talking to a coworker about a negative colleague, manager was annoyed that I didn’t come in during an ice storm, and more

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

1. Talking to a young colleague about a negative coworker

I’m currently working for about a month in a new company in a temporary position (ends in April, and I’m pregnant, so not definitely not staying) and I have two direct/close coworkers: Arya, who is brand new to the working world and started at this company in September, and Sansa, who has been working here for about four years. I’m nine years older than Arya and four years older than Sansa and have been working in different positions for a little over ten years, so I have quite a bit more experience than both of them. Arya just found out she can stay at this company (she was a temp like me), which she’s happy about.

The problem here is that Sansa has a pretty negative personality. She constantly sighs, says she’s overworked, management never listens to her, every decision they take is wrong, you know the drill. I haven’t seen anything here that doesn’t seem to be the case almost everywhere. Yes, communication could be better, hierarchy can be very annoying (this is a giant international company, lots of rules) and so on. But honestly, it really seems fine compared to some places, if not better. Sansa now has a habit of dragging Arya with her in the complaining, keeps telling her all things that are “wrong,” and so on. Arya, being so new to working, believes everything Sansa says. This worries me a bit.

I would like to talk to Arya, tell her that she should be careful in listening to Sansa and perhaps taking things with a grain of salt. I wouldn’t want her to become as negative as Sansa, because it could really hold her back in moving up in this company or in her career in general. Is that something I could do? And if so, how best to frame it so I don’t sound like I’m accusing Sansa of anything (I understand being frustrated sometimes, but constant complaining really won’t help) or saying she’s just wrong (I don’t know if she is, it’s just that she doesn’t seem to want solutions, only problems)?

How’s your rapport with Arya? If you have a pretty good relationship with her, I do think you can discreetly say something to her. Not a big DON’T LISTEN TO SANSA, SHE IS TOXIC lecture, but something along the lines of: “Hey, for what it’s worth, I think you’re great and so I wanted to say this to you in case it’s helpful. I’ve noticed that Sansa seems pretty unhappy here, and talks about the company as if it’s a disaster. But in case it’s helpful to you to hear another perspective, I don’t see it. Sure, communication could be better and the hierarchy can be annoying at times, but these are pretty normal frustrations that you’re going to find anywhere. I think it can be tough to know what’s normal and what isn’t normal when you’re just starting out, and so I wanted to tell you — the stuff I hear Sansa complaining about is not stuff that would normally be considered a big deal.”

And then leave it there — let her do with that whatever she wants, including potentially nothing. But you’ll have planted a seed, and you may not see evidence of it immediately taking root, but it may be in there somewhere.

2. Should I let my boss know I’m receiving threats on the job?

I recently began working as a community manager for a popular video game. I am an avid player myself and can relate to many of the members in the community. However, I have gotten some messages directed at me that have me feeling cautious.

Some examples would be:
– someone hinting that I should be hanged
– someone posting a profane and sexual description of what they think my job entails
– a seemingly friendly invitation to meet in person with someone who openly posts on their profile that they want to hurt people

A lot of this is due to the community being frustrated with the game and taking it out on the most visible person they see (me). I can handle the negativity, but I wonder if I should forward some of these messages to my boss or perhaps HR?

I don’t feel that I’m in danger, but part of my role does include live events. In case anything did happen, I’d like for there to be some documentation. I am just unsure what is the recommended way to go about that.

Talk to your boss! Explain the types of messages you’ve received, and ask what sorts of things she wants you to escalate or alert someone else to. Ideally you’d have a protocol for handling this stuff (covering not just reporting, but also when/whether to ban people, etc.) If there’s isn’t one yet, say you’d like to develop one with her input. Some of this may come with the territory, but you need to know that you have a system in place to deal with it, and your boss should be involved (or at least consulted) in creating that.

Sorry you’re dealing with this.

3. My manager was annoyed I couldn’t drive to work during an ice storm

I have gotten my first job at 18 and this past week we experienced an unexpected ice storm in Texas. I called my boss telling her I feel uncomfortable driving and my car was frozen at about 9:30. She then said “You are not scheduled till 1:45. It is going to become 35 when you are scheduled.” I then said, “I still feel uncomfortable driving in these conditions because I have never driven in ice and snow.” She said “Okay,” huffed, and hung up.

I have been working there for almost a year and never have called in before but she was extremely rude to me! Should I be worried about it? Or brush it off because now she has to find someone else? I also called in at 9:30 so she had time to find someone! I’m extremely upset and stressed!

Well … in general your boss is going to expect you to be at work even in bad weather, unless your weather is producing truly unusual, unsafe conditions. Typically “I’ve never driven in ice and snow” isn’t really going to fly as a reasonable excuse; if you’re living somewhere that gets ice and snow, the expectation is that you’re going to figure out a way to drive in it or make different arrangements to get yourself to work, like taking a cab. (Plus, I think your boss’s point was that in several hours, it was going to have melted anyway, but if snow is unusual in your area you might not have realized that.)

That said, you’re 18 and you’re in a place that doesn’t typically get much snow, which I think is relevant here. Employers who are hiring 18-year-olds should know that they’re hiring people who are at the very start of figuring this kind of thing out, and they shouldn’t necessarily want nervous, inexperienced teenage drivers driving to work in icy conditions that they’re not used to. So while I can see why your manager was annoyed, I also think she should have been somewhat accommodating — but also would be in the right to tell you that this is something you’ll need to figure out for next time (even if that just means taking Lyft or getting a ride with someone else).

4. Running into a candidate we rejected

I work in a profession where those of us in it are likely to run into each other at a lot of local and national get-togethers. My question is about how to deal with running into people who were rejected from searches I was involved with. I really put my foot in it recently when I asked someone if we’d met, and then when she heard what company I’m with, she said “Oh, I interviewed for a job there.” I then said “OH! That’s where I know you from! I was on that search committee!” and felt terrible. I tried to recover with “we had a lot of good candidates in that search,” and she said it wasn’t the right fit for her anyway. But do you have general advice about how to handle these encounters? I’ve been on both sides and it never seems to go well.

It’s good to just be matter of fact about it — and definitely not apologetic, since if you sound apologetic, it’s likely to make the other person think you’re feeling pity or general awkwardness about the situation. Really, the best thing is to convert the interview in your head to just a standard business meeting and just say the things you’d say if you ran into someone from a non-interview meeting. So that means things like “good to see you again” and “how are you?” but not “you were a good candidate” or “it was a competitive search” or any other interview-specific talk. In other words, don’t feel like you have to explain or soothe! Just treat them like any other contact. Most people will appreciate that.

5. My boss wants my coworker and me to collaborate more, but it doesn’t make sense for our work

The small department where I work is me, Boss, and Coworker. In individual conversations, Boss has told both me and Coworker multiple times that she wants us to “collaborate” more. This is confusing to me and Coworker. For one thing, we have quite different skill sets — think teapot painting vs teapot inventory control, so there are relatively few projects that make sense for both of us to work on. For another thing, Coworker and I get along great! We communicate well and have a good working relationship. In fact, we get along much better with each other than either of us does with our boss, who is very disorganized. Are there opportunities or reasons for collaboration that Coworker and I just aren’t seeing? How should we respond if our boss brings this up again?

It’s possible that your manager is seeing areas where one or both of your work would be improved by more collaboration with the other … but it’s also possible that she just feels like Collaboration Is Good and hasn’t fully thought through exactly what she wants you to do or whether it makes sense for you.

I’d ask her to tell you more about what she’s hoping you’ll do. You could say something like, “Can you say more about where you see room for us to collaborate more? My sense is that we do communicate well and have a good working relationship, and I don’t know that I see obvious areas for additional collaboration — but I’m wondering if there’s something specific you have in mind or a problem you’re hoping to solve?”

{ 490 comments… read them below }

  1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#2, definitely bring this up. Your employer needs protocols for dealing with threats. Will many of them be vile and empty? Yes. Could some of them be vile and serious? Also yes. Your boss needs to help you navigate this, and they need to take threats of violence (especially if it’s more than once from the same person) very seriously.

    1. JessaB

      Also they need a protocol in case game users complain about harassment. Since you’re already being harassed what if players are? Does the company have a procedure for that and if they don’t it goes hand in hand with protecting yourself OP2.

      1. Naptime Enthusiast

        This is a great point. While the threats you’re receiving are bad enough that your manager should take action (and they are!), pointing out that you’ll lose users if you don’t deal with it swiftly and effectively may push them to actually make changes.

        1. Specialk9

          My friend has a university lab dedicated to creating video games (no really, that’s his job), and he tells me that women are by the far majority in video games these days. So it’s bad economics, if nothing else, for managers to pander to abusive male gamers over females. The quiet majority.

      2. Q

        Yeah, I’m baffled they haven’t put some kind of sanctions on the guy who admits in his profile he likes hurting people.

        1. SarahTheEntwife

          That’s pretty much par for the course in a large percentage of online communities. I wish I were baffled.

      3. designbot

        I can guarantee you that if OP is being harassed, gamers are too. I can’t play a game of Catan online without having vile things hurled at me, much less anything with any bit of violence.

        1. many bells down

          I quit Xbox Live over a game of Catan, after one guy took exception to where I’d placed the robber and proceeded to swear at me for 10 minutes. He then quit the game and rated me as “unsportsmanlike.”

        2. Specialk9

          I understand that most people don’t have access to computer forensics tools, but wouldn’t computer game companies? I also know that law enforcement is infuriatingly behind on The Cyber, but I’d think that even just filing the police report against those gamers threatening war crimes would be a potent lesson that FFS, #MeToo means online too. What you threaten to do to a stranger is going to end up in the paper, and in front of your parents and grandparents. But I’m not an expert so am open to being educated.

    2. IAAL

      I don’t know. For most jobs, threats would be a big deal. But threats of that nature are very commonly directed at community managers for video games, particularly when the community is frustrated with the game and game developer. Some gamers can get pretty nasty when they’re angry. Since the community manager is the “face” of the game and the company, sometimes they take the brunt of that anger.

      So, OP #2, report it to the extent you think the threats are serious or are coming from one person/group repeatedly or seem to be personally targeted at you. If it’s in game or under the game dev’s control (like a game dev forum) and the game dev is known to ban people for being nasty, you can probably get some bans in place for the worst offenders. And if you can talk to any other current/former community manager about how they handle threats like those, that would be a good idea. Even if the threats are empty (very likely), constantly being the subject of the community’s ire can be psychologically taxing.

      (Incidentally… I’m actually part of the gaming community for a popular game with an extremely frustrated community and the game dev was recently looking for a new community manager. Wonder if it’s that game.)

      1. Katniss

        The only way the gaming community will change for the better is if people who would make threats, idle or otherwise, over a video game face consequences. People making those threats should be reported and banned no matter how serious they seem.

        1. Triple Anon

          I agree. Threats have to be treated as if they’re serious because they could be and you have no way of knowing.

        2. WellRed

          Yeah, time for the community to stop putting up with this juvenile crap. People who get frustrated in the real world don’t resort to rape threats. Etc
          (Most anyway).

          1. Amber T

            This. “It’s common in the gaming community” is a crap excuse. It’s true, but it’s crap. I’ve been a gamer of a particular MMORPG for half of my life, since my teen years. I’ve grown up with it. There are updates to it that have frustrated me beyond belief. There are things that have made me stop playing for periods of time. I’ve written to the developers before, and sure, when I was a teen it lacked professionalism (“this new update sucked! I’m never playing again!”) But threats about hurting people in real life *should* be taken seriously, especially with all the violence that’s really happening. If you’re stupid enough to threaten violence on a real person who is just trying to do their job, you’re lucky if all that happens to you is your account is banned.

            1. Robm

              Agreed. If it’s common that people working as community contacts for game X are threatened, this isn’t a reason to put up with any level of threat, this is a reason to stop tolerating it straight away.

        3. essEss

          Agreed. Threatening behavior needs to have consequences. If they are blatant enough to threaten admins, think about what they are doing to the people that don’t have authority to ban them.

        4. SheLooksFamiliar

          I get frustrated over major and piddly things, but I don’t make comments about wanted to cause physical harm to people. People need to express themselves appropriately. OP, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. If someone says you should be hanged for doing your job, I don’t think you need to give them a pass because they’re frustrated. Please do tell the powers that be; they should make sure members know threatening, abusive, and vile comments against ANYONE won’t be tolerated – and especially against people who make gaming possible.

      2. eplawyer

        As long as everyone says “oh that’s just part of the territory” it will never change. You need to develop codes of behavior for people playing games — no its not a first amendment violation — and enforce them. People can be upset about the game and its development. They can express their frustration. But they need to do so civilly or face consequences.

        1. Katniss

          Yes, thank you. The casual acceptance of this being “just the way it is”, especially after the awfulness of GamerGate, is what caused myself and plenty of other people I know to leave online gaming entirely. The less action is taken to change things, the less diverse and friendly your audience will be.

          1. PlainJane

            “The less action is taken to change things, the less diverse and friendly your audience will be.” THIS. Gaming communities are hostile, because hostility is tolerated.That means plenty of people will be forced to opt out, whether because they’re in a group that’s frequently targeted (e.g. women) or whether they figure out that certain communities are bad for their mental health (as my son has). Then you’re going to be left with 2 groups: abusers and people who are willing to tolerate abusers.

        2. Anonymod

          Thing is that games companies exist to make money. They make less money if they ban all their players. They try and get the balance right between having a friendly community with a good reputation and banning as few paying customers as possible but when player number start to go down the rules suddenly become a lot more leniant.

            1. Anonymod

              True but that’s harder to measure. When the CEO is getting shouty because player numbers are dropping and we banned 1,000 players month, they see a ‘quick win’ in stopping banning players.

              1. Falling Diphthong

                These two comments together are an interesting insight to dynamics I’ve seen elsewhere–that in trying to placate the loud fringe threatening to quit en masse, institutions lose the quieter people who find the atmosphere toxic and leave one by one.

              2. Oranges

                The CEO is being penny smart pound foolish. It would be interesting to know how many people have quietly left the gaming sphere or decided never to enter it because of this.

                Has anyone done a study? I’m curious.

                1. Totally Minnie

                  *Raises hand*

                  I’ve always thought it would be fun to get into online gaming, but knowing the level of crap female presenting people receive in that world has always kept me from signing up. I deal with enough rude people in my customer service job. I don’t need that in my leisure activities.

                2. mrs__peel

                  Just anecdotally, I know TONS of women who are interested in things like gaming, etc., but who don’t participate in those kinds of communities because of the constant gross comments and misogyny.

                  (And I’m sure there are plenty of men who find that kind of thing off-putting as well).

                3. JB (not in Houston)

                  @mrs_peel Yep. I play some PC games and love them, but I won’t play online multiplayer games because I don’t want to deal with that garbage

                4. Zahra

                  For what it’s worth, there are games where that kind of behavior is taken seriously. I know Guild Wars 2 is pretty good about moderating for sexism, threats, etc. Some people definitely act differently when they know you’re a woman, but once their behavior is reported, it’s acted upon. You can do your research about whichever game interests you and see what others say about bans, moderation, abuse, etc.

                5. Anion

                  …but there are also lots of women in gaming who have never, or only very rarely, had that sort of experience, and have actually found that more than a few men are a lot nicer to you if they see that you’re female. I don’t play online in general (as in joining large online games; I do specific online missions with groups of people I’ve met through online gaming forums etc., though), but I participate in a number of online groups for different games, and have never had anyone make sexist comments to me (and in fact, the only person I ever “met” in a gaming group online who was overtly rude and insulting to me as soon as they saw my overtly feminine name was another female. Anecdotes aren’t data, I know, I’m just saying). I’ve never felt unwelcome in any gaming group or discussion. It’s certainly possible that I just happen to play games that attract better people, so to speak; I’m not denying that sexism happens. I just don’t think it’s the epidemic people seem to think it is.

                  Some gamers are assholes to everyone; a lot of them are younger and think they’re being shocking/daring/”grown up” by making nasty comments to anyone and everyone–racist comments, sexist comments, xenophobic comments, just plain nastiness that insults anyone they can in any way they can think of. I’ve seen studies that show that men are at the receiving end of far more nastiness in online gaming/gaming communities than women, because some of them are just jerks who like to insult people.

                  I’m really not trying to start a discussion on “Gamergate” or anything like that, honestly, I’m trying to encourage you and your friends to give it a try anyway. IMO this whole “gamers are raging misogynists” thing is really overblown; if you show that you really love the game and want to play, you’re generally welcome. If you admit you’re a beginner, sure, you’re going to find some people who tell you to F off, but you’re also going to find people happy to share their love of the game with you, and help you. If someone insults you, laugh it off/ignore it (I’m not talking about threats, I’m talking about rude comments) and maybe insult right back. Talk about the game and the things you like about it; keep your critiques to yourself unless you want to get into debates about them. It’s like any large community, really: find the good, ignore the bad as much as possible, and take the negative stories with a grain of salt.

                  And have fun! That’s what they’re for.

                6. Delphine

                  I only play single player because male gamers are so vile. Someone I know is an esports reporter and things like death threats and rape threats are an every day occurrence.

                7. Pomona Sprout

                  Personally, I am TOTALLY turned off to the idea of online gaming after all I’ve heard about how vicious male gamers can be towards females and how little seems to be done about it. Of course, people like me are never going to be on any game co.’s CEO’s radar, so.

                8. Cornflower Blue

                  Female gamer here. I present as male when I play League precisely because of this – it’s easier to just let everyone assume I’m a guy than to deal with the massive shift in behavior that happens when they realize I’m female.

                  Of course, they usually only realize I’m female if I use a voice-chat program during games which I refuse to do with people unless I know them well enough to feel safe being openly female.

                  I can’t quit forever but there are definitely days I log out because wow, no, those people are JERKS.

          1. Purplesaurus

            “Let’s keep threatening, abusive players around because they pay the subscription” isn’t the moral high ground I was looking for, and the very reason this paying customer has left many gaming communities.

          2. STG

            As a gamer, this was my exact thought. A lot of gamers don’t have long attention spans. They will move on to the next bigger and better game in a heartbeat. I know a lot of folks are arguing that it’ll never change if people don’t try to stop it but many games don’t have the luxury of that position.

            1. Katniss

              They have moral obligations to take that position no matter how much luxury they have or don’t have. It is not okay to sacrifice entire groups of people (and let’s be honest, this abuse affects already disenfranchised groups more) for money.

              1. STG

                So it’s okay to sacrifice entire businesses for the moral high ground? That seems like a pretty privileged position to take.

                1. hbc

                  Frankly, your game sucks if the only reason people are hanging around is because they can make rape threats. Make a good enough game, and you can moderate the heck out of it.

                2. Purplesaurus

                  But it’s OK to sacrifice entire groups of people to make a dime? I don’t know what kind of position you’d call that, but I can’t believe anyone is arguing for it and I’ll go ahead and step away from any further discussion about this because I can’t promise I’ll remain civil.

                3. Turquoisecow

                  I’d rather a business be sacrificed than someone’s life or safety. I’m not a gamer, but I find it unlikely that at least some of the people making online threats might not take it into the real world – especially against a company employee. (Other anonymous gamers maybe not, but the OP is visible).

                4. Katniss

                  If your business can’t survive without abusive users, your business doesn’t need to exist in the first place.

                5. STG

                  People should absolutely report rape/physical threats. That’s not my argument at all. Games have a short shelf life. That industry is trying to make as much money as they can while they still can. I’m not trying to make excuses for it but it’s a factor that non-gamers don’t understand.

                6. Katniss

                  Don’t assume we aren’t gamers. I am one. I understand the factor. I still don’t think that is an okay decision for businesses to make.

                7. Traffic_Spiral

                  “I’m not trying to make excuses for it but it’s a factor that non-gamers don’t understand.”

                  Uh, no? Letting customers abuse your staff is not some magical concept that only gamer business have heard of. If you kick out a restaurant patron for threatening the waitress, you’ve lost a customer. If you ban someone from your store because he yells at the checkout staff, you’ve lost a customer. If you ban someone from your gym because he’s a jerk to people, you’ve lost a customer. Do you seriously think that no other business concept in the world has abusive customers, or has to decide when to ban/fire a client for being too much of a jerk?

                8. STG

                  I didn’t call anyone a non-gamer. I also never said that businesses don’t have to deal with unreasonable people. I specifically said the shelf life of games is short and therefore has different factors that people outside of gaming may not be aware of.

                  That’s all. People on the internet can be toxic and online gaming is full of em. I have zero issue just hitting ignore on those folks and going on with my gaming though.

                9. Natalie

                  This is *literally* the same argument some business made about employment discrimination, segregation, sexual harassment, and other things that we don’t accept as routine now.

                10. Katniss

                  “I have zero issue just hitting ignore on those folks and going on with my gaming though.”

                  THAT seems like a privileged position to take. It isn’t as simple as that. I have had my name and address published along with rape threats for daring to be a woman in gaming. “Just ignore the trolls” is advice that is ignorant of the actual issues at hand. Which is why companies need to take it upon themselves to actively ban and take action against these people.

                11. Anonymod

                  I think people are moralising and just ignoring the fact that in SOME jobs, you receive abuse and you see things that are distressing. Saying “Omg you shouldn’t have to deal with abuse.” is annoyingly unhelpfull.

                  Yeah it’s unpleasant when an idiot player is threatening me because I’ve permanently muted their account. But I go home at the end of the day happy, because the other person that Idiot Player was bullying can now play the game without being harrassed.

                  4 years moderating games and the only reason I EVER received threats or abuse from someone was because I took them out of the game, or because I refused to let them back in again. Usually because they were being abusive to other players.

                12. SpaceNovice

                  I can understand your frustration with this, but there’s a simple answer: yes. If your game cannot survive banning toxic people, then you’ve failed as a company and have no right to exist. If you let bullying, threats, and abuse thrive in your game, then you’ve failed as a company and have no right to exist. Period.

                  If we had moderated games proactively from the beginning, we wouldn’t be having crap like people breaking into Gavin Free’s and Meg Turney’s house. The community has gotten toxic because companies let it just to save money on the bottom line–or so they think.

                  Except it doesn’t save money. People leave crap communities. Or like me, they never risk joining any communities because there’s too many stories of people getting harassed, doxed, swatted, driven to suicide, etc. I’m not going to risk my life just to play some online game. I’ll stick to single player or play only with friends, thanks.

                  Companies who think it’s okay to have a toxic playerbase end up having other issues that will eventually force them out of business–usually toxic work environments and monetization that drives away customers. Why do you think EA has so many different gaming studios folding under them? Because they create toxic environments that destroy the ability to create good games.

                  Some of the young playing games now are the ones that’ll make the games of the future and some of the other people are already making games. Jerk players make jerk coworkers make toxic environments that produce bad games. They also drive talented people out of the industry or make them decide against joining the industry in the first place. Remember all those good emotional moments in games that got to you? None of that is possible if you’ve got writers/developers/artists/etc that are the type of person who thinks that abuse, harassment, doxxing, swatting, threats, etc. are okay. You need people with a basic understanding of humanity, and that’s exactly who is being driven away by things as simple as lack of moderation that is allowing the community to become so toxic.

                13. Genny

                  Maybe online games have short shelf lives partially because of the toxic players that create a toxic community. Maybe gaming companies have partially brought this on themselves for not being more proactive about policing their space.

                14. sap

                  The short shelf-life of multiplayer games doesn’t seem logically connected to banning abusive players. I suppose you’re suggesting that gaming companies can’t afford to pay for mods, but a short shelf-life would suggest that the mods could move on when the players did, so I’m not sure why it’s relevant.

                  Also, come on. I think it’s pretty certain that there are more people playing World of Warcraft with a subscription today than buying Mass Effect, which is a newer game. The abusive players behavior on world of Warcraft isn’t because all multiplayer games have a short shelf life.

            2. Not So NewReader

              Moral obligations are not a luxury item. Luxury presumes it’s optional, it’s above the basics. Moral obligations are not optional. Moral obligations are part of the basics.
              If basics on not in place a company will probably fail.

              OP, my thinking is that your boss should help you with this. Leaders are supposed to take care of those who take care of them. Sort of a serve the servant idea. But it just makes sense, if you leave your employees to their own devices, chaos will follow.

        3. Scarlet

          Exactly. It’s really discouraging to see people brush this off as “something people just do on the Internet”. When did it become acceptable to behave like baboons just because you’re online? If there was zero tolerance for personal threats of violence all over the Internet, you bet attitudes would start changing. If you verbally abuse an employee IRL, you’ll get in trouble. It should be the same online.

            1. Not So NewReader

              And we have seen this in other aspects of our lives, where we (society) have ignored issues and just now those issues are exploding daily in headlines. I hope we don’t have to go a 100 years before resolving this one also.

          1. RVA Cat

            This – though that’s kind of an insult to baboons.
            A lot of the internet has become a sketchy bar with no bouncers.

        4. else

          Yes. Those people who make those sorts of comments are not so valuable that their precious, precious feelings need to be protected over those of everyone else. By doing or saying that, they’ve made themselves unacceptable. Ergo – do not accept them. Kick them out.

      3. Gaia

        Yea and people used to say this kind of thing about sexual harassment in the workplace “oh that is just the way it is. Get used to it.”

        No. It doesn’t have to be this way. But acceptance of this behavior means there is no incentive to change. This is a crap attitude.

      4. Purplesaurus

        I don’t know… this almost seems like a “boys will be boys” argument. There’s merit to gamers complaining about a game, but not for threats/harassment toward an individual.

      5. sfigato

        I get that this is par for the course with games…but I agree with everyone here saying it should not be par for the course with games. I think that there should be serious, real-world consequences for threatening someone with violence in a virtual space. I think there are enough examples of online threats manifesting into real world threats that it should be taken seriously, and I think the gaming community needs to learn that threatening people isn’t ok and that what they do online has ramifications. There is a small but incredibly toxic community in gaming, and it is beyond time that they be rooted out and held accountable for their cruddy behavior. Spoken as a lifelong gamer who has never thought it was ok to SWAT someone or tell them they deserve to be raped.

        1. Tuxedo Cat

          Exactly. A friend of a friend deals with this. Not because of games but because she writes about race and diversity. She gets threats all the time and has to shut down her social media because of the mental stress this all causes. She can’t tell if the people hurling abuse at her are going to find her and physically harm her. She can’t tell if these people are inspiring others to physically harm her. Because she’s a researcher, it’s quite easy to figure out where she works. Nowadays, it’s probably easy to even find her home address.

      6. Kelsi

        ” report it to the extent you think the threats are serious”
        There’s not actually a way to tell this, though. It’s easy to treat them all as empty threats until something happens–and then, no doubt, hindsight will kick in and people will be saying “how could they not see this coming? OP #2 literally got a message from someone saying they would kill OP’s entire family!”

      7. sap

        I agree in part with this comment–if OP wants to be in public-facing roles at a gaming company, OP will need to treat “handling harassment” as part of that job. That’s not because the harassment is acceptable or because OP shouldn’t expect their employer to be working on solutions to harassment, and if OP’s employer doesn’t respond by giving OP support to handle the harassment and treating it as a legit problem they should nope right on out of there even if they would otherwise be able to handle this aspect of the job.

        And it’s not fair that to do the non-harassment parts of the job, OP has to do the harassment-related ones, and that should totally change! And it’s also fine if OP *doesn’t want a job where they will have to deal with harassment,* which is totally reasonable and is how I would feel. Not everybody has to sign up to be on the front lines of changing the culture of harassment in gaming.

        But it’s really common for gaming companies to use the person in this role to insulate developers from the harassment, and while we’re working on changing harassment it will need to be *someone’s* job to handle the harassment. Those people are total badasses and they are doing an awesome thing by putting themselves out there to get yelled at (so creative can work in peace) and patiently asking people to be nicer as a culture change. It is unfair that people say nasty things to them, and it’s unfair that *anyone* has to do this job. But for the company to successfully deal with harassment, someone at the company needs to, you know, deal with harassment.

        That said, I think it’s wrong-headed for the OP to only report credible threats, or to only expect the company to have a strategy/be developing a strategy/give OP leeway to develop the company’s strategy for harassment when it rises to the level of a credible threat. Sure, the OP and OP’s company may need to triage and deal with credible threats first if there is too much harassment to deal with it all right away, and the OP shouldn’t expect the company to make the other harassment stop (because that’s generally what the company hired people in OP’s role to do–make progress towards stopping the harassment), but the OP should continue to keep their boss updated about the other harassment if they can’t address it immediately, since that’s how responsible businesses keep track of problems that are on the to-do list.

        Handling harassment is part of OP’s job, and OP should keep their bosses updated about how that is progressing/whether they have enough resources to do that part of the job/whether doing that part of the job has consumed too much of their bandwidth and now they don’t have enough bandwidth to do other parts of their job just like OP would with any other issue, like “the webcam I use to do interviews has faulty wiring” or “I’m getting more event requests than I have time to attend, we need to hire a second person in this role” or “it seems like people are making a lot of requests for an interface panel that displays Floogs, can you pass that to the development team?”

    3. Atiredgamedev

      I work in games though not in a customer focused way, and this is something I worry about and very occasionally have dealt with. Talk to your boss and ask what their process is for dealing with this stuff is! If they’ve done it in game or somewhere where their gamertag is visible…you hopefully ban or punish them in game.
      It can get a little bit more dicey if it’s on social media..but again talk with your boss. There may be some ethics stuff you have to deal with about identifying people but you should at least be able to report them on the various social media report tools.
      Also find someone to talk to, I know a lot of community managers are friendly with each other so if you don’t already network with some at events and grow your support network. Good luck I appreciate all the work CMs do dealing with this stuff.

    4. Susan Calvin

      I’m genuinely surprised that wasn’t front and center in the ‘So You’re A Community Manager’ package; I have a friend in a similar role, and participate in several such communities, and to my understanding handling abusive members is like 50% of the job – the nice ones don’t tend to need much managing.

      1. Gaia

        And that is terrible and something the company needs to be addressing. If they just allow this it will never change.

        1. Anonymod

          In some jobs you’re going to be on the receiving end of abuse sometimes. That’s just the way it is. What the company should be doing is preparing you for it and teaching you how to deal with it when it happens, like “Hey some people who are banned from the game get really upset so they might message you asking to be unbanned and then get PO’d when you don’t unban them. If they’re swearing or being abusive then you don’t have to repond to them and you and block them from sending more messages. If they made any threats against you/us then send the details to X so that are aware and can review it. If you’re really concered about a threat someone has made then go staight to see X and escalate it in person.”

        2. Susan Calvin

          What anonymod said.

          Hiring (more) CMs *is* the company addressing it, because that’s the role where the buck stops. If they don’t give OP the tools, training or guidance to deal with this from the get go, they either suck at managing/onboarding, or are very new to this and hopelessly naive.

          1. sap

            Yep. The CM role is often “person trying to take point o harassment,” and part of taking point on a problem is that you’re going to be in the thick of the problem while you’re still working on solving it. To a certain extent, “deal with the harassers” is the role you signed up for, and it’s not accepting that harassment is inevitable to say “being the person hired to deal with harassment means you’ll really with a lot of harassment.”

            But it’s really troubling that OP was hired into the role that at many companies is explicitly “deal with harassment” without a. Knowing that is part of the role
            B. Either having it explicitly be one of their duties to put in place a protocol for handling the harassment, if there isn’t one, or having been told what the existing protocols are/where to look them up as part of on-boarding for the role.

            Best case, Boss just assumed that OP already knew how to handle it because of the nature of the role/because they usually hire people with prior similar experience with harassers and didn’t realize new people have to be trained when they haven’t done the role.

            1. IAAL

              This is more what I was trying to say in my post (and failed to say, I think). Not “suck it up and deal with it because it’s just what gamers are like,” but “as a community manager, it is part of your job to deal with harassment and abuse.” CMs are hired to deal with the community, including the absuive members; sometimes that will mean the abuse is directed at them.

              It is concerning that OP doesn’t seem aware that this is part of the CM job description.

    5. Helena

      OP 2, is your community management role anonymous to players or do you use your real name? If it’s anonymous, you should try to find out what typically happens at your company if you’re doxxed.

    6. Wintermute

      This is part and parcel of the job of CM, as other people have mentioned, it’s sad but it’s true, and it’s true to a lesser extent of any kind of community relations. My worry is that bringing things that a CM would normally be expected to brush off to management will make the LW look wildly out of touch with expectations and norms.

      That said in my customer service work, and in work I’ve done on forums of various kinds there are limits. of these, #3 definitely falls into a category that should be reported. It’s a specific attempt at an act. Just posting that you *ought* to be hurt is not a crime and, as others have pointed out, it’s not likely to be acted on. Posting a disgusting description of what they think a job entails, again not a crime, but they may have violated the sexual content clause of the TOS so it’s worth looking into a ban on those grounds, depending on how graphic they got, because that’s not good for the company image either. The third one though? That is a specific attempt at a potential crime and should be reported.

      The criteria we used, and you might want to suggest to your bosses as a hard line for threats was S.A.F.E: Threats that were specific, actionable (meaning the threatener could actually accomplish the deed, it wasn’t a wild hyperbole like “I wish I had a nuclear bomb, I’d take it to your headquarters!”), factual (not a hypothetical “someone ought to, someday…”) and I actually forget what the “E” stands for, were immediately reported to police.

      I worked customer service for a company that was dealing with a painful systems transition that was causing serious customer account issues and service disruptions, I’ve had to call the police on more than a few people threatening to burn down stores or beat up sales reps. There should be a procedure but it’s also… well it’s something CS reps of all kinds have to deal with and you should be careful not to look like you’re out of touch with the norms for the industry, that’s never a good career move.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Sure, but I think it’s ok for OP to ask for guidance or protocol on how to deal with all of it. For example, OP can easily say, “I understand that it’s common for players to send verbally threatening notes to CMs, but do we have a process for dealing with players who cross the line into doxxing, IRL violence, etc.? Do you want me to escalate those line-crossing threats to you?” And so on.

        I don’t think asking whether a policy/procedure exists will make OP look out of touch with prevailing norms. And honestly, it’s now a common risk management practice that companies need to put in place, anyway, if they don’t already have threat assessment protocols.

        1. Anonymod

          To be honest, I don’t think it necessarily makes OP look out of touch. Where I worked Community Management and Moderation were reaaaally seperate. The CMs did the fun stuff, hung out with players in-game, ran events/competitions, chatted with them on the forums/socialmedia. Their perception of the community in general was so different to ours. Often they’d come into our office to let us know about something that to them seemed like a really huge emergency but in reality were really minor.

        2. Wintermute

          That’s very true, and it’s obvious that some of these HAVE crossed a line where police should be involved depending on the exact circumstances. I’ve called police myself, when threats were actionable, and no one should face actual threats as opposed to hyperbolic vitriol. That companies allow hyperbolic vitriol towards employees is another whole problem, but that’s a whole different problem.

          My suggestion would be to use the fact that at least one of these did likely cross the line to leverage into a conversation, “so I had this situation where I think police should be informed, can I get a sense as to where the line is you want me to follow, here’s what other industries do and what the police themselves recommend, I understand that people will get heated but I’m sure you want me to feel safe, right?”

      2. Anonymod

        Oh man.. we had a player say he was going to bring a bomb to our office and blow it up. He wasn’t even in the same continent. The mod on duty reported it to the police which in that case followed the criteria for escalation. But then he sent an ALL STAFF email to 700 staff letting them know that someone had threatened to blow up the office and everyone should be vigilant. Luckily it was a sunday and one of our managers saw the email and got it recalled because we caused a mass panic. But yeah afterwards everyone thought he was an idiot. He’d been here ages as well, it was just the first time he was on duty and didn’t have anyone to get a second opinion from.

        It’s all well and good for people to say “Report every threat! Every threat could be serious”. I mean… yeah it could but we get thousands of reports a day. So we’re trained to spot the threats which could actually be genuine. For example there’s a difference between someone saying “Omg, I can’t believe I have to wait 2 years to watch Game of Thrones, BRB going to kill myself.” and “I’m going to kill myself tonight by taking this bottle of pills because my family won’t accept my sexuality and I don’t think I have any other choice.” Those two reports should not be treated with equal seriousness.

        1. Wintermute

          You summed up my feelings exactly. I feel like treating “you ought to be hung”, which is a legally-protected opinion statement and not anything the police can do anything about as a big deal would look out-of-touch. But an actual attempt to lure someone someplace, even if unlikely to succeed, IS an actionable threat that needs to be taken seriously.

          The fact that something did cross that line is a good tool to use to have that conversation about where the line is, though.

          1. Lissa

            Yeah, I think some of the comments here are basically saying “the whole thing should immediately change” which is…true, but not especially useful for the OP who is dealing with it now. Talking about the realities of the situation is not, IMO, saying “that’s how it is and it will never change.” It definitely does need to change, but there is only limited action any one person can take, since they aren’t going to be able to immediately figure out how to stop abusive players saying horrible things. Though if someone can that would be awesome. Or convince the CEOs that all the things everyone is saying above is true, ie that it would be better long term to take a harder line with this stuff.

          2. Delphine

            You’re suggesting that employees should accept that they will be threatened as part of their job and shouldn’t have any recourse because some threats are legally protected opinions. It wouldn’t be acceptable for one of my clients or customers to tell me I ought to hang myself, and it shouldn’t be acceptable for gamers to say similar things to people who work in the gaming industry (particularly the women these threats typically target). Normalizing this behavior is what’s got us to this point. It is a big deal to threaten someone’s life, whether you really mean it or not.

            1. Anonymod

              He isn’t saying that threats are legally protected opinions. He’s saying that “You ought to be hung” isn’t a threat. Neither is “Go kill yourself”, “I hope you die” etc. I’m not trying to minimise it. I’m female. I worked in the gaming industry. I was on the receiving end of these threats and often had to make the call on what should be escalated to law enforcement and what we should deal with ourselves. We worked with the police and they helped us create our escalation procedures. In terms of acceptable behaviour there’s little difference between those comments and a direct threat, but in terms of what the police would deal with.. well it’s not against the law to wish death on someone.

              1. Totally Minnie

                It may not be a threat, but it is verbal abuse. Just because it’s not against the law doesn’t mean it can’t be a bannable offense in an online gaming community, and it certainly doesn’t mean that an employee shouldn’t report it to their superiors.

                1. Not So NewReader

                  Agreed. And if we are going to use the laws on the books to decide on what to put in a company policy we will find the policy falling woefully short.

            2. sap

              I also think he’s saying that as things currently are, this is generally an expected thing in the community manager role, and that in a lot of companies the community manager role is typically someone who does the PR side of trying to change that culture, which involves dealing directly with that culture. It is inevitable that *someone has to deal with these people*; if OP isn’t the correct person, someone else will still be dealing with them when OP hands it off.

              It isn’t acceptable that this is the norm in the gaming industry, at all. It will be much more fair to all employees when nobody has to be on the front lines insulating other employees from harassment and working to change the culture. But until the people currently doing that work have fixed the problem, somebody has to work on fixing it, and community outreach people at gaming companies are typically one part of that effort, and typically on the front lines.

              I think that’s what a lot of people mean when they say “unfortunately that is part of the job right now.” Companies aren’t ignoring harassment by exposing people in these jobs to it; for the companies working on harassment, making handling harassment a job is one of the first steps in addressing it.

              That said, it sounds like OP did not sign up for that role and OP’s employer either IS one of the companies ignoring the problem (if they don’t acknowledge that harassment is an issue), doesn’t expect community outreach to be part of their system for handling it and has a serious blind spot that community outreach will obviously be targeted anyway, or didn’t warn OP that this is part of their job. So any of that is pretty messed up.

      3. Totally Minnie

        I’m a customer service manager, and yeah, my staff and I get rudeness from customers from time to time. But if anyone ever implied that a member of my staff should be on the receiving end of physical violence, even if that customer was not threatening to commit that act of violence themselves, you can bet the customer would be banned from our facility fast enough to make their head spin. No employee, or other customer, should have to put up with people who behave that way.

        I know that it’s an uphill climb in the gaming world to make those changes, but it’s a climb worth taking. If more games took a hard line against harassment, I might actually pay for a subscription someday.

      4. Nita

        Yes, #3 should probably be reported… depending on what was on this person’s social media profile, it may be something the authorities need to be aware of. Sadly, there is a very high probability they will flub the information, but it’s better than saying nothing.

      5. Specialk9

        Wintermute, what happened when you went to the police? (I read about Gamergate, and how police just kinda went, huh, who understands the internet, pray continue doxxing and inciting internet rage. It was beyond chilling. But maybe things are better now?)

        1. Wintermute

          Well this wasn’t a gaming situation, it was a call center and he threatened to burn down one of our retail locations. Police showed up, told him to knock it off, he called back and threatened to kill the person that got him that time (who was in a team nearby) because we called the cops on him.

          So no, I’d say things haven’t improved much, but it was a small town police department and they said he was just drunk and spouting off, so the “good ol’ boy” network may have been in full force in that situation.

          He didn’t try to burn down the store though… so there’s that.

          1. Not So NewReader

            When we see stuff like that we go to the county or state police the next time. My preference is to call the state people.

    7. SpaceNovice

      Agreeing that there should be a protocol in place to deal with this. Ideally, this protocol should have been given in your on-boarding/training materials. If there’s no protocol, then one should be developed. Your questions here should have already been answered by your manager/employer. Definitely go to your manager and ask what to do.

  2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

    OP#1, would it make sense to grab coffee with Arya to see how she’s doing and help her reframe? Normally I wouldn’t recommend this because it could be a little out of place, but since you’re transitioning out, anyway, you could frame it as a “goodbye” coffee. I agree with Alison on the framing—don’t mention Sansa’s toxicity/negativity, but do help reframe some of her complaints in a neutral/nonjudgmental way.

    1. Evergreen

      This is good advice! I’d also perhaps consider starting out by getting a sense of how Arya is taking Sansa: maybe like ‘how have you been finding it here’ or something, rather than jumping in assuming that Arya is taking Sansa’s complaints to heart. It may be that Arya shares your perspective already

    2. CM

      I think this is a great suggestion. And it also makes this talk seem more like parting wisdom, rather than “beware of Sansa!” Even with Alison’s framing, I was worried that if Arya mentioned this to Sansa, it would sound like OP#1 had some grudge against Sansa and was trying to turn Arya against her. I think that would be avoided in the context of a goodbye coffee.

    3. LQ

      Totally agree. I don’t even know that you need to bring Sansa in to the conversation at all. If Arya brings up complaints you can address them directly with, “It’s pretty normal, every work place is going to have some things like this.” You can also talk about ways to deal with those problems, like not complaining to coworkers constantly because that can bring down your own opinion and make you wallow in the bad.

    4. Irene Adler

      I’m betting that Arya would like the chance to talk about this. I remember my first job, hearing all the negativity. I sure would have liked the opportunity to ask someone about it. Just to get an understanding of how to gauge the complaints (serious issue, normal work talk, possibly unhappy co-worker, etc). But I really couldn’t identify anyone whom I could trust to confide in.

    5. Amadeo

      I agree that this is a good suggestion. I wish someone had done it for me at a job I had in my early 20s where I allowed one unhappy, rather toxic coworker to turn me into a creature very similar to her. With over 10 years behind me from that job, I see a lot more clearly what was happening and it’s possible that any one of my coworkers or supervisors could have possibly mitigated it by doing something like this.

      Definitely don’t directly challenge Sansa’s position or character because that could make the situation worse. I know it would have for me. Definitely do have lunch or coffee with Arya and just…kind of offer a different perspective.

    6. TootsNYC

      I think I personally would also say: “I also want to warn you about expressing your complaints and negative opinions carefully. Of course there’s the whole ‘getting stuck in a loop’ thing. But there’s also the idea that other people will hear you, and that’s not good for your reputation.”

      But w/ younger people, I often end up in a bit of mentoring relationship anyway.

      I also would feel free to push back on Sansa a little bit in the moment: “Yeah, it’s frustrating, but having been at several places, this seems like just an ordinary frustration, to me.”

      1. Anion

        Good idea! Next time Sansa gripes about something, you could look surprised and say something like, “Really? It’s way better than most of the places I’ve worked,” or “Huh, I guess I’m so used to that being SOP at all the places I’ve worked that I don’t even think about/notice it.”

  3. Drew

    For #3, while in general I agree with Alison’s advice, I would add two further caveats: (1) Many locations in Texas that don’t typically get significant ice or snow accumulation don’t have good infrastructure to deal with it (sand trucks at best, certainly no salt trucks or plows), and (2) Many Texans in these locations are absolute shit drivers in icy weather; think dozens of accidents in a commute which normally has a handful of them. (I presume the same is true of many other southern locales that aren’t prone to regular freezing precipitation.) I’ve seen plenty of “UNLESS YOU MUST DRIVE, STAY OFF THE DAMN ROADS” warnings in my time.

    I agree with Alison that your boss’s point was probably that by afternoon, most of the ice should have melted, and since you wouldn’t be coming in during rush hour, you wouldn’t be engulfed in the worst traffic, but I also see your point that as a new driver, you would be nervous under those conditions. I doubt it’s likely to have permanently damaged your prospects with this boss, and it’s not like this will be a common occurrence, but you may want to pay extra attention to being punctual and on top of your duties for the next while all the same.

    1. HannahS

      Very true. One important distinction to make is between “I’m not comfortable driving in these conditions” and “I don’t feel comfortable being on the road at all in these conditions.” If you’d trust the roads to a more confident driver, than it’s best to find an alternative form of transportation, like a bus or cab. But if the roads are unsafe for everyone, then it’s best to stay home. I didn’t grow up in an urban center, and I often choose to take public transport in the Big City because I don’t feel comfortable driving there. But when there’s a whiteout blizzard, I don’t feel safe being in any vehicle because it doesn’t matter how experienced you are when you can’t see more than a few meters in front of you.

      1. Just my 2 cents

        I live in the Houston area it snows about every 12 to 15 years. This year it snowed twice and just about the whole metro area was covered in ice for about three days. On one of these days, there were over 600 accidents because people were over confident in their driving abilities. Houston’s roadways contain a vast number of bridges and people didn’t realize that the ice on these bridges would not melt as fast as it would on ground roads. Our infrastructure is just not build for such frozen conditions. So if OP happens to live in this area, she was right to call in!! I should also note that out public transportation was running skeleton crews.

        1. Aly

          I live in the Austin area and there are also usually multiple collisions and accidents during ice storms as well. Because of this all schools affected are closed and we’re often told to stay off the roads if we can. A good amount of businesses both local and corporate opt to close as well.

          I wonder if OP’s boss is someone who moved to Texas from a northern state and is more experienced with snow/ice.

          1. Brandy

            Yes, plus she would be driving home when the temp dropped so it would be ice that melted and refreezes. I wouldn’t feel comfy in it. We get soo much here in TN people from up north moving here and giving us Hell because we close schools or stay home when its bad, but we don’t get snow, we get ice and we are not experienced because were in the south.

        2. Falling Diphthong

          I live in New England but was in Texas for the ice storm. And I had to get drugs for someone leaving the hospital, so I HAD to get to the only open pharmacy by whatever means. (Uber, since the hotel stopped running shuttles.) And the conditions were terrible. Nothing was salted or sanded or plowed (this includes the ice covered sidewalk directly outside the exit used by people who just had knee surgery–really, nothing de-iced). So I re-iterate that these were “Get off the roads, stay off” conditions rather than “Learn to drive on ice” conditions.

          That said, it is feasible that it would have been drivable by the second afternoon. Uber was an option, though I was commuting 1-3 miles, not 45 miles. All the museums closed that day.

          1. InfrequentCommenter

            I can agree with the north vs south thing here. I’m from North East Ohio where we frequently get hit with the “lake effect” freezing rain/snow. I’ve drove in pretty terrible conditions, including once where on the way home we would barley make it out of a county/passed an exit to hear on the radio that police where blocking the road due to the conditions. Level 3 stuff. This doesn’t bother me at all. However we had friends that were in South Carolina visiting family one year when they “got snow”. It’s what we would consider a “mild frost”, but it was much more scary driving in that there because of the other drivers. People were stomping on their breaks for no apparent reason several yards from and stop signs/lights. We obviously weren’t worried about sliding/slipping/ect but the real problem was other drivers that were scared and had no experience driving in the conditions and really only knew what they had seen on tv…… My ex is semi driver with the CDL that allows him to haul gas and biohazards. Has lots of experience driving but has told me stories about about these the south being in complete havoc when they get snow.

            1. Lord Gouldian Finch

              Ugh yes. I got caught in Snowmageddon in Atlanta a few years ago. As someone who had just come down from New York I vastly underestimated how much impact there would be, both because the roads were not salted at all and because other drivers were acting like loons. There was a point where I got help up about a half mile from my destination and I just pulled off and parked and walked because I’d already spent three hours trying to go a half mile. I went out hours later, when it was clear but the roads were an actual ice sheet, and was able to recover my car just by driving VERY slowly and carefully without anyone around.

              1. Falling Diphthong

                I own two pairs of ice-chains that fit over boots, but it hadn’t occurred to me to pack them along on this trip.

              2. sam

                I’m a New Yorker and went to college in Buffalo, so my snow-driving skills are pretty good, but no matter how good they are, that will only take you so far if everyone else on the road (a) has no idea what they’re doing and (b) DOES NOT HAVE SNOW TIRES ON THEIR CAR.

                You wouldn’t believe how important that latter piece is. One year, it snowed especially early here, and my family had to drive up to our “country” house before my dad had switched out his tires (the winter tires were…stored at the house) – a drive that normally takes us 2 hours took us…SEVEN. Because we drove about 20 miles an hour the entire way, and nearly slid off the road at least a dozen times.

                I have colleagues in Atlanta, and I can tell you that this was probably 70-80% of the problem. People were just sliding across the ice/snow, even though it wasn’t very “deep”. and once a few people got stuck, there was nowhere else for anyone to go.

                1. sam

                  KR – you may not have changed your tires out, but you probably had “all weather” radials or something along those lines – that’s what I had on my car (when I had a car). I can pretty much guarantee you that if you didn’t have tires that were designed to drive in the snow, you would have very quickly ended up in a ditch.

        3. the gold digger

          people didn’t realize that the ice on these bridges would not melt as fast as it would on ground roads

          Even though there are signs on bridges in Texas warning that the bridge will ice before the road! (Maybe they also need to say that the bridge ice will melt after road ice does.)

          PS There was a big ice storm in Austin when I was working there. I was one of the few people who made it to work because I was one of the few people stupid to live within walking distance.

          1. Specialk9

            I was nearly 30 before I realized this signs were talking about time, not location. I thought that the spot in front of the bridge would ice, not that the bridge got icy even when the road wasn’t yet icy. (I’m smart, I swear – but my brain is certainly wired funny compared to everyone else.)

            1. Not So NewReader

              If it’s not clearly explained what is happening, then most people don’t understand the significance. I did not go very many places with my parents in snow storms so the opportunity for explanations like that were scarce. Fortunately, I picked it up in driver’s ed and other people later reinforced the knowledge with their bridge stories. So I got lucky on that one, but there were other things that I missed entirely. I had fun times when I first started driving. (NOT)

        4. another houstonian

          Fellow Houstonian here. Yes, it was insanely dangerous to be out driving. We have a ton of bridges and most of them were covered with ice for days. City government was actively telling people to stay home and off the roads. It wasn’t safe for people to be out because this isn’t a weather event we typically deal with. We don’t have the infrastructure or the tools to manage snow and ice so we stay home and wait it out instead. No job is worth you risking your life on an icy road way OP #2. I’m glad you stayed home.

        5. Future Analyst

          Same. I’m in Houston now, but I used to live in a snowy/icy place, and I refused to get on the road, especially considering I was seeing people in giant trucks whizzing past our place at 40+ mph. I know how poorly even Wisconsinites handle the first real snow of the year: I sure as hell wasn’t going to drive to work on ice, surrounded by a bunch of people who are unaccustomed to icy conditions AND aren’t the best drivers on a cloudless, sunny day. My manager was also annoyed with me, but a car wreck wasn’t worth her good graces.

        6. MarCom Professional

          Generally, just because the air temp gets to 35 degrees doesn’t mean the snow and ice automatically disappear. It needs to be sustained warmth and if the roads have a lot of shade, then it’s not 35 degrees there.

          1. Elizabeth West

            Yeah, they don’t treat the side streets where I live, and my street is often solid ice long after the main roads are clear. So I can drive; it’s just loads of fun getting out of my neighborhood. Plus, my street has a slight incline at the intersection closest to my house. I’ve been known to penguin-waddle to the end of the street and salt that incline myself just so I don’t hit the pole.

          2. Not So NewReader

            Yes, 35 degrees is close enough to freezing that shaded areas or areas prone to lots of wind and such may still be icy.
            To my way of thinking the boss’ argument does not hold up. If the temp is 35, no you are not in the clear on this one.

        7. Roja

          And honestly, even in places where the infrastructure is built for it and there’s plows and salt trucks, ice is still not the same as snow. I’ve lived in upstate NY for four winters now and am more comfortable driving in snow than I was, but it would have be really critical for me to go out in ice. Ice storms are just their own beast IMO. Since OP is in TX, which is known for shutting down in ice and snow, I’m actually really surprised that their company was still open.

          1. Not So NewReader

            I am chuckling, you been up here so you know. OP, we CLOSE ENTIRE COUNTIES when there is ice. You’re caught driving, you just got a ticket.

        8. Anonymeece

          Ha! Also in Houston, and I had the same reaction. There is no infrastructure to deal with this beyond, “Don’t drive today”. My work actually shut down completely during the storms. I’ve been driving for 15 years and I wouldn’t take a chance, so I’m sympathetic to the OP!

          Truthfully, if the OP is working the kind of job that most 18-year-olds are in, then from personal experience, I can say that managers can be unreasonable at that level and there really wasn’t a reason to risk the very good likelihood of an accident to come into work.

    2. SpiderLadyCEO

      I’d like to second this. If you’re in a part of Texas where it basically never snows, there’s no reason for your boss to be huffy about this. I don’t know Texas well, but if it’s anything like NEFL, where it snowed a bit once every five years, that’s a legitimate reason to not go to work and even experienced drivers would avoid it, not just because of ice on the road but because of other drivers.

      1. nonegiven

        My son posted a picture of snow on his car in December because it was the first time it snowed since he moved to Texas. The last time it snowed in his city was February 2011.

        1. I See Real People

          Also known as The Great Cobblestone Icemageddon or Superbowl of Ice 2011. Lol. The superbowl was in town. Luckily, I worked for a city government at that time and the non-essentials were off for four days.

      2. Sam.

        I grew up in north Texas, and literally everything shut down at the very thought of snow/ice. They once cancelled school for the entire district because it was expected to get icy and you had to go over a (small) bridge to get to one of the high schools. Turned out there was zero precipitation that day, but the point is that a “stay off the roads at all costs” reaction can become ingrained, especially if you have limited experience. The boss shouldn’t have been surprised at OP’s reluctance, but I also think OP can’t be surprised at the boss’s annoyance. Most of Texas does lack infrastructure to deal with ice, but I’m guessing it was thin and would’ve melted pretty fast in most places once you got above freezing.

        1. Not So NewReader

          I wonder if the boss is taking advantage of OP’s age/lack of experience to strong arm OP. Some bosses do that. I wonder if the boss would have behaved that way if an older worker called in.

          1. Anonymeece

            The other possibility is that the boss is from a place where ice and snow *is* common. I had this happen with a professor from Boston who did not understand why every student left class to look at the snow. When my 20-year-old, native Texan friend told him that this was the first time she had ever seen snow, he got it.

            For people who do know how to drive in ice and snow, Texans can look a little silly. :)

      3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego

        This. I grew up in Colorado and I know how to drive in snow, but where I live now doesn’t get that much accumulation very often and has very little equipment to deal with it (no snow plows for the roads, nobody has snow tires, etc) and people don’t have the same experience driving in it. So I am currently having a snow day because the city is just not equipped to deal with 6 inches of snow.

        1. Samata

          I grew up in a northern state where snow was not uncommon but for my current state I will. not. go. out.

          They don’t have the equipment to deal with the conditions and the folks just have no experience driving but go out anyways, so there are pile ups everywhere. Luckily I have WFH as an option on these days.

          1. Karo

            Another northerner here, living in the south, and I also stay at home when there is snow/ice…and every time my boss makes a snide comment about “but you’re from the north! you should know how to do this!” I want to just scream at him. I’m from the north, but the last time I drove during snow was probably a decade ago and – most importantly – we had the infrastructure to deal with it! I’m not risking my life driving in untreated conditions with a bunch of people too stupid/cocky to stay home all for a stupid marketing job.

            /endrant

            1. Future Analyst

              Yes. I’m actually more cautious BECAUSE I’ve driven in the snow/ice before, and I know just how quickly it can become an issue if there’s no salt/sand.

    3. Knitting Cat Lady

      Yeah. I live in an area that gets snow and ice in the winter. We are taught in driving school that while the air temperature may be above freezing we should always be on the look out for ice in shady spots, on bridges, etc.

      And regarding infrastructure: The fleet of plows and salt trucks deploys around 4 am.

      And even so, if we get particularly bad conditions, like rain on still frozen ground so everything is covered in 1cm of ice, we’re told to stay home if possible. The last time we had weather like that the emergency departments at the local hospitals were swamped with broken extremities due to slipping and falling.

      1. Knitting Cat Lady

        Another thing I just thought of:

        I have two sets of wheels for my car. One with summer tires and one with winter tires. I switch between them around Easter and October.

        The winter tires have a coarser profile and better drainage than the summer tires. And the rubber mixture is different. Summer tires have better grip at higher temperatures, winter tires have better grip at lower temperatures.

        And a set of snow chains lives in my trunk.

        People in warmer climates don’t do this.

          1. the gold digger

            I moved to Miami from Minnesota. A Florida native co-worker was transferred to Vermont. I still had an ice scraper in my car, so I gave it to him.

            He looked at it and asked, “What is this for?”

            1. Canto Bight

              My favorite thing about ice days here in the south is everyone pulling out their credit cards to chip away at the ice. Who needs a scraper?

            2. A Nickname for AAM

              I grew up in the Northeast and lived outside of San Francisco. Every year around Christmas-New Years, we’d get a few days of light frost. The chaos!

              I’d see people standing in the street wiping their windshields with paper towels, looking confused that it wouldn’t wipe off. People would be really late to work, in a panic, “There was this white stuff on my car? I couldn’t see out the windshield! It wouldn’t come off!” One time I over heard a customer say, “What do you do when there’s that stuff on your car? Do you dump a bucket of boiling water on it?”

              Oy.

          2. Annie Moose

            Eh. I use all-season tires, and so do a lot of people I know. Teeeechnically you don’t get as good performance in either season, but then you don’t have to switch tires.

      2. SusanIvanova

        I used to live in the DFW area. I was out driving on the second day after an ice storm; the overpasses were still icy although the flat parts were clear. Got stuck behind someone who could not figure that out – they accelerated on the flats, then skidded on the overpasses. I stayed well back because I didn’t want to risk catching up to them at the wrong time.

        And in another ice storm, a friend of mine who was from New England and well aware of how to drive in ice was killed in a car accident because the other driver didn’t have those skills.

        I don’t blame any new driver for not wanting to be on the road at all.

        1. Collarbone High

          I read somewhere that Dallas has more miles of elevated freeway than any other city in the U.S.

          I grew up in South Dakota, and I’ve driven in many blizzards, but you could not pay me any amount of money to drive on some of DFW’s steep, banked overpasses in an ice storm.

        2. Maya

          I’m from the DFW area, and had a friend who was seriously injured in a car accident because of another driver who did basically the same thing the person you described. It’s really easy for people who’re from locations that are accustomed to this sort of thing to forget it’s so much more dangerous not just because of the lack of infrastructure to deal with it, but also because most people aren’t good at driving in those conditions.

        3. medium of ballpoint

          That’s the flip side of the coin people often forget: If I don’t drive well in bad conditions, you don’t want me on the road *because I’m a danger to other people.* When I moved from the southwest to the northeast, there was a definite learning curve in terms of ice and snow driving, but on particularly bad days I stayed home and my boss just had to deal with it. I’m not endangering myself or all the other people on the road just because you want me at work. One winter about 10% of my colleagues had serious snow-related accidents and I was definitely glad I’d stayed home when I did.

    4. Marlene

      I also don’t feel that 35 degrees NECESSARILY means roads are free of ice. That’s barely above freezing and some areas (shaded, bridges) could still hold ice. If salt isn’t being laid down, the conditions could especially be bad.

      1. LeRainDrop

        I agree. Plus, at what time would OP’s shift end? Would the roads be refrozen by the time she’d have to drive home?

        1. Singe

          #3 It would be interesting to know what the conditions actually ended up like at the start and end of her shift.
          Did the OP feel in hindsight they vindicated her decision, or was she being over cautious? So a learning experience.
          Is also frame it as feeling safe rather than feeling comfortable

          1. Anony

            It doesn’t necessarily matter what ended up happening. What matters is what the possibilities were. If it was only expected to get to 35 degrees, then it is likely the roads remained icy at least in parts.

        2. Future Analyst

          Yes, exactly this. They ended up opening our office for all of 2 hours (which was super dumb), because they didn’t want people to have to drive home once the sun went down and everything presumably froze back up. (Never mind that it never ended up melting, and the whole city was an ice rink.)

      2. Brandy

        Right. And work aint paying that deductible if you wreck and are still out because you wrecked and cat get there.

      3. KHB

        Yes, and also, snow and ice take time to melt – they don’t instantaneously go away the second the air temperature gets above 32 degrees. I think Alison’s “if snow is unusual in your area you might not have realized that” applies at least as much to the manager as to the letter writer.

    5. Kitkat

      Thinking about it from her perspective, I’m wondering if she was huffy because if this is a service job, SOMEONE has to come in and 1) it will be hard for her to find someone to take that shift and 2) she might perceive OP as saying “I don’t care if someone has to come in, it won’t be me.”

      Not saying that OP was in the wrong, especially being only 18! But her frustration might be more about the situation and her perception that the OP is creating more work for her.

      1. Alton

        Also, if this *is* a service industry or retail job, it’s worth noting that calling out for almost *any* reason can sometimes evoke reactions like these (usually because the managers are constantly trying to get shifts covered and are under a lot of pressure). I got a huffy response once when I wasn’t available to come in last minute on my day off to work at a location two hours away when there were only a couple hours left in the shift they wanted me to cover. I think that can make it harder for employees, especially new employees, to learn what’s reasonable and what isn’t.

        1. Bunny

          I’d like know if a State of Emergency had been declared, which usually means emergency workers only on the roads.

          BTW, I’m a New Englander. I have to be out in the storms. If OP wasn’t an emergency worker, she should have been home. Most jobs are not worth dying for.

        2. Rebecca

          +100. I was coming here to say that when I worked in retail, the expectation was that you made it to work no matter what. The consensus among upper management (think District and Regional Managers) was that if the customers could make it to the store, so could you. Reason #4,698 that I no longer work in retail.

          1. Kathlynn

            This is totally true. Luckily my boss understood a couple weeks ago that there was no way I could make it to work, since the cabs refused to pick me up. (there were sever road adversaries on, and we’d gotten 2-3 feet of snow in about 24 hours.) This was 3 hours into my shift, because the cab company was way backed up, and I spent 4 hours waiting for a cab. Then they called and said they had no cabs on the road, same with the other cab company.

            Personally I think 4 hours notice that you can’t make it is better then a “I’m going to be late” turning into a “Yeah, I can’t make it”

            1. SophieChotek

              I agree about the notice. And I also agree with what Rebecca said — “if customers can make it, so can you” — which often leads me to wonder about those crazy customers who need their coffee (or whatever) so badly they are willing to drive through snow and ice and blizzards to get there. (That said, I do live near 2 coffee shops, so I could see myself driving half a mile to go sit in a coffee shop during the beginning of a blizzard….)

              1. Kathlynn

                They are walking, and often homeless in the area I work at. Most people who work my shift could have taken public transit or walked to work. (they end up closing the store for the night, not a big loss of business though, given how bad the roads still were the next day)

              2. Science!

                My husband used to work at a bar in Maryland. We got dumped on one winter, with two back to back blizzards for a total of about 5 feet in three days. Snow advisory, requests to stay off the road, metro wasn’t running. But the bar was a local favorite, and since everything else as shut down, all the locals called the bar asking if they were open. The owner and manager called to see who could safely make it (many people lived within walking distance) and opened with whoever could make it in. I think it ended up being one of the best nights, they were packed.

                1. Natalie

                  Ah, this reminds me of a huge blizzard we had a few years ago – my local liquor store was answering the phone “Bladiblah-Liquors-yes-we’re-open-normal-hours” and then hanging up the phone.

          2. What's with today, today?

            My first job at 16 was a seasonal retail job in a mall about 30 miles from home. We had a terrible ice storm, and I had just gotten my driver’s license so my parents wouldn’t let me drive to my nighttime retail shift, so I had to call into work(hours early, but still). The manager scolded me when I called, then she CALLED MY DAD and told him I would be penalized if I didn’t come in. He told her I wouldn’t be back at all. End of the first job.

            1. Bea

              Omfg after all the “can you believe their parents called their boss!!” stories we get the “my boss called my dad” one.

              My dad would have had the same reaction as yours. What a dumbass that manager was, I hope she grew up at some point.

            2. A Nickname for AAM

              It seems your boss forgot that minors are only employed with the permission of their parents. Their parents can legally inspect the worksite at any time, and withdraw that permission at any time, for any reason.

            3. Lindsay J

              I was working a seasonal retail job at a mall as well.

              My boyfriend at-the-time and I went on a short trip on my days off, and on the weekend we were headed back there was a huge storm all up and down the East Coast.

              We started our trip home early to try and beat the snow. However, we didn’t quite beat it, and eventually got caught up in the middle of it. It hit a point where the roads were unploughed because the snow was still falling hard, and the way other people were driving made me feel unsafe, so I begged my boyfriend to stop at the nearest hotel.

              We did and wound up spending the night there. Once we got checked in, I called my work to tell them I wouldn’t be in for my shift the next day. The supervisor I called in to got snitty with me and asked how I could know my street wouldn’t be ploughed out in time for me to get to work.

              I let her know I was currently several hours away, stuck in the middle of the storm, and that there was absolutely no way I was going to be there so she could either prepare for me to not be there, or she could scramble at the last second the next day but either way it wasn’t my problem.

              I often turned my phone off during days I had requested and been granted off at that job, because they would give me the (unpaid) day off, and then call a half dozen times seeing if I could come in because they were short-staffed.

              And I really only ever requested off for things like doctor’s appointments, and I think that was the first time I had called out from a shift I was scheduled on in the 6 years I had spent working there on and off. I was in high school and college at the time and picked up some summers and some Christmas seasons depending on my availability and my need.

              Between her attitude then, and the fact that they made me stay late on Christmas Eve with no warning because they decided at the last minute to keep the store open later, that was my last time working there.

          3. InfrequentCommenter

            I never understood how this “the customer is always right” mentality got so widespread and out of control. It was clearly invinted by someone who had never worked a day with the “general public” in their lives. I mean when I worked retail we had customer who obviously smoked meth. The customer isn’t always right. That’s why a decent organization needs guidelines in place and to allow employees to use critical thinking skills. Blah.

            1. SusanIvanova

              I found the extended original version of it once – it was more along the lines of “if the customer thinks yellow looks good on her but you think it makes her look jaundiced: the customer is right”.

            2. Not So NewReader

              At some point the market became cluttered with too many retailers. People had choices and they could go else where. TPTB grew into hypersensitive little snowflakes who went into agony at the thought of losing ONE customer. What happened next was they invented all new ways to put their poorly paid employees in new levels of hell.

              I have watched good companies sink because of this mentality. Yep, they went right out of business. That is because the sales person’s focus shifted from actually helping people to praying to remain employed one more day.

        3. August

          Agreed! I worked at a service job where all of my coworkers pretty much got along, but there was still a TON of complaints any time someone called off, for any reason (sickness, personal issues, a high school worker with a test the next day, what have you). You can’t really win. I think OP made the right decision based on the factors other commenters have pointed out, and I’d say the best thing she can do at this point is be as reliable as possible and be willing to pick up someone else’s shift, if she’s able. That kind of thing can get you back into everyone’s good graces.

          1. Lindsay J

            I mean, unless it was announced at the last minute, I would be sort of annoyed with an employee or a coworker who called out of work because they had a test the next day.

            Part of working and going to school at the same time is learning to manage your time. So if you need to study for a test and you work the evening before, you get all your studying done *before* your work shift. Or you trade shifts or request off ahead of time if you’re otherwise so slammed you can’t fit it in any other time.

        4. CheeryO

          This. I got huffy responses when I asked to request a day off at my food service job, when I politely pointed out that I was scheduled for a day that I had requested off, when I turned down last-minute extra shifts, and DEFINITELY when I called out, even if I was legitimately sick (probably once or twice in two years). OP’s manager was probably extra huffy because I’m guessing that at least some of the morning people called in, too.

          1. Lil Fidget

            Yep. In my experience with these types of jobs, huffy pushback is the norm all the time, whether reasonable or not. OP might just have to learn to accept that (and not let it dictate her decisions for the most part).

        5. DecorativeCacti

          Some bosses are just plain huffy all the time, too. I got a huffy response when I had to call in during one of the worst snow/ice storms in many years because I literally couldn’t leave my neighborhood. One direction was blocked by a downed tree and the other was closed for multiple downed power lines. But because the conditions were better 30 minutes away where my job was, I got a “Uugggh, are you SURE you can’t make it?” (There were other people who could make it in to cover the essential duties, I wasn’t leaving anyone in a lurch.)

          1. Lil Fidget

            I got a huffy response when I didn’t come in for a shift … because I had quit two weeks ago. My boss had the letter with the last day on it and everything, but the shift manager still called me and the fact that I had *quit and moved away* did not prevent me getting the huff and UGH response. You can’t take it personally, they’re just trying to fill shifts and don’t want to keep calling around.

            1. Samata

              OMG so I am not the only one this happened to. I continued to work at my college bartending gig on weekends well into my 20s. When I was moving for an out-of-state job I gave them decent notice – I worked out the last schedule (2 weekends) and then was done, or so I thought.

              The the next Saturday at 3:30 (shift starts 3:15):
              “Samata, everything ok? It’s not like you to be late.”
              “I quit.”
              “Oh, I thought you were kidding”
              “Nope.”

        6. Annabelle

          Yeah, I was coming to say something similar. I called out of a service job with the flu and a dangerously high fever when I was 19 and my manager told me that unless I was in the hospital, I needed to be there. That’s obviously an extreme example, but I think the whole “get here no matter what” thing is common for those types of jobs.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger

        I thought it could have been that the supervisor, being older, had seen snow and ice disappear in an hour in the Texas sun, and was annoyed that the LW was already saying she would not come in 4 hours later instead of waiting to see if conditions improved. We have no way of judging whether that was possible or feasible, but I thought the LW could have said that she wasn’t sure IF conditions would be safe, so supervisor should plan on her not coming in. Something about “I still feel uncomfortable driving in these conditions” felt like it was ignoring rather than addressing the supervisor’s point that it would warm up and the ice might be gone (which seemed to be what she was hinting at).

        Not that the LW should have gone in or committed to working, but since they’re the one writing in for advice, they should try to address the concern that is raised, rather than double down. Something as simple as “I understand, but as of now I don’t know how soon all or even most of the ice on the road will be gone after it warms up, so I am not sure if I will be able to get in safely” probably would have gotten at least a slightly better response.

        1. SusanIvanova

          No, the winter sun is not that hot. It takes at least 3 days for a Dallas ice storm to go away, and for all but the last day there’s still black ice on every overpass and in a lot of the shady places.

    6. Blue Anne

      Yeah. The weatherman joke “Bad snow storm coming in! Southerners, stay off the roads unless it is an absolute emergency! Bundle up inside, stay safe and warm, Make sure you have supplies for a couple of days. Northerners… you’ll need your big coat.” comes to mind.

    7. Anon Librarian

      So much yes! I’m in North Texas – they never treat the roads and all our roads are elevated. It doesn’t take much ice to become unsafe. Add in people that don’t know how to drive in it and it gets bad.

    8. paul

      There’s also a lot of places in Texas that do semi-regularly get ice and snow; we’re a big state and not all of us live in Dallas or Houston.

      1. Tricksy Hobbit

        Haha, Hollywood thinks otherwise….no wait Hollywood thinks we all live in Dallas… and live on a ranch! :-)

    9. Nancy

      Totally agree. Texas native here, lived in the state my whole life – our roads are not built for snow or ice of any kind and Texas drivers are the absolute worst in these conditions.

      I remember back in 2015 when the DFW area had an unexpected amount of snow and my friend that works in Dallas and lived in Arlington – it took her SIX hours to get home. SIX. It usually takes 30-45 minutes. It took me about an hour to get home from school and that usually took 15 minutes…

      Texas and snow/ice do not mix well at all.

      1. I See Real People

        I was in that one Nancy! Took me 4.5 hours to get home; normally a 30 minute trip to work. As I was leaving, my boss said “I won’t expect you in tomorrow!”

        1. ggg

          I laughed when I read this story. Many years ago, a friend from Chicago took an internship in Dallas.

          One day he woke up to a light snow on the ground. Maybe an inch, if that. Friend was bemused (snow? in Texas?), and drove to work, as one does, to find the entire company closed down due to inclement weather.

    10. austin texan

      I live in Austin, Texas, and during the storm that the OP is writing about, the warnings from law enforcement, emergency management, and weather forecasters were unanimous and serious: DO NOT DRIVE TODAY IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO!

      Bosses who run emergency rooms or nuclear power plants probably expect all hands during every shift, but if the OP is a waiter at Applebee’s, the boss should be OK with fewer staff available for one day.

      1. Browser

        You know who has to drive? People going to work. Maybe you don’t want to drive in adverse conditions, but it’s the only way to become competent at it and the world does not stop just because you’re scared of driving in ice and snow.

        1. RussianInTexas

          It snows and ices here once in 10-12 years. You don’t become competent driving in it once in your lifetime and crashing your car.
          I am not scared of driving on a bit of ice per se, but I had absolutely stayed home during this storm.
          1. My drive to work includes few bridges.
          2. On the previous day my car was frozen solid on the parking lot and it too me 30 minutes to warm up my windows enough to see.
          3. The parking lot itself was covered in ice.

        2. RussianInTexas

          Also, we have adverse conditions here that we are all trained to drive in. Called a sudden torrential downpour.

        3. another houstonian

          I understand your point Browser, but given that large parts of Texas do not have any infrastructure to deal with icy or snowy road conditions and the state and city governments actively instructed people to stay home, I don’t think this generalization applies here. It very rarely ices or snows in many parts of the South therefore many of us are not prepared for these conditions. Its not a case of “suck it up and get out and learn to drive.” In the last ice storm in Houston had friends scraping off their cars with spatulas because they’ve never owned or needed and ice scraper, the majority of our roads did not melt for 3 days and Houston does not salt or plow the roads (or even own the vehicles needed to do so). When I lived in Ohio I sucked it up and got out there and drove because I knew that there was infrastructure in place and a city full of drivers who knew how to drive in snow so I needed to learn too. Telling south Texans to get out there and drive anyways is like letting a bunch of toddlers loose in roller skates hopped up on sugar.

        4. Natalie

          I mean, in some of these southern cities the world very much does stop because of ice storms, so I’m not sure what you’re thinking of? They had kids staying overnight at school in Atlanta a few years ago.

          1. RussianInTexas

            Ha! Boyfriend and I were texting each other frantically to see if we had enough food and liquor to last out the 2 days storm. We are both from northern areas, but were not going to get on the roads anyway.

        5. mrs__peel

          It’s entirely reasonable and logical to refrain from driving if you live in an area that doesn’t normally get much snow and doesn’t have the appropriate infrastructure (e.g., plows and road salt) to deal with severe winter storms.

          Whether you’re a competent driver or not doesn’t matter, if the road surfaces are inherently unsafe.

        6. InfrequentCommenter

          Making one trip into to work threw snow does not make you a competent all weather driver. I’m from North East Ohio and was definitely taken out (by my uncle) when I was 16 to learn how to drive in the snow. We started on back roads with low traffic and no where to really wreck so I could get the hang of it. This allowed me to learn what it feels like when the car is loosing traction vs actually sliding. How to break slowly and leave enough space. To stomp on the breaks once in an icy place to see how the car handles and why that’s not a good idea. Then threw more and more practice I obviously learned that sometimes when your sliding to the side you should let OFF the break thus making it easier to steer back the correct direction vs the braking pulling you towards whatever your sliding towards. Obviously with age and experience I’ve become even more of a safe driver but the 1st snow of every year still feels a little odd at first, I couldn’t imagine what it’s like to go 12-15 years and still consider myself competent or safe at this kind of driving. A friend who grew up here in Ohio by left when he was in his mid 20s recently moved back after about 20 years of living in Florida. He’s expressed that he doesn’t “remember it being like this” and we all chuckled about it because even he realizes we have had a super mild winter.

        7. Doe-Eyed

          Spoken like someone who doesn’t live in the South. Last snowstorm here the cops and fire department were running off the roads and into ditches trying to help people, and were begging people to stay home so they wouldn’t get hurt either. There is no skill involved when there is no infastructure, no chains, and no snow tires.

        8. Not So NewReader

          And yep, OP, there are some hard nosed employers out there. I have a scar on my face to memorialize one of those employers. Service jobs are a less forgiving than other jobs. Where I worked, though, we got The Treatment for days perhaps a week. The Treatment consisted of the boss would not speak to the offending employee and anyone caught speaking to the offending employee would also get The Treatment.

          The correct response to this type of situation is to find a new job.

        9. Kat

          Clearly, unless your job is really important, you don’t have to drive, and that’s obviously what they mean. People driving in bad conditions can cause problems for others, apart from anything else. It’s easy to say ‘just get on with it’ but that isn’t how the world works: whether or not the world has stopped.

    11. Beancounter in Texas

      Just to add my observation: often the reaction to a minimal icy/snowy forecast in North Texas (and I dare say in the more southern parts of the state) is to panic, drive home from work in the worst part of the weather, and raid the grocery stores of all staple goods as though we’re going to be without electricity for days.

      So the OP could easily get caught up in this hype, on top of the fact that they’re an inexperienced driver facing icy driving conditions for the first time.

      1. InfrequentCommenter

        This happens as far north as the Carolinas. When we visited friends down there and they got what we would consider a “frost” it was sheer panick for them. We witnessed the friend cry that she didn’t think she had enough baby supplies. We had to reassure her that it wouldn’t stay for long with the predicted temps. It was a real surprise for us that he Mom who was born and raise in Ohio was even panicked….. they just aren’t at all prepared for the once in a decade event.

        1. Callie

          just FYI, about ten years ago we had a snowstorm in the Carolinas that was predicted to be maybe a light dusting… and then we got about 8 inches of snow and everything came to a standstill for an entire week. I was teaching elementary school at the time. It started snowing just before I left for work. By the time the students got there and we decided to send them home, we were at the point where we had to dig out the cars! My carport caved in from the weight of the snow. This is why we panic. We aren’t being stupid or overanxious… the forecast here doesn’t mean jack. I’m sure that you northerners feel all smug when we worry that we don’t have enough bread and milk and laugh when we just get a sprinkle, but once in a while we get a blizzard and it sucks. Stop being judgey.

          1. Doe-Eyed

            Came here to be an old codger and write about this. Things were completely iced over for days. We had no power for nearly a week. We heated ourselves on kerosene heaters. We also had trouble getting gas becuase most of the pumps are now electric and very few had the old style pumps.

            I remember sitting in our living room with 5 friends who came over because we managed to find the kerosene heater and nobody else had any way to stay warm. We had a pet fish that we had to hold by the heater (in his tank) to keep alive.

            1. Elizabeth West

              Having lived through the 2007 multi-state ice storm, a once-in-twenty-years kind of event, I will attest that little is worse than no heat during winter weather. I could have made do without power. I had an oil lamp, a Sterno stove, and plenty of batteries, but no heat. That’s not only miserable; it’s dangerous.

            2. SC

              I was in college in NC during an ice storm like this. Power was out for days. Some college buildings ran on generators, so we still had class, but the freshmen dorms didn’t have heat or electricity. Most of the freshmen, including myself, found older friends to move in with.

              My grandparents lived in Durham at the time. My grandmother had emphysema and needed oxygen 24/7 at the time. They were out of power for a week. They had a generator chained to the house, but someone stole it. My grandmother went through all her oxygen tanks (you can still use it, but it’s not regulated well). Both grandparents had been sick for a long time, but they both died within 2 months of that storm.

              1. Not So NewReader

                Oh, god, very, very sorry.
                The bad storms tax the old people so harshly. It’s just too much for them. I am grateful that they say on the news and weather reports to check on your elderly neighbors. You just don’t know what you might find.
                Again, very sorry about your losses here.

          2. InfrequentCommenter

            I don’t get how you got that I was being judgey from the post. The poster above me stated that people panicking could potentially get others caught up in the hype and make them more scared. I agreed with that sentiment and shared a person story of when I witnessed the same thing. I added that it even happens to people who are from the north but currently live in the south. No where does the post say anything about people being stupid or over anxious. And FYI the news forecast about the weather is frequently wrong everywhere, that’s universal and doesn’t apply to just the north or south…… what part did you take offense to?

      2. JeanB in NC

        I remember that in Texas (I used to live in Dallas). It’s so true even here in NC, especially the part about ravaging the grocery store.

    12. I See Real People

      I am from Texas and I totally agree with Drew! I have told bosses before “I’ll see how the roads are closer to the time I am expected to come in to work” and that has gone over pretty well. Depending on how far you have to drive to work (north of Austin could be covered in ice, while south of town could be dry!) and the traffic conditions closer to the time you report to work would help your call in to your boss better too.

    13. RussianInTexas

      #3 – Houston, right? Or the vicinity? That Wednesday, when the temperature was suppose to go up to 35 the mayor had explicitly, publicly, on the news, asked for everyone to stay home. The city does not have enough equipment to clean all the streets. The black ice forms at below 37F, so 35 is still a danger zone. And the city closed most of overpasses and highways ramps – so it’s highly possible for the boss to be able to get to work on the surface streets, and for the OP to live far enough it’s nor feasible.

      1. JB

        +1

        I work in downtown Houston and live in the suburbs. Luckily my company asks us to follow the warnings and guidance given by the Harris County Office of Emergency Management (they coordinate with the city and cover the entire metropolitan area). My personal arrangement with my manager, is that on top of that,, I don’t drive if school has been cancelled. Most of my team works remotely when things like this happen. I do understand that not all jobs have telecommuting possibilities.

        On that day they were asking everyone to stay off the roads until the temps had been above freezing for several hours, and even then were issuing caution warnings. Even though the temp may have been above 32 by noon, it doesn’t mean the roads and bridges were thawed. Far from it. A tree-lined street in my neighborhood had ice until the following day.

        Most southern cities build lots of elevated roads and they also do not maintain the supplies and equipment necessary to deal with ice and/or snow since it’s so infrequent. It would probably be easier in Houston if we got snow, but elevated roadways and ice particularly don’t mix. The pile-up accidents that are frequently created by cars sliding back down into the vehicles behind them are also a challenge for city services and first responders. It’s far safer for everyone and less expensive for the impacted governments to ask people to just stay off the roads when we get an ice storm.

    14. A Nickname for AAM

      I live in Atlanta. We had an inch of snow this past January, and the public schools were closed for THREE DAYS.

      It took two days for the main highways, thoroughfares, to be safely clear of ice and for public transit to be up and running back on normal schedules due to ice. The third day was because some sidestreets were still impassable due to ice.

      I grew up in the Northeast and I thought this was absolute BS, but it was a uneequivocally unsafe situation. The roads were not treated for ice and no one adjusted their speed to the adverse conditions, so there were spinouts and accidents everywhere, such that some municipalities closed roads with barricades.

    15. Lisa

      Yeah I thought Alison’s comment about that was a little uninformed about Texas weather and driving conditions. But I don’t expect her to know everything!

      1. amy l

        I’m in support of the Letter Writer on this one. If you are afraid to drive for whatever reason – don’t drive. Getting to work isn’t a contest. Take care of you. Your feelings are valid and they are wholly yours, no one’s else’s.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Ditto from me. However, Alison’s advice about saying that is solid advice. Next time just say you won’t make it. Don’t say you are scared or don’t know how to drive. Bosses will have a field day with that information.

          Your best plan is to have an alternate way to get to work. Keep working on this until you find an idea.

    16. Fleeb

      Also, uber and lyft aren’t available everywhere. When i visit my parents in the country i know I’m going to have to drive everywhere.

  4. Enough

    #3 – I’m in PA so we get our fair share of snow and ice. Worked for a company 30+years ago where the head secretary would not come to work when it snowed unless one of the partners picked her up. She was 35-40 and a native. She was ridiculous. And just because the temperature would be 35 degrees doesn’t guarantee all the ice would have melted. If fact it might have been even more dangerous as you couldn’t be sure you were driving on ice or water.

    1. Mike C.

      Yeah, there’s almost no way the ice is going to be gone just because the temperature is slightly above freezing. Layers of frozen water in various forms act as insulation and phase changes take a whole lot of energy – it being a “balmy 35” a couple of hours later may not mean anything useful.

      1. Mad Baggins

        Yeah, I was kind of confused that Alison was so confident that the snow and ice would be gone later in the day. Most of the ice-melting action is going to happen when the day is hottest around 12-2PM, so it might not be fully melted before OP leaves for work.

        1. Kitkat

          Hmm, I live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of snow/ice and therefore when there is ice (not even snow!) it tends to disappear very quickly because the ground under it isn’t perpetually frozen like it is up north. I don’t know about this particular storm though, and I definitely cut OP a lot of slack for a new driver!

          1. Falling Diphthong

            I was in Texas for this particular storm (I’m guessing it was this storm) and overpasses (Texas has lots of overpasses) definitely stayed ice-covered for quite a while. Patches of ice anywhere a bit shady on the sidewalk, too.

        2. LQ

          The only thing I can think is that in warmer climes generally the ground isn’t nearly as pre-frozen as it is in the icy north so the heat from the ground helps to melt things, though that can cause other issues as well.

          Oh the chance to talk about weather.
          (It is a balmy 34 this morning here, I have to make sure I remember my coat when I leave it’s so warm, and it was incredibly icy on my walk into work because it got cold enough that all yesterday’s slush turned into ice because lazy building managers didn’t do a great job of clearing sidewalks or even putting down sand yesterday.)

          1. Purplesaurus

            It’s weird. In my lifetime, the most protracted ice storms in my area happened when it was ~60F the previous day.

      2. Natalie

        At least up here in the frozen north, direct sunlight matters way more than ambient air temperature. (Of course, our ground is frozen solid which wouldn’t necessarily be true in Texas.) It could be 20 F but bright sun, and ice would melt, or it could be 35 and cloudy and everything stays frozen. Which means, no matter what happens during the day, once the sun goes down anything that didn’t evaporate or drain is going to refreeze.

      3. Arielle

        I bit it hard on the sidewalk a couple of weeks ago in Boston in just these circumstances – it was above freezing but that made it impossible to tell the difference between slush and slick ice.

        1. Susan

          Last year we had a day where it was going to warm up enough that the snow and ice on the sidewalk would definitely melt. I decided to go for a run. Got dressed, took one step out onto my front steps – and slid all the way down. Scary as heck and luckily only got some bruising (only four steps).

    2. finderskeepers

      “would not come to work when it snowed unless one of the partners picked her up. ” In other words, she has not bothered to acquired winter driving skills, if she trusts someone else to drive her safely in the same conditions

      1. Circus peanuts

        She could be like my aunt who was in a horrific car accident when she was a young adult driver and several people were killed. She will not drive when the roads are bad and the accident was over 50 years ago. No judgement from me with that.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Yeah, no judgement from me either. I had a bad accident when I was 17. This stuff stays with you forever, I swear. It seems like the woman had a plan to get to work, the owner-partner would give her a ride. That is a plan. She got to work. I don’t get why she was ridiculous. I wish more people who can not handle the winter driving asked for help.
          It’s nice having someone in the car if you have to battle a storm. Maybe the partner liked having someone with her.

      2. Moo

        There’s nothing wrong with knowing your own limitations. I’m not a great driver. I’ve put a lot of work into developing my skills as much as I can, so I can operate safely on a day to day basis, but there are a lot of conditions I will not drive in, because I’m not going to put everyone else at risk for my own ego. Taking the bus or having someone else pick me up are both great ways to meet my responsibilities without endangering myself and the world. The coworker should be more proactive about finding a way to work that doesn’t require her to drive or demand to be picked up.

      3. Kat

        Maybe she *can’t* acquire the skills. We’re not all equipped to do the same things to the same standard! And in this instance if the skills aren’t adequate there could be serious consequences.

    3. Slow Gin Lizz

      It’s possible boss thought that even if the snow and ice had not completely melted by the time you were leaving for work, and even though OP3 is a young driver with no winter driving experience, OP3 could have simply left for work earlier than usual and ensured that she drove carefully in those conditions and still made it to work on time. But I agree with other commenters that it’s not at all ridiculous for Texans to simply stay home in that kind of weather unless they are emergency workers.

      1. Lisa

        I remember when I lived in Denton. That’s a part of Texas that does see ice and snow, although not nearly in the way the Northern US does. Anyway, I remember driving on the freeway and everyone going about 30mph because none of us knew how to drive in ice and snow. So, even then, leaving early may not work.

  5. Espeon

    Letter 1: It sounds like Sansa perhaps hasn’t had much work experience in different places either tbh – I know exactly her type!

    I work in a nice call centre, and I have colleagues who do nothing but complain, and I’m like – I have literally been assaulted & such (spat on, pushed, had grown men get right in my face shouting racist things – I’m a petite young woman) at work before, all whilst being told by the boss that I’m not trying hard enough – here I get to chill, eat at my desk, have a laugh, and just hang-up if people get abusive – and the managers are supportive. My work standards are HIGH and this place is nice, but some people will never see it!

    1. Birch

      I think a lot of times, people confuse less than satisfactory work conditions with being unhappy in that job. People who are unhappy in the job won’t be satisfied with anything. It goes both ways, of course, but this sounds like Sansa just doesn’t like that job and it’s making her miserable.

      1. AcademiaNut

        I’ve encountered a few variations on the chronic complainer. There’s the person who isn’t happy with the job (in my field, it means they should have left academia a couple years earlier). There’s the person who has an overly idealistic/naive view of how jobs actually work, and is constantly disappointed when things don’t live up to their expectations. And there’s the most common – the person who is basically easily annoyed and not good at hiding it. They’ll complain about everything at work, but also about everything else – traffic, the weather, annoying people at the grocery store, their internet speed, the post office….

        1. Falling Diphthong

          My husband and I have a frequent post dog walk “We met Spot’s mom” “Oh, what did she complain about?” Because it really is that predictable.

    2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego

      I’m currently working at a place full of complainers like this. Yes, there are some issues, but much of what people are complaining about is either just the way it is in this job (there will be days when you have to work outside in the cold as an archaeologist) or seems to be universal (I have yet to work for a company that didn’t have occasional admin problems, regardless of industry or size). We don’t have a boss who is actually screaming in our faces and when there was a major complaint on site the big bosses came down and sorted it out. Nothing blatantly unethical or unsafe has happened. It’s fine, except for everyone complaining all the time!

    3. Drive like you stole it

      I sorta agree with you. I’m in a similar boat where when coworkers are like “THIS INCONVENIENCE IS TERRIBLE” I’m like “I had my car vandalized by a fired employee at a previous job that also treated labor law and safety violations as targets to hit. This is irritating, yes, but not worth all caps rage.” That said, while this job is 10000000% better than previous job, the overall criticisms of the management and company are valid and I’m not happy here. Rather it’s more comfortable for me to be unhappy here. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s definitely how I feel.

    4. TheCupcakeCounter

      Same here – came from oppressive job to NewJob and almost nobody here has had any other “real” job and they complain about a ton of things. I tell them a story about OldJob and they shut right up for a few months.

    5. MLB

      I’ve been the negative nancy at a previous job – my boss was awful, I hated my job and I was burned out. My boss called me out on it and I’m glad she did because I didn’t realize I was doing it so often.

      Yes there will be people who just naturally complain about everything, but also keep in mind that life is not a competition. Just because you’ve had bad things happen to you and don’t complain, doesn’t mean that others don’t have a right to complain about things.

      1. Luna

        This is true, and I also think it is easier for new employees to brush things off- the longer you are at the same place things that used to be minor annoyances can become a major frustration.

        1. anon scientist

          And OP has only been working there for one month, versus Sansa’s 4 years. Yes, Sansa shouldn’t be so vocal in her complaints, but she does have a different perspective than someone who has only seen 1 month of the job.

    6. Allison

      Or Sansa believes that that level of negativity and whining is just normal office talk. You see it in TV shows, commercials, and comic strips, people coming into work going “ughh, Monday . . . I wish it was still the weekend . . .” and then counting down the hours until 5, counting down the days until Friday, “celebrating” hump day, and generally talking about how they’d rather be at home in their PJs or on a nice beach than at work.

      At my first job, they were very strict about negativity, it just wasn’t tolerated at all, and I thought that was unreasonable because no one’s happy at work all the time! It was refreshing to leave that place, and work in an office where a little negativity was okay when things weren’t going great, but after months of sitting next to a coworker who complained all day (the aforementioned “ugh Monday,” “when’s Friday,” “I’d rather be at the beach” stuff, mixed with more minor complaints about the weather, being cold, tired, hungry, too busy, etc.) I kinda get wanting to limit the amount of negativity in an office. It really is grating after a while, and actually makes me feel bad about being in good spirits most of the time, like why do I get to be happy when Brenda is clearly miserable?

    7. Yorick

      I get your point, but I don’t think we should treat “not getting assaulted at work” as being the mark of a good job.

      People can have real problems at work that are not as bad as other workplaces, and they have a right to want those fixed.

      1. Lars the Real Girl

        This. One of my favorite quotes ever is “saying someone shouldn’t be unhappy because a lot of people have it worse is like saying someone shouldn’t be happy because other people have it better”

  6. Torrance

    OP2:
    You have to talk to your boss. Unless your studio/company is brand-spankin’ new, they should be old hats at dealing with stuff like this. I know that Blizzard was dealing with abuse of its CMs way back in 2007 (the tale of Tseric is pretty infamous) and any company worth its salt post-that which shall not be named has to be prepared for dealing with a toxic fanbase. Hopefully you work for one of the good guys and this nonsense gets shut down quickly.

    1. SpaceNovice

      Agreed. This should be old hat. A lot of what OP2 noted is stuff that I know would cause either a suspension or a ban in other games.

  7. Simone R

    OP #3- In all the jobs I’ve worked where I needed to call in and have someone cover my shift, calling in at 9:30 for a 1:45 shift would be a huge hassle and definitely not early enough. 4 hours is not that much time to find someone, as many people have probably made plans at that point. Especially if the business opened earlier than 9:30 and it would have been possible to call earlier, my boss would be pretty annoyed about that. This may be a common time frame at your job, in which case feel free to ignore, but in a lot of jobs this would get a lot more pushback.

    1. Mike C.

      It’s funny, given how many retail places expect this of their employees, with “just in time” scheduling and what not.

    2. Lars the Real Girl

      In any shift work I’ve done it also would have been MY job to find someone to come in, and asking the manager to find someone would have been a last resort. (But this differs in different companies so I don’t know if it applies here.)

      1. D'Arcy

        When I was an EMT, you could call out of a shift straight up as long as you gave at least 72 hours advance notice, but you could also trade / pick up shifts at any time. So if you wanted to call out with less than the required notice, you had to convince a colleague to pick it up for you. There was even a dedicated bulletin board at base for shift offers, and it was not at all unusual for people to offer better-than-par trades if they *really* wanted a specific day. Especially holidays — if you were the lucky one who had a holiday scheduled off and you weren’t hugely invested in it, you could easily trade that *one* day off for two or three.

        1. turtle soup

          My partner’s courier workplace has a similar shift-swapping board and they recently had to crack down on people offering money for advantageous shift trades(!)

          1. D'Arcy

            That was totally allowed for us, it was just a lot less common. People were generally much more likely to offer picking up multiple shifts in exchange for a single one than to offer you cash on top.

          2. Free Meerkats

            Reminds me of returning from a deployment when I was a nuke operator in the Navy. As a single guy, I could make a the equivalent of a month’s wages in the first week back by taking married guys’ watches. It wasn’t unusual for me to do three 6-hour watches a day.

      2. Oxford Coma

        When I was a server at a podunk family-owned restaurant, I also had to find someone to cover my shift. It was a “shifts are penciled onto graph paper posted in the back room” type of place.

        I was surprised and envious when a friend working at a slick upscale chain restaurant told me that her hours were scheduled online, where people could drop and pick up shifts at will. This was in the early aughts, so I assume that the software has only gotten cheaper and more accessible since then.

        1. Lil Fidget

          It’s actually gotten somewhat worse with technology though, because they do a lot of late switching around depending on customers. They now have retail workers who are basically “on call” certain shifts.

          1. Lindsay J

            Back in 2007 I worked for New York and Co. and they had on-call shifts back then (but not the fancy scheduling). Basically you would be scheduled for an on-call shift and have to call in 30 minutes prior to the shift to see if they needed you, and then be available to be called during it in case it got busy or if someone left early or something.

            Between that, and requiring us to take an hour unpaid break after 5 hours of work, and having to have my belongings searched on the way out, that was my least favorite retail job.

    3. Liane

      I worked for a number of years for a very big retailer that–has not always treated employees well, even by the low bar of retail. But even that Infamous Retailer *never* required anyone to find their own replacement when they called in.

      1. sssssssssss

        Well, that triggered a memory. Yes, I remember eons ago I worked for a dessert restaurant, I wanted a night off and I had to find my own replacement. And I wasn’t able to, so I had to work…LOL.

      2. Kathlynn

        I work in retail, and if at all possible, will not work at a place that requires me to find my own replacement. Because I don’t have access to my coworker’s phone numbers. This was one of the big reasons (out of a list of them) I left my last job. We were required to find our own coverage, but not given access to coworker numbers, and with staff leaving, they replaced half the staff. (and yet, it seems like they’ve backed down on this, because my grandma never has to find her own coverage).
        But it also seems to vary between managers, even at the same company. Like, I was sick in November and one manager got my shift covered, the assistant manager told me it was up to me.

        1. Not So NewReader

          We made a boss make a list of all our numbers and pass it out to each person. But I know exactly what you mean, if you aren’t best buds with someone then you had no one to cover for you. You went into work even if you were dying.

    4. Mr. Rogers

      This is what struck me too! Especially in a storm, your manager was probably not pleased to have to try and scramble to find someone. I’ve never worked somewhere where you HAD to find your own coverage, but if it was last minute it would prevent anyone from getting annoyed with you. I’m not saying you should have gone in of course, but just be awake that “I have them plenty of notice!” might very well not be true, hence their in the moment annoyance.

    5. paul

      I never worked anywhere that required more than 4 hours notice? I know it’s a thing but I don’t think it’s really a default, even in retail or restaurants.

      1. I can do it!

        As a former northerner who just moved to Texas and experienced this very ice storm, I can say things are a LOT different here than in the north during these sorts of things. People really don’t know what to do, I had multiple people recommend pouring boiling water on the ice on their windshield (!). PSA for southerners: don’t do that unless you want to risk shattering your windshield.

        No one has scrapers, there’s almost no salt on the roads, and the sky-high overpasses Texas likes to build get really icy. It’s honestly a little intimidating even for someone used to driving in that sort of weather, because the city is not able to provide the same preparation and safety measures as your Bostons or Chicagos are able to.

  8. KayEss

    OP2: I sincerely hope your boss takes you seriously and is able to outline escalation criteria, and (more importantly) what processes are in place to keep employees safe at public events. I am worried for you, though… because video games is an industry with a penchant for treating employees as disposable, particularly if they appear to be raising difficult/controversial issues. (“This customer is abusive to our employees” shouldn’t be controversial… but this is games, so expect 9000 arguments of “talking smack is just how the community is!”) The squeaky wheel frequently gets quietly replaced, or just ignored until they leave on their own, rather than any real improvements being made. At minimum, I would encourage you to cultivate a BIG separation between yourself and the community members, no matter how much you relate to them… never, EVER meet in real life with someone who knows you on that forum, outside of public events where you are in a group setting and have professional protections. Keep even casual references to any part of your life outside the forum (like, down to what the weather is outside where you live) to an absolute minimum, and try to completely disconnect all other online presences from your official forum one. Look into resources on how to protect yourself from doxxing.

    I realize you are probably doing this out of genuine love for the game/community, but remember that there are jobs out there where you’re not??? subjected????? to constant abuse????? until you crack and are fired??????? That kind of thing can take a huge toll on your mental and even physical health, so stay safe and check in with yourself often.

    1. Gyratory Circus

      I agree with all this. I’d even add asking if you can use an alias for your online “public” persona. It’s easier to shake off the vitriol if it’s directed at someone you *know* isn’t yourself. Does that make sense?

  9. Meh

    OP#5 – I feel you. My boss wanted me to collaborate with my co-worker and we had next to no overlap in our work. It felt like being back at school with the dreaded group projects where I had to do everything because the project was in my field and not my coworker’s. Fortunately after the first attempt at “forced collaboration” didn’t go all that well, he didn’t ask us to do it again. Hopefully it’s just a phase with your boss that she’ll get over.

    1. Not So NewReader

      I would ask for specific examples of what you are not doing and should be doing, just to get you started on this collaboration.

      I suspect your boss sees a problem and has randomly decided that if you two collaborate better then the problem will go away. At some point, try to work into conversation, “What problem are you trying to solve here, Boss?”
      But say it in a “I am here to help” tone.

  10. Kendra

    I was on sort of the opposite side of the situation in #4. I’d gotten rejected from a particular company after a couple phone interviews, and later ran into one of their recruiters at a club event. Luckily it was a university kind of thing, so I just talked about how much I liked the free t-shirts their company gave out.

    1. NYC Weez

      I had a similar sort of experience but it was at my current employer. I applied for a position with a manager I had been speaking with for months. I was a finalist and then…nothing. My HR partner told me that there was a late breaking candidate so I had a pretty good idea that I wasn’t getting the job, but it still irked me to find out via the daily company announcements.

      Our company makes a Big Deal about hiring internal candidates whenever possible, and managers are expected to be more open with those candidates than with external ones, so I could have gone and complained to HR about being ghosted. It just didn’t seem like a good long-term plan to get him in trouble though—I’d feel good immediately, but ultimately I might still need this manager’s help sometime down the line. So I made a point to make our first encounter post-hiring as non-awkward as possible. I smiled, and said a cheery hello and let him off the hook. He looked super relieved.

      A few months later I got a lot more context. The candidate was a close friend of a VP and was willing to take a demotion of two steps backwards to come work at our company due to our reputation. Meanwhile, on paper, the position appeared to be a step forward for me. Funny thing is that by staying put, I’ve actually progressed faster than I would have in that role. I was officially promoted a few months later, and now I’m on track to be promoted again this year. The other team has no one at the level I’m moving to.

      The TL/DR for OP#4 is that even if you treated the candidate poorly during the process, it’s still in their best interests to try and minimize future awkwardness—especially if they are going to have to continue to see you in a professional context. If someone wants to take the opportunity to make it uncomfortable for you, consider that a sign that you made the right decision.

    2. Tea, please

      Also have been on the reverse side…and the committee member knew my husband but didn’t know we were married at the time of the interview. We ran into her at Target swim suit section, of all places.
      Since she saw my husband, she came over to say Hi. When she recognized me, she said that she wasn’t a voting member of the committee.
      I didn’t think she needed to say this. I didn’t fit their needs for the job, no need to assign or deny blame. I have an unfortunate habit of perseverating on awkward situations, but this one I just thought made a hilarious story.
      That said, the employer had ghosted me. I spent hours interviewing and was a finalist. I emailed the hiring manager several weeks after my last interview and she said they hadn’t made a decision yet… then nothing.

      OP, from my perspective, I would have appreciated if the person I ran into had used Allison’s advice. The candidate already (likely) has received the generic rejection (highly qualified candidate pool, etc), so you don’t need to repeat it.

      1. Anne of Green Gables

        I completely agreed with Allison’s advice on this, and I think the advice holds no matter what the situation.

        The first time something similar came up for me, I was at a conference and was attending the same session as a first choice candidate who turned down our offer. I would have been her direct supervisor. She approached me after the session, I congratulated her on the job I had heard she had gotten (a few months after our offer; she did not have it lined up when she turned us down), and we chatted for a few minutes and exchanged cards. It could have been awkward but wasn’t and I was really glad to talk to her and hear that she was happy where she ended up. And I feel confident that if our professional paths cross again, we’d remember each other fondly and have no problem working together.

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace

      I was also on the other side of #4. I had an in-person interview in May, but didn’t get asked back for a second interview.

      In December, I’m at my husband’s company holiday party talking with his coworker and her husband. The husband and I think we look familiar to each other. Eventually we come to the realization he’d been one of my interviewers back in May. His reaction was quite similar to OP#4. I told him I’d gotten another position and started there in June. (That interview was actually earlier than his, it just took a while to get the hiring paperwork sorted.) No hard feelings on either side, and we went back to the usual awkardness of software developers at someone else’s holiday party.

      What I avoided telling him was that I’d only interviewed with his company because the recruiter I was working with basically pushed me into it. The commute was too far, and I’d’ve been coding in one of my least favorite languages if I’d gotten the job. Since I knew that going in, I didn’t bring my A game to the interview. Hardly surprising they didn’t ask me back after that! (I didn’t deliberately tank the interview, but I didn’t do my usual level of pre-interview prep for it either.)

      1. OP4

        OP #4 here…thanks for all the reinforcement! I am awkward at impromptu conversations, so this is really helpful.

  11. Skye

    OP 3, I feel you. I also live in Texas, and it’s nerve wracking driving in icy conditions! It’s not something I’m used to, because it happens maybe once a year, if that, so there’s not really any way to get experience with it.

    We had a big ice storm about a month ago now, and the roads between the city I live in and the city I work in were not salted except for over major bridges. The city I work in decided to “save money” and salted the roads with a mix of salt and gravel. (So several people got flat tires on top of everything else. I was lucky not to.) I went in to work, as we don’t ever close unless it’s absolutely necessary, only to discover that this was the one day our store was actually closed! (We’re open every single day of the year, and we don’t close for weather. Ever. The previous night, our store’s boss still hadn’t decided to close the store for the next day.) We were open again the day, with temperatures hovering around 35, and there was still ice on the road late that evening and the day after.

  12. Theresa Davis

    OP #3 – My first thought was whether or not the manager is a transplant from a state who is used to snow/ice. As a native NH-ite I’d think someone was crazy for not commuting in 35 degrees. I was in an accident one winter and I know that made me a little gun-shy, I know I missed more work than I should have that winter.

    OP, if possible, next time try to get an Uber if you’re not comfortable driving. Ultimately, your company should put your safety above anything else!!

    1. grace

      Yeah I’ve spun out in perfect conditions – I’m way more hesitant when things aren’t great, especially since I’m in the south and have never gotten the hang of driving on icy/snowy roads. My manager is really great about and usually the whole office works from home at the drop of a snowflake, but OP, it doesn’t sound like you have that choice. As long as you continue to feel that you made the right decision for you and your safety, stick to your guns. You’re 18, and since this sounds like a retail or hospitality job, this job isn’t your forever one.

      I’d push back on the Uber, though – if my assumptions about retail/hospitality are right, especially in TX, the chances that the hourly wage is enough to make taking a taxi/Uber/Lyft are slim to none.

    2. Laura H

      Ok. You Uber is as only safe as who’s driving it. Same goes for any mode of transportation.

      Idk if it was the same storm, but the one Texas had mid January this year froze San Antonio- my store closed the Tuesday. I had to work Wednesday and I’d resolved that if the store was open but the bus wasn’t going to take me in due to road conditions, I’d call in. I communicated this with my manager and the assistant manager via email the night before. Delayed opening and got in just fine but having that plan in place took a lot of anxiety from me.

      Communication and ample notice are necessary. But so are knowing your limits and that yeah there’s an alternative, but that alternative has limits too.

    3. Justme, The OG

      If the company valued OP3’s safety, it would be okay for them to not come in at all if they roads were in questionable condition.

      1. Yorick

        Well, if everybody else came in that day, why would OP3 get to be the one who stays home? Is OP3 really in the most danger out of all the employees?

        1. Lil Fidget

          Yes unfortunately with retail usually determined to stay open in all conditions, that means *somebody* is going to have to get there. There are a lot of times I’m confused by non-urgent retail’s decisions to stay open in bad conditions … how many customers are really wading out to that coffee shop in a blizzard??

          1. Not So NewReader

            How many? An UNBELIEVABLE amount of people. Road crews, hospital and other health care people, people that enjoy cruising around in storms (yes, there are many such people) and the incredible number of people who suddenly need food coloring, baking powder and toilet paper.

        2. Lissa

          Yeah, retail defaults to trying to open no matter what. Even when it’s dumb. So they think “Well, if Sarah, Mark and Lisa are all here, why should OP get to stay home?” I mean, sometimes there are legit reasons, like the others all live within walking distance and OP is the only one who has to drive, but not always. I think it tends to be seen as a bit high maintenance when an employee feels they can’t come in in conditions when others seem fine with it. I know when I worked retail it was like, if the buses were running I was expected to be there, if the buses stopped running then I wasn’t, cause everyone knew I didn’t drive.

  13. Kat

    I’m currently deciding not to go work because of our ‘beast from the east’ winter storm. The police advice is not to travel, so I’m not. I’m an experienced driver and have never stayed home because of weather before, but this just isn’t worth risking my safety for. It’s an unusually bad forecast, and perhaps that was the case with OP3 as well, especially if, as has been suggested, the area might not cope well with snow or ice. I certainly wouldn’t be trusting my safety to a taxi driver either if it was really bad (I get what Alison is saying, but I have seen fairly poor driving by taxi drivers that wouldn’t give me confidence that they’d do much better!).

    Of course, I work 35 miles from where I live, and if I worked 10 minutes away I’d obviously just go in. And it will depend on the area, too, and what other options are available for getting to work.

    I’m already expecting that, despite our weather policy, my company will somehow make me feel bad for staying at home. But I’ll just have to deal with that!

    1. Rookie Manager

      I also live 35 miles from work and am currently at home due to the Beast from the East!

      Decided to close our office today as while I’m pretty confident I could drive to work safely in this snow, I’m not confident in others ability, the snow is due to get worse through the day AND all official advice is not to travel. The youngest/most inexperienced member of the team responded to the message with “Thank God! I had no idea how I was going to make it in today!”

      It is a tricky situation but I have taken the route of follow official safety advice and keep me and team safe. Luckily my manager(different location) is fully supportive of my decision.

      1. Kat

        Yes, I think when the police are telling us not to travel, it’s safe to assume you’ve made a good decision! Work is of course important, but it isn’t as important as safety. My workplace policy on adverse weather is pretty rubbish, so I’ll have to work long days the next two weeks to make up the time from today, but better that that being trapped on the motorway!

    2. Anonymous Ampersand

      I am sitting in my office in the north east, it’s chucking it down with snow outside, there’s a over a foot of snow where I live, and my son’s school shows no sign of closing so I’ll be here all week. Le sigh.

      1. Kat

        They’re not closing the schools? That doesn’t sound great on their part! All the schools here are closed. I just went to the window and I can barely see anything now. I’ve never seen it this bad here!

      2. Rookie Manager

        That’s ridiculous! You must have a hardy local council. Now we’re on a red warning everything seems to be closed. Hope the school will be shut tomorrow.

      3. Anonymous Ampersand

        Plot twist: my work is now closed till Monday! Although the vast majority of us can work from home.

        I chatted to the head at my son’s school tonight and they will make the call whether or not to close by 7am tomorrow. Apparently nearly all the staff are local so can get in so it’s just if it’s unsafe. But seeing as police advice has now changed to “only essential travel” I’m hoping.

        1. Specialk9

          I’m confused. You can still not send your kids to school, even if it’s open, if it’s not safe.

    3. Liane

      OP states she lives in Texas, so–
      Yes, snow/ice IS really, really rare. No, the state/cities have NO infrastructure for dealing with snow/ice*. And NO, precious few people there have a clue how to drive in snowy/icy conditions!
      I have friends who live in Texas, and yes, it was That Bad. OP you made the right call.

      *Nope, not even signs warning that bridges/overpasses ice before the roads, which are all over the place in Arkansas where I live.

      1. I like French braids

        Yes. People here think it’s okay to tail gate, try to stop short and continue their normal driving speeds. It’s a nightmare. I lived in WVA and VA for ten years. The snow and ice make for much more dangerous conditions here than I experienced back east. The most they do to roads is sand and gravel. The gravel is especially dangerous. Lots of sliding and cracked glass or dents. They shut down I-35 a few years ago because San Antonio got 1 inch of snow. It’s a major interstate and they couldn’t plow or treat it.

  14. Augusta Sugarbean

    #3 I understand that I need to make sure I can get to work in most inclement weather but I want to push back on the “just take an Uber/taxi/Lyft!” suggestion. I’m not worried about the state of my vehicle. I’m worried about the state of my body. I’m not willing to trust my personal safety to some random driver isn’t necessarily going to be any more skilled at winter driving than I am.

    1. TL -

      Also, there are large parts of Texas that are both southern and rural enough to a) rarely get snow/ice b) not have the infrastructure to deal with snow/ice and c) don’t have ridesharing/public transit/taxis.

      OP, assuming you’re not in the Panhandle, I think you did the right thing. You most likely have summer tires on your car, no experience driving in winter conditions, and I very much doubt your city had the roads safe to drive on until the ice had fully melted by the warming temperature. When I lived in San Antonio, the whole city shut down for snow and ice and it was because it was the safest choice to make.

      1. Liane

        “until the ice had fully melted by the warming temperature”
        IF the warmer temperatures melted it. As others have pointed out, “A few hours above freezing” =/= “Ice all gone!” We had a couple inches of snow here this winter. A day or 2 later, the highs were in the *40s* and guess what? Only in the sunniest spots did the snow disappear in a few hours. And the combo of nights below freezing and wet roads meant that ice was still a concern.

        1. Oxford Coma

          Yeah. 33 F =/= instant liquid water. There’s a disturbing lack of understanding of high school thermodynamics going on with some of these employers.

        2. TL -

          The warming temperatures will melt the ice eventually. Probably not in a couple of hours but generally in a few days or less.

    2. sssssssssss

      What struck me is that the cost of the Uber might eat up a good part of the pay earned that day. I’ve never taken one but taxis are now rather pricy and at 18, I can’t imagine making a really high hourly wage.

      1. Kathlynn

        Yeah, I frequently have to take a taxi to work, and it’s ~$25 one way, I only make $12.40/hr, if I have to take a cab both ways I basically break even. I did call in sick one day, a few jobs ago, because I was scheduled for a day the buses didn’t run and it would have cost me more money to get to work via taxi then I would have earned in a 4 hour shift. (I’d also said I was only available if the buses were running). My wasn’t happy, but it was a seasonal job.

    3. Thursday Next

      I agree. It would be different if the OP lived in a snowier clime, with better winter infrastructure and more experienced winter weather drivers. Then I’d see this as a matter of OP’s personal discomfort/inexperience with driving in those conditions, and a car pool or taxi might make sense. But in the OP’s case, I’m not sure other drivers would be safer—more confident perhaps, but not necessarily with reason. If OP’s boss thinks that everything will be clear because the temperature is expected to hit 35 degrees, that’s a bit alarming. I’m not sure I’d want to be driving near her if she were going over a bridge.

    4. NewBoss2016

      Texan here to add that we don’t even have Uber/Lyft/Taxi services readily available in a lot of areas (outside of the major metro areas). I am staying in a major downtown area right now, but where my office is we don’t even have food delivery :)

    5. Falling Diphthong

      When I was in Texas for this storm, a lot of people (e.g. nurses–people who HAD to be at work) were talking about commuting into the city from 30 or 40 miles away. Which is a long way to take an uber–the charges might well be more than you would earn.

      (Every time I got in the elevator at the hospital, staff were talking about what had just closed. So even though I considered the weather an unexciting “cold with light rain” I realized I should start calling pharmacies to see who expected to be open in 6 hours, when sure enough everything was encased in ice.)

    6. Natalie

      Yep, cab/rideshare is a good option when the overall conditions are fine but you personally can’t drive – whether you’re drunk, sick, or a bad winter driver *in a place where winter driving is routine*. If the overall conditions are crap, they’re going to be just as crap no matter who’s driving.

  15. MommyMD

    Forward these threats to your manager. It’s important because you are doing live events. You need adequate security. Some gamers deeply invested can be anti-social in dealing with others and may not have strong real life people connections. This is nothing to play with.

  16. MommyMD

    OP you are young but you have to make it into work with mild adverse driving conditions. It’s not a white out. You called off hours early when you could have been working on a ride from a friend or relative or Uber. Of course your manager would be annoyed. Especially if everyone else made it in. Plan ahead, leave early.

    1. Mookie

      An ice storm in a region unaccustomed to ice storms and with infrastructure ill-equipped for safe driving under such conditions is not “mild,” though. It’s a freak event, as other commenters have pointed out. Ditto the notion that having someone else drive will significantly lower the risk of an accident when sharing the roads with fellow drivers who also may lack the necessary experience. Texas roads were pummeled with hail, riddled with pitholes, and now they have a tornado, of sorts, headed their way and a significant chance for flashfloods to boot. These are the exceptional circumstances people always describe in these discussions. The LW is fine, in my opinion.

    2. Re: LW 3

      We generally don’t have the number of salt trucks and sand trucks required to make the roads safe. Last ice storm in Austin, many of the major roads were closed because the de-icing measures just couldn’t keep up.

      It’s a totally different situation to places that deal with this regularly.

      1. Ambpersand

        This ^^. As someone from the northern Midwest, I’m used to dealing with lots of snow and ice during the winter months. But not everyone is, and there’s a whole slew of factors to take into consideration when this type of situation arises. The infrastructure and ability to salt/treat/plow the roads, types of roads being driven on (bridges vs interstate vs hilly roads), the previous area temperatures that will freeze/thaw the ground at different rates of speed, the experience of other drivers on the road, if it’s sunny out or not (35 degrees and cloudy wont melt ice like 35 degrees and sunny), etc etc.

        I have some friends in Nashville TN and, several years ago at least, the whole city would practically SHUT DOWN if they got 2-3 inches of snow. But they weren’t equipped for it, and no one was versed in how to drive on slick roads. They didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with the roads or the skills to safely travel them. I actually taught them the tips and tricks I learned in HS drivers ed to help them when they got an ice storm one year. Could I drive in a few inches of snow or a bit of ice and feel fine? Probably. I would know how to drive carefully and hopefully not end up in a ditch… But that doesn’t account for other drivers on the road- which can be even more dangerous than the ice itself. I don’t blame OP for wanting to stay safe, and I would have done the exact same thing in their position.

        1. Justme, The OG

          Agree. I’m from Up North and I live in Arkansas now. The lack of infrastructure here to deal with snow and ice blows my mind. We even get snow and ice storms fairly regularly.

          1. Lil Fidget

            I used to laugh about DC’s neurotic weather responses – but after the first good ice storm I saw how vulnerable the mass transit infrastructure was. You just can’t have millions of people backed up in a metro station, or stuck on the highway running out of gas, and there just aren’t as many alternate routes that can deal with the sheer volume of people as there were back home in the midwest.

        2. C.

          I’m in east Tennessee and it once took me an hour and a half to drive two miles because of ice. No infrastructure to deal with it + it hit midday so everyone was on the roads at once trying to get home. And there hasn’t been something of that magnitude since (I want to say this was 4 years ago?), so it’s not like we’re super psychologically prepared to deal with it every winter. It’s so hard to judge what is driveable region-to-region!

      2. Shiara

        It’s also a totally different situation because the warmer weather, unfrozen ground, etc can actually cause more dangerous conditions than colder places who get snow more regularly, infrastructure aside. I’ve seen people from further North think they can absolutely handle what’s on the roads around here just fine, not realising just how slick it’s going to be because it’s melted and refrozen repeatedly.

        1. I like French braids

          I’ve always felt that the lack of black top on most roads makes it worse. The concrete roads get slick with normal rainfall. Any bit of ice makes it even worse.

        2. Elizabeth H.

          Yes, isn’t the type of roads totally different depending on what the expected conditions are? How absorbent it is, whether it needs to withstand extremes of heat and sun, etc. I think that probably has to do with why roads can be unexpectedly worse in areas that aren’t used to snow.

          I live in Boston and the idea of calling in because of morning ice when it was going to warm up to 35 by midday sounded absolutely ridiculous to me, but a lot of people have been saying that in Texas the texture of the roads, elevations and lack of salt and sand cause ice to last noticeably longer than it would in the same conditions up north, so I can understand it better now.

      3. Gloucesterina

        Isn’t the melt-refreeze cycle creating especially slick surfaces more common in the South? Michigander here, in my area we recently got one day of the fine-invisible-slick-of-water-over-ice situation recently and it was not pretty, even for pedestrians.

    3. WellRed

      Even in Northern New England, we take ice seriously and we have the infrastructure and skills to deal with it.

    4. Risha

      When I was a northern transplant to South Carolina, I drove to work during a snow storm once. Once. And never, ever considered doing it ever again. Some entire states are just completely inequipped to deal with snow or ice. SC, for the record, had a single snowplow for the entire state, but it was less that (or the lack of salt or sand, or the inexperienced other drivers), than it was that none of the roads or overpasses were graded correctly to move snow and slush off of the roads.

  17. Lars the Real Girl

    OP 1 – slightly different take than Alison, for what it’s worth – you’ve only been there a month, so you may not have seen the full level of dysfunction that may exist. Not to say that Sansa should be complaining or negative all the time, but you don’t want to necessarily tell Arya “This is Normal.” if it really IS a dysfunctional environment; it could cause her to normalize really toxic behavior. It’s really hard to suss this out after only a month, and Sansa has been there for 4 years.

    Again, it could completely just be Sansa, but maybe approach Arya as “from what I’ve seen in a super short time, things like x, y, z (common complaints) are pretty normal across companies.” That way, she can start to build a correct meter for “Normal” and “Not Normal”.

    1. Babayaga

      Agreed. If anything, maybe OP can impart some advice about how to deal with the general negativity and not get sucked into it. Even if it is a crappy environment.

    2. Lil Fidget

      Also to be fair, it’s easy to shrug things off when you know you’re out of there soon. I find that company dysfunction is the kind of thing that grinds you down slowly over time. You put in your best effort but things just don’t run right, and you catch the blowback again and again – until you realize you’re an idiot to be putting in your best effort anymore.

    3. Luna

      This is a good point. A month really isn’t very long at all. New employees are often in a sort of honeymoon phase for at least the first 2 months- they are excited to have landed the job, are still figuring out how things work, most coworkers are being overly nice because they haven’t figured out the New Guy yet. Giving Arya more general advice about avoiding complaining at work is probably a better approach.

  18. WeevilWobble

    A temp of 35 is not warm enough to melt a significant amount of ice. And ice conditions are far more dangerous than snow. I think OP3 did the right thing. And the manager doesn’t understand how ice storms work. I understand wanting to instill work ethic in young people but risking your life for a job you’ll barely remember in a few years is silly.

    OP5 maybe it was just a bad example but inventory control and painting have a lot of collaboration possibilities. Your manager may have something specific in mind.

    OP1 the flaw of using show character names is that sometimes feelings about characters influence how we view the question. I’m like “but all of Sansa’s concerns are valid! If you listen to her maybe you won’t make unspeakably stupid pacts with untrustworthy people!!”

    1. WeevilWobble

      I should say 35 is not warm enough to melt ice that quickly. Sure over night it will but not soon enough to make the roads better by 1:30. In other parts of the country they’d be safely salted by then but that’s unlikely if it’s unusual there.

    2. sssssssssss

      Plus it was a predicted 35. The final actual temp could have been lower…and the conditions just as bad.

  19. Re: LW 3

    For the rest of the country, which probably thinks this is madness: I’m from Texas (Austin), and I just wanted to confirm that in most (all?) of the state, frozen precipitation is *very* unusual. Like, the sort of thing that happens once every 2-3 years, maybe.

    More to the point, it’s usually freezing rain, almost never snow, and there is no safe driving on ice. Plus, the cities don’t have the equipment to salt/sand the roads adequately, so most of the major roads will be closed due to icing at some time during the day.

    So, yeah. If it ices in Texas, don’t go out if you don’t have to. No way road conditions are safe.

    1. NewBoss2016

      Seconded! I am in DFW and the ice we had last week shut down schools for 2 days in my part of town. There were cars and 18-wheelers sliding off of the road/highway shutdowns, as well as ice laden tree branches dropping power lines everywhere, and a menagerie of other issues. Our safety manager shut the office down and sent everyone home. I do not think you were unreasonable at calling in.

    2. Elemeno P.

      Yes, it’s really all about the existing infrastructure. I live in Florida, and if it snowed we have absolutely no systems in place to deal with that. I took the day after the most recent hurricane off because I didn’t feel comfortable driving around downed branches and powerlines and navigating sections where traffic lights were out. It would be irresponsible of me to call out for heavy rain, which is a condition that we often have to navigate, but bizarre weather occurrences are not the same.

      1. A grad student

        It never hit me before how true this is until I was driving back from where my parents live in Miami to where I live in VA after new year’s this year, when GA and SC got a few inches of snow/ice. I was driving through the day after, and nothing off the highway was cleared, at all. I was on 95 originally, which had been plowed but not salted, so there was a thin layer of ice over the road, resulting in a 4-hour delay on my route (according to Google). I took back roads/alternative highways, and there were just tire tracks in the 4-inch-high slush everyone was following.

        Unrelatedly, I wish it were okay to at least be late for the kind of heavy rain we get in Florida. It doesn’t usually last for very very long, but it can be as bad for visibility as a blizzard, and the state doesn’t drain very well, so deep water stays on the roads for a long time. It scares me more than snow, for sure.

    3. Natalie

      Hell, I’m from Minnesota and I won’t drive in an icestorm. Snow is manageable – generally the worst that happens is you get very stuck and since I’m in a city I could just leave my stuck car and take the bus home. But ice means crashing into things.

      1. Ambpersand

        Yeah, snow is fairly manageable if you go slow enough and can maintain traction. Ice is not that forgiving. Its dangerous and a lot of people (especially those in the south) wont know how to look for or recognize black ice. I wouldn’t drive to work after an ice storm unless I knew the roads were clear – we have a dept of transportation site that updates the road conditions and checking school delays/closures is a pretty good indicator- and I’m from the northern Midwest with a decent amount of snow/ice experience. The last time I had to drive to work after an ice storm came through overnight, it took me almost 2 hours to make it through what is typically a 45 minute commute. I was white knuckling it the entire time, and had that been an hourly shift? It wouldn’t have been worth it to even try.

  20. Nerdy Canuck

    OP2: I know CM’s usually see themselves as being “on the wall” as it were, where dealing with things like this can get seen as being the job.

    Which is a great way to burn out. Gamedev, as an industry, is legitimately terrible at recognizing burnout and taking it seriously – but that’s changing. Hopefully your boss will understand how serious this is – even without considering the threats. If they don’t, and feel that just comes with the job, you may want to factor that into your thinking on how long you stay at that specific company.

    Now is also a great time to take steps towards locking down your personal online privacy and digital security as well., and to make sure there’s a course of action you can take in case of some of the more common escalations, like a harrasser posting your home address publically.

  21. Nox

    2.) Ironically I’m in a gaming community where the CMs acts like wrestling heels and says stupid stuff such as blaming dataminers for why they can’t focus on fixing issues in the game. The CMs get replaced alot because they are antagonistic to the community so they get BM’d for it and subsequently chased out of the community. But only to be replaced with more garbage people. Even in that case I never have seen someone issue a threat of that nature to these mean spirited CMs.

    3) I wish people would stop telling people to just uber or drive in based on the fact that they can drive in. I respect my employees right to practice safe judgement for themselves and I think any good manager would understand that. I’m not going to be liable to putting someone under pressure to come in and then they get hurt.

    1. Cube Ninja

      3) Except in this case, it’s that LW doesn’t feel safe driving in said conditions due to never have done so. It seems very unlikely that there would be Uber/Lyft drivers (or public transit, if that’s an option) who would be driving if *they* felt uncomfortable with road conditions. While a significant ice storm would probably shut down some parts of Texas, a relatively minor one with increasing temps throughout the day may mean roads are wet and a bit slick in some places, but not awful.

      At the end of the day, being able to get to work is a basic expectation of any job. Without knowing the exact conditions, I don’t want to rush to judgment, but I think the manager in this case has every right to be a bit put off by someone calling in 4 hours ahead of their shift due to road conditions that are likely to improve.

      1. I like French braids

        A small ice storm closes schools and businesses in the Austin area. Most of the roads here, and in the rest of TX, are concrete with no black top. The concrete stays slick longer than you would expect. I’m in a suburb and there really isn’t a way to get around if you can’t drive yourself. The weather stops what little public transportation that is available. I can understand being frustrated if your employee calls out, but I’d say that’s normal around here. Especially if you aren’t a hospital employee or first responder. My moms office closes when the schools close for weather. It sucks but it very rarely happens.

  22. Trout 'Waver

    OP#5, In addition to working on projects together, “Collaborate more” can mean:
    1. Bounce ideas off each other before pitching them to the boss.
    2. Cross-train each other so you can cover for each other if needed.
    3. Go to your co-worker for troubleshooting before going to the boss.
    4. Keep your eyes open for new solutions or opportunities that would involve both roles.
    5. Attend professional development events together.

    Just throwing some ideas out there. Some, none, or all might apply.

    1. Teal

      6. Telling your non-communicative and disorganized boss you’re collaborating more.

      Seriously. If OP and work-mate are already work friends who get along, I bet 1-5 are already happening. It’s simply that the boss is not present/organized and thus isn’t seeing it. OP should talk with workmate about presenting a united front of collaboration. Simply bringing it up when boss is around and making it suuupppeeerr obvious.

    2. OP5

      Thank you, I like these as a more holistic approach. And yes, Teal, just letting our boss know we are already working together may need to happen.

    3. Triple Anon

      Those are good ideas. My response below was a really negative take on it. It’s good to see the flip side.

    4. Erika22

      Agreed. I had a similar situation last year at my job, and our boss essentially meant cross-train each other because, little did I know at the time, my coworker was moving and I would need to know more about her job so I could cover some pieces of it! Not saying that something may be happening, but it’s always better to have a few different people know how to do a job, or at least have systems set up so if you’re unexpectedly out of the office, someone else can monitor/move along on your projects.

  23. George

    I love this site, but I’ll admit to being frustrated by the inconsistent advice given here in regard to reporting to work in extreme weather. Sometimes it’s a hard “absolutely stay off the roads,” other times it’s “you have to man up and show up to work,” and it seems to be arbitrary which questions get what guidance. To me this sounds like a clear-cut call: an 18 year old OP who is an inexperienced driver in a locale where even experienced drivers are unaccustomed to driving in ice, should ABSOLUTELY NOT feel pressured to get out on the road and risk killing herself. The calculus might change if she is an RN or a police officer or some other job where attendance is critical, or if public transportation is available in the OP’s locale and running. Given the facts we do know, I think the OP did exactly the right thing here.

    And honestly, many Uber/Lyft/car service drivers are leadfoots interested in getting as many fares as possible, and I would in no way trust them to get me to work safely in icy conditions.

    1. Lady Phoenix

      It depends.

      When there is a massive red alert where they say only emergency vehicles should be on the road, then yes stay at home.

      If your neighbor hood and highway is buried, then stay at home.

      But sometimes you also need to suck it up and drive.

      It is a case by case basis.

      1. SparklingStars

        But if you’re 18 years old (which means you’ll be a relatively inexperienced driver, no matter what the road conditions are), and then on top of that you have no experience driving in icy conditions – I honestly don’t think that “suck it up and drive” is the right call to make.

        1. fposte

          The problem is that if everybody else is coming in to your job site, it really costs you to say “I’m too nervous to do what everybody else is doing as a matter of course,” no matter what your age is. I don’t have eighteen-year-old staffers, but I have new grads who’ve never lived in snow before, and I would expect them to come in in normal weather conditions here even if they were uncomfortable (it helps that they wouldn’t live that far away and we’ve got Uber).

          1. WeevilWobble

            Fposte age matters here because this person can’t have been driving more than two years.

            I understand if uber is a possibility but there is no way the world of Academia is so imporant that you need people who have never driven in ice and snow to put themselves and others in danger to come to work that one day.

            1. fposte

              We don’t make attendance expectations dependent on driving experience, and there’s nothing magic about eighteen or two years’ driving experience. In a lot of areas, those inexperienced eighteen-year-olds are driving themselves to school in the same weather.

              It’s great if there are jobs that can allow people some kind of age- or transplant-related purgatory, but I think that’s an outlier situation.

          2. Natalie

            I hear all of this, but I also want to note it can really cost you (and everyone else on the road) to be an inexperienced, nervous driver in a winter storm. Even a non-fatal wreck in a storm means you’re probably not making it in, so I don’t know that’s it’s as simple as “you need to figure out how to get to work”. And also, in wintery areas most people get to work, so it’s not as simple as “driving is dangerous, so stay home.” I just don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer with these questions. Too much depends on what your alternatives are, the specifics of your job, where you live in relation to work, and so on.

            1. fposte

              Yeah, that’s why I don’t think set policies are an answer here–the situations are too variable depending on location, weather, and nature of commute.

        2. Allison

          I think better advice is that you need to do what everyone else is doing, and if you can’t, you need to get to that point sooner than later. A “trial by fire” commute might be necessary, just give yourself extra time to get there and tell your boss you might be late, then take a deep breath and drive at a slow but steady speed.

          Then again, it depends on the length of commute. If you’re just going a few towns over, go for it. If you need to get on the highway and drive for what’s usually 30-45 minutes on a good day, yeah, maybe trial by fire isn’t the best thing. But if you do call out due to conditions that most people in the area are able to handle, you need to find some way to practice driving in the snow, even if that means waiting until rush hour is over and going around the block a few times. If you live in an area where most people drive in the snow, unless they can work from home, you need to learn to drive in the snow.

      2. WeevilWobble

        If you’re 18 and in an area that doesn’t get that weather typically it is NEVER approriate to say “suck it up and drive.”

        “Your death would be entirely insignificant to me.” Is not a proper management platform.

        1. fposte

          I don’t think it’s ever appropriate to literally say “suck it up and drive.” But somebody’s fear is not the same thing as somebody’s high risk of death, and calling out scared of driving isn’t something that all jobs could accommodate.

          For me if the rest of the staff made it in I’d allow it as a one-off sick day, but we’d have a discussion about what general expectations about attendance during bad but not severely dangerous weather are and what they might do to ensure this isn’t a regular thing.

          1. paul

            We’ve done that–I think–with people that moved to the panhandle from warmer parts of the state.

            I’m really torn between the “don’t die to get here” and the fact that in most winters (sadly not this one, we’re dry) we get snow and ice. Not usually huge amounts–5″ is a lot for us–but an inch or two at a time isn’t uncommon, and we can’t have people call out every time it happens.

            1. fposte

              I’m too unfamiliar with regional norms to comment on those, so I’m speaking more generally. But yeah, a lot of it will be based on commonality of the challenge and what the expectations are generally for employees to meet it. You can get a day or so of adjustment slack, but then you need to get up to speed or find a workaround.

              1. Kat

                It is very much dependent on context. I’m at home today and maybe tomorrow. Can’t work around it, as there aren’t trains either (I drive usually), and my company doesn’t allow me to work from home. I would be more than happy to do so, but I can’t. So if our current weather lasts till Friday I have no idea what to do except use holidays, and I’d really rather not.

    2. fposte

      I’m agreement with Lady Phoenix. I don’t know where the OP lives and the weather on the given day, so I can’t speak to her particular situation. But I’ll say that “the conditions on the roads aren’t safe and people are advised to stay off them” is always a more compelling argument than “I don’t feel safe driving in snow/ice/rain.” So you really want to avoid slipping into the second argument when you really mean the first.

      (That being said, this sounds like one of those retail situations where you may not have much of a choice either way.)

      1. Someone else

        This is really the key to me. If the person’s job is not dependent on their personally driving, then their personal ability or comfort level to drive on any given day isn’t really a good reason for calling out. If I hired someone completely independent of their having a drivers license and/or car, then I hired them with the expectation they could get themselves to work with no presumptions about how. If the problem is “the roads near me are impassable and won’t be passable before I need to come in” that’s a valid reason one person might be unable to come in when most could. “I can’t use my normal method of transportation and am not considering any alternatives” is not usually.

    3. MLB

      I’ve had the same problem with a previous manager. Her snow policy depended on whether she felt like coming in or not.

      But ice is much different than snow. It doesn’t matter if you live in an area that gets it regularly or not. You have very little control of your vehicle on ice. I think her calling in early in the morning was smart, because there’s no way to tell if the roads would be safe later in the afternoon. TX doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle snow and ice.

      Companies need to lay out their expectations about bad weather BEFORE it happens, and be clear about them.

    4. WeevilWobble

      I think because the OP is 18 and inexperienced Alison didn’t want to enforce the idea of calling out whenever. As it might be a bad precedent at a time when the LW may not have the proper judgement to use in the proper context.

      But I agree this is one of the few times I disagree with advice here.

    5. Trout 'Waver

      The problem is that it’s really hard to have a hard and fast policy because there are so many variables. My coworkers commute from over a 10,000 square mile range. It could be warm and sunny at one person’s house and a class 3 kill storm at another’s. And some will show up no matter what and some will be dissuaded by a single snow flake.

      1. fposte

        Yeah, I would agree. Even with more urban workplaces people are often commuting in from a fair distance. I think my policy would be “We technically don’t close; situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.” Which doesn’t tell you much in advance.

    6. Kat

      This is exactly why it’s useful for workplaces to have a clear (as far as possible) policy on this. Areas will vary in what’s possible. Right here, I am in Scotland, but it isn’t possible for me to have driven to/from work today. I’m in a ‘red alert’ section, so I made the right call, despite my misgivings this morning. But I was able to call my manager and mention our policy in addition to the official advice not to go anywhere. It definitely helps to know what’s expected of you.

      Even so, safety must come first.

      1. DCompliance

        I agree. Policies really do help. I know sometimes small business don’t have these policies, but I find the do help.

    7. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials

      I agree with George. I think the OP made the right call, and gave plenty of notice also, which stands out to me since when I worked retail, it was far more common to just have no-shows or call-ins as the shift was starting. Ice that may not melt or may re-freeze in the inexperienced, unsalted, unsanded, no-such-thing-as-snow tires or chains south is a bigger hazard than you can imagine if you don’t live here.

      I know an inexperienced driver who did not make this call, had an accident on her way in to work, and killed a mom of two small boys in the collision. Neither she nor the other family will ever fully recover. It just isn’t worth your crappy retail job, if it comes to that, to try to avoid irritating your manager (who is probably perma-irritated anyway, since what is more irritating than retail personnel management?).

    8. Specialk9

      You’re frustrated that a bunch of strangers scattered across an enormous planet have different opinions? Well, um, sorry?

      I think perhaps your expectations are more than a little out of alignment with the reality of what this site is. In other words, feel free to make up your own mind and let opinions impact you or not. We’re not lawmakers, we’re internet commenters.

    9. Annabelle

      I agree with you that the OP likely made the right call, but I’m having a hard time understanding your frustration. Most of the questions letter writers have are somewhat open ended and the answers generally depend on the specific circumstances in the letter. I don’t think there really can be one go-to answer for something like this because the circumstances are inevitably going to be different for each LW.

  24. Viki

    RE: #3 I think besides the time of calling in, is really if everyone else made it in and you didn’t. That’s a perception your boss will have of you and you have to live with.

    I know if my employee scheduled later in the day about the current weather and how it would affect the drive in; I’d be wondering about their judgement calls.

    1. Danger: Gumption Ahead

      I wonder about the boss’s judgement. 35 degrees as a high is not warm enough to clear ice off roads, especially not bridges.

    2. Boo Berry

      Same. Not only does it sound like others made it in, but it’s likely that someone else had to unexpectedly drive through those same conditions just to cover from OP.

      For what it’s worth, I was born and raised in the tropics, didn’t see proper snow until my 20s and went to college in Texas, and would have been really frustrated if my coworkers called out for that kind of thing. Even more so now that I live in a snowy area. It’s the kind of thing that earns a black mark not just from your manager but from your fellow associates.

      It’s over and done with and the decision has been made, but going forward, it would be worth learning how to navigate this kind of thing in the future. Also, check your local community college, a lot of them have car clubs that offer low cost driving classes that will help you gain confidence in the future.

      1. TL -

        The only way to learn how to drive in winter is to drive in winter. Much of Texas doesn’t have a winter so I’m not sure how a car club will help…
        I grew up in Texas and moved to Boston. In Boston, I’d be annoyed if someone called out. In Texas, I’d be annoyed if someone came in. It is not safe to drive in snow/ice in Texas.
        (Conversely, I never saw a proper rain the entire time I lived in Boston. So I’d expect Texans to get in during a torrential downpour and be more forgiving of Bostonians who felt too unsafe to drive.)

  25. Lady Phoenix

    FOr those people who think threats are “no big deal” in the gaming community, remembering that we unfortunately get hit the most with SWATTERS (ie: scumbags that call Swat Teams on people they hate).

    Definitely talk to your boss about handling the threats, especially on those that look like they might have a history.

  26. Anonymod

    OP2#
    Talk to your manager. I used to work as in the online-safety department of a large online video game company and my job was deal with these type of threats. It’s important that you understand your companies escalation procedures.

    For people who don’t work in gaming – the ‘dark side’ is ridiculous. Everyday we have death rates, suicide threats, bomb threats. Kids threatening to go shoot up their school. Kids talking about being abused by their parents. People threatening our moderators, people threatening each other. We worked with the police to create sensible guidelines (Our local police station got sick of 20 calls a day about kids joking about hurting themselves/eachother), so we got good and recognising which threats should be taken to the police/child protection agencies and which ones we should deal with ourselves.

    Nothing in your email seems particularly serious (relatively) but you should at least know what you can do to block/ban people who are abusive. Unfortunately you do have to have a thick skin in this industry. Obviously it’s not okay for someone to be abusive to you, and your workplace should have procedures in place for you to deal with abuse, including not having to respond to it and blocking/banning the user- but it’s going to happen and not a whole lot can be done to prevent it. Depending on the type of stuff you’re dealing with it’s worth seeing if your employer offers any kind of counselling to people who have to deal with upsetting content.

    Please keep your ‘work’ persona seperate from your real life! I had a friend who was stalked by a player who didn’t even live in the same country as us. He harrased her on all her social media accounts, contacted her friends/family repeatedly. He’d call the police in our city making prank calls to get them to go to her house. We did what we could to support her but it was really dificult as the stalker was 14 and the police in his country wouldn’t do anything about it. None of our staff used their real names at work and we encouraged them not to give out personal details about their selve. It can be tempting to use your position to get some extra followers on your personal twitter/instagram but it’s probably not worth it!

    1. SpaceNovice

      I’m going to +100 this entire comment. I was hoping someone would make this comment, and I’m glad to see it. While I am not a community manager, I have a friend who’s a moderator, and they have very specific guidelines about how to handle different types of bad behavior (so specific that they can get graded on it!). Either your company lacks guidelines that need to be developed or it needs to better communicate guidelines. These are incredibly important, because moderation is essential to setting the tone for an online community. Mind you, there’s only so much you can do about the customer base, but still.

  27. Kate

    #4, if you’re in academia, I can speak as someone who’s been on the other side of that. I agree with Alison’s advice that there’s no need to rehash the search. However, I have a few colleagues who I know from searches where I wasn’t selected, who liked my work and remember me and will say “How’s your work in XXX going?” This is incredibly kind and gracious. In the situation you described where you don’t remember the person, “Oh of course, how are you?” is fine. Reasonable people will think about how many new faces a search committee member meets.

    1. fposte

      Yes, and I think to some extent the onus is on the person who was on the hiring side to manage the situation smoothly. It’s okay not to remember, but don’t pretend you don’t if you do, and do take the initiative in greeting. I like Alison’s advice of acting like you met them at any business meeting, which helps relieve the uncomfortable impulse to go into job search details that the other person really doesn’t care about.

      I mean, I think it’s great if people I don’t hire manage to greet me and ask how things are going at my workplace, but I was the advantaged one in the situation, so I need to make sure I’m not hemming and hawing and making things awkward.

  28. Reinhardt

    #2:
    I’m an avid gamer myself, so I know the kind of toxicity that can spring up. Even more so if you’re a woman (gaming has a pretty big sexism problem for those who don’t know).

    Definitely talk to your boss like Alison and everyone suggests. Really sorry that you’re dealing with this.

    You also have my gamer brain wondering what game. Overwatch? PUBg?

  29. overcaffeinatedandqueer

    The video game wasn’t, by chance, the Sims 4? A lot of people hate it because of the price and so little content being included, so one has to buy $40 expansion packs just to make it interesting….*grumble*…

    At least 4 doesn’t crash after a few generations like 3 did. Right now I’m just using 4 to play a game where each generation represents a decade, from 1890 to now, with period decor, objects, and rules. It’s almost World War I and I will have to roll dice to see if any sons survive. Sigh.

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer

        Thanks, but it wasn’t my idea! A lot of players make such “challenges” with various stories and rules, and this is the Decades Challenge. The period decor and dress though? Totally me.

        I can’t wait for the Roaring 20’s! I am going to build a basement speakeasy and throw parties, and it will look like the Art Deco movement threw up in there.

    1. Angela Z

      As a gamer myself, I’m ashamed to say there are literally too many games to list that OP could work for, because virtually all of them have angry/disgruntled fans who are willing to throw out death threats because even a *minor* feature was messed up. It could literally be something as big as game-breaking bugs that keep people from playing the game, to optional cosmetic outfits being harder to get. Even one of the most loved/successful companies had virtual riots on their hands a few years back because the annual Halloween event didn’t happen one year because the developers were busy working on other things to add to the game. (Which are added for free, in a game that is free to start playing.) It was so bad that unrelated companies in separate industries started getting bombarded on social media for something they had no connection to whatsoever.

  30. What's with today, today?

    #3, I live in Texas and you don’t need to worry about this. I’m in news, and I go to work on snow days to tell everyone else to stay off the roads. Throughout that day, our local LEOs were so angry about people being on the roads. In fact our PD’s Public Info Officer did a live feed, and said “For the love of all things good and Holy, stay home!” Unless you are in the Texas Panhandle, this should not be a big deal. Not to mention, the day it was supposed to warm to 35, we never got to 32 and schools statewide had to close the following day too.

    1. Kimberly

      This wasn’t done casually either – Something like 46% of Texas public school students lost at least 2 weeks of school due to Harvey and the aftermath.

  31. Zahra

    OP 2:
    Here’s a link for you:
    https://twitter.com/Delafina777/status/922648730918010881

    In general, seek out other community managers on Twitter. Especially women. You can commiserate together, and, most importantly, share which strategies work for dealing with trolls.
    Here are a few lists to get started (from there, you can add other people that get retweeted by those you already follow):
    https://twitter.com/blaisegv/lists/community-managers/members?lang=en
    https://twitter.com/SixOkay/lists/community-managers/members
    https://opensource.com/business/15/1/30-open-source-community-managers-twitter

    But, yes, if there’s no strict enforcement of a no-harassing, that’s the first step. Death threats and rape threats are a no-warning, you’re immediately banned forever offense. Abuse, depending on the severity and repetition, might get a warning, a temporary ban or a permanent ban.

  32. MLB

    For #1, in addition to what Alison said, I’d call Negative Nancy out when she complains. Not in a mean way, but more of a “Have you spoken to Fergus about this” or “Can you think of a way to improve this process? Maybe you should talk to Fergus and suggest a solution?”

    I’ve been Negative Nancy in the past (I hated my boss, my job and was burned out), and didn’t realize I was complaining as much as I was, and once my boss called me out on it, I reigned it in.

  33. Justin

    re #4: I ran into someone during my year-ish-long job search 2 years ago. He had brought me in for an in-person interview and I’d spoken to the ED, etc, but nothing came of it. And then I saw him at a race, and we talked about running. And then, awkward pause, “Well, I’ll be in touch soon.”

    And they never were. So it probably would have been better, like Alison said, to talk about something entirely 100% different and just wish them well.

  34. DCompliance

    #3- Sometimes the way we word calling out because of ice and snow creates. I am not a big fan of telling your employer “I am not comfortable coming in because I have never driven in ice and snow” even though it is the truth. Sometimes you are just better off saying “I can’t come in”. “I can’t get out of my driveway because my street has not been plowed”. I think using the phrase ” not comfortable” makes people think they can ease your fears and you will be able to come in. I think people also get very focused on the exact reason you give and not other reasons….bad traffic, concerns other drivers don’t know how to drive in this weather. Sometimes short definitive statements with no emotions are best.

    1. fposte

      Yes, I agree. It also sounds like you think your fear is what should or shouldn’t determine your coming in, not the road conditions themselves. Stick to the road conditions.

      1. WeevilWobble

        But that doesn’t make any sense, at all.

        If someone is used to driving in those conditions they can probably come in. If someone has a truck they can probably come in. It’s not about the road conditions it’s about whether you personally have the skills and equipment to drive in them. If someone lives close by they can probably come in.

        But if you have two wheel drive, don’t have any experience, and live some distance you can’t.

        Your fear matters because fear has a purpose. If you aren’t in a position to come in it’s because of personal factors.

        This makes exactly as much sense as saying it’s not whether you have the flu it’s what flu season is like.

        1. fposte

          But you’re moving away from fear already in your justification, by talking about inexperience, road conditions, two-wheel drive, etc. I’m not saying that fear doesn’t matter to the person experiencing it; it’s just not the point you make to your manager, because 1) your manager doesn’t need to know about your feelings and 2) there are people who are afraid of road travel in just about any inclement weather, and that is very difficult for jobs in most places to accommodate. Stick to “the weather service is warning people to stay off the roads because of ice, and I’m in the iciest area.”

          (BTW, I’ve never had four-wheel drive, and my observations locally are that it mostly seems to equip driver superbly for getting into ditches.)

          1. Natalie

            As far as I can tell, the main mistake people make with 4 wheel drive is forgetting that it doesn’t change shit about their brakes.

        2. Yorick

          But in your examples, the fear isn’t what makes calling out ok.

          “I can’t get my small two-wheel car out of the driveway” or “the police have advised not driving on I-35, which is what I take to work” are very different from “I’m scared to drive in weather.”

        3. Yorick

          Also, your flu analogy is the opposite of this situation. You can’t call out because you’re scared of flu season, but you can call out because of your actual flu symptoms.

          1. Lil Fidget

            It reminds me of that “don’t talk about your emotions all the time” letter we had a few weeks ago, to the academic. Stick to the facts. I think saying “I’m scared to drive” or “I’m uncomfortable to drive” leads your manager to think that that this is a personal problem for you and maybe you should just get over it. Saying “I can’t get out of my driveway” is much more palatable.

            1. Samata

              this is my exact thought and I was going to give similar advice. It’s more concise, doesn’t leave much room for interpretation and is overall just a better approach in dealing with a manager.

              Also, if 10 people already called in the OP may have been a victim of overall frustration at the situation. I am not saying it is right AT ALL…but if 3 people say “I literally can’t get out of my neighborhood” & someone else says “I can get out, but am scared to drive” it can just be a nail in an already almost-sealed coffin of exasperation.

            2. Falling Diphthong

              This is a good distinction. The phrasing did bother me in the opening letter and I was unsure how to explain why. “The state police are asking people to get off the road where I live; it’s really unsafe.” (Editing out the profanity the state police are using after their 67th accident blocking an interchange.)

            3. Yorick

              The wording isn’t just more palatable, it also shows whether the employee is right to call in. If your employee cannot safely get there then you’re ok with their absence, but if he just wants a snow day or is a little nervous then he needs to get over it and come to work like everyone else.

        4. DCompliance

          Again, if you say “I am uncomfortable about coming in because I am not used to driving in these conditions” it can still send the message that you are expecting the manager to address the fear you sated and not that you are trying to communicate, I cannot come in. Honestly, if one of my employees says “I am uncomfortable driving today”, my response will be “So are you calling out?” However, the letter writer’s boss may have assumed that she should be addressing the concern given to her.

  35. Tricksy Hobbit

    OP#3, I’m also from Texas, and if you’re talking about the most recent ice storm, you were right to stay home. Is your manager from a northern region? If so then she probably thought that driving in those conditions was not a big deal. Some of the commenters said that we should “learn how to drive in snow, and ice”…except it does NOT snow, ice, freezing rain enough to do that…

    Ice storms are so rare in Texas that they often shut cities down. The Mayor, Chief of Police and other officials told everyone to stay home because it was too dangerous to be on the road. All government agencies were shut down. This storm shut Houston down for about three days because that’s how long the ice and freezing rain was around, which is rare! (As in has never happened in my life!)

    The amount of snow and ice was nothing compared to what northern states get, but 99.99% of Texas drivers DO NOT know how to drive in ice, snow, freezing rain, etc. Most of us, especially in the Gulf Coast region of Texas do not even own an ice scraper or have never seen snow, ice or freezing rain in our lives. (I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen snow in Texas.)

    Essentially Texans don’t do snow; give us a hurricane any day of the week. We got that! We know how to hunker down, but ice…snow…freezing rain…nope….Nope…NOPE!!

    1. xkd

      The Houston storm – while rare – really wasn’t much of a storm. (I called it light rain and drizzle in freezing temperatures) The ice was in most places thin, it wasn’t like the ice storm in 97. (Now that was bonkers!) I think that is a good example though of using a good general rule (STAY HOME!) but also knowing your area. We closed for the three days too – which was ridiculous, considering where staff lived. That’s the thing – we would have been just fine, and could have served our area. Now, SO’s of various staff could not have made it to their workplaces. There should be a reasoned hand to it. In time OP #1 will understand better how to travel in various conditions, and when it just won’t work. (The more common example in Houston is which route to take when it rains, etc)

      And my PSA – do not hunker down if you are in a water-vulnerable region. That is when you run! :-)

      1. Anonymeece

        Really? I’m on the outskirts of Houston, and we had several inches of snow, and the roads were definitely icy. I would say it qualified as a storm (for Texas).

        Your last comment reminds me of a class I had where my prof said that anything over a “category 2” hurricane, you should run. All the Houston kids laughed until we realized he was serious. I can’t count how many times we’ve stayed during a “mandatory evacuation”…

  36. Sci Fi IT Girl

    For the driving in the ice – I disagree about coming in. Like many have said before, she lives in Texas where ice storms are like “What is this?!!” And also look at your job – are you a health care or vital service (Linewoman / medical / rescue / etc.) s person who has to make sure to come in? If yes, then you have to take that into account and make sure you get to work OR stay overnight so you can work – I work in healthcare and have spent nights in the hospital if a snowmageddan was heading our way (or when I lived on the coast I alternated with the hurricane teams and in the mountains with the snow).

    Also, please check out the cdc information on leading causes of death (ok I am being a bit of a drama llama, it is the nature of my job)- where unintentional injury are the leading cause of death (meaning accidents, not suicides). When you split that out for folks in OPs age range 1-25 the #1 (based on 2015 data) are car accidents. (For us older folks it drops to #2 in accidental deaths, with the first being accidental poisonings / overdose). Things that make me go hmmm.

    https://www.cdc.gov/injury/images/lc-charts/leading_causes_of_injury_deaths_unintentional_injury_2015_1050w760h.gif

    Ice is dangerous – no tires can stop a heavy metal brick from throwing a triple axel worthy of a gold. Maybe some folks have a higher level of comfort. Given how rare this is, OP, you should be fine. Maybe the boss was just simply annoyed like some folks said (even in the biggest now storm, having to find cover can cause any body to huff). Doing you job and do it well AND stay safe.

    1. Snark

      “Ice is dangerous – no tires can stop a heavy metal brick from throwing a triple axel worthy of a gold.”

      I disagree. I’ve got studless winter tires for my car, and unless you’re on black ice, the difference is profound and the car remains controllable and safe even on heavily snowpacked, icy mountain roads here in Colorado. With studs, even if you’re on black ice, they buy you a significant additional margin. Obviously, slow, smooth inputs, long braking distances, and slow speeds still matter, but I’ve had people on all-seasons doing triple axels around me, while on winter tires I kept trundling up a 6% grade without drama.

      1. InfrequentCommenter

        Snow tires do make a difference but the writer is from Texas. They don’t sell snow tires in Texas.

      2. SallytooShort

        I also do snow tires and they make a difference (but aren’t perfect) but you expect the LW to buy snow tires for something that happens once every five years in their area?

          1. Sci Fi IT Girl

            To clarify – tires make a world of difference (I lived in Utah so def survived with snow and studded tires) and it depends on the stuff they are on. In the South I have also seen some impressive ice and in my opinion no studs can make it up a sheet of thick ice. Snow pack, yep, absolutely. I’ve made it up Summit (I-80 in Utah) plenty of times with the right tires, slow and steady and 4 wheel drive. And back to what Snark mentioned – 4 wheel drive can also make a huge difference. If you have even one tire get traction, you are much more mobile than if the only tires that have rotation are stuck in snow or ice. And embarrassing as it is – I’ve wiped out walking on black ice not even realizing on was on the evil stuff. It seems to me that there is a lot more of that black ice stuff in the south than in the typical snow state (my opinion, not based on any facts here)

  37. Modernhypatia

    OP#2 – definitely tell your boss, and develop processes to deal with stuff (and have regular checkins about it) but also reach out to community management resources.

    Other people who are in the trenches doing this work will have all sorts of best practices and advice. (Things like using an alternate name/online identity for that work, what things are weird and should be escalated fast, what are fairly run of the mill.) These resources are also great for venting and support. There’s a podcast out there called Community Signal that has episodes about specific kinds of things, including dealing with threats or harassment as a community manager.

    I helped handle terms of service issues for an online site where threats, nastiness, etc. were a pretty common thing to deal with, as well as some pretty awful content sometimes. The other people doing that work and our manager made it an awesome experience (getting to help people who were having trouble on the site) but a lot of that was having help when weird things came up, and support with scary ones.

    As an example: ‘I’m going to sue you’ is a thing we heard multiple times a week (and people almost never even got a lawyer involved, we were following the site policies, no big deal). But complex or weird cases got escalated to get more eyes on them, plus anything that was emotionally rough (Possible suicide note reports were a big one. No one should deal with those solo if they can help it.)

    One good rule of thumb is that if you’d take action on someone doing something to another player, then that also applies to community management employees. If it’s not okay to threaten other players,, it’s not okay to threaten you – but it also maybe needs to be someone besides you who helps take action on it.

  38. Eye of Sauron

    I have to be honest. I don’t really get the problem for #3 (not saying there isn’t one, but that I don’t understand it).

    They called in, manager offered a suggestion (wait until later when it’s going to be warmer), said OK (but in a huffy manner).

    Is it the manager’s reaction that is the issue? If that’s it, my advice would be to not really pay attention to it. Managers get huffy, it can happen for any reason and 9/10 times they’ll get over it.

    1. Ambpersand

      Yeah, that sounds like the issue- the manager sounded annoyed and the OP is now worried about it. I’m with you- don’t pay much attention to it. Especially if it’s an hourly/retail position, things like that are going to happen. They are most concerned about making sure they’re staffed. When I was 18 I had to call out a lot for weather related reasons (commuting 30 miles to a part time waitressing job through poorly maintained country and rural roads) and although my manager wouldn’t always like it, I put my safety first. Nervous drivers are bad drivers, and add in ice/snow in an area that isn’t equipped? No thanks. The boss got over it and it never cost me anything- I was still a stellar employee when I was on shift and made up for it by covering other shifts when I could.

      I also think the OP is just going to have to learn to make these sort of judgement calls and be comfortable with their choices. I was raised to be cautious about driving in bad winter weather and will always opt to stay in rather than risk the roads. My current boss, on the other hand, drives a giant SUV with AWD and hasn’t ever missed a day due to bad weather. Our scenarios are different, though- I drive a lightweight hybrid and live 50 miles away, whereas she is more equipped and only has a 20 minute commute. Luckily we’re able to work from home on bad weather days, but it’s still something that OP will just have to learn to navigate and accept as they go into their adult career.

      1. Eye of Sauron

        I would even take bad weather driving out of the equation.

        This is likely the first in a long line of boundary setting exercises that the OP will be facing in their career. The manager’s reaction would likely be the same for calling in sick, having a family emergency, getting stuck in a different city because of a flight delay, etc.

        I think it’s a bit of a strong reaction to be terrified of a huffy response from a manager. Most of this will come from experience, but I think the more important msg for the OP to hear is that it’s OK that the manager got annoyed. Managers get annoyed at things their employees do (or don’t do). Hopefully some day LW 3 will embark on their own leadership role and will be rolling their eyes at some of things their employees come up with :)

        1. Ambpersand

          Agreed about the boundary setting exercises. It’s important to know where your line is and if you can deal with who you’re working for. But then again, hourly/shift work seems to have weird power dynamics. I once had to quit a retail job because of a bully manager who expected to get her way 24/7 (which included not scheduling me for almost 2 weeks and when I got a second job, finding plenty of overlapping shifts that suddenly needed filled). But yes, OP, managers are going to get annoyed- just like the rest of us. Whether it’s because you have to call off a shift at the last minute, or because you need to take a day off during a busy season, or even because they don’t like the smell of your lunch in the breakroom. But they get over it. This will be a very small blip on the radar as you move forward.

    2. Elsajeni

      Yeah, I think this is also a good point — it is super common for retail, food service, and similar shift-work managers to sound annoyed about an employee calling in, or to do some guilt-trippy “Are you absolutely sure? Could you wait a couple hours and see if you feel better and then call again if you’re still sick?” stuff about it. It’s not ideal management, but it happens, and it rarely means they’re going to hold a grudge or even really remember it later on. OP#3 did make the right choice; I think the advice above about focusing on the actual conditions vs. her feelings is helpful in general; I also think, regardless of how she asked, in a few weeks her manager will barely even remember who called in during the ice storm and who didn’t.

  39. Bridgette

    OP#3- I live in the South and we have been hit by an unusual number of snow and/or ice storms in recent years. If police and officials are urging people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, I’m staying off the roads. I know that in many professions (police, fire, medical) people really do need to come in if at all possible because those professions are needed the most in bad/unusual weather. Obviously retail jobs are very different, and I agree with Alison that if they are going to be hiring young people, especially teenagers who may not have experience driving in icy conditions, they need to have a little more patience and understanding with call-outs. Even if the weather cleared enough for you to come in a 1:30 and you work an 8 hour shift, that puts you leaving about 9:30-10 pm. The temps are going to have dropped by then and the road refreezes, then you have a nervous driver trying to get home in icy conditions in the dark.

    I also don’t understand why people want to try to drive to Walmart or Starbucks in bad weather. Unless you need medicine or toilet paper, if the officials in your area urge you to stay off the roads, it’s best to stay off the roads.

    I guess I am very lucky because in my current job, they say if we are open but the weather/conditions in your area prevent you from safely coming in, we just call and let them know. For example, I live at the top of hill and most of my driveway is shaded. If the road is cleared and treated, I still may not be able to go in because my driveway is still iced over and if I try to go down it, I’m going to end up in my neighbor’s ditch and possibly cause a wreck if I slide out in front of car. Also, I actually did wreck one year when it started snowing/sleeting and the temps were dropping fast and we were all sent home. I was driving down a hill with a sharp turn, my left front tire caught on a ice patch and I started sliding. I let off the gas and tried to steer in the direction of the slide, but I hit the curb and bent my wheel. It ended up costing close to $500 to repair the wheel and replace the tire and have the car lined back up. $500 was a big bite out of my budget back at that time.

    I know many people’s situations and experiences are different, this is just my personal experience.

    1. Triple Anon

      Yeah. It can vary by location, but in places that rarely get snow, driving in it is more dangerous. It’s because the municipality isn’t prepared, and it’s also because other drivers aren’t prepared. You’re going out on icy, unsalted roads, among drivers who don’t know how to drive in those conditions. In the southern places where I have lived, there are always a lot of accidents when there’s snow or ice. So I think OP made the right choice.

  40. Triple Anon

    #5 – This made me kind of roll my eyes. Is it just me or is the, “Collaboration is always good,” mentality being over-promoted these days? I don’t know if it’s Manager Tools or a similar product, but someone somewhere is preaching that everyone always has to collaborate as much as possible. And it just doesn’t make sense.

    Examples of Collaboration gone wrong:

    – Having an open floor plan so you can “collaborate” when, in practice, you don’t need to collaborate, so you just get on each other’s nerves and everyone becomes less productive.

    – People taking credit for other people’s work because it was a group project, even though they don’t have the skillset that they’re taking credit for.

    – Wasted time. Work being done more slowly because it had to be done as a group even though it was better suited to the opposite.

    – The usual social problems. Bully-ish types getting to push everyone around and create issues because of the lack of structure and excessive social time.

    Those are just some of the main ones that I’ve seen.

    Anyway, I have no idea where the OP’s manager is coming from. But I think we need to rein in our enthusiasm for collaboration a bit. Just like anything else, it is good when it is helpful, but solo work has its value as well. Think critically and do what will result in the best outcome.

  41. TootsNYC

    “I’ve never driven in ice and snow”

    Neither has anybody else–until they do it once.

    I wonder that day would have been a good day to start!

    Depending on when the ice and snow actually stopped coming down, the sun will shine on the roads all day, and they will probably be warmer than the air. Plus by the time you would have had to travel, other drivers will have driven on those roads, so their tires will break down a lot of what’s on the road. Then there’s salt and sand….

    Also, you had plenty of time, apparently–leave early, drive slow.
    It seems like it could have been the perfect opportunity to practice.

    If she’s a reasonable person, her impatience may have come from the idea that her judgment (it would be safe for you to travel, even if you had to do so carefully) is actually sound.
    (Other people were going to have to drive there, after all. You even expected them to travel instead of you.)

    I have a 24-y-o, and sometimes I genuinely think that she babies herself in situations similar to this.

    1. Falling Diphthong

      There is no salt and sand in Texas. This was at no point going to affect the ice unless you were in Galveston and the sea wind blew it onto the road.

    2. Totally Minnie

      This feels super judgmental toward the OP.

      I’m a grown adult who’s never lived in a place where snow and ice happen. It doesn’t even rain that often here, so traffic gets ridiculous any time we’ve got weather of any sort. Even if you’re driving slow and trying to be careful, you’ve got no guarantee that the other drivers are.

      OP, my recommendation would be to wait and see if your boss brings it up the next time you talk to her. It’s possible that her annoyed reaction on the phone was just a matter of “Dang it, now who’s going to cover the afternoon shift? My day has just become more difficult than I wanted it to be.” Her annoyance may have been at the situation rather than at you directly. But if she does bring it up, it’s reasonable for you to mention that drivers in your area are not accustomed to driving on ice, and that you did not believe it was safe to be on the roads. But do listen to her opinion and consider any points she brings up in the conversation.

    3. SallytooShort

      “Then there’s salt and sand….”

      Uh, no. It’s Texas. They don’t have these things very often and there is no salt and little sand. There are several people in the comments explaining how during this time LEOs were telling people to stay off the road and that it never did get to 35.

      This is absolutely absurd. Someone with no experience in these conditions, likely without the proper tires, on unsalted roads, should take their life in their hands for a job.

      You live in NYC. You are used to ice. This person is not. People with actual experience of the ice storm being spoken about are saying it was best to stay off the roads. But, sure, why not advise a teenager to do something stupid and reckless!

    4. Canto Bight

      Seconding the “there is no salt and sand in Texas” comment. A mild frost can make roads basically impassable here, and the problem is compounded not just based on whether you trust *yourself* to drive in the ice, but what roads you’re taking and whether you trust the other Texan drivers to drive wisely on the ice. When the temperature dips below freezing here, car accidents skyrocket, and you can safely bet that both of the drivers weren’t at fault in all of those accidents.

      Honestly, in the past I’ve braved driving in the ice in Texas and managed to hydroplane on one small remaining ice patch under the shadow of a tree, while the rest of the road was clear and thawed. I was fine, but that’s in part because the road was empty and I was going slower than normal.

      I do think the OP could have agreed to re-assess in the afternoon and then called the manager back if she still felt unsafe. Honestly, 9:30 is too early to be making that call for the rest of the day. Overnight ice storms in Texas are usually ancient history by the time the sun comes out, and the roads could have been perfectly passable by 1:45, which I think is what the manager was trying to communicate. But that’s a very different call from telling someone just to drive in unsafe conditions.

      1. Snark

        I drove 250 miles in west Texas in the same storm described, and aside from leaving later to let things warm up a bit, it wasn’t particularly bad driving – the roads were totally passable and aside from a few small ice patches, there really wasn’t anything to worry about.

        1. Falling Diphthong

          I was in Houston. The solid inch of gleaming ice carpeting the entire deck around the outdoor heated swimming pool at the hotel the next morning (late morning) was *interesting*, but not in an “I’ll just open this door and see if I can manage not to fall over” way.

      2. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials

        Waiting to see what happens in the afternoon is perfectly reasonable if all we’re worried about is whether it is safe for LW#3 to drive in to work. If her shift starts at 1:45 though, she’s not likely to get off until 9 or 10 pm, when temps have fallen and there could be ice out there in the dark. I still think this is the right call, and to ignore the manager’s huff. Retail staffing managers are huffy anyway because it’s the most annoying job in the universe. It doesn’t sound like the LW was penalized. And we don’t know whether the rest of the staff made it in that day.

        1. Canto Bight

          Sure, there could be complicating factors. I agree in the very specific circumstances you’re describing (eight hour shift AND expected to refreeze by 10 pm), that should be taken into account, but I don’t know why we’d assume those things. Especially in a place like Texas, the way these things often pan out is a panic about ice in the AM, a quick thaw by the afternoon, and an evening well above freezing to follow. It’s something of a meme around here to expect the day of a delayed school start or school closures to be a nice, dry, sunny day in the 50’s. Ultimately we don’t know her shift length or the forecast so I’m not sure why we’d assume those things.

    5. BettyD

      This is literally the opposite of what tends to happen in the parts of the South that rarely see snow. The sun will frequently shine after snow/ice, but without the level of warmth that fully melts anything. Instead it melts the surface and then everything refreezes as soon as the temperature dips. And other drivers on the road tend to compact the snow and ice on our local roads, making it more hazardous as people venture out, not less. For most municipalities, there is no salt, there is no sand.

      During our last storm in Georgia, it took two days for our county maintenance people to salt the parking lot of our government building, and we felt lucky they got to us. It took four days for the ice sheets to melt. I went walking on the afternoon of the second day, when the temps were in the middle 30s, and saw three narrowly avoided collisions as people skidded on nearly invisible ice patches.

      1. Decima Dewey

        Salt and sand have to be stored until they’re needed. If that’s every four or five years, who’s going to want to have a warehouse/vacant lot taken up with stuff that *might* be needed someday.

    6. Specialk9

      That’s really rude. It was rude even before you called it babying.

      Not to mention ignorant of the hidden privilege New York has of having an entire ice handling infrastructure. Unlike Texas. Which doesn’t have that ice and sand you think is standard and magically appears from the air.

      1. Annabelle

        Yeah, insinuating that young adults are “babying” themselves by being concerned for their bodily safety is awfully unkind. The whole “suck it up; you’ll be fine” attitude is part of the reason people end up wrecking their cars.

  42. Nonprofit Lady

    OP #1 – I like Allison’s advice, but I also feel like you can help nip this in the bud just by being a really positive force when you’re talking to Arya! This could be as simple as going to lunch with her and saying things about what a good temp assignment this company has been, or how you could see yourself working there long term if it weren’t for your circumstance, or whatever is true and positive! It obviously depends on Arya and how much she is conscientiously observing her surroundings, but I think when I was new to the working world, I was very observant of how different people handled things and grabbed onto attitudes and behaviors that I wanted to adopt myself.

    OP#4 – I’ve interviewed for several jobs over the past few years in what is a very small sector in my city- I run into people who have interviewed me all the time! Just last week I was at an event with my boss and we rode in an elevator with a woman who interviewed me less than 2 weeks ago! Of course, I was feeling awkward, but we did a nice, *smile* “how have you been?!” and it was fine! I’ve even become good professional friends with someone who turned me down for a job, and I feel like it positions me well for the future if I have a good reputation as someone who doesn’t take things like that too personally. So, just be nice and normal when you see these people! And don’t bring up the interview- you never know who they are with!

  43. Fiona

    OP#1 – Alison’s advice is really spot-on. In my last job (which was admittedly horrible), I was a bit older than my colleagues and had more experience and while I liked them all, they were constant complainers. It got so that the complaining itself was more toxic than the actual company’s policies and practices, and that’s saying a lot! Sometimes I had to just shut it down for my own mental health. If Arya is new to the working world, it could be very easy to slip into the habit of negativity and it really makes every day a chore. Like Alison says, I wouldn’t belabor the point, but it could be a very useful tip for someone early in their career.

  44. Angela Z

    #2 – Sadly this is the norm for that kind of industry. You can have the top-selling, award-winning game of the year that is beloved by millions of fans, but all it takes is changing a character’s weapon by 5% to get an army of angry gamers calling your game trash and insulting everyone involved with it. When there’s actually something to be upset about, angry gamers get even worse. OP, sorry you’re having to deal with that. I guarantee if your company has been around for more than a few months, they won’t be surprised at the kind of online treatment you’ve been getting. Hopefully they’ll have a plan for dealing with it. (And, if it helps, I’m sure the developers themselves are on the receiving end of the abuse much more than you are- you’re just the messenger!)

    As a marketer who loves video games, I’ll admit that gamers can be horrible with their behavior online.

  45. Autumnheart

    OP5: Set up a standing lunch once a month where you and your coworker go eat and talk about work for about 5 minutes. Then keep a note about what you talked about, e.g. “Discussed email process, individual workloads, upcoming vacation coverage” and enjoy your lunch. Boom, you collaborated.

    1. OP5

      Hah! There have been a couple of times lately when I have asked her for a quick opinion on something and followed up with “Thanks, great collaborating!”

    2. Triple Anon

      I think this is a good idea. And it’s not really bs. If you have lunch regularly and talk about work, you probably will find things to collaborate on, even if it’s just getting the other person’s perspective on whatever you’re working on.

  46. Canto Bight

    Oh man, OP 4, I feel you! I had a friend tell me one of her cohorts in grad school, Sansa, was applying for a job at my organization. I ended up interviewing Sansa and even said “Oh, you know Jane!” when I started the interview. Sansa didn’t end up getting the position.

    Several months later, I was at Jane’s house for a big holiday party, ended up chatting with a group of her friends I’d never met (or so I thought, you can surely see where this is going). I had a whole long conversation with one of these friends about her job hunt and how she was still looking and hadn’t found anything. Later in the conversation another mutual friend came up and I mentioned that other mutual friend had been hired at my organization recently, and told her where I worked. The woman I was talking to gave me a strange look but kind of played it off and said something like “Oh yeah, I heard she was working there.”

    Cut to a few days later when I’m talking with Jane and she mentions how I spent a lot of time talking to Sansa at the party. I hadn’t been introduced to Sansa by name when we started talking, so it took Jane mentioning her name for me to realize I’d had an entire conversation with someone I interviewed – acting as though I’d never met her before AND had casually dropped in a mention of the job she didn’t get!

    I was mortified, and now maybe suspect I might have mild face blindness. Any self-diagnosis to alleviate the awkwardness.

    1. Specialk9

      That sounds mortifying.

      I too tend to forget people’s faces. Or I’ll know their faces and forget their names.

  47. Safely Retired

    #4… I think the first mistake is using the word rejected. You simply didn’t hire them. We tell job seekers all the time “Just because you didn’t get hired doesn’t mean…”. Lets give those doing the hiring the same sort of advice. “You can only hire one person, so pick the best and wish the others well.” Hiring is burdensome enough without adding the burden of all those not hired.

  48. Another Academic Librarian

    For me, OP#1’s situation depends on how long she has been at this workplace. She says she is a temp and is “currently working for about a month,” but I don’t know if that means she has been there a month or that she will be there one more month (until April 1) and has been there longer.

    If she has been there only a short time, I think it could come across as pretty presumptuous to start giving this kind of workplace advice just because she is older and has more work experience. It feels a little like trying to be someone’s “work mom” instead of their coworker. Arya is a peer (also a temp), possibly has been there longer, and has been successful enough to receive an offer to stay on, and Sansa is presumably a regular employee who has been there four years. In a lot of workplaces, both of these people would have a higher status and more seniority than the OP, and it would seem a little off for the OP to take Arya to the side and give her unsolicited advice.

  49. Emily

    #3 – Another Texas native here who supports you. One thing you didn’t mention is how long your commute is, which is a huge factor in how dangerous it is to drive to work in icy conditions. I had an hour commute in my mid-20s and decided to brave the roads on an icy day one winter; for the entire drive I felt like I had taken my life into my hands. My car slipped and skidded the whole way, sometimes right through red lights and stop signs, even going under 10mph. It doubled my commute time. NEVER AGAIN will I try to drive in those conditions, and I honestly fail to see how Lyft/Uber would be a great option since so many people in Texas have NO IDEA how to safely drive in ice/snow. (Not to mention, most roads don’t get treated here.) Also, the temperature going above freezing doesn’t magically erase every patch of ice from the road, and another winter on that same long commute, my car spun out on the freeway because of a patch of ice I didn’t see. It’s sheer luck that other drivers avoided my car. I can’t even imagine dealing with that at 18. Please don’t risk your life for your job.

    Life Hack: Since that weather is so rare in Texas, make it easier on yourself next time and just call in sick. Lots of people get sick when the weather changes, anyway.

  50. bibble

    #2 – LOLWTF

    you’re getting threats?…ON THE INTERNET..on a gaming forum??? who ever heard of such a thing???

    how you cannot expect this is beyond me. go play DOTA or some other MOBA for 5 minutes and see how that entire community treats everyone on the web.

    1. Nope

      Look dudebro, if you think threatening behavior within any community is justified just because it’s “normal,” then I’ll tell you some age-old gaming advice: git gud.

  51. Miles

    #2 I think you’ll have to get used to that kind of thing. Gamers and gaming communities are infamous for the levels of vitriol they use and most of the worst (nonfamous) offenders of gamergate are still around and have just picked new targets. If the game has a vocal group who are dissatisfied these bad apples might start thinking they have a following and get even worse, which I think might be where you are at.

    Yes, definitely create that paper trail with your organization. Also do other “internet fame” best practices for protecting yourself. For example speak to your local police department and find out exactly how they handle the types of calls that people use when swatting, and what you should do to be safe from accidents if it does happen to you, especially if you ever get doxxed. Let the police officer or sergeant know who you are and what you do, and how that can make you a target. Another best practice is to the company’s VPN as a buffer each time you log in to any of their accounts if you do any work from off site and don’t interact with fans except using the online persona you’ll end up building. You probably aren’t in real danger, but you will likely become somewhat internet famous as part of your job and it’s a good idea to be safe when it comes to the nastier things someone might try. Good community management should also reduce the number of threats as people get off their soapboxes and the bad apples realize nobody is on their side any more.

  52. She Who Must Be Obeyed (formerly Laura)

    OP#2 – You could also point out to Arya that a job is what you make it. I had a very negative attitude I learned from my father, who has never seen the good in anything or anyone. One day, I realized I didn’t particularly like myself and resolved to do better. I’m still sarcastic, but I think that’s just dark humor (and Reader’s Digest says it’s a sign of a genius, ha ha). Anyway, my life and my job seemed to improve a lot, just because I learned to see the good side of things. Sansa is miserable because she chooses to be, whether she realizes it or not.

  53. Kimberly

    I’m going to disagree with Allision on #3 – because it depends a great deal on where in Texas the LW was. I’m in Houston and even after it got above freezing in air temp there was ice on the bridges. Houston is The Bayou City and I can’t go more than 2 miles from my house in any direction without hitting a bridge. State, county, and local cops were begging people to stay off the roads. For several days after we started to get above 32F, my sidewalk and driveway were still iced over because they were in shadow all day. All we have to treat the roads is sand – the same stuff we use to pack sandbags for our now annual 100 to 500-year floods. To be honest with 2 100 year floods, Hurricane Harvey, and now this ice storm in a 3 year period people are listening to the cops and flat-out refusing to drive in dangerous weather. Almost everyone who has died in these events – died in a car or after being swept out of one.

    In more rural areas you have thousands of bridges people don’t register because they are low water bridges. Just a couple of feet above a creek or stream, or dry river bed. Those tend to ice over in a flash.

  54. Meißner Porcelain Teapot

    @OP 1: Completely agree with Alison here. If you get along well with Arya, say something along the lines of “you know, one thing I’ve realized recently is that Sansa seems to be pretty unhappy here. I don’t really get why, because X and Y might be annoying sometimes, but that’s just part of the job and I honestly don’t believe it to be that big a deal, but oh well…”

    @OP 2: Pretty much every game these days has TOC and privacy policies that explicitly mention that any unlawful, threatening, or disrespectful behavior towards other players, the developers, or developer-appointed representatives can and will result in temporaryor or permanent bans, so what you need to do here is actually pretty clear:
    1) Look at the TOC and PP for your game. Make sure what’s covered and what’s not.
    2) Take screenshots/logs of any harassment/threats, with date, name, and content.
    3) Temp ban single offenders and perm ban repeat offenders.
    4) Keep the records in case any of the banned people decide to escalate this out of the game and into real life (doxxing, assault, etc.), in which case the police will be very grateful for all the wonderful evidence.
    5) DO NOT, under any circumstances, meet up with ANY of these people in real life. Seriously. NEVER. Not even if they are nice. Not even if they seem alright. Best case scenario, you meet someone nice. Worst case scenario, you get a jealous stalker or you get assaulted. DO NOT.

    OP 3: As Alison said, simply being insecure about driving in snow/ice is not a reason to stay at home. I currently live in a country where the wheather is sort of same-y all year around and people are definitely not prepared for snow and ice. Still, unless your employer specifically tells you “conditions are unsafe – please stay at home”, it is your job to come in. That may include taking a bus/Uber/Lyft/taxi, etc., there are so many options, especially if it is just for one day. If you really want to push it and you’re really strapped for cash, you might ask your employer if they would re-imburse you for your expense (I had that happen once with a colleague who had to work overtime past the timetable of the bus she needed to get home, so our employer reimbursed her for the taxi ride home).

    OP 4: As Alison said, just say something like “Oh, I see. So what brings you here today? [i. e. change topic]”

    OP 5: This sounds to me like someone just took a Lynda course on management and is now desperately trying to check off a list of supposed signs of a good management style. Definitely go back to your boss and ask him what prompted this or whether he had any specific ideas regarding this “increased co-operation” since, from your perspective, everything seems to be going fine and you’re getting along well with your co-worker and work is getting done to everyone’s satisfaction. And who knows? Maybe you’ll find out that things are not as well as you think! Maybe there have been issues cropping up that weren’t communicated clearly to you and your co-worker. Maybe someone is spreading rumors that you and co-worker hate each other, because you once argued over something trivial in the office kitchen. Or maybe your boss really did just take an awful Lynda course. You won’t know until you ask.

    1. Kathlynn

      Yeah, many places don’t have access to additional transportation options. Even if the city or town has them, the individual may live too far away to reach them. Like, to catch the bus I have to walk 20 minutes, mostly uphill. Not something I’m actually willing to do just before working an 8 hour shift, for health reasons. There are only 2 taxi companies. In situations like this (unusually bad road conditions) they are going to be backed up, maybe not running at all. And I don’t have access to uber/lyft type companies.

    2. Anonymeece

      If the OP was in certain cities – Austin, I think is one? – Uber and Lyft is banned. And honestly, I have never used a cab in Houston.

      And if the OP was in Houston, then her employer might not have been saying, “Conditions are unsafe – please stay at home”, but the mayor and all emergency services sure were. I think that trumps the employer.

      1. Meißner Porcelain Teapot

        Sure, if official city and weather services issue red alerts and tell people to stay home unless absolutely necessary, then, yes, that trumps the employer’s orders, but there’s nothing in the OP’s letter to indicate this. In his/her shoes, I would have taken a cab. And if those had not been running / all booked until late in the afternoon, then I might have called my employer and informed them of the situation.

        I am not saying the OP should risk her life to go to work. I am just making a point that there are usually other options one can try in order to get to work and these should at least be considered before calling in to stay at home. Again, this is assuming that there was NOT an official curfew/warning in place.

    3. Tricksy Hobbit

      “Still, unless your employer specifically tells you “conditions are unsafe – please stay at home”, it is your job to come in.”

      Except no job is worth your life…or totaling your car. If I lost my car even with insurance I would not be able to afford to buy a new one. Unless you are a first responder, medical staff etc. you should not be on the roads when ALL of the city officials are telling you to stay home. OP#3 you chose your personal safety over your job, your boss was unreasonable. I would NEVER ask my employees to come to work if they felt their personal safety was a risk by the weather.

  55. Meow meow

    Maybe too late in the day for a response, but curious. I live in an area where it never snows or ices, so have no experience driving in adverse conditions. I may need to move to such an area in the future. I am also in the medical field where I will absolutely have to go in, no matter the weather. Obviously if I move to an area where it snows frequently, going to have to learn/get used to it. But what do I do if I lived in area such as the LW, where the city is unprepared and people don’t know how to drive either?

    1. Beatrice

      Live close to work if you can. If you can’t, consider getting a hotel room nearby for the night or using an on-call room to stay close to work in rare bad weather. If you must drive, allow lots of extra time and drive slowly. Avoid driving rear-wheel drive vehicles in winter weather conditions. Prepare for bad weather driving by making sure your tires and brakes are in good shape, and having cold weather gear, snacks, water, sand, and a shovel in your car. Expect worse fuel efficiency in winter weather, too.

      1. Beatrice

        And by cold weather gear, I mean mittens, a hat, boots, a warm coat, etc. Imagine getting stuck and needing to walk a bit or be outside in the elements to push your car. You don’t have to dress for that, but bring the stuff with you just in case you need to bundle up.

      2. Falling Diphthong

        A small collapsible shovel and traction mats. I use them very rarely, but every few years when I got stuck in a snow-covered parking lot, I was really glad I had them.

    2. Falling Diphthong

      My experience (mom is a nurse) was that they often had volunteers collecting and delivering medical staff during storms. In this storm, the hospital where my family member had surgery booked all the nearby hotels and I imagine had staff on cots as well.

      You can learn to drive on snow: mostly go slow and allow lots of space to slow down or speed up–oh, and figure out how to avoid making a left turn from a stop sign to merge into moving traffic. If in an area with serious winter weather, snow tires for the winter.

      1. Annie Moose

        The way I’d put it for driving in slippery conditions: drive like you’re trying to trick someone into not realizing what you’re doing. Do everything gently! Accelerate slowly. Leave yourself three times as much space to slow down and never stomp on the brakes. If you have to switch lanes, do so gradually. Normal turns of a steering wheel, normal braking, and normal acceleration can all cause you to start skidding or spinning, so do everything more gently and gradually.

        If you have the opportunity to practice in a safe area such as a parking lot without cars, I would strongly suggest taking advantage of it! Cars just handle differently in snow and ice. Even for those of us who live in areas with snow and ice every winter, it takes time to get my “winter driving” brain on, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t instantly comfortable. We all slide screaming through at least one intersection before we remember how to drive on ice. ;)

        And if worse comes to worse, just drive really, really slowly.

    3. Meißner Porcelain Teapot

      @Meow meow: My advice would be to look into alternative transport options. Ask colleagues if you can carpool with someone. If that’s a no-go, check for Uber/Lyft/taxi. If you are strapped for cash, ask your employer if they could reimburse you for such expenses. If there is public transport relatively nearby, you might be able to switch to that. If the weather is so absolutely terribly bad that even cabs won’t drive (don’t know what would be like that – maybe a hurricane or something), then ask your employer if they can arrange accomodation in walking distance for their staff.

      1. Meow meow

        thanks y’all for the helpful replies! I am a huge fan of living close to work, especially since I will expect to be working…a…lot….and will keep the advice for learning how to drive in snow/ice in mind.

  56. Nonsenical

    On number one, I suppose it depends on the situation. I worked for a toxic boss once and the way he spoke to me was almost abusive, yelling at me constantly. I befriended a co-worker who remarked to me that he had noticed the way my boss spoke to me (the coworker’s cube was right besides my desk, so he was witness to some of the incidents that occurred.)

    Being that I was working for a famous theme park on a very highly competitive internship, I didn’t say anything to anyone.

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