Make training a priority

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Don’t jump so fast for that promotion or raise you’re about to win. Today’s workplace is largely unstable — people get laid off and job hop constantly, and in general, staying anywhere more than five years is a career liability. Your learning curve flattens out so much that you’re not gaining skills fast enough to stay competitive in the field.

In this environment, training is worth more than a promotion or a raise, and in fact, you’d do well to make a trade if someone offers you either. Training is the new currency of the workplace. Here are four reasons why:

1. Promotions are stressful.
When you get offered a promotion, it’s supposed to be a reward for good work. But in fact, most promotions derail you.

Think about it: You’re creating a career path that’s customized to your skills, strengths, and personal goals. How could anyone else create a path that’s right for you? Unfortunately, most companies structure a single corporate ladder and promote people upward whether it’s good for them or not.

In fact, most people do good work and then get promoted into a position they’ve shown no aptitude for. This is most pronounced when, say, a creative person or technical person gets promoted into management. In fact, most promotions are so misguided they’re more stressful than divorce.

2. Raises are negligible.
What do you get in exchange for taking the huge risk of leaving something you’re good at to do something you’re unproven at? What do you get in exchange for derailing your personal plans to follow someone else’s path? A 3 percent raise (on average), or 10 percent if you’re lucky.

Let’s say you get a 10 percent raise. If you’re earning $50,000, that’s $5,000. After taxes it’s around $3,500 — if you even stay in the job for another year. That amount of money won’t change your life, and even if you think it will, consider all the extra hours you’ll be working because you got promoted.

3. Mentors make a real difference.

What will change your life? Mentoring. People who have a mentor are more successful than people who don’t, across the board. For example, people with two mentors are 50 percent more likely to reach their next career goal than people who don’t have mentors.

So one thing you could do is spend less time gunning for that promotion and more time focusing on what you need to do to get a mentor. For example, ask good questions of the people you admire, and spend extra time getting to know people outside of your core group of coworkers.

It would be great if you could take your money from a promotion and buy a mentor, but life doesn’t work like that. (Although you could take the money and hire a career coach.)

4. Training creates stability.

You can trade money for training, though, and that’s what you should do. Your career trajectory and your ability to create a stable income are dependent on your skill set. There’s no job stability in the workplace today, so you have to count on yourself by being very desirable to employers. You do this by getting lots of training, and mentors to guide you on how to use that training.

There’s a huge range of training available today — you can get trained in how to deal with your email, how to connect better to people you speak to, and how to transition from college to adulthood. Have your company pay for this sort of training — it’s the kind that changes your life.

While a promotion actually makes your life more unstable, training creates more stability in your life. And that, rather than more money or a promotion, should be the real reward for performing well in your job.

38 replies
  1. Jesse Cline
    Jesse Cline says:

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say here…are you suggesting that people avoid being promoted until they have enough training? At my previous employer, my “coach” used to say “success is a marathon, not a sprint” and I whole-heartedly agree with that notion.

    However, I don’t agree with you saying that “your learning curve flattens out” if you stay at one place for 5 years. This might be true if you are not promoted, but if you are promoted, there is no way the learning curve will be flat.

    Also, if one is to switch employers, isn’t it more likely that they are going to move to a higher position, and thus be promoted? Thats why I left my firm. And it IS stressful, even more so since I have a whole new system to learn and have to make a name for myself all over again. It is very rewarding though, both for my wallet and my ego, to be in a higher position and be exposed to more than just “grunt work”. As an accountant, I don’t want to just be a highly trained math machine, I want exposure to leadership roles, planning, and the other aspects that come with a promotion.


  2. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Especially your point about creative/technical people getting promoted into management. Today’s workplace is still structured on the manufacturing paradigm where workers work and managers watch the workers work. As a creative person, I’d much rather due the creative stuff than watch someone else do it at a lower level than I can.

    As we move into the Information Age/21st Century, knowledge workers are going to be more valued and those jobs will pay better because the people doing them offer more to their employer than the people who are watching them do their job.

    I recently left my employer of 9 years for a new job. There were many reasons but the #1 was the amount that I can learn from people at my new job – they are very forward thinking and smart (and at my old job they really weren’t)

  3. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    It has been my observation that you can almost never move up while switching companies at the same time. In Jesse’s accounting world, for example, say you’re a senior accountant who wants to be a controller. Most companies who need a controller will either promote a senior accountant from within, or they will go outside and find someone who already has experience as a controller. They almost never hire someone from outside who hasn’t been a controller before. Just my .02, based on what I’ve seen.

  4. Adam Schaible
    Adam Schaible says:

    I think the point is to avoid a promotion that doesn’t align with your goals. I’m a software engineer, and in my career you have several people doing the same job with different levels of experience and knowledge. When someone demonstrates a high level of experience and knowledge, they might be promoted – but their job responsibilities don’t necessarily have to change.

    Would I be a good manager? Who knows? I think the point is taking a promotion that doesn’t fit within your goals and skillset doesn’t really make any sense. Analyze your promotions, make sure you expect to be successful in these positions without sacrificing too much.

  5. Matt Bingham
    Matt Bingham says:

    I agree that training and experience are invaluable in today’s job market. I’m not sure how to think of this – and I don’t want to be one of those people that say “In my field” blah blah blah. I understand the fact that you need to get as much experience and training from your company as you can. And I understand that a lot of times (most of the time if you ask me) people are promoted before they are ready. In the latter case, if the person is good enough they should be able to learn and experience a new promotion right? Thus not allowing the learning curve to flatten. My only fear would be that the resume may not look as good if you have one title on it but a lot of training. Ok, I have to say it…”In my field” most employers don’t care about training…they care about doing and if you can’t do than training means nothing. Now, hopefully one’s training allowed them to figure out how to do, hopefully. But experience is where it’s all at. I don’t think I am thinking about this right though. Let me take it in and re-post. I think I am agreeing with you but in a different way ;)


  6. Adam Schaible
    Adam Schaible says:

    In response to pirate joe:

    In a world of average people, you make a safer bet hiring someone that has experience doing the tasks you are hiring them to do.

    That’s why the world is so easy for extraordinary people. I would not disagree with you one bit – most of the time (read: average) this takes place.

  7. thom singer
    thom singer says:

    I believe that you can have your cake and eat it too in this type of situation. If the company is going to promote you to a job that is beyond your current skill level (as a reward for the good work you have done), make additional training part of the deal. Rather than avoiding a promotion or turning it down, let your superiors know that you are excited and honored, but they need to invest in you by providing the training and support to ensure your success. Thus you can get the raise and the training.

    My wife did this years ago and it lead to the best three years of her working career. She was with the company ten years (before being leaving to take on the more challenging role of full-time-mom and CEO of everything in our home). During that ten years she had 4 promotions and lateral moves to different and more challenging roles and departments.

    Each time she got a little more money (and don’t balk at a 5% or 10% raise, as they add up. Like compounded interest it seems small if you look at it in a slice of time, but over a career those “little” increases become a big salary), a little training, and a lot of on the job challenges that lead her to being at the top of her game.

  8. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Adam, we are in agreement – I think the extraordinary people are the ones who get promoted from within, AFTER they have proven themselves. I don’t think that even the extraordinary people get promoted while switching companies, because companies are really careful about covering their butts. Hiring (in my example) someone who is a senior accountant somewhere else into a controller position is simply too big of a leap of faith for most companies. They will get you in the door through a lateral hire, then wait for you to demonstrate that you can be moved up.

    That said, I have seen people promoted to management positions based upon technical proficiency at lower levels, because that is the only way for them to make more money. They don’t necessarily have a grasp of what it takes to lead other people just because they have mastered the technical stuff. Sometimes they have difficulty leaving that comfort zone, doing what they already know they are good at, and have a hard time “letting go” and delegating responsibility in any meaningful sense. They are still convinced (based on their past success) that they know the Best Way To Do Things, and no one wants to work for a micromanager.

  9. Jason Warner
    Jason Warner says:

    After years of assessing talent (including executive talent) one of the vital behaviors that differentiates the most successful business people from the mean is their commitment to personal development and growing their skills and abilities.

    Interestingly, I’ve noticed that most corporate workers significantly under-invest in their efforts to develop themselves, and instead get consumed with tactics.

    Nobody will remember that you produced 10% more widgets in your job, but they will notice if you continue to grow your skills and abilities (particularly in leadership).

  10. Scott Messinger
    Scott Messinger says:


    I know that your writing tend towards hyperbole, because it makes for more interesting reading. But the statement “staying anywhere more than 5 years is a career liability” is a bit much.

    This assumes that your job is stagnant, or you don’t get promoted. If you are working in a company that embraces new technologies or has customized career ladders, then why not stay?

    Also, while getting promoted can be stressful, changing companies has to be even MORE stressful. You have to learn new faces, new office politics, new procedures, a new boss with different workplace rules. Heck, even just finding a new driving route to work is a pain. How can that NOT be stressful? Even with the new opportunities it may bring, I can’t imagine changing jobs unless your current one was such a living hell that you couldn’t stand it anymore.

    I think the key is this: Make sure the promotion is RIGHT for you. Don’t take it just because you think you are supposed to. It’s OK to turn down a promotion if it isn’t right. Just be gracious.

  11. Jesse Cline
    Jesse Cline says:

    RE: “It has been my observation that you can almost never move up while switching companies at the same time.”

    I completely disagree with you on this one. I would say about 75% of people who work for a Big 4 accounting firm end up leaving to get a job at the next level. Thats the whole reason why we wanted to work there in the first place. I am not advocating switching companies, in fact I am a firm believer in paying your dues and being promoted within. I was just arguing against Penelope]s idea that people should switch companies every 5 years since it would likely be the equivalent of being promoted anyway.

  12. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Re Big 4 accounting firms, most of those folks get hired by clients, so it’s not as if they have had no experience with the company. They have been able to prove themselves, similar to the way a contractor can get hired by a client after they have been there a while. It’s not the same thing as someone trying to switch companies out of the blue. And not to diss public accounting, but if you’ve spent the last 2-3 years doing audits and taxes for companies in the middle of BFE, it’s not too hard to see moving out as moving up!

  13. Jesse Cline
    Jesse Cline says:

    RE: Pirate Jo, Since Sarbanes Oxlet was implemented, auditors are no longer allowed to work for their clients without a 1 year “cooling off period” so it is not common place the case anymore. Any we don’t do audits in BFE, every Fortune 500 company in the US is audited by one of the Big 4 so we usually work in downtown areas.

    The reason people move up is because the Big 4 only hires the best and the brightest, and then quickly beats them down and builds them back up (bordeline indoctrination LOL). Companies know they are hiring someone who doesn’t mind working hard, is extremely smart, and also has had exposure to higher level things than most of their peers

    Its awful, thankless work though, so you have that part right.

  14. t h rive
    t h rive says:

    Penelope, some of the comments that come out more or less AGAINST you in yahoo are rather hilarious. I have been reading your blog for close to a year and find that more and more of what you write DOES in fact play in to my workplace. And if it doesn’t, then I can safely make it play and get away with it.

    I am rarely ‘up for a promotion’ as being a consultant, my salary – though stable – does depend on how much work I can bring in for myself. In that case, the training they have paid me to do IS a good 87% more important than a raise. A 10% raise would hardly effect me, it’s true.

    The differing reactions you’ll get out of people of course depend on their demographics.

    “Shut your mouth at work. Noone cares to ‘develop you’ – they just want you to do whatever you are told. Don’t believe that your employer is your partner in training you to be all that you can be – thats not true. Be smart – take all the raises (money) that is offerred to you – NEVER replace it with training. ”

    Does this person wish to work for Hitler the rest of his bitter life?

  15. Dave Atkins
    Dave Atkins says:

    Working in startup companies for the past 12 years, I have a different perspective. In the companies where I’ve been officially promoted, it was something I designed/asked for. I can’t imagine being given an ill-fitting promotion. Also, my advancement has been primarily from job-changing as I outgrew the challenges my company offered or the company expired. So I think the only way to get a significant promotion and raise is to change companies. The most significant raise you ever get is when you are hired.

    Training? Who has time or money for that? You learn as you go. If you can justify the expense of attending a training class, great, but in general, we don’t hire people who can’t train themselves. Partly, it’s because in a startup environment, the owners/leaders/founders don’t know what to train people on because the business is changing constantly.

  16. Blake Thomas
    Blake Thomas says:


    You are sounding like my 19 year old daughter more and more every day. I’m guessing that’s a good thing seeing how your shtick is understanding her generation. Your stuff is right on as for what is happening, but how do effect change is the question?

    I don’t embrace the addage of “it is what it is, so deal with it”. At the end of the day, we (industry) needs people to move up and take on leadership roles. Sometimes these new roles mean sacrifice and a willingness to “take one for the team” as it were (without abuse from the employer mind you). This practice also teaches future execs. the art of the deal. We are not teaching our young execs. how to negotiate, even if for their own well being.

    There is this new overwhelming since of if it ain’t good for me, I’m not doing it. I don’t like this – “it’s all about me” attitude that seems to be permiating through the work force.



  17. CJ
    CJ says:

    I think it’s easier to jump up to where you want to get in another company if you’ve already got a promotion in your own.

    Much smaller leap of faith for the recruiter.

  18. Dale
    Dale says:

    Adam Schaible’s statement, “I think the point is to avoid a promotion that doesn't align with your goals.” Is a pretty accurate assessment of what one needs to do to be successful. I do not understand why so many comments particularly at Yahoo, see having a focus on training, and selective promotion acceptance as mutually exclusive paths. It’s not one or the other; it’s about doing both intelligently.

  19. Michael Cortes
    Michael Cortes says:

    Can I ask about “Raises are negligible”? I have heard before that getting any decent raise cannot be done within your own company. People I have spoken with have had the feeling that you only get the 3.5%-5% as per “the schedule”. But if you say that the raises in a promotion are negligible and that you should be after the training, what do you suggest as an avenue to get the significant raises we want? While I certainly don’t think you need a million dollar salary to be happy, I still believe most people don’t want to live on 25-50k per year. What path would you suggest towards a decent wage?

  20. Phil
    Phil says:

    My favorite thing to read on the comments section is that, “I think she was trying to say…” I am sorry, but we are not reading Steinbeck, it is a blog. If Penelope meant to say something simple like some of the commenters state, I am sure she would have stated it simply. Too many people trying to find meaning in something that wasn’t truly the intent.

    For this article, I really do not find much useful information, in fact in a real world environment, what is stated contradicts what really is going on. Also, Penelope loves to continue to promote that big “Job Hopping” or “Gap in the resume” philosophy which is bunk. If I see you have worked 5+ years at a company, you show me that you are capable of stability and are not just a drifter I am going to have to rehire for a year from now.

    Promotions are stressful – of course they can be and that will be for any job. A bagger at a grocery store is going to feel some anxiety and stress when they are promoted to cashier. What matters is how you can handle stress and a challenge. Those who succeed in the workplace and life in general handle stress effectively. They either thrive off of it or they just brush it off their shoulder and not let it get to them. People fear the unknown by nature, so unless you are going from janitor to Nuclear Scientist via promotion, it is normal to feel uneasy, but the truth of the matter is you were promoted because you had what it takes. Turning down promotions can sometimes be the right choice because it may not be for the best position, (i.e. moving from a salaried position to a commission based sales position with a high turnover rate). If you feel you can’t cut the promotion, don’t take it and be happy with what you’ve got. Unless you are a trouble-maker they are trying to get rid of the easy way or you work for the government, most places don’t promote unless they have confidence in your abilities.

    Raises are negligible – the fact of life is that sometimes you just will not get a decent raise, but you have to evaluate if sticking around another year will be beneficial or not. I work in Mortgage, and with the downslide that has been going on, there is no way I can expect a big raise when the departments are all capped at 3%. What I do know though is if I stick around, the opportunities will be there for the picking once this phase has passed.

    Mentors make a real difference – mentors are good for a fresh chicken, but highly overrated for the average worker. If you are working your way up a tight knit Fortune 500 company that is cutthroat, I’m sure have a mentor would be good, but mainly for networking purposes.

    Training creates stability – training is something that is sparse in most jobs. The best workers learn on the fly and don’t have to sign up for this and that training. What makes you desireable is your experience and know how, not how many training seminars you have been to.

    Sorry Penelope, but you really missed the mark on this one.

  21. Dave
    Dave says:

    Phil said “Turning down promotions can sometimes be the right choice because it may not be for the best position” This reminds me of the old saying in the military about turning down a command – if you don’t think you’re ready for command, they’ll be happy to agree with you, and they will never forget it. I don’t think the civilian world is quite as strict, but I am sure that you must be very careful when declining any promotion.

  22. karen mattonen
    karen mattonen says:

    2 things that struck me here as a recruiter. Quite often many of the hiring managers, VP’s or Presidents that I work with have grown with the company in which they were hired, and they achieved their ranks through promotions and moving up the company – The Training Generally comes WITH the promotions, not the experience. One Gains the Experience on the job, and through the doing.

    To gain the trust for promotions; to have a company want to invest in your training, one needs to serve the time, and it must be time well vested – you gotta earn your stripes in any work environment.

    Job History will impact your current and future earnings. It may not be appearant when one is in the beginning of ones career, but you will see the impact later as you progress. Companies are less apt to take the Expensive Chance of hiring and training you, if they don’t think you will be around, and they can enjoy the benefits of their expense

    Unfortunately there are many a boss who may not consider you for the Promotion if you don’t ask

    The second comment that stood out – “$3,500 – if you even stay in the job for another year. That amount of money won't change your life” — Well 3500 a year is close to 300 a mth, and for some that is a Car payment, medical insurance, something of value for their kids.. For some it is indeed something that could indeed change their lives.

    Also, a promotion can actually mean less work, not more. Haven’t you noticed that many of the hardest and more menial labor jobs are often those which pay less?

    Karen Mattonen

  23. late_twentysomething
    late_twentysomething says:

    “I am sure that you must be very careful when declining any promotion.”

    I don’t think anyone should merely decline a promotion. The thrust of this — and many of Penelope’s articles that I agree with — is not letting others define your career path for you.

    If you’re not willing to take a promotion, offer a wise alternative. Namely horizontal movement. You’re an engineer? Suggest you want to learn sales and marketing. You want a broader perspective on the organization before you start managing it.

    “Verticalizing” your career means losing out on a lot of perspective. I am not convinced that companies want that; I’ve certainly seen executives who’ve made several such ballsy horizontal moves during their careers and had them pay off.

  24. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    I think you have to ask, what is the training for? Is it just for self actualisation? (In which case why not learn French or take up belly dancing or something in your spare time?). Or is it because it will be useful in your career?

    If it’s because it’s useful for your career then that raises two questions. Is your ultimate goal to go into business for yourself? Or is it to move up the corporate ladder in a series of better paid and more challenging positions, either at this or another company?

    If it’s to go into business for yourself, then training is great and a pay rise is trivial. But the experience you would gain from the promotion is also potentially beneficial. So you should still consider the promotion – it really depends on whether the new role aligns with your goals or not, and which you’ll think you’d get more out of.

    If your goal is to work for others (not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur), then I think you should take the promotion. The experience you would gain from the new role is worth just as much, if not more, than the training in terms of skills acquisition.

    Also having a better title and a higher salary will help you get the next role. These days it’s pretty common in many industries to have to reveal your previous salary when applying for a new job. HR managers don’t like big leaps. You may only get $5k-10k more in the new job than the old job, but if that’s added to the $5k you got in the promotion in your old job, you are starting to talk serious money. Penelope is right that you only get the full effect of the pay rise if you stay a year – but if you are leaving, then nine times out of ten it’s to go to a better paid job anyway. (@PirateJo, my experience is the opposite to yours – I find people tend to get promoted when they switch companies because there is a tendency for managers to undervalue their own staff).

    Training is overrated because the cost of the average training course usually costs less than the pay rise that comes with a promotion. In many companies there is a separate training budget so you can probably get training _as well as_ a promotion and pay rise. And if you don’t, then take the pay rise and pay for the training yourself, if it’s so valuable. You’ll still be financially better off, especially if you can claim the cost of the course against your tax.

    Penelope is right that a promotion is stressful but that’s because you are suddenly on a steep learning curve. That’s a good thing if you want to gain experience and get ahead. You’ll probably learn more from that new job than you would from the training course (and the two aren’t mutually exclusive anyway).

    Another thing to bear in mind is that if you refuse a promotion, management in the company will assume you’re either not ambitious or not committed to the company, and you could find yourself sidelined.

  25. Joe G
    Joe G says:

    You have to love those recruiters (both external and internal). Most of them are dead against anyone that job hops because they want to justify their recruitment fee. I’ve worked in Corp Finance for 10+ years (5 employers) and they have all sucked from a work environment point of view. Most of it has to do with poor management and instability. Most recruiters know that their clients are horrible yet they still want to make a quick buck and then complain when a candidate job hops for plain survival….

  26. Joe G
    Joe G says:

    Almost forgot……you gotta love it when a recruiter or hiring manager talks down on job hoppers because of the cost of training when that person leaves. I received some official job training when I was a college graduate 10 years ago. Since then, all of my training has been “on the job learning” under stressful conditions and long work hours. Recruiters and HR managers have the easiest jobs in the world. What scum bags!

    Penelope’s advice is right-on. It just takes some guts to admit it. Most people are brainwashed and live in denial. Live under your means and you can definitely live the “new American dream.”

  27. karen mattonen
    karen mattonen says:

    Joe G – You ever watch a pretty popular MTV show called the Hills? In the Show, the Heroine Lauren found out the very Hard way what “living the American Dream” can do to hamper one’s career. See, she chose her boyfriend, over going to the On the Job Training/Internship in France.. Kiddo, that training that you got on the job, cost that company a pretty penny..

    You say that Recruiters and H.R have an easy job? Really? so why are so many Not successful at it? Considering the Pay we make.. why aren’t more dong it, and doing it well… if it were so Easy.. I challenge you to try this so “easy” job..

    We (the recruiters) are not the ones who set the rules.. the Managers do.. we abide by them.. but we also understand Why the clients Do want job stability.. and based upon your comment – corporate Finance 10 Years w/ 5 Managers?? that averages a career Change every two years.. But, I guess it is always the bosses fault that you left huh??? You had NOTHING to do with the fact that you no longer worked at these 5 different companies??

    I say, no wonder you find problems with H.R and Recruiters.. Aw Shucks, I guess I would think We sucked too, when we find it difficult to believe that you would be worth the investment…

    FYI, the Average Customer Service Rep (telephone) costs a company on Average 60k the first 3-6 mths.. (training and support)

  28. Joe G
    Joe G says:


    Thanks for your comments. Of course, you are correct in stating that recruiters have to play by the rules and we are all accountable for our actions. Obviously it’s easy to take the easy path in this world. I take full accountability for all of my actions. Unfortunately, I can not control the instability of various companies within our current “unregulated capitalistic” environment. I had to endure four job eliminations due to an acquisition, office closure, and reorganization. This forced me to find other positions outside those companies. One move early in my career was due to career advancement. So, I had to make most of these moves to stay employed and support my family. I’ve worked in the Senior Mgt ranks in the Fortune 100 world for several years now and I know quite well how “we” treat “human resources.”

    As for my sour comment on recruiters, I’ve discovered that many are unethical and do withhold critical information from candidates. I’m sure there are some good ones out there and I hope that you are one of the more ethical ones.

    Good luck to you…

  29. Joe G
    Joe G says:

    Almost forgot…….most of us in Corp Finance receive very little training. However, I’m sure there might be some exceptions. We generally learn as we go. So, there is very little upfront cost in training. Your Customer Service Rep example doesn’t fly in my field. It’s all about finding the next sucker who will work longer hours for free in a horrible work environment.

    I think I should start a labor union for white collar professionals! Anyone second this notion?

  30. karen mattonen
    karen mattonen says:

    that was a pretty honest response.. Yes, there are pretty shoddy recruiters out there.. and it is indeed an industry that could use some cleaning up..
    I suggest that future candidates should really read the following before working with recruiters

    I do wish you the best with your career, and hopefully to find the company that you can find stability. Unfortunately it may be “old school” and conventional, but it is a sad reality that no matter the Generation — and yes, we Generation X’rs even tried to fight the institutional way of thinking.. (ie Google, Yahoo, and a few others are founded by x’rs) we unfortunately couldn’t beat the system, no matter how hard we tried..


  31. karen mattonen
    karen mattonen says:

    Work Long Hours for free — I suggest you contact the Local Department of Labor, AND the IRS — unfortunately too many companies MisClassify their employees, and thankfully there is no such thing as Slave Labor in America — well there is, as many try to get away with it.. but YES the laws do protect you.. and Don’t Worry about your reputation, as you can request a GAG order, and of course Mediation, which is how 80+ Percent of these “cases” are settled..

  32. Joe G
    Joe G says:


    Thanks for the link and information. I find that it’s often tight line to walk between serving my employer’s needs and treating my employees in an ethical fashion. I have always treated everyone professionally and ethically and I have been penalized for doing so. That’s life….

    Take care.

  33. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    Joe G, I gotta chime in and agree with you about recruiters, although I’ll make an exception for Karen, who seems pretty nice. ;-)

    I got hosed by a recruiter once. The client company had a notoriously awful manager working there, and the entire department of 25 people turned over about every two years. I didn’t report directly to this person, but my bosses all did, and they turned over every six months. I was there 18 months and had three bosses. Two of them were reduced to tears frequently, and one simply walked out of the job with no notice.

    This manager was a complete psycho. She did a lot of screaming and yelling – you could count on a complete meltdown about once a week. I sat near her office, and every time the screeching tirades started, I just sat there and was thankful it wasn’t me getting it. (Actually, she only blew up at me once – I learned early to keep my head down and not get noticed.) Lots of snotty, completely counter-productive and unnecessarily sarcastic comments, too.

    She could go off on anyone – someone in our department, someone in another department, an auditor, a vendor, or someone in her family. She would simply go nuts. Really, most 10-year-olds have more control over their emotions, and if you are completely losing it that often, get medicated for chrissake. Totally unprofessional. The thing she enjoyed most was ripping someone to shreds in front of an audience. She LOVED to publicly humiliate someone.

    The recruiter made great money on this human gristmill, since every time a position opened up they could count on another nice big fee to fill it – again and again and again. As long as the person stayed there in hell for six months, the recruiter got to keep its fee. And that usually worked, if only barely. It took my bosses about two months to realize they’d just made the biggest career mistake of their lives, and another four months to find a new job. With all those positions turning over so frequently, this company was a very nice source of revenue for the recruiter indeed.

    The karma blew back in a great way, though. The last time I heard Godzilla start screaming into the phone, the person she was screaming at was the very same person who placed me there. She made the chick CRY! I almost felt sorry for her – almost.

  34. karen m
    karen m says:

    Guys, sorry for the multiple posts but Pirate Jo, your post is Exactly why sometimes I feel as though I have been dragged through the Sewer, working in the recruiting industry.

    The Main reason that there are shoddy recruiters out there is due to what many perceive as “easy big bucks” in an industry that has NO barrier to entry in Most States..

    Unfortunately many in this industry come in Not even being aware of the Many regulations that surround the industry, and even more are not even aware that the employment Laws and Regulations (State and/or Federal) even apply to them as recruiters.. they believe that they are immune to the process… Thus, they enter, they go to sites where the blind teach the blind, how to lie, not give a darn, and not be aware of their own Moral and Personal Obligations to the candidate or company.

    Would I enjoy seeing some sort of regulation, or at least self regulation regarding this industry? You BET! What we do affect the lives of individuals and companies DAY IN and DAY OUT, and we should be Held Accountable for our actions, and the harm we cause to individuals.

    Recruiters Should be honest and aware of all issues occuring w/in a Client’s corporation, and Yes they should also be honest.

    I Am Not perfect, as I mentioned in my link – I am human, but I do try to live by the sword of which I speak. Every day I try to remember that You, the person I am working with could be Me, my son/daughter/husband.. and I try to do my best to make sure I treat you as I would want them to be treated.. Again, I am NOT perfect, but I am Willing to learn everyday from my mistakes, especially if they are brought to my attention..

    Unfortunately, there are too many recruiters whose one and only obligation is to the Almighty Dollar..

    The Suggestions I offered with that link are ways that I believe could help you the candidate to protect yourself from this shoddy behavior..

    I do want to say One important thing.. THERE ARE good recruiters out there, they may be few and far apart, but there really are some awesome people who really care about helping improve the quality of someone’s life – I have been blessed to know a few of them.. so I can attest for them first hand..

    Best of luck to you all..
    Karen Mattonen

  35. 50-something
    50-something says:

    How refreshing to read your blog for the first time. Clearly, as a “Boomer” your views are quite provocative. Never in my long career did anyone ever suggest that passing on promotions was the way to go. Nor was there much mention of customizing jobs to meet my needs. I had a knack for it and did change jobs every 3-5 years, mostly because better opportunities existed elsewhere and rising through the ranks by staying where you were was a near impossibility.

    I don’t recall any employer changing anything of significance to meet the changing professional goals of employees. If you didn’t like the way things were, the exits were clearly marked. There was always another “Boomer” to replace you.

    The benefits of change outweighed the stressors for me – but that was just how I was wired. My intellectual curiosity fueled my continued education and my people skills opened doors. Maybe I was ahead of my time but I agree with your advice. Staying put doesn’t always mean security – sometimes just ulcers, and promotions can derail you – think teachers who love the students and excel in the classroom suddenly being promoted to administrators managing bus schedules and state test scores.

    Do you remember that old book “The Peter Principle”? If you are under 50 then probably not. The notion of someone being promoted beyond their level of competence is not a new one…but beyond their level of passion? Well, perhaps we have a new twist! Thanks for your blog!

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