Q.Farewell, How to Deal Live

Good morning and welcome to How to Deal Live. I am saddened to report that this live chat will be our last. As the Jobs section turns its attention to new and diverse projects, these live sessions are unfortunately no longer on the agenda.

I will continue to write the weekly How to Deal column and I hope you will stay in touch with me by sending your questions and comments to hradvice@washingtonpost.com.

I will miss our conversations, but I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to bring you many more resources of interest.

– July 27, 2010 10:40 AM

Q.”Interim” Salary

Thanks for taking my question. I will be serving as an “Interim” manager for about six months until a permanent person can take over the position. I may also be considered for the permanent position, but that will not be determined for several months. The only issue is that we have not yet settled on an appropriate salary. Do you have any advice on how to handle this? If I get a raise now, and then they hire someone else permanently, do I agree to a pay cut? I’m sure others have been in this situation, and it would be great to get some advice!

– July 27, 2010 10:19 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

Congratulations on your new opportunity. It would be appropriate for you to ask for a temporary increase in pay. You should be prepared, however, to accept a corresponding reduction in pay later if you do not continue in the management role. If your employer is unwilling to provide a temporary pay increase, then you should inquire about whether they would consider compensating you in the form of a performance bonus at the end of the year.

– July 27, 2010 11:01 AM

Q.Harassed (?) by CEO

Hi Lily - I just started a new job, which so far I LOVE. A few weeks ago, I was at a work conference, where I was approached by our CEO as I was walking back to my hotel room late at night. He was extremely drunk, I was not. Short version is that he asked me to “hook up” (yes, he used that term) him. My response was to ask what the h-ll was wrong with him and leave. He took that well enough - he was pissed and said a lot of other things (too long for here) but didn’t touch me. Needless to say I am incredibly uncomfortable. I’m not sure what to do here because I’d like to keep my job. I’m not sure whether he remembers the incident, so on one hand I could let it go, but on the other hand there could be consequences to letting it go. I did manage to get back to my room and then write myself time/date stamped email notes should I need them. My current thought is to have a lawyer take some kind of statement from me in case there’s any follow-up harassment or retaliation for rejecting him. FWIW, I am in my early 30s and have a middle management position, and he’s no more than 10 years older than me. Do you have any advice? Thanks.

– July 27, 2010 11:01 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

Report the incident immediately to human resources or to the legal department. Read your company’s anti-harassment policy and follow the established complaint procedure to the letter. You need to do your part to document and address the issue internally. It does not sound like your CEO took the rejection very well, so you need to do all that you can to ensure that your job is not threatened. I think it is premature to consult an attorney. If you are subject to any negative personnel action you think is related to your refusal of the CEO’s advances, then it is time to call a lawyer.

I am sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this!

– July 27, 2010 11:07 AM

Q.How to take your business elsewhere

I work for a small IT consulting. My current assignment has gone very well; the client has expressed multiple times how very pleased they are with the quality of my work. What was supposed to be a one year engagement is now a three year engagement with the possibility of going for longer than three years. Another thing is that we initially started as sub-contractors, and this year the client extended a direct contract to our firm. However, the owners of the consulting firm that I work for say that they are pleased with my performance, but not really that happy because the account hasn’t grown. I am the only one on the contract. On one hand, when they talk tome on a one-on-one basis they have begun using treating language like ‘we are going to have to figure out if it is worth keeping this account. This may be it for you.’ On the other hand, when there are other employees, they say great things about me. What gives? What do you think I should do? I am really tempted to quit then re-apply with another company. In other words take my business elsewhere. I am fairly certain the client would re-hire me thorough another firm.

– July 27, 2010 10:21 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

You first should have a frank discussion with your employer about exactly where it is that you stand. If it becomes obvious that you do not have a future with this firm -- which is puzzling given how happy the client seems to be -- and you are confident that the client is loyal to you personally, then you should go elsewhere.

– July 27, 2010 11:11 AM

Q.Last chat?

Do the Post powers that be realize how much they are alienating longtime subscribers by cutting these chats? First Michael Dirda & Adrian Higgins, and now you! I find this very discouraging.

– July 27, 2010 11:04 AM

Q.Not Funny

(Sorry if this is a repost, my browser closed and lost the earlier entry.) Our department posted an online ad looking for copywriters for our website. Most of the respondents have been from South East Asia and English is not their primary language. Most of the responses are full a grammatical errors and malapropisms. My supervisor has started passing around these responses to laugh at all of the mistakes, and the jokes are starting to take a racist tinge (eg speaking in an Indian accent.) My department is very relaxed, and we tend to joke around a lot: an aspect I really like about my job. But this situation bothers me, and I’m not sure what to say. (FWIW our entire department and 95% of our company is white.)

– July 27, 2010 11:07 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

You are right: it is not funny. It is childish and unprofessional. Speak up! As diplomatically as you can, tell your supervisor that you think the joke has gone too far. And do not participate in the banter. Be the lonely voice of reason.

– July 27, 2010 11:14 AM

Q.No more chats

First the Real Estate Chat was cancelled, now this! What chats are next to be cancelled?

– July 27, 2010 11:14 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

I don’t know.

– July 27, 2010 11:19 AM

Q.cancelling chats

The real estate chat with Elizabeth Razzi has been cancelled too. I hate the videos - bad move Post.

– July 27, 2010 11:15 AM

Q.Desperate College Grad

In anticipation of lining up a job post graduation, I began my job hunt last November. After almost 9 months of applying to easily over 100 jobs, I’ve basically come up with nothing. I’ve been told that applying to jobs really doesn’t account for much unless you have a connection (which is true because the only interview I got was through a professor). I’ve tried the whole networking thing--LinkedIn, connecting with professionals in the field and exchanging emails, etc. but I find that it’s really difficult to make anyone care about you. I thought I had developed a good relationship with someone who was working at my ideal company and while she promised to shepherd my resume along, nothing came of it. I feel like I’ve heard all the advice, tried to apply it, but I’m still without a job. I know the market is tough, especially new graduates, (WaPo alone has reminded me of that nearly everday) but do you have any advice for this near-desperate college grad?

– July 27, 2010 11:17 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

You are doing all the right things. Keep at it! Try expanding your network. Think about relatives of friends, friends of your parents, and others you might not have tapped. Send a message to those who most care about you asking for connections and introductions. You will eventually find a mentor or two who will open a crucial door. Don’t give up. It is tough out there, but there are jobs.

– July 27, 2010 11:25 AM

Q.Where to complain

Hello, You provide a valuable service with these chats. I am kindly requesting the email of the person to complain about this removal issue. I cannot be the only one and if they’re moving more towards a federal jobs focused content, my first response is that I don’t really care because I work in the private sector. You cover that so well. Thanks, Irritated WaPo subscriber

– July 27, 2010 11:19 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

I believe Andrew Alexander, the Ombudsman, is the contact for reader complaints. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/03/25/LI2005032500838.html

– July 27, 2010 11:29 AM

Q.Sorry to make this chat about your departure, but...

I too hate the videos. For one thing, they don’t allow for a thoughtful and detailed answer such as you get by considering a post and then typing a reply. Also, consider those of us who read and contribute to the chats while at work; we usually can’t stop work to watch a video!

– July 27, 2010 11:25 AM

Q.Chat ending

I’m sorry to see this chat go. I read it always (despite the fact that I’m a self-employed freelancer and don’t have workplace issues). Apparently the Post is planning on more video chats, which I think is a bad idea. I just wrote a letter to the managing editor about this. Thanks for the chats, Lily, and good luck.

– July 27, 2010 11:23 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

Thank you for your kind wishes.

– July 27, 2010 11:30 AM

Q.For desparate college grad

What field are you trying to get into? Perhaps someone reading the chat can lend a hand.

– July 27, 2010 11:30 AM

Q.Love the column!

Oh omnipresent producer, any chance we could have a link to Lily’s columns in the “About” or “Background” areas? They still don’t show up in my e-mails from the WaPo, and the chats are usually the only time I catch up on her columns!

– July 27, 2010 11:20 AM

A.Rangwala :

I am not God :) Sure you can read Lily’s columns here.

– July 27, 2010 11:33 AM

Q.The Secret Layoff

I have been told that my job is ending on Sept. 30. Although the job is being eliminated, and I won’t be replaced by a FTE (just by freelancers), I have been having some issues with my boss. When I was told this in a meeting with my boss, my boss’s boss and the HR person, I was also told that I should not say anything about this to anyone else. I am confused about this. Do they want to announce this on Oct. 1 as if they fired me on Sept. 30? Or might they be planning other layoffs (and/or outsourcing to “contractors”) in the department/organization?

– July 27, 2010 11:23 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

A number of things could be going on. My money is on your employer just wanting to have control of the message. Maybe they are planning other layoffs, maybe not; maybe they do not know yet. In any event, they do not want the news of your departure dangling out there and making other people nervous. You might want to go back to your boss/HR to ask whether you could have permission to announce your departure at least a couple weeks before you leave so that you have a chance to say goodbye to colleagues and exit with some dignity. If you are suddenly gone without explanation, people will be left to wonder what happened and they will assume the worst.

– July 27, 2010 11:37 AM

Q.Lily Garcia :

I have been receiving many messages from loyal readers disappointed with the news of the end of How to Deal Live. Thank you for your kind and supportive thoughts. To those of you who have asked, you may direct your concerns to the Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander.

However, I note that we have only 20 minutes left in the chat! I would love to hear from you if you have any remaining questions I could answer.

– July 27, 2010 11:41 AM


The first job I took was with a Beltway Bandit firm. Things went bad very quickly. The firm (private) was sold to a larger company. The IS dept was erased (incl me). I then took a job with another Beltway Bandit firm. Within days, the contract was terminated. At that point I tried to find a job in another field, but wound up having to go back into defense contracting. Again, I was caught up in a M&A. So, I have had seven employers in a three year period. Then another lay off. In a job interview the hiring manager made a big deal of seven jobs in three years. Although I attempted to explain the details, she kept cutting me off and making comments like “it seems to me you just can’t hold a job”. Then she offered that if I was smart I would empower myself to make sure I don’t get grouped into a team that would be scheduled for termination. So, how does one do this? How do I empower myself against mgmt?

– July 27, 2010 11:36 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

I think what that hiring manager said to you is nonsense. You simply cannot predict whether your new team will become the target of a layoff. You should do your due diligence regarding the overall financial health of any employer or industry in which you are thinking of working. As an applicant, however, you cannot anticipate these types of internal decisions.

– July 27, 2010 11:45 AM

Q.coping with terrible manager

Hi Lily, I just wanted to say that I have recently completed a project with one of the worst managers I’ve ever encountered. She is a bully, does not work collaboratively, and was mostly interested in stealing other’s work for credit and toadying up to the boss. But I read your columns and chats often, and tried to deal with this manager as best as possible by remaining professional and trying to treat others on the team with the kind of respect I wish we had gotten from the team leader. The project was successful in the end (and in the absence of this bad manager) and we all came out looking good even though many in my workplace are aware of how miserable this person is. I think for all the times I wished I could get some kind of revenge on this bad manager, the ultimate goal is to do a good job and try to put your best foot forward. I think that is the message you are often trying to send to readers and I just wanted to thank you for it.

– July 27, 2010 11:53 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

It is gratifying to hear that the approach I recommended has worked for you. Best of luck!

– July 27, 2010 11:55 AM

Q.can’t get a fed job

I have been working in my field for over 15 years and more then half of them at a federal institution, though as a non-fed employee. I just found out that a subordinate got a position I applied for. I have three times as much experience, but 3 of her years are federal. So the only thing I can figure is that I can’t get a fed job if they count federal years over 3 times more then actual experience. I am yet again frustrated. I have been trying on and off for 15 years to get a fed job and either it goes to an internal candidate or it goes to another fed. I am in a specialized field, which makes it even harder. Any advice, besides giving up?

– July 27, 2010 11:47 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

My advice is to reach out to hiring managers to obtain feedback about your profile and what would make your candidacy stronger. Also, network internally (within the government) so that you are in the best possible position when the next opportunity arises. Not unlike the private sector, who you know in the federal government and what they think of you does matter in the selection process.

– July 27, 2010 11:58 AM

Q.Thank you

Lily, It is with great sadness that I read of the end of this chat. I want to thank you for your realistic advice over the years. Specifically, you helped me deal with a colleague who made a lot of noises that drove me crazy. I learned to think more kindly toward him by appreciating him for the work he did. This made him less annoying. I also brought a set of earplugs to work, and I use them when I really need things to be quiet. Thank you for telling us to talk to people about issues, and reminding us to be nice. Thank you for reminding us that we have rights, and for telling us that it is important to stand up for them and grab on to those rights. But to go through the proper channels. What will you be doing in the next few months? Do you mind telling us? I will really miss these chats. Best of luck to you.

– July 27, 2010 11:45 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

Thank you for your note. It means a lot to me to know that I have been of service. Please remember that I am not going away. I will still be writing my weekly column and I can be reached through my editor at hradvice@washingtonpost.com.

Over the coming months, I will keep practicing employment law (my “day job”), taking care of my kids, and dreaming of the day when I can finally take a real vacation! I am also starting a blog where I will continue to explore day-to-day workplace issues. Stay tuned.

– July 27, 2010 12:03 PM

Q.Workplace productivity

Perhaps the chat cancellations are a conspiracy between our bosses and the Post to improve workplace productivity. I know I’ll get more done with fewer chats to read!

– July 27, 2010 11:44 AM Permalink

A.Lily Garcia :


– July 27, 2010 12:03 PM


How to deal with managers who don’t care? They are just taking the attitude of retiring soon and planning vacations, yet some of us want to make something of this job. I come up with personal goals and challenges but after some time I want some guidance on how better myself. Yet all I get is your doing fine.

– July 27, 2010 11:54 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

If your manager does not care, find one who does. Or find another senior professional -- even beyond the four walls of your workplace - who is willing to mentor you.

– July 27, 2010 12:04 PM

Q.Richmond, VA

I feel the recent grad’s pain. I am attempting to return to the DC area, have applied to well over 50 jobs, and have gotten no interviews. I have gotten superior ratings on federal jobs only to be told that there were too many veterans in front of me for me to be considered. To make matters worse, my ability to network in DC from afar is not working so well. Has anyone ever considered setting up a speed-networking/speed-interviewing organization or something along the lines of a speed-dating set-up? I have no idea how it would be organized but think that getting even a few minutes of face time (not like the cattle calls you find at job fairs) may be beneficial to both employers and candidates. One dimensional paper people (resumes) don’t tell a complete story. There has to be a way to balance the impersonal online application world of Resumix and other scanners with some real person contact. Just a thought. And your chats will be missed.

– July 27, 2010 11:41 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

I think that the job fair is the closest thing to the “speed-interviewing” idea you have suggested. I would love to see what happens when a few frustrated creative high-potentia, recent grads like you get together to find a solution to this issue. Maybe Facebook could help here?

– July 27, 2010 12:07 PM

Q.Different Recent Grad

I’m in the same situation as the recent grad, though I’ve only been looking for five months or so. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’m actually getting responses from firms, though almost all of them have said that because of the economy they aren’t hiring. The one interview I’ve had recently went really well, but ended with them saying they aren’t going to hire until September at the earliest. My question is how should I follow up with the places that responded that they weren’t hiring in April or May but might be now (or at least soon)?

– July 27, 2010 11:44 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

If you made a personal connection, email that person and invite him/her out for coffee. Otherwise, follow up by voice mail or email with your contact in human resources. Also consider sending a LinkedIn invitation to the people you have met. But do stay in touch.

– July 27, 2010 12:09 PM

Q.Two Cities, One Job

I recently graduated from a school in one city, and have moved back home to DC due to the inability to pay rent without a job. I’ve been applying for jobs in both cities, but am worried that because the address on my resume is in DC my application is being automatically thrown in the no pile. What’s the best way to get around this? I have a short sentence in my cover letter stating that I’m looking to return to the city as soon as possible, but I don’t know if I should go into more detail or just leave it out all together, or if the one sentence is fine? Please help!

– July 27, 2010 11:47 AM

A.Lily Garcia :

How about getting a P.O. Box in the other city?

– July 27, 2010 12:10 PM

Q.Thank you for many great conversations

As I mentioned at the start of today’s program, this will unfortunately be the final edition of How to Deal Live.

Thank you for your questions, comments, and always spirited participation over the years.

I will miss our conversations, but I do hope that you will stay in touch by writing to me at hradvice@washingtonpost.com.

All the best,


– July 27, 2010 10:43 AM