update: my coworker is cc’ing his mother on work correspondence

Remember the belligerent coworker who was cc’ing his mother on work correspondence? Here’s the update.

So much has happened, where do I begin? December became crazy with a last minute, major surgery for my retiring boss, and squeezing in final training things while she was gone most of the time, and I had my own long-standing, scheduled travel plans. Then, during the first week of January, “Bob” had a mild but serious health issue (common to middle aged people) and my retiring boss fell and injured another body part – not the area where she had the surgery, thank goodness. They were in the emergency room in our tiny town on the same day. They are both recovering nicely.

The owners and the board of directors (BoD) had their annual meeting and voted on directors for the first time in five years; in the past, the BoD was mostly just whoever was willing to do it. This time it was a real vote among a pool of good candidates. We have a good mix of professional people.

Bob and I were both given official job descriptions and were asked to sign them. The BoD clearly stated on both that I am now the manager, and his position answers to me. The BoD gave me full assurance of backing me and seemed genuinely supportive and enthusiastic of what I bring to the table. I get a certain sense of relief from them.

I do realize I must prove myself, and I do have to up my game, as Alison and many readers said in the comments during my original letter. I think in some ways I began proving myself to them by being willing to handle Bob and call for these professional changes in the first place, beginning with the previous reprimand, etc., whereas my predecessor was timid and unwilling. And I did jump the gun and not handle the cc’ing mom email situation in the best way.

When he was released from the hospital, Bob balked at me when I asked for the doctor’s release before he could return to work. “Wtf,” he texted me. Guess what? He then did it without further resistance. He’s been on his best behavior, even before his health incident. Now, part of that is because several of the BoD and other owners are around, BUT there is a marked improvement from the work ethic and demeanor I’ve observed from previous years. I am sure he knows his job is now on the line and he is on notice; he’s made some passing remarks to that effect. He was trying his best to schmooze with all the owners he could, in order to influence their votes toward BoD members who he perceives as “team Bob,” but I think truthfully, everyone has realized his true nature.

Time will tell if his willingness to change is permanent or temporary. I have no illusions. I do have confidence that this BoD has now made a commitment to improve the climate of professionalism at our workplace, and will back me. I am honing up on the performance improvement plans that someone had mentioned. I asked the board to do six-month performance reviews on both Bob and me, as a way of instituting a new chapter for this workplace.

That is the update so far. Your feedback on my previous letter was a valuable resource for me.

{ 138 comments… read them below }

  1. Justme

    He seriously texted “WTF” to you? In a professional setting, not to mention that you’re his boss? He needs to grow up.

    1. Mallory Janis Ian

      That’t the first thing I thought: Someone who texts “WTF” in a professional setting, to his boss, is not showing signs of being about to make positive changes.

      1. Eleanora

        I do hope the ‘wtf’ text was met with a managerial conversation as well. That just doesn’t go.

  2. Jessesgirl72

    Awesome update!

    Some people get away with things as much as they can, but are able to adapt when they get new Management who won’t accept the bad behavior. It appears Bob is one of those, and is willing and able to do that. Maybe you didn’t handle the last situation ideally, but it was still better Management than he was previously getting. There probably will be some backsliding occasionally, to test the waters, but my bet is that Bob will start behaving professionally, or he’ll move on.

    1. CM

      Yes, I give the OP a lot of credit for listening to the criticisms a lot of the commenters had for both the OP and Bob, and it’s great that the OP has gotten Bob in line while building credibility with the BOD.

    2. AMG

      Whenever there is someone at work who used to be nasty, and then they behave because their supervisor requires them to, it always makes me wonder who else at work is really mean on the inside but just covering it up for the sake of appearances.

      Anyway, good update and keep nipping him in the bud!

      1. Thank you, management.

        I am. I’m sorry. For me it’s less true meanness and more “has many rude thoughts when people are dumb and/or rude to me”, but without consequences I’d probably be more likely to ask people “Are you kidding me?” much more often.

        1. John Smith

          This +1. I’m very professional at work, but inside I’m a complete sociopath. Not sure if it comes with the IT/Help Desk mindset, or if it’s a result of years of people asking me what they should put in the Name or Email address fields and screaming when I can’t waive the magic IT wand while sacrificing a goat to the dark gods of technology and instantly fix their issues
          I’m only that way at work, outside of work, I’m a pretty nice guy
          On an aside, I don’t mind legitimate questions or people not understanding things, no one is born with knowledge, and it’s a specialized field, but don’t call me because you can’t login and then get mad when I as you which of our 600 programs and applications you’re trying to login to and what your username is. I don’t and have never had that information
          /endrant
          Sorry for the OT post

        2. Lissa

          I got like this in customer service. So many rude, horrible thoughts directed at customers, a lot of whom didn’t deserve it. (OK though I think some did . . ).

          1. Youain'tkidding

            So true! I have to admit that customer service ruined my perception of strangers. I now assume that people are manipulating me, seeking something from me, or otherwise twisted in their motives if not outright malevolent. I’ve been out of that game for a few years but it just warped my ability to trust anyone!

    1. Replier

      I assumed it was a reference to shingles. “Mild” as in won’t cause future or on-going serious health problems, but “serious” in that it can be painful and absolutely requires a person to take a a significant amount of time off of work.

    2. OhNo

      I was thinking it was something like throwing his back out, or maybe breaking a bone, especially since OP asked for a release from the doctor.

      1. Zombii

        If his boss required a doctor’s note that said he could come back to work after kidney stones, I completely understand his response of “Wtf?” ;P

    3. Phoebe

      I was thinking something like shingles. It’s a serious illness and even a mild case can be pretty painful, but it’s not life threatening.

      1. Mabel

        I am middle aged, and I can’t think of what it could be. I also couldn’t figure out if/how that was relevant or if it was an ageist dig at an employee the OP doesn’t like. It sounds like Bob is a real jerk, but I don’t see what that has to do with the nature of his recent illness.

        1. LW

          It was not an ageist dig at Bob, we are both in the same age-range. “Urgently needs treatment but usually results in full recovery.” Yes, that, type of thing.

  3. Elizabeth

    But what about the cc:ing his mother thing?! I’m assuming it’s part of the “being on his best behaviour” bit but I feel like I’m missing something here! Did it stop all together? Did he explain why he did it in the first place?

    1. Artemesia

      I’d have IT look at this emails to see if he is BCCing his mother. Could ask in terms of BCCing anyone.

    2. Lily in NYC

      I was really surprised to read that Bob is middle-aged! I pictured a young dude emailing mommy for some reason.

      1. Liane

        Apron-string-itis isn’t an uncommon condition for men of that age, judging from the advice columns I read. Although the letters about it tend to pop up more in the ones focused on personal relationships: “I am dating a man, we’re both in our fifties. It’s great except for how he gets his mom involved in everything. When we are on a date, he will call/text her multiple times. After he moved in with me, he asked her over just to redecorate MY place…”

          1. John Smith

            I love my parents very much. That being said, we get along a lot better now that we’re in different states. Too much time together, and we mix like nitro and glycerin. Mix, shake, and wait for the explosion. I know they mean well, but they can’t get over me being my own man. There’s only so much unsolicited or impractical in this day and age advice I can take

      2. SophieChotek

        I was surprised too. (I would have though CC your mother was something a younger person in a first job might do.)

        Unless OP meant that the health issue was more normally seen in middle-aged people (in general), not that Bob himself was middle-aged.

      3. KTMGee

        Me too! Must admit, my jaw dropped a bit with “common to middle aged people!” I can’t believe someone has made it this far in a business environment for that long with that kind of attitude O_o

      4. Parenthetically

        I was picturing him as middle-aged all along, funnily enough! Guess I’ve read enough of those advice columns Liane was referring to.

  4. Kimberly R

    I need an update on the mother, please! (I realize the rest was more important but the mom was so much icing on the cake…)

    1. Sam

      Yes, I’m particularly curious about the mom situation now! I didn’t realize that Bob is apparently middle aged…

      1. RD

        That actually leaves me a bit impressed with his mother. Most parents of middle aged children are not emailing.

        She’s also way ahead of the trend, apparently being a helicopter parent. ;) Seriously thought this dude was 20.

          1. Lily Rowan

            It’s a surprise because most middle-aged people don’t bring their parents into work situations, not because their parents are too old for email!

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Okay, I’m middle-aged (43) and my mom has been emailing for decades.

          I think everyone forgets to update their assumptions about tech that were true a couple of decades ago and aren’t anymore.

              1. Liz in a Library

                Same. My 89-year-old grandmother has even figured out skype better than me and transferring photos from her camera to email me. :)

              2. Melissa

                Same here. My grandma is 91 but she’s been using email for the last 15 years. She emails more than I do!

          1. Kyrielle

            Yep. When I was 20, a 40-year-old with an emailing parent was a surprise, although not a ridiculously unusual one.

            These days, I’m the 40-year-old, and it’s not at all unusual that my mother-in-law uses Facebook, email, and texting extensively.

            1. John Smith

              I sent my dad a text once and called him a couple days later.
              Dad: “Johnny, you gotta help me, my phone won’t stop beeping at me, it’s driving me crazy”
              Me: “Dad, is there an envelope picture on the screen?”
              Dad: “Yes”
              Me: “OK, I texted you and your phone notifies you till you check it. Use the down arrow button and press OK”
              Dad: “What OK?”
              Me: “The big button in the middle of the arrows”
              Dad: “Ok, Got it. Don’t do that again”

              I was 35 at the time, my dad was 67

              1. John Smith

                Not that my dad is in any way dumb. He’s a very smart man, capable of installing complicated elevator systems from the ground up. He’s just very technologically impaired

          2. Alton

            It might be a relative age thing, too. My mom had me when she was 36 and is in her mid-60s now. If I was in my 40s or 50s, she could be in her 70s or 80s. On the other hand, if she’d had kids younger she could easily have a child in their 40s now. People in their 70s and 80s are emailing and using the internet more and more too, of course. So you can’t make assumptions. But 10-20 years can also make a big difference in how present certain technology has been in a person’s life.

          3. Jaguar

            My dad is an electrical engineer, builds his own computers, can program in Assembly, is in his mid-60s, has been sending e-mail since the 90s and using the BBS-precursors to to since the 80s, and seems to have no idea how e-mail works.

            1. Student

              What do you think middle-aged means, then?

              Average US life expectancy is 79 (all ages, genders). A US woman who is currently 65 will on average live to be 87.

              43 x 2 = 86. So, 43 is pretty solidly about the middle of your life expectancy. Technology will shift that a little bit, but life expectancy trends have leveled out for the developed world. It’d take a major breakthrough and/or culture shift to change that.

          4. Artemesia

            My son is 43 and I am 73 and have been emailing since the thing was invented — a tad late to texting, but doing that now too. Who are these ‘elderly parents’ who don’t Email?

            1. EW

              One of my in laws doesn’t have a computer. He’s late 60’s and just never got on board. He lives a simple life and has family near by.

            2. Kms1025

              Lol…right there with you Artemesia…my kids range 25 to 36 years old…maybe not middle age but I teach them about most tech :)

            3. KarenK

              My father – he’s 96. He used a computer many years ago for work. His industry was starting to use computer systems toward the end of his working life. I don’t believe he has ever sent an email in his life. My mother, on the other hand, would be 93 if she hadn’t died, and embraced all things internet. She would have loved Facebook.

          5. ZuKeeper

            I used to a work at a place that did tech work/computer sales. 80+ year old woman came in to buy a new laptop computer. Sales guy immediately steered her to an expensive laptop and started telling her how badly she needed it and all the games she could play on it, he’d be happy (for an extra fee) to come to her home and set it all up, etc. I was in the next aisle listening to the whole hard sell. She waited for him to finish his sales pitch, and turned to him and said, “Young man, don’t talk to me like I am an idiot. I’ve been working with computers for years,” and proceeded to rattle off the exact specs she wanted and how much she expected to pay.

            I nearly had to sit down on the floor, I was laughing so hard. The guy was such a jerk, it was great to see him put in his place. Funny thing is, we didn’t even make commission, so he had no need to hard sell anything.

            Pretty sure he was selling used cars the last time I heard from him.

          6. Connie-Lynne

            Yeah, I’m 47 and not only do both parents use email (and have for decades), my mom’s social media game is on _point!_

        2. Jessesgirl72

          I am 44 and I email with my mom every day.

          I also have a friend in her 80’s who uses email extensively.

          It’s best to just leave all your prejudices at the door- whether it’s about age or gender or ethnicity, they just aren’t true.

            1. Jessesgirl72

              Are you seriously advocating that stereotypes are true, and people should make judgements based on them?

              1. BF50

                No. I’m saying jumping to the conclusion that a poster is racist, sexist and agist based on one comment is a bit much.

        3. KG, Ph.D.

          My 95-year-old grandmother emails! Not often, but she does it, and has been for about 10-15 years.

        4. ThatGirl

          I’m 36, my parents are 65 and 66 and both email and text me regularly… my grandmother died at 89 a couple years ago and prior to that was an avid emailer and Internet user.

        5. TCO

          I dunno, if Bob is 45 his mother could be 65-70. I know many, many e-mail users (and users of social media and lots of other technologies) that age or older!

  5. LSP

    Haven’t even read the update yet, but I just want to voice my appreciation for the italics on the word “mother” in the link to the old story. Because, yeah… so not normal.

  6. Observer

    This is a really nice update. I’m glad things went well for you. And, I’m impressed with how you handled the feedback you got and the ongoing situation.

  7. Government Worker

    I’m glad that things seem to be getting better!

    But I’m still super-confused about this company. The BoD is the one writing up job descriptions and doing performance reviews? All the organizations with board that I’ve been involved with have those duties falling to the CEO/Executive Director. Boards usually set the strategic direction of the organization, and senior staff handle personnel matters.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      It’s a small business that was run really informally; OP just recently became CEO (I think?).

    2. Lynxa

      I’m on a board for a very small non-profit (3 full time employees) and the board writes all of the job descriptions. We don’t have performance reviews.

    3. Anon Anon Anon

      I suspect if they only have 3-4 employees and the defactor CEO isn’t doing this, then the BoD would step it. But, it’s highly unusual for anyone other than the CEO to have their job description developed by the BoD.

    4. Evergreen

      Yes, me too. I’m also confused why the BoD would do Bob’s performance review – I would have thought that’s the OP’s job

  8. Nanc

    I stand by my comment in the original thread:
    In my dream world Mom would hit Reply All and say Sonny, stop with the workplace drama, I don’t want to hear about it and you need to take the issue up with your boss. Call your grandmother–she hasn’t heard from you in months!

    That said, OP, it sounds like you’re getting support that you need and that’s always a good thing.

    1. Lily in NYC

      Or: Bob, you aren’t too old to spank! (my mom loves to tease me with that even though she never spanked me)

      1. Phyllis B

        I say this to my son occasionally, too. But considering he’s 31, over 6 feet tall, and out-weighs me about a hundred pounds, don’t think it’s likely to happen. :-)

    2. alter_ego

      I really wish I could figure out a way to cc my mom on my email with my coworker’s buy-in, just to see what her reaction would be. She’s a very professional, no nonsense woman who owns her own business. Her response to me dragging her in to workplace disputes would be hilarious, I’m sure.

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    Oh wow, OP. Thank you for the update, and good luck! It sounds like the board is on board with setting you up for success. I hope things continue to improve!

  10. CAinUK

    I have to admit: I was hoping that once you officially became his manager, you would fire him. Even if he is now on his “best behavior” (which I’d question since he texted you “wtf” when you are now his manager), I doubt it will last. Part of me feels like everyone has Stockholm Syndrome with this guy – where if he just isn’t a jerk, that passes as “good”…

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      This is a good reminder that it will be helpful for OP to list all the expectations for the position and the metrics for evaluation. Otherwise, you’re right, that folks may risk seeing someone simply be less of a jerk as adequate work, when in fact, Bob may be underperforming in other areas.

    2. k

      I think that OP has the right attitude towards this guy: happy for the change in behavior but still having a healthy does of skepticism. She knows it could be a show since the board members are watching. Setting up a formal review process is a wonderful way to keep an eye on things.

    1. Artemesia

      That was the moment for a PIP going forward. That kind of thing can be okay between people with a well established relationship that works well but from an insubordinate git to his new boss, it is a slap with a glove and should result in an immediate very negative consequence like a PIP.

      1. Annonymouse

        Or a duel!
        How do we settle this one: pistols or machetes? Or for a more gentle option large salmon?

        (Sorry, I’m just imagining Bob slapping OP in the face with a glove – one of the ways you challenge someone to a duel.)

  11. Business Cat

    Was I the only one who assumed that Bob was someone who was younger/newer to the workforce? As unbelievable as it is that someone fresh out of school or early into their career would publicly CC their mother on a work-related issue, it seems infinitely more inconceivable for a middle-aged person to do so. Was there ever an explanation for this?

    1. Sam

      I just commented on this elsewhere! I know OP said in the original letter that Bob had been working there for 10 years, but I still had him stuck in my head as young-ish. I’m rather puzzled, as well.

      1. k

        The 10 year thing threw me, but I was so sure he must be younger that I thought he could have started right out of college, or as part time help while in school. I just couldn’t imagine someone older and experienced acting like that.

    2. Happy Writer

      Definitely thought Bob was in his early 20s. Middle aged and still “calling” his mommy when he runs into trouble?? Oy vey!

    3. Gandalf the Nude

      I think it’s so funny that folks were assuming he was young. Most of the times I’ve seen this kind of behavior has been from folks Bob’s age–and I’ve seen it plenty! The only exception was this Draco Malfoy who tried to leverage his father’s long tenure with us whenever something didn’t go his way.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yeah, same! I definitely thought Bob was middle-aged, and I’m kind of surprised folks thought he was younger. (but what an interesting divergence!)

      1. Zombii

        I’m glad you’re keeping track of the official score in the Generational Bickering Games, I can’t be bothered to waste braincycles on that nonsense.

  12. Annabel

    Maybe Bob thinks “WTF” means Wednesday Thursday Friday” and he was telling when to expect the release”? ;)

    Good update – glad the BoD is now behind you, OP!!

          1. Fact & Fiction

            It’s a quote from Modern Family and the dad who’s not as hip with text speak as he thinks.

    1. Kms1025

      Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…he was pretending to be a Marine…working to outgrow his Mommy issues :)

  13. Geekster

    Bob’s WTF is inexcusable. You don’t talk to your manager that way.

    But…uhm…why are you treating Bob like he’s in elementary school? Since when do adults need to produce a note from a doctor to either leave work or return? Either you trust him, or you don’t.

    1. Kyrielle

      After a serious illness or injury (not a 5-day cold or something!), it’s really normal to require a doctor’s release that you are healthy enough to return to work. I…think it may be *required* if it was long enough that FMLA leave was required?

      This is very different from expecting a doctor’s note because, say, someone missed 3 consecutive days because of a GI illness, which is ludicrous (but also, sadly, common).

      1. QA Lady

        Agreed, my company requires this too, and only after major illness or injury. We offer graduated return to work and/or modified duties if appropriate.

        I think it’s entirely due to liability reasons. It is also in the employee’s best interest. For example, if they had abdominal surgery and shouldn’t be lifting something (and they normally had to lift things as part of their job duties) we would use the doctor’s note to make them a modified return to work offer. They would work under the modified offer until they got clearance from their doctor to return to full duties.

      2. Retail HR Guy

        Employers have the right to ask for a fitness-for-duty release under FMLA but they don’t have to exercise that right if they don’t want to. It is a very good idea, though, for all kinds of reasons.

    2. Jean

      Many companies will require a “this employee is cleared for regular duties” note before they can return after a medical event, like surgery, contagious disease, or injury. That’s what I assumed she was asking for.

    3. Liane

      “Since when do adults need to produce a note from a doctor to either leave work or return? Either you trust him, or you don’t.”
      1-Many workplaces do require a doctor’s note, usually only for health-related absences over X days in a row. Sometimes there might be legal/regulatory reasons. It is, as AAM has mentioned before, a Bad Idea to require a note for every sick day.
      2-I’d say Bob hasn’t given her a reason to trust him. Since he’s proven himself so disrespectful of both higher-ups and workplace norms, why would you trust him about his sick time.

      1. Christine

        Coming late to this one late. Some employers require it because of liability concerns. Sometimes someone will return to work due to finances and relapse while in the office, causing themselves more injury, etc.

    4. Retail HR Guy

      This isn’t an employer asking for an excuse note from a doctor for a cold. It’s a fitness-for-duty release after a hospitalization. Mainly you want them so that employees don’t return to work when that would be medically unadvisable, because that creates a lot of liabilities for the employer.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Yeah, exactly this. It’s super normal and would be a liability for the employer if they did not request proof of medical clearance before allowing Bob to return to work.

    5. Annonymouse

      As people have noted above this isn’t about trust, it’s about what Bob can and can’t do due to their illness/injury.

      For example if Bob had gallstones removed and isn’t supposed to do bending or lifting then work really needs to know that.

      Or can only do light admin duties instead of say stocking a store and having to walk around doing sales when he is normally the sales guy.

      Most places here (Australia) would require that after a major illness, injury or surgical procedure. And a return to work form.

    6. Jenbug

      This is a totally normal thing, especially if the job has physical requirements that may have been effected by the illness/injury.

      1. LilyPearl

        In the UK, however, a “back to work” note no longer exists and hasn’t for several years. The official Med3 “fit note” states either “not fit for work” of “fit for work with restrictions” which might include a phased return or altered duties. If an employee feels they can return to work as normal they don’t need a doctor’s note. If the employer wants a formal assessment they need to make a private arrangement with an occupational health physician. I’m a GP and it’s really frustrating when patients are told they need a back to work note (mostly if I say “tell your employer there will be a charge for it” the request goes away…)

  14. Retail HR Guy

    I spent three years administrating leaves of absence, which means I have had conversations with employees about requiring fitness-for-duty releases hundreds of times. I’ve had employees argue or be unpleasant about it, but I have never had an employee respond with “wtf?” or the verbal equivalent.

    Bob has a very serious attitude problem.

  15. MommyMD

    Bob is a weirdo. Plain and simple. He gets his mommy involved in workplace disagreements, he texts WTF to his manager over a simple request, and he has zero clue on how to behave in general. Norman Bates has better manners. I’m glad your situation is improved but do NOT trust this guy. I’m sure he’d metaphorically stab you in the back the first chance he gets. Hopefully mommy is not stuffed and sitting in a rocking chair in the attic.

  16. Christine

    Too bad they Bob cannot be forced to attend a class in business communications, etc. Something needs to be done to retrain his thought process & behavior. At this stage if I was the OP, I document everything little thing he does outside the norm, and do a PIP now that she has the authority. I do not think I would want to put any energy into rehabilitating Bob. I would do what I could with a PIP with the hope that he resigns and if that doesn’t take place, turn around push him out the door.

  17. Anony-mouse

    OK question for the OP: Why arent YOU, as Bob’s supervisor, conducting his 6-month assessment, instead of the Board conducting it?

    The Board should be conducting YOUR review, yes, but Bob’s? No. If they would like to review YOUR assessment of Bobs work and then provide additional commentary to YOU either in-person or written, thats great. But the way it is currently worded it screams ‘undermining the OP’s authority’ to all parties involved. Bob will be disrespecting you for the next 6 months and continue sucking up to the Board, because he knows they are the ones conducting his evaluation.

  18. LW

    From LW:

    The above was my update by the end of January. I had to “force” timid, retiring manager Beyonce to complete my training, and she did with some difficulties, as her resisting training me and wanting to just do things herself to get them done faster. However, I insisted she allow me to learn by doing, with her offering guidance. She fully retired before April. I made it through our busy season, with only a few bumps. Bob has made a complete 180°. The level of professionalism and cooperation has risen to very satisfactory levels. Bob made the necessary changes and has proved that he is adaptable. Under previous management there was a Bob-related incident about every three months. We have not had one since his balking at the doctor’s note in January. He has changed or modified all the major behaviors that were a concern to me.

    We both have evaluations, that I insisted upon, coming up when a couple of board members will be present in a month. In retrospect, I think an unhealthy dynamic may have existed between Bob and Beyonce that aggravated the workplace dysfunction. Time will tell, but for the past seven months it has been very good. When Bob was really held accountable he rose to the occasion. I want to keep the evaluations going for us both, one early in the year during the annual meeting time, and another later, during our slower time.

    Thanks again for the valuable input and advice. It helped. I tried very hard to take the advice to remain professional in any tricky interactions with Bob, staying above the drama was the advice that stuck. I also learned from “jumping the gun” and have tried to be very discerning – and only taking the most serious of matters to the BoD regarding Bob or anything else. I did a lot of thinking, as I was advised, and have tried to implement more planning, more considering on any given issue before reacting.

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