telling a coworker about possible layoffs, boss texts me constantly when I’m not at work, and more

It’s four short answers to four short questions!

(Yes, four instead of the usual seven. I’m experimenting with doing shorter-than-usual posts on Saturday and Sunday.)

1. My boss calls and texts me constantly when I’m not at work

I have been a nurse at a residential facility for the past 9-1/2 years. I am part-time and work a couple 6-8 hour shifts a week, no benefits. I have 2 supervisors, as I work at 2 different locations for same place. One of my supervisors is very intense, does scheduling up to 6 months or more in advance, and calls or texts me incessantly when I am not working or the morning after I work a late night shift. I really like her as a person, but it’s really out of control. This morning she texted me that I forgot to check to see if someone had enough medication. Then she realized that the meds were fine, and re-texted me to tell me that at one of the houses there were no tweezers in a first aid box. She is constantly doing this.

I work hard, and actually need more work and on occasion she will give me a few extra hours if she needs help. I just can’t stand her texting me constantly or calling me to ask if I can be on call 7 months from now on a particular night, or with nitpicky things like tweezers. I am ready to send an email to HR, but will have to do it anonymously. It’s driving me crazy.

Don’t send an anonymous email to HR. Lots of places won’t act at all on anonymous emails and it’s likely to cause problems if they do, because your manager will want to know why the hell the person complaining didn’t talk to her about it directly first. Which leads us to … talk to her about it directly first. Say something like this: “Jane, I like to keep my phone off when I’m not at work, but I end up feeling like I can’t because I know you often message me there. So that I can truly disconnect during my off time, would it be possible for you to call or text me at home only if it’s truly urgent? If you put the other things in email, I’ll see and respond to them as soon as I’m back at work.”

2. Should I mention that I interviewed with this employer 10 years ago?

Recently I’ve seen an intriguing job opening in my field. It’s in a small department in a local college and I actually interviewed for a similar position there around 10 years ago. I’m going to apply, but should I mention in the cover letter that I’ve interviewed there before? It’s been a long time and I have a different name now but I believe some of the same staff are still there.

Ten years is long enough that it doesn’t really matter either way (unless something spectacular and memorable happened the last time, like you accepted an offer and then reneged on it or something else that they’re highly likely to recall).

3. Should I tell a coworker that layoffs might be coming?

My boss told me in confidence that some employees could be laid off in our company. One of my coworkers is getting a mortgage to buy a new house. Should I tell him?

Ugh. I could argue this either way. On one hand, if your boss told you that in confidence, it’s not yours to share. On the other, your obligation to the company isn’t the highest obligation you have; other things can trump it.

One option is to go back to your boss and say, “I’m really concerned about Bob, who is about to take on a new mortgage without knowing what you told me. Is there any way to share with him what you told me? Or to signal to him that he should hold off, if in fact you believe he should?”

If that doesn’t work — or if you know your boss well enough not to bother even trying — you could also look for some other way to warn your coworker without coming out and saying exactly what you were told.

What do others think?

4. Should I include a side business on my resume?

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a while (but less than a year) but have been also working from home on my own business. I’m debating whether to include that on my resume and where to put it. It’s not relevant to my industry (this is a wedding-related business) so I’m not sure if it goes under my regular experience or in a separate section…or do I even bother including it? And what do I call myself…an owner?

I’d include it, so that it’s clear how you’ve spent the last year, and I’d look for ways to play up any skills from this work that might be relevant to the types of roles you’re applying for. And you can call yourself the owner or president or whatever title you prefer that conveys “this is my business and I’m in charge of it.”

{ 103 comments… read them below }

  1. Ann Furthermore*

    #3 – I think Alison’s advice is the best way to handle it. Ask your boss if there’s any way to nudge your co-worker away from getting a mortgage. You really don’t want to break your boss’s confidence, because s/he will be less likely to trust you with sensitive information in the future.

    Any time I’ve ever tried to intervene on someone else’s behalf, it’s blown up in my face. My intentions were always good, but there always seem to be unintended consequences. My rule now is to just keep my mouth shut and stay out of things.

    1. Jessa*

      Yeh, any other option besides asking the boss, will end up badly. Especially if the coworker blabs it all around that the OP was indiscreet. Also without knowing whether or not the person in question is even ON the layoff list, or if there is actually going to be layoffs and exactly when. It just can’t end well for the OP.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Technically speaking, anyone who takes on new debt should have plan A and plan B for paying off that debt. This means that Bob should be able to forecast that for whatever reason he might need a new job and what his options might be.

      That said, how many of us actually do this?

      If Bob were not taking on a mortgage, would you still want to tell him, OP? I know that I have had coworkers that have gone above and beyond the call of duty for me and yes, I would want to tell them no matter what their setting.

      Here is the real problem. The boss gave you special information that not everyone has. Now you are in the awkward position of having this special information. I tend to believe that bosses do not do us favors when they do this. Tell everyone or tell NO one.

      Unless the boss is confiding in me because boss thinks I might have some solutions, I would prefer that the boss did not share this stuff. It is too much of a burden as you are seeing here, OP.

      Worse case scenario is you decide that you cannot tell your boss about Bob. So now what?

      I would tell Bob IF one or more of these conditions apply:

      a)He is my best bud at work and there is a long history of helping each other.
      b)Bob has specifically and repeatedly said “I would not be taking on this mortgage if I did not have this wonderful paycheck that I get here.”
      c) There were extenuating circumstances that included a long history of the company being unfair to my cohorts. This would have to be a substantial list that is not based on gossip or conjecture. I just have a crappy company and/or boss.

      If none of this resonates with you, OP, then I would just let it go. All of us should be aware that we can be laid off at any time. That’s a fact of life.

      1. fposte*

        The other problem is that it’s not likely that Bob is the only co-worker getting ready to take on a big expense–it’s just that he’s the one she knows about. So there’s both the unfairness of only telling Bob and the fact that Bob may feel obliged to tell Jane, who feels obliged to tell Wakeen…

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Which is usually how these things go.
          Most of the time I would probably end up saying nothing. But my view of the boss would be tarnished.
          Tell everyone or tell no one. Or…
          If he means ME then he should say so.
          Either way- it’s not good.
          Sometimes I wonder if people do that just to watch the rumor mill perform its thing.

      2. glennis*

        I’ve been in the position of the OP here, by being given confidential information regarding HR actions. In my context, I was in charge of preparing the annual budget, and in order to calculate future years’ costs I have been directed to carve out the costs of certain positions – which indicates they would be deleted – or factor in the cost of anticipated position changes. There’s not always a clear-cut statement that “we will be eliminating these positions” – but it’s easy enough to infer that by deleting the cost of a position, it’s going to be gone.

        Not sure in what context the OP was given the info.

      3. Jessa*

        But in that case you still have to be ready to take the huge hit and possibly lose your job if your boss finds out you talked. Although I agree, it’s not on for the boss to tell the OP this unless it’s job relevant (IE the OP is an accountant and they’re trying to find a way to lower the amount of layoffs.)

      4. notshocked*

        My first thought was “give me a break” most people as in 99.9% just have a job, what should they do have a business on the side? In addition to scrapping metal and running a home pet service? C’mon- if you’re a friend and/or a decent person you’d try and figure out a way if possible to let him know.

    3. Trixie*

      I’m curious if OP#3 hasn’t heard layoff rumors before, from her boss or otherwise. If it were me, I’d be disappointed in my boss for sharing this burden with me.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for it — such as “it’s possible that we’re going to be down 5 people later this year, so we need to be sure not to plan a process that relies on being fully staffed” or “don’t solidify plans for that event until we know what’s happening with that team” or so forth. Or even, “I want you to know that your own job is safe because I don’t want you thinking that you need to be job searching” (which is something that managers would be well-advised to say to their top performers, assuming it’s true, if there’s a chance those top performers could hear layoff rumors).

        If it was shared as gossip, yes, the boss absolutely did a disservice to the OP and the company too. But it might have been legitimate.

    4. Julie*

      This is really a difficult position to be in. A few years ago, my boss told me that one of the people I managed was going to be laid off (it was a complicated reporting structure). I really wanted to tell my team member that it was coming, but I couldn’t. My boss was a great guy, so when I asked him to give “Bob” as much notice as possible, he said he was already figuring out how he could do that. I still felt bad that I couldn’t tell him ahead of time.

  2. PEBCAK*

    3) This is tough, because Bob has to sign a paper saying that he knows of no upcoming changes to his income. If he is NOT on the chopping block, but finds out he might be, then he can’t sign the paper, and so on. I think I’m being unclear because I’m doped up on Nyquil, but my point is that I could imagine situations in which he would NOT want to know.

    1. Lacey*

      But it could be infinitely worse to sign up for a mortgage and then lose your job, than to have to decline to sign up for the mortgage because your job is under threat. The first could mean financial ruin, the second would just mean you don’t buy a house right now.

      1. Kerry*


        If I were the OP I’d tell Bob – not in an alarmist way, but letting him know what I know, that some people might be laid off. I like the way Alison put it about other obligations trumping your obligation to the company. Someone’s life could be ruined, and I do think there is an ethical obligation to say something.

          1. MiaE97042*

            Agree, I think this is information that should be shared. I would be devastated if we bought a house and then I lost my job, moreso if someone could have warned me and didn’t.
            (Really, I would hope an employer would advise me something about there being a level of uncertainty if I were approaching them for a verification for a mortgage and they KNEW I was about to be laid off…)
            Especially if you’re in a position where you maybe should not have been told. I was in such a position once where I was privy to someone’s future job loss as gossip. I really struggled with whether or not to say something to her. In hindsight, I wish I had.

  3. LondonI*

    3) I think you should double-check your company handbook on this sort of situation. At my company there are very strict policies surrounding redundancies – the boss would not be allowed to share that sort of information with someone who may be affected. In fact, in the UK, I think it may even be illegal. I am pretty sure that the boss would not have been able to tell you this information at all, if the information was not made public to all potentially affected workers at the same time.

    I realise this probably doesn’t apply to the US, but I would still advise proceeding with caution.

  4. Anonymous*

    #3 – There is no such thing as loyalty to a company anymore, and anyone who tells you different is either lying or an idiot (or both). Tell as many people as you can.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This isn’t about whether or not the OP should be loyal to the company. It’s about whether she breaks a confidence that she presumably agreed to keep, and whether she could do her own career and reputation harm by sharing info that was given to her in confidence, balanced against the interests of others involved.

      A blind anti-management stance really doesn’t lead to thoughtful, nuanced decisions.

      1. notshocked*

        Is there any other way to be in this day and age? Our jobs are not guaranteed as we are told repeatedly. I feel an obligation to do a good job and respect others. I do not trust them to act in my best interest and have learned it is in my best interest to consider my needs first as corporations do not ever- they ALWAYS consider the corp. first.

        I feel for the OP- tell and she may get in trouble….but her job may be next too.

        1. Colette*

          She increases the odds of. Ring next if she says something, though.

          I don’t think that keeping quiet is solely in the company’s best interests.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          You’re asking if there’s any other way to be than “blindly anti-management”? Yes, of course. You can think through each side of a situation and its likely consequences for yourself and others, and bring more nuanced thought to bear than just workers vs management. I’d argue that the people who are most successful and happiest in their careers do exactly that.

          Being blindly anything is generally not a good idea.

          1. Anna*

            It’s true, but at the end of the day I have to do what won’t make me feel like a heel. This isn’t even about anti-management, it’s about whether or not I’ll cringe in 5 years when I think about my choice to tell or not. I suppose that’s part of the nuance…

  5. Anonymous for this (bus story)*

    Alison, there’s a missing parenthesis in your answer to #2.

    Also, my personal opinion on the weekend posts is that I like a shorter post on two separate days better than just a Saturday post. Even a 3-question day and a 4-question day would be fine by me (meaning the same total number as one 7-question day) – it’s just nice to have them spaced out.

    1. Jen in RO*

      I agree, fewer questions are better than no questions!

      (And thanks for changing the time of the posts.)

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Parenthesis fixed — thank you!

      And thanks for the feedback on the shorter weekend posts too! It was definitely easier (less work) to do it this way, so I think I’ll keep it up! (Frankly, it makes me wonder if I could do the same thing on weekdays too, and if makes the comments easier to follow if there are only four topics being discussed instead of seven.)

      1. Wo Fat*

        Can I add my two cents worth?

        I think that with the way the popularity of this blog has grown and the (average) number of comments per post has seemed to increase over the last few years, or months even, it’s better to have fewer questions each day. If there’s a day when a reader sees many questions that are relevant that he/she wants to read the inputs on, that can make for a lot of reading.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I wonder about that too. Relatedly, I’m actually thinking about hiring an intern to look at the back-end analytics on a lot of questions, including how the number of posts impacts traffic and commenting, because I’m dying to know but don’t have the time to dig into it in-depth myself.

          1. Joey*

            Yeah, it’s getting a little tedious wading through all the comments. I kind of like the frequent posts. Where I tend to really skim is on the short answer posts. Frequently there’s just one or two questions I’m interested in and sometimes it’s almost too much trouble to dig for the associated comments.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I am wondering if there are certain types topics that bring everyone in to the forum.
            With some of the posts, I think “oh this is pretty straightforward. Whoops- 367 comments. Guess not.”
            It would be interesting to see if there is any consistent increase in posting for particular topics.
            Alison, do you have any idea how many regular posters you have?

            I am glad that you are restructuring a little bit. Sometimes I get home from work and start reading, suddenly it’s 2-3 hours later I am no where near done but I have to call it a day. I cannot imagine what it is like on your end.
            Who was it? Ann Landers or Dear Abby that said they read letters all day long. Which ever lady it was she said she read letters in the bath tub- the reading never stopped. Prepare! This might be YOU!
            I saw in the news today that in a few years there will be more people not working in the US than there are working people in the US. People are giving up all the time. If this is true, I should think that a blog like this will only get bigger as those of us who are left try to do more with even LESS.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Alison, do you have any idea how many regular posters you have?

              If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a couple of hundred regular commenters, but it’s hard to know. The interesting thing is that the commenters are only a small sliver of the overall readership — the majority of readers don’t comment. (We get about 619,000 unique readers per month, so clearly most of them are not commenting!) But I tend to forget that and very much feel like I’m just talking to you guys when I’m writing — the commenters are the people I have in my head.

              1. New-ish reader*

                I’ve been reading daily since the end of May but have only commented twice. It seems that whenever I feel the need to give my two cents, inevitably the next comment addresses my thoughts.

                For what it’s worth, I like the daily 4-question format (suggested earlier). If anyone needs more, well that’s what the archives are for! :)

            1. Mark*

              I really hope that you do end up hiring an intern, Alison – I know it could be tricky from a conflict of interest/power perspective but a post from an intern about insights gained from being managed by Ask A Manager feels like a fun read to me.

              I have this vision of you being a fantastic manager since you’re so well-reasoned about getting work done and pointedly non-crazy on your blog, but a post like that could shed some light on the woman behind the curtain, so to speak.

      2. Sara M*

        I would like that. I can’t keep up with 200 comments on everything. Slightly more frequent posts with 4 each would be much better than a single post of 7, or something like that.

        I like the mix of short answers and longer responses.

        I wish I had your blogging commitment! I keep wanting to write a blog on my own topic of expertise, and I am just not a blogger by temperament, I think. I just never want to commit to such a regular schedule and manage all the comments.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Me too, but Alison has a lot of material and a really good topic, which makes it easier to post every day. My blog is just stuff about writing, and since I haven’t published any of my books yet, it can be tough to find anything to write about.

      3. Jessa*

        Even if you choose to do more than one post, I agree that some posts generate so many comments that less questions per post is a good idea. You can always decide to do two posts that day if you have a lot to say, but it’s easier to follow comments if you have less questions on a post.

        1. EngineerGirl*

          There’s another side to it too. Some letters just naturally generate more comments than others. If one letter is mixed into a post with a high comment letter then it appears that some letters get little to no comments at all. That seems unfair as the less popular letter writer would benefit on comments too. I like less letters per post.

  6. Apollo Warbucks*

    #3 it’s hard but you can’t say anything to your co worker, you don’t have enough information. If I were you id go back to the boss and tell him the situation, if he’s at all reasonable he’ll talk to your co worker and let then know what’s going on. If your boss is a jerk then you can re think telling your co worker.

  7. Not So NewReader*

    #1. Maybe it is just me, but OP, your boss sucks. She can’t manage worth a darn.

    She is managing by jumping from one “calamity” to another. Everything is a five alarm fire in her mind.

    I would start by saying ” Gee, boss, I get a number of texts from you when I am home. And I am starting to get worried that I will some how lose your messages. I had an ugly incident this weekend involving (the dog/kids/SO) where I just could not find my phone for hours. I sincerely thought the phone was gone from my life and with it your messages. I panicked. This got me to thinking…
    I don’t want to miss your messages and I want to do a great job. So my idea is…”

    Then launch into your idea.
    You could suggest a communication book, where she writes down all these things and you read it first thing when you get into work.

    Or she could gather all the concerns/ ideas into one email that you checked before or at the beginning of each of your work days.

    Then you reiterate how these things are important to you and you do not want to miss any of these concerns that she is talking about.

    The thing that I see in your post is that most of this stuff you cannot fix from home. It has to wait until you get to work. So the message can wait until you get to work, too! Perhaps you can encourage her that the few concerns you CAN answer from home you will be happy to be there for her.

    Overall she sounds like a nervous boss that does not believe in herself. The best you can do with that is to reassure her that you want to make sure everything is taken care of properly.

  8. tesyaa*

    #1 it sounds like the nurse’s boss might have a real problem with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I agree with the suggestion to discuss her behavior with her directly (without mentioning my amateur diagnosis), but other than than, just ignore her over-intervention as much as possible.

  9. A Teacher*

    #1, I’m also guessing you’re non-exempt, many nurses especially in long term care and the hospital setting. When my sister, an ER nurse is on call, has to take calls, goes to meetings, whatever they have to pay her. Granted on call pay is only $2 an hour to be available but its still pay. If you’re taking calls like this constantly you should be getting paid for that time.

  10. FiveNine*

    Oh God, a woman work with was recently fired — just months after buying a new car. I didn’t know the firing was coming, we weren’t buddies but did work on the same team, and a car isn’t nearly the debt of a home, but I can’t tell you how often I think about the crises this put her in (yes, I know, she was fired, apparnetly for reason, but the timing truly has exponentially compounded a difficult situation) and how unbelievably awful I feel about it.

    1. FiveNine*

      What I mean is, I cannot imagine how truly oppressive it would be had we (1) actually been friends (2) she had been layed off rather than fired with cause and (3) the debt she had just taken on was for a home and (4) I had known ahead of time and decided not to tell her. This is a purely emotion-based response, I know that. I just wanted to put it out there, though, because living with it afterward is its own issue.

    2. Colette*

      It may not be a crisis for her. It’s always good to consider how you’ll pay off debt before you commit, which includes thinking about what will happen if you lose your job and making sure you have an adequate emergency fund.

      I bought a car last month, and I’d be fine financially if I lost my job.

      1. AB*

        I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think anyone should take on a mortgage without some sort of financial planning that would allow them to maintain financial stability with the mortgage in the event of job loss.

        For example, before signing a mortgage, you could put aside 6 or 8 months of payments, so that if you lose a job, you have at least some time to find a new one without getting into a crisis.

        I really don’t think it’s healthy to just assume your job is safe only because there is no rumors of layoffs. I’ve seen too many company merges, demands for 10% cuts coming from top management, and other issues causing great performers to be let go, that even if they never affected me directly, make me aware of the possibility.

        Hopefully the OP’s coworker thinks like me and wouldn’t be taking a mortgage unless he/she was able to keep up with the financial obligations even in the case of a layoff.

    3. Lindsay J*

      Yeah, a coworker was fired recently after just moving into a new apartment and buying an expensive camera.

      We all feel really badly for him because he wouldn’t have moved into the more expensive new apartment if he had known he would n’t have the paycheck coming in, obviously. And it kind of started an avalanche of bad luck for him. (Got fired, couldn’t afford apartment, started fighting with live-in girlfriend over money, broke up, computer broke with no way to fix it, etc). And he was fired for cause.

      I think everyone feels awful about it.

  11. ITwannabe*

    OP, please don’t tell your friend. This was something you were told in confidence, and both parties could wind up shooting the messenger. Take comfort in the fact that these layoffs were not your decision; they were either your boss’, or their manager’s. And you don’t have all the information to make an informed decision about who should know and who should not. This guy’s job may not even be on the line, and then you have needlessly worried him, made additional problems at work, and shown your boss that you can’t be trusted with sensitive situation. This is your manager’s problem to manage. Please let them. I know this is a burden for you to bear, and I sympathize, but as one of the previous commenters said, you probably shouldn’t have been made party to it in the first place.

  12. AB*

    No comment to add about the questions, just wanted to say that it’s nice to have AAM to read Sunday mornings with my coffee, and that 4 questions are perfectly fine (as even 3 or less would be :-).

  13. AmyNYC*

    Not to make light if #3, but there was a great episode of Modern Family where Claire had this same question

    1. Garrett*

      And that ended very badly. It was a comedy but it made a good point against saying anything. I think you have to be careful because plans could change tomorrow and you risk causing strife that may not happen. It sucks but you aren’t this guys parent and his personal financial decisions are his and his family’s to make and deal with.

  14. Ruffingit*

    #1: The problem with telling the supervisor to only text/call if it’s urgent is that the supervisor cannot distinguish between what is and is not urgent. For her, the lack of tweezers in a First Aid box is absolutely urgent and the OP needs to know about it NOW! I worked for a supervisor like that so I know of what I speak. The woman was relentless and would do things like call me, leave a long voice mail message, and then immediately text “Listen to voice mail.” She did that to everyone who worked for her. So, I might suggest the OP find another way of phrasing things because “important and urgent” do not register with supervisors like that sometimes. They just can’t distinguish those things.

    1. Colette*

      I’m wondering if the OP is responding to the texts. If so, it would be a good idea to be less accessible (and to let her manager know she will only reply to true emergency issues).

      1. Ruffingit*

        Yeah, I agree with that. Seems she needs to train her supervisor as to what she will and won’t accept as far as texts. Then again, if this is a situation where the supervisor tells her she must reply to all or something of that nature, then it could be a problem for her to just ignore them. A conversation with her sup is definitely in order here regardless.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      I agree that the sup is very disorganized as a result of an inability to discern urgent, important, needed, and trivial.
      The OP should really ask the sup to only text/call if it can’t wait until the next shift. Everything else needs to go into email to be handled during the next shift. And if the OP is non-exempt then it’s time to have a second discussion with the sup – placing the company at risk by asking her to do work off the clock. And yes, DOL absolutely sees answering phone calls/emails/texts as work.

    3. snuck*

      And this is why something like a “Communication Book” is a good idea – a little book she can write all this guff down in and you can then sign next time you come on shift that you’ve read it. Common from what I’ve seen in people who work shift work in roles like nursing, personal care, cleaning, gardening etc. Good for things like “Need to buy more window cleaner” and “Fridge feels warm can someone keep an eye on the food and make sure everything is working over a few days?”

      That and politely say something like ‘I’m only using this mobile for work related things so I only have it on a few hours a week around my shifts’ and then set her number up to go automatically to messagebank, and her texts to not even make your phone vibrate (these features exist in most phones these days – just look in the book). And ignore them until you next go to work.

    4. myswtghst*

      I liked the suggestion above, of distinguishing between “things I can do something about from home” and “things which I can’t do anything about til I’m at work”. I don’t mind a text from my boss on my day off asking where I left something she needs, but I do mind a text which will just make me worry about something I can’t do anything about til Monday anyway (and thankfully, my boss knows the difference!)

  15. Brett*

    #4 Yes, please, include it. And call yourself the Owner or Founder (because that is what you are). Running your own business has so many transferable skills to, well, any other business.
    More importantly, let’s say I am on a hiring committee and you are my favorite candidate but someone else likes another candidate. When you have a blank spot in your resume, the other person has ammunition against you. When that blank spot is filled with a work at home business, that weakens their position while I can argue for all the skills you gained during that time, that you clearly wanted to stay busy and are ready to get back in the workplace, that you have extra transferable skills (like ambition) and must really like the industry if you want to get back into it when you have your own business. If I am championing you as my preferred candidate, that makes it much easier for you to win the position. (Can you tell I have been in this position before?)

    1. Trixie*

      Officially unemployed and I don’t have a home business per se but I have been surprisingly busy with pet/house sitting. Is this something to include and help fill a blank spot? I’ve also tried taking on more volunteer recently.

      1. Julie*

        I assume you’re getting paid to house-sit and pet-sit, so I don’t see why it couldn’t go your resume, but I would phrase it differently. Create a name for your business and call yourself the “Owner” or whatever title you want to use.

        I have two volunteer positions on my resume. One was long-term, and I learned/used a lot of skills that apply to my profession. The other was shorter-term, but I was VP of a professional association, and there, too, I learned/used new skills.

  16. ChristineSW*

    #3 – Why is the boss sharing this information to begin with? Unless your job involves some sort of preparation ahead of these possible layoffs, telling you just puts you in a really awkward position. JMHO. I know I wouldn’t know what to do in your case. I hope your coworker does not end up on the chopping block.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Yeah, that is another consideration. I too wonder why the boss sharing this info with the OP especially when it’s been phrased as some employees “could be” laid off. I wonder if the boss is trying to subtly let the OP know that she may be one of them.

    2. EngineerGirl*

      It’s possible that the boss shared the info with the OP because the OP is getting laid off. I’ve seen that happen.
      But still, talk to the boss about “Bob”.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Can you imagine if the conversation went like this? “Well, I appreciate your concern, but Bob isn’t getting laid off. However, we have been rethinking your position.” Urp.

  17. Anonymous*

    #1. I don’t know your personal life but telling your manager a well-timed lie here might be the most effective way to resolve this problem. Without bringing up her annoying weekend texting, I would tell her a seemingly happenstance fake incident of your missing a text from someone really close to you–preferable a lover/fiance/husband—because your phone was off and even though they’re super mad with you, you have no plans on changing. This way she can’t take it too personal that you’re not responding to her texts. Otherwise, it’s a dangerous mind-field.

    1. EngineerGirl*

      Lying will only break trust with your boss when (not if) the truth comes out. Your solution will only net a temporary reprieve. Adult up and have the conversation instead of doing the childish passive-agrssive manipulation thing.

      1. Jen in RO*

        But how could this come out? I think it’s pretty unlikely.
        (The approach might be too subtle for the boss. People can be oblivious to hints.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I think it’s not so much that the truth might come out (although that’s always possible when you lie, and thus is always worth appreciating as a reason not to), but more that (a) this is unnecessary story-telling when you could just be direct and (b) the boss might totally miss the point of the story anyway. I don’t see any reason to concoct a story when the OP could just be direct.

          1. Anonymous*

            Speaking of ‘manning up’, do you think it’s that simple for a guy to tell his female boss or colleague not to text him on weekends or otherwise infringe on his in some fashion without it appearing personal? In my experience, sadly, no. Perhaps it’s been my fault as one former boss suggested. He felt I wait too long to nip such things in the bud. I’ve taken it under advisement.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yes, I do think that a guy can handle that type of issue with a female boss exactly as he would with a male one. Unless the boss in question has some sort of bizarre dysfunction that would make that impossible — but it’s certainly not an issue with female bosses across the board.

              1. Anonymous*

                Returning to the case at hand, how can you ask the supervisor not to text you if she believes you’ve been ‘negligent’ in not checking if someone had enough meds? If the OP had in fact not checked the meds, you the OP prefer to hear about it on Monday? What then would the consequences have been? I for one wold at the very least wait until the supervisor texted me about something unequivocally inconsequential.

            2. EngineerGirl*

              Putting things off only ensures that things build up and become that much harder to resolve. Speak early and often, so the stakes stay low.

              I’d simply ask her if there is really a need to text you on weekends. Listen to her answer. See if there is an alternate solution.

              1. Anonymous*

                Speak early and often, so the stakes stay low.
                Sure, stakes might stay low but your maintenance will be deemed high.

  18. Anon*

    #3 – I was hired in January (internal move so knew all the players), bought a house in April, and received a layoff notice in August. This was 2005. I don’t know if previous and new managers knew the positions were being eliminated, but they both knew I was buying my first house. I would have SO appreciated a heads up, just so I could make an informed decision.

    1. Ruffingit*

      I hope you were able to financially handle the house after that! The very same thing recently happened to a friend of mine. She was getting ready to close on the house on a Monday and was laid off the previous Wednesday. Her bosses knew she was buying the house and knew they would be laying her off. No one let her know. She was able to close on the house and has been able to manage it thus far, but I pray continuously for her to get another job because I’d hate to see her lose her first house.

  19. Andy*

    #3 – it happened in my past that my MANAGER (he earned to be mentioned with all capital :-)) warned me well before it even just came to consideration that I _might_ get laid off (finally I wasn’t).
    He just warned me that the financial environment (~2009-2010) is far from ideal, therefore the higher management might decide to ‘consolidate’ wherever possible.
    Finally I left before anything would happen (he told me that though he felt sorry to loose me as a colleague, it came with some relief too as I saved him from the issue to fight for me against higher levels).
    I’ll always be greateful to him!

  20. ConstructionHR*

    #1. My phone has and useful feature: “Do Not Disturb”, I can allow calls from my Favorites to come though (or not), and/or allow callers who call 2 times in a row within three minutes to come through (or not).

    If it was me, I’d follow AAM’s advice and then just wouldn’t respond to her at all unless it was clearly an emergency.

  21. Elizabeth*

    I feel sorry for Bob.

    He got demoted for performance issues:

    His kid got the flu:

    His smoking made his coworker feel ill:

    He’s probably not going to get hired elsewhere because he’s too eager:

    And I guess things went from bad to worse, because his niece started bringing him to work to watch him, which upset her coworkers:

    And now his plans to buy a house may be derailed. This guy just can’t catch a break!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I think we have our very own mythical character with an epic life!

      Thanks for connecting the dots- I got a good laugh.

  22. VictoriaHR*

    #4 – I put my soapmaking business on my resume and call myself “Owner and Professional Soapmaker” because I am. IMO it’s a good conversation starter in an interview. I do put it in “Other Experience” rather than in my professional experience list, though, since it doesn’t apply to my industry.

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