employee’s wife keeps causing a commotion at our office, I was interviewed by the person I’d be replacing, and more

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

1. I was interviewed by the person I’d be replacing

I have had several interviews where the interviewer themselves told me that they have submitted their resignation, and that they are interviewing me as their replacement. It happened to me more than once that the interviewer even said it was their last day at the company. Isn’t that awkward to share during an interview? Sometimes the person who is leaving interviews me alone, other times with a panel.

First, I don’t think they would hire carefully, because why should they care since they are leaving? Second, it makes me want to ask why they are leaving and it definitely gives me a red flag. Interviews are partly about selling the company to the applicant to want to work for them, so it certainly makes me think twice about working there. I will appreciate some insight into this.

It’s not a red flag that they’re leaving. People leave companies; after all, that’s usually why there’s an open position for you to interview for. And it’s not unusual to have a departing employee help interview for their replacement, depending on the role. If they’re conscientious before they resign, they’re not going to suddenly become unconscientious afterward. Most conscientious people care a lot about finding someone good to replace them.

The only thing that would worry me is if this is the only person you’re getting a chance to talk with. You’d want to be able to meet and talk with your prospective new manager, at a minimum.

2. Employee’s wife keeps causing a commotion at our workplace

An employee’s wife has been coming up to our workplace for over a year and causing a distraction. In most of the events that have take place, the police have come out to remove her from the property. I feel that the employee and his wife are a threat to the other employees who work here. If she were to go crazy, then all of our lives are in danger. Management is aware of the situation and has done nothing but talk to employee about the situation. What can be done?

Well, if your management isn’t willing to take any action, there’s not much you can do. You can certainly press them, ideally as a group — saying something like, “We’re uncomfortable with Cecil’s wife continually coming here and causing disruption. We feel unsafe, and we’d like you to ensure she’s no longer allowed on the property.” But ultimately, it’s their call. It’s pretty weird that they haven’t already taken steps to deal with this though. Who wants their business disrupted all the time like that?

3. My boss takes weeks to approve my vacation requests

I work at a very small college in a very small office (2 full-time professionals, 2 graduate assistants). I am one of the two full-time professionals, and the other full-time guy is my supervisor. We don’t have an admin assistant, so office coverage is very important in our office. Often, my supervisor will take days off (either for personal reasons or for his second job) and inform me the day before so that I know I’ll essentially be in the office alone (GAs work 20 hours a week). Sometimes he just leaves early for the day, other times he’ll be gone for 2-3 days at a time.

Whenever I ask for time off, he delays answering me for days or weeks. Today, his reason for not giving me an answer was “I’m in a bad mood.” I’ve successfully taken off a total of 1-1/2 days between October and now (April), so it’s not a matter of not having vacation time or constantly taking days off. It’s pretty much a given that if I ask for time off, he’ll avoid answering me until the week of, after I’ve asked at least 3 times. For the most part, there isn’t a reason why I wouldn’t be able to go on vacation on a certain day. I line my ducks in a row before I even ask for the day off.

Would it be out of line to go to his supervisor to ask for days off after I’ve asked him and he’s avoided giving me a straightforward answer? I would like to plan travel ahead of time, but my supervisor makes that pretty much impossible.

Try this first: “Bob, I’m having trouble using my vacation days because of the delay between when I ask and when you respond. I need to be able to plan so that I’m able to use this part of my benefit package. What can I do to get answers from you more quickly? Is it better to ask in person or submit the request differently in some way?”

If that doesn’t work, whether or not to go over his head depends on the dynamics there. Some managers would absolutely want to know that a manager under them was doing this; others would consider it a breach of chain of command. You really need to know the players to answer this one.

4. Is this contracting arrangement fair?

I am currently a contractor doing web development work. I have been in this position for over two years now. I recently found out that the contractors who got me my position are making money off of my hours. The way it works is the company we are working for pays the two of them all the of our salaries and the two contractors pay me a direct deposit, keeping portion a portion of it. The portion that I receive is what I asked for, but they negotiated a higher rate for me and kept the difference. They have an LLC, but they do the same work as me for the most part.

This is actually pretty much how contracting works: They’ve taken on the hassles and burdens of finding a worker (you), paying you, and handling the administrative load of employing you. In return, they charge the employer a fee for doing that. The employer almost certainly assumes that this is happening, because it’s standard in contracting.

5. I leave expert answers on Quora — should I link to them from my resume?

One of the better things to come out of the Web 2.0 movement are question and answer forums, where users ask questions and experts on the subject chime in, and the community votes on the best answer, comments are posted, etc.

Quora is one of these sites. Its focus is giving users direct access to not just industry experts, but industry leaders. Sites like these are geared towards professionals being “answerers” and as such, present a unique opportunity for professionals to publicly display their knowledge, attitude, and prose in a way that potential employers can see.

Given that, what would be the best way (if at all) to include a little pointer on a resume showing to the reader that a feed of one’s relevant knowledge is available at their Quora (or similar site) profile? How would this look to a hiring manager? When flooded with applicants, would the profile even get read?

Interesting. I could see possibly including a line like “frequently share expertise on X and Y in the Z forum at Quora” with a link, if indeed you do have a significant number of answers there and they’re all well-done. (You’re going to be judged on what’s there, so if anything there isn’t impressive, I wouldn’t do it.) But I could also see some hiring managers thinking that it’s more like Yahoo Answers and thinking it’s a questionable use of time. So I’m honestly not sure. What do others think?

{ 321 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia

    #2 ‘It is their prerogative’ is not good enough. This is the backstory of plenty of workplace massacre situations. This woman should be banned from the workplace and security should enforce that. I think the OP and her peers need to get together and press this very hard. They are the ones who get shot if lead starts flying. They need to demand better control of access and security.

    1. neverjaunty

      Agreed – and OP #2, you may want to think very hard about working for a company that allows this situation to continue for A YEAR. Either the employee has no control over this situation, in which case the company should be taking affirmative steps to protect him as well as all of you, or he does, in which case why is he still there. In either case, management’s decision to talk to him is just idiotic conflict-avoidance. That is not a safe or functional working environment.

    2. ZenCat

      It would be interesting to know what she is doing to require a police escort.

      My prior office worked on the premise of ‘it’s not a matter of if but when’ and took security very carefully. There were a few times the police were called, one time in particular there was a veiled threat from a discharged employee who continued to come back. I know they were given a restraining order from the property (they kept coming back) and we had more security in place to roll through the parking lot. Where I live has very generous open and concealed carry provisions, most private places do not allow guns and have signage so a lot of people will have them in the car. The police were at my office at least once a week (I could see them from my office window) for various things and we did have a negligent death in our parking lot committed by an employee only about a year prior. I worked in a really, really nice area of town too. Anyway! This sort of stuff can be all too real and I think being cautious is a good suggestion.

    3. Snoskred

      I’m concerned that LW2 mentions the employees wife, not their ex-wife. If it is their present wife, the turning up at work thing has to be embarrassing and upsetting for the husband worker as well. Is there any way the LW could approach the husband about this issue? It might be inappropriate but in some cases I might think the husband would be appreciative of any assistance offered..

      I would personally be very cautious about how I spoke up about this. I’ve spoken up about security issues before and it has not gone especially well for me. Even when incidents later occurred to prove me right. :(

      It doesn’t do any good if management considers the speaking up person to be overly concerned about something they consider is not their business. So if this were me, before anything else, I would want to try and frame this as security issues for the business and staff overall and not relate it specifically to this one wacky wife.

      1. Sospeso

        Your last paragraph is a great point. Going to this with management is a good idea, and I agree that they’d be more receptive if the OP framed it as concern for safety and productivity in general. I also think that Alison’s idea that all the concerned employees bring this up as a group might cause management to sit up and really take notice of how this woman’s office “visits” are affecting morale. It’s so odd that they’re not being more proactive. It makes me wonder if there’s more to the situation the OP isn’t aware of.

      2. Gandalf the Nude

        I could see cases where saying something to the coworker might be helpful, but you would need to really know your audience. I could see plenty of other cases where it would just be throwing gasoline into the fire. In this case, since LW thinks the wife and the employee are threats, I’d guess the latter is more likely.

    4. Merry and Bright

      And if the police have already been involved, how come management won’t take it seriously? This is seriously scary.

    5. AntherHRPro

      The letter writer may not be aware of what all management is doing to ensure employees’ safety. I would hope that a restraining order has already been requested and that security/reception/managers have been advised to call the authorities if the women is seen on site. But this should be expanded so that everyone knows what procedures are in place if she attempts to enter the workplace again. Depending on how public the workplace is, it can make dealing with this more challenging. For example, in a public environment or a place where non-employees are frequently present (retail, doctor’s offices, etc.) it can be more difficult to address. I agree that the concerns need to be raised. I would ask you manager what specifically the organization is doing to ensure everyone’s safety. If this workplace does not have security, they may need to hire someone.

      Often people assume that workplace violence will not happen to them, but after something does happen you can almost always look back and see the warning signs. You have warning signs here and someone should be taking it very seriously. If this is a small employer, I would be concerned that they are operating in a state of denial and not proactively taking precautions.

      1. Ella

        I work in a library, and the way we do it here, if a customer needs to be banned, is to serve them with a writ of trespass. (We work with the local police so that they’re aware of goings-on.) Then, if that person shows up, the police are immediately called and that person is arrested. We don’t wait for them to cause a ruckus. We don’t leave it up to security either. Police.

        1. M-C

          +1
          Statistically speaking, it’d be a very rare workplace that wouldn’t have any at least potentially violent domestic situation among its employees. Dealing with it proactively, with the police and not relying on some podunk private security, is essential to prevent workplace tragedies.

    6. Lily in NYC

      Wow, I got such a different take than everyone else on #2. To me, it seemed like a big overreaction on OP’s part and I would really like to know what is meant by “causing a commotion”. Our general counsel’s crazy ex used to come into the office and start screaming at him and we ended up having to put her photo down in the lobby with the security guards so she wouldn’t be let upstairs. She was no danger to anything but my coworker’s reputation but there was one woman here who made it into this huge thing and decided she was going to come murder everyone.

      1. Snoskred

        That is certainly another possible take. From the letter, we really can’t know which one it is.

        However when talking about security concerns I personally tend to err on the side of caution when there is not enough information to know for sure. :)

        1. JB (not in Houston)

          Exactly. That’s the thing. Lily in NYC, were you this woman’s therapist? Because how do you know that someone who has shown their willingness to repeatedly ignore boundaries and acceptable norms is no danger to anyone? If I were in the OP’s situation, I wouldn’t be comfortable basing our security precautions on my coworker’s guess about what someone who displays that kind of behavior is capable of. *Probably* nothing serious will happen, but a lot of tragedies happen because people who don’t have the knowledge to make that kind of judgment call decide that someone is erratic but not threatening.

          1. Lily in NYC

            JB, I said it was the vibe I got, not that it’s the absolute truth. I stand by what I wrote. Without knowing more, it just feels like an overreaction to me. Maybe it’s not, maybe it is. I don’t need to be someone’s therapist to have an opinion.

          2. M

            Lily could ask the same question… it’s a pretty big leap to go from low common sense/fights with spouse to mass murder.

            1. Melissa

              It’s not “fights with spouse.” It’s “so willing to break social norms and boundaries that she comes to the workplace to scream at spouse and does something that requires the police to escort her from the premises.” There’s a HUGE difference between those two. I’m usually the one who thinks people’s fears about rare social events (like kidnappings and active shooters) are somewhat overblown, but even I would be wary about someone doing this frequently over the course of a year.

        2. Elizabeth West

          I agree–but even if all she’s doing is throwing huge tantrums, it’s seriously disrupting the workplace. It needs to stop. Management should grow a spine and ban this person from the premises, husband or no husband.

          There’s not enough info in the letter to really know anything.

      2. Bea W

        When someone is screaming that can be very scary to people, and it is a threatening behavior. It wouldn’t be weird to associate being angrily screamed at with possible violence. It’s possible the one woman who made it into a “huge thing” had experiences where screaming at someone was a prelude to violence.

        In any case, coming into someone work place to scream at them is 10000 times not okay whether the person is an actual physical threat or not. At best it is disruptive to workers. At worst it makes people worry about being physically harmed or even that someone might get killed, trigger off people’s anxiety or PTSD, and drives away customers (if in a public setting). If the screaming includes threats of violence, it’s not over-reacting for someone to assume someone screaming threats is prepared to carry them out.

        1. Lily in NYC

          The coworker who made it into a “big thing” is a ridiculously annoying busybody. She also complained to anyone who would listen when we hired someone who wears a burqa because “we don’t know what she might be hiding”.

          1. Anna

            Yes, but you have specific experience with someone who tends to cry wolf. In fact, that she overreacts means you might be desensitized to situations that might actually warrant more caution (not the burqa wearing employee because seriously). When someone’s behavior is erratic, and I’d say showing up anywhere and screaming at people is erratic, it’s normal to not feel particularly safe.

            1. Lily in NYC

              I am not desensitized; I sit on a different floor and see her twice a year. I’m fine with having a different opinion than everyone else about this until OP comes back with more info.

              1. Anna

                I’m not going to ask the OP to justify why she feels unsafe. It’s not a given that either one of the people in this situation will be violent or dangerous, but people shouldn’t be shrugging their shoulders about it either. “Oh, it’s just Jane again screaming at people and making a scene!” It’s kind of a weird thing to be okay with. Which is why it’s so strange management hasn’t done more to keep it from happening.

        2. fposte

          I don’t think I’m on board with the notion that because something about a person has associations for you, it justifies additional action against that person, though. I can understand why somebody would have a harder time dealing with screaming people, or men, or people of a particular nationality or race, but that’s not enough to justify making it a security issue.

          1. Artemesia

            No, the fact that they show up and behave this way is ‘enough’ to make it a security issue. What do you suggest one wait for? Perhaps blood on the floor?

      3. QAT Contractor

        I agree, there is not enough information to know what is meant by “If she were to go crazy, then all of our lives are in danger.”

        If the police involvement level was only because she refused to leave and would yell at anyone trying to touch her or escourt her, I really wouldn’t be concerned about being physically harmed. But if she is being violent to anyone other than her husband at work, then it’s a cause for alarm.

        Not to say that being violent to her husband at work isn’t cause for alarm, I just doubt her going crazy at your place of work will lead to anything beyond her attacking him. All of this is just an assumption of course and there are many other factors to consider I’m sure (especially drugs or alcohol).

        Regardless, she shouldn’t be allowed at the workplace as she is a distraction and clearly others are concerned for various reasons about her presence. Your company should have a firmer stance on whether or not she should be allowed on the company grounds.

        1. Artemesia

          How many times have we heard about enraged husband who come to the wife’s workplace and shoot not only him but others? Or head to a relatives home to ‘find their spouse’ and end up shooting the rest of the family because she is not there? If she is violent towards her husband at work she is a clear risk to everyone else there. There should be zero tolerance for this; one screaming scene and she should be barred from the office and it should be enforced by security.

          1. QAT Contractor

            There is a difference here, you are referring to a man, this situation is a woman. I’m not saying a woman couldn’t do the exact same thing, just that you pointed out the very distinction.

            How many times have you heard about a man doing this? How many times have you heard that it was a woman that did it? I don’t have a lot of information on the statistics nor to I have the most insight into cases nation/world wide, but I have definitely heard of a vast majority of these cases being men, not women, that shoot places up.

            But as I stated at the end of my previous comment, she shouldn’t be allowed there regardless of her danger level simply because she is causing such a disruption to the workforce.

          2. M

            But we don’t know if she’s violent towards her husband at work. We only know that she causes a commotion, then refuses to leave.

      4. BethRA

        Lily in NYC, I agree that there’s a lot we don’t know about the situation in question 2, but given that the police have had to remove this woman from the premises more than once, I don’t think OP’s concern is an over-reaction.

        1. BethRA

          (hit enter too soon) Refusing to leave or yelling (assuming that’s all that was going on) may not seem that threatening, and if it happens once where it takes police involvement to get someone to leave you could arguably chalk it up to something just getting overheated. But once it happens again I think you have to take it very seriously because now the person is showing you they have serious boundary issues and that they’re willing to escalate a situation. Maybe in most cases they still would never take it to the point of violence, but I don’t think you can disregard the risk anymore.

      5. Squirrel!

        Did you miss the part where they said the police had been involved multiple times? How is the OP having an overreaction?

      6. Artemesia

        How do you know it was no danger? People who end up killing other people usually show this sort of instability and escalating behavior before it happens. A person who comes into the work place repeatedly and screams at her husband is a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t want to be the collateral damage of someone else’s violent marriage.

        1. M

          Most people who end up killing other people might show instability first, but that doesn’t mean that most unstable people will wind up killing someone.

      7. Pennalynn Lott

        Because, Lily, it isn’t just the OP’s interpretation of events. The “commotion” was such that the police had to be called to remove her from the property (multiple times). So unless the OP is the only on who calls the police (and has the authority to do so for minor commotions), then it was probably security or management who perceived the wife to be a threat. It’s not that the OP overheard a heated argument between her co-worker and his wife, it’s that whatever she was doing was so 0ver-the-top that someone in a position of authority thought it warranted a visit from the police.

        1. M

          You don’t need some kind of special permission to call 911. Anyone can do it. The manager might have called the police because she was having a temper tantrum and scaring way costumers by refusing to leave. Just because the police came doesn’t mean anything truly violent was happening.

      8. charisma

        I felt the same way. “Our lives are in danger”? What is she doing that leads you to believe lives are at stake? Not to say that they aren’t and this isn’t concerning, but “going crazy” doesn’t necessarily equal violence. Some people simply have no boundaries and won’t go away unless police come and tell them to. And then they do.

    7. Wildkitten

      Isn’t calling the police on someone enforcing a ban from the workplace? I don’t know what would be *more serious* than having someone escorted from the premises by the police. If the employee is a victim of domestic violence, firing him for it is illegal in some states, and problematic in the others. The LW might not know the whole back story or what management is doing.

      1. Elsajeni

        It depends — it’s not clear from the letter whether the police are being called as soon as she shows up, or whether she’s being allowed on the premises until she starts causing trouble and then they call the police. If it’s the second one, it might be time to ramp it up to a full ban.

    8. Case of the Mondays

      I haven’t had a chance to read all of the replies but please keep in mind that many states have laws to protect domestic violence victims and their employer cannot fire them because of the actions of his/her abuser.

  2. Kate

    At my last few jobs I have been the primary interviewer to replace me when I was leaving. I knew the job best, the skills needed, who would do best doing the job and took the responsibility for filling my role very seriously. I mostly work in small offices with very little supervision and most other managers had no idea the small details of the job.

    As long as you are meeting the people you will be working with in addition to being interviewed by the employee I don’t see anything wrong with this.

    1. fposte

      It’s also a good sign that a departing employee was comfortable giving that kind of notice and that the office wants her to be involved in hiring somebody who will have an effect after she’s gone.

      1. Jaune Desprez

        Yes, this! I consider it a really good sign when I get to interview with a departing employee. Companies don’t want bitter, disaffected, soon-to-be-ex-employees skewing the hiring process, either by not diligently screening for fit or by saying/implying anything that would put off good candidates. I would want to directly ask this person why they were moving on. I’d also probably ask them extra questions about the company culture and what it was like to work with the team.

        I was once on the other side of the table and interviewing for my own replacement, and because I had loved that job, I found myself eager to explain my departure and “sell” the organization. I’m sure my sincerity came through to the candidates.

    2. Kate

      And I will say most people leaving their jobs want the person following them to succeed and the company to have a smooth transition and will recommend the best person even if they won’t be working with them.

    3. AntherHRPro

      It is a good sign that people who are leaving are involved in the interview process. This means that management trusts their judgment and that they are not leaving on bad terms. It is actually a great opportunity to talk to the person who has been doing the job as you will get the most realistic description of the work and workplace. I also think it is a fair question to ask them why they are leaving.

    4. blackcat

      My experience at my last job was similar–while the entire department did the interview, I had an extra meeting with all candidates and my opinion was very highly valued (largely because I was the only person who could really see if the candidate had X skill they were looking for, since I was the only person with X skill in the department).

    5. Sans

      Agree with everyone here. Another thing – besides just being conscientious and wanting to hire the best person possible, even though you won’t be there, another reason to care about who they hire is that this is the last impression they leave on their employer. They may need to use them someday as a reference and it certainly would be burning bridges if they did a half-hearted job of hiring.

    6. M-C

      I’d go a bit further here- I’d consider it a red flag that the OP is so put out by this fairly common situation. If OP couldn’t imagine leaving an employer on good terms, and behaving decently and conscienciously till the end, I would hesitate in having them as an employee at all.

  3. Traveler

    I have so many questions about #2. Why is his wife coming in at all? Why hasn’t he been fired? Aren’t the police tired of coming for the same repeat offender and haven’t they put pressure on your management to deal with this?

    1. Mike C.

      Seriously, MORE CONTEXT PLEASE!

      Why is the employee a danger if they aren’t causing the commotion?

      1. Mike C.

        Also, what sorts of events are being disrupted, and what happens such that the police need to be there to make this person go away? Why is it that the police are needed now but you don’t feel any danger, but you worry that things might get worse and you would be in danger? What are you afraid might happen?

        If this is a real safety issue, why not call the police on your own?

        I’m honestly not trying to be critical here, but your question raises a TON of additional questions here.

        1. Sospeso

          If I felt a real concern for my safety and management wasn’t responsive to that, I would feel comfortable calling the police independently… but it’s worth noting that that could have potential consequences at work. It’s hard to know how a situation like that could play out, and I guess, without knowing more, I’d err on the side of caution and safety.

      2. Sospeso

        Yes, I picked up on that, too! The OP states that the employee him/herself seems to be a danger as well, but only the employee’s wife is noted as “causing a distraction.” And what does *that* mean, exactly? I could make the argument that my super talkative boss is a distraction, but she’s also not getting escorted off company property by the police any time soon.

    2. EngineerGirl

      Why hasn’t he been fired? It isn’t his performance that is the problem! He has limited, if any control of her especially if she has mental issues.
      Yes, he is married to her. But should anyone be fired for the actions of another? Perhaps that is the goal of the wife – behave so outrageously that he will lose his income.
      The real problem is the lack of response from management

      1. Traveler

        “I feel that the employee and his wife are a threat”

        If the OP thinks the employee is a threat, it led me to assume the employee was doing something as well. I wasn’t sure though – which is why I asked. I don’t think people should get fired for their spouse’s behavior automatically of course, but if this is someone he is currently married to (and not on the way to separation or divorce) doesn’t the employee bear some responsibility if there are repeated disruptions by his wife at his place of employment? I can understand not blaming if it’s an ex, and there is merit to the idea you can’t control someone else’s behavior, but the repeated need to call the cops because the wife is such a disruption/danger?

        1. Dan

          In this day and age, marriage does not make one spouse responsible for another’s actions. Are you seriously suggesting that women are property that should be controlled?

          You seem to want to make an allowance for the employee if he is on the way to separation or divorce, but that’s not all that practical, as it can take a couple of years for the whole process to play out, particulary if the wife doesn’t want to play ball.

          1. Sospeso

            I didn’t read Traveler’s comment as a suggestion that women are property to be controlled at all. It would be naive to refuse to recognize that your spouse’s behavior – and family’s in general, if they’re showing up at your work – are going to reflect on you to a degree. I think that’s true whether we’re talking about the behavior of a wife or the behavior of a husband (whether they’re married to men or women!).

            1. Dan

              Its one thing if the wife shows up and plays kissy face with the husband, that’s behavior within his control that he should be held accountable for.

              But I don’t think that’s what we are talking about here. If the cops are showing up on multiple occasions, there is something much more serious going on here. To the point where “sweetie honey please don’t do that anymore” isn’t working, and I’m at a loss as to why the husband should be accountable for it (aka “reflects poorly on him”) unless he’s screaming back at her or something. But nothing is said about him being part if that commotion.

              1. LBK

                At some point, though, if he can’t get her to stop doing it, the solution has to be removing him from the office (since presumably she won’t come there anymore if he’s not there). You can’t allow continued disruptions like that (which are serious enough to merit police intervention!) and just throw your hands up and say “Well, he can’t control her, so what can you do?”

                1. AntherHRPro

                  Would you have the same response if the employee was a woman who was in an abusive relationship and the husband was coming onsite? The answer to both situations isn’t to say “what can you do” or to automatically fire the employee. Management needs to take specific actions to ensure safety in their workplace but that does not necessarily mean firing the employee. It could come to that depending on the situation but we do not have enough information from the letter writer to assume that would be appropriate.

                2. LBK

                  Yep, I would. Has nothing to do with the idea that a husband should be able to control a wife, so please don’t try to read things into my statement that aren’t there. It has to do with removing the source of wildly unacceptable behavior from the office, even if that source themselves isn’t doing anything. We don’t know if management has taken any steps to ensure safety, but if they have and she’s still coming in, I don’t know what the option is other than firing him, which I would not consider unjustified either.

                3. Mike C.

                  “Well, he can’t control her, so what can you do?”

                  Uhhhhhhh, do you control your partner?

                4. Mike C.

                  @LBK That’s absolutely crazy. You don’t go and fire someone just because they have a spouse that doesn’t act well, or a stalker or a crazy-ex or is in an abusive relationship.

                  You keep talking about “the source” of unacceptable behavior, and that source isn’t the person you seem to eager to fire, it’s the person who’s actually behaving poorly.

                5. blackcat

                  +1 to AnotherHRPro, particularly this:
                  “Would you have the same response if the employee was a woman who was in an abusive relationship and the husband was coming onsite?”

                6. Anna

                  We don’t know if the husband is a victim of abuse, but in your spouse of an abuser situation you’re actually placing the blame firmly at the feet of the victim and that’s something that needs to stop. Abusers do things like show up at work places to create a scene hoping their victim will be fired so they can continue to control them. You aren’t helping anyone by firing the victim in that scenario. Victim blaming can be subtle.

                7. fposte

                  @LBK–sure, firing him would (likely) stop the problem. But firing women who get pregnant would solve the problem of paying for maternity leave, too. The ends don’t always justify the means.

                8. LBK

                  I don’t understand the alternate solution, though, especially if your facility lacks formalized security like a badge entry system (thus enabling her to be physically prohibited from entering the building).

                  I’m honestly a little annoyed that somehow my comment is being viewed through a sexist lens. This has nothing to do with the genders involved – I would feel the same way regardless – and Mike in particular seems to be willfully misinterpreting what I was trying to say.

                9. LBK

                  Let me clarify what I meant by “control” because it seems that was a point of contention; I mean inasmuch as anyone has influence over their partner’s activity, ie asking them to not come to your office anymore. You have some level of “control” over your SO in that way only in the sense that people who are closer to you are more likely to respect your wishes. I did not in any way mean controlling via force or demand. It seems the attitude that’s coming across is that the spouse has no more connection to the situation than if this were a random belligerent stranger walking into the office, which is baffling to me. No, you can’t actually force someone else to do something, but you can certainly make personal requests of a spouse that you couldn’t make to others (or at least that would be less effective to others).

                  I honestly think some people are having trouble sorting this out specifically because it’s a woman and people are overcorrecting from the “husband controls his wife” stereotype – no, he doesn’t, but he’s also not helpless to make requests of her (and vice versa, because it’s a relationship and that’s part of relationships, regardless of genders).

                10. Ultraviolet

                  @LBK – I understand what you’re saying about influencing your partner–in a healthy relationship, one partner can influence the other’s behaviors with requests like “Please stop showing up at my workplace during business hours” as you describe in your last comment. But it’s difficult and dangerous to try to exert that influence on an abusive partner. And for a variety of reasons it’s extremely hard to end an abusive relationship. So a lot of readers here are assuming that the employee can no longer influence their partner in a normal way (probably reasoning that if they could have, they would have), and do not interpret the fact that they’re still married as evidence to the contrary.

                  (For what it’s worth, I don’t think many people are responding to the word “control” though. The serious disagreement appears to be about firing victims of partner abuse because of their abusers’ actions.)

                11. LBK

                  I don’t think we have enough information to determine that this is an abusive relationship, or maybe I just don’t know enough about what’s considered an abusive relationship. Is just act of showing up at the workplace unwanted to the point that it causes damage to the SO’s reputation enough to have the relationship be considered abusive?

                  If it’s a domestic abuse situation where there’s a toxic relationship, I agree that has to be handled differently, and I’d agree that disciplinary action against the employee is inappropriate. I read the situation more like one I encountered a few times while working retail, where employees weren’t willing to or didn’t understand why they had to set boundaries with their SOs about contacting them at work. These were employees who were baffled when I told them they couldn’t take calls from their SO or have their SO hang out at the store during their shifts. There was never a “I asked him to stop and he didn’t listen” situation.

                  Point being, my experience with similar situations isn’t one of abusive relationships, so I’m viewing this through a very different lens than it seems everyone else is here. Sorry if that’s making me come off as callous or lacking in understanding about abuse.

                12. Ted Mosby

                  LBK the issue isn’t that you’re being sexist so much as that you’re blaming someone who a victim (assuming he’s not engaging with her… the letter is very unclear) and saying the best way to solve things is to just get rid of the victim to end the problem when the obvious solution is to never allow the woman in the building again. There’s a better solution easily available, and it’s a terrible, terrible precedent to set.

                  What if she was a stalker rather than his wife? Would you still say the solution is to just fire the employee? He’s the root of the problem, right?

                13. Case of the Mondays

                  @LBK, the other option is to avail yourself to the legal system. The company gets a no trespass order against her. Every time she shows up anyway they call the cops. Eventually she stops or she goes to jail.

                14. LBK

                  I disagreed that he was the victim until the OP provided a follow up below. That’s why I didn’t have a problem putting fault on him, because I didn’t read the situation as him being a victim of anything except being bad at setting boundaries with a spouse. Now with the situation clarified I’m more on board with not taking any action against him.

                  I also don’t think it’s as simple a solution to say “just ban her from the building” depending on how small or sophisticated the workplace is – not everywhere has a badge entry system or a security guard at the front desk to enforce that kind of thing. Case in point that the OP has now clarified it’s a warehouse, so unless the whole area is fenced off or there’s some kind of gated access for deliveries, the spouse could relatively easily get to the loading dock undetected.

                  Not to mention that in my experience, banning someone from the property rarely gets them to actually stop trying to show up there. It just means your security can attempt to stop them at the front instead of having to eject them once they’re already inside.

                15. LBK

                  @Case of the Mondays, they’ve already used the legal system by calling the cops multiple times (read OP’s clarification below). Clearly that’s not deterring her.

              2. Sospeso

                I completely agree with you that something more concerning than kissy faces is going on. I am not saying that the employee *should* be held accountable for the wife’s behavior, just that her behavior is always going to reflect back on him somewhat. I don’t think that’s fair necessarily (again, depending on the situation, which we don’t know much about), but I think it’s how it will play out. At the very least, when other employee’s talk about it, they’ll probably mention it in terms of, “Oh, did you hear about so-and-so’s wife?” There’s something to be said for evaluating people impartially and without bias – I’m all for it – but… lost of research suggests that human beings are pretty bad at that (e.g., ingroup bias, negativity effects, etc.).

                It’s true that nothing is directly said about him being part of the commotion, but the OP does say that the employee may be a danger. So, it’s tough to guess at the details of what’s going on without more information from the OP.

                1. Elizabeth West

                  I hate letters with practically no info. That just drives me crazy, especially when the OP doesn’t come back and clarify (I haven’t read all the way down yet so there may be some below).

              3. nona

                Agreed. I am actually wondering if – there are a lot of possible interpretations here, one being that the wife is harmless and people are overreacting – the wife might be threatening *to her husband* as well.

            2. the gold digger

              It would be naive to refuse to recognize that your spouse’s behavior – and family’s in general

              Which is why when your dad is in the military, you are very careful about not speeding on base because not only do the MPs call your dad, they call his boss.

          2. Traveler

            “Are you seriously suggesting that women are property that should be controlled?”

            Um, what?? Absolutely not. But if my husband was constantly busting into my work, causing my coworkers to feel threatened, and having the police called on him multiple times a year I would be either insisting he seek psychiatric help or seeking a divorce. He’s threatening my career and my income and I wouldn’t tolerate it. (That’s just me personally I realize some people wouldn’t but that’s where I’m coming from with my opinion). If my work told me I needed to get a handle on him busting into my job all the time or risk losing my job, I would not be shocked or offended. After all – if I did not work there, he wouldn’t be showing up there, right? The OP implied that both the wife AND the employee were a threat to the employees, making it sound like he’s complicit in some way. It’s a totally different story if he is being stalked, harassed, abused, or something of that nature by his wife.

            1. Mike C.

              So if you did divorce him, and he became a stalker, you would still be ok with being fired?

              1. Traveler

                Read above:
                “It’s a totally different story if he is being stalked, harassed, abused, or something of that nature by his wife.”

                Replace he with she, and wife with husband.

                1. Mike C.

                  What do you expect one adult to be able to legally do to another to prevent them from coming to a business?

                  I can’t restrict their movements, I can’t lock them up, I can’t cause them harm, and so on. What exactly do you expect here?

                2. Traveler

                  Mike C., I really feel like you’re trying to interpret something I’m not saying here. I’ve said so many times now, in this thread, that cases of abuse are NOT what I am talking about. In that case I would hope that the business would be understanding, and perhaps direct the employee to services that could help them. I have no idea if abuse is going on here. Hence my questions. I chose to lean with the idea that’s its no abuse based on the fact that the OP said the employee was also a danger. Admittedly, this could be them lumping in the abused with the abuser. This is the internet, I don’t know. Again, why I have so many questions. But OP doesn’t seem to have returned yet, so I can’t say if we’ll get the answers.

                  If you are dealing with a reasonable individual, telling your spouse “Hey, you’re causing a lot of trouble for me at work by showing up and disrupting, I may lose my job, please stop.” Should do the trick. If it doesn’t, I (personally – as I said over and over, fully realizing there are victims of abuse that are not in a position to do this for various reasons) would be trying to seek psychiatric help for my husband. As a last resort you can have someone put on a 72 hour psych hold if they are a danger to you or others, and with the record of police escorts this woman has they should be able to start there. If that didn’t work or put us on the path to help, I would be seeking separation or divorce, and then restraining orders if necessary (that are admittedly mostly useless). I would use all of these actions as proof to my company that I was doing my due diligence to stop the situation. If that didn’t work, I wouldn’t be surprised to let go. I might even leave on my own so he would no longer know where I worked. Ultimately the responsibility for management is to the company, and the majority of the workers there. It’s not fair, and I would hope they’d be as lenient as possible, but I wouldn’t be angry. If someone else wanted to be angry in that situation though – I would not blame them.

                3. LBK

                  I’m with you, Traveler. I think people are assuming this is an abusive situation where the husband can’t do anything about it, and it seems like you and I are reading it more like he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care enough to put up a boundary. There are people like that who aren’t doing it because their spouse is an abuser – some people are just oblivious about professional boundaries or aren’t willing to set them with their spouse. To me, that’s a perfectly reasonable cause to fire someone.

                  I think the measure of this is how apologetic the husband seems to management following these incidents, and that’s something I assume the OP wouldn’t be privy to, so I guess we don’t know what the situation really is. There’s too much unknown here, and I think a lot of the arguing is stemming from opposing reads of the situation where one reading (it being an abusive relationship) makes handling the situation a lot more delicate.

                4. Traveler

                  Exactly. The answer to the question “Why hasn’t he been fired yet?” may very well be that he’s had a discussion with management about abuse or mental health issues, and they are being understanding but the other employees are not aware. I’m going to let this go at this point, but I might have to check back and see if OP ever returns.

              2. Stranger than Fiction

                Just playing devil’s advocate here. In general I’m for not firing the employee for a situation beyond his control, BUT what if his heinous behavior is what made the wife go off the rails in the first place? Just a thought.

                1. maggie

                  Still unacceptable. There are 16 other hours in the day to yell at your husband for cheating/peeing on the bed/kicking the dog, etc.

            2. insert pun here

              This is not really how domestic abuse works, though — it’s not like someone just all of a sudden has these dramatic, disruptive behaviors and you get to say, “nope, sorry, sort it out or get out of my life.” (And yes, women can absolutely be the perpetrators of domestic abuse against men, though it’s statistically much rarer than the opposite.) If this is an abusive situation (and I don’t think we know enough to say one way or the other), this is likely the mere tip of the iceberg, and the behavior has likely been escalating for months or years. Leaving an abuser can be particularly difficult for men, because many people believe men cannot be victims of domestic violence, and there are fewer resources (shelters, support groups, etc) for them to access.

              1. Traveler

                Which is again, why I said this is a completely different situation if it’s domestic abuse. But it’s a leap to assume that it is, in fact, domestic abuse. We don’t have enough context here to know, which is why I said “I have so many questions” in my original post.

                If my husband just thought it was appropriate to bust into my work and play Careless Whisper Sexy Sax Man Style in a in the lobby every other Friday, because he thinks its funny – it is problematic to my employer and might make my coworkers think he might “go crazy” and also might trigger police removal. It doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of domestic abuse though. (And yes, this is an extreme example, but I’ve had friends with husbands that when we were younger, thought pranks like this were appropriate anywhere anytime.)

            3. A Teacher

              And sometimes getting out, well, it just isn’t that easy. I’m not saying you think its easy but in order for a victim of domestic violence to leave they need an exit strategy in place and that involves having finances in place. Quitting a job would not be a move the party could make so they have to deal with crazy spouse until they can get out.

          3. Labyrinthine

            If the spouse of one of my employees is showing up acting like a danger and that employee is not taking decisive steps to show me they take this seriously and are addressing it – yea, I would hold them accountable, as well.

            1. Mike C.

              What do you mean by “taking it seriously and addressing it”? What does this look like when we are talking about a completely different adult?

          4. BananaPants

            I wonder if it’s possible that the employee’s wife has a mental health or addiction issue and going off meds/having a relapse is what prompts these incidents at the office. If that is the case, it’s certainly possible that management is aware of the background of the situation, has plans in place for if/when she comes to the office in that state, and is respecting the employee’s privacy by not announcing to the entire office exactly WHY she behaves this way.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale

          I agree with this in general, though my context for it is on a much smaller/less dire scale, if you will. My boyfriend used to come by my office once a week or once every other week– he would come meet me at 5 and hang out in my office until we left at 6. Any disruptive behavior on his part would have absolutely been my responsibility, and if someone had spoken to me about it, it would have been my job to tell him he couldn’t come anymore and to tell security not to let him in. That’s the “small scale” example of this, and it is definitely the co-worker’s responsibility to maintain his/her partner’s decorum in the office. Same with kids, if they come to the office at any point.

          However, if this is a volatile situation where you’re dealing with someone who is unstable, or there is domestic violence involved, things get trickier. Work should be a safe place, even if it has to be safe from one’s own spouse.

          I think we need A LOT more information here– does the husband welcome the wife? Does he condone her behavior? Do they get in shouting matches? Or does he beg her to leave? Does he ignore her when she comes?

          1. Sospeso

            “Work should be a safe place, even if it has to be safe from one’s own spouse.”

            Absolutely. It’s one thing to say that you “wouldn’t tolerate” behavior from your spouse that is potentially damaging to your career, but for many people in abusive situations, their options are limited. They may know their situation is untenable, but that doesn’t necessarily make the logistics of leaving/avoiding an abuser easier. There are important documents, shared property, kids or pets, and finances to deal with, for example. Worrying about having a job should not have to come into the equation.

            It’s also worth noting here that California has some new employment laws about victims of domestic violence. I am curious to see how those will be interpreted in the courts.

            1. qkate

              Yes. I would love insight from someone more versed in the laws on this than me, but it would seem like if the employee did NOT want his wife showing up at work, that would be considered harassment, and the company would be exposing themselves to legal action from the husband for harassment, no?

              Again, would love to hear from someone more familiar with the details of harassment law. (I just had a training at work and this was similar to one of the case studies discussed, except it was a customer that was obsessed with regularly harassing a food server or something, and the company was actually held liable for allowing a hostile work environment for that employee.)

              1. fposte

                Not quite sure what you’re saying–are you thinking that if the workplace banned his wife from the premises that could count as harassment? I can’t see how–it’s not based on his membership in any protected class. It’s perfectly fine to single out individual workers and/or their spouses for rewards or punishments or limitations–you don’t have apply something to everybody if you apply it to one person.

                1. Elsajeni

                  No, I think the idea is that, if the husband doesn’t want his wife coming to the workplace and bothering him and tells his employers so, they could be held responsible for allowing him to be harassed at work if they don’t take action to keep her off the premises. I don’t know how likely that actually is — for one thing, there’s the question of whether her behavior legally qualifies as harassment (since merely being a jerk doesn’t, necessarily), and although I understand and agree with the people pointing out that leaving an abuser isn’t easy and that he might already be somewhere in the separation/divorce process, I do think the legal situation might be somewhat more complicated when it’s “My wife is harassing me at work” than when it’s “A total stranger who I happen to have waited on once is coming to my work to harass me.”

                2. qkate

                  Right, Elsajeni is correctly representing what I meant to express.

                  Further clarification: I also didn’t mean to say it was _likely_ to qualify as harassment, sorry I gave that impression. I was interested to hear from someone more knowledgeable with case law to know where the line might be here. Totally right that we’d need more detail to be able to speak in anything more than hypotheticals.

          2. Traveler

            “I think we need A LOT more information here– does the husband welcome the wife? Does he condone her behavior? Do they get in shouting matches? Or does he beg her to leave? Does he ignore her when she comes”

            Yes. There is so much missing in this picture.

            1. Mike C.

              This is really, really irritating me. The letter raises many more questions than it answers.

            2. Snoskred

              I agree that too much is missing and it is difficult for us to know whether there might be legitimate workplace security concerns VS fears.

              The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker is worth a read, to work out the difference between the two.

              I also think that management need to be up front and candid with the staff with regards to what they are doing about this situation. If they are doing things to solve this but not communicating that to the workforce – that means nobody is quite sure what to do or who to go to when this lady arrives.

              Management needs to communicate with the staff, or else they will tend to think the worst.

              Staff kept in the dark always tend to skew to X person will come in with a gun and shoot us all when the actual reality is X person has Y problem that makes them loud, annoying and a distraction, we’re working on solving the issue, but X person is unlikely to cause physical harm to anyone except themselves.

              In a retail environment I worked in, there were often CCTV images posted on the walls of people with very specific instructions on what to do if you see them. Said instructions might have ranged from call the police immediately to do not accept payment type from this person (eg cheques, or when we had a run of counterfeit bank notes) right up to follow this person everywhere they go inside the store *and* make it noticeable and clear that you are watching them. Everyone was crystal clear on the procedures and what should happen if X, Y or Z was to appear.

              In the absence of information, all you get is speculation, fear, and rumour. That isn’t a fun situation for any employee to be in. :(

            3. fposte

              And it might explain why the workplace hasn’t simply banned her and instituted a call-cops-on-sight policy.

          1. Laurel Gray

            This. Again, we are missing too much context here. The employee immediately going to management and alerting them that the wife is on the premises and acting “cray-cray” is not the same as him choosing to engage with her and adding his bit of “cray-cray” into the mix. If the latter is happening, I can kind of see where the OP thinks they both pose a threat. Again, we are missing so much context.

          2. LBK

            I dunno…if management speaks to him and he refuses to even ask his wife to stop coming into the office, I think he bears some responsibility. He certainly can’t force her to stop, and I understand that, but I think some consideration has to be paid to how much he appears to be trying to mitigate the situation. If he just blatantly doesn’t understand why this is a problem (which believe it or not has happened when I’ve told employees their SOs can’t come into the workplace anymore) then it’s still his fault to an extent, whether he’s participating in the behavior at the time or not.

            1. Ted Mosby

              If he doesn’t see it as a problem, sure. But maybe he doesn’t tell her not to come because she’s violent, or mentally ill, or threatening to have his kids taken away. We were given so little context, it’s really impossible to say it’s his responsibility.

      2. Alter_ego

        My parents own a company, and when I was little, the wife of one of their employees kept using his company car to drive to the nearest city to buy drugs. She’d get high while there, then crash the car on the way home. Their insurance rates on the car were skyrocketing. After the third time, they told him if she did it again, he’d be fired. She did it again, he was fired. I don’t think its always as simple as “it’s the wife, not the employee, so you can’t blame him”. It may not be fair, but if he’s not taking steps to leave her, then he’s the reason she’s coming to the workplace, and it’s ultimately his responsibility.

        1. Dan

          I donno, depends on whether or not he left the keys where she could get to them. If I were him, I would have bought a lock box to keep the keys in.

          If she hot wired the car anyway. I’m not sure I’d blame him for it. I’d also give him a pass for reporting the car stolen if she took it.

          Even if he’s taking steps to leave her, the process could take years. That’s why I’m not a big fan of giving him a pass in that circumstance but not if they stay together. The company still had to put up with that behavior. And what if it doesn’t stop after they divorce? Do you still hold him accountable for that then because she is still there because he is? Its a slippery slope that I don’t like.

          1. Alter_ego

            I mean, like I said, I was little when it happened, so I don’t know a ton of details. And I think there’s a huge difference in whether the person is divorced, attempting to leave them, or married and planning on staying. Because divorced or attempting to leave says “I know that there’s a problem here, and I’m working on fixing it”. But the fact of the matter was that my parents could not afford to keep paying him and keep paying for massively expensive car repairs. They don’t have unlimited funds. And since he was unable to keep the car from being badly damaged, then something had to give.

            1. Artemesia

              If it were my company the employee would have lost access to the company car the first time this happened (not just had an accident but a wife who had an accident while high — both unauthorized user AND illegal behavior) This is a once only event for me. The employee would either have had to use his own car or been fired. She can’t take his car without him making the keys available either intentionally or carelessly. He is in a position to know who she is and how careful he needs to be with the keys.

        2. Judy

          When I’ve worked places with company cars, it was made very clear that the insurance only covered employees of the company with a valid drivers license.

          The managers had company cars, and the employees could borrow them if they needed to go to another site. The managers had logs that were filled out, each time, they had to put the employee id and drivers license numbers on it when they handed you the keys.

          1. Elizabeth West

            I had to borrow a company car once when I worked at an environmental remediation company–my car crapped out and my boss let me use one while it was in the shop. But they specified that ONLY the employee was allowed to drive it–I could not have had a friend or boyfriend make a run to the store in it, for example.

    3. Wander

      I feel like firing the employee because of what his wife is doing is setting a potentially terrible standard. It’s one thing if, say, he keeps buzzing her in despite being asked not to; it’s another thing if she’s doing this unprompted and unassisted. I know at my previous job, a woman in the office across the street had a stalker, which is scary and dangerous, but people would have been (rightfully) horrified if she had been fired for it. Without more info, I wouldn’t assume the employee is complicit in his wife’s behavior.

      1. Xarcady

        A woman who had been working for my last company for about 5 months was abruptly let go. We simply got an email one morning that she was no longer working for the company.

        Three years later, after I’d left the company, I found out that her new husband of two months had threatened her with coming to our office and beating her up. She told the owners of the company (small, family-owned, about 35 employees) about the threat.

        Their response was to fire her immediately.

        Well, there was no longer any threat to the company, because she wasn’t working there any more. So they accomplished what they wanted.

        But she had done nothing wrong. You could even say she did the right thing in letting the owners know about the *potential* threat. And the owners took away her job, and left her at home, with no income and therefore reduced chances of getting away from her abusive husband.

        I still feel angry about the owners’ reaction. Surely there was some step in between letting her continue to work in an office that had no security and firing her. A phone call to the police might have yielded some options.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Hopefully, we (society) will learn something here. From what I have read this is a frequent problem in spousal abuse situations. The abused spouse gets fired. Huge topic.

          1. Laurel Gray

            This. And speaking specifically about women who are victims, many lose their jobs and/or leave their abuser only to be below the poverty line. It’s even worse when they leave with children. Poverty as the option once they leave is the reason why many of them stay with the abuser. And I am saying “poverty” but I mean particularly homelessness, no money for food, resources etc.

            I would like to think that if an employee came to their employer seeking help the employer would look into a few options, the main one being getting the police involved. I can’t see how termination should fit (morally).

    4. Marzipan

      I don’t understand the jump between ‘she turns up and causes a distraction’ to ‘all of our lives are in danger’. I can see how this could be possibly the case, and maybe #2 is picking up on a real element of threat in the situation, but she hasn’t provided anything like enough information for us to be able to clearly picture that. And I absolutely don’t understand what the employee has done to warrant being lumped in as threatening – again, maybe there’s a good reason to see him in this light, but all we know is that he’s there (which, he’s supposed to be there! He works there!)

      I’m also a bit troubled by the description of the wife as someone likely to ‘go crazy’. #2, is it that her behaviour indicates she has a mental health problem, and you therefore think she’s likely to be violent? If this is your concern, then please be aware that people with mental health problems aren’t, in general, markedly likely to be violent – actually, the main links between mental health and violence are with increased risks of the unwell person being a victim of violence, not a perpetrator. Of course, if she’s turning up and saying/doing violent things, then it’s reasonable to be concerned about this; but if it’s more a case that she’s behaving in an obviously strange and unpredictable way that seems to be mental health-related and you’re worried it could lead to violence, well, there’s no particular reason this should be the case. There are a lot of stigmas about mental health, often not helped by media portrayals which can be very sensational (think how many crime shows have episodes involving a mentally ill murderer, for example) but the real-life statistics are very different.

      And, what is it that’s making #2 concerned about the employee himself? One reading of this situation would be that it’s a couple in an extremely volatile relationship having full-blown fights in your workplace; which, yes, is both inappropriate and scary. But the letter doesn’t actually say that, so I’m struggling to understand the problem. Assuming he’s not actually a violent participant in these ‘distractions’, have you tried talking to him? Not in a ‘keep your crazy wife away’ way, but in a ‘Cecil, are you OK; things seem to be tough for you at the moment?’ way? The goal of this wouldn’t be to get him to stop her turning up – I suspect he would if he could – but to gain a bit of insight into the situation, which might help you understand it better.

      1. thisisit

        oh em gee. THANK YOU. it’s really annoying how people jump to violence and mass shooting because a person shows symptoms of a mental illness.
        in fact, people WITHOUT mental illness are more likely to be violent than people with.

        It’s possible she’s violent, and he has a right to be concerned, bu I don’t think we can make that call/assumption here.

        As for the police being called – you don’t have to be violent for the police to come out on a loitering or trespassing charge (remember that guy who was going to check out the competitor’s prices and was told he was trespassing?).

        Also, we don’t know that management is not “doing something”. They haven’t done a particular something (ie, ensure she can’t come in and be a distraction), but they could be doing other somethings. If she has a mental illness, there could be a process for having her involuntarily committed that requires certain procedures to be followed. Or there could be pending legal action.

        Or there could be nothing happening and management sucks.

        From the OP’s perspective though, the only thing that matters is that whatever is going on, it is distracting and disruptive. I’d certainly collectively go to management and ask what is being done to stop this. I think it’s acceptable to ask what steps are being taken to secure the workplace/keep her off the property, etc. And if you truly feel a danger, you can call the police yourself and explain your concerns and see if they might be willing to do more than just escort her off the property.

        1. Laurel Gray

          Nothing in the employee’s short letter makes me think this wife has mental illness. We are missing so much context here but I am one of those who don’t always jump to mental illness as a possible reason when someone is acting erratic – or acting in a way that the OP perceives to be erratic.

          For all we know this is just an emotional wife (or ex or soon to be ex?) showing up at her husband’s job and bringing their personal marital issues to his place of work. This seems like a sabotage tactic between the two of them (maybe she does it in hopes that it will change or stop certain behaviors he exhibits outside of work) and so far it isn’t working. I’m just speculating here. Either way, I think a company would want to do more to stop this. It makes me assume that the OP works in a company with terrible management and the scope of their work possibly isn’t face to face client focused. How would the company explain the wife’s pop up and erratic behavior to BigShotClient who is also in the building and a witness? I’m just speculating and assuming here.

      2. LBK

        I think you’re reading way too much into it. The police have already had to be called multiple times to remove her. It is not in any way a leap to assume that might involve violent or at least belligerent behavior, because otherwise why do the police need to be involved?

        And unfortunately understanding the situation isn’t going to make it less inappropriate and detrimental to the office. Every time she busts in screaming or whatever, you can’t just send out an email that says “Please ignore Bob’s screaming wife, they’re going through some financial trouble right now so it’s totally justified.” That’s just not how offices work, sorry.

        1. Marzipan

          LW #2 hasn’t said the wife has been violent in any way, though; and while she’s clearly been doing something problematic enough for the police to have been called, equally it’s not been sufficiently problematic to end in her being incarcerated for it or otherwise legally prevented from doing whatever it is again (in spite of it happening several times over a year). So yes, I do think there’s an element of leaping involved in assuming she will be violent based on just the information we have. If there are specific reasons for #2 to fear violence, then fair enough; but she hasn’t said what those reasons are.

          Basically, though, I’m just not mad keen on the phase ‘go crazy’ – it’s sometimes used as a shorthand to refer to mental health problems, and sometimes to refer to volatile behaviours, and I don’t know which of those #2 means here. I don’t think I’m reading too much into things to ask that question.

          Right now two things are happening. The wife is periodically turning up and causing some kind of disruption – and this is definitely a real problem – and meanwhile #2 is frightened of both her and her husband. Depending on the context, understanding might help with the second part. (Or not – maybe the wife is a harpy and the husband a belligerent arse, in which case I can quite see why she wouldn’t feel any inclination to chat with him, and fair enough).

          So I agree with you that it understanding the situation wouldn’t do anything about the disruption – that does need to stop, but is probably going to be down to some combination of the police and the employer to address – but it’s possible it could reduce the fear, and that would be valuable in itself.

          1. Traveler

            “it’s not been sufficiently problematic to end in her being incarcerated for it or otherwise legally prevented from doing whatever it is again (in spite of it happening several times over a year)”

            I agree with a lot of your sentiments here – without context, there seems to be a lot of leaping. The fact that she hasn’t been incarcerated doesn’t mean that much, though. As people have pointed out elsewhere, there’s a lot you can do to make a person/people miserable that skirts the edge of legality, which is why restraining orders so often fail to protect the people that take them out.

            1. Marzipan

              True – there are definitely things that can happen for a frustratingly long time without coming to the point they can be acted upon, and that doesn’t mean they’re OK, or legal, or not problems.

        2. fposte

          But this is kind of like the coke dealer post–screaming in inappropriate locations at your spouse isn’t a gateway to mass murder, even if it might involve the police to move her out. It’s also possible, given the weak-willed response the OP describes, that nobody in management is willing to boot her and they call the cops rather than telling her to get out themselves; calling the cops may mean as much about what the office is prepared to deal with itself as about the wife’s behavior.

          But, as several of us have noted, we just don’t have enough information to make a call on this one. Hopefully one of our projected scenarios is close enough to what the OP is experiencing to be helpful.

          1. LBK

            Oh, I’m not on board with the mass murderer leap either, sorry if that was the implication. All I’m saying is that it’s not unreasonable to assume she’ll exhibit highly disruptive/objectionable behavior because she already has, multiple times. It’s unrelated to trying to diagnose her with a mental disorder or come up with respective assumptions about her tendency towards violence. I’m solely drawing this conclusion based on the trend of her activity.

      3. Artemesia

        She has been removed from the office by police multiple times. If that is all we know, we know that this is an intolerable situation for other employees. I don’t want to ‘understand’ poor Cecil’s situation beyond making sure security is handling this; I don’t want to be endangered by someone who repeatedly comes to my office after being escorted out by police.

    5. Jader

      As some others have pointed out, firing an employee because of the actions of his wife would be completely off base. Of course the letter is quite cryptic and there are situations in which that may be warranted (they get into mutually physical alterations etc) but generally speaking someone with a threatening spouse is not a firing worthy offense. And seeing as the LW says only the wife is escorted off the premises by police I’m going to assume this is one-sided.
      If the fellow employee was a woman in an abusive relationship whose husband harassed her at work, would we say she should be fired? If it was a woman with a disruptive stalker, should she be fired? Of course not. Likewise, you can’t fire an employee for “failure to control his woman”.

      1. Traveler

        If you read the letter OP #2 states flat out that the employee and his wife are a threat to the office. We take LWs at their word here, so I am making the assumption that OP has a reason to feel they’re both a threat even if the employee is not being removed my police. Presumably that is because the employee works there, and usually once you’re removed by police, that’s the end of your job.

        As I said above, it’s a totally different story if this man is being abused and needs help intervening with his wife, or needs assistance getting her the psychiatric help she needs. I absolutely have sympathy for that – and that may very well be the reason the employee hasn’t been fired. It’s why I asked. If this is just run of the mill lack of boundaries as we have seen in multiple letters here, then at some point the only way to remove the wife is to also remove the husband if a reasonable solution to the situation can’t be reached. A company can’t put the rest of to workers well-being and the company’s productivity at risk for years because an employee’s spouse has a serious lack of boundaries.

        I don’t care about the gender, and I’m not implying anything sexist here.

        1. Mike C.

          The OP believes the employee is a threat, but hasn’t stated anything to support that statement.

          1. Laurel Gray

            Agree. I am almost surprised Alison printed this letter without asking the OP for more context. I think context can and would significantly change the reactions and advice.

              1. Marzipan

                Triple agreed. This letter is open to a huge range of possible interpretations, largely because there’s so little detail. Without knowing more, we’re all just guessing and wondering.

        2. Ultraviolet

          I don’t think people are refusing to take the OP at their word when they question what threat/disturbance the employee poses. They’re just wondering which interpretation of the OP’s words are correct–is the employee doing something disruptive that the OP just doesn’t describe, or is the employee causing a problem just by being the reason the disruptive person comes? Either situation could plausibly be what the OP meant to convey.

  4. Stephanie

    #5: Quora is a fascinating time-suck. For the most part, I’ve found the answers to be higher quality than Yahoo Answers. I don’t hire, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but that could be an interesting mention in a cover letter or resume.

    Software people, isn’t this kind of like Stack Overflow or similar boards? Isn’t that supposedly viewed favorably? (I’m honestly clueless, but I thought that that could be viewed favorably.)

    1. Anonsie

      I may not be in the loop of people who do use Quora extensively but I don’t think it’s well known enough for it to mean much one a resume yet.

      1. Sospeso

        I agree. I love Quora, but I only learned about it in the last half year or so. I might link it on my LinkedIn profile (where an interviewer would have the opportunity to click through the OP’s answers and learn more about the site generally on their own time), but I wouldn’t put it on my resume/CV.

        1. Michele

          I can see putting it on LinkedIn, but I would never put it on a resume. Part of that might be because of the field that I am in. We do a lot of literature searches, and if people don’t know the difference between a peer-reviewed article and something like Wikipedia, that creates problems.
          If I saw Quora on a resume, that would indicate 2 things. First, the person doesn’t understand legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific publications. Second, they are proud of wasting time on line.

          1. Anonicorn

            I agree with everything except the wasting time part. Answering questions and being involved in a site like that can help strengthen your own knowledge and skills.

          2. Us, Too

            +1 on the not getting legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific publications. Which in the science world is what science is: peer-reviewed.

            1. Cath in Canada

              I’m not really seeing why this follows? I use Quora, I’ve thought about putting it on my CV, and I understand the difference between that and peer-reviewed scientific publications perfectly well, thank you. I’ve even written published a few of the latter myself ;)

              I also sometimes cite peer-reviewed scientific publications IN my Quora answers. Many of my answers are attempts to explain complicated scientific phenomena to a lay audience. I think that’s valuable, and far from a waste of time.

              1. Zillah

                Yeah, I’m not getting that parallel, either. Peer-reviewed scientific publications are obviously hugely important in the broader perspective of the field, but it’s not like you create one every time you talk about science.

          3. Marcela

            I have to confess I see red when somebody says something like that. The first question in my mind (they are rethorical ones, I’m not trying to start a fight :D) is “why would you think answering questions in internet is a waste of time?”. In my job, software development, we spend many ours in Stack Overflow or Quora (although Quora is more for planning and general questions, not really for examples). Without the generosity of those developers, we would need to spend more time in many things already resolved. Of course, the field is different, but if out there there is somebody with a question that you can answer, why is a waste of time answering? And even more, if the timestamp of my questions shows I’m not answering them in my working hours, then there is even less reasons to worry I’m wasting time. Only my grandmother used to complain I wasted time reading: for everybody else, as long as I would finish my work, what I did was nobody’s business.

            Th second rhetorical question is “do you truly believe is easy to answer questions?”. You need to be very precise, clear, concise, knowledgeable. It’s very easy to assert the level of knowledge and communication skills from a history of questions and the reputation of the user. Once I worked as a professional blogger and in one year and a half, my writing style changed completely to being clearer, shorter and more direct.

            And finally, well, the fact that somebody write in Quora or similar doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to use the right tools, the same way as wearing yoga pants at home doesn’t necessarily mean she don’t know how to dress in the office. They are just different tools.

          4. Chris B

            This is just silly. Someone working in academia or research intensive fields puts all kinds of things on a resume or CV that are not peer reviewed publications. This might include invited talks, book reviews, or entries in reference books that are edited by not peer-reviewed. That doesn’t mean they’re confused about peer reviewed publications. I think that a quick note about Quora would be appropriate. It shows a dedication to and knowledge of the field. It’s also show that you’re able to communicate details of your profession to a wider audience, which is a useful skill in most technical or academic fields. I’ve been on several search committees for tenure track positions within the last few years, and I would be interested to see this. I haven’t seen it yet.

            1. potato battery

              Yes, I think it would fit nicely into the “service to the profession” section on a CV.

      2. LawBee

        fwiw, I’ve never heard of it. It wouldn’t be a negative on a resume, but I’d definitely ask about it in an interview – so OP, just don’t say “it’s like Yahoo Answers!” :D

        1. jamlady

          haha same here – never heard of it (though I’m about to head over there and check it out). Assuming a hiring manager would do the same, just make sure the site itself looks professional and not like Yahoo Answers and then have a good answer if/when asked about it in an interview.

    2. De (Germany)

      Stackoverflow is definitely seen favorable. Also, there’s lots of similar sites for different topics, called Stackexchange. If you are active on one that’s related to your job (there’s Stackexchange sites for Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, History, etc.), I’d definitely mention it.

      1. ThursdaysGeek

        Yes, the Stackexchange sites are a plus, at least for tech. Plus, you only have to give your username* and the hiring manager can look it up. It looks like they would have to sign up with Quora before they could find out anything about you, so that’s of less use.

        *Although I’m not sure how you prove you are who you are. Can I claim to be Jon Skeet?

    3. LBK

      I think stackexchange has a reputation within the tech industry that I’m not sure Quora carries. If you’re interviewing for a tech job you can reasonably assume your manager will know about stackexchange and will probably have used it; I doubt that’s the case for any industry with Quora, so it’s more risky that your manager won’t see it like Yahoo Answers, as Alison says (to be honest I kind of thought they were the same thing too, I didn’t know Quora was more reputable).

    4. MashaKasha

      StackOverflow is definitely viewed favorably. I confess I’ve never heard of Quora. Just looked it up and it appears to be a general information-type site, as opposed to StackOverflow?

    5. Us, Too

      I’d never heard of Quora so I just visited it for the first time. I picked a random subject that I had some interest in (Anthropology, which I have a minor in) and the first question that came up was “Are we better off now, or are things getting worse?” That is a ridiculous and non-science question, obviously, and not actually related to anthropology as far as I can tell. Granted, other questions are better, but this didn’t give a great first impression. Given that I suspect Quora isn’t that well-known and that interviewers may do the same thing I just did, I wouldn’t put this on a resume because I wouldn’t think strongly of a candidate who gave much weight to this site given the 2 minute perusal I’ve given it.

    6. Connie-Lynne

      I would not put Quora links on a resume, because it often expects you to sign up or give personal information to see everything linked to. It’s basically crowd sourced linkbait.

      I’d not want to chance annoying a potential employer that way.

    7. EarlGrey

      Quora also makes you sign up / log in to read answers, doesn’t it? I would be pretty turned off by having to take those steps to see an answer, especially if I were unfamiliar with the site and its reputation for quality to begin with.

      I’d consider it worth mentioning in a cover letter or using it as a writing sample, if one is asked for, as an example of “I’m skilled in communicating my field to people outside my field.” But trying to follow a link and getting stuck at a login screen would frustrate me.

      1. Marcela

        Yes, you are forced to login even to read answers. I hate that. I think in the past answers were obscured so you could no read them. Now they are just in a light gray font, so it’s possible to scroll to move the login window and you can actually read some answers.

    8. Mephyle

      Quora is in a class by itself – not infrequently you see questions like “How did X start his [important thing he did]?” or “What’s it like to work with X?” and X, who is world-famous in his or her area, comes on board to answer. But someone who doesn’t know Quora will think it’s just like the other QA boards.

    9. Elizabeth West

      They generally are, but some of the questions are so stupid I don’t know why anyone bothers answering them.

      I enjoy Yahoo answers–they’re entertaining in their ridiculousness.

    10. just another techie

      I have such a negative impression of Quora, in large part because my only experience with it is when questions like “Is Famous Ivy League School a ripoff?” or “Can I charge students at Famous School more for weed than at Nearby State School?” get passed around on LinkedIn groups or email lists I’m on. And inevitably the “discourse” on those questions descends into the worst kind of internet flaming.

    11. Cath in Canada

      I love Quora! I figure if Obama can use it to promote the ACA, and A list actors and writers can use it to promote their work, other people should be able to use it to promote themselves, too. However, I haven’t quite figured out how best to do this yet.

      My Quora activity isn’t on my CV or LinkedIn profile (yet), largely because I can’t seem to resist answering questions about GoT, cats, and other silly stuff amidst all my more professional answers about science and grant writing. I do have a category on my personal site (linked from my name) where I compile selected answers, but I haven’t quite figured out how to present this content in a more professional way yet. Looking forward to reading everyone else’s answers!

      One option might be to include it in your cover letter as an example of how you share your SME knowledge with others?

    12. mirror

      Chiming in to say I’ve known about Quora for years. I’d say it is way WAY better than Yahoo Answers. It’s like comparing Gucci to Old Navy. Yeah, some Old Navy shoppers will visit Gucci for fun and curiosity and maybe a birthday present, but for the most part Gucci caters to the higher end folks (I have nothing against either store, just an example folks!).

      I’d say if you work in the web-tech field (I’m thinking facebook, google, uber, twitter, etc) or social media it would work to point to some of your high-end answers.

      1. Connie-Lynne

        I work for a major company in that field and just, no. People in tech are super-sensitive to being asked to sign in, give an email address, etc just to see content. That’s why Quora is such a big turn-off.

  5. ElinR

    RE: #5,

    I am only just barely a manager (first direct report starting in a couple weeks, woo!). I would find it an interesting thing to note and might peruse the answers after I was already interested in a candidate.

    I’m guessing it is going to be highly dependent on location/industry. Most of the people I know of or see on there are related to technology, so if whoever you’re applying to isn’t in the tech sector I would be more wary.

  6. Jerry Vandesic

    #3 – Just TELL him when you are taking vacation. Don’t ask. Send an email when you know the dates, and let him know.

    1. misspiggy

      I’d modify that to stating in your email that unless he lets you know to the contrary by x date, you will be taking leave on y dates. And explaining the same to him verbally. If he then causes problems after your deadline, go above his head.

    2. Matt

      The problem here is that usually a person’s manager has to *approve* vacation. You can’t just tell your boss you go on vacation, he has to approve it. And if you book a holiday/flight/hotel, and then your boss tells you “but I haven’t approved it”, you can stick your travel plans with all the cancelling costs where the sun don’t shine.

      For me it sounds like OP’s manager seems quite uncomfortable approving vacations some time ahead when he has not made his plans for this time period himself and wants to keep his own options open. However, it’s ridiculous that you, as you correctly state, cannot make any long-term planning for your own.

      1. hbc

        But “approve” can mean many things. Sure, I can shoot down an employee’s vacation, but we don’t have some kind of system here that would give an official lock on those dates. If I didn’t get back to someone, it’s because there was nothing in the way and I forgot about it.

        I wouldn’t recommend trying this method with plane tickets and a cruise on the line, but it’d be interesting to see what happens if he’s clearly told that failing to respond will be interpreted as a yes. Is he actively blocking her vacation, or does he just not like having to give an answer?

        1. Kyrielle

          At our company, that’d be a violation – we have a formal request/approval system, and it’s not real until your manager approves it.

        2. Koko

          Yeah, the process can vary a lot. My company is informal – although my manager has to “approve” my vacation, it’s actually more that she verifies that I truthfully reported my vacation than it is that she tells me whether I can take it or not. On our old payroll system we submitted days every 2 weeks for the prior 2 weeks, so you were reporting vacation you’d already taken and your manager had to approve the accuracy of your 2-week timesheets. On our new system you can submit dates before or after you take them and the only real deadline I suppose is the end of the fiscal year unless your manager is nagging you to report the leave sooner (which they should be doing, ideally, but there’s no actual penalty for reporting vacation a month after you took it as long as your manager agrees with the number of days you reported when you send it over).

          When I was a younger employee with a lot more supervision I more often asked, “Would it be alright if I took the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day off?” Now that I’m more mid/senior level, and I’m generally expected to manage my own workload with less supervision, I just email my boss and coworkers to let them know, “I’ll be taking the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day off, so if you’ll need anything from me those days please get it to me by Tuesday COB at the latest.” I have appropriate judgment and wouldn’t request any days that required me to miss any important meetings or other events unless there was no other alternative, and I’m trusted to make sure my work gets done, so my manager would never have any reason to turn down my request.

      2. Stranger than Fiction

        True. The manager needs to approve it. This may sound risky, but I’d put in my request, book the vacay, then say, if he still hasn’t approved a few weeks before the vacay is supposed to happen, ask him. If he hem-haws still, after she’s spent all this $ on airfare, etc., THEN go to his boss and be like, ‘Hey I put in this request in the proper amount of time and Bob isn’t giving me an answer for some reason, can you please approve this so I’m not out all the cancellation fees?’ or something like that.

    3. TeapotCounsel

      Concur with the “tell.”
      Send this by email:
      “Boss, I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking vacation on Friday, [date]. If don’t hear differently from you by [two days from now], I’ll assume this is okay and will purchase my plane tickets. Thanks!”

      I would *not* follow-up verbally. It just gives boss an easy opportunity to deny. Go with the email.

      1. Meg Murry

        Or you could try to be polite and start with the “ask” and if that doesn’t work, go to the “tell”.

        First message:
        Boss, I would like to take a vacation on Friday, [date]. Please let me know if this is ok by [1 week from today] so I can make my plans.

        When he doesn’t, respond after 1 week, forward the message with the following.
        Boss, I haven’t heard back from you about my vacation request for [date]. Unless I hear from you by tomorrow, I’m going to assume it is approved and make plans to be out of town. Thanks.

        That way you at least tried to ask.

        If you are sharing a physical office space, you could also put up a calendar on the wall, and write in all the important dates, like first day of the semester, add/drop (if that’s relevant) and other days the office will be closed. Then you could start adding those vacation days as well, once you’ve submitted your “approval” requests.

        Last – you mentioned coverage was important, and the GAs work 20 hours a week. Do you schedule them, does your boss, or do they set their own hours? If it’s not stepping on your boss’s toes and you are only planning for a day or two, could you ask the GAs to cover the office on the days you are out, so the boss can’t come back and say “no, you can’t go on vacation because I need that day off and we can’t close the office.”

    4. Cordelia Naismith

      Anyone who did that at my workplace would get fired. There’s a process you have to follow — a form that has to be filled out and signed by you and your supervisor and filed with HR before you can get the time off.

      1. jag

        Not at mine. Some of us are fortuante that way and get a lot of flexibility. It’s a great benefit.

      2. Ted Mosby

        It sounds like this workplace is way more disorganized than the average though. If they had a real system in place you would think this wouldn’t be happening.

    5. Oryx

      This is definitely a YMMV situation.

      My previous manager very much had to approve everything in advance, often in writing.
      My current manager (same position, I just got switched) is totally okay with me just telling him. I’ve always had to get approval, for all jobs I had, that just telling him is still a little weird to me.

    6. Vicki

      In some companies / manger-employee relationships, it’s either custom or a requirement that one ask.

      That said, I’ve always worked in companies whee one tells (like Jerry). When I was new to the work force, I had managers say “Vicki, just make sure your work is up to data and notify me. You don;t need my permission to take vacation time.”

  7. Brett

    #5 I’m not sure what to think of Quora, but I’ve been able to build up a lot of industry reputation on StackExchange. At minimum, I’ve had people from other continents buy me beers at conferences because of my StackExchange answers :)
    Correspondingly, if I saw on someone’s resume that they were a strong StackExchange contributor for our industry, I would find that to be a major plus. Realistically, I know who the strong contributors are, so I would only need to connect their handle with their real life name for that to be helpful.
    I would look at this similar to providing your github username. If you provide your github username, I am going to go look at your repos and contributions (and would not need more than your username). Same thing would work for StackExchange and probably Quora.

  8. Same

    #4 – it is a bit odd that the contractors who you are being paid by are also your co-workers. That’s not a contracting arrangement I’ve ever seen. I mean, not much you can do about it and arguably its not “unfair” but it does seem quite unusual. If I were you, when your contact comes up for renewal, and assuming you haven’t signed anything to the contrary, I’d try to re-negotiate a new rate between what you are paid and what they are paid for your work – cut out the middle person and you and the company both win.

    1. Apollo Warbucks

      It doesn’t seem to unusual to me. I’ve seen this type of things loads in the UK. I worked for a staffing agency that charged the compamy more than they paid me, the difference was because the staffing agency were responsible for my benefits as well as recruitment, payroll and other additional costs of employment. If the agency weren’t paying the costs then the employer would have been so it’s not as straight forward as say the employee would be better off going direct to the employeet to negotiate a higher salary.

      1. Same here

        Thats not what I find unusual – staffing agencies of course charge a margin. What is weird to me is that the “agency” in this case is actually working with you. Your colleague is paying you. That is odd.

        An external staffing agency is completely normal. This arrangement – I’ve never seen it, in nearly 20 years of working in companies with many contractors, and my husband having been a contractor for 10 years.

        1. Merry and Bright

          This was my thought too. I have done a lot of temping and contracting through agencies but I have never come across quite this arrangenent.

            1. M-C

              +1
              It’s not necessarily in your best interest, but if that’s the way you found the job then it’s the way it is. At least it sounds like the OP is getting actually paid, which is better than some of the subcontracting stories I’ve heard :-(.

        2. Judy

          I’ve certainly worked with contractors that had their own company, so they were handling the paperwork and “paying” themselves as W2 employees. One or two of them had several other engineers working through their company.

        3. Beezus

          My husband has done this. He does graphic design work on the side under an LLC, and has only one client. His client installs highly efficient HVAC systems with an electronic touch screen interface, and he does the end-user-specific graphics for the interface (floorplans showing placement of the equipment with system performance displays and maintenance alerts). He submits estimates based on a $30/hour rate for his work, but his client charges the end user around $50/hour for his line item on the overall project estimate. He has a couple of former classmates who will do sub-subcontract work for him, when the client has more work than he can handle alone. He generally pays them $25/hour, and he doesn’t take a big enough cut IMO. He’s doing the same work that they’re doing, but he’s also:
          -meeting with and fielding calls from the client
          -training them on the client’s proprietary software…the artwork has to be linked up to display correctly on the interface, and it’s not something they would have learned elsewhere
          -floating the difference between paying his guys when a job is complete, and the client’s 30 day payment terms
          -dealing with invoicing and billing and taxes and accounting and other admin stuff

          I guess his friends could reach out to his client about doing contract artwork directly for them, but they’d burn a bridge with my husband if they tried, there is 0% chance he wouldn’t hear about it. My husband has a rock solid relationship with them, he’s good and he’s fast and he’s reliable and they’ve been burned with other contractors before. I don’t think there’s enough room in the rate to cut it enough that the client would be willing to take a risk on switching 100% to someone new, and the artwork is a small piece of the overall project the client is delivering to the end user, so I don’t think they want to deal with the complexity of multiple artwork providers.

          TL;DR – there might be a lot of administrative costs that make up the gap between the contract rate and the subcontract rate, and trying to undercut the contractor by going to the client directly might not be the best course of action and might result in losing the subcontract work opportunity – that’s reaallllly situation specific.

    2. thisisit

      I was actually just talking to an org about this arrangement. I have an LLC, a former co-worker wanted to do contract work but couldn’t be taken on as a contractor, so they wanted to hire me and take her on to do the work. Since I have to pay my accountant to do my taxes for my LLC (and the fees to even have an LLC), and I’m taking the time to do the contracting paperwork (and taking on the responsibility for the work product), it seems only fair I get paid a little bit too. But we would essentially be doing the same work for different projects.

    3. IT Kat

      I’ve seen it plenty of times, myself. It sounds like a subcontracting agreement, and the additional ‘fee’ they are getting is for having found you, and hooked you up with a job.

      That said, usually when I’ve seen that situation, it’s been where you were a W2 employee of the subcontractor. I’m not sure if that is the case here. Even if it’s not, I don’t see anything shady about it – think of it as their ‘finder’s fee’. (And I have seen exactly this situation before in the past, at my consulting company.)

      If they don’t have a written contract that prohibits it, the LW could always do as suggested – reach out to the company directly as suggested. Just keep in mind that may burn bridges with your coworkers.

    4. Stranger than Fiction

      yeah, would Op be considered a sub-contractor in this scenario? don’t know much about this.

  9. snuck

    #2

    This sort of situation is rarely easy to resolve. All the restraining orders in the world are only just paper often, the person being stalked/harrassed is already losing so many parts of their own life that losing their job over this might be not palatable to the employer (who might actually be sympathetic to the employee).

    How do you keep the harraser out of the workplace? Is the work place a large scale public space (retail, hospitality etc in large shopping centres etc?) or a medium public access (specialised workshops like mechanics or road front individual stores) or limited public access (dentists office or similar with appointments and a reception) or a semi secure environment (like a corporate office where people generally don’t meet with the public) or a very secure environment (like a place with a receptionist in front of locked doors, or a security desk downstairs signing people in before they enter a building).

    In all of these scenarios a determined harrasser will still get in (I speak from experience), maybe pretending to be a courier or a flower delivery person, guile and sweet talk through the front person, make appointments under a pseudonym, just walk through the doors like they have a right to be there etc.

    So the issue then comes down to managing the harrasser. Because it’s clear the employee being harrassed can’t stop them. Workplaces can help with this – they can help their employee sit away from doors and windows where they are visible to people entering the premesis, they can put in place telephone call screening, take out restraining orders or trespassing orders (look at local laws re this) against aggressors, have the employee use an alternate name for public facing work, move the employee to another location for a period of time while the situation settles down, place security swipe cards or similar and self closing locks on alternate entrances (and remind staff not to let anyone else in through these entrances) etc.

    It’s not always a harrasser that’s your security concern. I’ve had the situation where we had an off site call centre and a deranged member of the public stalked outside for about 20mins (until police arrived) with a knife scratching the glass walls… normally we left that door open (against policy) but a staff member coming in saw her pull a knife out so slammed the door shut. Randomness… Another time a customer sent a ‘thankyou’ bunch of flowers to a staff member in a call centre… except it wasn’t thankyou, it was to identify the staff member to attack them on the way home – the policy we had was gifts had to be left in the office, thankfully this staff member agreed, but we found him lurking in our (supposedly) secure foyer and police got the story out of him – he was looking for his “girlfriend who he sent flower too” – shudder. Security. It’s pretty full on.

    What about the employee? What can they do? Obviously work from their side of it – restraining orders, don’t share information with other parties, stop engaging the aggressor in ANY way, refer all contacts to the police etc, build the case for the stalking charges. But sacking the employee is a difficult decision to make, often these victims have been subjected to isolation and separation on many levels, work might be the one stable thing they have left. Sacking them could lead to homelessness, career stalling etc and it’s not even entirely the employee’s fault.

    If this was a member of the public harrassing the employee this way what do you do then? That’s what you do for this person, you protect them as best you can as you would from a nutty public stalker.

    1. Snoskred

      “Another time a customer sent a ‘thankyou’ bunch of flowers to a staff member in a call centre… except it wasn’t thankyou, it was to identify the staff member to attack them on the way home ”

      My experience has been that happens somewhat regularly in call centres, I’ve worked in call centres for nearly 20 years now and this situation has happened at multiple workplaces. Not necessarily always done in order to attack the staff member, but to identify who they spoke to.

      In later years it has become the done thing that none of us would ever give out our last names at all, for safety and security reasons. I think that is a good way to go in most cases, though I can think of situations where it might not be an optimal choice.. eg if you were a travel agent, sales, that kind of thing

      1. Traveler

        We always had made up names and the location of our call center was secret for this reason. It was jarring when I moved from call centers into more corporate jobs and they wanted me to slap my name and face all over everything. I think this is also where my reservations about LinkedIn come from.

        1. Koko

          Another former call center rep from a place where everyone used fake names for safety reasons. I had a whole character I built around my fake name, actually, to make it a little more fun.

          1. Traveler

            That’s fantastic! I mostly do not miss the call center days, though there was some nostalgia to it being socially acceptable to come to work in PJs and read a book between calls.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger

          We had someone show up at the front desk and ask for one of our phone staffers by name. She had only given her first name, but he specified her role, so the receptionist knew who he meant. I’m glad that our receptionist knew better than to send him to our offices, though, and called us. (We’re on a different floor than the front desk, but still.) After that we started using first names that began with the same letter or sound, but were different (Mike/Mark, Nancy/Nell) to help co-workers remember which name to use for whom. This worked because there were only a handful of us, it wouldn’t work as well with a large call center.

          We’re a government office, so our location is public, although being on a different floor than the main desk helps.

          1. Traveler

            Our doors also had key passes and we were not allowed to let anyone in, not even someone we knew or another worker on penalty of being fired. And you had to get through multiple key pass doors to get on the floor.

            It seemed so overboard when I first started, but then, I had my life threatened on more than one occasion doing call center work. I was always thankful for multiple forms of anonymity and protection.

        3. Elizabeth West

          I never assume that any CSR I’m speaking to is using their real name. Last night, I spoke to someone with DirecTV called LaQuita (sp?). I thought it was a pretty name and said so and she thanked me. Even if it wasn’t her actual name, I still liked it!

        4. Stranger than Fiction

          Wow, that is interesting. I always wondered why they seem taken aback when I ask where I’m calling. (I sometimes ask, so I don’t unknowingly make comments that only apply to my area)

      2. BananaPants

        My husband worked in a large call center (all inbound customer service) and it was a discipline-worthy offense for a CSR to give a customer their full name. They were allowed to tell the state the center was located in, if the customer asked.

        He had some truly insane customer service experiences there. Much screaming, so many expletives.

      3. snuck

        Yeah, the flowers thing isn’t unusual, but for those who don’t work in call centres (and aren’t of a particular mindset) this sort of deviousness might be a surprise. A box of chocolates doesn’t cut it because they get shared around the office, a bunch of flowers can’t be hidden in a handbag, and delivery on a Friday means that someone often takes them home rather than see them ‘wasted’ in the office over the weekend. Some people are this ‘thoughtful’ about their tactics. And it’s rarely for nice reasons… even if it’s a genuine thankyou then loitering in the (supposedly locked – you needed a swipe key to get in, but it was an 8 storey building with each floor a different business unit who had no idea what went on on the other floors) foyer is weird and not normal.

        We also allowed no surnames, use of pseudonym first names, encouraged giving out employee ID numbers (all systems access tracked by these, corporate standard, even through to phone number lookups) but team managers had to give out a full name (a registered pseudonym was ok). Call centre locations were supposed to be secret but this was a specialist centre that didn’t have multiple locations performing the same task, and had a post bag listed to the nearest mail centre, so was trackable to within a couple of blocks… then you just had to narrow down the three possible buildings… and all the local delivery people knew where we were… even the florists, coffee deliveries, catering etc… 150 staff generate a fair chunk of traffic.

    2. Apollo Warbucks

      I agree that this sort of situation is very hard to resolve but just because it’s difficult is no reason not to do something about.

      I also think that there are very simple steps the company can take to negate the impact it is having on their business, tell her formally that she is no longer welcome to enter the premisses and then take the when she next turns up call the police and have them press charges. If she doesn’t want to listen to reason then she needs to be made to.

      1. snuck

        Absolutely… there’s LOTS of things the company should be doing…

        Trespassing her for being on site – call the cops every time and get her removed and tresspassed. Restraining order… between these two things it should be covered.

        Why does she come? What sort of disruption does she cause? Does she come because she’s drunk/high and angry and can’t control herself? Or is it a deliberate sober act? (because if it’s the former can husband have ‘high security days’ vs ‘day to day business days’ and work in a different site on the days that are high risk because he knows his ex?wife?whatever? is deteriorating) Is she trying to get him sacked? (and if so then what legal recourse does HE have? Defamation? Harrassment? What is he doing – he needs to talk with management – not the whole office – on this), can you move him to another office or location or job role etc.

        Most people when confronted by the police for even “dropping off the mail” at the office would make other arrangements.

        If management isn’t taking this action then talk to them, ask them to and offer suggestions, maybe management has no idea how to handle it. Ask management what YOU (the OP) can do to help – is it helpful to have reception ring police immediately on arrival of this person, but another person as back up in case this woman strikes when reception is busy, is it helpful to have someone who can see the front doors be able to tell husband so he dashes out the back door (and therefore no confrontation possible). How can you help.

        If you genuinely believe the woman could get nasty with a gun or equivalent then talk to your manager, and ask your local police what your options are, but you want to have more than a hunch, or to not like what she does. It’s rare for this sort of thing to go there, even if the media wants to pretend it’s a common occurence.

    3. Ella

      While I know we’ve all heard stories of stalkers and harassers “walking through” restraining orders, I think that’s less likely to happen in a workplace. Most harassers pick their time and place (like when their target is alone), and they choose an environment like the home where they know the layout and can control for more factors. In an office setting, there’s more people and more security and a greater likelihood of police. We are a long, long way from being able to characterize the employees wife as someone who would storm the office with weapons.

      Harassers/stalkers are different from people who are just plain disruptive and think the rules don’t apply to them. I deal with this second sort all the time at my work (a public library in a downtown area). When we ban people for, say, watching porn (or even something combative, like getting in a fight with another customer, which has happened), 9 times out of 10 they respect the ban. If they don’t, usually there’s some nonsense to the effect of, “you can’t ban me! It’s a public building!” The first time the cops pick them up for trespassing they are quickly disabused of this notion.

      There are some people who will do what they want without regard to consequences. But the vast majority of people and just garden-variety dumb, and will curtail their behavior once they experience consequences. I bet that if this woman gets arrested (not just escorted away by the police, but ARRESTED), she will absolutely stop showing up.

      1. snuck

        Nothing like a mug shot and a bad hair day to remind people how crazy they are being!

        And if she’s in a battle of some kind with hubby then this sort of legal repercussion reflects badly on her.

        I am left wondering (and hope the OP tells us) what the story is between the hubby and the wife, if they are separated, maybe wife is mentally ill, etc. All of that plays a big bearing on the perception of the problem and possibly the management.

    4. catsAreCool

      If you’re the employer, start by making sure all but the front door are locked at all times, remind employees not to let anyone tailgate someone to get in a door. Maybe hire a guard if you need one.

    1. fposte

      Workplace violence training is the last resort–it’s what to do if it’s too late for prevention. If you’re using the training, the situation is by definition unsafe. The OP is hoping for prevention before it gets to the really unsafe stage.

    2. Elizabeth West

      That’s a great video, but it’s not clear from the letter (argh) whether it’s warranted or not. The wife could be doing no more than yelling or crying. Without more information, we’re all just assuming.

    3. Artemesia

      Makes me nostalgic for the ‘duck and cover’ training of my youth and I suspect about as effective as the newspaper to ward off the flash from the H-Bomb.

  10. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    3. My boss takes weeks to approve my vacation requests

    Can I just say that my pet peeve in life (at the moment!) is people who cause delays by not making simple decisions quickly? Yes/no, not hard, let everybody move onto the next thing please. I don’t know where they get all that time in their world to dilly dally over simple stuff.

    (Ask me how my week is going. :p)

    1. thisisit

      i so feel your pain. my husband’s family can’t make decisions, never plan, etc. everything has to be so long and drawn out. i’m a satisficer. as long as it’s not an obviously wrong choice, i’m fine with it!

    2. Sandy

      I once waited SEVEN MONTHS for my boss to approve my vacation request.

      It was a huge, important landmark trip, and he eventually approved it on the Friday night before my Sunday flight.

      1. Partly Cloudy

        That’s insane. I assume you had booked the flight well before the actual approval?

        What steps did you take to try to get an answer sooner?

        In general, it’s so disrespectful to hold up another person’s plans/life like that.

        1. Sandy

          I sent emails, I sent formal requests through the leave management system, I reminded him in person… It was ridiculous.

          Ultimately it came down to the fact that I kept a long paper trail of every time I had raised he subject, so if he ever tried to fight me on it, I could say “hey, I tried”.

          And I bought a refundable plane ticket just in case. Cost me a pretty penny, but he was just unpredictable enough…

    3. Sospeso

      Yes! So frustrating! (I am guessing your week has also been frustrating?)

      I think that, broadly speaking, a large part of moving up the ladder in most industries is becoming a better decision-maker, mostly because you’re responsible for making more decisions. If you delay the simple decisions, what does that say about how you handle the more complex ones?

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        I’m hardly running a global empire, but I make so many decisions during the day. Sure you can sit around and navel gaze and wonder and put off on anything I guess but it triples your workload if you have to keep coming back to something later to decide, right?

        Yes/no, on/off, black/white << most decisions can go like that, they really can.

        Yeah, I'm dealing with the after affects of PTB that isn't me putting off just pulling the trigger on something that needed to be done 6 months ago. It's a really PITA now and they will end up taking the exact same original action that should have been greenlighted then.

        1. fposte

          I think one advantage of the decision bulk is that you’ve experienced how survivable giving the “wrong” answer usually is. There just isn’t likely to be ROI on time spent agonizing over most workplace decisions.

          1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

            That’s very true.

            “Titus Andromedon wants to come in during a time we have said no supplier supplier visits. The reason is X. Do you want me to schedule him or not?”

            That’s a 15 second decision. Yes or no both have mild consequences, who can say which is worse, pick one.

            “I’d like to schedule week X for vacation. My coverage plans are Y.” the only reason that’s not a 10 second decision is if there is some outside or unknown factor, in which case all you have to do is throw it back to the requesting person to check the factor. “That will be fine if Other Dept doesn’t have anybody out that week either. Check on that and let me know.” or “Make sure you days accrued. Check with HR and let me know.”

            It’s not hard to bang out most decisions super fast as long as you don’t let yourself have a pending file. (I save my pending for pathway decisions – should we reboot our social media campaign, does it make sense to increase our advertising budget 50%, etc. I can take awhile with those.)

            1. Zatchmort

              I’m pretty sure if someone named “Titus Andromedon” wanted to visit my 15-second answer would be yes, just so I could meet them. They sound interesting. :D

      2. Artemesia

        This is also one of those skills to showcase on a resume. My daughter makes decisions quickly and effectively and has dramatically improved productivity in her unit since she became manager since her predecessors spent a lot of time dithering and procrastinating. Many organizations would hugely benefit from decisiveness — often a less than perfect decision beats no decision. It is a good thing to incorporate in the cover letter and to quantify in the achievements on the resume — look at things that are more efficiently done due to this trait.

    4. Judy

      I guess it’s a good thing that my biggest frustration with my boss is his reply to vacation requests is “That should be OK”. Dude, say yes or no.

      1. fposte

        Sounds like a cautious person’s yes. Is he like that generally–footnoting exceptions and speaking conditionally?

        1. Judy

          Not usually. But we’re engineers, so we all qualify things. Usually we list our exceptions though.

    5. Graciosa

      This is just really wrong.

      Managers are supposed to be clearing away obstacles and helping employees get things done. This (and Sandy’s example – wow!) are the antithesis of good management.

    6. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

      P.S.

      I was just copying the headline of the #3. I don’t have a personal problem with vacation requests for two reasons, 1) I don’t need anybody’s approval
      2) I never take vacation

      :p #issuetobediscussedatalatertime

    7. Not So NewReader

      I think in OP’s setting part of the problem is that the boss does not know if she will need the time herself and need to have OP there. If a boss has no control over her time then it is almost impossible to accurately forecast the level of help necessary for a given day/week.

      One person commented upthread that OP should plan her own coverage with other people. I think that this idea deserves serious consideration here. It might work.

      WTL, your boss is being foolish. Having someone like you working for him and he is not protecting you from burnout. He should be pushing you out the door to vacay and calling it his insurance plan for keeping you working for him. Shortsighted man.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        Agh, I’m sorry. I don’t have a vacation problem!
        I was just copying the subject line of the original post. Never again! :-)

  11. Tom

    #5; interesting, might help, but I can also see a recruiter going “why would he say that? how much time does he waste on it? and, more importantly, has he done so little he feels the need to advertise that?”

  12. Cheesecake

    OP5. Answering your CV question, i don’t think it will help because i doubt hiring manager and HR will be willing to investigate the link.
    The only way i see it fly is if you mention it in an interview. But only if you are, say, sharing some IT knowledge while not being an IT developer. Example:you are a SAP power user and you help people on whatever platform. For some finance positions deeper SAP knowledge is very important and it is difficult to estimate it. So during the interview i’d say: “I use SAP daily and expand my knowledge by training and trying to help people solve their issues at Quora platform that i mentioned on my CV”. I would not go beyond it, explaining what Quora is and how life changing it became; manager might think you will spend half of your work day hanging there. Now, if you are an IT developer or what you help with on Quora is your actual area of expertise, you just show your projects or elaborate on your work experience and that is enough.

    1. M-C

      If the OP works in IT, spending time answering questions would be a plus, that’s something that benefits the whole community and is appreciated. But I’d caution to have an honest colleague review these answers, and make sure they’re as expert as the OP thinks they are. Because putting out iffy or unclear info on the net is counterproductive, and the hiring parties may well conclude that the OP wouldn’t be a help in their organization either..

  13. Oryx

    #1 happened to me at my current job. It’s a specialty type position with certain education requirements and nobody else in the facility would have any idea what to look for or what questions to ask. I got the sense she acted as a gate keeper and only after she gave approval did I get to meet my eventual manager.

  14. Jaune Desprez

    #3 – This situation would be a deal breaker for me. A manager who clearly resents vacation requests and makes it as difficult as possible to take vacation is going to be a shitty manager in other ways as well. I would move on with all possible speed.

    1. Sospeso

      Same, especially if the problem continued after being direct with the manager about it. Vacation/holiday time typically represents a significant portion of the entire benefits/compensation package. If you’re not able to actually use that time, you’re losing out in a pretty measurable way!

    2. AMT

      Yes, it comes off as kind of a power thing, doesn’t it? I had a supervisor who did this. Needless to say, she was *not* a great supervisor, and would do other bizarre power-related stuff, like requiring us to go into her office and request stamps.

    3. some1

      Related to this, when you don’t have an automatic back-up and have to find your own coverage for anything you do that can’t wait. It feels like you are asking multiple people for permission to take the day off.

  15. AnotherTeacher

    OP#3

    It sounds like you’re working for one of my previous supervisors! Yes, be cautious about going over his head. If this is a person who will bring his “mood” into what should be a relatively straightforward decision, that “mood” will strike any time and for any reason.

    If you’re not already making every request via email or another trackable medium, start doing so.

  16. RFM

    5: I think the employer will have an impression of a Yahoo Answers kind of site, until he takes a look at your answers. If you’re really a good Quora contributor, your answers will stand out in details, sources, length and how easily understandable it is.

    Say “frequently share expertise on X and Y in the Z forum at [write a good explanation of what Quora is]”. You can describe what Quora is, so the employer doesn’t check the site and judge it less than it is based on his knowledge of sites like Yahoo Answers. Quora is a place where many experts and professionals (the inventor of Wikipedia, Silicon Valley famous people, president Obama) give thorough answers to user questions. There’s no harm in explaining that to someone who might not know about it, I think.

    1. RFM

      I just saw the other comments about question 5, and I agree that there’s a risk the interviewer will wonder how much time you spend on the website, and if you’re going to do it during the workday.

      1. Meg Murry

        Yes, that was my concern. If you provide a link and it shows that you provide multiple answers a day, the interviewer might think “does this person do this all day when they are supposed to be working?” Especially if the responses are timestamped – it wouldn’t be good to see multiple answers either during the workday, or at, say 2 am.

        I’m not sure it’s worth the space on a resume, but maybe you could add a link to your profile and answers to LinkedIn? I provide a lot more information on LinkedIn that I think helps my candidacy but that isn’t necessarily worth the space on a resume that I’m keeping to 1-2 pages.

        The ONLY way I think this would really be valuable is if OP is applying for a job where answering questions in writing is a key part of the job, like customer service, tech support or maybe writing an advice column – because it would be a good way to show off how OP’s written communication skills.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I don’t pay much attention to timestamps–many times, they’re so far off I could post something at 10 am and it shows as if it came in at 3 in the morning the following day.

    2. Cheesecake

      Do you really want to waste CV space and divert manager’s attention from professional credentials to raising an eyebrow on why a candidate made a detailed description of a web site he spends his spare time on? OP can write a sentence, preferably in “skills” or “other section. If manager feels like it, she will ask. So in person there is no harm explaining if asked, but not on CV.

      1. LBK

        Yeah, I’d have to think there are much better ways to communicate your prowess in the limited space of a resume than wasting it describing what Quora is. There’s no way that’s going to be more impressive than the work experience you could be describing in that space instead.

        1. RFM

          I’m not talking about a paragraph, though – just a couple of words. “Professional answer site Quora,” “Quora, an answer-site for experts” or something like that.

      2. RFM

        I’m talking about a couple of words. “Answer-site for experts, Quora” or something like that. Just so the interviewer won’t have to guess or google and then think, “oh, it’s just like Yahoo Answers, how inappropriate to put that here!”

    3. CoffeeLover

      I don’t really think this will make the average manager wonder if you would waste work-time on Quora. I have the fact I’m proficient at French on my resume and no one has wondered whether I waste work-time trying to improve my French.

      I’m equating Quora to having a professional blog. In the same way Alison would have AAM on her resume, I would assume OP could have Quora on hers. Don’t devote too much time to it both in the interview or on your resume because it isn’t THAT impressive. Still, I see nothing wrong with a quick line like RFM mentioned in the Other Experience section of your resume. I also agree it would make sense to have a brief description of Quora.

      1. Cheesecake

        Here is why i am battling describing it in more than two – three words. This thing does not belong to a timeline with job responsibilities, unless it was an official part of a job in media; you can’t say “sold 10000 teapots and answered 10 000 quora questions”. It belongs to “hobbies” (where i live it is a standard to have a line devoted to free time). But i am not describing my hobbies there in details. I learn how to code, but my job is not in IT, so i mention i learn programming language Python and that is it.

        1. RFM

          I agree that a couple of words is enough. As long as you say something like “I post answers at expert answer site Quora” rather than “I post answers at Quora” and then let the interviewer have to guess or google what Quora is.

      2. IT Kat

        I think the problem is that a good deal of people don’t know what Quora is. So it gets chalked up to “ooh, Yahoo Answers” and they move on. And if that is the case, it’s a downside to have it on a resume, not an upside.

        It’s risk/benefit ratio – the risk is high enough that it doesn’t outweigh the benefit. Leave it off the resume/CV, and add a link to your LinkedIn. Then, mention it on your LinkedIn profile.

        1. RFM

          Yeah, that’s why I mentioned a brief explanation of Quora. Even if it’s just “I post expert answers on an answer site for professionals called Quora”. As long as you don’t just say “I post expert answers on Quora” and the interviewer has to guess or google what Quora is. It doesn’t have to be more than a couple words.

    4. E.R

      If the LW uses their real, full name in their Quora answers, then they will come up in a Google search, which is good for reputation management. It’s quite possible an interested employer or manager would google them.

  17. "Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea."

    #1 – My first thought here was that being interviewed (at least in part) by the current post-holder is a golden opportunity because you might get to ask them more specific questions about the role that HR or the hiring manager might not really know the answers to. Not because they are bad interviewers, but because nobody knows the ins and outs of our own jobs like we do.

    Like Alison, I thought that a conscientious and professional employee will want to do a good job interviewing as part of a successful handover. Then I read the letter again and realised that sometimes the current job holder is doing the interviews on her last day in the job. Now, having worked with human beings for years, I know that some people will be a bit demob happy on the last day. Yippee, I’m off!

    But, it is still a great chance to get some of the low-down. Also, one of my favourite questions at an interview is often to ask “What do you like most about working here?” It is quite a loaded question but can be revealing for the verbal and body language if you are at all unsure.

    1. Sospeso

      Yes, talking to the person who is resigning is such a unique opportunity – use it, OP! As you said “Some people…”, no one knows the ins and outs of the role like someone who’s held it. I also like to ask “What do you find most challenging about the position?” and “What has been most exciting about this position?” You get to hear about the spectrum of feelings/experiences the person has had in the role that way, and neither question is framed in a negative or overly positive light.

      My current position was created for me, and I so wish that there had been someone leaving the role to pepper with questions before I came onboard. It would have been enlightening.

    2. blackcat

      My replacement even took a risk and asked me how I felt about the “compensation and benefits.” The way she asked it, it was clear I could have just said “It’s a bit more than what you’d find elsewhere.” She was a bit taken aback when I said, “Benefits are very good. The self-insurance up to the deductible for the high deductible health insurance plan seemed totally strange to me at first, but the system works great and the business office swears it keeps our costs down. I am paid Y. With your experience and education, I’d expect an offer to you to be in range Y-Z. You certainly should be able to get Y. ” (She had the same experience as me as I was leaving and one degree on me, so there was no reason to pay her less than me.).

      After she was hired, she was SO grateful for the info (they low-balled her, and she did negotiate). She also said the insurance thing was VERY off-putting when she first saw it in writing, but that she felt much better about it given my positive experience. So while I’m sure my old employer wouldn’t be thrilled that I effectively coached my replacement to ask for more $$, I made her much more likely to accept the position by explaining that no, you will never face $10k of out of pocket health insurance costs. It really and truly is capped at $500. They are not being shady, no matter how much it seems that way!

      She was able to get way more information from me about all sorts of stuff by asking open-ended questions that I could have easily dodged.

    3. Koko

      One of my previous jobs I was interviewed by the person resigning and it was indeed a golden opportunity. She told me the very honest truth about the position – the things that were fun and exciting and the great benefits, but also real insider heads-ups, like which board members to tread carefully with because they were temperamental, which projects are subject to the most scrutiny so make sure they’re perfect when you do them, what happened the day she ended up in tears because everything was so overwhelming. It was invaluable knowledge that helped me avoid some of the pitfalls she’d run into early on.

    4. snuck

      I imagine if it’s a two week notice period that there’s not a lot of opportunity to advertise, receive written applications, call in interviews and do them before the fortnight is up. Last day interviews are pretty predictable here in this time frame I imagine.

      And if I was managing the position and able to follow a similar time line I’d have the person who was leaving (if it was on good terms) be part of the panel interviewing, and involved in the question process, no one knows their role quite like they do.

  18. AggrAV8ed Tech

    #3 is just like my boss. There are even times where I’ve tried to request vacation perhaps a couple months in advance and my boss replies, “I can’t think that far ahead, ask me closer to the dates.”

    Seriously? I mean, I don’t take actual vacations, it’s just a usage of my vacation time to get other things done that have been piling up on my plate and whatnot, but what if it WAS a case of needing to buy plane tickets and such? I find it to be extremely inconsiderate and unprofessional for a boss to do that.

    Of course, a former coworker of mine had no problem getting vacation approved months in advance – and that vacation time would last for TWO MONTHS (boss was perpetually granting him extra vacation time) whereas I have to struggle to get a response for a week off at the most.

    1. Merry and Bright

      Bosses that drag their feet about holiday dates like this are SO annoying. Like you say, people have things to do outside work and need to be able to plan. Most places I have worked at have appreciated having plenty of notice about leave dates.

      1. AggrAV8ed Tech

        I always figured the earlier, the better. Common courtesy and all that. It’s almost as though my boss makes me wait on purpose to come up with an excuse to deny my earned vacation time.

  19. Noelle

    #1 – I’ve been interviewed by a person who was leaving, and so has my fiance. I think it’s ok in theory and definitely not a red flag, but it can definitely be awkward. In my experience, I came in and met with the whole team, including the person who I would be replacing. I was fine with her being there, but she was SO mean and aggressive that it was shocking. It was so bad that a couple of the other team members reached out to me afterwards to apologize about it. I ended up getting the job, because the hiring manager was really impressed with how I responded and was able to keep calm and defend her attacks.

    With my fiance, it was a little more reasonable. He was interviewing for a senior position that was open because someone was leaving after over a decade. The outgoing employee did the first round of interviews to get a pool of candidates that would be a good fit with the responsibilities and the culture, and then the higher ups interviewed the employee’s recommendations. I thought that was a reasonable way to do it.

    1. "Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea."

      Ow, your interview sounds tough! But I see how it worked in your favour as you say. A “Tell me about a time when…” situation right in front of them!

      1. Noelle

        It was brutal, I was absolutely shocked when they asked me to come back in for another round (thankfully not with her again!). Not only was her tone aggressive and rude, but the questions she asked were just mean. Here are some examples, and keep in mind that obviously I *was* qualified, because I got the job:

        “Why would you think YOU could do this job?”
        “You don’t know anything about these issues, you are completely unqualified.”
        “That idea is terrible. And I already did it, so it isn’t even original.”

        It was about an hour of this.

          1. Noelle

            She certainly had issues with something! I think you’re right though, because she continued to drop by the office very frequently once I started. Fortunately she ignored me.

  20. LBK

    #4 – I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. They didn’t negotiate a higher salary for you and then keep the difference; you negotiated your salary, then they billed the company for your salary plus their fees.

    1. LawBee

      bingo. It’s odd that they’re your coworkers as well, but the fee they’re being paid as the LLC that brought you in is money paid for separate work. They’re actually getting paid for TWO jobs – the job that you both do, and the job of managing you as a consultant.

  21. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees

    I’m not familiar with Quora, but I have used the ipl2 (Internet Public Library)’s reference service feature as a question answer. I have included that on my resume because I had to undergo training before being cleared to answer questions, it is apparently a respected site in the library field, and it did provide me with legitimate experience providing email reference services (something some libraries offer). It’s also moderated, so if I gave an answer that really sucked there was a system that held me accountable.

    So I guess if I were LW 5 I would think about how “legit” the site is, what the process to become an expert answerer entailed, and if it seems like a rigorous, moderated experience that isn’t just full of unchecked internet strangers doling out answers. If you’re shaky on that, I’d leave it off the resume but maybe mention it in an interview.

  22. Bea W

    …because why should they care since they are leaving?

    This is a pet peeve of mine and not directed at the OP specifically, but this is a comment I’ve heard a lot about people who are leaving a job, and it drives me batty I think mostly because it paints a picture of all people just being out only for themselves and not give a crap about anyone or anything else. Sure there are people who are leaving on less-than-good terms that really don’t care, but I think most people are not either that jaded or self-absorbed, and that really hasn’t been my experience. If you are leaving on good terms, and liked your work and your co-workers, you will care. Even if you don’t actually care personally, you may care that it’s the right thing to do professionally.

    1. Connie-Lynne

      Yes, this.

      I once found out that two of my team members were leaving, the week before I was leaving (I had given a reasonably long notice). Of course I needed to help out with interviewing — I wanted the new manager stepping into my place to succeed, and he couldn’t do that with a third of his team gone.

      I think I participated in five interviews my last week, two of those were on my last day. I was professional with all of them, because, it would have been unethical, unprofessional, and just plain crummy not to be.

  23. Editor

    #3 — As a couple of other people here have mentioned, it sounds like your boss is trying to keep his options open to leave whenever, so he’s being inconsiderate about approving your time off. If you have to fill out a form or make an email request, I’d second the suggestions about warning him that you’ll follow up in a week or something. But I have never worked anywhere where it would be acceptable to tell the boss that you’ll take time off if you don’t hear from him. The university where I worked after college had forms and procedures for everything, so “telling” wouldn’t have worked there.

    Is there anything in the employee handbook that would be helpful? Would going to HR work better than going to your boss’s supervisor?

    Finally, I wonder — because your boss seems to treat the job as one that you cover and he does as he pleases — if you have to tell him you’ve arranged for one of the graduate assistants or something to cover for you. I don’t know if this is possible or even appropriate. I’m sorry — he sounds maddeningly self-centered.

  24. Merry and Bright

    #2 I can’t really think of anywhere I have worked that this would have been allowed to happen more than once (or maybe twice at an absolute stretch). Management would have taken a stand.

    In larger buildings I have worked in there has been a security desk and anyone sparking a police visit would be banned in future. That is it. No messing. This has applied equally in public and private sector buildings.

    In most places. all visitors’ names have to be emailed down to Security beforehand by a staff member. This can be anyone but full details have to be given of who the person is visiting, what time, etc.

    If someone is expecting a visitor who is not business-related (e.g. off the wall spouses!) then that staff member often has to sign a form for security, declaring that they know the person, can vouch for them and will remain responsible for them whilst they are in the building. If any visitor arrives unannounced then security will call the staff member and if the person is OK about it they will come down and sign the person into the building. In other words, no visitor can get through without staff input.

    What I am saying is that in no place where I have worked can disruptive or loopy visitors wander round offices at will. No matter what level of security or reception downstairs, any visitor comes with the knowledge and acceptance of at least one staff member. Any disruptive behaviour would result in that person being barred because the employer is supposed to provide staff with a safe place to work. So a coworker bringing Loopy Wife onto the premises again would find himself on a disciplinary procedure.

    And loopy behaviour by a staff member would be nipped in the bud pretty fast.

  25. grasshopper

    #5 Keep in mind that Quora is a site that only registered users can access. If you are providing a link to your answers there, make sure that a guest will be able to see it. I was trying to poke around and see what was on the site and it wouldn’t let me proceed to view any content without registering. So, if the HR person isn’t already registered or isn’t willing to take the time to register, they might not even see what you’re posting there.

  26. Jubilance

    #1 In my first job out of grad school, I replaced 2 people who were retiring from the same lab (1 employee, 1 supervisor who also did lab work). The company spent a year looking but couldn’t find the right candidates because HR didn’t realize (or seem to care) that chemical engineering is completely different from laboratory chemistry work, and most engineers aren’t going to want to do materials evaluation in a lab. I wound up interviewing with the 2 people I would replace on their very last day at the company.

  27. MsM

    Am I the only one wondering if #5 works for Quora? Maybe it varies by industry – I could see it being a useful skill for a think tank looking to boost its placement in Internet searches on various topics, for instance – but under most circumstances, I don’t think you’d want to tout your Wikipedia-editing skills on your resume, either.

    1. fposte

      I think if you actually work for Quora, it’s a fine thing to put on your resume, but just answering questions there would be under “Hobbies” at most (I suppose you could also submit one of your answers if they wanted a writing sample). As you say, it’s like editing Wikipedia–it may take you a lot of time and you may personally reach a high standard, but there’s no guarantee on that standard, just as there isn’t with other volunteer activities.

  28. John R

    #1: I wouldn’t worry about this at all. I’ve been on interview panels for jobs I’ve left and would never do anything to burn a bridge–even in larger industries word tends to get around regarding people and their behavior. There was one job I left where I felt the company was unprofessional and in that case I just stated “I don’t think I’d feel comfortable interviewing my replacement” so I didn’t do it in that case.

    Unless it’s a brand new job, I’d be more worried during an interview if someone from the current position WEREN’T included–leaving or not–because that indicates to me an organization where management doesn’t value the input of its employees and it’s not the kind of place I’d want to work.

  29. CrazyCatLady

    I’ve been involved in interviewing my replacement a couple times. I worked for small companies where no one knew the day-to-day responsibilities as well as I did, or the skills required to perform the job. I cared very much about finding a good replacement! All candidates did meet with their potential future manager as well, though.

  30. Development professional

    RE #5 I find Quora interesting for certain first person accounts (“What’s it like to have a parent who’s a Senator?”) but I would never think of it for true professional writing outside of maybe soft skill kind of stuff.

    Separate but related – not too long ago, I saw someone applying for an entry-ish level job list “Qualified Wikipedia Editor” in the skills section, which made me laugh out loud. But a few weeks later an acquaintance told me that this is actually a thing, that becoming a qualified editor on Wikipedia (and not just a user who adds/edits) takes some time and skill to prove you’re both a good editor and a fair judge of well-sourced material. Then you get approved by the higher level volunteer editors and have more access. And that this becomes useful if then your company wants to add or edit Wikipedia pages about their company or products or employees or whatever because the editor is approved.

    TL/DR – how would you react to seeing Wikipedia editor credentials on a resume?

  31. nameless

    #5

    Probably not relevant to the OP, but one situation in which I can see mentioning Quora or similar as valuable is if the position has a marketing component, since such sites are useful SEO and branding tools. I’d just be careful if the position is more on the “subject matter expert who happens to know what Twitter is” side of things (as opposed to the “Twitter expert who happens to know the subject matter” side), since that kind of position usually means there’s no one at the organization who knows/cares about that kind of thing, so you’ll need to explain what it is and why it matters.

  32. Susan the BA

    Re: #5, I have experience in volunteer user support at a blogging site on my resume. Interviewers always ask about it, and because I’m prepared to give a great answer about what I learned and how I was given increasing responsibilities, it reflects well on me without having to link to specific answers. I think it was a particularly big help when I made a recent move into IT, because I didn’t have “real” IT experience – if that had also been my day job, it might not have added much, but it helped convince them that I was a strong candidate even though I didn’t look ideal on paper.

  33. Stranger than Fiction

    Re: #2, I don’t have much additional advice to offer, but my thoughts went to the employee and wife are separated and in a contentious divorce. I know things can get crazy when you’re divorcing, but I’ll never understand this kind of behavior. This woman is basically making a super bad case for herself a) if they have children, this behavior is going to affect her custody very badly and b) she’s interfering with husband’s living, which can negatively impact any sort of child support and/or alimony she’s entitled to. So sad, she needs help/therapy, and husband too. Hope they’re getting some.

  34. Jen

    #2 – Greetings all…..a lot of great comments for #2. I was actually the person who is currently doing an investigation on the disruptive workplace behavior and I wanted to get some input on how to handle the situation. I wanted to provide some recent info I collected during my investigation. The location is in Dallas, TX in one of our warehouse facilities that is also shared with office employees. We have shifts running 24/7 and trucks are coming in and out on a daily basis. The employee is one of our warehouse employees, who has been with the company for about 7 years. He has been with his girlfriend/domestic partner for 16 years and they have 2 smaller children together. They are not married. All the “craziness” started about a year ago when he wanted to break up with her and she did not take the news to calmly. She would show up at his job and taking the children on occasion and use them against him or ask the kids to go into the safe area in the facility to call him so she can speak with him. She would go to the facility to ask him for money. She brought the kids in the pouring rain without a car wanting some money and since he did not want to speak to her she was walking outside the building with the kids until one of the managers told her she needed to leave so she went across the street near a railroad track and was waiting there for awhile until he came out. One of the times the police were called was because she got into it with one of the Administrative Managers who was asking her to leave cause she was causing a disruption and yelling for the boyfriend to come out. She continued to swear at the manager after the manager warned her the police would be called but that did not stop her from continuing to yell profanities and looking for the warehouse employee, who by the way, never did come out to see her that day. The next time the police was called was when she had some sort of verbal altercation with someone outside the facility who was not an employee. The most recent time the police was called was a few weeks ago when she was waiting for the employee outside to pick him up after his shift. We are not sure who called the police this time but they showed up and the boyfriend went out there to explain that she was just picking him up. I believe one of the employees may have seen her and thought she was going to start trouble and didn’t waste any time to call the police. I spoke with management and some of them were surprised that this escalated to HR and to the anonymous website we have because they like to take care of things in house but apparently certain folks still think she may be a potential problem. I spoke with some of the co-workers and they did indicate that there haven’t been any recent issues of outbursts from her but last year was a nightmare. One employee went to say they thought she had a drug problem. Another employee indicated that she acted like this when the boyfriend worked in one of our other facilities about 5 – 6 years ago.
    I spoke with the employee/boyfriend and he was the one that told me they were having issues and he wanted to break up with her and she would come disrupting his job and it was embarrassing for him but they worked it out and talked about her outbursts and they have been fine…so far. I offered him our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), since his manager’s never brought that up to him and I am very disappointed about that and the fact that they never brought up this situation to HR until someone had to anonymously tell us about it. Anyway, the employee was very appreciative about the opportunity to try EAP with his family and said he would discuss it with her because he feels if they are unable to work it out then they have to go their separate ways.
    I have asked the managers to obviously inform me of any other issues that come up, inform the girlfriend to not come into the facility and if she needs to pick him up to ask her to do it away from the facility or in a designated spot. In regards to the children, they really shouldn’t be in the facility because of safety purposes and they will be asked to not enter as well. The employee does seem to be caught up in this relationship and she seems to have a strong hold on him and definitely uses his kids against him. There has not been any talk about terminating his employment and all the co-workers like the employee and feel very bad for him cause they know it is embarrassing.
    Any other input or solutions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Elizabeth West

      I’m glad you came back to share more information, OP. :)

      It sounds as though she’s more of a disruption than a danger. I understand why other employees would be concerned, however. I like the fact that you have an EAP program and that you recommended that to him. Hopefully, he’ll be able to find help through that because the family obviously needs it, whether the parents stay together or not.

      Please, keep us updated!

    2. Laurel Gray

      WOW – thanks for the update!

      So the worker is still with this woman despite whatever home drama they have and the fact that he “tried” to break up with her? She shows up and is escorted off the property after fighting with various levels of staff but she also shows up to pick him up! It sounds like the employee has more responsibility in this than it seems. His embarrassment with his romantic relationship disrupting his professional one is his problem – not his employer’s or colleagues.

      Having this context, I don’t think neither is truly a “threat” in the ways assumed up thread and I could understand if the employee was terminated because of all of this. He has no idea how lucky he is working for this understanding and tolerant employer.

        1. Laurel Gray

          I made a comment up thread about DV and why victims do not leave. With this particular case – and I am going off of the original letter and the update – I do not think this is an issue of DV or even mental illness as others suggested as a possibility. I think this is the case of two people who have been together so long, have children together, have issues, and one half is not ready for it to be over. This woman shows up during working hours, there is a possibility she does not work. With as many times as the cops have been involved, I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked about potential DV (sure both could deny it) but I do not know if I believe a DV victim would draw this much attention to herself and embarrassment to her abuser.

          You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t dodge your erratic girlfriend on your company’s property cussing out colleagues and being escorted by the cops and then turn around and think it is okay that this same person shows up to give you rides.

      1. Jen

        Yes Laurel…they are still together and he seems pretty weak in character, unfortunately but I also believe the kids are a big factor in why he stays with her :(

    3. Connie-Lynne

      I’m glad you offered EAP to the employee.

      It certainly sounds as if they’re in an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship; it’s entirely appropriate that you’re not firing the employee for having this difficult situation.

      While the GF doesn’t sound violent, getting into shouting/yelling matches with anyone on-site is not appropriate and could cause a very unpleasant work environment for the rest of your staff. Informing her that she and her children are not allowed on the premises any more is a pretty good way to prevent this while allowing the employee the ability to work out his domestic issues away from work. Giving him a strategy for that (she can pick you up from work, but at a designated off-site location) is a good way to be supportive in this.

    4. BethRA

      One thing to consider (and remind your managers of) is that having this person wandering in and out of your facility presents a serious liability issue – even without the potential for violence, and before you bring the children into the picture.

      I don’t know if you have the authority to do this, but it sounds to me like you need a clear set of instructions for this employee, other coworkers, and the mangers in the even the woman shows up inside the facility. I won’t pretend to be an expert, but I think your best option is to instruct staff (including the targeted employee) not to engage her at all, but to contact a manager immediately, and that person should ask her to leave and call the police if she doesn’t.

      It’s wonderful that you’re doing what you can to support his employee, but you also need to protect your company and your other staff.

    5. LBK

      This is extremely helpful context. Having more information from the employee in question helps – I agree with others above about proceeding with compassion and not taking disciplinary action against the employee in this case, especially since she’s also had altercations with the managers. Sounds like this is an extremely complicated relationship and that he’s aware of the potential impact to his work reputation, so that’s good.

    6. Snoskred

      So, lets recap, because the actual context is a little different from what we’ve read into the original letter.

      The police were called 3 times. Only one of those times was this lady abusing a staff member. The second time she was abusing some random out in the street, and the third time she was there to pick up her other half and not abusing anyone at all.

      If she is just there to pick her partner up then it is a waste of police time to call them, and they might be at this situation where nothing is actually happening this time and staff are calling based on past events, rather than being present at a situation where the police are greatly needed.

      You have a real rumour mill running there at work, and I think it might be worth speaking with the employee concerned to try and fix that. When people are given actual facts, they will quit making rumours.

      If this were my workplace, I would want to sit down with the guy and say ok, people are saying all kinds of crazy things and in order to stop that, we need to do two things in a memo/email to all staff. 1, We need to clarify the situation for the staff and 2, we need to come up with a set procedure for when your partner (or ex-partner as the case may be) shows up.

      This will be easier if he has made up his mind about whether to leave her or not. If he is leaving her, then likely the procedure will be call the police whenever she -and/or the kids – turns up. He will likely need to get a restraining order against her because it is very apparent she does not respect boundaries. If he does that, then people need to be aware of that restraining order so they can let the police know that when they call. If he is leaving her, then maybe a move to another facility that is more difficult for her to get to might be a wise choice.

      If he is not leaving her, the procedure might be don’t call the police unless she is yelling or acting inappropriately.

      With all that said, it seems to me like security needs looking at – if this woman can get in, anyone can. And it isn’t safe for kids to be in such an area.

      I don’t think – from the information you’ve provided – that this woman is going to arrive with a weapon and start taking people out, but it sounds like it would be very easy for her – or a disgruntled ex employee – to do that if they wanted to, and that is a real security problem in my opinion. :(

      1. catsAreCool

        Thanks for the details. It sounds like this employee may change his mind several times about whether or not to leave her. Seems like it would be reasonable to insist she stay off the work premises either way.

  35. Grand Bargain

    #4 – A couple of commenters have already noted that this is a common arrangement. I agree. But, I would also wonder about a few things:

    – How much of a cut are they taking? Beezus says her husband’s company takes a 40% cut (giving him $30 of the $50/hour they bill). In some situations that might be just fine or even a little low. I’ve done project work where the company took 50%. But, they put forth significant effort to win contracts and the contracts themselves were short term. However, where you have been essentially a full-time employee for two years (and any sales cost has surely been recouped) that would seem high… 15-20% might be a reasonable number.
    – Have you been paid as a contractor (1099) or an employee (W-2)? {For AAM: Could OP be an employee of the main company even though the pay for that employee is being routed through the two other contractors?} Wondering here about who pays your withholding taxes.
    – Have they been passing along rate increases for themselves or for your time without increasing your rate proportionally? If so, that’s really treating you poorly. Time to sever that relationship.
    – Are you still doing the work you were hired to do or have you added responsibilities? And has the prevailing rate for the type of work you do gone up in the last two years?

    All those things might lead you to have a real conversation with your two fellow contractors.

  36. Purr purr purr

    #4, that’s totally normal. If you had approached the client directly and done the legwork then you could have all the money. You didn’t though so the intermediary company will take a cut. I worked for a company that contracted me out to others. I was earning a great wage and then I found out that my company were charging the client three times my salary and keeping the difference. That’s the nature of contracting. They have to find the work so they get a cut.

  37. azvlr

    #3 Am I the only one who sees this boss as pulling a power trip? I have a former spouse and a current relative by marriage who delay giving answers to stuff like this precisely because they enjoy leaving everyone hanging. And, like the OP, excuses such as “I’m in a bad mood.” often come in to play.

    OP if you get the sense that this is what is happening, you should seriously look at going over the boss’s head. If he is simply disorganized and otherwise treats you well, it’s time to manage your manager by the forgiveness vs. permission tactic mentioned above.

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