my coworker forged an email, employee keeps asking for pay advances, and more

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

1. My coworker forged an email — should she be fired?

I am an executive assistant and while neither of the two junior assistants in the department report to me, I am responsible for coordinating our support team for work on large events and on vacation schedules.

Two of us were scheduled to be away on vacation on the same week and the third assistant, Anne, agreed to cover for the week. A few days before I left for vacation, Anne sent me an email stating that she intended to approach her supervisor about taking “one annual leave day” on that first Monday I’d be back in the office after my vacation and was I in agreement. I replied in the affirmative.

While I was away on vacation, Anne forwarded that exchange to her supervisor but edited it to say “Friday and Monday, taking two days of annual leave.” When I returned, her supervisor asked why I would approve such a thing, leaving the department without support staff for Friday, and that is when I noticed the discrepancy in the two emails.

We’ve given Anne two chances to explain the discrepancy, and she still won’t admit she altered the email. The most she will say is that she knows “it looks deceptive but that it must have been a glitch with the calendar invite.”

I believe termination is the correct response. I can no longer trust this person. Her supervisor is leaning toward a stern warning because Anne is young (23 years old). What do you think is the appropriate consequence?

If she’d come clean about it when given the opportunity, and if her work had otherwise been excellent up until this point, I’d maybe consider a very, very stern warning — along with watching her much more closely for a while, because these things often aren’t one-offs. But she’s been confronted about it and she’s doubling down on the lie. That’s an even more serious integrity issue, and you’re right to think that you can’t trust her at all. Your manager almost has to let her go.

(Also, in addition to the integrity and judgement issues here, now we have to worry about Anne’s critical thinking too. What did she think was going to happen when the department was without coverage on Friday? It was pretty likely that this was going to come out.)

2. Employee keeps asking for pay advances

My boss is the COO of our company, and oversees all offices. I am in operations in a different office, but we speak daily, and today he asked my thoughts on a situation that left me stumped. One of the junior designers has asked for a pay advance to handle a critical bill. The amount is nominal, but evidently the result of “forgetting” to pay the bill for several months in a row. This is not my COO’s report, but one of his report’s employees.

For some background, the designer has requested two other advances this year (they’ve been granted). They have also been relatively nominal, and were for additional critical bills/expenses. For added complexity, the process for said advances is not simply cutting a check; it must go through the COO and the CEO (we have dual layers of approval for all things financial in the company). Being this is the third request, I imagine eyebrows will be shooting up with the CEO, and the COO is also miffed.

Obviously COO can decline the request and move on, but said critical bill really is critical. I asked if there were any written policies on such situations, and there are not. Clearly this is something that should be put into place. (As an aside, there isn’t an EAP in this region that I am aware of.)

I suggested that perhaps the best course of action was that telling the designer this is the last time the company can advance pay, and have a conversation about how this is perceived and the consequences to not managing funds well. But how should that conversation go? Manage your money better? Here’s a budgeting website? Any suggestions here?

Definitely do tell him that this is the last advance the company will do. But beyond that, it’s not really an employer’s place to tell an employee to manage his money better. Just be clear about what you will and won’t help with (i.e., that this is the final advance and future requests won’t be granted).

If his manager has particularly good rapport with him, it wouldn’t be overstepping to say, “Hey, I’m worried about you since this keeps happening. Is everything okay?” But it’s not an employer’s place to coach employees on money management, and doing that will get them further intwined with an issue that they really shouldn’t be too involved with. (I don’t mean that in a callous way; I mean that it can quickly become oppressively paternalistic to have an employer that involved with someone’s financial decisions.)

3. My manager insists on one order of names in emails

My manager has reprimanded me several times for not using his preferred order when I email (internal and external) clients. He has a specific order of precedence for people and I’ll be called into his office and verbally reprimanded (and threatened with insubordination) if I do not observe it in the order that I list names in the “to” and “cc” fields of my emails. The biggest thing is that he must be listed first, in the “to” field, even if the email is not actually addressed to him (I’m required to put him on every communication, and have him at every face-to-face meeting).

Since Gmail reorders the names when you hit “reply all,” this means that on every email I send in a chain I’m stuck adjusting the order. Every. Stupid. Time.

I’ve mostly worked as a contractor/freelance, so this level of micromanagement is new to me. What do I do? I’ve heard from my predecessor and from some of my colleagues that this is a rule he has and he enforces this on everyone. Is this normal?

No, it’s not normal. Your boss is ridiculous. He also appears to be incredibly insecure, since caring about this kind of thing is the province of people who don’t think their value and professional status will come through via actual merit.

You have to do what he’s asking since he’s your boss, but you’re welcome to privately acknowledge the smallness of his character each time.

4. Telling employers I can’t work on Saturdays

First of all, thanks for all the helpful insights on your blog! I recently made an awesome work contact by adapting some of the informational interview questions on your site to fit my situation! This contact recently reached out to me to let me know about a potential job opening in her company (which is in my dream field) and this is where my question comes in. In this field, it’s pretty much a given that a few weekends per year will be spent working at events.

Because of my religion, I can’t work on Saturdays. I don’t have a problem working on Sundays, after sundown Saturday night if there are any late night events or cleanup that need to be covered, or putting in a few extra hours that week to help with prep or takedown, but working on Saturday is a non-negotiable. When I interview, whether for this job or others in the future, should I bring this up after I get an offer or as part of the interview? I want to be upfront about this without jeopardizing my chances before the company really looks at my qualifications. I will be graduating from college this December, so I want to have a game plan for jobs that require some weekend hours.

Bring it up on the offer stage. Once you get the offer, along with whatever other questions you have, say something like this: “For religious reasons, I’m not able to work on Saturdays. I know there are a few weekends a year that the person in this role would cover events, and I can work Sundays or after sundown on Saturdays. Would that work on your end?”

This shouldn’t be a big deal since we’re only talking about a few weekends a year. Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for religious practices, so as long as Saturday events aren’t the whole point of your job, you should be fine.

5. Hiring manager wants to consider me again after rejecting me a few months ago

I had an on-site interview in a big company a few months back. Although it went well (the hiring manager gave me feedback after talking to other members), I was not selected. Now the hiring manager has contacted me to ask if I am still available for that position or not. My answer was yes, so he started a process to revive my candidacy. My concern is should I be hopeful for this position or might this be another way to say final rejection?

He already rejected you; he’s not looking for another way to say no because he already said no a few months ago. A hiring manager isn’t going to contact a previously rejected candidate to talk further if they don’t think there’s a real chance the person could be right for the job. So while there’s no guarantee here, I’d assume that he’s seriously considering you.

{ 395 comments… read them below }

  1. WhiteBear*

    1.) Wow… Anne sounds like a real dingus
    (I know I’ve contributed some truly meaningful insight and advice here :)

    1. Artemesia*

      No kidding. The double down makes it a no brainer. This is not a trustworthy person; she should be gone yesterday.

    2. Willis*

      Yeah…the crazy part about this is wouldn’t the OP have a copy of that email (and her reply to Anne), making it really obvious what the original message was? Not sure how changing the text in an email could be a “glitch.” On top of being untrustworthy and lousy at critical thinking, it’s also insulting that she’s even bothering to peddle this lie!

      1. Anonymouse*

        There was no way she wasn’t going to get caught.

        But I’m assuming this was discovered AFTER taking the extra day off.

        It’s just mind boggling that she thought, after leaving the office with no coverage by lying about her holiday approval, that no one was going to follow up on this or keep the original email.

        But hey having a day off is worth risking your job for, right? Especially in this job market.

      2. Menacia*

        Yes, this! I mean, wouldn’t OP have the proof right there that the only day requested was Monday? And I don’t know what a calendar invite has to do with an email that was forwarded and modified. Yeah, this is a pretty serious offense, and the fact that she won’t own up to what she did makes it even worse. People who don’t think they did anything wrong, even when the proof is crystal clear, are huge problems.

      3. Raina*

        Depends on if this was asked as part of the calendar request itself — to me the OP’s letter reads like the coworker deceptively sent a calendar request, indicating in the note that disappears that this was for one day, Monday, while scheduling two days in the calendar itself, with the OP accepting the invite, basically.

        1. Oryx*

          Oh, wait, I think I get it now, she did the opposite: she only scheduled Monday through the calendar then changed the email wording. When they called her out on it, the “calendar glitch” was that the calendar request should have been for Mon/Fri but only the Monday went through.

          1. Working Mom*

            There can be glitches in forwarded emails – sometimes the font changes, or the size of the font. But the content? No, that doesn’t just change. Content in an email chain can fall off depending on how it’s forwarded, but Outlook is not going to literally change the content of an email … Sorry Anne!

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              A grammatical content change is pretty impressive–their internal software may have achieved sentience.

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      I once basically fired a casual worker over something like this – he told me he’d done x and y work when he hadn’t. And he also turned out to have lied on his resume.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        And yes I did ask open questions about why it wasn’t done before taking action. But the critical thinking angle was the biggest – it wasn’t just that he lied but that he hadn’t considered that anyone would notice, or what would happen when they did.

    4. Agatha31*

      Touching on a variation on the theme from my comment on #3, it fascinates me what people will try and blame on “the computer”, whether to cover up a lie or cover up ignorance. I once had an employee whose resume *claimed* “advanced” skills in MS Word. That… was a stretch. Couldn’t use tables, missed obvious formatting errors such as random font type/size changes or margin/indent changes (and couldn’t fix them when pointed out)… and once called me into the office claiming “the computer” did something to her Word. A quick glance showed they’d managed to resize their view to 10%, but until I pointed that out, they were absolutely convinced Word was “broken” on their computer. I wasn’t in charge of hiring/firing in that job, so lucky me, I got a loooooot of headaches before that employee was finally let go.

      1. EE*

        The less people know about Microsoft Word, the more they think they do.

        I claim advanced on Excel and intermediate on Word. I have had to beg for help far too many times to claim even close to full knowledge of Word.

        1. Frozen Ginger*

          I’d like to think I’m “advanced” with Word and Excel, but I put intermediate because I’m worried a day will come when I don’t know something and I’ll feel like a liar!

          1. MCMonkeyBean*

            There’s always going to be something you don’t know but that’s okay! I’m really pretty good with excel, aced my class in grad school on it and then served as a TA to the teacher’s undergraduate class. I really learned a ton. But somehow I never learned that if you highlight a bunch of cells it will give you the sum and average of those numbers down in the corner lol. When I got to work there was this guy who I thought was crazy good at summing numbers in his head. I felt like a real doofus when he told me! But I swear I’m great with VLOOKUPs and Pivot Tables!!!

            1. Kalamet*

              Shooot, there’s several programming languages I’d call myself “advanced” in, and I still use google for all of those. Sometimes competency is knowing what a tool is capable of, not knowing how to do every little thing closed book.

              1. agatha31*

                Yesssssssss. This is what I keep trying to explain to my boss when he hires people like the example above. If you find me someone who can freaking GOOGLE STUFF, I can teach them our processes. But I need competence in the basics or I am going to be getting paid an obscenely high amount of money to babysit instead of a (frankly) substandard amount to do the hard jobs I’m supposed to be doing that aren’t getting done because I’m babysitting people who can’t google “restart computer”.

        2. Purplesaurus*

          I really struggle with those proficiency levels. I mean, what counts as intermediate and advanced? And are those levels universally accepted?

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            Nope. If you’re hiring for a job that requires a certain proficiency level, you’re best off asking in-depth questions or having a practical test or demonstration for the specific skills you’re looking for.

            1. finman*

              I did that with my last hire, it was important for me to understand how well the candidates could handle excel. So I had a small 20 minute test that simulated a couple different functionalities that we use on a regular basis. I didn’t expect 100% accuracy within the 20 minutes, but looking through their process helped me understand the proficiency level. One guy had googled every single task and still got them wrong.

            2. Noobtastic*

              Temp agencies routinely do practical tests on a variety of software programs. When you apply to work there, you take the tests, and prove just how proficient you are with each program. Then, that goes in your file, and when someone calls asking for someone with X skills, they can check to see who has actually proven themselves to have X skills. It is guaranteed, that way.

              Likewise, if a temp gets some training, she can go back to the agency and say, “I learned new stuff. Let me take the test again, and see if my rating changes.” If they have the right tracking software, they can even track your proficiency level in different subsections of the program. For example, “Jane has an A- rating on formatting, but only a C rating on mail merge and fails pivot tables, completely.”

              If you are hiring for a job that requires basic Word skills (Can you type? Can you format? Can you tell when spell-checker is having a laugh at you?), then you probably don’t need to test. But if you are hiring for a job that requires specific actions on Word/Excel, etc. (You are in charge of our monthly mailings, so data management and mail-merge is a must), then it’s a good idea to find a testing program, and put all your applicants through the test. Or at least the front-runners. And even then, if they show greatness in all other attributes, but don’t know that one bit of Word processing, give them a deadline to train up on it, and then pass the test.

              Practical tests and demonstrations are wonderful! Which is one reason why hiring through a temp agency is really effective. They are already set up to do that specific testing, for you.

              1. Wednesday Mouse*

                Hmm. I’ve done these tests before and I’m not convinced by them. Maybe it was just the tests I sat, but there were no actual spreadsheets/word docs to alter. Instead you got effectively a screenprint of a document, and then your mouse clicks were tracked to open menus/carry out the action. It was incredibly clunky software to begin with, and I failed even some of the simple tasks because I would do them in a different way to the way the software expected me to. There was also no capacity for using keyboard shortcuts, so I had to take a few extra seconds per question to remember where the menu options were instead of using the keyboard.

                1. AMPG*

                  I failed one of these tests once because I didn’t know the specific keyboard shortcuts they required for a couple of tasks. They were fairly basic tasks that could easily be managed via dropdown menus, but that wasn’t the “right” answer for whatever reason.

                2. agatha31*

                  Yup! My tests were the same. I particularly raaaaaaaaaaged at the lack of keyboard shortcuts! WHAT. I passed the temp tests, but I happen to know that the person who couldn’t restart their own computer or resize their screen size in Word also did relatively well – and that really was the problem, was the “guesswork” involved in “HOW does this test want me to approach the problem”, not “did I solve the problem”. It was a useless set of tests.

                  RE: proficiency, I’m amazing at Word, *in most people’s opinions*, because I know how to fix the sort of formatting fuck-ups Word loves to create. But I’d have to do some serious googling and possibly even a class to do mail merges, because I learned them back in Windows 95(!) and have never had to use them since. In Excel, I can’t do anything more than simple equations, sorting and filtering, etc, but that’s *still* more than anyone else I know by a long shot (which just baffles me when they say I’m “amazing” at Excel… wtf are you even using it for if you aren’t using functions as basic as equations???) I put “intermediate” for both Word and Excel and delve when we start discussing the job description in more depth. I would LOVE to have my own test for this stuff in my current job but alas, not my place. Fortunately things have at least changed for the better and I am currently working with an amazing employee whose worst trait is low self esteem. They’re damn good at googling and as soon as I can bully some “gdi you are awesome so dig in and show me that awesome!”, they’ll be amazing. Possibly better than me, based on what I know they know better than me that can be applied to our job once they’re more familiar with it.

          2. Jesca*

            Yeah, no body agrees on this. With that said, you can make some pretty damaging mistakes in word that are pretty hard to reverse for even the most seasoned. Also, yeah, sometimes Word does glitch. Hah! I once had it convert all my present headers to black. Yes, the color freaking black!!! Impossible to correct.

            1. Noobtastic*

              And this is why I once had a boss who insisted on numbered drafts. You make a few changes, and Save As Draft #2. make more changes. Draft #3. Etc. It may run into double digits, but the impossible glitches could be reversed, by going back to a previous draft.

              I found the process annoying, but had to admit, there were a few rare, but memorable, times when it really saved our bacon.

              1. agatha31*

                Drafts are good, but never underestimate the power of the undo and redo buttons in combination with the ability to show formatting to figure out *exactly* what Word is screwing up in new and mindbogglingly annoying ways. The benefit there is also that once you know it, you can figure out how to fix it, and then people consider you a god when you show them how it’s done. (The downside of that being once you’re the God of MS Office, god help you every time a new formatting error appears in someone *else’s* document!! But again, thankfully, using undo/redo/show formatting really, really has helped me solve a ton of these issues.)

          3. Teapot Librarian*

            I have no idea, but I personally think “I know how to google to figure out how to do something” bumps you up to intermediate. And if you don’t know how to do a hanging indent without hitting the space bar a million times, you’re definitely still at basic.

              1. Baba O'Riley*

                Hah. I’ve been using Word since elementary school and just questioned everything I thought I knew about my skills.

                Nope. Just my grammar, I guess, since I don’t think I ever called it a ‘hanging indent’. I totally learned something new today.

          4. Baba O'Riley*

            I especially struggle with qualifying my excel proficiency. I mean, I love excel. I always have at least one spreadsheet open, and it’s completely replaced my need for a calculator (unless I really want to write “boobies” upside down).

            I use formulas extensively (though my search history is filled with ‘how to do XYZ’) and have my preferences (INDEX MATCH beats VLOOKUP every time). I can write basic macros and really don’t understand who decided that pivot tables should be considered advanced.

            This probably sounds like a humble brag, but in all seriousness I consider myself on the lower end of intermediate. Maybe not for my role/field, but when I look at how much the program can do that I haven’t even considered, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be anywhere near advanced, no matter how much time I spend working with it.

            But then I don’t want to sell myself short and have HR or a hiring manager think that I can’t even write an IF statement, so my Excel answer always tends to have a lot of caveats.

            I probably really overthink this one.

            1. Kitten*

              I love a good INDEX MATCH!

              I struggle as well though. I am usually Queen of Excel in any office I work in, but I know a few devs who can write VBA, and I run across the occasional sheet with an Array Formula, so I think my perspective is pretty skewed.

              It’s frustrating that there’s no universal standard for Excel though. I know some of my former co-workers would claim to be experts at Excel despite needing help writing a basic IF, and I feel like I would side-eye anyone I was hiring who claimed to be an ‘expert’ because I’d assume they didn’t understand just how powerful Excel is as a tool.

              I just love Excel so so much, it’s a lazy kitten’s dream tool *swoons*

              1. Adlib*

                I like combining macros in VBA for other users who can just press one button and do a billion formatting or calculation procedures. They always think it’s magic.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  Oh my god YES. I manage our peer feedback process but occasionally there is feedback solicited for someone I’m not supposed to see the feedback for, so I adapted a macro I’d already written for myself to clean up the raw data export out of SurveyMonkey, split it into two different versions depending on which survey they were processing, and pinned them to buttons on an instructions tab. So if anyone else needs to be doing peer feedback, I give them that spreadsheet, tell them to bring over the SM data and just click whichever button is appropriate. Everyone I’ve demonstrated this to gets amazed that I was able to set it up for them to just click one button and do all the cleanup in an instant.

                  I joke that I originally did it to enable myself to be lazy, but I’m happy to help other people be lazy too.

              2. Em*

                LOL I thought I was pretty good at excel until I started reading all the comments in this thread and now I feel like I’m a baby in the toddler pool wearing water wings.

                1. Jadelyn*

                  Excel is an amazingly powerful piece of software – most people never even scratch the surface of what it’s capable of. Even those of us who do some of the fancy stuff are only dog-paddling around most of the time, relative to what Excel can do.

              3. agatha31*

                See, this is my thing about excel. *I* know that I use excel like someone who can bake a nice piece of chicken without fucking it up. But the people over there failing to boil water with a full set of instructions look at what I do and go “OH MY GOD YOU’RE LIKE ALTON BROWN AND GORDON RAMSAY AND JULIA CHILD AND PAULA DEEN AND THEY ALL HAD A BABY.” (Ramsay because I do like to cuss.) No, dude. I’m like… a person who just cooked a half decent piece of chicken. Also, your water is boiling dry.

                It’s doubly frustrating *knowing* that there’s so much more power in Excel but thanks to my employer’s complete lack of knowledge about it, they refuse to believe that further, focused training would seriously benefit what I could do in my job with it. And unfortunately there’s only so far I’m capable of going with Google when it starts getting into advanced formulas, math (my weak spot, which is why I love what I *can* do with Excel already!), scripting, etc., let alone as it specifically applies to my job.

            2. Jesca*

              The difference between proficiency levels in excel actually come down to two different schools of thought on how it should be used once past understanding how to nest IFs. There are those that believe that advanced involves coding while others believe that advanced involves pivot tables. I am of the pivot tables as that has been paramount to every company I have worked for. I haven’t had to do much coding, because I am not a coder. I make this very clear during interviews.
              (as to answer your question, pivot tables are considered advanced because a lot of people don’t *get it*)

              1. Baba O'Riley*

                My theory is that it’s something that sounds complex to people who don’t use excel, but write job descriptions?

                Don’t get me wrong – I actually love pivot tables and use them pretty often since I work with a lot of data dumps, but they’re far from advanced.

            3. Jadelyn*

              Ughhhhhh, pivot tables. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually found them useful at work, and those times I just experimented with dragging and dropping fields until it did what I want. Not really all that advanced.

              Definitely with you on INDEX/MATCH though. That’s probably one of my most frequently-used formulas, second only to COUNTIF/S.

              Everyone at my office thinks I’m magical with Excel – to the point where I’ve had, twice in the past 2 weeks, managers and executives from totally other areas of the company who I rarely speak with let alone work with call me up for Excel help because “I hear you’re really good with Excel, can you do [thing]?” But, like you, I really consider myself more intermediate than advanced, since my VBA ability is still pretty limited and I only really use a fairly small fraction of the function library – IFs, COUNTs, INDEX/MATCH, IFERROR when I need it for something that other people are going to be messing with – so I’d be wary of calling myself advanced.

              1. Baba O'Riley*

                The day I discovered I Ferrari, I bought champagne and a cupcake and threw myself a party.

                Seriously though. My OCD couldn’t stand the #DIV/0!s or #N/As that would sometimes plague a report template that didn’t have data in it yet. Before IFERROR I was conditionally formatting the text of any errors to show up white, which was really just annoying, time consuming, and heavy af.

            4. No Longer Lurking*

              I think once one is to the point of having an *opinion* on INDEX/MATCH vs VLOOKUP one is at least in the intermediate to advanced part of the range.

              At this point I just put “Advanced Excel” on the resume but follow it up with the kinds of features & functions I use in brackets. Unfortunately I find a lot of people have no clue exactly how much Excel can do and so aren’t impressed by the right things. I automated pulling data from 4 horribly formatted reports from different systems onto one clean and readable report and the response is ‘meh’. I add 2 slicers to a pivot table that took 3 minutes to set up and ‘OMG!!!’.

            5. EA in Partly Cloudy Florida*

              I personally am very strong with VBA, and I’m familiar with Pivot Tables, but I’m not sure I could write a vlookup to save my life. I consider myself as “Intermediate to Advanced” (depending on situation).

              1. Jadelyn*

                Don’t bother with vlookups – learn INDEX/MATCH instead. I couldn’t write a vlookup either at this point since I haven’t touched it since learning index/match.

            6. LBK*

              I’m gonna be the outlier here and say I understand how INDEX/MATCH is more flexible but VLOOKUP works equally well for 98% of the stuff I do and I find it much faster to type when I have to do them 50 times a day. But I do know how to use INDEX/MATCH when it’s necessary!

        3. Biff*

          “Advanced” and “Intermediate” may be pretty relative depending on the job. I’ve been on jobs where my ability to put out a document with bullets was considered swoonworthy. Likewise, I made a table with auto-calculating sums in Excel and the office staff went BANANAS over it. They thought I was an MS Office god.

          To anyone familiar with those programs, I am CLEARLY not a god.

          1. Purplesaurus*

            Exactly. What people could do with Excel at a former workplace was something of beauty. In my current job, my coworkers think I’m a genius because I can hyperlink worksheets. Um, of course I can?

          2. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

            This is my position at my current job. I’m a Word and Excel Guru/God because I can do what I think are basic functions, and am capable of Googling to find the rest.

            1. Jadelyn*

              Although, don’t sell yourself short on the googling thing. My VP had said something about my wizard-like Excel skills once after I’d built a spreadsheet for him with a bunch of automatic calculations and formatting and stuff built in. It had been a challenge since he’d requested a couple features I wasn’t sure how to implement, so it had taken some creative googling (gods bless Stack Overflow) to figure out the basic techniques I wanted and then adapt that to what I needed, and when he complimented me I thanked him, but added “You do know that at least half my vaunted Excel skills come down to “google it and see what comes up”, right? Especially when you request something new.”

              But he said, very seriously “Don’t underestimate the power of that specific skill. Any of us could type in a google search, sure. But you are then looking at the results, evaluating them, sifting through for the most relevant items, and combining bits of knowledge and instructions from various sources to do the things you do. The rest of us could do the initial search, but we wouldn’t have the faintest idea what to do with the results that brings up. Don’t sell your skills short.”

              Often, knowing how to find an answer is just as valuable as having the answer at your fingertips already.

              1. knitting librarian*

                You last sentence ~ that’s the basic skill needed to be a reference librarian… and why reference librarians are still very much relevant in the Age of Google.

          3. MsChanandlerBong*

            That made me laugh. When I started volunteering, I had to shadow someone for two shifts. On my first day, the volunteer in charge of training me thought the computer was broken because she couldn’t open the volunteer schedule (a Google Sheet). She was connected to the network, but she hadn’t accepted the hospital network ToS, so she didn’t have Internet access yet. I just hit the “Yes, I accept” button, and she was able to open the schedule. To this day, every time I bring my husband to an open house or fundraising event, she tells him his wife is a “computer genius.”

          4. Elemeno P.*

            My director thinks my coworkers and I are Computer Wizards because we can format his PowerPoint presentations.

            We let him think that.

          5. Not a Morning Person*

            Same here! I think I have basic Excel skills, and every year when my corporate accounting group posts the new mileage worksheet (when the IRS rate for mileage reimbursement changes each year) for our expense reports, I am the one who adds the formulas to calculate the mileage and total the reimbursement amounts and send the updated form to people on my team. They are so excited not to have to do the math for themselves! It’s embarrassingly easy, but I’ll take the kudos.

          6. agatha31*

            You wanna be co-gods? I can hide rows in Excel. PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS!!! (Itty bitty hard drive space.)

        4. Noobtastic*

          Back in the day, I claimed advanced knowledge of Word, because I took classes, and was actually trainned on advanced usage of Word.

          Then they upgraded, and upgraded again, and upgraded again, and meanwhile, I went years without having to do some of the advanced things I learned in my training class, and forgot how to do them. Then, when I looked in my old manuals, I realized that the keyboard shortcuts the book was telling me were NOW for some other thing, entirely. Some other thing I used all the time. Yes, Word changed the keyboard shortcuts, approximately two decades ago.

          In other words, I WAS advanced/expert on Word (and had the test scores to prove it!), but now, I’m fair to middling. Same with the whole Office Suite, really, since I have not had access to MS Office in a few years now (I don’t have it on my current computer). I use Open Office, now, and the features are different, as well as the actual means of accomplishing the same tasks. Sure, I could probably figure it out on Word, but it would take time, so there you go. Fair to middling.

          It may not be so much an outright lie as it is a delusion that his skill kept up with the upgrades. I’d check to see if/when he had training, and if he actually reached advanced status at that time. If so, it’s more of a warning situation, and a notice that Continuing Education is A THING.

      2. SJ*

        It became a joke with my last boss that I claimed intermediate for Excel during my interview stage and… definitely did not have that level of skill in Excel. Still, literally everything I’ve had to do in Excel that I didn’t know how to do already has been easily Google-able.

      3. kms1025*

        What amazes me about blaming this on a computer glitch is maaaayyyybeeee you could have entered calendar dates wrong, but then how did the computer make you ACTUALLY not come to work on that mistaken day? Calling total BS on this one. Fire this assistant.

      4. CMDRBNA*

        I’m always baffled by that – if I’m trying to do something in a computer program and I don’t know how or it does something weird or some setting gets changed accidentally or whatever, I just Google it. I don’t think I’ve ever not been able to find a fix.

      5. Kristine*

        Thank you all for your feedback. It confirmed by instincts. The only hesitation was, given her age and that fact that this is her first professional job out of college, was it a rookie mistake. But I think I am blurring the lines between performance issues and ethical issues.

        1. sunny-dee*

          I could see it being either okay or a mistake if she emailed you about “Monday” and she changed that to the actual date when she forwarded it to the boss to try to make it clear (especially if she put in, like July 21 instead of July 22 or something and mixed up the date).

          But that’s not what happened, and there is nothing in this that is okay. It’s really messed up, mainly because of the doubling down on lying.

        2. Observer*

          But I think I am blurring the lines between performance issues and ethical issues.
          Exactly this. The issue is not failure to understand office norms or even a slightly faulty work ethic. Lying is not just a workplace issue, which means that she had plenty of chances to learn that you don’t lie and then double down on it.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          No. A rookie mistake would be “I thought it was okay to call that morning and tell you I won’t be here.” A rookie mistake is “I assumed if I didn’t have enough PTO, someone would let me know.” Lying and falsifying an email is not a rookie mistake.

          1. Anonymouse*

            Rookie mistakes generally show a lack of:
            understanding professional norms
            Pre planning

            I.e Rustys examples or waiting until Friday to request the whole following week off. Or coming in on casual Friday in beach wear for a client facing role.

            These can be talked about and corrected because these are about a lack of awareness.

            Anne didn’t make a rookie mistake.
            Here are the steps that show it’s not a rookie mistake:

            1) She sought your approval for a single day off before your holiday

            2) got your approval – I’m not geting sense she sent a calendar invite for this.

            3) changed the email content so you’re agreeing to something different than originally stated

            4) Waited until you were on holiday before forwarding it to the boss – when you would be uncontactable and unable to refute the falsified approval.

            5) When asked about the email, after it became clear she changed the content, she lied. Twice.

            The level of pre planning here shows it’s not a small error because she didn’t know better. It shows she is a person whose integrity and honesty is questionable at best and not someone you should want working for you.

        4. Mephyle*

          I don’t think the lines between performance and ethics are being blurred here. Rather, this was bad on both counts, as people have alluded to: both the ethical issue, and the excuse blaming the ‘mix-up’ on calendar functionality and expecting that anyone could believe it when it makes no sense. And then this wraps back to the ethical issue when she dug down and insisted on the technical excuse.

        5. The OG Anonsie*

          Is there any possibility that it actually is a misunderstanding? Not that I don’t think there are people out there that are that stupid about trying to game things, but since forging it would be a fire-able offense and the other possibility would be a total non-issue, it’s good to be absolutely sure. I’ve also seen a lot more really egregious problems turn out to be stupid calendar system issues than I’ve seen people trying to pull something and pretending it was the calendaring system… Though I have definitely seen both.

          If she did forge it, I’d absolutely say that is problematic enough to fire her. But I’d also look at the messages you received/sent (and deleted calendar alert messages, if your system has that) as well as the ones she has, just to make sure. I’ve seen dumb stuff like one person having an updated calendar invite in their sent folder with the recipient never having received it enough times that I would recommend it, even though the odds are slim, since the stakes are so high.

          1. Observer*

            This wasn’t a calendar invite, though. It was an email. Also, while it’s possible to mess up calendar invites, there is no way the system could have glitched out to change the text of the invite.

            1. The OG Anonsie*

              Depending on your system, calendar invites may be auto-generated emails.

              I’m not clear on exactly what the LW saw, which is why I’m asking, because I can’t tell if it was literally an email that was obviously edited after the fact or if it could possibly be something else. For example, in an auto-emailing calendar system, she originally makes it for Monday and adds the request for Friday before the LW replied. The LW replied to the original one only and the employee didn’t notice, or the updated version including Friday didn’t actually go out but the employee thought it did because she has a sent item but the LW never received it… I have seen each of those things happen more than once before with Outlook specifically. And I’ve seen it turn into huge things that could have been avoided if someone checked the stupid receipts and validated that everyone was actually telling the truth.

              I kinda doubt that’s the case, but like I said, the stakes are high enough that being sure is still wise.

      6. Fake old Converse shoes*

        I recently went through something like this for a project outside work: someone delivered really crappy graphics made with Word 2003 for a lab report. I opened the file with Google Docs (the de facto tool for collaboration, and for a good reason) and Word and in both cases it looked awful. When I confronted her she insisted it was my fault for using a crappy Word version, and took offense when I told her work was not acceptable and had to be done again with a spreadsheet.

  2. Augusta Sugarbean*

    #2 – If the employee has had or is having unexpected medical bills and needs some extra funds, then I’d be inclined to be more forgiving. If the person is not managing his/her money properly, then that’s not on the company to help out.

    1. Sami*

      True. But it’s probably better for the company to stay out of the employee’s personal business. That way refusing advances isn’t a personal/judgment call.

      1. Gadfly*

        And asking all of the invasive questions neededto decide if it is mismanagement or really an emergency by itself is problematic.

        1. Artemesia*

          Unless the employee raises the health issue or has FMLA one should assume that health is not the issue here. If there is a benign reason, the worker should be making that case. The odds of it being mismanagement, drug use, gambling etc are probably a lot higher. I’d handle it with allowing no further early payouts after this but also be alert to any potential for financial shenanigans on the job. A person who has done this 3 times in a year is flying a big red flag and any opportunities for misuse of company funds should be monitored. Best case scenario is they are sloppy with finances and unselfaware about what they are doing to their reputation.

          1. Trout 'Waver*

            I don’t think you should make any assumptions at all about how employees spend their money. If your attitude as a manager is, “They’ll tell me if it’s medical,” or “They’ll tell me if it’s a benign reason,” then you’re putting the burden on the employee to explain their medical needs or money management to their boss. Which is very problematic for any number or reasons.

            Assuming that if they don’t tell you it must be mismanagement, drugs, or gambling is a really lousy spot to put someone with a real need in.

            1. Anonymouse*

              Hey we all get into tough spots sometimes – car engine blows up same time power and gas bill is due or urgent medical expenses eat up savings/make us forget about other bills.

              But in those cases you’d mention SOMETHING about it when asking for an advance.

              Something as simple as “it’s medical” or “unexpected emergency”.

              And if you needed three advances I’d assume they’d be close together in these examples.

              That’s not what we are seeing here though.

              It’s not “bad things happening all at once that you weren’t prepared for.” It’s “regular bill you know about you haven’t paid when you earn a (presumably) decent wage”

              This reminds me very much of my father – he couldn’t manage money at all and always relied on my grandmother to bail him out.

              Over 10 years we figured out she’d given him $120,000+ and only about 10k was for actual emergencies.

    2. Darkitect*

      Is it possible that the employee doesn’t realize the routing for these requests? They may think it’s a minor payroll issue and would be mortified to learn that the CEO and COO are part of the review process.

    3. SandrineSmiles (France)*

      In France, in most places I’ve worked, there is a system to get an advance, usually it says to contact X person before X date and the limite of the advance is either a sum or a percentage of what you’ve earned.

      Depending on how/when a person gets paid, it might be difficult to adjust everything comfortably.

      Example: I get paid 80% of my salary on the last day of the month, and the rest on the 5th. In a few months, because of company changes, it will be on the 11th. So for me, all good.

      My boyfriend, on the other hand, gets paid on the 11th… if he’s lucky. Which means that we had to delay paying rent until then for a while because he was the only one bringing money in. And he’s had to ask for advances a few times because some bills come up before he officially gets paid.

      I wouldn’t be too happy working somewhere where my integrity would be questioned because of advances. You either can do them or you can’t, but I wouldn’t even go further than that (because it does feel a little patronizing) .

      1. AMPG*

        But the issue there isn’t your own money management, it’s your boyfriend’s employer’s inability to pay according to a fixed schedule. That’s a completely different situation.

  3. neverjaunty*

    OP #1, Anne may be “young”, but 23 is plenty old enough to know better than to do something this dishonest and foolish and double down with ridiculous lies. Sometimes people don’t learn things unless it’s the hard way.

    A stern warning will have the opposite effect, by the way. It’ll teach Anne there are no serious consequences and she just needs to cover her tracks better next time.

    1. INTP*

      Agree – if she had been called out and said “I’m sorry, I changed my mind about the dates I want to be out, and I thought it would save some extra emails if I just changed it instead of going through OPName again,” that would be the sort of dumb decision that might be plausibly related to being young and naive. But 23 is certainly old enough to know it’s wrong to lie and then lie about lying when you are caught, and that this is something that will get you fired.

      1. DeLurkee*

        It is definitely old enough to know better. I don’t see how someone who thinks that’s ok can be trusted any more.

      2. Anonymouse*

        The only way I see it as excuseable is if *maybe* it was to see a terminally sick relative, go to a funeral or had to sign a lease that only could be done on Friday.

        But then you ask for the day off with the reason why.

        If it was just to take time off then no.

        There is no way Anne was going to get away with this. Questionable judgment for every aspect.

        1) Forging an email from your boss
        2) leaving office with no coverage
        3) knowing your supervisor is going to talk to your boss about your email and the boss has the original email.
        4) doubling down once caught instead of coming clean

        1. MashaKasha*

          5) trying to set up the OP (with Anne’s kind of short-term thinking, I bet that was exactly what she was going after. “But OP told me I could have both days off!”

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          The only way I see it as excuseable is if *maybe* it was to see a terminally sick relative, go to a funeral or had to sign a lease that only could be done on Friday.

          Nope. It’s still a lie and a fraudulent attempt to cover it. If she had a terminally sick relative, she should have said “change of plans, my grandma is dying and I need Friday off.” Instead, she lied and tried to make it look like she didn’t. There’s literally no excuse.

          1. Anonymouse*

            Hence the *maybe*.
            I remember being in such a state when my father was terminally sick last year and not keeping work in the loop as much with my changing schedule.

            But this is a huge deal and it brings up trust issues.

    2. Mookie*

      Yep. I’m really angry with Anne right now, and a huge part of that anger stems from knowing that this is something I might have done before becoming a reformed non-ethical, sneaky sort of person (in non-professional settings only, fortunately). I hate admitting that, but I suppose it’s good for people who would never dream of doing something like this to know that shame and guilt and serious consequences really do serve as deterrents for a portion, anyway, of liars, fraudsters, and the chronically irresponsible. Anne didn’t need to do this, her audacity here is incredible given that there’s no real way this would have gone unnoticed, and any manager who keeps her on is failing their other employees. That low-rent reverse psychology “I know this looks bad” lark seals the deal that this is how she operates. Liars, especially the planning sort, frequently think their best defense is a combination of implausible scenario + drawing attention to the implausibility + overly demonstrative and disproportionate martyr-y sort of apologetics* because they think that makes them look authentic rather than contrived. Anne hits two of the three. Letting her win at this could embolden her. I am probably projecting a bit, though. :/

      *Stephen Glass personified, basically

      1. Froggy*

        Yes exactly I once managed a person who forged an email asking for permission for time off. She altered an email to indicate that she had sent me the request two weeks prior, but she didn’t verify he date & day of the week, so I knew it was forged besides Not finding it in my previously received email communications from her. I reported it to my manager and proceeded to have discussions including HR and senior management about terminating her for integrity,or even minimally a serious final warning. HR and my management ultimately decided to do nothing because the action was not directly client-impacting. This employee was troublesome on many levels but I believe the company was afraid of her. She is still there 8 years later, and I never felt valued by that department afterwards. And I still wonder if I should have made further arguments.

        1. Gaia*

          Yea I just don’t get this. We had an employee do something similar and insist they had sent an email to our management group (several, actually). He went so far as to take actual emails and alter the date/time stamps and body content. Which sent us to IT to figure out why were did not receive *several* emails and “what the hell is happening!?”

          That led to IT telling us those emails never went through the server which means they couldn’t have been sent which means they weren’t in the employees Sent box which means they faked it.

          They were fired after they tried to keep up the lie and insist it was a big conspiracy against them. The sad thing is, the emails weren’t even that important. It just became a major integrity issue. We could no longer trust anything this person said or their work product if they were willing to lie so extensively about a small thing.

        2. Lily in NYC*

          We had a real genius try to do that at my office and he forgot to change the text colors, so everything he forged was in blue instead of black; what a dummy.

    3. Isabelle*

      I have a feeling that Anne did this before and got away with it and this is why she persisted with the lie, thinking she would get away with it this time too.
      They really need to let Anne go and this will benefit her in the long term, she will learn a valuable lesson early on in her career and hopefully behave with honesty and integrity and the future.

      1. Meri*

        Oh yeah. $5 says she successfully pulled “there must have been a glitch ” in order to get an extension on a paper or explain away errors in school.

        (If I’m proven right, I want it understood that I’m owed $5 million. The appearance of any other amount in my response is clearly due to a glitch.)

    4. Anon Accountant*

      This is a great point about teaching her otherwise she has to cover her tracks better next time.

  4. Junior Dev*

    “You have to do what he’s asking since he’s your boss, but you’re welcome to privately acknowledge the smallness of his character each time.”

    I love this. Sometimes you’re stuck working for an unreasonable person or in unreasonable circumstances and it can be really helpful to remind yourself, it’s not me, my boss is a petty jerk.

    1. Jennifer*

      This kind of thing is why I’ve become a believer in having some kind of workplace Stockholm syndrome. I just have to buy into the levels of crazy going on around me because trying to be sane and reasonable isn’t going to work or make anything better.

      On a related note, this reminds me of the time when someone complained that they wanted B listed first instead of A on their records. My boss said no because this is stupid and anyone who can read can figure out that you’ve done B, our office higher-up said no for the same reasons, so this person complained to the head of the organization. Suffice it to say, B is now listed first instead of A.

      My rule: shut up and give in to the crazy, because crazy is gonna scream and win.

      1. Myrin*

        My goodness.

        (Out of curiosity, what was the reason for the original complaint? Did they not like the look of the letter A or something?)

        1. Sparkly Librarian*

          I think that “A” and “B” are representative of specific items in the file. For example: Employee got a graduate degree from University A and an undergraduate degree from University B. Naturally, to have an advanced degree, one needs the prerequisites. There would be little need to emphasize the undergraduate degree if the more recent, higher degree was needed for the job. It might look silly to list University B so prominently, but that’s what the employee wanted.

          1. Myrin*

            Oh my, I bet you’re right – I’m facepalming so hard about myself right now, it didn’t even occur to me that Jennifer meant something other than an alphabetical order. My brain is a bit fried from the intense work I’ve been doing the past few hours, it appears.

        1. Jennifer*

          I dunno. I am crazy, but maybe not in the same way as everyone else’s level of crazy.

          It seems best to conform to everyone else’s crazy.

        2. A Person*

          I think it’s more that by buying into (or at least going along with) the dysfunction (either as a conscious choice or because that’s just the culture of the workplace) you’re becoming part of the ‘norm’ and thus can access other/better things.

          Calling out problems gets you pushback from people who have an interest in maintaining whatever status quo they’ve made.

      2. Mookie*

        so this person complained to the head of the organization

        The shameless, time-wasting pettiness of this boggles the grey matter.

      3. FunTillSomeoneLoosesAnEye*

        I call that the “Keep asking until someone tells you ‘yes’ method”
        Which tends to lead to the “Now complaining that all the reasons you got a ‘No’ the 1st 5 times are happening method”.

      4. Liz2*

        Bwahaha- this reminds me of one of my early jobs as an admin, we still used folding files with colored sticker letters in the stacks. As they do, files get dingy and a bit muddled over time. I made it my project to physically clean up every single label and file things properly. I was just about halfway when another admin from another area caught wind and decided that she needed to go ahead and re-org all the files based on the quality reports generated- with A, An, and The included in the sorting. I found her sitting on the floor surrounded by “The” files.

        I tried my best to explain why those aren’t considered in actual filing but she wouldn’t have it. Eventually I gave up and pushed it to the managers who sorted her and I could continue to file “my way,” but some enthusiasm died and the other admin was always cool to me afterwards.

    2. bridget*

      I work in an industry where it is 100% expected to order email recipients based on seniority in the company (and clients first before lawyers). It’s weird, but it kind of makes sense to me to order people based on “importance” in an email. Anybody who gets annoyed about a mistake is definitely a jerk, though.

      1. MerciMe*

        I was taught the seniority rule, too. Though I notice things shifting to strict alphabetical order. I’ve been told the exact rule doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent and correct. I have to admit that alphabetical seems vastly preferable but it’s hard to give up the feeling that long-standing habits are more “correct”…

        1. Liz*

          Most people here don’t care, but occasionally I’ll take a few mins to alphabetize the recipients if it’s going to multiple departments, or is an announcement of some type. I did it today for a policy change.

      2. David St. Hubbins*

        I can’t imagine why anyone would even look at the order of recipients. This sounds like something certain politicians would care about.

        1. Mookie*

          I know of whom you speak, but order by seniority sometimes is the norm for certain political and diplomatic organizations, but it should be the software doing it, not a person being paid to do less mundane tasks.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I’m at a university, and I have to order my emails by a combination of rank and whose project it is.

          For example, purely by rank would be dean, associate deans, department chair, tenured professors, tenure-track professors, clinical faculty, full-time instructors, adjunct instructors, doctoral students, and staff.

          However, if it concerns, say, class scheduling, the assistant department head (a clinical faculty member) gets moved up directly behind the department chair because it pertains to her role as assistant department head.

          1. Aunt Vixen*

            The ordering of To: recipients and Cc: recipients by rank and seniority and project prominence and so on makes total sense to me as well – but surely once you’ve gone to that trouble on the initial message you don’t have to copy and paste and adjust the order on all future replies, right? That’s what’s so gonzo about OP3’s situation. (That and the fact that the boss wants to be the primary addressee even when he’s not the target of the message in the first place.)

            1. Mini Quiche*

              That’s what gets me too! If it has to be done in the initial e-mail, fine, but after that, whatever order “reply all” gives should suffice. It seems like a massive waste of time to have to keep re-ordering, especially if a lot of people are on the e-mail and the chain goes on for a long time.

            2. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Yeah, it’s a one-time thing. No-one cares about replies, etc. after the initial volley.

        3. Antilles*

          I can’t imagine why anyone would even look at the order of recipients.
          Yeah, this is kind of my thought too. Don’t people have anything better to do with their time at work rather than sit there scrutinizing email headers and analyzing the exact order of names?
          Shoot, even if you *don’t* have anything more productive to do, scrutinizing email headers would’t crack my Top 5 million “ways to waste time”.

          1. The Rat-Catcher*

            This is my thought too! Everyone here is too busy to concern themselves with where they are in the email header.

          2. JustaCPA*

            agreed. thats just nuts. IMHO, the TO should be the people or person responsible for replying or doing whatever is in the email and the CCs are FYI.

      3. Agatha31*

        “but it kind of makes sense to me to order people based on “importance” in an email”

        This is a massively petty and pointless ego stroking waste of time. It’s the equivalent of wanting someone to mail out a cc letter to 100 people – but oh hey, put them in the mailbox in order of seniority! Or hand out flyers to the whole office, but don’t go from office to office – follow this map of seniority that takes 10x as long and leads to the exact same results, that is, EVERYONE GETS AN EXACT COPY OF THE SAME DAMN LETTER/FLYER BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THAT WORKS. Sorry, not yelling at you, just ARGH because it’s always someone who knows jack about computers making shit up like this. And deliberate inefficiency enforced by people who don’t know how to use something on people they hired because they DO know how to use that thing… yeah, I’ve been there, multiple times, and I hate it. Even worse is when that crap affects your performance review. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

        1. bridget*

          The reason it makes sense to me is because you can see the lineage from more formal means of communication. The first time it was established protocol in my career was while working at a court. On the most formal documents (written opinions), I don’t think most people would object to the judges or justices being listed in order of rank/seniority. That flows down to internal written memoranda, and then to emails. It’s not hard to follow – I had a printout of the order of seniority pinned next to my desk, it wasn’t a secret protocol (was noted in training the first day), and I would seriously doubt it was ever raised in anyone’s performance review (more like gentle correction in the moment if there was an error).

          As a practical matter, it’s easier for me to make sure that everybody has been included who should be if there is *some* sort of consistent ordering protocol, whether that’s alphabetical or seniority or shortest to tallest. To my knowledge, I haven’t ever used an email client that mixes things up in replies, though.

          1. Soon to be former fed*

            Sorry I don’t understand what see the lineage from more formal means of communication means.

            1. Chinook*

              I do. The ranking of people in the “to” line in order of whatever is a hold over from when these messages where typewritten. At that time, it was no extra work to put them in order of seniority vs. alphabetical order and I could see having to do this as a secretary or Admin. Assist. and would actually be a good way to show the rank of various people whom a receiver may not recognize.

              Now, with how so many systems just default to alphabetical and can’t be overwritten as well as how this information is buried in the header instead of on top of the page (and info about them easily available in address books or online), I think the receivers need to get over themselves.

          2. Gloucesterina*

            What bridget is describing makes sense for a certain type of context, but downthread OP#3 chimes in to clarify that the order of names has nothing to do with a fixed hierarchy that’s transparent and sharable within the organization in order to train employees to work with–instead, it’s completely based on the boss’s whim and subject to change at any time!

      4. Formerly formal*

        I also used to work for a large, international organization where formalities mattered and there was a protocol for ordering email recipients that everyone was expected to follow. Were I the OP, I’d definitely talk to my boss about whether there was some sort of protocol I was missing in the organization or sector.

        1. OP3*

          I’m the OP for #3.

          I found out about the “rule” when I ran afoul of it the first time.

          One of the major issues with it is that the order he wants changes based on his personal opinion of people and current interdepartmental politics. There are two people in another department we work closely with that he frequently butts heads with, and every time I need to email both of them the order changes based on who he most recently argued with. It’s not a set order that I can just follow.

          The end result is that with certain departments I have to walk into his office and ask what the order of the day is going to be.

          1. Jules of the Riverside*

            Wow. The last time I remember being that petty it involved invitations to a slumber party.

          2. Gloucesterina*

            Omg, there is an “order of the day”?

            It’s like your boss is running a restaurant but instead of food and drink, he serves petty and time-wasting.

          3. Interviewer*

            I think this really strains the limits of contractor versus employee. I can’t imagine this is the only thing he micromanages during your workday? You have my sympathies.

      5. LQ*

        I always feel like I’m doing good if I include all the appropriate people (we definitely have a CC kind of culture around here) but I’ve never considered the order. I never would have thought that mattered, I’ve never bothered to look. I’ll look and see cc vs to, but the order of the names? Surely there are some email programs that reorder the names (in such a way that it doesn’t matter)?

        My boss must think I think he’s the lowest person in the hierarchy because he’s almost always an after thought for me.

        1. The Rat-Catcher*

          I’m in a weird org structure and my boss is a higher-up, and I still sometimes have a little internal debate on whether she needs to be copied on things, so she’s always last.

      6. Operations Manager*

        I’ve never even heard of this so I’m surprised to see it seems relatively common. The order of recipients in my emails is the order in which I remember they need to be included.

        1. JB*


          I’ve worked at multiple very large organizations in medicine, finance, and academia. I’ve had emails where folks in the C-suite are in the email thread. No one has ever done this.

          The only thing I’ve ever been reprimanded or corrected on is putting people in the “to” who should have only been in the “cc”. At current-job it’s important to be clear on who action/reply is expected from.

        2. KTM*

          Yeah I’m fascinated by this conversation… I’ve never given any thought to how an emails recipient list is ordered (I’m in engineering). I have the same ‘method’ that you do.

    3. Anonymouse*


      I had a boss that would sulk and refuse to talk to me for the whole day if we received an email with my name first in the greeting.
      (Small business so he was owner and CEO).

      Nevermind that I was the one dealing with everything customer service (phone calls, emails, sales, gradings) and our 1000 students and families and my boss avoided that part of the job like the plague.

      We had an email inbox that was shared and it also sent duplicates to my work email.

      So I’d have to delete the original before he saw it and send him it from my email with our names switched around.

      1. Gaia*

        Years ago I worked for a company where it was just me, a tech and the owner. I did all of the customer interactions (except the actual tech work), ordered all supplies, did all the billing and scheduling etc. The owner used to get so lividly angry when customers would call out of hours (or when I was off) and ask for me by name. He demanded I stop giving out my name. He was ridiculous.

        1. SamSam*

          We have a small company and one department head demanded that his staff of 3 be taken off our internal employee list (we keep a spreadsheet of everyone’s names and extensions that for a while had those unnamed employees listed by their responsibilities and email, no phone # listed). He banned them from making or receiving any phone calls, so when they didn’t get answers for ridiculously small things over email, they’d end up sneaking around to other people to ask them if they could make a call for them. I’m still flummoxed that the situation lasted as long as it did (department head finally got fired, and almost the next-day his employees finally had names and phones!)

  5. Responsible party*

    #1–I once had an employee who changed her timesheets after I’d signed them. I foolishly only suspended her for a week, though thankfully I told her if any more instances came to light she’d be terminated. Unsurprisingly, we quickly found some more, and she was gone.

  6. Elder Dog*

    #3. Make a little note you can copy and paste from with the names in the preferred order and it will save you hours. You boss is odd. Sorry.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Another trick is to copy all the names into Excel and use ‘sort by’ to reorder them for you.

        1. YuliaC*

          Hahaha exactly.
          I have to sort one of my weekly email requests by pettiness, or my request is not going to be processed until I send a follow-up email.

      1. OP3*

        Per my reply to Formerly Formal above, it’s not that straightforward. The order is based solely on my boss’s opinion of people and interdepartmental politics; and changes with his opinions.

        1. KTM*

          Oh boy, that’s utterly ridiculous. Maybe under the guise of wanting to to follow your bosses request, send him a document with your understanding of the order of email importance and let him rearrange it how he sees fit. Then use that order and if he reprimands you in the future, send that document and ask if you should rearrange it for future reference? Might at least call out his BS a little bit…

        2. Jennifer Thneed*

          And (some) email systems will order names alphabetically, regardless of the order they’re typed in. I mean, you’ll see it one way, but the recipient will probably see it another way. (And of course if anyone does a reply-all, all bets are off.) And does your boss actually think he’s sending the recipients a message?

          Your boss is incredibly self-indulgent. If you’re feeling petty, track how much time this takes each time you do it and let your boss know — not how much TIME it costs, but how much MONEY it costs. Add up all those 30 seconds you have to use and then calculate how much it’s costing per month or whatever. And you base this on whatever your gross (not take-home!) salary is. If your boss has any kind of budget awareness, that might make a difference. It depends a lot on how rational the guy is, and he doesn’t sound very rational.

  7. TootsNYC*

    #2. Employee keeps asking for pay advances

    I saw that there isn’t an EAP that the manager can refer him to. But I think a manager could say, “Here’s a resource that might help you with this.” Maybe that’s getting too involved, but I hope not.

    I think it sends two messages: 1) you don’t have to figure this out alone, but we’re not the ones to help you; and 2) you shouldn’t have this happen again.

    1. Gadfly*

      Although I wonder if “forgot” is code for “I’m having other issues and I would rather look stupid than have to explain them.

      Because I’ve been there. I was in a pretty bad head space after my dad passed and mys younger siblings were even worse and for years I was bailing them out in ways that screwed me over. And I would much rather have explained that I had ‘forgotten’ bills than that I spent so much preventing my siblings from being homeless or other issues that I couldn’t pay them. Looking flakey/stupid was better than being told again by someone who didn’t see the whole dynamic that I was just being taken advantage of–which was partially true, but not all of it.

    2. ArtK*

      Even if there isn’t an EAP, if the company outsources their benefits management there may be some resources there. I know that I get offers for help with money management that come from our benefits vendor. That would be something for a referral. Otherwise, I’d just send the employee to the web — I’m not doing a search for them.

  8. DeLurkee*

    Ohhhh wow to #1 – I’m horrified that I also know someone who did a similar thing. There’s more than on each of them?!

    At my company, and I’m going to anonymize this big time, a person of a similar age to Anne also falsified an email. In that case, they edited an existing one to make it look like another staff member had been abusive and threatening, and then went to management with that “evidence” and made an allegation of bullying.
    I.T. had to be called in to investigate the discrepancy and proved that the complaining person had edited the email and inserted the threats and abusive language themselves.

    Guess what happened to that person? A “stern warning”.

    1. Jennifer*

      We had someone fired for, among other rumored things, “forging an e-mail” on a day when the entire computer network for the organization was down. Except in this case unfortunately the supervisor notoriously could not stand how the employee would stand up to them and well…I have some doubt this and whatever else the employee supposedly did actually happened in the way that the supervisor said. I always thought, wouldn’t someone have managed to check or prove this with IT? Shouldn’t that be an easily proven thing if it happened?

        1. Jennifer*

          As far as I know that didn’t happen, but ex-employee did eventually find another job after a year and last I saw them, they seemed a lot happier.

      1. SignalLost*

        Depends on IT’s involvement. I worked for an extraordinarily dysfunctional org where the person who oversaw administrative functions (HR, payroll, IT, etc) wanted to remove a friend of mine for discriminatory reasons. Among other things, she put a backdated writeup in my friend’s file – it was never signed indicating receipt and it was supposedly given in April but not mentioned until termination in November – and claimed my friend was logging into either Facebook or gmail literally thousands of times in an hour. We worked out that she would have to be completing a full login and logout every two seconds, 24 hours a day, to hit the rate claimed. Obviously, IF that was happening, it was a weird glitch. I mean, since she was t living in the office and all.

        But she had fired the head of IT a few weeks previously for pointing out the problems we would have with going to Office 365, so no one in IT even had time to contest the claim about the login, assuming they wanted to set themselves up to be the next people fired.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      We had an assistant who was mad at her boss, so she edited his five-year evaluation of another department head to make it look like he’d said terrible things about the other head’s competence and character.

      This was so out of character for her boss that the dean and his assistant launched an investigation between university IT and the independent company hosting the evaluations. When her tampering was discovered, she was fired and escorted off campus by the university police department and banned from campus.

      1. Lily in NYC*

        Whoa, it’s a tempting fantasy but it’s just amazing that people actually try this stuff!

    3. CMDRBNA*


      I feel sorry for the other staff person, whose character was hugely impugned by the forger. I don’t think I would stay at an employer who would allow someone who had done that to me to remain there.

      1. Sunshine on a cloudy day*

        Yeah – there are VERY few people who I truely could not work with. Period. But someone who did something like this is one of them.

        I’m a big “live and let live” person, and sure there are lots of things that co-workers have done that I do not condone or disagree with. At the very worst, I’m perfectly fine being 100% professional/civil regarding work matters, but not having any sort of personal contact with a co-worker (aside from icy politeness).

        However. I had a colleague bring false accusations to HR about me once. Unfortunately (and I guess to give her some sort of credit) she was extremely careful to use only examples of verbal situations – nothing that I could bring objective proof against. Thankfully the head of HR used to be my direct supervisor and knew these accusations to be complete BS, but it was such a stressful and traumatic experience. Eventually the accusations just sort of “went away” (there was no basis to them), but nothing was ever done about the co-worker lying/manipulating the info that she accused me with. As soon as the allegations were brought up (and I realized they were being taken with some sort of seriousness – long story, but HR was on my side, dept heads were on my colleague’s side) I started looking for a new job. There was no way I could work with someone willing to lie about me and put my livelihood at jeopardy. I would live in such stress, every day, being worried about what else the person might be willing to do.

    4. Jesca*

      I don’t understand why people never seem to realize how dangerous these people are to others and to their business?!? When someone lacks integrity, that is a huge freaking deal. You never know where their personal line is.

  9. Alienor*

    #5: I actually got my first post-college job because the company called me back several months after rejecting me and asked if I was still available, so it totally happens. It sounds to me like one of those situations where there were a couple of equally qualified candidates, they had to pick someone, and it ended up being the other person for possibly trivial reasons.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      And really why would they contact you again for the express purpose of finally rejecting you? That would be a) sadistic and b) a waste of everyone’s time?

      1. AnnaBanana*

        I’ve got a guy coming in for chat this week about a position we interviewed him for five months ago. We rejected him then as we thought he was overqualified but I’m now able to offer him a more senior role. When this kind of call back happens, it usually means they really liked you but couldn’t give you a job at the time but may be able to now. Be hopeful!

      2. Anna Held*

        That’s what a long job search will do to you! You can’t fathom that it might be good news.

    2. OtterB*

      I was the hiring manager in a situation like this some years ago. We had one position, we interviewed several candidates and hired one, and another position opened up a couple of months later. I suggested to my boss that we see if our second place candidate was still looking before we opened a new search (he was employed and looking for greater growth opportunity, so I thought it possible he hadn’t found anything else yet). Boss asked, “What was wrong with him?” I said, “Nothing. We were splitting hairs.” We brought the second candidate in again and hired him. And, as it turns out, he was a much better employee for the long term than the first hire.

    3. MegaMoose, Esq.*

      The exact same thing got my sister her first job in her field after college. She’s still with that company.

      1. Artemesia*

        My daughter was hired like that as the ‘second choice’; they hired her freelance, them when a position opened up, hired her full time and she ended up promoted well above the original hire within the year.

    4. Lily Rowan*

      Me too — I was the second choice candidate, and the first one didn’t work out, so they hired me a few months later. (That turns out to have been a red flag, but I had no idea at the time, and was just glad to be getting a regular paycheck!)

    5. Felicia*

      The job i have now came from a call back a few weeks after being rejected like this. Usually means you have a good shot!

    6. Gwen Stefani-Shelton*

      I also once got a job that way – I interviewed and the manager told me he liked me but felt he should hire the person who had previous experience (I had none.) Then he called me a few weeks later when another position opened up and hired me then.

      1. bibliovore*

        I was second choice. A failed search as the first choice passed on the position after negotiations. Second, third, and fourth choices were not reconsidered. I was asked to resubmit my cv. You never know.

    7. hayling*

      I also ended up hiring someone who were rejected initially. The first person we hired didn’t work out, and we rethought our requirements for the job, and thought that this particular rejected candidate would actually be a good fit. Glad we did it, she was a great hire.

    8. LBK*

      Yup, that’s how I got my current job. Originally chose someone else over me but then 2 months later another person in the same role left, so the hiring manager called me and basically just flat-out offered me the job. I did have to re-interview but it was pretty much just a formality – lasted 5 mins and mostly consisted of the manager saying “Do you still want the job?” and me saying yes.

    9. InfoSec SemiPro*

      I just hired someone who I had initially interviewed for a different position. First interview, I ended up hiring someone else, but I was impressed by their work. When I opened this position, I thought it might be a fit for them, asked if they were still interested in working with me and recruited them for the newer position.

      Several of the people I interviewed for this position I’m keeping in my notes for future positions as well – it was a difficult search, but I ended up with a tiny handful of really excellent candidates but only one open job. I hope I can open positions that the others fit with some time in the future, and I truly wish them the best.

  10. JamieS*

    I somewhat disagree with the first letter. I agree with Alison’s answer given the actual question posed but I’m suspicious of the OP’s intentions. Based on the letter it doesn’t sound like OP has the authority to decide how to discipline Anne and I’m concerned that important detail may be getting overlooked in how OP is handling this issue.

    Small disclaimer: yes I know suspicious probably isn’t the best word to use but I can’t think of a better one atm.

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      I think the missing details are the inferences that OP was being blamed for approving days off that she’s not allowed to approve, and her rightful annoyance that Anne was happy to set OP up to look like a liar. I think Anne didn’t expect OP to have access to both versions of the email and that Anne’s explanation was going to be, “Here’s my email. See, OP approved the days off and now she’s saying she didn’t.” OP’s reputation is on the line.

      1. JamieS*

        I don’t think OP’s reputation is on the line. The letter indicated Anne’s supervisor is leaning towards just a warning which says to me the fact Anne lied has already been established.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          OP’s reputation was on the line in the sense that Anne was totally willing to have management believe that OP was a liar who was overstepping her authority. Had Anne gotten away with it, it would have absolutely hurt OP’s standing.

      2. Myrin*

        I agree that that was probably Anne’s thinking but I honestly can’t comprehend it – the boss was going to confront OP about the situation and of course OP was immediately going to say that she only approved of one day and back that up with her own email, regardless of whether she had access to Anne’s tinkered email or not. I can only agree with Alison that this shows a strange lack of critical thinking skills.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think she’s saying she has the authority to deal with Anne; she’s pretty clear that she doesn’t. But it’s normal for someone in the OP’s shoes to have strong opinions on how Anne should be dealt with, and to look for outside opinions on that to calibrate her own thinking.

    3. MK*

      I don’t really understand what you mean. The OP is asking how Anne should be disciplined; I don’t see how it is an important detail who is doing it. The OP says she is not Anne’s manager, so it’s unlikely they have any authority to fire her; but it seems to me as if the COO (who presumably has the authority) is asking for her input. Maybe the OP wrote to AAM because she wants validation for her opinion, maybe she wants to use the answer to make a stronger case to the COO, maybe she is just curious about how others would handle this. But it’s not really important for answering.

      1. Artemesia*

        If I were the OP I would be pressing very hard for Anne’s dismissal. This could have damaged the OP; in fact the first round here was the supervisor chastising the OP for approving a day of no coverage. This kind of stink sticks even when it is not your fault. Anne should be gone and management that thinks this kind of duplicity coupled with doubling down and exposing someone else to censure is worth only a stern warning is weak management. Stern warnings are for serious mistakes made by newbies not for failures of character. Someone who will forget emails and lie about it cannot be trusted on anything else.

        1. KHB*

          So, to what extent is it appropriate to press for a coworker’s dismissal, when you don’t have any direct authority in that area?

          This ties into a situation I’m going through now. I have a coworker who has a long history of making Mistake X. Several months ago, the boss sat him down and said, “This is your last warning. If you make Mistake X again, you’re going to lose your job.” He just made Mistake X again. He hasn’t been dismissed yet.

          All these instances of Mistake X are causing a lot of extra work for a lot of other people, and it’s demoralizing. I’d like to be able to gently nudge the boss (who is a long-time colleague but fairly new to management) to follow through on his promise, but I don’t want to be perceived as overstepping.

          1. DDJ*

            You have my sympathy. I went through a situation like this recently (with a coworker making the same mistakes for over a year and half, creating a lot of extra work for a lot of people) and a top performer left the organization, and specifically mentioned how difficult it was to continue to work in an organization where there was no apparent accountability. And, more specifically, mentioned the coworker who continued to make mistakes (I know this because they told me what they’d talked about in their exit interview, after they’d left).

            Unfortunately, there might not be a lot that you can do, and questioning your boss’s decision about this might just make YOUR life more difficult. If the boss isn’t going to follow through, he’s probably going to feel embarrassed about leveling an empty threat. Is there any way you think you might be able to approach your boss and say something along the lines of “It’s too bad that you’re going to have to let Ferdinand go, since he made that mistake again. Is there anything I need to be aware of, as far as interim steps to make sure that everything is getting done?” Maybe that’s not the best idea, but maybe approaching it from an angle of “I believe you’re going to be following through on this consequence, so what does that mean for the group?” leave things open enough that your boss can either really strongly consider the precedent that he’s setting if he doesn’t follow through on the consequence, or save face by saying there must have been a misunderstanding or something (if it was an empty threat that he was just hoping would be enough to help your coworker shape up).

            But it’s a fine line to walk to make sure you’re not over-stepping.

            I tried to talk to my boss about the mistake-maker and the solution proposed was that obviously, the mistakes weren’t going to stop (!), so maybe we needed to come up with some process by which more people would double- (or triple-) check this person’s work. That process never happened, the coworker never did stop making the mistakes, and overall it’s just pretty stressful. I try to do what I can and to just…let the rest go.

            1. KHB*

              I should mention that I’m a “team lead” with that pesky combination of responsibility but no authority, and Ferdinand sometimes works for my team and sometimes not. So I could say something like “Boss, if it ever gets to the point where it’s not safe to assume that Ferdinand will be available to contribute to upcoming projects for my team, is it possible for you to let me know?” because that’s something I’m legitimately interested in. But I worry that it errs to far in the direction of assuming Ferdinand’s NOT going to be fired (or worse, suggesting that I don’t want him to be).

      2. JamieS*

        I mean the tone of the letter is that OP intends to continue to butt heads with Anne’s supervisor when the supervisor had already indicated they’ve made a decision. Presumably she’s already said her piece and continue to push back would be undermining Anne’s supervisor.

        I might be wrong and OP really just wanted validation from an outside source or the supervisor is still asking for her input. However it sounds like the input phase of the conversation is over but it doesn’t sound like she’s accepted the supervisor’s decision .

        Also people usually write in looking for a call to action so any letter that just asks for an opinion I’m suspicious of.

        1. Myrin*

          I’d say that as long as “[h]er supervisor is leaning toward a stern warning”, they haven’t actually made a decision yet.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Lots of people aren’t looking for a call to action but just want to know “how should this be handled, ideally?” I get loads of letters from people who basically ask “is this normal?”

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Yes, and in fact this conversation has happened in the comments before, multiple times–someone says “the OP can’t do anything so why did they write in,” and Alison points out that it’s totally normal to want to know if your reaction to a situation is normal or disproportionate. It’s very common and quite understandable.

            1. tigerStripes*

              I would be absolutely furious if someone had falsified an e-mail in a way that made me look bad and got me reprimanded, even if I was able to prove right away that the other person falsified the evidence.

              In the OP’s place, I’d probably also want to know what other people thought about this, even if there was nothing I could do. I’d want to know what kind of reasons someone would give only a warning for this type of unethical behavior.

          2. Drew*

            I sense the need for a regular new feature on AAM: “Wack or Not Wack?”

            “Alison, my boss wants me to send him mail and Cc everyone else, even if the mail doesn’t concern him and the Cc recipients have all the action items.”
            “Wack. Very wack. Wack-a-doodle-doo.”

        3. Observer*

          Firstly, the OP says that the supervisor is “leaning” – that’s not the language of a decision made. Nor is it true that people only write in with requests to “calls for action”. In fact it’s often explicitly not. Lastly, but not least, this is the kind of situation where some hard push to rethink a decision is possibly appropriate. Ann threw someone under the bus, committed a forgery and then doubled down on the lie. How can any supervisor that decides to let that slide be respected? It’s bad enough that if the supervisor lets it go, I’d be advising the OP to start thinking about whether this a place to stay.

  11. Gaia*

    OP 3 the only “rule” around this I’ve ever heard (and honestly never seen enforced) is that the people that need to take action go in the To field and those that are just getting an FYI go in the CC field. I’ve heard murmurings that some old school business courses taught that the names should be hierarchical but…who the hell really pays attention to that? If you have that much time, you need more work to do.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      As you can see upthread, and as I have experienced as well, there are plenty of people who pay attention to that, whether or not it is ridiculous. (NB: It is ridiculous.)

    2. LoiraSafada*

      Seriously – it’s not a publication, it’s an email. I can’t imagine caring about the order email addresses appear in in an email someone sends me, much less even noticing the email addresses unless I’m explicitly looking for someone’s contact info.

  12. SusanIvanova*

    If it weren’t for automatic bill pay I’d have a terrible credit rating just from forgetting, but these days I don’t even have to pay extra – it’s a perk of my credit union.

    1. Clewgarnet*

      In the UK, you generally get a discount for paying by direct debit. It’s been a lifesaver – when I was first starting to pay bills, I was constantly forgetting. Now it just goes out and I check it over every six months or so to make sure everything’s right.

    2. Antilles*

      A lot of companies will give you a small discount for setting up auto-pay. For companies, it’s a no-brainer: It means that they’ll get paid first (as opposed to you maybe juggling bills) and gives them cost certainty. Giving you a few bucks off a month as an incentive to do it is more than worth it.
      If you aren’t getting a discount for auto-pay, it’s usually worth calling them and at least asking; worst they can say is no and you’re there already.

      1. Gee Gee*

        I live in Podunk, USA and our small local utility companies STILL charge for autopay or CC payment. The only way to not get charged for the “privilege” of paying your bill is to write a personal check and submit it by snail mail. Join the new millenium, people!

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          My rental company charged for online payments until about four months ago. They were literally the only reason I kept checks on hand (because I wasn’t dealing with the hassle of going to the bank to get a cashier’s check).

        2. Gaia*

          Could you do bill pay via your bank? My bank prints and mails checks for me for companies like this. I don’t pay a fee to pay bills. That is crazy

    3. AW*

      I love bill pay! I do it all through my bank so I only have to go to one site to handle everything. I pay all my bills with it except my rent and only then because they have to send a physical check in the mail and it kept turning up “missing”. (I don’t know who’s to blame in that but I never had this problem paying rent this way in the previous city I lived in.)

      Back when free checking accounts were actually free I even had a second one just for paying bills. I kept my daily spending money separate from the money for paying bills so I couldn’t accidentally spend it.

  13. Observer*

    #3, your boss is a loon, but Allison is exactly right. If this is the only stupid thing he does, then count your blessings. If it’s just a sample of the way her works, bide your time and start looking.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I think the problem is already a bit bigger than fussing over name orders, though.

      “I’m required to put him on every communication, and have him at every face-to-face meeting.”

      That will reset your blessings counter pretty sharpish.

      1. Susan Calvin*

        Honestly. This was one of those that escalate from ‘ugh’ to ‘YIKES’ between the headline and the end of the first paragraph… it’s like anti click-bait.

      2. DDJ*

        That was the line that really jumped out at me when I read this. There are much deeper problems here. It seems like the emphasis on order of names is actually one of the least troubling things this boss is doing.

    2. RVA Cat*

      What leaped out at me is “I’ll be called into his office and verbally reprimanded (and threatened with insubordination).”
      OP3, even if you do the email order perfectly, every time, your Jerkboss will just make up another petty “rule” to yell at you over.

      1. tigerStripes*

        Also, the OP wrote in and said the boss frequently changed his mind on who should go before who depending how he felt about the people that day. Not just obnoxious, sounds like the boss doesn’t care if he wastes people’s time at work.

  14. Observer*

    #1, please ask the supervisor to stop maligning young people. I’m not using hyperbole when I say that a 10 year old should know better. I simply cannot understand why the supervisor thinks that a full fledged adult can’t be expected to act with basic honesty. In fact, to me that’s almost as troubling as Anne’s behavior.

    Ask her how she would react if Anne had stolen money from someone’s purse or pocket or had tried to charge a client “under the table”. Would she also say that Anne should get a second chance because she’s “young”? This is not essentially any different.

    1. Language Student*

      People in their 20s know this isn’t okay. She lied about it; she *knows* it’s not okay because she was trying to cover it up – and she wouldn’t even come clean when confronted with people basically saying, “we know you forged this email”. This isn’t a “young and inexperienced” issue, it’s an integrity issue.

      1. blackcat*

        People in their 20s know this isn’t okay, but they *are* more likely to think they won’t get caught. The first is an integrity issue, learned early in childhood. The second is a life experience issue–I’m sure there are tons of unethical people who *would like* do do something like this, but wouldn’t, because they know they’d easily get caught.

        I’d bet good money Anne cheated her way through high school/college and never got caught (or at least never got punishment). As a teacher, that makes me sad! I was never happy to catch kids cheating (particularly when I taught high school), but often getting caught at age 14-16 was upsetting enough that I believed the kids would never do it again.

        She needs a severe consequence, and firing makes sense to me. First off, you can’t trust her with *anything* ever again. Secondly, I believe firing her is in *her* best interest. If she’s not fired, she’s going to feel like she got away with it and do something similar again.

        1. RVA Cat*

          This. Next time it might be something with more serious consequences than being short-handed for a day.

        2. Tuxedo Cat*

          I taught in postsecondary ed, and it was really clear some of the students were accustomed to cheating. Some of them were surprised at how seriously I took cheating, even though it was laid out in the syllabus. Some even said that no actually failed them on the assignment… Dealing with this early is actually kinder than letting it slide.

          1. Drew*

            I suspects two students of collaborating in a summer school course I was teaching, so I handed out different forms of a quiz one day without warning the students.

            Imagine their surprise when their identical answers got them very different grades! (It also told me definitely who was copying whom, which was useful intel when I built my new seating chart.)

  15. Cheshire Cat*

    OP5, I had the same thing happen once; I was rejected for a job (after 3 interviews). The hiring manager told me that I was a strong candidate but they’d decided to go with someone else. I thought they were just trying to let me down easily. But a few months later, I got another call, asking if I was still interested in working for the company. The workload was growing, and they’d decided to add a new position. (I took it.)

    So yeah, this may not be common, but it definitely can happen. Don’t hold your breath, maybe, but I’d suspect that they thought you were a good fit, but someone else was a little better. Now something has happened with the other candidate & they’re calling you. Best wishes!

    1. SomeoneLikeAnon*

      Same thing happened to me, as well. I interviewed and as turned down – a couple of months later, the hiring manager called back and said a new position opened up and they thought on me for it. I considered it a nice compliment that I did so well on my interview they kept me in mind for future things.

    2. Neosmom*

      My team interviewed a couple of admin candidates and the team preferred Candidate A over my favorite. So we made the offer to Candidate A, who accepted. I notified Candidate B she was an extremely “strong second”.

      However, Candidate A was using our offer to get a counter offer from her employer, which she maneuvered successfully. So I was very happy to contact Candidate B and offer the position. She was a great addition to our team and eventually got promoted to a business analyst role.

    3. Jeanne*

      Second place really isn’t an insult. If they call back, they should mean it. They already know what skills and assets you have.

  16. Ive BeenThere*

    No question in my mind that Anne should be fired straight away. Why waste any more of your or the company’s time? She can’t be trusted.

  17. Ramona Flowers*

    #2 At my workplace we have a particular process for applying for money in a situation involving financial difficulty. It’s called a hardship loan and you have to fill in a specific form to request it. But this is not an advance – it’s extra and has to be paid back.

    It will ultimately not be a good thing to let this employee come to rely on doing this – asking for an advance – as a way of managing his personal finances.

    I wouldn’t assume he really is forgetting to pay it, though. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe it’s just the story he’s telling. People with money problems can feel a lot of shame and may fudge explanations like that because it beats admitting that you’re living on cupcakes from the office kitchen (we had an AAM letter about that) or you’re struggling with problem debts or your finances are balanced so precariously (partly because you’re earning a junior designer salary) that a few unexpected expenses can cause real problems and you can’t save up a rainy day fund as you need all your money now.

    For that reason, maybe someone should just ask this person how they’re doing, and see what they say. And it’s been my experience that many people don’t think to look for resources on money management or debt help as they aren’t aware that they exist, so it may be worth finding a tactful way to provide some. You could say someone you know found x website helpful, maybe. An overstep? Yes. But as I say, not everyone thinks of it.

    1. OP for #2 Here*

      The designer said he forgot, but whether or not that’s true is still up for debate.

      I like the loan rather than the advance idea, I’ll run it by the COO. I think the fact it’s a nominal amount and it involves a lot o for overhead to make it happen is also something the employee doesn’t realize (or care).

      The line I’m struggling with is what to say, if anything beyond “we can’t do this again.”

      1. la bella vita*

        Have you considered suggesting to the COO that you put a policy in place around advances? I know my (very large) company has it in writing that there are no advances, no exceptions – I don’t know if that policy would make sense for your company, but *a* policy might.

      2. Graciosa*

        I would say it NOW rather than looking for ways to keep serving as s source of funds, even using loans.

        What happens if he leaves the company without paying it back? Don’t assume that you can deduct from the last paycheck without legal advice as there are restrictions on this.

        It also fundamentally screws up the relationship in ways you don’t need. You (as an employer) are not the employee’s bank or credit union. You do not need to be evaluating his credit *for a loan* on a regular basis.

        I do think you need to consider the employee’s access to company funds with care. As sorry as I am to say this, the employee is displaying one of the warning signs often seen before some type of wrongdoing. Not everyone who displays poor personal money management skills goes on to steal from their employer – actually, few do.

        However, the classic fraud trifecta includes personal pressure (check), a way to rationalize the crime (possible check here if he can convince himself that he’s entitled to the advances and just getting them another way in the absence of permission) and opportunity.

        You need to pay attention to the opportunity element right now.

        It wouldn’t seem like a designer would have lots of opportunity, but even regular employees can do things to damage the company (fraudulent expenses, a small fake vendor, etc.).

        As a business, your job is to ensure that the funds are properly handled and used in service of the company (and again, not to provide credit to your employees). Pay enough attention to your internal controls – discreetly – to ensure you’re not asking yourselves later why no one acted on an obvious sign. The odds are excellent that this will be entirely unnecessary, but some caution now is much better than regret later.

        Good luck.

        P.S. – This probably reads like I’m horribly unsympathetic to the employee. I’m not, and I’m not opposed to making resources available to help where appropriate (EAP, for example) and where it can be done without intruding on the employee’s autonomy. I do want to add this element to the discussion as I haven’t seen it addressed yet.

      3. Elizabeth H.*

        To my mind, you don’t need to say anything, just “we can’t do this again” if you really MEAN it, and then stick to it.

    2. DataQueen*

      I think that television and movies have made the idea of asking for an advance on your paycheck seem like a very normal thing. Until i was 25 or so, I had no idea this wasn’t a normal thing and that it needed all sorts of approval! Now, I’m mortified! If he’s young, he genuinely might not realize how rare and extreme this request is.

  18. Ramona Flowers*

    #4 It’s nice that you want to be upfront about this as your intentions are clearly good. But don’t be. It will put potential employers in a really awkward position. Why? Because your religion is a protected characteristic which means you can’t legally be fired over it (unless it stops you doing a really essential part of the job that can’t be worked around) or rejected for a job over it.

    If employers know you’re Jewish (or another religion – sorry if I’m guessing wrong here) before they hire you, and then they go with another candidate, it could look discriminatory whether it is or not. So, for their own CYA (cover your a**) reasons, most employers would prefer not to have that information at all when making hiring decisions.

    And you don’t need to be upfront, so long as Saturday working isn’t a fundamental part of the job (e.g. if they were hiring someone solely for Saturday coverage). They are required to make reasonable accommodations for religious observance.

    Now, some people will tell you that employers will resent this being sprung on them and really it’s better to be upfront – that this is just realistic and if someone resents it then you don’t want to work for them. But from there it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to thinking that, say, women shouldn’t expect any favours when they get pregnant.

    Accommodating religious needs is a routine part of doing business. It is okay to mention it at offer stage and not before.

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      I understand what you’re saying, but nothing’s stopping employers from getting to the offer stage, hearing a previously unmentioned schedule limitation, and then revoking the offer. My concern here is that I’ve never had an interview where availability wasn’t part of the conversation. How do you sidestep the issue of, “When you asked about my availability during the interview, I lied about having a lifelong commitment to this component of my religion.” It’s not something that suddenly came up. It’s something that you deliberately withheld, and no employer wants to hire a liar.

      1. Cas*

        In most of my interviews, if not for casual work, the availability was assumed to be Mon-Fri and it was never asked about!

        1. Mookie*

          Outside of shift work, labor, work that involves travel, and some non-profits, I’ve never encountered this conversation, either.

          1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

            This job requires some evenings and weekends in addition to M-F. Since it requires work outside normal hours, odds are availability will come up. I know it has when I interviewed for jobs that one would normally assume were M-F standard business hours, but in these cases required some evenings and weekends.

            LW, if it comes up in the interview be honest about your availability. You can decide whether you want to get into the why of it or not. If it doesn’t come up, follow Allison’s advice

        2. Stellaaaaa*

          This would be an anomaly to me. I’ve never, ever had a job interview where there wasn’t some variation of, “So the hours are 9-6 with occasional Saturday events. Does that work for you?” Since OP already knows that the company requires occasional weekend events outside of the workweek, I would go into the interview expecting weekends to be part of the conversation. OP wouldn’t know about the weekend requirements if it wasn’t something that the company was in the habit of mentioning.

          1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

            Same. Off hours and travel expectations always come up in the interviews I have been in. It is important information for both candidates and managers.

          2. Natalie*

            I don’t think Alison would advocate lying, but if they don’t ask about availability there’s nothing wrong with waiting to bring it up.

      2. Natalie*

        I’ve never had a professional job that asked about availability.

        The reason to wait for the offer stage, as I understand it, is that it’s far less likely the company will pull the offer versus not advance the candidate to an offer. For two reasons, at least. Firstly, unconscious bias certainly exists but its often a weak force, so to speak – in the normal process of ranking candidates, an unconscious bias might put one candidate in a slightly lower position, enough to not be given an offer.

        Secondly, legal stuff. If you offer a candidate a job and then pull it because they ask for an accommodation, you are far, far more likely to lose in an EEOC hearing.

        1. art.the.nerd*

          > I’ve never had a professional job that asked about availability.

          Really? I’m surprised. I worked in IT, and questions about availability outside normal business hours (for software deployments, emergency bug fixes, etc) were frequently raised. (Like OP, I am Jewish and don’t work on my Sabbath.)

          One time I interviewed with Experian, and they asked about my availability for 3AM emergency fixes. I asked “How often do these occur?” and was told once a month (if I remember correctly). I politely told them they had serious problems with their test environment and withdrew my application.

      3. t*

        No one is saying she should lie if asked. If Saturday availability is critical to the job, one would expect a question to be asked about it, and OP should be honest. If it’s not asked, there’s no point in bringing it up, since it just opens a can of worms for the potential employer.

        There is no guarantee that the offer won’t be pulled, but it is unlikely at that point.

      4. KellyK*

        There’s a difference between lying and not bringing it up, though. The OP is asking when *they* should bring it up.

        If the employer needs someone who’s available on Saturdays, they should really ask about it in the interview. The OP knows that this is a potential issue because it’s a field that has weekend events, but an individual employer’s requirements could vary widely from “We need all hands on deck for every single event, and they’re all on Saturdays,” to “You’ll have to help with most events in some fashion, but we have enough people working events that you can pick between set-up, day-of, and clean-up.”

        If the employer asks about it in the interview, definitely don’t lie about it. But you also don’t have to say it’s religious if you don’t want to. “I have a firm commitment every Friday evening and all day Saturday, so I’m not available at those times, but I realize how important X events are to Y field, so I’d be happy to come in early Friday to help with prep, to come in later in the evenings Saturday for clean-up, or to come in Sunday to tie up any loose ends.”

    2. Mookie*

      Just as you say. This is why you default to a lot of issues of accommodation only after an offer. It’s counterintuitive for people who’ve never had to do it — although the OP may have always done so with other employers — but it protects both the candidate and the employer.

    3. Backroads*

      So call me seriously out of the loop, but I was really surprised to learn here, in my 30s, that religious observation days were (reasonably) protected. Weekends tend to be off in my field so it’s never come up for me before (my day of official church worship is Sunday), but I know plenty of other religious people who take working on their holy days as part of life. I guess I just assumed that’s how the world worked.

      Huh. Learn something new everyday.

      1. a different Vicki*

        It’s not just that your official day of worship is the day your team aren’t expected to work anyway. It’s also that there are different kinds of observance. “It’s the Sabbath, therefore I will not be working” has a different effect than “it’s a holy day, therefore I will be going to religious services for 1-2 hours sometime during the day,” in terms of scheduling.

        Also, without getting into too much detail, even within a given religion, different people approach this differently. And some things may be less visible. A cousin of mine used to be married to someone who took the Sabbath very seriously. He worked every Sunday, and left work early some Fridays, but he could walk home from work in half an hour, so he could leave right before sunset if he had to.

        1. Backroads*

          Fascinating. In my religious culture, working on the Sabbath isn’t ideal, but there’s no strong rule against it. So I guess advocating for the day off isnt too common.

  19. Stellaaaaa*

    OP4: If you’re Jewish, it’s the Friday evenings that may cause more problems than Saturdays. If you’re aiming for a field where you can assume a Mon-Fri 9-5 schedule, it can be hard to get approval to leave early on winter Fridays, when the sun goes down around 4 pm and you may or may not need to get home a few hours before that. Even the summers can be difficult if you think you’ll need to leave before 5 or 6. That can be the difference between wrapping up a project before the weekend or always having to wait until after the weekend to finish it, and being out consistently on Fridays can be more problematic than taking random Tuesdays off. There are categories of tasks that can’t always be passed to coworkers, especially if they involve completing a week’s worth of prep performed by you with your clients in mind. I’ve worked in the Hasidic community and this was…difficult. Clients expect businesses to be accessible through 6 or 7 on Fridays. I’m bringing this up because before I had to work around this type of scheduling (I’m Jewish but not observant) I would have assumed Saturdays would be the biggest problem, but it was actually the Fridays. Taking that kind of time off every Friday can bring a full-time position down to part-time.

    1. misspiggy*

      I had that thought too, but I don’t think it’s a big deal if you have a reasonable employer. (I’m assuming someone in this situation wouldn’t choose an industry where working till late on Fridays is essential, like some areas of banking.) One can come in early enough on a Friday to finish what’s left over from Thursday, and colleagues should be able to plan around somebody not being available at the last minute. It’s no different to a parent having to leave on time to pick up from daycare.

      I’d agree that (if OP is Jewish) it’s worth mentioning both Fridays and Saturdays at offer stage, since some employers will need the heads up that they can’t take late Friday attendance for granted. But it won’t be viewed as a problem if OP is clear they’ll come in earlier when needed.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        It’s not always about whether the employer is reasonable though. My observant Jewish coworkers often left at around noon EST on Fridays because there’s a whole process of prayer and prep that has to happen before the sun actually goes down. They don’t time for exact sundown and then clock out. The people I’ve worked with aimed to be home by 2 at the latest. That means that they had absolutely no contact with west coast clients between Thursday and Monday. I wouldn’t think an employer was judgmental or unreasonable for deciding that someone with those limitations wouldn’t be a great fit for a role where there was a need to finish out the expected workweek. For what it’s worth, the business recently shut down and this was one of the reasons. The company lost too much business to competitors because of these delays. I do think there’s a difference between, as you say, colleagues planning around last minute absences, and having to cover for a coworker who basically takes every Friday off. I’m not trying to sound uncharitable here. It’s just the reality of the Friday crunch. It doesn’t matter if an employer is reasonable if clients are asking to have their accounts transferred to employees who are accessible during daylight hours on Fridays.

        OP, you might want to look for jobs where you can have a Sunday – Thursday schedule. They’re more common than you’d think.

        1. blackcat*

          But the question is not “are they a good fit?” but rather “can we accommodate their schedule without undue burden?”

          Someone claims the answer to question 1 is No because of someone’s religion, while the answer to question 2 is Yes, that’s discriminatory.

          1. Stellaaaaa*

            Sometimes that is a distinction without a difference. It doesn’t accomplish anything to deny the reality that not all businesses can employ people who are unable to be present during business hours.

            In the case of the real business that used to employ me and several observant Jewish people, it caused undue burden to the extent that we all wound up unemployed. I am speaking from real experience here. I’m sure other businesses may handle this situation better but it’s not fair to OP to only present generic assurances from people who’ve never dealt with this scenario. I have dealt with it. Not every business that declines to accommodate OP is discriminatory.

            1. Anna Held*

              Not every business deals with clients, either, especially not all over the country. I work with observant Jews and they leave around one or two, and we don’t really need them Friday afternoon. Yes, s there’s a ton of prep, but they’re used to it and do what they can Thursday. They wouldn’t dream of leaving at noon every Friday, and again, we’ve got things arranged so there are no rushes of business or major deadlines Friday afternoon. Your colleagues were taking advantage (or your employer needed to make some changes, assuming they’d approved this).

              1. Stellaaaaa*

                They weren’t taking advantage any more than other religious people take advantage. Please take my personal experience at face value.

        2. Observer*

          I don’t buy that that’s the reason. There are plenty of businesses that are owned by Sabbath Observant Jews that actually close down at 1:00 or 2:00 (not just individuals who leave early). And they do NOT expect the non-Jewish workers to pick up the slack. It doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

          For a high profile example, look at B&H. They close and THAT’S IT. Their site doesn’t even process orders from sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday.

          1. Stellaaaaa*

            Why cast doubt on the reason I collected unemployment for a few weeks? It was a small business that had a handful of problems, but lost revenue due to customer drift was what closed us down. We weren’t B&H. I’m not lying about why I had to get a new job.

            1. Jessie the First (or second)*

              No one is saying you are lying. No one is saying they don’t believe that you and other employees, and the owners too, sincerely believe that Jewish people leaving at noon ruined the business.

              But what people are saying is that business all over the world manage to have observant Jews on staff who leave early afternoon, and the businesses don’t go under. So while that may have contributed to your former job’s troubles, it would make your business fairly unique; it may be that despite the owners’ convictions of what was to blame for the customer drift, the owners may have been wrong. Or, your former business was unique.

              For many industries, having an observant Jew have Friday afternoon off is simply not going to be an undue burden.

          2. J*

            I thought of B&H, too. I respect them for the stance. I imagine they get periodic pushback on it from customers.

          3. AMT*

            I don’t know if B&H is the best example of a workplace that handles religious issues well. They have been the subject of multiple discrimination lawsuits against non-Jewish employees and women.

            1. Observer*

              That’s not the point. The point IS that closing early has not apparently done their business any significant harm.

    2. CAA*

      Agreed! I also immediately thought that Friday is really the much bigger issue that your future employer will need to accommodate; though if you’re not in a client facing role it may be possible to flex your hours so that you’re coming in earlier on days whe the sun goes down earlier.

    3. Cas*

      Definitely agree.
      In my jobs, unless they’ve mentioned weekend work, I assume I’m in Mon-Fri and that’s it (although in Australia, if that makes a difference). Then, if a situation comes up requiring weekend work, I say I can do Sun but not Sat and it’s up to the boss to decide what they to do with their resources.
      But Friday afternoons I mention at the offer stage because some times of year, it means leaving at 330

    4. rj*

      OP, I think that if you are observant, you may also be able to seek guidance from others in your religious community. But if you’re writing to AAM, I assume you already have. If you are in a field that is newer or a role few people you know in your community have (because you are younger or your interests are different or whatever) it may be trickier. A reasonable employer should not balk, but a reasonable employer may also not understand what’s necessary for you to observe your religion.

    5. jhhj*

      Not all Jews celebrate Shabbat in the same way; it’s entirely imaginable to have someone who won’t work on Saturday but will work Fridays (though maybe not LATE, but past an early sunset).

    6. Observer*

      Actually, it’s generally totally not necessary to work till 5:00 on Fridays to get to full time. Worst case, you’re going down to 36 hours vs 40, if you leave at 1:00 and don’t work extra hours the rest of the week.

    7. Jeanne*

      It’s not only Jews that observe Saturday as the Sabbath. Seventh Day Adventists are very strict about Saturday. My memory is saying Jehovah’s Witnesses also use Saturday but not sure. There could be independent churches also. Those groups observe Saturday but not any part of Friday.

    8. OP #4*

      OP 4 here. I am actually Seventh Day Adventist, not Jewish, but the Sabbath concept is similar between the two religions! However, I’m not quite as strict about Friday evenings. I wouldn’t want to be scheduled for additional things after work hours but I am ok with a typical 9-6ish workday. You make a really good point about potential trouble finishing projects before the weekend though. I think, after getting the job, I would have to be very up front with my coworkers about my schedule so everyone can plan accordingly, including myself.

  20. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    It’s a good job OP3’s manager doesn’t work at my organisation. Our email system (based on a fairly standard MS Outlo0k setup with a fairly standard Active Directory behind it) sends all emails with the recipients in alphabetical order, so whatever order they’re entered into the ‘To’ field by the sender, by the time it reaches the recipient Tom Afterthought will be listed before Susan Bigwig, regardless of their seniority!

    1. Hekko*

      Out of curiosity, does it already reorder the names in the sender’s outbox, or do they stay in the order in which they were put in?

      I’m asking because I often need to look up an e-mail I sent earlier so I have a habit of putting names in a certain order in the To and Cc fields for groups of recipients.

      1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

        Ooh, good question. I had a look in my sent items and no, it doesn’t seem to reorder them in the sent email.

  21. Matt*

    #3: I’m not that big expert on email clients, but is it technically guaranteed that the names appear in the same order as they were entered? We use Outlook, and to me it appears that the order of the names can be quite random …

    1. Myrin*

      I’m wondering this as well! I never write emails to more than like three people so I’ve never had to think about this before but I just looked at the last three emails I received where I was part of a group and all of them have a weird pseudo-alphabetical order – it’s alphabetical with regards to the first letter of the surname (so it goes “Bumblebee”, “Dodderington”, “Milbert”, “Warbleworth”) but in the group of names which all start with the same letter, the order appears to be completely random (so we have “Woddleby”, “Warbleworth”, “Wunderland”, “Wellingsbottom”)! I have no idea what could cause this (although it appears like a technical thing to me because why would a person put the names alphabetically but hah not really?) and am now wondering about all aspects of this topic that I know very little about.

  22. Zip Silver*

    2# – They aren’t ideal, and can get you into a whole mess of trouble if you don’t pay them off quickly, but a payday loan can help out when you’re in a tight spot and don’t have emergency savings built up, or recently depleted for whatever reason. (I’ve used one after wiping out my savings on a large car repair).

    1. Lizcat*

      I would strongly caution against this option. Maybe instead look for a credit union? They’re slightly more forgiving with credit requirements than big banks.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      This is really bad advice. Payday loans have notoriously high interest rates and while I can’t speak to other countries, in the UK some mortgage lenders will reject people purely for having ever used these. It would be unconscionably irresponsible for an employer to suggest this. Low-rate personal loans, credit cards or credit unions are a better option but employers shouldn’t be suggesting those, either – it’s not appropriate to tell someone else which form of credit they should use. Suggest financial advice, suggest useful resources, suggest debt counselling by all means, but not credit and especially not payday loans.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Also some unions help members financially. And there are some organisations that help people from particular professions (Teapot Designers Benevolent Fund type of thing).

    3. Liane*

      Payday loans aren’t legal in our state because of the potential for people to get caught up in debt from them. The high interest accrues very fast if it isn’t paid off next paycheck, plus many get in a habit of using them, unlike you.

    4. Anon for Money Talk*

      Yeah, I know it’s not popular advice and they can be really, really bad, but I’d say if it’s a one time thing and you know FOR SURE that you’re going to be able to pay it off on time, it can work. I successfully used one once because I had no other options for getting cash that fast after a series of unfortunate events. It all worked out, but I agree with others who are extremely wary of them. The thing that sort of tipped me off about their actual business practices was that when they payment was due, they couldn’t quite believe that I was actually okay with them cashing the check to pay it off, you know? They were sure I was going to just roll it over. And that’s how people get trapped.

      1. Toph*

        I think for the OP’s employee it still is probably bad advice given that we already know it’s already not been a one-time thing for that person. This is the third time the employee has asked so I think there’s enough precedent that it’s likely to come up again. So the OP’s best bet is probably to tell the employee this is the last time, to extricate the employer from the situation, which is the primary question at hand.

        1. fposte*

          I think it’s hugely bad advice for an employer ever to give no matter what. That doesn’t mean I think payday loans are a mistake every single time, but they’re not something your employer should ever recommend to you.

          1. Toph*

            Yes, I do too, but especially since above it was said using them could work out fine for a one time thing, my point was specifically that even if that might be true, that’s not the scenario presented by OP, so there’s no reason to suspect this employee might be one of the very very rare cases in which those loans end well. But I also absolutely agree, this is not the sort of thing an employer should be recommending to an employee.

  23. LS*

    OP4… I’m in a similar situation. I had this conversation with my current employer when they made me an offer, but I also ask for it to be included in my contract. It made me feel a lot more comfortable knowing that I had it in writing, if it ever became an issue. If that’s not an option for you, you should make sure it’s in an email or something similar so that you can refer back to it if need be.

  24. anony-mouse*

    #5 This happened to me and a colleague. On the beginning, there was money for one position and they really wanted someone strong in B who could also help out with A. My colleague interviewed well for A and ok for B, so they decided to wait. I interviewed great for B and I had experience and certification in A but said I’d prefer to do B and little or no A.
    So they went back to the drawing board and offered him a position for A and me a position for B. The boss says it’s one of the best hiring decisions she’s ever made.

  25. lamuella*

    situations like #1 are why I never delete work emails. I’ll archive them to save space but I keep careful track of everything. It’s almost funny that someone would be dishonest in this way on a system with an audit trail.

  26. Matt*

    #4. I hire for a job that requires some night and weekend work. I have had many, many people attempt to suddenly change their availability after receiving an offer letter. If you’re asked about weekend availability and aren’t honest, then try to negotiate Saturdays off after receiving an offer letter, you won’t get the job and you’ll look like someone who was dishonest during interviews. Religious reasons aren’t some magic bullet that allow you to do this and get away with it.

    I expect everyone on my staff to work one Sunday a month and I’m clear about that in interviews, and it’s a necessity for the business. Had a woman accept the position then call out her first Sunday for church, and let me know she wouldn’t be available to work Sundays, ever. We let her go on Monday.

    1. Statix*

      I used to have a friend (used to) who took a job that involved weekend work with two days off during the week. As soon as her probationary period was up, she informed her manager that her religion forbid her from working Sundays so she’d no longer be available for work on that day. She had no religion, she was atheist, just didn’t want to work all weekend. People like her give folk with genuine religious beliefs that impact their schedule such a bad name.

      1. finderskeepers*

        religious exemptions are not on the same plane as disability exemptions. The fact that she’s an “atheist” doesn’t make her any less deserving of claiming she can’t work Sunday.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Employers are required to accommodate bona fide religious restrictions. If she didn’t have an actual sincerely held religious reason for not being able to work on Sunday, then legally they’re not required to try to accommodate that.

          1. finderskeepers*

            my understanding is that employers are not allowed to probe too much as to if it is “bona fide.” After all, someone who simply attends an hour of worship on sundays meets the test for claiming not work on sunday.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Actually, in a lot of cases courts have ruled that people who just attend church for an hour on Sunday can be required to work after the service, depending on the details of their faith requirement. To get out of the whole day, you’d need a sincerely held religious belief preventing you from working at all on that day.

              You wrote: “The fact that she’s an atheist doesn’t make her any less deserving of claiming she can’t work Sunday.” In the eyes of the law, it does.

              1. finderskeepers*

                Here is what the EEOC says “A religious practice may be sincerely held by an individual even if newly adopted, not consistently observed, or different from the commonly followed tenets of the individual’s religion.”

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Right. Someone who has no religion is unlikely to have a sincerely held religious belief about not working on a sabbath. If this atheist is unusual in her faith practices, that would be different.

              2. Atheist*

                In practice, “atheist” doesn’t mean no religion, and oftentimes it doesn’t even mean no deity, it means no belief in a major recognized/named religion. Many people identify as or are labelled “atheist” but do have strong religious* beliefs and rituals.

                Allison, I know you have good intentions and I agree with most of your advice. Please don’t exclude those of us who practice less popular religions from employment protections.

                *often called “superstitious” because it’s not part of a major named religion

            2. bridget*

              Just because a person can get away with lying does not mean that she is actually legally protected (or is morally justified in doing so). Going along with your disability comparison, if I forge documentation to get a handicap parking sticker I don’t actually qualify for, and I am unlikely to get caught, that does not mean that I am just as “deserving” as people who are actually disabled.

              And it does take away from people who genuinely need religious accommodations. If two out of ten employees need Sunday off it’s not likely to be an undue burden to grant it, but if eight out of ten do, the company may be able to reasonably refuse because it’s too much of a hardship to accommodate all of those people.

              1. finderskeepers*

                but that only sharpens the difference between disability and religious accommodations. A disability is documentable by a medical professional.

          2. finderskeepers*

            consider 90s pop culture icon Homer Simpson. He famously attended (i use that losely) church every week , I do not know though if there was an episode where he claimed religious exemption to get out of working at the nuclear plant on a sunday (they have to be staffed 24/7 no?)

            1. Natalie*

              He calls in at least once, or tries to, for the “Feast of Maximum Occupancy”. (Having read the phrase off a sign at Moe’s.)

              1. Statix*


                To clear this up, I’m in the UK. And not sure if ‘atheist’ was in quotes for some reason finders, I wasn’t using it as an insult (I’m also a strong atheist!).

                I actually believe that all employees should be entitled to request time off if it’s for a reason that’s important to them, i.e. people with caring responsibilities for elderly parents should get the same consideration as parents with kids. But I recognise that if all employees are able to state they won’t work Sundays there’ll be nobody left to work Sundays. And I feel someone’s ability to practice their faith is above my desire to lie in and eat leftover pizza from the night before, however galling that may be!

        2. bridget*

          Legally, it does though. Her preference to not work weekends is not based on a sincerely-held religious belief, and her employers therefore have no obligation to accommodate that preference if they don’t want to. She’s lying in order to invoke a law that is designed to assist people other than herself.

    2. Liane*

      This is the second comment I have seen that jumps to “OP must plan to lie or lie by omission in the interview.” What’s up with that–is Question 1 influencing?
      She can say, if it comes up in the interview, that her availability is open Sunday through Thursday, but she isn’t available Friday after A o’clock or daytime Saturday. Then if she gets an offer, she uses Alison’s script.

      1. KellyK*

        It could be Question 1. I hadn’t thought about that.

        My guess is that managers who read AAM probably put more thought into their interviews than the general average. So they’re picturing the interviewer asking straight out about availability, because they ask, and it seems like such a basic thing to do. And, I mean, they’re not wrong—“Here’s when we need you to show up” is a pretty essential component of describing the job. And if you assume that the interviewer is going to ask, saying “Don’t bring it up until the offer stage,” seems to implicitly encourage lying about it beforehand. But, from reading other people’s comments, a lot of interviewers don’t ask.

  27. Julianne*

    #5 is basically how I got my current job. They interviewed me for one position (phone screen + 2 in person interviews), but ultimately went with another candidate. A few weeks later another job opened up – one for which I was a better fit, to boot – and they offered it to me.

  28. Oscar Madisoy*

    In response to 1. My coworker forged an email — should she be fired?:

    A few days before I left for vacation, Anne sent me an email stating that she intended to approach her supervisor about taking “one annual leave day” on that first Monday I’d be back in the office after my vacation and was I in agreement. I replied in the affirmative.

    While I was away on vacation, Anne forwarded that exchange to her supervisor but edited it to say “Friday and Monday, taking two days of annual leave.”

    Sounds to me like the OP just said “Yes” or “Request approved” or something along those lines.

    The best way to prevent the risk of alteration is to be specific in your response. For example: “Your request to take one day of annual leave on Monday, August 28 is approved.” A legitimate approval of two days would read “Your request to take two days of annual leave on Friday, August 25 and Monday, August 28 is approved.”

    1. Oryx*

      I don’t know how much that would help because when you forward the email, the system still allows for modification and editing of the other person’s response.

      1. Lowercase Holly*

        It would require a lot more editing and there is no way someone could claim an email calendar glitch.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          It would require a few extra characters – hardly a lot of extra editing.

          You can also edit received emails in outlook without actually forwarding them.

        2. neverjaunty*

          TheY could claim all kinds of nonsense. The issue here isn’t that Anne has a plausible excuse. It’s that they know she forged an email and lied and she doubled down.

        3. Observer*

          There is no way she can claim a calendar glitch even like this. This wasn’t a meeting invite…

          1. Oryx*

            This is where I feel like I need more information as I can’t understand where Anne pulled this “calendar glitch” excuse from because, as you said, there wasn’t a meeting invite.

            1. Toph*

              Anne is a bad liar who doesn’t understand how Outlook works? Is my guess. Her lie makes no sense because it’s a bad one and made her wrongdoing extra conspicuous, not because there’s more to it whereby her explanation could have been plausible.

    2. Voice from the wilderness*

      Your suggestion is basically trying cover all legal contingencies, which means you can’t trust the subordinate.

      It’s hard working like that.

      They have to go.

      Be glad this is a relatively small lie.

      The next lie might be about sexual harassment, or falsifying a report to a government regulator; with criminal implications.

      Wise people avoid situations that smart people can get out of.

      Now OP is off the hook by showing an email chain to HR. Next time law enforcement might be the ones requiring explanations.

      Better nip this one in the bud.

    3. Grey*

      Sure, but if you need to prevent the risk of alteration, you’re working with the wrong people.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, if we’re going there, we might as well insist all communications are on physical paper and hand-signed.

          1. fposte*

            *Notarized* hand-signed. And then cuffed to your wrist in a secure briefcase.

            Basically, any procedure you plan will be subvertible. The point is to hire people who won’t be subverting the process in the first place. Set Anne free.

            1. Observer*


              That was pretty much my point.

              Good systems need to walk a balance between making it hard to fudge things and getting work done. The best system don’t try to prevent every possible incident of fraud or misbehavior – they just make it easier to spot and deal with. The reason is that, as you said, any system can be subverted. And if you go too far in the direction of trying to prevent any and all misdeeds, you wind up with an unworkable system that has an unexplored set of problems. Yay!

        1. Toph*

          Where I’ve worked, time off requests aren’t done via email or written/verbal approval anyway. It’s done through the time entry system. So you select the actual date from a dropdown, type in the number of hours and save. People who are set up to “manage” you can approve the request or not. So there’s nothing anyone could edit to fudge the request, and if the person did accidentally request the wrong date, that’s what would have been approved in the system. So they could have in theory accidentally requested Monday when they meant Friday, gotten Monday approved, not noticed, and then no-showed Friday thinking they had it off, and claimed innocence (which probably wouldn’t be bought and still makes the person look incompetent) but no way to turn “Monday” into “Friday and Monday” with text. But the reason for the type of system I mention over written approval in email isn’t primarily because you’re worried about people forging approvals. It’s about efficiency and ease of keeping track of PTO. It’s just a convenient side-effect that there’s no method for the type of shenanigan’s the person the OP wrote about attempted.

        2. GermanGirl*

          Better yet, require them to cryptographically sign every message. It’s nearly impossible to make two sensible messages with the same crypto-signature and even harder if you don’t have the private key of the person signing the message.

          Outlook even has options for that (but they might cost extra because only one of the companies I worked for had that stuff enabled).

          1. Chinook*

            “Better yet, require them to cryptographically sign every message. It’s nearly impossible to make two sensible messages with the same crypto-signature and even harder if you don’t have the private key of the person signing the message.”

            This sounds outrageous but, in the pre-internet at every school desk days, I used to sign all my notes as a teacher with Japanese kanji for my name after one student tried forging a hall pass with my signature. Needless to say, I had no Japanese students at the time.

      2. Elsajeni*

        Eeeexactly. I do a lot of repeating specific dates and times when I send scheduling-related emails, but it’s to increase the chance of catching any errors, not because I’m concerned someone will lie about it.

  29. TheTallestOneEver*

    #5, we recently offered a position to a candidate because our first choice candidate started the job, went through orientation, and then decided that she wasn’t a good fit for our environment after week. If the hiring manager called you back, I can’t imagine it’s a ploy to reject you yet again.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      Yeah, hiring managers don’t interview people just for fun. Maybe OP5 was just barely beat out by another candidate, but was strong enough that the hiring manager had her top of mind for the next opening that came up.

  30. Imaginary Number*

    The forged forwarded email thing happened to me once. I was in the military and we had a problem with certain administrative paperwork getting processed on time so it was tracked very specifically by day that it went from one person to the next. I had received a minor correction (two second fix) back on some paperwork is submitted over a month before and the next day got called out because I’d been sitting on it for a month. The
    clerk even sent her boss (CC’ing me and my boss) the supposed email chain showing the correction had been sent back a month prior. I guess they thought outlook text means fact. It was clear that the date had simply been changed (the timestamp was identical except for that one digit.) I confronted the clerk about it (she was normally pretty trustworthy and very young) and she was practically in tears. Her response was the same sort of thing “I don’t know how it happened.” The whole thing gust brushed off by her boss. Her boss acknowledged the paperwork delay was on their end, but didn’t seem concerned by someone intentionally changing dates on forwarded emails. Given that her response was more upset than defensive (and her boss’s response was so dismissive), I only realized later that she’d probably been told to change the date, which pisses me off to think about.

    I know this anecdote probably isn’t all that helpful. But I learned from this that people tend to think forwarded emails are written in stone, when in fact they’re just copied text. It’s one of the reasons I started using pst files to save all of my emails, even if it’s something presumably insignificant like someone asking for time off or routine paperwork that gets sent back and forth ten times a day,

    1. Jeanne*

      I would feel bad for her if her boss ordered her to change it and then made her take the blame. But her boss was idiotic also to think it wouldn’t be obvious.

  31. Pi is Delicious*

    For #2, there are companies that offer financial, like low interest short term loans, to help people with financial issues like that. If the COO is sympathetic but wants to get out of the advance games (and who wouldn’t?) that could be a way around the issue.

  32. EA*

    #1 This happen to my work, someone altered an email, it was verified by our IT department to make sure that it was indeed altered and it was, they were fired. It was a integrity issue and the person was with my company for 5 years so they knew better.

  33. Lisa*

    #3: It seems that there are a few responses above that this is standard in some industries, so I guess first figure out if you’re in one of those, but if not… I’d suggest that you start looking. If the job isn’t otherwise terrible, at least you don’t have to have a “take anything that comes up just to get out” mentality, but keep an eye out for something better….

    I say this because, while he didn’t have this *particular* hang-up, my last boss was constantly focused on appearances over substance, prioritizing things that made him feel important, etc.

    There were little things I would rank on a similar level as this email “quirk” that I brushed off in the beginning, but his overall narcissism (and my constant feeling that I disagreed with how he prioritized/handled things, but couldn’t really do anything about it) wore on my so much that eventually I dreaded going to work and seeing him. THAT’s when I started looking and it took me another 7-8 months or so to get out.

  34. stitchinthyme*

    #2 – It would never have even occurred to me to ask for a pay advance from my company if I had an unexpected financial issue. I’d be looking at other solutions first — credit cards, short-term loans, even borrowing from family or friends if I absolutely had to. My financial issues are mine to deal with, not my employer’s.

      1. Lynne*

        Yeah, I’d have to be quite desperate to ask for that at work. It would be my very last resort, and if I did it once, I’d move heaven and earth to avoid having to do it again.

        I don’t care if my credit card company thinks I can’t budget properly. I don’t want anyone at WORK thinking that!

  35. Grey*

    You can’t give a warning to someone who doesn’t admit to the mistake. You can’t say “don’t do it again” when they don’t admit to doing it in the first place.

    “Did you forge an email”?
    “Ok. We’ll it go as long as you’ve learned your lesson”.

    That’s just silly.

  36. Allison*

    #1 Oh jeepers, that’s bad judgment. Really bad judgment. She basically bailed, leaving the office with no support staff, threw you under the bus for it, and didn’t think anyone would figure it out. Totally agree, I would have fired her too – if she’d been an amazing employee who otherwise followed every rule and went above and beyond every day, the kind of assistant offices dream about and could never let go, a stern warning might have been fine, but even then I’d start to worry that her reputation had gone to her head and she’d started thinking she could get away with murder at that job.

    #2 Also agree with Alison here, it was understandable when it seemed like a one-off request, now it’s becoming a regular thing and you can’t accommodate that, and that’s fair! You don’t have to, your employee needs to find another way to handle his financial issues.

    #5 This happens, they picked one person but they didn’t work out. Some people don’t even make it to the start date to to background check-related issues. Sometimes they start and it immediately becomes evident it’s not a good fit, but they still need someone to do the job, and you seemed like a strong candidate, so they want to reconsider you.

  37. kadi*

    LW #5 – the very, very best job I’ve ever had was one I received this way. They had hired someone who didn’t work out and revisited the original pool of applicants. I felt a little stung at first, but was desperate for a job – it was the BEST thing that ever happened in my career. I wish the same for you!

  38. Bea*

    #5 I’ve been called back after rejections twice now. The first time I was squeaked out by someone with some extra education. She was an utter failure I learned, lots of quick missteps in the first week. I had that job over a decade.

    Many times first choices can be a bust. After getting older and put into the position to hire people I understand all too well how it happens.

    Embrace this second chance, it means you made a good impression if they decided to not just start from scratch.

  39. Topazzcat*

    My old supervisor was the same way about the order of names in emails. This put all of the highest titled people in the email first starting with her. In my mind this was a power trip.

  40. Girl Alex PR*

    #1: If it was a glitch in the system, wouldn’t she have still come in Friday? Like, okay, you put an extra day in, but if it was truly an accident, you wouldn’t have not shown up for the accidental day.

    1. fposte*

      Now isn’t that an interesting point :-). Yes, if she’s saying she only asked for Monday and somehow the calendaring system glitched and made it look like she was asking for Friday too, surely she would still have been in on Friday according to her actual plans?

    2. Toph*

      I thought she was claiming she asked for and received approval for both and the glitch was the part that only requested the Monday, and she was feigning innocence on the Friday end being both unapproved and absurd to ask for since it left them with no one.

    3. Murphy*

      I thought Anne was saying that she had in fact asked for Friday & Monday, but the “glitch” must have caused OP to only see the request for Monday.

  41. J*


    I once had to fire a student employee for falsifying my signature on a document. She was a college student, who worked 10-15 hours a week for me, but she didn’t make enough to cover her expenses. I forget what exactly she had to file for, but she submitted some form for government aid. They called me to verify her hours for the work-study job, and I was so confused. The job was very explicitly not work-study, and I made certain to tell all the students this upfront because it impacts their financial aid. I didn’t realize she had actually put my signature on the document itself. I reached out to HR to ask what I should do about it, and they advised firing her (and if I wouldn’t, they would.)

    She was in a bad situation and I made it worse for her.

    1. Observer*

      No, you did NOT make her situation worse for her – SHE did. What she did was fraud – and if it was in relation to government aid, this was a criminal act. Had she gotten any money she could have been facing criminal charges.

      1. PB*

        Agreed. In addition, I’m not sure what the alternative would have been. Lying to cover for her lie, thereby assisting her falsifying a form for government aid? She made a poor decision and received reasonable consequences as a result.

        1. J*

          I don’t know what the alternative would have been, either.

          But, I also struggle to condemn her for making a foolish choice out of desperation. She was a first-generation college student and didn’t realize she’d have to pay for food separately from her dorm fees. She was willing to work, and the jobs I offered paid the best on campus. It just wasn’t enough to make ends meet.

          1. Bea*

            She still should have known that if a document needs signed, you ask your manager for it! You don’t seem like you’d tell her no had she asked you but of course you’d have changed the fact it was not work study. Most financial aid situations would still kick in on that few of hours and a full time student:(

            1. Karen K*

              Actually, J would have told her no, because her position was not a work-study job. So, not only forgery. The document itself was fake!

          2. Observer*

            It’s not about condemning her. It’s about recognizing that her actions are what worsened her situation, not you. Also, you need to recognize that HR was right about the need to fire her. You would never have been able to trust her again. Not just in terms of her work, which is risky enough since she’s willing to forge signatures. But also in terms of whether she will steal from the organization or coworkers. That’s just not tenable. And it’s a situation she created by the way she reacted to her problem.

            She’s not a monster – but she’s also not someone you could reasonably keep on your payroll.

  42. Hiring Mgr*

    On #1, I’m all for giving people second chances, but Anne used such bad judgment in multiple ways I think she needs to be let go:

    1) The forging of the email in the first place
    2) Throwing OP under the bus without a second thought
    3) Allowing coverage to lapse for the Friday
    4) The lame calendar excuse (when it was text, not a calendar invite?)
    5) Being unaware that all this would come back to bite her…

    1. AW*

      4) The lame calendar excuse (when it was text, not a calendar invite?)

      Right? That struck me as extremely odd. The way the letter was written it really sounds like Anne said in the text that she was asking for one day and then edited it to say two. Even if it was the text part of a calendar invite, that’s not something that the invite date/time settings would change.

  43. LSP*

    #5 – When I was right out of college and searching for my first “real” job, I interviewed with a local newspaper. I thought it went ok, but I ended up not being hired. I was, however, given an opportunity to freelance for them.

    Fast forward a couple months, I was called and asked if I was still available, since their original hire didn’t work out, and would I still be interested in full-time work. I said yes, worked there for four years, and although I didn’t stay in journalism, that job laid the foundation for a pretty solid career.

    Call-backs happen and great things can come of them. :)

  44. Dust Bunny*

    The professional job I have right now is way more forgiving about days off than any of the less-professional jobs I had as a teenager and undergrad (go ahead: Try skipping a day at an hourly-wage job and tell us how that goes), so age and “first real job” shouldn’t be factors. She should have learned not to pull this kind of stuff years ago.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      That’s a good point. I can call out at the last minute at my professional, degree-required, “grown up” job and the only person affected is me, because I’ll have one less day to get my stuff done. I couldn’t do that at Taco Bell. (And it makes me wonder if that’s where she learned to lie about having permission or coverage…)

  45. it_guy*

    #5 – One of the best jobs that I ever had was due to the primary candidate giving up on the process and moving on. This was for a government contracting position and they couldn’t start until after the background check. Because of the timing of the offer, it happened right in the middle of the summer when most of the security officers were on vacation and the process dragged on for months. In the middle of this, the candidate bailed and found another job. They came back to me 2 months after I interviewed and offered me the job. It took 3 months to go through the background check but, since they gave me plenty of warning, I didn’t worry about it.

    This is something that does happen.

  46. HannahS*

    I’ve worked jobs that required some coverage over the whole weekend. It wasn’t a problem that I couldn’t work Friday night or Saturday. I just came in most Sundays to get in more hours of work.

  47. Greg*

    #4: One of my good friends from childhood is an Orthodox Jew. He told me once about how his father was up for a promotion, and the employer pressed him on what he would do if there was work that absolutely needed to get done on a Saturday. I’ve never forgotten his response: He shrugged and said, “Then it won’t get done on Saturday.”

    The point was, he was putting a stake in the ground at the outset that his religious obligations were non-negotiable. Not in a rude or confrontational way, just matter of fact. Yes, that approach could potentially cost you an opportunity, but if it’s important to you, then it’s probably best to make that clear upfront, rather than having the issue arise later. Besides, would you really want to work for an employer who was unsympathetic to your religious needs? You would constantly be justifying yourself, getting side-eye from your boss, and being made to feel uncomfortable.

    There are plenty of employers who are respectful of their employees’ religion. If you limit yourself to that group, you shouldn’t be missing out on too many opportunities.

    1. Gilmore67*

      I don’t think it is a matter of an employer being unsympathetic. ( Of course there are some ) .

      But it is a matter of making sure that whoever takes whatever job they are applying for and what the employer is hiring for are both on the same page as to the hours/days needs of the company.

      In my opinion even if it is a couple of weekends it could be an issue. What if there is a rotation? If you are being hired to be in that rotation then you have then defeated the purpose of why they are hiring you. I know I would be irritated if there was a new hire, to work weekends as needed but can’t.

      Offering to work Sunday to do whatever is nice of course but really doesn’t solve the Saturday issue because maybe that co-worker has worked the other Saturdays and now can’t do this one or again but who’s put in their fair share. What if someone has a vacation any given weekend and your job it to cover? Or has an illness.

      It might not even be an issue but just keep that stuff on mind is all.

      OP, just be fair is all. If you get the sense you are required to work the weekends please don’t go for it.

  48. Bea*

    My previous boss was kind enough to give pay advances from time to time until someone would abuse it. Once a year max was his general rule, it’s a “I’ll do this in a pinch but then it’s on you.”

    Many people have asked for these in my years at all my jobs. When you allow it to become a no interest any time you ask payday loan, they will continue to do it and you’ll be surprised at what constitutes an emergency to some people. I’ve seen too much to trust blindly on those. That’s a huge favor to ask an employer and it rarely means the person is going to stick around and give 110% to the company out of gratitude.

  49. Bookworm*

    #5: Wishing you the best of luck but I’d take it with a shaker of salt. In my experience an HR manager who gets back in touch to presumably consider you for the same job after rejecting you simply needs a pool of candidates. I’ve never had the experience where it actually led anywhere (even to the beginning steps of the new process).

    I could be very wrong and it could be that the original hire just didn’t work out but the organization is required to go through the entire hiring process all over again. Maybe it will work out. I hope it does for you. Good luck! :)

    1. tigerStripes*

      I think it means that the OP was good enough to be considered again, but that doesn’t mean that the OP will get the job.

  50. Yet Even Another Alison*

    Perhaps this has been mentioned, but find the original email where the OP #1 replied in the affirmative to taking Monday off and ask the email administrators to show the email had been altered. The is very easy to do. If nothing else, the OP #1 can show her supervisor that she DID NOT approve the Friday off (and restore her credibility with her supervisor over this issue – reverse the throwing under the bus crap). If I were OP#1, I would make it very clear that I was speaking to the email administrators so that the junior assistant understood that I was not going to simply let this go and my credibility was important to me. Then, I would forward the supervisor the assurance from the email administrator that I agreed to Monday, cc the junior, and then state something like – “Not sure if this is a calendar glitch or what the issue may be, I approved Monday only. Hopefully the email admin folks can find out how this happened – would not want this to happen again” Hopefully the supervisor will take the hint and fire the junior. I would also keep a record of the incident, save email, back it up to a private place, and print copies. I would also tell HR about it but do it in a way that make it appear the system is the culprit. Don’t point fingers – the evidence will do if for you – make it about the lack of coverage too. If she does not get fired, this junior is dangerous to work with – OP #1 watch your back.

  51. Narise*

    You have to fire Ann. She is not only not trustworthy she has continued to lie about the situation. She took an unapproved day off or at least a day off approved through deceit and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. She made you look as though you didn’t know how to manage your support staff and this could have impacted your position and reputation. If your manager will not terminate her then you need to document the entire incident and provide to HR expressing your concern for keeping this employee. She should be placed on a PIP for 90 days and terminated if anything less complete professionalism behavior is displayed during this time. Finally she should not only be barred from using vacation for the 90 days but she should also have to send her requests to both you and the manager on the same email so you can both approve and discuss prior to her taking any time. In other words if you make the conditions of her staying so difficult more than likely she will quit on her own and you won’t have to deal with her in the future. Make it clear to leadership that you are protecting your reputation as well as the company’s. If anything ever comes down to her word against another’s how will you believe her?

    1. Observer*

      Making her life so difficult that she’ll leave on her own is a common tactic, and it generally is a very bad idea. Much better to deal with it directly.

  52. idi01*

    OP 2. Don’t give the advance money, just flat out refuse. The employee can go to the bank or his credit card to get money. This used to happen at our company, but we instituted a policy of money advance only for funerals, major health issues, and weddings. And I don’t really even know why we included weddings and not births.

  53. Candi*

    1) That noise you heard was me strangling in shock at her chutzpuh.

    Can her. Not for the lie, but the doubling down.

    Everyone makes mistakes and has their moments of poor judgement. It’s how they react afterwards that’s important. And her reaction shows she has chosen… poorly.

    2) Make sure Broke understands that this is the last time, and get some written procedures in place for when and under what circumstances someone can apply for an advance. (I wouldn’t cut them off completely; my boss giving me my paycheck four days early helped me get away from my abusive ex.)

    3) Your boss comes across as feeling very small, and this is one way he compensates for his ego being bigger then he feels. Best of luck.

    4) It’s perfectly normal to ask for accomodations. If your new employer doesn’t like it, you know you won’t want to work for them.

    5) What this means (according to my reading of the site) is either the first pick didn’t work out, or there’s another position open they want you for. Go in there and knock it out of the park@ :)

  54. Noah*

    When I write emails, I definitely consider the order of the names of the people I’m sending them to (although I consider it more for the salutation if I’m using one). But that’s just because I know there are people like OP #3’s boss. I personally don’t care where people list my name. Unless it’s after Bob. I hate that guy.

Comments are closed.