employee takes a vacation day every week, listing Airbnb hosting on a resume, and more

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

1. Employee takes a vacation day every week

I’m hoping you can tell me if there is anything that can be done about an employee who had admitted to taking one vacation day a week each month so that he is working only four days a week most months of the year! He has told me that this is exactly what he intends. He’s an exempt employee and receives a very good vacation package. The only time he doesn’t request a day off for a week is when we have a paid holiday (we have all the federal holidays off each year). This makes scheduling very difficult since public service points have to be staffed during all open hours. My supervisors say there is nothing to be done. But I wonder.

If you’re not his manager, there’s nothing you can do. But certainly if his manager objected, she could intervene — there’s no reason his manager couldn’t say, “Your job is intended to be a five-day-a-week job the majority of the time. It causes X and Y impacts when you’re regularly working an abbreviated week, so going forward, I need you to use your vacation time differently than you have been, so that most of the time we can count on you being here for the full week.”

2. The person who got the job I applied for told my current boss about it

Recently, I applied for a new job. Not because I don’t like where I work, but the business is going under; the owner has let us know it’s in huge trouble and she wants out from under. I have two children to support and need to start seeking a back-up plan.

Apparently the decision came down to two candidates and another woman got the job. Friday, she came into my place of employment (she used to work here years ago and is friends with the person up front). She announced to my current manager (her friend) and the owner that I applied and didn’t get the job, but she did. She revealed personal information I said in my interview along with numerous other issues bragging how she got the position, and I didn’t. I was livid and embarrassed but kept my mouth shut.

My current employer is wonderful and I feel terrible. I will talk to her Monday. This person completely violated my privacy and may have jeopardized my current position. Should I let this company that hired her know what she did? This is a small community and the dental field even smaller. I’m really angry and now fear for the job I have now. I’m trying to seek advice before I act!

She was totally out of line and you’re right to feel shocked at her behavior, and at the company that apparently relayed to her things that you said in your interview. I don’t think there’s much to be gained by complaining to the company that hired her, however.

The good news here is that your boss isn’t likely to be shocked that you were interviewing someone else, since she has clearly told you that the business is in trouble and she’s trying to get out. Most people would be job searching in your shoes, and your boss will hopefully understand that.

3. Can an employer record private conversations in our offices?

I know it is legal for employers to monitor employees’ computers and what their Internet activity is. However, I have just learned that our boss (and probably the IT guy) is also listening in our offices. Except for support staff, we all have private offices. The only way this could be done is through spyware installed and the microphones on our laptops. Is this legal? Is there a difference between random, ambient listening and recording? I always thought it was illegal to record someone without their knowledge and consent.

I am not sure how often this has happened or if it is something new, but it is also somehow not surprising. I have been planning to leave this job for over a year, and will be giving notice very soon, possibly tomorrow! There are a variety of issues with this very toxic office, and I am glad to be leaving after 13 long years. The reasons I have stayed so long don’t matter at this point, but, I am curious to hear your take on the listening.

It depends on your state, but mostly courts have ruled that employers can record at work because there’s little or no expectation of privacy in the workplace. And the Electronic Communications Privacy Act allows employers to install recording devices in any location used primarily for work, so that would exempt bathrooms and cafeterias, for example, but allow offices. (But some states, such as Connecticut, have stricter privacy laws that prohibit this, so you need to know your state.)

Typically, though, if an employer is recording at work, they’ll include a consent statement somewhere in that paperwork that you signed your first day of work and/or will include a policy allowing that kind of monitoring in their employee handbook.

4. Having lunch with the person whose job I got after she was fired

A few years ago, I started as an assistant to a small department. I ended up becoming decently good friends with B, the person in the role directly above mine in the hierarchy. Last year, B was asked to leave the company and I was promoted to her role. B handled her departure very professionally and, from what I could tell, on good terms with everyone in the department. At the time of her departure, B was not aware that I was to be her replacement. We haven’t been in touch since her last day at the office.

Which brings me to my question. After many months of job searching, B has recently found a new job in a slightly different area of our industry. In her new role, B and I will interact occasionally – a few emails here and there, and in-person meetings a few times a year, with the first meeting approaching imminently. On one hand, I am looking forward to seeing her again, as I always enjoyed our friendly, jokey rapport in the office. But at the same time, I worry that the events I described above are simply too uncomfortable to handle with anything other than the strictest professionalism. I assume that by now she’s figured out that I’ve taken over her former job (which she’d once told me was her dream job), and no matter how gracefully she handled her departure, on some level, she must feel some resentment towards a combination of me/my manager/the company. Do you have any advice for how to navigate our upcoming lunch meeting?

The best, most gracious thing that you can do is to act as if it’s not weird and she doesn’t resent it. If it’s not weird for her and she doesn’t resent it, it would be condescending to her to imply otherwise. And if it is weird for her and she does resent it, it will still make it easier on her if you don’t act like it’s a Big Awkward Thing to be tiptoed around. Act normal, and it’s likely to go fine.

(And really, if she does have resentment toward your company, it’s unlikely to be toward you personally. You didn’t scheme to push her out of the job so that you could have it, and she almost certainly knows that.)

5. Listing Airbnb hosting on a resume

What do you think about including shared economy activities on your resume/LinkedIn profile and bringing it up in interviews? My husband and I are hosts on Airbnb, which involves a lot of coordination, hospitality, scheduling, and business management/accounting (we receive a 1099 from Airbnb).

I’ve brought it up in an interview before as an example for handling a difficult situation after using another office example (they asked about how I would handle a participant arriving late/needing after-hours assistance and I had a perfect example from a guest arriving from out of the country/their flight being delayed).

It feels a little strange to bring up and I couldn’t gauge the reaction during my interview, but it’s also a large part of my life outside of work (we host (renting our basement room) about 75% of the time).

I wouldn’t include it on your resume; I think to many people, it will read as not quite resume-worthy. However, I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning it in an interview if it provides a relevant example of something they’re asking you to illustrate from your past experience.

{ 305 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Mike C.

    I’d like to point out to OP5 that in many areas AirBnB is actually quite illegal – many jurisdictions frown upon running an unlicensed and untaxed hotel out of your home. Given that the people interviewing you likely pay taxes and follow numerous regulations to run their own business, they might not be thrilled to hear that you are suffering similar regulations.

    Reply
    1. Anonnn

      There’s a vast difference between unlicensed and illegal, and as far as I’m aware no jurisdiction has made Airbnb the latter.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        “There’s a vast difference between unlicensed and illegal” Based on what definition? Lay dictionaries posit that something is illegal if it is “prohibited by law”. They do not differentiate among civil, criminal, and administrative law. You can certainly be violating the law if you are not in compliance with some municipal licensing requirement.

        I do not have an issue with Mike C’s choice of words here.

        Reply
        1. Colette

          Unlicensed only equals illegal if the law requires a license. If, for example, licenses are required to let more than 4 rooms, not having a license while renting one room wouldn’t be a problem. I suspect that in most jurisdictions, a license is required in all circumstances, but there may be differences by jurisdiction.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            There are also zoning and business/hotel tax issues as well. The 1099 is a good start but there is more to worry about.

            Reply
      2. LisaLee

        Actually, a variety of places in the US have been trying to crack down on Airbnb-type rentals. San Francisco in particular has been placing limits on short-term rentals explicitly because of Airbnb.

        Reply
        1. Jack the treacle eater

          Although nothing in the #5 suggests that the OP does not pay taxes, comply with the relevant law, and so on. Not all AirB’n’B-ers are dodgy, and the OP refers to a 1099.

          Of more concern might be whether a prospective employer would consider that the candidate’s AirB’n’B activities might conflict with their commitment to the employer (calls / internet use from work sorting out rentals, need to leave early to meet renters, inability to work overtime due to outside commitments, and so on)

          Reply
          1. AcademiaNut

            I think AirBnB is in enough of a legal limbo right now that listing it on a resume, or using it as an example in interviews, could cause problems, but it would depend somewhat on how AirBnB is viewed in the OP’s area. Some AirBnBs are outright illegal, some are in a grey area that hasn’t really been sorted out, and some are technically illegal but not something that’s being actively enforced (much like illegal student basement rentals).

            Reply
            1. nofelix

              The applicant can reference the local laws they comply with for their AirBnB business.

              I agree with the earlier comment about it being a possible conflict of interest regarding time and resources spend managing it though. Might be better to say the AirBnB hosting will end when fulltime employment comes along.

              Reply
          2. Stranger than fiction

            Totally agree with your second paragraph. It’s fine for people to have a second job/interest/hobby, but I wouldn’t advertise it when interviewing for that exact reason.

            Reply
        1. Zillah

          This. I’m not sure it’s worth the risk for that alone if the OP has other work history, which it seems they do.

          Reply
      3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

        My city requires people to have a short-term rental licenses, and has stopped issuing them as they are trying to crack down on AirBnB and othe companies. So unlicensed does equal illegal here.

        But I’m surprised the number of people I talk to who who don’t the rules or what’s going on. They assume that as long as AirBNB lets them list, they can’t get in trouble.

        Reply
        1. Stranger than fiction

          Yeah, I don’t know much about it either, like how they can list for places where it’s not legal. But a friend of ours recently was trying to get us to invest with him in a rental like this in Vegas, where it’s not technically legal yet. He was confident we wouldn’t be caught because there’s so many other listings on the site, but we declined anyhow. Beside the risk, we didn’t really have the time to investigate all the ins and outs and after paying someone local there to do the housekeeping and all, the profits weren’t that great, and meanwhile the property prices have been going up and up.

          Reply
      4. Violet Fox

        Granted I’m not in the US, but it is illegal where I live, and yes in most places not paying taxes and not following regulations is actually against the law.

        Reply
    2. Sigrid

      There are also people who view AirBnB, like Uber, as ethically shady. It’s not the kind of ethically shady that should automatically factor into a hiring manager’s opinion of your ability to conduct your work in an ethically sound manner, but it would probably influence their opinion of you.

      Reply
      1. LQ

        Yeah, I have concerns about the companies. I wouldn’t think that the “employees” would be at all ethically shady, but I think it could take more of someone’s thinking about you time than you’d like. It would be better for them to be thinking about how awesome you are at teapot making than pondering the ethics of AirBnB. The distraction factor is enough to leave it off I think.

        Reply
      2. Artemesia

        Another way to list this if the person thinks it would be an asset to their job search would be to indicate they run a B&B. They don’t have to mention they get their client through AIRBNB. I knew someone who had an academic career in a college that emphasized business and hotel management and such and faculty were encouraged to and rewarded for running their own small businesses.

        Probably it is not an asset anyway for most job searches but if the OP thinks it would be for the jobs she is seeking, thinking about how to present it might be valuable

        Reply
        1. One of the Sarahs

          If I were interviewing people for a full-time job and they indicated they ran a B&B, I’d have major reservations about their ability to do that and a full-time job, because I’d assume the B&B is a full-time job too – and depending on jurisdiction there might be issues around working hours directives etc.

          Reply
    1. Bookworm

      Yeah…customer service is an obvious example, but aside from that I’m not familiar with many workplaces where there would be a reason to constantly record employees.

      Would definitely be interested to hear about industries where that is the norm & why.

      Reply
      1. Noah

        I wouldn’t say it is common in dispatch centers, but one ambulance company I worked for recorded everything that was said in dispatch. Not just phone calls and radios but everything that was spoken in the room. Their reasoning was it provided an overall view of what was happening if there was an incident.

        In my current industry, pilots have a cockpit voice recorder that stores two hours worth of data. Obviously they are there for determining root causes of accidents/incidents. I have never heard of management just randomly listening to them though. It would take too much money/time to actually download the recordings unless there is a good reason.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          It’s actually not that hard to pull the CVR. The reason management doesn’t do it is the pilot union would pitch a fit, and for good reason. They fought long and hard to permit cockpit voice recording but only under the condition that it be used for safety purposes only.

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        2. Kimberlee, Esq

          Yeah, I imagine it’s a lot like security camera footage. Much of the time, nobody even looks at it before it’s recorded over, that would take way too much time, but it’s there if something happens and you need to pull a specific timeframe.

          Reply
      2. Myamitore

        I worked for a very small company (less than 10 people) where the owner had installed cameras all over the tiny office. We didn’t realize for a long time that the cameras picked up sound as well as video, and then we found out that the owner would sit at home watching the camera feeds whenever he was “working from home”. Super creepy.

        Reply
    2. justcourt

      Agreed. I occasionally mumble to myself while I work, and I wouldn’t want an employer to hear me sounding like a weirdo. I would be tempted to get a white noise machine, even if it is kind of passive aggressive.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        I’d be tempted to mute my microphone every day or set something noisy next to it (a phone on a charger with a white-noise app or something). At least until I could leave.

        Reply
    3. A Non

      I’m in IT, and even the worst coworkers and bosses I’ve had (and I have stories!) wouldn’t bother recording people’s office noise or listening to them. We had much better and more interesting things to do with our time. Even if we were interested in being unethical and causing problems for people, there’s better and more interesting ways of doing that than eavesdropping. And ones that wouldn’t get us instantly fired if it came to light.

      I’m not saying it never happens, of course, I’m sure there are people out there who would do that. But it’s a very particular brand of toxic. This is not a thing in any remotely well-run organization, and it’s not a common thing in bad ones either.

      Reply
      1. another IT manager

        Agreed on all counts. We can, if needed, pull all websites a particular computer/user has visited … but we usually point the manager asking for those records back to HR, who will help them have the “You’re not getting your work done” conversation. Recording audio outside of “This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes” is weird and sounds time-consuming as hell.

        Reply
    4. Stranger than fiction

      Yeah legal but yikes is right. They should absolutely tell their employees. I remember when one place I worked decided to put cameras above the cubicle area, and they let us know beforehand.

      Reply
  2. Bookworm

    #2: Wow…..Just, wow.

    I agree with Alison that there’s probably not much to be gained from contacting her current company, but please take comfort in the fact that your outrage is certainly understandable. She was way out of line.

    What even causes people to act like that?

    Reply
    1. Wendy Darling

      I would hope that everyone is too busy being horrified by the person’s behavior to be concerned about OP applying for jobs elsewhere, because DAMN.

      Reply
      1. Annonymouse

        Why would anyone be concerned about OP applying for jobs?

        The business owner has said things are bad and she’s going under. OP has pointed out they have 2 kids they need to support.

        It would be incredibly irresponsible and negligent of OP to wait until their current job was gone before trying to secure a new one given how tough the job market is right now (taking up to a YEAR to find ANOTHER JOB or longer)

        Also What The Actual F is wrong with the other person? Going somewhere you don’t work to cause trouble for someone you (presumably) don’t know?

        How messed up are you?

        Reply
    2. Adam

      It’s times like this that I really hope karma does kick in. Saying one rude thing is out of line. This jerk looked at the line, laughed, and set it on fire.

      Reply
      1. Jack the treacle eater

        Xan’t help feeling this person’s behaviour is indicative of their character as a whole, and perhaps shows OP’s interviewer may have made the wrong choice in hiring the other person.

        I don’t know about the States, but in the UK it’s likely that passing personal information to others without reason or consent might be considered a breach of confidentiality at least, and if said personal information is stored anywhere, a breach of data protection law.

        Of course, a legal breach and being worth doing anything about it are two different things…

        Reply
        1. MK

          I seriously doubt the facts as stated in the letter qualify as a legal breach (and data protection laws do not apply simply because the data is stored somewhere). As for this person being the right person for the job or not, that’s something we can have no way of knowing.

          However, I agree that this behavior is problematic enough that, if I was the employer, I would be seriously concerned. There might have been good reason to reveal to the successfull candidate who else applied and something that was said in their interview; or it might have been an indiscretion of someone at the company. But either way, any reasonable person should know that it’s not information to be spread around, much less specifically told to the other candidate’s current employer. Maybe the OP should contact the company to tell them their new hire did this, not with the expectation that it will change anything, but to put them on their guard about revealing such information in the future.

          Reply
        2. Doriana Gray

          Xan’t help feeling this person’s behaviour is indicative of their character as a whole, and perhaps shows OP’s interviewer may have made the wrong choice in hiring the other person.

          As Engineer Girl said below, OP’s interviewer made the exact right choice. Water always finds its own level, and it sounds like the interviewer is a piece of work anyway (seriously – who does this?!).

          OP, you dodged a bullet.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth West

            That was my thinking, and while I grant I’m not experienced in hiring, I can’t think of one good reason the employer would share anything one candidate said with another. So bullet dodged indeed.

            Reply
        3. Rayner

          Unless the job required secrecy and had applicants sign contracts to that end, there is no requirement or law that prohibits people from sharing who applied for a job and didn’t succeed. It’s incredibly bad practise to go around saying, “I GOT A JOB AND SO AND SO DIDN’T!” but there’s no law against it.

          It is not a breach of confidentiality, either, unless the parties involved signed agreements to that end – to breach data protection law would be something along the lines of disclosing vital personal information such as National Insurance numbers, addresses, disability status, all that jazz. Saying that someone applied for a job and failed to get it is not, in anyway, breaching data protection.

          Reply
          1. Koko

            Perhaps not in the formal sense, but in the course of my job I’m required to keep a lot of things varying degrees of confidential that aren’t spelled out in a formal agreement anywhere, but which would make my bosses seriously question my judgment if I was sharing the information inappropriately. I wouldn’t be making myself legally vulnerable to anything, but I’d certainly be jeopardizing my job security if my bosses thought they couldn’t trust me to know what kind of information is not to be shared outside of the organization.

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          2. Annonymouse

            It’s not just that though. Crazy Jerk also mentioned stuff that OP had said in her interview.

            Presuming CJ was not an internal hire that was interviewing OP or an external hire interviewing with them, then the only way they could have gotten that info is from someone at their new work.

            And even if CJ and OP attended a group interview – who the hell does that? You won, why do you need to mess with someone else’s life?

            Reply
    3. Engineer Girl

      I’m thinking that both the company and new employee deserve each other. The new company plays fast and loose with private data. The new hire is mean spirited enough to actively go out of their way to blab about it to the OPs employer. Who does that?

      Reply
      1. Oryx

        Yes, it took me a second read to realize the other *applicant* was going around announcing the OP’s personal information, not the job they had both applied to. You don’t want to be working somewhere like that.

        Reply
      2. Sunshine

        Yeah. If this happened to me, I would absolutely call the other company to ask them why they felt like it was okay to release personal information to another candidate. It’s not illegal, but it’s a real duck move and I’d have to call them on it.

        Reply
        1. Tamsin

          I agree in this instance — if OP basically at this point thinks that bridge is burned anyway (and by the other applicant and the company, not by OP). I think I would indeed take a minute to call and calmly relay to someone neutral — not the person who is personal friends with the other applicant, and maybe not even anyone who interviewed the OP and thus was involved in telling the other applicant all the details of the interview — someone in HR? Someone above the hiring manager even? It’s so egregious.

          Reply
      3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

        This. I’m still trying to figure out how the conversation went between the new hire and the hiring manager.

        HM: congrats, you’re hired! Oh and by the way, you beat out Sally Smith who you used to work at Teapots Unlimited with. We really liked you both, but ultimately: you had 8 years of experience to her 6; Jim from accounting was both your references and where as he said you were “top notch” he only said Sally was a “hard worker”; and the. I mean ultimately your current salary is less than Sally’s, I mean, did you know she makes $47k at her current job?

        NH: Thank you so much. I’ll give my two weeks notice. Oh and do you mind if before I start, I go back to my old job to gloat about this position?

        Reply
        1. Stranger than fiction

          Slight change to that last part:

          NH “Thank you so much. I can’t wait to go to my old job and say “In your face!!” to Sally”.

          HM: “We’re gonig to get along great”

          Reply
  3. Noah

    #1 – I’ve actually thought about this before, and at a former job actually used this tactic to burn through vacation days that would not rollover to the next year. However, my manager knew what I was doing and I would never do this all the time. For one thing, I really, really enjoy vacations and would rather use the time to actually go out of town. Second, I get that I should be working five days a week most of the time.

    Reply
    1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

      I had an employee who was going to lose a lot of vacation so we had her do this for November and December.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        Yeah, this is fine if the boss knows about it or as you did, suggested it. Sometimes you get backed up and can’t take time off and then it accumulates. I wish our company would let you roll over all of it for a couple of years, but we only get a certain amount of hours rolled over. And my last job didn’t roll it at all.

        Reply
    2. Lily in NYC

      It’s tempting! I recently took three Mondays off in a row (planned, not sick days)because I was feeling burned out and it was glorious. But I wouldn’t do it regularly. I don’t know if OP has any authority, but our employee handbook actually discusses this very thing and prohibits it (if it’s extreme; taking a few long weekends won’t matter). Also, we get a ton of vacation time (I’m up to 6 weeks) and our handbook dictates that we have to take at least one full week off a year.

      Reply
      1. Chinook

        I inadvertently do this because the company I work for has an EDO (earned day off) one Friday every three weeks (sometimes, exempt people will work on an EDO if they need to catch up on work). Add in Stat holidays and the odd sick day or doctor’s appointment (that I couldn’t get to fit an EDO), and I think I have worked 5 days in a row only once or twice in 2016 so far. But, since I am a contractor, I feel less guilty because every day I don’t show up for work, they don’t pay me and, if I am available, I monitor my emails to make sure my absence doesn’t hold anything up.

        That being said, I wonder if workplace culture has anything to do with how okay everyone seems to be about working around absent colleagues? We Canadians have no issues with it but we often get snide remarks from staff in our American head office about how it must be nice to have so much time off (even though nothing we do holds up their work). We end up just agreeing that it is and not rise to the bait.

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      2. Stan

        My dad does the same thing with his boss’s blessing. His job is super slow during the summer because many of their clients are schools. Those that are open during the summer are often closed on Fridays, so his employer was regularly cutting people early anyways.

        But I think the first part is key. He isn’t just taking endless long weekends. He went in and spoke with his boss about the plan and the boss okay’d it based on their normal workflow. It isn’t inconveniencing or overburdening his coworkers.

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    3. Michelenyc

      My mom has to do this a few times a year. She has been at her job for so long that she accumulates a lot of PTO hours every pay period. Once she hits the cap and the hours are going to stop accumulating she works with her manager to take time off.

      Reply
    4. ThatGirl

      There’s a manager in my department who’s used her vacation to work half-days on Fridays for several months in a row – but that’s not quite the same as full days off, and she is very good about making sure things are covered.

      Reply
    5. One of the Sarahs

      In my old civil service job, this was encouraged as a way to get through Time Off In Lieu days and carry-over annual leave in slow times of the year – with the caveat that this was in agreement with managers, at quiet times etc etc. I don’t think it’s bad in that kind of job – BUT I can totally see the issues if one is trying to manage staffing, and it means that other team members can never take a Friday/Monday off.

      Reply
  4. Ambarish

    #1. Employees get little vacation as it is in the US, and are we now saying they’re expected to take it all in one shot? Have we lost sight of the original purpose of vacations? They’re meant to help the employee recharge and come back more productive. Simple diminishing returns (and many studies) show that shorter, more frequent breaks are more beneficial than longer, rarer ones.

    FWIW, I work in software, and it’s actually easier on my team if I take short 1-2 day breaks rather than a 3-week vacation. But that’s not my point: I feel like trying to control how employees take their vacation (either way) can be short-sighted.

    Reply
    1. Amber

      I agree. I never understood why people would be given vacation time and not be allowed to use it this way. I also completely agree that it’s much more difficult to fill in for someone for weeks at a time rather than 1 day a week.

      Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      No one is saying they need to use it in all one shot. There’s a vast range of options between that and using it to work a four-day week every single week.

      In this case, it’s also relevant that it’s apparently causing weekly scheduling/coverage issues for his coworkers (“This makes scheduling very difficult since public service points have to be staffed during all open hours”).

      Reply
      1. Jack the treacle eater

        I didn’t really understand the “supervisors say nothing can be done” part. I don’t know US law, but isn’t the final say with the supervisors – in other words, the employee can request those holiday dates, but (while holiday should be granted if there’s no reason not to) the supervisor is surely not obliged to grant the request if it would cause problems for the business? What would they do if everyone requested holiday on the same day – they’d have to reject some?

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        1. LisaLee

          I wonder if this is one of those “HR thinks an innocuous thing is illegal” situations. Like maybe they think that they can’t refuse to let an employee use vacation time as long as the employee has days left? It is odd.

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          1. Retail HR Guy

            It’s because of discrimination and retaliation laws. Once a policy–any policy–is set, you have to administer it equally among all employees. Otherwise someone in some protected class (and literally everyone is in a protected class) will have the minimum ammo they need to file a claim with the state’s labor department or with the EEOC if they are so inclined. (How come I’m the only person who isn’t allowed to use my vacation days next month? It’s obviously because I’m a disabled Hispanic senior citizen just back from FMLA leave!) And since even unsuccessful claims can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and a lot of wasted time and energy, the golden rule of HR has become treat everyone the same and administer policy equally across the board.

            So that’s how an “innocuous” thing like varying from a written vacation policy becomes legal risky, even in states where there are no laws that specifically govern vacation benefits. Obviously, sometimes HR’s concerns need to be overruled for the sake of running the business, but it’s not like we are just making things up to mess with you.

            Reply
            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              Just to be clear, though, while that is how HR people often prefer to operate, it can be done with more nuance than that. Many employers are perfectly comfortable treating strong performers differently than weaker ones, for example, and that gives a clear reason why you’re treating some employees differently (reasons that have nothing to do do with race, sex, etc.).

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        2. Apollo Warbucks

          I think the OP might be the one covering frequently for the person on holiday and the supervisor is fine with the time off so that’s why there’s nothing they want to do to stop the emoloyee using their PTO.

          If it was a problem for the business then yes any supervisor could reject a request. In the UK its a legal requirement to ensure all staff are able to take a total of 20 days holiday throughout the year but the employer can control when it is taken. I get the impression that in the US employers have even more freedom and flexibility to control PTO usage.

          Reply
        3. my two cents...

          actually, it sounds as though OP is someone who does the scheduling, and the vacationing employee’s supervisor told OP to work around it.

          If they earned the vacation time, they should be permitted to take it when they want to. A truncated week is going to have less impact than taking several days, especially when they’ve given some notice.

          OP now knows they work a 4-day schedule most weeks. Why can’t OP be expected to work around that, knowing they’d also VERY rarely take several days off in a row?

          Reply
      2. MashaKasha

        I’m kind of skeptical about the every single week part. Does this employee get 50 vacation days a year? If it’s in the US, even with a “generous vacation package”, I can’t see how they would have more than 20-25, which would be every other week or every third week that they’d be working 4-day weeks.

        Reply
        1. Ad Astra

          Yeah, I’m wondering exactly how long these 4-day weeks can continue. I can certainly see how missing 4 days a month for 6 months would cause a problem, so it would still be worth it for the manager to say something. But there’s no way he has close to 50 vacation days a year… right?

          Reply
          1. LCL

            Where I work (gov’t) I get 30 days a year because of my length of service. That’s 240 hours. We are allowed to carry over double your annual accrual, so that’s 480 hours. At one day a week, that’s 50 8 hour days (rounded for EZ math & holidays.) 50 times 8 equals 400 hours.
            This way of finishing out your last couple years is very common in government where employees have been there for decades. It can be a great way to train other employees and to transition. But, it is up to management and the employee to make sure that they aren’t jerks about it. Someone may have 50 vacation days, but they shouldn’t get 50 first choice of vacation picks. That is the injustice in the OPs situation, that the old dog is getting every requested vacation day.

            Reply
        2. Kassy

          ^I was curious about this too. If they do have something in the neighborhood of 50 vacation days, what would be the best way to take that much? I assume ten straight weeks off is not what they want either, although maybe that’s just fine with them. And I know it has been mentioned that there is a wide range of options between that and what the OP’s coworker is doing. But if they’re really giving out that much time, maybe there needs to be a conversation about how to utilize that time.

          Reply
          1. One of the Sarahs

            Same, I was wondering how it’s possible to manage, without chaos at some stage. (I guess a solution is letting employees swap holiday days for pay?)

            I did wonder if I was mis-reading, and they’re doing it one week a month – but then that shouldn’t be so hard to manage, surely?

            Reply
          2. my two cents...

            To be fair, my amazing Swiss-based employer gives us 15 in the US office 24 days of PTO and 17 paid holidays. : )

            Reply
        3. Kate M

          Well they said on weeks that there isn’t a holiday day. My office has about 12 weeks per year where we have some sort of holiday (New Years, MLKJ Day, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas), so that would end up being just about 40 days. Still a lot, but I could see someone having maybe 35 days vacation, plus the 12 weeks with holidays, giving them a day off ALMOST every week of the year.

          Reply
        4. Natalie

          He could have a lot of vacation banked. My company allowed unlimited accrual for years, so there are some people here with months and months of banked vacation time. I even have around a month and I take vacation time constantly.

          Reply
        5. Koko

          If he gets 25-30 days a year (uncommon in general, but not uncommon for a senior position with good benefits), add in 10 federal/state holidays where he doesn’t have to dock PTO and you’re up to 35-40 out of 52 weeks in a year – enough that everyone around you would equate it to “every week.”

          Reply
        6. pnw

          Maybe, like my non-profit organization, they receive all their leave in one bank. My leave includes vacation, sick and holidays. I get 41 days per year. I use eight days for holidays which leaves me 33 days per year for sick and vacation.

          Reply
      3. Kate M

        I mean, if it didn’t cause any issues with work, I wouldn’t see a problem with it personally. If you have vacation days, you should be able to use them generally how you want.

        However, I can’t imagine many workplaces where working a four day week wouldn’t be disruptive to some extent. If you have a client meeting scheduled for every Monday and you decide that you’re going to take every Monday off, then that just means that you refuse to work on a certain client? Or you have a call on certain days of the week? There are few instances where I could really see this working.

        Reply
        1. INFJ

          Agreed completely. Because of how projects are scheduled at my work, it would be much more disruptive for me to be out 1 day a week for a few months than it would be to take several weeks off at once. You hit the nail on the head when you say that employees should be able to take vacation as they wish AS LONG AS it’s not disruptive.

          Reply
        2. Jennifer

          I had a coworker who called in sick every single Monday without fail. Except if we had Monday off, then she’d call in sick on Tuesday. And if she was on vacation for two weeks, she’d immediately be out sick for the next two to make up for it.

          Really, she shouldn’t have been trying to work at this point if she was this ill, but it took her a long time to realize that and quit.

          Reply
      4. J-nonymous

        If a person has enough vacation time to take off approximately 40-50 days per year, then scheduling is going to be a problem.

        I’d argue that the consistency of taking off one day a week makes it easier to plan around the vacation time than if the employee took it in larger chunks of time.

        Reply
    3. Sadsack

      I don’t take a four-week vacation once a year. I take several smaller vacations throughout. Don’t you think that if the employee wants to manage his vacation so he is out every single week of the year, he should clear that with his manager at the start? That’s quite a different thing than just taking smaller chunks here and there.

      Reply
    4. Michelle

      At my employer, all full-time employees get 2 weeks when you are hired. At 5 years you get 3 weeks and then at 10 years you get 4 weeks and that makes you out on vacation. Our employee handbook stated that “at least one week must be taken in a five-day increment”.

      I can understand the frustration of having someone out a day every week, but unless your company policy forbids it, there is really nothing you can do. The employee’s manager can talk to him about it but once something gets started and is allowed to happen unchecked, it’s very hard to change it.

      Reply
      1. Kate M

        You can certainly do things even if it isn’t written into company policy. If you’re a manager, you manage your employees. I don’t think a company handbook lists every single thing a manager can and can’t do. If a manager tells an employee that they have to be here on a certain date, then they do generally.

        Reply
        1. Michelle

          That’s true and a very good point. I was thinking more if the vacation guy tried to push back using the “it’s not in the employee handbook” argument, which is something that happened recently at my job.

          Reply
      2. Dan

        Vacation is a particularly sensitive issue for me (my company is generous, and they don’t give me any crap about how I take mine, so I’m able to take a month off and travel the world. Granted, I made it clear to my department management when I interviewed that this is how I roll, so it wasn’t a surprise.

        I know not everybody can do that. But the thing with vacation is that employees need to know what vacation will be “approved” and what won’t be. (See all kinds of “I booked plane tickets, and my manager won’t approve vacation, what can I do?” questions or, “My staff buys plane tickets, and then tries to guilt me into approving vacation. What can I do?” questions)

        Your company will run much more smoothly when everybody knows the deal with vacation. There should be no “Bob” rule when it comes to vacation, unless that rule is applied consistently. As in, everybody gets X Friday vacation requests per year.

        To me, the first step with Bob is to ask him what days he’s going to take off, and arrange for that coverage (including hiring a temp, if practical/feasible/necessary) ahead of time.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          I’m able to take a month off and travel the world

          *dies*

          I got three weeks for that one trip (and I had to go in the hole to do it). It was glorious and I came back tired but refreshed. It was the first time in years I’d taken enough time at once to actually truly relax. I wish I could do it every year, but I’m limited by funds. :(

          While people do need time off here and there in small increments, there is nothing like a long break to make you feel like a human again.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        That’s most certainly not the case in most places. If it’s disruptive, the boss CAN do something about it.

        Reply
  5. Seal

    #1 – As an exempt employee at a public university, I get 22 vacation days a year that can be rolled over into the next year. However, the maximum number of days I can roll over at the end of the year is 45; anything over 45 days becomes use it or lose it. My guess is that this employee has been there awhile and has enough vacation time accrued to be able to take a day a week off for a year. In terms of scheduling, how is this any different than someone who works from home a day a week or only works part time? To me, knowing an employee will be working a 4 day week for a set period of time is almost easier to schedule around than someone who want to take several weeks or even a month or 2 off at a time.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      And if his manager is fine with it, then it’s fine. But if the manager isn’t fine with it, it’s totally reasonable to say “this is causing impacts X and Y and isn’t how your job was intended to be performed.”

      Reply
      1. Apollo Warbucks

        Yeah even in the UK where employers tend to be very relaxed and accommodating in allowing holiday to be taken they still reserve the right to restrict the use of holiday when it’s a problem for the busiess.

        Reply
        1. Merry and Bright

          Yes – even though it has usually been OK I’ve always had to get a manager to agree a holiday request.

          Reply
    2. Chocolate lover

      Working from home and taking a day off aren’t the same thing though, since presumably work is still getting done (though in the case, OP mentions public service points, which means certain work wouldn’t be getting done.) And I’d consider it different from a part-time person if the position wasn’t planned to be part-time to begin with and business needs expected consistent presence.

      My job goes through heavy and show cycles. I’m busy enough during heavy periods that if I had to pick up slack from a co-worker on a weekly basis, I’d consider it being disrespectful (because the schedule is predictable) and I’d be furious. And the regular absences, planned or not, would directly affect the people we provide services to.

      Reply
  6. Dan

    #1

    AAM,

    I think you’re off a bit with your advice here, assuming the OP is a manager. OP writes, “This makes scheduling very difficult since public service points have to be staffed during all open hours” That org provides a certain amount of vacation, and as a consequence, they need to be able to staff for coverage when people are out. This reads to me as shift work, and that appears to need coverage whether the person is out for one day or one week.

    OP indicates this person gets a lot of vacation. If the person is able to take three day weekends most months of the year, he’s probably got like 6 weeks of vacation. Whether he takes it all at once or one day at a time, that’s a LOT of coverage. Management needs to staff for that one way or the other. (Aka, if you can’t afford to have your employees be gone, you shouldn’t be giving them that much vacation.)

    OP doesn’t really indicate any real business impact, and the supervisors don’t seem to care. IMHO, the bar for messing with people’s paid time off (part of their benefits package they were offered) is high. If there’s a clear business need for denying vacation, that’s one thing, but otherwise, leave it be and let them take it when they want. You’ll engender a lot of good will that way, but piss people off if you don’t have legitimately good reason.

    Assuming OP isn’t the person’s manager, then MYOB.

    Reply
    1. Amber

      I completely agree. If the OP is this person’s manager then try your best to schedule around this person’s time off as it is a benefit that the company provides. If they have a lot of it that means they EARNED a lot of it. Unless there is a business impact such as it’s difficult to fill the day they take off, suggest that they vary which day is off such as week 1 take off Monday, week 2 take off Tue, etc. If OP is not this person’s manager then it’s not your business, let it go.

      Reply
      1. Murphy

        Not to mention that one day off a week is consistent and consistent schedules are much easier to plan for than the “can I take two weeks off next month.”

        Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think you’re misreading my response. I’m not advising the manager to do that or not do that. The OP asked if it was true the manager couldn’t do that, which is what I’m addressing. Whether or not the manager should do that depends on information we don’t have.

      Reply
    3. MK

      It’s not necessarily true that the coverage issue is the same no matter how vacation is taken. In my field (and country in general) things slow down considerably in the summer, so a person taking a month in July or August is not a problem. Also, if you know someone will be gone for 6 weeks, you can make more solid arrangements (like hiring a temp), while a person not working a day every week might mean everyone else scrambling to cover their duties.

      Reply
      1. Snowglobe

        yes to this. It really depends on how the work flows in an office, but where I work it’s much easier to plan workarounds when someone takes a full week or two off, rather than single days every week.

        Reply
      2. Dan

        Sure, but now we’re drifting off into a lot of “what if” land. The reality is that when an org provides vacation, they need to figure out an appropriate way to cover said vacation — that’s on the org, not Bob. If there’s rules, those rules need to be clear. Some places have them — accountancy firms have vacation blackouts during tax season, for example. Others require that people take vacations in week-long blocks. If there’s a business and the rules are clear, then fine.

        But to have a “Bob” rule because someone doesn’t like the fact that Bob wants to make three days weekends with his vacation? Oh hell no. And BTW, if Bob is taking off every Friday from now until December, and tells people that ahead of time, solid arrangements can be made there too.

        Reply
        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          But in fairness, this is “what if” land too. We don’t have enough information to know whether or not it’s having serious work impacts or not. If it is, it’s perfectly reasonable for a manager to say “no, you can’t do it this way,” just like a manager might say no to a vacation at the busiest week of their year. We just don’t have the information here to conclude either way.

          Reply
          1. Dan

            The reality with vacations is that they’re a company provided benefit, and companies should make it easy to use it. Otherwise, what’s the point? I mean, I’m a math guy and the fact that coverage will be required if someone is on vacation, that’s a math problem. That’s not (no matter what the circumstance) an individual causing problems. Some industries have rules that employees must take vacation in one week increments, or can’t take off during busy season. I’m ok with that. But to single Bob out, and say that Bob is causing problems with his vacations, and therefore Bob needs to be doing something different? Oh hell no. I object strongly to that. Unless it’s a one-off thing where Bob is the pay roll clerk and he likes to take off every other Friday when payroll needs to be processed. Sure, in a very specific circumstance, a Bob rule is appropriate. But for general coverage issues? No, I don’t like the messaging that an individual employee is causing problems by using a company provided benefit.

            Reply
    4. nofelix

      “he’s probably got like 6 weeks of vacation. Whether he takes it all at once or one day at a time, that’s a LOT of coverage. ”

      Yeah this was my first thought. If the burden of that coverage is falling unfairly on the letter writer then they should be talking to their manager about *that*, not how the other employee uses their vacation days.

      Say the manager does tell the employee to stop taking 4 day weeks: is the letter writer going to be any happier having to cover for longer periods?

      Reply
    5. Artemesia

      If the OP is the one being scheduled to do double duty to take up this guy’s slack then it is her business. The manager doesn’t care because he isn’t being affected.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        I refuse to make a stink about coverage for a company-provided benefit. Because when it’s time to take my vacation, I want my vacation on my terms (as much as feasible) without people making a stink… says the guy who takes off an entire month at a time.

        Now, if you’ve got a person that shows up late or calls in sick past the sick allotment or whatever, that’s different. But making a stink about coverage for a vacation? No. The issue has nothing to do with Bob, it’s how the org staffs to cover EVERYBODY’s vacation. Including yours.

        Reply
        1. Roscoe

          Amen. When people complain about a policy/benefit, they fail to realize that they will probably want to use that at some point.

          Reply
  7. heck no

    #1. If my boss told me such a thing I would be in HR demanding to see the company policy that restricts the use of my vacation benefits to my suit my managers personal (and unrealistic) preference, especially as the manager clearly knows in advance it is going to happen. Planning for longer absences is far more difficult IMO.

    Reply
    1. LisaLee

      I have to (partially) disagree. I can’t think of a position where your vacation time isn’t to some degree limited by your manager’s “preferences.” If you’re an accountant, you probably can’t take a long vacation during tax season. If you’re one of only two people in a position, you can’t both be out at the same time. If there’s a regular, important meeting on Monday mornings, you can’t skip every single Monday. I think it’s pretty reasonable for a manager to have limits on when vacation time can be taken or how if its necessary for the position.

      Also, at most places I’ve worked, you don’t need to give a a long notice period before taking one vacation day the way you do before taking a weeks-long vacation. It sounds like the employee here is leaving the office scrambling because he doesn’t keep a consistent schedule. It sounds like this is a position where being in the office consistently is important.

      That said, managers *should* try to be as flexible as possible when allowing people to have vacations. If a person doesn’t actually need to be in the office 5 days a week, then this schedule shouldn’t be a problem just because its perceived as doing less work.

      Reply
      1. Doriana Gray

        I have to (partially) disagree. I can’t think of a position where your vacation time isn’t to some degree limited by your manager’s “preferences.” If you’re an accountant, you probably can’t take a long vacation during tax season. If you’re one of only two people in a position, you can’t both be out at the same time. If there’s a regular, important meeting on Monday mornings, you can’t skip every single Monday. I think it’s pretty reasonable for a manager to have limits on when vacation time can be taken or how if its necessary for the position.

        This. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s probably a good thing for managers to set limits on when PTO can be taken from the perspective of the people still in the office. If I kept getting one of (or several) of my coworker’s unfinished work dumped on my desk at the end of the week every week, I’d be highly annoyed, especially if I’m already drowning under my own work (which is a common spot to be in in my industry). One offs are less stressful for the person providing coverage in my experience because they can better plan their own workload around the absent person’s work, and you know there’s a firm end date for providing said coverage.

        Reply
        1. Ama

          Yes, I worked in an academic office where the IT manager used to let all of our in-house IT support staff take vacation the week of orientation *every* year. Which meant we had all kinds of new users trying to log in to the system and network their computers to our printer, etc. and only the administrative staff, untrained in IT, to help them.

          The big bosses refused to believe it was a problem if the IT manager was approving the time off — and the IT manager refused to listen to the administrative director’s complaints that her staff was spending an excessive amount of time helping people with IT issues when they had other orientation tasks to attend to.

          I am one of the biggest believers in employers not hassling employees’ about vacation scheduling — but when coverage is needed, someone has to be present, and that needs to be made clear to the employees up front.

          Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      It’s pretty common for employers to have a policy that the scheduling of specific vacation days is up to your manager’s discretion.

      I absolutely agree that managers should default to letting people take their vacation days when they want to take them as long as they can manage the business impact without real hardship. Usually that’s the case. Sometimes it isn’t. It’s rare for managers not to have some discretion in this.

      Reply
      1. Green

        This. “At your manager’s discretion” or “Subject to manager approval” is pretty standard policy language. I don’t like restrictions on my vacation schedule either (and tend to just announce my vacation dates), and I especially wouldn’t appreciate vacation restrictions without a strong business justification. But if how I used my vacation time became an issue,–as long as I could still use my vacation time in other ways–this is really not something to go to HR about.

        Reply
      2. Dan

        To be clear, I’m ok with rules that are consistent and driven by business need, aka predictable. I’m not ok with the notion that a single person is a “problem” unless there is something really specific going on. But first and foremost, covering vacations is an org problem, not an individual problem, and orgs need to be planning for that.

        I’ve had managers play games with vacation and I hate it.

        Reply
    3. Mando Diao

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask that employees not use their vacation time as a way to stealthily change their schedules.

      Reply
      1. Apollo Warbucks

        It’s not a stealth change its asking for and using part of your compensation package if it’s a problem then the supervisor and emoloyee need to plan some alternatives but if the arrangement works then why not use PTO to have a shorter working week.

        Reply
            1. ExceptionToTheRule

              Well, the manager who gave an employee a half day off last weekend didn’t see the problem either, but I still had to spend 2 hours of my vacation time scrambling around trying to find coverage when someone else called in sick – coverage that was in place when I left for the week. So, yeah, he might not have seen the problem, but it was real.

              Reply
                1. Koko

                  No one’s really talking about whose fault it is, though. We’re talking about whether it’s appropriate/reasonable to tell the employee to stop using their PTO this way going forward, because it’s negatively impacting the business.

          1. Green

            It sounds as though this maybe somewhat inconveniences or irritates LW on principle, but that it’s not really LW’s place determine whether it is “NOT” working. I don’t think we should assume that it is actually not working, but that LW doesn’t feel like it is working: those are two different things.

            Reply
            1. LQ

              Yeah there is a big difference between not liking it and it not working. The OP is writing about not liking it. Not “the service desk is often uncovered” or even “this means no one else can take the day off” just difficult. (Though the OP doesn’t say if they do the schedule or not so that may or may not be their worry.)

              Reply
      2. nofelix

        Offering a vacation package is de facto altering their schedule.

        If there is something that only happens on Fridays which is part of the employee’s job, then yes restrictions should be made. But this is on the basis of job responsibilities. If the employee is doing the same work every day of the week then the ‘schedule’ is irrelevant. I guess maybe the letter write objects to this employee taking every Friday off because it forces them to work more Fridays.

        Reply
        1. doreen

          It very possibly prevents the other employees from ever taking a Friday off, and that’s an impact on the business, too. The OP says it makes scheduling difficult because public service points must be covered. If one person being out makes it difficult, it’s entirely possible that business needs make it impossible for two people to be scheduled off at the same time.

          Reply
          1. nofelix

            Yeah, I’m just guessing that those public service points are there every day of the week and so the employer has created this problem by overpromising vacation / under-staffing.

            Reply
            1. Doreen

              Not necessarily- even though those points have to be covered every day , there’s a difference between other employees not being able to take vacation during the weeks Wakeen is off and no one ever being able to take Friday (or Monday) off. Most of the time , it doesn’t make a huge difference to people whether they take vacation the second week of June or the third. But individual days are often taken for reasons that are somewhat time dependent – there’s a reason for the assumption that he’s taking Fridays off, not Tuesdays or random days.

              Reply
    4. Myrin

      I don’t think expecting an employee to work five days a week is an “unrealistic” preference, though!

      Reply
      1. nofelix

        Well it’s unrealistic to give him six weeks of holiday a year and expect to get a lot of uninterrupted five day work weeks, especially if that wasn’t part of the job descr. (which we don’t know). Of course the manager could insist on having more five-day weeks anyway but it doesn’t sound as if they want to.

        Reply
    5. Dangerfield

      I don’t see that. Surely it’s a lot easier to plan for a longer coverage: “Thomasina, Barrington is going to be out of the office for the next two weeks. Can I check that you’re in to cover anything urgent that needs to happen?”

      Whereas if Barrington takes one day off every week, it prevents other employees from taking full weeks off as you always have to ensure someone is available to provide cover.

      Reply
      1. Mookie

        Great point in the second para. If it can be demonstrated that this method is (unintentionally) sabotaging other employees’ vacation time, some kind of compromise needs to be devised.

        Reply
      2. Former Diet Coke Addict

        Yes, exactly. If Fergus is unpredictably gone one day each week and the office requires 3 staff and he’s the fourth…when are others going to take their week or two weeks or month if vacation? I hardly think it’s unreasonable to need someone there for a full time position, especially if it’s impacting work loads and other vacation schedules.

        Reply
      3. BetsyTacy

        Yeah, there has to be some type of manager discretion here.

        In my office, we need a certain number of people to be in to cover the office. When one particular *gem* of a coworker decided he was going to take every Friday off all summer and quite a few Mondays too, it really put us in a bind because it meant that only one other person in the office could take off for the whole week.

        (And yes, it was discussed rationally with him and no, he would not bend at all, and why yes! our management is crummy and fails to look at the big picture therefore we end up dealing with issues ourselves.)

        Reply
        1. Dan

          In this case though, it sounds like you have a management problem, not necessarily a “Bob” problem. If he’s got the vacation time, then management needs to plan for coverage. You’d presumably have a similar issue if said co worker took entire weeks off in the summer, no?

          Reply
      4. Murphy

        Except that if it’s consistent then you know and that just becomes the schedule. You’re not longer really planning for X’s vacation time, you’re planning for Friday equals team-X, same way you would if someone had negotiated a flex work schedule.

        But I agree that that type of schedule shifting should be arranged in advance, not be something people figure out after 6 weeks of it happening.

        Reply
        1. Artemesia

          Everyone wants to be able to take a 3 day weekend now and again in the summer; if one employee gets them all then no one else gets any It isn’t that you just have to plan, it is that everyone else gets no flexibility.

          Reply
    6. Rubyrose

      What I don’t think I’ve seen in this conversation is how far in advance is this person asking for time off. Are they putting in requests for a month in advance, or coming in on Monday asking for Friday off, week after week? I would think that in fairness to others who may also want a Friday off that requests need to be put in a least a month in advance. That way management can be fair to all and refuse a Friday off request as needed from the vacation rich employee so others can take off Friday. And what happens if someone needs a week off – is the other employee required to work a full five days?

      Reply
      1. JessaB

        Exactly. I knew a person who did this and they pretty much scheduled it all out in January. Even if they didn’t if they always take the same day, then I’m sure the supervisor has figured that. Before I’d deny someone time off, I’d change the requesting system. If right now you can ask for time two days in advance, I’d change it so you can only do that let’s say once a quarter (you got tickets to a play or something and wanna go,) but normally you have to arrange by the beginning of the month. Not saying that the person still can’t have their time, but requiring it to be set a month out would at least give scheduling a chance to catch up.

        There may be a large disconnect here between what the OP sees and what management sees, and if the OP hasn’t told management how hard this is making things, but is toughing it out and looking like there’s nothing wrong, I’d start there. As a work product thing, not as a “dammit he gets to take a day a week,” thing. At least in my experience a day a week thing for people with huge loads of time is kinda normal.

        Also it’s possible that management can tell them that for some weeks they have to take Mondays or something. I’d stay off of making them take a middle of the week day, it’s really not restful to have to do that and most people can’t get things done because their family is working that day. A three day weekend has a specific point. But it may actually be that for the work to get done a Monday is a better day to take.

        Reply
    7. Lily in NYC

      It’s not an uncommon policy – my office doesn’t allow it. Would you like it if the coworker you relied on the most took one day off every week?

      Reply
      1. Green

        I don’t think it’s up to coworkers to decide whether they like it or not, but up to the business and managers to decide whether it’s a business requirement that people not use vacation time that way. And that probably depends more on the job and the business than whether the coworkers particularly like it.

        Reply
        1. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

          I don’t know. I spend a lot of time thinking about things effect my team.

          If Jim is doing something that impacts his coworkers (even if it’s within policy), they are going to get upset/bothered etc. As a manager, I have to at least be aware of it and will likely address it.

          I’ve seen good employees leave because of bad coworkers. You have to think of the whole team dynamic as well.

          Reply
          1. Roscoe

            I don’t think he is a bad co-worker though. I think he is using his vacation time that they gave him in the way he’d rather use it. Thats the problem, people get mad at their co-workers when they should be mad at the policy instead

            Reply
        2. Lily in NYC

          True, but team morale is an important thing. A good manager would put a stop to it (if it’s affecting work/morale).

          Reply
          1. One of the Sarahs

            But what if it’s just the OP who’s bothered by it? I am all for good staff morale, but not for upsetting one member of staff by changing something the supervisors are OK with, just because it annoys one other person.

            Reply
    8. MissLibby

      It really depends on the office. It sounds like this is public facing and therefore coverage is needed. If Fergus takes every Friday off, then that may mean that someone else can never take a Friday off. Trust me, this is really bad for morale. Managers absolutely manage vacation use to meet the needs of the entire office, not one person who wants to work a part time schedule.

      Reply
    9. Koko

      I don’t think the company’s vacation policy needs to anticipate every possible scenario and lay out a formal policy for any situation that might arise. Most people appreciate working in an environment that allows for some flexibility instead of everything being bureaucratic and non-negotiable. It’s fine for vacation to be approved at a manager’s discretion as long as the manager can back up their decision with business-related reasons.

      Reply
  8. Adam

    #1. Heh. At my organization we accrue vacation hours. They never expire, but they cap out at 200 which I just hit. So now it’s use ’em or lose any I accrue in the coming months. I was holding on to them for a number of reasons.
    – If we leave the organization we get them cashed out to us, and I was wary of layoffs for a while
    – Now that I’m not concerned about layoffs, I’m hoping to find a new job and get a nice little bonus when I leave this one
    – When (*sigh*…if…) I get an interview I’d need the time to go to one

    But none of these things are happening at the moment. A real vacation is too expensive, and attempting a staycation in my current mindset would drive me batty. So I’ve been pondering just what I could do with those hours if my manager would approve it. I could either not work at all for five weeks, or work four day weeks for half the year. Either one sounds glorious at the moment, but I couldn’t actually do it so I’ll just be taking random days off here and there and keep hitting the ceiling again and again until such time as I actually can use them for something.

    Reply
    1. nofelix

      Good opportunity to do ‘those things you never have time for’ like DIY, seeing old relatives, that local museum, painting, learning to code, knitting a hat, volunteering…

      Reply
        1. Koko

          yes! I love taking a staycation and using it to catch up on chores and errands and clean house. Make those trips to the bank and the post office and the DMV, schedule some appointments, make an extra trip or two to the gym, install that shelf that I’ve been meaning to install, clean out my closet, etc. Going back to work knowing that I’ve cleared out my entire backlog of non-work to-do items (which are often either tricky to do outside of business hours or so laborious that I’m too tired to do them on a workday) makes such a difference in my stress level.

          Reply
          1. Elizabeth West

            I like to do that too–sometimes if things are super slow on Friday, I’ll take a half day and go home and do some stuff I don’t want to spend time doing on the weekend. :)

            Reply
      1. Mando Diao

        I like to hit the restaurants and brunch soecials that are too crowded on weekends. Maybe see a movie. It’s fun!

        Reply
    2. Former Retail Manager

      I am in a similar situation in terms of leave accrual and use (federal govt/union). We have people that do exactly what the employee in letter #1 does because they’ve been here since the dawn of time and have a TON of vacation hours. Because of the union, management really can’t deny use of leave except under extenuating circumstances and even then, managers tend not to. My personal goal is to eventually do exactly what the guy in #1 does, although my absence does not affect anyone else in any way, so it’s a bit different.

      I concur with all of the peeps above….go out and enjoy yourself alone or with friends doing all those things that you keep saying “oh, I wish I could do so and so…” Enjoy that time off!

      Reply
      1. LQ

        Similar here too. I have known several people who would take off every Friday or Monday depending on their job. I did have one Friday coworker who after someone mentioned to her that it made it hard for more than one person to take Fridays off, she quite happily swapped to taking 3 Mondays a month off. Same for her, big difference for everyone else. Union rules would not have required her to do that, but a conversation worked well.

        Reply
  9. SusanIvanova

    #2: The company that hired her is also the company that told her all that personal stuff about you, so if I did anything at all it wouldn’t just be complaining to them about her, it would be complaining about them! And this is a dentist? Are they that sloppy with their patients’ private information?

    But I’d just write it off as being very lucky not to have gotten a job at a place like that.

    Reply
    1. babblemouth

      Its also possible the company didn’t deliberately tell the new employee all that, and that she snooped to find out some stuff. That would make them careless with private information, but not deliberately spreading it…
      In LW2øs shoes, I would contact the company, and explain that I thought the information in a job application could be treated with a certain level of confidentiality, and at least ask why it wasn’t. There’s a chance they don’t know this is going on, and they should…

      Reply
      1. Oryx

        Even then, though, the new employee would have to know the OP interviewed and didn’t get the job. Unless she happened to see the OP leaving an interview as she was coming in or something, how else would she know unless the new employer talked?

        Reply
        1. Judy

          A former manager had a folder in the team’s shared drive called “Hiring”. Under that folder were dated folders for the rounds of hiring he had done, like “2016-03”. There were then directories called “Resumes” and “Interviews”. All of the notes were in there.

          I’m still not sure why he didn’t adjust the permissions.

          Reply
          1. LQ

            I recently stumbled across a bunch of personnel documents (I searched my own name to show someone something because I assumed only the one document I knew about would show up, wow! was I wrong) in a shared drive. Luckily I had a chat with my previous manager and he didn’t even realize it was searchable or that people would find it. Everything has been moved to a secure location now. But I think there are a lot of cases where people don’t realize what’s out there. So it may have been looking through stuff as a new hire and stumbling across something that shouldn’t have been findable.

            Reply
            1. Stranger than fiction

              Oh that’s a great point. You just reminded me that my BF has access to all the job candidates’ info (he’s not in HR). He can not only see their resumes and whatever pre-interview assignments, but also all the interviewer’s notes. Maybe he’s not supposed to have access and they haven’t realized people can yet.

              Reply
          2. Erin

            Yep, I’ve found similar stuff at a previous job, like other employee’s reviews. I didn’t look at them.

            But good points to babblemouth and Oryx as well – I suppose these are possibilities, and the company didn’t necessarily intentionally share this info with the woman who got hired.

            Reply
          3. Rob Lowe can't read

            I found something like this recently too! It was just notes on one employee, and it appears they’re about 3 years old. And it was in a shared folder that all staff have access to – not anywhere that something like that should be saved.

            Reply
        2. Koko

          In one of my previous job’s, I was hired and trained by my predecessor. I also inherited all of her email when I took over the role from her. Which included all of the communications she had had with the other applicants that I beat out, as well as all of the internal emails that she and other staff had had about the other candidates.

          Reply
    2. Artemesia

      I grew up around doctors and at least back in the 50s they gossiped about patients all the time as did their wives . I will never forget “when they brought Carolyn in for her appendix you would have been shocked at how filthy her bra straps were and she was so fat it was like tutting through a whale.” Carolyn was my 15 year old neighbor. It has forever shaped my wariness around doctors. One hopes HIPAA has helped reduce that although I usually see it invoked to CYA doctors.

      Reply
        1. Stranger than fiction

          Haha. My mother really drove that one home. In fact, when we were really little, when we’d go to the doctor, she’d take an extra pair of underwear – fancy, ruffly ones – in a bag and change us into them in the parking lot!

          Reply
        2. Elizabeth West

          Oh man, that caveat really stays with you. I had what was probably an esophageal spasm a couple of weekends ago, so bad I thought I might have to go to the ER. I knew it wasn’t cardiac-related (I’ve had it before). Since I had been cleaning all day and was kind of grungy, I took a very fast shower and changed my clothes from the skin out so I wouldn’t be all gross!

          Of course after I got out, it stopped. You know it will happen again when I’m all dirty from working outside or something. :P

          Reply
      1. Sigrid

        Speaking as a medical student, we get reminded of HIPAA every time we turn a corner. All of my classmates and all the doctors I have worked with take it very seriously. If you are found to have violated a patient’s privacy it is automatically grounds for dismissal from medical school. We even get classes on how much we’re allowed to tell our spouses about our work day.

        Reply
      2. The Strand

        People still break HIPAA. Sometimes inadvertently. Social media is the big threat. A young resident takes a picture of herself with the baby she helped deliver, posts it to Facebook – never gives it another thought.

        As for gossip, there was a recent legal case where a patient recorded his doctors talking about him while he was undergoing a procedure (I think it was a colonoscopy). Horrific stuff.

        Reply
  10. AcademiaNut

    For #1 – I’m curious what the scheduling difficulty is that makes taking one day off a week a problem, but wouldn’t be an issue if they took, say, three weeks straight. If the fundamental issue is arranging coverage for a vacationing employee, regardless of how the vacation is taken, then it’s a result of the employee’s vacation package, and is the employer’s issue to deal with.

    Reply
    1. JessB

      I worked as a temp for a while, and did a bunch of jobs that were filling in for someone while they were away- it’s much easier to do that in a big block, rather than one day a week for weeks at a time.
      For one thing, as the temp, there weren’t many jobs that regularly only wanted someone for four days a week- so if I got an ongoing assignment for one day a week, it’s likely I wouldn’t work at all the rest of the week.
      Also, the agency might not be able to send the same temp every day, so there would be a new person to be trained every time.

      None of that is necessarily relevant to this particular question, as I don’t get the impression that they are going to hire a temp to help out, rather it seems that the task falls to other staff. In that case, I can see how it would be annoying and onerous for them l, to frequently have to stop their own work and staff a counter to fill in for someone who is having a three day weekend AGAIN.

      Reply
      1. Artemesia

        Other staff has to cover and double up their work and other staff can’t take 3 day weekends ever because Hoggy McHogface gets them all.

        Reply
    2. MK

      If you know someone will be gone for weeks, you can make other arrangements, like hire a temp, pull someone from another department to help out, postpone some project that isn’t urgent, etc. It’s not accurate to say that’s it’s the same no matter how the vacation is taken.

      Reply
    3. Caroline

      This is probably an extreme example, but I once worked in a department where there were two of us who did the same role. It was a client facing role that was extremely important to maintaining the company’s contracts, so when we were both hired it was made clear to us that we were expected to coordinate our holidays so that there was always one of us working during normal business hours.

      Obviously there were times when this wasn’t possible, if one of us got sick or had an emergency while the other was away, and the company were good about dealing with this because they knew that it was outside of our control.

      However, if my coworker had taken a day a week off, every week, it would have made my life extremely difficult. It would have been almost impossible for me to take a week (or more) of holiday in one go. If their days were already booked, I would have been told by the my boss “sorry, you can have Monday through Thursday off, but you need to be in on Friday because Jane is off that day”. And if this was a consistent thing, I would have expected my manager to explain to Jane how the way that she was taking her time off was causing scheduling problems and ask her to modify the way that she took her holiday. And I don’t think that would be unreasonable.

      Reply
      1. On the Phone

        Yes, there are many cases where an employee taking time off in this manner could cause problems. I’m not sure why everyone is acting as though that’s never true when the LW explicitly said it was.

        Reply
    4. Ad Astra

      If the coworker is taking the same day off each week (say, Friday), he’s also making it really tough for anyone else in the office to get a Friday off.

      Reply
    5. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

      A lot of it is an issue of timing. If an employee is taking two weeks off for a trip (and likely given me ample notice), there are a lot of things I can do: (1) hire a temp, (2) borrow someone from another team, (3) if it’s a slow period, have other people cover their work. I can’t do those things on a weekly basis.

      We are also talking about someone who has a client facing position that was scheduled for 5 days a week and effectively changed their schedule to 4 days per week. That can have a lot of impact on the department and coverage.

      Reply
    6. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      My husband had this problem in a previous job. He had two colleagues with the same responsibilities as him, including some daily processes that had to be run. One of his colleagues took every Friday off over the summers, which meant that the other two could essentially never have a full week off (only one person was needed to run the process, but they needed the second person at the office as backup in case the lead person called out sick, got stuck in traffic, etc. etc.).

      Reply
    7. Anonymous Educator

      I’ve worked in a number of contexts where the work is seasonal.

      I used to work in admissions, and it was definitely not feasible for anyone in our office to take one day off a week between September and March. Maybe a day here or there, but in an office of 3 people, coverage just doesn’t work for one employee to take every Friday off or every Monday off during those busy times. During May or June? Easily 2 out of the 3 people could have left for a week or two at a time.

      I also used to work for a recruitment firm, and they had as a policy that you could absolutely not take any vacation between January and June, no matter how much you’d accrued.

      Reply
    8. Burr

      I work on a team of six. All of us do essentially the same work but we service different clients. It would be much easier for me to cover a project from start to finish for 3 weeks than it would be to review the state of a coworker’s accounts every friday and work out what needed to be done.

      That said, I think the expectation is that you break your time down into 2 or 3 vacations anyway. It’s very rare for someone to use all their days in one lump as well.

      Reply
  11. Katie the Fed

    #1 – in some jobs at my employer, we can work modified schedules of 4×10 hour days a week or 9×9 hours every two weeks (with one regular 8 hour day IIRC). I’m very much planning to take advantage of that in my next position (not possible in my current one). That extra day would be amazing for me getting errands done, extra sleep, etc.

    But the key is that mission needs come first and if the job isn’t conducive to an alternate work schedule, then we’re SOL.

    If your situation is one that truly is affecting your office’s ability to fulfill its mission, then that’s how you need to frame it to the manager. Right now it sounds more like a gripe that someone else is getting to do something you’re not – you need to clearly articulate the mission impact. Your manager is wrong that there is nothing she CAN do, but she might not be willing to do something unless there’s a compelling work-related reason for it.

    Reply
    1. Guava

      I was going to say the same thing…can he work a 4/40?

      Although, I get a feeling that this guy only wants to work 32 hours a week.

      Reply
      1. Tamsin

        I don’t think it’s a matter of offering a 4/40 schedule (though they could do that). The guy would then have not only all of these paid days off he still needs to take but days off accruing too that he’s now taking once a week.

        Reply
  12. Katie the Fed

    On #1 – I don’t see a way this helps you. If you show you work hard at it, the potential employer worries you’re spending you time at work running a side business. If it doesn’t look like you’re doing that much, then it shouldn’t go on your resume. Either way, I don’t think it helps.

    Reply
  13. Sally Sparrow

    I can’t help but wonder if the guy in OP#1 constantly taking 3 day weekends is preventing other people from being able to use their vacation. It is easy to schedule around a CWs weeklong vacation, you go a week earlier or later. But if it is every Friday or Monday that could mess up everyone else.

    Reply
  14. Anon for Reasons

    I am OP#3. Our office is in Florida, and I did give notice. It is a professional office, not a dispatch-type situation. Ironically, I was the one who wrote our original Personnel Manual but it was updated about five years ago without my input, as I had moved into a different position. I can’t recall exactly what it says about employee monitoring, but listening was not specifically disclosed. The entire concept of being listened to (especially by the creepy IT guy – who is the reason I have the laptop’s camera covered) squicks me out. Personal phone calls are not forbidden, amd does anyone really need to know what I might discuss with my doctor? It simply feels like an unnecessary violation.

    Reply
    1. KR

      Knowing now that your IT guy is creepy, I agree that you have a reason to be upset. Most IT personnel really don’t care about listening to you or looking at your browsing history and I feel like that’s worth noting.

      Reply
    2. Artemesia

      IT guys listening in or trolling through Email for their pleasure IS mega creepy. There is zero reason for IT to be listening in on office conversations. Glad you are out of there.

      Reply
  15. Christine C

    Is it possible #1 is not in the US? I’m kind of in shock about that amount of annual vacation! I’ve actually wondered how vacations are handled in countries where several weeks of vacay is the standard. Can any of our non-US friends chime on this? Is the one-day-per week method #1 is describing common?

    Also, I’m sure it goes without saying, but MAN am I jealous!

    Reply
    1. Myrin

      I’m in one of these countries with several weeks as standard and what the employee in #1 is doing isn’t common at all! What is common is taking so-called “bridge days” off (like if there’s a holiday on Thursday, very many people will take off Friday to have a four-day-weekend) but the “normal” thing to do is taking at least one week off at once, although there are probably people who generally prefer just taking one or two days every once in a while (my mum was one of them).

      Reply
    2. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

      It’s possible in the US, if you’ve been with a company long enough. In a corporate environment, you figure 8-10 paid holidays a year, if you’ve been there in the neighborhood of 20 years, having 30 days of vacation is not uncommon.

      Reply
    3. J

      It’s entirely possible to accrue that much vacation in the U.S. Public employers sometimes give that much (we max out at 5 weeks vacation, 1 week personal time, plus sick days at my work). Maybe the co-worker negotiated more vacation time in lieu of a raise or has just been there forever.

      Reply
      1. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

        This too. Or you could carry some over. Some places even let you buy vacation time. One time I had enough that in the summer I realized I could take Fridays off for the rest of the year and still have to take some to be under the maximum to carry over to the next year. I mentioned this to my manager, as a curiosity, not that I’d actually do it, and the look on her face was absolutely priceless.

        Reply
      2. Jerry Vandesic

        At one time I worked for a US company that was a subsidiary of a French company. I had a total of 45 days off, including vacation (28), floating holidays (5), and company holidays (12). They had a no-rollover policy, so you really needed to plan so that you were able to use it all.

        That being said, a manager wouldn’t have approved it if someone tried to use that generous package to take one day off per week. In addition, managers needed to make sure that people didn’t leave it until the end of the year and then try to take off the entire month of December.

        Reply
    4. Daisy Steiner

      It’s not that unusual to take leave in small chunks, but it IS unusual to make such a regular habit of it that your role becomes de facto part time. If you get 25 days off a year (not mandatory in the UK, but not at all uncommon) you could theoretically take every other Friday off. But that’s not really how you’re meant to use it.

      Reply
      1. the_scientist

        While I think it’s unusual to do that year-round, I actually don’t think it’s unusual to take 1 day off per week for a couple of months…..particularly in the summer. I have several co-workers and friends who have access to family cottages who do this for at least a month every summer, and they are early in their career so it’s not like they have a ton of seniority or anything. The flip side, of course, is that they don’t take week-long vacations in the winter. I get four weeks of vacation per year, as an early-career employee. I could easily take every Friday off in July and August and my manager would likely approve it as long as I was meeting my deadlines and staying on top of my work, because things tend to slow down here over the summer anyway.

        It sounds like it’s not feasible in the case of OP1 due to coverage issues, but again, I don’t actually think it’s all that unusual as a rule or uniformly unreasonable to do this for a time-limited period. Every Friday for an entire year is definitely unusual, but that can also be what happens when you allow people to accrue boatloads of vacation time.

        Reply
        1. themmases

          Yes, I did this my last summer at my old job as an early career employee. There are a fair number of holiday weekends in the summer anyway, so it didn’t even involve asking for that much time off. I think a lot of people in this thread are making the mistake of assuming that the PTO and coverage situation in their field is universal.

          This letter read to me like the OP is being told by their boss to let it go. “Nothing to be done” could mean a lot of things. It could mean “There is nothing to be done because our employee handbook was carved on stone tablets before the dawn of time.” It could also mean “There is nothing to be done by *you* because I am telling you to leave it alone.” Since it sounds like this decision isn’t even up to the OP, I’m going with the latter.

          Reply
    5. Sarahnova

      I’ve known people who use their holiday to do a taking-one-day-a-week off thing, but it’s usually agreed in advance with their manager, as it’s not strictly what holiday is supposed to be used for, and part-time schedules are supposed to be specifically agreed with businesses.

      Reply
      1. Sarahnova

        Other than that, holiday is handled in a pretty standard way. Most people take two weeks off in the summer, and an extra week or two at other times of year, with occasional days sprinkled around for long weekends etc.

        Reply
    6. K.

      My old employer was global (offices in Europe, Asia, and the US) and the US-based offices got 4 weeks PTO from the start – more the longer you were there. It is the only thing I miss about that company, and it’s still not enough to make me go back.

      One of my colleagues there used to time it so that he took off every Friday in the summer. His wife is a teacher so he liked having more time at home then with her and their daughter (who was a baby at the time). He was an assistant director so managed a team, and would work through the Christmas holidays (he said he preferred it since clients’ offices were closed and his team took off; he could get a lot done). I’d guess he was still accessible via phone if anything went crazy at work, but it really wasn’t a problem for him to be out once a week for those three months. Summer was a slow time though.

      Reply
      1. K.

        Also, I’d come from an industry that had summer hours – every Friday was a half day. (You added an extra hour the other 4 days of the week to make up for it, but we all worked that much anyway.) So I was unfazed. He also wasn’t my boss, so it had no impact on me. (My boss DID take basically all of December off because he looked up and realized he had a lot of “use it or lose it” time – he checked in via email once a day, but beyond that he was out.)

        Reply
    7. Snow

      I’m in the UK and it is common where I work using a combination of flex time (I think this is like comp time in the US – working extra and then taking it off at different time) and leave. In my company customer facing roles tend to be on large teams so cover hasn’t been an issue because of the volume of staff, and in smaller teams with more specialised roles, there is higher flexibility so as long as you get your work done in the 4 days this is fine (this is perhaps more doable because it involves flex time.) Most of the people I know in office based jobs would be able to do this but not in retail or shift work. I have a friend who works in a call centre who can do this as long as she has the dates in before the bidding window for shifts opens for a particular window.

      Reply
    8. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

      My company starts people with 18 days vacation, and there are no carryover rules (because they don’t pay out vacation when we leave). I’m really good about taking time off and last time I looked I think I had 265 hours of vacation.

      Reply
      1. Jerry Vandesic

        Although there might not be any carryover, if your company lets you accrue vacation during the year then they probably need to pay out any unused vacation when an employee leaves.

        Reply
        1. HR Caligula

          No federal law on that, it can vary from state to state. California, it needs to be paid out. WA State, whatever company policy is, etc.

          Reply
    9. MK

      No, it’s not a common use of long vacation time. Most people who have 4 weeks off and more usually take one long chunk of vacation (2 or 3 weeks, even a month), some smaller vacations (say 2 or 3 days to add to a weekend or bridge between a holiday and a weekend) and a day here and there.

      Reply
    10. Dangerfield

      Where I work we get an unusually high amount of leave even for the UK and that’s not common at all. It’s much more common to intersperse whole weeks through the year and most people take two weeks at Christmas and two weeks either in the summer or just after it. But we don’t get flexitime here. I’ve worked somewhere with flexitime and it was very common for people to take every Friday afternoon off.

      Reply
  16. Mike C.

    OP2: I think you should tell anyways. This (soon to be) employee is leaking proprietary information that in normal circumstances would be incredibly harmful to you. She’s also subverting the company’s hiring process because off it gets around, people will think twice about applying to future job openings. I can imagine that a hiring manager id’s going to want to know that these sorts of leaks are happening.

    Reply
    1. JMegan

      Yes, I would give this some serious consideration as well. I wouldn’t necessarily expect a response from the company, because anything they do will likely happen behind closed doors, but I would definitely consider asking them how this woman knew all the private details of your interview.

      Reply
    2. Artemesia

      I think the hiring manager probably leaked the info — if I were going to give feedback on this I would go to the top.

      Reply
      1. Tamsin

        Exactly. And it’s not just the leaked info from the interview. OP is worried her job might have been endangered by the fact that she even interviewed with them and now it’s been shoved in her current employer’s face.

        Reply
    3. Erin

      Normally I’d be inclined to disagree, but this situation is so bizarre and inappropriate I think I too would seriously consider saying something to that company.

      Reply
  17. Dangerously Cheezy

    #2 – I would call the company to complain if this woman was not actually sitting in the interview room with you to know the details she shared. If they had told her who you were and things you had said in the interview (or maybe she peeked at documents she wasn’t supposed to see) and then she used that information in a way to harm you, I would think that the company would want to know either to address this specific woman or to know going forward to not reveal private interview info to other candidates.

    Reply
  18. Zillah

    OP1 –

    If you’re not his manager and his manager doesn’t have an issue with this, this may be more of an intellectual discussion than problem solving, but:

    Is there a different way he could take all of his vacation time that realistically wouldn’t have the same impact that you’re facing right now? If there is, I think it’s worth pushing back a little.

    However, I’m wondering if part of the problem is that there just isn’t a good way for this employee to take his vacation, and you’re resenting the lurch it’s leaving you in. If that’s the case, it’s totally understandable, but the resentment seems misplaced – this is really on the company more than him, and the solution would ideally be for the company to hire someone else.

    And, regardless of the situation, I’d recommend making sure that when you address it, you don’t imply that you don’t think he should be taking his vacation – just that you want to work together to make sure there’s coverage without interrupting his vacation time.

    Reply
  19. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

    #2 If the community you work in is as small as you describe and she did this in front of everyone, that’s going to eventually get back to her employer anyway, without you opening your mouth. And it will likely get around to every potential employer for her.

    Reply
  20. Syler

    #1 – Are you sure you’re not exaggerating here? A generous vacation policy would be 4 weeks a year. That’s only 20 days – so 20 weeks, which 5 months that the person could do this consecutively. Could it be that because this gets under your skin for some reason, that it just seems like the person is doing it every week?

    If not, I want to come work where you work so I can have 52 vacation days a year. BTW, I’ll gladly take them all at once if you want me to. :)

    Reply
    1. Lily in NYC

      Lots of companies allow you to roll over vacation time – at my last job, I had over a year of vacation time banked because of roll-overs.

      Reply
      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

        Damn, girl! Use your vacation days. It’s healthy! :)

        (Totally not my business. But I’ve gotten myself into a bad way by not taking my vacation in the past, so I’m a huge advocate now.)

        Reply
        1. Lily in NYC

          Oh, I used plenty! It was a national magazine and we had “dead weeks”, which meant we’d put out a double issue one week and then nothing the next week (usually over holidays). So in addition to a generous vacation policy, we had three or four of those dead weeks a year, which meant the entire office was shut for a week (with pay). It was awesome and made it easy to accumulate a ton of time to roll over. I love taking time off – no one will ever have to worry about me working myself to death!

          Reply
      2. Not Karen

        At OldJob you could roll over up to 500 hours so there were several life-timers who spend their last years working 4-day weeks.

        Reply
      3. Syler

        I realize that, but someone who would take a day a week for 52 weeks didn’t seem the type to hoard vacation time. Certainly a possibility, but it’s like a 180 switch – never take a day one or more years, and then take a day a week for a year – that I didn’t think that was likely the case.

        Reply
    2. Erin

      Wow, yeah I didn’t even realize that math.

      I’m always really on the fence with vacation time being used like this, I know I’ve commented on it here before. On the one hand, if you’re allotted a certain number of days you should be able to take them whenever you want (barring a huge project going on or something like that).

      But when you take one day a week for several weeks instead of just all at once it really does look bad. It looks like you’re never there, even though that’s not true. Whereas if you’re out for one week altogether, people are just like, “Oh, Jim is on vacation this week.” Otherwise it’s, “Where is Jim? He’s not here again? It’s like he’s never here!”

      If I’m reading this right, it sounds like this actually does have an impact on the OP’s work, though. And OP has already talked to management about it. :/

      How much is it *really* impacting you and your ability to do work? I think you’d need to bring a really compelling argument back to your supervisor if you were to raise this again, since you’ve already brought it up once.

      Reply
    3. Not the Droid You Are Looking For

      My company allows us to roll over and has a pretty generous vacation policy. So right now I have 265 vacation hours banked, which would be about 33 days. And if you take into account holidays, because the OP said he doesn’t take vacation on weeks where they get the holiday, I really think I could swing working a four day week for the next year :-)

      Reply
    4. MT

      It all depends on the situation. My brother is a truck driver for a local grocery chain. He has been with the company/union since the early 80’s. He gets 7 weeks of vacation and 12 days of sick time a year, only sick time roles over. His pay may not be the greatest, but the benifits are worth him not caring about the money he could be making some place else.

      Reply
      1. MT

        The best part of it is, that some of the other drivers are in the same boat as him, so when he is not on vacation, he is working as much OT as he wants.

        Reply
    5. Anonymous Educator

      The OP mentions that the other employee wouldn’t take a vacation day if there was already a day off. So, for example, if the company had MLK day off, the employee wouldn’t use a vacation day that week.

      Reply
    6. fposte

      I have 48 days. That’s obviously more than average in the U.S., but it’s not hugely uncommon, either, and that would be more than enough for me to take three-day weekends every week that there isn’t a holiday.

      Reply
    7. CheeryO

      Not to beat a dead horse, but it’s totally possible. Lifers here in my state gov agency get 30 days of vacation+personal time plus a couple of floating holidays, and you can roll over up to about four weeks’ worth per year. We have a lot of people who have to burn time at the end of the fiscal year, and people often “retire” a month before their actual retirement date because they have so much leave banked. (Not me. I will take all my vacation days, TYVM!)

      Reply
    8. Jerry Vandesic

      It is possible, but probably unusual. The more senior you are the greater the likelihood that you will have a more generous vacation offering. I have had as much as 45 days off (28 vacation + 5 floating holidays + 12company holidays) at a US employer. My current (US) employer offers 37 days off (27 vacation + 10 company holidays).

      Reply
  21. Erin

    #2 – How did she reveal personal information you said in your interview? Unless you were interviewed together (which I suppose is possible) that means that other company conveyed that information to her. WTF. Bullet dodged there that you didn’t get hired.

    I don’t think your boss will be surprised that you were interviewing given the context you provided, and she certainly won’t be angry about it unless you performance at work suffers.

    That other woman was 100% out of line and reasonable people at your current job will know that. This is one of those, it’s a reflection of the other person, not you, kind of situations.

    Reply
  22. jhhj

    It is possible that if LW1 is in a union, that seniority means that in fact there is nothing to be done about this. (It would be a pretty bad contract that allowed for it, but it’s possible.)

    If it makes scheduling difficult, but everyone else can still take their time off in normal increments (1-2 weeks, typically), then probably the inconvenience will have to be lived with. If it makes it actually impossible for anyone else to take a vacation, then you can all go together and discuss the issue.

    It is of course possible that coworker has no idea how this inconveniences other people — this is on the managers, typically.

    Reply
    1. MT

      all of the unions i have been in, UFCW and Teamsters the vacation calendar was opened up by seniority and there were no rules on how you can claim your days.

      Reply
      1. LCL

        We are in the union. Our vacation policy was written by the employees and went through the negotiation process. We allow 2 picks per year based on seniority, everything else is first come first served.

        Reply
        1. MT

          where i worked, everyone got a time based on seniority, it was a free for all once your time period opened to claim whatever dates you wanted. you could pick them all at once, or you could pick the dates months down the line.

          Reply
      2. jhhj

        A contract that doesn’t require every employee to be allowed x full weeks off is a badly negotiated contract on the union’s part (or a screw you to younger employees).

        Reply
        1. LCL

          But many employees don’t want to take their vacation in full week or more increments. Many of them want to take a series of long weekends/short weeks. To those people (I am one) being required to take my vacation in week increments is not ideal. We can still accommodate the people who want to take 2-3 weeks at once, the problem is everyone can’t be gone all at the same time.

          Reply
          1. jhhj

            I don’t care if people want long weekends or full weeks, a contract that allows more senior employees to make it such that more junior employees CANNOT take full weeks is badly done. There are sometimes reasons to require full weeks off, but otherwise it’s typically okay to give people the choice, as long as someone choosing lots of long weekends doesn’t block off every week for all the other employees.

            Reply
  23. John

    #5 — I have a different take on mentioned AirBnB hosting. As an employer, I’m going to wonder if this second source of income is going to impede on his ability to do his job.

    – Is he going to be dealing with lockouts and other issues during the day?
    – Is he going to habitually arrive late because his guests were up late/making noise?

    I think some of us might view it as having a second job.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      Thanks for your insight! If an employer asked me how Airbnb would impact my ability to work I could assure them it would not. We’re able to handle everything outside of work hours and even emergencies like being locked out would just have to wait until I got home!

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I have two concerns with that. First off, not everybody worried about that line on your resume will ask, so you won’t be able to address it. Secondly, that phraseology would raise my eyebrows because it sounds like you’re waving off your commitment to your Airbnb customers. “I’ve been doing this three years and I’ve never had to take work off during the day to deal with it” would be another way to make the point without sounding like you’d throw your other customers under the bus for this job.

        Reply
      2. Undine

        “even emergencies like being locked out would just have to wait until I got home!”
        To me, that would reflect badly on your work ethic, because it would sound like you are fine making money off people, but you don’t want to give a high level of service. Getting locked out is just an example; there are plumbing emergencies, on-site accidents, etc. If you are using this as an example of your skills, I would want to hear that you have thought this through and have a plan to cover emergencies.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          Same here. From a customer’s POV, if I were to rent from you, I’d want to know I could get hold of you in case something happened. If I thought I’d get stuck outside in the pouring rain because my host couldn’t leave work, I’d go find a real B&B. I’ve considered Airbnb before, but it’s stuff like this that makes me leery of using it.

          Reply
          1. Jennifer

            Those are all great points. While we treasure our experience with Airbnb, including the friendships we’ve made from hosting and the income we get from it, it’s not our full-time job. We do everything we can to ensure our guests have a stellar experience but we’re not a hotel! My husband has a flexible schedule so I’m not doing this alone and we make sure to communicate with our guests when they’re coming and going so they always have a key. Your perspectives offer interesting insights to how others would interpret my sharing of the experience – thank you!

            And I highly recommend Airbnb for traveling – you just have an extra layer of communication that goes into it but the human connection and local insight make it more than worth it! We also host a lot of job-seekers (we live in DC) who are here for a week or two at a time interviewing so it’s really more like short-term roommates sometimes than a host/guest relationship.

            Reply
        2. One of the Sarahs

          Re #1, while I can see from the comments that a lot of people are seeing this holiday pattern as unreasonable, there are also a ton of reasons a manager might approve this form of holiday-use, even if it makes things more difficult – for example, if the employee is providing childcare/care for an elderly relative etc etc, if they’re doing a course, if they’re using the time for a medical appointment, including things like counselling, if they’re volunteering, and a thousand other reasons that the supervisors may never share.

          Reply
  24. JustAnotherHRPro

    #3 – I think that if your employer is deploying listening tactics without your knowledge I would personally pause to think if this is a place you want to continue working. For one, if its a trust issue, that is a huge issue – why are you hiring or employing people you don’t trust? And second, if they have someone who has the time to tap into people’s offices, is that really an efficient use of their time? I just think that tactics such as these are questionable. Legal (for the most part) but damn….that lends to a culture that breeds discontent and lack of trust. I agree with the whole “your computer, email, etc are subject to being read” – mostly because email is discoverable. But deploying listening devices? What is the motivation? Are you wondering if people are talking trash about their managers? Maybe the better question is to address WHY they are critical of management. MAYBE….just maybe tactics like this are WHY people don’t like management.

    And I don’t think minimal personal use of company telephones, etc is uncalled for. And while yes, there is no expectation of privacy in an office setting – I may take a personal call on my personal cell in my office. Sometimes it makes little sense to run outside to take a call. And in the hall you have less privacy and if I need to talk to my doctor about my diagnosis, I would rather do it behind closed doors and sometimes during business hours are the only time I can. So my employer listening to that without notifying me first is a HUGE problem.

    Lastly, an employer who taps into an HR office has another problem – if someone hears a confidential conversation that ends up in litigation – that person who listened in has now made themselves subject to being deposed, and in a situation such as that, would need to come forward that they did in fact, hear that conversation. Which clearly would lead to exposure from the company in the form of further litigation when the employee who thinks they were talking behind closed doors and confidentially has now discovered they were the subject of listening devices.

    I say all this because I worked in a place where I am quite sure these tactics were being deployed. The leader was a former FBI deputy and he used to just pull random emails, etc and he once said something to me that I concluded he could have only known by tapping the phone or my office. BTW I was Director of HR at the time….needless to say the environment was HIGHLY toxic and I could do very little to change it so I left.

    Reply
  25. Kyrielle

    #3 – I think I’d be too upset in the situation to think of this, but I personally think going in with your device-of-choice for playing back music and putting a certain Rick Astley song on infinite repeat would be hilarious. (Assuming it didn’t drive *you* up the wall having to listen to it – infinite repeat, only because you can’t be sure when they’d be listening.)

    Reply
    1. Bowserkitty

      I have a friend who unironically burned that to a mix CD because he genuinely loves the song. He doesn’t even correlate it with rickrolling until I flailed against the window when we were driving somewhere one day. (@_@)

      Reply
      1. Kyrielle

        I actually like the song, too. :) Which means I can get some amusement out of rickrolling others without being annoyed by the music. I actually *could* sit and listen to it on infinite repeat. (I don’t like it so much that I’d do that other than to annoy a listener, tho.)

        Reply
          1. Bowserkitty

            LOL, this is awesome. Yeah, it’s something another friend and I still do to each on Facebook from time to time! There are also a couple of bars in town that we’d go to and harass patrons by way of rickrolling them through the jukebox. It was well worth the $1 per play.

            Reply
      2. Mephyle

        One time I got on a bus to go home and that song was playing on the radio. I didn’t realize it until I stopped to analyze why I had a vague uneasy feeling that I was never going to get home even though the bus was not very far from my stop.

        Reply
  26. JMegan

    #4, take this from a classic overthinker: You’re overthinking.

    You say that when B was asked to leave, she handled it professionally and was on good terms with everyone in the department. Sounds to me like she was either genuinely not bothered, or she was very good at pretending she wasn’t bothered – either way, you can take that as your cue for how you should behave when you see her. If she’s not uncomfortable, there’s no reason for anybody else to be uncomfortable either. Somebody had to get her old job, after all, and she’d likely be pleased to know that it was somebody she liked and would probably be good at it.

    Reply
    1. Stranger than fiction

      I agree. It’s pretty natural the Op would be promoted into that vacancy, and the other person now has a job, so everyone should just be happy and move on.

      Reply
  27. Ad Astra

    The “reasonable expectation of privacy” thing is kind of interesting in an office setting. People with private offices might close the door and change clothes, use their breast pumps, make personal phone calls, or do any number of things that require some privacy. It’s not the same as the privacy you’d expect to have at home, but it’s far different from what you’d expect in an open office.

    Reply
    1. Lily in NYC

      Oh yikes, good point about pumping and changing clothes! I didn’t even think of that angle and it’s a doozy.

      Reply
    2. J.B.

      But to follow up on a previous poster’s annoying sound, you could sit a breastpump right next to the microphone and leave it on for white noise :) In fact once you know about this it’s ridiculously easy to subvert.

      I do think this could run afoul of the legal expectation of privacy as it would be pretty reasonable for anyone in a private office to do the things you’ve mentioned.

      Reply
    3. JustAnotherHRPro

      Good point about the pumping – although legally they have to be provided a private space to do so, that isn’t a bathroom stall.

      I myself change clothes in my office all the time – since I know how clean my office is, yet our office bathroom rivals Yankee Stadium’s bathroom in relative cleanliness (ugh…a whole other topic of conversation!!).

      Video does have a whole other realm of legality…and you do have to inform employees when there is video surveillance involved.

      Reply
    1. LCL

      It impacts OPs work because OP is probably being denied vacation because old dog is always on a long weekend, and someone has to staff the office. Not explicitly stated but the interpretation that makes the most sense. Many places DON’T allow unlimited vacation; if Random is out of the office Brand has to work.

      Reply
      1. Srs Bsns

        “OP is probably being denied vacation because old dog is always on a long weekend, […] Not explicitly stated but the interpretation that makes the most sense.”

        I’m sorry, but this just seems like speculation – unless you are the OP – and I don’t think it is necessarily “the interpretation that makes the most sense”. Also, “old dog” does seem rather disparaging. I apologise if this is deemed nitpicking, but this phrase really stuck out to me both times you’ve used it.

        “Many places DON’T allow unlimited vacation; […] “

        I’m not sure “unlimited vacation” is quite what is happening here – if the employee has vacation days available for use, and their requests for time off are not in violation of any policy and deemed reasonable enough to be approved by their manager, that’s hardly the same thing as “unlimited vacation”. And surely the manager isn’t powerless to take the appropriate action – i.e. Alison’s advice – if the employee’s frequent use of vacation days does cause some hardship?

        Reply
        1. LCL

          A hypothesis derived from years of administering and denying and scheduling vacation requests. ‘Unlimited vacation’ usually means no restrictions on requests, all requests are approved.

          Reply
          1. Roscoe

            But you are applying your experience to something that could be vastly different. Its possible OP is being denied vacation, but if that was the case, I think they would have included something about that in the letter. It just seems like she doesn’t like it

            Reply
          2. Srs Bsns

            Such a policy, one that would compel a manager to approve each and every request for vacation time, with absolutely no regard for the subsequent consequences, however detrimental, is a very poor policy indeed – and a spectacularly unlikely one.

            In any case, this employer certainly seems to have set a generous vacation policy – we can only presume that the manager has properly administered it – and there is no indication that the employee is not abiding by it. Unless there has been some occurrence of iniquity or misconduct, or the organisation has been left unable to function, I don’t really see a problem. And one could hardly begrudge the employee for taking full advantage of the benefits offered to him – I would expect all of his co-workers to do the same.

            Reply
  28. seashell

    #1 — I work with that guy, he’s the worst! He also basically works 4 hours a day, and by work I mean he’s at his desk but he’s on Facebook.

    Reply
  29. nonprofitNY

    #4, I had a very similar situation & it was fine. If your former colleague/friend is a gracious & level-headed person, it shouldn’t be awkward. In my case, I was friendly with a woman in another dept, not close friends out of work, but we would chat about our kids etc. She was let go because her boss wasn’t happy with her performance–he gave her notice & it was handled smoothly as far as I could tell. I wanted to move into that area and applied for her job, but it was given to an outside candidate. She knew I had applied and we even talked about it before she left–I felt bad, but she was totally professional and kind, as she knew I had nothing to do with her being let go, and she understood why I’d want the job. We stayed in touch. Fast-forward to less then 6 months later, when the new person had to quit for family reasons. I asked for the job again and got it this time. I had lunch several times with my former colleague who’d been let go, and it was totally fine.

    Reply
  30. Amy

    #4- I was in the same exact situation a few years ago. Person above me was fired. I moved into her role. We were friendly and stayed in touch after she left. The first time we met up for coffee I was nervous it would be awkward or just turn into a complain-fest about why she was let go. Turns out, I had no reason to be nervous. The subject never came up and we had a pleasant chat about our personal lives, and shared some stories/tips about our work (both in nonprofit fundraising). We stayed in touch for a few years and got together on a few occasions until I moved out of state. Alison’s advice is spot on here. It doesn’t have to be awkward unless you make it so.

    Reply
  31. The Strand

    #1 – Some places actually prefer that their employees use the time this way, especially when an older employee has been there for so long, taking their vacation would mean they were gone for an entire month or more. Would it be worse if this employee took Fridays off periodically, or would it be worse if they were gone for an entire month, in terms of staffing and getting things done? Wouldn’t the regularity help the schedule? I worked with a now-retired person who had over 35 years worth of vacation accruals. Believe me, I preferred that he was gone every Friday, rather than for six weeks at a clip.

    #2 – Just wanted to share my sympathy. Your employer sounds like a nice person who has given you a strong impression the business is going to end soon. I hope sincerely that she’s OK with you looking around, she probably is. As for the idiot who got hired, and wanted to make trouble for you at your own workplace, if indeed your personal information was shared with her, you’re better off not working at that place. Can’t do nothing about the stupid part (e.g. the blathering idiot). But maybe you dodged a bullet, when you were passed over for the new job.

    Reply
  32. Roscoe

    #1 Is something I feel pretty strongly about, but maybe in a different way than others. A few jobs ago, I had a job that paid pretty badly (although I enjoyed the work) but gave a VERY generous vacation package. Essentially, we had enough time to take some great trips, but didn’t make the money to afford to really go anywhere. On top of that, we could only roll over like 10% or something. So essentially every year in November and December I only worked 4 days a week. My co-workers got mad about it, but realistically there was no reason I NEEDED to be there. And I had the time. I think as long as it isn’t severely impacting the work being done, it shouldn’t be a problem. If one person being out is going to cause that much of a staffing issue, than you need to look at what your staffing needs are and adjust them.

    Now, I can see something where if only one person can be out and someone else requests a day off, they get priority. But I don’t think he should be punished for playing the hand he was dealt.

    Reply
    1. Erin

      All of this makes sense. I agree with your reasoning.

      I think the issue is the OP really does feel that this absence is impacting her work, but she’s already talked to management about it. So unless she has a really compelling argument to bring back to them a second time, I think she has to do her job to the best of her ability given that absence and let the chips fall where they may.

      I’m not clear if OP and this employee have the same manager, and/or if OP is allotted the same number of vacation days as the employee. That could shed some additional light on things.

      Reply
      1. Roscoe

        But again, if its affecting her work, she needs to be mad at the manager for letting him take those days off, not him. She seems to be angry at him for taking the vacation time he is owed, because she doesn’t like how he does it. Thats not fair. Tell management policy needs to change. Ask them to work out a schedule with him. But he isn’t the one to be mad at here.

        Reply
    2. Ellen Ripley

      I agree. In my experience, this sort of situation is pretty common in some public sector jobs. The pay is less than the private sector, and the real attraction is the benefits, including vacation. There’s always one or two longtime employees who have accrued a lot of leave, and probably are at the point where they can’t roll any more over so they need to use it or lose it. I think it’s important for the employer to make it possible for them to use their leave the way they want as much as possible, because it’s part of their compensation and essentially a reward for working years at below market rates.

      My first tack would be to sit down with this guy and have a frank conversation: “Look, Bob, I know you’ve worked here a long time and have accrued a lot of vacation. Is there any way that you can take more of your vacation in larger chunks? We are a public service department and someone has to be here to staff the department five days a week.” If that’s not possible, or doesn’t help enough, then start looking at how far in advance he’s requesting days off. Taking off every Friday actually sounds ideal as far as providing cover goes, because then you know that you need to have a coworker available to work every Friday, or that you need to hire a temp. If he’s not scheduling his vacation until a couple days before, every week, then yes, that does make things challenging and requiring more notice (for everyone, not just him) sounds reasonable.

      Reply
  33. OP #4

    Thanks Alison, for the good advice and to the lovely commentariat here for your reassurance. I think some of my anxiety is coming from the, in my opinion, not-entirely-great way management handled B’s departure (I can’t say this for sure, but I think she may have been given the impression that her job was being eliminated entirely?). In any case, I agree that a good approach when I see her is to take her lead, and assume that she’d likely rather move on from the past. Feeling better about the upcoming meeting, thanks again, all!

    Reply
  34. Data Lady

    Re: #1 – this is about optics…I’ve kind of just accepted it that in white-collar culture, people can and will judge you for how you use (or don’t use) your PTO regardless of how it affects workflow. Using PTO in a way that isn’t in line with the rest of your team unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb, even when it shouldn’t be anyone’s business. I know my work is siloed enough thathow I take vacation rarely has little impact on my colleagues’ workloads, but I’m pretty sure someone’s mentally dinging me for how I deal with my vacation days.

    It’s a real catch-22 for this employee, because it’s possible that they have this much vacation time because they didn’t take vacations for a while and/or comped holidays, yet there’s no way they can use up their PTO without annoying people. Working a compressed work week and taking a three-day weekend doesn’t work either because then they’re accruing more vacation days and not actually using the ones they already have banked.

    Reply
  35. RS

    Re #2: You mention that you work in the dental field where, I’m pretty sure, HIPAA applies. If so, I imagine the awful woman’s new employer will be very interested in knowing about what she did; she’ll be a large risk to the practice’s integrity. No way of knowing right now how she came by the info she got – it could turn out that the person who hired her inappropriately shared your information, or that she was inadvertently given access to it. Either way, she’s proven beyond all doubt that she cannot be trusted with sensitive information, and where HIPAA is involved that’s a big liability to have on your team. I’d let the head of the practice know.

    Reply
  36. MoinMoin

    OP #4 I once left a job under not-very-happy circumstances and have stayed friends with our department’s intern at the time. I assumed he’d get my position after I left and considered it an upside of the whole thing that he’d get a promotion to a job in which he’d certainly succeed due to my leaving a job I despised. I think most reasonable people would think similarly- B has likely assumed you’d at least apply for her former position and had a good chance of getting it. Even if she’s a little jealous or resentful of how she left the job, it has little to do with you.

    Reply

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