is “FYI” rude, coworker’s girlfriend keeps hanging out in his office, and more

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

1. Is “FYI” rude?

Is FYI considered rude in a work email?

In general, no. But there are always weird workplaces out there where something perfectly normal is considered rude, and if you’re working in one of them, it’s good to be aware of that.

And of course, the way you’re using it matters. “I did your work since you were nowhere to be found, FYI” sounds snarky. “The information about the phone system below is just FYI” is perfectly appropriate. “FYI” at the top of an email you’re forwarding to fill someone in on something should be perfectly appropriate, but I can imagine that there are some offices where that would feel overly brusque if you didn’t add in a line about why you were sending it — again, you need to know your culture.

2. Coworker’s girlfriend keeps hanging out in his office

I am writing about a similar issue you raise in this post (“coworker’s husband hangs out in our office every afternoon”). This time there’s no snuggling, and the reasons the girlfriend stops in are reasonable (lunch, birthday, his car was rear ended). Today she stayed for 1.5 hours. They kept the door to his office open. At one point they were going over flashcards for her schoolwork. This was from 3:00-4:30.

What is the etiquette here? I am not his direct supervisor, but I am above him in title and supervise others in the office. We work for admissions at a university and while accepted students are protected by law I don’t believe prospects are. Still, we discuss transcripts and items with personal info that a non-employee shouldn’t see.

Our supervisor is the type who avoids any kind of conflict and doesn’t address people-stuff head on. The culture is somewhat relaxed. I am wondering if it’s even worth mentioning. I believe I am justified to think it’s wrong to allow her to stay but am looking for your and other perspectives.

Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Hanging around his office for an hour and a half? Doing flashcards for her schoolwork? It’s unprofessional and it doesn’t reflect well on his work ethic; that’s a lot of time for him not to be working. I’m more concerned about that than I am about her seeing students’ information, although that’s a concern too.

This is really for his manager to deal with, but if you have the kind of seniority where you could give him a pointed, concerned look as you pass his office, I’m grinch-like enough to do that.

3. Who should announce my promotion to my team?

I have been working for my dream org for about seven months. I was a manager previously in a somewhat different industry, so I very willingly took an entry-level position there. My manager (who was amazing) recently left the organization for a higher level position, but before she did, she sought me out and asked me to apply for her position.

So I did, and they just offered it to me (hurray)! However, both HR and my now-direct-manager have asked me to wait to tell my team. My now-manager is going to come into our office and announce it to everyone, and I am uncomfortable with that. I would really prefer to get my team together and tell them myself; I don’t want them to think I was hiding it from them (I just wanted to be sure I had the job before I said anything) and I worry that it will feel to them like a big shot coming in and essentially proclaiming me their boss. I know the personalities of the people I work with, and I am just not sure that this will go over very well; I really don’t want to blindside them, and I feel like it may erode their trust in me a bit. It’s already a huge jump for me from where they’re sitting: basically from Teapot Representative to Master of Teapots in a very short period of time. This position means the world to me and I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with my team or my new manager!

Is there any way I can bring this up to my new manager that won’t negatively impact his perception of me? Everything seems so fragile right now, I’m hesitant to make a move. Am I overly worried about the announcement? Is this common practice regarding promotions? I’ve never done this before in quite so formal a setting, so I’m a little lost.

It’s actually pretty common to do it this way. That way, they can talk about why they selected you and why they think you’ll do a good job, and hopefully set up the transition to be a smooth one. In fact, it could be a little weird if you yourself announce out of the blue that you’re their new boss, particularly if they didn’t know that this was a possibility being considered.

That said, if your knowledge of your coworkers points to a particular framing or way of delivering the message being better than the others, you should certainly give that input to whoever is making the announcement. But I’d let it come from them, rather than from you, so that you can avoid an Alexander Haig “I’m in control here” moment.

4. Is it better to contact someone via email or LinkedIn?

I have received several excellent recommendations from employees of a company that I want to work for. I have been told by one of those employees – a former colleague from a past employer – that the hiring manager was included on those recommendations and is interested in finding the “right fit” for me at this company (they’re in the process of expanding and are evaluating their future needs before proceeding with opening up new positions).

I recently updated my resume by using a number of things I have learned from reading AAM and sent him an email through LinkedIn earlier this week, asking if it would be okay if I sent him an updated resume. I have not heard back from him yet, and was wondering if it would be a bad idea to contact him via “regular” email – or if I should just let things be. I did see that he had viewed my profile (for the second time) literally the day I had sent the LinkedIn email – but I have no way of knowing if it was because he read that email or it was just a coincidence. I certainly don’t want to come across as pushy or annoying.

Eh, I’d let it be for now. Ideally you would have emailed him directly the first time. There’s really no advantage to using LinkedIn for something like this, and there are some disadvantages, like the fact that the message is less noticeable there than it might be in his actual in-box and the possible annoyance factor of having to use LinkedIn to communicate when most people find email more straightforward. Also, ideally you would have just sent him the resume rather than asking if he wanted you to; there’s no need to have a whole email chain about it when it’s more efficient to just include it the first time.

But at this point, it’s in his court.

5. I don’t want to provide a letter of resignation

I gave two weeks notice and my employer wants a letter of resignation. This is after 23 years of employment. I live in PA and do not have any contractual responsibility.

It’s not uncommon for an employer to ask for a letter of resignation. It’s to document that you resigned voluntarily instead of being fired. It’s going to look really weird to refuse, and I can’t think of a reason not to provide one; it’ll take about two sentences and 20 seconds, and it won’t create any contractual responsibility.

{ 191 comments… read them below }

    1. CanadianDot*

      Ditto. It doesn’t have to be long and heartfelt – a simple, “I am resigning from position XX. Please accept this letter as my two week notice, with my final day being XXXX.”

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        In fact, it should not be long or heartfelt. Two factual sentences, done. This isn’t your exit interview. It’s solely documentation that you voluntarily resigned.

        1. Higher Ed Admin*

          The first time I quit a job I didn’t really understand that this was the purpose of a resignation letter. I submitted a heartfelt, handwritten letter as my resignation, left on a desk rather than handed over in person. I was a hostess at a steakhouse, and I quit because my then-boyfriend insisted. *Cringe at all parts of that except the actual job of hostess, which is the only part that wasn’t dreadful.* I did it as a letter because I didn’t want to tell my boss face to face. Luckily my boss was very understanding and accepted it by simply holding up the letter and shaking my hand instead of making me feel like a fool about my pagelong diatribe about the wonderful opportunities they gave me over the past month(!) and how sorry I was for quitting. So…much…cringe.

        2. Bekx*

          I did a two sentence factual one and my boss told me to go back and put more detail into it. Like where I was going, when I start…. for “filing” purposes.

          No, you just wanted to know if you could call and change my start date.

      2. SCMill*

        Right. My typical one just says “Effective xx/xx/xx, I am resigning my position as (insert title) at companyname. Thank you for the opportunity, and good luck in the future.”

        No muss. No fuss.

      3. Kelly O*

        Totally agreed. No information about where you’re going, why you’re leaving. Just a last date and maybe a thank you tossed in there somewhere.

        1. CanadianDot*

          Man, I say Thank You so much that I don’t think about having to include it as “what you should say”. Maybe it’s my Canadian-ness coming out?

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Really. Do they want to try to file for unemployment, even though they’re quitting? I believe it’s possible in some states if you argue that the employer passively forced you out, but in those cases you’re still resigning anyway. Or are they just bitter, and trying to drop the mic and knock over the mic stand on their way out?

      1. Shabang*

        If you are asked to do something illegal and resign because of it unemployment can happen.

      2. jmkenrick*

        From the letter I just get the sense that they’re not familiar with resignation letters and just aren’t sure what’s being asked – I’m not sensing any bitterness.

    3. Beezus*

      I balked at this in my first professional job. I just didn’t understand the requirement – I’d had a handful of retail etc. jobs before and had never been asked for written documentation that I had voluntarily resigned. When they asked me, I was not leaving on the best terms – there were some fit issues and I did not get mesh well with my immediate manager. I was angry and scared and worried they were trying to set me up for something, and I wasn’t sure what format was appropriate. My group manager helped talk me down, and I wrote the basic two-sentence factual letter.

      1. Sunshine Brite*

        All my retail like positions also asked for a note just to be sure it didn’t get lost between managers since my shifts rarely lined up with the general manager’s.

        1. Beezus*

          I love your name. :)

          Yeah, now that I think about it, all of mine ended at preplanned, well-communicated, logical points – I went away to college, I moved out of state, I graduated and it was a work study job, etc.

          The OP has been in this role for so long, I’m thinking he/she just didn’t realize it was the norm and wanted to make sure it made sense before putting something in writing. I know there’s nothing to worry about in this case and the letter is no big deal, but in general, I think the OP is wise to hesitate and check with a 3rd party before building documentation like that without understanding the purpose.

          1. Sunshine Brite*

            Haha, so yours were well-thought out, mine were more like I’m over this, I have to get out of here.

    4. Bee Eye LL*

      Resigning after 23 years, instead of retiring? Seems like there might be a little anger and resentment involved here. It could be one of those “resign or be fired” kind of deals, too.

      1. Niki*

        That could be the case. they also could have started this job in their 20’s though and most people could not or would not retire in their 40’s.

      2. Sunshine*

        I’ve been at my job 18 years, and just turned 40. I won’t be retiring any time soon!

  1. Engineer Girl*

    #3 It’s nice that your manager is showing others that you have his/her backing. You can schedule a meeting with with your team later to talk about the changes. You can mention at that time that upper management asked you to wait until they announced it.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Even better, have the managers mention during the meeting where they make an announcement that they specifically asked the OP to wait to say anything to assuage any suspicions that there were some sort of secret shenanigans going on. I think having a formal announcement from the higher ups is a much better way to go, because they can talk about why the OP was selected for the position, and that s/he has their full support.

      Alison is right. I’d find it weird to just go to a meeting organized by someone I’d known as a co-worker, and then have that co-worker say, “Good morning! I’m your boss now,” or something similar.

      1. Officer Pepperspray*

        Yeah. From the POV of one’s (former) co-workers, it’s rather important that the promotion be announced and blessed from a higher level. If you think about it, this was a problem that Jesus faced 2000 years ago: He could tell people He was the Son of God, and some people would believe Him. But He almost certainly would have scored a vast number of believers if God Himself had put in an appearance somewhere public and put His arm around Jesus and said “Yes, this is My boy, right here!”

        1. Miss Betty*

          Well there was the Holy Spirit appearing as a dove at His baptism and saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” I wouldn’t be surprised, though, that when people told about that, the ones that weren’t there said, “How many wineskins were you passing around that day?”

          1. Kelly O*

            + All the Internets.

            God DID actually say “Yes, this is MY Son, who is wicked awesome.” (Paraphrasing.) But that also involved John the Baptist, and he was known for sleeping on rocks and eating locusts, so… yeah.

        2. TootsNYC*

          In fact, He did so.

          At the Jordan River, when Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:17)
          At Jesus’ ascension—though that wasn’t a huge crowd (Matthew 17:5)

          1. Anon369*

            What’s the lesson here? He should have picked a day when everyone would be around. Never ascend on a Friday afternoon.

            1. Chinook*

              Absolutely. Look what happened when he first appeared on a Friday afternoon – Thomas had taken off early for the weekend and when everyone told him what happened, he told them they must have been passing around the Cana Water a little too much.

              Big meetings should always happen mid-day, mid-week so everyone can be there. :)

    2. Engineer Girl*

      I’m more concerned about the need to treat the team with kid gloves. As a manager, there WILL be times when you have to withhold information – until the appropriate time. That isn’t a trust issue, it’s a timing issue. Second, your team shouldn’t get upset because you got a promotion. You had previous management experience.
      If your team gets into a kerfuffle because some “big shot” comes in with an announcement, or they don’t like it that you got a promotion then you have a real problem. By all means explain to them your qualifications if others don’t. Let them know what it takes to get a promotion and help them with it. But I’m concerned that you are so worried about getting them upset that you won’t hold them to appropriate business standards.

      1. OP3*

        There is a lot of history with my workplace that facilitated this worry; I have no problem holding my team to standards, but I was concerned about their perception of the announcement, which I think is fair. The person who would have been making the announcement is not well liked, as their communication style is rather brusque. The team is used to people coming in from corporate and making proclamations that seem disconnected from the reality on the ground–which I understand is pretty commonplace, but they have dealt with massive changes that affect their daily lives that haven’t always been delivered in some very messy, not very tactful, ways. I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong to be empathetic about that.

        It’s become something of a non-issue, however, since I sent the letter in: the person who was supposed to make the announcement (my new boss) wanted to simply send out a mass email announcing it yesterday. I requested that they let me tell my team in person first, so I got my wish ultimately–though, of course, I see the value in having upper management on site to facilitate the meeting.

        The more I think about it, the more I think it probably won’t make an enormous difference either way. It really wasn’t so much about “kid gloves” as it was about sensitivity to what my team has been through in the past.

        1. Judy*

          I’m really trying to understand, but I know I wouldn’t take it well if someone talked to me and told me they were going to be my manager. I’d expect someone from my chain of command (current manager, 2nd level manager, etc) to make that announcement. I’ve had too many people “try to manage me” when they actually didn’t have any authority but what was in their own mind.

          Usually a Teapot Representative doesn’t just call a meeting and announce that they are now the Master of Teapots and everyone there now reports to them.

          1. OP3*

            I agree. My other option (since logistics in the meantime have gotten in the way, and upper management wants to announce it now without coming in person–this happened without me saying anything to them about it, it was just a timing issue) is basically for this person to send an email out of the blue announcing that I am the new manager. I think my team deserves to hear it before the entire region does; they definitely will feel blindsided and (rightfully, I think) a little disgruntled if it goes down like that.

            My plan is to announce it when everyone is essentially in one place (which happens a lot during the day). Not anything grandiose, just: “I want you to know I put in for this position, they offered it to me this week and I have accepted. [Big Manager] will be sending out an email later today, but I wanted you all to know first.”

            I don’t think I would be rubbed the wrong way if a peer came to me and put it like that, but I am definitely interested in feedback around it.

            1. Jen*

              OP3 This happened to me last year. My company doesn’t have a ton of structure, so they didn’t really address the “announcement” with me. Wanting to avoid the same issues you raised, I took it upon myself to let my current peers now employees know 1 by 1. Most of them took it well except for 1, and now, 8 months later, he has finally come around. Overall I am glad I let them know ahead of time. No matter what you do, feathers will be ruffled, but IMO, it’s not the worst idea to prep your team.

            2. Judy*

              I’ve seen all of this done badly more than done well. I remember sitting in a 250+ person meeting and seeing an org chart that in one corner showed that the person sitting next to me had a new boss. Most of the people in the room spotted it and were looking around for those team members. (The old boss was apparently being escorted out during the meeting. The people on that team were told to report to X conference room after the meeting to meet the new boss, a new hire who had been there two weeks supposedly in another department.)

              During manager shuffling, I’ve rarely had notice before the official announcement has been made. Maybe in a weekly team meeting that is happening just as the email is being sent a few times.

            3. TootsNYC*

              I still think you’re wrong about having it come from you.

              I do think you could ask the Next Level Up to send an email to your team directly BEFORE they send one out to the larger group.

              But I don’t think it should come from you. In fact, I think you’re unwise to want it that way. You will benefit greatly from the Stamp of Official Approval.
              If I were your Next Level Up person, I’d be alarmed, actually, that you want to be the one to announce it; it would indicate to me that perhaps you don’t understand where your authority comes from (it flows down from above), and that you might become the sort of rogue manager who won’t get with the company program.

              If you asked me to notify your team first before the larger group, that would sit well with me; I’d think you were proactive about your group but still connected to the larger organization.

              1. Hiring Mgr*

                “If I were your Next Level Up person, I’d be alarmed, actually, that you want to be the one to announce it; it would indicate to me that perhaps you don’t understand where your authority comes from (it flows down from above), and that you might become the sort of rogue manager who won’t get with the company program.”

                That seems like a bit of a the end, i don’t think it matters either way what the method of communication is—once you’re up and running in the managerial role what difference will it make. And conversely, the concerns the OP has won’t change just because she’s delivering the message rather than mgmnt

            4. Cheesecake*

              I thought you will have a meeting (any meeting), where your manager will say “and by the way…”. Maybe there is still such possibility? Ask the boss and explain that you don’t want an official gathering, just mentioning will be ok. But if they are fixed on an email – ofc gather the team and say what you described above

            5. Liza*

              I like your wording there. It sounds to me like the best option you currently have, better than letting everyone learn from a mass email.

            6. Anna*

              I don’t know if it’s really out of the blue, though. I’m assuming that your team knows your original manager is moving on, and that the position was open, and now it’s closed. They’re probably all waiting to hear what was decided and chances are pretty good the rumor mill has already correctly guessed the outcome. Besides, there isn’t a way to ease them in to the decision. “In three days time we will announce your new manager. Watch this space!” Doesn’t really work.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Ditto! It’s really, really weird to me to NOT have the Next Level Up announce the appointment of a manager.

            In fact, *especially* because the OP is new to the company and may seem to have risen to management extra fast, it’s even more important that the “stamp of approval” be given from the Next Level Up.

            If there was someone else on the team who was applying for that promotion and didn’t get it, the Next Level Up managers should meet with that person to explain the outcome, before the official announcement. But that’s totally not the OP’s business.

        2. LBK*

          So…I’m really not understanding what’s wrong with just sending out a mass email. That’s how every staff change I’ve ever been informed of has occurred, including when a much-beloved sales manager’s position was eliminated and he got laid off. Those announcements never struck me as odd or blindsiding, or at least not any more than they would’ve been if they’d come in person or from someone other than the head of our division.

          I still think it’s very weird to announce your own promotion, no matter how you phrase it. I’ve never seen someone do that – it’s always announced by the person above them. Unless you work in an extremely weird office with people that don’t react like normal humans, I really don’t get how this isn’t very weird and a break from professional norms.

  2. Artemesia*

    #4 A couple of years ago someone offered me a gig in Hawaii. On linked in. I didn’t see if for a couple of weeks or more and by that time, they had moved on. I check my Email every day at least once, often more. I rarely use linked in and don’t check for messages in that account. If you want to reach someone pick the mode they are most likely to check frequently. I think that is pretty much always Email. (Luckily I was able to connect and did a later consult there — but it might well have been a one time opportunity.)

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Yeah, I’m not actively job searching, and I haven’t been for quite a few years, so I’m not on LI on a regular basis. I get pretty generic emails from recruiters looking for consultants, which I usually ignore because I’m not in a position to do consulting work again. So messages sit there for awhile before I see them.

    2. Snoskred*

      I would be super upset about missing out on the Hawaii job. :( I love Hawaii!

      Does LinkedIn email you when you have a message? I just signed up for it recently to look at it, and it has spammed me daily ever since.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Same here. I hardly ever check websites other than AAM and NotAlwaysRight, but I have email alerts set up on social media and other websites, including LinkedIn.

              1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                YES. I’m thinking about trying to use AdBlock to block all of the “comics” they post, many of which are just crossposted from other sources.

      1. Jubilance*

        They do but I sometimes miss them because of the new groupings in Gmail – LinkedIn messages go to the “social” tab and I haven’t figured out how to switch it to the Primary tab.

      2. Artemesia*

        It luckily had a happy ending as I got to do the speech the next year and was able to add 8 days on for a vacation for me and my husband, greatly underwritten by my round trip to Hawaii and my fee. But it could easily have been a one time opportunity.

      3. JC*

        I also do not prefer getting messages via linkedin. I believe the default is to get an email when you get a message, but I shut that off because I had one connection who was blasting spam-like emails to all his connections regularly. And people who do get emails when linkedin emails them might get them shuttled to a non-priority inbox. My linkedin emails go to a junk folder that I don’t every day, but an email straight from a person would go to my main inbox.

        I also am not a fan of when people who have my email address use other social media websites (like facebook) to send me email-like messages.

      4. Stranger than fiction*

        I get my linked in messages via a notification on my phone, such as “so and so has endorsed you” “so and so has sent you a message” or “people are looking at you”, etc. I do get emails, as well for certain things, but like others have said, I don’t regularly check email for these types of things.

    3. Retail Lifer*

      I had messages from a year ago that I never noticed. They weren’t for anything I’d be interested in, luckily. LinkedIn has thus far proven to be pretty useless for me in my job searches so I only check it when I’m updating something.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    “FYI” is totally context-sensitive and I think it’s one of those expressions that can come across as terse or rude when that isn’t the intention. Alison’s example is indeed snarky. But if I got an email that said something like, “FYI, you weren’t available earlier, and Jane came by and asked if that check request had been processed. She was really in a bind and needed it right away, so I went ahead and did it. Hope I didn’t mess anything up, but if I did let me know what I need to do to fix it,” I wouldn’t find that snarky at all. I would see that as a co-worker trying to help me out by getting someone what they needed so there wouldn’t be a crisis later.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      We use FYI to its literal meaning, and frequently.

      FYI – for your information, no action needed.

      Email is our main form of conversation. FYI in the subject line means “you can open this later”.

      1. KathyGeiss*

        Ditto. I even try to distinguish it in the subject of an email. “FYI: subject here” which contrasts nicely with other instructive subject lines like “Please Review: subject here” or “action required: subject here”

        I am all for clarity and would probably lose my mind in a culture where you had to tip toe around.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Yeah, I tend to be pretty no nonsense and direct too, but over the years I’ve learned that there are times when taking a few minutes to sugarcoat emails can be worth the effort.

        2. Sunshine Brite*

          I like that use of the subject line, may think about using it sometimes for my supervisor to loop her in on things.

          1. Chinook*

            “I like that use of the subject line, may think about using it sometimes for my supervisor to loop her in on things.”

            I use it all the time when trying to get a vendor’s attention when it comes to their insurance paperwork. They have obviously ignored the 5 other automated reminders they have received from the system, but a little “Action required: You are at risk of our work” in the subject line gets their attention within the hour.

        3. fposte*

          That sounds really useful! I know anything that helps me find an email later is a good thing.

      2. Sassy Intern*

        Yeah, I just sent an FYI email to my boss that read; “FYI: COMPETITOR is holding this type of event.” So she can read it at her leisure and then use that info for our own clients later. I feel that if it’s something important enough to note, but it doesn’t require too much thought or action behind it, use an FYI.

      3. Stranger than fiction*

        Same here, but for me this is the first office setting where that was normal. Alison is 100% right that this is a cultural thing.

      4. Lalaith*

        Ugh, my supervisor likes to forward me emails with just a note of “FYI…”, but then the email actually WILL have an action item. I still don’t consider it rude, just annoyingly inappropriate, in these cases.

        1. Cassie*

          One of our managers does this – she forwards emails to faculty and/or staff that do require some kind of action, but she just puts “FYI” at the top of the email. I wonder if she knows what FYI stands for. Maybe she isn’t familiar with FYA (people don’t seem to use this much anyway).

    2. Meg Murry*

      In general, FYI is perfectly acceptable in every workplace I’ve been in. Besides Alison’s example, I can think of 3 ways that would not be an acceptable use of FYI.
      -Sending a ton of FYI emails daily, clogging up someone’s inbox – especially when they are long email threads with the important details buried within.
      -Sending important policy/rule updates as an FYI – FYI in my opinion, is meant as “here’s some background info you should know about but read when you have time” not as a way to pass on information that is truly important and must be followed.
      -Using it as a passive aggressive way to nose into business that isn’t yours. I had a super nosy co-worker that did things like keep track of who was late coming in, left early, occasionally took a long lunch or broke other “rules” that was none of her business (she wasn’t a supervisor, or even in the same group or workflow as most of the people she worried about). She would do things like forward coworkers the official attendance policy with a note like “FYI, work hours are 8-5” – totally rude, passive aggressive and none of her business.

      1. De Minimis*

        I’ve only seen it used when forwarding e-mails.

        The only thing that annoys me is when my supervisor will forward me something as “FYI” that I already know about and am usually on the distribution list for–and she’ll usually do it a week after it was originally sent.
        But that’s more about my supervisor, not the use of FYI…

      2. Sunshine Brite*

        I’ve also seen it used in a more aggressive I know way more than you do sort of way as well.

    3. LQ*

      If you are going to write that much anyway why wouldn’t you just spell out, “For your information” or “I just wanted to let you know that since you weren’t…”

      I do FYI to keep it short and quick so people don’t have to read the rest. If someone put an FYI and then a bunch of words I’d feel confused, mixing up an abbreviation like that (unless the FYI was just in the subject of an email and the explanation was in the body which would seem totally appropriate) with a lengthy bunch of something seem odd. Maybe it’s just because it wasn’t separated though.


      I processed Jane’s check blahblahblah…

      1. Colette*

        Because people know what FYI means, and it makes it easy for them to parse that you don’t want them to do anything. I like giving a sentence or two of context when forwarding something – e.g. “FYI, here’s a link to the proposed policy that will probably be implemented next month”.

    4. Gene*

      A former employee here used to say “For your FYI”. It’s become a buzzword in the office for some of the stuff that comes from on high.

  4. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    IMO, a “pointed, concerned look as you pass his office” is a little passive-aggressive and also would go over this guy’s head. I’d go for a more direct comment, like “James, hanging out with Felicity during work doesn’t reflect well on you professionally.”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it depends heavily on what kind of relationship they have and how senior she is to him. I can definitely think of situations where that would be totally appropriate, but I can also think of ones where she wouldn’t have standing to say that.

      But then I can make my face take on a pointed, concerned look that is the equivalent of screaming “WTF are you doing!”

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        But then I can make my face take on a pointed, concerned look that is the equivalent of screaming “WTF are you doing!

        Ha ha ha. This is one of my most valuable skills.

        1. Jaune Desprez*

          It IS a valuable skill! And a valuable service to the employee, although he may not appreciate it as such right away. Back when I was young and still struggling with professional norms, there were at least a couple of times when a raised eyebrow from a passing higher-up was just enough feedback to save me from making a foolish mistake. That person didn’t directly supervise me, and she certainly had better things to do with her time than to lecture a couple of giddy junior hires on the reasons why piggyback rides have such a limited role in intra-office transportation. But she got her point across with an economy of time and expression that I have done my best to emulate in my own career.

          1. Apollo Warbucks*

            For what it worth I think piggyback rides sound like a brilliant method of transport.

            1. Jaune Desprez*

              Well, I’m sure I could have carried my colleague the rest of the way to the copy room in complete safety, but then it was supposed to be her turn to piggyback me back to our office. She was five inches shorter than me and wore heels, so the chances of a mishap were pretty high. I’ve wondered since then how we would have ever explained an injury to HR. They would have had kittens.

              1. Jaune Desprez*

                Hey, it just came to me, after all these years!

                “We are so, so sorry for our reckless behavior. In the future, we will stick to a fireman’s carry.”

                1. Beezus*

                  The relevant question here is whether the copy room had a door that locked, and whether you quacked at the higher up when you passed her.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Exactly — that’s what I mean. Assuming some degree of awareness in the person it’s directed at, it can be a way to get the point across without having to actually put you both through the conversation.

        2. Merry and Bright*

          And when I get that look from an interviewer it usually means “WTF do you mean?” instead. I agree that it is a valuable skill and it says so much.

      2. LBK*

        Well, now I’m sitting at my desk practicing my “WTF are you doing” face. Hopefully no one is watching.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          As a teacher I’ve had plenty of cause to practice that look. If it helps, think of that one teacher you had (everyone’s had this teacher) that could silence a room with a look. Then channel that teacher.

          1. Wendy*

            “Open your books to page three hundred ninety-four.”–Alan Rickman as Severus Snape

        2. afiendishthingy*

          luckily I am taking a mental health day so only my cats are watching me practice.

      3. Ann Furthermore*

        My husband can raise a single eyebrow. I so envy his ability to do this. It’s the absolute best, most effective nonverbal way to say, “WTF” or “Really???” and I wish so much that I could do it.

        1. AmyNYC*

          My DOG can do this! He’s actually got eyebrows and does this Groucho Marx thing when deciding between food or play – eyebrown left, eyebrow right, up and down

          1. Kelly L.*

            Oh yes! I had a dog with eyebrow dots, and she could do such expressive things with them.

        2. afiendishthingy*

          Yeah, I’m super envious of people who can raise one eyebrow. My uncle is a lawyer and claims to have won at least one case by raising one eyebrow in his closing argument.

        3. Traveler*

          It is one of my most useful abilities. Though, I have to be really careful about how much my face “tells” sometimes, when I don’t want it to.

      4. Kelly L.*

        I totally did this the other day. Not at work–at least not at my work. I’d gone into a bookstore and one of the owners was RAAANTING at the top of her lungs on her phone in the general fiction room. And some of the things being said were off-the-wall enough that I almost left the store. But I decided not to give up on the one store of its kind anywhere near me, and instead just peeped my head around the corner, gave her a WTF look like “Well, I’d come browse in this room, but somebody’s shouting in here!”, and went to the next room.

      5. Cath in Canada*

        Yep, been on the receiving end of that from a manager once. I’d been playing Words With Friends on my phone while I was waiting for my order to be ready in the coffee shop next door, and didn’t think to change to a different screen when I put the phone back on my desk when I got back upstairs. Luckily, when I realised what The Look was all about, I was able to show her that my last move in the game had been during my break. Hurrah for time stamps!

    2. JB (not in Houston)*

      It’s not really passive aggressive. Passive aggressive would be making comments that aren’t worded as criticisms of her being around so much but clearly are. A pointed, concerned look is pretty direct; you know exactly what the look-giver is thinking. It’s the same message as what you said, but without words (and I think we can all agree that non-verbal communication can be very effective). I can see how some people wouldn’t like it because the recipient isn’t able, in the moment, to respond to it, but they can always bring it up later if they are really clueless about what prompted the look.

      1. voyager1*

        I would leave your coworker alone. I get some folks might get a kick out of the dirty look, but if his supervisor is okay with it, let it go.

        If you can’t let it go, ask yourself if this is really worth creating a bad relationship with this person, because that could be a result. But at least go to his supervisor and let him/her handle it. If you approach him you can figure on the bad relationship probability going up.

        1. OP 2*

          Agreed, I let it go. My supervisor is so oblivious to these things and probably wouldn’t care so it’s not worth jeopardizing my relationship with this employee.

          He is newer (about 3 months) and I’ve been there nearly 5 years. I trained this employee in so the relationship is important. I do feel as though I could adress it if it happens again but believe it should come from our supervisior.

          Thanksfor the responses!!

  5. Jake*

    doesn’t a letter of resignation have the undertone that it is basically a firing?

    or have I just seen too many movies with the line “I expect your letter of resignation on my desk tomorrow morning”?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nope! Some companies ask for them, some companies don’t, and some might ask for them only in cases where they have reason to suspect they might need documentation, but it’s not anything specific to forcing someone out.

    2. TeaGirl*

      I’ve never been fired, or even laid off, and I’ve been asked to provide a letter of resignation at every job I’ve left. For many companies, it’s pretty much a formality for HR’s records. I think it’s a good thing — it provides a written record of the date that you gave notice and of your intended last working day.

      1. Ama*

        Yeah, at my last job HR was so notoriously disorganized that having a clear summary of exactly when your last day in the office was and if you were tacking any vacation days on at the end was crucial in case they forgot to notify payroll or gave them the wrong info.

    3. TheLazyB*

      I’ve always provided a letter of resignation. It’s just standard business behaviour. Fwiw i’m in the uk.

    4. Oryx*

      In the movies, having a boss ask for a letter of resignation is actually doing the employee a favor — it means in the employee’s record it will appear that the separation was their decision and that they *weren’t* fired.

    5. Retail Lifer*

      Letter of resignation = We need it in writing that you’re voluntarily quitting and are doing so on this date.

      I’ve always been expected to write one but no one ever cared about anything other than that.

      1. De Minimis*

        I had to do one at the Post Office, but it was probably part of the labor contract. My current job is not asking that I do one.

    6. Mike C.*

      I provided one because the jackass of a VP couldn’t be bothered to get off the phone and I wanted to leave.

      1. fposte*

        So that was your announcement of your departure? I’m picturing you sliding it under his nose and being gone by the time he managed to look up in puzzlement.

    7. Jess*

      I wonder if calling it a letter of resignation is making it sound more formal than it often is. In my experience, it’s usually just a quick email that essentially re-states what I just told my manager directly (i.e., that I’m providing my two weeks notice b/c I’m leaving, yada, yada, yada). Documentation purposes only. I always felt that it was to my advantage as well to document that I’m providing x amount of notice prior to leaving, so no one could claim that I blindsided my employer by just up and leaving. (Not that I’ve ever had an employer claim any such thing, but just as documentation can protect the employer from a wayward ex-employee, it can also protect an individual from a dishonest ex-employer.)

  6. MK*

    OP3, the only possible way to become someone’s boss is for some big shot to proclaim you. If you are part of an organisation, your authority stems from the fact that someone higher up appointed you. It sounds to me like you want to preserve a fiction that you being the boss grew organically from the team?

    1. Allison*

      Absolutely, I’d be a little put off if someone said to me “boss told me I’m in charge of you now,” as opposed to the boss telling me that herself.

      1. Molly*

        Same. It would be very weird for this not to be introduced by someone higher up. I don’t think that necessarily has to be in person – over email to the team would be fine with me and I think pretty normal – but definitely wait for the boss to tell everyone.

      2. Allison*

        I will also add that if someone told me they were in a position of authority over me, I’d probably ask someone to confirm that. Not because I wouldn’t believe them, but I would want to double check.

  7. Daisy*

    My office uses FYI a lot especially for short office related announcements. Ex. FYI – the phones will be down for repair from 8-9 tomorrow or FYI – I am going to an appt. and will be out after 3 pm.

    I’ve never seen it as inappropriate or inferred a certain tone.

    1. Blue_eyes*

      I see FYI used sarcastically or passive-aggressively a lot on online comment threads. I wonder if some people are used to seeing it like that and so they balk at it in professional correspondence as well. I agree with Alison, context is everything.

      1. Tamsin*

        This. We do use it where I work, but precisely because it can come off this way — or as though the recipient is missing something, or dense, or ought to be on this pronto to incorporate it somehow — I really only use it when forwarding, for example, a news item, with the headline as the subject line and then something very light (like, “Just forwarding”) to take off any possible perceived edge. I can tell it makes a difference: When I didn’t, there’d be no response. Now there’s typically a “Thanks!”

      2. Ama*

        I worked in a place where “FYI” on top of a forwarded email became shorthand for “I can’t say anything I want a written record of so I won’t say anything at all.” Generally the email below it was a complaint about something out of our control, or a big boss changing his mind about something he’d said the prior week, etc.

        It took me a little bit of adjustment when I got to my next workplace and people used FYI to actually mean “no action needed but you might find this interesting.”

  8. Management Material*

    #OP3, I think you’re over-thinking this. What they have planned to do is completely normal and expected, and you need to get comfortable with this. It sounds like you are feeling insecure about your promotion (things are fragile, you are hesitant, you’re uncomfortable, you’re worried…) Remember, they wouldn’t have offered you the job if they didn’t think you could do it. This sort of thing is all part of managing people, so this is a great opportunity to start getting used to that. Your relationship with your team is about to change, you will need to be the “big shot” in future, and taking an us vs. them approach is not going to be helpful.

    1. OP3*

      I believe you hit the nail on the head here. This is a big jump for me within this org, and I think my promotion anxiety was showing a bit.

      Thank you for this!

  9. Katie the Fed*

    FYI, we use “FYSA” a lot. It means “for your situational awareness” and makes clear that no action is required. I find it sounds a little less curt than FYI too.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Huh, I just googled it and it appears to be a particular bit of Pentagonese. Makes sense. I swear we speak our own language.

      1. LiptonTeaForMe*

        Yeah when I first started with the federal gov’t, I couldn’t figure out what people were saying as they used a lot and I do mean a lot of acronyms. Ten years later and I am proficient in government gibberish too!

        1. OriginalEmma*

          Oh yes. Then there’s working in emergency preparedness, with its own dictionary of jargon.

      2. Lily in NYC*

        LOL, print media is like that too. When I switched to a different industry, I had to train myself to start writing TBD instead of TK and to stop using all of the weird abbreviations I’ve never seen anywhere else. FYSA cracks me up – it is so military-sounding (which makes sense but still amuses me).

      3. Natalie*

        I’m kind of surprised Situation Awareness wasn’t shortened to two syllable, like SitWare or something.

      4. Jess*

        I was going to post something about FYSA too. I actually didn’t realize it was so particular to the military/gov’t…probably should have though, considering that’s where I learned it.

      5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        oh. my. god.

        I am so using this.

        I am sending an FYI to my team that FYSA is now “a thing”. this is awesome.

        (Have I ever mentioned the time we practiced and talked in “cop lingo” for a month. we did 10 code, like:
        10-1 Bad reception
        10-4 I acknowledge
        10-9 Say again
        10-20 Advise to location
        10-33 Emergency – all units stand by
        10-36 Correct time )


    2. The IT Manager*

      Yes, SA (situational awareness) is a military term, I think.

      I don’t use it now, but in the military FYA, For Your Action, was the opposite of FYI. FYI is informational and doesn’t require action, whereas FYA means you have to do something.

  10. Cheesecake*

    OP #3. “Proclaiming” is actually how it will be taken if you gather the team and say “…now i am the boss!”. To me announcing your promotion yourself is as strange as if your boss announced your parental leave. Personal stuff must be announced, well, by you personally, and here you were appointed by the company – it is their duty to announce.

    1. Liane*

      “…now I am the boss!” That reminds me of Darth Vader’s “Now I am the Master!!”

        1. Windchime*

          This cracked me up. I’m pretty sure the OP doesn’t mean to announce it this way, but how awesome would that be!

          1. Cheesecake*

            You know, no matter how the potential boss announces it (not just chatting to me about the possibility of changes) i will hear “Look at me. I am the captain now”

  11. D*

    I think the adoption of the phrase “FYI” as a way to be rude/passive aggressive in person means that some people forget it’s actually a pretty benign, friendly phrase when it’s written. It literally just means…for your information! Also interpretable as: “I thought you should be aware of this/thought you might like to know/this may be helpful/just making you aware of this info without suggesting you take action/here’s something I did which I want to show you or tell you about without any further follow up needed” and so on.

    But when used in spoken language, it DOES come across more as: “Here’s some information that you didn’t know, you dummy” which is where the problem lies.

    1. Merry and Bright*

      Yes, in an email it just means to let you know, keep you in the picture etc.

    2. The IT Manager*

      I use FYI a bit for emails. Usually when I forward something that I think might be useful or helpful, but it’s not necessary. It a way of, I don’t expect you to act on this information, which to be honest, if I get an email I am not expecting with information that’s not clearly an FYI I’m going to wonder if I have to do something with it.

      Although Alison provided and example of how FYI can be used in a snarky/insulting way, I don’t associate FYI with rude at all.

    3. Blue_eyes*

      I’m not sure the distinction is just spoken vs written. I see people using FYI in the rude/passive aggressive way online a lot, often in contentious comment threads and the like. I think the intent/context are the deciding factors in whether it’s rude, not the medium.

  12. hbc*

    OP3: “…it will feel to them like a big shot coming in and essentially proclaiming me their boss.” But isn’t that how it happened? They didn’t vote you in, you didn’t gradually take over duties until someone realized you were doing the job…you were selected by these people to be in charge.

    I don’t really see how any of your concerns (them being blindsided, it looking like a big step to them) are better addressed by you making the announcement. “OP3 has the right background and we trust him/her to do the job well based on performance here and management experience in previous roles” is more convincing and not more surprising than any version of “I’m taking over, and trust me, I’m totally qualified.” Afterwards, you can make your own speech about how you’re sorry you couldn’t have them in the loop, answer concerns, blah blah blah.

    1. LBK*

      Yeah, if the announcement is going to surprise them, I’m not sure how it’s going to be less surprising being heard from one person vs another. It’s the content of the message that would potentially blindside them.

    2. fposte*

      Yeah, even with the OP’s explained about the situation, I think she’s not realizing how normal this is. The office generally doesn’t know before the announcement who the boss would be–that doesn’t mean they’re “blindsided” unless they didn’t know the old manager was leaving. And in this case she’s already gone.

      There are ways in which it makes sense to coddle a difficult or fractious team, but I’m not seeing this as an occasion for that.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I would *not* say “sorry I couldn’t have you in the loop.”

      It would just not have been appropriate at all for OP3 to have ever -had- his team “in the loop” in terms of his application for the managerial job. Not at any point.

      And it’s important to keep those sorts of lines of confidentiality well established. “Good fences make good neighbors.”
      There will be things that, as manager, the OP3 will need to deal with well before mentioning them to the team. This proposed “keeping you in the loop” apology will set up an expectation that the OP3 will share the wrong things with the team.

      1. hbc*

        I don’t think an apology is necessary, but since the OP thinks it’s odd, I don’t think it hurts to show that s/he wanted to bring them in. It’s kind of an awkward situation, in that they’re your colleagues and you’d usually be chatting with them about who the new boss might be.

        Full disclosure: I threw my hat into the ring for a huge move up and let a couple of colleagues know. I wanted them to voice any concerns, and it’s a very small company with a gossipy owner–it was going to get around anyway. It probably helped that I was clear about okay with being passed over.

        1. TootsNYC*

          She/he shouldn’t have -wanted- to bring them in to the process of applying to become the manager of the department. That’s a confidential process for both parties, for tons of good reasons.

          She/he is not their friend who owes them entry into her/his private matters; and the company doesn’t really want lots of talking about who is applying, etc., until it’s all done.

          There’s a boundary there that is appropriate. And it is in OP3’s best interests to maintain it. OP3 is the boss, not their buddy.

          1. OP3*

            To clarify, I never at any point said I was sorry about not telling them. I’m not sorry about it, and I certainly would not apologize to them for it. I don’t know how that got thrown into the mix, but it certainly wasn’t the case: my feeling was that they would not react as well hearing it from a corporate structure they neither trust nor care for–primarily because of shenanigans around this very sort of thing in the past–as they would from me.

            I actually did personally tell them all today that I took the position, and that a formal announcement from corporate would follow. It went very, very well.

  13. FD*

    #1- I think it depends a lot on how it’s used. With my boss, I use “FYI” to denote e-mails where I’m letting her know information that she wants to be aware of, but where I don’t expect a response.

  14. AdAgencyChick*

    #1 reminds me: pet peeve is when people put ONLY “FYI” as a subject line. Not because it’s curt, but because if I file that email away, when I’m looking for it a month later it’ll take forever to find it!

    This rant brought to you by the Society for Descriptive Subject Lines.

    1. IndieGir*

      I’ll join you in that society! I had a crazy employee who often wouldn’t put anything in the subject line, and when you opened it up, sometimes it was a normal work email and sometimes it was a crazy hysterical rant. I used to tremble with dread when I saw those. (In case you are wondering why I tolerated this, my boss had actually hired her against my desires and would completely undermine any attempt on my part to make her act like a rational employee).

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        You can actually edit and save subject lines in emails. Only do this if your emails might not end up as evidence someday. I frequently do this to add case names to subject lines to make them easier to sort and file later. Otherwise I just have 100 emails with the subject line “privileged communication.”

        1. fposte*

          It depends on your mail client–I can’t do that (I tried the last time it came up here!).

            1. fposte*

              Yup, I’ve done that sometimes–the problem is that then it’s me, not the original sender, who turns up in a search for/sort by the sender.

    2. Susan the BA*

      “FYI” “Question” “Request” “Re: [last email thread I found from you because I don’t know how to look up addresses]” “(no subject)” “FWD: [automatic number assigned by file scanner]”

      1. Liza*

        Arrgh, the “Re: [last email thread I found from you because I don’t know how to look up addresses]” is one of my biggest peeves. It’s even worse with email threading (which I otherwise love). When I send out a company-wide announcement that IT is introducing new feature X, and you reply to that email to tell me your latest unrelated IT woe, that does not help me organize my work.

    3. afiendishthingy*

      Yes, that was my thought too. Also someone in HR frequently sends all company emails with no subject line and then then only an attachment, which is usually a flyer for some event – but I have to open the attachment to find out for sure that I don’t care. Drives me nuts!

      1. fposte*

        I worked for a place that would send fancy announcements of new policies with links to the actual info–but the links never went to the actual info.

    4. Lalaith*

      Gah! Yes. I have a client who emails me about changes to their website, and the subject line is always WEBSITE. Yes, in all caps, every time. Sigh.

    5. More Cake Please*

      YES! We get important messages with “FYI” “Please Read” “Memo.” Nothing else. Open it up–if you’re lucky, you’ll get a signature line. 90% of the time, the message is attached as a Word document and the email itself is blank. Drives. Me. Up. The. Wall.

  15. TheLazyB*

    Is anyone else hearing Rachel from Friends when Ross wouldn’t sleep with her as their example of a bad use ofFYI?! :)

    1. Karowen*

      Yes!! I just kept repeating FYI in that snotty tone in my head and couldn’t figure out where it was from. Thanks for solving the mystery :)

  16. Susan the BA*

    My pet peeve about “FYI” emails is someone forwarding a message with “FYI” when the message clearly says “we need X right away” and either the forwarder or I could provide X. So… they need X and you’ll provide it? Or is this FYITAO (for your information to act on, which I just made up)?? And these would come from people who were not known for acting on requests in a timely fashion, so it was dangerous to assume that they’d take ownership.

    When I was in a position where many emails I sent were requests, I would say something like “hi, no action needed” or “just something to read when you get a chance” or “for your records – I’ve already resolved this” instead of “FYI” – not because one was more polite, but so the other person didn’t have to worry. It was a very stressful surprise-unmovable-deadline constant-worrying insane-email-volume field, so it might be overkill for most people.

  17. YandO*

    Would not it be beneficial to *you* to provide a letter of resignation that is signed by you and the employer? This way they can never claim they fired or let you go.

    I never thought about this until I started working for an employer where I am documenting everything because they have a history of lying and mistreating their employees.

      1. YandO*

        Hmmm….I have a friend who resigned, but her employer keeps telling references she was fired.

        Would not a resignation letter signed by employer be an insurance policy for such a situation?

        I am surprised it is considered odd. It seems very logical to me.

        1. LQ*

          No. The employer could still say any litany of bad things, they don’t need to say someone was fired to say bad things about them. And if the potential employer says they were fired it isn’t like this is a court case and if you show up with a letter that proves you were right that they would care. Plus sometimes resignations are in lieu of firing. It will just make your friend look strange too.

        2. fposte*

          It’s kind of like the fact that most offers aren’t in writing these days. It’s not conducted like a contract where both parties have to sign key documents. I get the way you’re thinking that it could actually make sense, but a lot of people leave jobs in adversarial circumstances where getting somebody to sign, whether it be the employee or the employer, isn’t going to happen.

        3. Colette*

          A resignation letter is a letter, not a contract, and the recipient of a letter doesn’t sign it. I also think that if you ask your employer to sign it, it will sour the relationship – the only reason to ask them to sign it is because you expect to need it, and they’re going to assume that you plan legal action.

  18. Jerzy*

    We were just having a conversation in my office about “FYI” and how you can say “FYI” and it can sound very friendly, but the minute you say “For your information…” to someone, it immediately sounds snotty.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, that’s true–how funny. I can only picture somebody pulling themselves up to their full height and wagging a finger when they say “For your information.”

  19. Shortie*

    I’m late to the party here. Agree that FYI is fine for a work e-mail, depending on the culture. At my office, we use it as shorthand for “for your information; no action needed.”

    That being said, we do OVERUSE it, which is a problem. People cannot resist passing on every single idea or piece of info they come across, so it becomes FYI overload. I wish everyone would be a little more discerning about what they pass on. You could be passing on the most fantabulous idea in the world, but if you’re passing it to an already overloaded colleague, think twice before pressing Send.

    Just MHO…my FYI PSA FWIW. :-)

Comments are closed.