my employee won’t copy me on his email, manager purposely gives negative references, and more

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

1. My employee won’t copy me on his emails

One of my subordinate is trying to sideline me by not copying me on his emails. Should I send out an email to all departments, asking them to copy me when sending emails to my subordinates? If so, how should I put the email in order not to sound too odd?

It’s not normal for employees to copy their manager on all of their emails, or for managers to request that. The reason you can’t figure out a way to request it that doesn’t sound odd is because there isn’t one — it would be odd, and in most cases it would reflect badly on you.

Unless there’s some really unusual extenuating circumstance here, you should drop this expectation and figure out better ways to stay in the loop.

2. “On my old team, we did it this way”

I am a new manager and have a question I’d love your response to. Several of the people on my team say things like, “On my old team, we did it *this* way…” or similar things, and they often conflict. All of us were tossed together, from all different teams, and while I want to ease the transition to a new team, I am ready for this kind of talk to stop. It’s draining for me, and even those who have said it themselves are frustrated by it when someone brings it up.

What is the key to creating history together, as a new team? And why do so many people long for their old teams immediately after getting to a new one?

People in general like the familiar, and change makes people uneasy — particularly when it’s their work lives that feel unstable, since that’s tied into their professional identities and ability to earn a living. So it’s not surprising that people are leaning heavily on how things used to work.

And really, there’s value in knowing how people have done things successfully in the past. You don’t want your message to be that there’s not. But it’s reasonable to point out how wearing this particular framing can be, and ask people to be mindful of that. For instance, you could say, “I’ve realized we’re all talking a lot about how our old teams used to do things. There’s value in that experience, but in forming a new team, we’re going to come up with ways of doing things that might be different. If you have good ideas from how you’ve done things in the past, or how you’ve seen them done, I want you to bring them up — but let’s all be mindful that we’ll be creating new processes too. Even just saying, ‘one way I’ve seen this done well was X’ can have a different feel than a steady stream of ‘my old team did X.'”

3. My manager purposely gives negative references to people who are trying to leave

I know you’ve written in the past about how to approach potential employers when it comes to providing them with your current manager as a reference. I know you say to only make your current supervisor available as a reference when it’s contingent on a job offer. What do you do when your current supervisor has shown he or she will purposefully give unflattering references to leaving employees? (He won’t directly speak negatively or lie, but will purposefully sound unenthusiastic.)

Our department has had significant turnover in the past year, and our department head is not happy about it. A coworker of mine listed our department head on her job application but specifically said for him to not be contacted. The potential employer contacted him anyway, and our manager purposefully gave an unflattering reference. (My coworker has never had less than a glowing review and our manager has always spoken highly of her.) He then approached my coworker and called her unprofessional, saying she should have informed him that she was interviewing elsewhere. I have two potential job offers coming within the next few weeks. How do I approach this if they ask to speak to my current supervisor before offering me a job? I do not trust him to be honest and not sabotage an offer.

Many employers understand if you refuse to allow your current employer to be contacted, since in many cases that can jeopardize someone’s job. But if you encounter an employer who insists a job offer is contingent on talking to your current manager, I’d be direct: “My manager has a history of giving poor references to people who are trying to leave. However, I’d be glad to put you in touch with many others who can speak to my performance at my current job.” (And then offer other coworkers, ideally ones in higher-level positions than you — as well as clients or anyone else who can talk about your work.) If you happen to have copies of glowing performance reviews from this manager, those can be helpful to offer up too.

Also, your manager is a horrid person.

4. I resigned and my employer moved up my last day

I recently turned in my resignation to my employer on October 29. I allocated one month to finalize any pending responsibilities and/or find a replacement. My manager in turn told me my final day was going to be November 21, due to the slow week during Thanksgiving. I agreed and got my objectives for my final three weeks, but was told today (November 6) that I was going to be cut loose with pay stopping today. I know she can cut me loose any time after my resignation but can she withhold pay after giving me a final day. Therefore, I’m three weeks out of work before my new opportunity starts?

Yes, once you resign, your employer can move up your last day as early as they want. And they don’t need to pay you for days you didn’t work (assuming no agreement to the contrary). You might be able to collect unemployment for those three weeks though.

It’s too late for this now, but if you were giving one month’s notice for the employer’s convenience rather than your own, it’s good to frame it that way at the beginning and ask them to commit to paying you through your full notice period (and summarize the agreement in an email so there’s a written record of it).

5. Am I hurting my chances by telling employers I’ll be leaving in 6-12 months?

I’m studying for medical coding certification and have no experience in the healthcare field. I just had my first interview today with a company that is not in the healthcare industry, but one where I’m well qualified. I’m mostly applying to healthcare industry jobs, but I need a job now and I was a great fit. They were excited about my qualifications, but when I asked them if they had any concerns I could address I opened up about my plans to work as a coder in the next 6-12 months. Everyone told me I should conceal this information but I felt like I’d just be lying, hurting the company, and hurting myself in the future as I looked for that sparkling coding job without any good reference from my current employer to back me up. They might also then find out that I was looking elsewhere so soon and fire me with haste.

Would withholding my intentions from this employer have been perfectly okay since I don’t know how long it could take to get that coding job, or would that have been as immoral as I think it would’ve been?

If you’re planning to leave a new job in 6-12 months, you probably need to be looking for temporary work or work in fields where high turnover is acceptable. Most employers aren’t going to want to put the time and resources into training someone who is going to leave six months later — in many jobs, you’re only starting to return the employer’s investment in you at that point, so it doesn’t make sense for them to hire you, knowing that you’ll be leaving so soon.

{ 221 comments… read them below }

  1. PEBCAK*

    #3 — If you are working for a large company, you might tip off HR about this. This manager is opening up the company to a lawsuit, and someone should nip it in the bud.

    (And yes, I know these things are difficult to prove, etc., but no company wants to even have to deal the the hassle.)

    1. Lillie Lane*

      The recent answered questions and comments about employers finding out about their employees’ job hunting is starting to get me angry. There have been a bunch of stories lately where the manager of the job-seeking employee found out and is reacting badly — why can’t 1) employers keep their job applicants’ information confidential and 2) current managers grow up and not take an employee leaving so personally?

      These stories illustrate that some boneheads are screwing up the lives and careers of their employees. I still feel bad for “Adam”, the guy from a few days back that didn’t even get an interview but is on the fast track to the unemployment line because of an employee that couldn’t keep her mouth shut and a vindictive boss. Ugh.

      1. Dan*

        1) Because sometimes it’s damn hard. And I’m not a manager or on any sort of hiring panel.

        My last employer is struggling. My current employer is a much larger and stronger name in the same industry. I currently work with two of my former coworkers. A fourth is joining us on Monday. A fifth has interviewed. A sixth interviews on Wednesday. A seventh is getting an interview lined up. And oh yeah… 6&7 are interviewing for the same job (they both emailed me asking about Department X. I’m not entirely sure if Department X has more than one opening. Shit.)

        Never mind that my boss is neighbors with OldVP. So what the heck is my boss supposed to do when he interviews people, and wants to know if they’re worth a damn? Is having a beer with his neighbor a no-no?

        2) Because people suck. You don’t want me to quit? Pay me more or whatever. But don’t hold it against me if I merely want to see what I’m worth on the open market, or heaven forbid, find out that I’m $20k underpaid.

        1. Lillie Lane*

          Hmmm. Your candidate example is a trickier situation. However, most of the times #1 has come up here on AAM, it wasn’t a complicated web of information gathering about current/former coworkers (though slightly the case with Adam) — it was just a lack of common courtesy on the employer’s part not to divulge applicants’ job seeking plans.

          If there are so many “defectors” from your old company at your current employer, though, wouldn’t they be able to provide some feedback about the applicants? I don’t see the need for your boss to have a beer with the old VP to dig up information.

          1. Dan*

            Well, of the six I’ve mentioned, I’ve only worked with two. I know them all by name, but can’t speak to the work habits of the others.

            Does the boss *need* to get dirt from the old VP? No. But it just seeing way to easy for that info to slip.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yeah, I agree. You don’t contact someone’s current employer without permission, even when you know the current employer. That’s the one thing you need to get the candidate’s permission for.

        2. neverjaunty*

          If your boss knows that OldVP fires people for having the temerity to look for a better job, then your boss should probably understand that asking “Hey, how ’bout that Bob guy?’ over beer is going to have a downside. For example, that Bob won’t apply at Boss’ company, and Boss will lose Bob and other stellar applicants because they can’t afford to risk applying to work for Boss. I’ve seen this actually happen, and it’s pretty sad to watch a great candidate refuse to apply (or to apply elsewhere) because they can’t trust Boss not to get them fired.

  2. Dan*


    The only sane “cc:” requests I’ve had are for contacting people of X rank or higher, be it managers in a different department or outside clients. Contacting people at the “worker bee” level (within the company or outside clients) have never required manager cc: notification.

    1. Brandy*

      I ask one of my reports to copy me on things, but only certain types of communications. She’s an industry analyst of sorts and sends out info to relevant interested parties. I often am a bit more plugged in to who cares about hat, so if I see she sent something to A and B, but I know C is doing a project and would be interested, I forward it on. I also tie back with her and say “great find, I sent it on to C because she is re-doing the orange teapot business case and this has great market data.”

      Or, “thanks for copying me on the info you gathered for Wakeen in Operations. Lorenzo in sales is going to a client tomorrow and would love this!”

    2. Judy*

      I have had requests from my manager to send all communication to Bob as a cc: to the manager. This was during a time that Bob was claiming others were not keeping him in the loop.

      I’ve never had a manager ask that all my email copy them, just either to a specific person, about a specific project, or even a specific email. “Judy, could you please send that information to Jane? Copy me on it and her manager.”

      1. Janet*

        I actually had one boss ask that I cc her on everything and when I did, she nit-picked every e-mail. I’d hit “send” and within seconds she’d be at my desk saying “If I were you, I would have said that you wanted the items done by Wednesday morning instead of just ‘on Wednesday'” or “I like to close out my e-mails with ‘best’ instead of ‘thank you'” – on and on and on. It made me want to not do anything since anything I would do was going to be wrong.

        1. Nerd Girl*

          That would drive me crazy!!
          BTW: I hate when people sign emails with “best”. It feels so incomplete and insincere.

          1. Monodon monoceros*

            Ha, I received an email this morning with “Best” as the closer, and I felt the same way. But I’m pretty sure this person doesn’t actually wish me the best, so I thought I was being overly sensitive.

          2. AVP*

            Oh, I don’t know, I use “best” all the time because “Warm regards” or “Sincerely” feel kind of stodgy to me. “Thanks” is a good one if you can conceivably be thanking someone for anything. I guess they all sound odd, the more you think about them.

            1. Sophia*

              Me too. I use and like “best” instead of sincerely or thanks (particularly when the email is not thanking anyone). I LOATHE it when non-Brits use “Cheers”

              1. CEMgr*

                Agree re “Cheers”, but unfortunately our American-born president does that and the habit has been spreading thanks to him.

            2. Zillah*

              I usually use “Thanks” – the way I see it is, I’m thanking them for their time if nothing else.

            3. Deedee*

              Best … What? That’s what I always think when I see this. If you mean ” Best wishes” why not just add one more short word? Same with “Best regards”. Go ahead and complete the phrase!

          3. Mike*

            I actually dislike salutations and valedictions in internal emails. I don’t mine the “Bob and Sue,” part when it is being sent to others as well. But other than that if just feels like you are wasting time trying to make emails like formal letters.

          4. WanderingAnon*

            I use ‘best’ most of the time. Best regards, Sincerely, etc. can seem too stodgy as suggested below and sometimes Thank You seems sarcastic! Also, no closing can seem harsh.

            I’ve used best as my neutral or slightly positive closing for years. It probably doesn’t work for everyone but I’ve had no feedback that it was offensive…

            1. Lily in NYC*

              We are actually forbidden from using “best” at my office. We’ve been told it comes across as unprofessional and insincere. I don’t care either way when I see it.

              1. NutellaNutterson*

                I’d be so tempted to find the most absurd closings possible if I was being forbidden from using “best”!

                Fondly and with deep appreciation,

    3. Monodon monoceros*

      I agree. My boss asked me early on to cc her on emails I send to the equivalent of our Board. It makes sense because sometimes they will be talking to her and ask her about something I emailed, and if she doesn’t know about it, it makes it look like she’s not on the ball.

      For other stuff I’ll cc her if I think there will be political ramifications to what I’m sending. Usually for those things I’ll run my wording by her first anyway, though.

      1. OhNo*

        +1 to the political ramifications aspect. I’ve had to send emails before that were either downright rude or vaguely threatening (libraries get real serious about overdue books sometimes, guys). On those, I’ve always cc’d my manager, just in case the person on the other end throws a fit. No one wants to deal with a stroppy engineer at 9 o’clock on a Monday morning without any warning or context. Trust me.

    4. Amtelope*

      We had a standing rule at one point to always cc our manager on correspondence with a particular client — the client had a history of crazy-making communication (feuding people at their company liked to fight with each other by contradicting each other’s instructions to us), and the manager wanted documentation of all email that went back and forth to them. I didn’t have a problem with that, but it wasn’t every email we wrote or even every email to clients, just every email to Extraordinarily Difficult Client.

  3. Mister Pickle*

    #1: If I’m reading this correctly … OP thinks their direct report is trying to stab them in the back by emailing OP’s boss? If it were me, I think I’d address this – in a friendly “so Bob told me you sent him an email about ___?” manner – with the direct report.

    (One thing to perhaps be mindful of is whether or not the company has an Open Door policy that encourages employees to escalate issues to higher levels of management if the issue isn’t being adequately handled by their first-line manager. If such a policy exists, it would probably be a good idea for OP to give it a close read to ensure that they don’t unwittingly violate the policy).

      1. Nerd Girl*

        No, it doesn’t. But there is a sense of paranoia in “One of my subordinate is trying to sideline me by not copying me on his emails”. I think that may have led to the confusion that the OP thinks that the employee is sending emails to her supervisor.
        To me, requiring employees to CC a manager on all emails smacks of insecurity.

      2. Mister Pickle*

        I could be wrong – the question is a bit short on details. But as Nerd Girl notes, the stuff about “sidelining” makes me wonder if the direct report is trying to go around OP in the chain of command. But I’m quite willing to accept that that’s not the case here.

  4. TheSockMonkey*

    #1: there is nothing more demoralizing than having to copy your boss on every email, or even on most of them.

    Whenever I have worked in environments where this was required, the people asking were insecure and micromanaging. It made me feel like the person did not trust me,despite having received great performance reviews.

    I am not saying those qualities apply to you, but I want you to be aware of how the employee you mentioned might perceive it.

    This is a great time to discuss problem solving with your employee and have a two way discussion about ways to share information that work for both of you.

    1. Annie*

      Totally. I once worked for a manager who insisted that I print out every email I sent or received. At the end of every day I had to put it on his desk in a folder. Huge waste of time and paper, and it was so demoralizing.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        This is so anti-productivity nuts that it would be funny, if it actually hadn’t happened to you. (Okay, I still think it is Dilbert like funny, but in the comic strips not in your real life.)

        1. Bea W*

          Pretty sure if someone asked me to do this it would qualify as “So ridiculous the only option is to over deliver with extra enthusiasm”. Want a pile of printed emails? Challenge accepted to have long running totally inane but work related email conversations with co-workers.

          1. Leah*

            Haha, yes! Cue the 20-message email chain about where the copy paper is, or sending versions of the Ninja Report back and forth – “I added a comma on the second page.” “Which part of the second page, I can’t tell.” “Third paragraph.” “Which line, I’m having trouble.” “No problem! It’s the third line.” “Thanks, I see it!” “What do you think?” “I agree with your comma, good catch!” “Thanks!” “No problem!” “Let me know if you have any more suggestions!” “Will do!” “Great!” “Hey, what do you think of the graph on the fifth page?” “Hmm, maybe darken the columns?” “I like that, thanks! So a more gray or a blue?”…… on and on forever.

            I am so grateful to have an awesome manager who trusts us to get stuff done.

          2. Sharon*

            Exactly. Long ago when I worked for a county 911 agency, a police chief from one of our smaller towns asked us for detailed printouts of every call his department responded to for the last five years. We offered to give him summaries instead but no, he wanted all the details. It was extremely fun delivering his TEN BOXES of paper on a hand truck. As best we could tell over subsequent visits to his office, he never so much as cracked open the top box! LOL!

            I would do the same kind of thing if I was Annie. :-)

      2. Clever Name*

        Heh. I inherited a job from a woman who would, I kid you not, print out websites and put the information in binders. It was ridiculous. When I went through them, at least half of the information was outdated. Your manager and this woman were completely missing the point of email and the internet.

        1. Nobody*

          That reminds me of when I worked for a woman whose job was to give expert advice on an internet forum. She made me print out the posts, and she hand-wrote her answers at the bottom of each page, and then gave them back to me to type in the forum.

    2. Amber*

      #1 I also had worked for a manager that required I CC her on EVERY email. Anyone that choose not to do that (or didn’t know to) wouldn’t get raises or promotions because in her mind that employee wasn’t working since she didn’t see the work in her in-box.
      Manager from #1 please don’t be like her and require to be included in everything, it was especially demoralizing to be treated as a child that had to be monitored and she turned out to be very micromanaging.

      A manager really only needs to be on emails from a worker if a decision needs to be made, the worker wants your input, or your help.

      1. Marcy*

        While I agree that if you have an employee that works independently on their own projects it might not be necessary to copy their manager, there are some jobs that need it. My employees are required to copy the whole team on emails. It is necessary because the entire team needs to be ready to jump in at a moment’s notice (and have had to do so many times). It is also needed for documentation purposes. It is the nature of our work and our vendors have to do the same thing on their side (in fact, they were doing it before we were and asked us to adopt it). We don’t actually read all of the emails unless we suddenly have to jump in to cover something (we have a 1-day turn around on a lot of our processes and just can’t take the time to stop and try to figure out where someone left off if they had to leave suddenly- happens more often that you would think) or if X is happening and we need to see how it was handled in the past (also happens frequently and keeps us from having to reinvent the wheel). It is also helpful when you are being audited and they want Susie’s email to the vendor saying that process D has been completed and is acceptable when Susie is out on a six-month maternity leave and not answering her phone or logging in to her email (happened last year and currently several of my employees are expecting). The OP doesn’t say what kind of a job it is but if it is similar in nature to mine, he/she has a reason to require being copied.

        1. Colette*

          Group emails provide the same visibility but don’t make people’s personal email boxes so cluttered that important stuff gets missed.

          1. Judy*

            Or even Enterprise Social Network, instead of email. (Yes, it’s a newish thing, you have your feed, and tags for projects, and everyone can see the info. You subscribe to projects and can also search most things.)

            1. Julie*

              Seconding this! My husband has been managing his for his employer and every time he shows it to me I’m so jealous and wish my workplace would join the modern world.

        2. Natalie*

          I can’t imagine this is the most efficient way to keep everyone in the loop and CYA, unless you only send a few emails each day. Doesn’t everyone have to read, or at least skim, each email to know whether or not it’s for them or for some .0001% situation a year from now?

          1. doreen*

            It really depends on exactly what the situation is. My direct reports and I get cc’d on a lot of emails ( but not nearly all) that their direct reports send and receive because their direct reports spend most of the time out of the office and we fairly often have to jump in. Setting up multiple shared mailboxes isn’t really practical because 1)it’s not necessary for everyone in the office to be copied , just someone. 2) A fairly large number of staff are not all that email proficient and don’t understand the concept of shared mailboxes nor my agency’s conventions for naming them. (or even the ordinary email address conventions) and having multiple shared mailboxes for each office will only result in misdirected emails.
            And it’s efficient enough because the subject line of the email is specific enough for me to know if I need to read any further- if the subject is “transfer request for Wakeen case” , I don’t need to read it when it is received. If Wakeen comes in and asks about the transfer when the assigned staff is out of the office, I can look it up then. If the subject line is ” FW: Transfer request for Wakeen case” or ” Second Request: Transfer for Wakeen case” then I know there is an issue with getting a response from the other office and I do need to jump in.

            1. Natalie*

              Being copied on some or many emails is one thing, but Marcy’s wording seemed to indicate the entire team is getting copied on everything.

              1. doreen*

                And there may be jobs where that is necessary- in my case it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary in Marcy’s situation.

              2. Marcy*

                Correct- it is necessary in my situation. We have a group email that the vendors use when they email us so if the person who is performing the work isn’t available, someone else picks it up. We copy the group when we send stuff back so it is there as a reference if, for some reason, we aren’t able to finish. That way, the next team member can pick it up without a bunch of research trying to figure out where things were left. The vendor does the same thing on their side. The vendor is fined if they don’t meet deadlines, which are very tight, so this is the best solution for all of us. We don’t need to read the emails unless we are filling in for someone else because the subject lines show clearly what it is about. Things used to fall through the cracks, now they don’t.

                1. Natalie*

                  Ah, that makes much more sense – when you said you all have to the copy the entire team, it wasn’t clear that you were copying a group email.

    3. Artemesia*

      Exactly. It makes sense for the boss to ask for ccs of emails on a particular project or for a particular client if there is an issue with that particular project or client — and then that should be made clear by the boss. e.g. perhaps a client has a habit of going over the employees head constantly to the manager and so it is important that she is always looped in on emails. That allows her to say to the client ‘I believe Roger sent that information to you on Tuesday.’ or whatever.

      But the way a manager stays ‘in the loop’ is to be a good manager and make sure she is updated regularly as part of the supervisory process. Someone going behind her back with emails to superiors, or who frequently creates problems with clients with emails, or who is not adequately following up needs more careful supervision. copying on every email would be appropriate only in the case of a serious problem and part of a progressive discipline process.

    4. BOMA*

      Perfect response. If my manager asked me to copy her on every email I sent, I would be side-eyeing her for a long, long time.

      OP – also, if you do have an issue with an employee trying to sideline or undermine you, I’d recommend discussing it with them directly rather than sending an department-wide email. If there’s one person in the office who isn’t following directions, I’ve found it’s best to just discuss it with them. Emails like the one you described have the unfortunate habit of seeming passive-aggressive, and I don’t think it’s going to help your case.

    5. PizzaSquared*

      Yup. I recently left an insane job (I’ve commented about it here before). I was a senior manager, and one of the executives demanded that I copy him on every email I sent. We had a few voices raised, verging on yelling, conversations about it when he got upset I didn’t copy him on something he thought I should have. That wasn’t the reason I left, but it was certainly a symptom that demonstrates the overall problem. If you can’t trust me to do my job, you shouldn’t have hired me.

    6. ZSD*

      I came to say the same thing, though I would have said it less eloquently! I once had a manager who asked me to CC her on every email, and yes, it was incredibly demoralizing, and yes, she was insecure and a micromanager.
      OP, the only thing requiring your employee to CC you on every email will achieve is getting him to start job searching immediately!

    7. KH*

      I have on occasion asked an employee to cc: me on emails as part of a short term performance improvement program, when there was a performance situation and/or the employee was not keeping me in the loop in 1 on 1 conversations. It would be temporary in nature only – maybe 3-4 weeks at most.
      I agree, any other time is just micromanagement and demoralizing for the employee.

  5. Dan*


    There’s also “turf” issues. I remember when I was a blue collar grunt, I hated it when some VP would walk in and declare “things are going to be different.” If things are going to be different, you better show me why it’s going to make my life better (work done faster, more efficiently, less headaches, whatever.) But if it’s just a change in process for the sake of a change in process, then that’s just going to piss people off.

    Since you have teams built from different backgrounds, one thing you could try is asking them about their current/former processes — what worked well for them? What didn’t? What did they wish could be improved? Then you can just flat out say that your team is composed of people from different backgrounds, and by definition, some processes are going to have to be different for some people, but you’re going to do your best to find something that will work for everybody.

    1. Judy*

      Yes, it seems like you’d need to work through your new group’s processes, taking the best practices from the employees experience.

    2. Mike C.*

      This is a good point, especially if the “things will be different” speech happens often without long lasting change.

    3. loxthebox*

      This is exactly what’s currently happening at my husband’s company – a new CEO stepped in and started making grand changes without considering what was working well and is upping the workload while laying people off and squeezing manufacturing into a little micromanaged box. Lots of veteran employees (30+ yrs) are leaving because of it and valuable knowledge isn’t getting transferred down to the new people and all management has to say about it is ‘get used to it.’

    4. Adam*

      Yep, seen this one happen. My department was going like gangbusters just a few years ago. Self-sufficient, respected, all that good jazz. And as a department in service organization we were the only department the public that organization served actually liked. Well, for reasons that in hindsight appear to be entirely political, the bigwigs came in and restructured everything under the vaguest of reasons and completely overturned everything to the point where it’s gone complete 180. They tried to be sweet about it at the time, but that just made it all the more frustrating.

    5. Bea W*

      Also effective at passing off white collar grunts. There are two things I don’t want to here without some back-up about how they make my life better and improve our work, “Things are going to be different” and “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

  6. Dan*


    I’m just not a fan of long notice periods. I did it once in a blue collar environment, and it worked out fine. But it didn’t really benefit me at all.

    In my professional world, my last boss gave one month’s notice. And it sucked. He was still the boss, but he started blowing off a lot of meetings. And when he’d make decisions that not everybody agreed with, it was easy just to wait him out because he’d be replaced and therefore his decisions would then be subject to reversal.

    Stick with the standard two-week notice. The underlings will appreciate a quick transition.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I think it’s down to the work place culture, in the UK 1 month is standard and some jobs require three and it works fine.

      1. Dan*

        When you say “require” how enforceable is that? Here, the notice period isn’t required, at least not in any sort of legally significant way. Unless we’ve signed some sort of contract, pretty much all of us can walk out of our job tomorrow with no notice, never come back, and the only thing our employer can do is tell the next one that we quit with no notice. As you can see, that’s a bit of a big stick to wield, but that’s all it really is. And considering that many employers don’t even check references, that stick might just be a threat.

        1. De (Germany)*

          Where I am, 1 month is standard and in many industries, like mine, 3 months is standard. We all have contracts that enforce these notice periods. I know no-one in a professional job that works without a contract.

          1. De (Germany)*

            “I know no-one in a professional job that works without a contract.” = In Germany, that is, of course.

        2. B*

          I dunno how legally enforceable it is, but you’d be burning your reference if you walked out before your notice period is up. I’ve never known anyone walk out without working their month notice.

          I’m a PA and my current notice is seven weeks. I’ve been in my job too long, aak.

          1. B*

            I should mention that i applied for and was granted vol refundancy and leave 31st march 2015. Working the longest notice period ever right now.

        3. Scottish Sarah*

          I’m in the UK, and along with everyone I know I have a contract with my employer that specifies a one month notice period for termination of the contract on either side.

          The idea of being employed without having a contract is weird to me. Every job I’ve ever had, even part time temporary summer jobs while at university, have had a contract.

          1. misspiggy*

            Yes. And as far as I’m aware, when you resign from a contracted job in the UK you make a written agreement with your employer what your last day will be, and when you will be paid until. No changes are allowed.

          2. Apple22Over7*

            Exactly. There is also a legal statutory minimum of 1 weeks notice if you’ve been employed for a month or more, so even those without a contract (which isn’t a legal requirement, just standard practice) have to provide some notice.

            Is it really enforceable? No, plenty of people break this particular law a lot. Whilst technically if you quit with no notice your employer could sue you for breach of contract, it rarely if ever happens. It would just burn your reference totally and you’d get a poor reputation if you did it regularly.

            This applies to employers too – to fire an employee you have to give at least 1 weeks notice in the first 2 years of employment, then a minimum of 1 week for each year of employment up to 12 weeks (except in gross misconduct cases where you can terminate someone immediately.).

            In either case, the employer can ask the employee to stop coming to work, however if they are available for work and willing to work, the employer has to pay the employee during their notice period (either the statutory minimum or the minimum set in the employment contract).

            1. UKAnon*

              I think that the thing is, because it’s so standard in the UK and because it’s in the contract a) companies expect you to be serving a month’s notice and don’t bat an eyelid that you can’t start for a month and b) it’s *so* ingrained that it’s going to look really, really odd to the new employer, who probably isn’t ready for you to start before a month is up if they know you’re already employed.

          3. B*

            My husband’s industry, you only have to give a week’s notice, and they usually pay you in lieu of notice (sobasicallly escort you out of the door as soon as you give notice). Also in the UK obviously. Drives me crazy – everyone knows this so if anyone wants to take client details they just take thrm brfore you resign!

        4. Apollo Warbucks*

          The notice period is written into employment contracts so in theory a claim for damages could be made for breach of contact in practice no one would ever be sued as the courts would most likely take a view that any losses were a cost of doing business unless there were exceptional circumstances that meant it would be reasonable to hold the employee liable for the breach of contract.

          So in reality the situation is similar in that the biggest risk is a bad reference, that said the convention is to give a months notice in professional jobs and where I have seen three months notice it has always come down t0 two with out much of a discussion.

    2. fposte*

      We have what are called “terminal contracts” that last for a year. That’s basically how our layoffs work.

    3. Renegade Rose*

      I work at a great company (in the U.S.) where it is pretty standard to tell the boss when you start looking. One of my coworkers is currently job searching in another state. We all know about it and it hasn’t affected anything. Another one of my coworkers just got another job and gave a three month notice period. However, we do work in event planning so this might be something specific to our industry.

    4. Anonasaurus Rex*

      I think it really depends on the type of work you do, and your industry or country’s norms. For salaried people like me who do primarily project work or project management work, not giving at least a month would be rude and may burn a reference. You need time to transition clients to new teams or new managers, and ideally time to get a replacement in or at least start the process. My company has contracts for director level on up that they have to give 30 days notice (more if they are an executive) because it can be such a huge transition. If my boss gave two weeks notice, we’d be scrambling to ask him every possible question, get someone in line to at least be temporarily in his shoes, it’d be nuts! The hospital where my husband works requires doctors to give 60 days notice and it’s written into their contracts. If they leave without giving that notice unless it’s approved or due to an emergency situation, the hospital can withhold their quarterly “bonus” from their last paycheck.

    5. KH*

      In the IT world many companies even go with ‘effective immediately’ – too much risk in having a potentially disgruntled employee with security access to sensitive systems, and if the department is properly managed, most everything is should be already documented anyway.

  7. Dan*


    Would you rather have a paycheck and a guilty conscience, or a clear conscience and no job? We can debate about what the definition of lying is, but at some point we have to accept that we never tell everybody the full truth. Social norms in this country dictate some level of decorum, and rightly so.

    At the end of the day, we all must accept that absent a contract, we’re “at will” employees. That means each party is free to terminate the employment agreement at any time, with or without notice. If employers want you to truly commit, then they must offer you a contract binding them to your employment. Absent that, they want their cake and eat it too, and we allow them to do that way too often.

    People worry about their reputation a lot, and rightly so. The thing with the first job out of school is that you need it to be a good reference. Somehow you move on to your second job, and when you want to leave that, you know you want to keep your job hunt secret. Now you tell Job #3 that they cannot contact your current employer, so the default is to go to Job #1. But Job #1 is only going to give you a lukewarm review because you weren’t there long enough to truly make a name for yourself. Job #3 isn’t going to know what to do without getting a decent reference from Job #1 OR Job #2.

    As a side note, the market for entry level billing and coding is pretty bad, so you might be looking for quite some time. You might just find that you’re stuck at Job #1 for a couple of years anyway.

    1. Apple22Over7*

      “you might be looking for quite some time. You might just find that you’re stuck at Job #1 for a couple of years anyway.”

      This is a good point. You never know how long you might be at that job for, and job searches can take longer than expected. I wouldn’t exactly lie about your plans in interviews OP, but I certainly wouldn’t shout about them either.

      1. Judy*

        And there’s always the anecdata, like my grandmother took a job as a favor to cover someone’s maternity leave once my mom was in high school and retired from the position 20 years later.

    2. LaSharron*

      I can vouch for this. As a medical coder who has been in the industry for twelve years, I can attest to the fact that experience far outweighs a degree and those with only degrees have a much harder time finding a job. You’ll do better getting an entry level healthcare position and working that for a few years than trying to go straight to coding.

      1. OP #5*

        Thank you for commenting because I’ve been thinking that this approach makes most sense. I was hoping for an experienced coder’s perspective because my spouse does not agree with me applying mostly to entry level healthcare jobs. Thank you!

        After reading Allison’s answer and all the comments I’ve seen I feel sure of what I need to do. I’ll only be applying to entry level HC and take a temp job for now (if that works out first).

        1. LaSharron*

          Oh, you are welcome! I will give you the reasoning for this approach that most healthcare workers (myself included) agree on. When a person learns medical coding, she learns “theoretical” coding, or the way it should be done based on AMA guidelines. But programs don’t (and can’t) teach practical coding, which includes the insurance guidelines and edits used to reduce payment. For example, the way that to code a well check pediatric visit to adhere to Washington Medicaid guidelines is different from how South Carolina Medicaid requires it to be coded for their guidleines. Or a diagnosis can be covered for a colonoscopy with north Georgia’s Medicare carrier, but not be on a local coverage determination on south Georgia’s Medicare carrier. It’s a lot of nuances that someone doesn’t learn in school, but does in office or in conferences based on their state and region.

          1. RHIT in Vegas*

            Not to mention that you really need 2-3 years of studying before you can say you “know” coding. And OP, with the transition to ICD-10 maybe happening in 2015, I see a lot of coding students in a bind. Do they study ICD-9 and try to break into coding, or study ICD-10 and risk another delay? Your best bet is to try and get in somewhere at the entry level and see if they train coders in-house.

    3. Cautionary tail*

      “Would you rather have a paycheck and a guilty conscience, or a clear conscience and no job?”

      Slightly off topic, but I chose (and choose) the ethical route when presented with this dilemma. My rational is that I can always get another job but I can never get another conscience. And yes I have lost my job by refusing to lie, cheat and steal for an employer.

      1. BRR*

        I would also choose my conscience. I know the theory is the employer would screw you over so why not do the same, but I don’t think putting myself at a lower level just to even things out would make me feel better.

      2. Zillah*

        But I think that’s a little different – many of us would be uncomfortable lying, cheating, or stealing for an employer to the extent that we’d be willing to lose our jobs over it. That gets knee deep in ethics and morality. I think that’s very different from playing your plans for the future close to the chest.

        1. Zillah*

          I’d also say that being able to choose your conscience over having a job inherently comes from a place of privilege. If you have no safety net and/or have dependents, walking away may not be such a feasible option.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Yes, this. It’s easy to talk about the nobility of a clear conscience when you can easily hop to a new job or rely on accumulated wealth.

            But I don’t see this is a huge Ethical Dilemma anyway. Taking a job meant to be long-term when you know that you’re going to treat it as a short-term gig is kind of a jerk move when you’re simply doing it for the experience. (It’s really usually a jerk move, but a totally understandable one when the alternative is “they will shut off my electricity this weekend”.)

          2. Empress Zhark*

            I agree. Having a nice clear conscience is all well & good – but a clear conscience alone doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.

            1. Cautionary tail*

              Hopefully I can respond to everyone in one posting.

              Yes this is a sidebar and I stated it as “Slightly off topic.”

              Place of privilege – not. I did not say I left my job, I said I lost my job. My employer basically said he had no use for me if I wouldn’t do these things and so I was laid off immediately with no severance. I had four months of struggling with no paycheck and wiped out some of my retirement till I got a new job.

              There was nothing noble. I went through a depression and second guessed myself that I should have lied to customers; signed false documents representing that things were done when the company had no intention of even starting the activities; etc. I had to keep saying the statement about eventually getting a new job vs being able to live with myself. I was an industry expert and I couldn’t even get peer companies to respond to my job applications.

              And yes I was thinking are they going to shut off my utilities and Can I buy groceries this week.

              It was hard and I’m still not recovered from the loss of income. I also suffer workplace PTSD from working at that h*llhole.

              1. Dan*

                Your boss was asking you to commit a crime (falsify documents) which could land you in jail.

                That’s a totally different context then the OP who’s future circumstances are just uncertain.

        2. Monodon monoceros*

          Especially when you have little control over your plans for the future. Yes, you may be planning on getting another job at some point, but it’s not exactly like that just happens just because you want it to (especially in the current market, maybe someday that will change, but hoping and wishing doesn’t make it so).

  8. Former Professional Computer Geek*

    Decades ago, when I was young and naive, I worked for a very small (5 people) company with high turnover. The boss/owner was a lot like #3, except he gave bad references to everyone whether they were looking or had already left. He also had an alarming tendency to refuse to give final paychecks, leaving you the choice of quitting with no notice, which gave him more ammo for that reference, or giving notice and having to sue him to get your last paycheck. I saw a lot of people wind up doing the latter after being promised that they’d get their pay… and never getting it. (He was also frequently sued by clients for things that could have, and probably should have, gotten him arrested.)

    I left that job after only a year because I moved out of state. I applied and interviewed for what seemed like a dream job. The interview was going so well that she kept telling me I was a ‘perfect fit,’ but things ground to a halt when she saw my previous employer was not listed as a reference. When asked why, I said that the situation had been difficult, that the employer did not say positive things about his past employees, and asked if she could instead talk to my references (coworkers from other positions) or employers before that last, difficult place. The interviewer, who would have been my boss, insisted that she would call the previous employer and said that my asking not to do so was a ‘major red flag.’ Remember, this is long before the web, even before email was common. There is no way she could have searched online for the name and found links to the piles of lawsuits against him.

    I will say this: She was polite enough to call me and reject me. She again told me that I would have been a perfect fit, but my asking her to not contact my former employer had bothered her too much for her to hire me. I’m sure at the time she felt she had dodged a bullet, but 30 years later I now feel that I dodged one, too.

    1. MK*

      Well, in a situation where not contacting the previous employer is a dealbreaker, I am not sure it makes sense to refuse. It sounds like you had already quit, or was going to anyway, so it’s not a case of endangering your employment. If you are going to be rejected out of hand for not allowing them to contact your previous boss, what do you have to lose by letting them do it? They might believe him and reject you anyway, but there is also a chance that his shadiness will shine through, or that the interviewer will have or get knowledge of his reputation, and his reference will be evaluated as it deserves. Sensible interviewers take references into account, but they don’t treat them as gospel, especially when they have been forewarned. I don’t know why you think you dodged a bullet, but it sounds to me that you shot yourself in the foot. By the way, even before the WWW people did manage to get information; the hiring manager might not have found links to his lawsuits, but she may well have called contacts in the area who woukd have told her oif his reputation. I don’t think it was crazy of her to prefer to be safe than sorry.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        But it soumds like FPCG didn’t refuse to allow her boss to be used as a reference, she simply omitted him from her list of references. It sounds like potential new boss didnt check any references at all after that, just crossed FPCG off the list.

        1. MK*

          It’s a bit ambiguous; I don’t suppose that even the OP can be sure if she checked references after that. The hiring manager seems to have been put off because the OP asked her not to contact the previous employer; perhaps the OP came across as too desperate to avoid this and it set off warning bells. I think that, if the applicant senses that the interviewer is becoming suspicious about this, in which case they won’t be getting the job anyway, they have nothing to lose by saying “well, by all means contact them if you want, but previous is not known for giving objective references”. Going all “no, no, no, don’t call him, he is totally unreliable, here is a list of 20 other people you can call instead” will just feed the suspicions further.

        2. Former Professional Computer Geek*

          Correct. I never refused them to talk to the former boss. I simply asked that they not. When the interviewer reacted badly, I said go ahead, but like I said, he will give a negative review, as he does for all his former employees.

      2. neverjaunty*

        Well, in OP’s case, having to go without a final paycheck and then having to retain a lawyer and sue to get it.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am so sorry this happened to you. But you are right, you dodged a bullet yourself.
      This was a very narrow thinking manager, just my opinion, of course. So that narrow thinking could have come up again and again.

      I had a thing happen a couple years ago, where the interviewer insisted on calling an old boss. I ended up withdrawing my application. Not just because of that reason, however that reason was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I decided that it was just plain too hard to talk with these people (this factors in things that I am not mentioning here). If they are like this on an interview, wth will they be like to work for??? Nope, done.

      1. tango*

        I don’t know. This was back in the day when people and organizations weren’t easily searchable. A possible employee says don’t call my old manager because out of spite, he’ll give me a bad reference. The HR person calls anyway and gets a bad reference. How does she know which person, the employee or supervisor, is telling the truth? We all know people who ace interviews and look good on paper who are dud workers. So yes, she could’ve possibly taken a change but I would not necessarily say that would’ve been the smartest move because if in fact, the employee was the one lying, she’s stuck having to fire him down the line. Seems if she has other great candidates, with good contactable references, they’d be a better go.

        1. MK*

          Even now that they are, things are not necessarily better. If you find hard facts, like a criminal conviction, or reports of misconduct from multiple sources, that’s one thing. But say you find an blog where a person or company is getting trashed; how can you be sure the information is reliable?

        2. Melissa*

          But the applicant said “I have a variety of other references you can call, including other people I have worked with at my last position and other past employers.” It didn’t mean the interviewer had no one to call at all, simply that she had to call a different reference than who she wanted to.

  9. matcha123*

    #1, are you from the US? Apologies if you are, and I’m making an assumption, but I find the insistence on being can to various emails is something that’s very normal overseas.
    If you are from overseas, understand that trusting your underlings to properly do their jobs without you peeking into every email is a basic part of work culture in the US.

    1. Monika*

      Um… No! I’m from Germany and it’s not normal “overseas”. I never had bosses who requirred me to cc them on every/most email, they wanted results and trusted me to do my job.

      1. Judy*

        In my experience, working with people from Germany and Belgium at one company, Poland, Italy and Sweden in another, at least when communicating with the US, emails nearly always included at least their first level manager.

        1. Cheesecake*

          I support European head office and work with nearly all European countries. The reason that they include boss, apart from normal e.g. an important project boss wanted to be in the loop, is when they want something to be done from your side and boss’s name in cc stresses the importance. So definitely not all email to the “outside world” go out with manager in cc.

          1. Judy*

            In my experience, an email I sent directly to one person saying “Hans, I noticed that the files you uploaded to the archive won’t compile. Could you please fix that? Thanks, Judy” got a response copying their manager when they said “I have now uploaded a version that does compile.”

            Many, many times. We used IM if they were still in the office, but if we discovered issues after their work hours, we would email.

      1. matcha123*

        Heh, people from the two countries where I have friends where the CC would definitely be weird!

        Perhaps I should say “Asia”?

        I know it is THE thing to do in Japan. So much so that when I helped a former coworker get a job online working with Americans that she freaked out about which boss to CC in her emails. I think I remember another poster here saying that it’s common in India, too?
        Hopefully the OP can give more insight on their thought process.

        When I read the question I immediately thought of my old manager who was only a few years older than I was and craved being CCd on any email to anyone about anything.

        1. puddin*

          I think you might be onto something here. My European constituents do not use the CC your boss on everything protocol. However, my Asian ones do.

    2. Cheesecake*

      I must say, I have experienced “US work culture” and was beyond words happy to go back to Europe, mind you, to the same corporation. During my stay, i have heard so much about trust/cooperation and team work. But in reality got the most micromanaging boss and back-stabbing colleagues. We never had those so-called workshops on basics of work culture, yet in Europe i always had great managers and colleagues. And yes, none of my bossed has ever asked me to cc them on every email.

      1. LBK*

        I’ve never had a basic office culture workshop in the US, nor have I really heard of that? So not sure what that means. I think there are issues with US workplace culture in general, but I don’t think micromanaging and back-stabbing are the norm here either. Trust, cooperation and teamwork fall much more in line with what I’ve experienced.

        This is all anecdotal and we can debate one way or the other for days, but suffice to say I’m sure both the US and Europe have good managers and bad managers, even within the same company.

        1. Cheesecake*

          I agree, you can find cases for AAM blog everywhere :) and i am not saying that people across the pond are better or worse. My experience was with one company and bunch of people, i am not saying “i will never go to the US ever again”

          What i find anecdotal, is when someone says “this obnoxious thing ( cc’ing on every email) is ok overseas, but not here in the US, where the culture is all about trust/respect”. I mean, seriously? First thing about such nurturing work culture is 2 weeks holidays a year… So yes, i don’t want to start a silly “us against them” debate, just the comment was utterly irritating.

          1. LBK*

            Gotcha. FWIW I didn’t read the first comment in this thread that way. I read it more like saying assuming the OP comes from a culture where this is normal, it’s going to come off extremely grating to someone from the US where it’s seen as distrustful and controlling. I do think there are cultures where involving your manager or someone senior in each step of your work is more common – I remember a discussion not too long ago where one culture (I want to say Indian?) involved a lot more running things through managers vs. directly employee to employee. Obviously there will always be exceptions, but I think it is safe to make certain generalizations about what a culture values if a majority of companies probably fall under that umbrella. For example, European culture definitely values vacation time more than the US.

    3. HR Manager*

      I will also add that when I’ve supported global employees (France, UK, Germany, Japan, Australia, India,etc.) — I did not see a manager copied on every email. This is in at least 3 companies, so I don’t think it was an anomaly with one organization.

      1. Cheesecake*

        I find it really rude to say “oh, it definitely comes from Europe, where work culture is obnoxious that cc’ing boss seems normal to them”. So i am happy to read experiences that prove this statement wrong.

        1. Judy*

          Trying not to add to the snark, but overseas does not equal only Europe. “I find…normally…” does not equal “definite”.

          1. Cheesecake*

            Obviously, but Europe is a part of “overseas” and i defend what i know. There is nothing definite anywhere, idiots and bad managers are equally spread, that is why i find comments “i find it very normal overseas” irritating.

            1. matcha123*

              I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you or anyone.
              I didn’t have Western Europe in mind when I replied. I used “overseas” rather than “Japan,” where I currently work, because I thought I remembered other commentators in different threads writing that they (as Americans) have experienced non-American managers who insist on being CCd in emails.

              I didn’t mean it as “omg, foreigners are sooo stupid!11 lol,” but as a possible explanation that is rooted in a cultural difference.

              And, to be curt, I don’t have any interest in Europe. I don’t follow European businesses and most people I know live in Asia, North America or South Asia with a handful in or from Western Europe. I do know that there are good and bad managers everywhere, which is why rather than say “This guy is bad,” I thought that exploring the possibility of a cultural difference would help bring light to the situation.
              Personally I would love to reply to everything with a disclaimer and a look at what makes a good and bad XYZ, but honestly, I’ve found that most people tune me out. Again, I’m sorry that I offended you.

  10. GrumpyBoss*

    #2: I think a common mistake that new managers make is to not listen. By that, I mean more than listening to the “but we used to do it this way” complaints. It is important to understand WHY things were done a particular way. There are times where a manager has to say that this is the way things are going to be. But very often, there is the opportunity to give your employees a voice. Let them state they want to do it a different way. And if you disagree, make sure you tell them why you are going in a different direction.

    1. Artemesia*

      In my experience the drone ‘we tried that in California 15 years ago and it didn’t work’ is the song of the rigid employee who will never get with the program. It can just be an annoying tic e.g. ‘one time at band camp’ but it can also be the anchor that resistant employees drag to slow down productivity on a new team. I think making a ‘thing’ of it and working to change the language is worth doing. This doesn’t mean shutting down suggestions, it just means shutting down closing the mind to new directions.

  11. PoorDecisions101*

    #1 Please don’t make your employees do that.

    After a reorg, when I had a new line manager who requested this, I went from a high performer to playing Sudoku all day until I got another job (with a nice 20% raise).

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      +1 There is no better way to piss off a good employee than micro manage and undermine peoples autonomy.

  12. LizH*

    #1. Think it depends. I just started a new job 4 months ago. Involves a lot of public contact, and a lot of things our feet can be held to the fire for if not handled in a certain way. When I first answering client emails on my own ( i.e not doubling checking with my manager on the best way to word something), she wanted to be copied on it. Now, for the most part she does not care. If it is a tricky or involved situation, often she will say please copy me on that. Other times, in those situations, I will ask her. Most times she says no. Sometimes I will tell her I am copying her anyhow. It is good, because many times I am out in the field, and if someone calls, she can tell from the emails what’s going on, without having to get me to fill her in.

    1. Heather*

      That’s normal, though – way different than the manager wanting to be copied on every single email because s/he doesn’t trust the employee.

      1. Nerd Girl*

        I am currently training and was asked to CC or call the team lead for that double check and approval on all assignments. After a week or two I was told that I no longer needed that to CC or call on more than half of my tasks. The few that I still have to get that double check and approval on are all tasks that I haven’t been trained fully on. My trainer is so excited because it means less email for him. :)

      2. Jamie*

        I don’t get how this would address the trust issue, anyway.

        If I’m going to sideline someone I’m not leaving an electronic trail…and if one were to do that how easy is it to bury the boss in a ton of innocuous work related email all day long and leave them off the cc on the ones you don’t want them to see?

        By asking to be cced on everything would just drive whatever shenanigans (if any) underground.

        Although if a boss wanted me to immediately start looking for another job this type of micromanagement would be the fastest way to accomplish that.

  13. Woods-comma-Elle*

    #1 – in law it’s totally normal to copy the partner on all e-mails on a matter if you are an associate (even a senior associate) or a trainee. This is because the partner is ultimately responsible. This does not mean that partner pre-approves my e-mails or is micromanaging. I run my deals and ask questions where I have them but I still keep my boss on copy for info. From my point of view this is also a CYA exercise in that partner is reading everything and aware of everything that is going on and can step in if necessary. This is maybe more a law thing because of the potential negligence issue, but to me it seems totally normal.

    Obviously, I can see how in some instances it wouldn’t be and I wouldn’t copy my boss on admin e-mails like how many bibles do you want, but most of the time he is on copy on e-mails to clients and the other side.

    1. Natalie*

      Huh, that was not my experience with our attorneys. Paralegals would definitely copy whichever attorney they were working with, but the associates were independent. It wasn’t adversarial lawyering though, maybe that made a difference?

      1. Woods-comma-Elle*

        I’m a transactional lawyer, but I will say that I’ve noticed that our US associates tend to copy partners much less whereas in the London office and other firms I work opposite, it’s the norm.

        1. Woods-comma-Elle*

          Also, just to clarify, this is only client e-mails/e-mails to opposing clients, not internal ones.

      2. neverjaunty*

        It probably depends on the structure of the firm and the kind of work you do. If you’re working for an enormous BigLaw firm and the partner has multiple associates they supervise, they don’t want to see every email to the paralegals.

        1. Cat*

          At my non-BigLaw firm, associates copy partners on every email they send to clients that isn’t super-routine and administrative (I wouldn’t copy a partner on an email talking about, say, service of a filing unless there was something weird going on), but sometimes this is a BCC rather than a CC. Partners I like working for copy associates on every email they send to clients about a case (sometimes BCCing or forwarding) so they can stay in the loop. It’s not a matter of micromanaging – just how the cases work.

          I think at very small firms or firms with certain kinds of case loads that means associates are handling entire cases, that probably happens less. Our cases tend to be complicated administrative matters with multiple attorneys on them.

          But internal, non-substantive emails to paralegals and the like, you generally don’t need to copy other attorneys unless they pressingly need the information or take action.

          1. Milly-Molly-Mandy*

            I work for BigLaw Australia and what you say holds true here. Every significant piece of advice or communication has a partner cc’d on it; everything to an opposing party has a partner cc’d on it; things to clients usually do but not always.

            It’s not a case of micromanaging, though – it’s more that by CCing the partner, the lawyer is in a way wielding that partner’s authority. Some partners have their assistants simply file these emails without reading them unless the lawyer specifically asks.

            Anything that has to go out that the lawyer is uncertain about will be run past the partner in question in draft form before being sent. That is the stage where things can be micromanagey.

    2. Fabulously Anonymous*

      I don’t work in law, but I do work with clients and it is typical in my industry to cc the client lead (or my manager if there is no client lead) on all client-facing e-mails.

  14. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


    Hmm, well, we do a lot of ccing for information share. I never really think about how it happens, it’s just sort of organic I guess. The people I work with know that I like to be kept abreast of multiple matters and they just…do. I rarely feel as if I have too much or too little loop in.

    I’ll guess that one of the reasons this is successful for me is that I’m helpful. If someone cc’s me on a major problem, it’s a bit like cc: Batman. Nobody internally or externally wants to see my name on a problem email cc, because I will jump in and render aid if the original emailer isnt taken care of properly. Beyond that, I guess I’m most often cc’d into conversations about to accomplish X, Y or Z because I’m helpful and people want my input.

    I’ll say to OP #1, the best way to get cooperation from anyone is to make it in their own best interests to cooperate with you. You’d think that being The Boss means that you can make rules and people just better comply but meh, I don’t think that’s so successful. Sell the guy on why you should be part of the conversation, and if you can’t come up with a reason you should be part of the conversation well…. maybe you shouldn’t?

    1. Judy*

      I remember a discussion at one of my old jobs. A newbie copied the boss (and the team) on an email about a problem. The team lead came over and said “Why did you do that? He’s going to try to HELP us!”

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        Yep. People know what they are going to get when I’m on the CC. I am *sure* that I’m left off problem email CCs when my help is not desired.

        Too funny.

        1. LBK*

          This totally happens to me too! I can’t resist responding to something I’m copied on if it’s an issue I know I can address. Mostly because everyone else is always wrong all the time about everything and everything should be done my way. Also I am a control freak.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*


            Just watch out that you aren’t selecting yourself out of loops that you want to be in.

            Mine works pretty well because, with problems, they’ll tag me with a cc when they need help, but not really before so, all good.

            For discussion, I need to be participatory and not top down directive to be included (naturally) in the conversations. The older I get, the happier I am when someone else has a better answer than I have so, that all works out also.

            1. LBK*

              I’m slooooowly getting better at picking my battles and letting someone else answer, but damn, it’s hard to let go of the reins. It’s especially tough because every case I handle has 3-5 people from my company involved and from the client’s side it’s really unclear who handles what, so usually everyone just gets copied on everything. I am starting to enjoy that feeling of dumping a thread into a folder without responding, though, which is something that doesn’t come naturally since my instincts say happiness comes from problem solving.

              I also tend to get cc’d on stuff just because I have a reputation for being frighteningly responsive via email, so people copy me in so they can get an answer in 15 minutes whereas my teammates might not get to it until tomorrow. Maybe I just need to stop answering so fast and people will stop asking me stuff!

          2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

            True story:

            Two minutes ago I was CCd on an email with the subject: HELP! Hot Chocolate!

            This is a true story from Wakeen’s Teapots. Now Batman is off to help with the hot chocolate emergency. No time to chat!

            *business hot chocolate, not personal hot chocolate. ccing me for an envelope of hot chocolate for yourself would be overkill of the cc button, just sayin’.

  15. KrabbyPatty*

    To OP #1, I would like to offer you a string of questions I was asked when I was asked about emails.
    – Do I want them to cc me on every email because I don’t trust them to do their jobs?
    – If yes, then why did I hire them or why do I keep them?
    – Do I want them to cc me on every email because I want to be kept in the loop?
    – If yes, then what signs am I giving out that make me unapproachable to my employees and what can I do to change that?
    – Am I able to keep up with all the cc emails?
    – If no, then why am I requiring it?
    – If yes, what essential job duties am I neglecting?

    Those were some questions that my director asked me before I was let go. At the time, i was frustrated, but I did learn a lot about my management style and how to improve it.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Great questions.

      OP, my question to you is “why?” Please think about your goals here. The message you are sending is that you don’t trust your people to do the simplest things. Is that what you want?
      Would it be more to the point to talk to each one of them for 15 minutes a week to recap what is new and how things are progressing along?

      I hope you come back on here and clue us in as to what your goals are with your people.

      I know if I cc’ed my boss on every email I send out, she’d drown. I do take the time to discuss anything I see that is out of the ordinary. Because word choice is extraordinarily important in our field sometimes she will dictate the exact wording to pose a question or give as an answer. I am not insulted by this, because I understand word choice is HYPER-critical. and there are times where she asks me what I think of her wording. We have a back and forth going on that shows respect going in both directions.

      1. fposte*

        That last thing! OP, you really don’t want to have to read every email your staff sends. And if you don’t want to read it, you certainly don’t need to get it.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      I do cc my bosses on some emails to keep them in the loop. But we are in different states, so email is the main way we communicate. And it’s certainly not a majority of emails. But when someone here asks me to do something for them, I cc my boss when I answer them, so she knows what kind of requests I’m getting.

      1. Layla*

        Yeah, but I got the impression that the LW wanted to be cc’d on every single email. That seems unreasonable. What you are doing does not.

  16. Not So NewReader*

    #2. I totally get your frustration. Please take a moment to dial it back a notch. A part of this can be explained as a parallel to family. People move away from their family to start a new life, and they end up constantly mentioning their family. It could be they miss their family, or it could be that is their reference point for taking in the world, or it could be that they are talking about something that comforts them.

    I agree with Alison, I have had much better luck saying “in the past, I have seen x done this way” than if I say “at my old place/team we did x this way”. There seems to be an automatic wall of resistance there just based on word choice alone. Mere mention of Old Place/Team shuts conversation right down.

    What to do. Raise the level of discernment. There is a difference between doing things out of habit and doing things because it is a good choice. Tell them that when they suggest ideas from Old Team they need to include an explanation of why it is a good choice to do it that way today/now.
    This is cool because it brings their thinking into modern/current time. Sometimes an old idea can be tweaked to fit current setting, this encourages them to customize their ideas to their new setting.
    Also let them know that you encourage new ideas, let them know you probably won’t be able to use all of the ideas, but you want them to develop new ideas for things.

  17. Allison*

    I was asked to cc my boss on my e-mails once, and the manager who asked me to do it didn’t trust me. It was a way for him to monitor my productivity and assess my writing style. He might’ve felt it was necessary, but all it did was make me even more miserable in that job.

    Thing is, cc’ing your boss to other people can look weird to the recipient most of the time. They think you don’t trust them, or you’re bringing your boss in to fight your battles, or that your boss doesn’t trust you. It can be really embarrassing. Not to mention tough to write an e-mail if you think your boss is going to go over every sentence with a fine toothed comb and nitpick how you communicate with your colleagues. I’m picky enough with my own writing.

  18. Once Anon a Time*

    In regards to #3, what happens if you work in a very small office but you can’t get anyone to give you a reference?

    A couple of years ago, I worked in a very small office with only 2 people other than myself (one was my manager, so that left me and a co-worker). I had this job for a little over a year and I was not happy there. My boss also had this idea that I would work there forever, probably because the other co-worker had been working for him for almost 30 years.

    When I did receive offers, I approached my boss for references. He immediately got upset with me, and asked me why I wanted to leave a job where he had set me up for life. I explained that it was nothing personal, and that I just wanted a change. (I should also note that this new job was in a completely different field than the one I was in, so there was absolutely no danger of my going to a competitor.) He told me not to have them contact him because if they did, I wouldn’t like what he had to say, and that he didn’t want me to leave. I asked the co-worker for a reference and she sided with my boss and said she would rather not be put in the middle.

    At the time, I offered the new company past references from a previous manager and two college professors who thought highly of me. This was all I had and I was a fairly recent graduate. My question is, was this the right thing to do? I never did get that job I was offered, but I did leave that company behind. I’ve always wondered had I handled something differently if the outcome would have changed.

    1. Once Anon a Time*

      Also worth noting — like the OP’s friend from #3, I also had very good performance reviews. However, none of them were in writing because the office wasn’t too formal with things. We also did not have an HR department because it was a private office that only needed the three of us.

    2. Adam*

      The shear selfishness of some of these managers astounds me. It sounds like you provided him all sorts of reasonable points as to leaving for a different job and he still responds like you maliciously kicked his dog or something.

      Approaching your current manager it sounds like he may have dropped a bomb that your working relationship wasn’t as good as you thought it was or that he wasn’t as mature as you had thought, so unfortunately you got bitten and that sucks.

      Any positive reference (that’s not like a family member or your best friend) is a good reference so it sounds like you did the best with what you had.

  19. Alien vs Predator*


    OP, too late for this now, and this is a lesson I also had to learn the hard way. But as you now see, there really is no reason to ever give more than two weeks notice. Even if your own manager might appreciate the advance warning, it is very likely that someone above them is going to want to cut their losses sooner rather than later.

    Giving more than two weeks notice (I’ve done it twice) has never worked out well for me, nor for anyone else that I’ve seen do it. Sure, there are probably isolated incidents where somebody did this and everything was peachy, but ask yourself, how likely is that really? If everything in life is an odds game, the odds are definitely stacked against the employee that gives advance notice on leaving.

    Two weeks notice. No more, no less.

  20. LawBee*

    #1 my sense is that you are a bit of a micromanager, based on a couple of things – your belief that your employee is undermining you, your need to be involved in everything they do, your “solution” of telling everyone else in the company how to manage their own email, your use of the word subordinate. If your people are doing their jobs, back off and let them do their jobs.

  21. HR Princess*

    #4 – I agree with “Alien v Predator” – never give more than 2 weeks’ notice. And Alison, while your advice is very on point and correct, from an HR standpoint I believe it sends the wrong message to other employees when you don’t allow someone to work out their notice. Perhaps they are relying on the last few weeks of pay, so now you are in effect cutting their pay that they may have relied on. Or perhaps they cannot start their new job early. I believe it sends a message to the existing staff that they aren’t valued once they put in notice, and that as a company we are indignant when people leave, regardless of the reason. I feel the message it sends to others is “resign with no notice” if you want to get paid through the end of your employment.

    In this instances where management has insisted on going this route, I have insisted we pay them, so long as their notice wasn’t months.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      FWIW, I don’t read (and have never read) Alison as recommending not to pay the employees. That’s not AAM style. What I read her saying is “yep, the employer can do that, so, try to get a commitment from them to pay you through your notice when you give it.”

      Also, I agree with you. While we have sometimes made an employee’s date of resignation their last day, we have always always paid them out two weeks and would never consider anything else.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I don’t at all condone not paying the employee for the notice period (and assumed people would know that, but perhaps I shouldn’t have assumed that).

  22. TotesMaGoats*

    My 1st boss at CurrentJob (I’m on #4 now) had me CC her on everything for the first 6 months or so. She was a classic micromanager. While I’ll admit I made mistakes, like any new employee would during an adjustment to a very different culture and leadership, it was demoralizing to have to CC her on everything. I could tell when I’d “passed the test” because she told me to stop. If the problem is not keeping you in the loop or making bad decisions then have a conversation about those things. CCing on emails won’t solve those problems.

    1. Artemesia*

      This could work if it were a training thing i.e. I ask you to cc me on your emails the first couple of months and we sit down once a week or every two weeks and discuss your work. The boss in this situation would make it clear that it was a ‘training tool’ and routine and temporary.

      1. TotesMaGoats*

        If I’m reading your comment right, you may have interpreted my story as a training time. Nope, not the case. It just so happened that I had to do it in my first six months. I know of other longer term employees who she made to do it. It was a micromanagement thing, not a training thing for the most part.

    2. catsAreCool*

      I’ve never had to cc my manager on everything, but if I would, I’m pretty sure the manager would end up ignoring most of my e-mails or would regret asking me to do it. I do a lot of communication by e-mail.

  23. LBK*

    #1, maybe you aren’t from the US so this is just a dialect thing but the whole wording of your letter rubs me the wrong way. Using the term “subordinates” sets up a terse power dynamic that’s only reinforced by the fact that you’re concerned about being “sidelined” by an employee – do you really need to be involved in every bit of their work? Are you worried they’re making decisions and doing things they don’t have authority to do? If so, what’s giving you that impression? You don’t need hard evidence to discuss an issue with an employee. Work isn’t a court case. Talk to them directly about what’s concerning you, don’t impose this odd measure that’s only going to create more unnecessary work for you and will probably make your employee detest you.

    1. JB*

      I don’t know. There were things that bothered me about the letter, but using the word “subordinates” wasn’t one of them. I’ve seen plenty of offices where this term was used but not in a negative kind of way. It was a shorthand way of saying “below you on the org chart,” and that’s how people took it. Some places it’s used in a way to emphasize that people need to know their place, but in some places it’s just not like that at all.

      I think it’s maybe is better not to use it because it can send the wrong message, but I don’t think that someone who has picked up using it from their work place is necessarily setting up any kind of power dynamic.

      1. LBK*

        I would be inclined to agree that it’s a cultural thing and give the OP more of the benefit of the doubt if not for the context of the letter, which seems to reinforce the idea that the employee needs to know their place (ie be following all of the OP’s directions, regardless of their merit).

        I don’t intend to harp too much on word choice when the real point is that digging up details is not really the work of a manager unless it’s about some kind of serious offense where you want to be 100% sure and able to prove it’s happening, like stealing money from the company. If the OP wants this person to cc her on all emails because she thinks the employee is leaving her out of important things, address that, don’t just give a directive without explanation or consideration to the practicality of what you’re asking them to do (which is flood your inbox, something I consider really impractical for a manager who probably already receives too many emails).

  24. AvonLady Barksdale*

    So happy to read Alison’s answer to #1, because I thought I was the weird one. I had been at my current job for about 3 weeks when my manager went on vacation. While he was away, one of my colleagues made herself available if I had any questions. I emailed her a few times and we set up some training calls between the two of us. When my manager got back, he berated me for not cc’ing him. I apologized and said I hadn’t wanted to clog up his inbox, and he said, “No, you need to copy me on everything.” It was really jarring, especially since I’m a director and have always been accustomed to having my own conversations with colleagues and only cc’ing when it seemed necessary to bother my boss about it. I should have started running then, but I thought things would improve. They didn’t, and I’m leaving.

    Ironically, my current company suffers from a serious lack of transparency. You would think that in a culture where the boss wants to be emailed on everything, the employees would be more privy to what’s going on at the top. Now I think it’s just a symbol of micromanagement, which includes keeping people in the dark about important business decisions and changes.

  25. illini02*

    #1, as others have said, you have to really figure out WHY you feel the need to be CCd on everything. If you don’t trust this employee to do his job, he probably shouldn’t be working for you. It sounds though like you just like the control that it offers you. Not a great way to endear your employees to you.

    #2 While I can understand your frustration, since it seems to be just a bunch of people thrown together, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to shut everyone down. Assuming that these people were successful in their previous roles, their logic is actually pretty sound in saying that they previously did something a certain way and it worked. Why not just have a group discussion to try to come up with your “new” norms. This way everyone can be heard, and give their opinions on certain things. As manager you can still have final say, but at least everyone feels like they are being heard. Who knows, maybe some of these people really do have better ways of doing things than you do.

    #4 This goes back to my comment yesterday about how when a person gives notice, then they want to move it up, they are supposedly unprofessional and should get a bad reference, but when an employer does it, its “their right”. Its either ok on both fronts or not ok on either.

  26. azvlr*

    #1 Thank you for helping me feel sane! For the first time in my life, I am working in the corporate world, for a large organization. My manager, who is remote has asked me to cc them on certain emails I send to other people on my team. We are embarking on a complex project in which everyone needs to stay in the loop about certain progress that has been made. It seems like I regularly either cc too many or too few people. Having to do so at all is really, really new to me, so I was first operating on the “less is more” principles of not wanting to clutter my bosses inbox. It is an issue that has been brought up during performance evals, and it’s now my number-one worry about my job performance.

    1. Jubilance*

      Instead of constantly CC’ing in emails & missing people, can you try using a collaborative tool like Sharepoint or OneNote to post updates/project status info? That way people can always have access to information without having to email everyone every single time.

      1. Allison*

        Agreed. Aside from one-on-one meetings, at my old job I used Google Docs to record my activities and progress on various projects, so if my manager ever wondered what I was up to he need only look at the documents. I also sent out occasional updates, but really, managers usually have very full inboxes and a backlog of emails to get to. Which makes me wonder why OP’s manager has time to read their employee’s e-mails to other people.

        1. azvlr*

          Great advice about SharePoint! Would that this were reality, and we are slowly moving towards a common SharePoint site, but it is not set up for us yet. Even once it is set up, reaping the full benefits of SharePoint is going to be more evolutionary than revolutionary.

      2. Anonsie*

        I actually chuckled out loud at this one. Oh man, the day I can get anyone to actually use a centralized resource for information will be a great day.

  27. FX-ensis*

    #1 – As you’re his or her manager, you need to ask the person why this is so, or determine why you’re not being informed. Is it deliberate sabotaging? Does the person report directly to you? Does the person report to a subordinate manager (from your own standpoint)? Have you laid down reporting structures? You need to provide more context, as to whether it’s right or wrong or not?

  28. soitgoes*

    OP1: A manager who is worried that ideas or plans are being misrepresented in emails is a manager that needs to get better at communicating those ideas in the first place.

  29. Nobody*

    #2 – This happens a lot at my job. Several of us came from other companies in the same industry, and we often talk about how things were done at our old jobs. We don’t mean it as complaining or longing for the old job, though (after all, there are reasons we left our old jobs!).

    The biggest reason for mentioning our old jobs is simply that, in a similar situation, it is automatic to compare and contrast the old vs. the new. Sometimes it is just making conversation: “Oh, we attach the handles first here? Huh. We attached the spouts first at my old job.” I’m not saying that we should attach the spouts first here — just making an observation. Even though I am well aware that it can be annoying to hear this all the time, and I try to limit how often I mention my old job, it just slips out at times.

    Other times, though, the old job very well could have had a better way of doing things, and that can be valuable information. In fact, my new boss told me to keep my eyes open for ways that we could do things better. My company likes to hire people with experience at other companies specifically to get that kind of input. I work in an industry where it is important to adopt the industry’s best practices, and it is common to change something because we found out other companies are doing it better. If someone knows a better way of doing things, don’t you want her to speak up and suggest it? Of course, there can often be a bias towards the way you are used to doing something, so it might be worth saying, “Why don’t you try doing it our way for a month, and if you still think your old team did it better, write up the advantages of your way and I’ll consider it.”

    Finally, when you move to a new team, it is much easier to notice the negatives than the positives. Let’s say I notice 25 things that are different between my old job and my new job, and 20 of them are better at the new job but 5 were better at the old job. There’s little reason to discuss the 20 good things, other than to say I’m glad we do them better here. But I do miss the 5 things that were better at the old job, and ideally, I’d like to have the best of both worlds, so it’s worth trying to change those last 5 things for the better.

  30. Not an IT Guy*

    #1 – I wonder if the OP knows on many email systems it can be set up so they are automatically bcc’d on all incoming and outgoing emails. I know because I had a manager do this to me.

  31. C Average*

    I’ve been in a corporate environment for close to eight years now and I STILL don’t understand all the nuances of cc etiquette.

    There are people who want to be cc’ed. There are people who don’t want to be cc’ed. There are lots of people who want you to just KNOW when to cc them and when not to. There are people who get angry when you cc the wrong other people. There are people who get angry when you don’t cc the right other people. There are people who cc me without telling me why.

    Like Wakeen’s Teapots Ltd. (a few posts up), I tend to get cc’ed far into email threads, when others have failed to solve the problem and it’s time to go all DefCon 10 and bring in C Average. I kind of dig those scenarios, to be honest. I enjoy being the obscure subject matter expert who can save the day when no one else can!

    But I think in any functional working environment, cc rules evolve out of both explicit and tacit relationships (Apollo is C’s manager and should be cc’ed when she is going outside the department and/or above Apollo; C is Apollo’s best resource for information about sustainable cacao bean harvests and should be cc’ed when there’s the potential for Apollo to get out of his depth when corresponding with the cacao farmers; etc., etc.). I also think in this kind of environment, it pays to be forgiving of others’ cc faux pas because, honestly, not everyone has access to the same information about the relationships within the cc list.

    I can think of at least a few instances when other people were all het up on my behalf (“Why did Apollo cc YOU on this? You need to tell him to knock it off!”) when it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to be bothered about it.

    This is all kind of meandering, but I guess my bottom line would be this: cc’ing your boss on everything is weird. I’ve never heard of that and would also consider the request weird and troubling. But if there are problems the boss is looking to address (being left out of loops, distrusting the employee, etc.), it would pay to set some clearer expectations around cc requests, because this stuff is NOT intuitive and is not one-size-fits-all.

    1. JB*

      I’m with you. I sometimes get CC’d on stuff, and all I want to say to people is “Stop including me.” My peer in our small work group is the same way. But other people get irritated when they aren’t included on stuff that it seems like they wouldn’t want to be bothered with, so I don’t totally get it. My default is to CC people on something and then include a note telling them to tell me if they don’t want those kinds of emails anymore.

      1. Arjay*

        I talk to my monitor all the time as I read cc’d emails saying “I don’t care”, but I leave it at that unless it’s clear that they actually meant to include someone else but included me by accident.

  32. OP #3*

    Thanks for answering my question, Alison! I’m hoping to hear back from Potential Job #1 by the end of this week or early next week, and I hope to have a second interview for Potential Job #2 within the next week. I’m concerned because during the phone interview for Potential Job #1, the recruiter explicitly asked if my current supervisor could be contacted. I told him no and that I’d like to keep my job search private. He sounded surprised and responded, “Even if you’re offered the job?” I just don’t trust my supervisor to not be a jerk about it, so I’ll definitely follow your advice. I’m also going to see about getting a copy of all of my evaluations, as they’ve all been positive. Instead of my supervisor trying to find out why half of his staff have left in the past year, he’s attempting to sabotage people who are leaving as a way to make them stay. Very frustrating.

    1. neverjaunty*

      Have you told your recruiter that explicitly? It seems weird that s/he doesn’t get why people would not want a current manager as a reference.

      1. OP #3*

        I haven’t, but will if I’m offered the job and when they ask for a list of references. I have a former manager from this job and two coworkers already lined up.

    2. NK*

      The recruiter’s logic makes no sense. If they’re going to offer you the job and it’s not contingent on references, why do they need the reference? And if they would have given you the job and your boss badmouths you, they could rescind the offer and now your boss knows you’re looking.

    3. Melissa*

      The corollary to NK’s point is why does your boss want to keep people who are unhappy and want to leave? Especially if he sabotages them. That just leads to a situation in which the employees are unhappy and resentful and stuck, which isn’t a recipe for a good work environment OR for a productive staff.

  33. Evin*

    To the manager who is upset that his/her employee won’t copy him/her on emails…in my opinion, you are lucky that you even have an employee. That is micromanaging at its finest and if I were your employee, I’d be out the door.

    1. Bea W*

      My last Big Boss required this. It was indicative of all kinds of other related micromanaging behavior and people (the ones who hadn’t yet been beaten into submission) were clamoring to escape.

      From a practical standpoint on the manager’s side asking this means your inbox will quickly become full of things that are not a good use of time. It also begs the question why if a manager can’t trust an employee with routine duties, why is that person still there?

      1. Evin*

        Yep, I had one like this as well and I will NEVER work for another one. No one could get anything done because she had to have her hand in everything. It was ridiculous and caused a huge back-up of work. Generally the copying of emails is only the beginning of the micromanaging antics. The micromanaging boss I had was finally let go. Was the best thing that ever happened to us!

  34. Jerry Vandesic*

    #4 – You need to file for unemployment immediately. This is true whenever you employer terminates your employment, even if it is ahead of your planned resignation. While you won’t receive full pay for the missed time working, you will get something, and your former employer will be dinged with increase unemployment insurance rates.

  35. Bea W*

    #4 Some employers are known for doing this. There’s one in my area that will cut people loose immediately. Everyone goes through the motions of giving notice because that is what is expected of them, but it’s a farce.

    Do you have any vacation time accrued? That will get paid out to you when you leave which will help offset lost income…I think. I can’t recall if that us state or fed law. Can you ask the new job I’d you can start earlier?

    1. fposte*

      Not a fed law. It exists in several states, though I’m not finding a tidy list of which ones; California is the best known, of course. Some businesses have a payout policy even if it’s not required by state law, too.

  36. CPE*

    #1. The best manager whom I worked for asked me to cc him on all the emails. Yes..even after that he was the best manager and I would work for him again. He framed it as he wants to make sure that I get all the help I needed to complete my tasks in timely manner. So he likes to stay in the loop. He was new at that time and I certainly didn’t like him for asking him to CCed on all emails. I told him I feel uncomfortable CCing him on all emails because most of the time I work with my peers in other departments and including him in normal emails meant I was escalating a normal situation. I told him it would impact my relationship with them (like others thinking why is her manager on the list? Is she escalating it?). So I told him that after a chain of emails, I would just forward the entire chain to him so that he could stay on top of things. Also, if I felt it was important of if I was working with people who were unco-operative or if I have not gotten a response from other side for whatever reason, I would include him right away. It worked out well for us

  37. HR Manager*

    #3 – Not only a crappy boss, but what a crappy recruiter/HR rep/new manager. Why would they insist on jeopardizing your current job and current standing by talking to the current manager? If they insisted, I would ask that how certain is a job offer and/or what can they do if this jeopardizes your current standing with your employer before moving forward. Quite frankly, I’d also take that as a sign that this new potential employer sucks, and I’d question whether I’d want to work there.

    #4 – In occasions when an employer gives an extended notice period (usually more than 2 wks), employers should not be bound to keep that person employed. On most occasions, this is an agreed upon date with no contentious relationship, so work life goes on. I remember a bitter employee who was not engaged in her work and wanted to leave (she just moved to a new city, and we helped her by agreeing to let her work remotely even though no one on the team was remote). She insisted on giving us “notice” until she found a new job. What crazy world is this? She was increasingly combative and difficult to work with, so we insisted on a date. When she tried to pull the “8 months” BS, we declined and offered one month. Companies are not there to be your financial safety net. If you are uncertain about your next move, then by all means stay, work, and keep quiet (or be honest with a good boss who will support you in finding the dream job) and continue to be productive in the mean time.

    1. Adam*

      RE#3: I’d like to be in that interviewee’s position just one time so I could ask that question just to see the response I’d get. I get the feeling I’d be laughing about it at the bar for a week afterwords.

  38. Liane*

    I would like OP#1 to explain why they think the employee is trying to “sideline” them? What else, if anything, has Employee been doing to make you suspect this.? To me, it seems that there is Something Else going on. If OP just wanted to know how to ask for CCs for a less troubling reason* that first sentence wouldn’t be there. “I really want to be CC’d on emails but I haven’t seen it done here. Is it okay to ask for this? If so, do I just tell my reports or send out a memo to departments we work with as well?”

    *Maybe it was done at their last job, or OP was given some bad advice

  39. Mena*

    #1: I cannot figure out why my boss’s boss copies by boss on EVERY email he sends me, no mattter what. There is no previous performance issue, it isn’t just because he’s sending a compliment of feedback, it is all the time, everything. It is getting annoying.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Maybe he feels awkward not including your boss, since you are not his direct report. Over time this could start to feel like you were just reporting to the big boss.

  40. Jake*

    I have a great subcontractor that works for our company. Their PM just turned in his two weeks notice. Two days later they had his stuff packed in boxes when he got to work. What companies that do this don’t realize is that not only does that hurt morale of your current employees and potential employees if you gain a wide-spread reputation of doing that, it genuinely hurts your business.

    I had strongly recommended them for other projects with my company. Very strongly. Strongly enough that they won the bid without being the lowest price. I will never recommend them again.

    1. tango*

      Did they pay his whole notice time or not? My husband once gave notice and they told him to pack and leave that day and they’d pay him the whole notice period but he didn’t need to work it. And that’s what they did.

      I would not complain about a company that made an employee leave before the notice period was up as long as they paid the balance of the notice.

      1. Jake*

        To expand, They did not and even if they did I wouldn’t find it acceptable. They said I’d have 2 weeks to work out any outstanding contractual issues with him. They said the PM and I would have 2 weeks to get his replacement up to speed. There are several reasons those two weeks were important to me as the general contractor, none of which have to do with him being paid.

        Instead they showed him the door and gave me a PM replacement with no field knowledge, no sense of urgency, and his boss wants to be involved… until he doesn’t. He wants to be involved enough to screw things up without solving anything. Overall, the 2 weeks was just as much for me as the customer as it was for them, and they couldn’t have cared less about that.

  41. NK*

    #4 – I gave three months’ notice at my job when I was leaving for grad school. While they did keep me around for that entire period, my boss told me you should never give notice if you’re not prepared for them to walk you out that day. I found it kind of odd for him to say that since I was doing him a favor, but it is good advice.

  42. Cassie*

    #1: I almost never cc my boss on emails because he trusts me to get the work done and to make judgement calls when needed. Granted, there are some times when he will ask if I’ve responded to an email we both received but he gets a ton of emails anyway and even if I did cc him on my reply, he wouldn’t have seen it. He’ll still ask (I know this from experience).

    He did ask his other direct report to cc him on some emails but that was because of her word choice. Except that it doesn’t make sense – if there’s a problem about word choice, you should ask to see the draft email BEFORE it gets sent out. What’s the purpose of getting cc’d on an email that is inappropriate in tone/word choice/etc?

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