I got someone else’s performance review, interviewer asked for a doctor’s note, and more

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

1. Can a prospective employer ask for a doctor’s note when I don’t even work there yet?

I was scheduled for an interview last Friday and missed it due to a miscarriage, which I ended up going to the hospital for. I later in the evening sent an apology email and explained it was due to a minor surgical emergency. Today I received an email to reschedule the interview, but the manager is requesting that I bring the hospital discharge papers for the new interview. I refuse to have them see why was the reason I missed. Is this legal? Can they ask me to bring that when I’m not even hired?

They’re on really shaky legal ground if they ask you to bring paperwork that explains the nature of your medical care, because if they don’t hire you, it could look like they were discriminating against you for disability or pregnancy, both of which are illegal. So it’s a really, really unwise move for them from that standpoint, although not inherently illegal. It’s also just an incredibly adversarial way to treat a job candidate; they should either reschedule the interview or choose not to, but saying “prove to us with personal medical paperwork that you weren’t lying” is a terrible foot to start off on.

If you want to pursue the job anyway, I’d ask the hospital to give you a note saying that you were there on Friday but not saying why (which is typically how doctor’s notes are handled anyway). But I’d also think seriously about what this employer is telling you about themselves.

2. My manager copied and pasted someone else’s performance review into mine

My manager recently send us a copy of our performance review to look over in advance before we meet in person to discuss it. I noticed that he listed accomplishments that I had nothing to do with and where in fact it was another colleague who performed those tasks. I also think those accomplishments are not really accomplishments and are actually quite insignificant. I also mentioned quite a few or my own achievements which were quite impactful in my self review that seem to have been completely ignored. This is my first review with this manager, so I don’t know what his style is. It’s possible he felt that it was not necessary to address my achievements because I already wrote about them and my self review appears in the same document.

He included a comment in the review that had nothing to do with me. Although the comment was overwhelming positive, without going into details about what that comment was, it is very clear that it was not about me. All of this seems very out of character, as my manager has never given me reason to doubt his attention to detail or his competence. Anytime we need anything from him, he gets it done right away and gets it done right. I know review season came at an unusually busy time this year so there might have been a time crunch. It looks like he might have tried to copy and paste comments from different reviews to save time, but he forgot to reword a few sentences on mine. I feel like my achievements are far more significant then the ones that he thinks I achieved and could very well impact the type of raise I get. How do I address this without sounding confrontational?

I’d approach it as if it was an actual mistake, not him deliberately copying and pasting someone else’s review to save time. Say something like this: “Oh, Bob, I think I might have accidentally gotten Jane’s review instead of mine. It talks about projects I didn’t work on but she did, and it doesn’t address my big goals for the year. Do you want to take a look and see if I just have the wrong one?” (It’s actually possible that it WAS an inadvertent error on his part, but if it wasn’t, this lets him save face while alerting him that he needs to fix it.)

If he insists that it’s correct, then you have a bigger problem — but from what you say, he sounds otherwise conscientious, so I’d go this route and see what happens.

3. Filing out anonymous surveys when our manager is sensitive to criticism

Our department is small and has 10 employees and one manager. Each year, we are asked to complete a “voluntary” and “anonymous” survey on the computer, which asks questions about what we think about our manager. Our manager is very sensitive and does not take criticism well. We’re all wary of giving anything but high marks for fear of retribution. Since there are only 10 of us, one bad review can torpedo the manager’s marks, so we have all made a conscious effort to falsely inflate his ratings on our surveys. The thing is, we all think the manager is horrible, but are afraid to say so on the supposedly “anonymous” survey. How should we handle the situation?

Well, you could all decide as a group to give candid feedback, which would make it harder (although not impossible) for your manager to retaliate. Or you could all (or most of you) decline to fill out the survey, which would send a pretty strong message too. Or you could talk to whoever coordinates the survey and explain that you don’t feel safe giving candid feedback and request that they find another way to gather input about your manager, if it’s truly something they want to explore. (There are ways to do that which prevent your manager from retaliating against you, but your company has to be committed to handling it that way — and just as importantly, committed to making sure that you know that.)

4. I loaned my company money and now my boss isn’t speaking to me

I joined this company last year in August. I was incredibly happy when I joined and before long became a workaholic.

But now, my manager/owner of the company refuses to speak with me/is ignoring me. I am coming to work everyday and surfing the internet and I am sick of it.

To add insult to injury, my company owes me money.The company was in need of money so I put in my savings to help out. About 7,000 in my country’s currency (equivalent to $3,500 USD).

All I did was take leave from work on a Sunday. I was tired. I had been working continuously for two weeks without time off. Just because he doesn’t take leave at all, ever since that, he has been refusing to speak with and only communicates with me through his PA.

I feel hurt and used. I put everything into this company — my hard work and even my money. Should I quit? Or should I bear it and hope for the best in future?

Do you have a written agreement about the repayment of that money, including repayment dates? I hope you do, because putting your own money into a company that you aren’t an owner of is risky business.

Doing it somewhere with a boss who gives you the silent treatment — over anything, but especially over taking a day off — is even more risky, because that says that you’re working with someone who doesn’t play by normal people’s rules.

Go talk to your boss. Ask why he’s not talking to you and what you can do to resolve the situation. Then, separately, figure out how to get that money back, as soon as possible. And yes, think about finding another job so that you can leave this one behind.

5. Going to work with my mouth numb from dental work

I have a dentist appointment coming up in a couple weeks. I had to grab an early morning appointment, so I figured I could go back to the office afterwards. However, I know that half my face will be *very* numb for ~4 hours afterwards. I’ll have the whole crooked smile, slurred speech thing going on. I don’t interact with customers or anything, just the four people I share an office with mostly. Our office is pretty laid back, so I don’t think this would be a problem. But I am curious how this falls on the professional behavior meter. I’ve never seen this from someone else, though I have seen people come back with dilation glasses after the eye doctor.

As long as you don’t interact with customers, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Just explain to the people in your office what’s going on so they’re not concerned that something terrible has befallen you.

(That said, if you have the option of working from home that day, I’d take it because I think you’ll be more comfortable.)

{ 390 comments… read them below }

    1. Stephanie*

      Yeah, seriously. At this point, they should be trying to court you. If they’re this adversarial and suspicious in the “dating” stage of an interview, imagine how it’d actually be once you were working there.

      1. Lanya*

        Yep. It’s really, really uncool that they would be asking you for “proof” of why you missed a meeting when you are not employed by them. (I wonder if they ask their clients or vendors for doctor’s notes as well!)

        1. JessaB*

          Yeh this leads me to believe in big scary marquee letters that “any time you are one minute late or take any unexpected day off,” you are going to be hit with “give us proof.” That is not the kind of attendance policy most people want to live with. It’s a really big flag kinda thing.

    2. Doctor's Note*

      Story time! I was on an interview panel where the candidate didn’t show. He told us his appendix ruptured on his way to the interview. We were worried about his well being and brought him back a week or so later. We ended up hiring him. Interestingly, his appendix had to be removed a second time when he went awol from work 6 months later.

      I only share this because I can understand that a company can be once bitten, twice shy. But the way they handled it sounds unprofessional and invasive, and OP1 should say thanks but no thanks.

      1. Mookie*

        (Granted that most fully ruptured appendices necessitate removal, inflammation sometimes can be treated with antibiotics alone. Also, there’ve been a few lawsuits recently over “partial” lap appendectomies, which is just UGH ARGH NO.)

        As for folk inventing phantom surgeries: grandparents. You can have more than four. There’s no cap or legal limit on them. I know because a manager tried to play gotcha with me over a very difficult, very non-fictional, out-of-state wake for a relative he was sure was already dead several times over. What a terrible but illuminating conversation that was.

        1. Robin B*

          I was hospitalized last year for appendicitis, and did NOT have it removed. The new attitude is not to remove it if it’s gone dormant since the attack. So, it is possible….

          1. JessaB*

            Yeh which gives me HUGE problems I have mesenteric adenitis and because the differential looks a LOT like appendicitis (sometimes identical,) the rule is get it out if you have to do any surgery in that area. I’m now past two surgeries where both doctors did not comprehend this very simple medical rule and left it in. Three trips to the ER in the last 6 years to rule out appendicitis, because these idiots would not take it out when they were IN there when insurance would have paid, but would NOT pay for “go in and get it when it’s not an emergency.”

            Appendixes are a pain in the keester.

          2. Maria, RN, BSN*

            Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix and usually, but not always, facilitates removal. If an appendix is ruptured, however, it has gotta go. In addition, there’s all sorts of yucky stuff to clean up in the abdominal cavity.

            1. michelenyc*

              When my step mom’s ruptured it was a huge mess and she stayed in the hospital longer than the average for that reason.

            2. Mallory Janis Ian*

              When my daughter’s appendix burst one October, she wasn’t able to have the surgery to remove the ruptured appendix until January; her intestines were too damaged and weakened by the yucky stuff that was released into her abdominal cavity to withstand the surgery before then. She was under the treatment of an infectious disease specialist during that time to get her abdominal cavity cleared out and healthy enough for surgery.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I think this is what happened to a past coworker’s daughter, or something similar. She was one sick girl and was in the hospital for quite a while. Stupid appendix!

        2. Miss Betty*

          When I was born, I had eight living grandparents and two deceased (my mom’s dad and my dad’s mom both died when they were kids). All my greats and great-greats on my mom’s side were still alive and all four of grandparents. Now, at 52, I have two remaining grandparents. You’re right, there’s no cap! (Though why someone would lie about any relative dying is truly beyond me; it’s so reprehensible.)

          1. AnonyMoose*

            I think there is a certain age limit on that excuse, if only because as you get older you realize the true ‘ick factor’ and that you might be cursing them with death. *gulp*

        3. The Cosmic Avenger*

          As a general rule, when you’re at the point of asking for proof or directly questioning whether someone is lying, can you really trust the answer/proof you’re going to get? I say that by that point the trust is already gone, and both parties are better off either moving on or working to rebuild trust. (You can probably tell, as usual this goes for interpersonal relationships as well as work relationships.)

          1. JessaB*

            Unless you’re asking from everybody. Some companies do this. It’s annoying. I know that for bereavement leave it’s easy in most, a copy of the death certificate or the newspaper announcement (for my husband when his nana died, the prayer card with her name and dates was enough for his company, it had the funeral home info on the bottom and they could, if they wanted to call and check.)

            I always, even if I didn’t need it (when I was working, NOT interviewing, I’d never think of it for an interview,) insist during the discharge process from hospital that they add a note for work. It’s really easy to get when you’re still there and a nurse can have it written for you. And if they do need it, I have it, and if they don’t it just goes into my file at home. The stack of notes also helps me track my medical history (IE was hospitalised on x date at x hospital.) I never turn in notes without taking a copy.

            1. BananaPants*

              I had an awful boss years ago who insisted on seeing my grandmother’s obituary with my name listed as a survivor before he believed me. I was taking a Friday off to fly to that town for the memorial service on Saturday, and he felt I wasn’t visibly upset enough to have actually lost a grandparent (she’d had dementia for several years and we’d known for two weeks that she was ill and almost certainly on a final decline). So because I wasn’t crying at work, he wanted to see her obit before he’d approve bereavement leave. What if there had only been a brief obituary or the grandchildren weren’t named? Families pay for those things by the word and they aren’t cheap! We get 3 paid personal days a year and I should have just used one of them rather than asking for bereavement leave. It was a very upsetting experience.

              Meanwhile I had no problem using 1.5 paid personal days for the wake and funeral when my father-in-law’s partner of a decade died. They weren’t legally married and therefore it didn’t qualify as a parent-in-law under our bereavement leave policy, but my boss at the time was great about it and told me to take my personal days anyways. He never asked for proof, although we and our daughter were named as survivors in her obituary and I could have provided it if asked.

              1. Shannon*

                Ugh. I hate the grief police. Not everyone grieves with a great weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

                1. Biff*

                  No kidding! Hear hear!

                  When my brother-by-another-mother passed away, I was so much better at work, which was distracting. Being at home was much worse.

                2. Lindsay J*

                  Yeah, I deal with grief with gallows humor. Doesn’t mean I’m any less sad than the people openly weeping.

              2. xarcady*

                My paternal grandparents had 45 grandchildren, and at the time they died, about 13-15 great-grandchildren. None of us were listed by name in the obituary. Just listing their 8 children and their spouses took up a couple of inches of type.

                What an odd bit of proof to demand.

                And worse that he was judging your grief by whether or not you were crying at work.

            2. AnonyMoose*

              I would much rather ask for a doctor’s note than proof of death. I would hate to push someone back into their grief just so I know that they’re not lying about their favorite sibling, mom, aunt twice removed, dying. But I also know of one person who lied about his mother’s death – she did actually pass away….but 6 months prior; they were finally having the large family memorial but once your boss finds out that you lied about your mom dying, it’s kind of game over. He was immediately fired.

              1. AnonyMoose*

                Oh! I forgot the best part. He was ratted out by his best friend (who also worked there). Needless to say, they are no longer friends.

            3. doreen*

              I have only experienced this requirement at jobs that either give additional leave or relax the normal leave rules for bereavement . One job gave allowed three to five additional days, depending on the relationship and my current job allows up to three weeks of sick leave to be used per year for the specified relationships. Both required some sort of proof – but if I wanted to use vacation or personal leave , no proof was required.

          2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

            I mentioned below that this was company policy at my old job for rescheduling interviews for our entry level positions.

            It was a good screening mechanism for the people in charge of hiring. Also, the HM got to a point where he could predict with nearly a 100% accuracy, based on day/time of interview and whether they called a head of time or emailed after, whether or not he would get the proof or the person would disappear.

            1. Mabel*

              Did they understand that the people who “disappeared” could have been good candidates who had other options and didn’t want to work someplace where employees (and non-employees, apparently) were not trusted? It seems that this policy is a good screening mechanism that goes both ways.

              1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                It’s interesting that everyone is correlating this with not trusting employees. Even on that side of the business, employees didn’t need a note to be out sick unless you were going to be out more than 3-days (which has been policy everywhere I have ever worked) and car trouble was met with “get here when you can.”

                The thought process was that the 1% chance that we would lose someone who was a good candidate was worth not hiring making a bad hiring decision.

                Because these were college-age or right after college-aged potential employees, those that had an actual emergency were always comfortable producing a doctor’s note, etc. just like they would for class.

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  What you’re saying there, though, is that they were too inexperienced in the world work to realize that they should walk away — because good candidates with more professional experience definitely would have!

                2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                  Yes, and I get that.

                  But what they had found, and why the policy was enacted, was that potential employees who were calling out weren’t doing it because they had actual emergencies.

                  They were calling out because they were hungover, or thought that interview times were arbitrary.

                  So yes, the few actual emergencies were being asked to jump through hoops, because of the behavior of past candidates/employees.

                3. neverjaunty*

                  …except for those emergencies where they didn’t end up going to a doctor, other than having to make a special trip to obtain a note after the fact.

                  I understand the thought process is that ‘we need a doctor’s note’ will drive off the people who had a hangover and lied. What the thought process didn’t take into account is that it also drives off the people who, say, don’t want to go to the doctor to get a note saying they had unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, or had food poisoning that resolved after 24 hours. The “1%” in that thought process is pulled out of thin air.

                4. AnonyMoose*

                  And you knew they were just hungover how……….?

                  You HAVE to see the glaring red flag in your reasonings. Right?

                5. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                  They mostly knew they were hungover because when asked for a note, the candidates were open about it. And like I had said the the cancelled interviews typically followed a pattern, but the biggest indicator was people who called/emailed hours after their missed time.

                  It’s interesting, I shot this over to my former HR director to show her the controversy. The initial option (because this was becoming an issue) was to simply say it is company policy to not reschedule missed interviews, and they decided to offer the note options to try and be far to the few candidates who had valid reasons.

              2. Lindsay J*

                But, why should the employer trust an employee that they know nothing about at that point? They haven’t earned any sort of trust, yet.

                Going into an interview you have only a few data points about a candidate:
                * They have a decent resume and cover letter
                * They responded to phone calls and emails appropriately and reasonably promptly.
                * They were interested enough in the position to apply and accept an interview.

                That’s really all you know about them. You don’t know if they’re a flake who can never show up to things on time. You don’t know if they’re super-responsible and haven’t missed a day of school or work since pre-school. You don’t know if your job is their dream job. You don’t know if they’re just going through the motions to keep their parents or their spouse or the unemployment office happy.

                So throwing another data point into the mix, and a potentially negative one at that is a huge deal. Especially since it’s pretty known that asking to reschedule an interview is not done unless you have no other choice. So you’re presented with two possibilities: either the candidate is really in the hospital (neutral or I guess you could stretch it to positive by saying that at least they were responsible enough to call) or they are willing to flout normal business convention and then lie about it (huge honking negative). Meanwhile, unless you’re hiring for a purple squirrel you probably have a decent sized list of other candidates who were just as or nearly as good looking on paper as this one, and those people have not yet shown a huge potential negative.

                So do you trust that this person isn’t lying when you have no real indicator whether they might lie about something like this or not? Do you just move on to other candidates who haven’t planted any seed of doubt in your mind about the whole thing? Or do you verify?

                I mean, we verify other things in the hiring process. We don’t just trust someone saying, “Oh yeah, all my old bosses totally love me. I’ve only ever left previous jobs for promotions and significant pay raises.” We verify by checking their employment history and references. We don’t trust someone saying, “I’d be totally awesome at this job,” we verify that we think they’d be good at it by comparing their previous work experience and their answers to interview questions to verify that we think it would be a good fit.

                I don’t see why this is so different.

                And if I were that top candidate and I were in the hospital, I would appreciate being given the opportunity to reschedule (provided I gave them proof I was in the hospital) rather than having them just dismiss me altogether and move on to other candidates.

                1. Lindsay J*

                  I would be much more offended if my employer who I’ve worked for for a year, who knows I have a track record of showing up when I’m supposed to and doing what I say I’m going to do, required a doctor’s note, vs a company who I first made contact with a week ago and doesn’t know me from Adam.

            2. AnonyMoose*

              “It was a good screening mechanism for the people in charge of hiring” You could just be normal and reschedule like normal interviewers. Or ask their references. You don’t have to treat them like they’re 12.

              1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                So I reached out to my former HR director to see how the policy came about, and she said that it was becoming a significant enough issue for the hiring managers that a policy was needed.

                She said there was a strong pattern of the people who cancelled on their interviews, but were then hired, being let go during their probationary period that they had initially outlined just saying that they don’t reschedule interviews.

        4. Artemesia*

          What worked for me when students lied about grandparent deaths was writing letters of condolence to their parents. That way there were no accusations but there were consequences for lying and if they weren’t lying (which was most of the time of course), it was viewed as a gracious gesture.

          1. Chalupa Batman*

            Your solution is perfect. I read the most hilarious faux study a couple of years ago that examined the “epidemic” of grandparent deaths around finals time. They hypothesized that grandmas got so worried about their grandchildren’s educational progress that their poor bodies couldn’t take it. It’s a must read for higher ed data nerds. I’ll link in another comment.

            1. hayling*

              That is hilarious. Come to think of it, my grandma died in April when I was in college and I flew home a few weeks later for a memorial. I asked one professor if I could have a few extra days for a project and she gave me a hard time about it – now I understand why!

          2. A Teacher*

            Unless you are from a family that is disconnected and maybe they only get together for funerals because they feel like they have to. OR a child that’s close to the grandparent but has a severed relationship with the parent or no relationship with the parent. OR a child raised by a grandparent because maybe the parent died… Maybe it worked for some instances but there are many factors where this doesn’t work.

          3. AnonyMoose*

            By any chances are you the same Artemesia over at the Wedding Bee forum? You both have an outstanding penchant for diplomacy….but your true talent lies in your grand-slam etiquette tactics. ;)

            1. Artemesia*

              No — never heard of the Wedding Bee forum. Haven’t stumbled on other Artemesia handles. I get mine from the great artist Artemesia Gentileschi. If you ever are in Florence, check out her painting of Judith and Holofernes at the Uffizi.

          4. Tara R.*

            I hope you’re talking about high school students, and not university/college students. I’m an adult, and I would be absolutely furious if someone contacted my semi-estranged father in any way not approved by me– and would likely put up a fuss about privacy laws. Parents have zero role to play in interactions between grown students and their professors.

            1. ThatLibTech*

              I’m assuming it would be given to the student, considering it would be highly unlikely not to mention grounds for termination if university staff were digging around confidential files to see if maybe a student listed a parent as an emergency contact (otherwise how would they get it?).

      2. Apollo Warbucks*

        I don’t think it’s fair to punish the majority for the actions of a small minority of people. You can always discipline those you find abusing the system but asking for proof for every sickness is going to turn a lot of people off and good employees with options will want to go and work somewhere they’re not treated like children.

        1. Doctor's Note*

          Totally agree. Only shared because sometimes people have bad experiences that lead to bad behaviors.

          When a near stranger tells you something, you either believe them or you don’t. It’s something I handle on a case by case basis.

        2. BananaPants*

          Agreed. I have to get a doctor’s note for my kid – I shouldn’t have to get one for myself at work unless I’m clearly abusing my sick leave.

      3. Lou*

        They dont take appendixes out if they rupture they treat and kill it with antibiotics and only d surgery when its ultra necessary.

      4. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

        My former job hired college/post-college entry level positions where it was common to have people skip the interview and then call in later with a reason they needed to reschedule (Doctor, car trouble, etc.), so we had a policy that you need a note or receipt (AAA, mechanic) to reschedule the interview.

        Accountability at this job was really important though, and we couldn’t have people flaking off their shift.

        My coworker who oversaw the folks in this position had more than one person say, “I’m going to be honest, I got drunk last night and slept through the interview,” when asked to produce a note.

        1. Allison*

          I see this happen where I work as well. I don’t work on the entry-level roles, that’s someone else on the team, but it’s an open office so I often hear them complaining that yet another recent grad called out sick or is having car trouble, and it seems to be much more common among that group than candidates for more senior positions.

          But to my knowledge, despite their frustration and the despite their suspicion that some fraction of these candidates are faking, they haven’t started requiring proof.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Agree that faking could be more common among the entry level candidates, but it also seems like they would legitimately have more of these problems than senior candidates. They probably drive older, less reliable cars. They stay up late, eat poorly, interact with tons of different people, so they may get sick more.

            1. Allison*

              This is true, I bought a 2008 Civic last year and I swear to god I’ve needed to take it in for one reason or another almost every month since June! Weird rattling noise, fender coming off, oil pan leaking, serpentine belt needing to be replaced . . . I need to get the state inspection this month, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it fails, so I’m making a point of getting that done early in the month just in case.

              1. Allison*

                THAT SAID, while I’ve often worked from home to get work done on my car, I’ve never needed to bail on an interview or any other appointment because my car broke down or wouldn’t start.

                1. Arjay*

                  I have the worst luck in the world. Thankfully, both of these were for internal jobs, so I had a known track record of being trustworthy and reliable. But for one interview, I had to go to work, and then drive to another location in the afternoon for the interview. I walk into the parking lot about 30 minutes early for my ten minute drive and I had a flat tire. Oops. Another time, I was scheduled for an internal phone interview. My boss had arranged to let me use her office so I could have some privacy, so I was all set. Until the fire alarm went off literally two minutes before the scheduled call time. This was pre-cellphone, so when I got back to my desk about 40 minutes later, I had two voicemails from the hiring manager wondering where I was.

                2. AnotherAlison*

                  And I have an ’08 4runner w/ 107,000 miles and it runs like new, so you never know what you’re going to get with an older car. The other thing with experienced candidates & cars is, I would guess, more people >25 are going to be married or living with an SO. If I go to get in my car in the morning & it doesn’t work, we have one spare car and four cars total. I’m going to be able to get there somehow.

                3. Elizabeth West*

                  I did once–I had a tire blow and couldn’t get it fixed until the time for the appointment had passed. They let me reschedule, but I called right away and told them I was fine with it if they didn’t want to.

                  I didn’t get the job after all, but they were very nice about it.

                4. BTownGirl*

                  I once was leaving to go to an interview and found my car in my then-building’s parking lot with the windows smashed. I wasn’t willing to risk having shards of glass flying at my face as I drove, so I called the internal recruiter to let him know what happened and see if he was able to reschedule, with many profuse apologies for the short notice. He was a total jerk about it, but did say he’d let me know if the hiring team was willing to reschedule. They were! The day of the interview, the hiring manager came down with the flu…and wouldn’t you know, this same recruiter had to ask me if I could reschedule on short notice! Karma is real, y’all.

            2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              They were pretty flexible in what they took as as “proof.” We had a lot of people who worked on their own cars, so they would take a receipt from the auto parts store.

              There was also one girl who had her father email the hiring manager about the car as her proof. He had come over and fixed it for her.

              1. BTownGirl*

                I know you’re hiring for entry-level roles, but I would run screaming from a company that said, “We need the repair bill. Oh your father fixed your car? He’ll need to email us.” Either you believe that the majority of the people you interact with are honest, decent people or you don’t.

                1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                  They didn’t ask for the email, she asked him to send it.

                  I explained above how the policy came about (I sent my old HR director a link to this thread). It basically came down to the fact that there had been enough flaking out on interviews, or having the people who rescheduled then not make it through their 90 day probationary period, that it was becoming a problem for that group’s hiring managers. The initial policy was going to be that they simply did not reschedule interviews for this position for any reason, but they offered the note option just in case there were people with real emergencies.

                  What’s interesting to me was I was in another department on a fast growing team (I typically added 2-4 positions a year) and I *never* had problems with people not being able to make it to interviews.

                2. Observer*

                  @Droid, to be quite honest it sounds like your people don’t know how to screen, so are using this as a work around.

            3. T3k*

              Oh god yes. I have a 2006 car that just hit over 200k miles on it, and I have to take it in almost every other month for an oil change. The car place I go to is usually good, but some reason the last few times I’ve gone, they’ve held my car to almost mid-day before working on it (and they’re not open on weekends). I think they believe I don’t work, when in reality I just have a later start time than most businesses. Can’t tell you how much of a headache it was to explain to my boss that I took my car in for a simple oil change early that morning and they were still holding my car to almost noon.

          2. sunny-dee*

            I could believe car trouble in recent grads, just because they’re more likely to have a crappy car than a senior-level professional. But 22-year-olds just being sick all of the time? eyebrows –> raised

            1. Kat M2*

              I was. I worked in education, so yes, I got sick all the time. That year was also a difficult year in terms of stress-I made so little that I had food stamps, had housing issues, etc. It wasn’t until I got an office job with benefits that I started to feel truly healthy. And no, I do not have a chronic illness. But I was legitimately sick a lot. I also wasn’t eating the best and I worked long days, so that didn’t help.

              I will point out that you can’t really assume 22 year olds are always healthy. Late teens/early twenties are when mental health conditions start surfacing for a lot of people, chronic illnesses, and other factors play in. And even among healthy people, some people just get sick a lot. Are there 22 year olds who are irresponsible? Sure. I’m also sure that there are plenty who treat it like a college class-you can miss a class as long as you do the work (though I know professors institute attendance policies for this reason). But I think the idea that 22 year olds can’t ever be sick or tired because they’re young can take people to a dangerous place. That’s when you have people yelling at a young woman with lupus or chronic pain because she parked in a handicapped spot.

              1. KR*

                I get sick more often than I should because I work a lot and I work crazy hours. More so, I don’t get sick time at one job and I get very little sick time at another job (but that one it’s nearly impossible to call out from because coverage is a big issue).

              2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                We were pretty flexible on sick once hired, it was really just during the interview and it was exactly for what you stated:

                I’m also sure that there are plenty who treat it like a college class-you can miss a class as long as you do the work

                There was one gentlemen who lived in the apartment complex across the street from our office who needed to reschedule his interview due to car trouble. When the manager suggested that he walk across, as he could would only be a few minutes late and he (the hiring manager) was happy to hold the interview time, that’s when he said he was too hungover to participate in an interview.

              3. Monday Anon*

                Yes, I agree that you can be young (or look young and healthy) and also be sick. Just sharing my story – For me when I was 20 to 30 years old I had a lot of sick days due to: allergies, head colds, sinus infections, gastrointestinal issues, etc. I also lived with my very dysfunctional family (this probably added to my stress and caused my health issues to increase) with parents arguing all the time, a bi-polar brother that was not on the proper medication, etc. I think I stayed thinking that somehow I could help them and make things better for all of us. I was wrong!!! They did not want to change.
                I just want to add that during this time I was working and did have to take many sick days. Most of my managers were understanding and did not give me a hard time. However, I did not cancel or reschedule any of my interviews due to illness. I guess I got lucky and never got sick before an interview.

              4. AnonyMoose*

                + 1
                My aunt was in college studying childhood development. She had strep NINE TIMES in one year until they finally just gave up and took out her tonsils. It happens.

            2. Biff*

              I was ill a lot when I was 22 because I was working in a call center — aka a petri dish. When you work with a constantly rotating staff or the public, you get exposed to everything and it’s like being a two year old again.

            3. Liane*

              It happens, even to the healthiest young adults.
              After a serious congenital condition was fixed when he was 1, our son became the healthiest of the 4 of us. Colds/stomach viruses/flu that kept everyone else in the family in bed for several days, he either didn’t get, or was only really sick for a day – even though he was in perschool or school the whole time!
              This fall, however, just before he was due to start his second year of college at 19, he caught an upper respiratory illness with the *worst cough ever* (as did his sister and dad) that kept him abed for days and took him a month to recover from! He only started getting well after we *finally* got him to go to a local clinic. So he had to skip this term.

              1. AnonyMoose*

                Poor dude!!

                Also – hello, nobody has mentioned mono. It was huge in the dorms when I was in school. As well as pink eye. So gross.

            4. Anon for this*

              I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 24. Week-long, painful flares of joint pain. I’m not sure why you’d think illnesses are something young people don’t get.

              1. AnonyMoose*

                Word. Hope you found a medication/lifestyle that works for you! I have fibro (and I think undiagnosed diabestes) and have my fair share of flares (say that ten times fast!).

          3. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

            If I remember the policy correctly, it was proof to reschedule the interview and then once hired they only needed proof if they were going to be out three days.

            1. JessaB*

              Unless they are very very clear about that, that doesn’t help an applicant. Also that three day thing is unreasonable also. Because some illnesses do no require a doctor’s visit. Some things are chronic and don’t need someone to pay a doctor (and if they’re un or under insured or have a large deductible they may not have the MONEY for a doctor. Way to punish someone who might not be getting paid for being off by making them spend anywhere up to 100 dollars for no reason.)

              1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                Interesting. Every single job I have ever had (going way back to my first part-time job at a bagel shop) required a doctor’s note if you are going to be out more than 3 days. And, I just leaned over and asked my coworker (because she’s lived/worked in different states – we have 7 between us), she has always had that policy as well.

                I always assumed it was a counterbalance to the job abandonment rules, which in my state and previous state are 72 hours.

                1. OhNo*

                  Seriously? I’ve never had a job where that is a rule. To avoid the whole job abandonment thing, my bosses always just had an informal plan where you called in/emailed in sick, said when you thought you would be back, and if you had to change that date you needed to let them know.

                  I’m pretty opposed to requiring a doctor’s note under any circumstances, so even “just” for absences of 3+ days, that policy just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

                2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                  This is why I find this site so fascinating. Because this has always just been a rule, I have assumed it was standard.

                  But it reading the comments I am learning that (a) a lot of people are really bothered by the doctor’s note requirement, and (b) there are a couple of really good examples below of how even the form note could provide *a lot* of information about the nature of the visit.

                  I’ve never had to ask a staff member for a 3-day note, but it’s a good flag to raise when company policy questions come up!

              2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                I should probably clarify that this is 3 days in a row.

                My friend works for a very large, very well known company where you are “written up” if you take more than two sick days in a rolling 3-month period. And you can be terminated for taking three.

    3. Bree*

      Thanks everyone for your answers and comments and thanks a lot Allison, I just sent my thanks but not thanks email.

      1. Poppy*

        Can I add that I am sorry for your loss? Miscarriages need to be grieved and it totally sucks that you had extra hoops to jump through on top of what must have been a really difficult time.

      2. AnonInSC*

        I am sorry for your loss. Miscarriage and pregnancy loss are so painful, but rarely talked about openly.

      3. OhNo*

        Good for you. Deciding not to pursue a job can be a difficult decision, so I’m glad you were able to make your choice even though you are dealing with such a sad loss. Here’s hoping that things get better for you from here.

      4. Observer*

        I’m sorry for your loss. Poppy is right, give yourself a chance to grieve if you need to – and do it in the way YOU do it. There is not “right” way to grieve.

        I think you made the right call. Asking for proof is bad enough, and a HUGE red flag on its own. Specifying your discharge papers (even if they would have taken something else) is a sign that they also just don’t think things through.

    4. Kylynara*

      Reading through the comments on this, I’m clearly a pushover. I can understand the request as trying to walk the line between being gullible (if you’re lying) and being heartless (if you’re not), while requesting something you have rather than something you’d have to put in time to get. It’s fairly thoughtless to request something guaranteed to have private medical info, but while they could be planning to use the info to inform their decision, it’s also possible that if you said you were uncomfortable sharing such private info with strangers they’d be a bit mortified to realized they’d requested it and happy with a simple doctor’s note or heavily redacted copy just showing the hospital, your name, and the date/time.

      1. neverjaunty*

        But there’s no point in requesting proof at all. If they suspect that a candidate is lying, then they should terminate the interview. If they’re not sure, that’s why you do the interview.

        1. AnonyMoose*

          And also, just because you don’t say the cause of the absence, doesn’t mean that it’s not super easy to figure out (and then silently discriminate against through the hiring process). It’s not that difficult to find out exactly what type of physician they are by having their name and business address. Lots of clinics and large hospitals have physican profiles now. If you state that its an emergency surgery and it’s clearly an OBGYN, it wouldn’t be difficult to put it together. Or that they’re a HemOnc specialist, or god forbid an Oncologist. I HATE DOCTOR’S NOTES. You either believe me, or you don’t. Decide, don’t pry into my private health.

        2. Lindsay J*

          But if I were the candidate in that position and I were telling the truth I would rather be given the opportunity to show that I was telling the truth rather than be passed over without getting that chance at all.

    5. Slimy Contractor*

      OP 5: After my last dentist appointment, I walked into my boss’s office to let him know I was back. “I JUTH GOT BACK FROM DA DENTISHHHH” I slurred, and headed out. Doubled over laughing, he calls out, “No! Don’t leave! Come back here and talk to me some more!”

      Don’t worry about it. Everyone knows what it’s like to have dental work. Just take it in stride and do your work and try your hardest not to drool on your desk. :)

  1. Annonymoos*

    For 5: Some dentists offer the reversal drug now. If you don’t want that, caffeine will also flush it from your system faster than normal.

    I’m in a job where my expression matters (though I’m not on camera, not that extreme) and I still work after appointments if I have to – I just give a heads-up that I’m partially numb from a dental visit.

    If I know I’m going to feel really icky afterwards I won’t schedule work, but that has to be for pretty serious treatment.

    After waaay too much time in the dental chair, my biggest takeaway is to estimate twice as long as they say. This means you’re not also stressed about getting back to work.

          1. Kairi*

            I went to get a filling last week, and as the numbness wore off, it started to get cold so I bunched my shirt sleeve up to keep my face warm. I looked ridiculous!

            Caffeine would have saved me!!

    1. Sarasaurus*

      The reversal drug usually comes with an out-of-pocket cost though; dental insurance rarely covers it in my experience, so that might keep it from being an option for the letter writer.

      If caffeine isn’t your jam (or you want to try to speed up the process as much as possible), exercise can help as well – even just walking around rather than sitting down will help hasten the process.

    2. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Oh, interesting about the caffeine! I’ll have to try that.

      I’ve gone to work after getting dental work done, I think people are generally understanding about that. For some reason, the numbing stuff takes a while to wear off for me, so I just preface conversations with, “Sorry if I sound weird, my mouth is still numb from dental work.”

  2. neverjaunty*

    OP #1, I’m so sorry. And AAM is right – this is not a company you want to work for. If they thought you were lying about your reason for missing the interview, then they could have canceled the interview. If they believe you, then there’s no reason for them to demand proof, especially in the form of your private medical records. Imagine how they’ll treat you if you work there.

    OP #3, I can’t imagine what your company is thinking by pretending that the survey is “anonymous” when there are only 10 of you. This is definitely the time to go to whoever handles this (HR?) and point out that they are putting you in an impossible position; there’s no way for the survey to be anonymous OR candid.

    1. Little Teapot*

      Definitely agree! Why would you want to work for them after they’ve shown you how they treat interviewees?!

    2. Stephanie*

      #3: I don’t even buy my workplace surveys are anonymous and I work for a MegaCorp with thousands and thousands of employees.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Agreed. Anything that you have to do from your computer or through a login (even if it’s not YOUR login) can be traced to you. I’d be leery of critical feedback or even answering questions about morale candidly. I like Alison’s idea of not responding at all. They can come after you for not participating in a “voluntary” survey, but they can’t get you on anything you said. (I suppose another alternative would be to fill out everything as “neutral” or N/A or to give a completely obvious bromide such as “everything is fine” to every possible answer–although that also might get you in trouble.)

        1. Ad Astra*

          If companies really wanted to know about morale, they’d make their surveys truly anonymous. I’m sure there are plenty of companies that do peek at who said what, but they’re not doing themselves any favors. Why bother? Either you want candid feedback or you don’t.

      2. AnonyMoose*

        As someone who does social research and uses survey software often, yes it is 100% possible to have anonymous surveys done (note: they can still track the IP address instead of a name/email address to validate, however, so it would be important to fill out the survey at work so you’re not identified from your home). The issue, however, is you don’t know if the person creating the survey is 1) aware of the process to make it anonymous, 2) if it’s an internal/external evaluator. If it’s external, I wouldn’t worry about anonymity as it’s highly unlikely they will re-identify. I can’t think of a single reason. If it’s an internal person reviewing the data, then I could totally see being concerned about anonymity.

        OP – would they be open to a focus group instead? That way you can all speak frankly and the evaluator would just send a de-identified synopsis. Or maybe you guys can MAIL IN a hard copy survey, making sure to use labels for addresses (or using your left hand) and mailed together from the same mail box. I don’t know, since the guy totally sucks, I think your feedback is *even more important* and you should find a way to communicate this to those who are seeking the feedback.

    3. stellanor*

      Last year at review time one of my colleagues was one of her manager’s TWO direct reports. Her manager is dreadful but she and the other person felt like they couldn’t call her out in annual feedback because it was going to be veeeeeery obvious who said what.

      I was on a team of ~10 and could tell exactly which piece of “anonymous” feedback was from who, especially since we have to cite specific examples. I know who I worked with on what.

      1. knitchic79*

        So much this! Where I work the manager and other supervisors are given the high and lowlights of their surveys. A couple of years ago a particularity peeved off coworker complained to me about our main boss. She used a very unique turn of phrase. When the boss got his “highlights” they quoted the same turn of phrase. When my boss was taking to a worried supervisor about these “highlights” he mentioned said quote. I happened to be in the room.
        To my managers credit he took one look at my face, realized I knew exactly who said it, and told me straight off to never tell him who it was. He didn’t know and didn’t care too. He also rocked pretty hard and I get how lucky I was I that.

        1. Blue Anne*

          I’m really curious to know what the phrase was now! Angry people come up with the best ways to express it.

          I once had a phone call with a client who told me that she was “hopping mad as a wasp with piles”. Amazing. (I didn’t feel too bad – her system had gone down over the weekend because she hadn’t renewed her licenses like I’d been bugging her to for weeks, and surprise surprise, I didn’t take her calls on Sunday.)

          1. Artemesia*

            It doesn’ t have to be that unique. When I read anonymous feedback I can hear the voice of the person who wrote it — people have ways of expressing themselves that makes them easy to identify when they write.

            A company that actually wants honest feedback does not use these non-anonymous anonymous surveys.

            1. hayling*

              Oh for sure. I work in communications and I can identify how many of my coworkers write. If I am giving anonymous feedback I rewrite it several times to try to make it *not* sound like me.

          2. bridget*

            Ha, that reminds me of the 30 Rock episode when Jack knows that Liz badmouthed him to the reporter, because she uses the phrase “That guy can eat my poo!” way more often than she realizes.

    4. Today's anon*

      This made me laugh. We just had a survey where there were questions about sexual orientation and gender identity (it was on diversity and harassment). I am pretty sure I am the only trans person here, and I thought “well there goes my anonymity” (I am out). I decided it didn’t matter but this was not a survey about our managers.

      1. OhNo*

        Bah, I hate supposedly “anonymous” surveys that collect demographic data. Unless they are truly set up to disconnect the demographics from the responses (most aren’t), it’s just as bad as requiring people to sign their names.

  3. Little Teapot*

    OP #5: I did that once! However, I was a young and silly girl in my early 20s and I went to the dentist before a shift as a fairy at a children’s party centre! Where smiling is pretty much in the job description. Oh man it was so funny. I don’t know what I was thinking but for some reason I thought it would be a good idea. When I finally got to work my face was numb and I was dribbling a bit and definitely not smiling. I remember half way through a mum came up to me and said I was doing a great job and I joked I would have been better if I could feel my face! If you just have a desk job hopefully it should be okay :)

    1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      Now is when I need an upvote button.

      I love the mental picture! :-) Drooling fairy.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          There’s an entire story here about “so that’s what she does with the teeth!!” but I don’t have time for it. Shame.

  4. Carpe Librarium*

    OP #2: A possibility to consider is that your manager wrote your co-worker’s review immediately before or immediately after yours and accidentally overwrote yours, or saved the report under both of your names.
    Putting together multiple versions of identically formatted documents where at a glance they are all the same can lead to the occasional brain glitch.

    1. AnotherFed*

      I agree. I’m not directly supervisory, but i do hqve to give review inputs for my team. I sometimes do reviews in a blank document so that I can sort out all my thoughts, then cut and paste into wherever it should go – it feels like the form changes every year. I am now terrified of accidentally mixing up whose form I’m in!

    2. Artemesia*

      This and I would be very specific when noting to the manager that a mistake had been made i.e. this is Jane’s because she worked on the eggplant shaped teapots and I actually was the one who acquired the new varnishes, recalibrated the kiln time for the mini-pots and designed the vampire series. This puts the manager on notice that you expect to see these specifics in your review.

      And of course assuming a mistake not a laziness is key. It does sound like that might be the case.

    3. dawbs*

      This is what I was thinking.

      I often copy and paste myself because it helps me make sure things are in the same format–especially if the format I have work work is lousy and I wish I could make it better but I have to follow what HR/My boss gave me.

      So if I wrote Jeff’s review showing what he worked on from Jan-March, where he needs improvement, and finishing up with why I think we should give him a raise, I will copy that over into Alice’s review and delete his information and put in her information–but have his there to make sure I mimic it.
      Unless I have a moment of stupidity and forget that I’ve done this and screw up the whole thing.

    1. J.B.*

      Many condolences. Also, unless you really need a different job I would likely pass on the interview and take some time to heal.

      1. Bree*

        Thank you both I am just going to take my time specially after getting upset about that email yesterday.

        1. Artemesia*

          I hope you made it clear that you were passing because you didn’t feel delving into your private medical history was appropriate and not because you couldn’t produce the note. What an awful thing to experience when you are already experiencing such an awful loss.

    2. Mimmy*

      Adding my condolences as well. I see above that you passed on the rescheduled interview. You did the right thing. Big bullet dodged. Healing vibes coming your way.

  5. Daisy*

    I once went to work after a morning dentist appointment and I had a funny reaction to the anaesthetic. I couldn’t speak properly, as expected, but then I started laughing hysterically, then sobbing, then I fainted. The boss’s wife had to come and drive me home. One of the most embarrassing days of my life (once I sobered up).

    1. Oh no not again*

      I don’t mean to laugh (haha), but the fainting thing is scary. Hope you had someone watching you when you got home and glad the only bad thing that happened was an embarrassing story.

    2. SpyGlassez*

      I try to get my dental work done at the end of the day. Partly because I work directly with students while tutoring, so I can’t be numb or have problems speaking, but also because I always have a reaction to the anesthetic. Hysterical laughter followed by extensive maudlin whining is basically my day. I’d have to take the day off if I had dental work in the morning. Luckily I haven’t fainted yet, but I can totally feel you on this!

    3. Lily in NYC*

      Oh yikes! I kept trying to kiss some old man on the cheek after I got my wisdom teeth out (we were both in the waiting area at a pharmacy while our “handlers” were picking up our pills for us). My sister and the guy’s wife found the entire thing very amusing.

      1. Harper*

        Ok, now I am feeling like we need a thread just for these types of situations. :D I love it that his wife thought it was funny.

      2. Career Counselorette*

        Oh my God- I got my wisdom teeth out when I was 14, and the anesthesiologist was this young resident with really good bone structure, and my mom said that as I was going under I said something extremely sexually aggressive to him and then nodded right off, and he was MORTIFIED. I asked her what I said and to this day she still won’t tell me because it was so filthy, which could only mean that either 1) it was actually nothing and my mom was a prude or 2) I was a nymphet.

        1. Jenny Islander*

          Ha ha! I got my tonsils out at age 9. I was a very polite child, but my brothers were commercial fishermen, who curse the way most people say “um” or “like.” I knew all the words, is what I’m sayin’. So I was already loopy on the pentothal (?) and they were placing the metal remote sensors for the heart monitor and such on my bare chest before putting in the IV and starting the gas…I said, “[EXCREMENT,] THAT’S COLD!”

          There was a clattering noise from somewhere I couldn’t see. I learned later that the anesthesiologist was a Baptist deacon. He’d dropped a tray of instruments.

        2. Lindsay J*

          Oh god. This reminds me of the night where I got a little too drunk and all my friends will tell me is “gurl, you were a hot mess.” It was like 3 years ago at this point. I was in a relationship, but around another guy that I worked with that I had a bit of a crush on.

          It’s probably better for my sanity that I don’t know what I did or said because I would probably die of mortification if I did. But by the same token I need to know what happened.

        3. Alli525*

          When I got my wisdoms out at age 19, my dad was in the room while they were administering the anesthesia – I believe they used a numbing agent first, and then administered the shot into my gumline. My family was not a cursing family, although it did happen occasionally, plus I had been away at college for a year, but even I did not expect to hear “JESUS CHRIST THAT HURTS!!!!” come out of my mouth. Especially because shots don’t really hurt me that much. I remember being completely mortified that I swore in front of my dad… and then nodding off into a sparkly kaleidoscope dreamscape.

          He got me back by taking video of me being escorted out to the car afterward… he was laughing and recording while the nurse held my elbow. Lots of middle fingers in those photos too.

    4. Dentist OP #5*

      Oh man, now I have to worry about possibly fainting too?! :) Thanks for the comments everyone, and the answer Alison. I’ll let everyone know how it goes, as I’m SURE you’re on the edge of your seats.
      My last appointment was at 3, so I could go home after. But not so lucky this next time.

  6. Robyn*

    OP#5 You aren’t, by chance, the Press Secretary for the US and going to have an emergency root canal, are you?*

    *Only West Wing geeks will get the joke. :D

    1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      This was straight where my mind went too!

      “What’s he doing in Foggy Bottom?”

      1. Afiendishthingy*

        My supervisor came in after getting a crown replaced a few months back- and I also had a coworker who took advantage -“Hey Fiendish, go make Jane laugh, only half her face works, it’s hilarious!!”

    2. KT*

      That’s what came to my mind too….

      “you mean to tell me I have a secret plan to fight inflation and you don’t support it?”

    3. Bostonian*

      + 1000

      Just don’t try to explain the Secwet Pwan to Fwight Infwation until the drugs wear off.

    4. Anna the Accounting Student*

      May you never wake up your boss when he’s had three hours’ sleep and you’ve had none.

  7. Merry and Bright*

    In OldJob we had “anonymous” surveys twice a year. One time I made a particular observation which my manager raised at my next staff review a few weeks later. The chances of this being a coincidence were just slightly better than winning the Euro Millions. So I also have a problem with the anonymity of staff surveys and now make only very generic responses.

    1. Not The Droid You Are Looking For*

      Yup. At my current job, we all went in together and agreed to outline the department problems.

      Yup, no one higher up is doing anything and all of us got yelled at as a group and individually. Never again.

      1. Little Teapot*

        I would love to earnestly and seriously ask them what is the point of such surveys if you’re only going to get yelled at and no changes are made. Seriously!

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Yup…we are supposedly really big on “culture” here, but no one will do anything about my bad boss :(

          Now I just do what someone said below, which is just fill in the required multiple choice answers and leave the text boxes alone.

        2. So Very Anonymous*

          Where I work, “anonymous” surveys a standard part of each manager’s three-year review process. Another part of the process is a meeting where the manager’s reports have the entire review process explained to them. This meeting also includes a rundown of reasons why the survey results wouldn’t be taken seriously (if the answers are too negative or not constructive enough, if there aren’t enough answers, etc.). Why are we doing it then??

        3. Jennifer*

          Hah, I joined a committee and the leader is being tasked to come up with something to respond to unhappy survey answers. She said they have no idea what to do (since the stuff people are unhappy about are things like management and they can’t do anything about that) and have to have some official plan by December for the president. Whee. Also, the results haven’t even been released to the public. Gee, I wonder why.

          The point of surveys is to browbeat everyone into saying that everything is fine and happy, so the org can brag about that.

    2. Anonathon*

      I once got asked for “anonymous” feedback on the candidates for a leadership position. By “anonymous,” I mean that my name wasn’t attached to my comments, but the search committee chair told anyone who asked that they were mine. (I know because someone thanked me for my candor at an event a few weeks later. Well, yeah, I was candid because it was supposed to be ANONYMOUS. Sigh.)

      1. Artemesia*

        Oh I got bitten by this one too only the person I gave a native review to as a candidate is the person who got hired. I had been the acting manager and from the moment he arrived he was on my case so it was obvious someone had clued him in that I had supported another candidate. After one meeting when he reamed me publicly for my ‘ridiculous and stupid idea’ (which I might add was subsequently adopted as policy by the department with his support) one of my colleagues said to me ‘what was that about? you must remind him of his ex wife.’ If I had not had pretty large stores of social capital in that organization, I would have been terrified I would lose my job given his open hostility. So nice to have as a boss.

        1. Artemesia*

          that would be ‘negative review’ of course and he wasn’t a ‘native’ anything except jerk.

  8. Ruth (UK)*

    1. I have worked the type of job that demands a doctors note if you call in sick and asks prying questions as they judge whether it not you were sick enough while placing additional silly rules (eg you need to call in from a landline because of you’re sick you should be at home and if you’ve called in but then get spotted anywhere in public you were lying etc). This sounds like one of those places!! I would urge you to drop the next interview unless you badly need the job. As others have said, if they’re like this now they’ll only get worse!

    1. Int*

      Was this decades ago, or did they actually expect someone in the twenty-first century to have a landline?

      1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

        In the UK everybody still has landlines – most mobile reception is pretty sketchy somewhere, and often landlines come with internet/TV deals, or you can get good deals on its own (most people seem to have free calls after 6pm, for eg)

        I had the opposite reaction when I learnt (from this site) that no Americans have landlines anymore. How do you cope?!

        1. Jazz*

          I would say plenty of people actually don’t have landlines. I don’t, and most of my friends don’t (I’m 30 years old) – and even my grandparents don’t.

          1. UKAnon*

            Really? I don’t know anybody without one – friends, extended family etc. In fact, I contact people far more by and on landline than anything else.

            1. Myrin*

              Ha, I know exactly one person without a landline (I’m in Germany) and that’s my sister’s best friend. And it’s a hassle, oh my god, it always takes an eternity for my sister to finally reach her (which is super ironic because isn’t that, like, the thing about mobiles, that you can be contacted wherever you are?) because, another irony, the part in our town where she lives has notoriously bad reception. Well.

              1. Artemesia*

                I know almost no one with a landline. That includes us. We had one at our last location but when we moved to another state we didn’t bother. None of our local friends has one nor do either of our adult children. Americans are pretty mobile and landlines have pretty much gone by the wayside for people who move around.

                1. Kyrielle*

                  Point, one advantage to a cell is keeping the same number! (Though we kept our landline number when we moved, but only because it was within the same city.)

                2. Dynamic Beige*

                  Most of the people I know are just using their cell now, they’ve dumped their landlines or have an internet phone package that’s bundled with their TV.

                  I cannot use my mobile at home as I live in a cellular dead zone, so everyone looks at me like I’m weird. But, in the event of a power outage I can make calls since that runs on a different power structure than cell towers or internet.

            2. Quirk*

              UK also (Scotland). I have a landline, part of my internet package, but I leave it unplugged as only telemarketers use it. I don’t think I even have landline numbers for anyone but my parents. Are you in a fairly rural area by any chance, UKAnon?

        2. Mookie*

          We cope by being overworked, masochistic yespeople, most of the time. Having a mobile means, to some folk, you must be permanently on-call for life, friends, work, and other assorted pests. I never remember landlines being treated that way; if you were out or busy or just felt like screening or ignoring calls, those were valid enough reasons for most (reasonable) people.

          1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

            Yes! Particularly ones without number screening, where if 1471 didn’t have a number then they just had to keep trying until you were ready to take a call.

          2. Afiendishthingy*

            I probably screen more calls than I answer. My work phone is also a cell, and I have no landline. I have had to train myself that not every text requires a response . But I cope fine.

        3. Myrin*

          Same on all accounts. (I hate using my mobile phone because I need to pay for every call. *grumbles*) That being said, the rules Ruth talks about are still weird and unnecessary and come off as very controlling and we-don’t-trust-you.

            1. Myrin*

              Neither would they be where I am, I’m more referring to the employer’s attitude that’s behind it.

        4. Sarahnova*

          I don’t have one, and haven’t for years now. Or rather, my home technically has a land line connection, but there is no phone attached to it. It’s not necessary for broadband any more either. Londoner in my thirties.

        5. NJ anon*

          American with landline here! I have a package which includes phone, internet and cable TV. If I drop the landline, I will no longer get a discount and will actually pay more. Besides I like having a phone number to give out that is not my cell number.

          1. Xarcady*

            Me, too. But I also have a landline because cell phone coverage in my area is not very good. I can get a signal at one end of my house, but not the other. It’s weird. Can’t get a signal at all at work, and my office is in the same small city where I live. And I’m on the East Coast, in an area that you’d expect would have decent, if not very good, cell coverage.

            So I end up paying for both, although the landline is folded in with internet/cable TV.

          2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

            My house doesn’t even have phone jacks. It’s almost 100 years old, but was majorly renovated before be bought it. We didn’t have cell phones, and were half moved in before we noticed that there was no where to plug in a phone. Apparently, it’s really expensive to get phone lines run to your house if they aren’t already there. And we would have needed to hire a carpenter to put jacks in. So we spent that $1000 to join the 21st century.

            1. brightstar*

              Your comment made me realize that my apartment (less than 2 years old), doesn’t have any phone jacks, either.

            2. ACA*

              My house doesn’t either! I didn’t realize until I was helping a friend move into their house and saw one – “Whoa, a phone jack! Wait, my house doesn’t have a phone jack?”

            3. JC*

              I live in a new construction condo, and my husband and I recently realized that we had no idea if our place had phone jacks or not. Turns out it does! But like many Americans, I have not had a home landline phone since getting my first cell phone 11 years ago.

            4. Us, Too*

              I could be wrong, but you may have actually spent $1k to join the 19th or 20th century. Phone tech is pretty old with the first phone call being in the 1870’s, I think. So that probably makes it even worse when you think about it. LOL.

            5. Rebecca in Dallas*

              I have no idea if there are any phone jacks in my house, now that I think about it. It was built in 1965, so surely it does somewhere, I have just never thought to look for them. We haven’t had a landline in… 15 years? I think the last one I had was when I was in college.

            6. Jenny Islander*

              Dwellings without landlines make me nervous. The thing about a phone jack is, you plug an old push-button phone into it and it works even if the power is off. As long as the phone company’s generator is running, there’s enough power trickling down the line to keep the signal moving. Even if the power is off so long that your cell phone loses charge, you’ve got communications. So we still have our old kitchen phone in a cupboard, ready to plug in if our fancy cordless also-an-intercom multiple-base phone system karks it because the power’s out, and my husband keeps a similar old clunker in the assistant manager’s office at work for when the PBX goes pfft. It rings on the main number.

          3. Windchime*

            I think my internet package comes with a landline, but I’ve never hooked a phone up to it and I don’t know the number. Last time I had a landline, 95% of the calls were political spam or telemarketers. My mom was the other 5% and I managed to get her to start calling the mobile number when I moved and got rid of the old landline.

            My parents still have a landline, and one of my coworkers who lives on an island with spotty cell coverage has one. Oh, and my son is required to have a dedicated landline for his telecommuting job. Those are the only people I know in my circle who have a landline.

        6. The IT Manager*

          Easily. Mobiles work anywhere even at home so you just leave it on all the time and answer when it rings 9if you wish since you can see the number of the person calling). Its actually easier on people calling you since they only need call one number – not the landline and then the mobile if you don’t answer.

          1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

            I am thinking that this might be a crucial difference; in much of the UK mobile reception is patchy at best and there are often places that only one provider gives signal for, so a mobile really isn’t as reliable as it sounds.

            1. MashaKasha*

              Ohhh I see now. Yes, that would do it. The first cell phone I had, in the early 2000s, was a work phone and it did have that problem. It was ridiculous really – in my own house, for whatever reason, I had no problem making and getting calls when I was in the kitchen. But if I went into the dining room, which was right next to the kitchen, I’d immediately lose the signal. Or you would randomly get roaming charges for calling from different parts of town… It helped that my work paid the phone bill. When I left that job, I switched providers and never had that problem again; and I imagine all providers have corrected these issues by now.

              Also, when I first started using a cell phone, minutes were really tight. Then providers started switching to unlimited in-network minutes, allowing you to add “favorites” that counted as in-network, etc and finally recently I found out that my provider has been giving me unlimited minutes for a while now. If I had a low, limited number of minutes then I’d probably want to keep my landline!

              1. Kyrielle*

                There are still reception problems with some providers in some areas, especially rural, but a provider that doesn’t have good reception in most of a city won’t have as many customers in that city, everyone will move to a provider that does. It also depends on your geography – if it’s fairly flat, a tower provides more coverage than if you have hills/dips/valleys to contend with (though a hilltop tower can get some good coverage).

                I remember being at a client site in the Midwest about a decade ago with my company cell phone, talking to my boss. First, the client’s building had a hefty amount of concrete, so no one had much reception inside. But second, our company’s cell provider at the time was relying on partner networks and those partner networks in that area were thin. I could take/make calls on my company cell if I was outside – on the path from the front door to the parking lot – on the *west* side. If I moved to the east side of the path – a distance of, oh, perhaps five feet – then the call dropped. Really I needed to be out on the lawn west of the path if I really wanted a good call, I assume, but I wasn’t about to hike onto their lawn to test that theory. ;)

                1. L McD*

                  Up until recently, I lived in an older townhouse with zero reception. I even tried getting one of those signal-booster devices from my provider and it couldn’t catch a signal at all. It seemed like everyone but me just went outside to make their phone calls. In New England! All year! I sprung for a landline, but thankfully I no longer live in a Faraday cage.

            1. chumpwithadegree*

              True. We have a landline because I do not expect the mobile phones to work that well after the big earthquake.

              1. MashaKasha*

                Or even a power outage (we had a 1.5 day one after our area was hit with the tail end of Sandy.)

        7. Allison*

          I thought of getting one when I moved to my new place, since the cell reception was spotty. I ended up not buying a phone or getting a landline put in, and just made it work by using Skype and making sure I was in the right spot in my apartment when I really needed to make calls. The reception actually improved over the first year or so, so it wasn’t an issue for long. I also have an unlimited plan through my family, so that helps, and I don’t even make or receive calls all that often; the vast majority of my communication is text-based.

        8. Oh no not again*

          Plenty of Americans still have landlines, usually one per house. When I was living on my own in an apartment, I ditched the landline for a cell.

          1. Koko*

            I think it’s generational. Most people of my parents’ age that I know have a landline. Most people of my age (under 35) are cell-only. I think it’s that the older generation already had and has always had landlines so they just keep them. My generation mostly grew up with our cell phone number being our only number, initially because we wanted a different line than our parents at home, then moved so much or couldn’t afford to pay for two phone services as young adults, so that even once we settled into permanent homes and could afford a landline if we wanted, we don’t really see the point.

            1. Saucy Minx*

              My sisters (aged 75, 73, 71) have landlines & cells. My brothers (69, 62) & I (67; female, if you were wondering) have cells only. Must be our youth compared the the elder sisters’ agedness that explains this phenomenon.

              I have had a cell phone since autumn of 2004, & I moved at about the same time & never bothered to get a landline.

        9. sunny-dee*

          I *want* a landline, and I had to settle for VoIP, which I hate. The “phone” (now cable) company was supposed to give me a landline, but it never worked and they refused to send a tech out.

          1. Judy*

            I’m not sure true landlines are offered in our area anymore (Midwest US). When our provider moved to a cable based phone, my husband called around and couldn’t find anyone offering actual phone lines. So if we lose power, we won’t have phone once the UPS dies.

          2. Arjay*

            Our phone company sent a tech out 4 times to try to get our landline working through the obstacles of our ridiculous landlady. On the fourth time, their tech told us, “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but if I were you, I’d switch to the cable company service.”

        10. MashaKasha*

          Wow, really. I didn’t know everyone in UK had a landline. I dunno how we cope, we just do! We had a landline when I was married. Then I moved out and was like, money’s going to be tight, so why pay an extra $30-$40/month for something we don’t really need? So I never got one after the kids and I moved out. My x-husband cut his landline pretty soon after that as well. Two years later, my parents, who were then in their 70s, did the same. Never felt any discomfort.

          I never liked the landline… It scared my dog each time the phone rang. At least with the cellphone, I can turn the volume down or put it on mute.

        11. Ad Astra*

          These days, even my parents don’t have a landline. I’m 27 and have never had a landline in my name. Anyone know if Americans just have better reception than the UK? Or do we tend to move more often or something?

        12. Kyrielle*

          I have a landline, solely for the alarm system to dial out because cellular alarm service costs a little bit more. I never use it for anything otherwise – why would I? I could only get calls when I’m at home and I’d have to sit in one of two or three spots. (I suppose I could get a headset that I could carry around, but I haven’t, because I already have a cell phone that I can carry around.)

          But my cell phone has at least 2 bars of reception in the middle bottom of the house, and more most of the rest of the place, so it’s plenty good enough. I use it for all my calls, and I still don’t come close to my minutes for the month. We lose minutes every month. (We have rollover minutes, but we use less than the month’s minutes every month, so they eventually age out. I figure if we ever have an emergency and need lots more, the then-currently-banked rollover minutes will come in handy, though!)

          1. Kyrielle*

            Okay, I *did* use the landline three times for phone screens/interviews whilst job searching. There’s “my cell phone works fine” and then there’s tempting fate. ;)

        13. TootsNYC*

          no Americans have landlines anymore

          this is completely false. (Hint: be really, really skeptical of words like “no Americans” or “all people” or “companies never.”)

          There *are* many more people who now are only mobile; they tend to be people who expect to move around, though of course people who are simply frugal may drop the landline, viewing it as a duplicate expense. But I would say that more than half the people that I know DO have landlines. In some areas (i.e., not areas w/ lots of young professionals who are renting; or in places where cell coverage isn’t as strong or reliable), almost everyone has a landline.

        14. Tau*

          I’ve lived in the UK for ten years and have generally not had a landline, and this was definitely not unusual among my friends. I’m going to go ahead and say I don’t think that’s universal.

        15. Num Lock*

          When I got my first apartment in college, my parents insisted I sign up for a landline as part of the cable/internet bundle, despite having a cell phone. Something about safety or whatever. I received 3 kinds of phone calls:

          -Some older lady trying to contact her uncle with rambling messages with no call back number or caller ID so I couldn’t tell her she had the wrong number for over a year… (and I was never home when she called) until someone I guess clued her in that the uncle had died and then she left me a final, snotty voicemail about how awful a human I am.

          I do not miss the landline.

          1. Katieinthemountains*

            Yep. My husband doesn’t have a cell phone so we have a landline. If we need to call 911, the landline will provide our location more accurately than a cell phone (especially in apartments where the units are very close together). But since I had the cable account when we married, the telemarketers are calling for ME.
            And, the dude who used to have this number didn’t pay his bills, so every time his debts are sold, I get a string of calls for him. But at least his friends aren’t calling me at 7 a.m. on Saturdays making me think that somebody’s dead anymore.

          2. MashaKasha*

            Ah, I remember one thing I hated about our landline. We had maybe four or five phones set up all around the house. One in the basement, two downstairs, three upstairs and so on. I was on call then and the procedure was that they call your cell first, if you don’t call back in X minutes they call your landline. Believe me, I was very good about answering or calling right back, but a few times, due to a dropped call or who knows what else, they called my landline. In the middle of the night. Imagine a family of four and a very skittish dog sleeping peacefully at three AM, when all of a sudden FIVE phones start ringing everywhere in the house! dog jumps up and starts barking his head off, both kids wake up, and a great night of family fun begins! Nope, I don’t miss it either.

        16. Elizabeth West*

          I got rid of mine because I was paying through the nose for DSL internet and not using the landline at all. Now I pay a bit more for cable internet itself, but it’s still cheaper than the DSL, because I don’t have the phone charges tacked on. I upgraded my mobile and pay more for that, but it’s SOOOOOO much better. And my internet is so much faster that I was finally able to ditch my satellite TV altogether and just watch my shows online.

          I’m paying more each for two things than I was, but I’m paying less overall because I dropped the third thing. If that makes any sense…..I’m sort of blergh in the brain department today.

        17. Amy UK*

          This definitely isn’t true anywhere in the UK I’ve lived. I don’t know a single person under 30 with a landline, and even my parents generation are getting rid of theirs for the most part.

          1. Amy UK*

            And to add: I’ve never lived anywhere where mobile signal was unreliable enough to comment on, nevermind bad enough to need a landline for that reason.

        18. Observer*

          But you shouldn’t be put in that position.Oh, lots of Americans still have land lines. But, you can’t tell if someone is calling from a land line or not, because the area codes are the same.

      2. BritCred*

        Agreement about the UK – if you have broadband you have a landline. The providers of the broadband insist on it – I’ve only ever found one deal that allowed you not to have one and that was – at the time – more expensive than paying for the landline!

        An aside: I always call in on my mobile since about 2004… because its right next to me and not wherever the fixed point/cordless cradle for the landline is!

          1. Tau*

            Same – I had broadband-only in a major city in Scotland and now I’m in a smaller town in the Southwest. Cable companies often offer it.

      3. Chocolate lover*

        Every member of my and my husband’s immediate families have landlines.I’m the US. My mom and several of my siblings have only pay as you go cell phones and only use for emergency. My father has no personal cell phone at all.

        1. Artemesia*

          until a couple of months ago I only had one of those ‘star trek’ flip phones, pay as you go and gave my number out to almost no one. I only got a smart phone because we were going to be traveling and it was the cheapest way to manage international calling — and it is really cool to be able to translate Russian menus and such by just shining your phone camera on it and letting it translate the cyrillic letters and Russian words into English.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I LOVED having a smartphone in Britain. So much easier than standing around flipping through a map or a London A-Z book like a vulnerable tourist. Everybody constantly looks at their phones, so it was way easier to find which bus to catch, etc. without drawing extra attention to myself. The phone I had last autumn didn’t work there, so I bought a small smartphone at Carphone Warehouse. I still have it–it has Skype on it, so I could use it with wi-fi in an emergency. Now it mostly plays music. :)

      4. Stephanie*

        Eh, we still have one. Reception is horrible at my house. Unfortunately, we get a ton of telemarketing calls on it. The cell quality is passable at best. I did a job interview on it last month (interviewer called my cell by accident) and it sounded like the interview was underwater at times. The cell phone is only good if good call quality isn’t imperative. Otherwise, you’ll just be asking the other person to repeat themselves constantly.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        As people are saying above this is uncommon in the UK. I know more people without mobiles than without landlines. That said, it is still obv a silly rule as you can use a mobile at home. The point was that a landline proves you are at home and also they were jerks

        1. Macedon*

          I think it really might depend on the UK region. Londoner here, and most people I know don’t have landlines. Seen as a bit of a waste.

          1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

            I would hazard a guess that that’s very much confined to just London – and maybe a couple of the other big cities. I am in one of the biggest cities, and even in the central locations only two providers offer a decent signal, and where my family is in the country there’s often only one or nothing at all.

            1. Puffle*

              20-something Brit here and I’ve never had a landline. I’ve also never lived in London, only a small-ish city and the countryside.

              I think that there’s sometimes a generational element. Most of the younger people I know see a landline as an unnecessary expense and just use mobile phones/ Skype, but most of the older people in my circle couldn’t imagine living without one.

              1. AcademiaNut*

                Keeping a landline if you move a lot can be a real pain – cancelling the old number, paying a new hook-up fee, updating all your contacts – compared to carting a cell around with you. If you’ve got decent coverage at your home, and use Skype for long distance, the land-line is mainly extra expense.

                Where I am, pretty much everyone has a cell-phone, over a wide age range (there’s more cell phone subscribers than people in the country), with 65% having smart phones. The coverage is excellent, rates cheap, and there’s wifi all over the place. I have a land-line, technically, but it’s only for internet, and there’s no phone plugged in.

                In the US, internet often comes with the cable TV package, not with the landline, so that’s not necessarily an incentive.

                1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

                  That’s why the majority of friends, even those with package deals that include phone service, don’t bother to get a landline phone. We’re moving just about every year, mostly to different towns and often to different states. We went to college with just our cellphones and since everyone already has that number we don’t see the need to get another one.

              2. Daisy Steiner*

                Do you mean you grew up without one as well? I was wondering the other day – what’s that like? I’m thinking about if you have small children in the house, and you need to teach them how to use the phone in emergencies – what’s the plan for if they can’t find mum’s phone, or dad’s phone is on the table but it’s flat? Does it complicate that whole procedure?

                When I was little one of the first things I remember learning was how to dial the emergency number, but I feel like it would be more complicated on a cellphone.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  If I had a baby, I might spring for a basic landline plan just to have emergency capability. But for everything else, I’d ask people to only call my cell / call them only on it.

        2. Amy UK*

          That is utterly bizarre to me. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a mobile, even in my grandparents generation. I only know a handful of people with a landline.

    2. Not Today Satan*

      I hate rules like that so much. I almost never stay home all the time when I’m sick, because I need to go to the pharmacy for medicine or to the doctor or something. Have the people who think of these rules never been sick themselves?

      (Same applies for bosses who analyze whether an employee “sounds” or “looks” sick. Not all sicknesses are apparent from the outside!)

    3. Ruth (UK)*

      By the way though I’ve noted landlines are common I should also note I don’t actually have one myself… This did cause a problem for me the one time I called in sick which is why I know they tried to enforce the rule. They asked me to hang up and call back on my landline to prove I was sick and not out skyving. I said I couldn’t. I had to then provide a doctor note and was told if they found out I was lying I’d be in a lot of trouble. I worked there for two years and only ever called in that one time. The point of the rule is partly to discourage people from calling in by making it as difficult and awkward as possible… It’s almost less of a mobile vs landline issue and more of a petty rules for no reason than to make things more difficult because we don’t trust you issue…

      1. Fafaflunkie*

        If that were the case, I would be fleeing that place as soon as I can get myself out of there. Really, they expect you to get calling “from home?” You are! Oh, you mean from a landline? I’d reply “you call BT or whoever hooks you up to a landline these days, have it installed, and pay for it, and I’ll be more than happy to call you from my home landline” and see how they react. It’s absolutely ludicrous to expect that an employee has a landline when (s)he has a cellphone that works just as well. Heck, I still remember to this day the first phone number that was truly mine, back when I was 16 (I’m 45 now, so this was back when cellphones cost way more than any teenager could afford if his/her parents weren’t Bill and Melinda Gates.) For shiggles I called that first phone number of mine, and all you hear is “there is no service at this number.” Shows you how many people are lining up for landlines in this part of the world. (Before you ask, phone numbers are assigned to carriers and whether they’re landlines or cellphones.)

  9. Fantasma*

    OP#1: I’m very sorry for your loss. :(

    OP#3: If you do choose to answer the survey, don’t fill in any of the free form text fields. Just do the multiple choice part. It can be easy to identify people based on their writing style.

    1. Perse's Mom*

      The few times I’ve been cranky enough to free-form answer ‘anonymous’ workplace surveys, I’ve intentionally mangled my writing. No capitalization, limited punctuation, poor spelling, etc. Considering how most of the other people in my department communicate in writing, it’s effective camouflage.

  10. Anon for this*

    Oh, #1, I am so sorry for your loss. I’d just say “screw them” and write off the job.

    On a personal note, try to find someone to talk about it, if you can and don’t have a very strong “nope” reaction to the thought. I suffered my third miscarriage last week, so I am particularly sensitive to the subject at the moment – talking about it can be so hard, but I didn’t know how much I needed to do it until I finally did. And right now, I am trying to get the courage to talk to my boss about it so he knows why I was sick so much this year and will continue to have lots of doctor’s appointments…

    1. Bree*

      Im’m so sorry for y for your loss as well. I scratched that interview i replied to their email this morning.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Good for you! It’s a terrible situation, but you’re taking control, and that’s awesome.

        Take care of yourself. For me, I was actually okay for the first week or so (not great, but pretty okay). But after about a month, it was like it hit me all at once.

        You take the time you need to process and to heal, and don’t feel bad about whatever you’re feeling. If you have anyone you can talk to, do it. My best friend had a miscarriage a couple of years ago, and she was THERE. She walked me through what she went through, what her husband went through, how they’re both handling it now after a couple of years, and she just knew what it was like. Nothing can make it better, but it did so much to make me feel not alone and sane.

      2. Anon for this*

        Gosh, I am so angry at how they treated you. I am so sorry.

        I hope your next pregnancy (if you decide to try again – I remember also being annoyed by doctors assuming that I’d just try again directly after the loss) is boring and uneventful.

    2. Ad Astra*

      I’m learning from my friends’ recent experiences that miscarriage is far more common than most of us think. It’s really a shame that it’s such an isolating experience when there are so many people — often including your own friends and family — who’ve been through the same thing. I hope more women choose to talk about it, if not publicly than at least with their loved ones.

      1. Anon for this*

        Yes, about 20 percent of all pregnancies. It’s really quite astounding that it isn’t talked about more – thenthen again, I also didn’t particularly feel like sharing after my first two. And the way medical professionals treated me didn’t help.

        Now that I am one of those less than 1 percent of women who have three or more and have to get a whole battery of tests, I am getting more open about sharing, as long as I can control who knows what.

        Thanks everyone for the comments.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Same here–I know a lot of women who have been through it. I’m sick of hearing people say “The mother must have done something wrong.” NO NO NO NO NO. That’s not how it works!

        If someone I know says that to anyone, I will clout them with my shoe! And I will make sure it has cat poo on it when I do!

      3. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        A dear friend recently had a miscarriage and I was surprised when so many women in our circle shared their stories. I had no clue how common it was :(

  11. KAZ2Y5*

    OP #3 – Run far away from that survey! I have been in that position and there is no possible way it will turn out good. I was in a dept of about 20 people – we did that one year and nothing good came out of it.
    First of all, our survey had enough identifying questions (age range, what shift did we work, did we have a license or not?) that it would have been really easy to identify most of the surveys.
    Then if your group decides that everyone is going to be brutally honest, are they really? In my experience, the person who griped the most about what was going on did not want to get involved and would not put anything critical on the survey (I know because we talked about it and this person told me that is what they were going to do).
    We still had enough people willing to be honest that our manager’s rating really dropped – to the extent that corrective measures would have to be put in place. Well, we were supposed to write in what corrective measures our department needed and the manager plus a couple of other higher up people would decide which ones to follow. First of all – goodbye to all pretense of anonymity. Of course, no one wanted to do that but some of us finally wrote (as diplomatically as possible) things we thought were problems and what our solutions were. They presented these solutions and said what they were going to do to follow them, but that only lasted a couple of months.
    The kicker was when our manager blatantly went against one of the solutions. Everyone pretty much gave up then and the next survey everything was neutral. So we went through a lot of angst for basically no reason at all – and no change in the department.
    Call me bitter, but I do not trust surveys at all and will never do that again.

    1. Windchime*

      At least you’re getting the survey feedback. All the surveys we take at work drop into a black hole and it’s as if we never took them.

  12. Legalchef*

    Re #3 – we have that for our upward evaluations, but they are mandatory (though allegedly anonymous). We started having them 2 years ago. Before the first one was due, I went to our manager as the most senior person on our team (at the time there were only 4 of us who would be doing the eval), saying that we had serious concerns about doing evaluating our immediate supervisor, and were worried about retaliation (because of course there is “retaliation” that could be done in the normal course of a job without being able to prove it’s retaliation). I told him about a lot of the issues we have. I was told “just do the number rankings and don’t fill in comments.” Which is what we did, and she was still clearly pissed. And nothing changed

    And before we had to do the ones from this year, I had the same conversation (just so it was “on the record”), and got the same response. Yay effective management?

    This year, now that I supervise, I got my own evals (which were great!) but I could tell exactly who wrote what. We also got our upwards back before the reviews of our staff were due. Shouldn’t the reviews (both for supervisors and staff) be done and finalized before handing them back to review?

    1. Any Color As Long As Its Black*

      “This year, now that I supervise, I got my own evals (which were great!) but I could tell exactly who wrote what.”

      Remembering your pre-management time, do you think that the great evals are a reflection of reality, or just that nobody wants to say anything bad in anonymous surveys that aren’t properly anonymous? :-)

      1. legalchef*

        The upward evaluations have only been happening for 2 years – the first year, I was not a supervisor, and that was the first year I went to our manager. The second year is when I had my first upward eval. But yes, I think that people are not as inclined to say anything negative (though I think the difference is that for my supervisor, things would have been *really* negative, instead of a critique here and there). I actually do think that my eval was largely on point, since there were a couple minor critiques in there.

        Of course, the upward evals are also useless when staff goes to management and says that their supervisor is so awful and irrational that they are scared of the result of the evals… and nothing is done either to fix the process or to make the supervisor better.

  13. Daisy*

    I would be tempted to provide them with a generic note and still cancel the interview citing the request and how invasive it is. I’m sorry for your loss.

  14. Merry and Bright*

    I’m in the UK and my broadband runs off my landline. I also have a TV package in the same deal.

    My mobile signal is not always full strength in my flat so the landline is sometimes useful. Also evening calls up to 60 mins are free on my landline deal.

    Also, if I just had a mobile it would be very expensive for some family members to call. Not everyone has the same phone package.

    I can’t think off the top of my head of anyone in my circle who does not have a landline.

    1. Little Teapot*

      It really baffles me when people in the USA and now apparently UK talk like this about mobiles i.e. ‘Expensive calls / not everyone has the same plan’. Literally everyone I know in Australia including myself has unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles. It’s standard. I also have unlimited text and mms. Which is also standard. It baffles me how expensive your plans are!! It’s such a non deal in Australia you ask to borrow someone’s phone if yours is dead and they’ll hand it over without asking who you’re calling. I’ve had unlimited calls for years & neve had a landline. It also baffles me that USA charges you to receive calls too! How greedy are the telecoms!!

      1. The IT Manager*

        Lots and lots of Americans have unlimited minutes or so many minutes (especially with the increase in texting reduction calling) that paying for incoming calls is nothing. “Friends and Family” plans used to be a selling point; it’s not any longer. It seems that Britain isn’t there yet.

        They’re mostly getting people with data charges now that people can watch movies / listen to music from the cloud while not in range of wifi.

        1. Merry and Bright*

          Well, it depends. Lots of plans – including unlimited – are available. But the monthly fixed fee will usually go up accordingly. So depending on your usage and budget you choose the plan that is the best value for you. This is mobiles/cell phones. But phoning a mobile from a landline on the UK is a different thing and is often very expensive.

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, that’s where I’m at. I could have an unlimited mobile plan (in fact, I had one when I was younger) but since I basically never call or text anyone, it would cost me so much more than the five messages a month I pay for individually.

      2. Artemesia*

        You would love American health care then when even with health insurance you are likely to be pushed into bankruptcy if someone in the family has a very serious illness. Oh and if you get sick enough to lose your job, you lose your insurance.

      3. Fafaflunkie*

        Here in Canada, most cellphone plans are unlimited local dialing and texts from anywhere in the country. For an added $5/month, you can call anywhere in Canadian provinces (i.e. not area code 867) or the lower 48 US states. Of course, most people care more about their data plans than their talk/text plans around here, and that’s where we get it up the you-know-what.

    2. Rat in the Sugar*

      I, on the other hand, can’t think of anyone in my circle who DOES have a landline! My folks keep theirs for elderly relatives and that’s it. It might be a generational thing or maybe an American thing, but I hardly ever see them now.

  15. Blight*

    #5 – My office is very laid back and I always need to have my dental appointments in the morning. While no one holds it against me, no one gives me slack either. I once came in with a fully frozen mouth and it was supposedly hilarious to listen to me talk. I was getting on with my work and my supervisor age me a list and said “I want you to call all these payments in right now.” It wasn’t time sensitive work so I asked if it could wait until after lunch since my mouth was frozen… nope, for some godforsaken reason it had to be done right then.

    I was laughed at my some on the phone, others had difficulty understanding me and there were several callbacks when they misunderstood the payment details. I was utterly humiliated and to top it off, the inside of my cheeks were all cut up.

    So now when I have a dentist appointment in the morning, even if I can make it in for 9 I tell my boss that I can’t come in until noon since my mouth will be frozen.

    1. MashaKasha*


      In my first year at OldJob, I had a dental appointment scheduled for a Saturday to have a wisdom tooth extracted. I then somehow got scheduled to come in to work on the same Saturday to do a production upgrade for our system at, can’t remember, maybe a half-dozen to a dozen manufacturing plants across country. For a portion of my upgrade, I had to call the IT person at the plant and have them do some of the steps while they were on the phone with me. Needless to say, I was really wondering how things would go! I warned my users that half of my mouth would be numb, and, can’t remember the details 15 years later, but I think the upgrade went well. Nobody laughed and thankfully I did not cut up my cheeks. I’ve got to say I wouldn’t do something like that again, though!

      Agree that your boss is an idiot. At least in my case, there was a specific time window when all users could be at work, production lines were down etc. There’s no explanation for his insistence that you make the calls that morning and not after lunch!

  16. Allison*

    #4, this seems like a bad situation; your boss should not be giving you the silent treatment. You can’t manage someone if you’re not even acknowledging them, and if he’s not managing you, he’s not really doing his job. Also, I don’t know much about where your from or what the cultural norms are, but expecting you to work through multiple weekends in a row is ridiculous.

    But I’m wondering about the money here. Did they ask you for the money? Did you offer and give it after they accepted? Or did you just give them the money because they needed money. Because if you voluntarily gave up your savings, and didn’t have any agreement in place regarding getting it back (like Alison mentioned), you may need to chalk it up to a loss. And I don’t know if the fact that you gave money should be factored into how they’re treating you. Your boss’s actions are disrespectful regardless of how much money you gave. It’s an issue, but I think you have to treat it as separate from the money issue.

    1. Artemesia*

      It is common to resent and want to punish people who help you especially in a situation like this that is not family (and therefore not someone whose job it is to help you). I fear that your money has been essentially stolen and you are being ignored precisely because you did give them your money and they have no intention of returning.

      1. Allison*

        Huh, I’ve never really been aware of that. I have, however, witnessed people do good deeds without being asked, and then get mad when they don’t get the gratitude they feel they deserve, so they hold it over people’s heads every time they need something or feel slighted by other people’s behavior. “I do so much for so many people, but when I need a favor no one’s around to help? You’re all terrible, disrespectful people and I hate you all!”

        1. Artemesia*

          Resentment of benefactors is a well known and studied phenomenon. People resent needing help and often find ways to justify not being grateful or not paying back loans they solicited from friends.

        2. fposte*

          I’ve seen both. And this sounds like a situation where both could be operating. The OP is sick of working 7 days a week, but also says all she does is surf anyway.

          Right now it sounds like the OP is staying only in the hopes of getting her money repaid, and I think that’s just chasing good resources after bad; I don’t think you have any more leverage just for being in the company. I’d definitely want to get a loan repayment schedule clarified–and I’d check with a tax expert in the country to see if you can write off the loan if you don’t get it back–but I wouldn’t plan on sticking around just for that. And if a write-off means that means that the company is now on the hook for taxes for the money, too bad, so sad.

          1. Jasmine*

            Hi, I’m the person who wrote in. Thanks for replying Allison. I needed that knock in my head telling me to move on. Since this is my first job and my boss gave me such rosy depictions of how I can succeed if I stayed, I did not want to leave.

            At the time I was giving money, I was actually the person in charge of finance. Currently I am not in charge of finance anymore at my request. Some of the money was actually requested by him, about 2 k. The remaining amount of 1.5 K were sums of intermittent small cash which I loaned on my own and he is aware of.

            I was actually working up till the day I asked for a leave on Sunday, which he approved. I only started not having work when he started ignored me.

            He also yelled at me the reason why he ignored me. I was looking disgruntled. Which is my fault, I have the tendency to look the way I feel. Most of the time I do my best not to show it, but I was tired that day and showed it. So I guess I deserve the treatment.

            I am doing work now, but he has limited communication with me. I think I have come to a point where I do not care anymore. I am looking for other jobs. Like you said, I think I am bitter. And I don’t want to keep being bitter and stay in this toxic environment I have created for myself.

            He had said he will pay me back, and I expected it will be immediate. But I know now that it is on his own terms. I know he has the money to pay me back but he is holding the payment.

            Once I have another job lined up, I will give notice and ask for a cheque.

            1. Jasmine*

              Oh, and there’s no such thing as working multiple weekends in my country. It is only my boss who does this. He says in order to become successful you have to keep working and never take leave. Because when he was younger he worked for 12 years on Christmas.

              The problem is not the part about not taking leave and working continuously. I can do that. But when I ask for leave in desperation, it becomes a problem. Which I can’t accept.

  17. Workfromhome*


    These surveys have to be one of the worst things in the workplace today. In most companies there is simply no good outcome unless your workplace is already “perfect”

    If you give honest feedback there will likely be retaliation (even if its subconscious) because its easy to tell who wrote what. If you try to only supply the numbers to hide your identity the survey is less meaningful because there are no examples to back up the feedback. They don’t know who or what to address.
    If you give fake good feedback its just ammunition to say everything is fine and bad boss continues being a bad boss.

    One might be tempted to speak out and say “I don’t want to do the survey as I’m concerned about anonymity” DON’T! I’ve seen it in my workplace. Management figured if this person didn’t want to have anyone know who he was on his feedback it must have been negative. They implied that this person was a poor team player because they didn’t trust the company to keep their word about anonymity.

    My suggestion if they send you a survey is just don’t fill it in. If someone says “hey you didn’t fill your survey in” you have an immediate red flag. If its anonymous how do they know YOU didn’t fill it in.

  18. BananaPants*

    #1: I’m very sorry you’re going through this. As for the company, I’d call to cancel the interview with “Take This Job And Shove It” playing in the background. This is highly inappropriate of them to ask and reveals a lot about the working environment – if they’d do this to an interview candidate, just think what they’d do to employees?

    #3: I’m blandly neutral on general employee surveys and flat-out won’t do a 360 review for any supervisor after a former boss (good guy, awful manager) reacted very poorly. He couldn’t figure out exactly who in his group said what but the reviews were almost universally bad and he decided to retaliate against all of us by torpedoing all raises and promotions and giving horrible performance reviews. He made life miserable for 6 months before he was quietly replaced.

  19. Erin*

    #1 – This may be an unpopular opinion, and I’d urge you to do what’s right for you regardless of what you read here, but if it were me…I wouldn’t want to let them get away with thinking I was lying when I wasn’t. I would provide them with the doctor’s note and take the interview.

    No one says you have to take the job if it’s offered, but I’d take the interview, and see what happens. Maybe this is their one oddity/pet peeve, maybe they’ve had bad experiences with lying employees, maybe they’re overly careful about such things but otherwise perfectly normal employers. Or, maybe they’re jerks and you decide not to take the job, while proving them wrong at the same time.

    Also, it’s very very normal for doctor’s notes not to give any specifics unless for some reason you ask them to. I would ask him to use the exact wording you did – “minor surgical procedure” – and I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t.

    And, I am sorry for your loss. Take some time for yourself. :)

    1. neverjaunty*

      LW said that she refuses to give them the reason she missed. Whether you or I or anyone else would want to prove to a bunch of pin-headed strangers that we’re truthful is a bit beside the point, yes?

      And having been burned is absolutely no excuse for this. They aren’t simply asking for a doctor’s note, which is intrusive enough, but for her discharge papers. Those typically sum up the details of the medical procedure in question.

      1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        That was the part that I found really odd. Discharge papers contain a lot of information that I would not want to see as a hiring manager, and would not want to share with others.

        If the goal is solely to prove that she didn’t just decide to skip the interview, why wouldn’t a note work?

        1. Mimmy*

          Same here. I can kinda understand a doctor’s note since it’s so common (but still seems inappropriate at the interview stage), but discharge papers??

        2. Ad Astra*

          My best guess is that OP already has the discharge papers, but would have to make a separate call to get a more vague note, since she didn’t ask for one at the hospital. So maybe they think they’re making this easier on her? It’s still absurd, though.

          1. Observer*

            No, because it would have been just as easy for them to say “Please provide some proof. You can use your discharge papers if you would like, but a note from your doctor or hospital would work, if you prefer.” Yes, it’s an extra line in the email, but really, is that so much to do?

    2. The IT Manager*

      I would also want to “prove” to them I wasn’t lying. Although I am also somewhat lazy so I don’t know if I would go through the effort to get documents I didn’t already have. This is indeed a pretty big red flag about how they expect employees to act.

      neverjaunty – Given what the LW asked – about is I legal – it does appear she does not want to walk away from the job opportunity just yet since she’s looking for an way to go to a new interview without disclosing the reason she was in the hospital.

      1. neverjaunty*

        I took “is it legal” more as “are they freaking kidding me”, but regardless, wanting the job still is different from not wanting the interviewer to ‘get away with’ thinking OP is lying. There’s zero percentage in the latter for the OP.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Well, she totally could have done this, of course, but I think their actions are really invasive and ridiculous, and I wouldn’t want to work for a company who treated a job candidate this way. I can’t even imagine what being an employee would be like.

      In my experience, if candidates are going to blow off interviews, they rarely call to reschedule or even to alert the employer that they can’t make it. They usually just pull a no-show. I would be more inclined to take the word of someone who did call and just reschedule the interview.

      But this crap? No siree. I think this is an automatic trip to Nopeville.

      1. catsAreCool*

        “I wouldn’t want to work for a company who treated a job candidate this way. I can’t even imagine what being an employee would be like.” This!!!

        They probably make their employees go to the doctor for a single sick day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had the occasional sick day where I just needed to lie down and do nothing for a day or 2, and the thought of dragging myself to the doctor, to wait for a while only to be told I should go home and rest, would have been awful.

  20. Hiring Mgr*

    On #1, is there any chance that this was somehow a mistake and whoever mentioned the note confused you with an employee who had called in sick or something? Because otherwise it’s absurd….

    1. Bree*

      No he specifically wrote : I understand that live happens therefore we will reschedule for tuesday morning, same time, and please bring your hospital discharge paperwork and that should work on my end.

        1. Elle the new Fed*

          Geez, seriously? The discharge paperwork is none of his business. At most give him a generic note…

        1. Ife*

          If it were me, it would take a lot of willpower not to send a particularly obnoxious NOPE gif in reply.

          Of course, I’d also feel the need to prove I wasn’t faking, so they might get a very detailed description of what happened if I was feeling snarly.

          1. L McD*

            I don’t want to get hung up in moderation, so just google “nope octopus” for the exact reaction gif that ran (heh) through my mind upon reading this.

            Condolences, LW. And while I understand what some are saying about wanting to prove you’re not lying, I really think it’s better not to even dignify that nonsense with a justification. I mean…really. Unbelievable.

            1. Tau*

              Yeah, I usually find that I always regret giving in to that “prove I’m not lying” impulse in situations like these. The heartfelt apology I’m secretly hoping for will never be forthcoming (nor will any apology, most likely) and if someone is sufficiently irrational and has made up their mind that you’re a liar, they’ll continue to believe that no matter what sort of proof you put in front of them. Never to mention that I tend to end up telling them more private information than I’d like in my attempt to convince them, which just leaves me feeling humiliated and awful. Best to just cut your losses and be glad you won’t have to deal with this person going forward.

  21. Florida*

    If they are asking for paperwork, they are assuming dishonesty on your part. Most people take interviews seriously and aren’t going to lie about why they are skipping. I know it happens, but the vast majority are going to take interviews seriously and not say they were in the hospital if it’s really because they are hungover.
    But instead of assuming you are telling the truth, they are making you prove that you are not in the skipping-because-I’m-hungover group. Not my way to start a relationship that presumably should be a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
    I can understand the person who said they would go to the interview to prove you weren’t lying but you don’t need to prove anything to this jerk.

    1. catsAreCool*

      “I can understand the person who said they would go to the interview to prove you weren’t lying but you don’t need to prove anything to this jerk.” This!

  22. Bend & Snap*

    OP, I’m with the posters saying to run.

    I’ve lost 4 babies and it’s such an incredibly personal, painful thing, and you don’t owe it to anyone to share that info.

    Moreover, who does this interviewer think he is asking you to justify yourself? You don’t work there and you’re not accountable to them; your word should be enough. This says a LOT about the company culture.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Please be good to yourself while you heal.

  23. L Veen*

    #1 – My employer (federal government) also requires proof from candidates who need to reschedule interviews. Earlier this year a woman had to reschedule because her father died and our HR asked her to provide a copy of his obituary! I wish people would push back against this requirement – so intrusive and adversarial.

    1. Hiring Mgr*

      That seems so strange…what purpose does it serve? Also, if the employer has to reschedule for some reason, do they need to provide proof to the candidate?

  24. CADMonkey007*

    #1, I’m very sorry for your loss. I, too miscarried last week and reading this gives me all the rages that you received this insensitive email. I’m so sorry.

    This reminds me of the mantra they teach girls in middle school that “teachers know that sometimes girls just HAVE to go to the bathroom.” I told my boss I was out for an “urgent medical issue” and when I’d be back, and thankfully he got a clue and left it at that. I could understand this response if you told the interviewer you were “sick” because that could mean anything, but geez, you gave more than enough info to suggest this wasn’t a typical “illness.”

  25. Bree*

    This is what that hiring manager wrote me back today: “That’s just silly. Actually, I had to come in early to meet with you. Providing some documentation as to why you missed the meeting is both acceptable, predictable and the “least” you could do for my time spent. Your becoming defensive may be a great way to spin it but you just passed on a very good business opportunity.”

    Definitely glad I passed on it

    1. Myrin*

      Oh my lord, definitely count that as a bullet dodged. And is it just me or do others feel, too, that this doesn’t only seem condescending but also pretty unprofessional? Like, it feels weirdly like he somehow feels personally insulted. What.

      Also, I’m very, very sorry for you loss, OP, and hope you will feel better soon both physically and mentally.

      1. fposte*

        Agreed. This is right up there with the “how not to respond to a job rejection” email examples but from the other side.

        I get up early to meet with people sometimes too, because it’s part of my job. If he’s resentful about doing his job, that’s not the OP’s fault.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Extremely unprofessional.

        You know what it sounds like to me? When guys message women on Tinder (or whatever) and get all pissy when they get shut down. It sounds just like that–“Well it’s your loss, honey.”

        1. neverjaunty*

          YES. Especially when they get shut down over stupid, self-absorbed behavior. “There are LOTS of women who would be happy to send me nude photos before we’ve even met. Too bad you’re missing out.”

    2. Shannon*

      If by “passing on a very good business opportunity,” he means “passing on the opportunity to work for an ass in a toxic work environment,” I agree.

    3. Moonpie*

      Whoa. So glad you dodged that bullet, but so sorry for the way it happened. I’ve been through a miscarriage too, and my thoughts are with you.

    4. Kelly L.*

      Seconding everybody else. Bullet dodged. You owe him nothing.

      Also, he sounds kinda pyramid-schemey in his vocabulary, so you might have dodged more than one bullet.

      1. Windchime*

        That’s what I was thinking, too. Usually managers don’t phrase a job as a “business opportunity” unless it’s some kind of an MLM scam.

        Take care of yourself, OP #1. I’m so sorry for your loss, and sorry about this jerk’s behavior.

    5. Anlyn*

      I’d be so tempted to respond, “Thank you for making it easy for me.”. Definite bullet dodged. Good luck in your job search.

    6. Florida*

      Maybe he should provide documentation that he really had to come in early and he was inconvenienced. It’s the “least” he could do for you.

    7. Sarahnova*

      Wow. OP#1, I am so sorry. I hope you are feeling better soon (one thing I know from sad experience is that a lot of people underestimate the physical recovery from a miscarriage) and that you are able to feel good about this utter douche showing you that you don’t want to work for him. I’m sorry you had to deal with this nonsense.

      1. Anon for this*

        I’d kind of want to send him a “I’m sorry my miscarriage inconvenienced you” mail, but it doesn’t sound like he’s the kind of person who’d be embarrassed by his behavior.

    8. Artemesia*

      What an ass. I in your shoes (and I don’t expect you to do so of course) would have snapped back ‘I’m sorry my unwillingness to share details of my miscarriage with you was so difficult for you to bear.’

      What an ass. You really lucked out on finding this out before going to work for him.

    9. Mike C.*

      Name and shame. Folks like these deserve to publicly answer for this sort of thing.

      /Presuming you’re interested in doing so. But seriously, they should have to be held to account here.

    10. Num Lock*

      My jaw is on the floor. The mean, vindictive 13-year-old in me wants to send him some links about miscarriage, complete with graphic photos so he might rethink his rude words. The adult in me knows that’s a terrible, unprofessional, bridge-burning idea though.

    11. Book Person*

      Not only is he an unreasonable jerk, but one who uses inappropriate scare quotes as well! Bullet. “Dodged.”

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Bree. I hope you’re being kind to yourself right now–that’s a hard thing to go through.

    12. Observer*

      I’m with everyone else. Bullet dodged. Not just because he’s an intrusive idiot, but because he’s a stupid and defensive idiot who apparently thinks that Donald Trump is a good model.

  26. LabTech*

    Re #5: While not wanting to get behind/meet a deadline/etc. is a fair point for going in, I’m of the opinion that face-not-working is a good reason to take a sick day.

  27. voyager1*

    #2 I feel for you. When at old job the manager left, the manager cleaned out his desk and left years worth of performance reviews out in a secure (but open during business hours) room. They sat in a folder in there for 6 weeks.

    #3 I don’t care what annoymous thinks because last I checked I don’t work with anyone with that name.

    1. Too much candy*

      My previous workplace had open performance reviews. Any manager could open anyone’s review to read at any time.

      There were also “development” scorecards which were like lighter, “this is what you need to do to get to the next step” that anyone in the company could read. I never really thought of it as particularly private information honestly.

  28. Too much candy*

    #2 From your comments about the other’s review being very positive, despite the fact that you find the achievements insignificant, I would caution you about that attitude. From my experience it does more harm than good to diminish the accomplishments of others – especially if those accomplishments are lauded by management.

    Also it probably goes without saying, but do not compare yourself to the other employee or discuss their review during your own performance review. When you are talking about the impact of your achievements, demonstrate their impact without comparing them to the other co-workers achievements.

    It’s been hard for me to learn not to compare myself to others in the workplace but I am immensely happier now that I have stopped.

  29. Jennifer*

    Hah, I’ve been coming in with a numb mouth from dental work every other Monday for the last three weeks. Nobody has cared, other than one day I got out of having to answer the phones at the last minute because I couldn’t talk too well. They’d rather I be there typing still anyway.

  30. Jenny Islander*

    #5, if you get a lot of traffic at your desk, it might be worth making a sign that says “Please excuse me, I had dental work this morning and cannot speak at the moment.”

  31. Be tolerant of viewpoints*

    OP#1 – I wouldn’t be applying to major jobs like this if you are regularly trying or expecting to have a child. The company spends time and money training you for that particular job, only for them to have to go through the same process again to hire a temporary employee to fill in for you while you’re gone on maternity leave. Then additional training for changes that have occurred while you were gone to catch you up to speed. Compare this to hiring an employee who will be able to work for consecutive years straight without ever needing to take a single day off. The purpose of a company is first and foremost to generate profit with their goods or services and applying at a time when you know you will cost them more financially is disrespectful to the company. Everyone out there has a family to support and this makes it harder on both the company’s families and the applicant that you beat out for the spot.

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