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Monday, May 25th, 2015 12:30 am
"Earth laughs in flowers." -  Ralph Waldo Emerson  

Indeed. Which means my back yard is very, very happy and so am I.

Oh, and s'mores. S'mores make me happy too.

Monday, May 25th, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Is a start date two months out unreasonable?

I recently decided to start interviewing for a new position. I’m looking for something at the Director or above level, and, yay, already have a bunch of good prospects on the horizon.

Given the role I’m in right now, I’d need to give at least a month’s notice to successfully transition my projects, and since it’s summer, I’d really like to take a substantial vacation. Is it unreasonable, once we start discussing start dates, to suggest a start date in August? I’m assuming any job offers I get will happen in June (so, finish current role mid-July, relax four weeks, start new job mid-August).

I’m also just considering giving notice in June without a job (yes, there is backstory), spending a month winding things down, and then taking the rest of the summer off, except for some job hunting.

Director level? Totally fine. As positions get more senior, it’s increasingly common for people to have start dates a bit further out and for employers to be totally okay with waiting a bit. It would be really short-sighted to lose your top candidate for a director role by quibbling over a month or two, unless there were really unusual circumstances requiring an earlier start date (which they’d explain, and then you could decide if you wanted to accommodate that or not).

Frankly, asking for a start date two months out often isn’t a big deal in more junior positions either. It can be, but it depends on the role and the organization.

2. Were my graduate degrees hurting me?

When does the number of degrees I have on my resume start looking like a bug instead of a feature?

Back in my accounting/finance days, I used to apply for jobs all the time. I got some bites, but not as many as I expected for the amount of experience I had and the things I’d accomplished. I have a bachelor degree in Psychology, a master’s in Accounting, and an MBA. I put all those on my resume because I was proud of them and because they were relevant to the positions I was applying for. I’ve since left that field to do something completely unrelated, but did having three degrees on my resume hurt me such that I wouldn’t even get a call?

At the height of my desperation to get out of my last job, several people suggested that I take one of the master’s degrees off my resume. Would that have helped me?

Maybe. If you’re applying for jobs that don’t relate to those degrees, graduate degrees can hurt you because many employers will think you don’t really want the job you’re applying for, since it’s not what you went to school for. They’ll assume that you’ll be dissatisfied and leave as soon as something in the field you studied comes along. That concern can end up being a reason they don’t hire you for the same job you might have been a strong candidate for before you got your graduate degree. This becomes much less of an issue as you put more time between you and school, but it’s a very real issue when the degrees are still pretty fresh.

But it sounds in accounting and finance, those degrees were relevant, so I’d guess that the issue wasn’t the degrees but rather your resume or cover letter or that you weren’t applying for jobs that matched your level of experience. Or that you were simply applying during a bad job market, which would be the case if you were applying for jobs from 2008 onward.

As for the question you opened with — when does the number of degrees feel like a problem — a masters in accounting and an MBA isn’t a problem. You often see those two degrees together. If then went on to get another master’s, or if the first two were in unrelated fields, some hiring managers will wonder if you really know what you want to do, why you’re pouring all this time into schooling if you don’t, and if you’re kind of love with academia in a way that means you won’t thrive in the work world.

3. Would it be wrong of me to leave right after we landed a big contract?

My company was just won a rebid for our contract. The transition period is major: We have to rewrite all of our standard operating procedures, have weekly meetings with partners, and hire new staff. Everyone’s excited about the new opportunity. There’s going to be a *ton* of work, and I’m an integral part of it.

But the thing is, I’m ready to leave. I’ve been applying for jobs and have gone on three interviews in the past 6 months–I declined to continue in the interview process for the first two (neither felt like the right fit), and the last company just told me they’ve decided to change the scope of the role and need time to re-evaluate candidates. The HR manager encouraged me to keep following up.

To make things worse, I don’t have the best relationship with my boss. We recently fell out over some office gossip. I love my teammates, though, and certainly don’t want to leave them high and dry during such a critical time. But I’m having a hard time imagining a long, grueling summer working on an enormous project I have no interest in anymore with a boss I don’t want to work with anymore. Would it be wrong of me to continue to search for–and hopefully land–a new job right now?

Nope. You can’t be expected to time your job search so that your leaving lands at the ideal time for your employer. There are some exceptions to this, but you usually know when you fall in the exception category; for example, if you’re an event planner with one big event a year, you don’t leave right before that event, and if you’re working on a political campaign, you don’t leave a few weeks before Election Day. But generally, you leave when you leave. If you had to wait for a good time, many people would never be able to resign.

Speaking of which…

4. Attending an all-expense-paid training right before resigning

I have verbally accepted a job offer at a company in NYC. HR has told me they are awaiting the approvals in their system before a background check is conducted and a formal offer is generated. They have told me to not resign until I have the formal offer in hand, which I would agree with under normal circumstances.

The problem I am facing is I am scheduled to go on an all-expense paid training in about a week and a half for my current job (my current employer is located in Florida). I am worried that I will not receive the formal offer in time to cancel the trip and training. My current employer will be charged an $800 late cancellation fee if I do not cancel on the next business day. Furthermore, I could potentially not receive the formal offer until the week of the training or just after. I am worried about burning bridges by going on the all-expense paid training and then resigning immediately after. I have communicated this issue to the new company in NYC but they have not been able to offer a solution or speed up the process. Any thoughts on what I should do and when I should resign?

Proceed as if you don’t have a job offer — because you don’t. You absolutely shouldn’t resign until you have a formal offer with the contingencies (like the background check) removed; otherwise you could find yourself having resigned from your current job and with no new job to go to. The new employer’s HR person gets that, and that’s why she clearly told you not to resign until you have the form offer. Listen to her.

Yes, the timing may end up not being great for your old employer because of the dates of the training. This stuff happens, and there’s no way around it. Training cancellation fees, paying to train people who leave shortly afterwards, and the like are part of the cost of doing business. Your old employer will be fine (in fact, this is so common that they probably won’t even blink over it).

5. My reference asked me to help him fill out his reference questionnaire

Thanks to your help on resumes and cover letters, I’ve progressed to the final stages for a new job! I’ve been with the same company for 11 years (my entire career) and under the same manager for the last 5 years and had a difficult time coming up with references. I pulled three together, contacted all of them, and got their go-ahead to list them. They were all contacted last week by email with a list of questions (15 or so) and two got back within a few days. I had one email me today saying he had a hard time getting around to responding and that it feels like he’s the one interviewing with all the questions. He then asks me to put comments after the questions and I’m afraid that I’ll be filling in my own reference. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Ugh. It’s such a bad idea to send references questionnaires to fill out. Half the value of reference-checking comes from actually talking to people, hearing their tone of voice and where they pause and where they seem uncomfortable or especially enthusiastic, and being able to ask follow-up questions. Employers are forfeiting all of that with this approach — and it’s all less considerate to your references, because it’s more work for them.

But that doesn’t help you. As for how to proceed, I’d do what your reference is asking — it’s not that different from drafting your own letter of recommendation (which the referrer then hopefully modifies), which is a pretty common practice. And really, employers are setting themselves up for this by going this route.

delaying a start date, resigning at the wrong time, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Monday, May 25th, 2015 12:50 am

Posted by Tab

Shades After 088

Finally getting into the swing of drawing in the new manga studio! Here’s a beautiful page about a shitty thing happening.

Today is London MCM recovery day. XD

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 05:57 pm
Carol Scott:
well, what you really need to know is that i felt worse this morning, and really worse after church, and we are in the process of deciding about urgent care, maybe after i nibble somehing
Oh, Christ.
What kind of bad?
Carol Scott:
fever is up a bit too high, very sleepy, occasional mild chills
Oh, man.
Thank God for antibiotics.
Carol Scott:
I'm not sure whether I'm glad that you made it through service.

Carol Scott:
heading out... fever 102, mild chills, slightly elevated blood sugar
I am holding my thumbs for your speedy recovery and general comfort.
Carol Scott:
hope, have already had starter drugs
*still clutching*
Carol Scott:
so i arrived at church feeling discouraged after yet another cancellaion, leaving me with one man
bless Karen, she went and recuirted Irene who at least thinks she is a natural baritone... and I recuited David who doesn’t do parts well but can do melody, and one of the cancllations showed up
and a soprano who was a maybe came, so i had a pretty good group
i think the morning was a bit purgatorial for Irene who wants to do things RIGHT but i am grateful for her willingness
Oh, thank goodness. I had been wondering about pick-up possibilities, but expected you were, too.
Carol Scott:
we got applause for the offertory :)
Carol Scott:
may i cut and paste that later/
Are you able to stay sitting up?
Youo sound wan.
Carol Scott:
i am a limp dishrag... i’m reclining, with a cold pack on my horhead
Oh, good!
Carol Scott:
i really can’t remember feeling this bad for a long time
*nod* Road rash is really terrible stuff, and can kill you.
Carol Scott:
it’s not the road rash, it’s the laceration
I include that as part of it, though I suppose it doesn't technically count. The whole thing is a very large serious injury(ies).
Carol Scott:
yup, but the road rash is nearly healed now
Already! Wow, excellent!!!!
Sunday, May 24th, 2015 11:49 am

Rough week, mostly. Especially from Sunday through Tuesday; Naomi speculated that I may have been fighting off a bug. It's also possible that it was due to hypoglycemia or something else. Colleen's health is better, so that's something. The recent changes are, finally, working.

Curio's weight is back up -- almost to where the vet said it should be -- and I've been getting some good cat therapy from him and Desti. Cricket, though, has been a little escape artist. We're having to make sure she's locked up if more than one person tries to go out.

My workgroup is moving, so I worked from home Thursday and Friday -- that helps. I'm not enjoying work much, though; that's a problem.

Form CC-305 OMB Control Number 1250-0005 [pdf] "Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability" came by at work, and it lists major depression under "Disabilities include, but are not limited to". So (after sleeping on it) I checked the damned box. The label says "YES, I HAVE A DISABILITY (or previously had a disability)", so it doesn't matter whether I can handle it now. Not clear that I can, really. The label on the box is amusingly reminiscent of "Are you now or have you ever been..." -- which I guess is one of the reasons I hesitated.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
Sunday, May 24th, 2015 01:40 pm

This week, we’re going to deal with our invisible corners. These are the little piles, stacks, or collections of random things that have settled into odd spaces like the corner of a room, under a table, at the end of a counter, etc. that have become so much a part of the everyday landscape of our homes that we don’t even notice them anymore.

Walk into a room. Take a critical look around and see if you have a bunch of crap that your eyes and brain have been tuning out for a while. Deal with that crap. Do at least one 20/10 each day, getting to as many of your invisible corners as you can.

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 09:50 am
Drew is feeling better this morning and no fever at all.

Yesterday, while Scott watched the boys, I did some needed basic shopping and went to the Japanese Garden. Alas, I didn't make sure I had the memory card for my camera with me (AUGH!). I got some pretty good photos with my phone, though. Wish I could have tried the same photos with the camera.

I am done with the Ridiculous Week of Sous Vide cooking. We have lots of stuff prepped and frozen for future thaw/heat/sear/serve cycles. I am happy about that. Also happy about the results I'm getting in general.

I think I may have to cave and buy a Wii U. Our Wii is starting to have problems reading its discs...any discs. I was tempted when it first came out, but there's not a lot "extra" that I wanted...however, working? That's an EXCELLENT additional feature. :P

Way before I worry about that, I need to plan the meal sequence for the week, and also swing by the library and return the videos. Late fees for videos are nothing to laugh at. :P
Sunday, May 24th, 2015 10:12 am
Neither Scott nor I slept well last night. His cold includes a nasty cough, and his bi-PAP is really giving him a lot of trouble. I have no idea why I didn't sleep, but I tossed and turned for hours. Well, my right ankle hurt a fair amount, but I've slept with it acting up before. I don't know.

I've gotten my Remix assignment, and I'm tentatively pleased. I haven't actually read any of the fics I could remix yet; I've just been skimming through blurbs and seeing which characters are tagged. My remixee's pet characters and pairings aren't mine, and they seem to be doing a lot with the portion of canon I don't know so very well, but I'm confident I can make it work. If I can't, they have three stories in another fandom I know, and those have characters I'm pretty confident I can work with.

Scott's parents had Amazon ship my birthday present to me directly. I was very startled by that because that's not normally something they'd do. We'll be seeing them this afternoon for the birthday gathering (there are four May birthdays), so they could have given them to me then. Of course, they may have been thinking that the package wouldn't arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday, and that would make getting the contents to me difficult.

I spent a little time last night deleting some of my music. I stuck with stuff I own on CD, for the most part, but I did delete a bunch of Christmas music that I don't own in any other form. Scott's got a lot of Christmas music (and more storage space), and very little of what I had was of the sort where I could sing along which is what I want from Christmas music.

Scott can't find the Mountain Lion CDs, so upgrading my OS is on hold for the moment. I really do hope he can find them. Not being able to get Google docs to work in Safari is giving me real problems. Google is 90% of what I use Safari for. The rest is staying logged in to various Metanews accounts so that I don't have to keep logging in and out of the things I use both personally and for Metanews.

I don't know when Scott will be able to do the grocery shopping, and it's an issue because we're out of the things I would normally eat. We're also out of the things Scott prefers to eat when he's this sick. I'm not sure exactly where we stand for things Cordelia will eat, but I suspect that's not good either.

Cordelia and her friends have reached their target of raising $80 to donate to charity. They're going to give me the cash and have me make the donation to Oxfam. They can never remember the name of the charity they picked (they heard about it from a friend whose mother donates regularly. I asked her what the charity was, and she told me). I just have to bring my purse into the living room so that I have my credit card handy.
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 03:43 pm
Well, good news and bad news-- The good news is that my bone density scan results are in and my bone density is nicely within normal range. Breaking my foot was not due to brittle bones.

The bad news is that my laptop is almost out of storage memory. It gave me a warning message today, and when I checked, I discovered that my available memory was measured in megabytes.

Since then, I've been trying to find things to delete. I got rid of some games that I've finished and am very unlikely to want to replay, and I went through the rest of my applications folder looking for stuff to get rid of. Apparently the chess program I've never used and will never use is an integral part of the OS and can't be deleted. I got rid of about a hundred jpegs and gifs, but those are trivial in terms of memory.

I can think of two areas where I can probably get rid of some things. The first is that I have a twenty six episode anime stored on my hard drive. I do want to keep it, but I should probably burn it to disk. The second, unfortunately, is my music. There are a few things I own on CD that I'm not very interested in listening to. I can probably delete those. There are some things I've marked that I never ever want to listen to them but have kept because I only own them digitally. Then there are four audiobooks that I haven't listened to but want to but am probably never going to set aside time for.

I'm pretty sure my laptop is currently at capacity in terms of the memory I can put into it. It's at least four years old and quite probably older than that. I'll have to talk to Scott when he's home and feeling better. (I take it as a very bad sign that he should have been out of work 45 minutes ago but I haven't heard from him yet.)
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 06:00 pm

Posted by PJ Jonas

Quote Post Brett (in the middle of doing a yoga video with Jim and PJ): “I smell bacon.”
PJ: “Good thing that’s not distracting.”
Jim: “Breathe in. Breathe in again.”
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 06:15 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

Olive!This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Best of Youth: A Novel, by Michael Dahlie, in which a rich, hapless 20-something trying to become a writer is regularly humiliated, often a bit tipsy, and frequently very funny, particularly after he agrees to ghost-write a novel for a dreadful B-list actor. I was delighted and amused the whole way through. (This review gives a better plot description than I do.)

weekend free-for-all – May 23-24, 2015 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 10:45 am
Scott has a cold. We have no idea where he caught it. I think most likely it was while he was shopping because nobody at work is sick.

The timing is more than a little inconvenient since he had to work today and has committed to going up to his parents' place after work to help his father put together a new grill that he hopes to use for the family gathering tomorrow. That gathering starts early. His parents want us there as close to noon as we can manage (we need to get to the library, and it doesn't open until noon and closes at 6:00 which is certain to be before we get back). I have no idea when the grocery shopping is going to happen.

I also don't know what Cordelia and I are going to eat this evening while Scott's out-- We're out of leftovers, and I'm not sure we've got anything to cook, either. We're down to about three slices of bread, and we're pretty much out of lunch meant and almond butter, so sandwiches aren't really an option. I think we have a can of Progresso chicken noodle soup which I could eat (Cordelia won't touch it). We also have a small bit of refried beans; again, I would eat that, and Cordelia wouldn't.

Scott went to bed at 9:00 last night, but I don't think he slept well. His bi-PAP doesn't work nearly as well when he has a cold; in fact, it can make things worse. It's a bit of a catch-22 because, without it, he sleeps very, very poorly, and he really needs sleep in order to recover.

Scott says he'll dig out the disks I need in order to update my OS so that I can update Safari so that Google will work for me again. I've never done a system update. Scott's always been the one to do them for me, but he's so very, very busy and exhausted. Ah, well. I suppose it's time that I learned. I do know enough to make sure everything I care about is backed up first.

I don't think my laptop is capable of running the most recent OS, but I can upgrade an iteration or two. I'm not sure how far behind I am. I will likely hate getting used to a new interface, but as long as the programs I normally use still work, I should be okay.
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 07:23 am
So, [personal profile] elisem stopped by on her way to Balticon, and we mutually enabled each other: she got me and [personal profile] sarah hooked on Ingress (more info on Wikipedia, since the website is not at all that informative; the pithy explanation for it is "It's a game of virtual capture the flag"), and I got her hooked on Bush Whacker. \o/

Sarah's already level 5 and I'm already level 4. This is apparently a Very Fast Progression, given that we both signed up on Thursday, but I have infected Sarah with a bit of my "that escalated quickly" attitude toward life, so. :)

(If anybody wants to start playing, let me know, I'll send you an invite.)

We are both playing for the Resistance. Baltimore is apparently a heavily Enlightened town, which means plenty of tasty, tasty AP. Last night we were out wardriving (Sarah driving the car with me double-fisting both our phones hacking the portals we were passing to get the loot from them) and on our way back home, we thought, hell, let's capture the portals nearest our house. So we pulled into the driveway of the church nearby -- many of the portals are churches/museums/memorials/sculptures/etc -- and managed to take it down. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, a car came tearing in and two minutes later the portal was green again. We made someone leave the house at midnight to come recapture a portal. It was kind of the best thing ever.

We are leaving tomorrow for a five-day cruise in the Bahamas. I am looking forward to seeing what portals we find on our way. :D
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 12:30 am
I was thinking about exercise the other day.

You'll note I said THINKING. Not DOING.

Several health and wellness professionals remind us that even if one isn't able to do lengthy strenuous workouts, small bits of daily exercise can still be beneficial. It appears Doug Savage has one solution to incorporating more activity into our daily lives:

Um. So I'm supposed to get out of my chair and go all the way over THERE?  Wait......I don't think I know how to manually change channels on my television. Where IS the button to do that, anyway?


If I want a more realistic way to get some exercise, I suppose I could take a small well-behaved doggie on a short walk. Which means I'd need to actually GET a small well-behaved doggie. Sorry, Lulu the Woo-Woo. I'm thinking you don't meet that description.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 01:51 am


Before and after of my crap corner. It’s technically my craft corner but it’s looked like the left photo for so long, the nickname stuck. Um, about four or five hours with a lunch break in the middle.

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 12:32 am
Coughed while eating. Got a french fry up my nose. Couldn't snort it back down. Had to blow it out. Repeatedly. This was every bit as gross as it sounds. Also uncomfortable.

Also: Kids lost spacer. Went to CVS to get new one. Need a prescription. WTF do they think I'm going to do with a spacer that requires a prescription? It's a piece of freaking plastic! It's not dangerous in any way, shape, or form. I don't think you could even concuss somebody by bonking them on the head with one.


Faith Healing Kills Children

Diverse cities don’t always have diverse neighborhoods

China air force holds drill in Western Pacific

McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit in comic form

Many Jobless (Still) Giving Up Looking For Work

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1 percent

Since 1986 more than 1,600 people have been shot by Chicago police officers — an average of more than one person a week. ​In the 208 cases closed over the last two years, not a single shooting has been found to be unjustified. Should we be reassured?

Gaza economy 'on verge of collapse', with world's highest unemployment

Girl Scouts welcomes transgender girls

Cleanup of oil-fouled California beach could take months

6 Insane True Statistics That Laugh In The Face Of Logic.

The last paragraph is pretty much what I say when people try the "Life is too improbable to have happened spontaneously!" line. When we have 300 billion star in our galaxy, and 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, sooner or later even astronomical odds become a sure thing. There are roughly 70 billion trillion stars in the universe, and we find new exoplanets seemingly every single day. The odds just aren't that long.

Russians seized in Ukraine: We were following Moscow's orders

Railroad safety fact check: Fires and spills are up despite industry claims

Bosses Are Turning Poverty-Wage Workers Into ‘Managers’—and Barring Them From Overtime in the Process

NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones

Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance

Why Your Subway Is Delayed, Explained as an 8-Bit Video Game

The Injustice of Civil-Asset Forfeiture

France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities

Justice Department issues policy on domestic drone use
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 04:03 am

Posted by Ask a Manager

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

1. Talking to a new hire who’s been frequently out of the office

I have a question about how to handle a relatively new hire who is having some attendance issues.

We are a five-year-old, fast growing company and we hired him on ful-time as director of marketing in January after having worked with him on a contract basis for 6 months. He has 4 direct reports and is responsible for managing a team of 10 people. Over the last 4 months, he frequently emails same day asking if he can “leave early” to do something with family and has come in “late” several times for a variety of issues – car problems, sprinklers broke so there is flooding in his yard, kids were late getting up, etc. Today he emailed again asking if he could take this Thursday off because his stay-at-home wife is just came down with a cold and she was supposed to take the kids on a class trip to the zoo on Thursday…he is asking to take them now.

He is doing a good job so far – we are close to hitting demand targets – but my concern is that his frequently being out of the office will have a negative effect on the rest of the team. He is in a leadership position in the company and constantly coming in late or leaving early does not set a good example in my opinion. I don’t want to come off as inflexible (he is the only employee in our office with kids). How would you recommend I handle this situation?

Well, the first thing I’d think about is whether it really does matter. If he’s performing at a high level (I’m not sure if “good” means that or if means something closer to “okay”), why does it really matter? But if he’s more okay than great, or if it’s making him less accessible to people than you want him to be, those are legitimate reasons to be concerned. In that case, you should just be straightforward about explaining that to him: “Bob, I’ve noticed that you’ve been out of the office a lot — leaving early, coming in late, or taking days off at the last minute. This is a role where you really need to be here during business hours most of the time, because there’s so much interaction with people throughout the day, and it can be tough when you’re not around when someone needs you.”

But make sure it really matters. If it doesn’t actually impact his work or other people’s, giving this kind of flexibility can be a good way to retain good people (and you should offer it to all high performers whose jobs wouldn’t be impacted by it, not just him).

2. Would it be weird to suggest a flexible start date?

I am about to have a third round interview with a startup in late May/early June. We had previously talked about a potential start date in mid June being mutually beneficial, but the hiring manager mentioned they don’t currently have the work available and their time frame may change (and has already shifted out about a month or so from their initial projections). Would it be weird to discuss some sort of flexible start date if the hiring manager brings up start dates again?

In my mind, I’m picturing some sort of written agreement included with a potential job offer that says something along the lines of “Start date no sooner than 3 weeks from now, but no later than 3 months from now, to be finalized with at least one week notice from the start date”? It seems like a win-win to me, as (1) they’re a startup and don’t necessarily know when they need this particular position filled (2) I want to leave my current job, but not before getting a new job offer. At the same time, I would prefer at least a week off between jobs, but would not mind even multiple months off.

Does this ever happen? Or would talking about something like this just make me seem undesirable/weird?

I don’t think it would be weird, and there are cases where it would be really helpful. My only caution is that if you set up an arrangement like that, you might be opening the door to the start date getting pushed back further and further and possibly never materializing (despite the “no later than 3 months” clause). Because of that, I’d be inclined to get a firm start date if you can.

3. Should I start job-searching if my boss is leaving?

What do you do when your boss is leaving? I work on a small team, and the idea of reporting to someone new makes a big impact on me. Is this a good enough reason to start looking for another position? I’m just wondering how people navigate this kind of thing.

Why not wait and see who the new manager is? You could end up loving the person, so it feels premature to start planning to leave before you even know that. There’s no harm in putting out feelers now so that you’re not starting from scratch if it does turn out that you want to leave, but I’d keep an open mind about the new manager for now.

4. Does this second interview mean the first group of people thought I was a “yes”?

So many jobs lately have me come in for a second or third interview. My last interview, I was scheduled to first meet with HR, the assistant manager and then the manager. I guess I did well because I was scheduled for a second interview with the group director the next day. This is a corporate job. Now my question is, does this mean, I got a “yes” from those 3 people and the group director is the deciding person?

You’re looking at it as more yes/no than it probably is. It means you’re still in the running, but it doesn’t necessarily mean an unqualified yes from the earlier people. I’ll sometimes move people forward in a hiring process even if I have reservations, if they’re otherwise strong enough; I’ll flag those reservations for the other people involved, or simply give myself more time to mull over my assessment and/or compare them with other candidates.

5. Can I ask my references how strong of a reference they’ll give me?

You have written about making sure your references are strong, but I was wondering if there’s a way to find out how good a reference someone will be. I usually ask my references if they would feel comfortable being a good reference for me, but is there something else I should be doing? I don’t want to be blindsided and get a bad reference.

The big thing is to be honest with yourself about how strong the work you did for them was and how they likely regard you. Ideally, you know them well enough that you should have an idea of what they thought of your work. But yes, it’s always reasonable to say, “I’d like to offer up references who will feel comfortable really speaking glowingly of my work. I’m hoping that’s you, but it’s of course okay if it’s not. Are you able to give me a sense of how strong a reference you’d be comfortable giving me?” The key here is to make it really safe for them to say “not that strong” — which means that you have to sound genuine and sincere in asking this, and you can’t react badly if someone gives you a disappointing answer.

new hire is frequently out of the office, should I start job-searching if my boss is leaving, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 09:00 pm
  • Wash the dishes in your sink
  • Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
  • Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Put your keys somewhere obvious
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth
  • Take your medication/set out your meds for the morning
  • Charge your electronics
  • Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
  • Set your alarm
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 06:24 pm

My beautiful boycats, Oscar and Felix

Two more )
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 05:52 pm

Nice to spend some close-up time with a heron!

Four more )
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 03:09 pm
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 12:07 pm

The sun is shining, the dogs are hanging out in the backyard, I don’t have to go into the day job today, so I’m fueling up to write some new app content!

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 12:40 pm
Office closed at noon today. Figured I'd go see a 12:45 Mad Max showing.

They told me to take a pair of 3D glasses. I didn't know it was available in 3D.

This should be interesting.
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 12:41 pm
[community profile] metanews may not get posted until tomorrow. Google docs isn't cooperating in either Safari or Firefox. I've already been fighting with it for an hour, and I have better things to do than to spend six hours doing something that should take half an hour, tops. In Safari, everything's just moving really, really slowly. In Firefox, the document doesn't want to load and keeps telling me to clear my cache and giving me an 'unresponsive script' warning.

My suspicion is that Safari's problem is that I'm using an old version (still the most recent that will work with my OS but old enough that Google keeps warning me that it's no longer supported). Then again, given that Google docs isn't working in Firefox, either, maybe Google's hiccuping. I don't know. I just want to get this dratted thing posted so that I can do something else for a couple of hours. I really hate the way that [community profile] metanews keeps taking up more and more time. I haven't had a single day this week when I have worked on it for at least two hours.

Ah, Firefox has finally deigned to load. Maybe I can do this after all.

It's just discouraging. We put a lot of work into this, and most of what we hear back are complaints that we're not finding the right sort of meta for the right sorts of fandoms and that we're not giving the right sort of information about what we're linking. Oh, and that we don't curate the links to make sure they're good meta.

The first is a problem of not knowing the right places to look and of not having enough people to look carefully. A lot of this stuff is on Tumblr now, and we have no way to deal with Tumblr (and I don't expect we will in the foreseeable future. Nobody wants to commit twenty plus hours a week to link finding on Tumblr. We could have someone spending all of their time searching Tumblr and still not find everything).

The second is a question of time. I'm trying to do each link in under two minutes so that I have time to do all of the others and still eat and sleep. It could be resolved with a few more volunteers to help me with the blog list. Well, partially resolved. I still have no interest in reading most of the articles I link, and I doubt any other link finder would be either. It takes far too much time. I look just enough to be sure it's probably meta and to get a vague idea of what it's about. Then I pull a quote of some sort and go.

The third-- Well, most of the fandoms we link find in, we know nothing at all about beyond what we see in the meta we skim. Judging content with no knowledge is a bad idea. Also, we don't want to be arbiters of what's 'good.' We try to link only to substantive meta, but we're moving really fast. This ties in to complaints I've seen that we 'only link to SJW' stuff. We link to the stuff we can find. We're following more than sixty blogs. We'd add others if they were suggested. There's no point in adding Tumblrs because nobody's checking there. The reason we have, for example, a lot of Buffy meta is that there's a really great newsletter for the fandom on LJ that searches out a lot of good links. We don't, by contrast, have a lot of H5O or Supernatural meta because the sources we have for those don't link any and because none of the blogs we follow talk about those shows.

Okay. Time for lunch. Then I post.
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 04:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’ve been in a fairly toxic workplace for two years, and in one week I’m finally done with my contract and am moving on to greener, and saner pastures. This is all well and good, except I’m leaving behind a small team of people who I’ve grown very close to while I’ve managed them.

And I know things are about to get much, much worse for them at work. The company is in trouble financially, which we all know: it was used as an excuse to downsize, move us to tiny offices, increase unpaid overtime, not give raises, bonuses or paid leave, etc. We’ve all pulled together to make that work because we loved what we do. We used to have a really incredibly bad owner, who recently sold the company to her partner and fled: we’re still uncovering the mess she made of things.

Our direct manager as well is feeling the pressure, and with the prospect of me leaving, has started to make some changes to the workplace that I feel will be detrimental, to the work, the culture, and the team I’m leaving behind. Add to that that I found and hired my replacement, who I’m now worried is going to get burned by all this, and I’m feeling incredibly guilty and confused.

Do I have a responsibility to stick my nose in all this mess that is going to come raining down or does my leaving mean I can’t have anything to do with it? Is there some trick to just washing your hands and moving on?

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

the right way to leave a toxic workplace was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 03:00 pm

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue :)

open thread – May 22, 2015 was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 02:00 pm

Posted by Brett Jonas

We were never sure if Galaxy was even pregnant until the last week before she kidded. She stayed rather under the radar and was very active during her pregnancy. Notoriously, Galaxy is a strange goat. She is never hanging around a certain goat crowd, or sleeping next to her siblings, or really doing anything that is consistent with our other goats behaviors. It was great to see her start bagging up as her babies were wanting to come out.

Our two year old first fresheners had done so well up to this point and we had hardly any problems with their births. Galaxy, as usual, did not fit our pattern! She was tight. She didn’t want to push. She wouldn’t stay still. All things that make our job more difficult! We should have expected this from Galaxy. Gaston came out first after Emery coaxed her into pushing and helping him. He was very tangled up but Emery always does a good job at straightening out the babies before the births become too complicated and can put the momma does at risk.

Gepetto was second out and he was so tangled up and wrongly positioned that we pulled him out breech (backwards of normal position). Galaxy was extremely happy to have her babies out. This was a tough one, but her two boys were happy and healthy. Good job Galaxy!

Ga and Ge_blog_1

Gaston and Gepetto

2015 kid count: 31 doelings, 32 bucklings
2015 doe status (33 total): 28 does kidded, 5 left to go
2 set of quads, 8 sets of triplets, 13 set of twins, 5 singles


Signature Greyden



Friday, May 22nd, 2015 03:41 am


Not 100% still have to put a few things away throw away the garbage and do one more load of laundry
Pretty happy with myself