a request for help from someone I can’t stand, paging troubles, and more

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

1. Do I have to respond to a request for help from someone I can’t stand?

There’s a woman a few years younger than me (i’m in my mid-30’s, she’s in her late 20’s) who is a friend of my parents through a church community, but who, simply put, irks the heck out of me. There are a number of little personality things that she does that get under my skin, so I just try to avoid her in my personal life. I’ll call her Monica.

At my most recent former job, Monica ended up interning while she worked on her Master’s degree. She talked over people, interrupted my director while he was talking to vendors, and offering up ideas as solutions, and this was the first meeting she had ever had in our office. I read your article on annoying coworkers, and Monica is both an “interrupter” and a “know-it-all.” My director didn’t correct her (he’s a super nice guy and is great at avoiding what he sees as unnecessary conflict/criticism). She also had a tendency to show up to the office wearing inappropriately short dresses, spending all day tugging at the bottom of them to cover herself.

Because I knew I had personal issues with Monica, I tried to put all of that aside and work with her in a professional manner. But even trying to get along, I just can’t get past being annoyed with her.

I am now at a new firm in a new position, working with someone who is a mutual friend with Monica, and who thinks the world of her. Monica is now applying for a job with this new company. I don’t expect to be working directly with her, so I think I can keep up my keep-to-myself policy and not be overly annoyed with her. However, I just received a message via LinkedIn from her asking me for advice as she prepares for her interview. Normally, I’d suck it up and hold my nose while I replied with something helpful. (It’s not Monica’s fault she gets so under my skin.) But, she spelled my name wrong in the message, which is ridiculous, considering this was through a networking site where my name is clearly written right in front of her! (On the other hand, I have an unusual name and NEVER take it personally when someone misspells it, which makes me think it’s really all about her.)

My professionalism is slipping and I really just want to pretend like I never even received this request. How terrible would I be if I just ignored her request for help over this mistake? I feel like it just goes back to the overall feeling I get from her that she thinks she is better than everyone, and therefore, doesn’t need to pay attention to the details.

I’m not a fan of ignoring a direct request like this from someone you know, but I also don’t think you’re obligated to help her get a job at your company when you don’t want to work with her. One option is to reply back with something like, “Unfortunately, my schedule is packed this week and I don’t think I’d be of much help, but good luck!” Frankly, you could also wait until after the interview and reply that you realize it’s too late to be helpful. Neither of these will feel especially kind, but you’re really not obligated to help her get a job when you don’t think she would be a good coworker.

I actually think the bigger thing here is that you have legitimate, work-related reasons for not thinking she’d be a good hire and you should be sharing them with the hiring manager. If I were the hiring manager, I’d absolutely want to know what your experience working with her was (probably limited to the interrupting and poor interpersonal skills and not about the short dresses).

2. My coworker asked us if we’d support him becoming our team lead

I work on a team that has seen key individuals leave my company within the last few months. It has left the remaining of us a bit confused and overwhelmed with picking up the pieces as we try to cover the departed employees’ responsibilities.

Recently, one of my colleagues called a meeting with those of us who remain. My colleague wanted to get our thoughts and feedback about whether we would support his efforts in becoming the new team lead so he could then approach the director about a potential new role. We were asked point-blank.

I did not answer the question directly because I did not feel like this person is fit to be in this new position. (There are several reasons behind this, mostly because I do not believe he has done his fair share of the workload even before anyone quit, is not reliable because he or someone in his family is constantly sick, and periodically sends email blasts that are unprofessional). Instead, I simply told him that he should have this conversation with the director because the director had previously told me his own vision of rebuilding the team.

Is this an appropriate answer? How else could I have answered this? I didn’t want to be rude but I didn’t want to just say, “Yes, totally, of course I support you being our new team lead” when I felt entirely the opposite.

Your answer was perfectly fine — better than fine, considering that you were put on the spot and in an awkward position. Other options could have been “Hmmm, that’s interesting, I’d want to think about it” or “I’m not sure — I’d want to hear more about your plans for the role” or even, if you were comfortable saying it, “I’m not sure I see you in that role, but I’d be glad to think about it.”

3. Paging a coworker with his first, middle, and last names

We have a paging system at work that we constantly use to page coworkers to locate them on the floor. I recently paged a coworker by his full name — first, middle and last. I then got in trouble with my manager and was told it was unprofessional. The reason we know his middle name is because he has told us. I was really confused when I was told not to do it and got reprimanded. Can you shed some light on this for me?

I’m guessing your manager assumed you were joking around (since that’s what it sounds like to me), and doesn’t want the paging system used for mirth.

4. Listing one-time volunteer work on a resume

Is there a way to appropriately list one-time volunteer experiences on a resume?

I do consistently volunteer with one organization and have that listed, but every once in a while I do a one-time thing: I helped out at a local Rotary event for “breakfast with the Easter Bunny,” both helping with raffle tickets, and actually being the bunny; I’ve cooked food at a local Ronald McDonald House; etc.

On the one hand, I completely understand if it’s not appropriate to list those things. I just don’t want to short change myself, either.

I’d leave them off. They do demonstrate community involvement, but they’re so short-term that they don’t really rise to the level of resume-worthy.

5. Update: Can I ask to work from home for a few days if I can’t stop crying?

Remember the letter-writer in January who was wondering about asking to work from home for a few days because she was facing a possible break-up and couldn’t stop crying (#2 at the link)? Here’s her update.

The request to work from home wasn’t approved, but not for any reasons personal to me. There’s been some general “cracking down” on folks working remotely past their typical one day a week schedule, and so I was asked to stick with my normal schedule if I could — that said, my boss suggested I use any sick or vacation time I needed. So I did that, and in doing so, realized I needed some general larger-scale help with my emotions.

As I was going through this breakup, my long-present-but-dormant depression and anxiety were really starting to pop up. I ended up taking leave for a month to attend an intensive outpatient treatment for people with depression and anxiety, and I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have the time and space to focus on just getting better.

Anyway, I’m in a much better place now — a single place, but a place where I have many more tools in my toolbox to handle my up and down emotions when they swing too far in either direction. Thanks to you and to your readers for the advice and support.

{ 370 comments… read them below }

  1. KarenT*

    ‘Do not use the paging system for mirth’ is going to be my new catch phrase.

    My office’s system is used way to liberally. I was in a very, very tense meeting yesterday about a difficult situation. Two directors are shouting at each other, and then boom! Over the loud speaker, “there is ice cream in the cafeteria! Free ice cream! Come help yourself!” It was…awkward.
    I was on the phone once with a very famous, VIP author who also happened to be PO’D at my company when over the loudspeaker came an announcement about the company BBQ. He was so annoyed!

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      “Do not use the paging system for mirth” must be why my team lead got her hand slapped for singing the opening lines to “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” over the PA system at a Home Depot years ago. The customers loved it. Management? Not so much. :-)

        1. Allison*

          Seconded, although I didn’t notice until you pointed it out. I just watched the whole series on Netflix, really helped me get through a recent breakup.

      1. Miss Betty*

        I once worked at a jobsite way out in the country. Occasionally, one of the engineers would get on the intercom and moo (very realistically!). We all thought it was funny. Of course, many things that happen in a jobsite construction trailer probably would never be appropriate in an office. Also, this was back when all the vendors had calendars full of bikini-clad women and people would smoke in the office. Don’t miss that at all.

    2. Gandalf the Nude*

      I told this story late in the open thread last week, but I accidentally sang “Re: Your Brains” over the intercom at old job. At least I got an applause at the end. :/

    3. Intercom*

      At Previous Job one of the owners, instead of emailing or calling people to his office (which he did multiple times an hour, to sign things for them), would call them on the intercom. He thought it was funny and would add tons of “funny haha” jokes. It was incredibly annoying and distracting.

    4. Sunshine*

      I once had a friend send me a gift through company mail. The passive aggressive drama queen who got to the mail first decided to announce to the entire building “Ms. Sunshine, you have a package at the front desk from Mr. Other Manager.” Mind you, we all got mail all the time and it was NEVER announced. She just had to make sure everyone KNEW. Even though no one else cared. Ugh. People.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        My coworker had a fling with another coworker that lasted a week before she ended it. The other coworker sent her a pair of underwear she left at his place through inter-office mail. I was in her office when she opened it and thank god she had a sense of humor because I could not stop laughing. She thought it was hilarious too. I just can’t believe the guy did that though; it was kind of a jerk move now that I think about it.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          OMG. Now I can’t stop laughing. I have so many questions. Was it just undies in an envelope? Were they in a brown paper bag? Maybe a Ziploc? Is that why she broke things off?

          1. Lily in NYC*

            Our interoffice mail comes in large legal-sized manila envelopes; he just shoved them in there with nothing else. She broke things off because he talked about his ex constantly (another coworker who he has since married).

        2. Sam*

          damnit. I just ended a coworker fling and he still has a pair of my underwear…

          I’m going to be very suspicious of packages from now on.

          1. Koko*

            Are…are you leaving the underwear on purpose, for sexy reasons, or do you just…somehow forget it but manage to remember to take all the other clothes you were wearing? I’ve never left underwear at anyone’s house!

            1. Sam*

              Haha, the first time things happened I was sneaking out early in the morning and didn’t want to wake him up. I couldn’t find my underwear and didn’t want to turn on the light. I finally gave up and just left without.

              Not sexy. Hot damn mess.

        3. LBK*

          I think the best thing that ever got interofficed in my department was a bunch of pickles.

            1. LBK*

              A former coworker really loved these homemade pickles from a certain sandwich shop near us, so one time when we ordered from there we interofficed all the extra pickles to his new desk :)

              1. Ruthan*

                I’ve only ever worked at small companies and I love it, but this seriously makes me wish I were somewhere large enough to have interoffice delivery. :D

        4. Ellie H.*

          I have also been sent underwear via interoffice mail!!!!! I used to work at the same university my mom teaches at and she once sent me a pair of underwear I had accidentally left at home (I would often do laundry at my parents’ house). I thought it was hilarious.

    5. Valar M.*

      Our 2-way intercom system is so loud and disruptive. I’ll just be sitting at my desk, and bam! someone’s yelling at me through my phone asking where John or Jane are. It makes me feel like I’m in grade school, and like the Kool Aid man is popping through the wall at regular intervals.

      1. De Minimis*

        We used to have a problem with the system being used for mirth on Halloween, but I think management finally got people to stop.

        There’s a lot of mirth with our paging even when it’s used properly, the one staffer who does most of the pages is always starting pages by saying “Attention Faculty and Staff…” We’re a medical clinic, not a school. I don’t know if she used to do pages at a school and is used to making announcements that way, or if she doesn’t know what the word “faculty” means or what.

        1. Roly Poly Little Bat Faced Girl*

          There’s a recurring skit on Saturday Night Live where Jay Pharoah plays a principal who always starts his addresses that way. That’s what I heard in my head when I read “Attention Faculty and Staff..”

      2. Lily in NYC*

        Ours is so stupid – I can’t even hear it where I sit so I would have no idea if someone paged me. We don’t use it often though, maybe once every month. Once in a while people screw up and their entire phone conversation is heard over the intercom. And we can never figure out who it us to go warn them that everyone can hear them.

        1. Windchime*

          Ours never goes off at all, except once a week when someone shouts into it, “THIS IS A TEST, THIS IS A TEST”, followed by about 30 seconds of an annoying busy signal beeping sound until someone finally shuts it off. Not sure what the point of all that is.

          1. Lily in NYC*

            Maybe we work at the same place! We get that too – and they feel the need to repeat “this is a test” a million times for some reason.

            1. De Minimis*

              We have a plethora of “codes” for various emergencies, so sometimes we have drills for those.
              Some are obvious—code blue for some kind of medical emergency like someone passing out or having a heart attack and code red for fire. But we’ve got nearly the entire spectrum and then some….yellow, green, black, brown, grey, and pink.

              1. Valar M.*

                Does someone really need to yell code red through the intercom, when presumably, the fire alarms will be going off?

                1. De Minimis*

                  I think with that one it’s more for uniformity’s sake since all the other events have color codes. I’ve never heard them announce Code Red, but that’s how it’s referred to in the manual.
                  I could see why they might need it though in case a fire was discovered and the alarm was not functioning.

      3. Stranger than fiction*

        Ours is so annoying because they also use it to play music for about thirty seconds every time someone sells something! :/

      4. Ruthan*

        > the Kool Aid man is popping through the wall at regular intervals

        I’m sorry for your irritation, but I just laughed til I cried.

    6. RMRIC0*

      I don’t know, that sounds like really good timing for free ice cream (then again I think there is no bad time for free ice cream).

    7. LBK*

      My worst PA error was picking up the phone to page a sales rep and, out of habit, going into my usual “picking up the phone to answer a customer call” spiel (thank you for calling Teapots Inc, this is LBK, how may I help you?).

      Fortunately no one said anything to me but it was pretty mortifying.

      1. anonintheuk*

        We have a tannoy system at work. Irritatingly, there is a speaker in the ladies’ loo. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to respond with ‘I’m having a pee!’ (there is no phone in the ladies’, unfortunately – or possibly fortunately).

        1. Chickaletta*

          This reminds me of a prank my college suitemate played on me. I was in the bathroom and my phone started ringing (this was in the days of landlines), so I abandoned my activities and rushed out to answer it. It was a hang-up, so I returned to the bathroom. Ten seconds later, phone starts ringing again and I rush out to answer another hang up. At that point, my suitemate starts giggling uncontrollably. It took me about half a second to put two and two together.

      2. Sunshine*

        My office used to set newbies up for this intentionally. We use the “call park” function a lot, and the numbers dialed for the paging zones were similar to the ones used for call park. So, the new guys is told “You have a call holding on 8-2”, picks up and dials 82 and does the spiel for the whole building. We also had zones, so if you really wanted to get them, you’d have them dial into another zone where they couldn’t hear the page. Of course they don’t get an answer, so then they say it again. Or “Hello? Are you there?” Not realizing they’re just talking into the air over the entire warehouse.

        For some reason, our boss decided our new building didn’t need a PA system. :-)

        1. LBK*

          Heh, I worked in a store that did that to newbies too. Fortunately never to me (nor did I do it to others).

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I have too, when I worked at Exjob. “Good afternoon, XYZ Comp–goddammit.”

          Whenever people talk about PA errors, I always think of that bit in Grease where the principal said over the intercom, “So remember, if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.”

        2. TheLazyB*

          Worst thing was when I had a job as well as a voluntary role at a suicide support phone line. I got it mixed up both ways. Bad times!!

    8. BananaPants*

      Our test facility has a paging system, both for finding people and for making EH&S-related announcements. Standard procedure to page a person is to dial the paging number and then once you’re live, you say the name of the person you want to call you and the extension for them to call you back, then repeat it (usually with just the first name). So it’ll be something like, “Wakeen Smith – 1234. Wakeen – 1234”. All of our extensions in the facility have the paging extension printed at the phone as well as that phone’s extension. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve paged someone and accidentally read off the paging extension rather than the extension from the phone I’m using. It’s a bit embarrassing, as the recipient of my page usually pages back while laughing and everyone in the building hears the extension in real time, but I just laugh along at myself.

    9. _ism_*

      I wish that could catch on around here! Our people use the PA system for mirth as well. One lady sings the Happy Birthday song over the system for anyone having a birthday, which is cute and fun for people on the factory floor, but in the office, it is REALLY LOUD AND DISTRACTING, and if we’re on the phone or in meetings, it plays right through our speakerphones regardless of whether we’re using the phone for a regular call. Some weird feature of the system.

    10. Cath in Canada*

      We have a PA system, but I’d been here for well over a year before anyone ever used it. I wasn’t the only one who jumped out my skin – a lot of us didn’t know we had a system!

      (It was the director, saying “[Hyper-organised project manager], please report to me in reception. I need you, [HOPM]! [pause] Stop laughing, everyone.”)

      I’ve heard it used one other time, when there was someone outside who was threatening our building and we were put in lockdown. That was when we learned that there’s no speaker in the boardroom – some people were in a meeting, didn’t hear the announcement, and headed straight to the elevator after their meeting. Luckily security caught them in the lobby before they tried to leave).

    11. Bella*

      If the OP is working in a public place with customers and paged someone using their first, middle, and last names it can be seen as a safety issue, i.e: stalkers, etc.

  2. Engineer Girl*

    #1 – It’s incredibly dangerous to assign motivations to other people. You believe that she thinks she’s better than everyone? Really? Perhaps she’s shy. Perhaps she’s socially inept. Perhaps she’s on the spectrum. But usually when you say to someone “you think” you’re really saying that about your own thoughts.
    The saddest part of this whole story is that neither you nor your old manager has taken the poor girl aside and talked to her about her problems in plain language. You’re just letting her hang herself. Isn’t an internship about getting the rough edges off? You’ve both failed her.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t know if that’s fair. The OP described very specific behavior that certainly doesn’t sound like shyness to me — from her first meeting she ever had in the OP’s office, she talked over people and interrupted them. It’s reasonable to be annoyed by someone who does those things, and it wasn’t necessarily the OP’s job to give her feedback on those things. (And really, when someone gets under your skin like this, it’s often better for both of you if you’re not the one to give them feedback, as long as you’re not their manager and thus obligated to do it.)

      1. neverjaunty*

        Wow, seriously. Interrupting and talking over people is behavior, not motivation.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          “she thinks she is better than everyone” is a motivation. There are many reasons she could be interrupting or talking over others. Cluelessness, raised that way, etc. Until you actually talk to her you can’t know.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes, but that was just the last line in the question, the OP admitted her assessment may be colored by personal dislike and earlier in the letter she named several behavioral reasons that are legit cause for not liking her. So it seems awfully harsh to take her to task for it.

          2. Colette*

            I’m fairly certain the OP didn’t list every interaction she’s ever had with this person. It’s entirely possible the intern does act or say that she’s better than everyone.

            1. Stranger than fiction*

              Yes exactly- people who talk over and interrupt others and pitch their ideas in heir first meeting ever? Sounds like she regards herself very highly so I totally get where the Op describes her as thinking she’s better. Also is this a small town or what? She interned at same firm as Op and now she’s interviewing at another form where Op is also?

              1. Dana*

                I thought that was going to be the question–how do I get someone to stop following me around to different jobs?

      2. Engineer Girl*

        The girl’s behaviors sound like social cluelessness to me. If she continued after someone spoke to her then I would change my opinion.
        It takes a while to get under someone’s skin. So not dealing with the issue and letting emotions build up does build annoyance toward the other person. While the OP had no obligation to correct, the manager certainly did – and chose not too because they supposedly didn’t want conflict. So by avoiding conflict the manager created conflict. The OP could have gone to the manager about the behaviors and pushed to have the manager handle it.
        The whole thing seems icky and very passive aggressive to me.

          1. Engineer Girl*

            Because the person was there on an internship, for starters. It’s the right thing to do. And if someone is as disruptive as claimed then the manager should be managing that. Either do something about it or let it go. But don’t fume if you’re not going to do something about it.

            1. BRR*

              I agree that it’s a big point of an internship. Also the OP could have said something. “Jane, please don’t interrupt” and then you continue on. I’m curious if the girl is just that annoying or if something else is going on. This is a serious case of bitch eating crackers.

              1. fposte*

                Though it’s possible that the OP did say something.

                On the other hand, I’d probably make a point of *not* getting involved with somebody I knew from my family socialization, because I really wouldn’t want to run the other way and start acting like they were my problem just because I knew them.

              2. Kyrielle*

                Could she? It sounds like this woman was interrupting the boss, and in front of vendors at that. The OP taking that up in the moment, when the boss she interrupted did not, would have been seriously out of line and seemed to be undermining the boss, IMO.

                It’s possible there were later opportunities, but did the first opportunity where OP could legitimately speak up come *before* OP was too annoyed to reasonably do so? Would the boss – who dislikes conflict, and some such bosses dislike even knowing it happens, never mind causing it – have been okay with the action if OP had spoken up?

                I think it’s a long stretch to assume OP had a context and moment to do something.

                The boss, mind you, totally failed here – but that’s not unexpected if avoiding conflict is their top priority. And in OP’s shoes, I might be tempted to give the hiring manager a heads-up but also admit that you saw it under a boss who didn’t appear to try to address the behavior.

                But this does go beyond bitch-eating-crackers. Interrupting your boss in a first meeting in front of vendors, as an intern? Not cool. Certainly by the end, there’s also BEC going on – and the OP is aware of that and worked around it and stayed professional, which is awesome. At the same time, the things that *led* the OP to feel that way are, in many regions, industries, and businesses, legitimate concerns with an employee.

                (Indeed, I grew up in an environment where interrupt-y conversations were normal and accepted. I have to work really hard to curb that tendency, because it’s not professionally appropriate.)

                1. Stranger than fiction*

                  I’m getting the impression Op doesn’t feel she can speak up because their families are friends and thus she is just seething now for holding it all in.

              3. Cari*

                I got a definite “bitch eating crackers” vibe from the letter, but don’t blame OP at all. I’ve definitely been there too (though not in a work situation).

                And concur with others, the manager at old-job should have done something, given she was there for an internship.

            2. LBK*

              That’s not the OP’s place, though. If the manager doesn’t see fit to manage, that’s not their employee’s problem. And for all we know, the manager could’ve been trying to help this woman with her professionalism and it didn’t take. Either way, it’s extremely inappropriate to try to push your manager into doing anything, especially if that thing is performance managing another employee.

              And ultimately, the motivation is irrelevant – that doesn’t make the behaviors less inappropriate or grating.

        1. Cheesecake*

          I don’t understand why OP had to pick this battle and push her boss to deal with this internship. This is how you create a conflict out of nowhere. OP does not work for charitable org that helps social clueless people. As a side note, being socially aware is a big part of work and it is something way harder to teach than technical skills.

          1. misspiggy*

            True, but if the OP takes Alison’s advice and tells the hiring manager that the person did x and y unprofessional things, it comes across as a bit vindictive when the OP has been involved with her as a family friend and an intern, and has not tried to correct her behaviour. I don’t think I would go out of my way to pass on criticisms in that situation, unless I had seen the person get advice or requests to change, and they had failed or refused to improve.

            1. Cheesecake*

              I wouldn’t camp outside hiring manager’s office either. But i don’t see anything bad in dropping two lines about her social skills as a sort of “FYI you will need to handle that if she is a successful candidate” vs “don’t hire her, she is rude!”. The fact that they know each other personally – Monica is not OPs blood sister.

              I just don’t agree that we have to blame OP is any way. It is boss’s job to talk to the internee, especially because OP knows her personally and criticism coming from OP might be taken very wrong.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                Right, from what the OP said, she was not supervising this person as an intern, so it actually would be wrong of her to butt in and try to manage someone else’s intern in most workplaces. Now, if the OP wasn’t already at the bitch-eating-crackers stage, she could have given some advice about work-appropriate behavior to the intern on her own, considering that she knew her outside of work, but that’s dependent on their personal relationship, not their professional one, which really barely exists, it sounds like, as she’s never been a teammate or supervisee.

            2. JB (not in Houston)*

              I don’t know that it’s vindictive. If one of my coworkers had seen unprofessional behaviors in someone who was applying for a position I was hiring for, I’d want to know, even if the coworker didn’t like that person (I don’t want to hear about how they just rub you the wrong way, but unprofessional behavior I’d want to hear about). And if I found out this employee knew about such behaviors but didn’t tell me before I hired the person, I’d wonder why. I don’t necessarily want to hire someone who would one day be a great employee if only I spent a lot of time training them on professional behavior and not being socially clueless. That would be nice of me, but I don’t work at a charity for people who don’t fit in elsewhere and I don’t have time for that.

              1. Joey*

                Well on the other hand the right thing to do is help the person reaching out to you for help. Yeah, I agree with you that Id want that feedback too but there’s a way to do it gracefully.

                1. LBK*

                  Why would you agree to help someone you don’t think would be a good hire and that you don’t like? Purely out of the kindness of your heart? I’m not understanding your disdain for the OP declining the help request here or how you see that as at odds with informing the HM about her info – both of those actions stem from the same source, which is Monica’s unprofessional behavior.

        2. Colette*

          The manager was aware of the behaviours. I don’t think it was on the OP to put her own career at risk to push the manager into doing her job – particularly since she knows she doesn’t like this person.

        3. Melissa*

          Even if you could classify interrupting people and talking over people as simple social cluelessness – which I don’t think it is – many hiring managers would rather hire someone good who doesn’t do those things as opposed to someone good who does. Also, the OP says the manager didn’t correct her in the first meeting, but we don’t know whether s/he did later or whether Monica’s had correction at other workplaces.

          1. peanut butter kisses*

            Also, the boss could have given Monica feedback in private. Good bosses don’t criticize you with other people around and they don’t tell other people that criticism has been given.

        4. Jaydee*

          Its possible that “Monica” has objectively disruptive or inappropriate behaviors. If that’s true, I agree that those could stem from any number of sources and it’s not really fair to assume any particular motivation. I also agree that managing those behaviors is the job of the manager and that ordinarily anyone who is in a supervisory role over interns has some responsibility for teaching them how to do the work and .

          But here, it sounds like the OP already knew Monica long before the internship and already disliked her. She may have reached “bitch eating crackers” stage long before they ever worked together. If that’s the case, there may be little or nothing objectively wrong with Monica’s actions. One person’s “know-it-all” is another’s “creative genius.” What seemed like rude interruptions and over-eagerness to the OP might have seemed like enthusiasm and taking initiative to the manager. It’s not clear whether the manager was actually bothered by Monica’s behavior over the course of the internship or whether the OP is just assuming he was but was too non-confrontational to say anything. It’s also possible he did talk to Monica but didn’t share that with the OP because it’s none of OP’s business.

          Regardless, I think it’s wrong to assume too much here on either end of things. I think OP should really assess whether Monica has objectively bothersome workplace behaviors. Think about your favorite co-worker and imagine them doing the same things Monica did. Would it still bother you? Would it be a problem in the workplace? If so, then follow Alison’s advice and share those concerns with the hiring manager. But if you realize your distaste for her really is personal, then bite your tongue, politely decline her request for help, and try to be professional and civil but maintain your distance if she is hired.

    2. I am anonymous*

      ” But usually when you say to someone “you think” you’re really saying that about your own thoughts.”

      I think the same thing could be said about your post.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        ??? I never said “you think” in any of my posts except to quote the OP.

    3. Joey*

      I Can see that as a real possibility. To me the op sounds like some co workers I’ve had who like things more formal, proper, reserved etc. And they always felt like the folks who were loud, chatty, unfiltered, and casual were doomed to fail because they didn’t focus on the things they find important. And somehow those folks always felt like it should be obvious so they must be doing it purposefully.

      I agree that the op has some legit concerns, but I also think that if someone inexperienced you know is reaching out to you for help you help them. Especially when it doesn’t cost you but a few minutes of your time.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Ah I hadn’t thought of that but are you referring to type A personalities? In my experience they do love to hear themselves talk and in some business settings it’s common to have a lot of them in the office.

    4. Lily in NYC*

      Incredibly dangerous? What happens, will I spontaneously combust when I do it? Will my head explode? I’m scared!

      1. Joey*

        Oh Cmon, let’s have an adult discussion here. hopefully you know assuming the worst of people is not just poisonous to those around you but can have some real negative consequences on your career. I’ve seen many people with that kind of attitude develop a reputation as a gossip, a poor judge of character, unable to adapt, cliquey, I could keep going

        1. voyager1*

          I can see where Engineer Girl is coming from. I can also be a “Monica” in that I get excited sometimes and interupt people, I am better now, but whew 10 years ago LOL.

          I pretty much agree with AAM till the end. I would not go to the hiring manager about Monica. A good manager is going to get to the point of you not liking Monica and they may conclude you just don’t like her for some personal non work reason.

          1. LBK*

            Totally disagree. I think it’s your duty as an employee to say something to your manager during the hiring process – I’d be pretty pissed if I found out after the fact that one of my work colleagues had a whole bunch of information about a potential candidate and didn’t say anything.

            It would be one thing if it were all social information since that could just be seen as personal dislike, but there’s definitely valid work-related information that the OP has.

              1. LBK*

                I don’t know if that’s necessary depending on the info being conveyed – if the OP can deliver a strictly factual record of the events she witnessed and can keep it as business-behavior focused as possible, that caveat may not be required. Matter-of-factly relating the story about interrupting the exec, for example, pretty clearly makes the point without injecting the OP’s bias into it, as long as there’s no accompanying editorializing.

                1. Joey*

                  Id find it pretty mean spirited if I reached out to you for help and you went and told the hiring manager everything I did wrong when we worked together yet said nothing about those things to me.

                2. LBK*

                  That seems like a purposely vindictive reading of the situation. Declining the request for help and informing the HM of what you know about her are independent actions – either of which is perfectly acceptable. And again, I don’t think it was the OP’s place (or at least not her obligation) to say anything to her when she was an intern. She wasn’t Monica’s manager. That doesn’t make the information any less valid to pass on now.

                  Is this complicated by the fact that she was an intern and therefore you don’t think she was a peer to the OP when they worked together? Because if they were just regular coworkers, I have a hard time thinking you’d find this objectionable. We talk about providing info to HMs all the time about people you used to work with and it never seems controversial.

                3. Joey*

                  No I just think that if someone is asking for help it’s pretty shitty to refuse but then go behind her back and give all of your negative feedback to the hiring manager.

                  Now if she didn’t ask for help I think it’s fine. If you’re going to refuse to help I think you should bite your tongue or at least couch your comments.

                4. LBK*

                  That makes zero sense to me. The reason she doesn’t want to help is because she has negative things to say that the hiring manager should know. Those two actions are directly correlated – I don’t understand why if you’re not willing to help her chances, you’re not allowed to hurt her chances either. Why would you help someone that you don’t think should be hired?

                5. LBK*

                  It’s also not “going behind her back,” unless you think people shouldn’t provide info to HMs in general without the approval of the person they’re saying it about.

                6. Joey*

                  Don’t you think it’s passive aggressive to not respond to someone who’s asking your advice about a job when you don’t think they’d be good for it?

                  All I’m saying is she should be up front with her.

                7. LBK*

                  So if I’m understanding, you think she should tell Monica flat-out that she doesn’t think she’s a good employee and she doesn’t want to help her as a result?

                8. Joey*

                  Not flat out, but definitely somwthing telling her she doesn’t think she’s a good candidate. Like “I’m not sure this is a good fit for you. The culture here is one that’s a little more structured and conservative. For example, people take offense if you speak out of turn and you’d have to dress a lot more lot more conservatively.”

                9. Engineer Girl*

                  Facts are only useful in context. So the fact that the OP is biased must also be revealed. Otherwise the OP would only be divulging some of the facts.

                10. LBK*

                  I guess so, but again I don’t think the OP is in any way obligated to do that. She’s not a mentor to her, they didn’t have a close relationship when they worked together or socially…I’m just not seeing why that’s the OP’s responsibility or why it’s unfair not to do that.

                  Also, EngineerGirl, that makes no sense to me. Facts don’t depend on context – that’s what makes them facts. How the OP feels about Monica in no way alters what actions Monica did or didn’t take. Furthermore, I’d find it weird and unprofessional if someone told me their personal problems with a candidate, as if those are somehow relevant to the workplace. Unless it’s something extremely serious that would be hard to put aside during work (like the candidate is your ex-spouse), I’d anticipate that you’d be able to be professional and keep your issues outside the office.

                11. Joey*

                  Let me give you an example of why context is so important.

                  She dressed inappropriately by wearing flip flops to work.

                  She wore flip flops to work but flip flops is a pet peeve of mine and I have no idea if her boss ever mentioned flops flops aren’t appropriate.

                12. Engineer Girl*

                  Facts absolutely depend on context.
                  “He used a knife to cut her”. Oh, did I forget to mention that he was a surgeon?
                  “She broke my hand” Oh, did I forget to mention that she held up a piece of wood to protect herself when I was striking her?
                  “He wouldn’t lend me $5” – because I still owe him $30 from the last time I borrowed money
                  I would argue that the OP’s dislike of the other person is so strong that they are unable to deliver a truly unbiased narrative. That’s why it’s important to first disclose “I find her annoying”.

                13. LBK*

                  I still don’t understand it. The caveats in the second seem pointless because ultimately she did the behavior, whether she fixed it eventually or it was performance managed or not. Any piece of feedback you could ever give could come with the caveat of “I don’t know if a manager ever told them otherwise,” and something being a pet peeve of yours doesn’t invalidate it being a problem.

                14. LBK*

                  Come on, those are bullshit examples that aren’t even close to comparable to what we’re talking about here. We’re not discussing exempting clearly relevant factual details, we’re talking about leaving out a personal, emotional factor that in no way changes whether the coworker did the actions or not. Either she interrupted people or she didn’t, whether the OP thinks she’s a giant bitch or the next coming of the savior doesn’t change that.

                15. Joey*

                  Well except saying she interrupted people implies that its a significant problem. Id be okay with saying that if she also said “and that grates me to no end and her boss was a total wimp at managing interns and never coached her on it.”

              2. Jillociraptor*

                Any good reference checker is going to assume that the perspective of references is subjective, though. I’ve spoken to many a former manager who had clearly just had their buttons pushed and were interpreting the candidate’s behavior through a pretty critical lens. The info they provide is still sometimes useful, but it’s par for the course to take that subjectivity into account.

                To be clear, though, I think you do have an obligation to state any conflicts of interest when serving as a reference. I just think this falls into the realm of normal subjectivity.

                1. Joey*

                  True I just think it’s pretty backstabby to not want to help someone who asks for it but feeling fine about giving negative feedback to a hiring manager.

                  Sort of reminds me of the backstabby co worker would rather complain to the persons manager about a beef than talk to the person directly.

                2. LBK*

                  That’s totally different, though, because you have some level of obligation to be forward with a coworker, or at least an equal obligation as you do to be forward with your manager. In this case, the OP clearly has more obligation to her manager as an employee than she does to Monica as a former coworker/social acquaintance that she doesn’t particularly like.

                  Furthermore, it doesn’t really seem like stabbing someone in the back or sabotaging them to provide relevant, truthful, non-secret information. The OP isn’t revealing a secret Monica had asked her to keep or inventing stories. Think about how ridiculous that sounds from Monica’s perspective – “I exhibited signs that I was a bad employee, and then Jane totally stabbed me in the back by telling a potential employer about it!” Well, no, you stabbed yourself by exhibiting the behavior in the first place.

                3. Joey*

                  The problem I have is that she doesn’t want to be up front with the intern when she’s specifically asking for her advice

                4. LBK*

                  What would that advice be? She can’t advise her to go back and change the way she acted during the internship. And again, why try to help someone get hired that you don’t think should be hired?

            1. voyager1*

              Employees have no duty as you outline to inform you of anything when you are hiring someone. Would it be nice to tell you, probably, but they have no duty to you.

              1. LBK*

                I think you have as much duty as you do to provide any other important decision your manager makes as a member of their team. Not, like, a moral obligation, but part of being a good employee is making sure you’re passing on pertinent information in situations that require it. A hiring decision is a business decision – this is no different than if you caught a major error in a report your manager was about to send out and didn’t say anything because it wasn’t your duty.

                1. Joey*

                  Part of being a good employee is also recognizing when your view of the facts is colored by your biases

            2. Stranger than fiction*

              I agree but likewise wouldn’t a thorough hiring manager also inquire with the Op about the candidate if she knows they worked together previously?

            3. Engineer Girl*

              Then you also have a moral duty to talk to Monica. At that point your obligation toward Monica is ended.

          2. Happy Lurker*

            Hmm, I keep thinking that if she interrupted her boss in her first meeting, that she has a strong tenancy to do so most of the time. So she will probably portray those annoying traits in her interview… and maybe damage herself without OP sticking her neck out.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          Hey, it’s the Friday before a long weekend and I’m in a jokey mood. I’ll make sure to get your permission next time.

    5. waggermama*

      Was also going to suggest she’s ASD, she sounds a lot like me at that age, the interrupting is a particularly common trait.

  3. Engineer Girl*

    #3 – In many places calling someone by their full name means that they are in BIG trouble.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I was thinking that, I’ve only ever had by middle name used by my mom when I much younger and in a lot of trouble.

      1. Mabel*

        Me, too, and this is why we have given our dogs middle names! So they know that they’re doing something they need to stop doing (if they haven’t already figured it out by tone of voice – which they probably have done because they’re wicked smart).

        1. Bagworm*

          I have joint custody of my puppy with my ex (we’re on good terms) so I have given the puppy her middle name so she knows she’s in especially big trouble if I’m calling her by her other “mother’s” middle name.

      2. Merry and Bright*

        Me too, Apollo – and I got landed with two long first names so it has always sounded an even bigger deal when it has happened to me. All in the mind, but for someone to go through that mouthful to tell me off…!

      3. Bagworm*

        Always makes me think of a Friends episode when Phoebe’s mad at Joey and calls him by his first, middle and last name. He responds with “why are you middle naming me?”. That’s now my go-to response when anyone other than my mother does it.

      4. peanut butter kisses*

        I knew I was in trouble when my mother couldn’t remember my name and would call out every other family members name and then all the dogs names until she got to mine.

    2. Merry and Bright*

      Yep. “Jane!” – that’s one thing. “Jane Smith!” – OMG, what have I done?”

    3. The Wall Of Creativity*

      Harcourt Fenrton Mudd,, have yopu been drinking again? How many tiimes have I told you that….
      Trekkies will understand.

    4. Judy*

      The only time I’ve heard someone paged by more than their first and last name was at a former company when there were two Wakeen Schmdit/Schmitt. So those two guys got paged “Wakeen A Schmitt” and Wakeen B Schmidt”. The name combination was not common, and the last name was spelled differently.

      1. SerfinUSA*

        My brother and my 1st husband had the same name, and to make it more confusing, my brother’s wife has a variant of that name, and they had 2 friends with variants of it too. My family always called them by FirstName B. or FirstName L. etc. and it still pops up in conversation even though 1st husband is long gone.

        1. Rene UK*

          My brother’s name is sooo common, that he had 5 kids with the same name in one of his classes in high school. They ran out of nickname variations, so the last one was called…I think ‘Bud’ or something completely different.

      2. Sara*

        There was a girl in my class, from middle school on through graduation, whose first name was the same as my younger sister’s and whose last name was pronounced the same as ours but spelled differently. In the years where we overlapped at school (3 in total between 6th and 12th grade), they would page them either as “8th grade student Charlene Smith” and “6th grade student Charlene Smythe” or as Charlene A. Smith and Charlene B. Smythe.

        Also, despite the fact that Charlene A. Smith and I had different first names and differently-spelled last names, we still ended up having to meet up for paperwork swaps every week or so. She’d get my report card, I’d get half of her writing portfolio, we’d get overdue notices for the other person’s library books…I sometimes wonder if any of the adults who worked at our high school could actually read.

    5. John*

      This. The only reason I’ve ever seen middle names used are when someone’s about to scold a child and when there are two people with the same first and last name in the same place (which did actually happen – it was awkward, but an organic sort of awkward, like “we need to do this even though nobody’s 100% comfortable with it”).

  4. Grey*

    #3: For some reason I’ve always been annoyed at being singled out because of my name. It’s short and flows together, so people tend to always use the full name. It started back when I was in school and morning attendance was always taken like this by the teacher: Adam… Jane… Scott… Ron Dell… Brian… That’s not my real name, but you get the idea.

    It’s now why, at work, I always use my my full name in all written correspondence. If people see “Ronald Dell”, they’ll call me Ronald. If they see “Ron Dell”, they’ll call me Ron Dell.

    I guess my point is that you should page this guy the same way you page everyone else. No one likes to be singled out.

    1. Retail Gal*

      Another perspective: One of our sales supervisors says she hates when she has to page someone by their specific name. (Many overhead pages are numbers indicating certain requests) Her reasoning was that less-than-honest customers would say “Well, I spoke to [possible name heard on page], and she said I could return these cullots without a receipt for a cash refund.” Yeah, possibly a bit paranoid.

      Also, I’m not sure if the OP’s workplace is open to the public, but paging by all three names just gives me the worry of possible identity theft. Full name, person can make an educated guess on the current town they live in, etc…you’d be surprised what a Google search can pull up.

    2. Merry and Bright*

      Yes, this. And it sticks more when it is from a teacher in school. Later on it is often easier to brush things of or kick back. People shouldn’t really take liberties with your name like that.

    3. fallingleaves*

      I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone likes being singled out, but that doesn’t mean no one does.

      I have a very popular first name and, beginning in elementary school, was often referred to by my first name and last initial or last name. In grad school, a number of people in my program continued to call me by my first and last name even after the other person with my name left. I kind of like it, so I think it’s important to keep in mind that everyone has preferences and you can’t know how someone feels about their full name, a nickname, a title, or any other variations unless you ask. Just a quick “Do you mind me calling you that?” should be sufficient to avoid bothering anyone (as long as you respect their answer!).

      1. Jake*

        Yeah, in high School I was Jake to underclassmen, Scott to upper class men and Mr. Scott to teachers. No idea why I was the only student in my class not just called their first name by teachers, but it most certainly didn’t bother me.

        1. Cari*

          There was a maths teacher in my old highschool that called every student by their last name. It was actually kinda cool, even if it was probably intended to instill some discipline.

          1. SerfinUSA*

            I had a boss that used to give herself pep talks using her last name, just muttered under her breath a bit.

    4. Cath in Canada*

      Before I got married, a lot of my friends called me my full name, Cath Dunn, as if it was a single word – Cathdunn. I don’t know why, and I never liked it, but they wouldn’t stop! Upgrading to my husband’s two-syllable surname was definitely a good move :)

    5. Blurgle*

      I’m glad you specified you were using a pseudonym, because before I saw that (on second reading) I assumed they were bullying you. “Rondelle” is Canadian French for “hockey puck”.

    6. TootsNYC*

      I work with a guy whom I always address by his full name. It has a nice ring to it. And his one-syllable first name just feels sort of flat on its own. A few times I’ve said, “Oh, maybe you don’t like that and I should stop, but I do mean it in a good way. Your name reminds me of the hero sheriff in a Western, and that fits how I think of you–I think that’s why I do it.”

      He has said I’m not the only one who does it, and that he doesn’t mind. “And hey, at least there’s a compliment behind it.”

  5. A Dispatcher*

    I can’t really think of a legitimate reason why one would need to page someone with a full name unless you somehow happened to hire two people with the same first and last names. Even then I’d stick to a middle initial only or some other way of separating the employees. Using my full name would irk me not only because of the negative connotations (sounds like a parent scolding you), but also because I have a very unique name. I’m 99.9999% sure no one else (and I’m not exaggerating) has my name due to my very unusual last name, and giving out my middle name in addition seems almost like a breech of privacy to me. Why not give out my date of birth and social while you’re at it…

    Note: the privacy problem would be less of an issue if this was merely an internal paging system within an office, but the bit about locating personnel on the floor leads me to believe any member of the public who happens to be shopping that day could hear this information.

    1. Jessa*

      Even so unless they’re in the same department, it could easily be “Jane in accounting please call 112, Jane in sales please call 106.”

    2. Joline*

      I used to work in a place where we had two sets of people with the same first name and last name. So we ended up with actual names and then DW2 and JC2. Admittedly we had radios, not paging (it was a giant arcade), and rarely used names in that case. So it was usually in person or on schedules that the abbreviations were used.

        1. Partly Cloudy*

          A co-worker and I were just talking yesterday about all the duplicate first names at our company and we did the math: 40% of our colleagues share a first name with at least one (sometimes two or three) other people here.

          1. TheLazyB*

            Wow that’s amazing.

            For a while in OldJob 10% of our head office staff were called Julie which I thought was impressive.

            1. Partly Cloudy*

              It is. We also seem to have a strangely high number of pregnant employees, but I haven’t run the numbers on that.

        2. Cath in Canada*

          My husband used to be Big Mark to my friends from a former job, to distinguish him from a then-new grad student we all called Little Mark (Little Mark didn’t mind – we checked). Then I left and another Mark joined. He was introduced to Little Mark and said “so can I be Big Mark?”, and was told “no, we’ve already got one of those”. He wanted Tall Mark but got stuck with English Mark.

          Several years later, my husband and I were in the same pub as some people from that job. I went over to say hi to the people I knew, and one of them turned to the new people and proclaimed “she’s married to the original Mark! Big Mark!” My husband got dragged in to meet all these people, including a couple of new Marks, as if he was a celebrity. It was hilarious.

          The new Marks were Skinny Mark and Deutsch Mark. There are enough people there who still know me that there will not be another Big Mark allowed for a while :D

        3. Anon 411*

          My dogs name is Carl and we call him Carlie. The people behind us got a girl dog and named her Carlie (we refer to her as girl Carlie in speaking and my brother stole my pups name and named his daughter Carlie (still makes me mad). I regaled my co-worker with tales of Carlie and girl Carlie (we now have a privacy fence because it was waaaay too open, you could see right into each off our houses. My co-worker was driving one day and was behind a car with GRLCARLY as the license plate, she said if she saw a girl hound dog driving it she might have died.

        4. Al Lo*

          I work with a Kathryn, Katheryne, Katherine, Catherine, Kathrin, Cathy, and Kathy. It’s fantastic in writing, as long as everyone else gets the right spelling for the right person (which is one of my HUGE pet peeves when they don’t), but we definitely refer to them by first and last name in conversation, until context has been established.

      1. Kyrielle*

        In college, one of my friends had a very common first and last name. So common that there was another young woman two years behind us who ALSO had the same first and last name…and middle initial.

        Luckily, no paging or other issues, but the email addresses were firstlast format. Inexplicably, my friend already having firstlast, they gave this young woman firstMlast. But of course none of her friends necessarily knew that and email intended for her came to my friend all the time – and had they known, they had to know her middle initial to mail her – and then the only thing that made it clear which was which was the *order in which they entered* since they had the same middle initial. It made me grateful for my name which, while not unique, is not that common.

        1. Ellie H.*

          There are some last names that seem to attract certain first names. E.g. I’ve known multiple Melissa Gilberts – it makes sense the way it sounds out loud.

    3. The Wall Of Creativity*

      We have Peter C (starters) anmd Peter C (no starters) after one of the Peter Cs mistakenly emailed the whole department about how he wasn’t going to have a starter with his Christmas dinner.

    4. Sunshine Brite*

      Agreed, sounds scolding to me unless there’s another Sunshine Brite somewhere. I feel like learning about middle names is sometimes a get to know you type thing if emails include initials, that sort of thing so it’s possible to learn about people’s middle names without ever needing to use them.

    5. JB (not in Houston)*

      Yes, this was what I was thinking. Why *would* you page someone by their full name? It’s odd.

    6. Amber Rose*

      My boss’s legal name is Mark Smith, but he uses Roy Smith because we actually do have another Mark Smith in the company.

      For the two Raymonds, we just call one by his last name.

    7. Jazzy Red*

      “I can’t really think of a legitimate reason why one would need to page someone with a full name unless you somehow happened to hire two people with the same first and last names.”

      Sounds like you’ve never worked in a manufacturing company with more than 500 employees. If someone there paged “Jane”, at least 6 people would wonder “do they mean me, or one of the other Janes”.

      The professional and businesslike way to page people is with first and last names, unless you work in a very small office. (However, I live in the south now, so hearing “Tammy Fay Sue Kathleen Wilson” isn’t all that unusual.)

      OP, I still can’t figure out why you used that person’s middle name, just because you knew it. Whatever the reason, just follow the paging protocol that you hear all the time at work. If people are just being paged by their first names, do that. If your company generally uses first and last names, do that.

      1. A Dispatcher*

        Little late here but I stated full name meaning *with* middle initial and noted “unless you have two employees with the same first and last names”, not just unless you have employees with the same first names. I have no issue with paging Jane Smith, I have much more of an issue with paging Jane Seymour Smith particularly if there is no other Jane Smith at your company.

    8. Kat*

      We had two guys named David at a previous job in a grocery store. Both were box boys.
      The younger David was called Little David over the intercom. He hated it and asked me to call him something else, but gave no suggestions.

      ……”Batman, carry-out on register 3. Batman, carry out on register 3.”

      Yes, I did that. He came to the register laughing. A young boy was looking around for Batman and asked where he was. David said he couldnt tell him so it kept Batman’s real identity secret.

      1. Windchime*

        My Starbucks name is Beyonce. Normally my local store doesn’t ask for names, but they went through a phase and I told them my real name wasn’t cool enough so my drink came to me labeled Beyonce. Way cooler than my real name and less confusing to the other “Windchimes” in the room.

        1. Anon 411*

          It drives me nuts that no one else is in the fast food restaurant and yet you need my name for my order. I get busy breakfast at chik fil a, they holler your name and you come, but its dead in between time at Arbys you can call the order # or just say order up and Ill come get it.

          1. De Minimis*

            I remember late at night once during college we all had fun thinking of crazy names to give to the people at Whataburger. “Tarzan, your order’s ready.” Then some old cowboy [this was in Texas] got into the act..”Roy Rogers, your food is ready.”

    9. Uyulala*

      There are some interesting studies about the commonality of names in different industries.

  6. Merry and Bright*

    The thing about the one-time volunteering reminds me of a LinkedIn profile I saw just a few days ago. Under the volunteering section they have this person put: “In 1992 I rattled a collecting tin in the high street for a local animal shelter”.

    Some profile entries (not just LinkedIn) are just a teensy bit over the top.

    For the OP though, her volunteering might provide some material for a “Tell me about a time” question in an interview. No experience is ever wasted.

    1. Erin*

      (I asked the volunteer question) – I agree with you, more appropriate to bring it up during an interview, if relevant. I’m looking into volunteering more in general and figured it was worth asking.

      It’s also probably worth mentioning that part of the reason for volunteering should be the simple sake of helping out in your community – not *just* something to put on a resume. =P

      1. Sarah Nicole*

        Oh, OP, I loved when you said, “and actually being the bunny.” I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious and cute! And I also agree that putting one-time volunteer opportunities on your resume is not a good idea, but I certainly think you can find some way to bring them up in interviews. Particularly if your long-term volunteer experience is on there, if asked about it you could say something to the effect of, “And I love doing other smaller volunteer projects in the community, like this one time I was the Easter Bunny!” Hahaha, I love that!

        1. Erin*

          Ha! It is really claustrophobic in that head! I have also worked (“real” job, for pay) as a Santa’s helper, and Easter Bunny helper. It’s interesting for sure! Some people told me I should take that off my resume, but I’ve honestly gotten really great responses from it. People seem to think that’s awesome and amusing for some reason. =P

    2. MommaTRex*

      …volunteering might provide some material for a “Tell me about a time” question in an interview…

      +1 I was going to post almost the exact same advice.

  7. Cheesecake*

    OP 1, i think when you are not genuinely into helping – don’t. I’d pick Alison’s advise to write her after her interview. I hope this someone who thinks the world of Monica is not your boss or hiring manager for that job.

    1. Bio-Pharma*

      but I don’t like that it seems a bit passive-aggressive. I would personally do the “Unfortunately I’m tied up, but good luck!” approach…

    2. Stranger than fiction*

      You know, now that you mention it, why not drop her a line in response to her request saying something along the lines of “well since you asked Monica, you may want to brush up on your ____” I noticed at old firm you interrupted a few times and that’s a big no no at new firm” or is this just that she absolutely wants to do this person no favors at all?

    1. Tamsin*

      Actually, that seemed a straight-on factual observation (her skirts were inappropriately short to such a degree she had to tug them down) that really is within the realm of learning what is and is not professional that should have been addressed with the intern. Though the dislike for the intern is so strong in the letter I don’t think OP should have been the one to say something.

    2. TotesMaGoats*

      No they aren’t. Extremely short skirts/dresses are not work appropriate in general or evidently in this particular office. It’s not inappropriate to notice that or, if you are a manager, to tell the employee that they are violating dress code.

    3. Allison*

      They aren’t really, if someone’s constantly wearing dresses and skirts that are so short she’s constantly tugging at them to keep herself covered, it is a problem. But when someone does that, the right thing to do is tell her to wear longer skirts, rather than just complain about it and use it as a reason why you don’t want to work with her. You can’t expect young people to instinctively know how to transition to the workforce, they need guidance sometimes.

      1. Melissa*

        OP has already said that she didn’t approach the intern about it because she already didn’t like her and didn’t want to start unnecessary drama or conflict by transmitting the fact that she didn’t like her. It wasn’t the OP’s responsibility to school the intern on proper work attire – that’s her manager’s job.

          1. Dana*

            Thank you, I was wondering why I was not liking some of the comments that OP should have done this that and the other thing for Monica but couldn’t articulate why.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Actually, I kind of think interns are a group project. But I don’t think the OP was obligated to address Monica’s proper-attire / judgment problem. She -could- have, but I totally get why she did not.

      2. Mpls*

        If Monica is constantly tugging the skirt down, she knows the skirt is too short. If she knows it’s too short, then I’m going to credit her with the knowledge of how to fix that problem – which is to buy longer skirts. I’m not sure why anyone needs to explicitly explain this too her.

        1. LBK*

          Disagreed. We hear all the time about people who seem completely unaware of the inappropriate nature of their work attire – she may be aware the skirt is too short to cover her adequately at all times, but she doesn’t seem aware that that means it’s too short for work. And if she is aware and is choosing to dress that way anyway, that’s still a problem and not appropriate – consciousness of bad behavior doesn’t excuse it.

        2. W*

          Well it is unfair if no ones telling here they’re too short, no?

          This is some perfect feedback to provide her now. “The environment around here is pretty conservative so dress appropriately. That typically means blah blah blah”

    4. Sunflower*

      No one should wear something too short to the office but ‘Spent all day tugging the skirt down’ isn’t necessarily an indication the skirt is too short. I wear skirts that are slightly above my knee because anything longer and it makes me look about a foot shorter. It’s not that uncommon that my skirt rides up(dresses even more so) and I tug it down because I’m adjusting it back to the way it should be- not because it’s too short.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yeah, I’m generally against policing the shortness of a woman’s skirts, but when it’s too the point where you have to tug the skirt down to keep yourself covered, then it’s too short.

        1. nona*


          Someone might tell the intern that most of the brands she likes sell tall sizes online, by the way. The problem just might be that she’s wearing regular sizes when she shouldn’t. I took a while to learn, tbh.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Yes, and even now, I sometimes don’t realize how short something is in the back until I’m walking to work, because it was fine when I was just standing there looking at in the mirror, but it starts to hitch up when I’m walking. Nothing I wear is *that* short, but sometimes something is shorter than I thought it would be.

      2. Erin*

        That’s a good point, although probably not applicable in this specific situation. I do think dresses/skirts just a hair above the knee are office appropriate.

        1. Kelly L.*

          This. Static sometimes happens, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going on here.

      3. Nina*

        I thought that as well. The fabric could also be clinging in the wrong places, meaning the skirt is too tight, not too short. Either one could cause the skirt to ride up and she should probably wear a different skirt.

      4. Chickaletta*

        It may not be too short, but if it rides up when you sit down then it doesn’t fit right. Try other styles or sizes and sit down in the dressing room when you are trying on outfits for work. If you must adjust a skirt when sitting, smooth down the back as you sit, don’t tug; much more ladylike and less distracting. :)

    5. Amber Rose*

      No. Having someone adjust their clothes all the time instead of buying appropriately fitting attire is a lack of professionalism, and speaking from personal experience, one that is seriously annoying. Like constantly clearing your throat. It’s fine at first and then starts chipping away at your sanity.

      Might just be me on that last part.

    6. OriginalEmma*

      An internship is definitely the place to tell a student that their clothes are inappropriate, whether it’s wearing too short skirts, pajamas bottoms or sneakers so holey they qualify for sainthood.

      While I get that interns rarely have the money to raid the rack at Anne Taylor Loft, you can easily pick up work appropriate new slacks, dresses and blouses for relatively little at Mandee’s (or any other of those boutiques), Target, Kohl’s, etc. I was wearing the same few business casual articles I owned over and over for my internships.

      You can also search your consignment shop or used clothing store, Savers, Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. for used, professional clothing.

      1. lawsuited*

        +1 I don’t think it’s unfair to notice and comment that an intern is not dressed appropriately and professionally, but I also don’t think it’s fair to crucify an intern (who is usually someone new to the workforce or at least new to an industry) for not intuitively getting it right. Unlike other workplaces, many offices don’t have a dress code at all or don’t have a dress code specific enough to be instructive (“smart casual” or “no beachwear” leave a lot of room for interpretation). I shudder to think of what I thought was workwear in my first couple of years working in an office. So, ya know, help a sister out before you tear her down.

        1. nona*

          Yeah, I agree with this.

          I get the impression that OP hasn’t brought this up because she isn’t sure that she can be completely polite to the intern, and she’s trying to avoid that.

        2. Stranger than fiction*

          I get the impression tbat Op is so deeply in dislike with Monica that she’s just dug her heels in and decided she’s not gonna help her in any way shape or form but really that’s just perpetuating the whole situation

          1. Windchime*

            And you know what? I think that’s fine, actually. We aren’t required to like everyone we ever meet, and we’re not required to help people that we can’t stand to get a job. I like almost everyone, but there is a guy at work who creeps me out and I cannot stand him. He is also an interrupter, thinks he is smarter than everyone else, and has walked around for hours with his fly unzipped (on purpose or accident, who knows?). So yeah, if he was to ask me for help getting a job I would probably either ignore his response or “not see it” until after the fact.

    7. Lily in NYC*

      As someone who got fired (well, laid off, but I am positive this is why I was on the layoff list) from her very first job for wearing my skirts too short, I don’t agree with this at all. I deserved what happened because I didn’t take it seriously when I heard that the president said that about me (I decided it was unfair because his pet wore short skirts too so why was I being singled out? I was so stupid and young).

      Not everything is sexist.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I will say: at least you got the opportunity to hear that. Monica may not have.

    8. Erin*

      I disagree, I think it’s relevant, although less important than the other behavioral issues (which I believe the OP is well aware of). What she’s wearing isn’t going to impact her job performance like her terrible interpersonal skills are, but not wearing appropriate office attire was worth mentioning for this query.

    9. sarah*

      Wow, I guess the corporate culture in the States really is different. I can’t imagine someone thinking that the length of a woman’s skirt is their business and that adding this to a point of somebody’s offenses is appropriate.

      1. Cheesecake*

        A really short skirt in the office is a no go in the US and outside. I am in Europe btw.

      2. LBK*

        It’s not specific to female skirt length (or male, I guess, if you’re so inclined) but rather about professionalism standards. Skirt length is part of our cultural standard of professional dress. I suppose whether it should be or not is up for debate, but I don’t see this as necessarily targeted – especially if the skirt is so short that she has to constantly pull it down. It would be one thing to be policing whether it was an appropriate number of inches above/below the knee or whatever, but I’d think “short enough that your underwear may be easily visible” is a widely accepted standard of inappropriate.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          That’s what I’m thinking. As a rule, I don’t care how short a woman’s skirt is, but if it’s so short you have trouble keeping your underwear covered, it’s not work-appropriate in most offices. I work in a conservative office in a conservative field, and the women in my office often wear skirts that are pretty short on a regular basis. But no underwear is visible or threatening to become visible at any moment.

          1. Windchime*

            If a dress is so short that you can’t keep your underwear covered, then it’s not a dress at all–it’s a shirt.

      3. Graciosa*

        Both the business and the individual have a professional image – and yes, chosen elements of appearance are a legitimate factor in judging both. If my bank tellers started wearing bikinis to work, I would change banks – even though I have no problem seeing them on the beach.

        Freedom to choose does not mean freedom from the consequences of that choice.

      4. nona*

        Why do you think anyone who disagreed with you is from the U.S.? What is acceptable to wear to work where you live?

      5. Enid*

        To me, it’s one thing to wear a short skirt, and another thing if the wearer is “spending all day tugging at the bottom of them to cover herself” (assuming that’s an accurate description). The latter sounds distracting and annoying, and makes the wearer seem foolish for consistently wearing clothes that obviously aren’t appropriate, if they’re having to spend all day trying to MAKE them appropriate.

      6. KTM*

        I’m curious where you are located then and what field you are in. I had a coworker that dressed the same way – with skirts or dresses that were tight fitting and barely covered her bottom so she was always tugging them when she sat down and stood up because you could almost see her underwear. I’m typically MYOB about a lot of things but it was impossible not to notice how inappropriately she was dressed and that would reflect poorly on the company when meeting clients and such.

        1. sarah*

          An international finance corporation in Western Europe. And to be honest, I’m disgusted by the way everybody and the op focuses on the skirt thing and how everybody assumes that she would tug at it (sure, op, I bet she was doing it all the time) because her underwear shows. The language used by the op is really unfortunate when you describe a young woman, and yes, very charged. She’s a know-it-all who shares her ideas? Why don’t you cut to the chase and call her uppity?

          1. fposte*

            As opposed to just cutting to the chase and calling the OP a jealous older woman? Both narratives could be pushed to fit into sexist takes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any jealous older women–and that there aren’t younger women who aren’t good at relating to their colleagues.

            I’m not seeing why you think the latter is unlikely to be true here.

          2. You Have Been Warned*

            Sarah, this is very interesting and it’s cool to hear about a different perspective on this.

            For me, the fact that Monica was an intern changes things. I think that interrupting people and being too free with sharing your ideas isn’t using good judgment as an intern. Uppity is definitely a word loaded with sexist connotations, but I think there are situations like when you are so new to a field that you should be sitting back and listening where doing otherwise is not appropriate.

            As for clothes, when I visit our European offices, I notice that people tend to wear hemlines higher than are appropriate here in the States. When I go to the Middle Eastern offices, it goes the other way. I consider it both socially polite and professional for me to to not push the boundaries of what is appropriate in each office. I think Monica should have looked around and seen that her dress did not comport with the office standards, but I’ve certainly made faux pas myself and wouldn’t necessarily hold this against her.

          3. LBK*

            I…don’t really understand where you’re getting this from. There’s only one comment outside of the thread you started that’s even related to the skirt, so arguably you put the focus on it. The OP only had one line in the letter about it, and Alison even says in her response that the OP shouldn’t mention the skirts if she’s going to talk to the hiring manager about her. Plus we tend to take LWs at their word, so if the OP says the dresses were inappropriately short for the office, I don’t see a reason to assume she’s wrong.

            1. LBK*

              And FWIW, the OP says she’s only a few years older than Monica, so the dynamic you seem to be suggesting of a woman 20-30 years older imprinting sexist ideals on a younger woman doesn’t really play. What other charged language do you see in the letter? I’ve read it a few times and I can’t pick out any notably gendered language.

              1. sarah*

                Well, it’s you and the other commenters framing it as an old jealous woman problem. Which just shows your thought process pretty transparently. I don’t accuse Op of being some silly sexist stereotype of ugly spinster hating her young colleague for being pretty, but for you guys it’s apparently the only possible explanation.

                1. LBK*

                  I’m extremely confused. Can you explain what you’re talking about then? I’m trying to understand where you’re seeing an inappropriate level of focus on female appearance or sexist/gendered language being thrown around and I just don’t see it. I certainly agree that women are more frequently subjected to scrutiny for their clothes in the workplace, but wearing really short skirts seems like a fair thing to be critical of – it’s just not appropriate for some environments, just like it’s not appropriate for a man to wear shorts to most offices or for anyone to wear flip-flops. Sure, there are standards that get disproportionately applied to women, but that doesn’t mean that all standards of apparel are inherently sexist.

                  This is generally a pretty great site for discussing feminist issues, dissecting gendered language, examining roles and standards, etc. and I’d like to think I’m open to having those conversations, but just saying “Your thought process is evident” without really expanding on the parts of your comment that the rest of us found confusing or unclear makes it tough.

  8. AdAgencyChick*

    #2, wow. Not wow at you, wow at your coworker. I can’t imagine that someone who thinks he will get honest answers from putting everyone on the spot in front of each other like that would be someone I want as my team lead!

    1. Sunshine Brite*

      I know, it’s such a power play that I’d run the other way.

      Plus, as I learn more about communication styles, if the team has a mix of styles then he incorrectly approached at least half the team with surprising them with information vs. giving them time to consider/review.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        Yeah, to me this almost sounded like the person was trying to pressure others into not going for it. But that’s maybe just because I’ve seen people do that before.

    2. Job-Hunt Newbie*

      True; I could understand if they were a very close knit group, and they wanted input before moving forward. But this just seems inappropriate. I would have mentioned it to my team one-on-one, and told people they are welcome to talk to me later about it if they were comfortable…but not bring the group together and expect feedback on the spot.

    3. Dang*

      My first thought was that he really didn’t think that anyone would have a problem with it, and everyone would recommend him. As if it didn’t even occur to him otherwise. Although I don’t know if that’s better or worse in this scenario.

    4. Ailsa*

      My guess is that it was the opposite. He knew everyone would be too uncomfortable to say they don’t want him in that job to his face, and now he can go to his boss and say “I asked everyone on the team already and they all said they’d love for me to be team lead!”

  9. BRR*

    #1 This could be your chance to help. You could reply with the advice of how you noticed she interrupted a lot. You can even start with giving her a heads up that it’s going to be constructive and you’ll only do it if she’s prepared and won’t argue with it. I’ll assume she will interrupt you and you can then point it out. Tell her that if she interrupts during an interview it will be received poorly.

    OR refer her to Alison’s job hunting book of free interview guide. “I’m super busy but her is something that might help.”

      1. BRR*

        They could always link directly to the book page or send the pdf of the interview guide.

    1. Cheesecake*

      We had interns who came with massive “can do…better than you” attitudes because they were told they were told so. A lot of them really worked hard and tried so it was not a problem to point some coms issues. And it helped.I am not sure this is one of these straight forward cases. There are people who are just not receptive to feedback and it is easier to steer clear and protect your personal life since OP meets her outside of work. We don’t know all story here.

    2. Dynamic Beige*

      Or “just be yourself! gotta go, super busy!” which is help… just not of any useful variety. Later, if boxed in by Family Friend or Mother for lack of helpfulness “Honestly, if they aren’t going to hire her for who she is, would she really want to work there anyway?/I didn’t really know anyone on the interview team well enough, or what her role entailed, to provide anything that would have been appropriate.”

      1. Cari*

        OP could also always say their company doesn’t go in for nepotism and helping Monica or putting a good word in for her, as a family friend, would have reflected poorly on the OP to their employer.. If family friend or mother has questions.

  10. LongTimeFan*

    OP5 –
    Thanks for the update! So proud of you for taking time to work on yourself and happy to hear about the results. Best wishes in the future.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Yes, thank you! I’m glad you are in a good place. And there are lots of great things about being single, try to embrace it instead of feeling bad about it.

    2. Development professional*

      Yes, good for you – doing what you need to do to get well. Would that we were all so self-aware…

  11. MInnesota*

    Back in the day when I worked at a law firm with a paging system, the only time anyone was pages with first, middle and last name was when a new baby was born. The tradition was to have the receptionist page the newborn. It was really a lovely tradition!

    1. KAZ2Y5*

      At one hospital I used to work at, they would play part of a lullaby every time a baby was born. They played it very softly, and only for about 10 seconds. They quit doing it at some point, but it was really neat.

    2. Windchime*

      I used to work in a big medical center, and whenever an employee had a baby, they would page like this: “Cersei Lannister and baby boy, please return to pediatrics”. It was a cool way of announcing the birth to all of the employees. (Of course they had the new parent’s permission to make the announcement).

  12. nep*

    #1 — Not saying it’s the case here, but I have found in all my years that it usually pays to really examine why one ‘can’t stand’ a person. Often it says as much if not more about the annoyed one than annoying one.

    1. TotesMaGoats*

      And sometimes we just really don’t like people. It happens. It okay to really, really not like people. As long as at work you respond to them with respect and professionalism. While it’s true that there are times when it is something in us that we should examine, sometimes it really is the other person and we just aren’t going to like them.

      1. the_scientist*

        I agree. Sometimes you don’t like people, and I really resent the implication that “getting past that” and liking everyone makes you a better, more moral person. I find that women especially are pushed to “be the bigger person” or “try to identify one nice thing about that person in an effort to get past your dislike”, which feeds into the social construct of women expecting to be nice and compliant and accommodating and put the needs and wants of others ahead of their own. I think men are rarely pressured to be nice and friendly with people they don’t like.

        There’s nothing wrong with owning the fact that someone irritates the hell out of you. What is wrong is acting catty, unprofessional and publicly rude to that person. Be pleasant and polite but distant and keep your interaction to work matters, and don’t go around telling your coworkers how much you can’t stand the other person. Done and Done.

        1. Harper*

          I have found that just accepting the fact that there are people I just don’t like has reduced the stress in my life tremendously. It’s ok. It’s not even a really big deal. Some people rub you the wrong way and that’s just a fact of life. If they were hurt, I would call 911, so there you go. :)

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          That’s fair, though if someone is that bothered by someone else, it may color their perceptions, which is why I’m taking the info in OP#1’s letter with a grain of salt..

          1. the_scientist*

            And what I see in this letter is someone who is being very conscious of that. The OP readily admits that it’s possible that her general dislike of Monica is colouring her view of Monica’s objectively poor work behaviour (the interrupting, unprofessional dress, know-it-all isms) and perhaps blowing it out of proportion. Bottom line is that the OP is entitled to her dislike of Monica and doesn’t owe her handholding and assistance in finding a job. My MO would be to respond in a vague but polite manner with “I’m sorry, I’m really swamped right now but good luck on your interview and let me know how it goes!”.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              Agree, but i think we all owe each other basic kindness, part of which includes not torpedoing someone’s chances for a job because they’re annoying or irksome. Monica wasn’t embezzling, lying, etc..she was talking too much at meetings and wearing short skirts.

              Doesn’t mean OP needs to go out of their way to help, but I certainly wouldn’t be running to management with the laundry list of annoyances.

              1. fposte*

                You’d rather torpedo the manager who’s stuck managing somebody who annoys her co-workers?

                And I’m going to object to the general tendency of commenting here to equate “saying something about an employee or candidate” is the same thing as “costing them a job.” As a manager, I’m not an automaton, and I don’t just reverse myself on an applicant or staffer because of what somebody says; I weigh things, same as I do for all the others, and come to a conclusion. I would want to know if somebody had knowledge of an applicant, positively or negatively, in a former workplace, and I’d be puzzled and disappointed if I found out later they did and hadn’t said anything.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Yes — this is been really standing out to me lately as a weird thing I hear from people a lot: the idea that saying something to a manager will automatically destroy the person’s chances (and probably unfairly), rather than assuming the manager will weigh the info and decide whether it’s a big deal or not. I hear a lot of “X isn’t a big deal so you shouldn’t get them fired by reporting it.” If X isn’t a big deal, then it’s unlikely to get them fired, by definition.

                  I’ve actually been thinking about writing something specifically about this.

                2. LBK*

                  I’d say it’s worthwhile. I’ve noticed that recently, too – that there seems to be a lack of factoring in management autonomy in the comments, particularly as it relates to giving a manager potentially negative information. Not every bit of critical feedback will lead to an immediate rejection/termination (as evidenced by the many letters where people have complained to management and nothing has been done).

                3. Kyrielle*

                  I also question why anyone is “owed” a job in spite of something that would torpedo their chances, if it turns out to do so. I understand that we are talking about people’s livelihoods here, but in many cases a candidate would be better off *not* getting a job offer, than getting one and then being let go, if it really is perceived as that important.

                  Also, if you don’t say something, and they get the job, another candidate didn’t. So by not speaking up, you might be damaging another candidate’s chances – one who would be a better fit – if those issues *are* important to the office.

                4. voyager1*

                  Here is a simple example:
                  If someone told you that a restaurant had bad service and or the food was not that great, with no other knowledge then that. Would you still want to eat there? Probably not

                  That is why non-management folks may not speak up about things about a former co-worker, that you may feel entitled to know.

                  Also your employees have to weigh the chances of a consquences with the candidate finds out why you didn’t hire them. Just look at the times on this blog folks write in about how HR or a Manager told something that the LW thought would remain private.

                5. LBK*

                  That’s not equivalent, though, because there’s a much more thorough process that goes into hiring. You don’t make a hiring decision based purely on what one person says – you account for the resume, the interview, other references, etc.

                6. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  But voyager1, that’s just not how it works with hiring. Hiring managers are used to getting a range of information about candidates, weighing it against the other information they have, and making decisions. Most experienced hiring managers have hired people where they knew some of the person’s downsides and chose to hire them anyway (often with good results). It’s part of the process. You’re really minimizing managers’ ability to assess information and weigh it appropriately.

                7. Hiring Mgr*

                  Hi fposte, no this is someone who annoys ONE co-worker who already didn’t like her and fully admits her own bias… Also what did Monica do exactly… “offering up ideas as solutions” Good god how toxic!

                8. LBK*

                  Hiring Mgr – but if the offense is so minor in your opinion, what’s the harm in pointing it out? Either it is a serious issue (and therefore the HM should know) or it’s not (in which case it makes no difference to Monica’s candidacy). Either way, as Alison and fposte are pointing out, the HM is perfectly capable of taking these factors into account when making the hiring decision.

                9. fposte*

                  @voyager1–And that co-worker counts, and I would expect to hear from her. I would be fully capable of having a conversation with the OP to decide whether to factor that information into our decision.

                  That’s *my* call, not the co-worker’s.

                10. fposte*

                  Sorry, that was @Hiring Mgr. @voyager1 is this–I hear what people know about candidates all the time; I work in a small field where people know each other. I think maybe people are theorizing some operating room kind of sterility where it would be weird if somebody burst in who wasn’t on the roster and that it would risk contaminating the process. But that’s not how it goes–we’re constantly talking about people we might hire with people who’ve known them.

                11. Hiring Mgr*

                  LBK if everyone was so appropriately measured, reasonable, analytical, sane, etc. this site wouldn’t be nearly as interesting :)

                12. LBK*

                  The majority of managers are at least reasonably sane and decent at their jobs. Not all the greatest, sure, but most managers out there are competent. I don’t see a need to play to the outliers and hedge all recommendations on what an unreasonable manager would do because that advice won’t be practical in most cases.

                13. Hiring Mgr*

                  I think there’s a difference between providing an honest assessment if asked, and volunteering minor information but with a potentially damaging spin….

                  Also, nobody’s saying a manager can’t make up their own mind–just for me personally it takes alot to say anything negative about anyone, but probably because my words typically carry great weight.

                14. LBK*

                  Well, that’s why I advised above that the OP should do it unemotionally and factually. She doesn’t need to go on a rant about how much Monica sucks, but she could go to her manager and say “Hey, I wanted to give you a heads up – I worked with Monica before and I saw a few things during that time I thought you’d want to be aware of, notably x, y and z.” That doesn’t carry any kind of vindictive spin, IMO, and is pretty much what I would expect any good employee to do if they knew a candidate.

                15. Kadee*

                  I’d actually be more concerned that providing negative feedback would backfire on the OP rather than harming Monica, primarily because we know from the OP that at least one person there doesn’t share the same feelings about Monica. Maybe it won’t be an issue because OP can state things tactfully or the hiring manager will have an open mind and will keep it confidential, but saying things like “Monica talks too much and constantly interrupts” and “she’s a know-it-all” isn’t exactly the same feedback as “she never showed up for work” or “she lied about her skill level”. The latter are purely factual statements but personality traits tend to be pretty subjective. What someone finds as talking too much or interrupting all the time might be seen as being outgoing and excited. Being a know-it-all might play out as someone who is very smart/knowledgeable. The potential fallout is particularly worrisome to me given that the OP has already indicated that some feedback may be clouded by personal feelings. It may not be popular or even “right” but I’d probably just keep the feedback to myself unless asked. If Monica is truly a chatterbox who is a know-it-all, it’s not like that stuff can’t be identified through the hiring process. I remember not hiring someone because they essentially tried to take over the interview by dominating conversations.

              2. Lurking*

                But if the OP doesn’t say anything, the manager might say “Hey, why didn’t you warn me about her?”

        3. Jillociraptor*

          Yes to all of this. I actually think the OP is being pretty reflective about the fact that her irritation with Monica is coloring her experience, and is seeking out a more objective eye. You have to treat everyone with respect, but you don’t have to like them, and you sure don’t have to take time out of your life to help them!

          I think this is especially the case her where there IS someone at OP’s company who evidently really likes Monica. Why can’t they coach her?

        4. Anonymous123*

          Agreed with the_scientist. nep’s statement almost sounds like victim-blaming to me. As a woman, I was pushed a lot to be the bigger person, think of one nice thing about the person, understand why the other person may be a bully and pity them. No one ever acknowledged that the other person was in the wrong or that things weren’t my fault. It was always MY fault for not being nice enough. As if I deserved to be bullied or to be passed over for assignments at work!

          1. Seattle Writer Girl*


            I am really struggling with this lately. I’ve been the target of several upper management hissy fits lately and it’s been hard to have to swallow my anger and just site there and take it while I think to myself:

            “Aren’t you the older, more experienced, higher-paid person? Shouldn’t you be modeling professional behavior to me instead of the other way around?”

        5. Kyrielle*

          Yep. I once worked with a man who was very competent, very capable, in many ways, but we did not get along. However, the reasons we did not get along were not mine to manage or change in him, nor his to manage or change in me.

          Guess what? We both sucked it up and interacted professionally, and did our best to avoid bringing the points of conflict into our interactions unless there was a business necessity to address the topic. I didn’t try to “like” him – I just tried to respect him for his role and abilities, and treat him as a fellow professional.

      2. ace*

        Agree with this. Sometimes people just have personalities that are not complementary. Considering the concrete examples OP provided (which I think are pretty offensive to most personalities), I don’t see any reason to think it’s the OP’S issue here.

      3. JB (not in Houston)*

        I totally agree. It’s not possible for you to like everyone on the planet. As long as you treat the person professionally, it’s ok to not like them.

      4. Melissa*

        You took the words right out of my mouth! Not everyone likes everyone else; the world won’t stop spinning. As long as you treat that person with respect, it’s all good. We just won’t hang out for ice cream socials.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      Nah, some people are just unpleasant or annoying or you just don’t mesh for chemistry reasons. I’m not about to start soul-searching to find out what could possibly be wrong with me for not liking someone who gets on my last nerve. Some people deserve to be disliked.

      I just can’t get behind these type of blanket statements “If you XXXX, that says more about you than XXXX”. Because it rarely does.

      1. LBK*

        Right? I don’t think I need to soul search to figure out why I don’t like the coworker that complains all the time, doesn’t do any work and occasionally makes really sexist comments. Pretty sure that doesn’t say anything about me.

      2. voyager1*

        Folks, nep isn’t saying that you have to like everyone. But to ask yourself why you don’t. If you are jealous of them or envious of their success or something like that, then that is on you for example. If you don’t like their personality then that is different.

        There are a million reasons not to like someone, some do reflect on you and some reflect on the other person.

        1. LBK*

          I don’t agree with that, though. Sometimes it’s really obvious why you don’t like someone and you don’t need to ask yourself why you don’t like them – not every instance of dislike requires self-examination to ensure that your reasons are valid.

          1. voyager1*

            You don’t agree that people don’t like people because they are jealous or envious of that other person sometimes?

            Really? You disagree with that? You don’t think that actually happens?

            Because that is all nep is saying. Make sure that is why you don’t dislike someone.

            1. LBK*

              No, I don’t disagree with that. I disagree that every single time you dislike someone, you need to double check your reasoning. Sometimes it’s really clear cut why you don’t like someone and there’s no reason to self-examine to make sure jealousy isn’t feeding into it.

              1. voyager1*

                Well I would say it depends. Why do you dislike someone. Those reasons could change, for the better or worst.

                1. LBK*

                  Well, to use the same example I already posted – I had a coworker who was lazy about completing his work, whined constantly and made sexist comments. I don’t feel any need to self-examine to figure out why I didn’t like him.

            2. Anonymous123*

              I disagree with the comment that I need to justify to strangers why I dislike someone. What does it matter?

            3. Tau*

              And sometimes you do dislike someone for a reason that reflects worse on you than on them and… knowing that doesn’t help at all. You still don’t like them, just now you feel guilty about that fact.

              I had a friendship go sour this way once – certain behaviours and habits of my former friend started seriously annoying me. And after a bit of reflection, I realised that it was because these were behaviours and habits I’d trained myself out of and I didn’t like being reminded me of how I’d behaved before. Not a good reason… but knowing that didn’t make me like her any more. And in retrospect, it would have been much kinder to both of us to simply accept that I’d stopped liking her, no matter how bad the reasons, and end the friendship. Instead I tried to browbeat myself into liking her again, it ended badly and I’m still deeply ashamed of how I treated her through the course of that.

    3. LBK*

      Really don’t think that’s valid. There are people who are just flatout unlikable, and I don’t think that reflects at all on those around them who find them so. Particularly if there’s a consensus among more than one or two people.

    4. nep*

      I certainly don’t mean that we must soul-search in order to turn things round and like someone because it just MUST be our problem. Not at all. Yes there are people I simply won’t like, for solid reasons. There are reasons people won’t like me. Of course — not everyone on the planet will like everyone else on the planet.
      As I said in earlier note, not implying this applies in OP’s case — just putting out there what came to mind: We do a service to ourselves to just to consider whether being irritated by someone’s presence stems from a jealousy or some other sort of complex. Our interactions with others quite often hold lessons about ourselves.
      I’m not saying one’s dislike of another is always or even usually invalid and must be the disliker’s problem. Indeed a lot of people are immensely unlikeable and that it what it is.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        I agree with this totally. There are two women I don’t get along with because they use malicious gossip to pull others down. So I stay away from both of them and don’t give them any information that they can use for their gossip. There were certain managers I loathed. On reflection, I realized that they were both “shoot from the hip” managers. I, as a systems focused introvert, went crazy from their lack of planning. That was a good data point for managing my career (and stay away from managers like that).
        Realizing why you don’t like someone helps you with your interactions with them.

  13. Blue_eyes*

    #5 – So glad you were able to take time off and get the treatment you needed! Thanks for the update.

  14. Nodumbunny*

    LW #5 – I’m so glad you’re feeling better! And good on you for taking the time to take care of yourself.

  15. Duncan - Vetter*

    I’ve just though about situation number 1. If Monica already has a friend who is working in the company, why doesn’t she asks her? I honestly believe that she only wants to brag or show of, but as there are real chances to work with her in the future it is a wise idea to be polite. She doesn’t quite seem the honest or hard-working type, so I can assume that she will relieve her true character, whether you mention something about her or not. It is better to stick to your work and provide general information, and emphasizing that you have a tight schedule. Who knows, seeing how much you work may make her reconsider her hiring options.

  16. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-Sometimes we just don’t like people. It happens. I wouldn’t beat yourself up over it. I do think your boss should’ve said something to her during the internship as that is the place to start getting the polish needed to be successful in the working world. I don’t think you should ignore her request but you don’t have to go all out in your response.

    #3-Oh, if we had a paging system, we’d totally do that. Then we’d probably make up fake names and use those too. As it is, we just yell people’s names down the hallway.

    #5-I’m glad you are getting help and taking the time to get yourself in a good place.

  17. The IT Manager*

    LW#3, are you playing dumb? Your genuine confusion at the end of your letter is a suspiciously over the top. (Like Alison suggest people use when someone had said something offensive or out of line.)

    You left something out of you letter – your motivation!

    Why did you page using his full name? I suspect it is because his middle name is embarrassing or old fashioned or funny or you wanted to it sound like an angry parent was calling his name? Maybe an in joke? Whatever – your motivation matters and if you were using the paging system to make jokes the reprimand is not undeserved.

    TL;DR: Do you page everyone by their full name? If not, don’t do it for this one guy.

    1. SherryD*

      Maybe the one being paged was the OP’s buddy, and they were just fooling around? Obviously know the OP now knows that the manager doesn’t like this kind of fooling, but it didn’t strike me as outrageous.

      1. The IT Manager*

        But if LW#3 was just fooling around and knew it why is the letter written this way: I was really confused when I was told not to do it and got reprimanded. Can you shed some light on this for me?

        And if LW#3 pages co-workers full name in all innocence (which I doubt), he now knows that the reason he got reprimanded is that his manager thought it was a joke and paging systems should not be used for mirth.

    2. ace*

      I had the same response. It’s weird to page with middle name just because you know it (????). If there’s so reason to page by middle name (confusing similar names, if they go by their middle name, etc.) But anything else is going to seem like some sort of goofing around.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      I admit I was wondering the same thing! That’s really the only scenario that makes sense to me -OP jokingly using the full name and then playing dumb when called out on it (which I can kind of understand; it’s not a big enough deal for a reprimand in my opinion unless there’s rampant intercom abuse going on there).

      1. LQ*

        That depends on what a reprimand looks like, “Hey, don’t do that.” is totally appropriate (and is sort of what is being talked about with #1, people need to be told don’t do that) but a full on write up would seem a bit over the top (but also make me think there would be other issues).

    4. Artemesia*

      I had ‘George Follensbee Babbitt’ running through my mind on #3. It sounded like a direct attempt to embarrass the co-worker — either because his middle name might embarrass him which is common or because it sounds scolding.

  18. Anonicorn*

    Out of curiosity, how would you go about telling a manager that a potential hire is a know-it-all and/or interrupter? They sound like ridiculous things to tell a manger (although I completely understand why they’re problematic behaviors).

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      “I think Cersei could use some coaching about how to communicate in an office environment, especially since she’s here as an intern and she doesn’t seem to know what is appropriate in an office environment. [Then, if they don’t seem on board:] Would you like me to write up some bullet points of basic office etiquette, with a focus on things I’ve seen that she needs a to work on?”

    2. Job-Hunt Newbie*

      A few years ago, I worked a job where I needed to be shadowed by potential hires, and provide feedback of how the shadowing went. I had one individual whose behavior and commentary during the shadowing period made me realize they would not be a good fit. All I did was say that X,Y, and Z happened while they were shadowing me, and I do not think they would make a good hire. Left it at that; management can make the decision based on my feedback, and their feelings during the remainder of the hiring process.

      Best way to approach this is to be specific about the problematic behaviors, without going into detail (unless asked). Ultimately, management will hire who they want. If these behaviors exist; and aren’t just a biased interpretation by the OP; they will most likely come out or be noticable in the interview process in some capacity.

    3. Melissa*

      I guess it depends on your relationship with the boss. I have had supervisors before with whom I was pretty close, and I could just point blank say it – “Monica is good at what she does, but she’s got problems with interpersonal communication; she constantly interrupts people and offers ideas and solutions before listening to problems and learning the culture” – and have them acknowledge the information. I suppose you’d also have to know whether your boss is going to see it as ridiculous (maybe s/he doesn’t mind it or even thinks those are personality traits of go-getters or outgoing people) or whether it’s something that s/he’d actually be concerned about.

    4. fposte*

      It depends on your relationship with the relevant manager. I’ve said outright that I found somebody really irritating.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I’m not sure why you couldn’t just say it outright, assuming you have the sort of relationship and credibility with your boss where you’re just straightforward with each other.

        1. voyager1*

          I would add trust to that. That gets back to your comment up thread where you wanted to write an article about this kind of thing. The trust has to be there for the employee to come forward.

  19. Another Day*

    # 1 — Since Monica is a friend of your parents and since you usually deal with her by avoiding her as much as possible, I can see how you might feel frustrated by her request ( and her applying to your company). Personally I’d just send something back to the effect that there’s nothing specific you can suggest but maybe your co-worker might have some ideas so ask her. Also, I would not volunteer my feedback to the hiring manager. The faults you mention don’t rise to the level where I would feel an obligation. And knowing that I didn’t like the candidate personally, I’d feel I couldn’t be unbiased and would just stay out of it, unless asked for my input (in which case I’d be as honest as I could.

    1. cardiganed librarian*

      Yes. It wasn’t quite at the same level but when I was a co-op student, I was contacted by a classmate I hated when he was interviewing for my placement in the next term. I still think I had valid reasons for not liking him and not wanting to inflict him on my employers, but they were largely personal so I thought it might reflect worse upon me to bring up the fact that I didn’t get along with him in case they loved him in the interview. Turns out they didn’t choose him and I was spared the drama.

      I responded to his request for interview help by just giving some bland remarks about how nice the people he would be talking to were, and the kind of things they were looking for. I knew he wanted the interview questions but he wasn’t quite nervy enough to write back and ask explicitly.

      1. Nobody*

        I think I would take this approach. Just send a quick response like, “John Smith is the manager of the Teapot Design department, so you’ll probably be interviewing with him. I hear he’s looking for someone with a lot of experience in spout design. Good luck!” It won’t cost you anything, and it won’t give her any advantage in the interview, but it will make you look kind and helpful. Remember, you never know when you’ll run into somebody later in your career.

      2. Jennifer*

        Oh, that sounds brilliant. That sounds like a great way to respond. I really don’t think you CAN ignore Monica since she’s already in your life and you can’t avoid her forever, or stall. So something bland sounds great.

    2. Beezus*

      Yeah, if my parents had a friend I didn’t care for, but the person is okay enough that it’s worth making nice for my parents’ sake, I’d probably come up with a response that was mildly helpful at least on its face.

      1. Happy Lurker*

        Parents probably gave her some “good advice” to ask their friends daughter about Teapots, Inc.

    3. peanut butter kisses*

      I had to try and be friends with a daughter of my mother’s co-worker when I was young. It was awful and I finally told them as an adult what she was really like when her mother wasn’t around. If anything comes back to bite you in the butt (very unlikely), just be honest with your parents. My mother was understanding and actually knew that there were problems with the girl from what her co-worker had said but I didn’t realize when I was a child that there were pre-existing problems.

    4. Rat Racer*

      I was thinking about that too in the context of my parent’s very tightly knit community around our Synagogue. There are plenty of parents’ friends’ kids who I would really prefer not to work alongside (shudder!), but I also understand the need to tread verrrry carefully here. If your community is anything like mine. You should have seen the kerfluffle that exploded when I declined to go to someone’s wedding (not because I don’t like her, but because it was no kids allowed and I couldn’t/didn’t want to deal with finding a baby-sitter).

      I like Alison’s advice of placing it very much on the DL.

  20. I do not love thee, Dr. Fell*

    IN the past, I’ve had to work with people who made my life hell for one reason or another. Then one day, our paths separated, and life again became sweet.

    I’ve had a couple of such people contact me later to see about getting a job with my group. I simply did not respond. I’m all for helping out my fellow man (or woman) – but I draw the line at the point where providing such help is going to be a significant detriment to me.

    The one possible exception might be if I examine the situation objectively, and a person might arguably be of great value to my company or group, such that I felt the need to “take one for the team”. Thankfully, I have never had to deal with such.

  21. Emily*

    LW #5 – Thank you for the update. I’m glad that you’ve been able to take the time to care for yourself.

    1. Dang*

      Ditto. I like this update.

      And being single can be good! My last relationship ended almost 2 years ago and I thought I would just shrivel up and fade away. It took me a long time to get out of that funk, but therapy helped a lot. Had I just jumped into another relationship, I’m sure that the same thing would happen again.

      1. E.R*

        I also pretty much thought my life was over in some significant way when my ex broke up with me in January 2014. It took a lot of work to get through, but if I had known just how many adventures I would have, and how many amazing people I would meet, and how much I would grow and change and become a better person, and how much love I would have in my life from that point, I wouldn’t have worried hardly at all.

        1. OP5*

          Oh my gosh, thank you for saying this. It’s something I need to hear and remind myself of every day. I know in my brain I’m going to make it through just fine, but my heart is still going back and forth more than I’d like it to. Thank you, thank you.

    2. ArtsNerd*

      Hear, hear. That can be so hard to do, and I’m really glad you made it a priority.

  22. Dang*

    #1 did she ask you for something specific, or just general advice? If the latter, maybe you can write something like “I’ve been really busy lately, but best of luck and let me know if you have any specific questions.” That would 1) force her to actually do some thinking, at least enough to come up with questions and 2) still be a response that she would perhaps not answer.

  23. David McWilliams*

    Re: #3, if you’re in a retail setting, you never use full names on the intercom because that makes it easier for the creeps to stalk the young women who work there. We learned this the hard way, unfortunately.

    1. simonthegrey*

      This was my immediate thought. My background was all retail and we were forbidden from paging by full name – or giving out full names if someone called, as well as schedules – because of the problem of creepers creeping on the underage girls working there. It was a blanket policy – can’t page Suzy Sunshine by her full name, can’t page Bill Baseball by his full name. You could do “Bill from music” or “Suzy from cafe” if there was more than one Bill or Suzy but that was it.

  24. KTM*

    OP #1 – Have we worked with the same person? I worked with a Monica (actually named Monica) who fits your every description. The thing is, she didn’t just get under my skin – she got under everyone’s and it really affected our small office. I would either respond very short and professional without much content or ‘accidentally’ not see it until it’s too late. I would also have an honest discussion with the hiring manager and discuss the most relevant and job-related concerns, which inability to communicate is one of them.

  25. caraytid*

    in regards to #1, can i just take a minute to say how much it irks me when people don’t take the time to spell my name correctly, especially when it’s RIGHT THERE on my email address or linkedin profile?

  26. Dana*

    I read OP1’s letter again and I have a thought. It sounds like OP is really good at being cordial with Monica and not letting on that she’s annoyed. So Monica doesn’t know that OP doesn’t like her. That’s probably why Monica reached out. If Monica has Other Friend that loves her working at this job, it’s safe to say that she’s reaching out to her for advice as well, and will get some. OP, I would respond with something because it keeps you being cordial and professional. Something vague like others have suggested, or just saying that you’re really busy and good luck. It also says this one is a job for Monica, not an internship, so she will likely sink or swim on her own. I wouldn’t feel obligated to talk to the hiring manager if I was concerned I was in BEC mode, but I don’t think it’d be “torpedoing” her career either. Plus, the hiring manager will likely be hearing good things about Monica from Other Friend.

  27. RS*

    Question/Comment on Sitation #2:

    The thing that stuck out to me here is the reader’s comment about their colleague being”not reliable because he or someone in his family is constantly sick.” This is offered as support for the conclusion that he coworker should not be promoted. I am interested in more details here. It is my understanding that this is a dangerous stance to take legally. For one, if the would-be-lead has a medical condition that qualifies as a disability (many do) than the Americans with Disabilities Act has specific language to protect them from this exact situation. The reader has no idea what her coworker’s situation is, and whether their employer has provided “reasonable accommodations” as required by law for qualifying conditions — that may be part of his/her normal working arrangements.

    From ADA.gov:

    Employers cannot fire or choose not to hire a qualified person now because they fear the worker will become too ill to work in the future. The hiring decision must be based on how well the individual can perform at the present time. In addition, employers cannot decide not to hire qualified people with HIV or AIDS because they are afraid of higher medical insurance costs, workers’ compensation costs, or the potential for absenteeism.
    (This extends to being denied a promotion.)

    Even if the coworker’s condition is not covered by the ADA, their coworker could be using FMLA leave — which guarantees those with qualifying events be able to take time off to care for themselves, or a family member — without fear of losing their job or missing out on promotions. FMLA leave can be intermittent or concurrent, up to either 12 or 24 weeks per year depending on tenure and other details about the business itself.

    Anyway, my reason for bringing all this up is that the reader has no idea what their coworker’s situation is, based on the information provided in the letter — and they are treading on dangerous legal and moral ground. Why not keep complaints focused on the coworker’s actual work? Not your assumption about their future reliability on medical grounds?

    1. Anon 411*

      I think he’s just saying the co-worker is unreliable as to being at work on a regular basis. We all know people in the office that take off a lot. I think this is where the allusion was to.

      1. RS*

        Well, first the reader didn’t mention any specifics like “he tends to be late” — she just called his potential reliability into question. Second, it’s possible that a modified schedule is a part of a “reasonable accommodation request.”

        Bringing this up because it’s hard enough for people with health issues to keep their heads above water with the way healthcare is run in this country, they should not also face discrimination in their workplaces for something that is outside of their control. That is exactly why the ADA and FMLA exist!

        1. RS*

          Sorry, if it’s confusing that the section I quoted refers specifically to “HIV or AIDs” — got it from an outreach organization interpreting ADA in that context.

          Just replace HIV/AIDS with “qualifying disability” and that’s how ADA is written.

    2. HR Bloviate*

      OP, as a peer, is not responsible for any employment decisions that can impact that peer. Consequently, she would not be violating any ADA or FMLA accommodations.

      That said, even if peer’s attendance, reliability, etc effects his essential function of the job be it FMLA or ADA protected or not, its perfectly legal to consider in making a promotional decision.

      1. RS*

        That’s not necessarily the case. IF what looks to the OP like unreliability is actually something that was worked out with the employer as part of a “reasonable accommodation” request — (like starting two hours later, for example, or being able to work from home without prior notice; these things may appear as “unreliability” to coworkers who are not privy to details) — then it is not legally “absenteeism” at all.

        Moreover, the POTENTIAL for absenteeism on the basis of a qualifying disability is not a legally protected reason to deny employment or promotion, and in fact, is discrimination.

        QUOTE: “…employers cannot decide not to hire qualified people with an ADA recognized disability because they are afraid of higher medical insurance costs, workers’ compensation costs, or the potential for absenteeism.”

        Basically, OP can have other reasons for not wanting to support his/her colleague’s promotion, but I would leave the illness out of it. Certainly if they see their coworker as doing the best they can to manage despite it. Whether or not that’s a legal or a moral imperative is up to the OP.

  28. TootsNYC*

    Am I the only one who sees an echo in OP2 of the OP3 in one of yesterday’s threads?

    3. Who should announce my promotion to my team?

    I think the fact that today’s OP2 was really uncomfortable and felt put on the spot is proof of why yesterday’s new department head really shouldn’t be apologizing for not looping his colleagues (now subordinates) in on his application, and why he shouldn’t be announcing it to them.

  29. Corporate America*

    Regarding OP #1 and the situation with Monica, I find it fascinating that so many opinions are couched in terms of whether OP “should help Monica out” or whether it is OP’s “duty” to inform the hiring manager of Monica’s self-important and somewhat obnoxious communication style.

    Fellow AAM readers, we are talking about office politics. Shoulds, duties, and an idea that we ought to like and help everyone we meet have nothing to do with it, in my opinion.

    OP, you don’t like Monica and don’t want to work with her. You have the right to do whatever you can to make sure you only work with people you like, and that going to work is a pleasant experience for YOU. That is 100% fine! Don’t feel guilty about it! You don’t want Monica hired. Use whatever relationship you have with the hiring manager to make sure she isn’t. People do it daily. It’s fine.

    Also, for those who think Monica may be on the autism spectrum, I respectfully disagree. My read is that she is more likely to be a narcissist, pretty much the opposite of folks with Asperger’s. These people are SUPER unpleasant to work with. OP is doing everyone a favor by keeping her out of the new office. Of course we don’t know all the facts and are only working off a brief character sketch, but that is my take.

  30. Kas*

    Re OP#3 – I’m aware that this is not universal, but, where I come from, middle names are treated as relatively private information. As in, you’d only tell people your middle name(s) if you were on close terms with them.

    There are obviously exceptions to this: for example, professional registers have the individual’s full name listed, but if one had found out this information via one of these exceptions, one would still not draw attention to it. And definitely not broadcast it to all and sundry over a workplace intercom. Maybe that is part of where the manager was coming from.

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