. I’m quite happy to ignore knocking and go about my day with it up and that includes my other neighbour and her various parcel delivery people!

    7. Janeric*

      I think for the front door you could put package instructions — “Ring three times if a signature is needed, place packages on X” — and then service workers can be told to text you/you’ll be generally aware of their timeline and can answer the door on days where they’re expected.

      If you have a warm and close relationship with a family member who understands your plight, I might put “I’m in a meeting, Family Member” on the side door and then presumably family/neighbors can not feel targeted AND be aware that you’re busy?

    8. Seashell*

      My town has a “do not knock” list, if you don’t want anyone selling things door to door at your house. It doesn’t work perfectly, but I think it deters most. We’re a fairly sleepy suburb, so your mileage may vary, but I think it’s a good thing to have.

    9. anywhere but here*

      I personally never answer the door unless I am expecting someone or they knock twice. Anyone with an actual emergency will not leave after knocking/ringing the bell only one time, so just not answering or responding to the first knock/ring will save you a lot of time. I’ve only had a solicitor knock twice like once, and I think it was because he saw me inside (nosy asshole).

  21. Master of the universe*

    European full-time masters vs UK or Irish full-time masters. Anyone have experience of both? I’m hoping to do one, and I’m seeing that UK and Irish ones are generally one year, mainland Europe two. A quick Google tells me they’d be more or less the same amount of work and content but the UK/Irish ones much more intense with fewer breaks and the European ones would tend to include some sort of internship.

    Looking for any personal anecdotes, opinions on the pros and cons, anything like that! I’ve got a very lucky passport so can pay home/local tuition on any of them, but even home tuition is so much more in the UK. On the other hand, I’m in my 40s and contemplating a career change, so not sure I want to do that extra year…

    Any insight would be valuable!

      1. Future*

        In a social science/humanities field. Would rather not get too specific. It’s a field that can be sciencey and sometimes you’d get an MSc but it’s usually an MA.

    1. M2*

      Depends on field/ cost/ etc. I got a graduate degree from LSE and loved my time in London but my program was very intense. London is also expensive but it was a fantastic period in my life.

      I would also look at programs that are mid career so you have a wider range of people of different ages. Look at career outcomes too within the first 6 months. If you’re in a career change look at a program that offers an internship during the program so you have something else to add in your resume.

      Also check if your passport matters. For some I believe you actually have to live in the country for a period of time before you are considered local tuition.

      1. Future*

        Thanks, especially for that last tip. I’m an Irish citizen resident in Ireland so I assumed I was eligible for local tuition in most places in the EU and UK but I will certainly double check!

        1. Future*

          Oop so much for anonymity! I’m Master of the universe, the OP of this thread. Ah well, I’ve doxxed myself

    2. Lemonwhirl*

      If you are planning on Ireland, a “lucky passport” alone is not enough to get you EU tuition rates. You need proof of tax residency for 3 of the last 5 years.

      If you’re not already resident in Ireland and filing/paying taxes here, you would have to pay the non-EU rate, which is a substantial difference. It’ll average 2x to 3x the EU cost, depending on the degree. So when you compare Ireland and the UK (assuming you are already resident in the UK), factor that in. And probably, you’ll want to look more closely at residency requirements for the fees for any program you are looking at.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Ah, sure I should read all the comments before commenting myself. :D

        If you do apply for a Masters degree in Ireland, if you were born and educated outside Ireland, you will still be asked to provide your tax documentation to prove your residency. That was a wrinkle I didn’t expect when I applied for mine. I’ve been here nearly 20 years, working the whole time, and it was a bit of scramble with the Revenue because the site didn’t work for me the way I was told it would work. But sure, it was grand in the end.

        (I’m still waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted, so I can’t give any observations on what it’s like. Plus I’m doing the 2-year part-time option so I can continue to work full-time.)

        1. Master of the universe*

          Oh, we are in very similar situations, thank you for the info and good luck with your acceptance! I’ll brace myself for fun with revenue.ie

  22. Anon Today*

    I know I asked this before in an open thread a few years ago – but the search feature is failing me!
    How do you job search when you are already employed? Do you have a tried and true weekly schedule? Monthly schedule? Any recommendations anyone has would be so great.

    It’s been nearly two decades since I had to find a new job while employed and during that time I have unfortunately had multiple unemployed due to layoff searches. So I have that system down, but creating a system that feels not overwhelming when I am working a job that I hate and still trying to feel engaged with my loved ones and workout and eat right and go to therapy, etc, etc feels daunting!

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I had a rough weekly schedule, and a rough goal of applying to two jobs a week. Also, a general recommendation: I had a playlist of mostly-upbeat music that was about 45 min long. Each day, I would put on my playlist and tell myself I could stop at the end of the playlist. There were a few especially motivated days where I went through the playlist twice, but most days I only worked on my job search for ~45 min.

      Sunday: Browse Indeed/LinkedIn/etc. to find jobs I wanted to apply to. Store links to job ads in a spreadsheet, and highlight the two I wanted to focus on that week. (Sundays I usually stopped before the end of the playlist.)

      Monday: Customize my master resume for Job 1. Start drafting a cover letter for Job 1.

      Tuesday: Customize my master resume for Job 2. Start drafting a cover letter for Job 2.

      Wednesday: Finish drafts of cover letters. Read through resumes to make sure there were no typos/formatting issues.

      Thursday: Proofread cover letters, make some adjustments. Apply to jobs 1 and 2 through the company website (or Indeed/LinkedIn/etc. if the direct company website didn’t have an application portal).

      Friday: No job hunting.

      Saturday: No job hunting.

      I’m not perfect so there were Fridays where I had to finish my applications, and weeks when I didn’t meet my 2-applications-per-week goal, but overall the approach worked pretty well for me and felt like my job search wasn’t sucking up too much of my life. Feel free to adjust any of the parameters (weekly application goal, playlist length, etc.) to suit your needs.

      Also, if I had a phone screen or interview, I set aside my 2-applications-per-week goal and just focused on interview prep for that week.

    2. helio*

      Not sure how your current job is, but I have a job where I can either be remote or in office. I’ve been spending some time (max 2 hours, equivalent to a long lunch if I were in the office) trawling the hiring pages of companies I’m interested in, searching job boards, etc. Because I have a job at the moment, it has allowed me to really refine both my resume and the type of jobs I’m applying for. When unemployed or in the GTFONOW phase, I just mass apply. But I think this time I applied for 5 roles that I both knew I was really qualified for, interviewed for 3, and was verbally offered for 2. Given that I had less interviews and it was for roles I was really interested in, prepping for the interviews felt like it took less time and less stressful.

      So I guess the tl;dr is try to do it on your current company’s time :D But the true tl;dr is to set a good time limit for yourself on how much time a week you’re looking at it- 4 hours a week? In all seriousness- sending you some good vibes. Job hunting even when not unemployed is still a daunting process of making yourself vulnerable and taking on some extra work, so pace yourself and do try to enjoy everything outside work!

    3. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

      Tbh, most of my jobs have been boring as sin and leave time to do things like apply for a job while at work. I am sure that’s… dubious, but my workplaces were toxic enough that I didn’t mind giving them a little fuck you (even if they didn’t know about it). At the same time, it depends on circumstance – I am much less likely to care about applying on the job if the role is a contract that they’re not going to renew, because if I am going to be left high and dry without a job then I’m going to do what I need to with spare time. If my employer doesn’t want that, then they should make sure I don’t need to worry about my ability to pay my bills (loads of people won’t like that; just trust that I was getting my work done, I just wasn’t doing anything extra!) but I do a lot of applications outside too.

      I have a detailed spreadsheet where I track my job search & networking efforts.

      I also have targets (e.g., at least 25 job applications per month – ideally closer to 75 if I am in a jam and will take anything to avoid being unemployed! – and 1 event per month where I’ll meet people, and completing at least 2 trainings / professional development items, etc)

    4. Wordybird*

      I try to search job sites during the week and bookmark any job that I am fairly interested in. I’m at a point in my life due to age/experience/salary that I am rather choosy so this usually yields no more than a handful of jobs per week.

      Saturday or Sunday night, I will go through the bookmarks again and (re)read the description to make sure that it didn’t list a qualification I don’t have. There are also certain culture/benefit descriptions I look for, and I will usually go to the company’s website to poke around and see how it comes across to me. This can sometimes take 1 or 2 off the list. Then I work through each job and apply. I have 25+ types of cover letters to choose from to tweak to go with my resume (which I do not tweak).

      1. Anon Today*

        This is amazing!
        Of course as one of the reasons I’m starting my job search is because my boss doesn’t talk to me on on a regular basis, so not helpful in my current role. But I think I could modify it because like the thought of picking a thing to trigger small bursts of searching.

  23. Carrots*

    The last time that I had a virtual meeting, my microphone wasn’t working. IT came and tested it out, and it was fixed. I tested it with coworkers and they said it was fine. (Note: I’m in the office and am not working from home.)

    I had a meeting today and no one could hear me. I used the chat function to communicate, but afterwards my boss was angry. She was all “That can’t happen again! You need to get that fixed!”

    So I called IT and they brought me different headphones that they said should work.

    My boss still seems miffed about it- she ignores me when I say good morning and will just walk right by me.

    I know it shouldn’t happen, but these are the resources that were given to me. Plus my boss is very petty, dramatic, and runs hot and cold. One minute she’s calm, the next she flies off the handle about something.

    Should I say anything to her about it or just let it go?

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      I had a boss like that, they didn’t want to hear what I tried to do to prevent it or what I’d change going forward, that just made them more annoyed. They just wanted me to validate them, “Yes boss, this is absolutely unacceptable and can’t happen again!”

      At this point, I’d just give Boss time to cool off.

      If it’s possible keep 2 or 3 mic/headphone options at your desk, that will let you try different ones in the moment. If your computer is old enough you might have a mic input jack, sticking a headphone into that slot lets you use the headphone as a mic .

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

      Sounds like you have a boss problem more than anything. The only thing I can think of is can you get to the online meeting early and test before hand? I know on Zoom there is a test function, Probably other platforms too.

      Also, you probably already thought of this but just in case, check to make sure whatever platform you are using is connecting to the right microphone. For example laptops and web cameras typically have built in microphones. But if you are using a headset or extra microphone sometimes the platform defaults to something else. That happened to me one time. Luckily I just took the call in another room where I could use the speakers and microphones on the laptop.

      1. M2RB*

        This happens to me – my work laptop seems to think that the external monitor I have at home has speakers on it (it doesn’t) and tries to use that for audio on Teams meetings. I had to change it this morning before joining a training meeting.

        Hopefully the original commenter finds an easy fix like this and gets their boss off their back! Such a rude response from the boss!

      2. Roland*

        Yup, connecting headphones to my phone always does what you’d expect no problem, but with my windows laptop it’s always a trial and a half. You might just need to double check it every time. If you aren’t sure how, ask IT to show you both the computer’s own audio input/output settings and your meeting platform’s audio input/output setting and to what they should be set.

    3. Zona the Great*

      Ugh. I’m sorry. I worked for a very similar woman and confronting her about it would have led to nastiness from her with thinly veiled insults about me and my work. In my case, I quit after she screamed at me because the monitor in my office was pilfered by a department who didn’t work from home a few times a week like we did. She told me I was responsible for ensuring my equipment in a secure building was not stolen while I was gone. This was a state government.

    4. Cookie Monster*

      I’m not sure how you replied to her when she snapped at you, but I would send her an email saying something like “Just wanted to follow up on the mic issue. I know it’s unacceptable and completely understand why it’s frustrating. After the first time this happened, IT came and tested my mic out, and it was fixed. I tested it with coworkers and they said it was fine. Obviously that wasn’t enough because it happened again. I’m working with IT to solve the problem.”

      And then let it drop. Don’t mention the email, don’t bring it up again. If she wants to talk about it, she can bring it up.

    5. Girasol*

      Windows has several different places to establish headphone settings. If any one is incorrect it can shut down sound or microphone. And then Windows seems to randomly change the settings. You could ask IT to show you all the places to check and the correct settings in each, but your boss should understand that the problem is that Windows isn’t cooperating, not that you aren’t.

  24. Funderemployed for almost a year*

    Should I move to Seattle for a new job? My niece (and soon-to-be #2) is in Portland, and this would allow me to be infinitely more involved in her life than I can be from the east coast. But I’m incredibly scared of this massive move and the “Seattle Freeze.” Anyone move cross-country for a job where they knew few people and ended up very happy?

    1. mreasy*

      The weather in the Pacific Northwest is truly something you have to be 100% certain about. I lived there for colleage and a few years after and it really, really made all my mood issues so much worse. No amount of SAD lamps or Prozac could equal the challenge of that constant gloom. Some people love it! But don’t underestimate the power of that weather. I’ve been in NYC for 20 years and despite the cold cold winters it’s a massive improvement when it comes to my mental health!

      1. Funderemployed for almost a year*

        Interesting because NYC makes me depressed! We all have unique triggers for mental health issues. I think I’ve romanticized the gloom, but maybe I need to get a better sense of it. It’s hard to know for sure without actually living a full winter there.

      2. EDM Nacho*

        I loved living in that part of the country but I agree the weather is not for everyone. I was always out and about but yes, the fatigue from the lack of Vitamin D is real. That being said there is always something to do. The most important thing is making sure that job wise and financially it works for you.

        I currently live on the east coast and would go back in a heartbeat.

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        This is where I landed. I visited in July and moved in August, and then it started raining in September and didn’t stop for nine months. I realized that Seattle was doing an absolute number on my mental health, right about the time I got engaged to someone who wouldn’t consider living anywhere else. So I muddled through for a few years, and it was getting worse and worse, and when that someone and I split up, the first thing I did was start a spreadsheet on how to plan and budget to pay off all the debts he left me with and move back to the Midwest where I belong. The last year I was in Seattle, I kept track on a calendar and literally went 42 days without seeing the sun, and I was just OVER IT. I am now coming up on my 12th anniversary of returning to the Midwest and wouldn’t go back for love nor money.

    2. the cat's ass*

      I was contemplating retirement in the PNW but also couldn’t cope with the weather. Going to stay in CA and eat catfood after retirement, i guess!

    3. Decidedly Me*

      I moved to the Seattle area from California over a decade ago and love it here! It wasn’t a cross country move, but I didn’t know anyone when I got here.

    4. HR Exec Popping In*

      I lived in Seattle for a few years. It is lovely with great summers, a long dreary rest of the year and locals are not particularly friendly. But I found I was able to make a few good friends and got used to the weather. I say go for it!

    5. msgumby*

      I moved from Boston to Austin, where I knew no one, to be near my parents, who were retiring about an hour from there. Then I moved from Austin to Portland, OR (where I knew no one except for the person I was living with at the time) and have been here for 10 years. I really love it. It’s so green and gorgeous, and the summers are to die for. The rainy season is something to endure, but I grew up near Boston and prefer rain to dirty banks of snow and slush. Both places have the same gray skies in the winter. I don’t find Portland folks cold, but it has taken me some time to make friends here, especially because I’ve been working from home for several years.

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      The Seattle Freeze isn’t as bad as purported, just like it doesn’t really pour rain here 24-7. And it’s very lovely here with lots to do, especially if you’re outdoorsy. There’s tons of theater and music as well!

      I would caution that the fentanyl crisis is very much ongoing, however, and real estate prices are quite high. Make sure the job is paying moving and housing expenses until you can find a place to buy/rent!

    7. Double A*

      I lived in Seattle from ages 18-30 and I loved it! I love to run and it’s an absolutely incredible city for running if you don’t mind getting damp. It doesn’t pour rain constantly, but it does drizzle a lot. But lightly enough that locals don’t even bother with umbrellas.

      I made and had a lot of friends, but I did move there for college so that’s not necessarily going to be the experience of people moving there later in life. I don’t think it’s *that* much harder to make friends in Seattle than anywhere else; people make comments about how hard it is to make friends as adults from all over the country. It’s a big city so there will be people sharing your interests no matter what they are, and there’s lot of events all the time.

    8. Kay*

      I have done a cross country move where I knew no one and loved it, but because it was very different from Seattle. You have to really know yourself to know if you will be okay with gray drizzle for 9-10 months of the year, are you going to be okay if it doesn’t hit 80 all year, are you going to tolerate the damp chill you to the bone cold, what do you like to do – are you outdoorsy, do you like museums? If you are outdoorsy – do you like rowing in the rain, hiking in the mud? Are you okay with always having 2 sets of plans – if it doesn’t rain we can BBQ, but otherwise it’ll be a dinner party? If it snows an inch are you prepared for the city to be shut down for days? Even though it seems like it endlessly drizzles – are you prepared for water restrictions?

      When it is sunny you can’t beat Seattle in my opinion, it just isn’t sunny often enough for me.

      Oh and the traffic!! It’s raining – crashes!, it is sunny – crashes!, and they never drive fast. Brutal! It is also extremely expensive. The food is incredible, the foliage green but man is the climate tough.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Don’t forget snow! YouTube has a lot of hilarious “whattya mean, snow tires” videos of cars sliiiiiiiding down our hills every time it snows/ices.

    9. BigLawEx*

      I’ve only been to PNW on visits, and enjoyed it, but was happy to fly back down to LA.

      On the other, cross country move. Yes, I’ve done it and it was fine. I moved from NYC to LA. First, I connected with people I knew who moved out here. That was a good base. Second I went to events college acquaintances (through the alumnae groups). Then I volunteered and met more friends this way. I’m still here some 20 years later and have a great group of people around me – many of whom are from those first groups. I’m fairly introverted, but this still worked for me.

    10. BikeWalkBarb*

      I didn’t move cross-country but I moved across the state from much sunnier/snowier Spokane to Seattle in 2012. In Spokane I felt very connected, served on lots of committees, made connections through work with people who turned into the kinds of friends you do things with on weekends. I had the advantage of a job that meant meeting lots of people from other organizations, not sitting in a cubicle farm, and that helped.

      We lived in Seattle in a couple of different neighborhoods until we moved to Olympia in 2020. Different times in 2012: I used Twitter in advance of the move to find and connect with a couple of people who had common interests to ask them about Seattle and one became a friend in real life. The stretched-out geography seemed to make it challenging to have friends who lived anywhere close to me, though. My job was pretty all-consuming and with work-based friends we might get together occasionally, but I didn’t build the same kind of wide and deep connections I’d had in Spokane.

      If I hadn’t thrown myself so completely into my work I might have done more of the joining and volunteering that led to many of my friendships in Spokane. Is this move for a position that’s going to mean you mostly make work friends? Is that okay with you? Have you checked for groups and events related to your interests outside work to know that you’d find kindred spirits?

      I’ll do a plug for my current city: Depending on what kind of job you’re moving for, consider whether you can find one like it in Olympia. Closer to Portland (and an easy Amtrak trip to get there from here), smaller than Seattle, not as expensive, lots of state jobs with good beneifts, and with the smaller scale I’ve found it warmer (in the social sense). Yes, we have “The Grey” but we have glorious summers, beautiful falls, and very little snow to shovel if any. Total strangers smile and say hi when I walk or bike past. The wait staff at our favorite weekend brunch place know us by name and we know their names.

      I already had a state job when we moved here so I had built-in work colleagues and one friend who has kindly included me in her social circle so they’re becoming my friends too. The town has tons of participatory groups, committees, events–you can find your people. We moved here planning for it to be our last move ever and it was a great decision. Did I mention our transit system is fare-free?

    11. anon_sighing*

      Seattle is very expensive. You don’t have to worry about the freeze because there are enough transplants in Seattle by this point that it’s more of a thing of the past (and in the past, it wasn’t really a thing…just a culture shift for people from places where extroversion and community-oriented culture were more dominant — Seattle has been very segregated and it still is…the only thing integrating certain neighborhoods is gentrification). Beyond that, making friends as an adult is just tough.

      The area is beautiful, but if you’re moving for your niece in Portland, you may has well save some money and move to Portland to be as close as possible and save yourself the ~2 hr drive.

    12. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      I’m going to offer a perspective addressing a different part of your question: what happens if your niece (or family — I’m not clear if this is a small child or somewhat older) moves away? That’s not necessarily a reason not to go! But I would suggest it needs to be part of your thinking.

      The other piece is what “involved” looks like to all concerned and does it look the same? My brother and his wife moved hundreds of miles to be closer to grandkids and are finding that “being part of their lives” still leaves a lot of other open time, and they’re far away from other family. Different stage of life for sure!

      And your life is your life and YMMV in all aspects. Good luck with the decision-making and with whatever outcome you reach.

    13. My cat Grey*

      I moved cross-country to Seattle a few years ago, found out the hard way I had SAD, and could not function. Truly, I basically fell apart and left after 10 months.

      I’m a very friendly person, but I had a hard time socially. My personal hypothesis is that the Freeze is due to the fact that most people, at some level, are affected by the constant gloom and it makes everyone less friendly, a little more curt, etc.

      I have made several cross-country moves, and that one was the worst by far. I really loved Denver and am currently happily ensconced in San Francisco, far from my origins in the Midwest. Cross-country moves are a good thing IMO, but it’s hard to predict if you’ll like an city until you’ve arrived! I’d say try it if you really want, but mentally approach it as an experiment.

  25. BacktoSchool*

    I’d be curious to know how others have handled questions around long-term planning in their jobs when they know they’ll be leaving in a few months. I’m going back to school this fall but since that is still months away, I haven’t told my supervisor or anyone above me yet.

    Because of this I’m being asked about conferences I’d want to go to years in the future, or other positions in the office I might want to apply to, along with smaller things about my future job planning. If you’ve ever been in this position, did you just try to push off decisions or those conversations to the future? Did you just nod and agree that a certain event or conference seemed interesting?

    I’m just feeling so deceptive right now so I’d love to hear how other have handled transitions where you’ve known you’re leaving several months in advance!

    1. KitKat*

      I’ve tried to think of it as, what would I want my answer to have been if my long term plans fall through? Nothing is certain in life, so I’d mostly treat the questions like I don’t have the long-term plan (but obviously try to be non-committal about things like conference bookings or training courses that might require the org to spend $$ before you leave). If the long-term plan DOES somehow change you’ll be glad you didn’t spend several months turning down development opportunities!

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      Smile and nod. Treat it as a thought exercise, if the fall position did fall through what would you want for future job planning?

      If it’s anything that is going to create a lot of work or expense on the company’s behalf, try for noncommittal, “Oh I don’t know about that conference yet, sounds amazing but that’s such a long plane ride, can i think on it and let you know once we’re closer?” . They’re going to be able to do math and realize you applied and likely knew about leaving months ago, you don’t want to burn goodwill.

    3. Glazed Donut*

      I think it’s best to keep business as usual until you share that you are leaving.
      I have planned events knowing I won’t be around for them, asked for funding allocation for conferences that I won’t go to, and written project plans for projects I’ll never run.
      It’s part of work. I also wouldn’t have ill will toward someone who planned to go to an event but then left the job/role completely. Most adults should be fine with this understanding.

    4. Ama*

      I actually just got done handling this! I gave notice last week after knowing since last fall I was probably going to be leaving this summer (I intentionally gave a long notice period because I am going freelance so I can set my own start date and my role is going to require a lot of work to get everything covered).

      There is definitely some cognitive dissonance when you have to talk to coworkers about things in the future when you know you are already going to be gone. But it’s totally fine to approach those conversation as if you *were* staying, especially if it’s mostly abstract “hey in the future would you like to do this?” Just remember that if you were leaving for another job you probably wouldn’t know you were leaving until at most a month ahead of time, if not just a couple weeks — your employer is used to having other employees leave on relatively brief notice and having to change long-term plans because of it.

  26. Mimmy*

    In light of the letter earlier this week about people who repeatedly apply for jobs, I was wondering: Is it truly bad to apply for the same position multiple times, or even multiple positions within the same institution?

    I’m looking for specific work in colleges and universities and have applied multiple times for a given position. I don’t mean in the way the OP described this week. For example, I’ll apply for a Teapot Coordinator position but get rejected, assumingly by the school’s ATS. The position comes up again several months to a year later. Is it okay to try again?

    Also, there’s one particular large university I’ve applied to many times over the years. Obviously, I don’t apply for every open position; I apply for what I’m looking for as well as closely related positions. Sometimes I get an interview, sometimes I don’t. Is this also okay?

    1. YNWA*

      It’s not uncommon for that to happen with higher education postings. Funding that seems certain suddenly isn’t and the job is pulled or the person hired doesn’t work out. In my experience on higher ed hiring committees, reapplying is not an issue especially if months apart or even years apart. Nor is applying to multiple positions unless you find yourself as a finalist for more than one, then it can work against you.

      This is based on 25 years in higher ed.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      Speaking from a hiring manager’s perspective in a large-ish university, ABSOLUTELY fine to do. If you’re applying in different departments for similar roles, it’s unlikely that the hiring managers even know what you have and haven’t applied for. You’re fine. Good luck!!

    3. KitKat*

      I’m curious if anyone specifically in the university world will say something different, but from my vantage point in the corporate world what you’re describing is fine.

      The important thing is that you’re applying only to positions that are reasonably good matches, and (unlike the applicants in that letter) you don’t have reason to believe you’re blacklisted or anything like that. If it’s the *exact* same position it’s probably wise to wait longer than a few months, unless you believe something has changed about your candidacy (new accomplishments, training/certification, promotion, etc.)

    4. Despairingly unemployed*

      I was wondering the same thing because I’ve been applying to two (and a half) big universities, but never even got an interview (yet?). I’ll probably keep applying to relevant roles, though now I’m wondering if I’m simply one of those annoying repeat applicants… in which case, I would LOVE a personalized rejection.

      1. TX_TRUCKER*

        I have zero experience with academia. But if you have applied multiple times for positions you are well qualified for and never gotten an interview, could there be an issue with your application? My company uses an automated screening process and sometimes “good” applicants are rejected early in the process and never make it to the hiring manager. I don’t know the process for university hiring, but at my company, an ATS makes the first cut. Any application that misses certain key points will be rejected before a human touches it.

        1. Despairingly unemployed*

          That’s what I’m thinking (hoping? because at least that’s fixable) but I’ve used tweaked resumes to similar results. I should probably tweak it again for the next role I find to apply for, it’s just super soul crushing at this point.

      2. HEAnon2*

        I am going anon for this, but to my knowledge most universities don’t do personalized rejections. I have only ever done that with internal candidates where I will talk with them if they have questions. HR handles all the other rejections even for finalist candidates.

        So, for my teams, I ask to see a list of everyone that applied before HR screens anyone. I have heard other people say they ask HR for a shortlist or have HR do screenings first, but I want to see everyone that applied. I can only say how I do things, but I have had some issues with HR in other organizations, so I like to look at everyone who applied.

        I will say this if you apply for a role at a particular department, get rejected and a similar role comes up in that same department or school then switch up your resume a bit. Don’t send the same one. If it asks for a cover letter, write a good cover letter.

        Also, I always tell people to apply before the first 30 days a post is up. Why? I automatically get the information for candidates when the description has been up 30 days. I start reading them and usually ask HR to do my short list screening between 30-40 days unless I am on vacation/super busy/ or HR is away. If a good candidate comes up after I can have them screened, but if HR has already screened them and we have a few solid candidates, sometimes I will only move forward with those first few.

        That being said, one time we were so busy that something had been posted for 60 days before I could look at the candidates. By the time HR could contact them 2 had already taken other offers. This doesn’t mean the process is not slow. It is slow, but it is usually because so many people are involved.

        Also, I will say diversify your applications. I had a role for Associate Director come up on one of my teams and also had a Senior Coordinator. People applied to the AD who had been coordinators or officers at different universities/ public sector roles. I would have much preferred and would have given them an interview if they applied for the Senior Coordinator role. I had to not go through with the HR screen because they applied for the AD role. I would definitely say diversify your applications including applying to roles at your current level and a step up. The learning curve was just too high and not to say they couldn’t be promoted to that level in the future, but was looking for someone with some experience.

        When I was first hired I had been a Director ( I don’t want to give myself away) who over 100 direct reports, multi million dollar budgets, and large scale programs. When I started in higher ed, I came in as an Assistant Director. I wanted to switch careers as I was burned out. It bruised my ego a bit, but I was switching lanes and I soon became an Associate Director, Director, Dean, etc. That doesn’t always happen, but if I had just been applying to Director level or above roles in higher ed, I don’t think I would have ever had an interview.

        As I write a book here I will also say make your resume easy to read. I actually take the time to read even dense resumes, but most people will only look at your resume for a couple seconds. It needs to stand out. I can’t read paragraphs or very long sentences. I need to remember something about your accomplishments after I put your resume away like Jane Doe increased applications by 25% last year.

        Depends on the context, but I would not email the hiring manager (unless it says on the job description) or if is some research position with a professor. I had one person email me saying they had another offer and was wondering when the final interview would be. I would have preferred they email HR, but I got that final interview going because they were in the final 2. Other candidates find my email or phone # and call or email me saying they applied or how wonderful they are/ why they are perfect for the role and some instances write stuff that can be found about me online. Usually I just delete them, but sometimes I find them borderline aggressive/ creepy and even if I like that person’s resume I usually won’t move them forward. I am too busy.

        One last thing, look into temporary roles. We have hired a few FT people from temps we had or they were pushed to another hiring manager because we liked them so much. Another way to get an “in”

        Higher Ed takes a long time to hire a lot of the time, so a lot of it is about patience, but don’t send the same resume and cover letter and expect a different result. Quantify what you have accomplished and make your resume simple to read. Some roles we get a lot of great candidates who apply, so I think applying early is key.

        Good luck and apologies for the book

        1. Despairingly unemployed*

          Thanks for the book :) Good advice to tweak my resume, I should do that more… obviously (hoping my career chat with someone next week can help there). I have tried applying for roles I think I’m qualified for (Coordinators, Administrators) and a level above despite the “I’m unqualified!” thoughts/dread. The only hiccup for me applying for temp roles would be the very expensive commute, as those roles are less likely to be hybrid, but a good idea to look at them.

          I did notice higher ed is slow, I applied for a job within the first week it was posted and it hasn’t been read yet, which is terrible anxiety fodder, but maybe that’ll change in a week?

    5. Anne of Green Gables*

      I’m at a large community college and we have repeat applicants–it’s not a problem!

      When openings are really close together and we have a candidate we liked but didn’t hire, we will usually get in touch with them, but usually that means a candidate made it to the interview round.

      Our candidate pools also fluctuate, so someone who seems mediocre in one pool can be the person with the most experience in another pool for the same job a few months later.

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        This! With each application you’re swimming in a different pool.

        I worked in higher ed administration (communications/government relations) for nearly 15 years and have been in a state agency for 7 years. My advice to job seekers has stayed the same:
        – Request the full position description because the online posting doesn’t tell you everything.
        – Read the whole thing.
        – Write a cover letter that addresses both minimum and preferred qualifications.
        – Don’t expect a machine or recruiter to read between the lines and know some past position covered all the same responsibilities–SAY THAT in either the cover letter or the resume or both. Even the statement “I’ve been responsible for all the duties listed and meet all the minimum and most of the preferred qualifications” would get you past the first phase of screening in our current system.

        The structures simply do not allow for nuance or inference to fill the gaps and get you to the next stage when a human will read and decide.

    6. Spacewoman Spiff*

      In my last job search, one of my targets was a major university in my city that posts dozens of new roles each week. I applied to a TON of jobs there, honestly an embarrassing number (15 or 20 over the summer), and kept track of the schools and departments I was applying in so I didn’t accidentally flood one person with multiple applications. In a few cases this meant I didn’t apply to a role because I’d already applied to one in the same department, or chose the more interesting of two posted roles to apply to. There may have been someone in HR seeing my name crop up a lot, but the university is so decentralized that I didn’t run into any embarrassing situations due to all my applications. And I wouldn’t worry about reapplying, major universities get so many applications that I can’t imagine that raising flags!

  27. CherryBlossom*

    Some of you may remember me from a few weeks ago but if not, to summarize: I’m an office manager, and I spent months in a Snack War. People would constantly call me, corner me when I was alone, and otherwise borderline harass me the second something ran out or to get unreasonable things. I spoke to my manager, who tried to quell people’s ire by reminding them it’s an office kitchen and we can’t buy everything, but that only made people angrier. Unfortunately I don’t have a happy update.

    After far too many discussions, my manager caved. She added most things they were asking for to the daily rotation. As for the harassment, she essentially told me to “try being friendlier, and then maybe they’ll be nice about it”. The particularly loud and cruel repeat offenders were never dealt with. After all this effort to stand my ground, and all the support my manager had given me before, that felt disheartening.

    The vast majority of my time is now spent buying, stocking, and counting snacks for people who are constantly vocalizing how happy they “finally” have what they want, to the detrimint of other, more important tasks. What was the point of setting so many guidelines that I had to defend for ages if we were just going to give into their demands? Last time, many of you suggested we either keep to a strict list or do away with snacks altogether. I wish we had, but I don’t have that kind of authority. Frankly, I feel demoralized.

    My question to you all is: How do I deal with this? I do need to stay at this job for a while; my resume is spotty from a series of bad circumstances, and this is the longest stay I’ve had, but still not long enough to quell the appearance of job hopping. So far I’ve just been keeping my head down and keeping to myself, but I’m still feeling sad and defeated. Any advice?

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      ” As for the harassment, she essentially told me to “try being friendlier, and then maybe they’ll be nice about it”.”

      Oh, lord, flashbacks to my mother telling me to be nicer to the bullies because they secretly wanted to be my friends, and/or I must have done something to piss them off. No advice, but loads of sympathy.

    2. NaoNao*

      This may sound out of the box, but maybe lean in to the role–try to make it a point of pride or a game / quest to provide all the snacks and do it better, faster, and with a bigger (is it an f-u style grin? well only you know that!) smile on your face. I would treat the “worst offenders” as if they were addled–like really syrupy condescension they can’t quite pinpoint “Oop, Kevin’s got to have his Cream o’ Wheat, we all know what happens when he doesn’t get his favorite snacky-wacky, right, Kev?” (maybe not that irritating, but play a role, is what I’m getting at). Channel the pink suit wearing villain from Harry Potter (Dolores Umbridge I think it is) be truly EVIL with your eyes but with a mincing smile all the time.
      You could also push back slightly “Honestly, Zane, it’s a bit odd that you’re so fixated on snacks, is everything okay with you?”
      But on the off chance that “snacks” is a metaphor/code for something else (like IT equipment would be my guess) I’d follow the same, just toned down slightly–treat people like you would toddlers. “Oh, Henri, big feelings today! Wow, that sounds rough”.
      You may enjoy the “Gentle Parenting your relatives” IG account for a laugh–and some ideas.

      1. Snackmeisiterin*

        None of that is a good idea! Just treat snack provisioning as part of your job, be pleasant, and leave it at that!

      2. Ginger Cat Lady*

        Your suggestion is horrible. Like telling her to “be friendlier so they’ll be nice”
        It very much comes off as victim blaming. She was put in a really crappy position of defending the policies and was bullied for it. The bullies were not dealt with. That massively sucks.
        Telling her to go all Pollyanna-with-a-dark-side just puts MORE strain on her.
        She doesn’t have to play pollanna, or umbridge or nay other character to deal with this. She needs support, not a movie director.

      3. JelloStapler*

        Um. No. Maybe imagine these things in your own head like you are watching a sitcom but don’t actually do it.

    3. WellRed*

      Well can you just embrace the snack stocking? I’m feeling demoralized just reading this (and also angry! Be friendlier? Is that like smile more? If they want you to order the damn snacks and spend all that time on such a dumb task, that’s on them? Someone says they’re happy they Finally! Have their snacks? Smile noncommittally and don’t engage. I know you don’t want to look more job hopping but would it hurt to look around?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Looking around sounds like the best channel for this discouragement–knowing that options DO exist, regardless of the current setup of giant toddlers and ineffectual nannies, could help mentally.

    4. Generic Name*

      I am so sorry. That really sucks. Whether they realize it outright, management has explicitly communicated that your job is now Snack Stocker. If you absolutely positively CANNOT get another job, maybe you can reframe that in your head that you are doing the task they want you to do (even if it is objectively dumb). I suggest tracking how much time you spend on snack stuff in case anyone ever questions you about other things you are not doing. I also suggest sending an email to your manager confirming your understanding that you are to do all of the snack things, again in case someone comes back and questions why nothing of substance is getting done. You’ll be covered that you’re just doing what Boss asked. Can you walk around with giant headphones on? Not that it will stop complaining, but it might give you an excuse to ignore it. Again, this is so bizarre they are so focused on snacks.

    5. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Respectfully – I would suggest that you take a step back from all this and make an effort to not take it personally. You are in your head about this to the extent that you feel demoralized. Demoralized, by having to do a totally unremarkable, relatively easy task that’s part of your job. That’s not good for your outlook or your mental health.

      So you need to change how you are thinking about this. Yes, your manager and coworkers are being weird and stupid about it. Don’t get sucked into their weirdness and stupidness. It’s not a crusade for justice, or a battle in which you, the good guy, lost to your coworkers, the bad guys. It’s just work that you get paid to do. It doesn’t need to be anything more than that.

      1. WellRed*

        I took it she was demoralized because manager didn’t do anything about the harassment and instead blamed her for not being friendly enough.

    6. Not my real name*

      My go to for stuff like this is the Bingo card. Then when Kevin pouts, you just cross it off and think about how ridiculous the situation is.

    7. Dr. Doll*

      I wonder if you should document a little: If dealing with grown-ass toddlers and their snackie-wackies is taking time away from actual important work, you don’t want it to come back to bite you in the hind-end come evaluation time.

      Document the amount of time you spend and get IN WRITING from your manager that this is the job duty. If possible, ask for a job description update so that snack-wrangling has its proper percentage and it’s clear what is being removed from other duties in order to spend 10 hours a week debating Oreos vs Hydrox.

      And, I’m really sorry you’re dealing with this, it is enraging. Someone needs to bring YOU your favorite snack once in a while.

    8. Anonymous Koala*

      I’m really sorry you’re dealing with this. It sounds like you have crappy management, and unfortunately IME management like that rarely gets better.

      The only real advice I have is to try and make your life outside work as enriching as possible. Do your job well but don’t work extra hours, and make sure you regularly have something fun to look forward to at the end of the day to get you through the work day. Meanwhile plan your exit strategy and suck everything you can out of this job to build your resume – sign up for all the trainings you can, look for opportunities to develop new skills, etc. This will (hopefully) help you keep afloat mentally until you can move on to better things. And remember that none of this is on you – you’re in a difficult but temporary situation and you’re going to move on.

    9. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I am so sorry, this sounds so demoralizing and infuriating.

      How come you can’t job search anyway? If your job history is an issue, then you just won’t get hired. So what? And if you don’t find a job in 6 months or whatever period of time, it won’t matter, because you still have an income. But the perfect thing might be out there ready to fall in your lap. And it gives you a way to push back against this BS.

      You can also say to your manager in your head, “I was relying on you to do your job and stand up for me to these people but instead you gave them all their concessions and put me in a place to keep getting harassed. I am really disappointed in you”. Sometimes it can feel really helpful to name exactly what you’re feeling in this way, regardless of whether you actually say it.

    10. Chauncy Gardener*

      Oh my gosh. Please start applying for other jobs and continue keeping your head down in this one. Your manager is a coward (to put it very mildly) and I am amazed at their lack of spine. Also, please make sure to take all your PTO and to really REALLY try hard not to care about this crazy place. And do NOT go above and beyond anymore.

    11. Ellis Bell*

      Watch them get totally hooked on the snacks, watch your boss approve of it all; it’s all going to fall on her head when you do eventually move on. If it is as time consuming and inefficient as you say, it’s still going to be her problem when you’re gone. They know she’s a soft touch. The other thing I do with a silly boss is:”It’s your pound, if you want to spend it stupidly on stupid tasks, well I still get paid.” I’m sorry this is making your job less rewarding.

    12. Goddess47*

      Document what is not getting done. “I cannot do X or Y because I’m managing snacks. Which is more important?”

      Let your boss decide and if it’s snacks, then that is what it is…

      Sorry!

    13. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      You’ve got nothing to lose by starting to look for another job. It could take months. Sometimes working on your exit strategy helps with coping with a disheartening current situation.

    14. Helewise*

      This sounds really frustrating and I can understand why you’re demoralized. It sounds like management decided that holding their ground on the snacks just wasn’t worth the rancor and that it’s more of a policy shift than anything else – and although it doesn’t sound like this was communicated, maybe even intended to keep you out of the line of fire. It’s always a crappy feeling when the bullies win. To me it sounds like something within the normal range of dealing with humans, who are sometimes ridiculous, and probably not worth quitting over.

    15. Procedure Publisher*

      I second everyone saying to document what you can’t get done because you are doing all of these duties related to snacks.

      Your manager needs to understand by having you do this that things are not getting done.

    16. BikeWalkBarb*

      Please tell us you load up on your favorite snacks in the purchasing process.

      Your manager telling you to be friendlier is sh***y and sexist advice. Manager’s gender doesn’t matter; they’ve internalized niceness as a female requirement. This doesn’t help other than to tell you you’re right, it sucks.

      I hope this isn’t adding to the load, but I’m wondering if this is a pattern from your manager, of sticking to something for a while and then caving to get rid of the noise with you bearing the brunt. If you have another specific example or two, could you have a conversation to say this is affecting you as the one on the front lines? Or when another policy question arises asking on the front end some version of: “You may not have realized the strain it created to be the one saying no-no-no and then to have people celebrating when you changed the policy on snacks [yes they realized because you discussed it but they didn’t hear you]. You remember how much that ended up taking me away from other tasks you want me to handle. How will you be communicating to everyone that this policy is firm so I can point to that if they try to go around? That will mean I can focus on your priorities.” That’s pretty direct and challenging and circumstances may not align.

      What I’m wondering is whether there’s a backtracking pattern the manager hasn’t realized, in particular that the changes affect you so strongly, and whether you feel you have the kind of feedback relationship that would let you bring it up. That could feel more empowering going forward.

      As others said, job hunt too. Gives you something to look forward to.

  28. Giz's Mom*

    For a while now, I’ve been dreaming of turning my beloved hobby into a post-retirement business, once I had retirement benefits to support me. However, things took an unexpected turn when I lost my full-time job six months ago, and I’ve been struggling to find a replacement ever since. Thankfully, my incredibly supportive husband has encouraged me to take the leap now, while I have the time. He makes enough to cover our expenses for the time being. I’m feeling a mix of excitement and terror about seizing this opportunity. Any advice about diving headfirst into this new chapter of my life? (fwiw I’m about 10 years out from retirement)

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Do it! You can also keep looking for FT or PT employment if that would fit in with your hobby-related work. Nothing is permanent and you’ve got 10 years to decide what the balance is between hobby-job and employment.

      The benefit of having a hobby-job is that you may have most or all of the equipment or supplies that you need, and that they often can be flexible in intensity depending on need. You might also decide that it’s not as much fun to do it as a job all the time.

    2. Hobbyist*

      Exciting! One thing I would do is keep very much in touch with my feelings about doing much-beloved hobby as a business and if at all financially possible be prepared to step away or take other steps to ensure that making hobby into business doesn’t destroy my love for hobby.

      That’s me. I’m one of those people who is pretty sure that having to do my hobby as work would make it less fun. But that totally depends on the person and the hobby and I’m totally not raining on your parade! It’s very exciting!

    3. Undine Spragg*

      This is a huge territory and it’s hard to pin down without more information. One thing I would suggest is to meet with a financial advisor, even just a free one that comes with your 401k company, and have them run some projections about the income you need now to have a successful retirement later. My company has an online tool where I can go in and tweak the projections, so you could, for example, add in what happens if you start making x dollars a month in six months and y in two years. That will give you a sense of how seriously you need to take this. Also they will discuss the best time to take social security. I do find they lean conservative, they are likely to tell you to keep working, but with some numbers you will have a better idea of what the implications really are and how fast you need or want to grow your business, and what the costs are if you do this now.

      This will also help you set a timeline, for example, you might decide you can do it for two years (say) and if it doesn’t pay, you need to evaluate if you have to back to work. Finances are always dynamic, so getting familiar with your retirement projections and how they change will be helpful as you go along.

      Good luck!

    4. Bagpuss*

      I’s take your husband up on the suggestion but also keep looking for other jobs, and perhaps also arrange to meet a finacial advisor / planner to look at how this may pan oout long tem – it’s great that your husband has enough to cover current outgoings, but losing 10 years worth of contributions to your pension / other retuirement savings could make a huge difference so it makes sense to look at how that will affect your position when you do reach retirement age, a both individually and for your and him as a couple.

      I’m not in the US so I don’t know how these things work there – where I am, even if you are not earning you are allowed to put a small amount into a pension and get the tax breks on those contributions; do you and your hsunand have enough income to allow you to be continuing to save in some way for retirment even if you don’t immediately start earning?

    5. Ama*

      If you can find a group of others who do your hobby as a business (either online or IRL), I encourage you to join that group even if there’s a membership fee. I am about to turn my sidegig into my full time gig and what made that possible was last year I joined an online group for people who do my very specific sidegig and it has been so helpful. I learned practical advice, got connected to useful resources, was able to share some of my skills with others, and I feel like I learned more in a year than I could have figured out in five years left to my own devices.

    6. Kay*

      You need to get yourself a business plan and do a cost/benefit analysis.

      A few others have already mentioned the benefits aspect (being able to put 20k a year with employer match for 10 years is not insignificant, medical premiums, etc) so first find out how much you stand to lose over those 10 years if you start your own business.

      Then find out all of your costs – materials, time, licenses, taxes, technology, insurance, shipping, accounting, whatever. Decide how much you want to earn per year and take those costs into account when deciding how much you can charge. What kind of volume do you need to do to cover those costs, pay yourself, add to your retirement, pay social security, cover your medical, etc.

      From there you can decide whether it is a viable business and a good idea to jump in now to turn this into your full time job, or whether you need to focus on your job search and save this for some “fun money” in retirement.

  29. All Het Up About It*

    Commiseration post.

    Anyone else having a mountaintop and bottom of the pit week simultaneously?
    Earlier this week I got kudos for several things and felt a level of team work and respect I hadn’t really EVER felt at my current job.

    This morning I got off a call and felt like everything I said was being purposefully misconstrued and felt I was being treated as incompetent and not understanding of basic facts. I know it’s just good ol anxiety and imposter syndrome talking in my head about the call. (I THINK – anxiety feels the need to interject!) But it just feels awful to end this week on such a low note!

    1. Yes And*

      I hear this. On Tuesday I presented the outcome of a major project to the board and received universal kudos for both my preparation and my presentation. On Wednesday, I woke up to the news that a letter I had missed a year and a half ago was a huge mistake that’s going to completely destroy my week.

    2. WellRed*

      I’m an editor. My boss was out Wednesday morning. When she wasn’t in by a certain time I made the decision to post that days web content and felt competent and organized. She then scolded me ( it’s over teams but it felt scolding) and then proceeded to list two very nitpicking corrections that were really just style choices. I felt like dog shy but I was also really ticked off that she did that. It certainly wrecked my flow for the rest of the day.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Ugh, I’m sorry! I’m having a similar week. My beloved manager (seriously, the best) left this week. I did tear up when he called to tell me last week. But, I got moved to a new group which is a good fit, that I already work with regularly, and the leadership pf my new team publicly declared to higher senior leadership that my program was woefully under resourced (which it is). So, that was a nice counterpoint!

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      I hear this SO much. I dread “that” customer call at work–the kind that’s completely unreasonable and just destroys your mood. And they always manage to be my last call before my weekend, ruining my days off.

    5. All Het Up About It*

      Thanks everyone!

      Nice not to feel alone, even if I hate that multiple people are dealing with the same thing.

    6. A Significant Tree*

      YUP. I prepped for three different big meetings this week and they were roller coasters for sure. After the second meeting I got a stress induced migraine so had to take the afternoon off. And at one point during the third meeting I got pretty worked up (all internal, I have a poker face) – heart racing, jittery feeling – but I said my piece and it was fine.

      Had my last annual eval with my manager before they retire and it was glowing! But also found out that something my team has been working to prevent for close to two years might be happening anyway, and it’s just objectively the wrong move. There are wins and most weeks are pretty calm, but sometimes it feels like we’re fighting so many battles.

    7. BikeWalkBarb*

      Did you get any of the kudos via email so you could print them out and tape them up somewhere you’ll see them?

      I hope you’re weekending very thoroughly to reset for next week.

  30. Dr. Doll*

    Here’s a question unrelated to my current work, but still work: I’m planning to retire next summer or fall from a long career in academia. I think I’d love to work at a landscape nursery or a Trader Joe, something completely different, to stay busy, have a little pocket money, etc.

    But I haven’t done that kind of work in literally 40 years. How do I even get hired?!?!

    I know, I got plenty of time to set this up, but I’ve been thinking of asking.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      You walk in and fill out an application. Every time I drive past a Lowes or independent lawn & garden place, they have signs out that they are hiring.

      Seriously, that’s it. Just be honest on the application and in interviews.

      I used to work at Trader Joe’s, and they have all sorts of career-changers, of all ages, working there. They used to say that their ideal customer was a college professor – underpaid but educated and adventurous.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      Wow, okay! Looks like Trader Joe is for sure my kind of place!

      Follow-up question then: How does one answer on the multiple-choice tests that I *think* grocery stores and suchlike still give to probe one’s ethics?

      1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

        Oh gosh, I do not remember what tests I took. But there was a bunch of face-to-face interviewing.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Just don’t write “five finger discount, who-hoo!” in any of the answers.

    3. Spacewoman Spiff*

      I think the others gave good advice already here! I worked at a library while in grad school, hadn’t done any sort of customer-facing work like that in over 15 years, and since my resume was so unrelated to the role I focused on that long-ago experience in my cover letter, how that customer service experience had shaped my approach to the office roles I held, and really emphasized why I was applying for this job. It worked!

      The one thing I didn’t really think about when applying, and I think is worth considering, is how tough those roles are on the body. Spending 20-25 hours a week on my feet and heaving around heavy bins of books, squatting, moving books around while shelving, etc., made me feel at times like my body was simply going to fall apart in a way that just didn’t happen when I was a teenager. Back pain, knee pain, weird hand pains, you name it. I still enjoyed the job and it was a great fit for some extra money and escape from my research, but I was also–despite being in good shape–in a lot of pain a lot of the time, which I think is not unusual for these types of jobs. Of course even sitting at a desk will mess up your body, but just wanted to share a more realistic view of the work (since when I interviewed at the library I was very much approaching it as “I love books! This’ll be so much fun!”).

      1. WellRed*

        This happened to me. I took a retail job in the fall and and it was a lot more difficult physically than when I was 15 years younger. I can longer squat to the floor and bounce back, my eyesight is trickier…

      2. Dr. Doll*

        Yes, I’m anticipating that. One of the honest things I would have to say in an interview is, “I’m much smarter and better trained in physical effort than I was at age 20, but it’s gonna take some time to ramp up the stamina.”

        I still remember at age 17, my first landscape nursery job — 8 hours of heaving pots and soil wore me out! By the second week of I was fine, but the first week I didn’t want to go in the third day just from sheer tiredness.

        1. WellRed*

          The good thing about being older is youre better at knowing what you will and won’t do. I’m actually about to apply for a different retail job. Have fun!

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        Pain and what your body can handle is DEFINITELY something to consider. These types of jobs are physical labor, and repetitive tasks can take a toll really quickly.

    4. GreenGal*

      Plant nurseries start hiring in January/February, as do landscape firms. In cold winter areas the work is seasonal, part and full time start in March and end after the last Christmas tree is sold in December.

      It helps to know about plants and gardening. Also to have a strong back as there is usually lifting or some heavy work involved. Trader Joe’s or other specialty groceries also prefer to hire folks who can also move inventory, but it seems the main idea is to be able to fill shifts other folks don’t like to take.

  31. Elle Woods*

    So glad that I only have one more week at this contract gig. This week alone has about done me in. In addition to prepping for a big company meeting, I had a co-worker from a different department, “Martha,” berate me for a decision that was made and I had no part of. At least my boss, grandboss, and Martha’s boss told her I had no part in the decision and she was out of line. Add to that a departmental co-worker who has failed to meet a few deadlines and left me scrambling to pick up the slack and I am nearly burned out. Only five more days…

  32. HamsterWheel*

    I work for a Very Busy Partner at a law firm – going on almost 2 years now. He asked me to help make him more organized, such as:
    1. Update his client contact lists – but when presented with what he asked for, he told me that wasn’t what he wanted, but couldn’t articulate what he *did* want. So I tried a different way, and that was not a good way, either.
    2.Organize his Outlook inbox folders (for those of you in law firms, I organized by Client Name/Number and then under each Client Folder I created sub-folders for each active matter pertaining to that client, with the matter name/number, linking each sub-folder to our firm document management system for easy retrieval).
    He tells me this week there are “too many folders” but again, cannot tell me what system he would prefer.
    3. We have client invoices that go out each month and some of them require further follow up from him before I can send out. When I bring them in to discuss so I can send them out, he “doesn’t have time for this.”
    4. He tells me not to forward information to him via email but to talk to him or to bring it to him in paper form. This week, I brought him a client contract renewal draft that they want back in final, but I can’t finalize it until he reviews the International law part of it. He said “I hope you didn’t put this on my desk expecting that I am supposed to do something with it.”

    He’s been known to have a bit of a reputation firm-wide, which is part of why I was brought in. And while I’ve calmed him down a bit (he usually isn’t screaming anymore and I haven’t seen him make an associate cry in almost a year) We tend to get along really well (which is noticed by this office) but I don’t know what to do anymore.

    These projects he’s asked me to take on, I have spent so, so, so many hours doing based on what he’s said and for…what? He knows I support 5 other attorneys plus I am backup for even more attorneys. I do not mind the occasional overtime pay if it’s for something that will help. But it’s kind of like I am dealing with a toddler who can’t use words correctly even though he’s one of the highest-ranking attorneys in this firm.

    Do I cut my losses at this point? Do I talk to HR?

    1. CTT*

      Ugh, that sucks. I work in BigLaw and have seen people like this. Do you have an office manager and/or managing partner you could raise this with? I think their input would carry more weight with him than HR (especially if you’re at a big firm and HR isn’t necessarily on sight; I can see him blowing off instruction that comes from someone who’s essentially a stranger).

      One of his requests that I do think is accomplishable; can you ask other assistants at the firm how they organize their attorney’s contacts and present those options to him with the disclaimer that this is what his colleagues do? He will probably still be an ass, but at least you’ve done the due diligence (and who knows, you might find something that works for the other attorneys you support).

      1. HamsterWheel*

        So, when he said the thing about “too many folders” I asked several other assistants what they do and either they don’t have access to their attorney’s inbox so they don’t do it, or the ones that do have access say they think my solution makes total sense.
        I’m always looking for tips, though!!
        There’s an assistant here who worked for him about 15 years ago and yesterday she said he’s always been this way and that I shouldn’t knock myself out to please someone who will never be happy and who keeps moving the goal posts. She said transferring from him was one of the best choices she’s ever made.
        I might talk to another person on his team that he occasionally listens to (they’re at a conference now) to see if they have any insight, but Partner is going on vacay next week (he just told me yesterday afternoon) so I’ll take this next week to consider options.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          What makes him happy is complaining.

          Seriously, he enjoys unreasonable demands and then pouting when they are met, and knowing that you are using up the majority of your time and energy on him. That former assistant is completely right; moving goalposts is a feature of his thinking, not a bug.

          I’d cut dealing with him to the minimum. He doesn’t like how you organized his files? Well, you’re so sorry, truly, but since you’re supporting FIVE other attorneys, it will be a few weeks before you can redo them. Same for all his other complaints.

          And keep in mind, he’s not just yanking your chain. The other people you support and the clients are also getting subpar work because of him. Document these complaints and yes, I’d talk to HR. Right now he’s King Shit of Fuck Mountain at the expense of his colleagues; it would be interesting to know how sick they are of these antics as well.

          1. JelloStapler*

            I agree- he sounds like he has a bit of a Martyr Syndrome – “I am soooo busy that nooooothing is going to woooooork for me. “

        2. Mad Harry Crewe*

          Dropping in a link for Sick Systems (in reply) – probably a lot of this won’t resonate with you, but definitely the part about making it impossible to succeed? That’s a feature, not a bug.

          1. Pretty as a Princess*

            Thank you for the reference to Sick Systems! I have a client who behaves a lot like the attorney the OP is describing and did some reading up on this. I feel better, because we’re not alone and because my instinct to break up with the client at the next opportunity no longer feels like a failure on our part to somehow “crack” their code.

            1. Mad Harry Crewe*

              Break up with them. Whatever money you’re getting is unlikely to be worth the opportunity cost of dealing with their nonsense.

    2. Awkwardness*

      I understand 1 and 2 to be annoying, but somewhat understandable. If I am trying to get organised, I often try things and realise quickly what is for me and what not. But I do not spend hours on this and only try one item or one process to get a feel for the different handling.

      Together with 3 and 4 I get the frustration as this lawyer does not really seem to be invested in making your life easier. But in the end, it should be important for HIM too make sure the money is coming in. You cannot be more invested than him. Just make sure you have proper documentation that YOU tried too follow up with him.

      1. BigLawEx*

        If you can read his emails, you know that there are alarming/escalating emails from accounting/practice leaders about billing. Eventually they do enact consequences – whether it’s having their draw suspended or some other financial penalty. Maybe that needs to happen. (after, of course, you’ve fully documented your requests to have them comply)

    3. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      I have nothing helpful to add but you sound awesome and I wish I could hire you! Even the thought of that email system fills me with bliss.

    4. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      Been here, done this, seen this. There are one or more of these people in every law firm. I used to watch associates practically pee themselves in terror when That Partner asked to see them. That Partner was a sexist, narcissistic, bullying serial harasser. They burned through assistants like a grass fire, sexually harassed people, and made life absolute hell for way too many people in large and small ways. They got slaps on the wrist because they made a bleep-ton of money for the firm. Until, one fine day, the firm decided they were a lawsuit in waiting and forced their retirement (not without significant drama!).

      All that by way of saying IT’S NOT YOU IT’S THEM. Yes, talk to HR (go to whichever staff person supervises legal assistants first so they know [it’s not going to be news to them!]), send followup emails, keep notes, take screenshots, print emails and take them home. And look for something else. Or else lobby to work ONLY for Overgrown Toddler “in order to give Toddler the support they really need.”

      Unfortunately the bean-counters running law firms these days see staff as overhead, not assets, so it’s not a powerful position. That said, can you make friends with the other people you support? Are any of them close enough with Big Baby to lobby on your behalf? Can you and the staff supervisor work with whatever attorney admin structure there is to get the assignment reconfigured?

      Good luck!!

    5. BigLawEx*

      This could be my ex – which is why he’s my ex. I’m sorry. In my experience of him and all the other *lovely* partners, this is who they are. Your choices are to do the minimum or get assigned to a different/better partner.

      You have to know you aren’t responsible for managing his behavior. Yelling, etc., is unacceptable and his issue to manage.

  33. Southern Girl*

    Sounds like boundaries will be needed. I would hesitate to initiate any socialization such as lunch, maybe go once if SHE asks but explain that you have a lot of outside obligations that limit your availability outside office hours.

  34. Amber*

    I know there’s a lot of advice to not let your current manager know you are applying to other places, but I wanted to share a positive experience of my manager knowing (and encouraging!) applications to other positions. I work for FedEx and my manager will often share other (internal) job listings and push us to apply. A couple weeks ago when I got invited to an interview, the interview time was the same time as my start time. I called my current manager, told her straight up “I’ve been invited to interview tomorrow at 6am, is it ok for me to come in after the interview?” She asked for time to confirm coverage, confirmed coverage, and told me I was good. I went to my interview, sent a thank you note the day after, and am now waiting to hear back! If I don’t hear back by the end of next week, I’m going to follow up once more then put it out of my mind (easier said than done!).

    1. Spiralling*

      That’s nice. Hope it doesn’t come back to bite you though – many of the reasons not to do this (getting passed over for things, being pushed out, being first in the line for layoffs etc) won’t have had time to materialise yet. Fingers crossed for you!

      1. Amber*

        I don’t think I’m going to get pushed out because she’s told me that she wasn’t going to move me from my current job during a 1:1 when rotating was brought up, being passed over isn’t really a thing in my position, and I don’t think layoffs are pending. Plus, she’s looked over my resume, given me interview advice, and helped me prep for a different interview. She is one of the great managers that legit wants to see her people succeed.

  35. Pear*

    People in STEM fields, can you discuss what your grades were like in undergrad? Do you feel like you improved significantly as you progressed or did it all come naturally? I’m in my first year pursuing computer science and physics and my grades aren’t where I want them to be: I get As and Bs on assignments (except for one take-home assignment that I failed), but Cs on tests. I’m struggling not to be terribly anxious about this, but success in my ideal field requires a doctorate and my grades are not anywhere near grad school application level.

    1. fueled by coffee*

      I teach undergrads, and if I had a student in your situation, I would absolutely want them to check in with me during office hours/etc. to discuss study strategies! It sounds like you are able to manage homework assignments but then have difficulty applying those concepts to exam (when there’s a time limit? When there’s no access to your notes?). In STEM fields specifically, I would also ask the instructor whether there are foundational skills that they are expecting you to have from high school that you might benefit from reviewing. I say this in particular because if you went straight from high school to college, you presumably spent several years of high school learning under remote/pandemic conditions, and I and my colleagues are seeing many college students who are missing skills that they would ordinarily have learned in high school. So that’s also worth a thought.

      I will say that my juniors and seniors tend to do better (grades-wise) than first year students. I think this is partially about the material, but also partially about suddenly learning how to manage your time on your own, which comes with a learning curve. A lot of first year students in my classes struggle with starting homework assignments or studying for exams early enough to ask for help when they need it, for example.

      For grad school, grades matter but are not determinative. An upward trajectory over time certainly looks better than a downward one. Grades in classes that are not in your intended field of interest are less important (although you should still take those classes seriously because learning is worthwhile. But I wouldn’t stress about less than ideal grades in, say, history, if you’re planning on pursuing a physics or CS PhD).

      But again, talk to your professors about ways to be better about transferring the skills that you are able to apply in your homework assignments to exams. You might also see whether your school has a tutoring center or other student support center.

      1. Pear*

        Thank you for the advice! I don’t have much to say in response but I definitely appreciate this comment and will be keeping this in mind.

    2. Sloanicota*

      This sounds like a good opportunity for you to solve the disconnect. Why can you do it on the assignments but not the tests? If you said you were not doing well in the classes over all and didn’t like them, I would have a different answer, but it sounds like you are capable of the material and interested in it, so you just have to hack this problem you’re having with test taking.

    3. Wordnerd*

      Adding to some of Fueled By Coffee’s comments – I manage our undergraduate tutoring center, and I’d recommend chatting with just about any resources on your campus. Your professors, academic advisors, peer mentors, tutors, etc., and just start to work on what might be the root of the issues and what resources and strategies might be helpful. Undergrads are sometimes applying study strategies that worked previously but don’t translate as well in college, or are just not preparing for exams in ways that work for them, and a lot of these resources can be helpful in figuring that out. Overall student success stuff like time management, sleep hygiene, etc., can also play a huge role. There’s for sure resources like this at your university – give them a shot! You’ve got this <3

    4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      STEM grad, from 3 decades ago. My grades were As across the board, but I know my experience doesn’t hold for everyone. A couple of things to ponder:

      A lot of people who go into STEM were top-5% in their high schools, and it’s a shock to find out that now they are competing with nothing but top-5%ers, and so somebody is going to get those Cs.

      How good are you at math? And be really critical of yourself. Math is a key discipline that underlies everything else, and it’s also a very cumulative discipline. You can’t really learn algebra until you have truly mastered arithmetic to the point that it’s practically a reflex. You can’t really learn calculus until you’ve done ditto with algebra. Take a hard look at whether your poor test scores are a result of you struggling to get the math done. If that’s the case, get some help in that area, and practice-practice-practice until you can build up speed and confidence. The algebra/calculus equivalent of flash cards. Do every practice problem in the textbook, not just the ones the prof or TA assigns.

      Have you joined the student section of the professional societies in your field of study? Those are an excellent source of advice, free tutoring, and community.

      And finally, it’s dangerous to be part-way into your BS and already restricting yourself to a career that requires a PhD. There are plenty of things out there in the world that don’t require a doctorate, and it would be good to keep your mind open about your future. I didn’t even know what the entire breadth of engineering career possibilities were by the time I wrapped up my BS.

      Good luck!

      1. Pear*

        Maths are actually the easy part. Numbers always make sense, as long as I don’t lose marks for forgetting to write down the units. Theoretical concepts with rote memorisation are trickier, largely because I work full-time hours and have to pick and choose what I review.

        Thank you for the reply!

        1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

          Oh you’re working full time? Are you also carrying a full course load – 15 credit hours or more?

          That is really, really, really hard. Even for somebody who’s smart, brilliant, young, and energetic, a STEM undergrad degree is a full-time job in and of itself. I was in class or studying for 60 hours a week when I was getting my EE degree.

          You really ought to cut yourself some slack, and consider if there are ways you can reduce the time burden.

          1. Pear*

            I was taking two STEM courses plus an elective this semester but ended up dropping the elective when things got very hectic at work. Due to a variety of factors, I never had the traditional secondary school experience and have been financially independent since reaching adulthood. My dream field is astrophysics but I’m three semesters in and am starting to wonder if I can juggle this long term; a small part of me wants to drop out and go to the beach, lol. Which is a shame because I really do love what I’m learning and have so much fun in class. I’m contemplating pivoting to something technical and challenging that would bear fruit right after graduation rather than signing myself up for approximately ten more years of academia.

            1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

              OK – two classes at a time is doable. If you pivot to something more technical as a BS, there’s a fair chance you can work in the field.

              Then you can decide where you want to go from there. And you may be able to have your employer cover your grad degree costs, and use your research as part of the job too.

            2. Astrophysicist*

              Astrophysicist here – I had an A-/A average over the course of the degree, plus summer research related jobs. You’ll need an A- average in an honours program at absolute minimum to get in to a graduate program that’s worth doing, and that’s with some research experience outside the classroom (plus good GRE scores if you’re applying in the US). And if you can’t get a funded graduate position at a good university, it’s not worth doing graduate work for anything other than personal enrichment, as you’ll end up broke or in debt with poor job prospects at the end of it.

              To be honest, if you can’t get your grades up by the time you’re doing second year work, I’d change direction and go for something where you can apply for jobs straight from a bachelor’s degree. If you’re applying for jobs, getting okay but not great grades and being good at assignments is perfectly fine – it’s the grad school applications where grades matter a lot.

              FWIW, having your employer cover your grad degree costs is something I’ve never heard of in astrophysics/astronomy, over multiple countries – if you’ve got the grades to get into grad school, it generally comes with funding, and a PhD is a full time program. I know a few people who worked for a few years in bachelor level jobs, then went to grad school, but even that’s pretty rare, and they quit the first job to do so. Astrophysics jobs that don’t require grad school are pretty rare, and quite separate from the PhD positions – there are some technical positions at observatories, some public outreach jobs, and going into teaching at a high school level.

              1. Pear*

                This is good to know, thank you!

                To pivot selfishly, would you be willing to talk about your specific field of study and your day to day in your job? Know that I ask this with immense (but friendly!) envy.

            3. Rebecca*

              Two physics/math classes + full time job is doable at the freshman level, maybe at the sophomore level, not at all at the Junior/senior level. I recommend taking one class in your major + 1 gen Ed class until you finish the gen Ed, then take one major class at a time until you graduate.
              Or drop down to part time work.
              I have a PhD in Physics and did astrophysics as an undergrad, so I know the curriculum.

    5. AFac*

      I am an academic in STEM but not computer science/physics. I’m going to say less about my grades (long time ago) and more about what I see as a professor.

      There are some students who do get better as they progress. The first year or so is often full of prerequisites or things that these students are less interested in. It is also often an adjustment to the university system. Are your issues such that you feel you’d be better if the class topic were of more interest to you?

      If the issue is tests, why do you feel you don’t test well? You may seek to be screened for any number of issues that result in legitimate test taking anxiety, and ask for accommodations (a quiet room, extended time, etc.) if that is officially determined and documented. You can also examine how you study and take tests. Are you cramming the night before? Do you not get enough sleep? Do you not expect the type of questions you’re asked?

      In my field, there are other things that you can do that can make you a better candidate for graduate school, e.g. student research, participating in optional workshops, etc. Student research is a big one for my field; a doctorate requires completing a research project. If students do research before graduate school, it helps their application in 2 ways: shows that they have experience in that area; and gets them at least 1 strong reference letter from your research advisor. We don’t admit based solely on GPA, but this may be different in other STEM fields. Research may be less of a thing in your field, so find a professor that you feel that you can talk to, and ask for an appointment to talk about graduate school requirements and what faculty in your field look for in graduate students.

      Finally, your pathway to your ideal field doesn’t have to be a straight shot. There are many reasons why you may not be accepted to graduate school, and some are not under your control (funding is a big one). In this way, applying to graduate school is more like applying for jobs than applying for college. Sometimes you can do everything ‘right’ and there are still only so many spaces available.

      1. Pear*

        Thank you for reminding me about limited spots and funding! That actually helps reduce some of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself.

    6. Data Slicentist*

      I don’t work in my the same field as my undergrad degree (physics), but have switched to another area of STEM that uses my math and statistics. I struggled, got a mix of B’s and C’s in my physics classes. Multiple chronic health issues exacerbated my struggles. I was accepted phd programs without funding, which meant I needed to take a different path.
      After working full-time, I applied for and was easily accepted into a Data Science masters program while working full time. I had great GRE scores and work experience that was relevant. I struggled my way through the program (though mostly got A’s and B’s) and switched to departments to become a data scientist at the same company. I’m so much better at doing the work in a professional setting than I was on homework or tests.
      After all this, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Which explains the conversations I had with various physics profs where they had told me that I clearly understood the material and weren’t sure why I couldn’t seem to communicate that on exams. I had been going to tutoring, working in groups, reading extra material outside the class. It explains the deep depression that clouded my academic career. I have no reason to believe this is your issue, but I do think I would have done better if I’d known at the time.
      Take care of your physical and mental health as best you can. Please sleep! It genuinely affects your performance and cognition. I hope the martyrdom about long nights gets pushed out of physics academia.

    7. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

      My grades improved DRASTICALLY!

      1st year, my grades were something like 2 F’s, 3 D’s, 3 C’s, and 2 B’s – I was on academic probation. The only reason I wasn’t immediately booted out was because I had disclosed to a classmate that I have Autism and ADHD and wondered if that’s why I was failing. She was an older student (likely in her 40’s or so) and she was the only one who knew what was going on; I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone else. She took me to the disability accommodations office and they helped me.

      By the time I graduated, I was getting majority A’s (80% and higher) and I have a master’s degree now.

      I am in no way trying to imply that you have a disability that would affect your learning though. There are loads of reasons you might struggle, even if it’s just that university is a lot more different than high school; the style of learning is different, and if you’re living on your own that’s a lot, the independence that comes with being an adult (but a young one!) is also huge. It can be hard to navigate new friendships / changing friendships with university, and blah blah blah. So your reasons are your own. Just know your not alone and that it can get better.

    8. Nesprin*

      STEM PhD/Professor-esque position now. I had a solid C average in general ed classes and a B in higher division classes. I hit my stride in graduate school- it was easier for my ADHD riddled brain to deal with fewer assignments and more focus on the science I love.

      So you’re brand new to college, which is a huge departure from high school, and you probably don’t have the support systems you’ll need to excel yet. I’d suggest the following: Go to office hours (all of them),
      go talk to your professors (and your TA’s) about how you did on tests and what you’re struggling with,
      find out what tutoring your department offers and go to it,
      make friends or at least study buddies in your classes,
      join the dept student club and make friends or at least study buddies with your upperclassemen,
      and last but not least, go talk to the counseling center- anxiety can be channeled but it can also paralyze you.

    9. BellaStella*

      I am a marine scientist by way of an MSc degree. In my Bachelor programme I got a D in organic chem. I got better at school after a long time between degrees with loads of life experience. Good luck and grades may not matter in your chosen field.

    10. Parakeet*

      For a number of reasons, my grades were pretty bad! After I got my bachelor’s degree, I took a few individual classes to get a couple of better grades, while I was working full-time in a research job and getting co-authorship on a couple of publications. Then I was able to get a part-time master’s degree while working full-time. I had no problem getting into a PhD program, even got a fellowship. I don’t regret the five years between getting my bachelor’s and starting my PhD. I got a lot of useful experience and went into the PhD program much more prepared in lots of ways. I also saved up a nice chunk of money, which was very useful given how low stipends for PhD students can be.

      Not that I recommend getting bad grades just to copy what I did – I only want to say that it doesn’t necessarily doom you, especially if you have strong research experience. On the other hand, I also knew a lot of people in undergrad who got far better grades in the second half of undergrad – when they got to take the specialized and usually smaller classes that really interested them, and the professors were not as focused on weeding people out.

    11. Anon. Scientist*

      There are other science disciplines that do not require a PhD and for lots of engineering, a PhD is not needed at all. My grades were ok, not great and most of my professors didn’t care for me because of some gross biases. I worked in industry for 5 years, doing some cool science, and then applied to grad school. Some schools valued that work experience and my industry references, some didn’t. Ended up with a fully funded Master’s degree and now I have a higher position than some of my peers who went straight into grad school with the support of our professors. Hah!

  36. H*

    A coworker is becoming our team’s direct supervisor Monday after my now boss has been juggling several roles for a bit. my now boss is still keeping 1:1s on the calendar and hasn’t provided a lot of details about this transition. As for my colleague, I am trying to change my mindset but I find them not very smart and can’t see myself going to them for troubleshooting whereas my now boss is a control freak and micromanager. I keep telling myself to look at the positives- I like some members of my team, I make good money, I work from home but it is a bit hard because this sort of thing would have made me leave past positions. Any advice re mindset shift, etc?

    1. Glazed Donut*

      This sounds familiar to me. I think your best bet is to see it as an opportunity to be a #1 cheerleader for your new supervisor. Ask what she needs help with, speak well of her with your remaining coworkers, and do the visible rah-rah (Teams channels, emails, etc) when you can.
      It’s a tough role to switch into, and having someone on her side will make things better. I’ve seen this go into a toxic place before where the remaining coworkers are bitter and resentful and complain about all the small things that any new manager might misstep on – don’t do that; it just makes everyone miserable. If she was hired into this role, see if you can figure out what she’s bringing to it :)

    2. ferrina*

      What does your boss need to actually do to be a good boss?

      Plenty of bosses don’t actually troubleshoot. The role I’m currently in has very little overlap with my boss, and she doesn’t have the expertise to troubleshoot my work.

      What makes her a great boss is that she appreciates my expertise (even going to me to troubleshoot her work when it makes sense), she advocates for me, and she is a shield between me and the politics that happen at the higher levels. She deals with the delicate C-Suite negotiations and intrigues so I can focus on just getting stuff done.
      Experts can come from anywhere, but your boss needs to be your advocate.

    3. Awkwardness*

      It is nice if your boss understands what you are doing and can support troubleshooting, but this is not necessarily their role. They have to organise, plan, prioritise, motivate and communicate. Maybe this coworker has those other qualities that will make him an excellent boss?

    4. House On The Rock*

      As long as the new boss recognizes some of their subject matter limitations (e.g. isn’t actually *trying* to step in and “help” with things they don’t understand), this is almost certainly a positive change. I’d much rather report to someone I might have to educate a bit than a “control freak and micromanager”. Although the fact that the current boss isn’t really facilitating the transition might be an issue. Be really up front with your new boss on what you need to do your job, what support you need, and how you actually like to be managed. Also make sure to treat them, not the old boss, as your boss (loop them in on emails, ask them to weigh in, etc.). They will appreciate all of that and it should help to start out on the right foot.

  37. unsure of how to move forward*

    After working for about a decade in a payroll company that provides services for a niche industry, I am finally looking for a new job to move into doing payroll in-house for a company. I’m getting requests for interviews (over 15 so far) and I think most of them go really well (I talk about how my skills translate and one interviewer even said “this job seems like it will be simpler compared to the complexity and volume that you do now”), but have only made it past the screening stage once (and it was not with that interviewer who said my job is probably more complicated!). The screening interviews end in a rejection letter saying that they went with others whose qualifications seemed to be a better fit.

    I think the issues I’m having are twofold: (1) most places want to hear you have experience in incredibly specific software (Workday, ADP, etc) and I only have experience in the proprietary software our company uses. I even looked into taking a class and completed a basic intro to Workday course on Coursera, but real, in-depth courses to these things are only offered to people who are already using the software. (2) I’ve been working at my company for so long and getting promotions steadily along the way. For someone who doesn’t have 100% of the skills that they want, I’m asking for the top 30% of the salary range in my field and I’m competing with people who DO have closer to 100% of the skills they want.

    Does anyone have advice or stories of their experience? Am I totally off-base and even though I think the interviews are going well, I’m actually bombing them? Is this normal and I just have to keep at it until I find someone that sees my value? Do I have to set my sights lower and take a slight pay cut for a year or so so I can have the exact skills needed and say I have experience in the exact thing they want? It’s honestly been kind of deflating and it’s hard to keep my optimism as I look.

    1. EMP*

      At least in my field (tech), “have experience in” can mean “used once or twice”. Maybe you are being TOO honest about your product experience, and/or that coursera course may be enough to at least move past screenings?

      1. unsure of how to move forward*

        I’ve had friends in tech and animation who have mentioned this, but I think in those industries, there are a lot of valid reasons you would have knowledge/access to software that you’ve used once or twice in a way you wouldn’t have access to expensive payroll software unless your company is paying you to use it.

        I think there’s an understanding that the question “do you have experience with X software?” means “have you processed payroll using X software?” so I have a harder time just saying “Yes I have!”

          1. unsure of how to move forward*

            I usually say something along these lines:

            “My company uses proprietary payroll software, but it works similarly, like all payroll systems– same capabilities, but different skins. Our software does [insert features here, reiterate how I know all steps of the process and have done it].

            I’ve taken a Workday Coursera course to familiarize myself with all of its capabilities and I’ve discovered it’s really similar to Salesforce, a software I’m very familiar with. I work in it everyday and have helped build out the requirements we had for two departments I worked in. And I know that Salesforce is a CRM system and Workday is an HRIS, but both are extremely customizable and the logic and interface of the two are pretty similar [talk about similarities here].”

            So my goal in that kind of answer is to show that (1) I can talk about the meat and potatoes about processing payroll step by step, even if I use a different software and (2) I have seen Workday in action even though I haven’t used it and (3) compare it to software with a different focus, but has similarities in the types of solutions it offers (very customizable one stop shop, report building, dashboard setups, etc). Most people seem to be happy with that answer, even going as far as to say things like “yup, it’s all really similar, it’s just familiarizing yourself on where the button is on a slightly different looking screen.” But maybe I’m bad at gauging how well things are going in interviews, like that guy who said he never makes mistakes.

            1. Awkwardness*

              I have no idea of payroll, so please take my answer with a grain of salt. But why not stop after the first paragraph?
              If it is really this similar, why spend much more time contrasting both? If they doubt transferable skills and want more details, then they can ask for it.

              Also the sentence about your high volume of work makes me wonder if, out of sheer want to prove yourself, you maybe talk to much/give too much information proactively so they end up confused.

    2. Ama*

      Do you have any examples you could point to of how you learned your current software? When I apply to jobs that mention they are looking for experience in software I don’t know, I throw in a few examples of learning software quickly on the job (for example, I learned inDesign in a week to handle a project after the publication manager left on short notice; I learned a particular software at my current work so well that less than a year after I started I had implemented the use of several features and customizable fields that my org was paying for but wasn’t actually using).

      A lot of companies will say they prefer direct experience in their choice of software but their actual concern is that they don’t really want to have to spend a lot of time training someone who doesn’t know it — if you can demonstrate to them that you are comfortable learning software on your own that might alleviate their concerns.

    3. Tx_Trucker*

      As a hiring manager, if I say some version of “this job seems like it will be simpler” that’s not actually a good sign. It means your experience does not line up with my expectations, and you need to explain why. If you apply for a simple job and say you want less stress, less OT, etc, then I might be okay. But without an explanation, I view the candidate in a negative fashion. Either they grossly misunderstand what the job entails, or they will be bored and quit, or their skill set is far above what I’m willing to pay (even if they accept at the offered salary) and think this job will be temporary for them,

  38. Lucy*

    Thoughts on networking in a job where everyone is always too busy? I have a… I don’t want to say “cushy”. But I used to be a teacher and now have a job in education which simply doesn’t have the pressures of teaching. Part of my job involves being a point of contact for other professionals – not all of whom are teachers, but all of whom are in similarly stressful and demanding roles.

    I am easy to find. In order to do my job, I make contact regularly with other professionals – always for a specific purpose, or to support them in a specific way. There is a big emphasis on networking in my team, though, which includes a lot of events and initiatives which feel like networking for the sake of appearance. Think, setting up a drop-in at a big college where staff and students have too much to do, are always busy and out the door the second they can be, to try and salvage any personal time they can. So, we did as we were told, and did that, and predictably, no one came to speak to us, because they were busy and already knew how to reach us if needed (we’re a bit like consultants for certain crisis situations). Or there may be full-day networking events which involves talks or training about things we know already. These may be attended by senior management at colleges or schools (who we already know well) but don’t help on-the-ground staff, because they can’t take the time out of the classroom. And so on.

    I hate this stuff. If I’m getting in touch with someone who is objectively busier than me, I want to either be able to offer them actual concrete support, or for it to be truly necessary. I can’t stand this touchy-feely, “let’s all take time out of our workloads to be friends!” approach. I’m a big chatter and a social person – but not when I feel the person I’m chatting to would just rather be doing almost anything else!

    Any opinions? Am I totally off base? Is there any way for me to be like, can we make our networking purposeful, please? Or to ask what I (and others) are likely to get out of certain events, “other than the potential for networking”?

    I think I can’t push back right? I have to keep just sucking it up?

    1. EMP*

      I think you can push back! I would do so in the context that these events have an ostensible purpose (to connect with X group) and they aren’t working for that (X group does not attend). If possible I would suggest an alternative that you think WOULD work. Consider also that someone up above organizing these events may have another purpose in mind though, like “make sure the people that fund our department see us “networking””, that means they won’t remove these events from your calendar. But I think it’s possible to give constructive feedback here.

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Track results. How much time is being spent at the one-offs and how many contacts do you make? Is that OK with the powers that be?

      What if you changed up your accessibility? Like instead of throwing an event to try to draw people to you, you simply have regular “office hours” at key sites. Maybe say something like “Teapot Design Critique Clinic” if you want to have it be a purposeful time. Let people swing by or make appointments. If no one shows up to your office hours, you can just catch up on emails or whatever, or you can do a walk-about to be available.

      If I know that I can find you every Tuesday afternoon at a particular location, I might find it easier to do a quick drop by to ask a question, rather than finding the time for the event AND finding you for the question.

    3. Sloanicota*

      This is why my company pays up for food and beverages when they need us to network. At a college, setting up a pizza station is going to get people to find the time to chat. For colleagues, hosting a free happy hour in a central location is a good bet. Conferences or any other place people already go are also good for that; sometimes you can sponsor a snack or cocktail hour.

  39. Cawti*

    How common is it for companies to pay out a resigning employee’s unused PTO when their state doesn’t require it? I’m quitting soon and wondering how likely it is that I’ll see that money. It would help me to take a week between quitting and starting my new job.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Read your employee handbook. It should tell you what the policy is about paying out accruals.

      1. KT*

        And if theres no handbook, this will be a good indicator that they likely won’t see any reason to pay it out. I know thats not what you want to hear.

        1. Cawti*

          Yeah it’s a fairly small business with no handbook that I’ve ever seen. I don’t have high expectations for this, but I’ve also gotten curious about this topic in general.

    2. Non-profit drone*

      I don’t know if my state has a law, but a few years ago my work changed from paying out all unused vacation to only paying out ten days. If you quit and have 15 days unused vacation, you only get paid for ten of them.

    3. Wordybird*

      My last two jobs both paid me for my unused PTO, and neither were required by law to do so. The second-to-last job actually gave me a “bonus” of a couple hundred dollars, as a gift from the Board, along with my PTO payout as they were sorry to lose me. The last job I had paid out my PTO even though the employee manual specifically said no employee should count on being paid for it. These were both small businesses but one was a local non-profit and one was a national for-profit.

    4. Rex Libris*

      In my experience it’s pretty common, but there’s normally a policy on paper somewhere if they’re going to do it.

  40. No Tribble At All*

    There was either a question or an open thread basically titled “is it just me, or are all new parents useless for the first year?” that was very helpful for me. Can anyone find it again?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Here are a few posts I found that might be what you’re looking for (mostly from COVID, but the first is from 2014):

      ask the readers: when parenthood changes work habits from September 15, 2014

      what’s reasonable for managers to expect of parents working from home? from April 6, 2020

      how can we make sure flexibility for parents isn’t unfair to everyone else? from April 14, 2020

      when can managers expect employees to adjust to the “new normal”? from May 19, 2020

      your coworkers with kids are not OK from February 14, 2022

      I know my colleagues with kids are struggling … but it’s causing more work for me from April 21, 2022

      I’ll post links in a follow-up comment (might take a bit for them to go through moderation).

      1. Hlao-roo*

        https://www.askamanager.org/2014/09/ask-the-readers-when-parenthood-changes-work-habits.html

        https://www.askamanager.org/2020/04/whats-reasonable-for-managers-to-expect-of-parents-working-from-home.html

        https://www.askamanager.org/2020/04/how-can-we-make-sure-flexibility-for-parents-isnt-unfair-to-everyone-else.html

        https://www.askamanager.org/2020/05/when-can-managers-expect-employees-to-adjust-to-the-new-normal.html

        https://www.askamanager.org/2022/02/your-coworkers-with-kids-are-not-ok.html

        https://www.askamanager.org/2022/04/i-know-my-colleagues-with-kids-are-struggling-but-its-causing-more-work-for-me.html

    2. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

      Is this the first year after birth? Or the first year after returning from maternity leave? In Canada, this distinction matters; we can often take 12+ months, just as a matter of course (though you can come back early and you don’t necessarily get to do this if your self-employed, etc.) so you’d be 1 year into being a parent once you come back from work

  41. Convo with boss on Monday*

    I was in leadership for three years at my last job and loved it. After we moved closer to my partner ‘s family, I took a job as an individual contributer where I’ve been for about 9 months. it’s been a big adjustment.

    I’ve been getting a lot of praise, but the recognition is mostly for the parts of my job that I least enjoy. I’ve decided to switch to a new field, which will take at least a year, because I want some combination of more only, m9re responsibility again or at least less stress.

    I have a conversation withmymabager on Monday about how to evolve my role. She has said multiple times that she wants to make sure they can retain me and make sure I don’t burnout ( I already am so burned out.) Short of a big promotion and more money, which is not feasible in this small org, I’m not sure there’s anything that would make me stay.

    It’s also important to me that I leave on good terms. this is a niche area I might want to return to, and my partner works here too and is happy.

    I guess I’m worried that if my manager rearranges things in an effort to keep me happy, then a year later I resign, I’ll be burning the bridge a bit. I’m also hesitant to ask for less work since I eventually want to move up. Any advice?

    1. Just here for the scripts*

      A year to transition to a new field is still a year at your current job. I’d recommend stop looking down the road to the what-ifs and see what you can do now at work to make the year you’re there better for you. And changing jobs a year from now (i.e. leaving your current job in a year) is not going to be a big deal–people always leave jobs, and people are often advised to stay a year before they do.

      It seems to me that–like myself when I start to get anxious over things I cannot control–you’re borrowing trouble from a sometime in the future. And that’s adding anxiety to your life in the here and now.

    2. WellRed*

      My advice is to figure out what you want. I’m not at all clear from reading this what you want. Do you even like the job? Your manager? Why are you burnt out? You talk about resigning and not sure what they could do to keep you and then you say you want to move up. Get clear on all of this before the conversation.

  42. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot*

    Here’s a weird one I’m dealing with at work. Me and my coworker bestie* (Arya) are Widget Technicians. We work with an Expert Widget Technician (Sansa) and an a Specialty Widget Technician (Marjorie).

    For whatever reason, Arya has a fraught relationship with Sansa. Sansa was the former manager of our Widget Tech Team before she shifted to the Expert Team, and she struggled a little bit with the manager role. Our skip-level manager stepped in to address some of the issues of communication/interaction. Since that one meeting, my relationship with Sansa has been fine, even good and genial. However Sansa and Arya’s relationship has only gotten more fraught and issue-filled. I’m not sure if it’s a personality difference or a style difference, but Sansa and Marjorie (who are coworker besties) definitely have a less-than-cordial relationship with Arya, bordering on slightly hostile (I can get into the history upon request). Sansa and Marjorie definitely treat me with more respect and friendliness than they do Arya. My issue is that I am not only in the middle, I kind of understand where both sides are coming from. Arya is quirky, neurospicy, extremely outgoing, friendly, and talkative. Arya herself says her tendency to overexplain (and sometimes tangent) is a function of her neurospiciness. I think she’s brilliant at her job and I’ve loved almost every second of working with her, but I do see where she could grate on nerves. That said, I think Marjorie and Sansa have been extremely harsh, rude and derisive of Arya, but not to me. The difference in tone is more than obvious, and Arya frequently shows me her emails from Sansa or Marjorie to show this. She also has to look at my communications with Sansa and Marjorie for work reasons, and definitely has seen the difference.

    It’s important that I maintain a friendly relationship with Arya, Marjorie and Sansa because of how closely we work together. Arya has definitely been there for me when Sansa was our manager and I have seen how harsh she can be. I still don’t understand why I was able to squash my beef with Sansa, but Arya hasn’t. To ask others we work with I think would just fuel the drama more, and I’m definitely not asking Sansa OR Marjorie what their deal is. I guess the only thing to do is stay the course and remain neutral? Or does anyone have other ideas?

    (*I hate the term “work wife” with ever fiber of my being, so I’ve started using this instead)

    1. Janeric*

      I like the term “work bestie”!

      I don’t know that I have advice for you — this certainly reflects extremely poorly on Sansa and moderately poorly on Marjorie. It does seem like there’s a big blow-up coming, and while I think you can avoid becoming involved, it’s not clear that you would want to.

    2. Winstonian*

      I think it’s possible you’re dismissing some of the problems they have with Arya (Arya herself says her tendency to overexplain (and sometimes tangent) is a function of her neurospiciness. I think she’s brilliant at her job and I’ve loved almost every second of working with her, but I do see where she could grate on nerves.) due to you guys being friends. I currently work with someone like this, although I have no idea if they are neurodivergent or not, and while it doesn’t affect me or my job too much, it very well may lead to them getting fired soon, which I feel really bad about, but I also get it.. Their overexplaining and tangent tendencies lead to almost every interaction that should be a short 5 minute, yes or no, update instead taking 20 minutes with, many times, the actual initial question never being answered. I can see my other coworkers, higher-ups, and customers getting increasingly frustrated and downright annoyed at it and it’s starting to reflect in their interactions.

      That’s not to say people should be rude or hostile with Arya, but what you might find as quirky (and possibly charming) does not necessarily translate to others. What I’m doing is staying the hell out of it all and continuing to try to have a good working relationship with every independent of the drama. Just remain neutral.

    3. AuDHD spaghetti monster*

      As someone who’s neurodivergent (Autistic & ADHD), I am probably more of the Arya in this situation and it is a really tough situation to be in. Masking is actively harmful to our wellbeing and it can be really, really hard to keep up with “scripting” for every situation. It’s hard when you don’t communicate like everyone else but it’s because Autism is basically entirely defined by social and communication differences. If people were more aware of the fact that it is a difference (instead of expecting people like Arya and I to mask in order to fit in), it might be less grating and annoying because it would be seen as a normal, albeit quirky, way of being.

      You might need to stay out of it unless you are Arya’s boss and in a position to coach her.

      That said, one of the things that has helped me is having a therapist who specializes in neurodivergence and who primarily works with Autistic and ADHD clients. It has helped to work through how I can balance things like my tendency to overshare/over explain and to have scripts for what I am willing to say in situations etc. without it crossing into masking.

    4. AnonToday*

      Would it be possible to try to facilitate good relationships between them?

      Some ideas: compliment them to each other. If you know they have hobbies in common, bring them up when they’re together and get them to talk to each other about it.

      I think reading tone into emails is maybe making it worse too. Are they really harsh or just direct? It’s hard not to read into it when you have a bad history, but continuing to read into it could make it a lot worse.

      Also, I tend to match the tone of the person I’m speaking with/writing to, so if someone is writing more formal / colder emails to me, I’m probably not going to write back with a bunch of emojis. So I would consider that, too.

  43. Thats mr anonymous to you*

    How do you politely decline to help a friend with job hunting?

    A friend of mine is on the job hunt again. While I sympathize with him, he doesnt seem to want to help himself. He has been asking me to do things like research companies for him and pulling info and sending it to him. I am really busy myself, and honestly, I barely have time for my own job search right now.

    This is not an issue of someone not being tech savvy or not well-versed in job hunting. They have been fired from their last several jobs and dont seem interested in doing anything differently.

    1. EMP*

      “I’m sorry but I don’t have time”, and then don’t do it even if he tries to guilt trip you about it

      1. Antilles*

        Yeah.
        And when it comes to the guilt trip, just remind yourself that these requests are absolutely ridiculous. They’re also things that don’t make sense to pass off to someone else: The whole point of researching a company is so that you can frame things well for the interview. Having someone else do that research and just give you a quick summary is missing the point.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      “Sorry George! I don’t have time to do that”

      “Sorry George! I can’t search for you, I’m sure you’ll find something though!”

      “Sorry George! Good luck to you”

      “George, you’ve asked several times now and I just want to let you know I can’t help you job hunt. You have my sympathy but I am not available to help.”

    3. Bagpuss*

      Just say “I’m really busy, I barely have time to do my own urgent stuff, I’m afraid I can’t help” (if he knows you are also looking, make it “I barely have time to do those things for my own job serach” but you don’t have to be that specifc, especailly if he doensn’t know or if your roles are similar enough that he might ask you to send him copies of stuff you find for yourself.

    4. WantonSeedStitch*

      Yeah, “I am really busy myself, and honestly, I barely have time for my own job search right now” is a perfectly cromulent thing to say to your friend. It’s true and it avoids putting you in a place where you have to say “Fergus, the problem here is you.”

    5. Chauncy Gardener*

      Him asking you to do these things is ridiculous!!
      Just say “Nope! Sorry. No time.”

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      They want something from you that cannot be provided, unless you are actually a fairy godmother.

      Tell him the truth; you wish him the best but have no time to assist him. The rest of the truth–hi, it’s him, he’s the problem–probably won’t land well if at all, so don’t bother.

  44. SupraNova*

    My boss won’t fire or put my coworker on probation and I think it needs to be done.

    My boss is great and reasonable with everything else but may be reluctant to act here. He’s relatively new to management and we all get along on a personal level.

    This coworker is part of a group that does the job I used to be doing, but was promoted from. He’s been here around 4 years and for at least 2 of them has contributed a paltry amount to the group, some members of which are continually frustrated by his lack of participation. Other projects he’s assigned to that could give him an excuse to underperform on those tasks are also neglected. He spends the day watching his phone, frequently asks me questions and asks me to do tasks for him that he should have learned year 1, doesn’t retain training, leaves customers hanging for a long time, and tries to argue his way out of doing assigned work.

    We don’t have a PIP structure at my job but I think at the very least some kind of probation should be put in place. My boss knows all of these issues, has known about them the whole time, explicitly said he won’t fire him, and we’ve discussed that not everyone in a group will perform on the same level. I agree completely, but this is not a situation where Alan is just slower than Betsy, it’s a situation where Alan has spent years coasting and relying on Betsy and Carson to do everything. I have never asked my boss to punish or fire this person, only reported what I’ve seen and the direct effects on me, but I almost want to ask, why won’t you? What level do we have to get to before you’d be willing to do something more than giving this employee a talking-to every once in a while?

    1. Glazed Donut*

      Sounds like you have an issue with Alan (coasting) and your boss (inaction and acceptance of coasting). You can’t make people do things like put someone on a PIP. You could politely ask if there’s anything your boss can share about improvements with Alan’s work, but it sounds like this is just how the boss wants to run things.
      Knowing that, this may be a good time to start looking elsewhere or for internal transfers away from this boss and his management style.

    2. CherryBlossom*

      Is there any chance Alan has some personal thing going on? Some medical issue or life circumstance? I’m aware you may not ever know that, especially if he’s a private person and has asked your boss to keep it under wraps.

      Regardless, your boss has made it clear he doesn’t plan to act. I get it it; it’s frustrating to see someone appearing to not pull their weight! But at this point, you have to ask yourself; does it bother you enough that you’ll leave over it? If yes, start looking. If not, you’ll need to make your peace with it. You can’t control what other people do, only your own actions.

      1. SupraNova*

        He has a 2nd job, and personal things have come and gone over the years. We all get a good amount of grace in those circumstances so I wouldn’t be bothered by it, except that this has been going on for years now. Especially because there is resentment in the group, I’d hope our boss would say SOMETHING about accommodations or expectation adjustment but he hasn’t. Still, you’re absolutely right about focusing on what I can control and making peace with what I can’t. I appreciate it!

    3. Kathenus*

      Since you can’t change Alan, and you can’t change your boss, focus on what’s under your control.

      In this case it sounds like you might be able to just stop filling the gaps that Alan is leaving. Alan asks you questions – just say you don’t have time for that but check the documentation (or whatever’s appropriate at your workplace). Alan asks you to do tasks for him – say you don’t have time so you will not do those tasks for him.

      If for some reason you have to or are required to do these things, start making it a bit of your manager’s problem. Alan asks you to do something, you do it and then email your manager -‘manager, I had to do x task for Alan, and as a result my task y will not be done until Wednesday’.

      Try to let those involved – Alan and your manager – bear at least some of the consequences of the situation instead of you helping to mitigate them. Bonus points if you can get others like Betty and Carson to do the same.

    4. Csethiro Ceredin*

      This may not apply here, but is it possible there is disciplinary stuff happening behind the scenes and you just don’t know about it? Sometimes these things move slowly and usually they can’t be discussed with anyone other than Alan.

      Ideally your boss would say something like “I heard you and I’m handling it, even if you can’t see the effects yet” but sometimes that doesn’t happen.

    5. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      If you’re not directly affected by A’s work, then you might have standing to say something to your boss about the things B & C have expressed concerns about to you. Or you could encourage B & C to advocate for themselves from the point of view of “the team’s productivity measures/customer satisfaction scores are reduced due to tasks being left undone for over our usual 24 hour turnaround. How can we address these delays that all seem to have A’s name on the them?”

      You (and B & C) could all be unavailable to do A’s tasks or to show him what to do. Just keep pointing him to the procedure document, and look really busy at whatever you’re doing. “Gee, I can’t help you on this until tomorrow afternoon. If you can’t do it after you check the cheat sheet and the training materials, you’ll have to ask Boss.”

    6. WellRed*

      I’m not clear on your role here? Does it impact your job? Do you manage any of these people? Do you have standing to both nit help Alan and give the other group members permission to also not help him?

      1. SupraNova*

        I have seniority but am not a manager, and still sit amongst the team. I’m kind of an encyclopedia of arcane company knowledge so I frequently help everyone and I trained them, too. I’ve told him that he’s free to tell me when something isn’t my business and I’ll drop it, because I’m NOT anyone’s manager, but my boss and I have a lot of mutual trust and he appreciates a heads up when problems arise “on the ground.” I have permission to refuse to do any work for my coworker, but the other 2 on his team do have to pick up that slack because the work has to get done.

    7. Busy Middle Manager*

      Despite it being 2024, I think there are still newer and newer waves of managers who are enamored and blinded by someone who sounds competent and is friendly, who is a disaster when it comes to actual work. I’ve lived through it my whole career and never understood it, I work with someone who always talks himself out of doing work and our shared boss always buys the BS. I’m guessing your boss doesn’t see just how bad they are. If there is a way to inadvertently share it. TBH my dept did have to start a tracking system to do this though

    8. Frankie Bergstein*

      I have been in this situation! What my office would do was just hire more people to do the work rather than deal with the performance issue. The person continued to coast.

      Personally, there were a LOT of people like this at my old job, and it made ME feel unmotivated. Like, why was I getting treated the same as the dead weight? I left, because it felt way too early in my career to become dead weight myself, and that’s what I was in danger of becoming.

      Your situation is different where the underperformers are isolated, it’s not the whole culture, so that’s a bit different.

      Good luck. This is hard!

  45. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    I just got my annual goals for the year–one is already past its due date and another is a project my team has achieved consensus on its impossibility.

    Anyone need a used piñata that knows C# and Visual Basic?

    1. Csethiro Ceredin*

      Ugh, so sorry – that sounds insanely frustrating.

      (On the other hand, your piñata metaphor is delightful)

      I’ve tried to reply to this twice and it just vanishes for some reason.

    2. Anecdata*

      ah. I also am very familiar with getting assigned goals 3 months after the quarter they were due in ended/for a project that was officially cancelled last week/etc. But my manager is /very/ creative at rewriting whatever we did actually do as a response to the “goal” when push comes to shove at PA time – may it be the same for you!

  46. underhill*

    Anyone figured out a way to filter out job postings from certain companies on LinkedIn? One company in my industry posts literally thousands of spammy LinkedIn ads for their low-paid remote contractor jobs – we’re talking a 3:1 ratio or worse of their postings to everything else on my job feed. Some Googling has told me that this is a problem a lot of people have, but LinkedIn doesn’t seem inclined to do anything about it, so I was wondering if there were any workarounds out there.

    1. Mad Harry Crewe*

      I don’t know if boolean searching works on linked in, but you could try adding -“companyname” to your searches?

    2. Procedure Publisher*

      I know how you feel. I’ve seen this one job for this one company posted by this other company multiple times.

      I have learned that sometimes searching for posts about hiring could result in finding jobs on LinkedIn. What people use is “Job title” + hiring. The job title has to be in quotation marks to get the best result.

  47. Free Bird (but not really)*

    Happy(ish) Friday!

    Outside of therapy, how do you navigate work trauma? I have someone who is bringing up… a lot for me. She pays me as a consultant on the team, so in ways we feel a bit more like equals, but she still pays me and dictates some of the work. She both reminds me of my mother, and the way she treats all of us is not helping. She believes we’re all friends. I have not explicitly pushed back because I don’t think that would go over well, but I do not think we are friends.

    She will call us (the team of contractors) crying about something. Then she will flip and praise us. Then she will flip again and tell us we hurt her (as a friend) when something goes wrong on the project, ice us out, and write long messages to us. Then she will flip again and say she loves us. She has disclosed to us that she has untreated borderline personality disorder. I don’t know what to do with that. I worked in mental health but I am not her therapist. I just want my paycheck and to do the work I do!

    I am remote so thankfully I don’t have to interact with her in person. However, we have an in-person 2 day meeting coming up in another state. Me and another contractor are very nervous. We sort of want to push back, but we don’t want to spark a huge blowout. We are walking on eggshells. I feel like the “brave” thing to do would be to stand up to her and say no more, but honestly, we all need to get paid and finish our contracts (ends in the summer), so I feel more inclined to smile and keep quiet. I am not sure she would change either way.

    Obviously, I need to get out of the contract when it’s done. But I just feel like I’m back in my home with my angry mother who, I have no clue if she had BPD, but she would do the same flip/flop on us with her emotions. Nothing we could say would please her enough. It feels the same with this person.

    It’s too late to get out of the 2 day meeting. Are there any tips to navigate this? Should I say something?

    1. NaoNao*

      Oof! Okay this is a VERY out of the box solution and do your research/do a test run, but there’s increasing evidence that “microdosing” certain fungi has major, major benefits. I would also consider good old doctor-prescribed low-level take as needed calming Rx options (beta blockers, for example). If those feel like too serious of an option, “Rescue Relief” I think it’s called, plus magnesium and other herbals might be the way.
      Practice meditation and detachment. Since you know nothing will please this person, focus on yourself, keeping steady. Develop a mantra “This too will pass, you’ll be surprised how fast” or “This is a great time to practice my patience exercise”.
      Treat her like a tired toddler. Validate feelings, give them space, stay in control, don’t get sucked into a wrasslin’ match with a pig in mud. Be water–flowing around them, elevated, unmoved by their nonsense.

    2. ferrina*

      I am so sorry you’re going through this! I come from a problematic family, and it sucks so much when you just want to get work down and there’s awful people and internal trauma to navigate!

      Here’s what I recommend:
      Grey rock. Basically give this person nothing to engage against. If you aren’t familiar with the term Grey Rock, there’s a ton of advice online (Dr Ramani has a great explanation on YouTube. She specifically focuses on narcissism, but her grey rock techniques apply to any kind of toxic person)You know she is going to flip her feeling on her own no matter what you do, so just minimize contact and emotional energy. Do not try to get this person to see reason- she will not. You already know that there won’t be a movie moment where she suddenly sees the light and/or gets comeuppance, so let the “brave” grand acts stay in the movies. In real life, you get to keep your head down and survive until you can get out. (that’s the safest thing to do, both for your mental health and for your career). If you were in a position of power over her, I’d say you need to stand up, but power dynamics are real and you should take that into account.

      Leave work at work. I know, easier said than done. But find ways to physically signal when you are at work/dealing with this person and associate that with disengagement. Maybe a routine to signal that you are Now Starting Work vs Now Stopping Work (like how Mr Rogers put on a cardigan at home). You could also try changing your physical space, either for all work time or just for when you have to deal with Problematic Polly. Since you are remote, maybe find a different space or even change the angle or your computer when you are dealing with this person. Or light a candle- this can even have aromatherapy elements to it. I have a lavender candle that I light when I know I have to deal with Certain Toxic Person. It mentally helps me put my armor on, and the lavender scent calms my physical anxiety symptoms (I’m not a big aromatherapy believer, but that one seems to really work)

      Do the trauma work. Outside of work, give yourself space to work on your personal trauma that this has brought up. I recommend a therapy that specializes in family trauma/emotional abuse (not saying that your mom was abusive, but a therapist familiar with emotional abuse is familiar with the lasting impacts that your mom’s emotional unpredictability can cause). If you can’t go to therapy, there’s still resources out there. I recommend starting with Patrick Teahan’s YouTube Channel. He’s a therapist who specializes in childhood trauma and a childhood trauma survivor. His videos explore a lot of aspects of what tumultuous parenting looks like, what the impacts are for kids, and how that can shape us as adults. There are other therapists in other social media spaces that also have great content. There are also some that dont’ have great content/won’t jive with you, so really let your feeling lead you.

      Take time for happy things. Really. Check in with yourself and make sure that you aren’t neglecting the things that you enjoy. I noticed that when my childhood trauma flares up, it can really consume my mind (rumination, isolation, emotional flashbacks). So make sure this isn’t taking over your life, and you are setting aside time for things that you love and have nothing to do with your trauma. Let your brain focus on the joy. Ensuring you have spaces of pure joy can also help you internalize that this situation is only temporary. When you were a child, you had no choice but to deal with your mom’s emotions long-term (i.e., until you can move out, which for a child is literally their entire life), but now you are an adult and you have control and you will leave. You already know your exit strategy, there is an end date, and this time, you have the power and the choices.

      Good luck! Hugs if you want them!

      1. Free Bird (but not really)*

        Thank you!! I’m accepting all the hugs. Appreciate you (and all the responses) thoughtful advice, I will definitely be taking them!

    3. Toros*

      That sucks. Definitely some creative solutions posted here, but if you’re already in therapy, I’d recommend talking with your therapist about specific, actionable responses that you can practice (not sure what your therapy model looks likes, but this could be anything from breathing exercises to role playing possible confrontation). Your therapist will likely know better than us what may work for you (and don’t be afraid to ask your therapist for things like this if you need them).
      Is it just you, one also-worried coworker, and your client? If not, could you maybe coordinate with others on your team who feel less triggered to step in if things seem to be getting ugly?

    4. Chauncy Gardener*

      I agree with what everyone above has said, and will add that worst case, you can always get “sick” last minute before the meeting. I hate to recommend that and have no idea how that might impact you, but sometimes full retreat is the safest option.

  48. Question*

    What is the deletion policy for comments? I sometimes see ones that say “removed” with an explanation of why and sometimes blue boxes. But I also posted something recently that just…disappeared? It was maybe a little snarky but not rude or directed at another poster. Is there an explanation about that policy posted somewhere?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, here: commenting rules

      I remove comments that break the rules when I see them (which is not always, due to the volume of comments every day). If I have time and it seems like it would be useful to do, I will leave a note explaining. I’m doing less explaining recently due to lack of time (I’m often jumping in to handle a comment situation while in the middle of something that needs my attention more) and am relying on people to see the note at the top of the comment rules that says comments that break the rules may be removed without warning.

      Also, if you reply to a comment that gets removed for breaking a rule, your reply may go as well if the whole thread is enough of a problem to be zapped, even if your individual comment didn’t break any rules.

        1. I should really pick a name*

          Also, if your comment doesn’t appear after click submit, it’s gone into moderation and will probably show up later.

  49. Working in a dungeon*

    My office is making me sick (standing water in puddles and buckets from leaks, molding ceiling tiles, unfinished floor, temperatures ranging from 65-85 and usually only the extremes of the range, etc). It’s not getting fixed although I am leaving when my contract ends in two months. I want to hear stories of other terrible work environments–let’s commiserate together!

    1. ferrina*

      If you’re in the U.S., have you contacted OSHA?
      They won’t care about the temperature, but the standing water and mold might get their attention.

      1. Working in a dungeon*

        Unfortunately, my employer is not under OSHA’s purview (should have mentioned that). I work for a public school district but not in a building with students, so there’s very little oversight.

        1. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot*

          Have you tried the local news? If it’s unsafe for you, it’s unsafe for the kids, and I’m sure that would get the parents involved.

          1. Working in a dungeon*

            I’m not in a building with kids, and it’s really only my team expected to work in the basement where the mold has taken over. The rest of the building tends to have temperature issues but it’s at least safe to breathe. I don’t think the public will care much about a half dozen admin workers, sadly.

        2. Rick Tq*

          Does your state have an OSHA equivalent? They may have jurisdiction where the Feds do not. Have you tried filing a grievance with your union?

          1. Working in a dungeon*

            I did talk to a union rep but it’s not a priority; the district promises we’ll be moved “soon” so we’re told to wait it out. We were moved to this space in October and told we’d be out by January, then February, then March… currently I think the claim is next fall but you can see why I’m leaving!

        3. Guest*

          Do you belong to a union? Tell your union representative. You could also call the Mayor’s office or your local newpaper or television station if you don’t fear reprisals.

          1. Working in a dungeon*

            I definitely think trying to get this publicized would cause me trouble unfortunately. The district is “working on it” according to the union.

    2. Busy Middle Manager*

      Wework looked great during the tour, but I was apparently there during the quietest day. Every day since has been blaring contemporary music in a very narrow range, so narrow that most of it sounds like the same to me, and they are all like the B sides of D list singers since some of the music is so bad. It’s actually a huge imposition. Trying to concentrate and you’re hearing what sounds like an American Idol audition blaring even when you get a private room and close the door. Not to mention heat randomly not working in much of the space, an issue I’ve seen in every office-share space. Then cleaning comes in at 5:01. So you’re in the middle of work and they’re staring at you and wanting you to leave so they can work. And cranking up the horrible music.

      1. Working in a dungeon*

        That sounds like a great place to focus! Are they earworm songs that get stuck in your head for hours too?

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      Ugh, can you get out of your contract? What you are describing is HIGHLY hazardous–like, lawsuit that could bankrupt the company hazardous. I assume you are contracted through another company that books people for these jobs?

      You need to contact them at once and explain that you are physically and immediately unsafe in these surroundings. It’s not inconvenient or silly, it is dangerous to your well being and long term health, and you cannot remain in that work environment. That company needs to know, both to get you out of there and make sure they’re not sending more workers into an OSHA shitshow.

      1. Working in a dungeon*

        I actually made a doctors appointment to try to find out if this is making me as sick as I think it is. If it’s really the problem I’m definitely not going to be able to wait it out!

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          KEEP THAT APPOINTMENT. Make sure the doctor knows everything you’ve been exposed to and for how long.

    4. Rara Avis*

      I worked in a building that dated to the 1950’s. The water pipes leading to the building would break fairly regularly, but the property was rented, and we had to wait for the city to fix them. So we would have portapotties and handwashing stands for 600+ people.

    5. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      The building we moved out of last year and which is now naught but a slab was being actively reclaimed by nature and I think the demolition may have involved a wolf being brought on site to huff and puff at it.

      Two story building. We were on the ground floor. Our ceiling (and walls, and back door, aaaaaand…) leaked when it rained. We had many furry creatures invite themselves in. Sometimes it was a baby possum that fell into a trash can and ended up being taken wherever Animal Control takes wayward possums. Sometimes it was rats. Big rats. Big rats that sauntered casually across the room, pausing to give you a “tf u gonna do?” glare before continuing on their way. The AC and heat worked when they felt like it, and they did not often feel like it.

      Eventually the code enforcement people told the owner “fix this building or we will condemn it.” Owner said “ok bet.” Wrong answer.

      We are now in a smaller but much better maintained space and it’s great.

      1. Working in a dungeon*

        I feel this story! My favorite thing about this district currently is when administrators raise the possibility of bringing students into my building and the looks of utter incredulity they get from everyone with common sense. Really guys? How would that work? About as well as your owners bluff I’m guessing.

    6. GythaOgden*

      This should be interesting. I work in public healthcare facilities management so it’s my job to fix it.

      1. Not bad building fabric at all but an absence of people. I had an internal interview for this job here and when the discussion turned to why I was interested in moving up, my prospective supervisor said something to the effect of ‘it’s like the Marie Celeste in here!’ And we both laughed because there’s been an exodus of people due to liberal WFH policies and they’re now looking at turning part of the building into outpatient clinical facilities. It will take until the next ice age to get it up and running but at least there’s a plan. It’s too good a site — slap bang in the middle of a residential area on the main road — to waste on offices where the cobwebs are now bigger than the computers.

      2. A big local community hospital (again, not a big general hospital like on ER but housing a range of different outpatient departments like podiatry and physiotherapy and mental health services) in Slough (of Werner-Hogg and John Betjeman’s ‘Come Friendly Bombs’ fame) had been constructed in the 1950s for temporary use. Our fire safety officer took me on a tour and pointed out exactly what was problematic about the structure, including that there are very shallow foundations and demolition of one wing for a brand new community diagnostic centre onsite had shaken the building badly, leading to the building needing extensive propping up where it was exposed to the elements.

      True to form, elsewhere in town a brand-new bus station and part of a genuinely nice looking central complex burnt down in 2022. So now there’s the old shopping centre which hasn’t had a lick of paint since we used to go there thirty years ago (we lived not far from there while I was a young teenager), the new snazzy town centre supermarket with the Victorian railway station in its shadow, and a burnt out husk of an ultra-modern bus station sitting there like a dinosaur carcass, ribs and all.

      I don’t think there are enough bombs to help out, and even if they did raze the place, there’s no guarantee it would be rebuilt any better. The monstrous bombing that happened to Coventry was compounded after the war by rebuilding the whole place in grey concrete with a very short shelf life.

      On the other hand, the hospital in question has been standing for 70 years at this point without actually falling down. That’s kind of a miracle tbh. I hope it doesn’t take another 70 years to rejuvenate the place; some of the older parts of the building are actually heritage protected, but the part built in the immediate aftermath of the war isn’t, so we can safely begin replacing it before it accidentally y’know burns down :(. But being in Slough, cursed as it is, I get the impression that that clock is still ticking :(.

  50. Follow up?*

    I went through 3 rounds of interviews and it’s been almost two weeks since I last heard from them. Do I assume I didn’t get it? And should I follow up? I feel like I shouldn’t as they would hopefully send me a rejection email if I didn’t get it, but I feel like normally people get an offer after a week of the last interview. And if that’s the case, I’d assume I’m either rejected or ghosted.

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      A week for an offer would be a very fast turn around. Depending on industry it can take many weeks/months (looking at you gov). Two weeks is nothing to be concerned about.

      If it’s been a full two weeks you can reach out via email.

    2. BikeWalkBarb*

      A couple of other potential scenarios, speaking as a hiring manager: The top two were very close, we’re negotiating with #1 and if that doesn’t pan out we’ll be delighted to have you as another top candidate. Or we’re trying to schedule our required reference check calls and calendars aren’t lining up. I’m not allowed to extend an offer until I’ve checked references. Two weeks is a bit long but you don’t know about scheduled vacations and other factors that slow the steps involved.

      Emailing to ask is fine. You may hear that their HR processes take time. That’s very much the case in a big agency.

  51. FricketyFrack*

    For anyone who works in government, do you have experience asking people to complete feedback surveys? We have a newish employee who came from the private sector, and she keeps suggesting changes that feel like solutions in search of a problem. One example – creating a digital sign in and asking everyone who comes into the office to use it. Great, if we were a busy office, but we have 5 staff members, and it’s extremely rare to have more than one person/group here at a time. I had her position for several years and achieved the same results by saying, “Hi, how can I help you?” She literally takes the time to explain the QR code and ask people to sign in instead of just ASKING HOW TO HELP.

    Anyway, she’s now decided that we need to have a whole survey asking for feedback which is fine for her customer-facing position, but I work in licensing and the vast majority of my job involves very little contact with anyone. The contact I do have with people tends to be via email and extremely brief. Now my boss and her deputy have decided that they want me to create an additional memo (god knows we should use more paper in this office…) to send with licenses saying, “here’s your license, please post it, also please fill out this survey.” People know to post their licenses, so it’s super transparent that the memo is to solicit feedback.

    Anyway, am I crazy to think that stuff like this maybe doesn’t need to ask people to rate their service? They submit their paperwork, I process it in a timely manner, I send them a license, and we’re done for a year. I can’t imagine people at the companies I work with being like, “WOW super great how she did the job she was hired to do, amazing.” I don’t know why this is annoying me so much. Maybe it’s because I’m already at BEC level with a lot of this stuff.

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      “Anyway, am I crazy to think that stuff like this maybe doesn’t need to ask people to rate their service? They submit their paperwork, I process it in a timely manner, I send them a license, and we’re done for a year. I can’t imagine people at the companies I work with being like, “WOW super great how she did the job she was hired to do, amazing.” I don’t know why this is annoying me so much. Maybe it’s because I’m already at BEC level with a lot of this stuff.”

      It’s incredibly normal for government to solicit feedback. Even if you feel strongly the process is rainbows and kittens, feedback supporting that is valuable. It’s also a way to advertise to the public that you are open to their feedback. The other reality is people LOVE to complain about government but do very little in the way of actually engaging with government – having a feedback form for no other reason than to be able to point to and say “we ask for and are open to feedback regularly”.

      As far as the digital sign in stuff – sure it seems over the top but it also doesnt matter. I myself have had to learn to embrace “just because I would do it different, doesnt mean its wrong”.

      1. FricketyFrack*

        I’m totally ok with getting feedback from our resident/customer-facing departments. Actually, I wish we could not, at least this week, because people have lost their everloving minds on social media about something we didn’t do and have no control over (the conspiracies abound!) but in general, we should absolutely do that. I just hate the waste of paper and time to do it in jobs where I miiiight get one answer for every 100 I send out, if any.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      A counter point to your BEC – Having a digital sign in lets you track things over time, its a lot easier to pull data metrics and trends with a digital record (What times/days/months are busier, what are common issues that maybe we could address by adding training or online resources, do we actually need more resources on XYZ or do we just have one client who really likes asking about it). Even if the office is not too busy to ask 1:1 what they need help with now, training your clientele that this is the process now is helpful if someday you do scale up to being busier. Plus metrics like we served 173 people this year for task A and 67 people for task B often can help translate into more funding for A etc. Also soliciting feedback sometimes lets you discover new problems, maybe it turns out there’s pet peeves of clients you had no idea about, or maybe there’s a service you don’t offer that they’d like.

      1. FricketyFrack*

        We already track all of our program stats in other ways – the sign in doesn’t give us any data that we don’t already have in better forms, especially because not everyone uses it. We have a large number of customers who are elderly, don’t speak English well, or both, so it’s not giving us any reliable info, and definitely wouldn’t be what we would reference at budget time. Honestly, she’s just been weirdly resistant to asking people how she can help them (before the sign in it was, “Hi!” and then staring at them until they told her why they were here), and this feels like another way to avoid it. My other coworker pointed out the same thing, so I know at least that part isn’t just me.

        1. Mad Harry Crewe*

          Are you her manager? Is this causing direct problems for you or your clients? If not, it’s really outside of your purview. It’s not your job anymore, and as long as her manager is on board, she gets to do it differently. If you have actual problems, then obviously raise them (like, because of the new sign-in process, my clients are struggling with x and y), but if you just don’t like it… there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.

    3. Glazed Donut*

      In my government experience, I noticed a lot of people gravitated toward “give a survey!” as a way to measure performance goals.
      I don’t see a problem with it in this situation – you’ll know how many people could have done the survey, how many actually completed it, and you’ll have some baseline information for the future — if the survey is written well. Sounds like BEC is coloring a lot of this. Let the person make her survey and maybe you’ll be able to use some of it.

    4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Feedback surveys are only as good as the questions. It’s nice to have a way to provide a bit of text to explain how things went during an interaction sometimes, but multiple 5 point ratings of different fragments of a customer experience quickly devolve into uselessness as the responder gets more and more irritated about it all.

      Only provide surveys if you will be able to act meaningfully on the information you receive.

      I get a survey every time I interact with my IT department. Even when it’s a response to an automated status update on the equipment I use. It’s maddening and useless.

    5. BigLawEx*

      On the QR code… I went to some office recently and they were like can you use this QR code? I was like, do I need that or can you just answer my question? Turned out that they could answer the question in 5 seconds and I was kind of annoyed.

      I don’t want to always find my phone in my purse, open the camera app, hit a QR code, then navigate the small screen. But that’s just me. I will push back. I’m not sure everyone else will.

  52. CzechMate*

    Tell me if I’m overreacting or if there’s something I can/should do about the kid smoking in the office bathroom.

    I work in a historic building on a university campus. We have about 15 graduate students working for us. Three times now, I’ve gone into the second floor bathroom and found the window open and smelled smoke (unclear if it’s weed or a really, really dank cigarette or vape). I’m 99% sure I know who it is and the manager of that person has been informed. The first couple times, I just posted in the all-office chat, “Hey, is someone smoking in the second floor bathroom?” to signal to that person, “I know what you’re doing. Cut it out.”

    My thing is:
    a) if you want/need to smoke so badly, go outside like an adult.
    b) if you’re bored at work and want to get high, we can give you more work to do.
    c) we’re paying your tuition and giving you references after graduation. Act like it.
    d) we’re a university. The bathroom shouldn’t smell like someone is smoking in it when deans, parents, students, etc. come in.
    e) people have allergies/sensitivities and can’t be exposed to that.
    f) it’s a historic building that is probably not the most fire-proof and that we want to keep in good condition.

    Anyway. It’s kind of funny but also kind of annoying. Any thoughts on what to do? This keeps happening on my floor (his manager is on a different floor) so I seem to be the one who finds it first.

    1. Undine Spragg*

      What are the laws/rules around smoking on campus or in your wider area? Here, where smoking indoors is very strictly controlled and usually illegal, I guess I would go to maintenance or facilities, who presumably have dealt with this before and are responsible for safety of buildings and people. If it’s something that’s completely legal but just a really bad idea, I’d still go to them but they might not be able to do much.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        If there are laws/campus rules about smoking, you could switch from a general “is someone smoking” message to a stronger “The second floor bathroom smells like smoke. Please remember that indoor smoking is [illegal/not allowed per campus regulations]. Designated smoking areas are [location]” or whatever makes sense for your campus.

    2. DisneyChannelThis*

      Bring it up with his manager. Also bring it up with your manager, what are the policies about smoke at work, how does management want you to address this. Switch the chat message from “did someone smoke in the toliets” to “Reminder to all that smoking is prohibited onsite” and cite the policies.

      1. ferrina*

        Yep. And if his manager keeps being unresponsive, feel free to escalate it to HR and/or Facilities. Whether you contact HR vs Facilities depends on your organization, and the reputation of those respective departments (I worked at one place where our facilities manager was a force to be reckoned with, to the point where even invoking their name sometimes got the behavior to stop. That facilities manager was a hero)

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        And make sure it’s clear that vaping IS smoking. I’m sure plenty of sneak-puffers use that distinction to excuse not going “all the way outside.”

    3. Synaptically Unique*

      Ask facilities to place a smoke alarm in there. And escalate to your Occ Health people, maybe.

    4. anonymous higher ed person*

      Many campuses cannot allow folks to smoke pot even for medical use in legal states because it could jeopardize their federal funding.

      It’s worth looking to see if your campus has a policy.

  53. MigraineMonth*

    My organization has decided to put a project management/approval process in place, and they use exactly the same process for a 1-year project with a dozen stakeholders and a 1-week project with 1 stakeholder. (I wish I were exaggerating.)

    I told a project manager that I was ready to start on an already approved project last Monday, and I wasn’t given the go-ahead to actually start work on it until this Monday.

    On the bright side, my workplace comedy script is really coming along and I have lots of time to read AAM archives.

      1. Anecdata*

        Hmm sounds like there should have been a better planning and approval process before they made these changes!

  54. Syl*

    How do you deal with just *not* wanting to work any more?

    I dream of taking a year off but that’s not financially possible.

    I deeply just don’t want to be forced to work for any more years. I’ve been working for 25 years and probably have 25 more to go before I can retire.

    1. RagingADHD*

      As human beings, we cannot continue to function without a reason why. When we lose touch with our reasons (or they change, or circumstances change so that we are no longer in alignment), our actions feel pointless. That leads to despondency.

      I would recommend looking at both your job (nature of the work, company culture, pay, benefits, team relationships) and your life as a whole to see where you may be able to find more satisfaction and sense of purpose. I would also look for ways to increase your sense of agency and alignment with your values.

      When you come right down to it, you aren’t literally being forced to work. You are working because you’re choosing the result over the result you’d get if you gave up and stopped. That may sound extreme or silly (because nobody wants to be broke), but sometimes you have to get right back to a very basic level to recognize your own agency and think about what you really want *beyond* that basic level.

      You’re in your current job / career because of choices – either direct choices, or making what you believed were the best choices available to you in your circumstances at the time. Maybe those choices aren’t working for you anymore, so you can look around and consider different options.

      Dissatisfaction is a signal that you’re ready for change.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      There have been a few past posts that may have helpful advice (or may just be good for commiseration);

      I hate work, all of it, with a passion from March 31, 2015

      my ambitious, driven self is gone – and I don’t feel like working anymore from March 31, 2022

      I’m 25 and don’t want a full-time job from September 26, 2023

      work doesn’t interest me anymore from October 11, 2023

      There’s also a Captain Awkward post #450: How to tighten up your game at work when you’re depressed that has actionable advice.

      I will link in a follow-up comment.

    3. Geeyourhairsmellsterrific*

      I’ve done this by focusing on my life outside of work, and the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do what I want outside of work if I didn’t work and earn a living. I also found a job that reduced my commute significantly, which gives me more time for my personal life, and that has made a big difference.
      Basically, it’s reframing. Best of luck to you.

    4. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I’ve never liked work and I feel no shame. They wouldn’t pay us if it was fun.

      My attitude/strategy:
      Work is a business transaction, not a marriage or a great cause. It is what pays for bills, fun and a comfy retirement. It should be fair for both of us.
      Do my best work within work hours, concentrate and don’t waste time, don’t work >40 hours, never get emotionally involved, never let any job damage my health.

      What I did:
      I moved around Europe for a few years trying out different countries & employers to compare their work, stress, culture etc to find conditions that caused the least stress – in my case: work in high demand that I was good at, decent pay, great time flexibility, generous vacation and paid sick time, 35 hours with no overtime or contact out of hours, no dress code, friendly helpful work culture, job for life.
      Remote work wasn’t a thing then, but I would also have wanted hybrid if possible.
      I found FinalJob, did a pretty good job (high reviews) within those 35 hours and stayed 30 years until retirement.

    5. anon_sighing*

      Some small ideas. My issue has always been feeling stifled and halted – “every day feels the same, I keep moving but I am in the same spot.” For making work less of a point of resentment:

      1) Pepper days off here for variety and plan for “1 week, no think.” Depending on how much vacation time you have, can be more.

      2) Use your sick days.

      2.5) Utilize WFH options if you can.

      3) Work somewhere else. Even if you can get away from your in-office desk, just find a different place.

      4) Divest yourself from work. What do you do well? What do people say you can improve on? Just keep doing what you do well, well, and try not to let the areas of improvement get worse. Do what you need to do and no more, no less. Worst they can do is fire you and you want the time off anyway – would be nice to have it forced on you. But likely, no one will care you do just your job. They should be too busy doing theirs.

      5) Get something new going outside of work. This is really hard – well, it was for me. I had my set hobbies and didn’t wanna do anything new but then I got so burned out and down that I couldn’t even do my more creative hobbies anymore (writing) despite being full of inspiration. Starting something new gave me something to focus on and revitalized my old hobbies. Life felt a touch less stale.

      6) Go outside and do nothing. I don’t mean exercise, but legit if you can sit outside for about 20 minutes a day, drink a tea or a coffee or your beverage of choice, and sit there, it helps. Anytime I feel overwhelmed and wanted to quit everything or feel despair, it helped me.

  55. M2RB*

    I’m wrapping up my first week at new job and am loving it so far. The team is structured and organized; everyone is so friendly and welcoming; the benefits are amazing.

    A big area of change for me is that everyone on my team except my boss seems to be early birds, arriving between 7 AM and 8 AM. Previous position – I would be the first one in to the office at 9 AM, and the boss there would arrive around 10 AM. Getting myself into bed early enough for a good night’s sleep and an early wake-up time is hard, but I’m going to do it.

    Plus the two days of WFH is amazing! I love it! I have missed it so much.

    1. Donkey Hotey*

      I hear you. Prior to Current Job, the only time I had a 7am start time was in the Navy (30 years prior) and had always considered myself a night owl. Thankfully, my wife is a morning person (and I still married her.) These days, we crash out at 9, up at 5, but whenever she goes out of town, I backslide. Good luck!

  56. Echo*

    A piece of advice that I will pass along from a colleague: one way to make your post-interview “thank you” note really stand out (if you’re able to do it) is to include a work sample that illustrates something you talked about in the interview.

    I recently interviewed a candidate who missed out on such an obvious opportunity to do this – we talked about a document they’d created that had been clever, above-and-beyond for their current role, and a value-add to a project. It would have really impressed me if they’d sent it to me instead of the very generic “thank you for your time/I enjoyed our conversation” note I actually got. (Internal hire, so there’s no concern about sharing the document.) In this case, I still recommended the candidate for hire, but if I had been trying to choose between them and someone else equally strong it could have made the difference.

    1. DisneyChannelThis*

      I disagree. Adding a work sample the interviewer might not even want is a waste of effort. If the interviewers want to see their work sample then the interviewers should ask directly for it.

    2. ferrina*

      It makes sense when there’s an opportunity (like you talk about a document during the interview, and the interviewer is clearly interested), but it would look really weird if there isn’t a natural opportunity.

      I think it also depends on the nature of the work sample. Obviously you can’t send proprietary work, and don’t send work that you’d get annoyed if they didn’t hire you.

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      We don’t consider thank you notes at all. I’m not giving someone preference who sent one or penalizing some one who didn’t based on something that has zero to do with their ability to do the job.

      Even if we did I would never consider something someone just decided to include. I want our hiring process to be as equitable as possible – I’m judging people on the same thing. Not going to give someone an extra point based on some unspoken criteria and not give others the opportunity to do the same.

      1. Just a question*

        I respectfully disagree. As a hiring manager, if there is a toss up between two candidates, guess which one is getting the call back.

    4. Decidedly Me*

      I’d find this really odd as a hiring manager unless I specifically asked them to send it along.

    5. Ginger Cat Lady*

      No, not a good tip. This only worked *because* it was internal. In any other setting it would be a problem, and potentially it could leave a hiring manager wondering if a candidate can be trusted to keep work product confidential, and introduce doubts.

      1. Filosofickle*

        Nah, I’m with you. It’s obviously highly context- and industry-dependent, but in the example you gave — where in my interview we discussed a relevant piece I created and the interviewer expressed interest in it — I absolutely would have sent it along with my thank you note. That’s part of a good thank you note, following up and expanding on something you discussed!

      2. WantonSeedStitch*

        If I were interviewing somewhere and mentioned something I’d worked on and the interviewer said, “oh, I’d love to be able to get a look at that,” I’d obviously offer to send it to them. If they didn’t say that, though, I wouldn’t assume that actually being able to see it would help them in making their decision any more than what I’d told them about it during the interview.

      3. HonorBox*

        I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule, even given the feedback. If I interviewed someone and they sent an email to say thanks and included something specific to what we’d talked about, it might be helpful as we have one more piece of information to evaluate.

    6. StarBloom*

      If that’s what would impress you, you might need some further training on how to interview effectively. This is not an appropriate thing to expect or suggest.

      They took the opportunity to share this info with you, used it appropriately and intelligently as evidence in their interview, and did not “miss out” on anything a reasonable and thoughtful interviewer would have expected.

    7. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      If you thought it would have been helpful to see it, why not ask for it?

      Navigating the entire application and interviewing process can be so nebulous for candidates. There’s all kinds of conflicting advice out there.

      It certainly would not have been “obvious” to me to send an unsolicited work sample with a thank you. Why hide the ball? The candidate is not a mind reader.

    8. Tabby Baltimore*

      Someone mentioned context-dependent, and that’s certainly true. I don’t know about state government, but I’m pretty sure that for the federal hiring process, the hiring panel can ONLY consider what came through as part of the original application package. If a sample was requested as part of the process, sure, include it. But it would be a waste of my time, post-interview, to send a federal hiring panel something additional, because they legally can’t consider that extra thing as part of their review of my candidacy.

  57. lapgiraffe*

    Question re: current internship norms. My best friend’s college aged daughter is interning with an airline this summer, and apparently she will be given the same perks typical of the full time position with free standby travel, or some other sort of “free travel with caveats” kind of perk.

    The daughter is psyched because she thinks this means she’ll be able to use a WFH day to make three day weekends most weekends and fly around the country, see friends, come home a time or two, etc.

    I immediately felt like that was a bad idea, but I’m second guessing my gut wondering if expectations are different from when I was an intern. My worry is that it will look like she’s not invested in doing a good job or learning more and instead is only in it for the perks, not to mention using a WFH day cavalierly. She’s made it clear that she hopes to like the company and position and would definitely consider a career with them post grad, so I am especially worried that she’s not got her priorities straight if she’s wanting to turn this into a bigger opportunity.

    But then I hear myself and feel like I sound verrrry old fashioned. I haven’t worked a traditional corporate job in almost two decades, am I off base in wanting to suggest she not go crazy with the travels and instead put her head down and work hard to make a good impression?

    1. ferrina*

      WFH doesn’t mean “take a day off”. That’s where your daughter is incorrect. If she is planning on working while flying, she needs to clear with her boss when she will be unavailable. (side note- some people can work while flying, and others struggle with it. a good thing to know about your personal working style).

      This is something your daughter should bring up during her intern orientation (or at least during her first week, if orientation isn’t an option).
      “Hey, I was curious about the free standby perk- can you tell me a little bit about how that works? How do people usually use it?”

    2. Alex*

      When she says WFH day, does she really mean a not-work-at-all-day? yeah, that seems like a bad idea. But if she means a WFH day where she maybe flies somewhere on a Thursday night to work a full work day on Friday but enjoy the trip Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday, then I think that’s probably fine, as long as the internship has remote flexibility. Tons of internships are done remotely these days so that would not be out of the norm at all. I know at my workplace we allow interns to work from home multiple days a week, as everyone at the office works a hybrid schedule.

      1. lapgiraffe*

        This is a great question, it felt from the conversation that there’s are quotations around “WFH,” and it sounds like this is because many of her friends have also scored internships with loose expectations on that front. But this is making me realize that there’s two things at work here, the taking a day off that’s not a day off, and using thr actual perk, and that is a very helpful delineation

    3. Donkey Hotey*

      The only way I could see this working is if her job is such that she could use the in-plane Wi-Fi to connect and work that way. Otherwise? I mean, I still feel a little guilty when I do my laundry on WFH days.

    4. Fluffy Fish*

      I really see no issue with her using the perk as much as she wants.

      The issue comes in with the WFH day. She needs to be working and available to her employer during her agreed upon hours.

      That said – she needs to understand that flying standby very well means that she may not be able to fly at all – she’s not guaranteed a seat which can very much come in to play come Monday when she’s supposed to show up and work and is instead stuck in an airport some where.

      THAT said – the beauty of it is, it’s not your circus.

      1. lapgiraffe*

        Great points all around! She feels like a niece and I want this to be a success for her, so I do feel very invested, but I need to remember at the end of the day it’s still not my circus!

        1. GythaOgden*

          Yeah. In reality there’s no harm in talking to her once about it. If she blows OP off about it, then yeah, you did your bit and it’s up to her not to burn any air-bridges. But if she actually takes in a kind word just resetting expectations, it will help her in the long run (stitch in time and all that).

      2. Kay*

        With the amount of flights being overbooked and canceled last minute these days – the point about flying standby is so much more relevant than it used to be.

        Of course I agree on the rest too. It is insane to me to try this, but if she botches her internship, well, that is part of her life.

    5. awesomesauce*

      I’ve never worked at an airline, but my understanding is that this perk is a big part of the culture. She should definitely wait a few weeks to carefully observe the culture, but if they are giving the perk to interns, they are probably used to them using it. Alison talks a lot about guiding interns on workplace norms, hopefully they are good at this at the airlines because it’s such a unique perk that it would be way to easy to break unwritten rules if they aren’t spelled out.

    6. Hillary*

      (I interned for an airline fifteen years ago, but I’m pretty sure the attitude & realities havn’t changed. At the time undergrad interns got a fixed number of flights, I was an MBA intern with a different setup.) She’s setting herself up for disappointment right now – it’s neither practical nor that easy. It’s not necessarily about showing how invested she is, they expect everyone who interns there to love flying and want to fly.

      They’ll give her very clear guidance on how much she can fly (nonrev), but she’s also going to run into practical constraints. Non-crew nonrev is absolute last on the priority list and 3-day weekend times (Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night) are very busy for business travel. Frankly I’d be more concerned that she won’t be able to get home on a Sunday to be at work Monday. She’ll also have to pay taxes on those flights. I live in a major airline hub, three of my four flights in the last month were completely full.

      All that said, her manager will probably want to help her use her benefits. She just needs to manage her expectations, not go in with an entitled attitude, and figure it out once she’s there.

    7. BlueberryGirl*

      Well, WFH doesn’t mean “don’t work” and it doesn’t mean “travel” it means working a full day. So, yeah, this sounds like a bad idea to me. However, from those people I know who work for airlines, stand-by travel isn’t straight forward, but is a major part of the culture. I would encourage her to work a month without using the perk to get a feel for the place before she does. She’ll need to get a sense of the work culture before using that perk.

    8. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Whether or not she chooses to travel, she needs to understand that WFH means WORK, not do what you want.
      Any competent manager should soon find out if she isn’t working at all during WFH, or at a much reduced level. At this internship and in later jobs this would get WFH pulled for her, maybe cause her firing.

  58. Elaysian Wanting to Fly*

    How are immunocompromised people networking these days? I was trying to build my network in my new career via meetups and conferences prior to COVID, and now I’m at a loss.
    (Not interested in normie advice to just suck it up. We’re well aware most normies don’t care if we die.)

    1. Llama face!*

      I am not (afaik) immunocompromised but I have been keeping aware of the risks to *everyone* from the ongoing plague(s) that are still raging so my life right now has very similar precautions to someone who is IC. I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer either. I’ve tried to build online relationships with likeminded folks who could be helpful in my career but that is a very limited pool. I do a small amount of virtual-based volunteer work as well. Hopefully someone can give better suggestions!

    2. HEAnon2*

      Does anyplace have outdoor events?

      I have gone to some networking and alumni events and when the weather is good they try to hold it or have a section that is just outside. I have also been to networking events where people wear masks and that is fine too!

      Can you ask around or if you hear if any events contact the coordinator and ask if they have any part of it that will be outside? Would you also be more comfortable if less people attend? Maybe contact and ask how many people signed up?

      I recently went to an event that was packed with people and I left because well, it made me uncomfortable and I help care for an immunocompromised family member (I always test and wear a mask round them). So I try and give people a heads up especially if they ask about what the event #s look like. I had another event that said 100 people were signed up and only 30 showed up for an event space for 100.

      I also had someone contact me asking for an informational interview but wanted to meet in person. I asked them if we could meet up and walk outside. I rather do that then meet for a coffee and sit inside. Phone calls are fine too, but this is also something to think about.

      Good luck and I apologize if this is not what you are looking for.

    3. Educator*

      Through an imperfect mix of things!

      1) Outside. “Want to meet for coffee” has become “want to meet for a walk around x neighborhood?” I like it because the conversation flows more easily than when you are just staring at each other over a table anyway. If walking is an issue, I also meet people in parks.

      2) Through a well-fitted N-95. I skipped conferences and events for a while, but it was really holding me back, so I got proper, fitted masks and started going again. I skip the meals (just eat a big breakfast before, and go outside for snacks/water). I really make an effort to smile with my eyes and introduce myself to people who know me but might not recognize me with half my face covered. But I never, under any circumstances, take the mask off indoors. “Oh, it’s what my doctor suggested” has generally shut up the people who ask questions without revealing anything about my medical deal. And if anything is particularly crowded or poorly ventilated, I bail.

      3) Online. Professional groups in my discipline are still doing a lot of online stuff, which is great, and so many people have moved in the last few years that Zoom is a logical way to keep in touch anyway.

    4. Really?*

      Ask for what you need to network in a useful manner in terms of timing, location, rescheduling if it’s a one on one and that person becomes symptomatic.

      That’s the kind and hopefully helpful answer you’re getting from a “normie” who would love to look past the attitude at the end of what was initially a perfectly normal and common question with lots of good and generally acceptable and useful solutions, but definitely wouldn’t actually want to help you personally network given that level of rudeness at the end. I sure do care if you die but I definitely don’t care if I help you now. The reason I said anything at all is because I guarantee this attitude is going to come out and affect your networking and how you want to deal with the impacts of that is up to you.

      1. Llama face!*

        The initial question by Elaysian Wanting to Fly* does have a fair amount of anger in its tone, yes, but please consider that they likely have dealt with a lot of dismissive attitudes towards them when access to public spaces could be quite literally a life-or-death matter. The abandonment of immunocompromised people by society wrt COVID being allowed to spread unchecked is more than just an inconvenience. Anger is not an unreasonable response. And posting openly here also doesn’t mean they express these frustrations in this same way in other contexts than this community.

      2. Educator*

        Honestly, the number of “oh, COVID is not that bad anymore, don’t worry about it” comments I have gotten from people is absolutely rage-inducing, and I totally respect and understand why a poster would make what I interpreted as a semi-sarcastic comment to avoid getting that here.

        Remember how awful the spring of 2020 was? The fear, the precautions? Now imagine if that never ended for you, and have a little empathy.

        1. Cicely*

          Some people were immunocompromised prior to Covid, and continue to be due to reasons other than Covid. Yet they still manage to be inquisitive and polite when asking questions like the LW’s without the unprovoked sarcasm.

          As such, the parenthetical phrasing just…isn’t necessary.

      1. Llama face!*

        I’d ask that you please try to imagine why someone would feel that way about our current choices as a society before retreating into defensiveness. Tone policing is rarely helpful, especially when it’s directed at a person facing systematic discrimination.

        I don’t mean to put you personally on the spot but everyone could stand to consider these questions:

        What are you doing to make public spaces safe for immunocompromised people to attend?
        Are you speaking up when no safety precautions are put in place in your workplace, grocery store, library, hospital?
        Are you noticing when there are no alternate options offered?
        Are you seeing how people wearing masks in public or talking about their immunocompromised status online are being treated?
        Are you standing up for them when they are bullied and called scared and sheep and crazy and told that it’s natural selection or they should just “live their lives” (as though that isn’t what they are trying to do) or that other people aren’t responsible for their health?
        If not, then can you honestly say you care?

        We show what we care about as a society by how we behave towards our most vulnerable members and most people have decided, either through ignorance of the facts* or by choice, to sit by silently while our capitalist system excludes the immunocompromised from participation and devalues their lives.

        Yes, this was already happening before COVID, but the ongoing pandemic makes the costs and the impact even worse for those already facing systematic ableism.

        *and remaining ignorant of the facts is in itself a choice

        1. Gyne*

          Given the amount of immune compromised patients who have been walking into my office for the last few years without a mask (I’m a doctor, I know their medical history), I’m curious what you would say to my patients who are on chemotherapy or chronic immunosuppressants from an organ transplant and who are out in the world making different choices about their lives and their bodies than you are.

          1. Llama face!*

            Not sure what your point in saying this is?

            I know many doctors are extremely busy and don’t have a lot of time to catch up on medical knowledge advancements but the increasing evidence of short and long term health risks of COVID are certainly something you’d be wise to keep up-to-date on for the sake of your patients (and yourself).

            Also, systematic ableism doesn’t mean all disabled or immunocompromised people are a monolith in either needs or awareness. And the fact that we are being actively lied to about COVID’s impact in many spheres doesn’t help matters.

            1. Gyne*

              My point was exactly what you said, which is that all immunocompromised people are not a monolith. I don’t think the “us vs them” narrative you described above is accurate or helpful, when there isn’t really an “us” to begin with.

              I’m also not sure what I said that makes you think I’m not keeping up to date on the science? Your comment reads as kind of condescending, maybe the tone isn’t coming across well over text.

              1. Llama face!*

                The tone in my reply is frustration, not condescension. The entire point of my comment was encouraging people to stop tone policing the original commentor and instead consider the impact of rampant ableism that may be causing their reaction. You responded with what was basically a “Well I have a black friend who…” argument directed at masks. This is both missing my point and also inconsiderate towards the original commentor’s request to not get responses from the non-immunocompromised folks who think they should just “suck it up”.

                Anyways, I’m not going to respond further since my attempt to stave off these kinds of comments seems to be inviting them instead.

  59. DivergentStitches*

    Just a rant really…

    Everyone on my team got a bonus except me. Turns out “they” asked my managers to rate each of us back in January and then said they rated us too high so they had to rate back down. Managers were told it was for our raise in April, but they used the ratings for our bonus.

    So 1. we were never told we were being rated for anything, 2. I’ve been here for a year and have never had any negative feedback, just “you’re doing great, keep doing what you’re doing,” 3. obviously he rated me low enough that I didn’t get a bonus – so probably won’t get a raise.

    1. Guest*

      You’ve only worked there for a year; it’s not a regular thing to give such junior employees bonuses. You may get a raise if they do annual COL, but you might not get a merit raise.

    2. Girasol*

      Sounds like you’re getting less feedback than you need. You could say something like, “I didn’t get a bonus this round. Where could I improve so that I might get one next time?” If you’re not doing as well as you thought, you could find out what you need to change, and if you are doing well, you’ll probably get some explanation about what’s really going on.

  60. Donkey Hotey*

    I’ve often said that there is a large overlap in the Venn diagram of Ask A Manager and Am I The @- hole. This question sits right there in the middle.

    I (53M) worked for five years for a small, dysfunctional “we’re a family” business. Not only was I the only creative in an office of engineers, I was the only liberal in a building full of conservatives. Every week, I would have some gem of interaction that would make an HR person cringe and/or make the commentariat here laugh. I left the two years ago for a different job in a similar industry, only a publicly traded company (my first) and with a 25% raise. I left in good terms and even came in to do a half day training with my replacement. After I’d been gone a few months, my friends in FB suggested I just be liking my new job because I wasn’t complaining nearly as much.

    Recently, I hit the wall with my current employer. My last “care” went up in flames and I’m back to looking. The same week, I heard from a friend at my old job, who said my replacement just quit with no notice and had damaged some files before he left (not malicious, just ignorant.) On a whim, I called my old boss and asked if he needed a temp to help them out.

    The following week, I went in on Friday afternoon (current job only works half days on Friday.) Great to see everyone, lots of smiles and friendly faces. But, once we sat down, old boss surprised me: he said he never really realized how much I did for the company, how unique my skill set was, and how much better things were with me. Basically, everything you’d want to hear from an ex after getting dumped. He offered me a full time job.

    The problem is: It would be about a 7% pay cut. (My 20s self reels at the idea of saying “it would ‘only’ be $250/check less.”) However, it also comes with worse health insurance, 0 match on the 401k, and I would begin earning PTO at three weeks a year (current job gives 4 weeks a year at your starting day.)

    I chewed on it over the weekend but ultimately said no. Old boss was sad, said he’d really gotten his hopes up. My wife says I was essentially leading them on and I should not have reached out to them at all. She says that because they were willing to meet most of the pay gap meant they were just low balling everyone and could’ve done more all along. “You left for a reason.”

    So, AAM, AITA?

    P.S. I’ve talked with several friends about this and I notice a definite class divide in the responses. Folks who make less (than I do) were always more willing to consider going back to a previous employer, even at a pay/benefit cut than folks who make more (than I do).

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Not at all. It’s one thing to talk the talk (“We were so wrong to not value you!’) but when it came to walking the walk, they couldn’t come up to scratch. You weren’t wrong to reach out as long as you didn’t make any promises, sign anything, or drag it out.

        Now, maybe they truly don’t have the money to provide the kind of compensation you need. But that doesn’t mean you owe them a return. Former Boss may be disappointed, but this is business, not a repentant ex.

      2. 653-CXK*

        Full orchestration and five part harmony is always good! I should know – I think I write a few sentences and it turns out to be a novella :-)

        Your NTA for refusing to take the full time job. Despite what your wife is insisting, you did not lead them on; you reviewed the facts – the compensation you were about to receive from OldJob was really wanting – and then decided that returning there would not be a good fit. It happens all the time to good companies and bad – people will carefully review the culture and the benefits and decide whether to take the job or not.

    1. Alex*

      I don’t think you are an asshole at all. You didn’t contact them asking for a full time job back, you offered to temp to help them out. They offered you a job and you said thanks but no thanks. You weren’t “leading them on” (and I don’t think that’s A Thing with employers anyway). I think everyone operated in good faith but ultimately it didn’t work out. Oh well.