my coworker has a podcast about sex, I declined a promotion then changed my mind, and more

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

1. My coworker has a podcast about sex

I have what I guess I’d call a boundary question. One of my coworkers (he’s a peer) has a podcast with his wife relating to marriage and sex. He uses LinkedIn to promote it. His LinkedIn is connected to our company as well. While I don’t think there’s anything personally I need to do about it, considering our boss is also connected to him on LinkedIn and I figure if he’s got a problem with it, he can address it directly, where’s the line in terms of promoting personal projects (of a sometimes personal nature) on LinkedIn while also being connected to your company?

It’s a case by case judgment call. If this is an explicit podcast that gets really into personal details about his sex life, I’d be concerned about promoting that on LinkedIn alongside an otherwise PG-rated professional persona. If it’s more that it touches on the existence of sex but isn’t particularly personal or explicit, it could be fine. The question for him to ask is probably, “If a reasonable person in my professional network saw this on my profile and listened to the show, is it likely to make them really uncomfortable?”

I say “reasonable” because you shouldn’t need to cater to unreasonable people, who might be upset that you have a show about, say, vegetarianism or heavy metal. So “someone got upset” isn’t the litmus test; it’s whether reasonable people are likely to. And of course even with vegetarianism or heavy metal, it would still be smart to think about whether you want those interests associated with you professionally — but that’s more about deciding what you want for yourself, whereas with a show about sex, there’s an additional consideration of not making unsuspecting professional contacts feel really uncomfortable.

2. I think I declined a promotion, but now I’ve changed my mind

A department manager in my company will be moving overseas towards the end of the year, so in about six months’ time her second-in-charge will move into the manager role and the 2IC position will preferably be filled internally. Last week, my own manager casually asked if I would be interested, and I hemmed and hawed and suggested a colleague who is more experienced, and ended up saying we could probably find a much better candidate than me if we advertised externally! My manager countered by saying that any skills I felt I was lacking could probably be developed in the role and I voiced my doubts again so he dropped it.

However, after talking to a good friend who reminded me I have plenty of experience and that I tend to downplay my strengths and stay in my comfort zone too long, I decided that this is a great opportunity and I could rise to the challenges in the 2IC role (and maybe even excel!). How do I express this to my manager? I’m definitely on the Guess side of Ask vs Guess culture and it seems very presumptuous. I don’t know if the topic would come up again organically and I feel very apprehensive about bringing it up out of the blue, as it wasn’t an actual offer but rather a conversation to gauge my interest. What if they’ve already decided on promoting my colleague based on my apparent disinterest?

It’s not too late! Or at least, it’s probably not too late, and it would be perfectly appropriate for you to go back to your manager now and tell him that you’ve thought over your conversation and you’d like to be considered. If they’ve already moved forward with someone else, he’ll tell you that — but he won’t think you’re presumptuous for mentioning it. If anything, he’s likely to be glad that you thought about it and decided you’d be interested in that kind of challenge, even if the timing won’t work out for this one.

You can just say something like this: “I’ve thought more about our conversation last week about the second-in-command role, and I’m actually really interested. What do I need to do to officially throw my hat in the ring?” (If you’re worried about how much time has gone by, you could add, “If I’m not too late, of course.”)

3. How do I break bad news about my dog?

I work in a dog-friendly office (in fact, this is the main perk that brought me here from my old job). I bring my dog with me every day – I like to joke that when I don’t bring him, I get less done, because every person I work with stops at my desk and asks where he is and how he’s doing. He has a great temperament and serves as an informal therapy dog for many members of my team. He’s endeared himself to the vast majority, we’ve tried hard to be respectful to the minority who aren’t dog fans overall, and over time he’s become something like a team mascot.

However, over the past few days, I’ve received the terrible news that he has a terminal illness and only has about one year left to live, assuming that an upcoming surgery is successful. If the surgery isn’t successful, he’ll have even less time. This is doubly shocking because he’s very young – not even three – and this illness typically afflicts more seniors dogs. He’s been the picture of health until a minor symptom showed up only a few weeks ago.

Since my team is so close with him, I’m having trouble figuring out how to break the news to the office. Of course, to my friends at work, and the few colleagues who work on my small project with me, I’ve already divulged most details. But I’m worried about how to deliver the news to my larger team (~50) who sits near me and enjoys my dog day-to-day. I don’t want to be in a position where I unwittingly ruin someone’s day by passing on news as heavy as this, but I also don’t want to go through the personal pain of having to explain to every concerned coworker, over and over, what is wrong and when is his surgery. What do you think?

I’m so sorry about your dog!

You could try deputizing a couple of other people to spread the news, and to explain that you’re trying to avoid having to have 50 separate painful conversations about it, and so please be sensitive to not asking you about it all the time. And that might work! But realistically, you’re working with a bunch of people who love your dog and see him every day, and my hunch is that as time goes on, you’re going to get people asking you about how he’s doing. If that happens, it might be good to have a prepared response like “He’s hanging in! I’m trying not to think about it at work too much.”

4. What happened to this job offer?

I applied for a job and two days later was contacted about an interview. I arrived and my interviewer was almost 30 minutes late. He said he had been commuting between two offices for a few months and was a little frazzled. I accepted and and joked that hopefully I could be the answer to commuting problem. The interview went really well. He even gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to people I would be managing. He said he would send me a detailed personality assessment and then contact me to have me interview with another person on staff. I sent a thank-you email the following day.

Two weeks go by and I don’t hear anything. On the two-week mark, he calls and says he doesn’t need all that and he would like to offer me the position. I accepted and he said he would send me the offical offer. I received it and called him to ask a few questions and discuss salary. When I called, he seemed surprised I was asking very standard questions about a 401k and benefits. I told him I wanted to make sure I had all the information I needed before I signed the offer. During the salary negotiation portion of our call, he said he would have to get back to me with specifics.

Four days go by and he texts me on Easter Sunday asking if a certain amount was acceptable. I mentioned my other questions and he just copied and pasted a definition from the internet, asking is that was what I meant. I asked me to please email me all the answers to my questions so I can get back to him with a proper answer.

That was over two weeks ago. I messaged him and called, with no response. Did I miss some red flags because I wanted the position? Or is this a normal business practice. I do know that texting me on a Sunday (let alone Easter Sunday) was odd, but the rest of it seemed normal. I think? It’s just very odd and I could use some future guidance.

Texting you on Easter was weird, but the even weirder part is that he responded to normal questions about benefits by pasting internet definitions of those terms. (I’m assuming your questions weren’t worded in a way that sounded like you were asking him to explain what the benefits meant, but even then, replying with cut and pasted definitions would be strange.) Also alarming: his surprise that you had questions about the offer details.

My guess is that he decided you were too much work and just washed his hands of it and moved on. That doesn’t mean that you were too much work; what you asked sounds very reasonable. But this sounds like a guy who doesn’t want to deal with details or people who want to ensure they know what they’re signing on for.

{ 262 comments… read them below }

  1. Viki*

    RE: podcast, I think besides being not my business if my colleague has a side gig and is advertising it, even if it is perhaps sexual in nature, I would wonder if it’s a well known podcast and part of a podcast network with sponsors and all that.

    Then not only is that a second job, there’s also other skills that comes with being successful at podcast which in my opinion warrant putting on my LinkedIn.

    1. LouiseM*

      That’s a really good point. Personally, I would be wary of connecting my own professional presence to a personal side project like that, but if it’s a big enough podcast that might be impressive enough to make me change my mind.

      1. Oxford Coma*

        I would expect either the topic or the medium to be at least marginally career-relevant. So, a podcast about a controversial topic could be listed if you’re in marketing, advertising, IT, sound engineering, etc. If you don’t work in a field that uses skills that overlap with the skills needed to run a successful podcast, then the topic needs to be related to your field. So, in the letter example, assume for sake of argument that the podcast owner works in something that has to do with public health/counseling/etc.

        If you can’t hit either of those metrics, then don’t include it on your resume/CV/cover letter/LinkedIn/etc.

        1. tinyhipsterboy*

          I mean, LinkedIn is a different beast from a resume/CV/cover letter, since those are usually tailored specifically for the job they’re applying for. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, but it also covers your skills and past work history in general since it’s a profile of a person rather than something to apply for positions in a specific field (depending on what you’re doing, of course). Hell, I work in proofreading right now, but it’s not necessarily what I want to stay in; that doesn’t mean I should leave my former media workplaces off my LinkedIn page just because it’s my current career path.

      2. Wintermute*

        Counterpoint: If it is a big part of your life, it’s a good way to self-screen against employers that won’t be okay with someone running an advice column on their own time that has that subject matter.

        Also I think you’re right, especially if they’re in a creative or content producer industry, to use the legal terms from deciding if a prior crime can be talked about the “probative value” of proving you can create content that gets engagement and has a fanbase may outweigh the “prejudicial” knowledge that it’s something not traditionally safe for work.

    2. P*

      Also – can we stop singling out this one category of “Basic universal human activities” as shameful and unworthy of respect?

      There would be no issue if his podcast was about food (making or eating), sleeping and dreams, talking/language, walking, running, healthy relationships, socializing, fashion, learning, death, pregnancy, disease, body adornment, history, art, hairstyles, weather….

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s not that it’s shameful or not worthy of respect. But I think you see that there’s a difference between, for example, talking to uninterested coworkers about food and talking to uninterested coworkers about sex. We’ve agreed as a society that it’s creepy to do the latter. (That’s not exactly what’s going on in #1, but I’m responding to your point about how we shouldn’t treat sex differently.)

      2. ArtK*

        In truth, there would be controversy over just about all of those. Alison mentioned vegetarianism. People can get very offended by that. The fact is, people can get offended by just about anything that someone else does. It’s just that sex catches attention more quickly.

      3. JB (not in Houston)*

        but I don’t think the OP thinks sex is a topic that is shameful and unworthy of respect. I think they think most people don’t want to know all the details of the sex lives of all their LinkedIn business contacts

        1. JM60*

          If people don’t want to know the details of the coworker’s sex life, they don’t have to listen to the podcast! Listing the podcast on one’s profile is not the same as making people listen to the podcast without their consent. They have to take additional steps beyond looking at someone’s LinkedIn page to listen to the podcast, and if someone takes those steps, they’ve opted into it.

          1. JM60*

            I just want to add that I think listing a sexually explicit podcast on your LinkedIn profile is a bad idea 99% of the time. However, I think that society tends to be a bit too prudish and irrational when it comes to sexuality, and if this weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be a problem with listing a sexually explicit podcast on one’s LinkedIn page if it’s relevant to one’s career (e.g., if it demonstrates certain skills).

        2. OP1*

          Correct! I have no issues with sex as a topic, it’s more the venue. And honestly, if he were promoting it on Facebook or Twitter or a more truly social network (where you can kind of control the connection to your professional persona), I wouldn’t have blinked. It’s mostly that I’m just scrolling LinkedIn and I see “How to Spice Up Your Sex Life” in a space where I wouldn’t expect to encounter that. Additionally, my company has a relatively conservative culture, so that’s also what made me kind of question it.

      4. paul*

        There’s what is, and what should be.

        I’m in a deeply conservative area, and having my name attached to something like that could actually hurt me professionally. Yeah it sucks, and I think its bogus, but it’s the truth. And I could decide to fight it or not, but I think it’s a decision to make with your eyes open at least.

        I’d also argue that sex really is more personal than eating; I’ve had dinner with a lot more people than I’ve slept with.

        1. paul*

          Since this is a second or third hand thing, for the OP I wouldn’t worry about it myself, but in my area, I wouldn’t do it either.

          And, honestly, depending on content, I could easily see our CEO telling them to take it off linkedin as long as they listed us as an employer. It’d probably depend on how explicit it was and if we got any complaints about it.

          1. Flash Bristow*

            Yep. I once had something that my employer didn’t like, on my personal website. They realised that they couldn’t interfere with my life outside work, but asked me to ensure there was nothing on said website to link me to them. I did have my CV on my site too, but it didn’t name my employer (honestly I wasn’t proud to work for them anyway). So that was that.

            But… Yeah. I think they were more concerned about the risk of other employees seeing what I’d written (it was some fiction that would probably qualify for the Bad Sex Award ) and it going round the office, and everyone gossiping when they were meant to be working – sort of lowering the tone of water cooler conversations.

            Anyway, it’s reasonable for your employer to make sure they aren’t connected to something they think is dubious, but if you’re not listed as working for them, it’s not fair for them to try and control what you do out of work. They just don’t want to be accidentally tagged with it.

        1. Penny Lane*

          And just as I don’t care about the sex lives or preferences of my coworkers, I really don’t care if someone is asexual either. But it’s always a good way to call attention to yourself, I suppose.

          1. Legal Beagle*

            Aeryn Sun was responding to the original commenter saying it was a “basic universal human activity.” There’s no need to be nasty. (On the other hand, there were multiple examples in that comment that are not “universal” – pregnancy, running, body art, etc. – and I don’t think it’s adding much to nitpick at that.)

          2. Aeryn Sun*

            The hell? I was just pointing out that sexual attraction is not something universally experienced by people. A lot of asexual people get frustrated by how it’s treated as this thing that people always experience, and since it’s not a really well known thing (ace representation in media is still a huge problem) I try to be open about it when I can be.

            I guess acephobia is alive and well.

            1. selena81*

              i’m not asexual but i do hate it when people say sex is ‘a human right’ and especially if they conclude from that that they have the right to use prostitutes or to force their sexual stories onto everyone. no right should infringe on other people’s right to be left alone (physically and emotionally).

            2. Flower*

              I’m on the ace spectrum (demi) and +1 – it’s super irritating that sexual attraction and desire are treated as universal or “what makes us human.”

          3. tinyhipsterboy*

            Wait, so now “hey, don’t forget there *are* people who don’t want to have sex at all” is attention-grabbing? You don’t need to be rude when someone’s simply commenting on something.

        2. MJ*

          HIGH-FIVE yep!

          Though I reckon the range of reactions amongst ace folks probably at least roughly mirrors the range of reactions among allosexual people :)

        3. Rat in the Sugar*

          Yup! And not just the aces either–I’m aromantic, and lots of us who don’t have romantic relationships also don’t have sex lives. Plus plenty of other people–those with injuries/illness/disability that make sex impossible, those who have chosen celibacy, or those who just don’t have sex for whatever other reason.

          Not trying to get into “not everyone can eat sandwiches” territory or derail, just want to add a quick remark that there’s more people out there not having sex than you may think!

          1. Aeryn Sun*

            Absolutely! Don’t want to not include aro people, demi people, etc. etc. There are a lot of us out there in the ace/aro community!

            1. Rat in the Sugar*

              Heh, more of us than I think sometimes! It’s always good to see a comment from another “A”, sometimes I feel a bit invisible. I feel like I’ve seen more mentions of it from others lately, which is awesome! I feel that more awareness not only helps us “A”s/demi-s/etc., but also those who are non-sexual due to the other reasons I listed. I’ve heard people who can’t have sex due to disability or chronic illness talk about how the assumption that everyone has sex makes them feel like they can’t be happy/live full lives without being able to have it…hopefully if they can see more of us leading happy, normal, sexless lives, less people will feel that way!

              1. Oranges*

                Yessss, the “you don’t have a significant other therefore something is wrong with you” makes me want to scream sometimes. Ergh,

                Personally, I just have a bunch more barriers to a relationship than most. Being demi (or something…) and lesbian on TOP of the usual relationship dealbreakers everyone* has means my pool of acceptable mates is tiny. Not non-existent but tiny. Therefore if I have a date it’s a BIG deal nevermind a SO which I’ve never had.

                *Everyone has their own set of dealbreakers. There isn’t a universal one size fits all.

              2. Aeryn Sun*

                For me I had no idea asexuality was an orientation until I was in my 20s – I thought it meant something more akin to celibacy. It would have certainly made my teenage years easier to know that not feeling attraction is normal!

          2. Michaela Westen*

            Well, this is getting into the differences in what’s portrayed in our (U.S.) media/culture and what actually goes on.
            You watch TV and the characters are having sex all the time, sometimes in unhealthy or dangerous ways – I’ve seen more than one show where a young beautiful person was encouraged to pick up a stranger at a bar and go home with them, for example.
            Which is different from what people actually do, and there’s a wide range – some are promiscuous, some are celibate, most in between. Some go through a phase of promiscuity after a bad breakup.
            The media focus on sex is confusing for a person who’s trying to figure out how to have good relationships and how to handle sex. It can be hard to figure out what you need and should be looking for with all this sex bombardment.
            And then in conservative/religious areas they teach you it’s dirty or a sin – a whole other area of confusion…
            And the bottom line is people should do what works for them, but it can take half your life to figure that out!

      5. Penny Lane*

        That ship has sailed. We already distinguish between categories of activities. I might say to a stranger in line “boy, this weather is great!” or “how ’bout those Cubs” or “I really like that dress you’re wearing” but I don’t ask “so, are you pregnant” or “how much do you make” or “what do you think about (sex act).” I know you must think it’s clever to treat all categories the same but they aren’t.

        1. Anna*

          Nobody thinks it’s “clever,” but it’s the nature of US culture to think sex is a dirty secret in a world where most people have it. It falls in line with calling your sexual organs euphemisms instead calling them the body parts they are. Your comparisons are valid; we have already decided there are distinctions and we don’t bring them up in public.

          I know you think you’re being a straight shooter and just cutting through the BS, but you come off as rude and a little out of touch. Maybe try reigning it in a little.

          1. Chinook*

            Even in cultures where sex isn’t as taboo, it still isn’t openly discussed in public. I mean, when I was in Japan, I had discussions with colleagues and strangers about pubic hair (the “perks” of bathing naked with others) and saw people openly reading sexually explicit manga, but not even my most advanced English students (as in fluent and coming to class to practice complex discussions) never meandered into discussing sex and we had plenty of “off-topic” discussions in my classes.

            1. Julia*

              Not sure I would call sex not taboo in Japan. I’m from Europe and my brothers brought girlfriends home to stay over in their rooms all the time, which is simply NOT done in Japan. I had to marry my husband before we could sleep in the room at his parents’ house. I don’t think they ever talked to him about sex at all. I also have many friends whose parents don’t allow them to move in with partners or go on trips together before they’re married – which they all do anyway and lie about it, especially if they’re financially independent women around 30.

              It is true that even with close friends I have here, we almost never talk about sex unless it’s someone who has spent significant time abroad. Even with my best friend, it’s simply not a topic, even though she knows I take birth control pills for endometriosis, for example. Sure, there are crude old guys (or women) who make sexual jokes, but I don’t think those count as conversations. I once tried to have a conversation about birth control in a group of university students (when I was a student as well) and everyone looked so embarrassed. Statistics say a lot of Japanese couples don’t use birth control because they hate talking about it.

              I can’t even say I mind much. Sure, it’s stupid to get pregnant because you can’t talk about your preferred form of birth control. But I don’t miss hearing extreme details about people’s sex lives during class or on the train, as I often did in Europe. Sex isn’t shameful, but does it mean I need to hear every single description of what people do? Hell no.

    3. epi*

      I agree. From the coworker’s perspective, it makes perfect sense to give out your LinkedIn to potential guests and collaborators, rather than his personal social media. He can hardly hide the existence of a podcast he is hoping to promote. It’s obviously part of his public persona whether it pays the bills or not.

      Lots of people have more creative pursuits that they see as their real calling, and just because a day job is still needed doesn’t make it just a hobby. Many talented and successful artists may still always need to have another job. The coworker may see the podcast as being his real profession, or think of himself as having a dual professional identity. His employer does not own his whole professional identity just because they presumably pay him more. And in any case, the employer doesn’t seem to care.

      Whatever the coworker’s reasons, lots of people would probably see this as neutral to positive information about the company if they connect it at all. A place where employees are able to balance an outside creative pursuit, and not feel afraid to share it? Sign me up!

  2. Sami*

    Oh OP3: I’m so sorry about your dog. I think Alison’s advice about deputizing a few coworkers to manage the news is best.
    Hopefully the surgery is successful!

    1. LouiseM*

      Me too. This is so sad, OP, and I’m sending you positive thoughts.

      Since it sounds like your coworkers just adore this dog, I’m sure they will be happy to help you deal with this however they can.

    2. Dog's Line Manager*

      Thanks for the kind wishes – his surgery was this week and he’s actually surpassing the surgeon’s expectations for recovery (although his overall prognosis has not changed). The surgery was intended to combat some debilitating symptoms and should allow us to spend the rest of his days doing things he loves, rather than suffering.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I’m glad to hear that.
        I’m sorry to hear about your dog. I think you’d be fine to wait to tell you coworkers about his prognosis, if you would find it easier not to have people asking abut it over a long period of time.
        If you decide to tell people now, then I think that Alison’s suggestion about telling a few people and asking them to let others know is a good one, and then perhaps let people know that it is hard to talk about so please don;t ask too often. Perhaps once you’ve let people have the initial news you could send round an update by email when there are any developments.
        Best wishes

      2. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish*

        I’m so sorry about your dog’s diagnosis and am glad to hear he’s feeling a bit better.

        I take my dog to work most days as well, and I know my colleagues are super attached to her too, so this was good information for me as my girl is 10 and won’t always be around.

        Good luck, and all the vibes to you and your pup.

      3. EddieSherbert*

        I’m so very sorry about your pup’s diagnosis (even thinking about losing my dog has me tearing up at my desk), but happy his surgery went well! Sending you lots of good vibes during this tough time, and I hope he continues to surpass the vet’s expectations. Give him treats and hugs from all of us at AAM!

        And +1 to Alison’s advice – you don’t need the stress of having that conversation over and over again.

      4. Legal Beagle*

        So sorry about your pup. Is is an option to send a group email so everyone is informed, without you having to relay the news multiple times? You can even put in a note like, “I’ll send out occasional health updates, but during this difficult time, I’d prefer not to discuss Rex’s prognosis in the office.” In past jobs, I’ve gotten “bad news”-type emails, such as letting employees know that a coworker had lost a parent. It worked well as a way to share the information widely without burdening the bereaved.

        1. Dog's Line Manager*

          This is an option, and honestly one I was sort of hoping to get guidance on by writing in (though I didn’t say anything about it specifically, so I don’t blame Allison for not mentioning it – she’s not psychic). I wasn’t sure whether it would be appropriate to send so widely – although it’s fairly normal within my area to send emails that begin with something like, “If you don’t care about Topic, stop reading now” so it’s fairly widely understood that not all emails will apply to everyone who receives them. I’m curious to get an opinion on how the commentariat would feel about getting that kind of news from an email, or about seeing one of their direct or indirect reports send that kind of news in an email broadcast.

          1. Crystal*

            Yeah I was thinking something like a caring bridge site or even just a twitter where you could post updates on your awesome dog? Instead of answering tons of questions all the time? I think if it’s a dog friendly office and everyone knows your dog then sending a email is fine and even appreciated. My two cents.

          2. A tester, not a developer*

            My department goes with broadcast emails, since we’d rather have people just delete a message they don’t have an interest in, instead of having someone not be aware of a sensitive situation and say/do something hurtful.

      5. nonymous*

        We’re in a similar situation (I work from home and my coworkers are used to seeing the doggos in the background video), and I’ve personally made the choice not to share his prognosis. Instead I’m focusing on being an even more dog-centric household and taking as many pics/vids as possible to make his last months happy and give me good memories to buffer against grief (I was really surprised how helpful pics were after our last dog passed). My outer social circle just thinks I’m a crazy dog person.

        From what I understand dogs don’t have the capacity for dread, so in my down moments I definitely focus on sharing the dog’s attitude, if that helps. Words are not enough to express how emotional this process is – good luck and please give your pupper a belly rub from me.

        1. Old Man Beagle*

          Thanks so much for this. We are putting our 15.5-y-o beagle to sleep tomorrow morning and have been giving him steak, bacon, Doritos, cream cheese, Cheddar, etc. all week long. I’m glad we have been able to do this for him and I’m apprehensive that tomorrow morning I am just going to lose it entirely. I have even debated telling him that they are sending him to an awesome dream place so I can imagine it and he can’t catch my sad vibe.

          Also would like to second the “I’m trying not to think about it too much at work” thing. I have said it several times to my very wonderful colleagues and it has worked really well (in addition to being helpful to my attitude). Work isn’t everything and I know people will understand that I am upset, but I also don’t find it very helpful to myself to “stew” (which I am prone to doing). Dog’s Line Manager, wishing you and your friend the very, very best.

          1. Dog's Line Manager*

            So sorry to hear about your friend. Give him an extra smelly treat from me and mine; our thoughts will be with you tomorrow morning. And I think “I’m trying not to think about it too much at work” is a great line to add to my arsenal.

          2. with a twist*

            So sorry that you have to go through this. We had to put our 15 year old pupper to sleep last week and it was incredibly hard. It still is. Cherish these last hours with him and allow yourself to be as upset as you need to be once he’s gone. Letting all my tears out over the weekend didn’t suddenly make me happy again, but it helped me take a tiny little baby step in that direction. Wishing you and your family the best.

          3. MamaSarah*

            Hugs, Old Man Beagle. Sounds like your pup had a great life with a thoughtful person. We are celebrating La Dia de Zoey (our very sweet black dog who passed the day after my daughter’s 5th
            birthday) this Sunday. Those first few weeks were brutal, I was suprised at the depth of my pain. Now the idea of celebrating a life well lived with a long run now makes my heart super happy. All the very best to you.❤️

            OP – I think it’s fine to send an email and set some boundaries in that email (“I’ll update you” “I appreciate your concerns but want to focus on work when I’m in the office.”). Hoping your dog is doing great!

      6. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I’m so sorry about your dog! How lucky he is to have an owner who will make sure that the remainder of his life is happy and pain-free. Hugs to you!

        One of my coworkers lost her dog lately, I think it was kind of sudden because she left work early one day and told us on her way out that her dog was not doing well. The next day, she sent us all an email saying that her dog had passed, she appreciated everyone’s thoughts but she was still too upset to talk about it for the time being. Everyone was very respectful of that, nobody wanted to make her upset at work. I guess that’s the same idea as deputizing a couple of people to spread the word, she just did it herself basically.

    3. puzzld*

      OP3. I am so sorry about your dog. As a 25+ year service dog user I’ve been through something similar. (My dogs have always been more social than many service dogs are allowed to be, working on a college campus they have unofficial side gigs as therapy dogs for stressed students and faculty, etc.) So when my first dog was slowing down we had a retirement party for her, declared her SDog emeritus. People dropped by for biscuit shaped cookies and got to say their goodbyes on an up note. Now I knew she was ill and had a limited amount of time left, but I only shared that with people we were very close to. She spent her last year as my mom’s spoiled house pet, but was able to make a few visits to campus to see old friends. When she passed we put a small obituary on the campus email list, just as we would for any employee.

      Getting ready to do something similar for my current SDog. It’s hard. You have my good wishes in this tough time.

      1. Chinook*

        OP3, maybe you can take a cue from puzzld and have a retirement party for your dog when you decide that taking him to work will be too hard in him? Then everyone can have positive closure and you can pass along the message to everyone that his time is nearing an end and you will let it be known (possibly through a few friends passing the word) when he has gone. Hopefully, this will stop all but the most nosey from asking for updates. As for the nosey ones, I don’t think anyone has figured out a way to stop them from asking.

        And sorry about your dog. Been there, done that and I still miss my furry friends. You have my sympathies.

        1. Dog's Line Manager*

          In the longer term, puzzld’s suggestion might be very valuable. We’re expecting that after he recovers from his surgery, he’ll be his normal cheery running-jumping-frisbee-chasing self until his illness resurfaces in about a year. It may well be the best approach to have a retirement party for him when his health starts to decline, and let my colleagues keep a happy memory of his last day. I’ll be hanging onto this suggestion for later this year.

          1. tangerineRose*

            That sounds like a good idea. I’m sorry about your dog, but at least the surgery went well.

      2. Former Employee*

        That sounds perfect. I’m sorry about your previous dog, but she obviously had a wonderful life with you, her campus friends and your mom. When you think about it, your dog lived the kind of life that many humans would envy in terms of the quality (not the specifics, necessarily).

        If only every dog (and cat) could have a life like that.

  3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

    OP4, no offense, but this sounds like a bullet dodged—there are so many flags on this play. I’m sorry that the hiring process was so strange and time-consuming, though. :(

    1. LouiseM*

      Agreed. This all seems very suspicious. I would definitely not want to be texted about a job offer at all–email or phone (preferably a phone call followed up with an email) is the only way to go.

      1. Megsley*

        The text messaging didn’t bother me so much. The weird texting on a holiday, then the lack of contect after is what really throws me for a loop.

          1. The Outsider*

            Is it possible that the copy & paste was just his asking for clarification on your question, so he could find out the answer for you? I think everyone is jumping to conclusions here when we don’t know exactly what your question was. Perhaps your question was not perfectly clear to him and he just wanted to make sure he understood it clearly. So when you say “I mentioned my other questions and he just copied and pasted a definition from the internet, asking is that was what I meant.” You answer Yes, exactly! or No, [benefit detail more obscure to him]. He then could have added, “OK then, I’ll find that out for you!”

            1. Green Goose*

              What I was imagining is that Megsley asked the specifics like “do you have matching and if yes, what is the percent?” and then the guy pasted the generic “our benefits are competitive with what is standard in the industry” or something along those lines.

              I remember asking what the salary range was for a job that would require a very long commute and the hiring manager wouldn’t answer more than “it depends on experience”, and then when I pushed back they said “the standard range” so I decided to withdraw at that point.

              1. Anonymoose*

                Honestly I have found that hiring managers are rarely well versed in benefits. Because….they usually don’t work in benefits. However, he should have said ‘let me connect you with benefits so they can answer your specific questions’, not a generic answer. I think the manager assumed the candidate would immediately jump at the opportunity regardless of how the benefits worked. The fact that he then ignored the candidate to get further details tells me that getting this manager to budge on things (expense reports, metrics for KPI, basically anything that requires thoughtful input) would be difficult. Bullet dodged!

        1. designbot*

          The dealbreaker for me is the benefits issue. If he’s having to copy/paste what a 401k is, that would indicate to me that the company does not administer one, otherwise he’d know. If he has to look up how health insurance works, it’s probably not a part of the package, etc.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            Totally agreed. The poor communication and delay in communication is abnormal, but probably yellow flag territory. But the text messaging an offer on Easter is weird, full stop (an orange flag, maybe?). The refusal to engage in a medium that allows constructive dialogue/negotiation is a yellow flag.

            The kicker, though, is acting surprised that OP asked about compensation and benefits or OP would want to negotiate salary. And after stonewalling OP, he copy/pastes the definition of specific benefits and fails to provide OP with any actual information, terms, or a description of the employer’s benefits package? Major red flag (and when combined with the other flags, looks shaaaaaady).

            1. Oryx*

              Is it weird because it’s Sunday or because it’s Easter Sunday?

              The Sunday would make me pause, but as someone who doesn’t celebrate Easter, I don’t pay attention and wouldn’t necessarily realize it was a holiday — especially as that’s one that moves around.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                So… you’re not passed out from the sugar rush, lying on the ground amidst a bunch of foil wrappers and the feet from a chocolate bunny?

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  This was meant to be lighthearted, and I realized it could come across as “Doesn’t everyone celebrate my eating holiday, which is religious in origin?” My family only know it’s Easter because I note that it’s happening and organize it in advance, this year explaining that we really couldn’t leave our airbnb studded with well-concealed chocolate footballs to be discovered in September.

                2. A Non E. Mouse*

                  So… you’re not passed out from the sugar rush, lying on the ground amidst a bunch of foil wrappers and the feet from a chocolate bunny?

                  That’s my Monday afternoon – the candy goes on clearance the day after, and there’s a drugstore near work that will have it all 90% off.

                  I am absolutely unable to resist the siren call of Clearance Candy.

              2. Seriously?*

                Yeah. I celebrate Easter and I know a lot of people this year who did not realize it was Easter Sunday because it was early and they are not christian. I would file that one under weird but not a red flag. I would say that if there was any pushback to an answer like “Can I get back to you tomorrow? I am celebrating Easter with my family right now” it would be a red flag, but it is very easy for people to not realize it is easter. I never know when it is passover and that is a major holiday. It just isn’t my major holiday.

              3. Revolver Rani*

                I would never use text for any communication like this. But assuming people do, or transposing it to email which is how I would do it, there is *nothing* weird about this communication happening on Easter. First, when I am hiring, I frequently catch up on hiring-related communication at odd times, like evenings and weekends. It’s when I don’t have any meetings, don’t have any of my existing reports needing my help with things, and so on. I am sure I’ve sent hiring emails on a Sunday. And second, Easter is absolutely no different from any other Sunday for me. It’s just a Sunday.

              4. Massmatt*

                It’s weird because it’s Sunday and after a big gap in communicating, and extra weird because it’s Easter Sunday. I don’t celebrate it either and yes it moves around but it’s a major holiday, it IS a big deal to a lot of people, but at the least it’s the Sunday of a 3 day weekend. His calling on Easter is an indicator that the recruiter has no clue what is going on if he doesn’t realize when business is or isn’t conducted. Is he going to schedule meetings on July 4th? A company retreat on Thanksgiving?

                1. Karo*

                  I think that’s reading a bit much into it. For some people, Easter is a Big Deal. For others, it’s just not. My company doesn’t do an extended holiday and I’m not religious, so I didn’t realize it was Easter until my mother asked what I was doing for the holiday.

                  Texting about work on a Sunday is still a flag that he doesn’t have a lot of work/life balance, but it’s not the screaming red flag that texting on a major holiday is.

                2. Michaela Westen*

                  It seems like companies having the Friday before Easter as a holiday is much less common than it used to be. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen or heard of it in my area. I suspect that few companies other than those that are specifically Christian do this anymore.

                3. AdamsOffOx*

                  My company closes on Good Friday, but only because it follows the NY stock market closings.

              5. LBK*

                I’ve twice now accidentally booked trips on Easter weekend because it doesn’t even occur to me to check the date. I end up knowing when it is because I get Good Friday off from work but otherwise it’s one holiday that’s very easy to slip your mind if you don’t celebrate it since there isn’t a whole seasonal build up to it.

                1. puzzld*

                  LOL as someone surrounded by people who observe Lent, I can only say I envy you. I’m not observant myself but I have friends who are… and boy do I count the days until Easter so the lenten sacrifices will end.

                2. AdamsOffOx*

                  On February 15, suddenly the seasonal aisles in supermarkets are all pastels and chocolate bunnies, and the day after Easter everything switches to barbecue stuff/mosquito repellent.

              6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                For me the weirdness flag is because it’s Sunday, but it’s just slightly weirder because it’s Easter Sunday. But I get that not everyone celebrates or is aware of Easter (I’m on record with all sorts of feelings about being a religious minority and fielding the presumption that everyone celebrates Easter, Christmas, etc.).

                But it’s really the Sunday part and the texting medium that I think are odd in light of where OP was in the offer negotiation process.

          2. Mad Baggins*

            Exactly. If he can’t counter with “here are our benefits” I’m concerned that there are no benefits, and they don’t know how to hire intelligent recruiters who can explain things to potential employees.

            1. Mookie*

              It strikes me as a kind of a sneaky way of saying, “yes, theoretically, these benefits exist in the world and this is how they might operate according to someone who is not me” while giving himself some plausible deniability in writing. Or it’s a delaying tactic.

              It’s very Works on Contingency[?] No[,] Money Down[!]

              It would be completely fine if the interviewer was just copy-pasting the wording (and complete details) of the company’s own policy handbook, but resorting to a Let Me Google That For You answer is either condescending or suspicious or both. That, or he’s completely unaware that benefits vary from one organization to the other (which would make him almost unfathomably ignorant and his employer egregiously negligent for assigning him hiring duties).

              Personally, the “detailed personality assessment” remark would have sent me not exactly running but at least ambling casually towards the hills.

            2. Amber T*

              The thing is – depending on (the hypothetical) your situation, taking a job that doesn’t provide other benefits doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Maybe you have a spouse who has great health insurance you have access to. Maybe you have a trust fund and don’t feel the need to save in a 401k. Maybe maybe maybe. So if the question is “what’s the 401k plan like?” the answer should just be “we don’t have one” (assuming that is the answer). But to get a cutesy little answer like “Oh, a 401k plan is X…” like seriously? That sounds like a sleazeball move.

          3. LBK*

            Agreed – if the guy doesn’t even seem to know what a 401(k) is, I’m pretty confident they don’t offer one.

          4. Antilles*

            Bingo. I don’t see any way to read this that doesn’t indicate “company doesn’t offer benefits”.
            Because even if you take the *most charitable interpretation* where he legitimately thought that OP was asking for a definition of a 401k…well, even in that case, after he explained what a 401k is, he would have immediately followed up with a description of how Company handles it.

          5. TootsNYC*

            In fact, I would not only expect him to punt those questions over to the HR folks, I would specifically -ask- if there’s an HR or benefits person I could talk to.

            The Easter thing doesn’t bother me–a lot of people don’t really celebrate it.

      2. PizzaSquared*

        Texting about interviews and offers is pretty common these days, at least in my field. I think you’d be excluding yourself from a lot of roles if you take umbrage at being texted by a recruiter or hiring manager.

    2. sap*

      Maybe he’s actually a really bad first gen HR AI.

      “Will my compensation package include a 401(k)?”

      “A 401(k) is a tax-sheltered, retirement savings plan.”

      Sounds like a bad chatbot to me!

      1. GG Two shoes*

        “Yes, I know what a 401k is. My question was does the company have a match?”

        “Thank you for subscribing to HR facts. Would you like to hear more about the difference between a 401k and an IRA?”

    3. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah, agreed. The guy sounds kind of flaky and disorganized at worse, or inexperienced with hiring at best. The whole part where he said he would need more data (personality assessment, etc) and then changed his mind says to me that he’s willing to cut corners to get things done quickly, the showing up thirty minutes late says that he’s kind of frazzled/disorganized, and the texting on Sunday (Easter even) says that he tries to squeeze things in when he can, possibly because he’s overwhelmed or overworked, possibly because he’s disorganized.

      Obviously I haven’t met him in person, so maybe he’s really not, and maybe he presented well in the interview, but unless it was an awesome job with amazing salary and benefits, I’d be kind of glad I didn’t get this job. It’s very hard to work for a boss who doesn’t quite know what he’s doing – might end up in his workers not getting the resources and/or training to do their jobs effectively.

      1. TootsNYC*

        This is the only problem I have w/ Easter, actually.

        the texting on Sunday (Easter even) says that he tries to squeeze things in when he can, possibly because he’s overwhelmed or overworked, possibly because he’s disorganized.

        And I think Turqouisecow has a good point.

      2. Specialk9*

        I think the worst isn’t just flaky/disorganized, but shady and trying to snow the OP.

        “You’re asking if we have a 401k and what the match is? Well, Dictionary.Com says that a 401k is a retirement account.” … Said NO reputable hiring manager or HR rep ever.

  4. LouiseM*

    OP#1: I’m trying to figure out if your question is really about whether it impacts you, professionally, to be associated with him (or to be associated with the company that is associated with this guy and his SexCast)? If so, I don’t think you need to worry. Most people definitely will not associate his podcast with the company in any way. Personally, if I were the coworker I would think twice about putting a podcast with explicit content on my LinkedIn page because I prefer to keep my personal life totally separate from my work life. I would also feel that way if it were, say, a political podcast. But for you I don’t think it matters at all.

    1. Czhorat*

      Agreed.

      I’m also OK with seeing more of the complete person on professional or semi-professional networks; I’m quite political on Twitter, but also very much connected to industry professionals and events. So long as you your colleague isn’t a white supremacist or something equally harmful I’d not give his content a second thought.

    2. Seriously?*

      I would probably hesitate to put something like that on Linked-In. I don’t think being connected to someone who does will reflect on you at all unless he really pushes it, but I would personally avoid things that can be controversial that are not related to my career.

    3. bb-great*

      I don’t think OP was asking if this would affect them, but more just asking Alison’s opinion of her coworker doing this.

    4. TootsNYC*

      Our OP made it pretty clear that it wasn’t about how it affected her; I thought she framed it more as an academic question prompted by something in her actual life.

      1. OP1*

        Yep! Totally correct. It doesn’t affect me personally at all, hence why I’m not doing anything about it, and since he’s connected to senior members of the company, I figure they can address it if they want to. And if they’re fine with it, so am I.

  5. lisaD*

    OP3: I’m very sorry about your dog. If you have trustworthy and kind HR people, they may be able to help give the news so you don’t have to do it. (I was in a similar situation two years ago and ABSOLUTELY DID NOT want to discuss it at work, HR kindly helped to let people know what was up and not to ask me about it.) Also, I know this isn’t work advice, but please get grief counseling if you have access to it and feel you could benefit from it. Too many people pressure themselves to act like pet loss isn’t “real” grief and doesn’t deserve the same kind of therapeutic intervention as grief for a human. Pets are a daily part of our lives and having them taken away by disease, especially at a young age, can be an extremely significant loss.

    1. Dog's Line Manager*

      Lisa, thanks for the kind words. I’ve gone back and forth with myself over whether to go see a professional for help dealing with it, but I think you’re right that it could be hugely helpful – and at least couldn’t hurt.

      1. LNZ*

        I second the idea of looking into professional help, or at least knowing people you can talk this over with. Losing my cat suddenly (it was natural causes but still unexpected) threw me into a depressive episode. The severity of my grief was a suprise and talking it out really helped.

        1. Quoth the Raven*

          I will third the idea of looking into professional help or at least finding someone you can rely on to talk about this when you’re ready. I’m a dog lover, and I’ve lost several, and there was a real deep grief involved for me.

          I will also agree with the idea of finding a group of people at work who would be willing to update others on your behalf.

          I am terribly sorry about your dog. I’m sending you both all the hugs you may want.

      2. Daria Grace*

        You might have access to some free/subsidised counseling through your workplaces employee assistance/wellbeing programs. This is a legitimate thing to use it for

      3. Nita*

        I’m so sorry, and glad that at least the surgery went well. I think that professional help would be good, if you find an understanding professional. It sounds like your office may be different, but in general I find that it’s harder to handle the grief of losing a dog than the grief of losing a human family member. Many people are understanding when you’re reeling from the latter, but will roll their eyes if you show intense grief for the former. And grief that is hidden and “secret” doesn’t heal very well.

    2. Engibear*

      My dog passed a few weeks ago. I had texted my immediate coworkers about his medical issues since I had to miss some work without notice, and again after he passed. I told them not to ask me anything about it in person since I’m one of those people who cry at any strong emotion. They all listened and passed on the message to those who were impacted by my absence. I was able to share some details with my female coworker once I could speak about it without bursting into tears, and you can still kind of see the look of panic in my male coworkers’ eyes when I tell stories of my dogs since they don’t necessarily know how to respond (we’re all pretty young). To thank them, I need to bring into work some pumpkin pie made to use with all of my dog’s leftover canned pumpkin.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        My supervisor and I lost three dogs between us in the space of a couple of months about five years ago (chronic illness, generalized old age, sudden illness). There was a lot of awkwardly not talking about pets. I lasted 28 hours before I went back to to the vet’s and adopted a cat (my dog hated other dogs but loved cats. We joke that she picked this cat out for us). He rescued another dog a couple of weeks later and brought him in to meet all of us.

      2. Old Man Beagle*

        That was a nice thing to do for them; I’m glad they were able to help you with your needs while you were in the first throes of grief. I cry at the drop of a hat and have been keeping our furry friend’s impending departure a secret. Heck, I’m even referring to it obliquely in this comment to avoid crying at my desk during my lunch hour! Sending you solidarity.

  6. LouiseM*

    OP#2, I hope you’ll give us an update on this! It’s really a shame to read about how many people struggle to see themselves the way their manager sees them. If your manager thinks you can handle a position in terms of your experience, it can still be a personal judgement call whether you’d enjoy the position. But I would trust her that you would be a good candidate. A lesson for us all!

    1. Artemesia*

      My daughter once faced this when offered a promotion to a significant management position. Her brother asked her ‘would you rather be boss or report to someone probably less qualified than you are if you pass it up?’ Good question. She took the job and was great at it.

      1. Penny Lane*

        One thing that stood out was your comment about being on the Guess side of the Ask vs Guess culture. That’s not an immutable characteristic. Frankly the Ask culture is superior to the Guess culture – that’s why Alison has a blog in the first place, because so many of the folks who write in are on the Guess side and thus uneasy at formulating reasonable questions, clarifying unclear situations, or delivering news to a boss/coworker/employee that has to be delivered but isn’t going to be welcome. And that’s why AAM performs the invaluable service of demonstrating assertive-but-not aggressive ways to ask or tell, as opposed to just hoping upon hope your annoying coworker stops chomping his gum or the boss won’t demand you pay your salary back when you quit. I applaud you for being self aware enough to know that’s where you stand – now the real work is going to be stepping out of that culture.

        1. Seriously?*

          I wouldn’t say that the Ask culture is always superior. You do need to be more aware of things like power dynamics. We have also seen many letters from people who are uncomfortable with requests from their boss or coworkers but do not know how to say no because of the power dynamics. The best place to be is in the middle, maybe a little more towards the ask side. You need to be able to sometimes say “I think this could inconvenience them and I am not sure they would actually tell me if that were the case.”

          1. Seriously?*

            Although that is irrelevant to this particular instance. Asking your boss is inherently less problematic than asking a subordinate and this is not asking a favor.

            1. paul*

              would you rather have a boss that holds an unspoken request against someone when they don’t fufill it?
              Guess culture doesn’t avoid power dynamics, it just makes them even murkier.

        2. PieInTheBlueSky*

          I think it’s better to think of Ask and Guess as separate skills applicable in different circumstances, rather than as opposing paradigms that one is locked into or that one must overcome.

          I think even Alison has recommended a more Guess approach in some of her answers. For example, in “do you have a duty to warn job-seeking acquaintances about a bad boss?”, her recommended response would require the person asking the LW to use Guess skills to read between the lines and understand what LW is unable or unwilling to say directly. Then that person would need to use Ask skills with the LW to drill down into specifics about the work environment.

          1. LBK*

            Agreed. Guess culture works a lot better in a situation where bluntness may not be well received and where you have a stake in not offending the audience. For instance, guessers probably feel more comfortable navigating hiring situations, because they’re accustomed to that delicate dance of figuring things out without coming across as pushy or needed.

        3. Inspector Spacetime*

          Guess culture works if everyone in your sphere is guess culture, because everyone gets it. It’s when the two methods mix that problems happen.

        4. TootsNYC*

          Frankly the Ask culture is superior to the Guess culture

          It always makes me mad when people say this.

          The Ask culture can be effing rude.
          Neither is perfect.

          1. Specialk9*

            I feel like Guess culture can be very rude to, because people, it’s just more subtle and convoluted.

            1. TootsNYC*

              oh, sure, they both have their flaws, and both have vulnerabilities that jerky people can exploit.

              I just get pissed off at the blatant condemnation and disrespect that the Guess culture receives from the Ask people.

            1. Elsajeni*

              But that’s the point — “Ask” culture, at its extreme, basically takes the position “it’s always okay to ask anyone for anything, because they can just say no,” when in reality, it’s easy for issues like boss/employee power dynamics to discourage the person being asked from saying no and effectively make the Ask into a Demand.

        5. Genny*

          Neither one is superior. “Ask” tends to work better in individualist, low-context cultures (which tend to value assertiveness and progress), but not at all in collectivist, high-context cultures (which tend to value community and stability). Like others have said, it becomes tricky would those two worlds collide or when there are power differentials, but that doesn’t mean one is right and the other wrong.

    2. OP#2*

      I am going to screw up my courage and talk to my manager again next week! Alison is right, I have nothing to lose by asking. I think I would do well in the position but possibly my judgement was clouded by my previous toxic workplace where I turned down a similar role knowing I would struggle with an insane workload and no support.

      1. eplawyer*

        That’s good to think about. You know your background. Throw your hat in the ring, but check out the actual job some more. You know your company, but do you know THIS role. Will you have the support you need? Will there be reasonable hours for this type of position? Are you willing to work those hours which still might be a lot of hours? Is there travel and you hate travel or you LOVE travel?

        Knowing what bothered you in the past will help you make an informed decision in the future. Good luck. Please update us.

        1. Turquoisecow*

          Yeah, it doesn’t hurt to ask some questions about the job – how much is the actual workload, what sort of training/support would you get, etc. Just like with a new job at a new company!

      2. Trout 'Waver*

        I don’t mean to pressure you, but why not go do it today? Friday afternoons are the perfect time for conversations of this nature.

          1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

            OP, here’s advice from someone who has beeen in your boss’s shoes: use the weekend to write down notes for your discussion with your boss. Start with the end: what do you want your boss to think at the end of the discussion? Then, outline the key information you want to provide to achieve those thoughts. Use them as talking points, not a script. That will make for a productive meeting and will probably reduce any anxiety you may have.

            1. Specialk9*

              Although I often do script difficult conversations, word for word. Then rewrite a bunch of times until I get that clarity on the important things to say in limited time, and get some emotional distance.

      3. Kathleen_A*

        The thing is, asking for more information isn’t the same as accepting the job. So if you’re interested, say so. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to bow out if you decide after finding out more that you don’t want it.

  7. Observer*

    #4 To be honest, I think you dodged a bullet. Being surprised that you asked standard questions about pay and benefits is totally not “standard” and any reasonable boss should understand that. Also, the business with the assessment and interview that wasn’t is another flag. Either the guy is a total space cadet, he’s not honest or there is a level of politics there that could make your life difficult.

    1. Artemesia*

      If he was going to ‘cut and paste’ it should have been from his own companies benefits policies. Bullet dodged.

  8. tommy santelli*

    OP #3, I’m so sorry about your dog. That’s awful. I have one idea: if you do ask a few of the co-workers you’re close to to spread the initial news, maybe one of those few people could set up something for ongoing updates. (A group chat just for this? an email list? pitch in, techier folks.) I’m thinking of a low-key thing that anyone in your office could join if they wanted to; as you pass along updates to a co-worker with whom you’re friends, they’d post it to that list/chat and all those people who love your dog could read the updates without requiring a single from you. But only do this if you want to! Do whatever is better for your heart! Your preference might be that everyone learns the initial news and then gently backs off for the duration. But if you would like them to know updates along the way — how did the surgery go, whether the dog might come back to the office for a certain period of time, how’s he feeling lately — this is a way to do it that wouldn’t burden you or give you extra pain.

    1. Dog's Line Manager*

      That’s actually incredibly doable. I work at a Tech Giant infamous for producing chat apps, so we have plenty of ways to communicate with groups of people. I’d have to think more on how to broach the subject – the tone may be tough to get right – but even if I was posting to it myself, it would remove a lot of stress for me. I love that everyone I know cares so much about his progress, but it’s frankly exhausting to communicate his status to everyone who wanted to know. Thanks for your suggestion and kind words.

      1. LNZ*

        Updating people is exhausting. My office knows i have a lot of family in Nappa and when the wildfires broke out and my family refused to leave during the advisory evacuation i was constantly being asked for updates from everyone. It was aweful.

        1. Chinook*

          I agree about the constant request for updates being exhausting. When I knew I was going to have to quit my last job, all I knew was that it was going to happen but only after the house was sold. DH and I decided to tell no one about the impending move unless we were required to make long term commitment, not even family, until we had a firm date (which ended up being 9 months later). The thought of constantly having to answer the “have you sold the house yet” or “do you have a date yet” questions was daunting and going to interfere with enjoying what time we did have left.

          I know people we showing concern and thought they were being friendly, but I wish people in general would accept “I will give you more info when I have it” and just drop the issue until I bring it up again.

      2. Yvette*

        First of all I am so very sorry about your dog. This is a difficult time for you.

        Second of all this is a very good idea. Even if you have to post to it yourself, having to inform about updates to your dog’s condition once rather than multiple times for each update will be a lot less emotionally draining. You might even be able to do it from home, so that you can have privacy while doing something that can be upsetting.

      3. Calpurrnia*

        I also work at a dog-loving techy company that uses Slack for most inter-office communication. One colleague has a dog he’s been bringing in since she was a puppy, and she’s popular enough that there’s a Slack channel solely to notify people when she’s in the building and share pics of her and such. Potentially you could make a Slack channel for your dog and share the news with interested folks that way – like a mass email but more informal. I know I’d have a hard time discussing it verbally with anyone at all, but putting it in text is a little easier. Then you could also share updates if anything changes over time. Just one possibility.

      4. EMW*

        You could also post a picture with brief updates by your cube/office. Something as simple as “Rufus is feeling great and is in the office today!” or “Rufus did well in his surgery but isn’t ready for the office yet.” I’m thinking this would prevent people from coming up and asking you about him when they see he’s not with you.

      1. tommy santelli*

        It got created a long time ago from a bizarrely coincidental overlap between a name I had already made up in my mind for the purpose of having an anonymous nickname and a name that showed up in a book. Why?

  9. Mark132*

    LW4 I don’t know if you have to really over think why you haven’t heard back. I think it likely he simply is very poorly organized, and perhaps somewhat overworked. All his interactions seem to indicate this. I think the reason he never got back to you is likely because he never got around to it, and now likely never will.

  10. Cordoba*

    Even if the co-worker’s podcast was explicitly about sex and was R or X rated I still don’t see why a reasonable person would be offended by its existence or presence on his Linkedin page. Don’t want to know the details of Bob from Accounting’s sex life? Great, neither do I. Let’s not listen to that podcast.

    Unless it’s billed as something completely different nobody is going to “unsuspectingly” find, click, and listen to “Bob from Accounting’s Sexcast” – that’s something that only happens on purpose. The person who chooses to listen to that has given up most of their right to be offended when it does indeed turn out to be about sex as advertised.

    The only exception I could see would be if the podcast advocated for objectively Bad Things, such as not respecting consent. But if it’s just about consenting adults swinging from the chandeliers then no problem.

    It’s probably not a great thing to have on his Linkedin and I could see where a boss would tell him that he can’t have it up there adjacent to his day job, but I don’t think that the person with the podcast has an obligation to make sure it’s PG-only.

    1. Mookie*

      Unless it’s billed as something completely different nobody is going to “unsuspectingly” find, click, and listen to “Bob from Accounting’s Sexcast” – that’s something that only happens on purpose.

      Exactly. No one has to feel “uncomfortable” because listening to the podcast is optional, provided, as you say, it does what it says on the tin. I’d be interested to hear from the LW if the title (and summary, if any) sufficiently describes its nature and content, but otherwise this is not a problem that needs fixing or addressing. It’s true that “personal” things are personal, in the sense that actively crossing someone else’s boundaries by repeatedly barraging them with details about the non-working portion of your life is not a decent or professional thing to do, but no one is likely to be scandalized that Bob merely has a personal life; we all do. He’s sharing some of his with the world — possibly along the lines of an amateur agony aunt giving relationship advice or as a practitioner of some flavor of sex — but he is not violating anybody’s consent when doing so and, as Alison says, if any of that offends unreasonable people, that’s okay, too.

      1. Penny Lane*

        I agree that this podcast is a non-issue, but it’s interesting to think about these responses compared to A) the guy who ran a sex club and B) the guy who ran a virginity club. A was inquiring about the wisdom of having it on his resume and B had put it on his resume. Isn’t LinkedIn, to some extent, a virtual resume?

        1. Lance*

          To an extent, yes, but unlike the resume, it’s not something you’re directly sending in to companies you’re looking to be hired at. Sure, they may still see it, but by their own searching, not (likely) by being sent it by the candidate themselves.

        2. Anononon*

          I think a big difference is that the current person already has a job. He’s not actively including information about his sex life in his paperwork to find a job.

          1. Czhorat*

            Yes. A LinkedIn profile isn’t really a resume; it’s an online semi-professional persona.

            If the podcast were on the actual resume If raise an eyebrow, but that’s the same way I’d feel if it were a Star Trek fandom podcast. This isn’t really that.

            1. Liane*

              So, I should remove my writer and editor position with an online site run by a games company started by 2 guys making fandom podcasts?
              Even when I am applying for writing or editing positions? Even in the same field? Even when it gets me moved along in the hiring process for other jobs?
              Yeah, it’s staying.

              1. Academic Addie*

                This is a really hostile way to take Czhorat’s comment. In your case, you are a writer and editor. Writer and editor positions are relevant. Presumably Bill is not a sex accountant or a Star Trek accountant (especially the latter, as the Federation doesn’t have currency). It is, therefore, unlikely to be adding anything to his resume other than ink on the page.

                1. Nynaeve*

                  Two words: gold-pressed latinum. The Federation may not have a currency of its own, but it sure doesn’t hesitate to use another culture’s currency when it’s convenient. (For an analysis of Star Trek economics by an economist, check out Trekonomics by Manu Saadia.)

                  But to the topic at hand, LinkedIn is more of a catchall, a place to put potentially relevant things that don’t fit in the resume. I personally wouldn’t put this podcast on my LinkedIn, but other people may be more comfortable crossing the personal and professional streams.

              2. LBK*

                Huh? That’s not what Czhorat was saying at all. The issue isn’t that podcasting is looked down on or something, it’s that for most people it’s a hobby, and hobbies aren’t really appropriate for a professional document/profile. The fact that the people you work for started as podcasters has nothing to do with the fact that you’re now a writer and editor for them, which is clearly relevant professional experience and I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise.

        3. Cordoba*

          To be clear, I think that promoting your sex podcast on your professional Linkedin page is a truly terrible idea and would recommend that nobody ever do it.

          I just don’t think the person who chooses to do this anyway needs to be cautious about “not making unsuspecting professional contacts feel really uncomfortable.”

          Again, the only exceptions I can see are things along the lines of:
          -The podcast promotes non-consensual creeper behavior or similar; not mutually-agreed-to-be-fun things done between consenting adults
          -The podcast is labeled in a misleading way, so people click on “Bob’s thoughts about Accounting” and actually get an earful of “Bob talks about sex”
          -The name, description, or image associated with the podcast are themselves graphic and likely to be upsetting to folks. These are things that a colleague could legitimately be surprised by. Anything that happens after they click on it and hit “Play” is something they are explicitly choosing to engage with.

          1. pleaset*

            “promoting your sex podcast on your professional Linkedin page is a truly terrible idea and would recommend that nobody ever do it.”

            “Nobody” is a pretty extreme stance. What about people in a field for which the subject is relevant?

            1. Cordoba*

              OK, you got me.

              Within the world of the typical corporate or nonprofit jobs that this site focuses on it is probably a bad idea for most people.

              Of course folks in related industries or who can otherwise show the podcast to be actually professionally relevant do exist.

              1. Washi*

                I think it’s a fair point though! A podcast with all the nitty gritty details of your sex life would not be cool in a lot of places, but at most of the nonprofits I worked at, it would have been totally fine to have a podcast exploring the topics of marriage and sex.

                1. Legal Beagle*

                  I’ve also worked at many politically liberal non-profits and a podcast discussing sex would not have been cool. This is not a corporate vs. NPO difference. Maybe if the organization’s mission was closely related to the topic, but even so, I can’t see it being appropriate and helpful for a professional to disclose much about their own sex life.

            2. OP1*

              Just as a point of clarity, our field is in no way connected to sex, marriage, relationships, etc.

        4. LilyP*

          Well also a resume is supposed to be curated in a way that LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily have to be (especially these days as LinkedIn is trying to also become a news/blogging platform). Putting something on your resume implies “I think this thing is very important and relevant to this job” in a way that just having it around your LinkedIn doesn’t. And, specifically, I think if this guy put his Sex Advice podcast on his resume it would maybe fall into the same category of inappropriateness that the virginity club did (depending on just how sex-focused vs relationship-focused it sounds and whether he successfully spins it as job-relevant)

        5. Mookie*

          Sure, but a resume is generally tailored and abridged to fit the role you’re applying for, ditto the cover letter. It’d be bad judgment to include his podcast in either, and I gather he didn’t do so.

          Plenty of professional working people, white collar or no, have podcasts and blawgs about their hobbies where they write under their real names, talk using their real voices, record visuals of their actual faces, and while social media things like one’s twitter account is almost never needed in a resumé or CV, this, as you say, is a ‘virtual ‘platform and a podcast is a ‘virtual’ medium. He’s not asking hiring managers to call him His Mistress’s Lovin’ Man or insisting that being president of his local sex-neutral book club constitutes job experience.

          Recent history demonstrates that, depending on the hobby or subject, this is sometimes very inadvisable because you can lose your job for, say, hate speech that implicates your workplace and your position and responsibilities within it. But this subthread was about how knowledge of its existence substantively affects and harms other people. As Cordoba says, if people don’t want to know, they can avoid hovering over and clicking the link. Done.

        6. WeevilWobble*

          LinkedIn isn’t really a resume, though. You target resumes to where you are applying. Putting a sex podcast on a resume to be a CPA would be horrible, horrible judgment.

          But on LinkedIn he’s advertising that podcast skill set too. It’s more general meant to cast a much wider net.

          That being said I thought the reactions to the Virgin club was a bit OTT. He was likely just showing that he was active in organizing and leading something outside of school work.

          1. Alton*

            I think one difference is that a “sex podcast” could run the gamut from talking about your own sexual experiences (very personal), to reviewing sex toys (still kind of personal, since you usually have to use the toys and talk about your experience, but more focused on informing others), to discussing topics in a purely educational or journalistic way (like talking about sexual health or interviewing someone who runs a sex club). I get the impression that in this case, it’s a little more on the personal end of the spectrum, but sometimes the lines can be a little blurry.

            Also, like others have said, LinkedIn is different in that it’s not always used as a resume tailored to a particular job but more of a catch-all profile for your professional accomplishments. A lot of people may want to keep some separation if they have hobbies or side gigs that are very different from their day job, but I don’t see this as inherently less appropriate than, say, including info about your community theater work or your band, or other things that you might not always put on a resume when applying for a job.

            1. Washi*

              Yeah, more than anything this reminds me of the dog Instagram question from last week. A really good dog Instagram or a really good, insightful sex podcast could be a plus and a skill worth including. An awkward, poorly produced podcast could end up hurting you. LinkedIn may be a catch-all, but you still presumably only want to put stuff up on there that reflects positively on you.

            2. epi*

              I agree, a sex podcast could be anything and it will probably be different things to different people.

              This question makes me think of the trope where sex ed involves using class time to practice putting a condom on a banana. (Not something I ever had to do!) Is this activity clinical and informational, or awkward and sexy? It’s both and that’s what makes it funny.

              A lot of discussion about sex is like that. I work in public health so not a day goes by that I don’t get work related emails about sexual topics, including behaviors and identities that are stigmatized. The worst thing about them to me is they are irrelevant since my thing is colon health! But to others I’m sure they could feel too close to being personal. I used to have a statistician friend who would tell his shy classmates to take public health classes early because they wouldn’t believe how we will talk openly about anything. Kink talk may be OTT to some, but it is just safe sex talk to others.

              There is nothing wrong with the OP having different boundaries than their coworker, but it sounds like he is doing something right of she only knows about the podcast from his LinkedIn and he isn’t discussing it at work. I would assume if the company cares that much about their image on LinkedIn, there will be someone whose job it is to notice this kind of thing, and let it go.

              1. Alton*

                This can be a thing in the trans community, too. There are some bloggers and vloggers I follow who share information for trans men and non-binary people, including things like product reviews, and it can be hard to avoid getting a little personal. And it can be helpful to know a little about the reviewer and their experiences because it can give you a better idea if what they’re saying is applicable to you.

          2. LBK*

            I think the question is whether the podcast is a hobby or a profession. If it’s the former, it doesn’t belong there, just like any other hobby. Just because some people get paid for something doesn’t automatically make it relevant for a professional website; I sing for fun, but that doesn’t mean it has any business being on my LinkedIn page since it has nothing to do with my career path.

            I think the fact that it’s sexual in nature is kind of a red herring that’s causing people to get overly defensive; if it’s about any subject that’s not relevant to his career and he’s not interested in making the podcast in and of itself a career, it doesn’t belong on his LinkedIn.

            1. TootsNYC*

              but the fact that it’s sexual in nature IS relevant, because that’s just such a charged, and normally private, topic–in pretty much every culture, to some degree.

              1. LBK*

                I agree that it certainly makes it extra sensitive and harder to brush off as “huh, that’s a weird place to advertise that” vs if it were a podcast about something less sensitive. But I was actually thinking the other way – I feel like people are trying so hard to be sex-positive and not shame someone for being open about sex that they’re missing whether it’s actually appropriate to advertise your podcast on your LinkedIn at all. That’s what I meant by it being a red herring.

            2. Mookie*

              Well, that’s an “ought v is” question, not a question of Bob and his wife making money from their podcast. There is no doubt that many, many people on LinkedIn list their hobbies and interests and unpaid work. That’s not debatable.

        7. LBK*

          I’m with you on this and I’m surprised how many people think of LinkedIn as highly distinct from a resume. Sure, a resume is more highly curated, but a LinkedIn should still represent a professional persona. It’s tailored to a broader audience, but it should still be tailored.

          If he has a side interest in becoming a professional radio host or something and it’s on there as part of his work experience in that field, then I guess that’s his prerogative. But it sounds to me more like there’s just a link on his page, which would be a weird spot to advertise a podcast like that that’s not otherwise related to the professional appearance you’re presumably otherwise trying to cultivate.

            1. LBK*

              Right, that’s what I’m saying. If that’s a path he wants to go down, then that makes sense. But if it’s a side hobby and he’s just using his LinkedIn as another social media outlet through which to advertise it alongside Twitter, Facebook, etc. then that’s kinda weird. It serves a more specific purpose than that.

              I am by no means knocking podcasting – I have several I listen to regularly. But if he wouldn’t consider it part of his profession, it doesn’t really belong on a professional website.

          1. OP1*

            I should also mention our work itself is unrelated to podcasting or to social issues. It’s a tech company. So I think he’s strictly using this for podcast promotion to a network, not to build his resume.

            1. Mookie*

              LinkedIn doesn’t function as “resume-building.” It’s there for self-promotion, so he’s using it as designed.

        8. Pine cones huddle*

          I agree. It’s not like that teache Ron Florida who had a podcast and Twitter devoted to her alt-right political views and how she tried to teach them to her students. People have sex. For all you know it’s quite tame and more of a relationship discussion or he and his wife are aspiring sex therapists. People are allowed a side hustle.

      2. OP1*

        The name of the podcast makes it clear it’s about marriage, and the episode titles are clear too, kind of along the lines of “How to Spice Up Your Sex Life” or “Communication with Your Spouse.” I haven’t listened to any of it, just because I don’t have particular interest in it, not because I’m offended by it at all. I think what I kind of left out is that my company culture leans fairly conservative, as well as the clients we serve (state and local government), which is probably what made me do the double-take in the first place. And I like my coworker! I was just curious about, I guess, what’s right for LinkedIn.

        1. Pine cones huddle*

          This sounds definitely more relationship focused.

          But I and come of my colleagues often struggle with how to walk that line of having a day job, but also having a side job or passion that you hope takes off and promoting that side hustle is part of achieving that. So yes, Betty is a talented dispatcher, but she also has a vlog where she talks about geek culture which is something she gets really excited about. Or Jamie is an engineer, but has a popular blog about knitting that earns a nice living from ads. People get to be both. You’re allowed to want to get the man’s boot off your neck.

          By the way, there is a woman Robin Chochula [sp?] who left her career as an engineer to become a hugely popular knitting/crochet pattern designer — sometimes the side hustles take off and you get to be what you always wanted to be when you grew up.

    2. Guacamole Bob*

      Why am I always the one that gets trotted out as an example of a coworker you don’t want personal details about in situations like this?

    3. TootsNYC*

      I still don’t see why a reasonable person would be offended by its existence or presence on his Linkedin page.

      It’s not about being offended.

      It’s about whether people will form negative opinions about Bob From Accounting’s judgment.

    4. Specialk9*

      I have seen people create two profiles for different personas. Mild mannered business analyst here, dominatrix and erotica writer here. And different business cards, and don’t mix them up!

      Personally, I’m not putting anything about sex on LinkedIn, unless I worked in an area related to social justice (eg rape counseling), and never personal (about me and my sex life). I just wouldn’t. I’m sex positive, but my fellow coworkers don’t even need to know that!

      I also don’t post about politics or gossip or beefs with others on LinkedIn. I see others doing so, and think less of their professionalism, and unfriend them.

      I feel like this guy thinks that his being *married* gives him social license to talk about his sex life freely, especially bc it’s taking with his wife. Which bugs me. We don’t talk about sex at work or in your resume (and LinkedIn is kinda both), this guy shouldn’t get a pass just because he got a piece of paper from a clergy or JP. Marriage isn’t a pass to insert sex where it doesn’t belong.

  11. Emma UK*

    I had a really popular podcast about sex a few years back but I did it under a different name and didn’t link it to my personal social media. It seemed like the best cause of action at the time. If I had it today, I would probably do it the same way.

  12. Sled dog mama*

    #3 I am so very sorry to hear about your dog’s prognosis and very glad the surgery worked to give you more time.
    I have to second (fouth or twentieth) the suggestion to deputize at least one person to help you give updates, especially those “I’m out of the office unexpectedly but dog is doing ok” updates. You’d be amazed how many people start noticing and asking about every little absence.
    When my daughter passed away having someone that I had fully explained to and others could ask questions really helped cyt down on my emotional load at the time. I was able to keep myself much more balanced overall because I wasn’t expending so much emotional energy on my coworkers.

  13. Kristinyc*

    Re: the podcast
    I have a coworker who wrote a very funny memoir that won an award. He won the award shortly after I started working there and we all had a little party to celebrate it. So I decided to read the book to get to know my coworker better.

    The first chapter was about masturbation and how he realized he was gay. (I already knew he was gay and that was obviously totally fine, but the other parts were… more detail than I need to know abot a coworker).

    The day after I started reading it, I told him and he got a panicked look and said, “omg I’m so sorry!!! I usually try to warn people first!!” Then we laughed and talked about whether it was more awkward for strangers or people he knew to have this info about him. But the book was really good and really funny, and I’m glad I read it.

    Another coworker published a memoir last year, and it detailed an affair she had AT OUR OFFICE 15 years earlier. That one was a surprise, but again, the book was good. I’m glad I work with people who have led interesting lives (um, in both cases, the books weren’t entirely about sex…)

      1. kristinyc*

        Sweet Tooth (his book – about realizing he was gay around the same time he found out he’s diabetic)
        Bankruptcy: A love story (other coworker’s book)

        1. kristinyc*

          Just realized there are a lot of things called Sweet Tooth. It’s “Sweet Tooth: A memoir”

    1. Lore*

      A number of years ago, I read a memoir by a big deal guy in my industry that contained all sorts of stories about people I worked with in their young and wild days. Once I got over the initial shock, it was actually sort of cool to get this glimpse into the lives of these colleagues I looked up to from when they were my then-age!

    2. Alton*

      This can be such a dilemma when you do creative work.

      I’ve been torn for a long time about whether I want to write under a pen name, because on the one hand, I have a lot of contacts in the local writing community who know me by my real name and I’m pretty open about being a writer. So I wouldn’t expect a pen name to stay a secret, necessarily. I’m also not ashamed of what I write, and having a career where I don’t have to worry too much about getting in trouble over my creative work is important to me (though I do write really explicit stuff under a pen name, for sure).

      But it is hard not to feel inhibited by the idea that anyone who knows or works with me could read my stuff. And my name is kind of distinct, so it would be easy both for 1) a professional contact to find my writing and 2) people who know my writing to find my workplace profile by googling me. I wish that didn’t bother me, because it’s awkward to juggle multiple names.

      1. Specialk9*

        Enh, people do fine switching between JD Robb and Nora Roberts. They know they’re getting a significantly different experience based on the name – straight (in both senses) romance, or gritty futuristic urban murder mysteries.

        1. Ellen Ripley*

          Sure, but that’s not Alton’s dilemma; it’s more like if Nora had a day job and a reputation in the local writing community and had to decide whether to publish as Nora or JD. Plus, she didn’t start writing the JD Robb novels until she was a well established romance writer (like decades) and, iirc, didn’t need connect the two personas until the Robb books were doing pretty well on their own.

        2. Alton*

          It’s not always difficult, but in a case like that, it’s strictly a marketing thing at this point.

          My dilemma is mainly that I’m active in my local writing community, and as it is, if someone meets me at a conference or reading and googles me, they won’t find my blog or anything that’s actually relevant to my writing life, so I’d have to make a point of telling them my pen name.

  14. Roscoe*

    I guess the way I’d love at #1, is what is the title and description of the podcast? Is it something very explicit, or is it like “relationships”. Because if its a fairly innocuous title, and you know it has to do wiht relationship stuff, I think a reasonable person could assume sex will come up in it. If the description or something though is “every episode we try a new position and tell you the results” then that is different.

    However, even if something was pretty explicit, I can’t say it would affect my opinion of someone professionally. Sex is a normal, healthy thing. Even certain fetishes that I’m not into, I’m not going to judge my co-worker or someone in my network for being into

    1. OP1*

      I don’t want to “out” him, per se, but the title makes it clear it’s a podcast about marriage, and the episode titles are pretty self-explanatory too. I haven’t listened to it; my question’s solely based on what people see and read as they’re on LinkedIn. And I don’t have a negative opinion of him or anything — really, this question was motivated by the opposite feeling! I like him and don’t want him to be doing something that’ll potentially adversely affect him.

      1. Mookie*

        Are you suggesting that you’d broach this topic with him if the commentariat or Alison gave you permission to do so? I’d steer clear of that, frankly. This is none of your business.

  15. Environmental Compliance*

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dog, OP 3! I’m glad his surgery went well (from a comment up above). Internet hugs!

    We had a somewhat dog friendly office for one state agency I worked for. One gal brought in her elderly dog that just needed some occasional care during the day. She’d go on short adventures to say hi to you if your office was close enough. We all just adored her. Of course, as the dog aged, her conditions worsened to where her owner would need to be out taking Doggo to the vet or therapy. There was one person deputized to share news – the whole office was less than 40 people. It made it a lot easier on the owner to not have to explain something that is pretty upsetting multiple times.

    I’ll also fourth or fifteenth the suggestion to find a therapist. Losing a pet hurts. I lost my dog a few years back – we got her when I was in kindergarten, and she passed just before I graduated from college. Talking through it with a counselor on campus really helped. I also made a shadow box with some pictures & her tags, because crafting is generally how I handle anything and everything.

    1. Dog's Line Manager*

      Your comment about crafting actually made me smile – when I found out his diagnosis, I bought an empty (large…) photo album with the intention of going through my hundreds of smartphone pictures of him and filling it out with nice captions and categories after he passes. Crafting has huge therapeutic benefit – I remember when I told my psychiatrist a while ago that when I sewed, I didn’t feel as anxious, and she said that of course I didn’t, and I had better be planning as many sewing projects as I had time for. :)

  16. CM*

    OP#2, here’s what your manager is thinking: “I have this great person on my team who would be a good fit for this new job, and I’d love to give her this opportunity. It’s too bad she’s not interested.” And when you approach your manager, here’s what your manager will be thinking, “I’m delighted that she came back and expressed interest! Let’s see how we can make this happen.”

    You are worrying way too much about the amount of time that has passed, whether it’s OK for you to ask, what your manager will think of you, whether there could be someone more skilled, whether you can do this job…

    Focus on the facts: you have the skills to do this job, it’s a good opportunity for you, and your manager clearly has confidence in you — your manager even tried to talk you into it when you expressed doubts.

    Good luck! And I agree with Trout ‘Waver above — go do it today. You got this.

    1. Specialk9*

      Yeah, this. The manager knows and trusts you, and thinks you would do well and likely wants to do their managerial duty of helping their people grow. You change your mind, they’ll likely be like, cool, that is the best case scenario. Don’t go in hangdog, it’s normal to need a bit of reflection, especially for something new that takes a bit of adjustment to imagine yourself in that new role.

  17. Anita-ita*

    #1 – I’m conflicted with #1. Part of me says that sex is a part of everyone’s lives and people should be free to talk about it. I talk about it a lot and am very open. I listen to podcasts about sex and find it fascinating. Plus, the coworker’s podcast could be helping someone!

    On the other hand, if you’re promoting it on the same platform as you list the company you work for, I coullllddd see an issue. Especially if you have a client facing role and that client finds it disturbing or offensive (which still really amazes me since sex is a part of *almost* everyone’s lives, it really shouldn’t be a taboo topic).

    All in all, I agree with AMA’s advice. If reasonable people listen to the podcast without getting upset, I say it’s fine! I listen to a podcast called “Guys We Fuc***” (not literally about guys people slept with, it’s a sex positive anti slut shaming podcast). It goes pretty deep about stuff and I wouldn’t even find that offensive if it were a coworker’s.

    1. Seriously?*

      Context is important though. Even if sex is a part of everyone’s life, you do not necessarily want to know too much about everyone’s sex lives. Everyone also has to go to the bathroom. It doesn’t mean I want to hear about my coworkers explosive diarrhea or my boss’s constipation. I think it really depends on the specific content of the podcast.

      1. Washi*

        But would you mind if your coworker told you some fun facts about toilets? I think that’s where I draw the line- a podcast about the cultural phenomena of bathrooms or sex is fine, a podcast about your personal bathroom/sex adventures is not.

      2. Alton*

        Listening to the podcast is optional, though, so where do you draw the line? Like, you wouldn’t want to hear about your boss’s constipation at work, but what if your boss wrote a blog about dealing with IBS that mentioned constipation sometimes?

        I think the issue here is whether it’s appropriate on LinkedIn, and whether it’s something that’s appropriate to promote on a social media platform where you identify yourself as being employed at your workplace. I think there are going to be different feelings on that depending on how people use LinkedIn, whether you’re using LinkedIn for your job, and whether the extracurricular activity actually reflects poorly on the company (like, if someone is supporting white supremacists or something). For example, with the recent letter where a woman was part of sex groups on Facebook, the main issue was that it was interfering with her job. She was taking nude photos at work and inviting clients to connect with her on Facebook and join the sex groups. If the guy in this letter is specifically using LinkedIn as a tool for his job, that could pose more of an issue. If he’s using it as a general summary of his professional and creative experience and the OP only knows about this because she googled him or something, then I think it’s his judgement call to make.

        1. Holly Flax*

          I have a coworker that does marriage prep classes with their spouse in their free time, and one of the topics they cover is intimacy. How do I know this? My now-husband and I just so happened to end up in one of their sessions when we were going through the process (instructors were not listed when we signed up). We thought it was a funny coincidence, but I felt bad because they were visibly uncomfortable, and I think part of their discomfort is that normally they are giving these talks to groups of people they never see again, and on this day, one of the people just happened to be a coworker who works in HR. Interestingly, coworker does have this on their LinkedIn because they have been doing it for awhile and it does exhibit some unique skills their current job does not give them, but I do not think it’s an open invitation for their contacts to come to a class (whoops!).

      3. sb*

        Yeah, but would you find it inappropriate to see that Coworker has a podcast about, IDK, living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Fun recipes for people with Crohn’s disease? Etc. Like, okay, you now know that he may have more unusual bathroom stories than the average human, but if you don’t click on the podcast you don’t have to hear them.

        And if the process of making a podcast is a relevant professional skill (no matter the topic) to his career, LinkedIn seems like a place to list it.

    2. Bea*

      It’s good to remember not everyone is offended by something so much as they’re viewing it as private information. I don’t talk about medical conditions or bowel movements with everyone either, we all poop after all but don’t make social commentary of it. So it’s more tacky and rude to share too much information when others aren’t specifically requesting it.

      There’s a reason we don’t allow people to bang each other in the open air markets. We also get in trouble for urinating in public too. Yet we are free to look for videos of either one if we so enjoy that kind of thing. It’s about allowing for choice and your choices do positively or negatively effect you and your business or employer because others may be uncomfortable and more private than others on certain matters.

      Most people are cautious and lean towards a modest approach to bring as little possible negative attention as possible.

    3. Curious Cat*

      Love that you gave a shout out to the GWF podcast, I listen to that one all the time! (Just listened to today’s episode on my way into work today).

      I talk about this in my short post below, but if they’re just listed as two separate jobs on his LinkedIn page, I personally don’t find that problematic. I’m a little curious about whether sex is a theme in the title of his podcast (like GWF), or if he’s providing a description under the podcast listing of what it’s about.

      1. OP1*

        He promotes specific episodes with a little graphic he creates, which has the title of the episode. He’ll do new posts for each episode.

      2. OP1*

        Oh, and while he actually has his “job” description as his podcast role, he’s connected to a bunch of our coworkers on LinkedIn. I don’t know if he’s connected to clients.

  18. Guacamole Bob*

    OP#2, I had a situation a lot like this! A manager in a different department asked me if I’d be interested in job X that he was hoping to get approval to hire for, and I said something pretty equivocal about how I would be interested in the long run but wasn’t sure right now was the time because there were still things I wanted to accomplish in my current role. That was based on me feeling like the job he mentioned would have been a bigger jump than I was qualified for.

    I thought about it and got over my insecurities and realized I really wanted the job, so I asked to talk to him again. I told him that I wasn’t sure what impression I’d left during the prior conversation, but that I’d be very interested. It was a slightly awkward conversation because the timing was more theoretical than in OP’s case, so there was no real reason for me to follow up other than the fact that I was stressing about it. But the manager reassured me I was overthinking my previous response and that he was glad I was interested. And eventually the posting went up and I applied and got the job, and here I am. And the job is great.

    OP, lots of people are a little awkward about career/HR/hiring stuff, even when they’re totally on top of their actual work. A good manager is going to totally understand that and just be glad you’re interested.

  19. S Stout*

    #4 – I can’t imagine accepting a job without knowing all the details. Benefits can make a huge difference. To repeat what other commenters have said, bullet dodged.

  20. Alton*

    #3: I’m really sorry about your dog. That’s a heartbreaking position to be in. I think the idea of deputizing a couple people to help with questions or updates could be a good one. Also, since your coworkers have interacted with your dog a lot, some of them might feel affected by the news, and this can be a mixed bag–it’s nice to know that your dog is loved, but it can also be hard to respond to other people’s sadness when you’re going through a difficult time. So having someone in your corner who can either help with that might be good.

    1. Dog's Line Manager*

      That has definitely happened. By the time I was ready to come into work again after receiving the news, I was “all cried out” – but not so of my coworkers, who I get to see well up over and over as they each receive the news. It’s challenging to see – and makes me feel a little guilty that I’m not still crying my eyes out for him, too. That’s definitely a benefit of having dispatchers that I hadn’t considered.

  21. Bea*

    #4 I’ve worked for many places without benefits, they’re all up front and can easily say “we don’t offer that”. It’s batshht that this guy is being weird about it, you’ll find out one way or another, just be real, dude!

    You need to put this place out of your mind. He’s not going to ever give you straight answers down the road either, this is an easy bullet to dodge before you are employed by a nasty company with overworked people who can’t answer questions internally, heaven knows how their business runs at all.

  22. Glomarization, Esq.*

    OP#1 asks, where’s the line in terms of promoting personal projects (of a sometimes personal nature) on LinkedIn while also being connected to your company?

    Myself, I treat my LinkedIn as a resume-like tool for job searching and professional networking. So … anything I’ve done, personally or professionally, that looks squirrelly or detracts from the most professional Me that I can broadcast, I don’t put on my LinkedIn. That includes some creative writing I’ve done in the past, and also a non-profit association that can be considered “fringe” or politically toxic where I was living at the time (think volunteering for PETA in a town where the biggest employer is a chicken factory).

    Everybody’s mileage will vary. And co-worker should check your company’s social media policy and/or employee handbook, or even check with a lawyer (or google) as to what can happen if your employer doesn’t like having a sex podcast right next to that workplace on the co-worker’s LinkedIn. I’m sure his LinkedIn is not misleading, like suggesting the employer is responsible for the podcast content. But the employer may have more power than we would like over what our personal LinkedIns look like.

  23. Curious Cat*

    #1: I’m a little confused when it says his LinkedIn is connected to the company. Does this just mean he lists the company as his current place of work, and then the podcast is also listed separately in his profile? If so, I don’t see this being a big issue or anything. As a stranger looking at his LinkedIn, I wouldn’t put the two together.

      1. rldk*

        Some companies seem to have an actual presence on LinkedIn, with a curated page and updates like any other communications platform. If that’s the case, and coworker has set his job as connected to that company page, I could see how there could be concern that sex podcast can become associated with the public persona of the company. But it still remains much more a judgment concern than ‘causing-offense’ concern

    1. OP1*

      Yes, that’s what I mean. He’s got his job with us listed as his place of employment, and he’s also connected with a bunch of our coworkers. He promotes his podcasts with specific posts for each new episode.

  24. A Foster*

    #1 sounds like a concern troll. I’d recommend a) minding your own business and b) not listening to the podcast. Problem solved.

    1. SweetTooth*

      Ok, that’s harsh. I didn’t read that at all. If I knew one of my coworkers had a podcast in that arena, I would also be wondering whether this was appropriate to connect to their professional online persona, and Alison is a great barometer for this sort of thing. The letter writer said that there wasn’t anything they personally needed to do about it. It was just an interesting question to a lot of us!

  25. Noah*

    I don’t understand how having an item on your LinkedIn experience that says, “Host, Sexytime Podcast, January 2015-present” could possibly make a *reasonable* person uncomfortable. OP doesn’t say anything about their being explicit material on LinkedIn. If the podcast were to autoplay when you go to his LinkedIn (which isn’t possible, but I’m trying to come up with even a hypothetical scenario where this makes sense), then I suppose THAT would be inappropriate.

    There is also another standard that the podcast host should probably consider: regardless of what a reasonable person will think, what effect will this have on my career and how do I feel about that?

    1. rldk*

      I think that second aspect is more the issue – what type of judgment is coworker displaying by putting Sexytime Podcast on what is generally considered a professional platform? As others have mentioned, if his career involves personal health/relationship health or podcasts, it makes more sense. If it’s entirely unrelated from his current career and goals, then it comes off as an odd judgment call to include such a personal hobby.

      1. Seth*

        Agreed. A potential employer very well may not have an issue with the podcast’s subject matter, but he/she may realize that others will have an issue, and especially if the podcast topic is not career-related, then the person’s issue is poor professional judgment – and that can often be a dealbreaker.

    2. LBK*

      The OP characterizes it as “advertising” the podcast, so I imagine he’s making posts each time a new episode comes out or otherwise actively directing people to listen to it. It doesn’t sound like it’s just blithely folded into his work history.

      1. OP1*

        Yes, correct. If he just had it listed as an item on his LinkedIn profile, I wouldn’t have even noticed, since I don’t tend to look at my coworker’s profiles unless I’ve got a specific reason. He makes new posts for each episode, which show up on my feed.

  26. MovingMom*

    Re the sick dog – First of all, my heartfelt sympathies. We have two dogs – along with an assorted additional menagerie – and even the thought of losing one just … breaks me. That said, years ago when our son was about 4 years old, there was a neighborhood dog, Ilsa. Everyone absolutely loved her, and although she belonged to a neighbor a few doors up, most of the kids on the block doted on her. One day we came home to find a note on our front porch from Ilsa’s actual family, telling us that she’d had a chronic condition that was becoming steadily more painful, and the family had decided to put her down (ouch – hate that phrase, but euthanize seems even worse … sorry). It was a lovely gesture on the part of the family to let us all know, but without them having to repeat and discuss it with each individual family in person. So I’m thinking based on that, an email to your group might be a good way to go. Gives them the info, but you really only have to state it once.

    Btw, for Ilsa, there’s a little more to the story, a little bit darkly humorous, so stop reading here if not up for it. The note specifically said that Elsa was going to heaven (there’s a better euphemism … ) on a specific day – Friday. We explained to our son that sometimes animals go to heaven, and he asked if we could get a card, bring cookies to comfort the family. We found a “sympathy on the loss of your pet” card, baked cookies, and as neighbors do, showed up on Saturday afternoon, card and cookies in hand. Who should come to the door? You guessed it … Ilsa, smiling and wagging her tail. I remember to this day, Em exclaimed, “She came back!” Omg. Turns out vet was called away that day, had to reschedule, but there was some very creative explaining to do in the meantime … Smh …

  27. Chickaletta*

    #4 – I think the guys awkward response to your questions about benefits is a red flag. Not so much about the benefits, but that the manager just doesn’t know standard business practices, feels awkward about discussing sensitive matters, and can’t/isn’t willing to answer basic questions. Thsi is a problem.

    I’ve worked for small business owners who acted “confused” during the hiring process (once, I asked someone what the benefits were like, and she said that the benefit was that it was a good place to work :/ That job did not end well). I also worked for another small business owner who couldn’t give straight answers to my questions in the interview and – Lo and behold! – getting straight answers from him after I started working there was a problem too! (Ex: What’s the budget for this project? Answer: I don’t know. I’d like to see what you come up with first. That job also went down in a ball of flames). So, if I were you, I’d consider this a bullet dodged.

  28. BenAdminGeek*

    My take on #1 is that you shouldn’t add anything to your LinkedIn that you’re not comfortable with all your coworkers knowing about. Your actions/beliefs can impact your employment. So for instance if you’re a generally right-wing person working at an environmental non-profit, there’s a chance that posting an update with a link to your latest conservative podcast will cause repercussions at work, for right or wrong.

    OP1 has described above that they are seeing this because he’s posting updates. It’s not something I would do (just like I don’t share political stuff on Facebook), but sounds like he’s excited/comfortable with it.

  29. Penelope*

    That sounds like a possible dodged bullet, if OP and he would have been working closely together. He sounds incredibly unorganized and like he was hoping for a very easy hire and transition, but because OP had lots of detailed (and wise) questions that OP expected he’d be able to answer (and he should have, with a lot less effort), he is either taking his time or frantically trying to find the right responses. It’s possible he gave up on the process, but this says legions more about him than it does OP.

    In my experiences, the positions that are hard-fought are typically related to unorganized and scattered managers. I ignore red flags because I want the job, but they often pop back into my head as I encounter needless frustration in those new positions.

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