getting a rejection email on Christmas, manager suggested I take antidepressants, and more

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

1. Employer sent me a rejection email on Christmas

The awful treatment of job applicants is nothing new, but I wanted to share this. After applying for a job via LinkedIn a couple weeks ago, I just received a rejection email from the company that was time/date stamped on Christmas. While I was not expecting to get the position and had just applied on a whim, I thought their timing was unbelievable. Can I reply to call attention to their lack of sensitivity? I really want to reply: “Your decision not to move forward with my application is really for the best, as I would not fit in with a work culture that spends their holiday rejecting applicants.”

I’m sure your answer would be not to bother… but thought I would reach out.

Yeah, rejecting someone on Christmas is insensitive. It’s not as if the news is so urgent that it must be delivered that day, and it’s tone-deaf not to wait.

That said, I think your proposed response (while certainly a reasonable sentiment) isn’t likely to make of an impact, unfortunately. To maximize your chances of making them reconsider, I’d go with something with zero snark/bitterness (since that makes people treat the message with less weight — something like, “I appreciate the note, but can I suggest that you reconsider sending rejections on Christmas? It’s going to rub a lot of people the wrong way.”

2. My manager suggested I take antidepressants

I’ve worked at my company for almost two years. My manager and I have a close enough relationship where we might discuss our relationships with our husband/boyfriends. I was describing how my boyfriend and I just broke up, and stated that the relationship was making me an unhappy person. She immediately *agreed* that I definitely am unhappy and said that I should consider taking antidepressants to help with my moods, and how much they help her and that it’s not my fault I have a chemical imbalance in my brain.

I was and am very offended at her eager suggestion. She is open about being on psych meds herself, and I and other employees struggle to tolerate her moods and attitude.

Overall I’ve received positive feedback about my work performance with the company from coworkers, this manager, and the owner. Her comment has me paranoid and insecure about how I’m perceived by her and my coworkers. Do I confront her about how this makes me feel?

If it’s not something that she continues to bring up, I don’t know that you need to address it with her. Some people are evangelists about antidepressants, and while she shouldn’t be doing that to an employee, it sounds like the two of you have pretty personal conversations — which can make some people lose sight of professional boundaries. I’m not defending her comment, which was inappropriate, but unless she continues to bring this up or otherwise violate boundaries, you might be better off mentally rolling your eyes and moving on.

I hear you on the part about now wondering how you’re being perceived by others, but it sounds like her comment about you being unhappy came in direct response to you telling her that you were unhappy — so I wouldn’t assume that everyone else is seeing you that way.

3. My coworker has called me by the wrong name for months

I realize this is a trivial annoyance but I’m baffled and curious if there’s a better way to handle it!

I handle an email inbox with a function-oriented name — think Teapot Requests — but I’ve been effectively the only person to use it for several years. (My boss occasionally looks in when I’m on vacation.) One colleague in another department whose job involves facilitating these requests emails this inbox several times a day. For months (years?) he’s been periodically starting these requests with “Hey, Beth.” My full name (in the directory and such) is Katherine; I go by Kate and sign virtually every email that way. I don’t make an issue of it when someone calls me Kathy or Katie, but Beth?

There is no Beth in my department; no one named Beth has ever been in my job nor been responsible for these requests. No one at the company with a similar last name is called Beth or Elizabeth. It seems completely random (though maybe it’s a friend I remind him of or something!). I’ve corrected him a few times; he’s always apologized but then after a while it happens again. I’ve only met him in person a few times but we have a perfectly cordial email relationship and I don’t think it’s any sort of personal slight.

I don’t want to make a big issue of it but I also don’t want others CCed on these emails to get confused about who handles this work. Do you have some magical solution?

No magical solution that doesn’t involve somehow entering his brain and reprogramming it. You can certainly continue to remind him if you want to — “Fergus! I’m Kate, not Beth. There’s no Beth here!” Or you can start calling him James or something, and see if that at gets your point across. But your best bet might be to just find it a weird and funny quirk of your coworker. (That assumes that he’s otherwise polite and respectful to you. If this is part of a larger pattern of disrespect, that’s a different issue and not at all funny.)

Read an update to this letter here.

4. Boss revealed confidential pregnancy information

I am three weeks pregnant, and haven’t told family yet. I set up my first doctor appointment, and my husband told his boss I was pregnant so he could get the time off to attend the appointment. He asked him to keep it confidential. That evening, he got a message from a coworker congratulating him.

Several of his family members work in the same field. They often hear gossip from my husband’s office and mention it to him. I’m worried they’re going to find out about my pregnancy from his coworkers before we’re ready— we weren’t planning on saying anything until 12 weeks because of the chance of a miscarriage. What should he do? Obviously I think he should have said he had a medical appointment and not told his boss I was pregnant, but it’s too late for that now. Should he tell his boss he’s upset he didn’t keep it confidential? That we aren’t pregnant after all? He wrote back to the coworker who congratulated him that there was a miscommunication and we aren’t pregnant. His boss is known for this kind of behavior so when he announces in two months I think they will be understanding.

What kind of relationship does he have with his boss? If it’s pretty decent, then yeah, I’d suggest he say something to him, such as, “Hey, right after I told you Jane was pregnant and stressed it was confidential, Fergus congratulated me about it. No one else here knows, so I’m assuming he heard from you. I thought I’d been really clear to you that we weren’t telling people …?”

5. Does connecting with someone on LinkedIn indicate I endorse them?

I work at a company that’s been experiencing quite a shake-up. I used to work in a department with a man who did not get along well with a lot of people, including me. Over time we did earn each other’s respect and were able to work together professionally.

I just learned he was walked out after he gave his two weeks notice. I don’t know what the circumstances are, but I do know this is not normal for our company. Tonight I got a request to add him as a connection on LinkedIn. I am concerned he may want to use me as a reference or endorse him. Even though I respect him, I don’t feel I can do that based on my own observations. Would it be better to ignore the request, or accept it and politely decline if he asks anything of me? Does adding him as a connection imply that I support him?

Adding him as a connection doesn’t imply that you endorse him, just that you have some sort of connection to him, which could be anything from to “this is a stranger who asked me to connect and I figured why the hell not” to “we once worked in the same 500-person building” to “he is my professional soul mate.”

But you’re not obligated to add him if you’d rather not. You’re free to ignore the request, and if he contacts you and asks you about it at some point, you can say, “Oh, I’m hardly ever on LinkedIn so I often don’t see those.”

{ 457 comments… read them below }

  1. Ann Furthermore*

    A friend of mine was laid off once, and her separation letter was dated Christmas Day. She was on maternity leave, and she knew the layoff was coming, but still.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      I know there’s never a good time for these things to happen but it seems even worse at this time of year.

      I was talking to a friend over Christmas who was telling the company he worked for has just announced a round of layoffs the week before Christmas, because they wanted to be able to include the redundancy payouts in this years financial accounts.

      1. Rubies*

        I’d prefer to hear about my layoff before Christmas, instead of after, so I could watch my spending.

        1. Elsajeni*

          The week before seems like the worst of both worlds, though — too late to make much difference in your holiday spending unless you’re a real last-minute planner, just in time to ruin your enjoyment of the holiday.

      2. Ann Furthermore*

        The week before Christmas really is awful.

        There’s never a good way to handle it, but the best way I’ve seen was at a company I worked for many years ago. At the beginning of December, people were told they had until the first week of January to find another position within the company; otherwise, they’d be laid off. That way they knew in time to cut back on holiday spending, and had some advance warning and time to make some plans, if they couldn’t/didn’t want to move to another position. It still completely blows, but at least they knew what was coming.

    2. Rae*

      I was told on Christmas Eve during an (unscheduled) performance review that I had actually been hired on a 90 day trial basis and if I didn’t show marked improvement before the end of the year I would be fired.

      1. Former Employee*

        How do you “show marked improvement” in the space of a week? That is so chicken shite of them since it’s pretty obvious they were planning to show you the door.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    It sounds like #1 is a bit of a dodger bullet. Who wants to work someplace where people are expected to spend Christmas sending rejection letters? (I say this as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.)

    1. Not Christian*

      They may have been automated, or sent by someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas (not everyone does).

      1. Czhorat*

        True, but Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday in the US. It is unusual for non-essential personnel to even be working (and this usually included the people who works send a rejection letter). Even assuming that the person sending it does not celebrate Christmas, there is almost no plausible way for them to not know that it’s a major holiday important to many, many people in this country.

        I’d say nothing because there really isn’t anything to gain by it. They have to know what they’re doing and simply don’t care.

        1. Karen D*

          If it’s a small or startup business, it makes more sense. Many small business owners are “all in” – they work 24/7 regardless of holidays, weekends, whatever. A family member owns a well-drilling company and in the early days, I remember him sitting with his laptop during gift-opening – he was halfway participating but mostly nose-down in his email. I was surprised he took a whole week off for his honeymoon!

          1. Thermal Teapot Researcher*

            It’s still a crappy thing to do. I really can’t see a good excuse for sending a rejection letter on Christmas, even if it is a start up or a person who doesn’t celebrate.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        And if it’s automated, what triggered it? Someone must have either scheduled it for that day or done something that day to trigger it. I suppose it’s possible that the system is set up to send emails after X days of rejection, but that’s rather overly-complicated. The simplest, most efficient solution is to have it sent out when the system is updated, which means I think it was most likely that someone was actually working and rejecting people on Christmas day.

        1. Roscoe*

          Its actually not that complicated. I sell software. Its actually a really simple procedure to reject someone but send the email X days after you decide to reject them. In fact, I know that I had some emails go out on Christmas day just due to the sequence I had people in. It was like if X happened on the 18th, the email went out a week later.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Right, it occurred to me (and I mention in a slightly later comment) that if there is a delay, it’s more likely X hours or days after each rejection. But to me that still seems to be adding unnecessary complications to the process, and the more complicated you make it, the more points of failure you have.

            1. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

              It actually makes a lot of sense to me, as someone who does send rejection letters. I often know I’m going to reject someone 5 minutes into a phone interview, but don’t want to insult them by sending a rejection 5 minutes after we get off the phone. I would absolutely love if my system would send an email 3 days after I put someone into decline status, so I don’t have to put a reminder in my calendar to send the email myself.

              1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

                Oh yes. Our applicant tracking system is lovely in this way. If I get off the call with someone I can choose the template, and click “send later” and choose a date. I always do this manually because I don’t want to send them over the weekend, or on holidays, but I don’t have to remember to go back and reject them. It’s a great feature!

          2. Specialk9*

            Roscoe, I have worked for many bosses who found basic email too complicated. Sorting by date is wizard magic, level. Don’t discount the prevalence of ineptitude.

            1. Amber T*

              “How did you do that?!?!?!?” – something heard pretty frequently in many offices from the simplest of things.

        2. OrganizedHRChaos*

          We use an ATS that will send rejection letters out in batches if sent in bulk and we generally have both bulk and individual rejection letters. They send them out this way to minimize the number of inevitable replies.

        3. SG*

          I work in recruiting at a very large company, and quite a few of us don’t celebrate Christmas and consider the day a great time to catch up on work since not much is open (trying to find a coffee shop was quite an adventure by the time I remembered why things were closed). I could absolutely see someone catching up on their reqs and closing out a few to clean up reports. Our Applicant Tracking System sends an automatic decline to anyone who had applied once the req is closed out.

    2. ReanaZ*

      I got FIVE rejection letters on the Friday before Christmas this year.

      I understand people are rushing off their to-do lists before they go on holidays (it’s summer here and many places shut down for a few weeks) and aren’t thinking of timing and cumulative effect but egads. I have started somewhere else and wasn’t t hat fussed but some many struggling folks I know would be hit hard by that at this sensitive time of year.

      1. user42141*

        I’m not looking for a job right now but remember from my last search that rejections always came in bundles. Normally on Fridays – 2-4 rejections within several hours. It was so depressing.

    3. So Patient*

      Letter sender here– that was sort of my thought. I don’t celebrate Christmas either, but typically this is a day where everyone takes a break regardless of religious preference!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Not everyone! Some people need to keep working on Christmas. But I’m guessing you mean they don’t in your field?

        1. Sue No-Name*

          is this a little “everyone can’t have sandwiches”? we can safely say that in the vast majority of US employment circumstances, particularly those that have a role for hiring and rejecting candidates, someone with power over sending letters will be aware of the social norm around end-of-year/winter customs, and is at least somewhat unlikely to be in office that day.

          1. Lemon jello*

            Very sandwiches indeed. The comment clearly implies people who CAN take the day off: anyone who is not essential tends to have the day off. No need to say ‘everyone takes it off (except *long list of medics, carers etc)’. Yes, some have to work and I’m sure So Patient knows that! No need to be snarky and sandwichey Ramona.

        2. Lehigh*

          Surely nearly everyone in HR? I work in healthcare – so, lots of people work holidays – but “non-essential” personnel (i.e. those not directly involved in patient care) are certainly not here for holidays.

          If it was sent by a manager on the floor I would think they would be keenly aware of Christmas due to issues of staffing major holidays.

      2. Susanne*

        I don’t think it’s necessarily a day where everyone takes a break. Aside from the many, many fields where people work as usual (medical, police/fire, utilities, radio/television stations, gas stations, hotels), it’s very common for people who are white-collar professionals with the ability to move things along via email at home to use the down-time to do some of that. I’m not talking about creating the 5 year strat plan on Christmas Day, but to take a half-hour to process some mail or send some thoughts about something? Extremely common in my world. It’s like the 2 am email thing – you’re sending it to be efficient and get it off your mind, not because you’re expecting the recipient to jump on it immediately.

        1. L Dub*

          Oh man, this is me. I have 30 direct reports and am almost always crazy busy at work, so I will use any and all holidays to try to get caught up on as much as I possibly can.

        2. AKchic*

          Believe me, for those of us who can check work email from home – it can be a life-saving excuse during family get-togethers.
          “Excuse me, I have to check on this. Client S is just so demanding, you know. Sorry.”

          It is a great way to get out of listening to your Great-Uncle Jaime’s war story about how he lost his hand in combat (again). Or having your MIL critique your table arrangements or the food provided, or why does dinner have to start so late.
          Who cares if after 5 minutes you’re actually scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feeds? They think you’re still working on emails, and you’re a busy worker, y’know.

      3. LQ*

        I never celebrate Christmas on Christmas because other than me, my entire immediate family works in professions that work on Christmas or in related jobs. Definitely not everyone takes a break.

      4. Dingo*

        My boss is Jewish and always seems to spend Christmas day working through his e-mail backlog. I sometimes feel a little annoyed when I get a bunch of notifications in the middle of present opening and pancakes, but then again, I think the whole office (including me) sends him e-mails when he’s out for Yom Kippur to handle when he gets back, so fair’s fair.

    4. Courtney*

      I bet it was a automated message. Set to send by X day of the month. At least the company sends something to applicants. Many don’t receive anything.

      This person submitted a resume for review but was never considered for the position. No contact with the company at all.

      There was no intent to be insensitive.

      1. Gilmore67*

        Agreed. I think people are way over thinking this and its intent. And most likely a whole bunch of people got it as well.

        The OP indicates they did it on a whim and didn’t think they’d even get considered for it anyway let alone getting the job., so I am not sure why OP is that upset about this. Didn’t seem to care about it.

        If there was an actual interview and contact and all that and then boom, sorry no dice sent on Christmas then yes, I can see the issue.

        OP if you had gotten something that said we want to talk to you would you have been… Yeah !! or wow… they want to talk to me but jeepers.. did they have to tell me that on Xmas?

        Don’t worry about it. Move on . I am sure you will get a great job soon !! : )

    5. KH*

      They could also be done via an offshore department where Christmas is not a holiday or the time shift makes it appear that stuff arrives on Christmas in North American time zones.

  3. Temperance*

    LW1, I’m wondering if they use some sort of automated system and these happened to go out on Christmas Day rather than someone was taking pleasure out of sending these on Christmas. It might be a thing where rejections go out on Mondays and it happened that this Monday was December 25th.

    In other words, be like Elsa and let it go. You’re looking for a new position, and you don’t want to be the weird candidate who blew her top over something they see as minor.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      That was certainly my thought. I strongly suspect no human being was aware rejections were going out on Christmas day.

        1. Susanne*

          That really has nothing to do with it – it could be programmed to come from an individual person’s email.

        2. Bea*

          Automated messages often have a live email attached. I’ve had plenty of them for the last 10 years at least.

          Also we use department emails but that’s for streamline purposes. So not all hr@ or customerservice@ emails are just automated services…

    2. Jule*

      I would put money on it being a Monday thing. I got a load of automated emails on Christmas that were just the usual weekly roundups from our internal system.

      1. Lehigh*

        I agree with this.

        However, I don’t think it would hurt to reply with AAM’s suggested wording. I bet this kind of thing irritates a lot of people (especially as it may well happen again on New Year’s Day!) and they may be able to make a note to change it if a holiday falls on a Monday going forward.

        1. Jule*

          I do, in fact, think it could hurt if the LW wants to apply to that company again–or if the person who ends up getting that email moves within the industry and then remembers the name of the person who sent them a nasty email over a pretty small thing. (And yeah, regardless of how “kindly” it’s worded, it’s not really intended to be kind, is it? It’s intended to make someone feel bad about an innocuous mistake they made. Let’s not be disingenuous here.)

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      From my work with automated email systems, setting them to batch a bunch of emails is more work than having them send one at each trigger event. And having a bunch go out at once can create headaches, as it can trigger spam filters (although I’m talking more like thousands than dozens, so that part is probably not applicable at most companies).

      I mean, it’s certainly possible, and I can see reasons why there might be a delay (a few times hiring managers have changed their minds, so they request that, *even though they’ve rejected someone in the system*, that the rejection email not go out for 1-2 business days). However, that’s a lot more work than just programming a system to send an email when an applicant’s status is changed, and even then the simplest solution is to delay each email for X days rather than batch them. It’s possible this person was rejected on the 20th or 22nd, I guess, but even that seems unlikely, IMO, as it’s unnecessarily complicated.

    4. drpuma*

      +1. I used to work for a company that automatically delayed rejection emails so they didn’t arrive, say, 5 minutes after the end of the phone interview. I strongly suspect that an automated email is the culprit here. It’s hard to figure out a “good” way to tell someone you’re not hiring them.

    5. AnotherAlison*

      Agreed. I’d assume it’s an automated system, and move on. Still annoying timing, but I don’t think anyone was trying to mess up your holiday. (I’d also consider that it was a rejection for your LinkedIn application only. . .kind of like an automated system rejecting an automated application. I think I would feel differently if you had had f2f interviews, and the HM sent a personal rejection on Christmas.)

    6. myswtghst*

      This was my thought as well. I assumed it was either some type of an automated system, or just someone using something like Boomerang to batch send all the emails on a specific day of the week, or X days later. It’s still pretty obtuse not to reschedule for a few days before or a few days after, but I can pretty easily see it being an oversight.

  4. Alldogsarepupppies*

    OP 1: Is it possible that the hiring manager/recruiter doesn’t observe Christmas and therefore were unaware of its impact on you or it slipped their mind? I chose not to observe Christmas this year, and when I woke up on the 25th I mentally categorized it as Sunday, and not a Monday I had off.

    Or that they didn’t expect you to open and respond to their emails, and therefore you’d be getting it another day. In fact, you did mention it was “time stamped” as Christmas which implies that this was what happened to you.

    I would take this personally.

    1. JamieS*

      Agreed on not expecting people to read it on Christmas. To me this is like someone being upset over getting an email at 2 AM because it’s too early. Nobody actually expects you to it at the less than ideal time it’s sent.

    2. MK*

      I can confirm that it’s easy to forget holidays you don’t observe are happenning while you are getting on with your life. Especially if you work from home sometimes and the “must get myself to work” factor isn’t there. I realise it’s impossible to completely forget Christmas, but I can see someone not realising in the moment that for some it’s a major holiday.

      1. LQ*

        Yeah I didn’t celebrate at all. I knew I had the day off but during the day when I was working on (not 9-5 job) work it was really easy to forget and had I shifted and started doing 9-5 job stuff (esp if I was someone who worked from home) it wouldn’t have been a surprise. I perpetually forget that major holidays I don’t celebrate are days when Stuff Is Closed, so much so that I have to set reminders for myself to get groceries before or I will forget.

        Yes I know it’s the Christmas season but there was zero difference to me between Saturday, Sunday, and Monday this weekend.

    3. Triplestep*

      I don’t celebrate Christmas (Jewish) and went to my office this year on 12/25. And just like every other year, it was impossible not to notice it was Christmas all day long. In fact, most of the e-mails I wrote I saved in my draft folder and sent the next day.

      I agree that the rejection e-mail was probably set to go out on “Monday” by someone who forgot it would be a holiday.

      1. Czhorat*

        I agree; Christmas has a big enough secular footprint that not knowing it’s a major holiday is completely inplausible.

        It’s either automated or an agressive “new atheist” being deliberately insensitive.

        1. RVA Cat*

          Or they’re just a jerk – which is irrelevant to their religion or lack thereof. I’m 90% sure it was automated and no one bothered to change it rather than intentionally cruel.

          1. Czhorat*

            That’s also possible.

            It is the kind of thing I can see an anti-theist kind of atheist doubt to make a point (disclosure: I’m an atheist but not a jerk about it).

            1. Temperance*

              Or a Jehovah’s Witness, because they’re trying to make a point, or someone who celebrates Orthodox Christmas, because they’re trying to make a point …. see where this goes? Don’t besmirch atheists as having the monopoly on being a dick.

              1. anon for this*

                Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas at the same time as the majority of people; it’s their Easter that usually falls on a different date. Or perhaps you have in mind the minority of them (and I think a few other denominations) that follow the Julian calendar for religious holidays?

                1. anon for this*

                  I am in Europe, but it’s true I am most familiar with Greek Orthodox Christians and they celebrate Christmas on the 25th. Fuzzyfuzz may be right that Orthodoxs who follow the Julian calendar are actually the majority.

              2. Czhorat*

                I never said we did.

                There *is* a vocal minority of atheists who exist to mock religion and would find this amusing. I’m talking about Dawkinites rather than here non-believers.

        2. Alldogsarepuppies*

          I obviously know what Christmas is, but day of I slipped my mind. Until my Uber driver wished me a Merry Christmas I forgot it was that day. Assuming your experience is universal is a good way to be wrong.

          It’s entirely possible this person knew it was Christmas. But also reasonably that for a coupe hours they forgot whil sending emails, or that it was automated (like suggested elsewhere), or that he knew and had business reason it had to be done and presumed it wouldn’t be done, or other reasonable and kinder assumptions than “rude atheist thought they’d stick it to Christianity by emailing someone they likely will never speak to again”

        3. MK*

          It’s impossible to not know, but it is very possible to forget in the moment. I work mostly from home and go into the office twice a week usually. If I didn’t celebrate Christmas, I would wake up on Monday and sit in front of my computer. Of course I would know it’s a holiday, but after a few hours of intense concentration, I might have automatically send an email, because it being a holiday is not in the forefront of my mind.

          It’s not really about forgetting, but whether you consider something important enough to remembered. I have been known to forget my own birthday, because I don’t think the fact that the Earth has spun around the sun for the Xth time since one was born particularly interesting or worthy of commemoration. It’s not that I don’t know when I was born, it’s that it’s not important enough for me to let it take up valuable real estate in my brain.

        4. tigerlily*

          Or perhaps it was someone who works on Christmas and doesn’t think they need to be extra sensitive around the holidays. I mean, does your HR department make sure not to send out rejection letters during the High Holy Days? During Ramadan? Why is it just Christmas we should be sensitive to?

          1. Susanne*

            Great point. I mean, I doubt anyone frets about sending out rejection letters on any of the days of Hanukah or Passover.

          2. EOA*

            Because, presuming this applicant is an American working for an American company, Christmas is a major holiday in our society. Yes, not everyone celebrates it, yes, not everyone is Christian, but no, let’s not pretend like Christmas is some minor holiday on the American calendar of holidays.

            1. tigerlily*

              I’m not pretending it’s a minor holiday. I am a Christian who celebrates Christmas. But it’s an incredibly intolerant attitude that says we should be sensitive to people on Christmas but give no similar thought to major holidays for other religions. That is my only point.

              1. J3*

                I agree with this! I mean, if the applicant said something at their interview like “gee, I sure can’t wait for Christmas, a holiday which I cherish and hate to get bad news on” this is a crappy move, but otherwise being extra sensitive on this day is really privileging one particular (the already dominant) group. Also, let’s keep in mind that we’re talking about a job rejection here, which might suck, but it’s not exactly a layoff notice or something…

              2. Lemon jello*

                Agree 100%. A diversity positive company I can easily imagine deciding to approach all days as working days as it’s very difficult to stop work multiple times per year to honour ever religion’s major holidays. And it’d be unfair to solely down tools for xmas. Surprised no other commenters have picked up on this.

          3. Optimistic Prime*

            I mean, I personally don’t work on Christmas and don’t necessarily see the need to be extra sensitive around the holidays. Aside from what you pointed out about being sensitive to other ones…I mean, life does go on. Some people are mentioning that they got a letter the Friday before Christmas or just a day after as if those are included in this orbit, too. How far away from Christmas (and New Year’s) is it “okay” to send a rejection letter? Three days? A week? If you get too far you’re blocking off like an entire two weeks that people can’t send letters, but then you’re dragging out notification…

  5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#2, it could be that in her efforts to destigmatize mental health / depression (and specifically stigma regarding antidepressants), your manager totally messed this up. I would try to let go of the paranoia—I suspect you’re not being perceived as an “unhappy person.” Who wouldn’t be unhappy after a break up?? I strongly suspect that she was trying to be helpful and instead ended up being insensitive and inappropriate. (I don’t think discussing one’s treatment is inherently bad, but suggesting someone else should consider the same treatment is not really ok.)

    But it sounds like you and your boss are close, so you can either (a) reestablish your professional boundaries, and/or (b) tell her how her comment made you feel and why, even if it was well-intentioned, it came off badly.

    It’s hard for me to gauge how close you both are, because I can’t imagine asking/suggesting that someone is experiencing chronic depression or dysthymia unless they were a close friend and I were actively worried about them. If you two aren’t that close (or you don’t want to be), then I think it may make sense to tell her you prefer not to discuss your health with coworkers.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      The irony is that if they have an EAP, the manager could legitimately have suggested another form of treatment (talking therapy) without seeming like a boundary stomper.

      It’s unfortunate that she’s also passing on incorrect information about depression and how antidepressants work but I’ve said that already further down.

    2. Specialk9*

      That was my impression too. Someone who has seen the light on meds, recognizes there is still a stigma, likely read some great articles, and blurted out a short and poorly worded ‘encouragement’ that ended up being problematic. (It was not great, but it’s also not a grand betrayal, which is what I’m perceiving the OP might be feeling.)

      I’d also encourage you to look at why you were oversharing personal stuff at work. I’ve done it myself (too few filters early on) and learned that lesson too about it biting me. There are also certain kinds of people who promote a certain level of intimacy by what they share, and it can be easy to get sucked in to reciprocating. I had to think through how much I really wanted to share, and then set up little mental fences.

      1. Louise*

        Ohhh yeah, I spent my first two years out of college as office manager/office therapist and boy oh boy did I learn my lesson there. Boundaries are a beautiful, beautiful thing.

      2. myswtghst*

        Agreed on all counts. With the anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s death, I’ve seen a lot of articles popping up about her work destigmatizing mental health and medication (which is awesome and so necessary, but maybe not for at work), which could easily put fuel on an overeager oversharer’s fire.

        On the second paragraph, I think it’s a great idea to occasionally take stock of what you’re sharing at work, versus what you really want to be sharing. I have different boundaries with different people at work (peers who I’m friendly with vs. my boss, for example), but regardless I try to always maintain some boundaries at work. One thing that helps me is to have “safe topics” I can lean on – lately it’s talking about my bulldog (who we adopted in August), because dog stories and pictures are a pretty easy redirect, and feel personal enough that no one is put out by a lack of sharing.

  6. Artemesia*

    I am afraid the pregnancy ship has sailed. I’d be furious, but with my husband here. He is the one that unnecessarily told and now it is out; I totally understand your disappointment, but it is done, so I would let your parents know and anyone else close enough that you would probably share news of a miscarriage if it happened. Clearly your husband needs clearer instructions on how to go about keeping this secret. Bummer.

    #2 If you are discussing your marital relationship with your boss and other highly personal information, you can hardly be upset they suggest anti-depressents. You have established that this is a personal as much as professional relationship and she seems to have offered it as a friend. This is the sort of thing a friend might say (not nag, but say) when a friend is depressed. It would be totally out of line if it were a boss with a purely professional relationship, but those lines have been blurred here. If she takes no for an answer and doesn’t keep at it, then let it go.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Re: pregnancy, yes—I’m annoyed at the boss, but I’d be livid with my husband if I were in OP’s shoes. OP, put your husband in charge of notifying the family, and he gets to notify them (and anyone else) if there’s any tough news in the first trimester. It sucks, but I think all you can do now is damage control.

    2. KWu*

      Yeah, agreed that on the family side that if people are going to be hurt to find out your news not from you directly, you may want to consider telling them now (weighed against how much privacy you’d like if you’d need to grieve a miscarriage).

      It’s possible the husband thought he needed to share more details in order to justify the time for a medical appointment that wasn’t with his name on it… But your employer doesn’t need that level of detail, I would think. My experience is of being allowed to use sick time on doctors appointments for yourself or your family though.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I wouldn’t tell other people yet, no. This might be coloured by the fact that someone I know just had a miscarriage but I would hope your relatives can have the good grace to understand why you didn’t tell them yet.

    3. OP#4*

      Yes, I was pretty mad at my husband. I’ve chalked it up to a momentary lapse in common sense.

      He has a good relationship with his boss, so he ended up asking the boss what happened and expressing his dismay. So far only one coworker has said anything, and my husband told that person they were mistaken/misinformed, so I am not going to tell my family yet unless more people in his office start to congratulate him.

      1. Bette*

        But what are you going to say when it becomes completely evident that he wasn’t misinformed? I have to say your husband seems to be handling all this with maximum awkwardness. He tells someone when he didn’t need to, and lies to another person who knows the truth.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          You hope he understands why someone wouldn’t share news of early pregnancy and you absolve yourself from worrying about someone else deciding to be offended by that.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            This. It’s really not hard to figure out “Oh yeah, Fergus jumped the gun, that’s why Godfrey said they weren’t expecting.” Unlikely the coworker will be offended; likely it’s not really a problem even if they decide this is the molehill on which they want to fight to the end while the rest of the office gazes at them quizzically.

            1. Specialk9*

              “likely it’s not really a problem even if they decide this is the molehill on which they want to fight to the end while the rest of the office gazes at them quizzically.”

              Love this turn of phrase!

          2. myswtghst*

            Yes, agreed. We just announced to family that I’m 3 months pregnant, and none of them were at all bothered, or accused us of lying, just because we’ve spent the last few months talking about “if” or “someday” and definitely lying about the current state of affairs in my uterus.

            Most people recognize that pregnancy announcements aren’t typically made until 3-4 months in, so they shouldn’t be surprised that they were “lied to” during those 3-4 months. And if they are, to Falling Diphthong’s point, it’s unlikely anyone else would think OP’s husband was the problem in that scenario.

        2. Ruth*

          If I had been “lied” to because a couple was waiting to make sure they didn’t miscarry before announcing, I’d be fine with that and would understand that something had been inappropriately revealed to me. I wouldn’t find it awkward or weird going forward

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            Same here. I remember at a former job, I’m not sure now exactly what was said as it was about 8 years ago, but this one coworker Fergus said something about his wife that prompted a joke remark about “is she pregnant?” A few weeks later Fergus announced that she was indeed pregnant and I realised she must have been at the time of the conversation. But I understood why he had denied it at the time and I imagine that husband’s coworker will too.

        3. OP#4*

          I think he’ll just probably apologize and tell them that he wasn’t ready to announce and wanted to nip rumours in the bud. Then he’ll probably apologize again and thank them for understanding. Hopefully this person will understand.

        4. Susanne*

          Bette, with all due respect to the OP and her husband, for whom this is all new and exciting, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of the husband’s coworkers aren’t going to really be sitting there counting the weeks and getting all annoyed about exactly when the announcement happened. They’re going to hear when they hear, and they’ll wish the OP/husband a happy outcome, and that’s about it. It’s rather like a gender reveal party – the gender is a big deal for the expectant parents, but really no one else cares all that much.

        5. Observer*

          The OP made it clear that they expect the coworker to understand what happened, since the boss is well known for blabbing when he shouldn’t.

          Even if it weren’t the case, I would expect people to be understanding once they realize just how early on the original “announcement” was made.

          1. Optimistic Prime*

            Which makes me wonder even more why that OP’s husband decided to tell the boss rather than just use another excuse…

      2. Susanne*

        I’m really surprised that it’s a man who revealed the pregnancy too early. Normally it’s the woman who jumps the gun and tells everyone — and then has to deal with the fall-out if sadly, something happens.

        Your husband may not have known, but the standard advice is to not tell anyone (other than the other half of the expectant couple!) til after the first trimester. It’s also just common sense, given the high levels of early miscarriage. I cringe internally when I’ve heard others share the news too early. In earlier days, they used to also say “comb your hair and put your clothes back on” before you share the news!

        I wish you a happy and healthy and UNEVENTFUL pregnancy!

        1. lost academic*

          Some women…. there’s a lot of us who’ve been TTC for a long time and have learned not to say anything for the first 3 months, because that’s when a lot goes wrong. OP#4, I’m with you, I’d be livid with my husband. Especially because it was entirely unnecessary! “I have a last minute doctor’s appointment.” Done.

          1. Susanne*

            It’s not very wise of ANY woman, whether or not she’s had issues conceiving, to say anything publicly (beyond her partner) before the first trimester. Any obstetrician-gynecologist will tell you that; they know far better than the average person how many of these initial pregnancies will wind up in miscarriage.

            1. I woke up like this*

              This isn’t universally true. My OB gave me the ok to tell my parents after hearing a strong heartbeat at 8 weeks—and this was just a few months after my miscarriage. Also I’ve disclosed my all three of my pregnancies to close friends and family members before the 12 week spot. For the one pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, I was grateful for the support of the people I had told of my pregnancy. I wanted to make sure that other people knew it had happened—I never wanted it erased. So, as is most things in life, the decision to disclose pregnancy is really YMMV. But one rule is universal: the couple should absolutely be on the same page!

              1. Observer*

                Well, your OB was wrong – the numbers, even after the heartbeat are shockingly high.

                In terms of whether to disclose, sure it’s a very personal decision and largely depends on very personal issues in how you and your loved ones interact. That’s not really the issue, though. The point is that the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester is extremely high and you need to act accordingly. That includes the decision as to whether or not to disclose.

                1. Chameleon*

                  This is both untrue and unkind. If the heartbeat is heard at 8 weeks, there is roughly a 98% chance that the pregnancy will continue normally. Now, you might consider 2% to be “shockingly high” but early pregnancy is scary enough for many women that we should avoid unneeded scare tactics.

                  I will also say that I chose to disclose to my close friends and family early–and when I miscarried having the emotional support of these people was very important to me.

                2. Specialk9*

                  Whoa, Observer and Susanna, you’re being weirdly dogmatic about something that is a woman’s own choice. Things are not as black and white as you’re presenting, and a woman/couple gets to make their own calls for themselves.

                3. Observer*

                  I’m not being dogmatic at all. I FULLY agree that each couple gets to make the call as to how to handle this information.

                  All I said was that when a couple makes that decision, they should act with full understanding of the risk. For some people that means making it their business to tell certain people so they know that they will have the support they need, for others the reverse. And for other couples, the decision will be different yet.

                4. Observer*

                  I’m not sure what your second paragraph is responding to. If you find that the support of others is useful to you, then of course telling those people makes sense. For others, the dynamics are different, and if there is a real chance that they might have to deal with a miscarriage, they are better off keeping it private.

                  That’s why I said that the decision is personal and specific to each couple.

                5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  Observer, I think the reaction is to your first sentence. The tone is more strident than you usually are, which might be why folks are reacting strongly.

                6. I woke up like this*

                  As someone who has had a miscarriage (which I mentioned in the post you’re replying to), I don’t need a reminder that miscarriages are common. And in my situation, my OB was not wrong. The chances weren’t extremely high at that point, and we were talking about telling my parents–not a Facebook announcement.

                7. Optimistic Prime*

                  I wouldn’t say that the chances of miscarriage are “extremely” high. Most people wait until the beginning of week 12 because that’s the lowest that the risk drops, but once you make it to week 6-7, the average risk of miscarriage is under 10% (and around 5-8% for women younger than 35).

                  As mentioned, a strong fetal heart rate around week 6ish is a good indication of a low risk for miscarriage. Studies of fetal heart rate and miscarriage show that around week 6-7, fetuses with strong heartbeats only miscarried about 6.5% of the time, and a more recent study found risks of only 4-5% in week 6. That’s higher than anyone would like but I wouldn’t call it “extremely” high.

            2. VioletEMT*

              Eh, I wouldn’t go that far. The advice I’ve heard is “don’t tell anyone who you don’t want to have the ‘I had a midcarriage’ follow-up convo with.”

              1. SoCalHR*

                ^^Exactly. Well said. My mom has always said, why would you not tell the people you love/who love you that you are pregnant as these are the people who will support you if you have a miscarriage? Obviously, casual coworkers are excluded, but to not tell ANYONE for 12 weeks seems extreme.

                1. Observer*

                  Well, a lot depends on the people you are dealing with. The circles of comfort (comfort in, dumping out) gets mentioned here, and it’s a really good paradigm. If you’ve ever been in the center of the circle, with people who have the directions reversed, you would understand why for SOME people, it’s better not to tell their loved ones.

                  ““don’t tell anyone who you don’t want to have the ‘I had a midcarriage’ follow-up convo with.”” is perfect advice, imo. For some people that includes parents but not friends, but that list is highly individual in any case.

            3. Specialk9*

              That’s actually not blanket advice anymore, because miscarriage is increasingly destigmatized (through a lot of hard work), and women are allowed to grieve semi-publicly and ask for support, instead of sweeping it under the rug. Which, thank heavens, it can be really wrenching. It’s now a couple’s decision, if they think they can handle the discussion if there is a miscarriage, they can announce as soon as they want.

              1. Susanne*

                Being supportive of a woman who has had a miscarriage has nothing to do with whether or not they “told early.”

                If my loved one has a miscarriage at (say) 10 weeks, I’m going to be supportive, be a shoulder for her to cry on, etc. That doesn’t change whether she told me at 5 weeks, or whether my first knowledge of the pregnancy is when the miscarriage occurred.

                Of course everyone can announce as soon as they want. They can announce once they’ve combed their hair and made the bed, for all I care. Why you’d want everyone and their brother to know during a still-risky time so then you get to field all kinds of questions when the pregnancy doesn’t materialize, I don’t get, but hey, not my call to make and not my awkward to deal with. It just seems smarter to wait and/or confine the telling of the happy news to those who you *know* will be supportive and loving if the worst occurs – which might mean telling your sister at 5 weeks, but not Bob in Accounts Receivable.

                1. Specialk9*

                  You say you don’t care, but the way you expressed your opinion made it clear that you both care very much, and disapprove of people who make a different choice from the one you indicate. “the standard advice is to not tell anyone (other than the other half of the expectant couple!) til after the first trimester. It’s also just common sense, given the high levels of early miscarriage. I cringe internally when I’ve heard others share the news too early. In earlier days, they used to also say “comb your hair and put your clothes back on” before you share the news!”

                  Pretty strongly worded! (But that seems to be something you do a fair bit, and then seem annoyed when you get strong pushback. Just be aware that you’re putting out something that’s making people bristle.)

                2. Early Sharer/Miscarriage Mom*

                  This might be a distraction from the topic at hand, but saying things such “not my awkward to deal with” comes across a little cold when you are talking about the death of a person’s child. Sharing the news of a death in your life with coworkers is often awkward and uncomfortable, but people usually manage to move on and be gracious. I’m just trying to understand your line of thinking in saying that you cringe when people share their happy news too soon for your tastes? I just replace the idea of what you’re saying with “Why you’d want everyone and their brother to know you have a *spouse/mother/five year old/sister/etc* in case the worst occurs…” If my husband died I wouldn’t keep it a secret. So I’ve always felt like I wouldn’t want to keep the death of my child a secret. I understand why people don’t share, though. Pregnancy is hard enough – women should make whatever decision they feel is best.

                3. myswtghst*

                  Being supportive of a woman who has had a miscarriage has nothing to do with whether or not they “told early.”

                  I think Specialk9 is making the opposite point though – it isn’t that people absolutely should always tell everyone early to be able to talk about miscarriage, but that because miscarriages are being talked about more openly, the conversations to be had if one does tell early and miscarries are getting progressively more socially acceptable and hopefully slightly less awful.

                  Whether someone talks about their miscarriage because it happened after a pregnancy was announced, on it’s own, or not at all is their choice, just as it’s the pregnant person’s choice to decide when to tell anyone about the pregnancy at all, and judging those choices isn’t particularly helpful or kind.

              2. Elizabeth*

                Yeah, I had a friend tell me when she was five weeks pregnant because her doctors said they should tell a few close friends/family in the event of a miscarriage so that they had a support system there to help them through it. The doctor was still “don’t tell the larger world until after 12 weeks as per usual” but it’s advised to tell at least a few people beyond your spouse.

              3. Falling Diphthong*

                The reason not to say anything is not that miscarriage must be a secret, but to avoid the added pain of weeks of “So, I heard from Janice via Wakeen that you’re expecting!” “Not anymore” conversations. You might tell close family and friends of a miscarriage regardless of whether you had told them of the pregnancy, but you really don’t want to have the conversation with random acquaintances continually popping out and flattening you with the zamboni of their well-intentioned congratulations.

                -lost a pregnancy a week after we started telling people

                1. Specialk9*

                  I’m so sorry, that must have been so painful.

                  I know people who know that risk and reveal early anyway. They figure they want to share the joy, and have support if there is pain. But it’s totally a call for that woman/couple.

                2. JoAnna*

                  I’ve had four miscarriages, three of which were at 12 weeks. With #1, the miscarriage happened on December 19. We had been planning to tell our families at Christmas, but instead we had to tell them the sad news and explain why we’d be rather sad and subdued over the holiday, and why I’d have to rest as much as possible over the holiday (I had to have a D&C on Dec 22).

                  With #2, it was very early (just about 6 weeks) and we hadn’t told anyone yet. But we told people about the miscarriage anyway, because we wanted our child’s short life acknowledged.

                  #3 & #4 were both very difficult. They were consecutive (one in June, one the following October) and both happened at 12 weeks after we’d already seen the baby’s heart beat, with no indication anything was wrong. But we had already told people about the pregnancies early on, due to our experiences with miscarriages #1 and #2, and it was helpful to have the support.

                  I think social media has changed this aspect of things — people are much more likely to see the news of a miscarriage, which lessens the incidences of awkward conversations.

                3. Stinky Socks*

                  I had my first miscarriage literally a day after telling everyone the news. It was such a gut punch.

                  My own personal (I stress personal, not trying to create universal guidelines here) experience was that dealing with the awful heartache was somewhat easier when we hadn’t told the whole world. I’ve had four miscarriages all together, interspersed with healthy, live births. First two, we had shared the pregnancy news right away, second two, I had switch over to “wait until second trimester” mode. They all sucked big time, but truthfully, I emotionally recovered a bit faster with the ones we hadn’t announced to the world. Keeping that information private meant *I* got to decide who I disclosed to, and in what circumstances. Immediate disclosure meant a longer, somewhat unpredictable stream of condolences, which were well meant, but generally ripped the scab off again. YMMV.

            4. Academic Addie*

              No, any OBGYN will tell you how things are going and leave it to you to decide what to do. OBGYNs are medical professionals, not your life coach.

              ‘Wisdom’ is not the issue here. Privacy is. I told people before 12 weeks both pregnancies. The first time, I was finishing my PhD and being honest early allowed my doctoral supervisor and I to work out a timetable that allowed me to safely complete my work. The second pregnancy, I was very sick for the first 12 weeks, and I needed some flexibility with a few things.

              Some women are also more willing to be public about miscarriage. I’m glad my pregnancies worked out (so far – I still have three months to go on this one), but I’m a biologist and would be OK being public about miscarriage. People really don’t understand the high failure rate of early pregnancies, and it leads to a lot of stigma and shame about pregnancy loss. I don’t think that’s an unwise decision. It’s a personal decision, and one my spouse and I put a lot of thought into.

              1. OP#4*

                I am just not great at accepting condolences. They make me very uncomfortable. My husband and I decided in advance who we would tell and those people are all people who will take my lead in those kinds of conversations and won’t be too pushy. My concern was his whole extended family finding out. The thought of having to spread the word to all of them if a miscarriage happened + deal with the well-meaning condolences was upsetting for me. I agree that everyone handles these things differently and it’s a personal decision, but also nothing to be ashamed of. As you said it’s surprisigly common.

                1. Academic Addie*

                  Right, and I’m not trying to imply that it’s something you should be OK with. Everyone gets to make their own plan, and your situation is greatly complicated by the potential for family to find out through the grapevine. I was just reacting to the “wise” crack in the other poster’s comment – there are all kinds of considerations we all make when we make these choices, and “wise” looks different in the light of those considerations.


                2. Academic Addie*

                  Right, and I’m not trying to imply that you should be OK with it. We’re all making decisions in light of considerations that might not be obvious externally. I was just reacting to the other poster’s “wise” crack – “wise” will look different to different people.


                3. Specialk9*

                  OP, please don’t read any judgment or pressure to you, from our responses to Susanna. They’re being dogmatic about something that is totally a choice for you and other parents to make individually, and we’re calling them out on that. All the support in the world to you!

              2. Susanne*

                But no one is talking about there being any “shame” or “stigma” about having a miscarriage. Of course there’s no shame or stigma – it’s no one’s fault, it’s just how life goes sometimes.

                And no one is saying that one shouldn’t be supportive of friends/loved ones who have had pregnancy losses. Of course one should.

                That doesn’t mean that you want to have to deal with inquiries – no matter how well-meaning– from Bob in Accounting because your excitement caused you to spill the beans to everybody. That’s awkward. And moreover, it is not necessary to tell Bob in Accounting in order to have the support of your best friend, sister, etc. in case you do miscarry. Sharing to a “tight” audience and sharing to a broad audience are two entirely different things.

                1. Academic Addie*

                  > Of course there’s no shame or stigma – it’s no one’s fault, it’s just how life goes sometimes.

                  I’ll go tell my best friend, who said she felt like a failure as a mother and had to go to therapy for help to stop blaming herself, after a miscarriage. Glad to know she didn’t feel any shame and just made it up for attention. Glad to know her mother didn’t feed that shame by constantly questioning her eating, drinking, exercise, etc and generally acting like the miscarriage was her fault. I’m sure those constant inquiries weren’t at all stigmatizing. In fact, I’ll got remind her right now. I bet it’ll be a big ol’ fun thing to relive – you know, since there’s no shame or stigma involved.

                  >That doesn’t mean that you want to have to deal with inquiries – no matter how well-meaning– from Bob in Accounting because your excitement caused you to spill the beans to everybody. That’s awkward.

                  And it’s fine that you made that choice with your pregnancy (ies). Other people make different choices depending on their life circumstances, and their preferences. It’s fine for you to “cringe internally” when you hear other people making those choices. But when you come out and call people names, you’re going to get some pushback on them.

            5. Don't Blame Me*

              I don’t think this is helpful. My husband and I are terrible at keeping secrets. We always tell people pretty soon after confirming the news. We’ve been “lucky” in that we’ve only once had to go back and tell people that we miscarried, but I don’t think we’re being “unwise” by being open and honest about it. I think it’s better all-around for there to be less of a stigma about miscarriage. So many women are really unprepared for losing a pregnancy because it’s so often hushed up when in fact, it’s really common. It ends up making people feel alone when they don’t necessarily have to be.

              1. Susanne*

                But it’s not like it’s necessary to tell everybody the moment you’ve conceived, in order to be open and honest if you *do* have a miscarriage. There’s a weird assumption here than in order to be open about the sadness and grief of a miscarriage, the pregnancy had to have been previously announced and known about. That’s simply not true. People can process “oh how sad for Jane, she had a miscarriage”, and offer their support accordingly, and it’s irrelevant if that’s the first finding-out that Jane was expecting.

                I don’t know why posters are conflating the two.

                1. myswtghst*

                  No one is saying it’s necessary, they’re saying it’s a choice they have made (or will make) for themselves. And many of your responses are coming across as incredibly judgmental of people who make a different choice than you would make (or have made).

                  It’s reasonable to acknowledge that if you tell people early, you may increase the chances you’ll also have to deal more openly with a miscarriage (or anything else which might go wrong). And if someone asks you, it’s reasonable to share that you think it’s better to wait until “x timeframe” before sharing the news with anyone beyond immediate family. But it’s not particularly reasonable to get judge-y (including comments about “common sense” and “cringing internally”) of people who make choices differently than you would, especially when they didn’t ask for your opinion.

              2. Specialk9*

                Sounds like a great choice for you!

                And I agree, it’s unfortunate how much pressure there is to hide such a wrenching pain. Nobody expects one to hide appendicitis.

              3. Observer*

                Every couple should do what works for them. What is wise for one is not wise for the other and vice versa. So, it would be pretty ridiculous for anyone to tell you that the choice you made, that works for you is “unwise”.

                And, of course, there should be NO stigma around miscarriage.

                But that has nothing to do with what decisions people should make. Some people are not up for fighting that battle when dealing with the pain of a miscarriage. Other people have other issues. And it’s really their choice to make. Just as it is really only the business of the couple if they do choose to share.

          1. Specialk9*

            Wow. I’m hoping they were able to get really serious counseling before deciding whether to try again, or split up. That’s some jaw dropping piling-on by her husband rather than helping out. Marriage and children are hard enough without that nonsense.

          2. KWu*

            Ooph. I hadn’t seen that column before. I can see a man being clueless about the “wait until 2nd trimester to announce” practice, but not to take responsibility for his actions and do everything he can to minimize his wife’s pain after the miscarriage? I would become worried about raising a child with a person like that–a child produces enough messes that you need to clean up after.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            That column was so sad. It also made me realize that if you go back, men often disclose pregnancies when their wives ask them not to. I don’t think any one gender has the market cornered on bad timing.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Susanne, the push-back you’re getting here is about you saying that you “cringe internally when I’ve heard others share the news too early.” It came across as really judgmental of a perfectly legitimate choice someone might make that’s different from your own and as if your way is the only right way. (I think something similar happened yesterday too.)

          1. Oryx*

            Something similar did happen yesterday.

            Susanne, I don’t know if you’re new to AAM, but part of the joy of the comments section (in my opinion) is hearing the viewpoints of others. But that means being willing to listen and acknowledge that your point of view is not the only point of view and people may disagree with you and that’s okay. But digging in your heels and insisting that you are right and everyone else is wrong is not going to endear you to the commenters here.

            1. KWu*

              I also think that advice is most helpful when you’re clear about what goals/priorities/values it’s moving you towards, and the advice giver is empathetic about people who have different goals. The point of the practice of keeping a pregnancy secret for the first trimester is that it’s an attempt to reduce the pain and grief of a miscarriage a little, but that may not actually be an effective strategy for a lot of people.

              I decided that I wanted my work colleagues to know pretty early because I wanted to be able to work from home more frequently since I was feeling so tired and nauseous and it was really icy out at the time, but if work people knew, I couldn’t count on friends and family not accidentally finding out and then feeling a bit hurt, so I just told people in order of “I would be most annoyed if this person were surprised later.”

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I can’t tell if this is our Susanne who’s been a long-time commenter or if this is a new Susanne or if old Susanne is going through a rough time.

  7. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#3, I warmly correct the coworker the first time, and then I call them the wrong name on purpose.

    Someone once called me Chloe (so very not my name), then started calling me alternately Chloe, Claire, Seema and Adrienne. I corrected her kindly, and others corrected her, to no avail. After she did it about 5 times in a 4 hour period, I started calling her random women’s names in response. She became really huffy and asked why I wasn’t calling her by her name. I replied with wide-eyed surprise, “Oh, I thought we were calling people random names since that’s what you’ve been doing all morning.” It worked.

    1. GM*

      I agree! And I think that’s the right approach. My first name is seemingly easy to pronounce but it gets changed by all and sundry who meet me for the first time. And it’s not just mispronunciations but completely different names altogether! Luckily no one has done that in the corporate environment at least recently, thank goodness. Also its interesting to note how badly people take to their own names being muddled but are perfectly happy to mess up others’ names!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        What name do you have that creates such apparent confusion? Your name is not, I presume, Callneanythingyoulike?

        1. Specialk9*

          I know two Andreas. One is an AAAAH-ndrea, the other is the more common Anne-drea. I get it wrong half the time and have to correct myself.

          1. GG Two shoes*

            I have a colleague who’s name is Andrea- pronounced Aahhhn-dre-A. Approximately no one gets her name right at conferences. It’s a beautiful name, though.

        2. Going anon for this example*

          My name is Kristen. Some people misspell it and outside of the time someone spelled it wrong on a magazine cover despite me telling them TWICE that it was spelled wrong I usually don’t care about that.

          However, When I verbally introduce myself I regularly get Kirsten (pronounced both Kir-sten and Kier-sten), Karen, Katherine, Christine and Kristal. I had a professor who called me Karen all of sophomore year, despite the fact that I had a name plate/stand on my desk in every class that plainly said Kristen. I know a lot of Kristen’s so I am not sure why it seems to be so hard for people to get, but I just let it roll for the most part.

          1. Arjay*

            My goddaughter is a “Kier-sten” and my elderly mom could never get that right. Or on the rare occasion she did, she’d act like she was speaking a very foreign language and really exaggerate the pronunciation to Keeeee-errrrr-sten. We finally settled on Kir-sten being the best we could expect.

          2. Specialk9*

            Wow. That stinks. It’s not exactly a hard name to get right! And misspelling it on a magazine cover would be bad enough, but with 2 corrections that seems deliberate.

          3. SallytooShort*

            I did work with both a Kristen and a Kirsten for a brief period of time.

            No confusion at all in person. But I would sometimes mess up who I was addressing in email.

            So, naturally, we had to fire Kirsten. (Not really.)

          4. Indoor Cat*

            Oh man. In my high school, there seemed to be a never-ending multitude of variations on Chris / Chrissy/ Christie / Christine / Kristy / Krista / Crystal / Christian / Kristen / Kiersten / Kirsten / Kieran, and then those who avoided the mess altogether by going by “K.K” or their middle names. I’m fairly sure there were at least two of each; I swear there were at least thirty girls in this name category and we only had 350 in the class.

            90’s parents needed to change it up. I mean, I know trying to get people’s names right is important and respectful– I’m not criticizing anyone who felt invalidated because teachers kept messing up their names– but I’ve got sympathy for the teachers who had to keep everybody straight.

        3. Mints*

          I’ve known a couple women who were named easy sounding but uncommon names (Bina, Veena) and they’re not harder to pronounce than Tina, but since they’re a little foreign they’d get all kinds of weird misnaming. They were also women of color, unsurprisingly

          1. GM*

            Bingo! My name sounds such that it reminds people of Georgie Porgie, garbage, garage, or simply just George as a last resort!

    2. SusanIvanova*

      #3 reminded me of this story :
      When Tora Shae’s white male coworker blatantly didn’t even try to get her name right because “All of those names sound the same anyway,” first she got mad, and then she spent the next 6 months calling him every common English male name except his own, until he finally broke down and apologized.

      1. Cash For Gold*

        I immediately thought of that story. I remember many if not most commenters deriding Tora’s response. Personally, I thought it was genius.

      2. Clorinda*

        I’m shocked that it took him six months to apologize. You’d think he’d notice what was going on by about the third time she called him a random name.

        1. Susanne*

          But I dislike the framing of the story as “corporate America’s racism.” This was one big jerk – “all those names are the same” and dropping the f bomb? I guarantee in any company I ever worked in, anyone who talked to someone the way the guy in that story talked to Tora Shae would have been dismissed so fast his head would spin. It wouldn’t have mattered if her name had been Becky, Tora Shae, or Laquieieieisha. Her name is her name and that’s how she should be referred to, end of subject.

          1. Sue Wilson*

            I mean, it’s great that the companies you’ve worked for wouldn’t stand something like this (although if you’re not black, I wouldn’t be so certain of that since you don’t have the experience to validate that perspective), this is indeed about corporate America’s racism, since this type of attitude isprevalent for many Black people in this country. I’m not sure why you want to defend corporate America here, when you can find numerous stories of Black people validating that this is a systemic problem, even if this was just one example. Let’s just believe my people, yeah?

          2. (Different) Rebecca, PhD*

            There have been multiple studies done about corporate America’s racism, and your example of what her name might have been is pretty dang racist.

          3. Specialk9*

            “All of those names sound the same anyway.”

            So he used a classic racist framing (“all black people look the same anyway”), and lumped a black woman’s name in with “all those names” (what-all makes was he referring to if not black names?) … but you’re arguing that it isn’t actually racist? What precisely would be blatant enough for you? Does the N-word have to get invoked for you to recognize racism? Because this _really_ wasn’t subtle.

            But separately, you’re being so abrasive and combative on every single topic the last couple days, that I’m wondering if you’re not just being a troll on purpose.

            1. SusanIvanova*

              I only quoted his first response – he doubled down with “You know, those hood black girl names. They all sound the same so I refuse to try”

              And if he’s that blatant about it, he knows he can get away with it. Even the companies who would fire someone for something like that aren’t going to give the boot to someone who’s been there a while on the word of someone on their first day. People like him are really good at playing the “just joking” bullying card and never doing anything too blatant where they can get caught.

          4. Andraste's Knicker Weasels (formerly ancolie)*

            It wouldn’t have mattered if her name had been Becky, Tora Shae, or Laquieieieisha.

            JFC, woman. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

          5. Specialk9*

            “All of those names sound the same anyway.”

            So he used a classic racist framing (“all black people look the same anyway”), and lumped a black woman’s name in with “all those names” (what-all makes was he referring to if not black names?) … but you’re arguing that it isn’t actually racist? What precisely would be blatant enough for you? Does the N-word have to get invoked for you to recognize racism? Because this _really_ wasn’t subtle.

            But separately, you’re being abrasive and combative on every single topic the last couple days. What’s going on?

            1. Perse's Mom*

              This is basically every day from that commenter and is one of the very few folks around here that makes me wish AAM had an ignore feature. Some people contribute nothing but making this place unpleasant for everyone else.

          6. Optimistic Prime*

            Actually…no. As was already mentioned, there are lots of studies of racism against names that are associated with people of color – classic studies are sending out resumes that are identical other than the names (“Emily” vs.”Keisha” or “Marisol” or “Parvati”; “Todd” vs. “Jamal” or “Miguel” or “Hideki”). Callback rates are always lower with the resumes with names heavily associated with people of color.

            There’s also the more subtle racism of giving people nicknames because they don’t want to take the time to learn to pronounce full names, even though they say English names that are longer with ease. That happens a lot in corporate America (and schools, and other places).

    3. Myrin*

      I always find these stories funny but also confusing – like, doesn’t that mean that your coworker did indeed call you by a wrong name intentionally? Because, I mean, if this was a case of extreme forgetfulness or something, she probably wouldn’t be able to suddenly rein it in completely once you used this tactic. Or do you think she was so shocked about this that she made a special effort to remember or something?

      1. Chi*

        It means that they don’t care enough to make an effort until it happens to them, and then they get it. Like a lot of people without compassion.

        1. London Calling*

          Very often it’s a power play, in my experience. You aren’t important enough for me to recall your name, little person.

          1. Happy Lurker*

            I have a terrible time with names and I feel so badly about it. For some of us, it is not a power play, just a very full plate. I try very hard to put names in my phone right away, but within 5 minutes the name is gone out of my mind (along with the grocery and to do list I forgot to write down).
            I will agree for some it is a power play.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I’m also bad with names (good with faces), and if I thought it had been that, I would have handled it different :)

              She was definitely in the “can’t be bothered to pay attention/try” bucket.

            2. Perse's Mom*

              This is one of those things that you can usually tell, when you’re on the receiving end, whether it’s because of difficulty with names in general or the person just doesn’t care. People in the former situation are usually *highly* apologetic and in some cases specifically point it out at introductions and/or explicitly ask to be corrected if they mispronounce it.

              I have one of those names that shouldn’t be hard to pronounce (it’s two syllables! the vowel sounds are perfectly common in english!) but people manage. The ones who don’t… they’ve either been very apologetic (the person who first mentioned me to them mispronounced it, so they didn’t know better) or I become convinced pretty fast that they sincerely don’t hear the difference.

              A case could be made that for some of them, it’s gone on so long that it no longer matters (and I’m not correcting my grandboss after half a dozen years).

              1. myswtghst*

                Completely agreed with your first paragraph. I often train large groups of people, and I will use everything at my disposal (introductions, name tags, seating charts, notes, phonetic spelling, etc…) to make sure I can match names to faces, call people what they prefer to be called, and pronounce names as correctly as I can. I will apologize and tell people to correct me, and do my level best to be open to corrections without any sign of irritation, if I do pronounce their name incorrectly.

                It’s pretty clear if someone is making an effort and just goofed, or if someone is making a point.

          2. Specialk9*

            I wouldn’t jump to this right off. A lot of us have memory problems, and malice is not applicable. (Personally, I have memory problems related to my chronic health problems. I struggle even with names of people I like or think are important. It stinks.)

            Every now and then, it IS a power play, but default to memory problem before malice. It’s more often true, and is more peace-inducing.

            1. Perse's Mom*

              I have a weird name. I think most of us are aware our names are weird and have learned to tell if someone doesn’t care/can’t be bothered to get it right, or if they mean well and are struggling*. I would guess that, being aware of your own issues, if you meet someone new you either mention it right off so they’re aware if you make a mistake, it’s not intentional, or you ask them to correct you.

              *I had a teacher in high school who could not pronounce my first, middle, OR last name and thus she used my initials.

      2. Specialk9*

        It’s a bit of effort, and without motivation, why bother. Making it awkward for them makes them feel like exerting that tiny bit of effort.

        Or, power play, but I wouldn’t assume that too quick. A senior manager I worked with called me “Temp” and reveled in it, making sure to have a regular monologue in my direction about the fact that he couldn’t be arsed to learn my name, and that it was so clever and amusing that he called me Temp. The next job after that, I stayed for well over a decade, but I wasn’t likely to work for that putz permanently.

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Frankly, I found her behavior careless and somewhat racist/sexist (I was the only WOC, and she had no trouble with remembering White people’s names or the names of men of color who were higher up the org chart than she. There were lots of other more egregious examples of her saying/doing racist and sexist things.). She was a somewhat self-absorbed and tone-deaf person in general.

        So I don’t think it was a power play or extreme forgetfulness—I think it was an implicit bias microaggression, and no one had called her on her bullshit (in this way) before.

        1. Specialk9*

          Ooh yeah, it’s the pattern that is revelatory. By any chance, were Chloe, Claire, Seema and Adrienne the names of other WOC, or were they just random?

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            They were truly random! They aren’t even close to my name, and literally no one in the organization, current or former staff, had ever had those names. But I was also the only WOC for 90% of my tenure.

            She used to “confuse” the names of men of color in the service line (e.g., janitors), as well. She’d call them by generalized ideas of what she thought a “Black male” name or a “Latinx” name would be, and when corrected, she’d wave it off and say, “Oh, well you know who I mean.”

    4. Lioness*

      I did something similar to a teacher in high school. Other students had purposely started calling me by a name that calls upon my short stature and the teacher had picked up on it. My response was similar of “if you’re going to call me that then I get to call you -name not wanted-“. It stopped immediately. This was also after gently trying to correct.

      You could also maybe reply similarly to the way the LW who was being called “mom” to the email in that “no one by the name Beth works here, you sent this to me by mistake” if he sends out emails to multiple people or something.

      1. Observer*

        You had a teacher who called you by a nickname that was intended to mock you!? Why are such teachers allowed to stay in the classroom?!?!?

        1. Mrs Pitts*

          While I agree with your first sentence that guy was a jerk; your second sentence supports why teachers get so little respect. I’m a teacher, it’s awful when you have people that don’t know you or have context judge your fitness in your field. We don’t do this to other professions.

    5. edj3*

      I’ve got a fairly strong preference to be called by my full first name, not any of the diminutive versions. So when people ask if I go by my full first name, I cheerfully reply yes and also say that chances are good if I’m called anything else, I won’t realize they’re talking to me. And it’s happened a couple of times, someone will call me by one of the diminutive names–and I truly don’t hear it. That name isn’t me.

      That strategy probably wouldn’t work in email but it does in meetings.

        1. cheluzal*

          Me too. I’m choosing a name for my child that can’t be shortened because if I wanted the short name…I’d just name them that!

          1. Specialk9*

            My friend tried that, and his nickname-happy in-laws made a longer but still dominative nickname! :D Like Jo becoming Jo-Jo-Bear, but not that exact one.

          2. Indoor Cat*

            The thing about that, though, is by about, eh, age five or so, it becomes up to the kid.

            I have a friend with culturally traditional Russian name. It’s on all her paperwork. But, first day of kindergarten, she comes home and announces her new best friend at school is Amy, and so she’s going by Annie so they can be ‘Amy and Annie Amazing!’ Not totally sure if she was going for a superhero vibe or if they were supposed to be magicians or what. Despite her parents arguing, she writes Annie as her name on all her papers. Eventually, Amy moves away, but Annie stays Annie.

            She’s in college now, and I only recently found out about her birth name. It was actually a pretty interesting conversation, because we were talking about how names are about identity, and how much of one’s identity is something gained from our family (like them or not) and how much of oneself is what we choose for ourselves. And how much is the people we choose, like friends, and the people who choose us.

            I’ve had at least three friends do the paperwork it takes to legally change their names, but in each case, it was to get away from abusive parents or to ratify a gender change; sometimes both. For Annie, she didn’t mind her family or her surname. But being able to choose her first name was really important to her.

            Just something I’ve been thinking about. I don’t think I want to change my name, but it’s interesting how much goes into it when people do.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        There is a verrrrrry small circle of people who are allowed to call me a diminutive of my name. My coworkers are not among them. I got a new manager once who tried it – without asking, mind you – and the look of bewilderment I gave him just about made his ears fall off.

      2. SusanIvanova*

        I’ve got a double first name, and the same thing happens if someone uses only the first half. It simply doesn’t ping the “name recognition” process.

    6. Pollygrammer*

      I know someone who did this with a misspelling, except he never gave the heads-up. A colleague was spelling his name wrong (think Jeffrey instead of Geoffrey) and instead of saying anything he just started spelling his colleague’s name wrong. Finally, after weeks, the conversation was something like:

      “I just wanted to point out that you’ve been spelling my name wrong….”

      “Yeah, I know. You’ve been spelling MY name wrong.”

      They were both pretty chill, so everybody just laughed about it.

    7. Jadelyn*

      …how does one even get that particular set of wrong names at the same time? Chloe and Claire I can see, but where does that connect to Seema, and even further how the hell did Adrienne get into this mix? It’s not like Kathryn/Caitlin/etc. or Jessica/Jennifer/etc., where it makes sense that if someone got one wrong name in their head they might accidentally use an adjacent name. What a random collection of names to call someone…but I love your response to her!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        That was my reaction! Chloe and Claire at least start with the same sound (my name doesn’t start with a “Cl” sound), so I could kind of understand that confusion. But the other names were truly random, and I mostly wondered if she had met WOC with those names in the past.

        1. Rachel*

          This may seem like a weird question, but was this person also a WOC? I’m a WOC with a non-stereotypical name for my ethnic group, and people of the same race (black) often unintentionally “complicate” my name when spelling it by adding extra letters and sounds to make it sound “more black”. Queue eyeroll…

    8. myswtghst*

      I love this story so much PCBH.

      At a previous job, I joined a team at the same time as another young woman about my age with a very similar name (think Carmen and Karen). Although we really didn’t look much alike, one of our managers could not keep us straight, to the point he once called me on my cell phone on my day off to ask her to come in to work overtime.

      I started out correcting him, then moved on to finding it kind of hilarious, and alternated between blandly saying “oh, Karen isn’t here now – she doesn’t work Sundays” or just ignoring him until he used the right name. Thankfully, he had a good sense of humor, and recognized he deserved it, even if it was (on his part) a relatively honest mistake.

    9. OP 3*

      Just to address a few of the things mentioned (which are all very applicable for some situations, of course) – in this case there’s no racial element and it’s not a diminutive of my full name, just something that seems random and occasional, which somehow confuses me MORE. I don’t THINK it’s a power play; this guy is always perfectly nice and respectful.

      It hasn’t happened in a few months, so maybe he’s learned! If not I’m going to start saying “This is Kate, no Beth here!” in my replies instead of just ignoring it, if only to keep others on the email chain from getting confused.

    10. Not Meredith*

      I have a coworker who called me by the wrong name for months. He originally called me by the correct name, but over the course of a couple of months transitioned from calling me “Katie” to calling me “Meredith”. It was a big jump, and the only “Meredith” at our company was also his manager. I never corrected him – just tried to say a preemptive good morning to him so he wouldn’t have to use my name at all. Fast forward a few months, and I’m at the starting line of a 5K when he and another coworker see me. The other coworker shouts “KATIE!” loudly and ran over to say hi. He hasn’t gotten my name wrong since.

  8. KWu*

    I confess I’m a little confused by why LW2 was offended by the suggestion to consider antidepressants. Is it because of feeling like it implies that LW2’s behavior towards colleagues has been as difficult as the manager’s when it hasn’t been?

    It’s an overstep, certainly, but if you’re already discussing your respective romantic relationships with each other, it doesn’t seem to have come out of nowhere, like if someone had recommended looking into couples counseling.

    1. Marzipan*

      Mmmm, I found that wording a little difficult, as someone who’s taken antidepressants in the past. #2, considering it inappropriate for your boss to make that suggestion is totally fair enough (it is, because she’s noticed in any position to diagnose or prescribe), but the word ‘offended’ is tricky here because it suggests (quite unintentionally, I’m sure) that there’s something wrong with taking antidepressants. If you do ultimately decide to talk to your boss about it I would recommend avoiding this wording as it could make the conversation quite tricky.

      1. Specialk9*

        But they didn’t just say offended, they said ‘very offended’, and then described how difficult and moody the boss (who takes those meds) is. It doesn’t seem like an ill fitting word choice, it sounds like they are really as ‘very offended’ as they say.

        “I was describing how my boyfriend and I just broke up, and stated that the relationship was making me an unhappy person. She immediately *agreed* that I definitely am unhappy and said that I should consider taking antidepressants to help with my moods, and how much they help her and that it’s not my fault I have a chemical imbalance in my brain.

        I was and am very offended at her eager suggestion. She is open about being on psych meds herself, and I and other employees struggle to tolerate her moods and attitude.”

        1. tigerlily*

          Yeah, the being very offended and then talking about the boss’s “psych meds” and struggling to tolerate the boss’ moods put a sour taste in my mouth. It may not be what OP intended, but it’s coming across to me as being judgmental about the boss having a mental health issue.

          1. Chameleon*

            Agreed. There is nothing wrong with taking meds, and it reads similar to being “very offended” to being mistaken for Jewish or gay–it’s only offensive if you think there’s something wrong with it.

            Psych meds have literally changed my life after resisting them for decades due to the stigma. I wouldn’t do what the boss did but I understand the impulse to encourage people to reconsider their opinions of them.

            1. tigerlily*

              Especially since it was coming from someone who actively uses antidepressants. That’s not someone rudely suggesting you’re crazy and need drugs to fix yourself, that’s someone (however misguided in her approach and/or reading of the relationship) giving you an honest suggestion of something that has helped them.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          I agree that “very offended” was over the top. Annoyed maybe, but offense?

          Let the comment roll off your back and be happy. Taking offense at stuff like this leaves one grumpy – at lot.

    2. Vertigo*

      Because there’s a big difference between being unhappy and being clinically depressed. The way LW2 stated it, she mentioned that the relationship she ended had made her unhappy. Going from that to “you should take antidepressants” is a gigantic leap that really falls into a psychiatrist or therapist’s reign, not a friend and certainly not a boss. It’d be another thing if the manager suggested that maybe LW2 was depressed, but that’s not what she did; she jumped to a diagnosis and her preferred treatment.

      It’d be like confessing that you were pretty nervous about an upcoming presentation and your friendboss telling you to get a Xanax prescription.

      1. Birch*

        Yes, and it implies that the symptoms are affecting your life in a way that others might notice. Not to mention, not everyone wants to take antidepressants even if they do have depression! I totally get the offense–it was once suggested to me that I might have an untreated disorder that would affect my appearance in a certain way, while I didn’t think I showed any of those symptoms. It wouldn’t be offensive if I actually had the disorder, and it’s not anything against people who do, it’s just jarring to hear that you’re being perceived that way. Imagine someone recommending you get a prescription acne medication when you have clear skin–it just feels like they’re saying they think you have terrible skin and makes you feel a bit crazy to have a totally different view on it.

      2. Chi*

        I don’t think anyone should recommend antidepressants to anyone, and I take them regularly. It is not something to take lightly and it can take many tries to get it right. I am still struggling after years on antidepressants. It is a personal decision that even a friend should not suggest. Just my opinion.

        If she mentioned the employee health services that lots of jobs have and let you decide if and when to use that, perhaps that would have been better received. I suppose it is nice that your boss cares enough to suggest it. But if you find it intrusive maybe you want more distance, and that is OK too.

    3. Nico M*

      Because shes not a damn doctor.

      Unsolicited antidepressant advice is not acceptable. Like unsolicited diet advice, but worse.

        1. Happy Lurker*

          I love Allison’s comment “evangelists about antidepressants” because I know too many people like this.

          1. Decima Dewey*

            I’ve been on Pamelor, Prozac, and Zoloft at various times. Antidepressants are not happy pills. It’s possible to have a really rotten day on meds. All the antidepressants do on bad days is keep you from thinking about every bad decision you’ve ever made and making your mood worse.

            So, yeah, jumping “I’m bummed that my boyfriend and I broke up” to “You should go on antidepressants” is much too big a leap. Besides, that’s between OP and her doctor.

      1. Susanne*

        But antidepressants aren’t something you start yourself (the way you could, at least theoretically, start that diet advice that you were told about). It’s pretty obvious that a recommendation to start antidepressants isn’t really a “go pick up some Prozac at Walgreen’s and pop one before lunch,” but it’s a recommendation to take the matter to your doctor, where the two of you would decide in conjunction whether antidepressants may be warranted (and/or whether other treatment is warranted, such as talk therapy).

        Would it have been “offensive” if the other person had said – sounds like you’re going through a really rough time, here’s the name of my therapist, he’s helped me through XYZ rough times in my life, you should really consider giving him a call. It’s not a directive or a mandate – it’s a suggestion to try something that for many people is effective. What’s the difference between recommending a therapist and recommending a doctor visit for the purpose of investigating medication solutions?

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          There’s no way that a boss should be directing an underling to their own therapist. That presents confidentiality/comfort issues, as well as a potential professional conflict on the therapist’s part.

          It’s good that the boss is trying to destigmatize psychological issues, but a boss attempting to dictate that yes, this is definitely something that has gone wrong in your brain at all evidence to the contrary is overstepping bounds.

          (Seems that this is an externally-created (exogenous) sadness, rather than a definitive endogenous depression, and there’s no indication that a pill should be popped in response to getting over a breakup – especially since many antidepressants can take weeks to even begin working – for lifting of what is hopefully a temporary mood issue.)

          1. Susanne*

            “There’s no way that a boss should be directing an underling to their own therapist. That presents confidentiality/comfort issues, as well as a potential professional conflict on the therapist’s part.”

            Really? I don’t see it as any different from recommending a dentist, or dermatologist, or allergy doctor, or any other health care professional I might have had a positive experience with. Of course the therapist is going to be professional enough that what goes on in their office stays in their office; that goes without saying.

            I myself saw a therapist who was recommended to me by a former boss, who knew a lot about me personally as well. The recommendation was spot-on and I’ve since recommended this therapist to others as well.

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              That should happen, yes, but it may weigh on the underling’s mind and affect therapy. This would be even more important if the underling should develop work-related problems and feel conflicted about telling the therapist, and wondering if the therapist could be impartial. The therapist could certainly opt to refer to a colleague who would be a good fit.

      2. Specialk9*

        The boss was out of line in a work context, but it’s not a topic that should be totally verboten. I went on antidepressants because two sisters did in similar situations, and it really helped them. (Well, I knew it was an option for me, and discussed with my doctor.) There really is a community information effect – oh this person did this thing, it now seems reasonable and like it might be applicable to me.

    4. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      Offended wouldn’t have been my choice of words, but a recommendation for couples’ counseling would have been totally different in the context OP describes. Antidepressants don’t treat having a shitty boyfriend.

      1. neeko*

        If OP is sharing about boyfriend, I wonder if they are also sharing about other personal things (and feelings) that made the boss suggest some outside help.

        1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

          It’s possible, though “a close enough relationship where we might discuss our relationships” doesn’t really read that way to me. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that’s the case as many commenters seem to be doing.

      2. ket*

        But even then, the better phrasing is, “I’ve tried couples’ counseling and it was really useful,” or, “A friend really benefited from couples’ counseling — it’s worth considering,” rather than, “Wow, you really need some couples’ counseling!”

        “Antidepressants have really given me some benefit” != “You should get on antidepressants!”

    5. Susanne*

      I’m completely with you, KWu. One can argue that one shouldn’t cross certain personal boundaries with a boss, fine, but once those boundaries were crossed, the suggestion that one should consider taking antidepressants is about as “offensive” as the suggestion that a diabetic should consider taking insulin or other medication, or that a person with a clearly broken arm should go get it set properly — that is to say, not at all. It is a reasonable and helpful suggestion for a person to make to someone who is clearly suffering.

      There are a lot of people out there who somehow consider mental health to be something that someone should just suck it up and gut it through – who ascribe a stigma to mental health meds that they don’t ascribe to insulin for the diabetic or whatever. Don’t be like those people. They aren’t exactly rocket scientists; indeed, most of them don’t have any scientific “knowledge” beyond the C they got in high school chemistry class.

      Mental health medications are simply medications like any other. They may work well for some people and have unpleasant side effects for others and there may be trial and error involved, but being “offended by the suggestion” is frankly ridiculous. The OP may want to consider why she considers mental health meds to be not valid somehow.

      1. Colette*

        It’s more like saying someone who complains about being thirsty should start taking insulin. Yes, thirst sometimes is a symptom of diabetes, but sometimes it just means you need a glass of water. Similarly, sometimes being unhappy is a result of what’s going on in your life and not because of clinical depression.

        If the OP needs medication, the most her employer (or friend, or family member) should do is suggest she see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

        1. Specialk9*

          We mostly all agree the boss said it badly, and crossed a line (though both had already tried that line routinely). Better phrasing might have been something like “I have found that antidepressants worked for me when I got stuck in X way. If things start to feel overwhelming, you might ask your doctor if something similar might be a good fit for you. And let me know if I can help in (X concrete way).”

          1. Susanne*

            That’s a good way of wording it. But again, given that antidepressants aren’t over-the-counter drugs, it seems to me that saying “maybe you should try antidepressants” is just a shorthand way of saying “maybe you should try talking to your doctor about whether antidepressants are appropriate for your situation.” Because obviously the person has to go through a doctor as gatekeeper for the antidepressants. I don’t know, I just tend to assume good will on the part of the boss.

            1. Captain Obvious*

              Exactly. And I don’t want to wordsmith every casual conversation I have with a friend. I’ll save that when writing for the New Yorker.

      2. Lisa*

        Yeah I can’t help but feel a little insulted by OP#2’s reaction to the anti-depressant thing. Fortunately mental illness is starting to be more legitimized, but still people think you are weak if you take pills for it.
        I had a “mental breakdown” at work and was out for a week at the hospital. During that time my boss called me a lot just for support, and perhaps that broke some kind of boundary but it really helped to know that my coworkers did not stigmatize me.

    6. Temperance*

      I’m guessing that LW was offended because her boss is a mentally ill oversharer, and LW doesn’t consider herself to be any of those things. In the letter, LW states that the boss is “moody”, which can mean a whole bunch of different things.

      I would probably think to myself that anti-depressants clearly don’t work because boss is so unpredictable and moody even on pills.

      1. Susanne*

        Well, that’s an … interesting interpretation. Are you under the mistaken impression that anti-depressants are happy pills that completely wipe away any moods or unpredictability, and that if someone on anti-depressants has a bad day or exhibits some sign of being upset or crabby or sad, that the medication isn’t working? Wow.

        And really … “mentally ill oversharer”? Where I come from, we call that “friends who share emotions and look to one another for validation and support.”

        1. Specialk9*

          Those things you’re objecting to were straight from the OP, not from Temperance. I agree, though, that they’re worthy of objection. “I was and am very offended at her eager suggestion. She is open about being on psych meds herself, and I and other employees struggle to tolerate her moods and attitude. Overall I’ve received positive feedback about my work performance with the company from coworkers, this manager, and the owner.”

      2. Kate 2*

        What makes you think the boss might be an oversharer? LW was the one telling the boss all about her bad relationship with her boyfriend and how unhappy she is.

        1. myswtghst*

          It’s certainly possible the boss is not an oversharer, but since OP did say boss also talks about relationship stuff, it seemed a reasonable enough assumption to me that they both share a bit more than maybe they should. Also, speaking from personal experience, the boss tends to be the one who sets the tone in these conversations/relationships. The boss being an oversharer would explain why the entire office knows about her mental health in such detail, and seems in line with the response the OP wrote in about.

  9. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP#5, it’s not an endorsement, but I don’t connect with people on LinkedIn if I can’t at least partially vouch for them. But that’s a personal choice I’ve made about how I use a specific social media platform. I think a lot of people just use it as a kind of Rolodex.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m with PCBH on this, because I feel that my choice of connections reflects on me to at least some extent and I’m also not interested in connecting with people I don’t want to be connected with (eg due to an acrimonious departure from my workplace).

      1. OP #5*

        Yeah, that’s just it. What made the guy not get along with a lot of people were some actions that were flat out antagonistic. I really don’t want that to reflect on me.

        1. Specialk9*

          Don’t connect with him. It sounds like that’s your instinct, and you get to make that decision for yourself.

          It also precludes awkward situations like the toxic ex-boss who demanded networking and got mad at being ignored. (I feel like we got an update on that one recently – search AAM for LinkedIn.)

          1. OP #5*

            Yeah, that’s my plan. I just use LinkedIn so infrequently I wasn’t sure what is “normal” for there. Then again, neither is my old department!

            1. SusanIvanova*

              LinkedIn started out as “people I have professional connections with” but now it seems to want to be the next Facebook, pushing every possible link they can detect.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      I’m definitely one of the people that uses LinkedIn like a Rolodex. I will accept any connection unless it comes with a creepy message because there might be a day in the future when I want to know the culture at some company and might be able to find someone that works there and ask about it (though I never have).

      I’m just saying this to OP doesn’t worry too much about what they decide to do. I think the number of people that will judge someone based on their LinkedIn connections is probably pretty low; so few people even use it in a serious way. Honestly, I only use it to keep my employment history easily accessible for when I need to check something.

      1. MoinMoin*

        Yep. I just treat it like Facebook for people with whom I’ve worked (rather than people with whom I interact socially, like FB). It’s just a way to keep everyone in one place in case I ever need to contact them, or possibly discover a random connection, like we’ve both relocated to the same state or whatever. Which is pretty much how I use FB- I rarely update or go on it; I just use it to contact someone or like recently a friend of a friend moved to my state for a residency program and put out feelers if anyone was in the area to catch up or recommend local attractions.

  10. Safetykats*

    OP4 – This is uncomfortable, and your husband’s boss clearly can’t be trusted with confidential information. There’s a good lesson here though, because as an employee you have no obligation to tell your manager why you need personal time off, and you probably shouldn’t. I’ve had employees who regularly accompany their spouses and children to appointments, for various reasons. And while I don’t mind hearing that the youngest child is getting glasses, I’ve also been told some really personal details of various spouse’s medical issues that frankly I don’t want to know. I don’t know why some people feel the need to justify personal time in detail – unless they have an absenteeism issue it’s really not necessary. Even then, as Alison suggests often, it’s adequate to discuss the issue as medical in nature – details really not necessary or even advisable. I would suggest that your husband get used to sharing no more than required.

    1. OP#4*

      Yes— I agree totally. It took me a while, but I’m now very used to requesting time off for a “personal appointment” or a “medical appointment” while providing no additional details. If asked, I always wave it off and say “one of those routine things. That’s why I was so surprised my husband didn’t do that! I know his boss is a bit of a chatter, and so he does extra talking to keep the relationship warm, and maybe that’s why he felt obligated to explain. As you say, great lesson though.

  11. Magenta Sky*

    #2: “Oh, I didn’t realize you were trained as a psychiatrist! Where did you serve your internship?”

    How cheerfully you say it will affect how she responds.

    On a more serious note, “being said” is *not* clinical depression. Antidepressants are, indeed, for people with a chemical imbalance in their brain. But most people who are sad have no such imbalance. They’re just sad, generally for good reason – like a recent breakup. The difference is not something your boss can possibly diagnose, even if she *is* a psychiatrist (who would never be allowed to treat someone they are that close to).

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      “Antidepressants are, indeed, for people with a chemical imbalance in their brain.”

      I agree with your general sentiment here, which is that antidepressants are for people who need them for a medical problem. But they are not for people with a ‘chemical imbalance’ – this is a myth perpetuated by pharmaceutical companies. Google ‘chemical imbalance myth’ or ‘seratonin myth’ for more.

      Antidepressants do not work by correcting an imbalance, and it’s unfortunate that this myth is still in such wide circulation. Like ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ it is pure marketing hype.

      1. Steve*

        If a person doesn’t want unsolicited advice about their personal problems they might be better off not talking about their other personal problems. Lots of people are going to offer a solution if you tell them a problem. Letter writer said she was unhappy after breaking up with boyfriend. I can see how suggesting someone take antidepressants might be bad advice. I do not understand how it offensive given the conversation. If I were close enough to someone to tell them I was unhappy I think I would be comfortable enough to tell them , “i don’t think I need antidepressents” if they said I did. The suggestion to take antidepressants happened in a context that letter writer chose to be a part of and, to me, seemed a natural consequence of that conversation. Again, not that I am saying it is good advice, it just is in no way offensive.

        All my opinion for what it’s worth.

      2. Steve*

        What do anti depressants do if they do not fix a chemical inbalance. I googlad what you said and learned a lot. Thanks

        My post below (or above )was intended to be somewhere else. Sorry

          1. Lemon jello*

            Thanks a tonne for correcting the imbalance myth before I got chance to. It’s such a pervasive myth I see it everywhere even coming from MH clinicians!

    2. Captain Obvious*

      If I say I have a headache and you suggest that aspirin is better than Tylenol, does that require you to hold an MD? And LW’s boss didn’t even do that; she didn’t suggest a particular medication, or demand that LW take a medication. She just mentioned it as something for LW to look into*in response* to LW bringing up a problem.

      1. ket*

        But even then, I think bosses should not be suggesting aspirin over Tylenol. I do think that’s inappropriate. There are lots of things you do when your boss suggests them to be polite, to go along — try the sub shop down the street, start stapling horizontally instead of vertically, all these little things that “don’t matter” like aspirin vs Tylenol doesn’t matter… except that it does. Health things are not work things and should not be discussed in the same way.

        1. Kate 2*

          But LW brought her personal life up. She chose to involve the boss in it. If one of my bosses started telling me about his marriage breaking up I would be 100% okay with recommending therapy and/or antidepressants. Or a coworker. Even with the boss/employee dynamic I don’t think they were out of line at all.

    3. cheluzal*

      After my brother died, I was sad and my doctor offered antidepressents. I told her grief is not an illness. I never slipped into depression and worked through it naturally. Not a fan of taking a pill unless absolutely necessary but in USA we are pushed on drugs. Only USA and New Zealand even show drug commercials, so it seems like candy, I think!

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I understand you’re larger point, but this is really offensive for folks who do take antidepressants and receive a therapeutic benefit from doing so.

        1. Specialk9*

          Agree. You are perfectly within your rights to decide not to take meds, cheluzal, but the latter part of your statement comes across as judgmental of those of us who have used antidepressants to get through rough patches, or take them all our lives. It’s one of those topics that it’s wise to choose words carefully, because they can be hurtful.

      2. Lemon jello*

        Agree on your first point. Was offered them when I lost a parent and refused as I was grieving not depressed. Five years later I developed actual depression and have found meds marginally useful at times. But not for a short term usage to deal with an external adverse life event. I think antidepressant usage to deal with grief may sometimes be unhelpful as the brain needs to access those emotions to go through the grieving process. Suppressing it only stores it up for later.

  12. CleverGirl*

    Being highly offended and insulted that someone you frequently share personal information with suggested you might have depression (after you told them you were unhappy) and should look into medication is quite revealing about your attitude toward people who are on antidepressants. If you were complaining of a headache and someone said “it sounds like you might have a migraine, you should try this medication that I use for migraines that really helps me!” would you feel super offended? Probably not. Which means your real problem is likely that you are stigmatizing mental illness and being treated with medication for mental illness. You are reacting like someone implying you might benefit from such medication is a personal insult, and it shouldn’t be.

    1. Esme Squalor*

      Thank you; this perfectly clarified to me what was bothering me about this question. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read your response.

      Also, if you’re going to feel uncomfortable with extremely personal recommendations from your supervisor, it’s probably a good idea to avoid sharing extremely personal problems.

      1. Specialk9*

        There is an element to that in there. Boss still isn’t keeping good boundaries, (neither is OP, but that’s more on Boss), but there are several layers here.

        /Antidepressants got me through a tough time, I’m thankful a sister suggested it. A sister who’s a doctor, though.

    2. Alldogsarepupppies*

      This. ^. Its no more insulting than any other medical condition. There is nothing wrong with antidepresents. In face there is a lot right.

    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      I think it’s ok to be offended by someone without medical expertise offering diagnostic advice. In general, that’s not ok, even between close friends. And I think it can feel alienating to have your boss armchair diagnosing you and jumping to treatment advice. (I say that as someone who gets all sorts of useless and condescending “medical” advice about a food allergy.)

      But I agree that OP’s language around depression and antidepressants is problematic (e.g., referring to antidepressants as “psych meds”).

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Eh, I just called them psych meds and I work in a related field – I was using that as ‘shorthand for psychiatric drugs that a largely American audience will understand’. I don’t think the stigma was in the language – it’s not like they called them happy pills.

      2. Lynca*

        I think it’s alienating to have someone try to diagnose you based on just being unhappy. That’s a valid emotion that doesn’t necessarily indicate anything serious is wrong.

        Implying that just feeling unhappy is a reason to take medication is kind of far off into left field. And I’m someone that has depression and has taken medication for it. I’ve been upset when it happens in conversation. I’ve dealt with people that feel I need to be happy /all the time/ or else something is wrong.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          Yes. A breakup is a legitimate reason to be sad. Suggesting anti depressants implies that there’s something wrong with those sad feelings that needs to be fixed. There isn’t. It’s a natural and normal response.

      3. Captain Obvious*

        There is a difference between two friends having a casual conversation about something vaguely medical and offering a suggestion (Paleo diets, meds, whatever) and a doctor offering a formal “diagnosis.” That’s particularly true when LW opened the door to this conversation by saying she was unhappy. I’d feel differently if the other friend continued pushing this line of reasoning continually, but that is not happening here, so far as LW reports. Susanne below is 100% right.

    4. Delphine*

      I take anti-depressants and am proponent of using medication to treat mental illness, but even I think this particular circumstance was inappropriate. Not only was the person the LW’s boss, but she chose to beyond a caring suggestion (“have you considered that you might be depressed?” left only at that) to diagnosing her report and saying things like “it’s not your fault there’s a chemical imbalance in your brain”.

      At no point does sharing personal details about relationships give other people the right to diagnose me with illnesses, be they physical or mental. And I would certainly question what it was about my behavior that encouraged my boss to tell me I had a mental illness after sharing with her my feelings about a bad relationship.

      1. hbc*

        I don’t think anyone is disagreeing that it was inappropriate and an overreach. But being *offended* seems to be about taking it personally and there also seems to be an element of “Geez, I’m not as messed up as *you*, how dare you imply that?” in the OP’s reaction. If any of that comes through in the response, it will not go well. OP can deal with the inappropriateness without getting into any offense.

        1. eplawyer*

          I thought we didn’t nitpick people’s word choices here. She might have used offended to mean bothered or she was offended. But I think it’s a huge leap to go from she didn’t like what her boss said to she has a problem with people with mental health issues. She just didn’t like what her boss said and chose a word to convey that. Maybe it’s not the word everyone would choose, but it’s the one she chose.

          1. Specialk9*

            It seems like you’re parsing away meaning rather than taking them at their word.

            They didn’t just say offended, they said ‘very offended’, and then described how difficult and moody the boss (who takes those meds) is. It doesn’t seem like an ill fitting word choice, it sounds like they are really as ‘very offended’ as they say. We believe them and are responding to those words.

            “I was describing how my boyfriend and I just broke up, and stated that the relationship was making me an unhappy person. She immediately *agreed* that I definitely am unhappy and said that I should consider taking antidepressants to help with my moods, and how much they help her and that it’s not my fault I have a chemical imbalance in my brain.

            I was and am very offended at her eager suggestion. She is open about being on psych meds herself, and I and other employees struggle to tolerate her moods and attitude.”

            1. Lehigh*

              Yeah, the language definitely made me feel like the OP was primarily offended by the idea that she might be mentally ill like her boss (who, per the last paragraph, may not have her illness well-controlled at work or may have a difficult personality in general.)

              As a person who has sought help for a mood disorder, that kind of felt like a slap in the face. Needing help is not such a horrible, offensive idea. Of course it’s hurtful to realize that other people see you as unhappy or notice problems you’re dealing with – but sometimes it’s important information.

              Granted, not an appropriate way to phrase that information from a boss. But it sounds like that professional line was crossed long ago.

      2. myswtghst*

        Yes, agreed. It seemed like there were some opportunities on both sides, and while it’s unfortunate the OP’s letter comes across a bit judgmental about mental illness, I also think the boss stepped way beyond what was appropriate here by basically trying to diagnose and prescribe – especially because boss did so in a way which now has OP concerned about how they’re being perceived by everyone they work with.

        It would be reasonable to say “I’ve noticed that you seem kind of down, and I’ve found talking to a therapist really helpful for that” or “Just so you know, our EAP covers XYZ related to mental health care”. But conflating reasonable sadness expressed by a direct report about a recent life event with an ongoing mental health issue which requires prescription medication seems like a bit of a stretch (even if it is in response to a bit of an overshare that may or may not have been encouraged by the boss).

        Not mental health specific, but somewhat similar – I get migraines. They are the literal worst. If someone else mentions having a migraine, I commiserate and show empathy. But unless they ask, I do not provide suggestions about how to treat their migraine(s) because I do not know their life and I am not their doctor, and also because I hate when people just have to tell me about what works for them without considering I might have already tried it (and I probably have, since I’ve been dealing with them for about 20 years now).

    5. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      I got a similar vibe from OP’s wording. With that said, respectfully, the leap from “I was unhappy because of a bad relationship” right past “you might have depression” straight to “you should try medication, it’s not your fault you have a chemical imbalance” is pretty big.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, if LW had been telling boss how it was just hard to get out of bed and everything seemed flat, I could see “Have you considered getting screened for depression?” But if she’s sad about a sad thing that just happened, that’s a normal response that shouldn’t call for any particular medical advice.

      2. Specialk9*

        Oh, yeah, agreed Kalros. I’m of the ‘yes and’ mentality here. Boss overstepped and said it badly to boot, and OP was revealing some broad thought patterns towards psych issues that could use some examining.

      3. myswtghst*

        That leap is where I keep getting hung up, because I think it explains a lot about the OP’s reaction. It’d be one thing if the boss gently suggested being screened for depression or talking to a professional (especially in the context of “we have an EAP that covers this”), but the boss jumped straight to a “suggestion” which has a lot of implications that could justifiably cause an emotional reaction.

        For example, if I’ve been a bit unhappy / stressed out by my personal life but felt like I was coping with it well at work, it would knock me back a bit to have my boss basically say “oh, you’ve been so obviously sad at work for so long now that I feel justified in offering unsolicited medical advice and commenting on your brain chemistry!”

    6. Nico M*

      I disagree. By armchair diagnosing depression the boss is undermining their agency,

      A better analogy would be offering anti-migraine medication to someone who just bumped their head on a cupboard door.

      1. Susanne*

        The boss is not even remotely “undermining her agency” because the OP is still an adult with the liberty to decide to call her doctor and investigate the options further, or not. Suggestions do not equal undermining one’s agency. This is why the right calls the left “special snowflakes” (and I’m very much on the left politically, to be clear) – because heaven forbid we hear something that isn’t exactly what we want to hear, the OP’s boss should have just magically intuited that the OP has an “issue” with antidepressants.

        BTW, not speaking of this situation, but bosses can be friends, too, you know. All too often on this board there’s such a division between “you” and “your boss”. I’ve always been friendly / friends with my bosses – I worked directly for one of my closest friends for 15 years and we stayed friends after I left that job. We know plenty about one another’s personal lives, trials/tribulations, problems with our children, etc. But then again, I didn’t call them “boss” since that’s a very blue-collar/hierarchical way of referring to the person who you report to. The professional term was “manager.”

        1. Colette*

          You really can’t be friends with your (current) manager, as much as you might like them. Friendly is fine, but it’s in both of your interests to keep a bit of a distance so that your manager can do her job, and you can do yours. Your manager needs to be able to give you professional feedback, allocate work based on the business’s goals (instead of your friendship), and avoid the appearance of favouritism. You need to be able to be make career decisions that are best for you (and not necessarily your manager), and also to avoid the appearance of favouritism (“Susanne got the big project because she’s friends with Manager”).

          1. Captain Obvious*

            “You really can’t be friends with your (current) manager, as much as you might like them.”

            Of course you can. PLease speak for yourself only.

        2. Specialk9*

          It’s not actually why the right calls the left ‘snowflakes’. That’s a deliberate tactic to set up a false narrative to undermine the legitimacy of half of the population.

          That said, the whole *point* of AAM is to help managers be careful of their words and actions. If you think we’re snowflakes for criticizing a boss inappropriately diagnosing mental illness to a subordinate… Well, I’m not sure what to say to that.

          1. Kate 2*

            You are mischaracterizing the LW’s own words. LW didn’t say boss told them they have depression, but they *suggested* LW take antidepressants, which would mean a trip to a medical professional and getting a diagnosis.

            1. myswtghst*

              By suggesting treatment, boss is implicitly diagnosing OP. I mean, it’d be odd of me to tell a coworker to take painkillers if I wasn’t assuming they were in pain, right? So it would be strange for me to tell a coworker to take antidepressants if I didn’t think they were depressed.

              Not to mention, per the OP the boss literally said “it’s not [OP’s] fault [OP has] a chemical imbalance in [OP’s] brain.”

              1. Lemon jello*

                There’s a huge difference between pointing out someone may have a medical condition and diagnosing them. Adults know only doctors can diagnose. Let’s not infantilise the OP here by presuming she doesn’t know this very basic fact or mistook her manager for a doctor. I sincerely doubt OP thought she’d been diagnosed by her boss when it’s legally impossible for her to do so.

                1. myswtghst*

                  I apologize if I was unclear, but that was not at all what I was trying to express, and I definitely don’t think OP believes she’s been formally diagnosed by her boss. In this instance, I’m using diagnose in an informal sense (as in armchair diagnosis), not as a formal medical term.

                  If it helps, read the first sentence of my comment as this instead: “By suggesting treatment, boss is implicitly stating that they believe OP is depressed.”

            2. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

              “It’s not your fault you have a chemical imbalance in your brain” is telling someone they have depression.

        3. Laura*

          I so agree with Susanne, and I too am extremely left. I remember when ‘politically correct’ was coined that it was meant partially as a joke… we would tease each other with it. Of course it’s entirely necessary but wow, things have warped a lot since then.

    7. Colette*

      It’s more like saying “I have a headache because I’m dehydrated” and being time you should take migraine medication because there’s no shame in having a migraine. It’s true there’s no shame in having a migraine, but that doesn’t mean that migraines are the only type of headache out there. Similarly, there’s no shame in having clinical depression, but it’s possicle to temporarily be sad/depressed due to life events that don’t require medication.

      1. MoinMoin*

        I thought of it more like where OP says she’s been tired this week and the boss says, “Yeah, you look tired” and going into what she did for her insomnia. I’m not ashamed to have insomnia, but I’d worry a little about how I’m presenting myself or something.

        1. myswtghst*

          Oh, I like this. It’s not a great feeling when you say “last night was rough, I’m really wiped out” and someone says “I can tell, you look awful!”, and I get a similar feeling from how OP’s boss responded here. Instead of “yeah, breakups are the worst”, OP got a reaction which intimates “you’ve seemed depressed for long enough that we’re to the point where I think armchair diagnosing clinical depression and suggesting medical treatment is the appropriate response!”

    8. LBK*

      It would be more like the boss seeing someone rubbing their temples and saying “Oh, do you have a headache? Let me give you some Tylenol!” She doesn’t have enough information to jump to the conclusion that the OP is clinically depressed. Even a psychiatrist won’t just had out meds without doing a full evaluation first to determine if they think that’s the right solution for you.

      1. Kate 2*

        It’s really not though. The boss didn’t offer to give LW some of her own meds! She recommended LW take antidepressants, which would mean going to see a doctor and getting diagnosed and a prescription.

        What this is really like is if LW told boss she had a headache, boss said she might have a migraine and recommended she get prescription migraine meds like boss. Would LW be “very offended” at the idea she has migraines, like her “moody and difficult” boss??

    9. Pollygrammer*

      You know, I’d be less annoyed with somebody who suggested antidepressants than somebody who preached the gospel of yoga-at-sunrise or fad diets or aromatherapy or any other Gwyneth Paltrow nonsense. But that’s just me :)

      1. Susanne*

        Yes! I mean, at least “talk to your doctor re antidepressants” and “consider seeing a therapist to help give you some clarity on the matter” are REAL solutions to problems. Not steaming your va-jay-jay or cutting out all blue-colored foods or homeopathic nonsense.

  13. Rachel*

    #3: Please tell me I am not the only one who immediately thought of “The Susie” episode of Seinfeld after reading this!

  14. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    I’ve been cheerfully calling a guy in my office ‘Dave’ for the last six months. I got bored of correcting him each and every time he called me by the wrong name even though I wear a name badge, so I figured if I can’t beat him, join him!

    1. Teacher*

      Now I am wondering if OP is unknowingly calling her coworker the wrong name and he is cheerfully calling her Beth in response!

    2. Mrs Pitts*

      I would address him formally and yourself formally. Ex: Mr. Banks, Please respond to X. Respectfully, Mrs. Frankweiler

  15. phedre*

    Lol I’m so sympathetic to the LW being called the wrong name. In my first job out of college someone called me Renee (not my name) for a year. The first few times that he called me by the wrong name, I didn’t realize what he said until later. And then it felt like I had let it go on too long without correcting him and I knew I was quitting, so I just let it go. I’m much more assertive now and just politely correct people. I can’t believe I let him call me the wrong name for a year!

    My dad is an immigrant with an unusual (to Americans) name, but nothing that’s hard for people to pronounce – think something along the lines of Mohammad, Yusuf or Arjun. Years ago, a colleague of his just could not pronounce his name right. No matter how many times my dad politely corrected him he still was way off. Finally my dad had enough, so he introduced his coworker to another colleague as “Gee-rye Hoofmahn” (his name was Jerry Hoffman). Jerry got all flustered – “hey, that’s not how you say my name!” My dad simply replied, “now you know how I feel.” Jerry never mispronounced his name again.

    1. Triplestep*

      I have someone who gets my name right, but keeps sending group e-mail to my personal – not business – e-mail address. And she works right down the hall!

      She has my personal e-mail address from back when I was a job candidate, and I pointed out to her that she was doing this the first two or three times. She is so sensitive, that I can’t bring myself to point it out anymore. Instead, I forward the e-mail to my business address and reply from there. I probably should have kept saying something whenever it happened, but now I don’t even know how to approach it. It really speaks to a larger lack of attention to detail, but she does not report to me, so not much I can do about it.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        She probably needs to delete your address from her email programme as I imagine it’s coming up first and that’s why.

        I actually would say something to her, along the lines of suggesting you contact IT on her behalf and ask them to fix it. Because in many workplaces sending confidential information or documents to an external, personal email address, including your own, is a breach of policy and technically a firing offence – not one anyone will necessarily enforce, but routinely sending emails outside the company / organisation is kind of a big deal.

        1. Triplestep*

          Yes, the first address that pops up for her is my gmail address – I showed her how to delete it, but apparently it didn’t “take”.

          I like your idea of involving IT and framing it as something I don’t want to get in trouble over. You raise an important point, but it also makes it less likely she’ll take it as a personal affront.

          1. teclatrans*

            Any chance your coworker fixed it on one platform but it’s hanging on in another? I have an email that pops up erroneously on Gmail that I deleted on my computer, but it still shows up when I use Gmail on my phone. (The mobile app address book interface is different from the one I used on the compute.), Once it became clear I would have to do sleuthing, I set aside the task for ‘someday’, and I can see forgetting or even thinking I must have handled the issue if I was getting active replies.

      2. Ace*

        I think this is perfectly reasonable to correct, and could definitely be a problem (e.g., what if you’re not checking personal email during work day and it’s time sensitive? I’d use something like: “Hi Frida, I don’t know if you realize you’ve been sending work messages to my personal email address. I’m worried they are going to get lost/i won’t see your email right away/etc., so could you please make sure you use going forward? Thank you!”

        If she does it again, “Frida, this went to my personal email account again.”

        1. Susanne*

          Ace’s wording is exactly right. There is nothing about this that should “offend” her – it’s appropriate correction of a work issue. It seems like you’re afraid even to raise this to her – but you’re not attacking her personally, just correcting a work-related issue. Why are you so afraid?

      3. Susanne*

        Triplestep, you’re making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be. Presumably when she starts typing “T-r-i-p” what pops up in auto-fill is before You can simply ask her to delete from her contact list, or show her how to do it, or let her know that IT can help her delete it if she’s unable to do it herself. This is simply something that happens now and then when someone has a home email address. It’s not a big deal and it’s not something that needs to be tiptoed around, or dealt with passively by forwarding it to your work email and not saying anything. You can use your words on this one, honest!

      4. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I would be tempted to be a jerk about this, and ignore the emails to my personal account, or wait days to get to them. Because I do have my personal inbox set up to alert me specifically to a few kinds of email, and most of the rest get ignored. Or maybe it went to my spam folder. (Both of which could technically be true, but I usually scan everything that comes in fairly soon after arrival.)

      5. LBK*

        FWIW I’ve accidentally emailed the wrong person before because I use the autocomplete feature in Outlook and I don’t always catch that it picked up the wrong Matthew out of the 3 I email regularly. I doubt she’s intentionally typing in your personal email address.

    2. Susanne*

      As an American and someone whose native language is indeed English, I think it’s insulting and condescending that people “can’t pronounce” the name of someone else from a different ethnic culture. Give me a break. Of course you can pronounce any word you want to, unless you have a speech defect. You listen to how the person says the name, and you say it just like that. Maybe you repeat it to yourself a few times. Over and out. There is zero excuse for not pronouncing someone’s “foreign” name the way they wish you to pronounce it. It’s so ugly-American otherwise.

      1. phedre*

        Yeah, it just feels lazy. Like you don’t care enough to get it right. I have an ethnic name, and one of my (otherwise lovely) coworkers constantly mispronounces it despite my correcting her. I totally don’t mind repeating my name when I first meet people or slowly breaking my name into syllables. But despite doing this with her, she just can’t seem to get it. She pronounces the vowel wrong (“uh” vs. “ay”) and it drives me crazy. No one else has this problem – my name really isn’t difficult. But the last time I corrected her she was just like “I’m never going to get it!” Which was just infuriating. Thankfully she’s retiring soon so it won’t be an issue much longer.

        The worst was when I was a bank teller at 18. Some douchey rich guy saw my name tag and said “phedre” and I politely corrected his pronunciation. He had the nerve to tell me I was pronouncing it wrong because there’s an “e” and argued with me for a while until I finally just shrugged my shoulders and refused to engage further. It just blew my mind. Like, your world is so narrow that you can’t understand that different languages have different pronunciations?

      2. Guacamole Bob*

        I think this is a quite harsh. I have colleagues from all over the world, and some of them have names that genuinely are more challenging than others for someone whose native language is English. Is it “insulting” if a native English speaker can’t roll their r’s, or can’t get the tones right in a tonal language? What about some of the consonant combinations that don’t exist in English? I have a lovely colleague named Mrudula who I work with now and then, and I’ve asked her to say her name for me a couple of times, and I still have trouble properly hearing and producing that initial consonant combination.

        It’s polite to make a good faith effort to address the person as they would like to be addressed. It’s not offensive to me when non-native English speakers pronounce my common English name with an accent that gives it a “t” sound instead of a “th” or change the “w” in my last name to a “v” sound, and I don’t believe it’s insulting or condescending when I do something similar with names from other cultures sometimes.

        There are plenty of instances of ugly-Americanism where people don’t even try or make a big show of how different and foreign and hard to pronounce someone’s name is or give people unwanted nicknames. But that’s not the same as saying that anyone who ever had trouble with pronunciation with a word from a different language has a speech defect.

        Heck, I got into a discussion with some midwestern and southern relatives over the holidays about who pronounced “pin” and “pen” the same and who said them differently, and who could hear the difference. Language is complicated!

        1. LBK*

          There’s a difference between not being able to say a certain phoneme that doesn’t exist in your native language and not even bothering to put the effort in to try to say it as closely as you can. I think people are talking about the latter, not the former – and not being physically capable of pronouncing a sound in someone’s name certainly doesn’t give you license to just call them something else. Some people act as though they just can’t get their mouth around even a rough English transliteration of a name when in reality it seems more that they’re just too lazy to try to learn a name they’re not familiar with.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            Oh, I agree. I was reacting to the very strong tone of Susanne’s comment, where she says “Of course you can pronounce any word you want to, unless you have a speech defect.” That’s just not true given the broad variations in languages across the globe and way the human brain learns and processes language.

            1. ket*

              Agree. I can do Finnish, Japanese, Hawaiian, Spanish, Ethiopian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and many West African names pretty darn well in general. Chinese and French, not so well always — something in the vowels I can’t quite match. I know the sound I am bad at. Have not figured out how to correct it.

            2. LBK*

              Makes sense. I think I generally agree with her sentiment, just with an asterisk that says “*with exceptions for sounds that don’t exist in native languages and where the closest English equivalent is substituted” – I think her comment wasn’t a linguistic analysis, it was a criticism of people who seem like they’re playing dumb when they see a name they don’t recognize and suddenly any normal sense of how to even attempt to sound it out flies out the window. There is absolutely a racial element to that (especially since I’ve lived in a few places with high Polish populations and it’s amazing how many more white Americans can roll those 25-character last names right off their tongues but seem to become illiterate when confronted with a brown person’s name).

              1. Susanne*

                That’s exactly how I meant it. It’s the person who sees Mrdula, as an example, and says “that’s too hard for me, I’m going to call you Molly.” Everyone can tell the difference between the person who is really trying to be respectful and the person who just up and decides it’s too hard and they are going to call you whatever THEY want.

              2. Observer*

                Yes, but that’s not an asterisk. That’s a huge issue – and failing to acknowledge that just destroys any ability to discuss.

            3. teclatrans*

              Yes, and I think is also covers phedre’s comment about a coworker who tried very hard, repeatedly, to get a vowel sound right. That sort of effort is *good*. And we humans really can’t hear certain vowel or consonant sounds that are too divergent from the language(s) we learned as children — I think it has to do with the useful process of coding much noise as, well, noise (vs. signal, or useful info).

              1. Specialk9*

                If babies don’t hear phonemes – language specific word sounds – it can be really hard to acquire as a an adult. Some people simply can’t hear them.

                1. Julia*

                  Babies produce every single possible sound in the human language within their first year; after then, the use drops down to only phonemes used in their own language(s).

                  I do agree that some people can’t seem to hear the difference between certain sounds – but that’s not an excuse not to try.

            4. Kate 2*

              I’m really glad you mentioned this. I actually love the way rolled “r”s sound, and ever since I was a little kid I’ve tried to make them. I still can’t though.

              I also can’t whistle, even though I have tried *that* for years, every method I’ve ever heard of.

              I don’t have a speech defect, I just can’t do it. According to my dentist I have one of the shortest and thickest tongues he has ever seen. Maybe that’s it?

              I just hope people who try and can’t succeed in pronouncing the proper name (“Merdula” for “Mrdula”) don’t get lumped in and sideswiped with those who clearly aren’t trying at all.

              1. Lemon jello*

                I can’t roll R or whistle. I used to be able to whistle fine until I studied the flute, but as soon as I got my embouchre nailed down I stopped being able to whistle! I haven’t played for a decade and I still can’t whistle!

                1. Laura*

                  Kate 2, it’s taken me 40 years but now I can roll my ‘r’s. Keep trying, it may well come!

                  Lemon jello, that’s really weird as I am a flute player, know lots, we can all whistle! Um – keep trying?!

        2. nonegiven*

          There is a difference between pin and pen? Hand me that pen so I can write safety pin on my shopping list. Sounds the same to me.

          1. a1*

            Yes. “pin” uses the short I sound and “pen” uses the short E sound. Pin rhymes with Tin and Pen rhymes with Ten but not each other. (Unless Tin and Ten sound the same to you?)
            Or with more of a list
            Pin, Tin, Gin, Thin, Bin, Sin, Fin, Spin, Grin, etc
            Pen, Ten, Zen, Then, Den, Men, Wren, etc

      3. Specialk9*

        I often struggle when I’m in a new country, with new cultural names. I don’t have a mental ‘hook’ so they just skitter out of my head without sticking. (I also have broader memory issues.) I have to write a name down, make up a mental phrase or picture, and it’s still a struggle. The 3rd time I met someone with that name, no problem.

        In short, brains are different. Your brain is not everyone’s brain.

        But also, yes, we all need to do the necessary work to learn unfamiliar names. For some of us, that’s just a lot more work.

  16. Monica*

    I grew up in a country where Christmas doesn’t exist at all. If someone complained about me sending an email on their religious holiday I’d consider them insensitive and borderline racist.

    After all if you have a no email policy on Christmas you also have to have a no email policy on Eid, on Pesach, on Diwali, etc.

    1. Chi*

      True. I never thought about it that way. I was an outsider in America not celebrating any holidays growing up (think obscure but small Christian sect).

      I got used to being an outsider that I always feel like the strange one. I just like getting the time off to be with the ones I love and those who love me.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I do celebrate Christmas but I can’t help thinking that if you’re job hunting / applying for jobs and don’t want rejections that day, you probably shouldn’t check your email that day. For all we know, it’s an automatic system that emails after x number of days.

      I wouldn’t send the email Alison suggests as it only sounds a bit less petulant than the original suggestion. If they were going to factor in Christmas they would have done so already.

      I’m sorry you didn’t get the job, letter writer. Better luck next time.

      1. AllTheFiles*

        Bingo. The idea of telling a company they shouldn’t let their system send rejections to appease my (potentially religious depending on how you view it) holiday seems really inappropriate to me. I would not send any message to the company as it seems like an invitation to get a “may we recommend not opening your email on that day if it is that important to you”.

        Also, while I celebrate Christmas and love the holiday, my spouse generally always has to work. Something about the idea of telling someone you can’t receive an email because it will ruin your holiday really rubs me the wrong way.

        1. Allison*

          If it is an automated system, good luck getting the recruiters to set it to not send emails on Christmas. Most of the recruiters I’ve worked with with are not exactly what you’d call detail oriented, or good with technology.

      2. So Patient*

        OP#1 here- I don’t even celebrate Christmas, but it is a recognized holiday where people with office jobs typically are not working, much less delivering bad news that can’t wait a day. I think its pretty common for people to check their email daily (I applied with my personal email, not my work email) and isn’t unreasonable to think they would receive the message on the same day.

        1. Susanne*

          It seems odd to suggest that one shouldn’t send email on Christmas Day coming from someone who obviously checks their email on Christmas Day. Either email is “off limits” or not — you can’t suddenly decree that creating email is bad but reading email is OK.

          1. Czhorat*

            I think it’s as much the fact that it’s bad news as the issuing of an email; if it said “Merry Christmas, we’d like to offer you the job!” it would read as a nice surprise.

            Also, many of us have email notifications on our phones, likely giving the message topic and sender. Reading an email doesn’t always mean walking to the computer and living in.

            Also also, one could email a holiday card or gift certificate.

            The point wasn’t “creating email on Christmas is bad” it was “giving bad news -a layoff, job rejection, etc – on Christmas is insensitive.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yes — the issue isn’t that someone did something work-related on Christmas. It’s that they chose to deliver bad news on Christmas. It’s a (much) lesser version of, say, firing someone on Christmas.

          2. Captain Obvious*

            ^+1. If you’re checking e-mails on Christmas, you can’t be pissed that someone else is sending them.

        2. Czhorat*

          I’m with your on that; if I get an email I’ll likely see it by accident on my phone even if I don’t try to check.

          I suppose my question for you would be “what do you expect to gain by raising this work them?”

          There’s always a risk that you’ll come across as petty and that the person who receives your message will take offense. It might burn a bridge, which is never a good thing. I agree that it’s not sensitive or appropriate, but I’d probably let it go.

      3. Kate 2*

        You know originally I agreed with Allison and OP about not sending email, but now I agree with you.

        If the company shouldn’t send email on Christmas, they shouldn’t send it on anyone’s holidays.

        And that makes things really complicated for them, considering not only each religion’s major winter holiday, but also the fact that a lot of people (Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, and Catholics do too I think, can’t remember right now) have a religion that celebrates multiple days of the holiday.

        So the company potentially has to avoid sending emails on 8 different holidays for 7 plus days for each holiday. That’s a lot of work to put on people at that company when OP could just not their email. Something that I’ve always seen recommended, just as a good practice, is to create a professional email and a personal one. If OP did this they wouldn’t need to check email on the holiday at all.

    3. Reader*

      This seems like just as much of an overreaction as the OP wanting to send a response to the employer.

      What grounds would there be for such a hypothetical policy if one is working in a country that does officially observe Christmas? Presumably the office was closed (which it is not on those other holidays and employees who do observe them would presumably not be conducting business on those days) and as suggested the rejection letter may have been sent through an automated system or sent from someone working at home who, for all we know, does observe Christmas but not strongly enough to put aside work.

      Even if the rejection letter contained the sender’s name and the reader could deduce the sender’s country of origin, how could you undoubtedly know that they were intentionally being “insensitive and borderline racist”?

      I understand the OP’s hurt feelings, but sending a response will do nothing except perhaps hurt their chances of possibly gaining employment at that particular place in future (she may very well find herself re-applying for another position at some point in her career).

      1. Czhorat*

        I thought she was saying that the OP was insensitive and borderline racist for being offended by a rejection letter on Christmas. This strikes me as an odd position.

        1. Reader*

          Yes, that was my interpretation as well. IMO that position (as well as drawing an unrealistic parallel of barring emails on other holidays) is not helpful to the OP and it also jumps to conclusions about issues beyond the OP’s situation.

    4. Anononon*

      I disagree with this. (Assuming this is in the US), as a Jewish person who will go on rants against the secularization of Christmas, I still know that Christmas is the biggest holiday in the US. It is reasonable, to a degree, to find it odd that a company is sending out rejection letters on that day.

    5. Czhorat*

      Not everyone who celebrates Christmas is religious.

      I’m assuming this takes place in America. If so, it is a very widely celebrated holiday with a significant secular element. Expecting to not send rejection letters or layoff notices on a major holiday like that is reasonable, IMHO.

      I also think that we do need to be sensitive to religious beliefs; I don’t like, for example, meetings scheduled late Friday afternoon during the winter when religious Jews would need to return home for the Sabbath. That’s a separate topic, of course.

    6. HeatherT*

      This is supposed to be a place wherein we support and help guide LW’s. Throwing around accusations of racism in absence of actual racially motivated acts does neither.

      This is a pretty established holiday in the country where the person who got the rejection and the company that gave the rejection both reside. Also, many global companies are sensitive enough to not send out bad news on other major holidays, at least to those who reside in the country(ies) where these holidays are nationally recognized. Let’s give the LW the benefit of the doubt that he would be equally appalled if this happened somewhere else in the world on an equally important day and/or that he would be less appalled if this happened to him while working in a country that didn’t recognize Christmas.

      And this isn’t a “no email policy” as you assert, but a request for no rejection letters on a nationally recognized holiday within the country that the holiday is recognized.

    7. LBK*

      I do think there’s a broader cultural element to this; whether you celebrate Christmas or not, if you’re American it’s pretty hard to not know when it is, considering most businesses are closed for it.

      I think a better reverse example would be if you were living in a majority Muslim country and, as a non-Muslim, you sent something like this out on Eid. Even if you don’t personally celebrate it, you should probably be cognizant of the culture context of that date based on where you live.

    8. Rocky the Lemur*

      I have several email addresses. All free. I didn’t check any of them on Christmas, and I only receive alerts on my personal (friends-family) email. OP, I suggest having a new address for your job search! And then don’t read it on days that are special to you. I agree that if you are reading email related to work/working then sending email related to work/working is fine!!!

      It’s up to you to define your boundaries, not the organization. Either someone was working, and perhaps we can have some compassion for those who did need to work on a holiday; or it was automated and it wasn’t personal. I think this is just like respecting vacation or other leave. It’s nice if they do, but it’s up to the individual (you!) to create systems and processes that provide peace and quiet, if that’s important to you! That seems a good lesson whether employed or looking. I think sensitive practices are nice, but I’ve stopped expecting them because it’s business. It’s not personal. Lastly, I don’t observe Christmas (other than enjoying it as a day off), but in the US, those who celebrate Christmas get the most consideration overall. There are many others who receive no consideration for their sacred days. They often have to create structures to preserve their personal time on those days, if they want to do so. That’s the approach that will be most effective.

      1. Thursday Next*

        “It’s up to you to define your boundaries, not the organization.” Perfectly put for this particular situation.

      2. tigerlily*

        This was said with a lot more gentleness and compassion than I did above. And I agree with it. Both the idea that you have to set your own boundaries, and also the gentle reminder that Christians and Christmas especially gets way more consideration than any other religion or holiday.

        1. Kate 2*

          Yes, once you pointed it out this was so odd to me. OP expects not to be sent email on Christmas, and Allison agreed with her as did other commenters, but what about the people who don’t celebrate it?? Either they deserve as much compassion as Christmas-celebrators or they don’t.

          And suggesting that it isn’t the same because people “are more aware” of Christmas sounds a little . . . I don’t know tone-deaf? Lots and lots of otherwise diversity-unaware people *are* aware that Christmas is not the only holiday, and Christianity is not the only religion. Claiming that companies shouldn’t do give non-Christmas people the same consideration due to ignorance isn’t acceptable.

          And if you treat everyone equally and fairly, not sending emails on religious mid-winter holidays becomes a bit of a burden on companies. The most sensible thing to do seems to be not checking email on *your* holidays.

          1. SeriouslySher*

            Tone deaf is accurate. Expecting that your religion or the popularity of your religion should afford you special treatment from a company (that you don’t even work for) seems incredibly biased and unreasonable. I’m a little disturbed at how many people think that is ok, but then again, making things like this seem appropriate (this is how it has always been, it isn’t that big a deal) is a huge part of why this popular religion has remained in that top spot in the US.

  17. Ramona Flowers*

    #4 You said his boss is known for this sort of behaviour so I feel like we could have done with knowing more about that. Is he known for being unable to keep things confidential? If so, your husband can’t be too surprised – disappointed but not surprised.

    1. Noah*

      Right! If boss is known for not being able to keep his mouth shut, that sucks, but this is on Husband for not saying, “I have to attend a medical appointment” and instead disclosing the pregnancy.

  18. Ramona Flowers*

    #2 I think the bigger problem here is that your manager is oversharing and encouraging you to do the same. You can have a really congenial relationship with a manager without oversharing about your personal life – what I don’t know is whether you can get back to that point from where you’re at, and if she’s also really difficult to work with in general, maybe it’s time to look for your next opportunity.

    However, please try not to view taking psych meds and being difficult to work with as being so synonymous – as others have mentioned there seems to be some stigma there.

  19. Ebeneezer*

    OP 1 – Maybe the employer did send them out on Christmas, but was visited by three ghosts who then showed them they shouldn’t do that. That’s my hope.

  20. boop the first*

    1. Rejection letters are disappointing all around, but this whole treating christmas like a delicate and precious and magical day… THING… is becoming such a downer. You say you wouldn’t have been bothered by the letter otherwise, but this now-capitalist day on a calendar is actually negatively affecting our lives in weird ways like this. I’m not even religious, and would much rather not celebrate entirely, and yet I STILL feel down and out on christmas for no reason other than our precious handling of it and how we “should” be celebrating it. Suddenly, a bit of bad news becomes irrationally devastating. This holiday gets creepier every year.

    1. Hildegard Von Bingen*

      Agree! I don’t give a hoot about Christmas, but I recognize that others do. I accommodate their desires to the extent I’m comfortable doing so and jettison the rest. It’s become remarkably easy now that I know what I want and don’t want and – most important of all – don’t feel any guilt or angst about it.

      I’d probably try to avoid delivering bad news on what many consider a special day. But if I got bad news myself on Christmas, I’d react to the bad news the same way I’d react to it on any other day. As an outlier on many issues, I’ve learned to approach things in terms of making others comfortable when it doesn’t involve some Draconian effort on my part and doesn’t violate my ethical or personal boundaries. It works out pretty well. For me it’s about people and not what day it is.

    2. LBK*

      Whether Christmas has any particular religious significance to you, it’s still traditionally a time to get together with loved ones. I don’t think that’s wrong – Thanksgiving isn’t religious and I think that would be an equally depressing time to find out bad news because it’s a moment when you’re supposed to be celebrating. Yeah, there’s certainly a capitalist element to the gift-buying at Christmas, but capitalism isn’t what makes me enjoy seeing my family.

      1. ket*

        But it’s only “traditionally” that because this is a majority-Christian nation that closes offices on Christian holidays. Whether Christmas means anything to anyone, Christmas is not “traditionally” a day for non-Christians to get together, and in fact it’s often the day that Jews and Muslims and atheists and people who want to avoid awkward family time *work* to cover all those shifts that Christians or people who want to see family are not covering!

        (A Jewish group was at a local hospital on Dec 25 handing out donuts and coffee to employees and patients alike. It was much appreciated by my family member who was working.)

      2. Sue Wilson*

        Thanksgiving isn’t religious
        Just because thanksgiving has no biblical connections doesn’t mean it wasn’t primarily promoted by Christian religious groups. It’s exists in the context of a majority Christian country, and was originally about those christians killing and subjugating native “heathens”, with a “but they liked us!” makeover…

        Fourth of July has a large celebratory significance, that isn’t really religious, but most people wouldn’t even notice getting a rejection then.

    3. Specialk9*

      Interesting food for thought.

      (Though “This holiday gets creepier every year” is pretty strong and may get in the way of people hearing what you’re saying.)

  21. Allison*

    #1 It was most likely automated; the system we use at work has a delay, so when you reject someone and agree to have a rejection email sent, it doesn’t get sent until the next day, so that in case you do happen to reject someone right after they apply (could happen if they apply as you’re going through applications), they won’t know that.

    It is possible someone could have been working on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, some people are contractors with no paid time off or vacation, others may technically have the day off but are super intense about work and they check in for a bit even on holidays and days they have “off” – people working during holidays may be more common than you think.

    As for getting rejections around the holidays, I don’t think it’s insensitive. I was job hunting last year, and the year before that I was interviewing for what I’d hoped would be better than the job I’d had, and when I’m waiting for news, I’d prefer to get that news as soon as possible, even if it’s bad news that comes on or just before Christmas, at least I’m not spending Christmas wondering if I’m moving forward or not. I hate waiting.

  22. GreenGirl*

    I guess my question to OP #1 is, what if the news had been good and you received it on Christmas Day? My son received his first college admissions acceptance via email on December 23 (Saturday) at 6 o’clock at night. It definitely added to our festivities over the next few days. But if the news had been bad, we probably would have very upset and lamented as to why the college chose to send it out then. Good news or bad, my guess is it is all automated. But I am sorry you didn’t get the job!

    1. OPP1*

      I would still wonder why they were working on Christmas….And planning to deliver good news on Christmas is a lot different than planning bad news…

  23. BadPlanning*

    On OP5, I know our company does have clause that if you’re going to a “competitor” they will walk you out the door regardless of your standing/trustworthiness. And the list of competitors does not always make exact sense to the actual job the person was doing, but if it’s on the list, it is on the list.

    1. OP #5*

      I’ve been with the company for 15+ years, and this is the first time I’ve heard of someone getting walked out after giving notice. They usually only do that when people have Done Something. My best guess is they didn’t trust him to not do something vindictive before he left. The last time I saw him, he was pretty disgruntled.

  24. Faith2014*

    We all complain when people don’t let us know when we are no longer in consideration for a job, but then get upset since it was sent on a holiday? Perhaps the person logged in remotely to get some work done and sent out the emails as part of their ‘to do’ list. I can understand being upset about the rejection, but I think it’s reading too much into the time/date stamp.

  25. Faith2014*

    #3 – I had a co-worker who always added a letter to my name. I mentioned it a couple of times, and it continued. His name was Marc so I sent him a couple of emails calling him Mark. After he stopped laughing, my name was always spelled correctly going forward.

    1. OP 3*

      Ha! I’m sort of surprised but glad to see this “call him by the wrong name back” strategy has worked for a bunch of you.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        But it should be a last resort.

        OP, you haven’t bothered to correct this person, so the problem is 100% on you. And it’s been going on for a long time, so it’s now become habit with the other person.

        I have to ask, why didn’t you just correct he person the first few times it happened? Gentle assertion is a critical skill set for work.

        1. OP 3*

          Oh, I did! I correct, a few weeks or months later it happens again, I correct. It was only the last time, after many cycles of this, that I didn’t have the energy to correct and instead wrote to Alison to see if there was a more effective option somehow. :)

  26. Captain Obvious*

    I mean, LW2 *told* her manager-friend that she was unhappy. Manager agreed with her, and now she’s offended? I’m the first to object when intrusive co-workers offer unsolicited medical advice, but in this case LW opened the door to this conversation. If manager doesn’t bring it up again this is definitely one to let slide.

    1. Nerdling*

      Unhappiness is a perfectly normal, healthy emotion to have. Being unhappy, especially in response to an emotional event that makes people unhappy, is not being clinically depressed, and conflating the two makes it seem as though having a normal, healthy emotional response to a situation is actually UNhealthy.

      1. Anon anon anon*

        Exactly. And there’s an implied judgment about the person’s ability to reason, etc. “It’s not your relationship; there’s something wrong with your brain.”

        Maybe the relationship talk pushed the boss’s buttons. It sounds like she was being passive aggressive, even if she didn’t mean to be.

  27. ResuMAYDAY*

    I’m genuinely surprised that so many people are put off about the rejection on Christmas. The hiring manager probably put in a few hours on Christmas to catch up on work before the end of the year; sending out candidate responses was something she chose to do when the office and phones were quiet.
    I’m a business owner and often use a holiday to do catch up, or get ahead of my workload. If a candidate wrote back chiding me for sending out a rejection on a holiday, I’d respond that at least I sent out a rejection in the first place, unlike many employers who leave their candidates in the dark.

    1. Allison*

      “I’d respond that at least I sent out a rejection in the first place, unlike many employers who leave their candidates in the dark.”

      I’d think that, but I’d keep it to myself.

    2. Bea*

      I wouldn’t get in a pissing match with anyone who thinks it’s their place to tell you how to run your office. They’re not worth it and get satisfaction from creating a stir.

  28. Not Sharon*

    On the name thing, I’ve at my “new” job for over 9 months, my grand boss still calls me Sharon, despite the fact that we all have security badges with our names and photos clearly displayed on them that we are required to wear all the time, and he sees me on a nearly daily basis. It’s sort of close, with most of the same letters, but all in the wrong order.

    There’s another guy at work who deliberately calls people by the wrong name. I know it’s deliberate because he’s told me so. I’m a department of one, so he calls me by my department name, “Hey Teapot Design Lady!” I find it kind of annoying, but I try not to take it personally, since he’s otherwise a nice guy.

    1. Kali*

      I’ve had a couple of people insist on calling me Carly or Kayleigh, even after multiple corrections. They can all correctly pronounce ‘California’ do I do not know what their problem is.

    2. Pollygrammer*

      I had a couple people call me “New Jessica” when I started a job and replaced a Jessica who previ0usly held the position. It felt a little dismissive, but they were really just trying to remember what my job was, so I didn’t mind so much, especially when it was expanded to “This is Pollygrammer, she’s the new Jessica.”

    3. Specialk9*

      *Is* he otherwise a nice guy though? That’s a pretty big rudeness. Not, like, eating kittens live in the breakroom bad, sure, but still pretty rude.

    4. Kate 2*

      But . . . it is intentional and personal. He’s deliberately being a jerk because he thinks it’s funny.

  29. Thursday Next*

    Someone earlier compared the Christmas notification to scheduling work meetings on a Friday afternoon (thereby making it impossible for observant Jewish colleagues to attend), but that analogy doesn’t quite hold. The email rejection doesn’t require the recipient to follow up in any way—in other words, it doesn’t prevent participation the way a meeting on Shabbat would. I’d feel differently if LW 1 got an email requiring a response on Christmas in order to move the application forward, and missed out on the opportunity because of the timing.

  30. Kali*

    It really surprises me that the Christmas email thing has struck a cord with so many people. I just…can’t see it as a big deal. I really doubt anyone expected it to be read on Christmas Day, and if an actual person sent it then, well, their Christmas is up to them.

    1. Allison*

      That’s not necessarily true. Yes, it’s likely that most people aren’t going to go to the computer room, turn on the computer, log in and check their emails on Christmas Day, unless they’re waiting for a specific email and just can’t stay away from their email even on Christmas. But lots of people get notifications on their cell phones and tablets on Christmas, and contrary to the idea that people put away their modern electronic devices to return to the 1950’s and have a traditional, old fashioned, Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas day with the family, people do look at their phones at least periodically, if only to see if a family member has texted them to say “Merry Christmas” or “We’re leaving now, be there in 20!” And if you see that you got an email about a job application or interview, are you really going to ignore it until tomorrow? No. It’s a good idea to ignore it, but it’s not realistic to expect people to do that.

      1. Kate 2*

        I mean, if people choose to use their phones that way, that’s sort of on them? I’m not going to rearrange my work schedule and my office’s business around the way people *might* use their phones and check their email.

    2. Bea*

      I really do not get the intense reaction to it either. If I got a snap back from a rejected candidate for that, it would be a “well we dodged a bullet”. Which delights me because as we see here the OP thinks they’re the one to dodge the bullet. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

      So many companies don’t even send rejections. So as long as it’s not the psychopath who told a rejected applicant he’d be better suited at flipping burgers, I have no reaction other than tossing that prospect to the side.

      I have been job hunting recently enough that I’m shocked at how I just don’t take rejection letters as a huge powerful dig at my self worth. I wish I could share that with everyone who internalizes it :(

      1. OPP1*

        OP#1 here. I’m not sure how it came across as a dig to my self worth. I have been on the hiring and firing end, and have not received more jobs than I have applied for over the years, but I do think some consideration can be made to timing of messages. As many people have pointed out, timing auto-responses isn’t that hard. I have auto-alerts on my phone, so I wasn’t actively seeking to receive negative news on Christmas. My point is that is the lasting impression I have of this company, and would not be inclined to apply there in the future. I don’t even celebrate Christmas, but I do have an awareness of what that day is to the majority of people that do.

        1. Bea*

          My comment was about the powerful reactions many people seem to have to rejection letters, not just your issue with the timing of the notice.

          I don’t celebrate Christmas and I’m connected to my phone every second of my day. I don’t view rejection notices as a negative thing that will ruin someones day. It’s just not personal.

        2. Bea*

          You may want to remember that you may also burn more than a bridge with a company you aren’t interested in any longer by breaking professionalism. What if Hiring Manager moves to New Company and remembers your reaction, therefore b you’re not looked at for an opening in their new company.

          My memory is long and travels with me.

  31. a-no*

    LW3: I had the same issue at one of my jobs. We had 3 offices in different cities and one of the sales guys in another city, Adam, somehow got it into his head my name is Kathy (it’s not even close to mine). I corrected him a couple times and when he was calm he always caught that he got it wrong but when he was busy (and sales guys… everything is a fire!) he always reverted to Kathy. My position meant I spoke to him a lot too. So I started calling him Peaches. It went on for the 2 years I worked there, and it just came this long running joke instead of annoying.
    So I’d start calling him the wrong name and depending on his humor the more ridiculous the name. I never minded being called Kathy from Peaches at it just got drawn out into an elaborate joke (we sent the packages we needed to each other under those names too… the poor receptionist in his office must have been so confused the first few times)

  32. ResuMAYDAY*

    My first name is Lauren; I frequently get called Laura. I tell people that Laura is my evil twin, or maybe *I’m* the evil twin. They usually laugh and remember my name from then on. (Usually, but not always

  33. Roker Moose*

    Re: #3 I worked in retail while at uni— which means I wore a name tag. I had one co-worker who always called me Amanda even though my name tag had my actual name on it.

  34. cheluzal*

    1: Ain’t gonna do a darn thing. Let it go.

    3: Not weird or funny; annoying. Ignore anything addressed to Beth, but I do like calling him another name every time. There is no excuse for this if he’s been corrected more than once.

    4: UN-cool. I would definitely tell boss, but hubby was too open with why he needed off.

    1. OP 3*

      The problem with that suggestion is that ignoring things addressed to Beth would just punish me (because I’d be not doing my assigned work on time and could be reprimanded for that) and the person who sent the original request that he’s facilitating.

  35. Sara*

    LW3 – I work in the same company (but not same office) as my mother and our first initial is the same. I consistently get letters addressed to Sue, it’s so annoying! We actually had to change an approval process because our offshore team would NOT send us the right invoice approvals and vendors weren’t getting paid. My boss had to take the task because when we contacted their manager, they said our names were too similar and there’s nothing they could do.

    Anyway there’s one guy that constantly calls me Sue and I have to basically tell him “You’ve known me for 7 years, my name is Sara”. He usually apologizes and does it again like a month later.

    1. OP 3*

      Ugh, that’s ridiculous. Surely processes should be designed for a bunch of unrelated John Smiths, if nothing else!

  36. C Average*

    Years ago, I worked for my college alma mater. In the post-9/11 economic downturn, my job was phased out. I learned that I was being downsized in early December.

    A couple weeks later, with both Christmas and my last day of work approaching swiftly, I received a solicitation from the alumni office for a charitable donation.

    I wrote a scathing, profanity-laced, rageful letter detailing my finances and my employment situation and my prospects for a happy holiday, and copied it to every administrator I knew by name.

    Among my friend group, I am literally the only person who is never, ever hit up for money by my alma mater. They must have purged me from every possible contact list, because in the 20+ years since, I haven’t heard a peep from them.

  37. ket*

    Maybe not the thing to send in a professional email…. but I think you should know about the song!! “That’s not my name” by the Ting Tings, written by the one of the members after all these record execs called her by the wrong name…

    They call me ‘Bell.’
    They call me ‘Stacey.’
    They call me ‘her.’
    They call me ‘Jane.’
    That’s not my name!
    That’s not my name!

  38. Tap Tap Jazz*

    I would have preferred not to be laid off the day I got back from my honeymoon, especially since my boss told me he knew it was coming for months. It was over a decade ago, and it still makes my blood boil to think of him watching me walk down the aisle and then jet off on a pricey trip, knowing he was about to pull the rug out from under me.

    TL;DR: Sometimes I suspect a certain segment of the population enjoys meanly-timed layoffs.

    1. Kate 2*

      I guess I’m confused and missing something. When would have been a good time for him to tell you? It sounds like you would have preferred to be told before your wedding and honeymoon, but wouldn’t that have been worse and more stressful?

      1. Tap Tap Jazz*

        Your wording implies that the only other option was to tell me immediately before the wedding. He knew for many months ahead of that. If he had told me when he found out, I would have had plenty of time to scale everything back and to start job searching.

        1. Kate 2*

          I see, so I was missing something. You mentioned he knew for months, but not what interval was covered by that – the months before or during the wedding planning. So you would have wanted to know before the wedding planning. Thanks for the clarification!

  39. KateMo*

    #3, so funny- my name is also Kate, not Katie, and I f-ing LOSE IT when people keep calling me Katie…so much so that Alison published my letter about it! Can you give me “don’t get angry” lessons? ;-)

    1. OP 3*

      Ha! Well, my family always called me Katie and I switched to Kate as an adult to sound less juvenile in a male-dominated industry, so I’m fairly used to Katie and can let it go. But Kathy bugs me because I’ve NEVER gone by that. I try to remind myself that some people are bad at remembering names the way I’m bad at recognizing faces. That… sometimes works.

      1. RestlessRenegade*

        Another Katherine here. I used to go by “Katie” and changed it to “Katy” when I was a teenager. I have had several coworkers call me “Kathy” (always via email or Skype) which I HATE. No offense to the Kathies of the world, but…it’s not my name. Also I’ve never met a Kathy I liked.
        One coworker addresses me as “Kathy” no matter how often I correct him. His name is uniquely spelled but I’m always careful to spell it correctly. Maybe I should start calling him something else to see how long it takes for him to get mine right? ;)

  40. EvilQueenRegina*

    Any of my fellow Brits here (well, anyone who knows this show – I don’t know where it’s aired) thinking of Only Fools and Horses where Trigger persistently calls Rodney Dave and won’t have it that he’s got it wrong? “If it’s a boy, they’re calling it Rodney, after Dave.”

    The other one it made me think of was Fringe where Walter Bishop persistently addresses Astrid Farnsworth by other words beginning with A – Asterisk, Asteroid (although I used to grit my teeth when he used Astro as that was my ex’s nickname at St Andrews).

    Seriously though, I have something similar to #3 in that my last name is spelled the same way as, although pronounced differently from, a common first name here. What didn’t help in Exjob was that my predecessor happened to have a variation of that name. But I get “Hi Surname” a lot in emails and addressed as Surname a lot. I’m getting to the point of considering just not answering to it.

  41. Anon anon anon*

    #2 – It sounds like I’m the only one here, but I would be creeped out and offended. “Yes, you seem unhappy. You should take anti-depressants. You have a chemical imbalance in your brain.” That’s a mean thing to say, whether it’s a friend or a boss or, really, anyone who isn’t a mental health clinician who you chose to seek advice from. If it’s bothering you, I would go ahead and say something. I think it’s better to address something like that directly than to let it faster and lead to resentment.

  42. ProbablyDodgedABullet*

    #1: Same here. I interviewed for a job earlier this month and got the rejection email almost two weeks later, a few minutes before midnight on Christmas day. This probably makes it less upsetting – I don’t think I would want to work somewhere where HR has to work in the middle of the night at Christmas! At the interview they even told me that second round interviews would be in the second week of January, so it doesn’t seem like they’re in that much of a hurry anyway.

  43. ss*

    After a point the wrong name can really ruin your morale. I had worked at my job for several years in the administration office just a few desks away from the CEO’s secretary and we interacted frequently. One year, they awarded me an “Employee of the Quarter” employee appreciation award. As usual, my name on it was mangled. I knew that it had been typed up by the CEO’s secretary. I went to her desk and told her that it really has the opposite effect on feeling appreciated when it was so obvious that I wasn’t important enough to them to bother to spell my name right on an award.

  44. Just a drop of reason*

    Christmas fell on a Monday this year. I would be shocked to find many companies out there that hand-write individual rejection letters, it stands to reason that the large majority use a standard format and automated system. So while it was unfortunate and bad timing, I HIGHLY doubt it was intentionally sent on a holiday.

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