terse answer Tuesday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s terse answer Tuesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Getting the money I’m owed

I am a volunteer for a film director and I am experiencing some difficulty with obtaining payment that I was promised, in writing. I am due a percentage of opening weekend receipts for a film we released several months ago. I asked the director about the money once and followed up a month later, but was given an excuse for the nonpayment. Despite her failure to pay me the monies I am owed, she’s asked me to start working on a new film project; I don’t feel comfortable doing this without having first received money for my previous work. Should I follow up for a third time or just quit?

You need to be more assertive. This is money that you’re owed, and you have it in writing. Say this to her: “I still haven’t received the check for $X that was due to me two months ago. Can you put it in the mail this week?” If she’s someone you see in person, you can change that last part to, “Can I pick it up this week” or “Can I grab it from you right now?” Don’t let this drop — it’s your money. As for the new project, it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “I’d love to, but we need to get the payment for last time taken care of first.”

2. Can I ask my new boss what changes she’s planning?

I have a boss who’s fairly new. She has experience, which I love, and I feel that she can teach me things about the field I’m in. However, I’m concerned that she’s going to restructure my position. She’s hinted at there being changes, and redistributing projects to coworkers. Granted, I think a lot of people’s positions are going to change and not just mine. I’m not afraid of doing something different, but I was wondering if is possible to ask her what her general ideas and goals are for the direction of my position.

Yes, be direct. Say this: “I’m getting the sense that you’re thinking of making some changes to some positions. Can we talk about what you’re thinking for mine?”

3. LinkedIn recommendation from my former boss / now boyfriend

I have only one recommendation on LinkedIn. It is from a student assistant position that I no longer hold, from a former boss. After we both left the company, we developed feelings for each other, and have been a couple ever since. Is it appropriate for me to keep this recommendation on LinkedIn, or should I delete it?

No, too weird for people who have only known you as a couple. When it comes to professional recommendations, close relationships (whether it’s family, a significant other, or a BFF) cancel out the usefulness of a reference. Delete it.

4. My boss asked a coworker if I’m pregnant

I recently took a couple of sick days in a row, and when I came back to the office, a colleague of mine told me that while I was out my boss asked him if I was pregnant. I have a review coming in a few weeks and I worry that my boss will take this potential factor into consideration before promoting me or offering me a raise.

I’m not pregnant (and don’t plan on getting pregnant anytime soon), but I also feel kinda gross about proving to him that I’m not. I shouldn’t have to, right? Would love your advice on what to do!

You don’t have to prove anything, but I would say something to your boss: “Hey, Joe said you asked him if I was pregnant. I’m not, not that it’s anyone’s business. What was that about?”

5. Writing a self-assessment

I have to write a self-assessment for my upcoming performance evaluation and have never done so before. Could you provide a general outline for writing one from the ground up, since I wasn’t provided much of a framework, and also what should be included it it and how?

The big mistake that people make with evaluations (both managers and employees) is that they don’t put the main focus on your results — what you actually got done and how well you met your goals for the period. So do that:  List what your goals were for the year, and to what extent you met them. Then talk about what you do well and where you think you could improve, and what you’d like to achieve in the coming year.

6. More disgusting office noises

I sit in an open space, specifically in a cluster of “pods” where each person is only separated by a 12″ border/wall. One of the people who sits in the pod directly next to me is my boss. Because it’s such an open seating area, it is hard to block out the sound of his snorting. It’s really disgusting — it’s as though he has post nasal drip and instead of blowing his nose, he does the completely opposite. I know that sounds disgusting, but imagine hearing the snorting on a daily basis!

It’s pretty hard to gross me out, but it even makes me feel nauseated and I squirm every time he does it. The snorting has gone on since I’ve started there about a year ago. At first I thought he was just getting over a cold and it would go away, but it’s never stopped and I’ve always struggled with it. Any suggestions on the best way to handle this? Is there even a way to handle this? Or should I just get some headphones and drown out the snorting?

Why do you guys do this to me? It’s like you have an unending supply of stories to repulse me with. Please, let it end here.

In any case, if it were a peer, I’d tell you to say, “Dude, cut it out, that sounds disgusting.” With your boss, your relationship will dictate whether you can get away with a toned-down version — like pointedly asking if he’s okay. If not, or that doesn’t work, get headphones and keep the volume up as loud as it will go to block out this vileness.

7. Other blogs

AAM, I would love to know what other blogs you read that are NOT workplace-related! Of particular interest to me personally are “home/life-skills” related blogs — meal planning, financial planning, and stuff like that. Also blogs about mental health. And webcomics. But really, I’m just totally interested to hear what are your top 5-10 favorite non-HR-related blogs.

Well, first let me say that I use Google Reader, which makes it easy to track literally hundreds of blogs, and if you are not using it or another RSS reader, you should start immediately. No more clicking on your favorite blogs to see if there’s a new post; they’ll come to you all in one place. But of all the many I subscribe to, these are my favorites:

Carolyn Hax: queen of emotionally healthy advice givers
Miss Manners: learn to behave
Nate Silver: remarkably accurate election forecasting
Taste Spotting: food!

I also generally like Slate, Consumerist, Tomato Nation’s The Vine, Query Shark (which I love reading even though I have no plans to ever write a query), and sometimes Lifehacker.

{ 75 comments… read them below }

  1. Long Time Admin

    OP #2, if you boss is planning changes, she or he will probably NOT want to share them with you ahead of time. Yes, it would be very nice to know, but from a managerial prospective, it opens the door to chaos. If one person knows, everyone will want to know. If one person doesn’t like the upcoming changes and wants things different, everyone will want things different.

    It used to frustrate the hell out of me when my managers would make changes without getting any feedback from us workers first, until I heard all the whining that went on later. Then I realized that the planned changes would never get made with all these people demanding changes to the changes.

    Get used to it. It will make your life easier.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Depends on the boss and the situation. She’s speaking openly of it, so she might be quite open to it. I know I’ve been willing to talk to people in that situation (and other times not — it just depends). It’s worth asking; it’s certainly not out of line.

    2. OP #2

      The issue I’m having is she’s telling other coworkers (and in some cases me) about projects she’s reassigning – without saying anything to the person who’s actually responsible for project.

  2. Jennifer

    #6 – I sympathize. I have a coworker who does this constantly, and it drives us all nuts. Unfortunately it’s a medical condition (nasal polyps), so there isn’t much she can do about it until she can schedule in surgery (she is new and doesn’t want to take off the time yet).

    Has anyone confirmed with your boss if it is a medical condition like polyps, which sounds exactly like what you described? He may indeed be well aware of it already.

  3. Kerry

    I have to say I’ve been really enjoying the current frequency of AAM posts. It feels just right.

  4. Anonymous

    #4 – I don’t know if I would mention to the boss specifically that “Joe/Jane” reported to me what the boss inquired. I feel that’s a little bit of tattling. If it was more than one person saying it, then I would say, “Rumor around the office has it that I’m pregnant. Well, I’m not.”

    #6 – This just happened yesterday at my job. This one coworker has a nasty habit of clearing her throat from time to time. But it’s not like one good clearing and then that’s it. It’s constant. I only worked with her for an hour yesterday, and she must have done it at least once a minute. She made some comment that something was tickling her throat, but she didn’t do anything about it like blowing her nose or getting a drink of water. She just kept doing it. I don’t believe for it to be a medical condition because this only happens once in a while, but when it does it, it’s persistent. I really wanted to tell her to do something about it, but she has other issues in the workplace so I need to pick my battles.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      #4 – That wording lets him off the hook (and sounds like the OP just wants to correct the record). The message needs to be that she’s questioning why the boss would have said that.

      1. Anonymous

        I see your point. My only concern would have been the repercussions against the OP’s coworker.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Only if they’re in a draconian workplace (in which case the OP has bigger problems). Any normal manager knows they can’t ask questions like that and expect it not to get back to the person.

          1. Another Job Seeker

            I actually am in a very crazy workplace. If the same situation occurred to me, I would expect repercussions against the co-worker (for telling me) and against me (for asking my supervisor about it). I would also be concerned that a non-existent pregnancy that exists only in my supervisor’s mind might impact me negatively. What is the best way to handle situations of this nature while you are working in a dysfunctional environment? (I suspect that posters will tell me to get another job – that’s what I would tell someone else to do. I have been trying to get another job since February, and I will be very glad when I get one. I just want to make the best of my current situation).

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              If it’s truly that dysfunctional, yes, the only long-term solution is to leave. In the interim, it sounds like in this situation you’d have to just ignore it, which leaves the problem of your imaginary pregnancy — but there’s no perfect solution when you’re dealing with that level of toxicity.

    2. Marie

      My dad used to have a medical condition that made him do that… he had no control orver it.

      It was still annoying, but nothing we could do about it… it’s something to conside.

      1. Anonymous

        I agree – it may be something beyond the control of the person. I have asthma and sometimes it makes me cough and have trouble breathing (not constantlym, thank goodness) and I had a boss who told me to “Stop breathing ‘like that!'” She seemed to think it was an impatient sigh and was some kind of comment or something I was trying to communicate to her (she was a nut).

  5. Anonymous

    I had a snorter at my office too though we had a 5′ wall between us, I could still hear him. I very nearly threw a Kleenex box at him. FWIW I have a good friend that has nasal problems and he does not snort. He carries a handkerchief with him. Never once in the 15 years I’ve known him has he ever snorted his snot back into his nasal cavity.

  6. Ms Enthusiasm

    Self-Assessment: We had kind of a training session where I work on how to write an effective self-assessment. Here are some of the key points I came away with:

    • Don’t assume your manager knows everything. Make sure you tell her about all of your accomplishments.
    • Go back and read your review from last year as a reference.
    • Review the goals you started out with at the beginning of the year.
    • Review all other pertinent records of work and critical elements linked to accomplishments.
    • Make a list of all your accomplishments.
    • Describe specifically what tasks you did to create results in relation to the corresponding goal.
    • Describe actions or activities.
    • List the specific outcomes of the tasks and activities you did. Was the outcome inline with the goal? Describe what you accomplished and the business impact.
    • Evaluate yourself against actual results – not intentions.
    • Quantify accomplishments.
    • Try to keep emotions out of it.
    • Highlight strengths and development areas and how much you might have improved.
    • Use action verbs.
    • Be specific, factual, clear & concise.
    • Do not inflate or undervalue contributions.
    • Do not list actions or activities without describing impact.
    • Write more than one draft and of course make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.

    I hope this helps!

    1. Jennifer

      Not the original asker (nor am I in a career where that would be particularly useful) but just wanted to say what a great post! I almost wish I had to do self-evals just so I could officially be the rock-star of them after reading your comment.

      1. Jamie

        Do them anyway. I do them before every performance review for my own benefit as it helps me develop my talking points and list of items I want to make sure are discussed.

        Once you have a list of points you want to make it’s easy to then compile the metrics and data to support your assertions.

        I’m always surprised by how many people go into a performance review unprepared and just wing it. A self-eval is an excellent way to arm yourself so go in prepared.

        1. lucy

          interesting. i have a 3-month evaluation coming up and didn’t really know if I should do anything to prepare for it… i might do a self assessment just in case.

          1. Jamie

            I enjoy it – and it’s funny in all the years I’ve been working I have yet to hear anything in a performance eval (good, bad, or indifferent) that I didn’t also have addressed in my list.

            Other tips for preparing:

            1. Measurable goals. So your boss and you can set mutually agreed upon goals for the year. Don’t leave this all up to her, bring some suggestions to the table as some positions are easier to chart metrics for than others.

            2. Training/opportunities for the year. Above was about how you’re performing your job, this is about what you may want or need to take it to the next level. This isn’t all big ticket like asking them to pay for grad school…it could be additional in house training, a class, webinars, etc. for ways to improve and/or expand. It shows you’re thinking ahead and excited about learning how to add more value.

            3. Any significant issues. If you have problems getting things done due to issues with other people, equipment, etc. this should NOT be the first time your boss hears about it. But it’s a good time to touch base on unresolved matters to ask how you should best proceed. For many one on one time with the boss is rare and so why not take advantage of a captive audience to solve some of your problems?

            4. Compensation. Now, IMO this should be a separate conversation aside from the performance review – because pay can be touchy and it can get in the way of a productive review. But most places do them together, so if you are going to discuss compensation then definitely prepare in advance. If you will lobby for more money have market research and solid arguments for why it’s warranted.

            5. Equipment/Environment. If there is anything you need for your job which would make you more efficient, or a change in workspace, now is a good time to discuss that. Just make sure what you’re asking for has a valid business reason. If you feel you should have a company phone show how often you are expected to use your personal cell, and how you cannot loan it to a family member since it would impede business – which limits the use of your own phone. That is a valid reason. Because other people have them and it’s not fair that you don’t is not a valid reason.

            This sounds like I am saying to run the review and I’m not. One of the most important things you can do in a review is listen. Listen not just to what the boss says, but how she says it and what she doesn’t say. If you feel you’ve kicked all kinds of butt doing excellent work on task A – but all she talked about was B & C and was dismissive of A listen to that.

            A good performance review should be a two way conversation of what is going well, opportunities for improvement, and planning for the future. You should both come out of there feeling like you’re on the same page and a more solidified working dynamic.

            Fair warning – I don’t give performance reviews, and I would never want to because I think I would be pretty lousy on the other side of the table – but the above is how I approach my own and it’s worked pretty well for me.

            1. Ms Enthusiasm

              All great but I would also like to add that when you are working on goals for the upcoming year you she also know what your manager’s goals are. This way you can see how your measuable goals play into what your manager or entire team needs to accomplish. And the goals should be measurable. If you want to accomplish something how will you know its been done? That needs to be included with the goal. For example: If you have the goal of a certain task not taking as long as it does now then put a time down you would like for it to be done by. List what activities you will do to try to shorten the time. Periodically the goal needs to be revisited to see if it is still within reason.

              Where I work we have 2 sections to our goals. One is job related and the other one is development related. One of my goals is to have coffee/network with someone new every month. Another one is to take a company training class once a quarter.

              1. Anonymous

                How do you get goals?

                I know how to get work – I get plenty of work. I’ve never really had a work goal, though. Is there a way to convince a manager that measurable objectives is a good idea when you’re in a culture that is heavily entrenched in the idea that the value of their work can’t be measured?

        2. Yup

          I also find it helpful to update my resume after preparing a self-eval, just to have an current one all polished and ready. It’s easier to see your accomplishments and skills from that mental place, rather than trying to drag it all together when you’re job hunting and potentially cranky or disheartened about work.

  7. AdAgencyChick

    To the OP in #1, check out http://www.writersweekly.org. The owner of that site has a lot of advice for freelance writers, who often have trouble getting deadbeat editors to pay. Not all of her advice will translate to filmmaking, but it will give you the right idea.

    Depending on how much you want to work with this person again or use him/her as a reference (and if she truly is a deadbeat, I wouldn’t want to), the WritersWeekly nuclear option really does work: http://writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/002330_01122005.html

    I am the “S” in the story who, after numerous requests for payment for an article I had written, simply never heard back from the deadbeats. I don’t believe they ever had any intention of paying me for my work. But as soon as I brought up the threat of calling them out in public (which I’m sure you could do; there have to be film websites analogous to WritersWeekly) and to the BBB and AG, the check appeared almost instantaneously (and it didn’t bounce, to my shock).

  8. Elizabeth

    I’m a bit confused about #1 calling him/herself a volunteer but being owed money, as “volunteer” normally means “unpaid”. Maybe because he/she used that term, that contributed to the filmmaker deciding not to honor their agreement. It might help a bit if the OP called him/herself a freelancer in the future.

    1. fposte

      I was wondering about that too, and also wondering if this is a version of being paid under the table, so that there is actually no legal recourse if it doesn’t come through. But I know nothing about the film industry.

      1. KayDay

        …although, I guess getting a stipend makes it technically not volunteering. I was thinking it would be similar to an “unpaid” internship that provides a stipend at the end of the project.

        1. Anonymous

          Hopefully the OP can clarify this. I guess there are so many different ways of looking it that one label won’t work.

    2. Jamie

      OP was owed a percentage of opening night receipts, not a set amount, but this to me still falls more into the category of freelancing than volunteer. But I don’t know a thing about this industry.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      My guess is the OP is a volunteer, but at some point, for whatever reason, they reached this agreement (in writing, apparently) about box office receipts for this one particular production.

      1. JLH

        Luckily it’s in writing. The OP’s best chance at recovering the money from receipts is to hire an attorney who likes to use the phrase “breech of contract” a lot. And no, definitely don’t do any other work for this company until you get paid.

  9. Anonymous

    For #6, have you tried giving him a box of tissues? Is it that he won’t use tissues, or that he never remembers to bring tissues?

    I know that paying for your boss’s tissues isn’t an ideal solution, but it might solve your problem. There are a certain type of people who never remember to buy things that they need. If tissues are presented and rejected, make sure that you’ve offered the right kind of tissues – I’ve found that some people are very passionate about the lotion / no-lotion distinction, and some people won’t use very fancy looking tissues.

  10. Gene

    Re: #1: I like AdAgencyChick’s post. Your other avenue is always Small Claims Court (assuming it’s under the limit, or you are willing to settle for the limit.) And,

    re: #6: My ENT basically ordered me to stop blowing and start snorting when I had a chronic sinus infection. Blowing forces infected material back up into the sinuses, this is not a good thing when your body is dong its best to eliminate said material.

    Sinus infections are notoriously difficult to cure, mine took ~4 years; the alternative was surgery, which may or may not have worked.

    1. Anonymous

      I am confused by this – the ENT told you to snort the infected material back into your sinuses as a way of eliminating them?

      1. Anonymous

        Yes, I thought the same. Maybe you misheard or were confused and were supposed to blow rather than snort, and that’s why it took 4 years to cure?

    2. khilde

      I know what Gene’s talking about here – I had a doc tell me something similar one time. I think the alternative is to suck it back down your throat and spit it out. I have always done this (though I don’t believe chronically) and I am always able to get that gunk out better that way than blowing it out my nose.

      I understand if I’m so gross now no one wants to talk to me anymore.

  11. Andrea

    I love that you read Tomato Nation’s The Vine. I have been reading that blog for at least 10 years. Your blog has come up in the comments there on more than one occasion, AAM. (I post over there, too, but under a shortened version of my real name.)

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Ooooh, that’s awesome to hear. Occasionally I’m reading something somewhere else and I see someone mention Ask a Manager in the comments, and to me it’s the equivalent of seeing myself in Us Weekly or something.

  12. Andrea

    Well, I think I mentioned this blog on there once, but others replied to say that they read AAM, too. And I can think of two other occasions when I didn’t mention it at all. So yeah, you’re totally famous. In a good way.

  13. Wilton Businessman

    #1 Back when I did consulting, I had a problem collecting for work I already did. I wasn’t really in a position to turn the work down as it was a fun project and the people were good. One day I talked with the Director I was working for and gave him the low-down that I can’t keep working there for free and if they’re not going to pay my bills, I am going to have to stop work the following Monday. No check came, and I stopped work. Tuesday I had a check for 3 months of back work and we ended up having an adversarial relationship. I let it go too long without getting paid, that was my fault. Don’t let it drag on.

    #2 It is certainly reasonable for you to talk to your manager about the overall plan. The trick will be to come across as interested but not nosy or questioning.

    #3 Get it off there. As an employer I think most Linked-In recommendations are coerced anyway.

    #4 What a d*ck.

    #5 I think one of the things that people do wrong in self-assessments is they just put down the positives. They write it up like they think they were perfect. This tells me they have no idea how to improve.

    #6 Ear Phones/plugs.

  14. Josh S

    @Alison:
    If you like TasteSpotting for the photos, you may find that you *really* enjoy Foodspotting.com . It’s less of straight up food photos from the web, and more of an application (web-based, Android, and iOS) that allows you to see food photos taken by people at the restaurant. Helpful to see delicious foods nearby, and to maybe even help you decide what to get from the menu.

    I’m a huge fan of the site.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I actually like it for the recipes — I just like that it’s a visual way to quickly scan and see what recipe you might want to consider making! (With each photo, you can click through and go to the site it came from, with the recipe to make it.)

      Also, I should have mentioned, for people who find TasteSpotting too caloric, this is a healthier version of the same concept:
      http://www.healthyaperture.com

      1. danr

        Took a look, and one of the recipes has plenty of vitamin CH (also the CH food group): chocolate and cherries…. for breakfast. Just the thing for the Chocolate Teapot Company: Chocolate Cherry Almond Breakfast Quinoa.

  15. Andrew

    I don’t know if you want to turn this into a series of recommendations for other blogs, but the OP did ask about financial planning, and to my mind the best PF blog (by far) out there is Get Rich Slowly. Great original writing and an active, interesting group of commenters.

  16. Anonymous

    If it is nobody’s business if the OP #4 is pregnant, then why announce “I am not pregnant”? (It sounds defensive too.)

    I would either ignore it or just say, “I heard from [colleague] that you are asking if I am pregnant. What’s that all about?”

    Also, maybe [colleague] is really the one who is wondering…

      1. Ellen M.

        Saying “I’m not [pregnant], not that it’s anyone’s business.” is like saying, “I’m sorry but I am not apologizing.” The speaker undermines/contradicts herself.

        Plus it is rewarding the boss for inappropriate, passive aggressive-and manipulative behavior. He gets the information he wants, so the next time he wants some similar info (or to make the employee worried or uncomfortable or feel obligated to give some personal information that really is none of his business), he’ll get [colleague] to do his dirty work using this technique, which works!

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Yeah, but she says she’s worried he’s going to factor it into promotions/raises, so it sounds like she wants to set the record straight. She shouldn’t have to, obviously, and she’ll need to decide which is more important to her — the fact that she shouldn’t have to or the fact that she feels it could be an issue. That’s obviously not a good situation, but that’s the reality she’s currently in.

  17. ChristineH

    #7 – So glad someone else out there likes The Consumerist! The horror stories they post are just unreal. I also enjoy the writers’ humor. The comments can go overboard sometimes, but they can be funny as well.

      1. Anonymous 30

        I refuse receipt checks (also thanks to Consumerist). And about a year ago, it got me arrested. Worst day ever!

        I was leaving a (chain) store, and politely refused a receipt check by a not-in-uniform guy (BIG GUY!) who blocked my exit. I just kept my head down, said “No thanks” and tried to keep walking. He stepped in front of me (blocked my path) and asked something else. I ended up stopping, and he accused me of shoplifting. I said “No, and if you think I am, you can call the police.” and proceeded to try to walk past him again.

        He (and another security guard) ended up grabbing me and physically dragging me to the back room. (Literally dragging me. At one point, holding me by my legs and dragging me on my back.) Through a crowded store. While I desperately attempted to dial 911 and tell them I was being assaulted.

        At one point, I kicked/knocked one of the guards off me, and he fell on his back into a rack of clothes.

        I ended up in their back room while the cops were called. They reviewed the security footage (which I was not allowed to see), and I was perp-walked out of the store in cuffs, spent a few hours in jail before they released me on my own recognizance.

        Ended up I got charged for misdemeanor assault for (supposedly) brushing up against the guy as I tried to walk past him. And for struggling against the 2 guards as they literally dragged me through the store. (The cops told me that if the guy who I knocked off me had hit his head and died, I could have been charged with 2nd degree murder. I think they were just using scare tactics on me, but what do I know?)

        So yeah, I still refuse receipt checks. But mainly because I only go to stores that don’t even think about requiring them.

        (Charges dropped upon the first bench hearing, currently in the process of having the whole thing expunged.)

        Note: I’m a regular commenter here. Changed my handle to protect my innocence!

          1. Anonymous 30

            Yeah, pretty much what I thought at the time.

            I’m still trying to consider if it’s worth the time/effort/cost to sue the retailer/security guys for their assault on me.

  18. Kit M.

    Squeee! Query Shark is the former Miss Snark! Thanks for pointing it out; so glad she’s still blogging.

  19. Another Emily

    #7 Another great blog is Captain Awkward. http://captainawkward.com/

    This is an advice blog and mental health often comes up (since you mentioned the subject). I like the positive, no BS way C.A. answers questions. It’s a great read.

  20. mm

    #6 – leave an anonymous box of kleenex at his desk. Maybe he’ll use them if they’re there…and make sure it’s one of those extra soft tissue with lotion or something so he can’t resist the softness.

  21. Anonymous

    I have to disagree with AAM’s reply on #4.

    While I agree that it’s none of his business if she’s pregnant or not, it seems a bit accusatory and antagonistic to come to him and tell him it’s none of his business.

    How about just saying, “I heard you were wondering if I’m pregnant. Do you have a concern we should discuss?”

    Maybe he’s a sexist unfair jerk, but there’s also the chance that he just wanted to not be the guy who congratulates a woman for gaining 20 lbs.

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