my employee keeps cc’ing my manager on everything

A reader writes:

I hired a team lead for my department, and now every single email she sends out she copies my manager! I can understand she is excited in this new role, but I feel a sense of disrespect when she copies my manager on emails regarding suggestions for my team that she has not discussed with me first. When she sends out these emails, she addresses my manager first. I feel like she is trying to show off, and she thinks some ideas have not already been discussed before she was hired, but they have been. She would know if these ideas had already been talked about if she would discuss them with me first. Also when there’s bad news like a missed deadline, she will not add him to that email string. She leaves that up to me.

I’m trying to find the right way to approach this as I do not want to seem like I am being a micromanager. It’s really bothering me. Am I just being over sensitive and should I let her copy away?

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

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • My new coworker keeps distracting me during training
  • Telling my coworkers that I eloped
  • Leaving dates off a resume
  • Asking for extra vacation days during a salary freeze

{ 104 comments… read them below }

  1. Lil Fidget

    I actually wish it was more common to give other benefits in lieu of raises, when raises aren’t on the table. I’ve always worked at places where the days off are set from someone higher up, and can’t be changed. But in my circumstances, additional vacation days would be almost as valuable to me as more money.

    1. MLB

      Exactly. My last job gave us raises but they were very minor, and while anything is better than nothing, if you can’t afford to give a significant increase, companies need to give some other benefit to show their appreciation for the work that they do in order to retain them.

      1. Falling Diphthong

        And the benefit should not be tote bags or T-shirts with the company logo. Those can be fine in addition to, but not in lieu of.

      2. Sam.

        While I generally agree that any raise is better than no raise, very small ones can be demoralizing in their own way. I worked myself to exhaustion last year to pull off some giant projects that were dumped on my lap and received a stellar performance eval along with the largest raise I’ve ever received at this organization. But the raise ended up being like $6 more a week after taxes. I’m sitting there, completely burnt out, running on fumes, my mental health suffering because of a lack of work-life balance, and I realize that all of that was apparently only worth $24 a month. I seriously almost cried at my desk, and I pretty much immediately started checking out job postings. Throwing in some other benefits would’ve at least tempered the sting.

        1. Lil Fidget

          Yeah my company rolls out the red carpet and the dancing girls for … the standard COLA (2%), which they call a merit raise.

    2. EddieSherbert

      I agree! My company tends to pay less-than-average, but has stellar benefits, including a free on-site medical clinic, personal trainers/fitness classes, work-from-home, flex time, etc.

      At this point in my life, I’ll take all of that over a slightly higher paycheck!

    3. Brett

      Last workplace did this, and it ended up becoming a mess because of the combination of people leaving (due to no raises) while the remaining people were getting more and more PTO days to make up for the lack of raises. The attrition meant that the people who remained had difficulty taking any time off. They would end up with 6+ months of PTO by October of each year and forced to take November and December off or lose a large number of days.
      I suspect it was even accelerating attrition, because it would give people the cushion of a 5-figure payout when they did quit.

      1. Brett

        To be fair, they are now in year 11 of their pay freeze, with 3 more years scheduled, so both the attrition from below market wages and extra PTO days have become more extreme than most organizations would ever experience.

          1. Brett

            The broken thing there was senior elected officials getting re-elected by cutting taxes and getting voted out by even suggesting a tax increase. The last tax increase they had was in 1986, coincidentally also the last year of a cost of living adjustment. They had been depending on increasing property values to keep employee raises afloat while cutting taxes. When the real estate market crashed in 2007, they ended up in a huge budget hole from which they have never recovered and probably never will since no one in office locally has any desire to increase property taxes.

              1. Brett

                It is interesting how, with time and distance, I can more clearly see how broken processes led to broken outcomes there.
                I’m actually going to be going back and talking to my ex-bosses in a few weeks about what I have learned since leaving and how they could improve even with their constraints.

    4. Koko

      I’m pretty sure one of the reasons my company doesn’t negotiate vacation benefits is because we have offices in states that require unused PTO to be paid out when an employee leaves, which means there is a line on our books accounting for the total financial liability created by all currently-unused PTO. As far as our accountants are concerned, giving us PTO might as well be the same as giving us cash since the company has to be prepared to pay out cash.

  2. Anon-The-Moose

    Can OP1 get her boss in on it so when Jane sends out an e-mail, big boss basically says “Please discuss this with OP1?”

    IMO it shows that OP1 has her boss’s backing while reinforcing with Jane that not everything needs to be escalated?

    1. fposte

      I think that ends up reinforcing the notion that it’s not for the OP to say, though. And right now the problem is that the OP hasn’t said, and she needs to manage her report.

    2. Jesca

      I would not wait for that!

      You really want to tackle this right away and way before your manager says anything. It can look like you cannot manage your employees. I have seen a couple managers lose their jobs over the employee shirking the chain of command rules. Even though it is the employee behaving badly (for whatever reason), it is the manager that looks like they cannot get that employee in line.

    3. designbot

      This would be particularly effective if it’s in response to one of the ideas they’ve already discussed, and the boss could even say a bit to indicate that there’s history on that topic. To me this isn’t just a problem of protocol/making OP1 look bad, it’s also a problem of a new employee who’s going off half-cocked trying to change things they don’t know the story behind. I think it would also be appropriate for OP1 to tell her something like, ‘Let’s get you more fully integrated into the team before trying to change it. A lot of what you’ve been proposing has been discussed in the past and hasn’t happened for a variety of reasons. I think if you take the time to observe the way we work before trying to change it, your suggestions will become more targeted and effective.”

      1. fposte

        Then the employee is insubordinate. If she’s otherwise a good employee, it might be worth sitting her down to ask what her thought process is, but if this is a straight up “You can’t tell me what to do” then you can’t work with her and need to terminate her.

        1. TardyTardis

          Quite true. But if the OP tends to forget what she told her employee to do, and then goes back on the employee “whyinhell you did this?”, I don’t blame the employee one bit.

  3. Lora

    OP2, I am so sorry and I feel your pain. I have a few colleagues who do this constantly and it drives me BATTY. They cannot shut up and pay attention. They do not have any kind of ADHD diagnosis or anything like that, they just are never, ever made to shush and pay attention to the person talking and they appear to be oblivious to any consequences.

    It’s crazymaking. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m sorry. The only thing I’ve seen actually work is the grandboss telling them, “No, you cannot talk right now. Zip it.” in a tone of voice that implied imminent death if they continued speaking.

    Can you call the instructor over and ask the instructor to help them? At least that might get the instructor to take more control of the class and shush them.

    1. Lil Fidget

      I have only ever resolved this by moving myself to another seat (best if you can appear to make this look unrelated to the chatter, but if s/he catches on that’s not terrible either) or by – after shutting them down politely once – pretending not to hear and refusing to respond until they get bored and go bug someone else. Some people FORCE you to be rude, unfortunately, as they will not stop for anything short of rudeness.

      1. essEss

        I have no problem (and have done it in the past) with raising my hand and asking the instructor to please repeat what they just said because I could not hear him/her over the others talking around me.

    2. Stormy

      Adult training classrooms seem rife with ludicrous behavior. The last time I took a photography class, the woman next to me not only flapped her gums the entire time, but reached over and yanked my brand-new DSLR out of my hands. She proceeded to play with the buttons and smudge her grimy hands all over the screen and lens. I think I actually felt my hair catch fire.

      1. Samata

        This! The number of times I have to stop to ask adults to stop the side bars during a class is stunning.

  4. Blue Eagle

    OP#1 – At the beginning of the day and after you return from lunch (if the comments continued in the morning), mention to your co-trainee that extra talking is distracting you from listening to the trainer, that you need to focus and it would be appreciated if they would not talk over the trainer or while you are trying to do the problems.

    OP#3 – just keep in mind that if you mention to colleagues that you got married on the spur of the moment, even if you mention (like Alison said) that you wanted to avoid the hassle of a big wedding, that the first thing that some will think is that you are pregnant. I only mention this because at 3 different jobs a co-worker accelerated their wedding plans and guess what – 6-7 months later all 3 had “early” babies.

    1. JB (not in Houston)

      While it’s common for people to wonder if a couple is getting married because of a pregnancy, the OP can’t do anything about that, and I don’t think she should spend any time worrying about it.

    2. Just Employed Here

      Well, people tend to think whatever they want to think about one’s plans on starting a family when one gets married, regardless of what one tells them. Not much one can do about that.

      My hubby and I eloped just before a holiday many years ago. We sent a postcard from the trip to my office with our news.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee

        I used to work in a lab where two of the grad students were (openly) dating each other, and they announced their surprise elopement by postcard too! They were on a vacation following a trip to a conference in Italy, so our boss joked that they should name their first child after her, since she’d effectively paid for part of their wedding and honeymoon.

    3. dr_silverware

      About OP#3, it’s true that the vacation elopement is very likely to trigger some of these assumptions. While hopefully it wouldn’t have any professional consequences in the meantime, OP#3 has only to wait a few months until those rumors are proven wrong.

    4. essEss

      When coworkers announce pregnancies, it has NEVER occurred to me to care enough to bother to count back the months since their wedding.

    5. Barney Barnaby

      I think the phrases to use are:

      In introducing the subject: “We had planned on using this vacation for a small, private wedding for a while.”

      In response to asking how it was: “It was small and private – so us! It was nice that everything came together exactly the way we planned it.”

      In general: “I don’t judge people who have big weddings – I know so many people who loved every second of it – but it was much more ‘us’ to focus on the ceremony and our relationship. That we all but have a down payment from the money we saved is also a huge plus.”

      “Neither of us are into big and splashy, so it was perfect.”

      Or whatever places emphasis on the idea that this was pre-planned, deliberate, and, even if the bride were far beyond childbearing years, is exactly what they would have done.

      1. e271828

        This is a great answer, because it removes the idea of “furtive elopement” from the conversation! You do not need to introduce that idea, OP! You are adults, you decided to get married, and you did. The part that concerns your workplace is the change of name, should you go ahead and do that.

        However, practicing a chilly stare, “Really?,” and change of subject for anyone who indulges in other explanations for your marriage is fine!

    6. DivineMissL

      I got married while on vacation – we knew we were going to do it but didn’t say anything before we left. Afterwards, when we told people, I was surprised how many thought I was kidding – I had to do a lot of “No, really, we actually are married!” For the OP, if you tell them beforehand, you’ll have to answer questions both before (“But why aren’t you having a wedding?”) AND after (“So, how did it go?”). If you don’t say anything before you leave, you’ll cut back on the commentary.

      Best wishes and congratulations!

    7. phedre

      Who cares if people think you got married because you’re pregnant? They’ll figure it out soon enough after a few months pass. I moved my wedding up a year because as my husband and I started looking at venues and getting quotes, we realized 1) how much money it would cost, 2) how stressful my mom would be, and 3) that we just wanted to be married without a big production. We ended up getting married 3 months later at a fancy restaurant and it was amazing. None of my coworkers thought I was pregnant, and if they had then that’s their thing.

      I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way at all, but worrying about whether your coworkers think you’re pregnant has a weird implication to me – it feels like the implication is that if you got pregnant out of wedlock and moved your wedding up that it’s some kind of scandal or that coworkers would think less of you. This 2018 and premarital sex is hardly a scandal these days, unless you’re living in an incredibly conservative area. And if a colleague thinks less of you because you got pregnant and then got married, well that just says more about them than it does you.

      1. SS Express

        People being scandalised at the thought that you might have fallen pregnant out of wedlock isn’t worth worrying about (at least to me), but if people start to suspect you’re pregnant it can affect your career. Of course legally it shouldn’t, but we all know there are still managers who let this factor into their decisions and that’s the actual risk here. (Although I still wouldn’t worry too much about it – marriage and pregnancy don’t go hand in hand the way they used to, and eloping during a planned trip is common enough that I don’t think it would invite much suspicion.)

    8. bonkerballs

      Even if they don’t think pregnant, there’s a chance of judgey people equating “spur of the moment” with “reckless and flighty.”

    9. nonegiven

      Rumor was my mom had a 4 year pregnancy. I apparently only had a 2 year pregnancy. Even if you’re not they’ll say you are.

  5. designbot

    For the dad’s resume, since it sounds like he’s applying to jobs in a couple of different areas, consider using two different resumes! One for the oncology jobs, and one for the others. That way you don’t have the awkwardness of a tieback to a much older job on the ones where it’s not relevant.

    1. Curious Cat

      +1 to this point! I’ve always been told that resumes should be catered toward what job you’re applying for, especially if you have all different sorts of work experience. Choose what’s relevant for each job.

    2. Casuan

      +1

      And make sure Dad has a great cover letter that highlights the experience which isn’t on *that* résumé.

  6. CatCat

    #1 might also want to check themselves in the future about assuming the worst about people’s actions, especially when it is easily resolved by asking the person what is up and/or asking them to do something different.

    I can think of innocuous reasons for the employee in #1 to be doing what they are doing. Not sure why one would leap to the assumption that the new employee is a disrespectful show off.

    1. fposte

      Yes, I agree; I think that may be a result of the OP’s stress and doubt about the situation; it’s not uncommon, when you wish somebody would stop doing something to start thinking of them as being ill-intentioned for still doing it. But until OP straight up says, “Hey, don’t do that” (which is appropriate and it isn’t micromanaging) she needs to remember that this person doesn’t know the OP wants her to stop.

      1. Kathleen_A

        A few months – or, even worse, years – working under a out-of-touch manager or a micromanaging manager’s manager can make even an otherwise polite and careful employee do this just out of instinct. So I agree that there’s a good chance that no disrespect or ill intentions are intended. If she were doing it on purpose or in an undermining way, she’d probably do a better job of hiding it.

        1. SS Express

          This is really true. I had a job once where my grandboss was a total micromanager, and my direct boss was so conflict averse that he would never stand up for me to her, pass on any concerns or questions I had, or pass on any feedback she had for me. I pretty much had to loop her in on every single thing or she’d assume I was doing a terrible job and my boss would never correct her or give me the opportunity to! Add in the fact that I couldn’t get our external agencies to act on my instructions because they knew that she was a micromanager and also prone to forgetting decisions she’d made and wanting the complete opposite, and yeah, I cc’ed her a LOT. It was also kind of the general culture there that people wanted multiple levels of approval before doing anything, so I can definitely see this becoming a habit that someone would carry into their next role without realising they were doing anything wrong, especially if it was a similar team structure.

          1. Kathleen_A

            Oh, this all sounds soooooo familiar, yuck. It actually took me quite a while (several months at least) to train myself not to do this once I had a, you know, *normal* boss.

      1. fposte

        I can see that; I also suspect at that kind of company a manager who didn’t tell her staffer to knock it off would be viewed as weak.

      2. CatCat

        That’s fine. Except people don’t know what they don’t know.

        You know it’s rude in your workplace because that is the normal you have learned there. Do new employees know that? How do they know? What about an employee bringing an “old normal” with them where cc’ing both managers was expected? What about employees who had a misunderstanding of who they were supposed to be cc’ing?

        1. Murphy

          That’s what I was thinking. I had a job once where my boss was kind of a micromanager, and wanted me to loop her in and copy her on everything. Where I work now, it would definitely be weird to do that.

          1. essEss

            I also used to work in a micromanaging environment. We were not allowed to load ANY software program onto our computer without asking permission first. And any time we were going to be even 5 minutes late we’d have to tell our boss ahead of time even though I worked in an office job that didn’t have straight 9-5 hours.
            I started working at a new company and for the first week I’d keep bugging my boss with various questions about whether it was okay to install X or if it was okay that I go to my lunch 10 minutes later, and things like that which would have gotten me fired in the old job if I didn’t check in first. He gave me a strange look and said “you’re an adult and you know what you do or don’t need to do to get your work done. You don’t have to check with me.” I apologized to him and let him know that I might end up bugging him occasionally because of my previous experience until I had a better handle on what was really important enough to go through him.

            1. Barney Barnaby

              I went through something similar (perhaps to a larger degree – the micromanaging was part of an element of rather extreme harassment).

              It took me a long time to adjust to normal working conditions again, and to some extent, I have not. But I try to speak up and ask what the boundaries are, and I solicit feedback from my higher-ups so they know that the conversations are welcome.

        2. fposte

          I have to say, I keep thinking of the early episode of Roseanne where the teacher calls Roseanne in about Darlene’s behavior:

          “Your daughter is barking in class.”
          “Did you tell her to stop?”
          “Yes.”
          “Did she?”
          “Yes.”
          “Then why am I here?”

      3. Sunshine on a cloudy day

        This would definitely be considered rude at my current job, but at my last job this was the norm and expected. You kept the entire dept. looped in on EVERYTHING. It’s just how they did things.

        I would strongly suggest asking directly to knock it off before assuming malicious intent.

    2. Anon-The-Moose

      ^^^ this. I just started a new job and it’s a little difficult to navigate company culture. At my new job, there are a lot of things that they prefer, but were definitely NOT DONE at my old job. For instance, here we CC reports and things to the division directors (and sometimes even higher). At my old job, EVERYTHING went through your team lead/supervisor, and anything sent to higher-ups would earn you a stern Talking To.

      1. Kathleen_A

        At my current organization, this can even vary somewhat depending on one’s supervisor. Most of my supervisors would expect me to send reports and so on to them first, except under a few very specific circumstances, and I’m happy to do that because that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But one of my previous supervisors was so disconnected that we all kept him looped it just for the look of the thing. Because he wasn’t actually that interested in supervising anybody, he was perfectly happy with that. And I know some of my colleagues in a different department have that exact same problem – a weirdly disconnected supervisor – now. So it really can depend on several factors.

      2. Koko

        Thinking about it, my company uses listservs for that sort of thing – where a lot of people need to be looped in but they don’t necessarily need to provide feedback and decisions don’t need to wait on them. I’m on a dozen or so lists related to my job function. Then people can set up inbox filters that treat emails from the listservs differently than emails directly To/CCing them that might require a response. Really cuts down on inbox clutter for the higher-ups and helps them stay on top of their email and be more responsive to all of us.

  7. MsMaryMary

    OP 3: One of my coworkers had a tiny courthouse wedding last year, and another got married in her living room with just her kids and his in attendance. Both of them came to work the next day or on Monday and announced they were now married. There was a little flurry of excitement in the office, because it is a little unusual to skip the traditional big wedding. Both brides drew a small crowd around their desks for half the morning. People do still want to know wedding details (What did you wear? Did you write your own vows? Did you carry a bouquet? Are there pictures? Was there cake? Are you going on a honeymoon?). Nearly all of the comments I recall were positive. A couple people got passive agressive about including family (Was your mother heartbroken that you got married without her?). If anyone made snide remarks about shotgun weddings, I didn’t hear it.

    We also circulated a card and chipped in for a gift for both brides. We figured we would have thrown a shower if we’d known in advance, so it was only fair. If you are strongly against that kind of thing, you might want to mention it to your office bestie or your manager.

    Best wishes on your upcoming marriage!

    1. Kathleen_A

      A colleague of mine recently got engaged and decided to get married within a few weeks (I think it was less than a month). She and her fiance just wanted a very small, simple wedding and decided a month was enough time to pull that off, and apparently they were right. People were curious but it quickly became the new normal.

      So I really don’t think this will be a big problem, OP, whether you tell them ahead of time or not. They’ll adjust.

    2. Lord Gouldian Finch

      Hah. My wife announced she’d gotten married by asking for the forms to put her husband on her insurance. She actually had worn an engagement ring, but since she never mentioned it only one or two of her colleagues even noticed. I think people thought it odd she was so low-key about it, but it wasn’t a big deal.

      1. Eloped too

        That was us! We told no one at work when we were getting married as it was rather quick, VERY small, and we didn’t want feelings to be hurt over who was/wasn’t invited. In general, folks were pleasantly and happily surprised. Within about 2 weeks the excitement had faded.

        1. Paquita

          I did the same thing 28 years ago. Actually ended up postponing a week because I couldn’t get the days off that I wanted. My manager did not know why I wanted off and I just said can I have the next week instead.No big deal. We went and told his mother and my parents after the fact. :)

    3. snarkalupagus

      My husband and I just did that a month ago…his kids, my parents, and my brother’s family by FaceTime, just about six weeks after we’d decided to get married. I had mentioned the engagement to coworkers in passing, and what I got was very few prying questions and a lot of congratulations when I came back to work married after a weekend. We are older, so the speculation about pregnancy was joking (and more from my family than anyone at work) and the entire kerfuffle died down very quickly. It’s funny…I’m still in the newlywed cloud and life around me is going on as normal!

  8. Amy

    I just googled “CC boss emails” – all the results are negative. From Buzzfeed type “the one thing you should NEVER do!” articles to an HBS study showing that it’s a major eroder of trust.
    It’s not quite like “on Wednesdays, at this office, we all wear pink.” It’s pretty aggressive and if the employee isn’t sure if it’s kosher or not, a good idea to just sit back and observe office email culture for a bit.

    1. fposte

      Sure, and if the employee had written in, that’s what we’d tell the LW. But in this case it’s the employee’s boss, who rather than just saying to the employee after the first cc:ed email “We don’t do that around here” has stewed. If the employee is a horrible person, that will become clear soon enough; there’s no advantage to assuming so from a misstep that could be naïveté.

  9. Argh!

    Re: #1

    I have a supervisee who does this. I have not addressed that since it doesn’t happen often, but I’ll consider it now.

    One time I okayed the upervisee’s idea, and it had been started already by the time I met with my supervisor — who hated the idea. Too bad. It’s already in place (and has worked out pretty well).

    What my supervisee doesn’t know is that my supervisor hates any idea that isn’t her own and totally does not respect my supervisee. I don’t take it personally that the emails get cc’d but I find the triangulation awkward. Supervisee seems to be enlisting my supervisor against me, but I’m siding with supervisee against my supervisor. And then there are the times when my supervisor backs me up on disciplinary things, which is the third side of the triangle.

    The last time this happened I told Supervisee that I agreed but that things were not likely to change. I don’t want to crush ideas, because they’re good ideas and even when they aren’t, at least there’s engagement there.

    If supervisee does this because I’m not supportive enough, I think I’ve been addressing that by siding with them. I think it’s more likely that I represent my *supervisor’s* resistance to change as my own.

    So… my boss becomes the bad guy and I’m off the hook?

  10. Chatterby

    Eloper- Make sure you check in with HR to see if there’s any paper work you’ll need to update since you’re married, such as insurance, retirement plans, emergency contacts, etc.

    1. MassMatt

      Good suggestion. Marriages, births, deaths, and especially divorces are milestone events where documents like wills and beneficiaries should be checked.

      There are many MANY horror stories of survivors not inheriting accounts because the beneficiary was never updated (“But they divorced!” “But that was before he had 2 kids!”). It shouldn’t take long to do.

  11. Rincat

    #4 – resume dates

    To anyone considering leaving off dates in favor of a “functional” resume – please don’t! I was helping a friend with a resume for a position in my department a few years back. His wife told him to not put any dates on there, because “no on cares about how long you did something, only that you have some experience.” I told them they were both very wrong, because 1 year as a llama groomer is very different than 20 years as a llama groomer. He chose to leave them off, and HR immediately contacted him to say something was wrong with his resume, and to please add dates. They still wanted to interview him, but most places would have just tossed the resume into the trash pile instead of hassling with getting dates. Do yourself a favor – don’t do something that is extremely likely to get your application tossed aside!

    1. Irene Adler

      Ya know, I got lots more response on my resume when I left the dates OFF of my resume. When I put them on, there was no response whatsoever.

      Its a no-win situation. No one wants to hire anyone over 40. Period.

      1. MassMatt

        I don’t agree. Age discrimination is definitely real but it’s not as though people over 40 are all blackballed from the hiring pool. IMO the main issues are how updated are your skills, and whether you are applying for a more junior position than your experience suggests. I was reviewing applicants during the Great Recession and quite a few people with advanced experience (last job was a VP or equivalent) were applying for a much more junior role. It didn’t matter how old they were (some of them were pretty young actually) but it was apparent they were just looking for *a* job, and would likely leave as soon as the economy improved. Hiring for us required a lot of training and licensing so that would be costly.

      2. Anna

        I don’t agree. I just recently met with the husband of a friend to help him with his resume and he asked about leaving dates off because they can use that against you and I told him nope, put them on. If they’re going to discriminate against you for your age, they’ll figure out a way to do it whether you put your employment dates on there or not.

    2. Lil Fidgets

      Also if you were a llama groomer before the ’84 Standards of Grooming went into effect, versus after the Llamas and Alpacas Accountability Act was passed, that may be a very different kettle of camelids.

    3. Woodswoman

      I’m an older worker, and concur that age discrimination is a concern. However, the way I address this is by not including my early jobs. Instead, I go into extensive detail and use dates for my more recent positions. This includes going back to the 1990s which is long enough ago to show a solid work history. The one place where I think it’s okay to leave off dates is for when you graduated from school, unless that’s somehow relevant to the job you’re applying for. For me, I list my master’s and undergraduate degrees, but not the dates for those.

      1. London Calling

        Older worker here (63) and my CV goes back to 2008 and no further. No-one has ever asked what I did before then.

    4. Coalea

      In this case it is particularly relevant to employers to know when the candidate’s experience occurred, since they will likely need candidates who understand the most current science and are familiar with up-to-date technology.

  12. OGundersmithee

    OP#3. My husband and divorced, and I returned to my maiden name. The only person who knew my situation was my boss (and HR). And the the only public indication that anything happened was a name change on my physical mailbox at work. No one batted an eye, and I never received any questions.

  13. CanCan

    OP #4: Your dad should have two versions of his resume: one with just the radiology positions (since the ancient oncology position may not add to his appeal but may draw attention to his age) and one with the oncology position – to be used for oncology-related postings only.

  14. Kate

    #3 We got married in Colorado where you don’t have to even have an officiant let alone witnesses. It was just the two of us off in the woods and was fantastic. Most people’s comments were along the lines of “OMG that’s awesome I’m so jealous”. I’m betting you’ll get (or got since these are archive letters) at least as much envy as dismay.

  15. Ann Furthermore

    OP1, beware of your employee going forward. A very good friend of mine hired someone years ago who copied his boss on all the work she did, and as it was her first job out of college, he gave her the benefit of the doubt, and talked to her about it. He told her it was important to make sure that all work, including his own, was reviewed by someone else before it was shared outside the group, so that if there was an error it could be easily fixed and they could all avoid the embarrassment of having to resend things with corrections. Not long after that, he found himself on the receiving end of some very unpleasant and untrue accusations after this employee filed a complaint about him with HR.

    Of course, it’s possible that your new employee doesn’t know all the nuances of office etiquette, or perhaps that was the SOP in her last job and she got into that habit. But I’ve been burned by people who try to make themselves look good by making others look bad, and this is a common tactic employed by someone who uses that approach. It’s made me pretty cynical and suspicious.

    1. Anna

      I don’t understand your example. How did they get from “make sure I review anything you send out for errors” to “you have if not broken the law definitely run afoul of company policies”?

  16. Rachel

    I have a new coworker that I’m voluntarily training because I’m the only person who knows how to do the job. And she’s been coming to me a lot with follow up questions and I’ve dedicated a lot of time to help her. I cc’ my boss every time I help her, so my boss is informed about my involvement. (Because I wasn’t officially asked to train her.) That way my boss won’t think I’m bypassing her with my advice. However, I also wonder what my coworker thinks of this. Should I tell my coworker the reason I’m cc’ing my boss? My coworker hasn’t brought it up.

  17. Chaordic One

    #3 If it were me, I think I wouldn’t say anything until I came back from vacation at which time I would announce that I had gotten married. It would save a small bit of stress and I would think that your coworkers would wish you all the best. If anyone’s nose is out of joint about not being told ahead of time, say it was “spur of the moment.” I hope you’ll be able to have a small reception afterwards to invite your work friends to and have a good celebration.

  18. Ophelia Bumblesmoop

    OP3 – When I worked for a professional sports team, we had a competition in Las Vegas. A large group of friends also attended the game and we had a great time together for 3 days. One morning, we had breakfast with the team before meeting our friends later for lunch. In between, my boyfriend and I stopped by a chapel and got married. We told no one until I was back in the office. Nearly everyone laughed their butts off about how sneaky we were. It’s a fantastic memory and much more our style than a big wedding. Elope and enjoy it!

  19. AKchic

    Elopement – just be matter-of-fact about it: You did it because you wanted to. You didn’t want anything big and you didn’t want people to feel obligated to come (nor did you want people fishing for invites). Lie a little if you have to and say you’d planned to marry there for a while and that this had been planned from the start.
    My current husband (I’m a three-timer, so far) and I got married on a Saturday right before Mother’s Day, in my mom’s dining room while we were prepping for a big get-together the next day at my grandma’s (for my grandma, not for us). The only people there were my stepdad (our officiant), my mom, his mom (our witnesses, and that was only because my husband felt obligated to invite his mother), and our kids. That was it. We did the Spaceballs short-short version ceremony. Literally “do you, do you, good – you’re married”.
    Some of my coworkers were furious at the lack of ceremony (and invitation to said nonexistent to-do). My MIL was angry at not having a big fancy shindig to try to make all about herself (one of the reasons we didn’t have one, and ended up cancelling our original plans). Our friends? They all knew and understood and didn’t care. They knew where to find us if they wanted to celebrate.

  20. Dzhymm

    OP#4, Let me tell you from the other side of the interview desk: leaving dates off a resume is like a combover. It doesn’t fool anyone and it’s obvious that you’re trying to conceal advancing age. Far better to be up-front.

    1. Stormy

      What are your thoughts on trying to avoid assumptions regarding age, rather than trying to be deceptive? For example, someone who doesn’t complete college until their 30s or 40s?

      1. Dzhymm

        I’ve never been faced with this particular situation, but here’s my take on it. I tend to look at experience and qualifications first: what can they do, and where have they done it? For all but entry-level candidates I tend to take only a passing glance at the education section. Were I to encounter a situation like this I’d probably do a bit of a double take (“Wait… they’ve been in the industry for 20 years but their graduation date is only 5 years ago?”) then I’d figure it out and move on. I certainly wouldn’t hold it against them.

  21. Jules the Third

    #3: EMBRACE THE WEIRD!!! It’s fun and makes for great stories.

    Mr. Jules and I had been together three years, had the kids / finance talk, and were talking about retirement locales when I got my MBA. We even joked about marrying in Vegas, as we had a 2-week cross country vacation between graduation and my job’s start. We didn’t, bcs no drive-through Gandalf. Sigh.

    However, on the Friday of my first work week, I still had no computer (for a computer-based job), so my boss said, ‘you’ve read everything, just go home for the afternoon.’ I called Mr. Jules, found that he was at lunch with some visiting friends, and asked if he wanted to hit the courthouse with me that day, with those friends for witnesses. The key line was, ‘they’re want insurance paperwork. If I have to do it twice to add you, you’re doing the second time.’ It was a fun ceremony (did I mention one friend had a turquoise mohawk?).

    Got back to work on Monday, told my manager, and laughed out loud at the look on his face. And on the other people’s faces when they heard. It was mentioned for the next two years, and yeah, maybe a few ‘so weird’ looks. So what. Big deal. I had fun, Mr. Jules didn’t hate it, we’re still together 15+ years later. I even get help remembering my wedding anniversary – it’s 4 days after the work anniversary, and work sends ‘hey, glad you’ve been working for us for x years!’ emails.

    Totally just outed myself if any of my friends read AAM. There are probably very few people holding out for drive-through Gandalfs.

  22. Alienor

    #3–I used to work with a woman who did sort of a planned elopement–“sort of” in the sense that she let us know in advance that she was going to Europe and was going to get married while she was there, but “elopement” in the sense that it was just her and her fiancé. People thought it was a bit unusual, but no one judged her for it, and tbh it sounded kind of amazing (they stayed in an actual castle and got married there with the couple who owned the place as the officiant and witness). If I ever get married again I’m definitely stealing the idea from her.

  23. she was a fast machine

    I relate to you, eloper! I eloped without telling anyone at work and when I returned they instantly noted the ring and mobbed my desk for a discussion/explanation, and then I spent the next month re-explaining to anyone who came by and had “heard about it”. It gets exhausting quickly so it’s really good to have a script on hand that you will fall back on. Depending on your office you might have to contend with a post-wedding shower as well; I’m not supposed to know about it but some of my coworkers are planning a surprise wedding shower for me after the fact. Of course, it’s a very close-knit group and I’m not going to complain about gifts, but it is a bit bizarre for me to experience.

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