can we push a retiring employee out early, do I need to use special resume paper, and more

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

1. Can we push a retiring employee out early?

I work for a small organization (only 13 employees) that is an at-will employer. Even though we are small, we have endured more than our share of turnover in the last few years (i.e., retirements, resignations). We just found out (by accident — she told her supervisor during a general conversation that came up about retiring between the two) that one of our long-time employees is planning on retiring during the summer, which is one our busiest times. It is going to be devastating to us if we wait for her to give us a retirement date because the department she works in is actually a department where we have been actively seeking a job applicant for part-time employment.

I was wondering if our organization could a) beat her to the punch and give her a “set” last day of work or b) wait for her to give us her resignation date and then terminate her? I know both sound harsh, but with us being short-staffed already, we really want to hire someone who could train for her position the same time we are hiring the part-time employee.

It would be a pretty crappy thing to do — there’s a reason you think it sounds harsh. The rest of your employees will see it that way too, which isn’t a good thing. You’d also be signaling to them that they should never give you generous notice when they resign because they’d be pushed out early too. Also, you’d open yourself up to possible charges of age discrimination (especially if you haven’t pushed other employees out early when you learn that they’re, say, going back to school in a few months); you’re too small to be covered under the federal age discrimination laws, but your state laws might apply. And you’d end up paying unemployment, if she was smart enough to file for it.

Why not just ask her about it? She brought it up to her manager, so her manager should go back to her and say, “Jane, were you serious about retiring this summer? If so, it would be helpful to to talk about your plans and the timing.”

But really, any of your employees could resign at any time, and you would make do, even when the timing was bad. This is no different.

2. Should I use special resume paper when a job ad says to send my resume by mail?

In the one blog post you have on the subject of resume paper, you said it was obsolete, and you and 99% of the commenters talked about how NO ONE has paper applications anymore, so therefore the only resumes you print are back-ups to bring to your interview. However, I’m applying for an entry-level position with a pretty prestigious nonprofit organization in this community, and the instructions are for you to mail your resume and cover letter to the physical mailing address. So, resume paper or no? I can’t decide. What’s your take on it?

My take on it is still the same — if it takes special resume paper to wow them about your candidacy, things are not going well.

If you like nice paper and it makes you happy to use it and you’re okay with no one caring but you, then go for it. Otherwise, seriously, normal paper is fine. Good managers don’t care.

3. An employee told me she found another job and gave me an “offer” letter with the option to terminate her

I just had an employee bring a letter to me saying that she had an opportunity to work elsewhere and that she will be taking that job but would still be available to work for our company one day a week. If we decided not to accept her offer for one day a week, then she would “terminate” her employment with us. At the bottom of the page, it had a place for me to sign whether I accepted her one day a week, or declined her one day a week and accepted that it would be termination. Because she used the word “terminate,” I did not feel comfortable signing her letter because WE are not terminating her employment, SHE has decided to stop working her full time hours with us. But at the same time, we do not need an employee that will only be here once a week. We had a conversation about this and verbally informed her that one day a week would not work for our company and told her to write a letter of resignation and turn it in as soon as possible.

This was then followed by another letter “from her to our company” stating her termination of employment with the company. It also mentioned that she had offered to work one day a week and that it had been declined by the company. Again, I did not feel comfortable signing her letter because I did not agree with her wording. I told her that the letter must state that she is the one resigning from the position offered to her.

I have never had an employee resign this way. What do I do? Have I done anything wrong so far? Should I just continue to not sign her letters?

Yeah, this is super sketchy. She’s trying to make it look like you are letting her go — either so that she can collect unemployment (which she probably can’t anyway, since she’s accepting another job) or for some other reason, which is probably just a misunderstanding of the law.

I’d say this: “We’re not terminating you. You’re telling us that you’ve accepted another job and resigned. We are accepting your resignation.” If she says not resigning because she’s offering you one day a week, say this: “Your position is full-time. There’s not a part-time role available. We consider this a resignation, and aren’t going to continue debating this.” If she keeps pushing, say this: “I’m confused about what your goal is here. Is there some reason why you want this to be considered a termination?”

Also, stop trying to get her to write a resignation letter; if she won’t, she won’t, and at this point it’s just prolonging the debate. Write a memo explaining what happened, being as detailed as possible, and file it away. Additionally, give her a letter documenting the fact that she’s resigned, you’ve accepted it, and her last day will be X. Decline to discuss further.

4. Informal salary negotiation when I wasn’t prepared for the question

I made a network connection over a year ago when I was moving to a new city. She and I have stayed friends, and this past January she told me that she was restructuring her team and wanted me to come on board.

We’ve had lots of informal conversations since then. Today, we met (once again) and this time we are moving closer to the details being ironed out. She gave me the start date of around July 1 and said that the whole team was restructuring so they were still finalizing what my title would be. She’d be sending me the job description this week and then from there we can have a conversation about it to see if it is in line with my goals.

She mentioned that the ED was thinking about bringing me in at $X to start. This is lower than I am currently making and I’d like closer to $Y. However, I didn’t say anything. This was an informal conversation and I don’t even have finalized title/job description. My thought was I would wait for the job description and wait for her to say, officially “here’s an offer of $X for Job Title,” before opening up negotiations. I don’t even know what the benefit package includes, etc.

Did I make the right move staying silent – or should I have in that moment said that it was lower than I wanted? I hate salary negotiations…it’s always so messy. This whole entire job process has been messy because it’s so informal and the job hasn’t been ironed out. I’ve been having interviews with the ED and other staff without that information which has been an interesting challenge. Any advice how to move forward regarding this job offer – is it going to look weird that I didn’t say something in that moment about salary?

Well, ideally you would have spoken up in the moment and said something like, “I’d actually be looking for something like $Y — is that out of your range?” Or, while I’m not a fan of disclosing salary history, in a case like this it can be helpful to say, “That’s actually lower than what I’m making now, so I’d be looking for something more like $Y.”

Yes, it’s ideal when you can wait until you know about benefits and other details, but it doesn’t always work that way. And you do need to say something now, since otherwise your silence is likely to be seen as tacit agreement.

I’d say this: “You mentioned salary the other day. I want to let you know that $X is actually lower than what I’m making now. Obviously I’d want to wait and get a better understanding of the role itself and your benefits package, but I’d probably be looking for something more in the range of $Y. Does it still make sense to keep talking?”

5. Am I obligated to give a wedding gift to my coworker’s son if I’m invited to the wedding?

A coworker – someone I’m not close to and have spoken less than 10 times per year, mainly “hi” and “bye” – invited me to his son’s wedding. I’m not close to the coworker, so I don’t even know who is his son at all!

Am I still obligated to give a gift if I’m not going? It’s like I’m throwing my money away, especially since I’m not well off, just started working, and would love to have more money to survive. Other coworkers said we should give gifts, even if we don’t know the son or are not going. And obviously giving out the invitation so late probably means they have not enough guests?

Nope, you don’t need to give a gift. A wedding invitation from someone you barely know does not incur an obligation to give a gift, especially when it’s a coworker — or in this case, the child of a coworker.

That said, a card would be a nice gesture and would probably be appreciated. (Although sending a card to someone you don’t know feels pretty weird, so maybe ignore me on that in this case.)

Also, what is up with people inviting basic strangers to weddings? I suppose there must be some extreme extroverts out there who love it (or parents who feel strongly about doing it)?

{ 523 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia

    #5. Some people send wedding invitations out of a sense that they ‘should do it’ if they invite any co-workers. Others are gift grubbing. Assume good will here and send a card and be done with it.

    #3. That employee is obviously being advised by some jail house lawyer friend that if she words the letter this way she will be eligible for unemployment or something. Alison cut the Gordian here perfectly. Send a memo accepting her resignation and giving her last day. And good instincts on not playing this ridiculous game with her.

    1. Aurion

      #5: wouldn’t the unemployment office see right through this charade when they investigate? Obviously the OP’s company would contest the claim, and I think anyone from the unemployment office would disregard the bogus letter, so it should be for naught anyway?

      1. neverjaunty

        Probably, but why give her an inch? It’s a dumb letter and she’s being dumb about it. “No, you resigned unconditionally. Your last day is _____.”

        1. snuck

          “Dear Staff Member,

          Thankyou for advising us of your intention to leave our employment, we accept your resignation, and your finish date is DDMMYY.

          With thanks
          Manager”

          There… done!

      2. Ask a Manager Post author

        Almost certainly, and she’s probably not eligible for unemployment anyway if she has another job*, but there’s still zero reason to give her such a weird letter, and who knows what she plans to do with it? The OP should hold firm.

        * I now have a theory! Maybe she doesn’t really have another job and this is all an elaborate (and badly thought out) ruse to resign and still get unemployment.

        1. Raine

          + 1. I think it’s a ruse to get unemployment by making it looks like she lost her job through no fault of her own.

          Honestly, at this point I’d be tempted to just fire her. Not sign anything. Not call her bluff. Just say “You’re fired.” For cause (insubordination, for pulling this stunt, it’s ridiculous).

          1. Engineer Woman

            No, don’t fire her. Then it is a termination! (This whole thing is extremely strange, but cannot surely claim it to be insubordination). Just accept her resignation. Best to have more than 1 person in conversation to confirm her resignation, for example: manager and HR. Show HR her 2 written attempts to get you to sign (clearly resigning in my opinion) and then accept her resignation since she can no longer work full-time.

          2. snuck

            Is there some form of thing in America where it could be that from 1 June she can claim some other financial package, maybe return to school but keep it on the down low and claim unemployment at the same time, a tax return or something? Anything special about 1 June date?

            (Here in Australia it’s not possible to recieve an unemployment plus a study allowance – unless you are super dodgy – both are handled by the same office, and you have one single number for all Centrelink payments).

            1. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

              I don’t know what a study allowance is, but I don’t think there’s anything like that she could claim.

              1. LQ

                There is something similar to this (depending on your state). But unless she’s super lying about it (which I wouldn’t put past someone) she wouldn’t be eligible (in any state I can think of).

          3. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

            But then she’d be eligible for unemployment.

          4. LBK

            What’s frustrating is that if the employee wants to be fired, she basically has the company cornered. What can they do if she just stops showing up? I think this needs to be handled immediately in the manner Alison outlined before she escalates to something like that.

            1. Adonday Veeah

              If she stops showing up, they can accept her voluntary resignation due to job abandonment.

            2. Gaara

              How does she have the company cornered? She resigned by saying she will not continue to work full-time. The company can just say “we accept your resignation.”

            3. Lily in NYC

              I had a coworker who was trying to get fired because she wanted to get severance (she would be eligible for 4 months’ severance). She just did less and less work and called in sick all the time. HR saw right through her and transferred her to my dept. to work as an admin -and our dept. managers actually paid attention and weren’t swayed by her incredible looks (she is drop dead gorgeous) and made her work and held her accountable. She called out for two weeks after her fourth day with us! She complained to me that she didn’t expect to have to work so hard and was annoyed that people noticed when she took a two-hour lunch. So we transferred her to an even worse department! She didn’t work out there either and got sent to a third department that we call The Dungeon. She finally realized her ploy wasn’t working out and quit. It was kind of fun to watch it all go down.

              1. sstabeler

                Um, I’d run that strategy past a lawyer first- I’m no lawyer, but that looks suspiciously like Constructive Dismissal- and at a minimum, is unethical, since you are deliberately making her job worse toog et her to quit.

                1. Matt

                  Especially when you refer to one of your departments colloquially as a “Dungeon”

        2. Aurion

          I was under the impression that unemployment payments are a fraction of the paycheque they’re replacing? 60-70%? Barring a toxic job that requires immediate departure or a decent safety net, it seems stupid to give up a full paycheque for a partial one.

          But this entire ruse is stupid, so maybe I answered myself here.

          1. Sherm

            Summer’s approaching. She might be looking to kick back while getting at least some money.

            1. stellsbells

              Yeah and unemployment + savings for not having to pay daycare might be equal (or more than) what she is making now.

              I mean childcare can be so expensive.

          2. BRR

            But you only have to do minimal work for it (apply for it, sometimes show records of applying to other jobs). When I was fired I could get by on unemployment. I wasn’t living it up by any means but I could end in the black every month.

              1. Elizabeth West

                And also how much you get depends on how much you were making. I could not make ends meet both times I was on it for some length of time–I had to have help. And since I had no SO, my parents were thankfully able to do so. *sigh*

          3. F.

            Some people collect unemployment and work off the books (“under the table”) at the same time. Highly illegal.

          4. Sans

            Unemployment is 40% at best, and possibly less, depending on your salary. I agree that it’s no replacement for a salary, and you’d have to be pretty confident you’re going to be able to get another job within six months, because that’s how long it lasts.

            1. LQ

              It depends on the state, some are better than that depending on what your prior job was. Though don’t forget you have to pay taxes still!

              1. the gold digger

                After I was laid off, I didn’t even bother to file for unemployment. I had gotten a really nice severance package and any additional income would have been taxed at a much higher rate than unemployment alone. I think I would have ended up with like $400 or $500 a month after taxes. (The upper limit of unemployment was set by statute and was a very small percent of my former salary.) It was not enough money to make it worth going to the unemployment office every week and dealing with all that crap.

                1. LQ

                  I think it really depends on your state. Mine? I spent 3 minutes on the computer each week to get a good chunk of what I’d been getting paid. It was super simple and meant I didn’t have to move out of where I’d been living. (I didn’t get any severance and didn’t even get my last paycheck, so the money was super important.)

                  I had a friend in a different state who said it took him nearly 2 months of going into an office at least 2-3 times a week before he gave up (and like you he was clearly eligible, a very straight forward lay off) and quit trying, and I knew enough to help walk him through the process as best I could from another state.

                  Your state my vary.

                2. the gold digger

                  Yeah, and even now, it may be better. This was 11 years ago. I would not discourage any from filing – I had savings and a good severance, so I didn’t need the money so much. I also felt that if I had resources already, I should not take money from the system – that that money should go to people who weren’t as lucky as I was.

                3. MAunemployment

                  in many states (I’m in MA) they rarely make you phsyically check in. I’m in a similar scenario with a severance package, but I can also collect unemployment by checking in once weekly online. I get $722/week.

                  Of course, the vast, vast majority of that is going to go to taxes..I’m doing consulting work (not claiming on weeks I do that work, of course–I ran it by the unemployment folks) and then banking all the unemployment income for tax time. Who knows what I’ll be making/owing by the end of the year. They take out 10% but my family is in the 30+% bracket.

            2. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

              It’s 60% in NJ, up to whatever maximum I don’t know but not a bad deal for a lower level employee.

              People ask us for layoffs so they can collect unemployment. It’s a thing that happens. Not often and not with good employees but it’s a thing that happens.

              1. fposte

                Oh, NJ’s not bad–it maxes out now at $657. I was looking up California the other day and it’s still maxing out in the mid $400s.

                1. Stranger than fiction

                  Ah so nothing’s changed here I thought it was around $475 for the max last time I had to apply more than five years ago, but I got $425. And I think you can get extensions up to 18 months but I’ve never needed it more than three thank goodness.

          5. Stranger than fiction

            More like half. And i don’t understand the whole one day a week ploy, that’d further reduce the unemployment check. It seems like someone told her that by offering the one day, she’s not technically quitting, which is false. She’s asking to quit a full time job and for them to make up an extremely part time role for her.

        3. Mallory Janis Ian

          That’s what I thought when reading the letter: she doesn’t really have a job lined up and she’s just trying to quit and live on unemployment for a while.

        4. 42

          But the one-day-a-week aspect is the weird part. Taking this to the absurd conclusion, would she theoretically still get unemployment if they agreed to her working once a week?

          1. F.

            Yes, at least in my state. If an employer cuts your hours below a certain amount, you may collect partial unemployment.

              1. Anna

                They wouldn’t, which is why she’s trying to get a letter signed saying she was fired. It’s about the most ham-handed way of trying to game the system.

            1. Retro

              The only time I filed unemployment was for partial after my hours were slashed from 35+ to under 10 in an effort to make me quit after they couldn’t lower my pay (for a reason that was never properly explained to me, just that people at the main office said they couldn’t) after a demotion (I had 3 write ups over 6 months for being late, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 1 hour once when my car was towed after a snowstorm thanks to parking lot regulations). I was happy to step down as I was the only male in management and the entire job felt like a high school passive/aggressive backstabbing mess with zero communication. A side note is that it was the ONLY job I’ve ever been written up at in my 17 years working , they were write-up crazy with no set parameters for what constituted one (a trainee got written up for waste when he added 1 too many chicken strips in the fryer, even though it was used immediately and never wasted). Sorry I got off track but this toxic job has followed me for years now in how it got under my skin. I love my current job even if I’m currently in a pay lull (paid by job not salary or hourly but we do get overtime for over 40 hours worked).

          2. LBK

            I think it was her attempt to present a solution that sounded like a reasonable compromise to allow the company to keep her, so when they (obviously) rejected that idea it could be positioned as them firing her. It gives her a chance to spin the situation and present it as “I’m such a nice person that I offered to keep helping them one day a week and they rejected it and fired me.”

            What’s weirdest to me about this whole thing is how short-sighted it is, unless she plans to never work again. Who *wants* to have a firing in their employment history that they have to explain in every interview going forward? Unless she’s genuinely deluded herself into thinking she’s being reasonable here and the company is really firing her if they don’t take her “deal”? Or maybe she’s just planning to lie about it later on – that sounds likely given her shady behavior here.

        5. Beezus

          If her new job pays under the table, she could illegally work and also claim unemployment. I know people (unfortunately) who have done just that.

            1. A Bug!

              Sort of? I am just not sure! She mentions the new job in her “non-resignation” letter. If she’s planning to use that letter to prove to unemployment that she was terminated, that seems especially short-sighted. Doesn’t rule it out as the intention, of course, but… nothing adds up for me yet.

        6. AdAgencyChick

          Yeah, that’s what it smells like to me. I really want an update on this one to see whether the employee furiously backpedals once she realizes she’s not going to get the termination language she’s looking for.

        7. De Minimis

          I assumed there was no other job, it would make no sense to do this if she had another job….

          Even if her claim was denied, it’s a huge headache to deal with, don’t let it get to that point.

          1. Murphy

            Yeah, that was my thought too, because otherwise why would you want a firing on your resume if you don’t need to. Who wants to explain that to a new employer (and have it come out how you handled yourself).

        8. kms1025

          op#3:
          Have dealt with this and other weirdly worded terms of disengagement.
          Simply write her a letter stating that you are accepting her verbal resignation from her full time position for personal, non-work-related reasons. At this time there are no part time positions available and you wish her well as you understand she already has another job lined up.

        9. A Bug!

          I’d absolutely buy that this is a seriously misguided attempt to game the system, and that was the first impression I got. But it’s just such a bad plan if that’s what she’s aiming for that I’m just left baffled. The best result I can come up with on the basis of that letter is getting unemployment benefits on the basis of income from one day a week. Trying to puzzle out her motivations is an interesting thought experiment, to say the least.

          I wonder if this is the result of a really messed-up interpretation of something she heard about constructive dismissal.

      3. Anon for This

        I wouldn’t put any faith in the unemployment office.

        I’m involved with a nonprofit and we terminated an employee for cause. She was on social media spreading lies about us to harm our reputation, comparing our animal rescue org to a concentration camp. !!! She was also sharing confidential info, big breaches of our policies. That was just the tip of the delusional iceberg. And she won unemployment!

        1. LQ

          For cause doesn’t usually mean the person doesn’t get unemployment. She’d be legally entitled to unemployment in my state. (Sorry!) It is a pretty high bar* unusually for someone who was fired to not get unemployment.
          *depending on the state

          1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.

            It really varies by state.

            In NJ we had a former employee who was penalized by Unemployment for the first 6 weeks.

            (It’s a particularly stupid story because we weren’t contesting her unemployment! We’d fired her for cause, she’d done something egregious but we didn’t it frame it that way with the state. We weren’t contesting! She was so pissed off to be fired, and thought she was So Right, she actually wrote down what happened to get her fired. Crazy Town. So based on HER account, Unemployment said “that’s Cause! Six week penalty!”)

            My understanding is that in NJ, if you are let go, there are circumstances where you won’t get your whole employment but you will get some of it. So it all varies by state.

          2. Anon for This

            In our state, it is SUPPOSED to be that terminations for cause prohibit receipt of unemployment. But we gave the state all the information about her termination and lost.

            1. Sunshine on a cloudy day

              It definitely sounds like things vary quite a bit state to state in terms of how unemployment works, but for what its worth – in my state it appeared that warnings/notifications prior to the firing can come into play when the state is considering granting unemployment for someone fired “with cause”. When I was filing for unemployment I had to answer several questions regarding whether I had been verbally warned or had received any written notifications/warnings regarding behavior leading to my separation (I was laid off, so these questions were answered with N/A, but they were part of the standard application questionnaire).

              Based on those questions and certain wording in the state’s definition of “for cause” (it’s all a bit fuzzy now) I was under the impression that you would be denied unemployment if you were fired “for cause”, but that the state had certain standards for what constituted “cause”. Minor offenses with a lack of warning/notifications might not meet the bar for “cause”.

              Not saying that this employee deserved multiple warnings, but perhaps something along these lines came into play.

            2. Anna

              Yeah, unemployment benefits aren’t supposed to be used as punishment. The punishment was the person lost their job. If you deny a claim for every for cause termination, you’d just have a lot of destitute desperate people.

              In Oregon if you’re fired for cause and file, your employer can dispute it but even that’s not a guarantee you’ll be denied because employers can be wrong.

        2. B-Bam

          In my state, employers have to show that the actions on the employees part were “willful”, including anything for cause. Job abandonment or violating an really obvious policy would be willful but anything else is really hard to contest.

          1. INFJ

            This immediately made me think of the OP whose poor coworker got fired for giving up “confidential information” to a manager who basically badgered it out of her (by threatening termination). Yeah.. that wasn’t willful at all. I hope that clause exists where she is.

          2. TootsNYC

            and in my state, “not doing your job quite well enough” is not “willful,” I’ve been told.

            1. B-Bam

              Yep – the only time I think contesting in a “not doing your job well enough” case would be if someone previously performed well and then stopped doing so. Or if it falls in the “not even trying” category. All those are hard to prove though.

        3. Pennalynn Lott

          Are you in North Texas, by any chance? Something similar happened to my favorite animal rescue group.

      4. Artemesia

        I am not arguing it is effective or a good idea, but it is obviously something she is being advised to do by some other ignorant person who thinks that wordsmithing makes her resignation a ‘termination’ because ‘she offered to work one day a week.’ It is ridiculous and her behavior insisting on your signing the thing is ridiculous. She would have spiked any chance of a positive reference from me with that nonsense.

        1. fposte

          The ignorant person possibly being The Internet. While I too am The Internet, sometimes it is pretty dumb.

    2. Engineer Woman

      #3. I agree with all of Alison’s advice except “If she keeps pushing, say this: “I’m confused about what your goal is here. Is there some reason why you want this to be considered a termination?” “. I’m not sure there would be any reason given that would or should change how you proceed (there is definitely no termination) and therefore no need to ask this.

      If she keeps pushing, you only need to reiterate that her position is a full-time one, and if she doesn’t want to continue it, she is thereby resigning…and when would her last day be? Keep repeating that and ultimately she won’t have anything else to say. Or so I think.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Oh, that’s just because it’ll be interesting to hear her answer — not because it should change what the OP does. That’s just all for curiosity’s sake, if the OP happens to be really interested in forcing people to name their motivations, as I am.

        1. hbc

          Yes, and it’s amazing how often people ask for one specific crazy thing when what they have is a general problem that has a dozen better solutions. Like they’ll ask to do a must-be-done-on-site job (ex: receptionist, production line worker) from home when all they need is a little temporary accommodation to combine their breaks and lunch to be able to run out and check on their sick parent.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger

          But at this point, with her trying to pull something questionable, I’d probably skip right to the memo. If the OP asks now, there’s a chance that the employee will wise up and stop trying to “be terminated” (resign), and at this point, if I were the OP I’d be glad to see her go! Who knows what scheme she’d come up with next.

          At a very minimum, she has abysmal professional communication skills.

          1. Natalie

            Eh, I don’t think it matters if she tries to walk back her resignation. Just refuse to reconsider your acceptance of it, because you’ve already started replacing her or rejiggering her role or whatever. I feel like that’s come up here before.

        3. Mallory Janis Ian

          Oh, I would totally ask why she’s so eager to have this considered a termination.

          Firstly, it would be from my own curiosity, because I’m always fascinated by what motivates people to do what they do. I’ve often said that if I could have a super power, it would be the ability to know all the nuances of people’s underlying motivation.

          Secondly, I would just want to ask a pointed question because I think I already know what’s going on, and why not put shady people on the spot to explain their shady actions.

          1. Newby

            Also, finding out why she wants that wording could expose some misinformation and make the whole thing easier by explaining why she is wrong. Or if she is trying something shady, she might back down rather than explain. Either way the weird situation could be resolved.

            1. some1

              I think this is a good point – she could have some totally innocent reason for wanting that doc signed.

              1. TootsNYC

                Exactly–and the OP would be in a position to say, “Oh, I see! It’s not that complicated; you can relax. Here’s how this works. Now you know! Best of luck!”

            2. Ife

              Yes, best case scenario, she is totally misguided/there is a miscommunication and you can clear that up together. Alternately, if she is trying to be shady, you have just made it clear that you see the game she is playing and are not going to play.

              1. Ife

                Oh and another thought I had while reading the letter. At Old Job, everything was recorded in the HR system as “termination”, with a note if it was a firing. Reading her letter reminded me of that wording. Maybe she is thinking that “termination” is a neutral word for leaving a company? Still weird to continue with that wording though after talking with the manager.

                1. Mander

                  Could be. I work with a lot of non-native English speakers and I had a heck of a time getting them to understand the difference between “fired” and “laid off”. Perhaps she simply has a vocabulary malfunction?

                2. Engineer Woman

                  I would like to say that in at least 1 other non-English language, there is no distinction between “laid off” and “fired”. Basically the translation would be “let go” regardless of reason. Then you just need to follow up in conversation with (I was let go with 300 other employees…) if you don’t want people to think you were fired with cause. Good question if the employee’s native language is not English and if that could be why she seems to be hammering on “termination”

          1. JessaB

            Yes, please OP, let us have an update. I’m like Alison and One of the Sarahs, I’m incredibly nosey as to why this employee would do something so weird. Not just trying to make you say it’s a termination but actually trying to get this weirdness in writing.

            Alison would you recommend that the OP send an email or something stating that this is a resignation they’re accepting (just to cover with something time stamped if this employee later writes something up and signs someone’s name to it?) I mean it’s a short step from asking someone to sign something weird to, if they really think they need it for something, signing someone’s name.

              1. Tammy

                When my daughter was in high school, she used to have two friends that shared her first name (which isn’t “Lisa”, but that will do to tell the story.) She also had a best friend whose first name wasn’t Lisa. I used to tease her that the four of them should form a band called “The Lisas”, and then explain the fourth member with a statement that “she’s not a Lisa, but we love her anyway.”

                My daughter thought it was a great idea, but none of the four of them was very musical, so it sadly never happened.

                1. anonderella

                  Soo off topic, but.. it’s Friday! (I think.. checks calendar… YES)
                  Your comment reminded me of the book Girl, Interrupted (there are two Lisa’s in the book, and this plays a small part at times). That character (the Lisa that made it into the movie) totally made me love the name.

                2. Emily, admin extraordinaire

                  Reminds me of Recess, and the 4 girls name Ashley. And then it turns out Spinelli’s name is Ashley too, and they try to take her into their group, and hilarity ensues.

                3. anonderella

                  Emily, admin extraordinaire, you just incited my childhood to slap me across the face with nostalgia. Wow.

          2. Stranger than fiction

            Yes and I’m dying to know if there were any other signs she was a weirdo while working there or this came out of left field.

        4. NotAnotherManager!

          I am always torn between really wanting to know what someone’s bizarre rationale was for something weird like this and not poking the crazy.

          The way this employee is acting is so weird. I’d be tempted to, “Why don’t we make today your last day?” her. You don’t get to change your full-time job into a one-day-a week gig and say your employer is terminating you because they decline that suggestion. I’d have had a memo to file started before she was completely out of my office and one to her acknowledging her voluntary resignation, too.

    3. Elizabeth West

      I am sooooo tired of gift grubbers, and of people thinking an invitation is an obligation to give or send a gift. YOU ARE NEVER OBLIGATED TO GIVE A GIFT. Even if you go to a wedding.

      This is how it’s supposed to work: the bride and groom are sharing their special moment with the people they invite. They are your HOSTS. It’s on them to make sure there are enough seats, enough food, enough to drink, etc. It’s customary to give a gift for this occasion, because many couples are starting out without household basics, but it’s not required. Especially if the invitation says “no gifts please.” Anybody who gets mad at you because you didn’t get anything (hey, you might not have any money) or gets pissy over the value of your gift is a money-grubbing jerkwad.

      That said, I probably couldn’t be arsed to go to the wedding of someone I barely knew. Since you were invited, the most you owe is a timely RSVP. And sending a card is fine.

      1. TootsNYC

        It’s customary to give a gift for this occasion, because many couples are starting out without household basics

        Actually, that is NOT the reason why gifts are customary for weddings (or birthdays, graduations, retirements, anniversaries, etc.).

        You give the gift because your friends/relatives are going through a momentous life change. And the gift is a tangible way to say, “I noticed, and I wish you well.”

      2. Lily in NYC

        Wedding gifts originated with the concept of the dowry. Later (Renaissance era), it evolved to ornate marriage chests with goods the wife would provide for the household. Guests providing wedding gifts didn’t really become a thing until the 1920s, when Macys created the first registry. So we have Macys to blame for the insanity that “big white weddings” have become.

    4. Vicki

      Also, re #3, there is nothing for you to “sign”.
      There may be some exit papers for the employee to sign, but a resignation does not require a manager to sign anything. Nor should it.

      That’s weird.

  2. MK

    #5, Alison, I am afraid it’s probably a gift grab. The most charitable explanation I can think of is that the coworker has invited everyone else at the office (hopefully because they are people he has known for years, who maybe know his family) and felt it would be rude to exclude the OP. Also, I think the OP might have a point about the number of guests; some venues charge a minimum amount for X number of guests, even if you don’t have that many.

    1. neverjaunty

      Then a very nice card wishing them well is still the best option. If it’s a gift grab, they can’t exactly complain. If, instead, they were just trying to be nice, they get good wishes for their new life together. It’s kind of no lose, unless the intent is to punish the couple for possibly having ill intent by actually inviting someone to a wedding.

      1. annabel

        I once worked in a fairly small office and received an invitation to a co-worker’s wedding that he had run through the postage meter! I had never even had a conversation with him. I don’t remember if there was an RSVP envelope included, but I did not attend, send a card or buy a gift. I may have chipped in for a lunch, but probably not.

      2. Green

        I’d probably send a card (“Congratulations on your son’s marriage! I know you must be thrilled…”) to my coworker instead of the couple getting married, since that’s the person you have a relationship with.

        1. Laura

          Good call. This is much more appropriate. I’m sure the couple would be bewildered if they received a card from someone they have never met and don’t know about!

    2. Ruth

      I’m wondering about culture here. I lived in Korea for six years and inviting co-workers to a child’s wedding is very normal. As an English teacher, many staff members and I all attended the principal’s son’s wedding and gave about $50 each. This was common and expected. I’m pretty sure I would’ve gotten away with not going and not giving if I had wanted to, but I had a”foreigner pass” that helped me in that kind of situation. Had I been Korean, it would have been much harder to get out of and I probably would have still been obliged to give something.

      Just a thought. If it’s in a western country and cultural context, it certainly is very weird and I would personally not attend or give anything.

      1. MK

        Inviting co-workers to a child’s wedding is very normal in my culture too, but those you have at least some sort of friendship with, not people who started working there a month ago that you ‘ve barely spoken to.

        1. (Another) B

          When I was 14 or 15 in high school I was invited to the wedding of my boss’s daughter (who I hadn’t met, but I knew a lot about). She invited everyone from the office. I didn’t go but I did send a gift – a picture frame and a card.

      2. Mel

        I think it is a Southern American cultural thing too. My in-laws invited the group that works under my FIL. It is really common for them to get invited to weddings where they know the parents a little but don’t know the kids. It may not be a gift grab as much as a “look at us” statement.

        1. MK

          What it’s supposed to be is a “share our joy” statement; an assumption that when something good happens you will want it celebrated by your community (and spread joy by giving food and drink and music) and others will want to be happy for you. And some cultures define community more broadly than others.

          I realise in practise it can be about gift-grabbing or showing off, but the intention behind the tradition should not be despised on principle.

          1. HannahS

            I agree with you there. In my community when we have big life cycle events it’s considered to be the whole family’s celebration, with the whole community participating.

          2. LD

            I agree, too. In my former hometown, you invited everyone you knew, all the members of your church and everyone you worked with. That was the culture there, even if the couple getting married didn’t know all the community or the church members. Weddings got announced in the church bulletin and people came! It was considered normal and not everyone gave a gift, but they were welcomed as guests to share in the happy occasion.

              1. Blurgle

                In a lot of small towns the reception isn’t a catered sit-down meal. Aunts and cousins are back in the church kitchen cooking up a storm of cabbage rolls and perogies and babkas and everything else, and everyone eats until the food is gone.

                1. Blurgle

                  And, as the old joke goes, at the end of the reception someone plugs in the coffee pot, and the lights dim just in time for the last dance.

        2. Grapey

          Agreed about the “look at us” mentality. I’ve seen it in the northeast too, but only if the parents were footing the bill, as it was “their” party and could therefore invite anyone to celebrate their guests of honor (the couple getting married).

          My husband and I paid for our own wedding so we could avoid exactly that.

      3. rock'n'roll circus

        Yup! This was a thing in Japan when I worked there as well, although you have to give increments of $100 and it goes up based on position. Unfortunately, I was not a teacher but just worked at a company as a local hire, so I didn’t get a pass in anyway.

        I now work at a Japanese company here in the US and it’s pretty common for us, but we’re a small company. Totally not rude not to go, but the didn’t want to leave anyone out when inviting some people.

    3. Joseph

      It’s not necessarily a gift grab. Having recently planned my upcoming wedding (tomorrow…!), I can assure you that when crafting the guest list, you end up including a few people who you may or may not actually want to invite (and you may actually be hoping say no) but feel socially obligated to do so.

      And one of the biggest cases of that is when you’re inviting part of a group and not all. OP didn’t give much background about the office dynamics, but if OP is co-workers with multiple other people who *were* invited, it can come off as really exclusionary for it to come out that “Andy, Bob, and Chris were invited but not Dave”. So you end up having to invite Dave simply to avoid giving offense.

      I would not feel obligated to give a gift though; a card is fine.

      1. One of the Sarahs

        Have a great day tomorrow!

        I was wondering if it’s some kind of drama about “we’re contributing $X, so we can invite X of our friends going on? My sister ended up with our divorced parents, and her husband’s parents trying to get weird on her, about getting exact same numbers and such…

      2. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

        I was going to say this too. When I got married (10.5 years ago!) the “official” etiquette was for workplaces, you either invite all or none. It’s a little different since this is your coworker’s son and not his own wedding, but if other coworkers were invited, that might be why you were too.

        BTW Happy Wedding Day tomorrow, Joseph!

        1. Op5

          I think some of you missed the main point. It isn’t the coworker’s wedding that I’m going to, it’s the son of the coworker who I have never met or knew existed. This actually weirded me out totally, plus the invitation was only given about 5 days before the wedding. Many are not going but they are intending to get a gift just for the sake of it, which I find ridiculous. It’s isn’t really about money, but I’m just really weird out about this gesture.

          1. fposte

            Lots of people would still see that as party by their family and invitations as an “all or none” thing. Co-workers’ kids are a big connection point in some workplaces–I got graduation gifts (like, stationery, not a gold watch) from my father’s co-workers. This is especially true if the parent has been in that workplace for a while.

            I don’t think it’s a big deal to politely decline and send a nice card.

          2. F.

            Sounds like maybe they had some other invited guests back out and you all were on the “B-list”. If it were I, I would send a nice congratulatory card (no gift or money) with my regrets.

          3. MK

            I think people understood just fine. We are just saying that in some cultures parents of the couple do invite people of their own circle, even if they don’t know the couple themselves. If this invitation came only 5 days before the wedding, I think it’s most likely an “obligation” one; your coworker likely realised you were the only person in the office not invited and rushed to give you one out of fear it might have been taken as a snub. Most people prefer to err on the side of doing too much in cases like these.

            I don’t think there is any reason to send a gift, since you hardly know the coworker and never met his family. Just decline with good wishes for the new marriage.

            And really, there is no need to be so weirded out. It’s not that big a deal.

            1. DeskBird

              When you get an invitation to a wedding 5 days before it’s because someone else said they aren’t coming and they are trying to fill that seat.

          4. swingbattabatta

            When I was getting married, my dad tried to insist that I invite his entire firm (plus coworkers from 15 years ago who I haven’t seen since high school). I put my foot down, but I can see someone else capitulating to keep the peace. It is weird, though, that the invitation was so soon before the wedding…

          5. RVA Cat

            Could the co-workers who were invited but not going send a gift as a group? Everyone chip in a bit (>$10) and then all sign the card?

          6. MindoverMoneyChick

            Yeah, this sounds like seat filling to me. They paid for a certain amount of meals which will now go to waste. The charitable explanation is maybe they just don’t like to waste money and someone should enjoy the food. Less charitable of course is they don’t want to waste their money AND they want you to spend some of yours on a gift.

            No way would I go or buy a gift.

          7. steeped in anonymtea

            The O Henry candy bar heiress’s wedding in India.
            Go out of spite.

          8. Bwmn

            I think in a lot cultures and circles – even in the US (should that be where you’re based) – parents inviting their coworkers/business connections to the wedding of a child isn’t unusual. Both of my parents, their fathers were both accountants – and both of them (one from New Jersey, the other upstate New York , one Jewish, one Baptist) invited a number of their clients and coworkers. So maybe there are generational/industry norms at play as well?

            That being said, just because this is a norm – definitely don’t beat yourself up for finding it odd. I used to live outside the US, where gift giving for weddings was traditionally just an envelope of cash – and by my standards a fairly large amount. As much as I respect that it was the tradition there, it always grated with me and I learned to find a place in between accepting the practice while feeling at odds with it.

            1. Laura

              It could definitely be generational or related to the industry norms. I know that when my parents married, my grandparents (social climbers) paid for it and invited ALL of their friends and business associates.

          9. Observer

            You apparently haven’t been reading what people are saying. In many places, cultures and communities, it’s not just YOUR wedding, but your children’s wedding that you invite people to.

    4. EmmaUK

      I invited a couple of co-workers because I wanted to boost up my side of the church. My husband had more people to invite than me. I didn’t want or expect a gift.

      Is it an American thing to send a gift to an event you aren’t attending? You guys are so nice.

      1. Beezus

        Sometimes. You may be unable to attend a wedding due to a scheduling conflict, or be unable to travel to an out-of-town wedding, for example, but might still send a gift. (I have a not-so-close friend getting married Memorial Day weekend, for example. Mr. Beezus and I throw a big cookout every year that weekend – it’s a tradition going back more than a decade. We don’t even invite people outright anymore, people just have standing plans to come. We decided to host the cookout as usual, and just send our regrets and a gift to the happy couple. We would have attended the wedding on virtually any other weekend.)

      2. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

        Officially, according to Miss Manners (I think?) yes. If you’re invited to an event such as a baby/bridal shower, birthday party, or wedding, you should send a gift even if you’re not attending. There are exceptions though they are informal and fall into the “but I don’t want to” category. :) For instance my out of state cousin had a baby shower for her second kid. I didn’t live near by and we’re not close so I wasn’t going to travel just for that, so I couldn’t go, and since I was still waiting on a thank you note from the first one, I didn’t send a gift either. Petty? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.

        1. Newby

          Nope. Miss Manners says that you are not obligated to send a gift just because you were invited. You should send congratulations and that is all, unless you actually want to send a gift. It would only be rude to ignore the invitation completely.

          1. Green

            Yes, give a gift if you want to give a gift. I have friends’ weddings I can’t attend due to work or vacation, but I absolutely *want* to send them a gift–so I do! If I don’t want to send someone a gift (distant relatives I never see, for example), I send my regrets and well wishes.

          2. miss_chevious

            Thank you! Miss Manners would not say that an invitation means a mandatory gift! You must respond to the invitation with acceptance or regret, and may offer congratulations, but nothing else is required.

      3. F.

        For my first wedding, only about ten guests were my husband’s family/friends, with the remaining 50 or so being on my side of the family (he was from across the country). We did not seat by side of the family. The ushers seated guests on alternate sides of the church as they arrived.

        For my second wedding, it was just me, my husband, his daughter and son-in-law in front of the magistrate on a Tuesday afternoon. We invited only those people we knew would be truly happy for us. The four of us went to dinner at TGIFridays afterwards. That’s MY kind of wedding!

        1. anonderella

          Haha! So, post-reading this thread, I made a cursory attempt at listing guests for a hypothetical wedding, just out of curiosity for how much food/booze would cost (and scared the shiza out of my mum, when I asked how many brothers does my step-father have, and explained why I was asking). We could easily cut it down so that it’s just essentials (immediate family & very close friends), but my first-pass brought my list to about 60 including family and friends and their dates and kids, and 15 for my boyfriend, including the same.

          But I cannot even imagine having so many (more) friends/family/coworkers/or apparently money, which obliges you to invite everyone you know to show off that the list goes much over that.

          For what it’s worth, I’ll include this : the only wedding I ever planned for myself was borne into the mind of a nine-year-old, who thought the ULTIMATE FOX TROT BEST POSSIBLE wedding HAD to be one in which, following the crucial kiss, everyone jumped into the pool with their wedding clothes on (the wedding occurred pool-side, of course.) and proceeded to take underwater wedding-photos. Afterward, it was only logical that we’d all sit in the grass and eat hotdogs, hamburgers, and other barbeque/cook-out fare. I do love how the groom wasn’t pictured at all – this was just my attempt at having a cooler wedding than my friends’.
          Don’t judge, You would all be there, you know it. : )

          1. Shannon

            Sounds great! They have tons of lovely gowns at thrift stores. I’d burn a 20 for that.

          2. MindoverMoneyChick

            I read this as “proceeded to take UNDERWEAR wedding photos” and was really confused about your 9-year-old self :)

          3. Laura

            Okay, I love your nine-year-old version of a perfect wedding. Totally down to attend if you still want to have it!

            And making a list preemptively is a good idea. Might do that myself today!

            1. Old Admin

              Elizabeth West wrote:
              LOL this reminds me of all the Barbie weddings I staged as a kid. :)
              At this point IRL, I’d be happy with a Ring Pop and an elopement! :P

              …which is what we did, as my parents were deceased, and his totally broke – we eloped to Key West and married on the beach in beach dress/(fancy)shorts and flip flops! We did however call them a few days prior to soften the shock. :-D

          4. anonderella

            Haha aww! This community is so awesome – you are all hypothetically invited!

            Although, my 9-yo self probably would have rationalized BYOB… which would be awful.

      4. TootsNYC

        Actually, etiquette says that the gift is not for the event. it’s for the life change.

        And the invitation is not connected to the gift, really. The hierarchy goes like this:

        PRIMARY CAUSE: You are close to someone.
        EFFECT 1. Therefore they invite you to the wedding.
        A. And because you are close, you want very much to accept that invitation.
        EFFECT 2. Therefore, you give them a gift to mark such a momentous day in their life.

        The two “therefores” are not connected to one another. They each spring from the same cause–being close.

        Now: Sometimes people think that the event triggers the gift. Two reasons that happens:

        If they trigger Effect 1, that means they’re reinforcing the Primary Cause. And if you don’t trigger Effect 2, you are sending them the message that they were mistaken about how close you are to them. You’re rejecting their friendly overture–and that’s kind of hurtful.

        More strongly: If you are so close that Effect 1A happens (they invite, and YOU accept), then you are completely confirming that the Primary Cause is true. Which means that it’s even more hurtful if you do not trigger Effect 2.
        Add to that: If you go to the wedding but don’t give any sort of gift (monetary value is not part of the equation), you are saying, “I’m a taker.” You’re saying, “I’m willing to eat your food, but I can’t be bothered to come up with a gift to mark this important life event.” So, there’s some connection; by attending, you lose the Plausible Deniability of “actually we’re not that close.”

        If you don’t go, you may still be obligated by Etiquette to trigger Effect 2; if Grandma can’t attend, that’s understandable, but I think most people would be a little hurt of Grandma didn’t give any sort of gift (again: monetary value is NOT on the table; my great-aunt gave me a crocheted potholder from her nursing-home crafts group, and it totally counts).
        And many people are not invited to the ceremony and yet give wedding gifts anyway because they want to send a message that says, “I care about you and your life events.” Normally those aren’t expensive presents.

        1. Elizabeth West

          I would not be hurt if I invited someone to my wedding and they didn’t bring/send a gift. I want them there to share my moment, not to give me another stupid thing I now have to wash/dust/store. But I may be weird–I never cared about that, even when I was dreaming about my wedding as a teenager.

      5. Stranger than fiction

        I don’t know how nice we are, relatively speaking, but yes it’s a thing. Same for baby showers and graduations. But Op doesn’t even know the coworkers son, so I agree a card would suffice.

    5. Bluebell

      I’m invited to a co-workers wedding this summer. This person has worked here for many years and about a dozen workers are attending, including our mutual boss. The two of us have never even had lunch together in the few years I’ve been here but I’m choosing to interpret this as a kind gesture rather than a gift grab. I was debating about whether or not to attend but in the end I decided it would be more conspicuous if I declined.

      1. SophieChotek

        I can see getting invited to a co-worker’s wedding, even if one does not know them that well, if others on the same team/office/rest of staff were invited.

        But a co-worker’s son…that seems different.

        If it’s gift grab, it’s reminds me (to a lesser degree) of the one I read about a few weeks ago..(if it’s true)…from UK…of the bride that told the giver (after opening the gifts) that the 100 pounds was inusfficient but an “adjustmenet” would be accepted. (Sorry if that’s a little off-topic, but on the topic of gift-grabs….)

        1. TootsNYC

          well, a CLOSE coworker’s son, I can see. If I’ve had “what our kids are up to” conversations, then I think myself as a Parent Friend. And weddings can sometimes be seen as rites of passage for parents as well.

    6. DeskBird

      It could be – but maybe not. My Dad invited so many random people I don’t know to my wedding. It drove me crazy – three days before the wedding he was calling me telling me he bumped into his cousin Randy on the golf course and invited him – I kept explaining that the seating chart was done and the final numbers into the venue but he would not stop. I think it was some weird preppy social ritual – like if he personally knew the most people at the wedding he would “win” it. I do not understand at all – but then that whole side of the family is a bunch of extroverted sales people – and I did not get ANY of those genes. He reveled in it at the wedding though – marched around with a puffed up chest and shook hands with everybody.

    7. bearing

      The most charitable explanation is really not that much of a stretch: while it’s possibly a gift grab, the benefit of the doubt is that for some reason the coworker believes that etiquette requires that he extend the invitation, or is concerned that it would be rude to exclude the invitee.

      I’m thinking back to my own wedding 16 years ago. It seemed that everyone in my family had an opinion about whom it would be rude to not invite, and the advice was always “when in doubt, invite”. On at least one related occasion I was berated for following what I thought was accepted etiquette (“when you are thrown multiple wedding showers, do not invite the same person to more than one of them”). There were a number of invitations that I sent because of having been convinced it would be rude not to. I was mortified later to learn that it’s common to assume such invitations are gift grabs. It felt like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

    8. Nervous Accountant

      To be honest, I’m kind of shocked that there’s an expectation to send a gift when you don’t attend a wedding???? Maybe it’s my cultural upbringing (south asian) or maybe that has nothing to do with it—I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as an expectation. Honestly, if I didn’t go to a gift, half the reason would probably be to save money…having to send a gift defeats the purpose. I’d only give if the person was super dear to me.

      So interseting..

      1. fposte

        There isn’t one, though–that’s a misunderstanding. If you would have loved to go and give them a gift but can’t make it, sure, you can send them one. But no, they can’t confer the expectation of a present on you merely by sending you an invitation.

      2. MK

        Also, a gift could cost a fraction of what attending would. There are people for whose weddings am not willing to travel, or even go into the trouble of putting on fancy clothes,make up,etc and attend a boring event. But I have enough good will for them to send a 30 euro gift.

      3. Ife

        Yeah, I was also like, “what, why would you send a gift? What is the issue here?” I can see wanting to send a gift for a dear friend/relative if I really wanted to go but couldn’t, but not for like, a second cousin or random coworker. Honestly, if my coworker invited me to their kid’s wedding and I didn’t go, it wouldn’t even occur to me to send a card because I have no relationship to the couple. Maybe I’m a boor, but there it is.

      4. TootsNYC

        “Honestly, if I didn’t go to a gift, half the reason would probably be to save money…having to send a gift defeats the purpose. I’d only give if the person was super dear to me.”

        Well, technically, you should only be invited–and you should only accept–if you’re close enough that they are super dear to you. If you’re going to be more worried about saving every penny than about giving some sort of gift (remember–gifts are supposed to fit your budget, even if it’s small), then you shouldn’t have been invited, and you should never accept that invitation You aren’t close enough to have been invited.

        If you think you ARE close enough that the invitation is reasonable, you really should give a gift of some sort. Even if it’s a $5 tea towel.

        1. Anxa

          I think this budget thing is part of the trouble. I come from an affluent area and I am poor. I would be embarrassed to send a gift under 30 bucks, but that’s also a weeks worth of groceries, clothes, toiletries, etc.

          I feel like either I’d look cheap or be broadcasting my lack of success really loudly. Plus, I feel like people might think if I’m that broke, isn’t it silly to send a gift at all, or attend the wedding.

          FWIW, I could see my family insisting on going into debt in order to avoid what they’d consider a tacky wedding. I am in camp host fully what you can afford, but that would cause a lot of grief I my social circle. Cake and punch, no way would that fly.

  3. Sami

    OP #1: Yeah, that’s pretty crappy. Depending on her age, she may be waiting for an exact age (thus an exact date) when Social Security, Medicare and other benefits kick in.
    I’m sure it seems like a simple solution, but it would send a terrible message to not only her, but all your employees.

    1. Artemesia

      The obvious thing here, besides treating a long term valued employee decently, is to take advantage of the the long runway to prepare for the transition. Search and hire the new person, capture her institutional knowledge etc etc.

      1. Nedra

        Exactly — It seems obvious to me that if you are already looking for someone to be part-time in that department, you could increase your applicant pool by saying that it would be part-time until (retirement date) and then move into full-time. That way, the newbie can be part-time when your budget doesn’t allow you to have two full-time people in that role AND get trained in while you still have the old-timer on full-time. Then when she leaves, you get to fulfill a promise to the new person to move them into full-time status. I think that would make the position you are hiring for now much more interesting to applicants. I don’t know about the ethics of this, but maybe you could even hire two people “part-time with the potential to move to full-time after X months” and then see which one should replace your old-timer and which one should stay at part-time after you’ve had them in the roles for awhile?

        The last two jobs I had, I started at part-time with the expectation that I would be moving to full time the next year. It was perfect for me — I got a “soft start” at a new job and the employer got to get me in the door when their budget wouldn’t have allowed for me to be hired full-time.

        1. AnotherAlison

          I completely agree with this. It seemed like the obvious solution.

          However, if the budget wouldn’t allow the company to bring on the part-timer full time while the retiring employee is there full-time, then they need to get a firm retirement date from her.

          I’ve seen it twice where long time employees said they were going to retire, then didn’t. In one case, it was my manager. He had cancer, said he was going to retire, wanted to come back instead, and the whole thing got super awkward, ending with his termination in <1 year. Similarly, another older salesperson was expected to retire after a special 2-year assignment on a corporate initiative. He didn't, and again, another couple years later, he was terminated.

          1. Meg Murry

            Yes, I’ve seen a few awkward scenarios where a person announces that they are planning to retire “this year” or “this summer”, so the company starts a transition plan and training someone to take over their duties and then the person decides they aren’t retiring after all or refuses to commit to a firm date but keeps pushing it forward. I’ve also seen messy miscommunication due to situations where a person is allowed to ride out their banked vacation or sick leave before officially retiring – so the on paper retirement date might be months after the person’s last day at work.

            I think Alison’s advice is good to just talk to the person, and I also think it is valid to say “summer is our busiest time, so I really would appreciate it if you would either go ahead and retire now or plan to commit to staying through the summer – it would leave us in the lurch if you were to leave mid-summer”. However, seeing as how things like this can dangle on forever, I think it is valid to ask the person to commit to a retirement date before you start hiring someone to replace her. And if she is a less than stellar employee (and possible an expensive one), I could understand pushing her to commit to a date and sign something to that extent – but not telling her she just has to go now, unless you plan to offer her some kind of voluntary incentive package to go (like saying she could stay on the payroll for the next X months and then be officially retired as of July 15th, or whatever, but her last day in the office would be June 1).

            I also think asking her if she would like to switch to part time would be a good thing to consider (it might be easier to hire a new part-time person than a new full-time person), but not to force her to do so.

            1. Meg Murry

              Oops, that last sentence is backward – easier to hire a new full-time than part-time.

        2. LQ

          Yes! This seems like such a simple and useful solution. Why not show other people that this can work? You’ll be better off for it in the long run. (Yes, firing her for being close to retirement would absolutely give her unemployment*, which depending on your state will cost you a little more or a LOT more than just having 2 employees for a month or two.)

          *I’m not even going to state disclaimer this because I don’t know of any state that would give someone fired for being near retirement any trouble collecting!

      2. TootsNYC

        THIS!

        Have the conversation, and figure out how to create an orderly transition, with training overlap.

        There’s probably budget for extra manpower, because you haven’t been able to pay that parttime person–right? Take the money that you would have been paying that person last week, etc., and use it for the transition.
        You could advertise for a part-time person to become full-time upon her resignation–that might be easier to recruit for than the part-time spot you’re struggling to fill now.

        And, if she’s been there a while, maybe you can replace her with someone who’s less expensive, and that savings can offset the increased payroll costs when her position is essentially doubled.
        Or it could help you afford having 2 full-time spots, which might (again) be easier to recruit for.

        1. Marty Gentillon

          Also, if the timing is really bad, consider what incentives you might offer to get her to delay. A few thousand dollar bonus might allow her to buy that 60 inch 4k tv she really wants, and save you the “senior employee leaving right during our rush time” issue. Alternately, you might have her and the part timer trade places at some point, along with an incentive to stick around untill after the rush.

  4. Engineer Girl

    #1 – Wow. You reward years of loyalty and hard work by trying to shortchange someone of a few months salary. All because you haven’t managed your staffing properly. No wonder you have high turnover.
    Have you ever considered that your retiring employee could train/mentor the new people?

    1. Chrissi

      I think OP#1 is thinking super short-term here. The aggravation of a few months is not worth it!!! At the least, you owe a long-term employee some courtesy. Ugh.

      1. Engineer Girl

        They know she’s leaving. They could have her draft best practices etc. Any documentation is better than none.

      2. Jerry Vandesic

        Very short term. Plus, OP1 is not considering the impact of unemployment insurance. If the employee is let go, they have ever right to apply for unemployment, which will impact the unemployment insurance rates for the company.

    2. Aurion

      This. Long term employee can write documentation and train the part time hire and the rest of you, all while you search for a full time replacement (or the part timer can step into the role after being trained by the retiring coworker). Seriously, she’s been there so long, I guarantee she had institutional knowledge, tips and tricks, and shortcuts you don’t know. Training the rest of the office and one new part timer is probably better than your office training two entirely new hires simultaneously anyway, because the remaining colleagues already know the industry, company, software…

      Screw her over now and the rest of your employees will screw you over when they leave. And they will leave, trust me .

      1. Christopher Tracy

        I would if I saw a long time coworker being treated like this. It’s a crappy thing to do and shows just how little the company values the people helping it to function.

        1. I'm Not Phyllis

          I second this. It would send a strong signal to your employees that no matter how hard they work or how many years of service they put in, they won’t be valued. While that may not be true, I can guarantee that’s how many of them will see it.

    3. ginger ale for all

      Why not turn it into a positive? Now you can get the long term employee to help hire her replacement and train them too. And if you are worried about the payroll, why not hold off on the new part timer and offer the long term employee the part time hours until the new full time employee is has found their feet in the job? You can turn this into a gift for everyone.

      1. Colette

        Well, offering her part time hours when she’s working full time may not be a gift, unless they’re planning to pay her as if she were working full time.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          Well, if it’s an offer that can be declined, I don’t see the problem. A lot of people are now transitioning into retirement by working part-time, or consulting or freelancing for their last employer. (Some because of financial need, some just to learn how to restructure their lives, but regardless, it’s becoming more common.)

          1. fposte

            It’s certainly a common way to transition to a soft retirement. But I think in general suggesting it as an immediate possibility does feel like pushing her out, just not as far out–I’d suggest it as an option after her full-time retirement, and then if she seems interested I’d mention that it might work as a possibility before that, too.

          2. Elizabeth West

            My old boss is enjoying every damn second of her full retirement. Endless lake pictures (we connected on Facebook after she left), and they’re now taking a trip through China! I’m so jealous–thanks to my being stupid enough to go back to school, I will never be able to retire. :( (But I’m glad she’s having fun.)

    4. Bartlett for President

      My bosses were THRILLED to have significant notice when I was moving away, because two weeks notice was never enough time to transition a workload in a way that didn’t overload people. My transition was simple: they hired the new person, let them get trained up, and then we slowly handed off my workload, and I was there to backstop them.

      If an employee refuses to give a retirement date, that’s something to be frustrated about. But, push them out? I was at my employer for 12 months when I told them I was going back to school, and they were in the middle of a massive, nationwide restructuring of the parent company and numerous subsidiaries. I wasn’t pushed out at all – they saw the advance notice as a gift.

      Why wouldn’t an employer want time to smoothly transition a workload handoff?

      1. One of the Sarahs

        This is what I don’t understand – especially if there’s been a lot of turnover, the more transition for someone the better.

        1. JessaB

          I’ve worked for both. Companies that adore you for notice and companies that want you out yesterday. Personally I’d go with the first. And if they’re hiring now for something in that department unless the original employee is really awful, why NOT have them help train the new person?

          It’s also possible the employee is retiring because their partner is and they’re trying to co-ordinate benefits/pensions, etc. they may be moving or something.

    5. evilintraining

      That was my thought. And #1, you and the new hire could really benefit from this.

    6. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

      +1. I was thinking the same thing. The retiring employee could train the new hires during the few months that she’s still there. That would really be insulting to push her out. And I hope they don’t push her out only to call her back in to train the new hires.

    7. themmases

      Yeah, I really did not understand this. The OP says this is a big deal because they have had more than their share of turnover so just… Start replacing those people?

      I have worked in departments where people were pushed out unjustly and it is unbelievably terrible for morale. When people I liked were treated this way it was a huge topic of conversation for weeks, made me miserable at work, and very worried about my co-workers and their families even though my own job was not at risk. I never looked at the managers responsible the same way again regardless of how they treated me.

      1. Not Me

        Two years ago, our department had a 10% layoff for budgetary reasons. I think 10 or 12 people were laid off, and they were given the option to stay till X date while they looked for other jobs, or to accept severance. and make the layoff date be their last day. Most chose to keep working until X date. Two of the laid-off employees were older folks that were looking forward to their scheduled retirement; one woman had a countdown going on her whiteboard (it was a matter of a few months at that point).

        The company would not let the two potential retirees stay until their retirement date; they had to be gone by X date. That meant that they would be short of their 30 years (or whatever it was). We were told it was because of “legal reasons”; I guess it’s what the company lawyer recommended. You’d better believe that I still remember that and I’m guessing lots of other people do, too.

        1. Judy

          At all the companies I’ve seen significant layoffs, if there was a severance and the severance was large enough to “bridge” to retirement, the part of severance until eligible for retirement was paid as a salary.

          I’ve certainly seen situations where the severance policy was 2 weeks of severance per year of service. So if you were 5 months from your allowable retirement date for either age or service, you could get 5 additional months of salary and a lump sum severance of the remainder. If you were already eligible for retirement, they wouldn’t extend your service time to get the higher rate, but they did allow bridging to retirement. This is useful because at most places you take a benefit hit if you “retire after separation” rather than “retire from active employment” AND if the company offers retiree healthcare, it usually requires you to “retire from active employment”.

      2. Troutwaxer

        That was my experience too during a similar period in our company. There are so many better ways to handle this, most of which have been discussed above.

    8. MK2000

      This just happened to my mom last week. In April she’d mentioned to her boss that she was planning to retire at the end of the year after she turns 65, and last Friday her boss pulled her into his office to say that her replacement starts on Monday and she’ll spend the next two weeks training him. She’s the controller and HR person of a small business, which I think has enough employees for this to be a federal issue, and she’s spent five years working long hours and doing impeccable work for them. I’m livid on her behalf and want to send them a letter from a lawyer (and/or burn the place down, but I suppose that’s rash :) ), but she’s just diligently working to train this new person and accepting one month’s severance and some vague promise to keep her on insurance until fall when she qualifies for Medicare. It’s disgraceful.

      1. LawCat

        That’s awful. She should at least be able to get unemployment benefits since she’s being fired. Couldn’t hurt to get a lawyer involved to ensure that “vague promise” becomes a concrete promise in writing. Might be able to negotiate a better severance for her too (and she could still get unemployment).

        1. Hlyssande

          That and it seems like a pretty clear case of age discrimination…doesn’t it?

      2. ThursdaysGeek

        Yes, she should most definitely apply for unemployment, and her boss is a jerk.

      3. Laura

        How horrible. I would absolutely recommend getting in touch with a lawyer who specializes in employment law. This sounds verrrrrrry much like age discrimination.

      1. LawCat

        (On the part of OP#1 and the organization that is. Engineer Girl hits it on the head.)

  5. Observer

    #5 No obligation whatsoever. If someone wants to do a group gift, and you can contribute $5, I would go along with that. But otherwise? Forget it.

    As for inviting workmates of the parents – a lot depends on the culture of the place and the people. Three of my children are married. The parents made the wedding, and we invited our friends and associates. Many of my co-workers didn’t come which I expected as we don’t work that closely. A nice congratulations was appreciated, but I don’t think that any of those people even thought of gifts. (I certainly hope not!) And, not everyone who came, brought gifts, which was fine, as well. The few who did brought them in much the same way they would give gifts to the child of a friend. Just as they attended “Observer’s” wedding not “Observer’s child’s wedding”.

    If anyone is hyperventilating over the helicopter parenting, rest assured. Making your child’s wedding is NOT synonymous with helicopter parenting.

    1. Purple Dragon

      I’m not sure what you mean by “The parents made the weddings”
      Sorry – I’ve never heard this before, what does it mean ?

      1. Artemesia

        Traditionally the parents of the bride give the wedding and that often means many of the guests are their friends. With older brides and grooms, the trend is away from this but it is still common.

        1. Allison

          I had no idea that was a thing. I mean, I know that traditionally the bride’s family pays, but I didn’t realize that also entailed the bride’s parents inviting their friends. I do hope my family at least helps pays for my wedding because I didn’t really have a sweet 16 or college grad party (I could have, I just didn’t really want to) so I’d like to think they’d be willing to go in on some kind of party for me later in life, but I’d feel weird if they invited their coworkers and friends I didn’t know well.

          1. the gold digger

            I totally expect to be invited (and have been invited already) to the weddings of my good friends’ children! I don’t know the children that well, but a wedding is a joyous event that the parents are also celebrating. I want to celebrate with my friends!

            1. VintageLydia

              So long as parents’ friends don’t trump the couples’ friends on the list, I’m definitely cool with parents adding their own invites. Usually the complaints happen when the poor couple knows almost no one at their own wedding.

              1. Allison

                And I wouldn’t mind if my parents added a few people they knew, honestly. But yes, I wouldn’t want a wedding with a ton of people I didn’t know.

                1. the gold digger

                  Let me amend my reply:

                  If the kid sent me a high-school graduation announcement, then I expect to be invited to the wedding. :) If I am good enough to ask for cash when he’s 18, I am good enough for an invite.

            2. MaggiePi

              I’ve seen this vary a lot from wedding to wedding.
              My parents got to invite 4 friends total (and I think they only ended up inviting two).
              They paid for a big chuck of the wedding and were totally fine with that. They were paying for my friends to come see us get married, not their friends who I’d met a few times, maybe.
              My parents also both have mega huge families, who were all invited. If not for that, maybe we would have made more room for their friends.

              1. TootsNYC

                My parents also both have mega huge families, who were all invited. If not for that, maybe we would have made more room for their friends.

                Aren’t those mega huge families YOUR family? Weren’t they on your guest list?

                1. Ted Mosby

                  My mother has 14 first c ousins. She’s close to most of them. I hardly know their names. They live all over. God knows I don’t give a flying frog about having them at my wedding, but they will be invited.

            3. Tacocat

              I agree completely with you, and I’m a bride who is paying for the bulk of her upcoming wedding herself. A lot of my parents close friends are the equivalent of family friends: they watched me grow up and helped both me and my parents by being there for emotional support and encouragement along the way. For example, the day we had to book the venue (super popular venue so had to call on a specific day) my mom’s friends came over to her house and called with her, since I had to work. It would be weird if they weren’t invited! Going too far the other way is bad too (all parents friends), but I’m surprised by how often other young marrying people are against this. I don’t think they are able to see the other side from the parents’ perspectives.

          2. (Another) B

            Yep. My first wedding was basically for my parents. They invited all their friends and relatives bc they paid for it.

            1. TootsNYC

              “their . . . relatives” are also YOUR relatives–aren’t those relatives there for you?

          3. Laura

            I think the idea is that because the bride’s parents are paying, it is “their” party too, so they can invite whomever they’d like/have control over the occasion. Which is exactly why I won’t let my parents pay a single cent for my future wedding.

        1. BRR

          I know if my parents paid for my wedding they would want to be able to invite a large number of people that they “have to” invite including a their coworkers that I might have met once or know in name only. Not sure if others here would have the same situation or if this is just part of my moms way of thinking.

          1. Security SemiPro

            My husband and I worked hard to keep our (his) parents out of the wedding budget, and thus out of the planning, and thus avoid what happened with his sister who ended up with a big Catholic wedding full of her parents’ friends and contacts. The only friends she had there were the bridesmaids. But she did get a big party with a huge venue and all the fanciness.

            We chose to pay our own way and invite our friends, to the ongoing confusion of his parents. And occasional dust up, when his mom had told someone that of course they were invited and then she had to go and “uninvite” them, which she hated because it would damage her social reputation. Even if she was willing to pay the difference for adding the guest. (and their spouse. And their kids.) But she eventually learned not to invite people and we eventually got married and she eventually forgave me. (But I think that happened when I had a kid, providing her with a grandchild to dote on.)

            Families are weird.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale

        I don’t know why, but I’ve never heard this outside of the Jewish community! A colloquialism unique to us. :) We always say, “Who made the wedding?” or “Who’s making the wedding?” or “I’m making my son’s wedding, I’m going to be unbelievably busy for the next six months, don’t be mad if I don’t call you.”

        Yes, it simply means that someone (parents, couple, grandparents) is paying for the wedding and, in most cases, taking care of a lot of the planning. If parents make the wedding, they often invite a lot of their friends and associates. When I get married, I will likely be paying for most of it (I’ll “make” the wedding!), so fewer of my parents’ friends would be there.

        1. JessaB

          Yes, “making” as in throwing that get together/party/wedding Ba(r/s/t) Mitzvah, etc.

        2. Observer

          I usually catch those colloquialisms before I confuse people. That tells you how ingrained this one is :)

        3. Nervous Accountant

          I’m South Asian/Muslim, and in our culture, most of hte time the parents’ pay for the weddings. Typically, the girls parents pay for 1 event (the ceremony) while the guys side hosts the reception. But as mentioned above, its changing as people are marrying later (and therefore more financially settled) so parents are contributin gless and less. I married at 21, so my parents foot 100% of the bill for our event. My husband was 28, so he paid for a good portion but his parents chipped in as well.

        4. fposte

          I’ve never heard that–it’s so spot on it makes me realize how funny it is that that’s not the usual expression.

        5. Anonsie

          The phrasing’s borrowed from Yiddish. Other examples of things that end up sounding weird in English: “staying by So-and-so” (from “bei”, “in/at”) and “don’t have from what to eat” (note double negative and use of “from”). Hooray Yinglish.

        6. Kriss

          when I moved to New Orleans, the locals would say, “I’m going to make groceries” which meant they were going to go grocery shopping. I figured is was an English translation of an expression that was originally in French.

      3. Observer

        Us and the “mechutanim” (Hebrew / Yiddish for the parents of your in-law children).

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Which is one of the best words– there’s no English equivalent. I find the Yiddish such a handy way to describe the relationship.

    2. Bartlett for President

      Can I just ask: when you say “a nice congratulations was appreciated,” do you mean a congratulations to you or your child that was getting married? I’ve heard people say congratulations to the parents of the bride or groom, and it always confuses me…like, “congrats your kid isn’t such a reject that they found someone willing to marry them?” or “congrats you are off the hook for paying for things now”?

      It always struck me as a throwback to when a father “gave” his daughter to a husband, and really it was basically a transfer of ownership or control of the daughter….

      1. Anomanom

        My sister is getting married this summer and my brother in law to be is awesome, and taking our family name. I have definitely gotten some “congratulations on the awesome new addition to the family.”

        1. NotAnotherManager!

          Yes. Both my family of origin and those that our family has married into have always looked at it as adding a new family member rather than offloading one. I joke that I’m pretty sure my mom likes my husband more than me and would keep him in the family instead, were we to split up.

          Of course, I was also paying for myself for quite a while before I got married, as was my husband, so there wasn’t really a reason for either of our parents to celebrate foisting us off on someone else to foot the bills…

      2. themmases

        I don’t really find it a throwback… seeing your child get married is a landmark event in being a parent and thus in many parents’ lives. It is a life event for them too.

        I actually think congratulating parents makes more sense because getting married is not an accomplishment. For example I would find it strange for someone to congratulate my parents on my graduation this summer because I made the decision and did all the work, it doesn’t really affect them. Me getting married is a nice thing happening in all our lives.

      3. Observer

        Nothing to do with “giving the daughter away”. Congratulations come for a son or daughter for one thing. And getting married is a big enough excitement that you say congratulate someone in a positive way.

        When you congratulate someone on their own marriage, is it about “Congratulations on finding someone to take you. I guess you’re not such a loser.” Why would it be any different with a parent. Healthy parents are thrilled when their kids find happiness and success.

      4. TootsNYC

        also–don’t read too much into it. What people want to say is, “such happy news! I’m glad for you and wish you well.”

        And it comes out “congratulations,” because that’s just a term that is stored in the brain right next to those emotions.

    3. Christopher Tracy

      #5 No obligation whatsoever.

      Yup. I’m in the I don’t attend events for or give gifts to people I don’t know camp. I’d politely decline, say congratulations, and be done.

    4. doreen

      I don’t think it’s odd even in Western culture (since people have mentioned other cultures) for the parents to invite people to the wedding- I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where none of the parents’ friends were invited. Even coworkers in some cases. But there are a lot of variables- are there 20 guests or 200 ? What kind of relationship do you have with your coworkers? How many coworkers do you have and what proportion of them are you inviting? It’s one thing to invite only 5 of the 200 people in your office and quite another to invite only 5 of the 6 people in your office. I wouldn’t have any problem at all with #6 declining or not sending a gift – but I would feel terribly awkward not inviting them.

    5. LQ

      I think this might be a little about the workplace too. Mine doesn’t do a lot of socializing outside work and usually needs a Good Excuse. (We usually do one thing after a yearly big event.) When a coworkers child got married everyone was invited. Most of us didn’t know the child or to be spouse so it seemed odd. Another coworker pointed out to me that the location was close, she was very social and likes get togethers and there is basically no chance of someone directly on our team having a wedding (I’m pretty much the only single person) so it was mostly just a get together and all the work people hung out together. (I didn’t go and didn’t send a gift and didn’t feel bad!)

    6. Accountant

      And I think it depends on the parent’s industry. If you’re in an industry with a lot of outside the office socializing as part of business… like golf games, community organizations, fundraisers, etc, I think it’s more common for parents to invite friends and associates. My friend’s law partner dad invited a lot of his friends/associates/whatever to her wedding, for example.

  6. BobtheBreaker

    #1- I would second going the route that Allison mentioned, trying to confirm and sync up timelines. Then get that replacement in soon-ish, so that they can get some real training time and be a competent substitution during the busy time. If she balks on the timeline, slide the new hire into the PT role, or see if they’ll flip. Also, you get the added bonus of not burdening that department with two New Hires at the same time.

  7. Anonymous Educator

    #3 reminds me of that Seinfeld episode when George wants to break up with his girlfriend, and she says she’s listened to his reasons, and she just won’t accept them. And he just gets frustrated and says “Turn your key, Moira. Turn your key!”

    It’s not actually like launching nuclear torpedoes with two people who have to turn keys simultaneously. If you are taking it as a resignation, she can’t insist it’s a termination, and you don’t have to sign whatever document she wants you to sign. You can just say “You’re telling us you’re leaving us for another job. Congratulations! We’re taking this conversation as a resignation.”

  8. Bingo-Bongo

    #5: As someone currently planning a wedding this is almost certainly a gift grab or an “obligation” invite; either way I doubt co-worker expects many people from the office to actually show unless the invitation was accompanied by them sincely telling OP that their presence is desired.

    Weddings are expensive and while Miss Manners says you should never count on guests not showing up, sometimes people will issue extra invitations to make up for others who have RSVPed “no”.

  9. Liz in a Library

    #5 sounds like a gift grab to me, too, largely because historically the rules of etiquette have required a gift if you are invited to a wedding (there’s lots of reasons I think this shouldn’t always be the case now, including a situation where you are invited to a wedding for a stranger…). I wish people wouldn’t do this.

    1. Chocolate Teapot

      Slightly off topic, but the births and weddings announcement section in my local newspaper usually includes bank transfer details for sending your gifts.

      1. Bartlett for President

        Wait, what? I know in many Western European countries bank details aren’t protected information like in the US because there is nothing to be done with just bank transfer information. I’m not sure where you live, but in both Sweden and Germany it was really common to have friends’ bank details saved in online banking because we’d just transfer money around to pay each other back after one paid the dinner bill or a hotel room when traveling.

        But, including it in the birth and wedding announcements? That’s…*mind blown*

        1. Aurion

          Eh, I can believe it. Chinese weddings often have cash gifts. Wiring to the bank isn’t too far of a stretch to me.

        2. Al Lo

          Email money transfer is definitely the most convenient. I think that’s why things like Venmo haven’t really taken off in Canada. It’s so much easier to just email money transfer from your bank account within your bank app. Last time I tried it, it wasn’t available in the states.

          I’ve never had someone else’s bank numbers saved in my account, but I’ve gone into the bank with numbers just to deposit. I could never take something out of somebody else’s account with only that information, but as long as you’re putting the money in, it’s doable, although not terribly common.

          1. Bartlett for President

            I think you’re right about the Venmo thing – and the converse is true: its huge in the US because its 100x easier and cheaper. I can transfer money to someone within the US, but the bank will charge me like $20, and many banks will charge the recipient as well.

            I didn’t realize how horribly clunky the US banking system was until I moved abroad. The code fob was a pain, but obviously much more secure.

            1. Al Lo

              I’ve had to laugh a little as the US has adopted the chip and PIN system so far behind everyone else — I saw an article somewhere about “But how will people tip?!”… to which the answer was, “The same way people do everywhere else in the world that has had chip and PIN for years.”

              Most banks here have a certain number of free email transfers a month, and then they’re usually $1 or $1.50 each after that.

          2. Kerry (Like the County In Ireland)

            My bank (Wells Fargo) has it. It’s like PayPal–I just put in my sister’s email and send her what I owe her. She also banks with WF, but it’s not a requirement for her to use.

    2. neverjaunty

      No, it isn’t true that the rules of etiquette have historically required a gift.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I agree with you, but it’s interesting to note that it varies by etiquette expert, annoyingly. Emily Post actually says that it’s obligatory:
        http://emilypost.com/2015/05/giving-grief-if-you-dont-attend-a-wedding-should-you-still-send-a-gift/

        Although here her rule has an exception for people you don’t know well, which would apply in this case:
        “If you have been invited by someone you don’t know well or don’t keep in touch with, use your judgment.”

        Miss Manners has always been staunchly against any such rule:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-a-wedding-invitation-is-not-an-invoice/2013/04/23/876cc3a8-a921-11e2-b029-8fb7e977ef71_story.html

        This one is even coworker-specific:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-dont-fall-victim-to-wedding-gift-extortion/2011/09/01/gIQAf9ADgK_story.html

        (I’m so pleased to be able to reference Miss Manners twice in one week.)

        1. John

          Miss Manners is the bomb on things like this. And a helluva witty writer (writers, now that her family members have gotten into the act).

        2. Allison

          “a wedding invitation is not an invoice.” I like this. I think it should be a case-by-case basis, if a family member or good friend invites me to a wedding and I can’t make it, I’d send a gift, or money if that was requested. If someone I barely know invited me, I’d politely decline and send my best wishes.

          Wedding gift politics are ridiculous these days, a few years ago I came across two stories about brides throwing hissy fits because a guest didn’t give enough money, or gave a gift they didn’t like. It was like “your plate cost $X and we expected that at least much money from you, but all you gave us was a stupid candy basket!” Then there’s a whole debate over whether money is “tacky,” but y’all, if a couple is up to their eyeballs in student loan debt and wants to buy a house someday, I’m not gonna fault them for preferring money to new kitchen appliances.

          1. Mary

            My attitude about asking for money for a wedding in order to buy a house is; do not have a large wedding, use the money on a wedding for a down payment on a house. I still don’t understand why couples who owe money for student loans, cars, etc. insist on spending a large amount of money on a wedding.

            I have heard too many couples lament that they should have spent the money on a down payment for a house.

            But then again I live in the San Francisco Bay Area; so a down payment on a house is a rather sizable sum.

        3. Doreen

          I think all those rules have an exception for people you don’t know well, even if it’s not explicitly stated. They’re aimed at the sort of people who don’t want to give their niece a wedding gift only because they can’t attend the wedding.

        4. Charlotte Collins

          Alison, I think of you as the spiritual daughter of Miss Manners – she’s the generalist and you’re workplace focused.

        5. TootsNYC

          it’s really simple: do you care about them? Give them a gift.

          Because if you care about them, then you’ll be invited, and you’ll try to attend.

          it all flows out from that: Someone you care about is having a major life change.

      2. Liz in a Library

        The Emily Post Institute still says it’s obligatory, too. They’ve mentioned it several times on their podcast within the past year.

          1. Green

            Yes, the entire point of etiquette is to make people feel welcome and comfortable and to act graciously and kindly. There’s nothing ungracious about sending a lovely card and not a present.

            1. Charlotte Collins

              Maybe I should invite the EPI staff to my wedding if I ever get married and see what happens…

        1. Rusty Shackelford

          If I were getting married, I’d invite every single person at the Emily Post Institute.

        2. Oryx

          The Emily Post Institute is run by Emily Post’s family members. I wouldn’t necessarily trust they know what they are talking about.

          1. Artemesia

            Yeah nepotism doesn’t work in advise columns any better than anywhere else. Dear Abby’s daughter is terrible at it. And the Miss Manners Column has gone rapidly downhill since the next generation took over — meaner and less witty.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              But please note that my nieces will carry on in my stead and they will be excellent at it.

              P.S. My almost-16-year-old niece just got a job! She agreed to do an interview here about it, and I’m very excited.

              1. Jennifer O

                Your nieces have already been fabulous guest columnists.

                The only problem I foresee with your plan, though, is that each of you has distinct voice. You’ll need to work on that if we’re not to know it’s not you. :)

      3. MK

        True, but the custom of giving gifts when one attends a celebration is so widespread that going to a wedding and not giving a gift of some sort will come strikes most people as rude. Frankly, if I have enough good will for you to spend hours preparing for and then attending your wedding/birthday/etc., then I will want to give you something as a gift.

        1. Kelly L.

          If you go, yeah, it’s the norm. I think the debate is about whether the invitation incurs the obligation even if you don’t go.

          1. MK

            Oh, I see. No, I don’t think an invitation incurs any other obligation than to respond timely (and offer good wishes).

        2. Artemesia

          It is pretty boorish to attend a wedding and not give a gift. But an invitation from a stranger? or near stranger? It is ridiculous to think a gift would be required.

          1. fposte

            Miss Manners walks a lovely loop on that one. She really, really hates to state that gifts are required even if you attend–it’s just that you may wish to restrict your attendance to the weddings of those you are sufficiently attached to to want to give a gift. A shower is the only event where she’ll admit that a gift is actually required.

            I’d have loved to have seen Miss Manners take on the potlatch.

    3. Lady Kelvin

      When we got married 3 years ago there were a lot of people we invited that we knew wouldn’t be able to attend because many of my husband’s family live abroad, and when some of them did attend, it was awesome! But we didn’t invite them so they could send a gift, it was more of a wedding announcement. We also had a registry because my family required it, but we had both been on our own for many years and didn’t need anything to set up our house. We ended up getting things like China and crystal because we would never buy it for ourselves but it is nice to have nice things to entertain. That being said, we certainly didn’t want or expect people to bring us gifts (we would have had to figure out how to ship them home) and especially for the people who were travelling to us, the fact that they came was enough. We had a great party.

      1. Ife

        The couple at a wedding I recently attended registered at REI, because they love to camp and already have all the “house stuff.” Love that idea.

      2. TootsNYC

        My mother pointed out, when my German “brother” was getting married, that if he didn’t send me an invitation, I couldn’t go.

        He had said, “I won’t send her an invitation, because she probably won’t be able to come [I’m in NYC; he was marrying in Karlsruhe], and I don’t want to obligate her.”

        My mom said, “But if she wants to come, and she can come, she won’t be able to, because you will have not invited her. You will have made that decision for her.”

        I got an invitation. And I tried to go, but ended up unable.

    4. TootsNYC

      if there was ever any rule about giving a gift, there was also a rule about inviting people who’ve never even met you OR your parents (which our OP says is the case).

      But yeah, I’m guessing this very distant colleague has heard the first “rule” but not the second one.

  10. NicoleK

    #1 At Old Job, one of my direct reports informed me that she’d be retiring within the year but did not provide a date. Every couple of months, I’d check in with her….still no set date. This went on for about 10 months. Even in her final month at the company, she kept changing her mind about her last official work day. It was frustrating as hell but she’d been with the company for 11 years and I didn’t want to be seen as “pushing her out”

    1. Aurion

      That’s different. It would be completely reasonable to ask your retiring coworker for a finalized end date so you can plan the transition and look for a replacement. Candidates don’t take kindly to “we really like you and want to offer you the job, but we have no idea when you can start”, and rightly so.

  11. Chocolate Teapot

    2. In the olden days of posting job applications, when the the world was in sepia, I did have a slightly heavier weight paper to print my CVs and cover letters. Normal office paper is 80g per square metre and this was 90g, so not much different.

    I assume that everyone is currently thinking of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and her pink scented applications!

  12. Lexi

    OP2 – You could split the difference between fancy resume paper and ordinary copy paper. When I have to hand out a hard-copy of my resume, I print it out on upgraded copy paper. Normal copy paper (the cheapest stuff that you probably have in your office) is usually around 20-24 pound and 92 brightness. I have no idea what that means, but that’s what the box says. For resume/reference lists, I use 28 or 32 pound paper (prefer the 32 pound) with 98-100 brightness. It’s a little more expensive, but you can pick up a 500 sheet ream for less than $20 at most office supply stores – and it sometimes goes on sale. It just feels and looks nicer, but doesn’t call attention to itself.

    This is the one I’m currently using (HP 11310-0 HP Premium Choice Laserjet Paper, White, 32-lb., 8-1/2″ x 11″, 500 Sheets/ream), but I’ve used other brands and they all seem similar.

    1. Bartlett for President

      The paper weight is how much 500 sheets of the paper should weigh. I know this from ordering supplies for my dad’s law firm as a kid – the bond paper that they printed legal documents on had to be a certain paper weight. I learned a lot of random stuff…

      Thicker paper = higher weight listed (which is why it is sometimes called heavier paper…’cause it weighs more…)

      1. ThatGirl

        Yep, I work for a wholesaler and among our many offerings are office paper, the brightness also refers to how white it appears – 92 is standard but if you want bright white paper you might go up to 98, if you want more cream colored go for a lower number, etc.

      1. Windchime

        Haha, that’s exactly what I bought back in the 80’s when doing my resume. Cream colored paper that had a “linen” finish. Matching envelopes, too. I think I finally threw away the last of it when I moved several years ago.

        1. ThursdaysGeek

          I still have some of the grey marbled, green marbled, cream plain, and grey plain that came in an assortment. Fancy paper makes me happy, and I’ve had no reason to use it for many years.

      2. Green

        I like the cream linen! I put it in little folders for my summer associate interviews. (No, it doesn’t matter, but I liked it.)

    2. Graciosa

      This is an excellent suggestion, and a lovely way to handle it.

      I would never suggest that someone in the midst of a job search waste money they don’t have on fancy paper, and it is certainly not a requirement for hiring! Most of our resumes come in electronically, so if I’m looking at a printout it’s on our copy paper. The substance of the resume is what counts.

      That said, I would notice if the paper was different. I’ve seen submissions on colored paper (although thankfully not yet pink) and I tend to think it’s in poor taste for professional purposes. A bright white of substantial weight would be very nice, so the notice would be more favorable – but the content is still what matters most.

      This is making me nostalgic for my Levenger’s catalog, ignoring the fact that the space that used to be devoted to fountain pens is not focused on tablet cases –

  13. Bartlett for President

    I have to admit, I read #5 thinking the son is probably young and doing what kids do when they graduate high school: send announcements to EVERYONE, and hope they give them money. I always thought that was such a weird tradition, but it was super common when I was graduating high school in the early-2000s.

    I’d send a card, and be done with it. But, I like to send cards to people…

    1. Anxa

      I remember being aware that it was possible to get money, but mostly I was just excited to share the news( I guess it wasn’t like it was a big surprise). I had good grades throughout school and had no personal reasons not to be sure I’d graduate, but my family had gone through a lot those 4years and I was pretty excited. I did get a few checks that I luckily saved for leaner times, but I have all of my cards saved still in a box; they’re treasures to me.

    2. TootsNYC

      technically speaking, announcements aren’t invoices for gifts either, and recipients are supposed to know that as well as the person announcing is.

      In a way, the graduation announcement is a way to tell distant relatives, “hey, he’s a grownup now, in case you’ve lost track.”

  14. SL #2

    #5: In Chinese culture, your parents having their own guest list for their child’s wedding or wedding banquet is often a show of respect (from child to parents) and a status symbol (from parents to their peers). Not saying this is necessarily the case here, but there are cultural reasons for inviting “virtual strangers” even if it’s not the American thing to do. I, for example, will be expected to invite what will probably feel like the entire universe because my parents will have their own guest lists on top of my own family/friends list.

    1. Bartlett for President

      That’s really interesting! If you don’t mind me asking, is this an “old world” tradition, and if so: is it common for it to be continued in the “new world”?

      [One of my close friends is Pakistani-Canadian, and I’m regularly in awe of how well she transverses what she deems “new world” and the “old world” customs and traditions. As first generation Canadian, she seems to exist in two different worlds at the same time. As a whitebread American girl, my family’s Italian traditions didn’t extend much beyond knowing how to use a spoon to eat long-stranded pasta, and putting parm. cheese on EVERYTHING.]

      1. Aurion

        It depends on the family. My cousins’ weddings were massive and the my aunt had three dresses total (two changes, when normally that’s something the bride would do) and have extended speeches (you’d think it’d be the newlyweds who would speak…) My mother’s friend’s daughters invited my parents to their weddings, but it seemed to be only close friends of her parents that got the invite (whereas traditionally, the parents issued the invites and invited their friends, coworkers, etc). Should I ever marry, I’d probably sign something at city Hall and elope.

        All of these examples are of people who were raised in the west, though the specific cousins I mentioned have moved back east. I suspect the adherence to tradition is less to do with their geography and more they my aunt and uncle are really, really traditional people.

        1. Bartlett for President

          I guess for some people big weddings are fun, but they seem so exhausting – and frankly, a waste of money. A former coworker of mine was talking about her massive wedding, and said “my father offered to give me the wedding or buy me a house – of course I took the wedding, because that is a memory that will last!” I was amazed my jaw didn’t break from the effort it took to keep my mouth shut.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            I wanted a wedding of two so I don’t really get big weddings either, but for our purposes here, I’d rather we avoid judging other people who have them. Thank you!

            1. Bartlett for President

              My bad! I didn’t realize until I saw your comment how judgey my post was. I think my sleepiness turned it from “this is genuinely surprising to me” to judgey.

              1. MK

                I don’t judge anyone who wants a big wedding (should I ever marry, I will probably have on myself), but prefering it over real-estate is going a bit far.

            2. Big10Professor

              Just out of curiosity, did you have a Bat Mitzvah? My Bat Mitzvah was a really big to-do, and it was stressful and no fun, so that definitely cured me of any desire to have a big wedding.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                I did not, but having watched my sister’s, I can totally see how that would cure one of it. For me, I think it’s more that getting married feels like a really, personal intimate thing. (At one point during our wedding discussions, I told my then-fiance/now-husband that I felt like we were inviting people to watch us have sex — it really does feel almost that level of intimate to me. Obviously I know that no one else on the planet feels this way and I am a weirdo.)

                1. Colorado CrazyCatLady

                  You are not the only one on the planet! I feel like weddings are super intimate and during my first marriage, in spite of wanting to write our own vows, we just chose generic ones because I didn’t want people knowing my private feelings.

                2. Buffay the Vampire Layer

                  There are at least three of us!! This is a not-insignificant reason why I wanted to (and did!) elope. Too too weird to have people hear me describe how deeply I love my husband.

                3. ancolie

                  At least four of us! Oh man, I’m so happy to find out other people feel this way.

      2. SL #2

        It’s… both, I guess? It’s less to do with geographical region than it is about how traditional your family tends to be. My dad’s side of the family: very traditional Chinese customs despite living in America for nearly 40 years. My cousins who are married all had near-strangers at their weddings, mainly distant relatives of ours (if they lived in the same village as my uncles, they were “family,” whether or not there were actual blood relations). I… somehow doubt that my cousins wanted all those people there, but y’know, the parents insist on inviting Mr. X from back in Guangdong who now lives in the same city and they haven’t seen each other in 10 years, but who cares, they’re still family!

        (I personally think part of it is status; “look at this lavish wedding banquet my family can afford to pay for for our children! Look at the lovely couple! Don’t you wish you could have the same in your family?”)

    2. Jen RO

      This is also common in my corner of the world (Romania, and probably other parts of Eastern Europe). It’s a tangled mess of obligations, with the parents inviting their bosses and coworkers (without actually wanting them there), the bosses and coworkers attending out of obligation (without actually wanting to be there), and this is how you end up with a wedding where the bride and groom invite 30 people and the parents invite 100. And then there is the money math – no one gives gifts anymore, everyone basically pays for their menu + a little extra -, so you have to figure out how much the menu costs, and so on.

      (After attending a few weddings, I have decided that there is no way in hell I am ever doing this.)

      1. The RO-Cat

        Yeah, weddings and baptisms (a different set of dragon rules, at least in my neck of the woods) are a not-to-do thing for me. We had a 35-guests wedding (and got side-eyed by parents) and it still seemed large.

      2. Kelly L.

        There’s kind of A Thing I’ve seen here in the US too, where there’s a clash of traditions and a generation that kind of got hosed. So for a long time, parents threw the wedding because the bride (and sometimes the groom) was usually super young and had never worked or lived outside the home and had no money. So parents got to make all the choices about guest list, food, decor, etc. And if Bride said “But Mom, why don’t I get to pick anything?”, she got “When your daughter gets married, then you get to make all the decisions.”

        And then, of course, society changed and now most brides are independent, and since they have their own money, they can make all the decisions. But one swath of women, from what I can tell, got hosed because their moms picked everything and then so did their daughters, so they never got to plan one at all, and this is often a source of conflict between mothers and daughters. I swear there’s a thesis in there somewhere.

        1. bearing

          I…. like this. Only I suspect that exactly which swath of women got hosed varies geographically and culturally, and so the phenomenon lasted (is lasting?) longer than a generation nationwide.

        2. Ktn

          Yes. My own mother was in the “hosed” generation- married in the late 60s and I got married in the mid 2000s. I tried to be own to her suggestions but was probably kind of a jerk.

        3. TootsNYC

          This is going to happen to me with holiday hosting. My MIL will hog the big family holidays, and by the time she passes away, my kids will want to be holding it, or they’ll not want any family holidays at all.

        4. Cath in Canada

          I solved this by having two wedding receptions! We got married in Vancouver, and my husband and I planned and paid for everything. We then had a second reception back in the UK a few weeks later for all the friends and family who couldn’t make it to Canada. My parents paid for that as their wedding gift to us, so they got to do all the planning. My Dad had just retired and needed a project… it worked out really well for everyone.

          1. TootsNYC

            We had two receptions, and I was so happy, because my MIL doesn’t have a daughter, and I thought she’d love the chance to plan a wedding. Nope–she was SO DETERMINED to not step on my bridal toes that she wouldn’t have anything to do with the planning. Even though I kept saying, “I’m counting on you, because you know your family,” or “I have a whole other wedding to plan,” or even “I hoped you’d have fun because this is your chance, since you don’t have a daughter!”

            My FIL and my fiancé had to be the ones to plan the whole thing.

    3. dancer

      Similar practices in many parts of South Asia. My cousin had 2000 people at her wedding because her father had a government job and had to invite a lot of people for political reasons.

      1. Charlotte Collins

        I remember speaking to someone who got married in the US Midwest in the late 30s/early 40s. Her father had been a circuit preacher, and over 1000 people showed up to the wedding to see the Preacher’s Daughter get married. (This was back when there would be formal invites but it was considered OK to just show up to a wedding if you knew the person and it had been announced.) She said they ran out of food, but it was really fun and the family felt honored that so many people wanted to share the day.

        (It made me think of “Kitty in the Middle,” when Kitty and her friends crash weddings.)

        1. dancer

          Weddings in India are kind of like that. You always have some random people just show up!

    4. blackcat

      It is also common among certain social/economic classes in the US.

      My dad makes… piles of money. His clients are even more wealthy. He’s been invited to MANY weddings of his clients’ and coworkers’ children, with most of these weddings costing well into the six figures. At one game of golf with a client, the client bragged that his daughters’ upcoming wedding was costing $1.5 MILLION. I…. don’t even know how that’s possible. These aren’t immigrants–these folks are just really rich white people.

      My parents have only gone to a very small number of these weddings (generally the ones that are nearby or the client/coworker is someone my dad has worked with for 15+ years), but my mom is sort of weirdly fascinated. While neither of my parents grew up poor, they grew up sort of normal well-to-do (my grandfathers were doctors) and this is totally foreign.

      My dad was clearly relieved when my husband and I did a close-to-eloping kind of wedding with ~20 people in a public park. If my parents had been paying for the wedding, I think my dad would have felt pressure to have a super fancy wedding and invite the people who had invited him to their kids’ weddings. As it was, the wedding plans were presented to both sets of parents as a fait accompli, and my dad had an easy out.

      tl;dr, there are social classes in the US where weddings are totally about the parents’ showing off their wealth to their friends and business contacts.

      1. Op5

        Yes! My colleague is actually from Latin America so I guess they are more hospitable and go with the more the merrier mind set. With that said, would it be rude not giving a gift or something? On another hand, I was only given the invitation 5 days before the wedding, which made me wonder is it a norm or they are just trying to fill the seats :/

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          I think you’re fine sending a card. It’s starting to sound more like a “welcome to my life circle” invitation, which I find to be a nice gesture.

        2. TootsNYC

          I might even say don’t send a card (since the card would be to the bride and groom, whose connection w/ you is even more tenuous!).

          I’d say, RSVP as a no, and if there’s a reply card, write on it, “I hope you have wonderful day.”

          Done.

      2. non-profit manager

        Yes. My parents do not make piles of money, are very much middle class and aspirational. When I was married over 25 years ago, I rejected what they had planned for me- the big wedding and a guest list of mostly their friends and business associates. They were very disappointed and actually ashamed they could not show off (and reciprocate, I suspect). My mom even tried to guilt me with details about so-and-so’s weddings, the cost, the proud parents, how everyone attended, blah blah blah.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale

      My family (Jewish) operates in a similar way. I always say that my wedding won’t be MY wedding, it will be my mother’s opportunity to reciprocate for 40-plus years of hospitality. (I used to say “30-plus”, but I’m Old now.) The older I get, the less that holds true, but that’s personal rather than cultural– I’m simply at a point in my life where I have a very separate life from my parents and a large group of my own friends and acquaintances (as does my bf), but 15 years ago, my wedding would have been rather low on my personal friends. That said, when the day comes, I absolutely expect to have at least two tables of my parents’ friends, even ones I don’t personally know.

    6. one ink pen

      This is why I’m gonna elope if I ever get married. My parents can throw themselves a party afterwards if they want. I can’t deal with the unbelievable amount of drama that seems to swirl around weddings, and having a massive one full of people I don’t know or really care about (and will have to speak to in my not so great Mandarin) is pretty much the exact opposite of celebratory.

  15. Milton Waddams

    #3: Maybe an obvious question, but is there a chance that they don’t know that “terminate” used in an HR context implies the employer has made the choice?People often have gaps in their Business English if they haven’t been in the professional world very long, and terminate isn’t used that way in non-employment contexts. For instance, in a telephone call between a manager and an employee, anyone can terminate the call; saying “the call was terminated” does not imply that it was ended by the manager. This may seem very obvious, but try to think back to when you were first learning the lingo. :-)

    It almost sounds like they were trying to ask if they could be re-hired if the new job didn’t work out, but didn’t know how to phrase it — if their prior experience had been with the sort of company that treated former employees like evil exes rather than class alumni, I could see why maybe they thought they had to go through this kind of weird paperwork dodge instead of just asking directly. (I’m assuming it isn’t an evil ex sort of company since the employee wasn’t fired immediately after attempting to get anyone to sign anything.)

    1. newreader

      My employer uses the term voluntary termination to indicate that it was the employee’s choice to end their employment. Involuntary termination is used for firings.

      I do think Alison’s advice is spot on and the OP has no reason to sign the letter. But the terminology could indicate the employee is choosing to terminate the employment relationship.

      1. (different) Rebecca

        Good points, especially as some leases and/or employment offers can use the language “this agreement may be terminated by either party at any time” to indicate the end of the lease (for housing) or an ‘at will’ employment situation. The employee may just be using language they’re familiar with.

      2. some1

        My first professional job was Union in municipal govt. When I resigned, I had to fill out an exit form & under Reason For Leaving my choices were: Laid Off, Terminated or Retired, no “Resigned” which seemed strange to me I have had those comprehensive employment background checks since then & they haven’t claimed I was fired or anything.

    2. Troutwaxer

      I was wondering the same thing. I think the first thing the OP should do is sort out whether the issue is a case of poor Business English or some attempt to game the system.

    3. Emily, admin extraordinaire

      It’s not necessarily the case that “terminated” always means a firing from an HR perspective. I worked in HR for a year (before getting laid off on my 1-year anniversary, boo), and we used “terminated” to mean that the employment ended, period, and then had a “reason for termination” field. So everyone who left for whatever reason had a date of termination, then a reason code– fired, resigned, laid off, etc. So mine would have said terminated: 6/8/09, reason: LO.

  16. Merry and Bright

    About 15 years ago, at an old job, a group of us were invited to BigBoss’s daughter’s wedding. We got round the wedding gift drama by jointly buying something towards a dinner service the couple were collecting. BigBoss, as it turned out, was filling up his side of a large church to show the world how popular he was.

    If I got married I would rather elope or keep it short and simple than spend the day with a crowd of total strangers.

    1. BRR

      Ooh that’s a possibility that hasn’t been brought up. A wedding is just for the parents to try and make a statement.

      1. SophieChotek

        Not trying to be snarky, but what kind of statement is it if another guest then asks you “So how do you know the [bride/groom]?” and you say “Oh, I don’t. I’ve never met the [bride/groom] before. I just work with [bride/groom’s] mother?” Wouldn’t that kind of backfire then; doesn’t seem to show popularity…?

        1. Laufey

          “Oh, wow, parents are so rich that they can invite everyone to their child’s wedding.”

          It’s like peacocks. The feathers don’t actually DO anything, but they sure look impressive.

          1. SophieChotek

            Hmmm…I guess I can see that. Kind of. Thanks for helping me see other perspective.

        2. BRR

          As Laufey said, peacocking.

          It’s not something I would personally do, but I do know people who would think that it shows how much wealth they have by inviting more people and they want to give people the impression they’re very well off. I think people would just answer they work with the bride/groom’s parent and not say they’ve never met them.

  17. Megan Schafer

    “Also, what is up with people inviting basic strangers to weddings? I suppose there must be some extreme extroverts out there who love it (or parents who feel strongly about doing it)?”

    Maybe I can add some light to this, from my perspective at least. I’m fairly new at my job, only been at this location for about 8 months, but I’ve been planning a wedding for this fall since before I started there. I’ve made some friends and some people are very interested in the wedding, and have expressed a clear desire to come. The workplace has a very open-air atmosphere, no one’s really isolated by offices or desks, and there’s probably about 40 people or so in the workplace. I feel odd sending invites to the people who have shown interest in the wedding – asking how the planning’s going, if we’ve made food choices, etc. – and not inviting people who I’m quite friendly with but who haven’t discussed it much. I certainly don’t want to make someone feel excluded, and I especially don’t want someone to feel obligated. We’ve got the room to invite whomever wants to come, so I’m just at a loss. It’s possible I’d misfire and invite someone who just straight up wasn’t expecting it and they’d feel weird, wondering, “why is this she inviting me?”

    I assume I’m just going to send invitations to whomever’s shown a specific interest and leave it at that, but I hate the idea of the perceived snub – some of my coworkers can be awfully touchy.

    1. Bartlett for President

      I’ve realized from reading the comments on this thread how incredibly complicated weddings are. In some ways, it seems like it was a lot easier in grade school: invite the whole class, or invite no one from the class. Then again, most things were much simpler back when we were kids, right? Except boys. They were complicated even back then.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

        Nah, boys weren’t too complicated, at least if you were taller than them. I may have been the terror of the playground back in the day!

      2. Elizabeth the Ginger

        I think it’s easier to go for “invite the whole class” when you’re talking about $7/kid admission to the bowling alley, plus a couple extra-large pizzas, compared to the cost of a wedding guest at many modern weddings. Unless you’re doing a pizza-and -bowling themed wedding, which would be awesome.

      3. ancolie

        We wanted (and had) a super small wedding, but I went through a bit of fretting over inviting one uncle but not the rest of my aunts and uncles (invited uncle is single).

        My mom saw my now-husband and me trying to figure it out and said the best piece of advice for me:

        “When it comes to weddings, ANY decision you make will piss SOMEBODY off. So don’t worry about it and just do what YOU guys want.”

        The only thing we did that we DIDN’T really want is having a mass in a church. My grandma is a super devout Slovak Catholic and one of my favorite people in the whole world; I knew she wouldn’t be ANGRY if we didn’t, but she definitely would’ve been very sad. So that was a gift to her. :)

    2. nofelix

      Creating drama with selective invites removes the only benefit that inviting colleagues has; their goodwill to you for hosting a party. So yes it makes sense to invite either all or none.

      One thing to consider is how many other guests you have. 40 colleagues + 200 family and friends is very different from 40 colleagues + 40 family and friends. You probably don’t want your wedding turning into a work party. Not to mention that the colleagues all know each other so it’d be one group of 40 that could dominate smaller groups and hamper your less well acquainted family and friends getting to know each other better.

      If it was me I’d avoid inviting any new colleagues: 8 months is not long to know someone and it wouldn’t be a snub if nobody is included. I’d rather spend the money on the honeymoon. I suppose the counter-point is that a big party will make you popular at work if you invite everyone.

      1. Megan Schafer

        This is pretty reasonable, I’ll give it some thought and realize that I probably wouldn’t be snubbed if a new employee didn’t invite me. It’s not really feasible to invite all, since it would result in the same situation the LW has – who is this person and why are they inviting me, I’ve literally never met them? – so the cut off has to go somewhere. I’ll probably just invite the 2 or 3 that have shown real interest and leave it at that.

        1. Lily Rowan

          I really would suggest not inviting any coworkers, unless you are really good outside-of-work friends with them or you’re going to invite them all. It just gets too messy and especially if you’re newish, I don’t think anyone will be expecting it. (Over many years of working, I have gone to one coworker’s wedding.)

    3. Evergreen

      Speaking as someone who shows inordinate interest in my colleagues’ weddings – I’m not expecting an invite!! It’s 70% that I’m interested in organising things and 30% that it’s an easy topic of conversation, that’s all.

      1. Christopher Tracy

        I was going to say, unless someone expressly asks to come (or hints around that they’d want to), they may not actually expect an invite or even want one – people may be asking about these things to be polite to their new coworker who’s about to have a major life event.

        1. TootsNYC

          or they like weddings in general, on an intellectual/hobby level.

          I’d say, invite the coworkers that you might ask over for a weekend barbecue. Or might make it a point to go to lunch with.

      2. CherryScary

        ^This. I’m one of about 4 people in my department currently planning a wedding (we’re all on the young-ish side here). It’s an easy topic of conversation, and we’re all picking up tips from one another. I’m inviting no coworkers, though I’m also getting married in my hometown rather than my current location.

      3. Meg Murry

        Yes, I don’t feel that you need to invite *any* of them if you don’t want to or can’t figure out where to draw the line.

        I’ve found a good cutoff for “work friend” vs “actual friend I’d invite to my wedding” to be a bare minimum of haven’t spent time voluntarily with the person outside of work, preferably an activity beyond post-work happy hour. So if I’d invite the person to my house or make plans to go out to dinner with them, I’d invite them to a wedding – but otherwise, I wouldn’t feel obligated.

        That said, if it really is a situation where you have limitless room and it won’t cost you much to add people (some kind of reception out in a wide open park where you aren’t having catering or an open bar is the only way I can think of that could work, but maybe there is another way), I think inviting the whole office with a note that says “please don’t feel obligated to come, but if anyone would like to join us we’d love to have you, please RSVP by [date]”.

    4. PurpleMonkeyDishwasher

      Honestly, in your shoes, I’d probably invite no one from my workplace – in my experience, “expresses interest” does not necessarily have any overlap with “expects an invitation” – also, in general, it seems like wedding talk in the office tends to skew towards certain age groups (women in their 20s/30s who are typically at the getting-married stage themselves, and 5oish+ folks who have adult children getting married), so if you go by “who asked me stuff about my wedding,” you’re probably going to skew that way and look like you’re excluding people based on demographics.

      If you’re going to invite anyone to work at all, do it by closeness/friendliness of relationship, and/or department, not by who did or didn’t chat with you about your wedding plans. So, your work-buddy who you eat lunch with every day probably makes the list, but the lady down the hall you occasionally chat with at the water cooler doesn’t, and/or you invite only your own department, or similar kinds of dividing lines. Invitations should be determined by relationship to the host (you), not level of interest in idly chatting about floral arrangements.

    5. TootsNYC

      I just want to get out there that people who are interested in the specifics of your wedding plans:
      -are not necessarily interested in attending
      -are not necessarily thinking you OUGHT to invite them (even if they would be interested in attending)
      -are not someone you OWE an invitation to

      And, people who you are actually closer to, “quite friendly with,” may not have shown a specific interest because they think it’s rude to pry, and rude to sort of imply that, despite only having known you for 8 months, you owe them an invitation to your wedding.

  18. lulu

    #1: Just wanted to add, I don’t think you found out “by accident” about the retirement. She told her supervisor, that’s as direct as it gets. She was probably looking for an opening to mention it, for all we know she started that conversation about retirement for that purpose. So don’t act like she is blindsiding you, but feel free to follow up with her for more detail on the timing.

  19. Ladida

    #5: there are a number of cultures in which, even when the family is living in the West, it is common for parents (planning and hosting the wedding) to invite their co-workers. It is not a “gift grab”; you don’t have to send a gift. The invitations are just what is culturally done. Someone mentioned Chinese families above; the same can also be true of Pakistani or other South Asian families. It is an expectation on the parents to make these widespread invitations, not one on you to attend or provide a gift.

    1. DMR

      Exactly this. My first assumption is that the invitation came from a coworker whose culture has large weddings that essentially everyone is invited to

    2. Violet_04

      Yes, I’ve seen this with Indian weddings. My parents have been invited to huge weddings where they are friends with the parent. They might have met the kids in passing at other events, but they dont really know them personally.

  20. Frederf

    I never feel obligated to give gifts. Birthdays, weddings, whatever.

    But maybe I’m just a horrible person

      1. Donna

        Same here, most of the time. Baby showers at work used to be the exception, until I found out that for some of the expectant parents, the work shower was the fourth one they’d had (for the same baby). It seemed kind of…well, greedy! How could you even use all that stuff? I can see if they were expecting twins or triplets, but they weren’t.

        1. TootsNYC

          but are you judging those parents unfairly? Did they choose to have the baby shower? did they ask for the gifts?

    1. Tomato Frog

      I hate the idea that people will think an invitation I send them is an invoice for a gift. Happily, the world is full of people who don’t ever expect gifts, and I know a heartening number of them. Not giving a gift is only considered horrible by people who are sort of horrible themselves.

      1. Violet_04

        When I got married, the people I invited were those that I wanted to spend time with. The gifts were nice, but I was really excited to enjoy a fun day with people I loved.

      2. Donna

        Me too. I grew up very poor and I know what it’s like to not be able to afford to give the things you’d like to give. I would never want someone to go into debt or spend money they need on a gift for me.

        There was some type of “love test” a few years ago that assessed how respondents showed love and what they valued. I think the main categories were physical affection, material gifts, and works–as in helping a friend with a task or chore. I am definitely in the works camp–I don’t expect help, but when I get it it’s so incredibly touching and meaningful to me.

        1. Koko

          Yes, the 5 Love Languages: Words of affirmation (“I love you,” “I’m so happy with you,” etc.), physical affection, gifts, service (helping and doing favors), and quality time (purposefully setting aside time to exist in the same place together).

          It’s so helpful to understand because sometimes we are giving love in a way that the other person isn’t equipped to receive, or we don’t realize we’re being shown love because it’s coming in a language we don’t speak. Couples should always make sure they know how the other likes to be shown love instead of just doing what they would like done to themselves.

      3. One of the Sarahs

        At the last wedding I went to, I was specifically told that the couple knew we were spending money to travel across the country and hire a hotel, so they absolutely didn’t expect a gift – our company would be gift enough. It was cheesy, but adorable, and I love them for it.

    2. ScarletInTheLibrary

      I’m generally horrible too. I have taken my name off the birthday list and don’t announce life events. The people who just want an excuse to give a gift or eat cake give me crap, but I feel it was worth not getting anything rather than getting some gift cards to place I never show at and crap I didn’t want/need (some coworkers are predictable and get people a bag or quilt no matter the occasion).

  21. nofelix

    #3 – Is it just me that thinks she is being needlessly pedantic but not untoward? Her use of the word termination isn’t common for employment, but afaik either party to a contract/agreement can terminate it. She is advising you that *she* is terminating her employment, which is the same as resigning. It doesn’t mean you’re agreeing that *you* are terminating her employment. What employee with a new job offer would insist on being terminated instead of resigning!

    1. Apollo Warbucks

      I get the impression that the employee is playing games

      When the OP says the employee told her that

      “….If we decided not to accept her offer for one day a week, then she would “terminate” her employment with us….”

      I can read this as the employee saying I’d like to work one day a week but if not then I’ll leave and even though the use of the word terminate seems odd to me I could take the phrasing as “pedantic but not untoward”

      The part that makes me think the employee is playing games is when the second letter says

      “….that she had offered to work one day a week and that it had been declined by the company. ”

      There is no obvious reason to add this into the letter, she is leaving for a new job she is quitting her current job with the OP by her own volition, it looks like she is trying to engineer a paper trail for some purpose that makes it look like the company wanted her to leave, I’m a loss to explain the purpose or motivation as I can not see anyone believing this was a termination by the company.

      1. LBK

        Yep, this, exactly. The latter part makes it clear to me that she was trying to force them into firing her.

    2. Florida

      Let’s assume that Employee’s motives are pure and she is u,sing the word “terminate” to mean the same as “resign.” Alison’s advice still stands. There is no reason for Employer to sign a resignation letter. If Employer is uncomfortable signing it, then don’t sign it.

      While it would be interesting to know what Employee’s motives are and we can (and probably will) speculate about it all day long, Alison’s advice is good advice regardless of Employee’s motives.

    3. Sadsack

      No, I think it is pretty clear she is attempting to get the company to state that it is terminating her employment. She is being very specific in her use of the word terminate versus resign and who is doing the terminating.

    4. Sadsack

      Also, how does OP know there is really a job offer? The employee could just be saying that and then turn around and file for unemployment with the company’s signed statement as support. Though I doubt she’d be successful.

  22. jhhj

    #1 — Why push her out at all? Why not tell her you heard she wants to retire during the summer, and you’d like to work out a transition plan. Maybe she will be willing to postpone her retirement until September. Maybe she’d be willing to do that but only if she had Fridays off as of July. Maybe she wants the summer off but would be a consultant afterwards. Maybe she has a great plan for getting a new person up to speed . . . lots of possibilities! But you need to talk to her, tell her what you would like and see if you can come to an agreement that is good for both of you. You need to put all your cards on the table, because otherwise you’re going to end up with a result that is less good than it could have been.

    1. hbc

      Exactly my thoughts. Retiring is usually pretty flexible–I highly doubt she needs to go to from exactly forty hours the week of July 18th to zero hours the week of the 25th. There’s a good chance that she’d be up for extending, or working part time, or taking two weeks off in the middle of the summer but coming back again. Forcing her out before the busy season seems like the *worst* of all possible options.

      1. Newby

        Exactly what I was thinking. If the timing truly is terrible, asking her to stay for a few more months seems reasonable. If she says no, that needs to be respected (without retaliation of firing her) but she may not know how much strain it would put on everyone else to have her retire then. Alternatively, they could look into hiring someone but delaying the start date. If they are upfront with all applicants that the job does not start for a few months, that shouldn’t really be a problem. Many people are reasonably flexible about start dates so a few months shouldn’t deter many.

      2. F.

        Depending upon her financial needs, she may very well need to work full-time right up to retirement.

    2. One of the Sarahs

      +1, ask her to stay over the busy time, tons of options here (and especially tons of options that might mess up her health insurance, pension etc etc – got to say, if I saw my team mate treated like that, I’d be looking for a new job immediately)

  23. Copper Boom

    I agree that the OP shouldn’t move her to the part time role unless she is continued to be paid for full time. She could make a case for constructive dismissal as you are basically cutting her hours thus making a unilateral change to her employment conditions. (Not sure if company size comes into play here for this to be a legitimate claim?)

    Whether or not she would be successful in making these claims though, I would be equally concerned with the message you’d be sending to your other employees, as Alison mentions. You’re basically telling them that you don’t really care about them and are incenting them not to give generous notice. To me, this wouldn’t be worth the trade off of saving a few bucks in salary.

    1. Copper Boom

      This was supposed to be a response to Engineer Girl’s thread above. Sorry, not sure how it got down here!

  24. Raia

    OP2, the nonprofit I used to work at would probably think more highly of an applicant that used higher pound paper. We were pretty dysfunctional though. I wouldn’t worry about it that much, but if you do anyway, make sure the paper is only a little bit higher than the standard 20lb, like 24-32lb. Some stores sell resume paper that is practically thicker than cardboard.

    Also, if they’re having you physically mail it, I’d pay special attention to proper addressing of the envelope. My nonprofit judged hardcore if someone of the millennial generation didn’t address an envelope the right way. Just my two cents.

    1. AnotherAlison

      I’m definitely not going to expect someone to send a resume on the official resume paper I used back in the day (particularly because I would never ask someone to snail mail a resume). But, I would rather see something on “normal” quality paper (20# or more) vs. the cheapest paper you can buy (16#, or recycled paper that looks bad). There’s a line drawn for presentation points somewhere. Otherwise, why not just scratch a few points about yourself down on notebook paper and send that?

      1. Red

        At one point many many moons ago, I worked as the receptionist for a non-profit, and the manager who was collecting resumes by post for two positions had asked me to open her mail for her and organize the resumes based on position A or B. There in fact was one resume that was hand-written on a piece of paper torn out of a spiral notebook (complete with the little fringes!) that sported a coffee cup ring on the bottom of the page.

        Another one was a perfectly nice resume, but the cover letter was handwritten and consisted of, quote, “I really want this job. My salary requirement is $80,000.000. Thank you.” The job, uh, did not pay anywhere near 80k, no matter how many zeros you put after the decimal point.

        And then there was the community educator who included a portfolio of feedback on her past presentations and decided to start off with the thank-you note from a 12yo boy helpfully informing her that he didn’t know what blue balls were until her presentation….

      2. TootsNYC

        Otherwise, why not just scratch a few points about yourself down on notebook paper and send that?

        OMG, I had a candidate do that!!

        He was an indie musician / singer-songwriter with a part-time copyeditor day job, and I’d contacted him about freelance work. He just wrote out something on lined notepaper–not even full-size–to give to me when I asked for a resumé. It matched his whole, “eh, I’d be doing you a favor to work for you,” vibe. I passed.

    2. Pygmy Puff

      There’s a right and wrong way? Return address top left, where it’s going in the center, stamp top right. I’ve never seen an envelope addressed any differently!

        1. Elizabeth S.

          Correct use of honorifics? That can certainly get complicated. Many of the rules are, arguably, obsolete – like how a divorcee is properly addressed “Mrs. Maidenname Marriedname” as opposed to a married lady, “Mrs. Husbandfirstname Marriedname,” and it is never correct to write “Mrs. Herownfirstname Marriedname.” Then there’s the order:

          Mr. and Mrs. Lastname
          The Misses Lastname (unmarried daughters living at home)
          Master Lastname (the unmarried son living at home)
          Address, etc.

          It’s a Very Good Thing that family units are no longer constrained to follow the old formulas of every couple being married, everyone having the same last name, women never being doctors, etc;, but it does make addressing envelopes to people you don’t know well a little more difficult.

          1. Aurora Leigh

            I thought Master was for young boys (like under 5) and then Mr kicked in somewhere around 18 or 21, not tied to wether they were married or not. But maybe my grandma is wrong . . .

      1. Allison

        Me either. Only thing I can think of is that they’re looking for neat, clear, perfectly aligned handwriting, in the correct size, with all the proper punctuation. I could see someone judging a candidate for sending a resume in a sloppily addressed envelope, especially if they’re applying for a position where they’d be responsible for mailing stuff out.

        1. Meg Murry

          And spelling the company name correctly (for instance, if the company is Smith-Jones with a hyphen, be sure to use the hyphen; if it is Chocolate Teapots, Inc. – be sure to include that comma and period, etc).

          I know there was also a past thread about someone weeding out cover letters that weren’t properly formatted. In this case, since it would be a letter that will be mailed, I think it would be important to get that correct too – which is easy enough to find by googling “business letter format”.

        2. Doodle

          Ha! I wish I could include pictures, because I just had some middle and high school students assist me with a mailing last week and there were many wrong attempts before I realized we needed to have “how to address an envelope 101”. My favorite was the person who put the “to” address in the very upper right corner (where the stamp would go). There are others, though — return address on the back (like with personal correspondence or a greeting card), using weird line breaks, etc.

      2. Yetanotherjennifer

        With so much correspondence and bills going electronically, I can see someone not knowing or forgetting how to properly address an envelope. And I’d be willing to bet that proper titles and order of items in the address fields would be judged as well. Maybe Hyacinth (Keeping Up Apearances) worked there and used a ruler to verify proper placement of the stamp.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

          My first job was working at a custom card shop (we made handmade holiday/announcement cards) and the stamps had to be placed 1/4-in in from the edge on envelopes…I still do it now out of habit :/

          Though I was at a direct mail seminar where the presenter suggested you should always but the stamps askew, so donors know they were stamped by hand.

      3. Sophia Brooks

        My student workers have addressed envelopes turned the wrong way. I have never seen anything like it.

      4. IvyGirl

        I think that some younger folks might not have ever had to address something by hand to mail.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

          I was at a direct mail presentation and the Annual Fund director of a university was talking about working with the chair of the senior gift committee who kept asking him how to use the “stickers” on the envelope.

          He said it was a round-and-round discussion where he could not figure out what the student was asking for, as the university logo and return address was in the left corner, and the students would address the envelopes. After a moment, he realized the student was referring to stamps.

          1. Windchime

            Haha, that’s funny. Imagine how perplexed they would be by the type of stamps you used to have to lick.

            My kids both had to be taught how to address an envelope; the are from the electronic age and haven’t had to do it very often.

          2. TootsNYC

            The funny thing is that the thinks we think of as stamps are themselves not really stamps, in the original sense of the word.

            The first postal stamps were hand stamps that you used with an ink pad.

            That was too easily forged, or something, so a paper replacement was invented, and it was called a “stamp” because, well, some of us still “dial” phones. Terminology lingers.

    3. HappyLurker

      I have to believe the request for the mailed resume is to weed out the casual job applicant. Who else but someone who really wants/needs a job will actually mail a resume. It’s painstaking in our easy button clicking world.

  25. FD

    #2 I think Alison’s advice is spot on.

    I always bring a hard copy of my resume to interviews and I usually print it on nice paper, which I feel is a nice first-impression touch, but I don’t think it’s mandatory. And I’ve been working on the same box of resume paper for many years now.

  26. Katie F

    LW #1, that actually made me angry enough that I typed out two or three comments I couldn’t post. Then I went to bed and took some time to think about it. I can’t see why someone who’s been a long-term employee, given you plenty of their loyalty, and is giving you absolutely plenty of notice on retirement should be forced out. That smacks heavily of the kind of “We expect employee loyalty without having to give a single care about the employee in return” issue that is infecting careers across the board.

    It makes perfect sense to sit down and say, “We need to set up a transition plan for your retirement, so let’s talk possible dates for your last day – but keep in mind you don’t have to be 100% concrete on that right this second, we’re just looking for a ballpark right now so we can begin looking for someone to step in to the position.”

    Then you do just that, with her help – no one will know her job better than she does, and she will likely be invaluable in locating a qualified replacement and possibly even in staying on a bit longer to help train them and so that the stress of the busy season isn’t causing instant burnout.

    LW #3 sounds like she’s dealing with someone who read somewhere that “terminate” means “fired” and is trying to get written proof that she was fired for unemployment purposes. Maybe she has a job lined up that doesn’t start for a few months and she wants a 70% paid vacation. I don’t know. It just seems incredibly shady to me that she won’t consider any wording but “terminated”. I’m with Allison here on what to do.

  27. Applesauced

    Techy question – Is anyone else getting pop up ads on the site? (I clicked info, and it said “Ads by Gum-Gum”) They’re not invasive, but they’re new and I’m curious

    1. Laufey

      The bars are the bottom on the window? Yep, I’m getting those. (Google Chrome)

      At least they keep to themselves and don’t try to take up half the page.

      1. A Cita

        Yeah, I’m actually not bothered by these ads at all. They don’t crawl up and take up half the page, so you don’t even have to hit the x to close them. Very much not intrusive for me.

        1. Clever Name

          Same here. There are some sites I don’t go to anymore because the ads are so intrusive. They crawl up the page, or they obscure the screen after you’ve read a few lines, or a box expands exponentially a you scroll past. Just no.

    2. WT

      I have started getting pop ups on the bottom of the page and find them rather intrusive. I hope they are not here to stay.

      1. Talvi

        I actually don’t mind the bars across the bottom on mobile – the previous ads were causing my browser to crash if I tried to view the main page of the site, so if I wanted to read on mobile, I could only view one post at a time. Thus far, the bar across the bottom hasn’t caused me crashing problems!

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yep, it’s something new I’m experimenting with. Haven’t decided yet whether to keep them. The site needs to be financially viable in the long-term, and I’m looking at ways to ensure that it is. (The Toast, one of my favorite sites, announcing last week that it’s closing because it couldn’t work out the finances has really made an impression on me.)

      1. Sadsack

        I realize you need the financing, but these pop-ups are so aggravating, I think I may give up here if I have to keep combatting them. Unless I can figure out how to block them on my phone. I thought I could ignore them at first, but then I opened a couple by accident. I wonder how effective they are anyway. I never even look at them except to figure out how to close them.

            1. Sadsack

              Free AdBlocker browser downloaded from Google play store. I never used anything like it on my phone, but so far it is working. Sorry!

      2. Min

        I don’t find the new ads at the bottom of the page intrusive. They’re absolutely preferable to site closure!

      3. Swoop

        is it possible to target ad type by how the site is being accessed?
        Like those ones that slide up and you have to click the [X] to get rid of them – it’s really hard to hit the [X] correctly on mobile because it’s so small, but pretty easy on the computer. I’m sure there are others that are annoying on the computer but easy to deal with on mobile…
        (full disclosure: I use blockers on the computer because of work but try to visit by mobile fairly frequently to give ad hits)

  28. Minion

    Sorry for the OT, but am I the only one getting these little pop-up ads at the bottom of the screen? And is there any way to make them stop?
    When I say pop-up, I don’t mean it just pops out of nowhere like regular popup ads, but it sort of slides up at the bottom of the screen and stays there unless I actually close it out myself and there’s one on every page.

    1. Willow Bark

      No, you’re not. Seems to be yet another way for the ads on mobile to be as intrusive and annoying as possible. I keep accidentally activating it while trying to close it and it is pissing me off. I know I’m fat, thanks, but I’m not looking for freaking liposuction!

    2. SophieChotek

      Yes I am getting it also today. Grammarly keeps popping up. (Not that it isn’t useful.) I just keep closing it. On a laptop, using Safari.

    3. Applesauced

      Yep, it comes up every time you refresh. I turned off AdBlock for AAM since I want to support Alison , but these new ones are really annoying.

    4. Another Teacher

      Use AdBlock, and avoid visiting this site on mobile. I like to support sites that do ads well, but sadly this site hasn’t been one of those in quite some time. So I don’t feel bad about using AdBlock at all.

        1. Another Teacher

          The ads cause me daily stress, frustration and discomfort if I have to deal with them, so it’s either this or I stop visiting altogether.

          There are sites that do this well. They do not impose Autoplay video or popups that hijack my browser or are near-impossible to close on a phone screen without accidentally activating them (and thus giving click-through stats to companies I detest). All of which your site has done in recent months.

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            Sites that do this well tend to either have much lower traffic or big enough budgets to hire someone to deal with it. Again, I support you using an ad blocker if you need to, but I also am asking people to understand that this is not simple to solve or it would have been solved long ago, and to not be snippy with me about it (although I may have misread your tone!).

            1. TootsNYC

              Maybe it’s because I don’t read this site on my phone, but…

              I’m personally annoyed at the people who are annoyed by the ads. Live with it.

              You’re getting free content; something has to pay for it.

    5. Basia, also a Fed

      Are they only on certain kinds of phones? I have a Motorola, have been stalking on here for about a year, and have never (including today) seen an ad.

  29. (Another) B

    Speaking of resume paper, I bought a box to apply for internships in the early 00’s. That’s the last time I used it. But in high school they used to teach us that that was important. Clearly not anymore.

    The box of paper I had left over ended up being used by my brother to print out Cards Against Humanity. At least it went to a good cause.

    1. Laura (Needs To Change Her Name)

      I still have the first and only pack I ever purchased. Can’t remember if I was in HS or college. I have a PhD and a real job now and have moved the box through 4 states. I have a thing about throwing out (or recycling) paper products/stationary though. Can’t do it!

  30. JoJo

    As Miss Manners says, “An invitation is not an invoice”. Or in other words, you are under no obligation to participate in this gift grab. I wouldn’t even send a card.

  31. Carissa

    #5- I’m on the gift-grab side. You barely know coworker but you get invited to his son’s wedding? No gift is required and be glad that you didn’t get hit twice for gifts like we do around here. One for the obligatory work shower and then one for the wedding. Some people don’t understand that the work shower gift is the wedding gift.

    1. Newby

      There is no downside to assuming the best possible motive. I would assume that they are trying to avoid anyone feeling excluded. It is polite to send a card since they thought of you enough to invite you. No gift is necessary. It may be a gift grab, but assuming that does no one any good.

      1. designbot

        yeah or maybe they’re just old enough that inviting their coworkers is something they are “supposed to do.” My mother in law insisted on inviting a couple of her friends to our wedding–I had never met them before so I bristled, but relented when she assured me that they wouldn’t actually come and it was just an old-fashioned polite thing to do. Indeed they did not come. One of them did send a check, though I was actually more comfortable with the one who did not.

  32. AngtheSA

    #5: Weddings are crazy times. I had people coming out of the woodworks to get invited to mine. I had people I hadn’t spoken to calling and emailing me. I had a co-worker complain to my boss that she hadn’t received an invitation to my wedding. We weren’t close, I didn’t even know her last name. I would assume that this co-worker invited you to shave off the crazy he and his son are probably experiencing. I think a card would be nice. If you do want to include a gift, you could probably just include a nice gift card to Amazon or something.

  33. Anon Moose

    #2 Where do you even buy resume paper anymore? I wanted some a few years ago when I graduated from college and didn’t realize all my applications would be online. I couldn’t find any in the office stores I went to and didn’t want to buy it online. So I borrowed a few sheets from a relative and then used maybe 2 out of the 5 nice resumes I printed out. Glad I didn’t buy a whole box!

    1. Bowserkitty

      I have 6 boxes with 100 pages each of the stuff that came with the office I inherited. Five boxes are normal, but the stuff on top? “Exceptional resume paper.” Fancy.

    2. Not the Droid You are Looking For

      Staples and Office Max generally carry both the nice paper and the coordinating envelopes.

  34. Employment Lawyer

    1. Can we push a retiring employee out early?

    Of course. Just buy her out by offering a buyout package.

    But given the question, that makes no sense. If you’re busiest in summer, then you probably want her to STAY (not leave) so that she can help train her replacement.

    Unless your business is really hurting, the difference in cost of an employee for a couple of months won’t make a big hit. On the other hand, the added benefit of having a non-crabby employee since she’s retiring and being treated well, and not being fired) who is invested in training and “leaving a good legacy,” will make a huge difference.

    1. Judy

      That’s the odd thing to me about that question. I’d want to encourage the person to retire a month or two after the busy season, so they would be able to work at full speed plus some time afterwards to train a replacement.

  35. Employment Lawyer

    2. Should I use special resume paper when a job ad says to send my resume by mail?
    Yes, but only the standard ones (off-white, etc.) NO purple, etc.

    This isn’t to impress. Nobody cares about paper. But if you DO impress–which really has to do with what’s in it–the different paper makes it easier to see in a stack and easier to keep track of in a desk.

  36. Employment Lawyer

    3. An employee told me she found another job and gave me an “offer” letter with the option to terminate her
    Yeah, AAM has nailed it. She’s just trying to game the system–probably to try to collect illegal unemployment.

    If she’s told you in writing that she won’t come in, then you can probably take AAM’s advice. If she has only told you on the phone, you’ll need to document it a bit better.

    Here’s the “probably” issue: in either case this person sounds like a handful of problems waiting to happen, and someone who is looking up a lot of law on the internet, and someone who is willing to play games to get an advantage. Those folks make me nervous and you should be nervous as well: it really sucks to get sued. If you have access to a lawyer this would be worth a quick call to discuss all details.

  37. MLHD

    I literally don’t think I could even apply at a place that required me to send them a resume in the mail.

    1. Allison

      It might turn me off too, and make me wonder if they have any other outdated policies and practices. Do they also adhere to a strict 9-5 workday? Do they forbid working from home? Are women required to wear lipstick and pantyhose? Do they pay like it’s 1999?

      1. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.

        With wage stagnation most places pay like it’s 1999.

      2. Anxa

        If pay was anything in 1999 like it was in 2003, I’d hope so!

        I can’t believe how much more money I made in the aughts.

    2. Ama

      Yeah, if it was a position I really wanted I would go ahead and apply, but if I got invited to interview I’d definitely be on the lookout for red flags. A paper application (especially as this is a well-known nonprofit) says to me that the org does things a certain way “because that’s how we’ve always done it” and that they are very slow to adapt to new norms.

      While that may not be a dealbreaker for the OP (and could also be that their HR processes are outdated in a way the rest of the org is not), if I got an interview, I’d definitely want to ask some questions about strategic planning, openness to employee ideas for improved processes, etc.

      1. Observer

        If I got an interview, I’d ask about it. They might actually have a perfectly reasonable explanation But no matter what the reaction is, it’s likely to give you some good information about the organization.

      2. Tia

        My last job (2 1/2 years and counting) required a copy in the post because they apparently needed a signature on the statements of truth. It was a government job, so this included no convictions, consent to security clearance (not any of the details, that came after the offer, just that I understood it would be needed), citizenship etc.

    3. Rob Lowe can't read

      I did last year, and it felt bizarre. (I actually posted here wondering if I should mail my materials in a standard envelope or a manila envelope.) They obviously weren’t getting a lot of hits with that system, because I ended up getting 6 interviews and (almost) one offer out of it. (I say almost because one department that interviewed me but ultimately didn’t hire me later called back when another position opened, but I’d accepted a job elsewhere by that point.)

  38. GOG11

    Re #5, the parent pushing for the person to be invited is definitely a possibility. When I got married, my mom wanted me to invite various people who had done our family or me favors (i.e., the person who sold me a car because they gave me a good deal). In my experience, people have all sorts of strange rules, or strange understandings of rules when it comes to weddings.

  39. Former Retail Manager

    #3….I wonder if this employee may erroneously believe that using the term “terminate” is simply conveying the end of her employment and she does not realize the distinction between termination and resignation from a position.

    I encountered this in retail on numerous occasions in letters of resignation in which an employee would state “My employment with X Company will terminate on May 20, 20×5 and I will not be available to work after that date.” I only had a couple of people ever ask that I sign the letter, but I did so with the statement “X Company is not terminating Sally Jane’s employment. Sally Jane has resigned from her position as a customer service representative at location #1 effective May 20, 20×5.” I signed and dated my statement and made a copy should there ever be an unemployment issue. There never was. The use of the word “terminate” seemed to be common among younger employees with limited work experience. Perhaps that is the case here?

  40. Girasol

    #1 Tangent: I just announced retirement and found precious little to guide me in the announcement process. How much notice is appropriate when one is not the CEO (for whom there is plenty of advice)? I didn’t want to be summarily fired because they found they could transition faster than my long notice period, or have relationships and potential references (one never knows what might happen) damaged by a rudely short period. I erred to the too long side. I offered to formally set my last day earlier than I had planned if they thought a faster transition would be easier and they didn’t take me up on it. I’m not being fired, yay! But working out the last days as irrelevant, bored, and the subject of “rocking chair” and “olden days” humor might have been avoided if I’d done this more wisely. I can’t help but wonder if that’s what the OP’s employee was trying to do, and ended up doing it as clumsily as I.

  41. Kyrielle

    OP#1 – you have a great opportunity here. Yes, by all means go back and talk to her, and once you have a date set, if there is _any_ way you can float the extra salary for that time, bring in a new employee to train under her until her departure.

  42. OP #4

    Thanks so much for answering my question! I really wasn’t sure what to do in that situation – it didn’t feel like the time to negotiate since it wasn’t a solidified offer. But, I totally understand what you mean and I don’t want them to believe I accepted that.

    The hiring manager is out of town today, so I’ll give her a call on Monday. I might just frame it as:

    “Thanks again for our conversation last week. I’m really excited to receive the finalized job description so that we can have a more concrete conversation about the role. Also, I’ve been thinking about your mention of salary the other day. I probably should have said this in the moment. I want to let you know that $X is actually lower than what I’m making now. Obviously I’d want to wait and get a better understanding of the role itself and your benefits package, but I’d probably be looking for something more in the range of $Y. Is there room to negotiate the final offer?”

    Hopefully this doesn’t derail conversations. I’m also hoping that the new overtime laws will benefit me in this case. Her initial X is below the new threshold, and this role will have a lot of evening and weekend hours so hopefully that will be further incentive them to meet me nearer to Y (above that threshold).

    1. designbot

      I’m with you up until that last line, because it doesn’t seem firm enough. They’ll try and hold to the number they threw out and say no, there is no room to negotiate, and what will you do then? I’m assuming this is a deal-breaker for you, since most of us would never move to a new company for less pay (unless your current job is just awful or something), so I’d want to say something that conveys that this is very important, not something so hesitant.

      1. OP #4

        Thanks for the advice! I’ll state that final sentence with less hesitant.

        Also – side question. As I mentioned I’m hoping the new exempt salary threshold strengthens my chances of their meeting me at $Y. Is it appropriate to bring this up in the context that being exempt adds value to what I bring to the company – I can stay late to finish projects, have lunch meetings with donors and not have to cut my “working” day short to stay under 40 hours, etc.

  43. LabTech

    #3 A less malicious possibility is the employee was trying to clumsily document her resignation, and didn’t realize the implications of calling it a termination versus separation or resignation.

  44. anonderella

    I prefer the look and feel of actual resume paper. My opinion is that the cheaper printer paper just looks.. cheap. However, I don’t have a ton of experience job searching, so to me (I guess considering that my work skills are relatively underdeveloped due to little experience so far), it’s like a psychological thing saying that I’m worth a little more than I really am – like the value of resume paper.

    But if that’s all that the paper is (fancy vs plain), it doesn’t seem like the worst thing to make yourself stand out a little more (note: sans pink paper and framed pictures of yourself!); if a person choosing between resume paper and other paper thinks the resume paper looks pretentious (or pointless, or whatever), then I agree with what someone else said about choosing a brighter, thicker paper instead. But I’m probably going to be printing my favorite, most important documents on resume paper until I’m a granny in a world of holograms that laugh at me and my old-fashioned ways.

    1. LabTech

      +1 Also a fan of fancy paper for printing off my resume. I’ve long ago accepted that employers don’t care, but it helps me feel more polished and confident come interview time.

      1. anonderella

        That! Totally agree – it also definitely bolsters my confidence to err on the side of looking fancy and attempting to make a good impression in times that I’m not 100% sure of how I should be coming across.

        However, and I didn’t consider this until now, but I have a serious fascination with old books/paper, and resume paper sometimes has that older, established look. I once stole a couple of old books from a bar (they were being used as coasters!!!!) that ended up being late 18th-century limited version prints of Lady of the Lake (which I seriously confused the old font to say ‘Sady of the Sake’, and had vague hopes of it being about a boozy gal named Sady) and another good’un I can’t recall the name of.

          1. anonderella

            I felt bad, like *really* bad. BUT they also charged me $4.50 for a Rolling Rock (if you don’t know, it’s beer.. not the best and NEVER at that price.), so my loyalty laid with the mistreated books, not the greedy bar owner.

  45. The Rat-Catcher

    “It is going to be devastating to us if we wait for her to give us a retirement date because the department she works in is actually a department where we have been actively seeking a job applicant for part-time employment.”

    I try not to comment just to say “Alison is right” because of course she is, but this line, I think you should pay some attention:

    “You’d also be signaling to them that they should never give you generous notice when they resign because they’d be pushed out early too.”

    You’re always going to have employees that act well no matter what, and those that act badly no matter what. But I think that for the vast majority of the workforce, how they treat their company is a direct reflection of how they are treated. Like it or not, the employer/employee relationship is not and never has been an equal balance of power. So, as the employer, you set the tone of the relationships. You say it would be devastating for the staffing levels to dip even with months of notice, but if you treat this employee this way, you are telling your other employees that it is not safe to give notice and forever setting yourself up for 2 weeks (or even less, if employees can’t do without 2 weeks of pay – lots of people, including me, are in that situation and would not hesitate to tell you “today is my last day” if I thought you would act this way. I would feel guilty about it, but giving you your notice period at the expense of possibly not being able to put food in my kids’ mouths is not a risk I am willing to take.)

  46. Allison

    Out of curiosity, as a millennial who has never mailed an application (even my college applications were done online), when you apply by mail do you use a regular envelope with the resume and cover letter folded into thirds, or do you use one of those nice document folders that allow you to mail them unfolded? Asking in case I ever need to mail in an application.

    1. De Minimis

      I haven ‘t done that in a long time, but when I did, I always used a larger envelope.

    2. SomeHRDude

      This is just one recruiter’s opinion, but I don’t really have a preference. However, I would encourage sending it in a document folder because the post office can be awfully hard on standard, first class mail. I’ve seen many a nice resume / cover come via a folded letter half destroyed by the PO.

    3. R Adkins

      When I worked at a small nonprofit we still did paper resumes (we didn’t have an online application system since we were so small, and no one at that time thought to just have it emailed to someone). We would scan the information and then send over to the board reviewers. In that case it helped that it wasn’t folded since it sometimes would jam — but this was almost 10 years ago.

  47. SomeHRDude

    OP#1 – No, No, No, No and NO! I’ve been places where this has been done before and (at the time) didn’t have the power to stop it. The odds of it blowing up in your face are high. Odds are they wouldn’t file suit, but your employees will notice and they will talk. Not only is it wrong, but it is bad PR internally and could impact folks you are trying to hire if they know someone on the inside.

  48. Observer

    Don’t use the cheapest, flimsiest paper. It just makes a bad impression and doesn’t set the tone you want. But, you don’t need expensive and fancy paper. Just a decent weight (20 – 24 lb works) that’s even and smooth.

    If you do decide to go with something fancier because it makes you feel better, avoid eye catching or showy items. That won’t improve your chances, and could reduce them by making you look naive, pretentious or unfamiliar with workplace norms. And, while the paper resume may indicate that these people are out of touch with current norms, this issue goes back to the dinosaurs, more or less.

  49. designbot

    #2: If by special paper you mean “resume” paper, linen, etc. then no. But if by special you mean, nicer than whatever thin piece of junk happens to be in the copy machine, then yes. Use a bright white that is heavy enough that you can’t see through it. Print on a nice enough printer than you don’t get dots of ink, striping, etc. It’s not about being fancy, but do show that you can present yourself well.

  50. CH

    Op3. The issue that immediately came to my mind is that your employee gave her new employer a start date that is a month or two out. It seems like the employee is scheming to get a paid vacation through unemployment. The employee is trying to save face by offering to work part time with the attitude that employer turned me down I should be compensated. I would assume that even an entry level employee know the difference between terminated and resign (pending cultural difference on ask a manager). That is something that is covered in most basic business classes or is learned on the job. This employee is trying to pull a fast one – I’d be cautious about your dealings with her. I think you are handling things correctly by not signing.

    1. CH

      I misspoke – instead of saying “issue that immediately came to mind…); I should have said “possible scenario that immediately came to mind…”

  51. HRish Dude

    Re: #3, it also goes without saying that you should keep the weird letter as well and put it in her file.

  52. Bob

    #1. If you’re confident that the employee will be retiring in the summer, take advantage of this and hire the replacement now so that you have overlap between the new employee and the retiring one. Have the retiring employee mentor the new one and minimize the loss of corporate knowledge. You should be viewing this as a good thing!

    1. designbot

      This! Find a way to appreciate the gift of knowledge that your employee has given you and better prepare, not a way to penalize them for it.

    2. Anna

      Yeah, I’m not entirely sure why THIS isn’t the first thing the OP thought of. Instead they thought “How can I get rid of this person even more quickly?”

      OP, I’d maybe examine why your first instinct was to fire the employee instead of getting someone in before the employee resigns to train the new person. You might have bad manager tendencies.

      1. TootsNYC

        Maybe our OP is thinking that she can’t start recruiting for the new position until Retiring Employee gives notice–and trying to hire in the middle of the crunch period is really hard.

        And maybe it’s that OP is just not able to recognize all the other paradigms (long notice; dual employees; etc.)

      2. LN

        Yeah I’m really confused about how pushing the potential retiree out early helps at all. You can work on replacing her before she leaves, in fact presumably that’s what you would be doing no matter what, once you know for sure that she’s leaving – and I will echo everyone else saying YOU NEED TO CONFIRM THIS WITH HER FIRST because you have no idea if these are actual firm plans or hearsay or hallucinations or WHAT until you actually use your words. Forcing her to leave early serves no purpose except a punitive one.

  53. animaniactoo

    Way late to the table here and I haven’t read through to see if this point has been made before. But.

    #1 – My FIL was going to retire 6 years ago in October. And then 4 years ago in April. And then 3 years ago in September. He finally managed it in August 2 years ago.

    My dad was supposed to retire at the end of the school year every year for 4 years in a row. He didn’t go through with it until my mom retired and then they retired together.

    It’s happened that way too with a few longterm employees at my company.

    The fact that somebody is planning to retire doesn’t mean they’re actually going to do it when they first think they will. It’s a pretty big step and it’s not unknown for people to back up because they realize they want the extra income to redo the kitchen first, or they’ve discovered they’ll get a better pension/SS payout by waiting one more year, etc.

    So your instinct could not just be harsh, but really screwing somebody over. If anything, her heads up has given you quite a lot of time to find a replacement for her and have overlap in the duties making sure of coverage, while the new person gets up to speed. It doesn’t hurt you at all, but you could really hurt her.

    1. One of the Sarahs

      I think it’s totally unfair to use anecdotes that because some people find it harder to retire than they thought, most people do, or even enough that it’s worth taking into account before even hearing an employee’s plans. I bet everyone on the board has similar anecdata of people who said they’d retire on date X, and stuck to it – and bear in mind, people who say they’ll do X but do Y stick in the mind, whereas all the people who stuck to their plans aren’t even noticed.

      1. animaniactoo

        Right, that’s pretty much my point though. Which is that until they have a bigger and more specific conversation with her about her plans, they really don’t know which way the wind is blowing.

      2. TootsNYC

        right! Because I’m betting that the people aimaniactoo is talking about had tentative, not-official-with-my-employer plans. And that’s what the OP’s employee has right now. Tentative, not-official plans.

        So for the employer to take that conversation as a definite and to act on it is really not fair.

        It would be fair to sit down with her and say, “I hear you’re thinking of resigning. The company needs you to be clear about your plans, and we also would like to ask you to consider resigning AFTER the busy period in the summer.”

  54. I'm Not Phyllis

    #1 Please don’t do this. employee morale won’t easily recover, and it’s just not a good way to treat an employee.
    #2 No need for the fancy paper … but I do remember being told this so I totally understand the question!
    #3 This is so bizarre. I wouldn’t sign a thing and would follow Alison’s advice – it’s spot on as usual.
    #4 I’d speak up. There’s not much point in continuing on if you can’t come close together on salary – it would be a waste of your time and theirs.
    #5 Nope, not obligated. If you were going I would say you should bring a little something but not if you can’t make it and you don’t know him!

  55. I'm Not Phyllis

    #1 I’m not sure if this has been pointed out yet, but I wanted to point out that this was a casual conversation about “plans” and that it by no means constitutes a formal notice. The employee’s plans could change – and she could be more than willing to work through your busy period and retire afterwards. And there’s always the possibility of a misunderstanding somewhere in the conversation, which is why the best course would be to have a candid conversation with her about her plans and then move forward from there.

  56. jaxon

    Re #2, it’s so important that people realize – a manager who cares about the paper your resume was printed on IS NOT A GOOD MANAGER. This job will not be a good job. It’s a very clear warning sign.

  57. Looby

    My first thought with #3 was the employee was going to work at a competitor and had a non-competition clause or something similar and that being “terminated” would void that.

  58. Stevenz

    3. The person has a full time job. A one day a week job would be a different job altogether. You can’t terminate her from a job she doesn’t have, therefore no termination can take place. This person is a conniver trying outsmart you without any understanding of how the world works. Thank her for her service and handle it the way Alison says.

    2. If I was being asked for a paper resume I would get some “nice” paper which basically means a bit better than standard copy paper. It may not matter to the hiring people but it still look professional and you will feel good about it. And I think the consensus these days is white.

  59. BastaYa

    #3: Well, I’m very happy to have read all of your comments!! So I had to figure it all out on my own last week, before Alison posted my question, and what I did was create my own acceptance of resignation letter. Since we had both verbally decided that her last day was going to be a week out, I decided that I wasn’t going to worry about what kind of letter she brought back. Of course the last letter she handed me was a letter saying: “As requested by you, here is a letter stating that I am resigning…” I just took her letter, filed it away, told her that I was not going to sign anything and that I wasn’t going to continue with this. I said “I think we already both agree that you have resigned and your last day is a week out. Here is my letter accepting your resignation. I expect you to continue to show up to work at your scheduled time until then and follow all company rules.” She took the letter and did not question anything again. She finished her work week and her last day was last Friday. whooooo! glad to get that over with!

  60. spinetingler

    “Otherwise, seriously, normal paper is fine. Good managers don’t care.”

    I must not have been a good manager.

    I cared. It showed some effort beyond “running off Xerox copies.” (or at least showed a competence at loading different paper into the copier, a skill that I’ve found is in short supply.)

    I mean, it was way down on the list of important things, but it was still on the list.

Comments are closed.