can we be told not to flush the toilets at work, will I be taken seriously without a LinkedIn account, and more

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

1. Can we be told not to flush the toilets at work?

The company I work for has a plumber coming to our facility on Thursday, and he will need to turn the water off completely to do the job. No one knows how long it will be shut off as he is working on a number of things, but this is to be done during work hours. We were told to just not flush if we needed to use the bathroom. WHAT!?!?!

Or we could fill buckets to refill the back of the toilets. I pointed out that we have no buckets, and how do we know how many we need to fill? We have 11 employees and definitely not 11 toilets. Isn’t there an OSHA law against this? I can see if it’s only turned off for an hour, but any more than that is asking a bit much of the staff. What are your thoughts?

I couldn’t find anything addressing this specific situation from OSHA, but OSHA does require that employee bathrooms have hot and cold running water, or at least tepid running water. This does seem to violate that — although it’s possible that there’s an exception that I didn’t find for very short-term plumbing work. Still, though, you could point out the running water requirement and suggest they have the work done after-hours or let people work from home that day.

2. Will I be taken seriously without a LinkedIn account?

Since the past election, I’ve been disheartened (to say the least!) by social media, and have been disabling and closing my accounts. I’m considering closing my Linkedin account as well, as there seems to be an infiltration of politics on that site (it used to be strictly a career site!).

However, my friends say that companies will not take me seriously if I don’t have a LinkedIn account. I don’t have a ton of connections, although I do have several very nice recommendations that I would lose if I closed the account.

I don’t like to be forced into participation of social media sites, and kind of resent having a LinkedIn account, but I also don’t want to lose my chances at jobs, either. What’s your feeling about this?

Well, it’s definitely true that recruiters will often look on LinkedIn (either to find candidates or to learn more about the ones they have) and it can be good to have some sort of presence there. Because it matters more in some fields than in others, it’s hard to say if you’d really be putting yourself at a disadvantage by shutting it down. But for most people, not having an account would just mean you wouldn’t be spotted by someone looking for candidates for a job — not that your lack of presence there would be a red flag for an employer who you connected with by other means.

But if you’re just annoyed by seeing political stuff there, I think this could be less of an issue then you think because an easier solution is just to stop visiting the site! LinkedIn isn’t a site that requires you to pop in all the time; it works perfectly well for entirely passive use — meaning that you set up a profile and get alerts if someone happens to message you there, but otherwise don’t visit at all. Obviously if you feel strongly about getting rid of your account entirely, this isn’t a solution for you, but if it really is just that you’re getting annoyed by the content you see there, you could just pretend the site doesn’t exist, keep your profile up, and be done with it for as long as you want. Visit to update your profile if you change jobs but otherwise it is dead to you.

3. Coworker won’t stop commenting on my pregnancy

I recently announced my first pregnancy at the office. I work for a small, family owned company and am friendly with all of my coworkers. Another junior level employee has started commenting on everything about my pregnancy. After the announcement, she mentioned that she could tell I had started to gain weight and that I’ve looked tired. More recently, she comments each time I wear a new shirt, do my hair differently, or take a deep breath. At least once a week, she says how sorry she is that I’ve had sinus issues the whole pregnancy.

In general, she has blurred personal/professional boundaries, and is a bit socially awkward. Her comments are definitely not ill intentioned, but are too frequent to ignore. I’ve tried to keep conversation with her short and professional, to wear ear phones during the day, and to continue to work when she stops by my desk to chat. These cues aren’t working and I’m wanting to say something more direct to her. Should I indicate that I am busy and need to focus on work, or say something about the unwanted commentary specifically?

Also, I get that it is common for people to comment and offer advice during pregnancy. I just feel scrutinized and like I can’t change anything without her noticing AND commenting.

Absolutely you should say something to her. Here’s one option: “Your comments about my pregnancy are making me feel scrutinized. I’d much rather you interact with me the way you did before I announced my pregnancy — meaning no comments about my appearance or my health. Thank you.”

4. Can I leave before my notice period is up?

Can I leave my position early into my resignation notice once my replacement has been hired?

I gave my employer two months’ notice in the beginning of November. I gave them a large amount of time since I am leaving my position to focus on graduate school and wanted to give them time to hire my replacement. A month into my notice, I brought this up with my supervisor and she gave me the run-around. She said only when the new hire was fully trained and able to work independently would I be allowed to leave. They have not begun interviewing potential replacements, nor have they even open my position for applications. I feel my supervisor and main boss are waiting till the last possible moment to begin searching for my replacement. Last year, someone left and only gave two weeks’ notice but my supervisor was able to manage hiring and training his replacement with that coworker gone.

The main reason I am asking to leave early into my notice is because going into work has become unbearable for me. My supervisor has berated and ridiculed me in front of my coworkers on multiple occasions during the past three years. She has gossiped about me to my coworkers and has excluded me from important meetings and special events. Once I gave her my notice, her demeanor towards me has become negative in nature. I want to be as professional as possible and leave on good terms. My work speaks for itself and my boss knows I am a hard worker and professional. He played a vital role in assisting in my acceptance into the graduate program I am currently enrolled in. He would be the reference I would list for this job and not my supervisor. With only one month left into my notice, can I professionally leave early once my replacement is hired and if so, how can I leave on good terms and be as professional as possible with my boss?

Yes, you can. Your employer doesn’t “let” you leave, and it’s ridiculous that they said that. You control the timing of your departure, and as long as you give them two weeks notice, you’re being perfectly professional.

Say this to them: “Because of some changed personal circumstances, I need to move my ending date up. My last day will be (date two weeks from now).” If they’re being openly hostile, you can make the ending date even sooner (there’s advice here on how to do that), but it sounds like you want to preserve the reference and the relationship with your non-rude boss.

But the main thing is, this is your decision and not theirs. It has nothing to do with what progress they’ve made toward hiring your replacement. You get to 100% control the timing of your departure, entirely independent of that.

5. Can I accept a gift from a client?

I am a designer for a small design consultancy. There are about 25 people in our home office. I recently closed a design package with a client who was quite demanding throughout the design process. She came back offering me tickets to a local game, as it turns out her husband has affiliations with a major league team and she wanted to thank me for the extra time and work put into the project.

It is not typical to be offered gifts from clients so we don’t have any policies for gifts in place. I am unsure if I should accept the tickets or not. On the one hand, I worked hard for this client and went above and beyond to keep her happy. On the other, I don’t want my boss to think I am taking advantage or accepting bribes. What are the ethics here?

If your office doesn’t have a gift policy, check with your boss. Explain the client has offered you tickets and ask how she’d like you to handle it. She may tell you it’s fine to accept, or to tell the client you’re not permitted to, or something else entirely. But checking with her puts you in the clear.

(For background on how many offices handle this, it’s pretty common to be allowed to accept gifts up to a certain dollar amount, or to have a policy that says gifts are shared with the office as a whole.)

{ 357 comments… read them below }

    1. Edith*

      But the toilets in question have tanks, so there’s an extremely doable workaround. I’m having trouble seeing how this is that big of a deal. It takes two gallons of water to fill most tanks. You send someone out to buy gallon jugs of water. You keep 2-4 jugs in each bathroom. Each toilet has one flush in its tank already. After those are used the jugs will buy you another couple of flushes per bathroom. Once the water is back on you refill the jugs for next time there’s a plumbing issue or a water main breaks near the office. This is SOP most places I’ve worked.

      1. Anonnn*

        Whereas SOP in most places I’ve worked is to shut down for the day if there is no functioning toilet. It’s happened twice, both planned, and in neither case did anyone even think of expecting people in the office.

        1. FiveWheels*

          Shutting down for a day isn’t possible in all offices, and in some offices where it is possible it would be very difficult – like trying to do two days worth of work in one when it reopens.

        2. OhNo*

          Same here. I had a two-week stretch a couple years ago where the bathrooms were inaccessible for me, and my boss just told me to “work from home” (which for my job means check my email occasionally, but otherwise do nothing).

          Personally I think “no toilet, no work” is a pretty reasonable standard. If the company really, truly, can’t shut down, then they should rent a port-a-potty for a day or two.

      2. New Bee*

        As gross as people leave toilets when they are working, I can only imagine the mess folks would make with jugs of water (not to mention folks who can’t lift).

        1. Liz*

          There are people in my office who can’t seem to fill up a cup with water from the water cooler without spilling. Giving them a toilet and a bucket of water would be a disaster.

        2. AnotherAlison*

          I hear what you’re saying on the mess, but every position in my company has a requirement to be able to lift 10 lbs. (I realize not every company would have that requirement.) If we’re talking individual gallon jugs, that seems fairly reasonable to me.

          1. Jessie*

            AnotherAlison, a standard requirement across a company to be able to lift 10 lbs isn’t necessarily reasonable – if having that requirement excludes people with some disabilities who could do the job but for that requirement, AND that requirement exists only to handle outlier issues such as lifting water gallons to refill toilets, then it is a problem. If there is an actual business need in daily activities to lift 10 lbs, fine. But otherwise, it isn’t reasonable (and likely isn’t legally sound, for ADA reasons) to just have that kind of policy.

            tl;dr version: many companies shouldn’t and wouldn’t require that all employees be able to lift heavy things, so refilling toilets with gallons isn’t a viable option in many places.

            1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

              Hear hear.

              Also, how is hand washing happening in this scenario? Just shut it down for the day. The work can wait.

              1. Cass*

                I don’t think the OP said, but there are some businesses that can’t. I used to work for a weather forecasting company and unfortunately, people still need their forecasts even if something with the facility is out.

        3. Marillenbaum*

          Very true. I once went to a summer camp that didn’t have flushing toilets (early summer in the Utah mountains=no running water), and you can just imagine the catastrophe that was 100 teenage girls with toilets that had to be flushed that way.

        4. INTP*

          Plus it sounds like the company is saying “if you want to flush, that’s your problem” and expecting people to provide their own water.

          The company has multiple options here. They could pay for a plumber to come after hours. They could pay for the plumber to come for an hour at a time. They could pay for water to flush the toilets and wash hands with. Instead they are shifting the entire burden to the employees, which isn’t fair.

      3. Hellanon*

        It’s not just the toilet & its activities, it’s the handwashing afterwards. Looking at the mess people seem to make in the stalls, I wouldn’t want to touch anything in the office after a day of no handwashing…

        1. Purest Green*

          I didn’t even think of this excellent point. I suppose the company could offer hand sanitizer, but if you’ve got skin conditions on your hands then you probably can’t use the shelf brands.

          1. Lemon Zinger*

            Hand sanitizer doesn’t always cut it. I always prefer to wash my hands with soap and warm water. Hand sanitizer, to me, is a temporary fix, and not good enough if I’m about to eat lunch or shake hands.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Hand sanitizer is also not an acceptable alternative in most states, which require that workers in many different industries wash their hands after using the restroom (think: food service, healthcare, daycare, schools, etc.).

            1. Erin*

              If you’re in food service or health care or school/child care with no running water you must close down until it’s fixed or the health dept. will shut you down and fine you.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*


                And imagine other business where handwashing would seem an obvious necessity. Do you want to go into a Sephora and have someone touch your face with unwashed hands? The same goes for your hairdresser, facialist, etc. There are very few fields where it would be ok to go around with unwashed hands (I know this happens all the time, but it’s not supposed to).

        2. AnonAnalyst*

          I know! As a prolific hand washer, this idea totally grosses me out. Honestly, I would probably use PTO to avoid this situation if the owner refused to let anyone work from home that day. Or become “sick” the day of if taking a planned PTO day wasn’t an option.

          1. Persephone*

            Agreed. The small campus where I work has had its water shut off for the day twice. Both times the better temporary toilets were brought in. I was still grossed out because, at least in the first case, you couldn’t wash your hands, I am very careful about washing hands and arms afterward (and regularly throughout the day). I had decided to use a nearby restaurant’s facilities until I realized that just around the corner was a hotel. By god, they had a really large, spotlessly clean and wonderful restroom in their lobby–they catered almost exclusively to business clients–so I used that with their permission. I would take time off rather than deal with no water.

      4. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)*

        If you can barely get people to flush a toilet on a good day, I doubt that will work.

        1. Xarcady*

          The department store I work at had no working toilets on Thanksgiving this year. A plumber was called on Tuesday, but did not show up on Wednesday. Fortunately, there are toilets out in the mall the store is connected to, and staff and customers were able to use those.

          Large signs were placed on the restroom doors, clearly stating the restrooms were out of order.

          People (we are guessing customers who couldn’t read English?) used them anyway.

          The restrooms flooded. Which flooded the breakroom–the only place staff had to take breaks on our overnight shifts.

          They taped off the restroom doors, and put the yellow floor signs indicating wet floors in front of the doors. People still tried to get in the restrooms.

          Trust me, buckets aren’t going to work well. No handwashing facilities isn’t going to work well. Hand sanitizer doesn’t kill everything. And it can’t clean your hands.

            1. Liane*

              Alas, my friend, there are no barriers–outside of SF movies–that would prevent customers from trying to get in.
              When I worked at Famed Retailer, we had a bathroom stall that malfunctioned regularly (probably because an in-store clinic, which takes extra plumbing, was added during a remodel). We would put big Out Of Order signs on the stall door; an employee would lock door from inside, & have to crawl out under door; and we would then *duct tape* the stall door shut. Sometimes we’d add Do Not Enter signs/tape. We’d also tell everyone who asked where the restrooms were, “By the way, Stall 3 is closed.” Within an hour or so, we’d have a zillion complaints that “Stall 3 in the Ladies’ room isn’t working and it’s GROSS! You @#$%s need to clean it up & call a plumber!”
              Why? Because some Suuuper-Genius *had to* use that stall and tore through the tape and rammed the door until the latch gave. (Or maybe they crawled under to unlock it?) Then several more Suuuper-Geniuses would use that toilet until it overflowed.

              1. The Strand*

                I worked at a college that was disconnected (not planned, not by choice) from the municipal water supply temporarily. In the men’s bathroom, students crawled under the locked doors to stalls and still used the toilets. Our long suffering cleaning staff had to unplug and clean truly awful toilets, and overflows.

            2. Honeybee*

              By that logic, how hard is it for people to read signs and avoid using restrooms that are out of order? For Pete’s sake, the doors were taped off.

          1. Venus Supreme*

            Holy crap. This made my stomach churn. It takes only one upset stomach to do damage…

            Guh-rosss. I’m so sorry, Xarcady. I’m spraying air freshener in your honor.

          2. Xarcady*

            No lock on the door from the hallway to the restrooms.

            And, yeah, one sales associate was shoved by a customer who was angry at being told the restrooms were out of order, and he’d have to walk 500 feet or so to get to the mall restrooms.

            And let’s just say it was a good thing that our cleaning service agreed to have someone work the overnight shift. We all chipped in and bought her a $50 gift card for having to deal with the mess.

      5. Triangle Pose*

        This just shows me how different workplaces can be. I would never be expected to come in to the office if there was no functioning toilet available for use. I would never even think there would be any SOP where my colleagues and I would be buy jugs of water for a toilet or have to refill toilets with water. We are all white collar and can work from home.

      6. LCL*

        Ha. If most of the workers aren’t hands on, they will think they can’t do this so won’t be able to. If they are hands on, they will slow down the job by trying to modify things, maybe running water in using a pump from a truck or something, and have LONG arguments about how to do it.

      7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        This is not a reasonable or lawful solution if OP is in the United States. And if you’re int he U.S. and this is going on, then there’s a real problem, Edith.

        For AnotherAlison, the weight-bearing requirements have to be related to your job function to apply. So while your employer can require everyone be able to lift up to 10 lbs., they can’t actually enforce making people lug water jugs unless they can demonstrate that toilet duty/maintenance is within the core responsibilities for your position. And as others noted, applying a weight-lifting requirement to a non-work task also raises significant ADA concerns.

      8. Vicki*

        Buy… gallon jugs of water???

        Buy potable water at drinking water prices to flush a workplace toilet with???

        No. That’s silly.

    2. Jeanne*

      I think that regardless of laws this is something you should all gather together to push back on. If the building has no running water it’s just not appropriate to be open. Does management really want to tell their employees they don’t even care if there are working toilets?

      It’s possible that the water to the building doesn’t need to be turned off. IF (only if) the work can be done separately on the women’s and men’s bathrooms, maybe each one can be unisex as necessary and used by only one person at a time. My former work was able to fix the whole drain/sewer system while keeping at least some bathrooms working and clean water running at all times.

      1. Spreee*

        Two jobs ago, the water in the entire building was shut off, and we had no working toilets or water faucets for six hours. When I had to pee, I asked management where I was supposed to go and my manager literally shrugged at me. I had to clock out, and then sprint to the New York Public Library three blocks away to find a public restroom, then sprint back and clock back in.

      2. OP1*

        They are moving the hot water heater to a new location. I think the water to the building needs to be turned off for that. And he won’t be here that day, so he didn’t bother to think about what the rest of the staff were to do. I did suggest that it be done after work hours but that was not received well.

        1. Christine*

          There could be an extra charge or expense when work done outside normal working hours. I’m surprised that someone has stated “toilet duty isn’t in my job description”. I assume some staff has to be on hand when a repair person is in the building. If it has to be done during working hours, why don’t they schedule it after lunch and send the staff home, except for the ones required to be there.

          Is your employer the only one in the building? What are the other business’s planning on doing? I think they should be sent home, the toilet issue is going cause a lot of discontent & resentment.

          1. OP1*

            Yes, we are the only ones in the building. It’s offices and a warehouse. We often have truck drivers making pick ups that ask to use the facilities as well. I think sending everyone home after lunch is a good idea since the work is not going to happen after hours.

            Thank you!

        2. nonymous*

          As someone who has replaced hot water tanks in many locations, this shouldn’t be a multi-hour no-water situation. I actually can’t imagine how a hot water tank would be plumbed in a fashion that affects the cold water access for the building. At the most they could say that hot water is disrupted while the new tank heats up/goes through testing, and maybe overall water pressure would be affected as well.

          The key is to have shutoff valves in the right spot, and adding one to the existing system, or as part of adding a new branch would affect the cold water supply for about an hour if the plumber knows what he’s doing. Someone in your company should be able to get on the intercom to announce these intervals, and the plumber should be aware enough to give a 20 minute “last call” before this happens (even if it means they take a 20 min smoke break in the process).

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            This. I was going to say that I’ve worked in offices where the hot water was unavailable or water was temporarily shut down for a water heater change, but those were 1-2 hour shutdowns. The idea of an all-day shutdown is completely unreasonable and unhygienic.

      3. Case of the Mondays*

        My office arranged that we could use the neighbor building’s toilets during work on ours. It was still a bit awkward but the building was literally next door so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I know in a lot of jobs, you have to walk by reception to get to the bathrooms anyway. I’m not used to that and I use the bathroom a lot so I was a little embarrassed for our receptionist, and theirs, to see how frequently I was visiting the bathroom. It worked though.

    3. DeskBird*

      The water went out at my High School once and they had to send everyone home when it wasn’t fixed in an hour. And my High School was notorious for refusing to close when most others would. Once the bank down the block was being robbed by people with a bomb and they didn’t even tell us. They just said there were “police exercises” going on down the road. So of course at lunch a bunch of people walked down to check out the police exercises and were sent away due to the bomb threat – then went back to the school and told everyone and there was a massive freak out. Finally they announced that anyone who felt frightened for their life could go home – so of course it became a ghost town almost instantly. Not great at a crisis my High School – but we got to go home without a fight when there was no water…

      1. Jean*

        Our small private school lost water last year when the Google fiber was being put in. (And electricity a couple of times.) I think we just sent everyone home. It was easier another time – we lost clean water, so we were able to flush toilets. We just used hand sanitizers and bottled water for a couple of days.

        1. BeautifulVoid*

          Heh, you just reminded me of the time from my teaching days when the electricity went out because someone drove into the transformer at the beginning of the one-way road the school was on. We couldn’t even dismiss early because the buses wouldn’t be able to get past the workers trying to quickly repair it. It wasn’t a huge deal…except the school was a new building and all the faucets in the bathrooms were on electronic sensors. OOPS. (At least the toilets weren’t.)

          A couple of us (myself included) had sinks with actual faucets in our rooms. I didn’t mind letting my colleagues who remembered that in to actually wash their hands when needed until the power was back on.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        That reminds me of the time there was a bomb threat to my school when I was in fifth or sixth grade. They evacuated the entire school to the football field and didn’t tell the younger kids what was going on. Of course, the older kids knew, and they wasted no time in telling us. Nobody cared, because we got out of class. If they had let us go home, most people would have–not because they were scared, but because day off, woo hoo.

        1. Erin*

          They did that at my high school during a bomb threat also. It was below freezing too. They should’ve just sent us home instead of having us sit outside for most of the day, I think like over 3 hours. I felt like a sitting duck frozen in the lake.

          1. Aurion*

            Is it possible to send people home during an evacuation procedure? I’d imagine the people milling about and the exodus into various directions would be detrimental to the teams sweeping the premises.

            1. Erin*

              This was a bomb/ shooting threat. It ended up being phoney. But putting a large group of people in an open field is just asking for trouble if it’s real.

              1. Aurion*

                Huh. Yeah, I imagine if there was a shooting everyone would be on lockdown (hide in classrooms, bar the doors, etc). Bombing would be an evacuation. I don’t know what’s best in a bomb & shooting, though.

                I still imagine a panicky mass exodus to be also pretty disruptive for law enforcement. But I don’t know anything about these situations o_o;

            2. Chinook*

              I have worked through a school evacuation when the school burned down during school hours. I had the “fun” job of telling parents that they weren’t allowed to take their children home until we had a sign-out system set up because, at that moment, we the teachers were legally responsible for them and couldn’t release them to anyone (I don’t care how long you were in labour with them).

              So, yes you can send kids home during an evacuation but is not simple nor easy due to the teacher/school being designated “in loci parentis” during school hours.

              It took us about 45 minutes to account for all the children, find paper and pens and then set up some type of system to start signing kids out. It took about 1.5 hours from the first sight of flames for every kid to be released to a parent or guardian.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Schools also have different health regulations, though, that are mandated by the feds and states. Most states ban water shutdowns during school hours, which is why they often have to send kids home. They have similar laws regarding access to safe drinking water during school hours, as well.

      4. Stranger than fiction*

        Um what? Surprised a parent or several didnt sue for keeping you guys in possibly harms way.

    4. A Canadian*

      At my dysfunctional workplace, the water went out a few times during working hours, due to water main repairs by the city. When I asked what we were supposed to do about it, my boss made fun of me.
      “You can go home for the rest of the day.”
      “No! Deal with it and get back to work.”
      Why yes, I am job hunting. The water came back after a couple hours, thankfully.

      1. Audiophile*

        Right because no one is going to have to go to the bathroom in that time span. Ugh, crazy bosses are the worst.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          LOL. It makes me have to run to the bathroom twice as much. I think most people grow a little concerned when there is no bathroom in sight and they have hours more to work.

    5. Mints*

      At my old job, the water was out for like two weeks, and the boss told us we were getting porta potties. Which seemed like a bare minimum thing and we grumbled.

      These were the nicest porta potties I’ve ever seen. It was a pod with 4 stalls, toilets that flushed, and sinks with hot water and soap. They also just looked nice (Crown molding, I think?) We did have to walk to the parking lot, and kitchen sink washing was a problem, (but we had five gallon jug for drinking water).

      I don’t know how expensive it was, but this is definitely A+ way to go

    6. CanCan*

      If there’s no water in the bathroom, the buckets idea won’t work, – or else you would have to fill as many buckets as there will be toilet flushes for the day. How is anybody going to calculate that? Sometimes more than one flush is necessary, or someone may be a frequent user. To say nothing of the hand-washing issue, – sanitizers are not equivalent to hand-washing. A washroom must have sanitary toilets and hand-washing facilities, – there must be a law about that.

      There are lots of alternatives:
      – Carry out the repairs on the weekend / at night.
      – Make an arrangement with a nearby coffee shop or other facility to allow the employees to use their washrooms. (Yes, that may cost money, but it’s not impossible.) Allow the employees who have an issue with that to stay home.
      – If all else fails, arrange for a porta-potty and portable hand-washing station outside the building, like they do at outdoor sports events or festivals.

  1. seejay*

    LW#2: I’m not sure how there’s politics and stuff popping up on LinkedIn if you don’t have too many connections on it, but if there is, could you possibly just remove the ones who *are* posting the political stuff? Since it’s less for socializing and more for just professional connections, you’re less likely to have to worry about who’s connected to who on it and you could possibly trim it down some.

    I have some friends on it but it’s mostly coworkers or past coworkers and professional connections and people usually post articles and writings related to the fields they’re in (which are non-political in nature, so I could see that being influenced if your job is in some sort of government or political field). If it’s not, like Alison mentioned, LinkedIn shouldn’t be a social media site per se, so you could get away with keeping it and just ignoring it. I barely log in to mine, except when I need to update it for job updates, deleting the occasional email annoyance, and when I’m actively looking for a job.

    1. Sami*

      Agree. Unless you’re actively job searching, just ignore it.
      I’m not looking for a job and I check it about once a month. And only to get caught up on people requesting connections and other notifications. I rarely look at the newsfeed (or whatever it’s called).

      1. Kyrielle*

        Yep. I do my best to totally ignore the newsfeed. Keep my certifications, job information, and contacts up to date, and occasionally write a recommendation, and that’s it.

    2. Random Lurker*

      I’m not a prolific LinkedIn user, but I jumped on yesterday to lookup someone who applied for an open position I have. The OP is not kidding – politics were quite prevalent in my newsfeed. If your LinkedIn use case is to scan the feed for interesting articles, it can be obnoxious, since there is no “hide posts like these” type of option.

      Echoing all the advice to ignore it. Deleting your account or removing connections who could be valuable in a later job search is short sighted. The political commentary on social media will die down over time.

      1. Jeanne*

        I think you’re a little optimistic on that last point, but Alison is correct that LinkedIn is easy to ignore when you want to. Update once a year or so and ignore the rest of the time. Your email will tell you if anyone requested a connection and if you are ok with the person you can approve it.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        I was on there the other day & I noticed you could unfollow people, though.

        (I’m talking to you, Rodan and Fields-selling guy.)

        1. The Strand*

          Yes, unfollowing is a great way to keep connected but avoid the over the top posts. I wish I’d had that option available before unfriending my in-laws!

      3. OP#2*

        Thank you, Alison and everyone! I DO wish there was a “hide posts like these” feature, but in lieu of that I’ve decided to take the advice of ignoring LinkedIn entirely. My co-worker also recommended a few site block apps, so when I feel tempted to randomly check in to see what folks are up to (out of boredom) the site won’t come up at all.

    3. Allison*

      You can also unfollow people who are posting and liking political stuff. People probably don’t realize that when they “like” something it comes up on their connections’ newsfeeds.

    4. Neeta*

      I suppose this may depend on your industry, but my LinkedIn newsfeed consists solely of job ads and industry updates. Unless you work in a field related to politics (in which case, disconnecting from social media probably won’t solve your issue), it seems odd to me that there would be so much politics related talk on there.

      To answer your question, I don’t think it’s bad if you’re not on LinkedIn… again, with the caveat that you should take your industry into your account. You may however “lose out” on interview invitation. I know I get a lot of them on LinkedIn, which generally makes it easier during my job searching periods.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Or if you’re connected to former coworkers or classmates who are now in an industry that is either inherently political or currently affected by politics. I’m a software engineer – used to work in public safety software, so a lot of my contacts from that job are likely to be interested in some of that sort of thing. And a former college classmate is working at a green-energy company, so lots of stuff there. Even so I have a lot more techie stuff in my feed – but I can see how a few more connections in the right industry could saturate it right now, even though my current job has nothing to do with politics or any currently-political topic.

    5. IT_Guy*

      There’s a simple solution to this this. During and after the election, when people started posting blatantly political posts, I just disconnected from them. Sometimes I would send them an notice and sometimes not. After doing this about 10-15 times, there were no more political posts in my feed.

      1. Random Lurker*

        This may work fine for Facebook and other platforms. But if we are talking LinkedIn, that’s 10-15 connections that are gone that could have been useful to you in a job search or other professional setting. I couldn’t care less what my former boss thinks about the election, and am not going to read any of the junk he is posting. But I certainly care about the 500+ connections to him on LinkedIn that I can ask him for an introduction to if I need one. Deleting a professional connection on a professional social networking site over political obnoxiousness seems to be overkill.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I find that “unfollowing” a person with whom you share a connection is an effective workaround. But I also don’t spend much time on LinkedIn, and despite the fact that dozens of my friends are in politics, I get very few “political” posts in my feed. (Every now and then someone’s op-ed on a policy matter pops up, but again, I can always ignore it.)

    6. BioPharma*

      I barely log in to mine, except when I need to update it for job updates, deleting the occasional email annoyance, and when I’m actively looking for a job.

      Just like the advice of occasionally dressing up at work (so interview days aren’t so apparent), I try to go onto linkedin on occassaion even when not actively looking for work.

    7. jaxon*

      Even if OP has 1,500 connections, I don’t understand how “political stuff” could infiltrate LinkedIn. Do people actually use it as a social network? I just use it as an informal resume and to occasionally communicate with people I know professionally. I only do those two things because everyone seems to expect it. It would never even occur to me that I might somehow stumble across a political discussion.

  2. BobtheBreaker*

    OP1: While not an OSHA item. Based on my few years of experience in commercial maintenance, I can confidentially share that having a bunch of unflushable toilets (for an extended period of time) to accomidate a plumbing repair will just generate more plumbing repairs; in the form of clogged toilets. This can make for a great talking point because it represents a real, immediate cost that must be paid; and it is sometimes not a considered contingency when a cost analysis is done.

    1. Merida May*

      This is such a great point. I briefly worked in a building manager’s office and have observed there are a surprising number of people who can barely work a toilet when nothing is wrong, let alone when extra steps to make said toilet flushable are in play. At my current office we have had water shut off for small intervals (less than a half hour or so), but there is around fifty people so it wound up not being a huge deal. However, my previous office was in a building that had over a thousand people in it, there is no way I could see water being shut off to any portion of it while folks were still working there. Depending on the size of the building this could easily become a giant headache after the work is done.

      1. Adlib*

        True! We have a small older office that has residential style low flow (ugh) toilets (not the awesome commercial ones that could flush a house) so we have to flush multiple times regularly. This would not be feasible for our office.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Exactly. At one place I worked we had to pour water in the tank until the repair was done.
      We were supplied with plenty (okay, too many) gallon jugs of water.

      The next hurdle was the people who did not understand what to do. “lift the tank lid, pour the water in”. Judging from the looks of terror on their faces, they really did not understand what to do. I think some folks had never seen the inside of a toilet tank. I spent way too much time reaching inside the tank at home, trying to save the cost of a plumber. When he finally came he lost ten minutes laughing at the paper clips that were holding things together. Shrug. It worked until it didn’t.

        1. Candi*

          That would just fill the bowl.

          If you look in the toilet tank, you’ll see a lever arrangement with a rod or more commonly a chain attached to a rubber or soft plastic stopper. The weight of the water and the way it enters the bowl through the holes under the “lip” are part of what drains the bowl so it can be refilled from the tank.

          Water in the bowl is essential because it acts like an odor block.

          And that’s all I know. I watched the plumber when he installed the new flushing rod and plug in the tank, but I wasn’t going to bug him while he was working.

          1. Candi*

            Just remembered: some toilets do have a function that if the bowl is too full, it automatically drains the excess -if it’s not clogged. But not every place has those, and it still doesn’t flush the toilet.

            1. Layla*

              I read on below , they seem to say it works. If definitely works for my home toilet ( but I’m not in the US)
              You have to pour enough volume & fast enough , for example a pail of mopping water.

              the days of water rationing are long past for us , but sometimes people still use waste water ( from clothes washed by hand , mopping water ) to flush the toilet ( by pouring in the bowl ) in a bid to conserve water

  3. Stellaaaaa*

    OP1: Whenever my company has had a plumbing problem, we make arrangements with a neighboring business to use their restroom. Is an arrangement like that totally out of the question? I realize that the location of your business (to say nothing of the employees’ private needs) might prevent this from being an option, but it’s worth considering.

    I get the sense that your boss would rather inconvenience you and your coworkers than give up a Saturday to oversee the repairs. Unless it’s a time-sensitive emergency, there’s no reason this has to be done during a workday. It generally costs more to schedule a plumber after 5 or on a weekend, but that should be considered a cost of running a safe and sanitary office.

    1. Mary*

      I was just going to say the same thing. Ask your neighbours if you can use their facility. If this works great, but some people may still be uncomfortable with this arrangement and may need to stay home (just slightly too far away to get their in time etc).

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      What’s going to happen when someone forgets not to flush? You know it’s going to. It’s too ingrained a habit to just tell people to stop doing it for a day.

    3. OP1*

      Great idea! I never thought to ask our neighboring businesses if we could use their facilities. I’m going to suggest that. And I did suggest they do the work during non-work hours, but was not received well.

        1. OP1*

          Yeah I thought of that too. I’m an obsessive hand washer so thinking about it totally grosses me out.

      1. Is it Friday Yet?*

        This is what my office would do. Luckily we have restrooms on other floors that can be used, so it really would not be a big deal if it did not affect the whole building. It would be nice if they gave you an estimated time frame and had already asked a neighboring business if you could use their restrooms while work was being done.

      2. Brogrammer*

        Even if there isn’t an official agreement between your business and the neighboring businesses, people are generally understanding about this kind of thing. The last time my building’s water was shut off for repairs, I just walked into the lobby of the business next door and said, “Hi, I work next door. Our water is shut off for repairs, can I use your bathroom?” and the receptionist kindly directed me to their bathroom.

  4. NicoleK*

    #2 YMMV with LinkedIn depending on your field. In my field, it is not unusual for someone to not have a LinkedIn page. It is also extremely rare for employers to recruit via LinkedIn. So know your field.

    1. Allison*

      What? Most employers who proactively recruit passive candidates and job-seekers use LinkedIn as one of their main tools.

      1. SarahTheEntwife*

        I’m assuming the “in my field” also applies to “extremely rare to recruit via LinkedIn”. My boyfriend was cold-recruited from LinkedIn and from what I’ve seen it’s very common in his field, but it’s very rare in mine and I eventually just deleted my LinkedIn account because I was tired of having to keep it up-to-date and frustrated with random friends “endorsing” me or asking me to endorse them for skills they have absolutely no knowledge or whether or not I can do.

        1. Audiophile*

          I have former coworkers endorse me all the time and it gets bothersome. I doubt endorsements or recommendations on LinkedIn carry much weight to begin with.

      2. NicoleK*

        I wasn’t clear but I meant to say that in my field, it is rare to be recruited via LinkedIn. I’ve been in my field for 15 years and I don’t know anyone who was cold recruited from LinkedIn.

    2. Triangle Pose*

      Totally correct. In my field it would be extremely odd not to have a LinkedIn or to have to have a LinkedIn that doesn’t list the year and institution you got your undergrad degree and advanced degree and the year and jurisdiction you were licensed. Any gaps would be notable.

      1. TootsNYC*

        In my field it wouldn’t necessarily hurt you to not have a profile; it might, and it might not.

        But active recruiting, at least as I see it, doesn’t happen via LinkedIn in my arena. It happens via networking.

        So LinkedIn can be crucial in terms of providing a way for someone to keep track of you or to find you easily when they want to mention you to someone:
        “Oh, I worked with someone who’d be good at that; I wonder where she is now?” And then to LinkedIn to see more recent info and to send a message.

        So I think an up-to-date profile is a bare minimum in my field. It’s also likely to be -almost- all that’s needed.

        The other way I see LinkedIn in use is when your first contact (resumé or referral) makes you look interesting, or when you’re one of the finalists, people will use it to try to find someone they know who also knows you.

        1. Jennifer's Hardworking Thneed*

          I view LinkedIn the way I view Facebook: useful, as far as it goes. I have a presence on FB so that people can find me if they’ve lost track of me (distant relatives, people from high school or college) but I’m not very active there. Likewise, I have a presence on LI for exactly the same reason. If you search for me and know my name, you’ll find me there. There is enough detail that you know it’s me the tech writer, and not the track&field star, and not the Unitarian minister, and not (oh, I’ve forgotten my other doppelgangers). But I’m not very active! I update my resume every so often and that’s about it.

          I have been contacted by a recruiter exactly once via LinkedIn. It didn’t go anywhere. I get a lot more action from the resumes I post on DICE and my local Craigslist.

    3. k*

      Agreed. In my field it would be extremely rare for someone to recruit via LinkedIn. I begrudgingly have an account, but I’d rather not. I only keep it in case a potential employer googles me; I figure having a basic profile and confirming that I exist is better than nothing.

      1. Judy*

        I enjoy having a linked in account, since most of the cold call recruiting now happens by inmail rather than actual calls. I usually get 2-6 messages a month, and that pretty much tracks what used to be cold calls on my work phone.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I find that people often recruit using LinkedIn, but not “via” LinkedIn, if that makes sense. So friends or headhunters will look up my page to figure out (1) if I’m currently employed, and (2) who my employer is before cold-calling me. So even though the actual recruitment ask, etc., doesn’t go through LinkedIn, LinkedIn plays a significant role in facilitating the process.

    4. NASA*

      I was going to comment the same exact thing. LinkedIn isn’t common or useful in my field (good riddance!).

  5. Artemesia*

    Of course not being able to flush all day is a problem, but one that they could deal with by bringing in water to the bathrooms so it could be done manually. Since it is relatively easy to resolve, they should either do this or let people work from home if there is no toilet located nearby they can use.

    I sort of laughed at all this as it reminded me of a situation where I was working with a giant nest of PhDs in a research institute consisting of two houses joined together and turned into offices on the edge of a large campus. The water was turned off in one of the houses for the day and someone had left the toilet on that side disgusting. Everyone was all a twitter — ‘what can we doooooo?’ ‘This is gross and the water will be off till late this afternoon.’ So I took a gallon jug filled it in the sink 10 feet away in the other house (literally just through the doorway that joined the two) and filled the back of the toilet with a couple of jugs and flushed it. (it also works just to pour water in to the bowl) Everyone was in awe — they actually didn’t know how toilets work.

    1. OP1*

      I can see this working if we bring in jugs of water. But there are quite a few employees who would not be able to lift the jugs to refill the back of the toilet. And quite embarrassing to have to ask for help!

      1. Artemesia*

        Really? Lots of people who couldn’t lift a one gallon milk jug? I have a healing broken left arm and am very old and I can lift such a jug with that arm. I am sure there is someone who might not be able to do so but I bet most people able to work could easily do this. And you could also set it up so that the janitor if there is one, refills the tank after use rather than during use.

        The managers here sound like jerks because they haven’t thought through how to accommodate their workers’ needs; I get that. But actually coping by providing access to a neighboring shop’s bathrooms for the day by agreement, or if that is not possible, making water available for flushing and hand sanitizer for clean up is not rocket science if the place MUST be open. If people can work from home then that is the other obvious solution.

        One day. Most people should be able to cope with reasonable support. Just walking away and telling staff to ‘deal with it.’ is of course ridiculous, but expecting them to cope with support doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          My mom was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her 40s. One of the symptoms is generalized muscle weakness. We never bought gallon jugs of milk when I was a kid because they were hard for my mom to lift. She worked until she was 65. It could also be difficult for anyone with an injury (when the tendonitis in my wrist flares up, I can’t lift something that heavy without prolonging the healing period).

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          There are many people who cannot lift a gallon for various reasons (injury, chronic illness, permanent physical disability), and I think we should be sensitive to that fact instead of questioning whether those people can *really* lift a jug.

        3. SimontheGreyWarden*

          This comes across as really ableist. What if the issue is taking the lid off the tank to fill that? What if the person is wheelchair-bound, uses a walker, etc? What if a worker is blind? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s fun to shame people who objectively can’t.

        4. Candi*

          Step Mum has fibromyalgia. She has major trouble lifting anything heavier than a quart of milk, never mind taking off the lid of the jug if her fingers aren’t working right that day.

          It’s usually necessary to use two hands to stabilize the jug so water doesn’t splash everywhere. She can’t do that.

          She uses a walker, cane, or wheelchair all the time, depending on how bad her condition is that day and whether a treatment is working.

          So, no, not everyone can lift a five to ten pound jug of water. Please research chronic and acute conditions that prevent such lifting.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        If the toilet has a tank, there shouldn’t be any human waste in the toilet bowl when filling the tank with water because if each person fills the tank after use, then the toilet is ready for the next person. The user will be able to flush and then get someone to fill the tank for them.

        If someone could not lift the jug of water, maybe someone else would volunteer to fill the tank for that person. I know that I can’t lift 5 gallon jugs when they are fill. When we get a boil water order here, I fill the jugs half way so I can carry them.
        Which brings me to another thought that maybe partial bottles of water could be left out for those to use who cannot lift a full gallon.

    2. Cleopatra Jones*

      I had something similar happen to me as well. I also work in a house turned office. One weekend, someone left the bathroom window open, and the water in the toilet froze over. People were like, ‘OMG, we can’t use the toilet until it thaws! What are we going to do?’
      I walked down to the kitchen filled an old coffee pot with hot water from the coffee machine, poured it down the toilet, melted the ice then flushed the toilet. They were in absolute awe. When the facilities guy came over about the work order, I had to explain to him what I had done to fix the toilet.

    3. Triangle Pose*

      I fully admit I don’t know how toilets work and everyone’s description of filling it with extra water doesn’t really make sense to me. Now that we own and can’t call maintenance for everything I should probably put this on my list of things I should be able to fix or at least manage on my own.

      1. fposte*

        Toilets flush with the water in their tank. If they don’t get water to the tank from the plumbing, they can get it from a hard-working human who pours it in directly.

        That does still leave the handwashing a problem, though. (It also would be a nightmare for those old British toilets with the tank 6 feet off the ground.)

        1. Natalie*

          And many commercial buildings have tankless toilets, which need a working supply line to flush. (Apparently not the LW, just speaking generally)

            1. Artemesia*

              Yeah toilets also flush if you just dump a bucket of water directly into the bowl; they are simple mechanical/hydrolic objects and really everyone should know how to do simple toilet repairs; it will also save you a bundle in your lifetime if you can replace the flapper and works and adjust the water level and such.

              1. Liz2*

                Ironically I learned how that worked when I was in a small office (3 people) and the toilet stopped working. I would usually be in the office a few hours alone until the boss and wife eventually got in, so I figured it out on my own.

                1. Candi*

                  Eh, I’ve come across toilets that don’t really flush when you dump water in the bowl. You fill them up practically to the lip before they’ll drain, and then they’ll only drain to the former level, or they’ll drain completely but leave anything remotely solid in the bowl. Including toilet paper. Dumping in the bowl is not a universal solution and can get messy.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Most toilets flush simply because the volume of water in the toilet gets so high that it forces it all up and over the trap. You may also need a certain level of speed.

        Normally that water comes from the tank on the back when you flush (it opens a hole in the bottom of the tank to let the water flow down by gravity).

        So of course you can manually fill the tank by lifting the lid and pouring the water in, and then flushing normally.

        But you can also flush by simply pouring a bucketful of water directly into the bowl (and bypassing the tank).
        Have you ever mopped the floor from a bucket, and then emptied the bucket by pouring it into the toilet (which is faster than pouring it out via any sink or tub)?

        We use the tank because it will hold the volume needed to flush, and we don’t need any extra water pressure. And after the flush, the tank gets refilled at a slower rate through the regular water pipe. (sort of the way those water tanks on tall buildings in NYC work; they get filled up constantly/slowly, and bcs of gravity it’s a slower rate going up than people would like to have coming out of their tap. But the water from the tank flows down to the tap with a gravity assist, so they get better water pressure.)

        There are a few YouTube videos about how toilets flush.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        As folks have noted, the mechanism for the “flush” working is the release of a certain volume of water at a certain speed. So if you have too little water, or if your speed is too slow, it doesn’t create the right level of pressure to force the water in the bowl past the trap/line. This is why either refilling the tank manually or dumping a significant (1 gallon+) amount of water directly (and rapidly) in the bowl will act as a flush. Wikipedia has a great article on how toilets work (literally just type “toilet” in the search field), which may help folks better understand the mechanics of it all.

        I think most folks should learn three things for basic toilet maintenance (in life, not for the purposes of fixing a work toilet): (1) how to fix a clog; (2) how to deal with tank problems; and (3) how to shut off the water line to the toilet. If you can do those three things, you’ll be able to fix 90% of household toilet problems on your own.

      4. The Strand*

        It works best if it’s hot water. I have heard that lifting it from a height (6 inches etc) and pouring it is best, but then there’s a question of control. Some people apparently use a surfactant like dish soap.

  6. Bee Eye LL*

    #4 – It’s a job not a prison sentence. YOU decide when you are ready to go. The only time I’ve seen this sort of thing happen is with internal transfers where one department holds up another, and it’s still not right when they do that.

    1. AnonAnalyst*

      And unlike an internal transfer, they can’t really control when they are ready to “release” the OP. OP, you are leaving the company — you don’t need their permission to go, especially when they are being horrible. Don’t ask them to move your end date up; tell them when your last day will be.

    2. Triangle Pose*

      Yes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up and not see them when you are in the middle of it and seeing your boss and colleagues everyday. Alison’s advice is spot on. They CANNOT make OP stay, she can go.

    3. TootsNYC*

      Of course you want to worry a bit about how you present it, so you can preserve your reference.

      But in general, when you want to leave your next job, please don’t spend that much time trying to accommodate them, and making it easy for them to replace you.

      One lesson you’re learning: the “lame duck” period is not a productive or healthy one if it goes on too long. (Some people can handle it well, but clearly your boss can’t.) There’s a reason that so many people choose two weeks as their notice period.

  7. Schmooples*

    #1 I don’t get why they can’t do it out of hours. How frustrating, I hope you can get through to them.

    1. Zip Silver*

      It depends entirely on the size and scope of the work. Not all repair work can be done quickly.

      1. Natalie*

        If it’s something that can’t be done quickly, all the more reason to close the office for the extended period of time they won’t have water.

        1. Zip Silver*

          It depends though. If I were a non-exempt employee, I’d prefer to be paid and abide by the if it’s yellow let it mellow rule than have a few days off.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            I mean, a more reasonable solution is for the company to pay whatever extra $ is required to do this after hours or over the weekend.

      1. Ama*

        Yuup. The building in which my employer currently rents office space decided about a year ago that their maintenance staff would no longer be allowed to do work outside of business hours because it was “too expensive” and construction crews couldn’t work off hours because maintenance staff have to be present in case of an issue that affects the rest of the building. Which has been super pleasant for us since both the floor above and floor below have had major construction in the last year that we have had to listen to. One of many reasons why we’re relocating our offices in the spring.

        1. animaniactoo*

          I’m in a similar situation except that my company is the owner of the building. We, the employees, would dearly love to run away from the construction. Unfortunately, renovations are ongoing as each tenant leaves to make the new tenants happy/attract new tenants/etc.

          1. Artemesia*

            I live in a condo building in which I could swear construction has gone on directly above us for literally years. They have a period each year of two months where no construction is allowed but otherwise it is constant. Starts at 8 and runs to 4 every dang day. It sounds like it is directly above us but of course it isn’t as sound really carries in old buildings through the utilities corridors for pipes and such.

            So we spent a month in an apartment in Paris this fall — and the whole time we were there the apartment below was being renovated.

      2. Crazy Canuck*

        Overtime is probably the correct answer. However, depending on location, there can also be issues finding a plumber who will work evenings or weekends. When I needed a plumber last year, I could get one during the week easily, but outside of business hours I was looking at a six to eight week wait. This would probably not be the case in a larger city, but in smaller towns this can be an issue.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq*

      Off-hours repairs of any kind are usually much, much more expensive than ones during normal work hours. At a fast food place I worked, having repair people come in cost something in the neighborhood of x during the day, 2x at night or on weekends, and around 4x on holidays. At a small (11 person) office, they’re probably going to feel pinched by the repairs anyway. It’s a less-than-ideal situation overall, and I agree that people should be allowed to work from home if possible, but depending on the repair you could just be talking an hour or two. If that’s the case, using a nearby coffee shop or something is probably sufficient, if that’s possible?

  8. Chaordic One*

    #1 They should just shut the office down and send everyone home. Ideally they should pay you for it.

    I would even take one of my personal leave days not to have to be there and deal with it. (It’s December now and I have a ton of other extra holiday things that I need to do, anyway.)

  9. Goober*

    Re: Plumbing
    Having worked for a plumbing contractor, I can say this:
    A) The plumber, unless he’s a complete goofball (and many are), he will be very aware of the pressure to get the water back on quickly. Don’t expect the water to be off all day (but be prepared for it to be)
    B) You don’t need to fill the back of the tank, you can flush a toilet by pouring water directly into the bowl.
    C) The amount of water it takes to flush even a modern, low-flow toilet is heavy enough that you will have people who can’t handle it without some risk of throwing their back out.
    D) Were I you, I’d print out a quote from a place that rents port-a-potties and leave it anonymously on the boss’s desk. Or maybe not anonymously. An alternative would be to call a temp agency to have someone stationed in each bathroom to manually flush the toilets after each use.

    The only other reasonable approach is to give everyone the day off – paid.

    Re: “Not allowed to leave …”
    “The only way you can prevent me from leaving, right now if I choose, is to commit a violent felony against my person. Do I need to call 911?” With phone in hand.

    But I’ve always had an especially aggressive response to bullies.

    1. Colette*

      Allowing/encouraging people to work from home is reasonable. Making arrangements with a neighbor to use their bathroom may be reasonable.

    2. OP1*

      This “plumber” is a friend of management. There is a history of that kind of work being done here. I don’t see this project going well.
      Thanks for the ideas!

    3. Catalyst*

      Port-a-potties might not be a good idea depending on their region. If my company gave us port-a-potties right now, I would have to put on snow boots, jacket, mittens, scarf and a hat to go out to it because it is -18 Celsius outside (-1 Fahrenheit for all of you in the US) . I would consider that a worse alternative than the jugs!

      If it’s warm there though, not a bad idea.

      1. Decimus*

        I think OP said they have warehouse space – that might mean they could put the port a potties in the warehouse. It still wouldn’t solve other issues (like no handwashing) but at least it gives you a reasonable place to go if you need to.

        1. Artemesia*

          I find portapotties disgusting and filthy and would much rather pour water in a real toilet in a warm bathroom than use one of those.

        2. Liane*

          The fancier ones do have a place for hand sanitizer or even a tiny sink (I guess they include a small water tank) and there are also portable handwash sinks you can rent. Events here use both of these a lot.

          Portapotties also seem to be the usual solution for stores with plumbing issues around here. I had a gig at a seasonal Halloween store and the commodes worked fine when it was only us handful of staffers, but couldn’t handle all the people once we opened for customers. So they rented portables for customers.
          A Famed Retailer location in town had all their restrooms down a few years ago, for a couple months, and they also brought in the fancier ones. No idea what their plumbing issue was.

          1. AnonAnalyst*

            Yeah, some of them are surprisingly nice. I’ve come across some especially fancy ones in places where they can’t run more permanent plumbing but have customers that would expect bathroom facilities. They are technically portable, but they are set up in a dedicated space in a parking lot or other open area and just stay there indefinitely (minus occasional swap outs for servicing, I would imagine). They flush and even have running warm and cold water, and mirrors!

  10. Amber*

    “She said only when the new hire was fully trained and able to work independently would I be allowed to leave” This made me laugh.

    1. Former Invoice Girl*

      Yeah – I’ve been almost three months in my current position but still wouldn’t say I’m able to work in a fully independent manner — not to mention things like having mastery over things at this point. That takes time – significantly more than two months, and I hope OP manages to leave that place soon.

    2. Jeanne*

      OP will be leaving for graduate school in Jan is what I gathered from the letter. They won’t have anyone hired and you shouldn’t care. Are you supposed to postpone grad school? Nope. Go to the boss you like, explain exactly why you’re ready to leave, and leave within a couple of days. 6 weeks is enough notice.

      1. Christine*

        OP — just ignore the comments, etc. about you being allowed to leave. Sounds like a control issue. Ignore their wants, your responsibility is to yourself first and foremost. Be sure to give yourself some time off between the job & your start date at school. There is also the possibility that you may have some last minute paperwork to start before classes start that would need to be taken care of during working hours. You do not want to find yourself begging to get off to purchase your books, etc. Do the formal letter of resignation two weeks before you are leaving and cc human resources. Cover your bases by doing the formal 2 week notice.

        ? — did you submit a formal letter of resignation or give a verbal end date. Quite a few companies will not advertise a position unless they have a formal letter of resignation.

        1. The Strand*

          Great advice. You sound like you have a great work ethic, and that helps a lot in life, and at work – but don’t be afraid to give yourself more than enough time to make the move and adjust to a new environment. I know many people who didn’t, and then regretted not having a breather!

        2. OP#4*

          Thanks for the feedback! I submitted my letter directly to her and she passed it onto HR and our boss. I already started grad school this fall semester but decided not to quit in order to stay in good terms with my boss. It’s complicated but felt obliged after he had helped me get accepted into the graduate program. I have been employed here for 7 years and my boss has helped me during my undergraduate years. However, I was informed that they have someone in the works and will most likely be hiring my replacement soon. Will definitely be planning on leaving soon after hearing this news.

    3. Ypsiguy*

      “…allowed to leave…” Ugh. If you are located in the United States, you should feel free to refer your employer to the 13th amendment to the Constitution.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I understand people’s desire to say this, but working for pay is in no way comparable to slavery.

        Do not refer your employer to the 13th amendment; it will make you look hyperbolic. Just know that unless you signed a contract regarding your hiring term, you’re an at-will employee and can leave at any time.

    4. LBK*

      Right? In my job that would require at least 6 months of overlap.

      It amazes me how many bosses misinterpret the purpose of a leave period. It’s not meant to cover the entire replacement process. It’s to give you time to get all processes documented and to divvy up temporary coverage of responsibilities.

    5. Artemesia*

      The OP should never have given two months notice; next time give two weeks and any push back is met with ‘that won’t be possible, I need for X to be my last day. What can I do to document things for the next person and otherwise make this transition go smoothly.’ rinse and repeat. Don’t justify why you need to leave even if it is only that you want to take two weeks to stare at your wall and decompress after you leave and before the next job. Never JADE. Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain. This is what I am going to do. How can I help make this go smoothly. That won’t be possible. are the three phrases you need. Period.

      1. Artemesia*

        Want to reiterate. Don’t explain ‘why’; they know why, you are heading for school. You need time off before school starts to get organized for that. Don’t explain that, just let them know your last day. Explaining why is the opening gambit in a negotiation where they try to push you back further — don’t let that happen. There is no ‘why’ here, there is only a ‘when’.

        1. Happy Cynic*

          ^ This. It sounds like your boss will respond to “my personal circumstances” with a demand to know the details of those. They’re not their business at all.

      2. OP#4*

        Yes I also agree now. I was advised by some people with more experience to just wait and give my 2 weeks. It was my first “big boy” resignation notice and thought it would be appreciated by my supervisor for giving her 2 months notice but unfortunately I learned the hard way this was not the case. lol

        1. Not So NewReader*

          When I started working I felt the same way, and got a similar response. I gave up on being extra kind.

          More recently a friend who had been at her job for decades decided to retire. She let her higher ups know SIX months in advance. Yes, six months. And you know what happened next. The new hire started about a week and a half before her last day.
          Yep, the new hire left a few months later.

      3. CMT*

        Agreed. I think it’s pretty rare for a departing person to actually train their replacement. Two weeks is barely enough time to think about just getting a job posted in most places and two weeks is a pretty standard notice period. (At least in the U.S.)

    6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Yeah, OP #4, your supervisor is a wingnut. Technically, you can leave whenever you want even without providing notice. Giving your employer a head’s up is a courtesy and gesture of good will, and you’ve gone above and beyond by offering 2 months (instead of the usual 2-4 weeks). Your supervisor sounds petty, controlling, and bizarre.

      And I agree with Christine—if you haven’t submitted a formal resignation letter, type it up with your end date (you can make it 2 weeks from now, if you like, although you’ve more than satisfied the 2-week-notice expectation) and send it in. Do not let your supervisor try to negotiate or reopen your leave date: you get to decide when you leave, not her.

  11. Chocolate Teapot*

    5. A previous job had an anti-bribery and corruption policy and there was a gift register which had to be filled out every time an employee received a gift. Things like bottles of wine or small gift hampers were allowed, and if the gift was hospitality (e.g. tickets to a sporting event) then the giver had to accompany the employee.

    1. JM in England*

      My current and previous employers had an identical policy about gifts from clients. Even the “appearance” of bribery and/or corruption had to be avoided, just as with conflict of interests,

    2. Jeanne*

      We gave everything away at the end of the year by lottery but it was all stuff from vendors. Nothing good like tickets.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      The giver had to accompany the employee? So the employee and the giver went to the event together. ummm. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the corruption policy? Am I missing something here?

  12. Savannnah*

    #1 I understand this is far from US (I’m assuming) office norms but I’ve worked in many offices around the world where “bucket” toilets were a great alternative to the outhouses nearby. Your employer needs to make water available for this if they want to keep the toilets further unclogged and you can pour the water directly into the bowl without having to take the back tank top off.

    1. Jeanne*

      Oh my. Yes this is far from the norm in the US although in a few jobs they use port-a-potties (like construction).

    2. Blue Anne*

      Wait…. bucket toilets as in you flush them with a bucket? or as in the bucket IS the toilet?

    3. anonderella*

      like Blue Anne, I was unfamiliar with ‘bucket toilet’.

      Then I googled it, and the first result yielded this description:
      “Bucket toilets can be easy to use and odour free. Learn what cover materials to use, how to compost your waste and what games you can play with your …”

      omg – *games* ??

      1. Savannnah*

        I think google is leading you astray haha. You simply use a bucket of water, instead of indoor plumbing to flush.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        There is a composting toilet. The byproduct of the compost is called humanure.
        But this is not what they are talking about here.

  13. DCGirl*

    At my last job, they sent us home when there was a water main break and no water was coming into the building. It was a building code violation to have people working in the building with no water — there would have been no water in the sprinkler system and, on top of that, the air conditioning wouldn’t work without water. OP1 might want to check local building codes.

    1. Katiedid*

      I was just about to post the same thing. Many local ordinances do require that a commercial building must have running water in order to be occupied. I was also sent home once for the same reason. I work at another company now in a different community and we were told the same thing when we were doing training for our business continuity plan (i.e., what to do if we have to close unexpectedly for various reasons).

      1. Zip Silver*

        Unless it’s the main water line (which is usually the city’s responsibility), the sprinkler system wouldn’t be affected by plumbing work. Any sprinkler work isn’t done by a plumbing company, it’s done by a fire company.

              1. Goober*

                Sprinkler systems generally require *much* higher pressures than the water system in the building, to the tune of 600 psi (versus 60 or so for taps and toilets), and generally are hooked directly to a separate main with no water meter (at least, here in California). My employer learned all about this when the feed line from that main burst, and nearly undermined the building foundations before it was turned off. our loading dock literally went from bone to four feet of standing water within seconds when the concrete gave way.

                Sadly, the pipe that burst was ours, and it cost us five figures to get fixed.

                But we had water in the bathrooms the entire time.

    2. Allison*

      That happened to me at my job a couple years ago. At first we were told to go across the street to use a neighboring building’s bathrooms. My boss commented “this is a sh!tshow,” which I thought a great pun. Then we were sent home, thankfully, because our building was set back and on a hill, going across the street would have been a real hike. I think it was cold out, too.

    3. Trout 'Waver*

      If the company works with any sort of chemicals, they need to have eye washes and safety showers. No water = no safety equipment = no work.

  14. Mookie*


    More recently, she comments each time I [do many things that are normal including] take a deep breath. At least once a week, she says how sorry she is that I’ve had sinus issues the whole pregnancy.

    Bless her heart.

    1. Mookie*

      You know how sometimes you inadvertently (or not) become someone’s Bitch Eating Crackers? I want to intentionally become this co-workers Pregnant Colleague, and just bother her with my pregnancy until her passive-aggression turns into actual aggression, whereupon I can strangle her with my umbilical cord. Ugh. I don’t like your co-worker, LW, and you have my sympathies.

    2. Jeanne*

      Right there is the solution. Don’t breathe. I would want to strangle her. I think you have to be blunt. “I don’t want to discuss my pregnancy with you.”

      1. Mookie*

        I want the co-worker to make some kind of elementary error at work, to which the LW can respond [in my dreams] with a very sympathetic* “I’m so sorry to see just how much your not-being-pregnant affects your performance. What a shame. I could tell the moment you became not-pregnant when you started nosey-parkering my every movement. Maybe you need to see a doctor? Don’t worry, I’ll remind you about this as often as you need because I’ve heard not-pregnant-people have very poor memory recall. Oh, by the way, nice shirt.”

        *not in a hur-de-hur all women need / want to be pregnant and if you don’t you’re a barren spinster kind of way, but more like pushing against this notion that the LW’s pregnancy defines (and disables) her

        1. Lily in NYC*

          Why play mean games with someone who is obviously just clueless? It doesn’t sound like she’s doing anything other than trying to connect with OP and is not being malicious.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            People do all kinds of things to connect with people that isn’t malicious but also isn’t excusable. For example, when white women ask a black woman if they can touch her hair (or worse, do it without asking). That’s not malicious–the white women will tell you that they didn’t mean any harm–but it’s not ok, and it’s not excusable, and you don’t have to be kind about pushing back. The kind of remarks this woman is making are well beyond what should be permitted in the name of connecting (and with a coworker!).

            In this case, since it’s a coworker, the OP needs to be professional. What Mookie is suggesting is probably not professional, but it’s not a mean game. And for some people, it would take something like what Mookie is suggesting for them to understand why their behavior isn’t ok. I’m not saying that is what the OP should do, but it is true that some people really don’t get it until the same behavior is turned on them.

              1. Mookie*

                Hence my nod that it’s a complete fantasy rather than a serious suggestion or wish: [in my dreams].

    3. AcidMeFlux*

      LW3, I would try reacting somewhat differently; the next time coworker makes the slightest reference to your pregnancy, I would drop whatever I was holding, look down in horror, and shriek, “WHAT?!?!?!? I ‘m P-P-P-PREGNANT? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” and run howling to the ladies room. (But I’m awful that way….)

    4. Lily in NYC*

      I think this is the perfect situation for a little white lie, because I think it’s obvious coworker is just trying to connect and probably has no idea OP is annoyed. I would just say something like: “my family talks about nothing but my pregnancy so do me a favor and let’s talk about other stuff at work”

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        I don’t think it does anyone any good to make that white lie. The coworker needs to know that commenting on someone else’s body/appearance is inappropriate.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          I don’t feel as strongly as most people do about that. In my opinion, intent matters a lot and I try to avoid hurting people’s feelings when they have good intentions.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            The OP does feel strongly about it, however, and wants it to stop.

            You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but if you actually want it to stop, and for the person to not do it to other people, you need to be honest. Especially for someone who is socially awkward, as the OP says this coworker is. It’s a kindness to tell her the truth, before it negatively impacts her career. The tone of voice makes all the difference, so keep it friendly: “Sally, I know you’re just trying to show a friendly interest in me and my pregnancy, but commenting on my weight or how tired I look, or my health feels really intrusive and too personal for the office. I need the comments about my pregnancy and body to stop. Now, do you have those figures for the Teapot project?”

          2. Jessie*

            It’s perfectly polite to request to not talk about pregnancy and body and eating issues without coming up with a lie about the reason, though. Simply saying “I’d really prefer that you not talk about my pregnancy so much, I’m really feeling scrutinized about everything. Thanks!” If someone’s feelings get hurt over that mild remark, they have a remarkably thin skin.

            Feeling like you have to apologize or lie in order to create and enforce normal, reasonable professional boundaries isn’t great.

            1. Lily in NYC*

              Welp, I guess I just have a different opinion on this. I find that lots of people are oversensitive in general so I prefer a softer approach in the workplace. I would not feel the same outside of the office with my social group or family.

          3. Observer*

            Intent matters a lot. But, she’s still being rude. And, if she means well, the best thing anyone can do for her is to make her realize that this is out of line and could cause her problems.

          4. LBK*

            I think the intent/impact balance also changes at work where you have a vested interest in keeping things pleasant between you and your coworkers since you have to see them every day. Sometimes that means taking a softer approach than you should have to.

          5. Liz2*

            Sometimes intentions just don’t matter. Inappropriate behavior is still wrong and should not be tolerated.

          6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Intent actually doesn’t really matter—the impact matters. Intentions only matter when you’re trying to figure out whether to forgive someone. Coworker’s behavior and comments are unwelcome and inappropriate, period, but especially in the workplace. Addressing bad behavior directly isn’t mean; it’s part of being an adult, and the other part of being an adult is being able to hear feedback without taking it personally.

            But even on the merits, I honestly question the intentions of a coworker who would make the kind of tone-deaf statements OP has shared. The coworker clearly doesn’t care about whether she’s hurting OP’s feelings.

              1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                I understand that it matters to you. My take isn’t about my personal feelings—it’s about professional norms in the context of employment. But we can agree to disagree.

            1. LBK*

              I think this veers into ideal vs realistic territory, though. Ideally, you’d be able to just directly tell someone to stop doing something, they’d stop, everyone moves on. Realistically, people are more complicated than that, and when you have to work with someone every day, sometimes you play nice for your own sake.

              You shouldn’t have to do it, but that’s a different question from whether it will get you better results. One of the things I like best about AAM is striking a balance between emotional labor and practical solutions. It comes down to the age old question: would you rather be right or happy?

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I have heard upsetting stuff at work, like most people reading here have. I have to go back to “we have to work with each other.”

                Some folks like to think about the intentions of the other person in order to help themselves to calm down and think through a solution. For them looking at the intentions of the other person is a tool to start solving the issue.

                Some folks just want to slam dunk squash it, right now. Which in some cases IS the correct answer.

                I tend to think long term and try to use a softer approach on things when possible. Now there are some things that require a firm and quick NO. So this rule of thumb does not work with everyone nor every setting.

                As a person who is not a parent, one thing that is kind of confounding to me is there are some women who never want to mention their baby and others who never stop mentioning the baby. My approach has been to copy whatever I see them doing. I had one family member who chatted about her pregnancy non-stop. I was young and really did not think about it too much, but after a bit I realized that not everyone does this. (Mercifully. I’d much prefer to talk about a variety of things.) It could be that the coworker thinks every new mom wants to talk about The Baby.

                OP, I think only you know which route is best for your setting. Indeed, there are some people that we do just have to draw that line and say “Okay, we are done talking about Y.”

    5. Jen*

      I actually had a co-worker at one point actually say “Oh look at you! Bless your heart” at the end of my second pregnancy. Every. Day. I’m a short person so when I’m at the end of my pregnancies, I’m VERY big. But damn, she made me feel like a freak.

      I’ve only had two children and I had them working at two different offices and both were horrible. There are always a few people who stop seeing you as a person and only see you as a breeder once you have kids. So many horrible things have been said:
      -I knew you were pregnant, your boobs looked bigger (said by an older woman)
      -I knew you were pregnant, you looked so tired
      -Jason and I were trying to figure out just the other day if you were getting fat or if you were pregnant
      -You’re not eating enough! You’re too small!
      -You are huge! Are you having twins!

      And on and on and on . . . Sometimes, people are the worst.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        After a coworker announced her pregnancy I *thought* “I knew you were pregnant, because your boobs got huge!” but I did not SAY any such rude or inappropriate thing!

      2. AMPG*

        One time during my first pregnancy a co-worker mimicked my third-trimester waddle. Luckily another colleague saw him do it and read him the riot act right then and there. He wasn’t trying to be mean at all, just a bit clueless, and was genuinely sorry.

      3. MCR*

        I feel you on the being a small person and pregnant thing. I just entered my third trimester, and the other day a coworker looked directly at my belly and said “Oh, you poor thing.” Uh…I’d feel more sorry for me if I *didn’t* reach this point….

        In general though I typically fend off comments by smiling and saying “yup, but it’s worth it in the end.” Usually they agree and stop making comments. But I’m generally non-confrontational though.

        1. Bonky*

          I don’t know – right now I’m looking down at my own frame-inappropriate baby bump and feeling what it’s doing to my lower back and pelvis, and thinking: “Oh, you poor thing!”

          (Congratulations, by the way!)

      4. CPAgirl*

        I actually had a former boss ask me if my boobs were getting bigger after he found out I was pregnant.

      5. em*

        Male coworker after my pregnancy announcment: “Oh, I thought you were just eating too many burritos.”
        4+ years later and my reaction is still – Really Carlos? Really?

      6. Design Monkey*

        Ugh so annoying. I have one child, and when she was about two I guess my coworkers expected it was the appropriate time for me to be popping out more. I found out that they had an on going bet on when my next due date would be. Apparently I had opted for water instead of beer at an off site lunch meeting and they took it as a sign… I love that this was their logical conclusion and that it couldn’t possibly have been that I was in a productive mood and just wanted to get back to the office as quickly as possible. I hate that my coworkers felt the right to discuss my family life so candidly with one another behind my back.

    6. Bonky*

      Oh heck. This resonated. I’m halfway through my first pregnancy, and one of the women I manage is behaving a lot like your colleague. It’s damned annoying, and somewhat intrusive – but I’m not addressing it with her because I’m aware that it’s coming from a place of damage and concern, so I’m trying to be understanding and kind rather than letting it get to me.

      Because I’m her manager, I’m in a position to know about the serious difficulties she’s had in both of her pregnancies, and the weird obsessing over my pregnancy is a symptom of the way she still dwells and obsesses about the pretty unpleasant stuff that happened to her – generally she keeps that stuff away from work, but it must be hard to do so when someone’s there with a big bump for you to look at every day. She’s demonstrating concern, in a weird way. It is annoying and invasive to be told daily that I’ll almost certainly succumb to pregnancy illnesses a-z; but she’s not doing it to be unkind.

      I’ll be going on maternity leave a couple of months before the baby arrives (I’m in a country with generous maternity and paternity provision), so I only have to put up with this for another month and a half. I can put up with most things for a month and a half, and her overweening concern’s not the worst thing that happens in the office! (That’d be the noisy construction work next door, which drives the baby frantic and encourages her to kick me in the ribs…)

      Now, if she started to do it with someone else in my team, then I’d feel more urgency to have a serious talk with her about it. Right now, that’s very unlikely to happen given the makeup of the group, but it’s something I’ll be looking for.

      1. Bonky*

        (Illustrative: I’m at home and about to go to bed soon. Two minutes after writing this, my Slack went ping. It was overanxious-pregnancy-colleague with a dire warning about diet and gestational diabetes. She saw me with a croissant this morning.)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          She’s a bit much. I hope you do you and everyone around you a favor and tell her to calm down and dial back.
          I know it’s hard because of what you know about her background. Maybe you can say something like, “I know you are concerned. And I realize why. But you need to stop. You cannot be doing this with me or with any of your cohorts.” If it seems appropriate maybe you can suggest she go for counseling.

  15. NJ Anon*

    #2 I have never had a Linkedin account. I have switched jobs and assume it had no impact.

    #4 I have left a job prior to my initial notice period because I was being treated terribly. You don’t need their permission.

  16. Rebecca*

    #1 – at my old job, they brought in porta potties and extra bottled water when the sewer line had to be repaired. Perhaps that would be a workable solution? It was only for 2 days, and it was a bit inconvenient, but it worked.

  17. katamia*

    The only “benefit” I’ve ever gotten from LinkedIn was a vaguely amusing story in which a company I already did work for tried to recruit me for the work I was already doing. I’m self-employed and listed on LI as such instead of listing all the companies I’ve worked for because there’s a lot of date weirdness there. I guess nobody checked the list of current contractors before sending out notes. The only reason I haven’t deleted my LI account is because I’m lazy.

    1. CM*

      We’ve seen so many stories here about people using LinkedIn for unwanted romantic advances that I initially read your “date weirdness” as “people kept asking you for dates” (and maybe knowing what companies you worked at would help them track you down)?

    2. Jane D'oh!*

      Ugh, freelancing is so cumbersome on LinkedIn! I feel your pain with the date issue. I know there are freelancer-targeted sites out there, but LI really is the industry standard.

  18. Rebeck*

    The public library from which I was made redundant in August had no specific staff toilets, only the publicly available toilets. I worked there for six years and can’t tell you the number of times we didn’t have toilets available because plumbers were working on things during work hours. And until the theatre building next door was rebuilt, the closest (non-accessible) toilets were two buildings away whenever our toilets were closed. Which was often.

  19. Czhorat*

    I’m amazed at the number of times “permission” to leave comes up.

    That said, it’s highly situationally dependent. My last employer requested that I consider an extra week so they could have extra time to reassign my work. In my case, the new employer safe old employer not only know each other (In in a small industry. Everyone knows everyone) but we might end up working together. If I had to (and it turns out I didn’t) I’d have accepted the request of the old employer for the sake of the new employer. That’s probably rare, but in some cases you should remember that bridges you burn might not only affect you.

  20. AdAgencyChick*

    OP4, since your boss and your supervisor are not the same person, and you want to preserve the good relationship with your boss, I’d at least talk to your boss first and see how he feels about it. Not saying that your boss should stop you from leaving an untenable situation (“allowed to leave”? HA!), but if I were you I’d want to make sure he understood that this is not flakiness. Depending on your relationship with your boss, you can make your reasons vague, or actually come out and say, “Lucinda’s been treating me worse ever since I gave notice and I’m not willing to continue in this environment.”

  21. brightstar*

    In regards to OP #2, I’m currently hiring and I never look at the applicant’s LinkedIn. I don’t want anything to possibly prejudice me against the candidate (I even try to ignore names), so it wouldn’t matter to me. But I think that particular social media presence wouldn’t be missed in general.

    Faced with the possibility of no running water, I’d take the day off if possible. Ideally the company would have just closed or allowed telecommuting for the day.

    1. Judy*

      We’re hiring for a couple of positions, as a senior individual contributor I’m involved. I always look for a linked in account, I want to see if the candidate is connected to anyone I know, and want to see how they describe their jobs in a different way than on their resume.

      I don’t check any other social media, but I do check linked in. (This is consumer goods and industrial design and development, slightly tech-y.)

    2. Leatherwings*

      Prejudice you in what way? Do you mean you don’t want to know or assume the gender/race/disability status etc. of candidates?

      I’m curious, I’ve never heard this before.

      1. NJ Anon*

        It could be this. I just filled out an online app this morning that asked questions I didn’t want to answer. Not that I am hiding anything but I don’t want my graduation date or past salary history to negatively affect my ability to get an interview.

      2. brightstar*

        I do mean, gender/race/disability. I’m probably paranoid, but I like just using the information of the resume and cover letter (we hardly get cover letters). I should have mentioned, I do check for a LinkedIn after interviews.

        1. LBK*

          I think that’s admirable. Tons of studies have shown that unconscious bias plays a big role in hiring.

        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Thanks so much for clarifying, brightstar—we do this, as well. The first paper cut is “blind,” but we certainly check LinkedIn, etc., right after the (first) interview.

  22. (different) Rebecca*

    I think OP1 should also check with the plumber to make sure that the random manual flushing of toilets isn’t going to interfere with what they’re doing. It’s often not just a “there’s no water so flush manually and it’ll be fine” type job, but rather a “drain pipes are off and scattered around so any wastewater coming through them ends up in the plumber’s lap” type job.

    1. OP1*

      The hot water heater is being moved, so I did have this thought as well. We will definitely have to ask the plumber! That could be disaster.

    2. AnonAnalyst*

      I came here to say this. The manual flushing idea can work in a pinch during some types of plumbing work, but not all… and it could end up making the job take longer if someone has to go through and clean up after someone manually flushes the toilet while there’s no functioning drain.

  23. James*

    I’m of two minds on the toilet thing.

    First, regardless of OSHA, the company has a vested interest in keeping sanitation facilities, well, sanitary. I’ve worked on jobsites where they cut corners, and workers were constantly ill. This cuts into the employer’s bottom line, as sick pay is overhead and delays due to illness can cause delays in delivering products and in being paid.

    On the other hand, we’re only hearing one side of this. While it’s not normal to have plumbing shut down during business hours, the shear abnormality of it makes me think there’s something pretty major going on. I’d want to know what that something is before I went to OSHA, or took any action.

    Also, are there facilities nearby that you could work with? Most offices are in fairly highly developed areas, meaning that there are neighbors who will have facilities–gas stations, neighboring office buildings, etc. If they are having their plumbing shut off as well, it’s something your boss has no control over.

    1. OP1*

      The hot water heater is being moved. And some other leak issues with sinks are being worked on.
      Someone else suggested asking nearby businesses if we could use their facilities. I think that’s a great idea! Didn’t even think about it. It’s still a bit of a walk – but it’s an option.
      Thank you!

      1. James*

        Thanks for the clarification.

        The water heater doesn’t seem like a pressing issue, but the leaks can be very bad. Black mold is not a fun thing to have in your building, and that’s just one thing that water damage can do. My guess (and this is from a non-plumber who grew up in an area that did all our home/business repairs ourselves, so take it for what it’s worth) is that the leaks are the big thing, and they figured that while they’re in there they may as well do the water heater as well.

        1. Natalie*

          That still doesn’t mean they need to do it during the day, or keep the office open. I was in commercial property management for years – you don’t turn the water off when the building is being used unless it’s an emergency to the level of “the main line just broke and is gushing water everywhere”.

          1. James*

            I agree that that’s the idea. I’ve also read enough of the letters sent to this site to know that stupidity is abundantly present in our culture. ;)

            That said, my point was less “here are some things that could be wrong” and more “There may be stuff going on the workers aren’t aware of”. Honestly, my first thought was that the dripping caused major structural issues, but that’s a guess. It could very easily be that some clueless oaf over-reacted. Said oaf need not be associated with the company or the building–it could be some oaf in local government, or some busy-body sticking their nose in. Or it could be as simple as a scheduling conflict–the plumbers are available one day, so that’s when you do it. There’s a lot here that’s still vague, and which involves information the LW mostly likely doesn’t have access to.

            1. OP1*

              The hot water heater is currently in a room where our IT/Electrical equipment is stored. There is nothing currently wrong with the hot water heater. The owner of the business wants it moved “in case” it were to leak and then damage equipment. The sink leak is in the kitchen. A valve needs replaced. The work is being done by a friend. My position here allows me to know lots of information. There IS a work around. Have the hot water heater moved after hours. But no one WANTS to be here for that. The building is owned by the business, not rented. We are in a business park with other buildings, most unoccupied or local gov’t agencies.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I hope he installs shut offs for each of these things so the whole system does not have to be shut down again to do some repairs.
                It seems like the sinks should have shut offs right under them and hopefully the hot water heater would have a shut off just before the tank. I realize he is moving the tank so they probably will have to shut off the water for the new location of the tank.

                I think he gave you a worst case scenario estimate of how long there would be no water. The only other thing that strikes me is that he anticipates many problems.

              2. Observer*

                The hot water heater MUST be moved – it’s insanity to have it in the same room as the IT and electrical equipment. Even if it’s not the kind that uses a tank.

                BUT – and this is the biggie – you are completely correct that this should be done after hours.

  24. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    Corporate gift policy – depends on the business. If you’re a bigshot for a bank, then it might be OK to accept two MLB/NFL tickets, or a big dinner at the Palm. But if you work for the government, or even a government contractor, the rules change and you can’t accept much of anything.

    Back in my earlier career days – when I was just a technical staff member for a financial firm, we got free dinners, ball game tickets, etc. Then I went to work for a defense contractor – from those vendors, we would only get a cheap plastic pen and pencil set or desk blotter at the holidays – maybe a calendar. That was that, but “them’s the rules”.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      The OP said there is no rule about it. The government and their contractors all have the rule in place already.

    2. NW Mossy*

      In financial services, you may have stricter policies to abide by depending on your role. If you’re licensed to sell certain products (such as securities or insurance products), you have to adhere to the requirements set by the regulatory authority that grants your license. However, non-licensed staff at your company may not.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      This honestly depends so much on your specific job and your industry. I will say that there are already rules/policies for government contractors and agencies, but those rules are protecting different interests than rules within private companies. I agree with Alison that OP should just ask their supervisors/bosses. Worst case scenario, OP isn’t allowed to accept a gift.

      OP, when I wasn’t allowed to accept gifts b/c of our policy, I often asked the client to consider donating the gift or the value of the gift, and then I would offer the names of a few organizations that would be appropriate for the specific gift offered. I’ve never had anyone react badly to that approach (although of course this depends on who your client is and your relationship).

      1. Design Monkey*

        Thanks for the feedback. I like the idea of having the gift donated to someone else, if my boss doesn’t allow it. My boss can be a bit controlling and doesn’t have much trust in his employees so I’m kind of hesitant to even ask him directly for fear of getting a response that might be something along the lines of ” How selfish of you to even ask me that, of course you can’t accept gifts from clients.”

  25. Merida May*

    OP 1, I’m not sure if you or any of your co-workers require special accommodations for work, but it would certainly be worthwhile to bring those up to management for discussion if you do. In these situations I think of my mother, who uses a cane. She is really only comfortable using handicap facilities so the toilets being out of commission for an indefinite period of time would be a pretty big hardship for her. Others have mentioned jugs of water to fill the toilets or using a neighboring building to tide everyone over, and these are perfectly reasonable solutions, but they may not be if you have employees that can’t bend to pick up a water jug that has been left on the floor, or be able to use whatever accommodations another building might offer.

  26. Lora*

    4. The supervisor yelled at you and treated you like crap for years…and THEN it got negative??? And your boss did nothing about this? You can leave whenever you want. I would talk to the boss about it, but if nothing changes (and it sounds like change is pretty unlikely), I would be polite but blunt and firm about leaving. “You can’t leave, we didn’t hire anyone else yet!” I’m sorry to hear that, but my last day is January 1st. “You’re not allowed to leave!” I’m sorry to hear that, but my last day is December 25th. “What?!? I forbid you to leave!” I’m sorry to hear that, but my last day is December 18th…

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      Yeah, I had the same incredulous “THEN it got negative???” reaction. OP, Lora is right on.

    2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      One thing I always said to my bosses, whenever I had a bad negotiation situation and “I won’t let you leave!”

      I would carry a copy of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in my wallet – in quitting, I’d say “I’m invoking the 13th Amendment” … this would sail over their heads – but would send them to the Almanac to look it iup…

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        No no no, please don’t do this. This is not what the 13th amendment says, and it trivializes its significance to use it in these contexts. There is a difference between at-will and contract labor, in which you are paid for your work but might work for a jerk, than a system of brutality that treats humans as possessions and dictates/controls every aspect of their lives. This is like the Godwin’s law of employment arguments.

        Plus, to be frank, most folks don’t know anything about the Constitution, let alone what the 13th amendment says (how often have we had people say that a company is trampling their First Amendment rights, when the First Amendment isn’t even applicable to the scenario).

        1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

          It deals with involuntary servitude. If you are an at-will employee – you can quit.

          Being in the IS/IT world, I fully understand contract labor but most of us who are employed are “at will”.

          There are professional expectations – to be sure – of the two-week notice, etc., but if a boss tells you “you cannot quit, I will not allow you to leave” – then it’s important — just say “go ask the lawyers about 13th Amendment rights” – dumb boss will go and ask one of the corporate lawyers. They’ll give an answer. and yes – First Amendment rights end at the corporate door. Well not really.

          You can say anything you want.

          As far as people not knowing the Constitution, different (off) topic but, yes, there’s a lot of truth in what you say. Many who claim to “love the Constitution” don’t even know what’s in it.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Involuntary servitude, in the context of the 13th amendment, is about slavery. Having a boss who says “you can’t quit!” and has no authority to enforce that statement is so far afield from involuntary servitude that it should not require explanation.

            I’m raising this point because it’s an extraordinarily callous thing to say, even if it makes you feel vindicated in the moment. Odds are that you work with people who are descendants of slaves, or are survivors of labor trafficking. Can you imagine how insensitive it sounds to cite the 13th amendment in the context of free, at-will employment? All I’m asking is for folks to take a beat to reflect on what they’re saying, because in the way it’s been cited on this thread, it’s a very cavalier/minimizing response to a very serious issue.

            1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

              No, I am not a descendant of slaves. Mill workers with guns at their throats, yes, or nailed inside buildings so they don’t leave, and indentured servants, but not slaves, I’ll grant you that.

              And not coal miners – who were held in bondage, right here in this country, right into the 1930s, but the 13th addresses those areas as well.

              But reading it does have an effect, and is educational.

            2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

              I might add – the 13th Amendment also was influential in shaping labor laws in the U.S. going forward … and those influences are reflected in those labor laws today.

            3. Observer*

              Actually, the when an employer SERIOUSLY says “you can’t leave” that’s not a minor issue, either. It comes from pretty much the same place too- and we’ve seen enough toxic boss stories to know that in many of these places the ONLY think keeping such bosses in check is the freedom of staff to walk out + the threat of the law.

        2. CMT*

          It also strikes me as kind of immature. Like something a teenager trying to rebel and push boundaries would do, not an adult in the working world.

          1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

            When you’re told in an at-will situation = “YOU CAN’T QUIT!” you must push back. Boundaries are being pushed upon you – then, you must push back if necessary.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Just makes sure before you do this that you’re prepared to leave THAT DAY. Take all your personal stuff home a few days before that (sneak out bit by by if necessary), and get rid of stuff on your computer.

    4. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      I was in a place once where there was a real jerk boss. Once someone gave his notice – boss flipped out. The employee handed him a resignation letter, boss ripped it up – “duh, what ya gonna do now? Huh? Huh? duh, haha hahahaha”….

      The employee then went home, and typed out another resignation – sent it to corporate HR, registered mail, indicating that he had attempted to resign that morning with the manager, and what happened, and with a two-week notice – but the resignation date was firm. All parties are aware of it… end of case.

  27. Teapot Unionist*

    If, by chance, letter writer number 4 is a public school teacher, the notice period is different during the school year in most states. Happy to talk more about it if relevant.

  28. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I think OP #1’s issue depends on how long the water is shut off for. I think it’s allowed intermittently or a few hours at a time in most places.

    My last apartment before this was 100 years old and they were always doing plumbing repairs. To minimize disruption, any water shutoffs were during the work day. But, I was home all day because I was studying for the bar exam! Since money was really tight at the time, water shutoffs also meant I had nothing to drink, since I could not afford juice or milk or soda. And the shutoffs were twice a week or so for several hours for months!

    I complained, but apparently it’s allowed if you give 24 hours notice and don’t leave it off all day. Never mind that some people do stay home during the day and especially stay at home parents of small kids need running water.

    So, I was thinking of this while watching a documentary about North Korea. Apparently even in the capital, they only have running water 2-4 hours a day. So, when it runs, everyone fills their sinks and tubs and buckets.

    …I kind of stole their idea, and turned my tub, this huge clawed thing, into a cistern when needed. Skim off water for cooking and drinking first, and use the rest for handwashing and dishes.

    And this was allowed. I guess what I mean to say to OP is that the regulations may be looser than he or she thinks.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      This is really good information. I didn’t know any of that (the rules there, and the fun fact about North Korea – I love that you used the idea!).

      Thanks for the fun fact :D

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        You’re welcome! And, apparently, small appliances on the black market from China are popular there; because China also sells cheap solar panels to North Korea. So, people can set the panels and have constant solar power despite only having a few hours of state-provided power a day.

        But, washing machines don’t sell very well. Why? You can’t use stored water to run them, and so if your water suddenly cuts out, it can happen in the middle of the load. It is really annoying to them.

    2. paul*

      Major plumbing repairs really do require the water to be shut off usually, so what else do you expect them to do?

      And for the love of pete, buying some cheap pitchers and filling them with water in advance is an easy fix that shuld see you through a few hours.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I have to say, this water-shut-off thing wouldn’t bother me.
        I lived through some big droughts, with the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow….” philosophy. And I’m just not that grossed out by human waste.
        I (probably mistakenly) presume that most people only have “yellow” during most of the day.
        I’m also capable of dumping water in the bowl, and I’d happily do it for whoever was before me or for a colleague who couldn’t. And I wouldn’t think it was a big deal for someone to say to me, quietly, “Will you do the water thing in the bathroom when I’m done?”

        But I know other peope aren’t like me.

      2. CMT*

        Yes, to this. I would much rather they shut off the water in my ancient apartment building and actually fix things than let problems persist. Plus, 24 hours notice is plenty of time to fill your tea kettle, take a shower, and fill some water bottles.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I think the regulations are different for a private residence (even if it’s rented) and a commercial building.

    4. Artemesia*

      We occasionally have water shut offs in our building. I can’t imagine having ‘nothing to drink’ as one would of course fill jugs with drinking water knowing this was to happen. For toilet flushing, if you have a bathtub, you can fill that. Or if it will only be for a few hours, every toilet has one flush in it after the water is shut off.

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      As Toots noted, the (U.S.) laws/regs regarding residential water shut-offs are dramatically different than commercial water shut-offs, and we should try not to conflate the two because it results in giving OP #1 inaccurate and conflicting advice.

  29. Chriama*

    #4 – the only thing I’m wondering about in Alison’s advice is that OP gave 2 month’s notice at the beginning of November. We’ve just reached the first week of December, and if OP gives 2 week’s notice from today then that takes us to the third week of December. So you’re really only getting out 1 week earlier than already planned, plus the office is typically empty the last week of December. So I would either put your last day at the end of this week/beginning of next week or just wait out this month. They can’t prevent you from leaving when you said you would, and I don’t think it’s worth giving them ammunition for a narrative that makes it sound like you left partway through your notice period if it’s just saving you one week of stress. Either leave now or wait out the month.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      I think this is a really good point – though I would throw in that depending on her job, she may not have time off the last week of December. But either way (time off or not), I don’t think I’d try moving my last day up if it’s only a week.

      I would absolutely stand firm if they try to make you stay longer though!

    2. Karanda Baywood*

      Right, but even partway through the notice period = at least a few weeks, which is plenty of notice, and OP can describe this if asked. “I originally gave two months’ notice, but needed to move that up because of other professional circumstances.”

    3. Gaara*

      Yeah, based on this timing, I would just wait it out. Don’t give them any ammo against you!

      But, absolutely, you decide when you leave. They don’t get to tell you, and more to the point, they don’t get to stop you. The fact that your supervisor said you’re only allowed to leave when your replacement is ready is dead wrong. You gave them extra notice so they can get a replacement ready, and you gave them an end-date. It’s on them if their replacement isn’t ready by that date, but in no circumstances should you stay beyond that date.

  30. designbot*

    My previous job at Big Corporate Design Firm would have allowed the tickets from a client. Their gifting policy heavily emphasized the direction and timing of the gifts: the same gift that would be acceptable coming from an existing client at the end of a job would have been unacceptable from a vendor at the beginning or independent of a project. Ask yourself what the giver wants to get by offering them–in this case the motivation is to thank you, which is something your company should encourage.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I like that approach! It does seem too bad when a satisfied client can’t do a nice thing for people who worked on the project.

    2. Design Monkey*

      Thanks, it’s good to know how other companies handle this. My boss is of the over controlling variety… for example he took away spotify at one point, because he felt it was a distraction. I could see this being the case in some work environments but in the design community especially where we are spending most of the day sketching/ working in CAD, I’ve found music to be a great stimulus for productivity.Another example of his personality and lack of trust in employess is that he makes designers charge company expenses to personal accounts and then reimburses later once the receipt is shown, instead of using the company card. I’m in charge of keeping up with the office decor and was once asked to charge $250 to my personal card for office plants… So due to his clear lack of trust in employees,that’s why I’m a bit hesitant in approaching him with something that would be beneficial only to myself.

  31. Interviewer*

    OP #1 – You run the risk of at least one concerned employee (and probably more than one) calling OSHA “just to check” whether your employer is doing the right thing by making you work with no running water. Is your facility ready for them to visit?

  32. PK*

    1. Personally, I’d take a sick/vacation day on this one if I couldn’t work from home. I’m not manually lifting water jugs to fill the toilet. I’m clumsy. At best, I’m going to end up covered in water. No thanks.

    2. I don’t have a LinkedIn account and never have. It’s never interfered or came up (at least directly to me). I may end up creating one eventually but I don’t feel pressed to do it. I understand you on the politics though. I deactivated my social media accounts a few weeks before the election and found that I don’t miss them at all.

    4. You can leave at any point. You aren’t a prisoner. Of course, it could affect your reference but ultimately, it’s really up to you to decide how to handle knowing the possible consequences.

  33. DrAtos*

    Not sure if this is correct, but in my view, LinkedIn does not help most of the people on it. It’s really what you make of it and how many important connections you have on it. I assume people in IT or who work in Silicon Valley would probably be better off with a LinkedIn account. I’ve always hated LinkedIn and deleted my account as soon as I found the job I wanted. I doubt not being on LinkedIn will dIsadvantage my career. It never helped me find a job and I disliked that people I hadn’t spoken to for years could look me up or appear in my “people you may know” column. Facebook does this too, but I feel that at least Facebook has more security features so that I can hide what I want from the public, and I have used a fake name on that account. So I totally understand why you’d want to delete your social media accounts including LinkedIn. If you are in an industry where LinkedIn isn’t important, then just delete it. I think old fashioned face to face networking is almost always more helpful than trying to connect with someone you barely know online.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I haven’t either and have considered dumping it.

      Off topic, but someone from my recent exjob looked me up–that was strange. It wasn’t someone I’ve ever worked with or had any communication with.

  34. animaniactoo*

    #4 – Can you talk to your Boss about the situation with your supervisor and your concerns about the hiring delay and how it’s affecting your willingness/ability to finish out the original notice period? Ability meaning struggling to maintain professionalism in the face of how you are being treated.

  35. jm*

    At OldToxicJob, at one point there were major issues with the sewage pipes, and plumbers were brought in. They literally had to jackhammer a huge hole in the floor, and of course the water was turned off for several days. The first two days, the owners told us to use the restroom across the street at the public library. The final few days, the owners rented a porta-potty. It was absolutely disgusting. I was young and didn’t realize how crazy and out-of-touch the situation was. We all just kept working… pitiful.

  36. I'm Not Phyllis*

    #4 yah … what ^ they said. You don’t need their permission to leave – you’ve already given your notice. I see the notice period as being a professional courtesy to the employer – if they’re making your life miserable, courtesy=over. Just tell them when your last day will be (Alison gave two weeks which I think is smart, but that depends on your ability to make it through the next two weeks), do what you have to do in terms of wrapping up and returning company property, and leave. There’s not a thing they can do to stop you.

  37. Justin*

    It’s better to have a LinkedIn account than not, but I wouldn’t put too much value on it. You can use it however you want, just set it up, put your last few jobs on there (assuming you’ve had a few), upload a professional picture, and leave it.

  38. OP1*

    Well we just had a entire staff meeting and were told that the water is to be shut off from 10am-12noon. Possibly longer depending on how the work goes. There will be iced tea pitchers filled with water if we need to wash our hands before lunch. We will be told prior to 10am to use the restroom. If we think we will need to use the facilities while the water is turned off, then we will need to bring in a bucket to be filled with water.
    Sounds fun. Everyone is thrilled.
    Half of the staff are warehouse workers, so they don’t have the option to work from home.

    1. Persephone*

      I don’t even want to know what is going to happen to those iced tea pitchers afterward.

      My sympathies to the warehouse workers.

    2. Venus Supreme*

      Fingers crossed no one has an upset stomach…

      I hope there’s an alternative to the buckets, OP1!

    3. Epsilon Delta*

      Wow. I’m so sorry. What is their plan if people “forget” to bring their buckets? Yikes.

  39. Crazy Canuck*

    Wow, never have I felt more out of place than reading the comments to #1. I worked for 8 months in an “office” with no running water. (We had bottled drinking water.) There was an outhouse about 20 feet away from the building. Did I mention that this job was in northern Canada, during the winter, with an average temperature between 30 and 40 below? This might be why using jugs to manually refill a toilet for one day seems like an extremely minor inconvenience to me.

    1. OP1*

      We were told to NOT use the bathroom during the 2+ hours or bring our own bucket to fill prior to shut off. This isn’t just about me. There are a number of workers here who have major back issues after having surgery, who are older workers and do not have the upper body strength to lift said bucket, and who may be on medications where a side-effect is the need to use the restroom frequently. If the plumber is a friend, I don’t see why it would have been an issue to do this OFF working hours. Those who made this decision won’t be here to endure the challenge anyway. So I’m sorry if the “extremely minor inconvenience” is something that I take issue with. I’m not trying to be unreasonable, just find a better solution than what’s been given.

      1. JW*

        I am with you OP1 – just because some jobs may have gone without workable facilities does not mean it is an a-ok event. I commend your efforts to even find a workable solution outside of F-this!

    2. Astor*

      I’ve never had to do it during winter, but I’ve used an outhouse (or dug a hole) lots of times, and lived/worked places with no running water, etc. It’s much easier when you’re in a physical and mental space for it, and in a place that’s designed that way.

      Similarly, I’ve had problems at home where the plumbing wasn’t working for a long period of time, and I needed to set it up so that I was refilling the toilet, etc. It was fine: just me, so I had a good idea of how much water to store ahead of time, and I could make sure that the containers were easy for me to lift. If I had to, I could always go somewhere else. And if anything went wrong… I’d deal with it.

      I definitely have worked some places that I’d be fine with a two-hour no-plumbing window. And some where it’s been significantly harder to manage. With the OP’s description, I’d be less confident that all the precautions were taken, and that someone was able to accurately take into account everyone’s bodily needs. From her description, it’s not just a matter of refilling the toilet yourself: you have to bring your own container(s) from home, fill it with water, and store it somewhere. And I’m sure it’s further complicated by the feeling that a lot of options to make it easier are just not acceptable and that they don’t have the boss’s support with understanding how it can go wrong. And so if anything goes wrong… I wouldn’t be sure it would be handled, given the way it’s gone so far.

      OP1: my sympathies.

    3. CMT*

      Yeah, and OP said it’s only going to be for two hours. That honestly doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, but to each their own, I guess.

    4. Chomps*

      Good for you. People who work office buildings in metropolitan areas expect access to indoor plumbing with running water. And that’s a completely reasonable expectation.

    5. Candi*

      It’s a very valid concern and serious inconvenience for their time and place. An equal concern is the lack of respect the higher ups are showing the trench workers.

      But on the aspect of ‘I had it worse at timepoint-place’; that experience and set of conditions does not invalidate the LW’s experience and set of conditions.

      For example, ~13-15 years ago now (I don’t too lazy to call up my resume to see when it would have been), I was on TANF and had to attend WorkFirst to keep my cash benefits.

      Primarily, this meant putting in fifteen apps a WEEK. And only two could be done online at the time. (Malls are a friend for this.)

      This does NOT invalidate the experiences of the people here and elsewhere who have to apply to five or seven jobs a week to keep UI benefits, especially in specialized fields, no matter how many times I have to remind myself of that. “Well, I had it harder” is not a valid reason for me to dismiss their problems.

  40. Liz2*

    Every single person I know who was “trying to be nice” by letting an employer know about a job change earlier or giving a long resignation period has always regretted it. If you KNOW your place is a good one to stick around for, then go for it. But really, it’s just not a good idea.

    1. The Strand*

      Count me in as another person who regretted giving a long notice for exactly the same reason as the OP, to give them ample time to find a new person. In my case I was given accommodation that also ran during my contract, and suddenly I was getting calls pushing me to get out of my apartment early. I was given some sage advice, as well, that some people felt I was “betraying them” by leaving, which helped me cope with the sudden coldness from a few coworkers.

    2. NASA*


      I didn’t give that much extra notice (4 weeks total) at a previous job and they didn’t even bother posting my job until a month after I left. What a joke.

      It’s not worth it, people!

  41. Brett*

    #1 Local building codes or health codes are likely applicable too. They often require as a condition of the construction permit that the building not be used as a workplace or limit how it can be used based on the work to be performed.
    (Not just because of the sanitary issues, but because of the health risks when you breach walls and floors and potentially expose people to asbestos, lead, fiberglass, etc)

  42. The Strand*

    I’m surprised to find anyone defending the idea of an office staying open with no working toilets. (Though Crazy Canuck… Yours definitely is a new situation to consider.)

    Would you like to be seen by a health professional who just had to refill a toilet with water, because it won’t flush? Or is expected to be “mellow” with the “yellow”? Who can’t wash their hands?

    Then the question is, shouldn’t everyone share high standards to avoid getting sick and spreading germs – not just people in the medical field? Depending on the density of people sharing a bathroom, this could get really ugly fast.

    1. OP1*

      Thank you. Most of the staff are inspecting products that are being shipped directly to customers. So not being able to properly wash your hands after using the restroom and before handling a consumer product is just gross.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Not an option for most fields that require handwashing. Sanitizer just “sanitizes,” but it doesn’t clean. For example—and please forgive the grossness—if you pee on your hands and then use a hand sanitizer, you still have pee on your hands. It’s just “disinfected.”

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        I guess you COULD wash your hands in the toilet tank after refilling it , but….

        1. The Strand*

          Well, I think it would be a fair thing to do if zombies were roaming the earth or a tornado or hurricane had touched down.

        2. Cath in Canada*

          Some of the older toilets we saw in Japan last year had a basin and tap on top of the tank. The tap automatically starts running as soon as you flush, and you wash your hands with that water while it fills the tank. So efficient!

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Amen. I have been really surprised by the comments, particularly because there ARE regulations that require that employees have access to functioning/sanitary toilets and hot running water during their work day. Excluding the non-Americans, where has everyone been working that it’s ok to kill your water/toilet access??

      1. Candi*

        I suspect it ties into my firm belief that bad companies/employers/managers depend on people not knowing their rights and applicable laws and regulations, generally and for their specific situation.

  43. Critter*

    I can’t be the only one who hears faint alarm bells every time I read “small family-owned business”.

    1. Marillenbaum*

      Not at all! It’s like how I visibly cringe at any workplace that describes itself as “like a family”. Nah, bro, I HAVE a family; y’all are the group of people with whom I exchange my labor for cash. If that business arrangement is satisfactory and I like you as a person, I may go to trivia with you sometimes after work, but that’s about it.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I mean, by that description, Walmart is a small family-owned business (small referring to the family, not the business size). And the definition of a small business is so huge it’s kind of ridiculous.

    3. paul*

      The last time we had a big family reunion (decades ago) guns were drawn. I do not want my workplace to be like my extended family.

    1. OP1*

      They will not spend the money on that. Their decision is made. Don’t use the restroom for 2+ hours, or bring your own bucket.

  44. Franky*

    #1 – For us we went WEEKS without running water because the pipes froze and the company that could unfreeze the pipes had a backlog. They got around government regulations because there was a coffee shop about a minute walk away that was willing to allow us to use their washrooms without buying anything and even provide cups of water for free.

    It was appalling to have to get fully dressed in winter gear and trek outside to use a public washroom (off the clock to boot) and then head back… it could easily take 15 minutes just to take a quick pee if the coffee shop was busy.

    I ended up having a breakdown when I was on my period because one day I had just gotten back in when I realized my tampon was incorrectly placed. I ducked into our unusable washroom to fix it but ended up with blood all over my hands and the paper towel wasn’t helping! I had to shamefully walk through the entire office (with clients) with my hands covered in my menstrual blood, grab my coat, and then walk all the way back past the horrified glares, and then into a coffee shop past more horrified patrons!

    1. EddieSherbert*

      One of my first thoughts was that I’d probably end up having my period while the water was out. And this is far worse then I was even thinking could happen there! I’m so sorry.

    2. OP1*

      I can only imagine how horrified you were for that to happen. I am sorry you had to deal with that! With my luck, something similar would happen to me.

    3. Mimmy*

      This is one time I wish this site had an emoji feature! Because my mouth is hanging open reading your story! Ewwww, I hope you said something to your supervisor! I know he personally couldn’t do anything, but I’d hope he’d bring it to the higher-ups.

    4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Franky, I am so so sorry you had to go through this. It sounds humiliating and frustrating and ridiculous and completely preventable. I’m sending you sympathy/hug vibes.

  45. Dust Bunny*

    Once again, thanking my lucky stars that my workplace is not full of wackos.

    We had to have our plumbing shut down once. HR called and sent us all home (with pay). We can’t work remotely and what we don can’t be moved to the primary location, so there just was no way for us to get anything done.

  46. INFJ*

    #2 The way that Alison describes (not) using LinkedIn is exactly what I do. I almost never actually go on, but my information is there. I never thought of it that way before, but I will from now on refer to my profile as being “dead to me.”

  47. NewBoss2016*

    The water bucket/jug idea is over-the-top. I could see myself making a mess everywhere and being in a really, really bad mood. We have restroom issues all the time at work due to being in a somewhat old part of town with lots of trees. There is an inevitable major water catastrophe every few months. Earlier this year it happened 3 weeks in a row and a couple incidents lasted lasted 2-3 days while the city dug up the water main. Our office has arrangements with another unaffected business to use their facilities. We are allowed to leave at any time (paid of course), and have the option to be taken via company car so we don’t have to use gas for the literally 40 second drive. It isn’t feasible to shut down every time it happens, but I think a neighboring business with whom we are friendly is a reasonable solution.

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