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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:00 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Bumping this thread to ask for your advice. Is it possible to negotiate a raise? I knew I was going to get one this semester, I had discussed it with management and we had discussed ballpark numbers but not put anything on paper (my mistake, I realize now). I expected we would finalize the discussion together, but instead I got a letter in the mail with a lower amount than I thought. It looks like a done deal. Is there any way I can bring this up without sounding hugely ungrateful? Or should I just be glad I got a not-bad-at-all amount?

If it matters, that's 2 years in a row that I am getting raises, while we've been having layoffs.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:56 pm 
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I have a similar problem... It's about 95% sure I'm getting this job and it's an entry level office manager type position. The pay reflects that.
However, the commute is going to cost me significant amounts of money, because if I drove I have to pay for parking in that area of the city, but the bus commute would be over five bucks a day, which will add up really quickly and it would be cheaper to have a minimum wage job within walking distance (which I could easily do). Is it OK to ask for more to compensate for transportation costs? Or is that just implied in an offer? I honestly don't think it's right to not offer a subsidized bus pass if you don't have parking for employees in a major city with minimal all day parking, but I wasn't sure what others thought.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:18 am 
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aelle wrote:
Bumping this thread to ask for your advice. Is it possible to negotiate a raise? I knew I was going to get one this semester, I had discussed it with management and we had discussed ballpark numbers but not put anything on paper (my mistake, I realize now). I expected we would finalize the discussion together, but instead I got a letter in the mail with a lower amount than I thought. It looks like a done deal. Is there any way I can bring this up without sounding hugely ungrateful? Or should I just be glad I got a not-bad-at-all amount?

If it matters, that's 2 years in a row that I am getting raises, while we've been having layoffs.

I don't think it hurts to bring up your raise was not the amount you discussed. Maybe it's presumptuous, I don't know! These days though I just try to think what a man/my husband would do. Would I think it weird if I heard a man bring up that his bonus was lower than he expected? Probably not, so why do I think that about myself? I'm not sure if that helps you but it's really helped me with my confidence in the workplace. I honestly don't know if it's normal to get it on paper, that seems a lot more structured than I imagine these conversations going.

I don't think you should take past years' raises into account. Did you do good work this year? If yes, a raise is in order. You might want to have some justifications in your back pocket for why you deserve a larger raise--did you do anything really noteworthy that you can mention?

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:21 am 
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MissD, maybe you can ask if they subsidize transportation expenses? My husband's commute is something like $14/day and his work has some program with Bart for a discounted pass. At the same time, I feel like that's a perk and not something employers should be expected to offer. Doesn't hurt to ask though!

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 5:56 am 
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aelle wrote:
If it matters, that's 2 years in a row that I am getting raises, while we've been having layoffs.

No it doesn't matter--careful with this line of thinking! I need to heed my own advice. It's thoughtful and compassionate to feel a bit awkward about being assertive at work when you're already being rewarded while others are being screwed over/fired, but unfortunately if you are just SO grateful for everything they give you in the midst of layoffs they will never bother considering that will always be expecting to be given raises to reflect your hard work. I speak from experience! And the last time I shyly asked for a raise, my bosses tried to make me feel guilty by saying "yes, well _______ has asked for a raise and she only gets paid $$, and you are the highest paid at the company, blah blah blah" (I know, my bosses are incredibly unprofessional and transparent). They wanted me to be a martyr for her but that's not the way it goes, man! You keep your employees from comparing pay! If I'm professional enough to not tell all my coworkers what I get paid so they don't feel upset about it then they shouldn't throw their wages at me.

I hope your higher-ups are better than mine but a grateful but pointed mention of not being a part of the final negotiation is completely acceptable. And couroupita has a point. My husband works for the same company and he's never been apologetic about stating what he's worth. I am SO uncomfortable with it and I tell myself it's because my parents told me "you will NEVER be doing your best and can always be better" but really it's because I'm being an apologetic woman. If I'm really honest with myself I think my bosses deserve a punch in the face for even considering that I might not be deserving of what I should be fairly earning. Case in point: I was making a lot more than my husband and recently he asked for a huge raise with a threat of leaving thrown in (it was a legitimate thing--he was being offered work elsewhere), and he got it. I'm in kind of a shitty position now because I know they value my skillset even more than his, but as his wife they are thinking (not saying, but I KNOW they are thinking) they think they just gave both of us a raise. Clearly they do NOT understand my world of student loan repayment.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:08 am 
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Go for it, Aelle! What's the worst that will happen? They may say no, but they're not going to revoke the raise you already got or fire you. I would mention that the raise as not as high as you anticipated based on your conversations. Reiterate explicitly what has made your work over the past year so good, especially if you can use solid numbers to back up your accplishments. If you haven't already, so some research on salaries for your position/industry, and if yours doesn't meet the average of what others at different companies are making, state that it would be appropriate for your raise to bring your salary in line with industry standard. If your raise is more in line with what other companies would give as a cost of living raise, vs. a merit-based raise, you could bring that up to.

My husband did this last year, after several years of being given only a pittance of a raise. (Like, 25 cents per hour, when he is a manager of a busy retail shop that is also a job training program, meaning he is meant not only to manage a bunch of people but also be working twice as hard as a regular mechanic would be, because he's the only person in his shop with more than a year or two of mechanic experience.). He brought up all those points to his executive director following that sad raise, and got a way bigger raise in response!


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:13 am 
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Oh, and MissD, can't hurt to ask, but what is way more common at least here in Chicago is that many places offer the ability to buy a monthly transit pass or parking pass with pre-tax income. So, the company isn't subsidizing it but it does end up saving you a little bit. I usually bike though (partly because I'm way too cheap to pay $100/month or $4.50/day to get to work!) so I'm not sure how much the pre-tax thing adds up.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:19 am 
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electric_claire wrote:
Oh, and MissD, can't hurt to ask, but what is way more common at least here in Chicago is that many places offer the ability to buy a monthly transit pass or parking pass with pre-tax income. So, the company isn't subsidizing it but it does end up saving you a little bit. I usually bike though (partly because I'm way too cheap to pay $100/month or $4.50/day to get to work!) so I'm not sure how much the pre-tax thing adds up.



excellent point ... at the University hospital where I work I get a 4 week bus pass for 51 quid ... the standard price for the bus is 4 quid 10p so that is a quite a saving ...

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 11:09 pm 
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I already asked in the interview. They don't, which is surprising, because it's super common here to do that. So I'm not sure what to do, because it's really unlikely that I could afford to work there without at least part of my transportation being covered, somehow, for the pay they're offering.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:11 pm 
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Is carpooling an option? I use the carma app occasionally. I'm guessing if you already asked, they probably won't change their position . However, if you do get the offer and it seems like they really want you, you could phrase it like you do want to take the job but transportation cost is a limiting factor and can they do anything to ease the pain?

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:22 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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This could have gone in a number of threads, possibly "worst thing". My manager asked me yesterday if I was pregnant or planning to be. He didn't actually say the P word but the question was clear ("you got married recently and you've been going to the doctor's a lot lately so if you have... big personal plans this year...") I had a miscarriage 3 weeks ago that work doesn't know about.

So first of all, hahahaha fork this guy so forking hard.

Second, I am not 100% sure what German law says about these questions but I suspect they're illegal, especially since they were happening in the context of whether or not I will be promoted soon. What should I do that doesn't put me at risk for retaliation? Should I tell him directly that it was inappropriate? I worry that will cost me my promotion. Should I talk with the work council? HR? Drop it?


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:16 am 
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I think that is tough, you might just want to say that you had a personal medical issue that has been resolved?

Are you able to call HR without them taking action? In my company, you can call HR, ask questions but any action is taken only when you ask for it.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:54 am 
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Aelle, I just looked it up and apparently it's illegal in a job application because it's discrimination against women but I'm not sure how it is when you are already employed.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:25 am 
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Aelle, that is shotty for so many reasons. I think if you feel like you still want or need to address it with your boss, Linanil's suggestion is good. I also think it would be good to ask HR (or possibly this work council you mention, but we don't have that so I don't know what that is) about your company's policy, both so they can offer clarification about the law and because they may also offer extra protection against gender discrimination above what the law says.

Another possibility, depending on your boss's personality and your relationship, could be to say to him something along the lines of: hey the other day I felt like you were trying to get at whether or not I am pregnant or trying to get pregnant. (Possibly add in Linanil's line instead about how you were dealing with a private medical issue that is resolved.) in other countries I've lived and worked in, that would be considered an inappropriate/illegal question because it would be considered gender discrimination if it affected my chances of getting promoted. Can you tell me about the laws here?

Or something like that, that prompts him to consider the implication of his question, and where I would have a very hard time imagining someone retaliating against you asking to help you understand the laws of your new country.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:17 am 
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Thanks both. The work council is a sort of union, they represent employees' interests. I haven't decided if I'm going to do anything yet, but if I do I think I'll ask the work council for advice / legal opinion first. They routinely send emails to all employees with information like "Reminder that management isn't legally entitled to ask you xxx or demand yyy, so here's what to do if it happens". That might be the most useful outcome...


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:43 pm 
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It's still potentially discriminatory, even if you already have the job, because it could affect which projects you are staffed on, teams you're assigned to, or even who is slated for lay-offs.

I think you're wise to ask the work council on how to handle it. My recollection of German law is that it is legal to lie to an employer who asks about protected information like family status. But obviously, you should check with someone who is admitted in your jurisdiction.

It would be so nice to assume that your employer is asking just to make conversation or figure out how to support you, but part of the reason why we hear so many "X never came back to work after she had the baby" stories is because employers do find ways to penalize women for their choices. I think a good half of my friends who are now stay at home mothers were forced out of their positions - their job was eliminated while they were on maternity leave, they were clearly signaled not to come back, they lost their direct reports or their clients, weren't staffed on high profile or experience building projects, were kept from client-facing interactions, etc. And even when people do come back, they're so often mommy-tracked and pushed out, because people don't want to take the risk of staffing a new mother on a project. It's almost like you have to prove your worth again, and your track record pre-children no longer benefits you.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:32 pm 
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I'm going to ask for a raise when it's my one year anniversary working at my job (so, like 2 weeks). I've been told that no one has gotten raises/bonuses in the 6 years this company's existed with the excuse that we're a startup. However, I know we spend a lot of money on conferences and are hiring a new exec and 3 new software people, so we should be able to afford it if we had different priorities.

I know I'm bringing a lot of value to the company. I contribute to 4 projects and my work has been directly responsible for propelling all of them forward. I wrote a grant proposal this year, am co-author on a paper, interviewed and hired 2 new employees, restructured our lab safety protocols, and made some important business connections for the company. I also work really long hours. So, I feel confident that my hard work should be rewarded.

If they turn my request for more money down, which I'm sure they will, what else can I ask for? More (worthless) stock? I also only have 2 weeks of vacation and 3 weeks is standard in my field. Should I ask for that?

I was really proud of myself for demanding (and getting) a salary much higher than they would've normally offered. I know it's kind of critical at this point in a woman's career to keep upping the ante to match male colleagues. My husband started at the same salary as me and has gotten 10% raises each year so I have a gauge of what I should be aiming for. I'm afraid this company is going to mess up my earning potential down the line. (And i can't quit and look for a new job until the fall, for Reasons).

Tell me what to do, wise PPKers!

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:28 pm 
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Something I've learned from dudes in the working world is that loyalty is a fool's currency. That is, if they don't give you what you want with a minimum of fuss, I'd start looking around for someone who will.

My partner was stuck in a job that gave him 25 cent raises for four years, and he kept thinking if he just worked harder and stuck it out, they'd give him a worthwhile raise. They ended up hiring a new guy at $4/hour more than my partner's wage (for slightly less experience). My partner found this out, asked them to match the wage. They didn't, and he quit. He's now making almost $10/hour more, and in 6 months on the job, has already been given a $3/hour raise.

I think the moral of that story is that having the confidence to ask for what you're worth in your job is great, but if a company knows you're willing to work for what you're already getting, there's not much incentive for them to give you more. I know it's a competitive market in the Bay Area, but maybe the best way for confidence to serve you is to get you out there applying for jobs that will pay you more money.

In short, what I've learned from dudes about job stuff is: "fork you; pay me."

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:35 am 
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I agree with JP, men are definitely more willing to leave for higher pay which is usually why they get it. I had one manager one time that a sure fire way to get higher pay was to get an outside offer with higher pay and then bring it back to be matched. People do that but I think if I'm at that point, I'm leaving.

I don't live in the Bay Area so I know the market is a bit different. I work in a pretty competitive field and so does my husband. Both of us work for a large corporation. In my 18 years of working, neither of us have seen a 10%/year pay increase (with 1 exception) but we do get yearly raises. One year it was 1.5%, but generally it ranges between 3-4.5%. And both of us tend to be on the higher end of our counterparts. I did get a 10% raise once, but I fought 3 years for it because I wasn't switching jobs, which is usually when you can argue for more money.

Having said that, smaller companies tend to have more flexibility which is why you might see the ability to get larger raises. I don't know if that helps you at all but I do think you should argue for money and also keep your outside options open.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:58 am 
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I work mostly for the government so my experience has definitely been that if I want a raise I need to get a different/higher paying job. I haven't had a raise in about two and a a half years now, but I think my current job will have raises available soon. Inflation is 1 or 2% a year so any raise above 2% a year is great to me. 10% a year is extremely rare. If you haven't had a raise for a while bring up the inflation rate and that x% wouldn't even be a raise, but just keeping up with inflation. Demand more than that.

If you start at 50K with 10% raises you'd be at about 130K in just 10 years. In my experience that's not the usual salary range for a job. Just imagine an employee who stayed 10 more years!


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:31 am 
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couroupita wrote:
I've been told that no one has gotten raises/bonuses in the 6 years this company's existed with the excuse that we're a startup.


I'm sure there are a handful of companies where this is actually the case, but in my experience it's a lie. Companies that want to grow (almost) always have a budget to give raises to the stars they want to retain. The rumor for the last 3 years at my company was that there was absolutely zero budget for raises, but I got one every year (5% on average). I don't know if I'm a star, but at least management has made clear that they want to keep me.

Tigon wrote:
If you start at 50K with 10% raises you'd be at about 130K in just 10 years. In my experience that's not the usual salary range for a job. Just imagine an employee who stayed 10 more years!


That doesn't seem so crazy to me? For employees that are both valuable and agressive about their growth in the company, going from 50K to 6 figures in 10-15 years seems doable.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:36 am 
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aelle wrote:
Tigon wrote:
If you start at 50K with 10% raises you'd be at about 130K in just 10 years. In my experience that's not the usual salary range for a job. Just imagine an employee who stayed 10 more years!

That doesn't seem so crazy to me? For employees that are both valuable and agressive about their growth in the company, going from 50K to 6 figures in 10-15 years seems doable.

Maybe I just need to be in a different industry. My 10 years of work haven't gotten me anywhere near a 6 figure income.


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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:38 am 
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aelle wrote:

Tigon wrote:
If you start at 50K with 10% raises you'd be at about 130K in just 10 years. In my experience that's not the usual salary range for a job. Just imagine an employee who stayed 10 more years!


That doesn't seem so crazy to me? For employees that are both valuable and agressive about their growth in the company, going from 50K to 6 figures in 10-15 years seems doable.


Agreed. Particularly since in the Bay Area, 6-figure incomes are not really all that high. I'd also add that the potential for larger-than-normal raises and other compensation is a main reason people work at startups to begin with!

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:58 am 
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Yeah I wish 10% was the norm or even 5%. My company puts out the average increase every year and usually average is 3%, which means some get a little more and some get a little less. Although my company also has other things as well like awards you can get and I've gotten a few of those over the years, sometimes the awards are $50, sometimes $500 and sometimes $2000. They also cap how many awards you can get in a year. They hate to increase your base pay though and would rather give you an award, which I like awards but I also like base pay increases.

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 Post subject: Re: "The Confidence Gap"--women in the workplace
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:22 pm 
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I think it depends on the industry and area. I wouldn't expect 10% every year but I'm just starting my career and 10% of my salary right now isn't that crazy.

I talked to the other senior scientist at my job since she has seniority and hasn't gotten a raise except for when new hires are brought on. I didn't want to screw her over. She said she'd be willing to also ask for a raise so it's like a united front (we wouldn't ask together, but we will both be advocating for ourselves). It's a little unconventional but I know the company will be trying to pit us against each other (oh, it's good enough for her, why not for you?). I brought it up casually to my boss and he said something about more stock as an employee incentive. I don't have a lot of faith in our company being successful right now and we haven't gone public, so to me the stock is worthless. So I guess I'm still mulling this over.

Someone my husband knows in the industry is interested in getting me to apply to a position at his company. I'm interested but the job doesn't sound right up my alley, so I'm not super eager. I connected with the guy and we are trying to set up a skype chat so I can find out more about the position. I'm kind of frustrated though because he only wants to talk between 7:15 am-6pm or weekends after 8 pm. I'm not trying to play hardball but this is when I'm commuting or at work (weekends are fine but he didn't tell me until 7 pm last night and I didn't see the email until today). I mentioned this to my husband that I find it annoying and he's making up all these excuses for this guy (oh, he's just trying to help you get a better job, oh he's on paternity leave and he's busy with his baby). Like, isn't he trying to recruit me? I'm secure in my job (for now), I'm not thirsty for a new position. He's an upper echelon manager--shouldn't a manager be willing to spend 30 minutes of his evening to talk to someone he's mentioned to my husband multiple times he wants to recruit? Would a woman on part time maternity leave be allowed the same excuses for not being available? I said I could talk during my lunch break. I technically have the freedom to take off time during my work day for personal errands, but I like to save those times for when it is really important. Also, doesn't it seem bad to a potentially new employer that I'd be willing to slack off work to have a casual conversation about a new job? I dunno. I want to be friendly but not a pushover and I feel really unsupported by the one person in my life who usually has good advice.

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