family members stopping by work, should I say goodbye to coworkers when I leave, and more

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

1. EAP’s gatekeeping procedures scared me off

I called my company’s EAP hotline. I was hoping to make a quick, discreet inquiry about local health service providers and maybe come away with a list of network-approved counselors who might offer me a referral to a proper doctor. (Yes, I’m well- insured, in case anyone was wondering, but it seems that one practically has to beg for a referral to any sort of specialist these days, at least in my experience.) The hotline staff pretty much grilled me, though. They wouldn’t let me access any services until I gave them my name, birth date, address, phone number…plus department, title, duration of employment with the company, and other exceedingly specific and potentially confidentiality-compromising stuff that I can’t see anyone willingly volunteering.

I understand that EAPs are supposed to be confidential, and that confidentiality doesn’t require anonymity, but their questions scared the hell out of me. I hung up crying and wondering if I’d already gotten myself red-flagged in some way just by calling. I don’t want my situation to come to my employers’ attention at all, let alone reflect badly on me.

If EAPs are really confidential (as they are), and prepaid by the employer (as this one is), why do EAP providers feel the need to gatekeep their services to death unless/until they have every scrap of their potential users’ personal info? I understand that they need SOME identifying info to confirm that any given would-be user is actually entitled to take advantage of the brnefits, and I can see why they’d like a few more details in order to report to their clients about the demand for, and efficacy of, their services. But it seems to me that demanding major-league personal stuff about employees goes way beyond the realm of professional competence and into that of a) the EAP provider’s greedy curiosity about the demographics of their clientele, or–I really doubt this is the case, but it struck me as horribly plausible at the time, prima facie–b) the employer’s greedy curiosity about their employees.

Is there an anonymous way to tell an employer that you chose not to use their EAP benefits because the providers were so disconcertingly nosy and gatekeeperish?

Yeah, I can see why that unnerved you. EAPs are supposed to maintain strict confidentiality, and this one probably does — but its practices are guaranteed to make at least some people feel uneasy, which is a deterrent to people actually using it. If nothing else, they should have prefaced the questions by explaining why they were asking and how the information would be used. (It also would have been okay for you to say, “Before I provide this information, can you tell me how it will be used?”)

If your employer has anything set up to take anonymous feedback and suggestions, you could mention it in that forum — but I actually don’t think this would mark you in any kind of bad way if you just tell them without worrying about the anonymity. You don’t need to tell them WHAT you contacted the EAP about, only that you found the process off-putting. It’s probably HR who coordinates the service, and you could simply say, “I contacted our EAP recently for assistance with something but ended up not talking to them because they required such a large quantity of detailed information from me before they’d talk to me that I had trouble trusting that the service was really confidential. I realize I could be wrong, but I wanted to bring to your attention that it might be deterring others from using it as well.”

2. Am I supposed to say goodbye to my coworkers when I leave work?

I am a new employee in a hotel. I am the front desk clerk. Should I go around and see goodbye to my coworkers when I clock out? If they did not look at me, do I still have to say goodbye to them? If they are busy doing things, do I have to say goodbye to them?

It really depends on the culture of your workplace. In some workplaces, it would be odd not to say goodbye to people as you left — at least the ones in your immediate vicinity. In others, it would be odd to make a particular point of it. I’d pay attention to what other people working around you do, and follow their lead.

In general, though, and especially if people are busy, simply saying goodbye as you’re passing them on your way out is usually fine — no need to make a special point of finding them or stopping to talk as you leave.

3. Family members stopping by my office

I work in an office. Sometimes, maybe once a month, an immediate family member will come by for a short visit line to discuss a family matter. Can my supervisor prevent them or even reprimand me for them stopping by?


In some offices, this would be no big deal. In others, it would be no big deal if it happened on rare occasions but would feel odd or unprofessional (or simply distracting) if it was happening regularly. In others, it would be frowned upon generally.

In any case, if your manager has asked you to stop letting family members stop by, you should comply with that.

4. Adjunct teaching work keeps getting cancelled at the last minute

I am an adjunct at a school that I love. I enjoy that it is part-time; I don’t want full-time work now, but when my kids are older I will, and this would be the school for me.

I teach some short-term classes that get cancelled if there is low enrollment. Unfortunately, they don’t tell me until the day before class was supposed to start, so I am suddenly out all the money I would have made freelancing or adjuncting somewhere else (there are three schools where I teach) and I turned down opportunities to be available to teach the short-term classes.

Here are my choices: (1) stop accepting jobs at School A because they only make about 50% of the time, or (2) continue accepting at School A and know that they will only make about 50% of the time, but with such short notice I won’t be able to accept other work.

I have asked repeatedly to know if the classes are cancelled, but they leave enrollment open until the day before class starts. They schedule the classes months in advance, so they are asking me to commit to spring classes now, but so is School B, and they are a less nice facility but they have never cancelled a class that they offered me.

I really like the school where the classes cancel. The people and the facilities are so nice at this school, they pay me to attend training and develop curriculum, and in general they are just really lovely. Is there an option I am not seeing?

Nope, it sounds like those are the two options. Knowing that part of the deal with School A is that half the time your classes will be canceled the day before they’re set to start and you’ll have given up other work that you could have filled that time with, you’ve got to decide if you like them enough to make that worth it to you.

5. Boss is asking me to commit to staying if he makes me full-time

I’m in a bit of a predicament at my job of 18 months. My manager has been promising for several months to promote me from part-time receptionist to full-time. I’ve been given a couple of different time frames on that, and they all came and went, and we stopped talking about it, so I started secretly looking for full-time career positions. I’m moving along well in a couple of interview processes and am a finalist in one, but out of nowhere, my manager asked me to start full-time almost immediately and wanted to confirm that if I went full-time, I’d stay for awhile. There will now be one part-time and one full-time receptionist.

I have to talk to him about it further on Monday morning, and I’m not sure how to reject a full-time position I’d previously told him I’d accept. But I can’t take it in good faith either, especially when I know one of the jobs I’m a finalist for will be making a decision very soon and I could be leaving by the end of the month. Even if the jobs I’m interviewing for now don’t pan out, I still can’t imagine staying there answering phones full-time for long, now that I’ve seen what else is out there. How can I gracefully skirt around this and stay part-time, allowing him to hire someone more committed for the full-time position while not insulting him with the fact that I’ve been interviewing elsewhere?

Tell him that you’ve changed your mind and would like to stay part-time. Be prepared for a reason for that in case he probes for one (but since you originally accepted a part-time position and have been part-time for a while, you can probably come up with some credible-sounding reason for why this arrangement is working well for you).

{ 243 comments… read them below }

  1. Daisy*

    #5 Could you tell your manager you have some changes in your life and right now staying part time makes sense for you? He doesn’t have to know yet the changes are getting a new job.

  2. Knitting Cat Lady*

    #3: Can you take your lunch break away from the office, as in actually leaving the building? You could meet your family members then.

    1. Lanya (aka Camp Director Kim)*

      Yes, and be sure to meet them outside of the physical office building. At OldJob, my former supervisor’s mom would meet her for lunch once a month. Which was fine…but her mom would spend 45 minutes walking around from cube to cube, greeting every single one of us. She was a sweet lady, and she took a special liking to me, so I got stuck in many long conversations with her. I was polite, but it was extremely disruptive and not welcome. Body language did not work with her or my supervisor. I wasn’t bold enough to say anything outright, so I used to try to plan my lunch hour so that I was away when she arrived.

  3. Anonymous Educator*

    For #2, I generally will say goodbye to people as I’m leaving, but if they’re on the phone or otherwise occupied, I’ll just leave. If they look as if they may see a goodbye wave, I might wave goodbye. Just play it by ear and notice what other folks do.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I think it’s a good idea to say goodbye to at least one person. Let someone know you are leaving the building. This could be as easy as just saying goodbye to the person taking over when your shift ends. My current job is just me and my boss. If my boss is not there, I say goodbye to the person who I am in contact with the most during the day. My thinking is that she should know I left so she is not searching for me if something comes up.
      Of course, if you pass fellow employees on the way out of the building you can say “good night” or similar thing.
      If none of this makes sense for your setting, OP, you can ask your boss if there is someone you should notify that you are leaving. This is always a good starting point. If the boss says, no, then just say goodbye to the people who cross your path as you exit.

      1. A Bug!*

        I agree! I think when a person leaves work and there are other people who are still working, it’s good to say goodbye to at least one person on the way out, and I usually say goodbye to any coworkers I pass on my way out. I think it’s a little bit important to say goodbye to anybody with whom you share duties, so they know you’re not around to do them. Kylynara’s suggestion to say goodbye to a “gatekeeper” is good, too, since that person has an interest in whether or not you’re still there. For OP#2’s situation, I’d probably say goodbye to the front desk clerk who’s taking over for me.

        Of course, employers might have additional “goodbye” requirements as part of their preferences or procedures, and as long as they’re not especially onerous or being inconsistently enforced, those should be followed, too.

    2. Kylynara*

      I’d make a point of saying goodbye to a gatekeeper person, such as a receptionist or admin (since you say you are a front desk clerk, your replacement is probably that person in your case), that way if someone is looking for you after you leave they learn quickly and easily that you are gone. Your don’t want coworkers to waste 10 minutes trying to find you and only find out you are gone because Milton happened to overhear the question on his way to payroll.

      Many places (though I’ve never worked in a hotel) it would also make sense to say goodbye to your boss, but others it would not.

      Also, anyone you hand off duties to by leaving. In your case, this is probably just your replacement. When I worked as an admin at a small computer company, I had to notify the bench techs I was leaving, so they knew to answer the phones and wait on customers who came in. I would generally just stick my head in the room where they worked and say goodbye and trust them to notify any other bench techs who happened to be out of the room at the time. If only one was there and on the phone I’d catch his eye and wave.

  4. CJ*

    #4, every other adjunct reading this is nodding along: that’s the basic roulette in the “job”. I don’t have any answers; just sympathies.

    1. Mimi*

      Exactly. I’ve been teaching at a small college in the Midwest for over ten years, both inseat and online. I teach five sessions a year, and there are several sections of each graduate class per session. The course developer teaches the A section and then as you achieve seniority, you move from D to C to B. Although, there is no seniority in Adjunct Land: I’ve been teaching section B for ten years but in October, the section D person is taking B and I’m out. I sent a friendly note, wanting to make sure there wasn’t a problem. Nope, they wanted to give her and others a chance since their sections rarely make. It’s okay, I’m so tired of teaching this particular class, I could hurl. It’s a blessing, really.

      It’s an adjunct’s dilemma. You just roll the dice every session and don’t plan on the money.

    2. Big10Professor*

      When I was adjuncting, I could see the course enrollment on a daily report, so I had a pretty good idea if something wasn’t going to hit the minimum. Things can still change last-minute, but I was never totally shocked by a cancelled class.

    3. The Adjunct*

      I am the original letter writer. I have been tracking the classes that don’t make for 3 years; I think I will just start turning down those – for example 9/10 short term July classes over 3 years cancelled, so I can just keep July open for other freelancing.

      To the other adjuncts: do you get paid if the class doesn’t make? I have one school that pays 1/3 of an hour if the class gets cancelled- and they have only cancelled once.

      1. Mimi*

        I do not get paid if the class doesn’t make. Since I teach graduate courses with a maximum of 15 students, I get paid the same if I have one student or fifteen. But if I have zero, I don’t get anything.

        As Big10Professor said, it’s never a shock when the course is cancelled, except sometimes the college moves students from one section to the next to even things out.

        1. fposte*

          Does the class still run with just one student? Surprised they can afford that. We’ll occasionally run a course with six or seven, but I think the financial breakpoint is closer to ten.

          1. Anx*

            I think it depends on the course.

            I’ve been in a smaller program where classes tend to max out at 16. These are lab-intensive courses where you already have to do a lot of group work to share equipment and reagents. In fact, my instructor is planning on reducing our 8 person course to a 4 person course, or adjust the schedule to put students on tracts so they only come in every other class. There is definitely a point of diminished returns when 5 or more people are gathered around one machine.

            If a course is required for graduation and runs once a year, it will probably end up not being cancelled, even with 1 or 2 people. That cancellation could mean the difference between students dropping out of the program or not, and you know how focused colleges are retention rates.

            They’ll run a few courses at a loss to keep the program overall in the black and expanding. This community is working on recruiting companies to the area and one of their main selling points is the talent pool.

          2. Lia*

            Not the OP, but I work at a university, and here, if it is necessary for a student to take that exact course right then to graduate, then yes, we run the course with one student. Course scheduling and planning are attempts to ensure that we don’t have to do this very often, but it does happen once in a while.

            More commonly, it’ll be run as an independent study section with the one student and the professor, with no formally arranged course time/location, and they will work together to cover the material. The faculty gets paid anyways, but a room doesn’t get tied up.

            If a course routinely has very low enrollment, it’ll get moved to inactive status. This really only impacts electives, not required courses.

            1. Bears!*

              I took a class once as a sophomore that was a M/W/F 8:30 am class. When I showed up on the first day, it was just me and one other kid. The professor came in and said, “Yeah, we’re not doing this. Instead of lectures, you’ll now owe me four 10-page papers on particular subjects. One will be due every two weeks. We’ll meet at my office to discuss them a few days after you turn each one in.” The other kid dropped the class immediately. I was the lone student that quarter.

              1. HRChick*

                I would hate that. I’m paying a lot of money for a class. I want to have someone actually teach me. If it’s going to be such a lack of effort on the instructor’s part, I feel bad for the school that’s paying them.

                1. Sarabeth*

                  As a professor, I think the student in this class is getting a fantastic bargain. This is the way classes run at Oxford and Cambridge. The professor isn’t doing less work (the lectures were probably already prepared), she’s just redirecting that work into individualized instruction instead of the traditional lecture format. This is absolutely the best way to teach; the reason that we mostly don’t do it this way is because it’s extremely labor intensive. I teach 60 or so students a semester (and that’s a small number – I’m at a liberal arts college). I could not read and give thoughtful, personal feedback on 240 10-page papers in a semester, so I lecture and assign fewer, shorter, papers. If I had few enough students, though, this is absolutely the way that I would choose to teach.

                2. Honeybee*

                  @Sarabeth: Nnnng I think it depends on the professor. Whether or not the lectures were already prepared depends on whether the class was a new prep or not – I knew lots of professors with new preps who prepared the lectures weekly. And the professor didn’t say that they’d be meeting individually weekly to discuss (which is like an Oxbridge tutorial); the professor said they would meet a few days after each paper to discuss the paper itself, which sounds like only four meetings when the students were expecting – what – maybe ~30 over the course a semester.

                  If the professor was like “instead of MWF at 8:30 we’ll all meet together in my office on Tuesdays for 2 hours to discuss the readings,” that I would be excited about. “Teach yourselves, turn in four ten-page papers and I’ll give you feedback on them” is something I would drop, too – and complain about.

                3. Charlatan*

                  What you say is what I probably should feel, but honestly, if I could have knocked out an entire course with just a few papers and followup conversations I would have jumped on that in a heartbeat. I can read the text myself on my own time.

                4. Bears!*

                  I actually really enjoyed it. I wasn’t looking forward to getting up that early, but I really wanted to take the class! It was History of Rock and Roll. So I got to do a lot of my own research and this was before the Internet was really a thing, so it was all scouring the library and finding books about rock and roll.

          3. Mimi*

            I think if the enrollment is lower than 4, they cancel it and move the students to another section. But I’ve had 5 students and then had a few drop out. If the course has started, it finishes.

        2. Meredith*

          I hire instructors for non-credit online continuing education courses. The first time a course is offered, we agree to pay for their course development time, separately from their instruction time. That way, they still get a little money for developing the course material even if the class doesn’t make. We usually have a sense whether a class will run at least two weeks before its start date, and we always pay for people’s development time! It’s not the instructor’s fault the class doesn’t fill up, and we don’t want them to have to take the risk of investing all that development time. After the first time a class is offered, we don’t pay for development time again (because most topics don’t need extensive updating the next time the class is offered). Is there any way you can negotiate that development time as part of your agreement with the institution? (Note that our classes are relatively short and our payments are relatively small, so maybe that’s why it works… but you shouldn’t have to carry all the risk, in my opinion.)

      2. Noah*

        I only teach online courses now, which are all six week sessions. If they cancel the section less than seven days before start I get one week of pay, otherwise nothing.

      3. BRR*

        I’ve never heard of an adjunct being paid if a class gets cancelled.

        This is a sad statement but it’s the nature of the job that it might get cancelled (1 of many negative aspects of adjuncting). To me it’s a condition of the job and something you have to accept as part of it.

      4. JeJe*

        I’ve been an adjunct, one class a semester at community college in the past. I think it’s pretty unusual to get paid for cancelled classes. Even if you get used to figuring out which classes get cancelled, full time professors can take your classes at the last minute. I was teaching for less tangible benefits and had a full time career. I can’t imagine how people managed being adjuncts at multiple universities with ~8-9 courses total.

    4. brownblack*

      OP should consider him/herself lucky that this teaching gig doesn’t seem to require a terminal degree and evidence of publication.

      1. pepperdoctor*

        We don’t know anything about the degree of the OP, or what degree is required for teaching at the colleges he/she teaches at. And how would it be relevant if we did?

  5. MentalEngineer*

    #4, in conjunction with whichever option you choose, you might look into whether there is an adjunct unionization campaign operating in your city/area and consider getting involved with it if your time and energy allows. This gives you something to do besides continuing to play a game that’s rigged against us or giving up on academia completely. It’s embryonic, and it’s not the higher education reform that’s actually needed, but it’s starting to gain a bit of traction and I wouldn’t be shocked to see locals winning at least a few concessions within the next few years.

    1. Mabel*

      A friend of mine is working on the effort to unionize adjunct professors in the Boston area. Not all schools have voted to unionize, but quite a few of them have. I hope they can negotiate some improvements in working conditions. I knew there were issues, but I didn’t know about the situation the OP described (and it sounds like that is very common for adjuncts just about everywhere).

  6. PNW Dan*

    OP 4: I teach full time at a community college, and have taught as an adjunct in the past. Like CJ, I’m nodding along, and offer my sympathies.

    How’s your relationship with the full-time faculty in the department? They may be able to at least give some predictions about if a course will run, based on current and previous enrollment. Better yet, maybe they could work toward some sort of solution (though I admittedly don’t know what that would look like).

    Thinking more long-term, is the faculty at School A unionized? The faculty union where I am now represents adjuncts as well. It’s likely that you’re not the only one dealing with this; maybe you could get a group together and bring it up to the union. (You could do this by yourself, but you’d have a stronger argument with more people.) Even if the union doesn’t explicitly represent adjuncts, they may still be able to take this up one way or another.

    1. AcidMeFlux*

      OP4: ^ Everything PNW Dan says. Make your presence known if you can, by attending any meetings you may be invited to, or networking with other adjuncts (and they don’t have to be in your field of department). Schools know that there is a human tide of labor available, and don’t expect or make it worth your while to hang around, so let it be known that you’d like to keep working there in the future. As for putting up with the uncertainty, you’ll need to develop some kind of regular part-time gig for cash (tutoring HS or college students) and again, this is something other people in your situation can possibly clue you in to . And don’t assume that just because there’s a lot of competition for jobs people won’t collaborate; there will be people who see the value in getting together to help each other (which brings us back to “check out the unions”.) Also, I’ve seen in many schools the system of assigning classes is badly organized. Bringing it to the attention of powers that be and explaining how a better system might hang on to good people could be worth the while.

    2. Today's anon*

      We also don’t cancel our classes until the very last minute but I am sure the department chairs are monitoring enrollment (or they should!). Maybe you could check in with them to see how well the course is enrolled? There usually is a minimum enrollment needed before the class runs so if you’re very far from that, say, 3-4 weeks before classes start…it is likely that the class will be cancelled.

      Something else you might check is how is the class represented by the student academic advisers? One year we had a few classes that got cancelled for low enrollment and realized the advisers had forgotten about the non-traditional minor we offered so were not offering those as suggestions to students. Now we send them a reminder. Not sure if this is your job per se, but maybe talking to the chair would remind them to check in with the advisers as well.

      1. INTP*

        Yeah, as a grad student I remember professors talking about the particular sections they were concerned might be canceled. Someone is monitoring it as the number of students is sort of a political point within academic departments.

        I would take what I was told with a grain of salt, though. The department chair or anyone else responsible for how classes go doesn’t want to risk the sections actually pulling through but the adjunct having found other employment for that time.

        1. Mimi*

          At my school it is very political. Last session, the college president decided that the students didn’t need to see who the instructor was until they enrolled. I was not happy, since I teach two classes and students tend to follow me. The idea was that the students should focus on the material, not who was teaching. We all teach the same exact material, but you can either phone it in or devote some real effort to it. Since I devote at least an hour a day and often more, every single day, students react favorably and I get good evaluations.

          I heard from a full-time professor that the reason this change was made was that another tenured professor wasn’t getting any students in her online section because word got out that she wasn’t good. She complained to the new college president and voila!, now she has the same chance as the rest of us for getting full classes–there is nothing to distinguish the good instructors from the bad ones.

          The only way this will change is if the students complain. I think they are getting the bum deal here; they are paying with good money and deserve to be able to make an informed choice. I told the college president that in an email and received a nonsensical reply in return.

          I’m surprised I’m still on the schedule.

          1. Anx*

            I wish I could say I was surprised a college president could have a such a fundamental disconnect between what matters to students (or contempt? or apathy?).

            That is just….horrible.

            One thing I find pretty reprehensible about my college is that there aren’t any syllabi posted to courses during registration, AND that you are financially responsible for your class on day one. I suppose having students pay for 25% of classes they drop after the first day when they realize it’s not the class for them* helps avoid some preventive class cancellation and helps the adjuncts, but I think it’s pretty gross either way. As sympathetic as I am to adjuncts and educators (I sort of am one, and many of my friends teach at all levels), students come first.

            *You never know when you’ll get that instructor that marks you absent if you’re not there right away, when maybe you’ll know you’ll be late a few times because of work. Or if there’s a mandatory event to attend out of class hours. Or if they’ll be significant group work which you just don’t have time for. Of if you don’t have the proper technology. There are so many reasons a student could find out they need to drop outside of being overwhelmed by course content, which isn’t a reason most administrators find sympathetic anyway.

            1. Mimi*

              The college president’s reply was “I’m sorry if this offends you.” WTH? It’s not like I was ranting, not even close! It was a very professional email (I worked a lot on it). I had gone through the proper channels but everyone referred me to President Doofwumple (not his real name.)

              As I mentioned, I got the inside scoop on it. Professor Nobody Will Take My Classes brought it up during a faculty staff meeting and “poof!” it was a done deal. I’ve never heard of anything more ridiculous.

              1. Charityb*

                If it really doesn’t matter who teaches the class, why not just replace all the instructors with prerecorded lectures? After all, the professor’s role is an undifferentiated and fungible; only the material should matter…

                1. Honeybee*

                  I’m pretty sure that IS the Next Big Idea. I’ve seen some semi-radical educational pundits propose this, and less radical pundits talking about how wonderful MOOCs are and that we should all be borrowing that model to deliver classes to students. One of the reasons I exited academia.

    3. The Adjunct*

      It is not unionized. They would just stop offering classes if people fussed. It is a small private college and these are short term classes and workshops – sometimes a 3 day weekend workshop, etc.

      1. Sophia in the DMV*

        That’s one of the problems with small schools. We recently ran into a similar problem for our VAP and the chair had to beg students to take it and had to be “creative” in letting the under enrolled course as a requirement when it is not. And our min is something like 5 students

      2. fposte*

        Oh, things like that often are accepting enrollees up to the last minute. What a pain for you.

        Though wouldn’t cancellation have to occur fairly early for you to find something else for such a short period of time? Maybe there are two factors here, the irritation factor and the time repurposing factor. What’s the latest you could hear and still find another job or freelance work for the time?

        1. The Adjunct*

          Hmm.. I need to think on that. I have to commit in Oct for a Jan class. So that’s a lot of the problem. Early commitment, late notification.

  7. The Regal Beagle*

    #5: I’m going to respectfully disagree with AAM and suggest that you agree to full-time / long-term. I understand how one might have misgivings about this, but you do not at this time have any reliable data about how easy – or not easy – a time you will have finding another job. You may feel positive about your job prospects, you may be a “finalist”, etc – but right now you have exactly one real offer for full-time work – with your current employer. Unless / until you actually know the date you will leave your current job, I think it’s okay to assume that you’ll be staying for “awhile”.

    I don’t mean to be negative but I’ve been reading AAM for awhile and if I had a dollar for every time someone reported that they rocked the interview and that a job offer was a “sure thing” – but nothing came of it – I’d have a pretty large stack of dollars.

      1. UKAnon*

        But it sounds as if the OP wants *a* full time job, and if this is the case then the safest option for now is to take their boss’ offer. They might be job searching for another 6 months, or a year, or they might get an offer tomorrow, but for now they only have one guaranteed full time offer.

        1. The Adjunct*

          I want a full time job someday, but I have turned down two chances to interview for a full-time job at both School A and B. I am not interested in full-time work right now.

    1. Kas*

      Yeah, I’m not seeing anything in OP#5’s letter that indicates that they are unhappy with their current job, apart from the ongoing uncertainty over being made full-time. This now appears to be resolved, so I don’t understand why they still want to abandon a sure thing.

      1. Tau*

        It’s a bit buried in the second paragraph, but:

        Even if the jobs I’m interviewing for now don’t pan out, I still can’t imagine staying there answering phones full-time for long, now that I’ve seen what else is out there.

        That makes it sound as if OP is pretty committed to moving on!

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Plus, the employer seems to have strung them along a bit. Sometimes it’s not the employer’s fault, but it’s hard to say from the OP’s letter whether the boss didn’t explain the situation to the OP because the boss is just not a very organized manager, or because they are deliberately stringing the OP along. Either way, the fact that they kept getting promised something for a year and a half without a good explanation as to why the boss couldn’t delivery is another datum in favor of moving on.

          1. Stranger than fiction*

            Agreed. And, if she’s really worried about things being awkward between the boss after she declines the full-time, maybe a little white lie of “Oh, I have another part-time job/commitment now, since the full-time opportunity didn’t seem as if it was going to materialize”.

        2. Erin*

          Yeah, I have to agree with you. I think she understands that this job she’s a finalist in isn’t guaranteed, but she’s “seen what else is out there” and wants to keep looking regardless. She’s basically already made up her mind – her question specifically to Alison was, how do I have this conversation?

          Worst case scenario after having this conversation: things are a tad awkward with the boss (but a LOT less awkward than they’d be if she stayed on full time and then left), she doesn’t get the other jobs, and stays on as part time receptionist. In other words, really no worse off than shew as before.

    2. Zillah*

      I’d agree if the OP hadn’t said she didn’t think they’d stay long even if these jobs don’t pan out. If they genuinely mean that, they shouldn’t take the job.

      1. The Regal Beagle*

        If the OP had an actual date for the last day at her current job, I’d agree about not taking the full-time / long-term job.

        But right now all she has is, basically, moonbeams and one real offer from her current employer. I think she would be best off sticking with what is real.

        1. Zillah*

          I disagree, and IMO, it’s actually doing the OP a disservice to assume that she’s not serious about what she said unless she’s set a specific end date.

          It doesn’t seem like she’s basing this on the assumption she gets the job she’s a finalist for. It sounds like she’s just not satisfied with her job.

          OP, if failing to get a full-time job is going to impair your ability to pay your bills, you should take it and figure out how to gracefully bow out if something materializes into an offer. Even if you feel like it’s awful, you should prepare for the possibility that it could take you awhile to find something.

          However, if you can make ends meet as is and feel like moving to full-time will make this job completely unpalatable or feel like you’ve got one foot out the door whatever pans out, don’t take it.

          1. The Regal Beagle*

            IMO, it’s actually doing the OP a disservice to assume that she’s not serious about what she said unless she’s set a specific end date.


            OP, if failing to get a full-time job is going to impair your ability to pay your bills, you should take it and figure out how to gracefully bow out if something materializes into an offer. Even if you feel like it’s awful, you should prepare for the possibility that it could take you awhile to find something.

            At least you agree with me here.

            1. Zillah*

              I’m not sure where your hostility is coming from – we’re discussing whether it’s in the OP’s best interests to take a position they know they don’t really want. It’s not that big a deal, and I’m certainly not saying anything inflammatory.

              As far as “why” goes: I prefer to take OPs at their word, so I try to give them advice based primarily on what they seem to be expressing about their situation, rather than superimpose my own feelings and preferences on it. What’s right for one person in one situation is not going to be right for everyone in every situation.

        2. MissLibby*

          But she has already decided that she doesn’t want to be a receptionist any longer, so even if none of the jobs she is interviewing currently pan out, she still plans on leaving in the near future.

    3. AnotherFed*

      I completely agree on this – it’s at will employment, not a contract. This way if the OP decides she really doesn’t want this job long term, she can conduct a careful job search for what she does want, which sounds like something other than reception given that she doesn’t want to answer phones anymore.

      Also, telling the boss that you don’t want the full-time offer you were so enthusiastic about before is also going to damage the relationship with the boss. Probably not as badly as taking the FT work and leaving in a bit, but it’s still going to be a red flag, and is likely to make the boss suspect that OP is job searching.

      1. Red Rose*

        I think the boss already suspects. Why did this offer come out of the blue after stringing OP along for 18 months? And then asking the OP to commit to staying makes it even more suspicious.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          That did occur to me too, actually. I hope the Op is not job searching on her work computer and/or telling coworkers about it.

        2. Today I am Anonymous*

          That was my first thought too. Seems like boss may have gotten wind of her job search.

        3. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Because she’s getting ready to hire another person and needs to know if she should be hiring a part-time second person or a full-time second person.

    4. joeee*

      I agree. You never know if or when you’ll get another job, so plan as if you won’t. If you do, take it and then deal with the fall-out. Your employer has been stringing you along and this is not a fair request, so I wouldn’t feel bad at all about leaving them later at any time.

      This is all the more advisable because telling your boss you no longer want to work there full time will poison that relationship and tip them off that you’re looking to leave.

      Look out for yourself first!

    5. Ad Astra*

      I think OP #5 should ask her boss what he means by “a while” and think about whether she’s comfortable sticking around for that long. Without a contract (which would be unusual in this situation), OP’s boss is free to renege on his part of the agreement, and the OP is free to renege on hers. I don’t think it’s a big deal to agree to stay for, say, 1 year and then leave after 7 months — as long as you sincerely intend to stick around for about as long as you agree to.

      If the boss is hoping for 5 years and you’re not willing to stay even 1 year, then yeah, it’s better to stay at part time until you find a full-time gig you really want.

    6. Tau*

      I disagree because from the sounds of it, OP isn’t banking on one of those jobs panning out – she’s decided that this job offer doesn’t suit her in general and that she’s willing to keep on searching to find one that’s a better fit. By your logic, nobody should ever reject a job offer!

      And accepting the full-time job runs the risk of burning bridges with the boss if she ends up quitting after a short period of time thanks to having gotten a better offer. That’s something that could come back to haunt her through bad references and the like.

    7. OP #5*

      Thank you Alison and everyone else who commented on this thread and elsewhere in the comments. I really appreciate all your thoughtful suggestions! I actually do have a legitimate (and convincing) reason that I am planning to use to gracefully turn down the full time offer. I just can’t bring myself to take it immediately knowing that I could *theoretically* be putting in my notice any day now for one of two jobs for which I’m a finalist, but even if I don’t receive either offer, I’d prefer to stay part time to be able to continue my job search. That being said, my manager has not said anything else about it, and he’s kind of pretending like we never even had any sort of discussion in the first place. I can’t predict what will happen for the rest of the week, but it certainly is strange to me that everyone – including my co-worker who is supposedly going to be laid off due to her position getting cut – is acting like nothing is going on. I’d think said co-worker would mention to me whether or not she would be having to leave within the next week, as we have a fairly close work relationship. Anyway, if it DOES come up, I feel much more prepared to handle it thanks to all of your wonderful suggestions, but I’m still crossing my fingers that maybe I’ll have an offer soon!

      1. OP #5*

        Update Part 2: I was able to gracefully turn down the full-time offer, and I was actually offered the other position at the different company today, which I’ve accepted! I’m really excited that it all worked out, and thank you again for all your input, Alison and fellow commenters!

  8. Blurgle*

    #3: I would be concerned that the family member would either see something confidential on someone’s desk or steal something. I once worked in an office (a large law firm) where laptops and small electronics kept disappearing; it turned out that one of the admins’ boyfriends was wandering in to “meet his girlfriend” – and wandering out with whatever wasn’t nailed down.

    Also: we aren’t born knowing office etiquette, I understand that, but if you’ve been told more than once not to do this and you’re still looking for validation that you’re right or that it’s no big deal, I’d wonder if you had problems admitting that you were wrong. Nobody needs the employee who is convinced beyond dissuasion that he’s always right and who looks for loopholes and third opinions after correction.

    I’d also be concerned that you weren’t very good at respecting boundaries (because there should be a boundary between your work life and your personal life), and I’d be looking carefully at whether you respected other boundaries in the workplace. In my experience, the employee who constantly has relatives coming into the office is the one who is just full of steaming piles of advice on looks, weight, religion, politics, etc.

    Finally, I might also look for signs that you were being abused by whichever family member kept showing up. Abusers like to check up on their victims to intimidate them, and sometimes even to sabotage their career.

    1. Tattypoo*

      Everything she said. I had envisioned an employee’s mother dropping by to visit, and the employee not understanding that’s weird. The idea of a controlling boyfriend definitely raises concern.

    2. Merry and Bright*

      I completely agree that the OP needs to separate family and work and accept her manager’s word on this. But it seems a big jump from that to her relatives might steal from the office or she might lecture her coworkers on weight or religion. Even if you have experienced this I’m not sure you can imply this about the OP. Any office visitor could potentially be a thief, for example.

      1. Colette*

        I agree any office visitor could be a thief – but in particular, visitors who have no real reason to be there (as in this case) could be using an excuse to get in the door. They may be perfectly honest, but it’s not an unreasonable concern to have.

        1. Merry and Bright*

          What you really need is some kind of signing-in system though, not just for security but also to cut down/cut out endless family visits.

      2. AnotherFed*

        Yes, every visitor is a potential problem, and visitors there for personal matters and not business are potential problems with essentially no benefit to the company, unlike business visitors. That’s why most offices make visitors sign in, indicate who they are there to see, and state the purpose of the visit. That way when things vanish or Mary needs a restraining order against her ex, they have a good idea of who’s the problem child and how often they’re visiting and they can apply additional security measures as needed.

      3. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, I get the sense the OP thinks this is normal, but it’s really not. Unless maybe, she works at Starbucks or something, but even there it could be distracting. It’s an office, and she’s presumably on the clock. They’re not paying her to chit chat with family. And, her family needs to respect that she’s a grown up with a job now. I’ve only ever had one job where family members dropped in on occasion, but that was a mortgage/sales environment where most employees were working on commission and family may drop in to take a coworker to lunch or show off a new baby now and then, but they didn’t just hang out in the cubes having conversations. At CurrentJob, they actually take it a step further, and told us we can’t have visitors beyond the lobby because they don’t carry liability insurance that covers visitors. Something like that might be going on at the Op’s office.

      4. Honeybee*

        I don’t think Blurgle was saying that they would automatically think that; however, it is something that might cross a manager’s mind if an employee had repeated family visitors, particularly after being told to cut it out.

      5. Honeybee*

        I don’t think Blurgle was saying that they would automatically think that; however, it is something that might cross a manager’s mind if an employee had repeated family visitors, particularly after being told to cut it out.

        1. Honeybee*

          Holy crap, my comments are doing funny things today. I originally meant for this comment to be in response to Merry and Bright’s comment, but it posted in response to Blurgle. So I copied the comment and tried to make a new one in response to Merry and Bright’s, then respond to the lower comment to note that it was in the wrong place. When the page reloaded, it appeared that both comments actually ended up in the right place (in response to Merry and Bright), but then once the page finished reloading they both ended up here, in response to Blurgle.

    3. MK*

      That’s a lot of jumping to conclusions: these things happen, but they are not why managers are reasonable to object to office visits. Visitors can disrupt the flow of work; and, frankly, monthly visits to discuss family matters sound definitely disrupting to me.

      1. Happy Lurker*

        This! I cannot stand when my family members come to “visit” 2 or 3 times per year. I try to kindly tell them that I am busy and shoo them out the door quickly. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Yes, there are members that need reminding of work/home boundaries. They clearly do not have any.

        1. stellanor*

          I love working in a secured building so much. No one can get in unless they’re on official business, with a visitor pass. And you have to go through a big damn approval process to get any kind of pass for my floor. It’s kind of the best. No one can drop by ever.

    4. UKAnon*

      I think it depends a lot on all kinds of factors that we just don’t know. If they are sticking their head round the door so OP knows they’re waiting and takes their lunch break, that’s different to standing by their desk bitching for half an hour. I think we need to stop extrapolating into this situation and, to answer OP’s question: Yes, your supervisor can tell you to stop. Yes, you do have to obey.

      1. MK*

        I agree that the answer doesn’t change, but the OP says specifically that these are “short visits to discuss a family matter”. It’s pretty clear that they are not simply picking the OP up or dropping something off, they are actually visiting.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I think that stands alone as a reason for the boss to speak up. Most places I have worked do not want family/friends dropping by unless it is an extreme emergency. Barest minimum it is time lost from work.
          I work in a fairly relaxed environment right now and if friends stop by they do not stay long- a few minutes at most. And they definitely know which days are impossible at work and they stay away on those days.

          1. Knitting Cat Lady*

            The only time I ever saw a family member at my current job (of 7 years) was the spouse of a colleague who had locked themselves out of the house and came to pick up colleague’s set of keys. Spouse was there two minutes tops. That’s it.

            1. Bostonian*

              This is really workplace-dependent. I worked at a small nonprofit where it was not that unusual to have family stop by. One coworker’s husband would sometimes drop off their daughter a little before the end of the day and the daughter would sit in her mother’s office and read quietly – not sure why, but it worked with their schedules. Another’s husband would sometimes stop by because they needed to switch cars or transfer car seats or something. Another’s sister would stop in briefly and then the coworker and her sister would go out to lunch, and the same with a fourth coworker’s husband. This was in an office of under 10 people, and it was a pretty relaxed environment. No one lingered or came during a really busy time, and it all worked out fine.

              I’ve been to at least four of my spouse’s offices several times over the years, but almost always on the weekends. If she needs to pick up some documents or do some brief work task, I’ll sometimes just stop in with her and we’ll do something else downtown or nearby that day.

              1. Zillah*

                Yeah, I think that it’s important to keep in mind that workplaces can have different social norms in a lot of ways, including personal/professional life boundaries, without automatically being dysfunctional. The important part is taking your cue from the general culture and, of course, your boss. It’s clearly not working in the OP’s situation for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t work elsewhere under different circumstances.

                1. Charityb*

                  Agreed. The key is to make sure that you as the employee feel out the environment of the workplace. Sometimes you don’t even have to feel — if a supervisor directly tells you that you can’t do it, then *don’t do it*. If the family members balk, push the blame onto the supervisor. Say it’s office policy that they can’t visit like this, and say that you have gotten chewed out for the previous visits. They can’t really blame you for not wanting to get in trouble at work, and it’s a way to enforce the boundary without having to get into a fight with a relative (which I understand can be tough to do depending the dynamics.)

            2. Judy*

              I’ve worked at places where no one would be allowed on site that didn’t have security clearances, to places where it was pretty unusual to see family members, to my current workplace that has a medical clinic one day a week on site. The day the clinic is open, it’s not unusual at all to have family (including little kids) in. Most of the time they stay downstairs, but I’ve seen them upstairs in the main office area.

              It’s all pretty much dependent on the specific workplace. But I don’t think I’ve seen someone have a “family matter” discussion, they’re generally social calls around here, and more because they already are here.

          2. LBK*

            Agreed – I don’t think all these things about possibly stealing or whatever are necessary to project on to the situation. The office isn’t an appropriate place for your family members to stop by to have conversations, full stop. No other explanation or reasoning needed.

          3. Kyrielle*

            This. At $OldJob I saw coworkers’ spouses/significant others only when they came to pick them up for lunch or at the end of the day (a couple coworkers had more family members than cars, and life happens), or at company events that allowed family member invites such as a bowling event.

            At $CurrentJob, I’ve only seen coworkers’ family members (any of them) at the annual company picnic, so far. (Anyone being picked up by a family member would be meeting the person four floors and a side of the building away from my office, so I will never encounter them that way now.)

    5. Allison*

      The security point is definitely important, I hadn’t thought of that but I agree it’s a totally legitimate concern. No one’s assuming that every office visitor is a thief, but it does make sense to take precautions, and limiting unnecessary office visitors can certainly be part of that, especially if the office has had issues with visitors taking stuff in the past.

    6. INTP*

      Yeah, the fact that this person is stopping by to discuss “family matters” made me wonder if this is more inappropriate than your typical say-hi-and-drop-off-lunch visit. It’s perfectly valid for a workplace to decide that they don’t want family visits of any type in the office, of course, but if these “discussions” are lengthy, of a sensitive or contentious nature, involve closed doors or stepping outside, etc, that’s pretty much universally inappropriate for the office and could make coworkers uncomfortable or leave the employee distracted. “Who’s picking up Emma?” and “What’s for dinner?” discussions can happen over text, and more sensitive discussions should happen outside of work.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Yeah, “discuss family matters” is not really something that should be happening at work. If my MIL dropped by because she was in the neighborhood for the first time in a couple of years, that would be OK; a short visit, see my desk, walk through, bye MIL!

        But if we need to discuss putting Dad in a nursing home, or how we’ll handle travel to Cousin Mildred’s wedding, or anything else, it needs to happen out of the office.

    7. Erin*

      I have to agree with MK that you’re jumping to a lot of conclusions. This was a *really* short question and we’re provided almost no background information.

      It’s certainly possible the workplace is such that highly sensitive or confidential information is around on people’s desks and etc and they don’t just want anyone wandering in – I too worked in an office like this. I think it’s less likely they’re worried about the family member stealing.

      I think it’s more likely the OP is new to the work world and doesn’t understand work norms yet (or even if they do, work norms in their specific job at this moment).

      The fact that the family member comes in not to say hi or grab lunch, but to “discuss a family matter” jumped out at me. I wouldn’t leap to abuse, but this does seem strange.

      Is there an ongoing, serious family issue going on? If so, family members stopping by at *work* to discuss it most certainly is inappropriate. If this issue is really, really serious OP should probably talk to their boss about it and maybe even look into FMLA options, or a temporary leave, etc.

      Barring extreme circumstances, I think the OP should tell their family member they can call if something urgent has come up, but otherwise, you need to be left alone at work. Set up a time to check in with them about these family matters that’s on your lunch break or after you’re off for the day.

      1. Graciosa*

        I think this is a very good summary, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.

        I am trying to think of when I had a family member stop by the office, and I can recall one time in my life when I met one at the security desk to pick something up – that’s one time in the many, many years I’ve been working.

        I don’t think it would have occurred to anyone to visit absent a real need – either minor here’s-your-item or catastrophic tell-you-on-the-way-to-the-hospital. I’m a bit surprised that not only does the OP not realize this, but apparently the family members are also unaware of the norms for this situation.

        The office is just not the place for discussing family matters.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve had family come by to drop stuff off, or meet me for lunch, and once my ex showed up unexpectedly (while we were dating) to surprise me. But he came by fifteen minutes before we closed, so he wasn’t in the way or interrupting anything. He just hung around until I clocked out. And my coworkers were curious to meet him–we were long-distance and I think some of them thought I made him up!

          But a protracted or repeated discussion of private matters should take place offsite. From the letter, I’m assuming the boss has already said something. I think the OP needs to tell these family members that they can’t do this anymore–depending on the office dynamics, it could put her job in jeopardy.

          1. Erin*

            I think I remember you mentioning that surprise visit during a different post, on surprising your significant other at work. :)

      2. Lily Rowan*

        Yes, exactly. I had a fairly intense, relatively short-term family situation recently, and ended up having a few phone calls about it during the work day. I admit that even that is somewhat inappropriate, but much less visible to my boss, coworkers, etc., than an actual in-person visit to the office! That would just be weird in any office I’ve ever worked in.

      3. Blurgle*

        You see, I don’t think what I said was the least bit inflammatory. Every possibility I mentioned has been something I have had to handle: every one. Some multiple times.

        Including the issue of people trying to get into the building to look out the windows so they could spy on the energy company whose offices were in the next building.

        1. Erin*

          That’s a tiny bit hysterical. =P

          I don’t doubt everything you mentioned is stuff you actually had to handle but hopefully that’s not the norm!

    8. Chinook*

      “#3: I would be concerned that the family member would either see something confidential on someone’s desk or steal something.”

      There is also the aspect of general security of the building when random people just pop by unannounced. I work in an industry (pipeline) that has security threats from protesters (at least once a year bomb squad investigates something at one of our offices) and I can think of other industries that have similar security concerns. Just because a family member works in the industry doesn’t stop someone being opposed to it. If reception isn’t notified someone is coming, the person isn’t allowed in until someone can verify they have a reason to be there, interrupting any number of people to find the person the visitor is looking for. As a result, it is common for staff to meet elsewhere for coffee or lunch and bring the visitor back with them if they really want a tour of the facility.

    9. BananaPants*

      I’ve worked in the same office for 12+ years and my husband has never been inside my office building. He’s been here so we could exchange a sick kid for a doctor’s appointment or to drop off a forgotten lunch on his way to work, but he calls me to let me know he’s here and I just go out to the parking lot to meet him. Who wants the hassle of having to sign someone into the building? My young children have been here on a few occasions when there are extenuating circumstances. It happens maybe once or twice a year, tops, and they’re usually in the building for less than 15 minutes. This is a workplace, not a daycare center.

      I’ve very occasionally dropped by both of my parents’ workplaces in the past, but only at their request and for specific reasons. For example, my mother works in a hospital and I’ve met her there but in public areas only – like when I was on maternity leave, I’d bring the baby and we’d have lunch together in the hospital cafeteria. That sounds different than going to an office and having discussions of family matters during the work day, though.

  9. Ruth (UK)*

    2 might also depend on how many people you work with and how close you are. I worked in a large chain fast food where it would be weird as heck to try and say goodbye to everyone at the end of shift. I’d say goodbye to the people immediately around me as I left. I worked in a few smaller retail places where I would say bye to everyone even if it meant sticking my head into, say, the stockroom to find someone. Those places tended to only have like five or six people on shift at any given point.

    In my office of eight people now, it’s super easy as we’re all in the same room (we finish at a few different times) and you can say bye to everyone at once. If someone is out of the room, I would leave without waiting for their return unless I needed to speak with them, or perhaps of I was going to be gone for longer than normal (ie. About to take annual leave).

  10. Cambridge Comma*

    #5, what if you said to your boss that you would like to take on the full time job temporarily at first? You could say that, based on the fact that the promised full time post didn’t materialise within the time given, you have taken on…some kind of time-consuming non-work activities, whatever is plausible — an online course, a volunteer position, caring duties. You would like to try the full-time job for a month and then discuss it again. As it is the same job as you have now, you wouldn’t need training so it wouldn’t be the greatest inconvenience to him.
    It’s also interesting that he has failed to keep a commitment to you but you feel guilty about possibly breaking a commitment to him! Acting in your own best interests is also ok!

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I like that idea, the OP can keep their options open and still have a full time job with their current company if the other jobs don’t come through.

    2. Graciosa*

      I basically agree and like this idea, but I don’t think that the manager failed to keep a commitment to the OP unless there was an unambiguous one contained in the accepted offer letter (“We will move you to full time on Date” with no conditions attached).

      I tend to be overly explicit about these types of issues when speaking to my direct reports, but “I’d like to look at moving you to full time in the next few months” does not mean I can count on being able to do it. There may be funding issues – or austerity measures to make the numbers for the quarter – or a freeze on position adjustments – or any number of the factors that limit my autonomy in making this decision. It doesn’t change the fact that I am trying to make this happen.

      I don’t let the manager totally off the hook here – we need to communicate – but I would not treat this as if the manager were acting in bad faith and therefore no longer entitled to any consideration. He did actually come through with an offer of a full time position, so he was apparently serious about this even if the timetable was not as he originally expected.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        “I’ve been given a couple of different time frames on that, and they all came and went”.
        Also, it led to the employee being unsatisfied enough to plan to leave, so it seemed to be something she took seriously.

        1. Graciosa*

          – and instead of talking about it, they stopped talking about it.

          I’m not saying the manager is a paragon – the communication was definitely lacking – but it was lacking on both sides. If this was really that important to the OP, it may help her to learn to say so to her manager – not because failing to do so makes this her fault in any way, but because learning to speak up and communicate directly with your manager is a useful skill to have and will benefit the OP’s career.

          Think of this as just a general plea for more direct communication from everyone in the office. It can be hard to do this, especially when you’re communicating up the chain of the command about something you don’t like, and I understand that – but learning to do it well is a huge career booster. I want the OP to have that benefit.

          1. Zillah*

            It’s not clear to me that the OP stopped talking about it – the fact that multiple time frames came and went actually implies to me that they didn’t just stop talking about it. However, at the same time, there’s only so much you can reasonably ask, particularly when it’s your boss.

            1. OP #5*

              Correct, I only recently stopped discussing it with him. For the past many months, I asked about it fairly frequently.

          2. OP #5*

            In a normal situation, I totally agree with you, and I am definitely not trying to suggest that it’s solely his responsibility to stay in communication. However in this case, I actually purposely stopped talking to him about it because, after being several different dates by which it never materialized, I started looking elsewhere. I decided that the proposed position would not be the best fit for my career goals, and so I wanted to take advantage of being part-time so I could schedule interviews more easily. That being said, totally, totally agree that communication goes both ways!

      2. OP #5*

        I totally agree that it’s not his fault that it didn’t all happen on the various time frames he provided, and I know he isn’t doing anything maliciously or with bad intentions. I completely understand that things come up, things change, etc. However, I’m just a little frustrated with the overall lack of organization within the company (which I’ve seen in many different situations) and see better career paths for myself elsewhere at this point.

    3. TootsNYC*

      Except that the manager wants to hire another person, and he needs to know if he looks for a full-timer or a part-timer.

    4. OP #5*

      I love this idea and think it’s really creative! Unfortunately, TootsNYC is correct, my manager is wanting to open whichever position I don’t take so he can hire an additional person. If it had been feasible with his needs, I think this would have been a great happy medium and would have benefited both him and me (at least in the short term!).

      “It’s also interesting that he has failed to keep a commitment to you but you feel guilty about possibly breaking a commitment to him!” <– Yes, typical me, feeling a crazy amount of loyalty to him/the company… I know everyone's replaceable and they could find someone to do this job in two seconds and probably not think about me again, but I still have a hard time thinking about how my self-interested actions may affect them in the immediate coming weeks. I need to balance that better!

  11. Merry and Bright*

    #1 I know you sometimes have to cut through some red tape to access services but this does sound way over the top. I can understand the hotline asking for, say, employee number and date of birth just to ensure you are an employee entitled to use the service and not some random person trying their luck. But to ask for that volume of information would make me wonder too what they were going to use it all for.

    1. Artemesia*

      I would just assume that it was not an accident that they are very off putting to those wanting to use services; it is probably a way to make it difficult to use services.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The interesting thing is that most EAPs (and companies using EAPs) define their success by what percentage of employees use them at some point (they want decent usage numbers), so it’s very much in their best interest not to put up barriers to use. Which makes me think that this is about cluelessness more than intention.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*


          I can’t 100% control every customer’s initial experience with us unless I hire robots (actual, programmed robots), and I’ll tell you, some people have a gatekeepery personality. We retrain or weed out people who tend to that, but it is a thing.

          Maybe the OP’s questioner was doing exactly as the EAP intended, but I’ve so many times seen employees of ours go way over the top in trying to screen out, warn, caution “sound suspicious” that it’s entirely possible to me the EAP doesn’t want that kind of onboarding experience but it happened or is happening for (reasons). And someone in management would like to hear.

          p.s. my limited experience with EAP programs is that they get paid on utilization, so the caller is a literal customer that they want/need to progress to next step

        2. UKEleanor*

          Unfortunately I had a very difficult experience with an EAP. I was questioned aggressively about why I needed the EAP. I felt I had to ‘prove’ I needed the help, even though I’d just discussed serious health problems. I made it to the end of the call but felt there was no point following up, as they’d been unpleasant and I had no energy to argue.

          When I found another path to getting some help (thanks occupational health department!) they said they’d had complaints the EAP was putting people off getting help and they were trying to resolve it.

          So at least some EAPs aren’t keen on people using their services, who knows why. Cost saving? Counterproductive targets? I hope OP #1 can look in another direction as it is horrible to psych yourself up, reach out for assistance and get told to bugger off.

          1. Helka*

            Yeah, my EAP experience was also pretty mediocre. There was contradictory information about hours of availability, and when I finally did get through to someone and described my problem, her literal actual answer was, “Okay, what do you want me to do about it?” Whiiiich is not the kind of thing you want to hear when you’ve just admitted (after a long struggle with yourself) that you have serious problems that you can’t handle alone.

            1. Meg Murry*

              Yes, same. When I called an EAP, what they were basically doing was searching the insurance database by zip code for me to find providers – the exact same thing I could have done at my desk, in a much more efficient manner. I still had to call the providers myself and arrange the appointments.

              There were 2 advantages to calling the EAP
              1) Places that said they weren’t taking new patients (which was almost everywhere in my area) were taking new EAP referral patients, as part of their contract with the EAP
              2) I got a certain number of sessions (5?) free through the EAP, instead of having to pay a co-pay or meet the insurance deductible.

              If I remember correctly, they also asked questions like my job title and department, but I worked in a large enough place where I could be generic and know that that information only narrowed me down to 1 of 200 people.

              OP, if you had said “I prefer not to say” when asked for your job title or department, or said something generic like “Administration”, would that have worked? I understand companies might want to slice and dice the data (how many admin assistants call vs salaried employees? How many in Sales vs Accounting) but if the primary goal is to help employees, hopefully the EAP will still assist without providing that detailed of information.

              1. Meg Murry*

                Point of clarification – searching from my desk would have been more efficient for me than them searching, because I didn’t really know what exactly I wanted. Did I want someone near my house? Someone near the office? Someone that would have been halfway in between? I didn’t know, and having someone basically just read off a computer screen and then offer to email me the results wasn’t really all that helpful.

                But if I had been an employee who hadn’t bothered setting up an online account already with the insurance company or was confused by their not-so-easy-to-use interface or was a factory employee without access to a computer mid-day, I could see how it might have been helpful.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Mine was okay–I was looking for short-term therapy–but I couldn’t find anyone who did evening appointments and the referral and I did NOT click at ALL. I was so frustrated after three sessions that I just gave up. The program we have had decent CSRs, at least.

          2. Andrea*

            I also had a poor and unsatisfying and deeply unhelpful experience with the EAP, and that was when I was a federal employee dealing with pretty severe depression, and wrenching up the courage/energy/etc. to call them took a lot from me. I was convinced that my experience must have been a fluke, but I’ve since heard of many other stories like mine (and similar to the ones here). Still, it surprises me a little when “do you have an EAP? Call them!” is eagerly suggested to various OPs here. I imagine that some of them, somewhere, do great work … right?

            1. OfficePrincess*

              I had the same experience. It took a lot to admit out loud I needed help. And then once I did I was given a list of names and phone numbers (no addresses) “near me”. I then had to google each one to find out where it was and then call places. But then I ended up having to leave a message everywhere I tried and didn’t get called back. After calling 5-6 places over three days I just gave up. I don’t know what kind of “assistance” that was, but it really only served to push me further backwards. My thoughts rotated between “how pathetic do you have to be for a therapist to not return your calls” and “well if they’re not calling back it must be because it’s not that serious and I’m fine”.

            2. Charityb*

              That’s kind of what I was thinking too. If someone is having serious emotional problems or other stressors I can’t imagine anything worse than being put through a sort of call center trial by fire with the people they go to help.

              Do they really need all that data for their statistical reporting? Does it have to be gathered in the way that it is? It seems to me that if this is an employee assistance hotline that will be used by anyone in a stressful situation or a crisis the emphasis should be on helping the person and not getting every conceivable data point from them. (Honestly, it kind of reminds me of those bank security questions where they ask you about addresses that you lived at seven years ago and the name of your student loan servicer. If the situation isn’t as high-risk as that, maybe they could be more circumspect??)

      2. Mae North*

        We pay the same amount for our EAP whether no one uses it, 1 person does, or 1000+ employees do – it’s possible it’s the EAP’s own policy to keep their workload down(!) or a difficult EAP employee, but my director would be livid if we found we were paying for a service our employees weren’t able to access to the extent we intend them to be.

      3. beastface*

        That’s gratifying to hear; I’ve been back and forth about whether or not I was making a poor choice by leaving valid benefits on the table, as it were; after reading a few troubling comments from employees, it’s a relief to get your perspective. I’d very much like to trust my EAP–partly because it would be a crying shame for our employer to waste money on practically unusable benefits–so, yeah, it’s good to hear your side. Thank you! –OP #1

    2. Bend & Snap*

      My company’s EAP required all that and my badge number, but they assured me it was confidential first. Probably because it’s a benefit with a scope and insurance so they need to know in order to track it. For example, I get 5 free sessions with a counselor and then it’s a 20-dollar co pay after that. Nothing nefarious.

      1. Rebecca*

        I forget what all mine needed, but it was a decent amount of info. Our company health insurance/wellness website that gave the phone number for EAP actually detailed out what info they would need and why for when you called which I find helpful. Also most EAPs include services beyond traditional therapy, so I do encourage you to feel comfortable giving feedback about the process. Not sure if your program is similar, but people use our EAP for law advice, elder care, financial advice, and I’m sure other things I’m forgetting. So, whoever you give feedback to would not know what type of service you were receiving. As someone in hr I would genuinely want to know if someone felt uncomfortable using one of their benefits. Good luck, I hope next time you call you get someone less interrogating,

      2. AnotherFed*

        I think ours requires all that as well, but if we’re seeking mental health assistance, that’s required reporting anyway, so there is no expectation of confidentiality – either you proactively report it, or they do for you. But they still collect all that data if you’re just trying to find out your options for elder care/legal advice for how to deal with elder’s estate.

        1. LBK*

          Mental health treatment has required reporting? Is this a fed thing or something I’ve totally missed about the private sector too?

          1. Guy Incognito*

            Not sure about feds in particular but, my mum works as a mental heath nurse and there is a reporting requirement if she ever needed mental health treatment.

          2. AnotherFed*

            This is a thing for everyone in a position of public trust – so federals, and the support contractors that have access to the same levels of information. They’re worried about the things we know and who else is allowed to know them. I think similar reporting requirements exist for other industries/professions, but don’t know the specifics of what or why.

        2. Bend & Snap*

          This is why my mom didn’t seek mental health treatment she needed when she was working for the VA. It’s disgusting.

          1. Ad Astra*

            Yeah, that sounds like a huge barrier to treatment. I can see why certain industries and fields might be concerned, but it’s really in everyone’s best interest that an employee gets help when they need it. What can be done about this?

            1. KellyK*

              Maybe more clarity on who it’s reported to, how the information is used, and what level it would have to get to before it actually affects your job?

            2. AnotherFed*

              For us – work for the private sector. Needing help isn’t an issue, but hiding things or giving the appearance of hiding things is a huge issue, as is letting problems get to the point where coworkers notice and report you as acting strangely. Your coworkers don’t need to know anything about any of your medical appointments (or even that you have them), but anything in the mandatory reporting categories must be reported.

            3. Chinook*

              “I can see why certain industries and fields might be concerned, but it’s really in everyone’s best interest that an employee gets help when they need it”

              I can both see why it needs to be reported but it is definitely a barrier to the service. DH, the cop, refused marriage counseling (we ended up doing a lot self-help books) because of the fear of any word of any type of counseling getting back to his detachment and ruining his career. True, you don’t want a guy with mental issues on active duty with weapons (for the optics alone) but, at the same time, he is still going to be on the job only without treatment and probably self-medicating (which is why the stereotype of hard drinking cops is sometimes too real).

              1. BananaPants*

                This is a huge problem for LEOs and those in the military – people have committed suicide, harmed family members, etc. because they didn’t seek professional help for fear of it destroying a career. And to be fair, that’s historically been a very legitimate fear in those lines of work.

          2. Boop*

            That’s the reason I never got help when I should have. The question on job things always asks “Have you ever been diagnosed?” No diagnosis = no need to check that box.

    3. JGray*

      My old job had a very good EAP but I never used it so I don’t know what types/volume of information that they asked when you called but overall I never heard any complaints. I was also told by a senior manager that the EAP would report to the company but would only report number of employees and what they called about. So the employer didn’t actually get any information on the employees using the EAP. So in this case even though the EAP asks for lots of information that could be just to verify that you are who you say you are and not something that is reported back to the employer. But I can understand the trepidation on giving out all that information to yet another person though.

      1. Case of the Mondays*

        “What they called about” could out an employee depending on how vague the report was. Called for help with anxiety, no problem. Called about anxiety after a car accident, death in the family, etc. could be enough to figure out which employee it was.

  12. Rachel - HR*

    1. They are asking you that info for two reasons: 1. To validate that you should receive their services. 2. Because they do report statistics back to the employer each quarter (without names but yes with the length of service, m/f, ft/pt, general reason for visit). If you work at a small enough company then the info could be identifying. But you can always just decline to answer and they will still proceed with providing services to you.

    Your company pays for the EAP service, there is no judgment about someone using it. In fact it’s a good thing because EAP is often under utilized and just becomes a waste of money other than an easy out for managers to refer you.

    1. F.*

      If you work in a small department within a larger company it can be identifying, too. I found that out the hard way at Very Large Dysfunctional Corporation when my manager was informed that I had contacted EAP. I think it was just one of those things they had so they could say they had it, but no one was expected to dare to use it. They offered a number of “benefits” that were not really available or feasible for the unwashed masses to use just so they could call themselves the “Employer of Choice”. And EAP basically blew me off with a generic list of providers that I had already obtained from the internet. Note that this was just my personal experience at one company. YMMV, and I hope it does.

  13. Xarcady*

    #3. My old job had a very casual office environment, and spouses/SOs of employees would drop by from time to time, sometimes to show off a baby or new puppy. The owners were fine with that, and would come and admire the new arrival.

    But one employee had an unemployed husband, who started coming by daily, in addition to over 10 phone calls per day. I shared an office with her, and the billing and cooing over the phone multiple times per day for 10-15 minutes at a time got annoying, and there was no way to escape it. The visits put things over the top.

    When the owner finally realized that the husband was coming by daily (yes, I clued her in because the visits were disrupting my work), visiting for 20-30 minutes, and that other employees who were friends with him were joining in the visit, she nearly blew her top. The husband was banned. And about this time, I was moved to a different office, so I didn’t see what happened next.

    Well, the rear door to the building was right outside that office, and the only thing that changed was that the husband would call, and the employee would open the back door and let him in, instead of his going in through reception. All the younger, in their 20s, employees thought this was a great joke.

    Until the owner found out. The employee was put on a PIP, and she was stunned, had no idea why the owner was being so “mean.” But between the phone calls and the in-person visits, she was spending about an hour and a half every day with her husband. And the visits were eating up the time of three other employees who would stop by to chat.

    That’s an extreme example, obviously. But there are reasons employers don’t want lots of family visits at the workplace–they are a distraction to more than just the one employee, they take up work time, they are a potential security risk.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Well, to be fair, “banned” is a very ambiguous term. /s

      Really, though, I don’t see why the problem employee didn’t sneak out to go to lunch/run errands/smoke a cigarette with her husband. Some people are just dense.

      1. fposte*

        Sometimes that’s exactly where somebody’s “this isn’t okay” line is–it’s okay to be nonproductive at work for hours, but it’s not okay to be away from work for hours.

  14. KT*

    #3 is really odd to me. Why would you–or your family–think this is okay? People are supposed to keep their professional and private lives very separate; having family stop in on a regular basis (and to me, once a month is certainly regular enough!) is just bizarre to me. If there’s a pressing family matter–such as a sick family member–use your lunch break to call your family to get an update, or if that’s not adequate, take a half day to get filled in. Having people stop by the office is just…weird to me.

    1. Colette*

      Yeah, I really can’t come up with a scenario where the best option to discuss family matters is in-person at someone’s job.

      1. Bostonian*

        I can only come up with scenarios where it’s related to dropping off keys or paperwork or some other important item.

      2. Ad Astra*

        It would have to be something urgent, right? But then, what kind of situation is both urgent and recurs about once a month for several months or more? I’m at a loss.

    2. UKAnon*

      I don’t know, I can see it. If you’re a close relative of the drama queen, or the abuser, or the unluckiest person in the world, it can be hard to tell them to back off and learn appropriate boundaries. It doesn’t make it acceptable, but I do think it’s explicable.

      1. Charityb*

        It’s definitely understandable from the employee POV. I can’t imagine that anyone wants to discuss personal family issues with a relative at work on a monthly basis. I also can’t imagine anyone thinking that it’s appropriate or that there’s even a possibility that the employer wouldn’t be allowed to tell them to stop.

        I think the OP’s best bet is to use the fact that the supervisor spoke up and make the supervisor the “bad guy” when she kicks out the ‘drama queen’ or other annoying relative. Something like, “I know this is bad and I’d love to talk about it with you but my supervisor gets on my case when people come down here. Sorry!”

      2. Kyrielle*

        Ooof. Also, if that’s the case and the office is not secure – then what would we recommend the OP do if their family member refuses to leave/stop this?

        1. fposte*

          Ban from the premises. Tell the manager/receptionist/whoever that this person isn’t allowed here during the workday, and that they have your blessing to call security if turning them away doesn’t work.

          1. Kyrielle*

            Assuming there’s a security…yeah. Hm. I’ve only worked at secure facilities with locked doors, but $LastJob didn’t have any security and eventually no reception either – without the locked doors, it really would’ve been hard to keep someone out. Then again, maybe we would have had security and/or a receptionist if we hadn’t had the locked doors to stand in for them!

            1. fposte*

              Yeah, if you’ve got locked doors, that’s usually pretty good at keeping people out; if the doors are locked, just not letting her in will probably help, and if she does slide by because somebody kindly holds the door for her, the OP can walk her back outside and leave her there.

              It doesn’t sound like she’s a dangerous intruder, so I’m not so much thinking about making sure she never steps foot in the office again as creating an approach that discourages her behavior.

    3. Zillah*

      Yeah, it seems pretty unusual to me unless we’re talking about kids. I can see someone’s underage kids stopping by on a somewhat regular basis if it’s on their way home or whatever and that being okay in some environments (though not others) – I’ve definitely known places where it wasn’t an issue for 13 year old Sally to come by her dad’s office at 4:45 or 4:50 bc she had a doctors appointment he was driving her to (or whatever).

      To me, the issue isn’t even keeping the personal and professional separate – plenty of workplaces aren’t super big on that to varying degrees, which is fine for people who prefer that. For me, the issue is that it can be a big distraction to both the person being visited and others, and it’s a distraction that’s easily avoided. And, I don’t think it’s good for anyone to discuss sensitive issues at work on a regular basis, which family issues absolutely fall under.

    4. One of the Sarahs*

      When my mother retired she always wanted to meet my sister for lunch, go shopping with her etc, and to call her in the office every day – my sister was all “no, workday, only get 30 mins” and my mum was horrified, and wanted to write to my sister’s boss to say that she should let my sis spend time with her! It was appalling, but it came down to the fact my mum didn’t think my sister’s job was important, so could be interrupted (my sister is personal assistant to manager of a European division of a multinational, but to our mother, she’s “just a secretary”).

      (Fun background – our mum was a teacher, and the idea of pulling her out of a classroom to take a call, or asking her to take an extra-long lunch was total anathema!)

  15. NDQ*

    I work for the state. The EAP reports quarterly on the number of employees using their services and breaks that down by agency. If you work for a small agency, you can be easily identified.


    1. State worker*

      I also work for a state and our EAP will not provide identifying information. If you work for a small agency, you get rolled up either with multiple small agencies or with a large agency to prevent being identifiable.

  16. Allison*

    2. When I leave, I generally say “have a good night” or “have a good weekend” to the people in my department, and if anyone else says it to me I’ll say “you too” back to them, but that’s about it. In general, it seems acceptable to say a quick “later” to the people you pass on the way out, but you don’t need to say “goodbye” to everyone, and unless there’s someone you need to check in with before you leave, you usually don’t need to track anyone down to say goodbye to them.

    1. SherryD*

      Yeah, when I leave, I make zero effort to track people down just to say goodbye to them. If I see them on my way out of the building, sure. But I’m going home for the evening, not away to the war! No need to make a production out of it, IMO.

      1. Hotstreak*


        At my office people just get up and leave at the end of the day. We’re all in cubes and it would be intrusive for our work if someone popped in to say “goodbye”. The only exception is that if someone is going on vacation for more than a day or two they will generally inform the people they work with (but this could just be an email).

        1. Allison*

          Right, or if it was someone’s last day it would make sense to make a point of saying goodbye to them. But if you’re gonna see someone tomorrow, or after the weekend, it’s not necessary.

          Slight tangent: this whole thing reminds me of people who, prior to leaving a party, make a point of saying goodbye to basically everyone they talked to that night, making sure they have each person’s number and making a vague plan to hang out/get drinks/grab dinner/whatever with each person. I hate trying to leave a party with someone who does this, it takes forever and we inevitably get roped into “one more” drink, or “one more” dance, and it ends up taking at least half an hour to get out the door. I just thank the host and maybe tell a friend I’m leaving.

            1. The Regal Beagle*

              I didn’t know there was a name for this! Love it.

              I did this the last time I flew out to New York. As perverse as it might sound, I had a great time the entire week catching up with people, got a lot of good work done – and then it was Friday and I had to catch a plane and I knew it was going to take me at least an hour to say goodbye on a semi-individual basis … so I just ducked down the stairs and left. No ill will was intended – I just can’t deal with those kinds of ‘long goodbyes’.

          1. OriginalEmma*

            This reminds me of a story that Father Michael Oleksa tells, in his talks about culture. He is an Orthodox Christian priest living in Alaska and whose wife is Yupik (Alaska Native). In his Pennsylvanian Italian upbringing, saying “It’s time I got going” meant at least 30 minutes of goodbyes, one last cup of coffee, one last cookie, etc. It was a signal in his culture. When he was at a party with his Yupik wife, he said “Well, it’s time we got going,” and his wife immediately put on her coat and left. He’s looking around for her and when he found her, he asked her why she walked out…and it was because he said it was time to go! To her, it was not a signal but a literal interpretation, because she came from a more literal culture. Very interesting.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Since people walk right by my cube when leaving, I appreciate it when they say good night, and I sometimes pop down the aisle to say it to them if I’m leaving earlier than they are. But it’s not a requirement and I don’t get butthurt if they don’t.

          Going on vacation? Yes, I said goodbye to everyone, see you in two / three weeks, whatever.

      2. Meg Murry*

        Yes, the only time I go out of my way to tell someone I am leaving is if we are the last 2 left in the building, and me leaving means they are now alone, or I make a point of telling my boss if I’m leaving earlier than usual so he doesn’t look for me. Or if he is in a meeting, I tell someone else “hey, tell boss I left to go do [ABC thing he already approved but might have forgotten was today]”

        It is part of our “last person out the door” locking up procedure to check and make sure there is no one else left in the building, so telling the last person you are leaving is common courtesy so they don’t have to go knock on all the bathroom doors and say “Meg, are you in there?” or go check the parking lot for my car – they can just do a basic check to confirm no one is there, as opposed to tracking me down.

        1. Allison*

          Oh, good point! Hadn’t thought of that. I remember reading a story on Reddit about someone who was locked in all weekend because someone locked up and left while they were in the bathroom and when they came out they couldn’t get to their phone to call for help. Not a good situation.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Whoa! 0_0 That would be scary. I might have to break something to get out.

            Remember that story about the guy who was locked in the Waterstones bookshop at Trafalgar Square in London? If there were food and a nice sofa, I’d be fine with that one. :)

  17. Not a fan of EAPs*

    #1 – I had an eye-opening experience with an EAP a few years back that made me realize that EAPs are kind of like HR — people think they’re there to help employees, but they’re really there to cover the company’s butt. Now, you should probably take this with a grain of salt because my dealings with the EAP were in a different capacity than yours, but I think my experience illuminates the EAP’s true colors.

    I got a “mandatory referral” to the EAP because I got in an argument with a coworker. It wasn’t a violent argument or anything, and I didn’t even raise my voice (although the coworker shouted and cursed at me), but based on this argument that she didn’t even witness, my boss claimed to think I was a danger to my coworkers and I would not be allowed on company property until I went through a mandatory referral to the EAP. Well, I am a very straight-laced, responsible, law-abiding, rule-following person with no criminal record or history of violence, so I figured that the EAP counselor would see that I am obviously no threat to anyone. And then I got sucked into the EAP black hole that ruined my career.

    I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but here is what I learned about the EAP. First, the counselors who take referrals from the EAP are the ones who can’t get patients on their own. When they do get handed a referral — especially a mandatory one like mine (where my employment was contingent upon using the EAP service) — they milk it for all it’s worth. It’s not in the EAP’s interest to say you’re ok. It’s in their interest to say you need serious help. If the EAP covers X sessions (which are basically prepaid by the company), you can bet that the EAP’s counselor will make sure you use all X sessions, and then try to get you to pay for more sessions out of pocket (in my case, the counselor forced me to pay for over 30 sessions out of pocket as a condition of employment).

    Even if they claim to be confidential, I wouldn’t trust the EAP for a second with any private information. They do not care about helping employees. They care about their bottom line. They need to prove that they’re providing a service that benefits the companies that pay them. Sure, there are laws about how they can use your private information, but it’s scary how easy it can be to bend those laws when they’re connected with your employer.

    1. F.*

      “EAPs are kind of like HR — people think they’re there to help employees, but they’re really there to cover the company’s butt. ” Always follow the money!

    2. Mike C.*

      Uh, holy crap.

      For anyone who works in the mental health world, are there any laws being broken here? This seems to be crazy unethical, especially the part about having to pay for 30 sessions as a condition of employment.

      1. LBK*

        I can’t imagine the ADA allows employers to force a certain treatment on an employee; I’m curious if the whole arrangement was even legal in the first place, never mind the ridiculously extended amount of sessions.

        1. Not a fan of EAPs*

          The thing is, they didn’t technically force the treatment on me. I could have stopped any time I wanted… but if I did, I would have lost my job. The company would not let me onto their property until I was cleared by the EAP counselor. The EAP counselor wouldn’t clear me to return to work until I completed 16 sessions, and after I completed 16 sessions, he cleared me to return to work on the condition that I continue counseling for 6 more months.

          1. Honeybee*

            That seems excessive and scammy, especially since normal CBT (which most counselors these days use) usually has shorter-term therapy as a goal – usually a solution in around 10 sessions.

    3. The Regal Beagle*

      I hear you about not being a fan of EAPs. My experience was nowhere near as unpleasant as yours, but I too got the sense that “the counselors who take referrals from the EAP are the ones who can’t get patients on their own”, and – while my EAP experience wasn’t mandatory – I also felt an expectation that the counselor was gearing up to see me over a long period of time. Which isn’t necessarily dishonest on their part; what I found difficult to believe was the EAP pamphlets claiming something about how many issues were resolved in 5 or less sessions. I remember reading this, many years ago, and feeling a bit skeptical. When I think about it today, after 25+ years of life experience, I think it is out-and-out bullshit.

      (To be fair, I have had nothing to do with anything EAP in a looong time, so it may have changed for the better (or for the worse …). But in general I have very little faith in any new twist to benefits that claims to be cheaper and better. Mail-order prescription drugs, for instance – I sometimes wonder what the body-count is on those.

    4. BananaPants*

      My employer has this thing that’s a supervisor’s referral to the EAP, or can require the employee must contact the EAP as part of a PIP or if they say/do something at work that makes coworkers nervous that the employee might hurt himself or others. In such a case the supervisor and HR get some kind of report regarding if the employee is making and keeping the expected appointments with providers. Now, I don’t know how often this actually happens vs. self-referral, or how much information is shared with the employer – but it IS possible.

      We contacted our EAP years ago for a tune-up with a marriage and family counselor maybe a year after we got married. I do believe that in some cases, EAP-contracted counselors are those who suck and can’t find clients of their own. She was pretty bad and we stopped seeing her after 2 visits because we seriously got better advice from a book that we got on Amazon!

      I’m actually contacting my EAP this week about seeing a professional for help with depression. They require that if you access ANY mental health services through our medical insurance, you have to go through the EAP for the referral and pre-authorization – I’ve been reluctant to make the call for a year now, for fear that it will somehow get back to my employer. Their online provider directory includes doctors and APRNs with prescribing abilities, so that’s encouraging. I’m sort of dreading the call, though.

      1. More Cake, Please*

        This is so disheartening to me. To access EAP benefits to get X free sessions with a counselor at my employer, all I have to do is make an appointment with an in-network provider. The first x sessions are simply co-pay free. No paperwork, no phone calls, nothing.*

        *Now to access other EAP services there may be some procedure, but this piece is pretty well trumpeted by my employer.

  18. Nonessential Personnel*

    #5: The part-time job that *might* become full-time at some indefinable point in the future is kind of like the married man who is going to leave his wife for his mistress someday. Yes, it could happen, but history suggests that it probably won’t. My suspicion is that your boss has found out that you’re looking for full-time work–maybe he goes to the gym with somebody whose desk your application landed on, maybe he looked at your browser history and saw Indeed and Monster, maybe someone called him to verify employment, whatever. As soon as the threat of your leaving goes away, I’m betting he’ll find a way to back out of his end of your deal. Keep looking, and tell him that you can’t go full-time right now because you’ve committed to babysitting your cousin’s hamster in your off hours. I would recommend saying you’re taking classes, but my sister did that once and found her workload doubled because her boss assumed–rightly–that she was taking classes to improve her skills and get a better job.

    1. OP #5*

      I hadn’t actually considered that at all, but you’re exactly right about it continuing to not materialize. I mean, it’s already been happening for the past many months. And low and behold, he has not mentioned it to me again. My co-worker who is getting laid off within the same time frame as all this doesn’t act like she’s heard anything about any of the situation, and my manager has basically carried on as if we had never had any sort of discussion (as it has been each time this has happened). I don’t know what will come within the next few days/weeks, but it certainly is interesting that he has lost all sense of urgency that was there when I sent this question. I’m just lying low and hoping he doesn’t mention it so I can continue to explore my other options without having to worry about this.

  19. MJ*

    When I started reading comments re: EAPs, I thought perhaps I should research those to see if it is a service we should be providing where I work. But reading further, I am not so sure. There seem to be some issues with EAPs. I wonder what others here have experienced, whether good, bad, or mediocre….

    1. fposte*

      Ours is really good. The EAP counselors have their own offices, even. You can get in fairly quickly, I’ve never felt any pressure to go longer (I think I went 2-3 times for one issue and then a single time for another issue that ended up getting resolved on its own after that), and I didn’t feel at any confidentiality risk.

      And it used to be crappy, years ago–it was basically a service that could refer you for substance abuse treatment and not much more. So I’ve been pretty impressed with the overhaul.

    2. Meg Murry*

      I think this is similar to health insurance, in that there are multiple providers of the service – and some will be good, with excellent customer service, while others will be difficult or mediocre – and the price may or may not correlate. And some may be really good on the HR side of things but not great on the employee needing help side, and vice versa.

      Are you part of HR? I’d start by asking other businesses your size if they offer it and who they use. It can be a useful tool – or it can just be another thing that gets in the way. If nothing else, as others have mentioned, it’s a safe way for you to refer employees to get help, without having to actually nose into their business.

    3. Lena*

      My EAP literally saved my life. I was suicidal when I called them, and they had a counsellor on the phone to me immediately, had me booked in to see a counsellor in the flesh the next day. There is no way I’d be sitting here now if I hadn’t had the EAP to turn to.

    4. Mrs. Psmith*

      I want to chime in that I’ve used my EAP about seven times since I’ve been with my company (just under ten years) and have nothing but praise for both the people who answered the phones for the EAP company, and the counselor I was referred to (I mainly used the service for counseling sessions, we get five free sessions per year). I actually had gotten the recommendation for the counselor from a friend and when the EAP people asked if I had a preference for choosing a counselor, the recommended one was in their list of providers. I also used the service when I first had my daughter and was researching child care in my neighborhood. After asking some questions, the EAP specialist sent me a report that listed child care facilities within xx miles of either my home or office (you could pick), listed their prices (most of these places you had to call one by one to get their prices), and provided links to their inspection reports with the state health and human services agency. Yes, this was all stuff I could have found on my own, but the amount of time it saved me was fantastic. Yes, there are some terrible EAP programs, but some actually are good at what they do.

    5. Not Today Satan*

      I met with an EAP-counselor to do premarital counseling. I was not impressed with her as a counselor, but thankfully we just needed to tell our minister that we completed two sessions to get married and didn’t really need much therapy. I’ve never seen any PsyD’s take EAP referrals.

    6. Hillary*

      My last employer’s was excellent. They referred me to someone who specialized in what I wanted near my house who could see me within 72 hours. I could have found him myself and paid with my health insurance, but I wasn’t in a mental place to do that work. Just writing the phone number down and going into an empty office to call took everything I had

  20. Anony-mouse for this!*

    #2 I have a coworker who, no matter if I’m squarely turned away and concentrating on my screen, or if I’m in the middle of a conversation with another coworker, will always say “Good morning” when he comes in.

    I can deal with turning around and returning his greeting, but for the latter scenario, I often wonder why he couldn’t just wait a little.

    As for the goodbye portion of the workday, our office culture seems to be a “hit the elevators at a dead run” kind of place (I exaggerate some). We do all get along, we just don’t seem to want to linger at the end of the day!

    Except for him. There was a period of time where he’d look up as I was packing up, wait until I passed by, then turn in his chair or stand up to say “Good night.”

    Okay, fine; harmless quirk, right? Culture is one thing, personal preference is another.

    Except I started feeling weird about him doing the whole waiting for me thing. It quickly became an obligation that I was having to undergo rather than me feeling any actual good wishes.

    Then one day I thought, I’ll just say it first and get it over with, achieve some semblance of control.

    He sent me an email overnight thanking me for saying “good night” first and how much that meant to him. It wasn’t a short email.

    So I stopped returning that “good night” and perfected the art of busily looking at my phone as I walked past. My relationships with my other coworkers didn’t suffer since none of them were goodnighters in the first place. For awhile I had to go through the gamut of eyeballs on me (believe me, if I could leave a different way, I would), but fortunately things seem to have eased off.

    I still have to go through the good mornings, though. :) Who knew this would be such a thing??

    1. fposte*

      Huh. And around my place your co-worker would be the norm–short of a closed-door meeting, a good morning a-new-person-is-now-in-the-room has precedence.

    2. Kai*

      I also work with someone who is very deliberate about making the rounds of good-mornings. He once said good morning to another colleague of mine who didn’t hear him for whatever reason, so he got up a half-hour later and went to her desk and said, “I guess you didn’t hear me earlier, so I’ll say it again: Good morning.” In a rather passive-aggressive tone of voice. My colleague and I were both very young and green when it happened and agonized over whether she’d committed some terrible faux pas, but now I know this guy is just very…particular.

      1. LBK*

        See, now that sounds weird to me. But saying it as you’re passing by people is standard – I would actually find it a little weird/brusque to not say something to a coworker if I hadn’t seen them yet that day.

    3. AcidMeFlux*

      First, I wonder what your definition of “not short” would be. Maybe you made it more of an issue from the beginning because you didn’t say hello or goodbye first? Really, what’s the harm in being polite? Even if you’re speaking to someone else or on the phone, you can nod and smile. It’s part of basic courtesy. And small things like courtesy can have an impact on how your role in your workplace is seen.

      1. Windchime*

        If I’m walking in and I meet eyes with someone, it’s natural to say, “Good Morning”. But I don’t seek people out to say it, nor to say “Good Night” unless, as others have mentioned, it means that I am leaving someone alone in the office. Then I make it a point to say goodbye just so the other person knows they are there alone.

        It’s like our morning trips to grab coffee. It used to be at a particular time (after the morning huddle), and whoever was free would grab their coat and go. No big deal. But now we have new people on the team, and they make a big production of visiting 10 or 12 desks, asking (sometimes repeatedly) if each person wants to go. Then we have to wait for everyone to go to the bathroom, get their jacket, find their money, etc. It’s turned a casual thing into a Big Damn Deal.

        Long way of saying that if it happens organically, I’m good with it but when it becomes a Big Damn Deal, then not so much.

      2. Kylynara*

        I don’t know. I can’t picture any situation where a long gushy email thanking me for saying good night wouldn’t come off as very odd at the bare minimum. Really anything more than, “Hey I think you’re the first person to say good night first. I miss that from my previous workplace. Thank you.” would be really off putting.

        That goes at least triple if Anony-mouse is female and the gusher is male (as he seems to be). That moves into romantic feelings territory and gets creepy.

        1. LBK*

          Eh, I don’t think you can assume that any positive interaction (even an overbearing one) has romantic intentions just because it’s between a man and a woman. Aside from the fact that you’re assuming he’s straight, some people are just clueless about boundaries (see today’s other letter about the overbearing coworker who doesn’t seem to have any romantic intentions). Even if there’s sexist attitudes at play (like he feels an unbalanced need to be polite and friendly to the oh-so-delicate women-folk) that still doesn’t mean his motivation is romantic or sexual.

        2. catsAreCool*

          “I can’t picture any situation where a long gushy email thanking me for saying good night wouldn’t come off as very odd at the bare minimum.” That seemed really odd to me, too.

          Maybe it’s just the office culture I’m used to, but if someone is busy, you don’t say good morning or good night to them unless there’s a reason they need to know that you’re leaving. You can wave to someone who’s busy, but why stop what they’re doing?

    4. LBK*

      Honestly…you kinda seem like the weird one in this situation to me. The email thing is odd, sure, but I’m not clear on what he was doing that felt so wrong to you – was he purposely staying in the office long enough to wait for you to leave first so he could say good night? I guess I’m not grasping the “obligation” you felt you were under (having to return a 2-word phrase to someone as you walk by them?) or what about the situation warranted you feeling like you needed to regain some “semblance of control”.

      The good morning thing doesn’t seem rude to me either – how hard is it to just say “hey” back, even if you’re in the middle of a conversation? On the flipside, though, I would also find it pretty rude if I said good night to someone as they left the office and they ignored me, especially if they knew I said it every day.

      It really sounds to me like this is a bitch eating crackers situation. I can’t imagine why else someone offering pleasantries would be so annoying.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah. Where I’m from, both Good Mornings and Good Nights (or whatever) are something generally said to the room at large or upon first seeing someone (like, walking past them in the hallway, for example). The coworker described above seems to put an unusual amount of importance on greetings what with a weird long email because of someone saying Good Night but I don’t quite understand what’s so horrible about the situation as a whole. Granted, I can in general imagine the whole thing being weird, like, I’ve known people who got super fixated on one person and thought up some weird “We’re connected!” fantasy because another person said Hello to them once but I’m not sure if that’s the case here – it sounds like the coworker is like that with everyone? Again, I definitely find it weird to focus on something as simple as a greeting to the extent of writing emails about it but I also don’t quite get the hardship of simply nodding or waving at someone even while being in the middle of something.

      2. BuildMeUp*

        I think the weirdness might stem from the fact that he’s putting so much importance on the hellos and goodbyes that he feels the need to interrupt her when she’s obviously busy (like he thinks his desire to say hello and hear a response is more important than her actual work), and that he’s specifically keeping an eye out for when she starts to pack up and then presumably watching her until she leaves so he can say goodbye. That seems like a lot of effort to put into something so minor, and it’s probably especially noticeable since it goes against the norms of the office.

        I think him wanting to be friendly and greet his coworkers is fine; elevating it to a level of importance where he can’t just skip the hello if she’s clearly busy is where the line would be for me. Why can’t he just skip a day, or say hello later when they’re both grabbing coffee or something?

        1. LBK*

          Well, I don’t consider a hello or goodbye an interruption, so I guess we’re fundamentally at odds. I can’t imagine being annoyed by it even if I were buried in an intensive project.

      3. TootsNYC*

        how hard is it to just say “hey” back, even if you’re in the middle of a conversation?

        I think if you’re in the middle of the conversation, your coworker is *rude* to interrupt you to say good morning.
        It blows the train of thought.

      4. catsAreCool*

        If I’m in the middle of something, and someone wants me to stop what I’m doing or interrupt my conversation to greet me, and that’s the only reason the person wants me to stop what I’m doing and focus on that person for several seconds, I’d be annoyed. Just wave or something. I don’t really need my train of thought interrupted.

      5. Anony-mouse for this!*

        I was debating about putting more details in my original post; I didn’t want to derail too much off the original topic. Perhaps I should have! This will either make things more clear or not at all–

        The first part of my email, I acknowledged the difference between personal preference and culture. If this guy really wants to say good morning no matter what, sure, fine. I don’t like being interrupted if I’m in a conversation, but it’s not the end of the world.

        The obligation came in tandem with the weird feelings I had. He wasn’t lying in wait for me to pass by at the end of the day, but I did notice that for other coworkers who left earlier than I, he wouldn’t go to such lengths as with the standing up and /or otherwise making really sure that I heard him.

        And in the end it did come down to what others have already indicated. That email he sent after I said “good night” first was definitely gushing and paragraph-laden and romantic in tone. And he knows I’m married.

        So in addition to me telling him that we can ONLY EVER have a professional relationship (to which he agreed, though his behavior toward me since has been erratic), I felt way more comfortable not initiating anything with him for awhile, including that simple ol’ good night.

        This got long, eesh. Trying to put it behind me.

        1. BuildMeUp*

          Wow, that definitely makes things more clear! I was getting a vibe from your first post that this guy cared about this hello/goodbye exchange way too much, and this makes it obvious, even before the email. The fact that he took you saying goodbye first as some sort of romantic overture on your part is pretty creepy! Hopefully he goes back to being professional after this.

    5. NicoleK*

      Same here. Coworker will walk by and say good morning even with my back turned away from the door and I’m staring intently at my computer screen.

  21. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-I guess I wouldn’t have been put off by those questions because I would assume that they needed that kind of information. Unless you work at a tiny place, which probably wouldn’t have an EAP, then anything you tell them would be anonymous. I would assume they would need that info for reporting purposes.

    #2-In general, saying goodbye is probably a nice thing to do. It’s not going to hurt to say it or offer a wave to folks. Someone might get their feelings hurt that you didn’t speak to them specifically but you can’t control for that.

    #3-If the culture of your company is such that family visits needs to be infrequent, if at all, then you need to respect that. And yes, they can totally write you up for that.

    #4-It’s really bad practice to cancel classes at the last minute. Everywhere I’ve worked we had at least a week of required notice to give faculty. And those were adjuncts. I would say that you might want to reach out to your Registrar’s Office regarding seat count. They will probably be more forthcoming and if at 2 weeks out, you have 2 registrations, you can know that it’ll get canceled. If you can get your department to work toward more notification, obviously that’ll help out a lot of people but that usually happens at a higher level than the department. No other real advice but my sympathies.

  22. Lilian*

    OP #4–I think you’ve gotten great advice from others on this board. As someone in your industry (academia), I also wanted to caution you against assuming that full-time work at your school will be available once you’re ready for it: universities can be notorious for stringing adjuncts along. The fact that you had chances to interview for full-time work is not necessarily a sign that your school would actually offer it to you. In my oversupplied humanities field, it’s fairly unusual for adjuncts to get hired into full-time positions: full-time positions are usually filled by a national or international search, and universities rarely hire people who have already been teaching and doing well at their school (unfortunately). Other, less oversupplied fields (nursing, accounting, etc.) are different. I’d encourage you to do some reading around at fora and advice columns about academia in particular, especially if you think you might be interested in full-time academic employment someday.

    1. fposte*

      This is a really good point. Additionally, “full-time” could mean a variety of things–a full-time instructor isn’t the same thing as a tenure-stream position, for instance.

      1. Meg Murry*

        That’s true. Or “full-time” could just mean “scheduled to teach 4 sections each semester” or whatever a full load is, but still subject to the same issue of last minute canceled classes and possibly a reduction in pay, or be expected to swap in to some other section if one of the original ones isn’t going to happen.

  23. The IT Manager*

    For #4, I just find expectations and accepted norms interesting.

    My mom was a teacher. She could not leave the classroom to make phone call or take a call so my parents never spoke during the work day. That did seem to carry over to the summers because my mom never called my dad to “chat.” Honestly the only time I ever saw them talking while my dad was at work was occasionally at the end of the day if he was staying later than normal. My mom and my sibling NEVER EVER just dropped by my dad’s office while we were just passing by. I am not married, but I never called significant others during the work day. I find this behavior pretty unprofessional.

    Exception: Kid (too young to drive themselves) occasionally comes by office before/after nearby appointment to employee can work out the rest of the day. Partner drops something off that was forgotten. But to come by the office to visit which is how I interpret “discussing a family matter,” is unprofessional to me. You should be working at work and unless the discussion is urgent in that it can’t wait until after work the discussion should wait.

    Also is “a short visit line” a typo or is the family member waiting in a customer service line to talk to employee about a family matter? If so that is even worse if the employee is discussing with family instead of serving customers.

  24. Chriama*

    OP#5 – This is what I would call a bit of a dilemma. I think turning down the full time offer risks tipping the boss off that you’re planning to leave soon. On the other hand, I would be upset if I went to bat to get a full-time employee who left in a couple weeks. We don’t know why the full time offer took so long to materialize and why he’s trying to get you to commit to staying for a while, but there are several explanations that don’t rely on the boss stringing you along, and you don’t want to act in bad faith if you can avoid it. It’s a frustrating situation all around, but I think Alison’s advice is the best if you can come up with a strong, plausible reason to explain why you want to remain part time. Good luck!

  25. MKT*

    Having been the office manager who arranges EAP and receives the annual report on the number of people who used the EAP(this could vary, but I doubt it, I’ve used two different EAPs and never seen anything different than this)
    The single page letter I get that accompanies our renewal form is:

    Thank you for using our services! Teapots Inc. had:
    3 Employees
    utilize the EAP in 2014

    Thank you and we look forward to serving your company in 2015!

    That’s it. I don’t know who went, I don’t know if they got financial advice, mental health advice or legal advice. I just know that 3 people used EAP and, I don’t even know how many times they went. They could have gone once, they could have gone 5 times.
    And I do know that the EAP asks company, position, DOB and a couple other questions. But we also had the EAP come in and conduct yearly meetings explaining their services, what they would ask and what they provided to our employees, which I always thought was very helpful, especially for newer employees

    Basically: Please use the EAP. They do not disclose your info to your company. That’s why the company contracts with them.

  26. Serin*

    #1: I had a different problem with our EAP: having made me a mental-health referral, they then wanted to talk at length about what other help they might provide for me — in essence to do a screening for depression, anxiety, and suicide right there on the phone. Which was unpleasant, as I really was depressed and anxious, to the point of crying very easily, and I had called them from my cubicle, where everybody on my team could see my face! And it took several interruptions before the woman would stop asking questions long enough to really hear me saying, “I said I cannot have this conversation now!”

    Maybe when you work in the mental-health field, you forget that some people might live and work in a world where there might be negative repercussions to using mental health services?

    In my case, I’m lucky enough to be pretty confident that I wouldn’t be harmed if it became widely known in my company that I was being treated for depression — but that doesn’t mean I’m interested in having all my co-workers look up from their computers and see me crying in my cube, if I can avoid that.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      This is part of their basic standard of care. They are required to make sure you are not in immediate crisis when you call. They have an obligation to report threats to self and others. Even if I call my therapist to reschedule an appointment, I will get asked some standard questions by reception to make sure I am not a risk to myself or others at the time of the call.

      1. Serin*

        But there’s a difference between “Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts right now?” and “In the last two weeks, how often have you had trouble sleeping? In the last two weeks, how often have you had little interest in work and hobbies? In the last two weeks, how often have you felt your temper was shorter than usual? In the last two weeks, how often has your libido been lower than usual?” … dude, I’m at work.

        1. Meg Murry*

          Ugh, yeah, that screening probably could wait. Although at least you could answer those questions with generic answers that no one could tell from just hearing your end. “1-2x a week” “Every day” “Every day” “Never” etc.

          1. plain_jane*

            but only if you are in the right mindframe – it’s unfair to assume that when you’re calling EAP that’s the mindframe you’re in.

  27. anon this time*

    I had a similar experience with our old EAP — nature of my problem meant that even making that phone call the first time was a huge leap for me and I was nearly scared away. Pushed through all the questions asked by the first screener, the same set of questions asked by another screener, having to wait for them to call me back again, then having another screening, then calling another number to get an appointment, then answering all the same questions once again when I actually saw a counsellor. (Who I saw for 4 appointments before I was informed that was my limit.)

    But then, I tried accessing services again not through the EAP but through a community program, and the experience was pretty much just as unhelpful. I was on a waiting list for nearly a year before I was assigned a counsellor who I was never able to get in touch with.

    So now I’m thinking that’s just the standard “insufficient services in this geographic area” problem. Trying to access any care is work. It doesn’t just happen for you once you dial the toll-free number.

  28. ggg*

    #3: A little off-topic but this is one of the many things that bugged me about the TV show Parenthood (I miss hate-watching that show). Everyone in the family was always visiting their brothers, sisters, spouses, children, grandparents, etc. AT WORK! No wonder they were all so exhausted and worried all the time — not even in their place of business could they get a break from their annoying family drama.

    Keep family out of the workplace, is my vote.

  29. brownblack*

    Re: #1, I’ve never understood why services that are provided through your employer yet are supposed to be anonymous nevertheless always ask for all kinds of identifying information from you. It’s natural for many people to assume their use of the service will, therefore, NOT be anonymous. Even if there’s no reason to come to that conclusion exactly, the practice can be very dismaying.

  30. Jill*

    #1 Your EAP concerns are very similar to an “employee wellness” program my employer had. You had to login to the wellness site and answer a “brief health survey.” If not, you had to pay an extra $200 toward your health insurance. I figured the questions would be general but they were really probative. Not just “do you smoke” but what type, how much, how often. There was a question about STD’s and HIV/AIDs exposure. Women were given questions about how many pregnancies, including miscarriages and stillbirths and whether we intended to have more.

    Super creepy and intrusive. So it was either lie to make yourself sound healthy, skip the survey and pony up $200 more, or answer truthfully not knowing who exactly will see your answers and what judgments will be made.

    I chose to lie to save the money. Wrong, I know, but I rationalized that I shouldn’t have to pay $200 to maintain my privacy. Enough people must have complained though because they redid our benefit structure and really promoted their new wellness program which has no survey and no extra charges and instead features an array of free and voluntary classes, services, and activities that we can do as individuals or groups, and do either in-person or online.

    So do raise the issue with your HR. You’re probably not the only one creeped out by it!

    1. Just Visiting*

      There is nothing wrong with lying to a program designed to steal your information. Nothing wrong with it at all.

  31. Purr purr purr*

    #5, what happens if you don’t get the other job? Are you going to be kicking yourself for turning down a concrete full-time job for a possibility of a full-time job elsewhere? I personally think you’d be crazy to not accept the full-time offer he made. You don’t owe them to stay for a long time afterwards, even though they have asked. You always have to do what is best for you because no-one else will, especially not that company.

Comments are closed.