3 reader updates

We’ve got three updates from people who had their letters answered here earlier this year!

1. Update: my boss keeps sending me urgent work to do even when I’m out sick

Unfortunately, the situation is still kind of complicated. I did try talking to my boss, and we determined that making my messages clearer, i.e. “I will not be checking email or answering calls, please get in touch with so-and-so if you need help with anything,” would help. It lets him know that I’m really, really not in a position to respond.

I was able to determine that he is overall happy with my performance, so that’s at least something. I haven’t been out sick since then, but I did take a few days off to prepare for medical leave. It was better, but there was still a level of volume that I’m not completely comfortable with, and I think it may have been that he knew I wasn’t sick. He still has trouble remembering when I’m going to be out. The problem here is that he doesn’t really use his Outlook calendar, so putting my time off on his calendar doesn’t seem to work.

To his credit, I am currently on medical leave for the issue I mentioned in my original post, and my he has been very good about not contacting me.

TL:DR It’s better, but I think I haven’t had the opportunity to really test him, and there is still room for improvement. I’m trying not to let it bother me as much. 1. He’s explicitly stated that he’s happy with my performance. 2. I’m going to be job searching once I’m off medical leave due to some other office culture issues.

2. Update: my boss’s kid punched me in the groin (#1 at the link)

It only got worse. I had hoped that once my manager’s son was in school full time that children in the workplace wouldn’t be an issue anymore but I was sadly mistaken. She had a baby at the start of last fall and after being out for six weeks on maternity leave, she was back full-time, this time with an infant. About once or twice a week she would come in two hours late without letting us know if she was coming in at all, with baby in tow. The final straw was when the baby and pram was wheeled out to me in the middle of my work day (and right as I was getting ready to go to lunch) and I was told by a coworker who was often fine looking after the kiddo that I would be looking after the baby since she was “busy” and “needed to work.” HR was seriously involved after that.

I know that that issue went all the way to the VP in charge of our department and back down again. I also have a strong feeling it affected the way that my boss interacted with me after that happened. There were weeks where she couldn’t maintain a professional attitude and most of the time chose to ignore me as a means of coping. She also often looked like she was about to burst into tears when she was forced to interact with me. Sadly, I think the administration cracked down on her and not the office in general about bringing in dependents because it still happened with other coworkers, although all with slightly older children and never as often as my boss was bringing in her kids.

I read the writing on the wall that this was a perfect time to move on and not suffer another review season with the strain of the personal/ professional problems between myself and my boss. A few months ago, I started the process of finding another job in earnest, and I’m happy to report that after only a few interviews I landed a position in New York City.

3. Update: my boss has banned hot take-out food at lunch

Unfortunately, it’s a very annoying update from my end (but hopefully in the near future a very positive one!)

In regards to the lunch rules, they’ve taken root and everyone else has fallen into place with it. I’m no longer asked to go out and pick up lunches on behalf of the whole office, as I learned to stand my ground. Once I structured it in the way that the company would lose essential administrative support if I’m out of the office for too long, staff stopped asking. It’s not the best situation for those who are forgetful and other reasons, but the majority of the office look out for each other in regards to food.

Now for the frustration…I had mentioned in the comments about other bizarre rules in place, one being the mandatory fun. It’s expected that every payday, unless if you have a “genuine reason,” you are to attend mandatory events where you pay money for a variety of events, including going for food (but mostly alcohol). I’m not on the same salary scale and commission as my other colleagues, so what pay I receive I do need to budget accordingly. My non-attendance has been brought up in the past in passing (but mostly from my office more in the sense of “please come out, you are lovely company”). I’m far from a person who lets someone spend money on me, and even that has been thrown about and I’ve shot that down as I don’t want to feel awkward and a bit of a leech.

The morning of our last social, I came into work to an email sent to all about internal opportunities and specifications for all roles within our company. I opened a few up and scrolled to this gem (intercompany lingo changed to protect myself): “Attend Socials, Summer Events, and Festive Teapot Parties on a regular basis and keep in mind these dates when arranging activities outside work. Seek permission from line manager when attendance is impossible and previous personal bookings cannot be changed.”

To say I was livid was an understatement. This is listed as essential for not only generic duties but to also progress within ANY role. I’d already put down a bit of a deposit towards this social so I bit my tongue and attended (one meal, one drink and then an early night).

I was then pulled into a somewhat drunken conversation with the director who made up the food rules who proceeded to tell me there and then that the training I’d been requesting (with payment plans for courses, a proposal to undertake it part-time, and work during the weekend to make up for any time missed) were not going ahead as “there’s no point in paying for you to leave” and that he MAY pay for it out of his own pocket in 2016. I also got a spiel about how I did the work of four people yet they have no more money in the budget to give to me so I needed to give up any career ideas (?!). Followed by a somewhat offensive chat about how much the single men in the office like me and if I wanted to, I could start dating as I’m young and a good catch. I was absolutely stunned, made my excuses to talk to someone else, and ended the night pretty sharpish.

From that moment on, I’ve realised that I will never get the respect or opportunities within this company that I have been promised in writing. I’m far from the type of person that rocks up at work at my exact start time and leaves my exact finish time, but it’s getting to that stage. I sit seething as more and more emails are sent about how we are growing as a company and future plans, as well as statements that all staff are encouraged with personal and career growth. And no money in the budget? Well they have enough to look at hiring an apprentice who I can “complain about admin work with” and open a new office in a very expensive location. It’s a kick in the teeth, to put it lightly.

Yes, I am biding my time and looking to move on. The downside of my industry is that they use every single online job site to find individuals, so if I put my information online then that would create a lot of problems. I’m hoping I find something soon. At least I can get some excellent advice and information from the Ask a Manager community.

{ 67 comments… read them below }

  1. BritCred*

    3#? ” Followed by a somewhat offensive chat about how much the single men in the office like me and if I wanted to, I could start dating as I’m young and a good catch. I was absolutely stunned, made my excuses to talk to someone else, and ended the night pretty sharpish.”

    If I thought it would work I’d say “HR! HR! HR!” …. Instead I’ll say “RUN…”

    1. Judy*

      Is this a theme now? Don’t worry about your pay #3, just marry rich like the nonprofit worker earlier in the week.

      1. NickelandDime*

        I don’t think it’s a theme, but it does speak volumes about the person handing out that “life advice.”

    2. I used to think I had a porpoise*

      I realize it doesn’t address the central problem – but re the “mandatory fun”, if it involves alcohol, I’d wonder about telling my boss that “I have a standing date with my friend Bill W. on Friday nights”. Yeah, it’s a lie, but *shrug* so what?

      (Although at this place, you probably couldn’t trust anyone to keep a secret).

  2. NickelandDime*

    Letters 2 and 3 have me feeling pretty sharpish. I’m a parent, and it is NOT COOL to bring very young kids into the office then expect coworkers to take up the slack because you don’t want to pay for childcare. It is not cool to monopolize people’s personal time with mandatory after work activities, then demand they tell you all their business if they can’t attend. The hot lunch thing was just the tip of a bunch of weirdness.

    I hope to hear other updates from these three – as in, we found new jobs! Good luck!

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      It’s not the behavior of a good worker or a good parent! Bringing your kid into work once in a blue moon because you’re stuck in some unusual situation (snow day and the regular sitter has the flu, maybe?) could potentially be okay depending on the workplace. But as a common occurrence? That’s not an environment that’ll do any good for the kid. Kids should be in places where they can run around and interact with other humans and play with age-appropriate toys.

      1. Partly Cloudy*

        Depending on the workplace AND the age/temperment of the kid. At my old job, a couple of people would sometimes bring their elementary or middle school aged kids on teacher workdays or whatever. Some of them were capable of sitting quietly in the break room with an iPad, some… weren’t.

        A former boss of mine brought her kid (6 years old at the time) several times and let her run wild. She jammed the copier to the point that we had to call for service on our busiest day of the month, when we used it the most.

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yeah, neither of mine currently belong in an office. For both the sake of the office _and_ the kids. And me, for that matter; I’d lose my mind trying to keep track of them and work.

        2. Clever Name*

          Some days it feels like I go to work just to escape the kid. I work part time, and I’ve definitely brought him by once or twice because I had to grab something from the office, but never for extended periods of time. And I always keep him in my office with the door closed. Letting your kid roam and annoy other people is thoughtless and rude.

      2. Daisy*

        My mum took me to work fairly often in the school holidays, but a) she had her own office and b) I was an incredibly placid child who only wanted to read silently for hours, so I was as happy there as anywhere.

        1. LUCYVP*

          I am 35 years old and my father’s co-workers STILL talk about how I would sit and read happily for hours when I was 7 or 8.

          1. Anonsie*

            Sometimes I wonder what’s up with me because I remember my dad taking me to work as a kid when he got called in, and as young as 5 I can remember patiently sitting on a chair in his office looking around the room for well over an hour on multiple occasions. He would give me a spot to sit and say “stay there” and I would just stay there.

            1. Jessa*

              I got my first jobs at my father’s office and my mother’s. I was brought into dad’s workplace when I was maybe 5 or 6 and ran the card sorter for him and helped put away punch cards. His boss paid me (they were a china company,) with a statue of a dog that in the early 60s retailed for over 100 bucks. Every time I ended up having to go to dad’s work, I got another piece of china. Really nice stuff that I still have today. He also took me to cool places for lunch (a pub that had a pool table,) the set of a soap opera in NY (he had friends on the production,) I learnt much earlier than most people how they put cut in half cars in front of a movie screen with background to simulate people driving.

              In my mother’s office at about the same age, I was sat in front of a stack of mailings, and stuffed envelopes. Her boss slipped me a 20, and mom put 15 in my bank account and let me spend 5 of it. You could get crazy amounts of stuff in the 60s for five bucks.

              But either way I was expected to sit and be quiet and unobtrusive, or do something interesting and useful. Dad even took me on a tour of the warehouse at the china company, he let me be the one to call the police to let them know that the alarm was going to be deactivated. That was seriously cool. But act out? Be crazy? No way. I’da been dead. Dad was the comptroller and mom was a secretary, but it was crazy fun to work for them. I learnt to keypunch before I could write properly.

              1. Anonyby*

                My mother would take me back to work with her after doctor or dentist appointments, and I was also expected to be quiet. Either I was doing homework (first at a second desk in her office, and then in the lunch room when I could be trusted to do so out of her sight), or I was finding another quiet activity to amuse myself (reading, drawing, etc), or sometimes she’d have a job for me to do (filing, logging return slips, pairing mail receipts with the company’s copy of the lien notice she had sent out… Which eventually led to me being an envelope stuffer on days where the monthly statements coincided with a school holiday.

                Let me tell you, to this day I am a master at getting those tasks done quickly and files that aren’t completely alphabetized drive me bonkers.

                1. blackcat*

                  The several times I ended up at my dads office once I was like 7 (I don’t remember being there when younger than that), I was put to work. I was perfectly capable of sorting papers, checking the multiple copy rooms for supplies and making notes, etc. I also did simple filing. The world got very exciting when I was 15 and my dad’s company (he owned his own at the time) needed a sudden, massive influx of making basic digital records of their paper records (basically just recording document names + keywords + storage locations) and I GOT PAID! The same amount he would have paid an adult for the relatively complex filing and date entry! I was swimming in my $8/hr. An entire winter break, and I made SO MUCH MONEY. You know, by 15 year old standards.

            2. Another Job Seeker*

              My parents (who were teachers) used to take my siblings and me to work after school. We would read books or do our homework. We knew better than to run around, act up, or bother our parents or their co-workers. I can remember working out a “proof” on the chalkboard outside of my dad’s office once. He showed me how to “prove” that 2=1. We worked through the proof, and the math seemed to work out. I could not figure out how we “proved” that 2=1! When he showed me the “trick”, it was an “aha!” moment for me. All these years later, I still remember it. Want to see the “proof”? Check out http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/57116.html. Or if you’re curious about the answer but prefer not to read the entire proof, look below. (If you want to figure it out, don’t look below – it will spoil the suspense…smile)!

              There is an invalid assumption in the “proof”. Between (a-b)(a+b) = b(a-b) and
              a+b = b, we divide by 0. Of course, after we break the “no division by 0” rule, everything else we do is incorrect – since it’s based on a fallacy.

          2. K.*

            One of my mom’s former coworkers is a family friend (she and my mom worked together when I was about three and stayed in touch after my mom moved on; I used to babysit her kids), and she tells stories about how I would “come in and sit quietly” on the rare occasions Mom brought me in. I don’t remember this – but sitting quietly was never a problem for me, particularly once I learned to read, so it was probably true. That was equal parts my temperament and the fact that my mother did not play around, so I’m sure I got some sort of “This is an office where grownups are working; you need to behave and you will NOT embarrass me” talk from her beforehand.

        2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          As an occasional thing for a child who is old enough to read for hours – sure. I was one of those kids, too – I’d spend entire days of summer vacation lying in the hammock reading, only getting up to refill my ice water or eat a peach.

          But a kid who can’t/isn’t interested in reading quietly for long stretches of time… It’s unfair to a five-year-old to expect him/her to sit quietly and entertain him/herself for seven hours straight, and it’s unfair to the parent’s coworkers to expect them to entertain the kid or put up with kid noise.

      3. azvlr*

        In my first district, the bus from my son’s elementary school did it’s route and then came to the middle school. I made an arrangement with my principal and the district that he could stay on the bus and be dropped off at the middle school. I’ll admit this was a daily thing, but by the time he arrived, middle school was dismissed and I could leave about five minutes later. Note that I asked permission do to this, the staff was close-knit, children were welcome (it was a school, after all) and he is a mellow kid. Many staff brought younger children to after-school meetings, or even a few times when a child was mildly ill, but not contagious.

        Imagine my surprise at New District when I had a child-crisis on super short notice. I left during my break, picked him up from school and made it to the staff meeting on time, with my son in tow. True, I didn’t ask or notify my principal (because of the short notice), but I was so dismayed at the stern talking to I got for pulling such a stunt. They would not even allow my high school son to wait in the office after school in order to ride home with me. I guess children just weren’t welcome at this school.
        New to town, I had no network of family or friends for support, and this incident left me feeling very isolated.

        1. MK*

          Look, I understand your feelings, but you were clearly in the wrong. It boggles my mind when new employees assume their new workplace will operate just like their old one, much less when they don’t make an effort to conform. In this case, it would have been one thing if you arrived, explained the situation apologetically and and asked permission for your son to remain on the premises. But your attitude (this school doesn’t like kids!) makes me thing you simply showed up and expected your son’s presence to be accommodated. I can see why your boss thought sternness was called for.

          Also, a school is there to serve its student, not the teachers’ children. In my middle school no one was allowed on the premises unless they were stuff or student.

          1. snuck*

            Actually I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that.

            I don’t know of a single school that doesn’t have one or two staff with children floating around waiting for the staff to finish…

            Azvlr probably should have asked an admin “I have to pick up my son but there’s the staff meeting, do I sign him in as a visitor and he sits in the office, or do I take the meeting off as a personal emergency?” and give *someone* a chance to give her a heads up about it… but the assumptions she made I feel weren’t so out of the ball park as to be obviously erroneous.

      4. BananaPants*

        I’ve had two or three situations in the last 9 months where our 4 year old needed to come into my office for 30 minutes to an hour. One time was when my husband got a flat and AAA couldn’t get there in time for him to pick her up from preschool, another was when the toddler had a doctor’s appointment close to preschool pickup time and I picked her up and kept her at my office until Mr. BP and the toddler were done at the doctor’s office. Another occasion was when she had pinkeye and had to be picked up at school, but it was a half hour until we had to leave for the doctor’s appointment and there was no point driving home.

        She is quiet, polite, and well-behaved and is happy to sit in my cubicle’s visitor chair and color on some copy paper; I keep crayons in a desk drawer for just this sort of scenario. I always keep a couple of kids’ books in the car anyways so those came in with us. Between books (or the American Girl catalog!) and coloring she was fine. Because she’s not disruptive my coworkers were not bothered by her being there – most didn’t even know she was there until we were leaving the building.

        The toddler? No way in hell could she be in my office for any length of time. Nope nope nope. She’d be climbing onto my desk and doing laps of the cube farm whilst singing at the top of her little lungs. She’s a toddler and toddlers don’t belong in the workplace for anything beyond a very brief and controlled planned visit (if that).

          1. Andrea*

            There are three kinds of pinkeye, allergic, viral, and bacterial. Kid might not have been contagious. My kid had pinkeye last week, we had to bring him with us to go get his prescription, couldn’t exactly leave him in the car, just made sure he didn’t touch his eye then touch anything in the pharmacy. It’s doable.

      5. Vicki*

        One of my previous managers occasionally brought his kid into the office. If you didn’t walk past his desk, you never would have known. The kid sat quietly and colored.

        Also, this was rare.

      6. Carpe Librarium*

        One of the many great things about my workplace is the Carer’s Room, next to the first aid room (on a different floor of the building from the cubicle farms).
        It has a work desk and PC for the employee, plus a sink, a couch (big enough to nap on) a handful of picture books, a CRT tv and a vcr with some Disney videos.
        It’s intended for people who get caught out at short notice with a child care snafu, so they can bring the kiddo to work but not disturb colleagues.
        It also gets used by those that need to pump for infants.

    2. Londoner*

      I agree that it’s not appropriate to bring an infant to work, or a school age child, unless it’s a one off exception. However, to me as a European, the idea of having to return to work after only six weeks of maternity leave is absolutely barbaric. The whole scenario comes across to me as really sad, rather than annoying.

      1. Anonymi*

        I’m not going to drop into European blogs and tell you how barbaric I think you are and would request the same courtesy toward us. Thank you….

        1. NotAllCanadians*

          Londoner is not calling the practice, not any group of people, barbaric. I would also point out that this blog isn’t strictly American anyways – welcome to the internet where all voices can be heard.

          On the note of maternity leave, the US is the only developed country to NOT offer adequate time off for new mothers (or fathers) and frankly it is tough on both the mothers and the children, and the US could use a good hard look at how this can be changed, for the better of all.

        2. Anon-o-Moose*

          The PRACTICE is indeed barbaric. NotAllCanadians (below) is 100% correct.
          Thank you …

        3. CA Admin*

          As an American, I agree with Londoner that the practice is indeed barbaric. We have terrible maternity and paternity leave practices here–acknowledging that doesn’t make it a personal attack.

        4. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

          Uh, count me as an American who thinks it’s barbaric as well.

        5. BananaPants*

          I’m a working mother in the US and agree with Londoner. Our country’s lack of guaranteed paid maternity leave is unique in the developed world (at that, much of the developing world is better than we are in this area!). I find it inhumane and not in the best interests of new mothers or their babies. It’s one more sign to me that to our corporate overlords, we’re just cogs in a machine rather than human beings.

          I got 10 weeks with my first baby and 12 with our second and there was no way I could have gone back at 6 weeks with either baby. I would have found a way if I’d had no other choice but it would have been horrible. I recognize my privilege in being FMLA-eligible, having 6 weeks at full pay from short term disability, and having the financial means to take more unpaid leave after that. Many women in our country are not so fortunate.

        6. Vicki*

          She’s not barbaric and didn’t say we were.

          Also, Londoner is correct. Many American work practices seem barbaric to Europeans. They seem barbaric to many of us who live in the States!

          Maternity leave. Paternity leave Vacation time. Notice for layoffs (France requires that). “At Will Employment”

      2. MK*

        I agree that 6 weeks of maternity leave is ludicrously inadequate, but when you know it’s the norm you have to plan for it. And I cannot see any justification for bringing a child to work on a regular basis; also I think it’s highly problematic that management allows it.

      3. LCL*

        I am an American without kids and totally agree with Londoner. It’s beyond me how to fix it.

      4. Something Professional*

        As an American and a mom-to-be, I agree that the U.S. has very inadequate maternity and paternity leave practices, and I often wish ours were closer to those of our European counterparts. That said, though, poor national policy is not an excuse to take advantage of one’s subordinates by treating them as unpaid nannies. If this were an isolated instance where OP’s boss was stuck in an emergency and had to bring her kids to work, I would agree it was more sad than anything else. But it sounds like she did this routinely and just expected her employees to provide childcare without complaint. For me, that crosses from annoying into unprofessional and inappropriate.

    3. Artemesia*

      I worked in an environment where my colleagues all had their own offices and there were some kids who came in after school and sat in a corner and did their homework. My own daughter did this when she was in high school and she would occasionally assist us with tasks e.g. coding research data, making copies of a grant proposal etc. But even in this environment small children were not brought in except to show off a new baby.

      It is pretty outrageous for a manager to bring in an infant and to expect employees to be baby sitters.

      And mandatory fun you have to pay for? The place is run by insensitive loons.

  3. ScottySmalls*

    These all kind of sucked. #2&3 are just crazy! How can you expect your direct reports to watch your kids. And shouldn’t the last straw have been when your kid punched someone in the groin?! And #3 is why drinking with coworkers should not be mandatory. No one wants to get told that they should date by a drunken man. (Trust me I know)

    1. ScottySmalls*

      And good luck to #1 and 3 in their job search. Hope you guys get a good job soon.

  4. Mike C.*

    RE #2: Other things that make it difficult to maintain a professional demeanor… Getting hit in the groin!

    1. Me*

      He shoulda reported it as a workplace injury. Goes on the record to the state and to OSHA. Let them explain that one!

  5. Lisa*

    Urgh… I’m a huge believer that parenting is part of human life and we don’t need to segregate it from the rest of everyday living, but more in the sense that ‘big companies should consider offering on-site childcare if at all possible,’ not ‘just bring the kid to work and make your team babysit against their will.’

    I was at a certain Big Name Company when the order came down that employees weren’t to work from home full time anymore except under certain circumstances, and many of the complaints were along the lines of “Now that I have to come into the office I’ll have to pay for childcare!”

    Um… I have yet to meet the kid so well-behaved or the parent so efficient that you can do a full day’s work while watching them with no childcare help…

    1. Artemesia*

      One of the requirements for approval to work at home should be evidence that child care is being taken care of by someone other than the employee. It has been in the work at home situations of my family members.

      It is ridiculous to think someone could do a full time job and also be caring for kids at the same time. It will be bad parenting or bad working — generally both.

      1. Jessa*

        Yes, I never worked for a company, where I could work from home, where any type of kids or pets or other adults were allowed to interrupt. You were expected to either have a door you could close (pets,) or care for the kids or your disabled or elder relatives.

        I remember ONCE my cat got in where I work, when I went to the loo, and I couldn’t get her out and had to sign back in. A caller heard her and I was lucky it was near to Hallowe’en and we sold those animals that made noise when you walked by them (we were never ever to let a customer know we weren’t in an office/call centre,) so I told the customer it was one of those toy decorations and the warehouse hadn’t thought about putting it near our desks.

        My boss happened to be listening and got a heckuva laugh over that and gave me permission to go “off call” to corral the cat.

      2. A Bug!*

        It seems like a pretty good clue as to why telecommuting wasn’t working that well for Big Name Company to me…

        It sucks when some employees’ misuse of a perk gets it restricted for everyone, including the ones who were using it appropriately.

      3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        If it’s a once-in-a-while thing, it could work out – for example, if a parent did a work from home day when a not-too-young kid was home sick from school, the parent could potentially get 80% of a day’s work done while the kid slept or watched TV, then work another extra hour or two in the evening to round out the day. But for a healthy kid, on a regular basis? Nope!

      4. K.*

        My best friend’s SIL is a remote worker (she lives halfway across the country from her company) and is required to document that she had childcare in place. My company had no such policy – really, no policy around working at home in general; it was at your manager’s discretion so in some departments it was flat-out vetoed (including in dangerous weather), and in others it was more lax. But it was NOT required to make arrangements for child care (one of my coworkers worked from home one day a week precisely because she’d lost her sitter for that day; her kid is less than a year old), and I frankly disagreed with that.

        And let me say, I am staunchly in favor of making parenthood easier in this country. My old company was global and we’d have UK colleagues out for a year after births, while the US teams would be scrambling to cobble something together after six or eight or twelve weeks at the longest, and I think that sucks (and I don’t have kids). But I don’t think remote work should substitute for child care, nor do I think a manager’s team should be forced to babysit your kids in lieu of doing actual work (?!).

      5. Rene UK*

        I agree, it impacts both. When my son was about 5 the mother of one of his friends asked if he could come for a playdate. I didn’t know her very well, and I assumed that we would chat while the boys played. Nope–after a bit of discussion, it was clear that she wanted to let them swim in the swimming pool(!) while she worked and watched them from the kitchen window(!!!!) I….declined.

    2. BananaPants*

      I know several people who are full-time telecommuters for large companies and part of the telecommuting agreement includes that if they have kids, they have appropriate childcare that is NOT the employee. Get caught with your kid in the home office and it can result in disciplinary action including revoking the telecommuting arrangement or going on a PIP.

      I’m lucky to be able to work from home when needed due to school snow days or a sick child, but there’s definitely reduced productivity.

    3. Clever Name*

      Yeah. I currently work part time, but sometimes project demands mean I have to put in extra hours at home after I’ve picked up my son. It’s really hard to do actual work even with a kid who is school age. I asked a coworker who works out of her house how she did it when her kids were little. Her response was she worked a lot of late nights.

      1. KTB*

        One of my colleagues works from home and has two nannies on rotation caring for his son so that he can actually get work done. If he’s without child care for whatever reason, he always lets us know because he knows he isn’t getting anything done that day!

  6. Anonsie*

    Well, I quit. I’m handing the torch over to the execs at company #3 here, they get to be Skull Island. It’s real, people, it’s real and it’s right there.

    1. CollegeStudent*

      I think this should be the automatic response to any reader update: “Ok, everything worked out fine, but where is the duck game update?”

  7. kristinyc*

    #2 – At least you can take solace in the fact that it is very, very, unlikely your new coworkers in NYC are going to bring their children to work. It’s just not done. :) Congrats on the new job!

    #3 – Wow. I’m sorry you’re going through all that. I hope you can find something else soon! Your employer sounds terrible.

  8. TT*

    #1 – I think you have to be really careful about bringing the kids in to work – it can become a distraction so quickly. Typically I bring my kids on “Bring your child to work” day, but when they were babies the request came from a lot of co-workers (and the Director) to bring my twins in. The issue I realized early on is that there is a shelf life on seeing a cute baby or kid in the office, and that shelf life is directly tied to how quiet the kid/kids are. A calm, quiet kid can stick around all day and no one will notice. Two rambunctious toddlers cannot. The best plan is to use a day that you have off, whisk them in, say hellos and let everyone faun over them, grab a few files you may need for later and then get out. No more than 25 minutes.

  9. ECH*

    My dad would keep us at his office (he was Director of Laboratories, a.k.a. the stockroom guy, at a college) when we were school-aged. He would make us hot chocolate using de-ionized water and taught us how to make it really smooth: put a little water in with the hot chocolate mix, stir it until smooth and then add the rest of the water. I don’t remember much about the times I was there but I’m sure my younger sister and brother and I were well-behaved.

  10. AW*

    #2 & #3 should be given awards in keeping their cool because I can’t even and I’m only reading this. What the heck is wrong with people?

    I’m also wondering if #2 actually did watch the kid or if they went directly to HR when that happened.

    #1 – I’m glad it’s at least better than it was before. Good luck in the search. Good luck to all of you.

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