open thread – June 1-2, 2018

It’s the Friday open thread! The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet*, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

* If you submitted a question to me recently, please don’t repost it here, as it may be in the to-be-answered queue.

{ 1,734 comments… read them below }

  1. Samiratou*

    Breaking up with vendors–how do you do it?

    We’re looking to move away from a significant vendor of ours ($1M+ spend per year) that I’ve been working with for the last 7 years and I’ve never done that before. For those that have been there, how do you do it? There is no chance they could save the account. How far out do you let them know? We have a 30 day out clause, and we’re not under contract, but it will take some time to migrate to the new vendor (with virtually no work needed on their part, though). Do you let them know initially by phone or email? My inclination is email, for similar reasons as the letter from earlier this week about rejecting people by phone–email would give them a chance to process a bit before a call to “discuss the transition” but may come off as cowardly? Not sure. I’m the person who has worked the most with the team there, but I’m not in management, so I’m not sure if the initial notification should come from me or someone more senior.

    I’m naturally conflict-avoidant, so while we really need to move onto a different vendor, I’m dreading telling the current vendor.

    1. Delta Delta*

      I think you do need to tell them, and to follow the parameters of whatever contract you may have with them. I once worked for someone who was very conflict-avoidant and who essentially ghosted a vendor contract. It had the unintentional result of seriously disrupting an essential product/service package, which had a negative impact on our ability to function for a few days. This could have been avoided with a call saying, essentially that we needed to go with a different vendor. Good luck! I hope it goes smoothly!

      1. Samiratou*

        Oh, yes, we definitely wouldn’t ghost them. That wouldn’t be an option even if we wanted to, we’re just trying to figure out how it should go. We haven’t yet received funding for the migration yet, and that’s by no means assured for this year, which is why we haven’t been able to say anything yet.

    2. TonyTonyChopper*

      While I’ve not been the lead on this type of thing before, I’ve been a project to replace a current vendor. Generally, you want to send an email to let them know that due to business needs, you will be starting the search for a new vendor – although, in my experience, this was sent after a phone conversation with the rep but we had good relationship with our rep and they knew long before the official announcement that we were going to change systems as soon as our contract was up.

      It might be trickier for you since you don’t have a definite contract end date, but I would say you’d have to send an email even if you do speak with them over the phone so you (a) have a paper trail and (b) they can forward the notification to the appropriate people within their organization.

    3. anna green*

      I’ve been the vendor in this situation. Definitely let them know as soon as reasonable (depending of course of whether you feel they’ll be professional and keep the same level of service once you “quit”). Email is probably fine, just make it polite and personal. In my situation, the client kept telling us they weren’t sure or would probably keep doing business with us, everytime they saw us in person. And then a few weeks later we got a formal letter ending the contract. I can understand why they did the formal letter for legal purposes, but a quick heads up by phone or email before the letter would have been nicer and more respectful of the relationship. You never know when you may need that person again one day. Check with management and if its okay, let them know yourself if you dealt with them most, would be my opinion.

      1. Samiratou*

        That’s crappy behavior–I can’t see us doing that! We haven’t said anything yet because we don’t have funding secured for the migration, so we don’t want do the thing where we’re like “Yup, we’re leaving!” and then not leave for a year.

        I don’t think that will happen in this case, as we have a pretty darn good business case of cost savings & benefits from new features with the new vendor, but I don’t know what other priorities are out there for this year that might get in the way.

        1. Safetykats*

          I really don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary to communicate anything until you know when you’ll end the contractual relationship. Just as you wouldn’t tell an employee “Hey, we might have to let you go sometime this year, or definitely next year, but almost definitely sometime.” The only value in that, as long as you intend to give adequate notice, would be if there was something they could do to change your mind. Figure out when you will be able to start moving to the new vendor, go from there.

    4. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      I agree that an email is best. It’s in writing, which is good for business correspondence, and it gives everyone room to process. I hope you have at least been letting them know there are problems with their product/service up until now and that this isn’t the first time they are aware your company is unhappy. Keep it very brief and don’t go into too many details about why you are moving to a new vendor or details about the new vendor, even if they ask — which they probably will.

      “Dear Account Rep,

      I appreciate that you have acted in good faith to try to resolve the issues with XYZ, however due to the ongoing problems (My Company) will be discontinuing our business with (Your Company). (My Company) will need to transition to a new vendor beginning on June 1, 2018, and all business with (Your Company) will need to be completed by July 1, 2018. I would like to set up a meeting to discuss the transition this week with (people who need to be involved). Please let me know when you can meet in person/conference call for an (?-length) meeting.”

      If you have a more personal relationship with your account reps, you can add something personal for them, “I’ve always appreciate that you responded to my requests promptly and professionally and this is unfortunate that (Your Company) is unable to …” or something similar. Emphasis that this is about the companies being unable to reach a business agreement and not a personal rejection.

      1. Samiratou*

        This is a good script, thank you! The main reason we’re leaving is they haven’t been able to deliver on a promised feature set that we need, and aren’t showing the best signs of being able to get it to us anytime soon.

        1. seller of teapots*

          As a sales rep, I’ll chime in: email is fine (I’d actually prefer email, as you said, so I can figure out how best to respond.), but do give them the opportunity, if you’re comfortable (and your rep isnt the overly pushy type) to chat on the phone about the situation.

          Often in these cases, the rep is pressured to “save the account” (even when they know they can’t and want to be respectful of the business needs), and having a feedback oriented conversation can resolve that pressure from the higher-ups. Additionally, feedback is always helpful. Sometimes I think people don’t want to say why they aren’t buying/aren’t going with a given rep because they dont want to hurt her feelings, but feedback makes our jobs SO MUCH easier. It helps us give context to the situation, and helps enable change so we don’t lose other customers as well, etc.

    5. Bea*

      They’re used to being fired essentially. You’ll tell them you’re moving to another supplier.

      If you want to, you can use it to try to get better pricing if staying with them is even an option.

      I’m constantly searching for new vendors. It’s vital to keep costs low and have the proper channels opened to negotiate pricing.

      You can’t make it so personal. They know the drill!

      1. Specialk9*

        I think it’s really important to keep in mind that it’s not a personal relationship. Vendors and sales people try to make it feel personal, they talk about family and hobbies. But it’s a tactic to help them sell better. I keep that distance mentally – I shoot the breeze, and am warm and personable, and make sure to give kudos to their bosses if they do good work… But we’re not friends.

        Just a mental note for future business relationships.

        (But also, I’d still be stressing this a bit. But don’t worry, it won’t be as bad as you imagine.)

    6. Ama*

      I agree with all of these, I think as soon as you have the new vendor and the official migration date confirmed you should send them an email and let them know. I would also make sure you have full access to any source files, account passwords, or any other materials the vendor may have been handling for you — 99% of the time it won’t be necessary, but every so often you do hear about people acting vindictively (or even just becoming much less responsive once you are no longer a client) and you don’t want to realize that they have something essential to your work in that case.

      In general people appreciate professional and clear communication and will respond in kind, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for a worst case scenario.

      1. Bea*

        Ah yeah. The vindictive ones. We had some jerkwads damage our print plates. They forwarded them to the new vendor by tossing them loose into a box.

    7. Yams*

      If there’s a contract, just send the required notification (email is better!) and let them know there is already a new vendor ready to go. MAKE SURE THE NEW VENDOR IS READY TO GO BEFORE YOU SEND THE NOTIFICATION! There may be a bit of overlap in the services but it is far better to have the overlap than to have service disruptions. Right now I am managing a transition between two suppliers of a complex product and i have been ramping up with the new supplier for two months so they are ready to hit the ground running with first delivery on July 2nd, with the old supplier delivering the last stock on June 25th.
      I’m super conflict averse and have had to be in this position so much over the last month and it sucks. I hate doing it. I do ghost smaller vendors and when they complain just say that business needs changed and we are moving in a different direction. For bigger stuff I have to put on my big boy pants and go talk to people in person, which is the worst. It is just so awkward.

    8. Wakeen Teaptots, LTD*

      I would never break up with a 1 million dollar vendor over email. Assuming there are personal relationships, it is indeed like firing an employee (as far as manners go). I would do it either in person or, if not possible, over the phone, and the job should fall to the most senior person available on both sides of it.

      This assumes that your 1 million in business is significant to them. If it is a huge company and the 1 million is most significant to say the sales rep (who is losing a one million dollar account :( ) , then the sales rep is the person you break it to. People lose jobs over losing million dollar accounts.

      You should not feel guilty for making the right business decision to move your business elsewhere, but treating people on the vendor side with respect and compassion while doing so is the right thing to do (and also will get you a good reputation – people change companies all the time).

      1. Samiratou*

        In person isn’t feasible, due to geography. $1 million is pretty significant, but we don’t really have a sales rep. We have our account rep and a few others on the team, but since our original contract expired with them a few years ago, we’ve been just kind of going along with the status quo for awhile. We would be breaking it to the account rep, but I don’t know if this will impact her job. It’s not her fault, really, that we’re leaving (though she’s not great), we just need some functionality that this vendor doesn’t offer at this time. Supposedly they’re building it, but they told us that last year and the new vendor is much more mature in this space and will be a lot cheaper, as well.

        1. Wakeen Teaptots, LTD*

          Interesting. Well it doesn’t sound as if they have been working very hard to retain your business, does it?

          If your company legit doesn’t have relationships higher than the account rep servicing the account, then maybe I would email so that the account rep has it in her hands when she tells her boss. (Okay, *I* probably still wouldn’t do it over email initially – I’d probably find somebody higher in the food chain and make it their problem but I think that is more me than what is the Correct Thing to Do).

          No matter I wouldn’t give one extra days notice. Nothing good comes out of long break ups with vendors.

        2. Triple Anon*

          So it sounds like you have a solid reason. I would make it about that, and be very polite and friendly. Tell them you need X by Y date so you have to move to another supplier, you’ve enjoyed working with them (if you have, and list reasons), and you wish their company the best.

    9. Media Monkey*

      there should be something in your contract that would tell you how you need to give the 30 day notice. however depending on how good/ close your relationship is (not that good given that you are breaking up!) you might want to give them a heads up beforehand? However i would definitely advise a call afterwards to discuss with them and give feedback. Have you given them negative feedback already in an attempt to save the relationship? As if so they won’t be that surprised/ shocked.

      1. Samiratou*

        Well, they know they don’t offer features we need, and have been supposedly developing over the past couple years, but we don’t have a ton of confidence they will get there anytime soon or that they have any urgency there.

    10. Hiring Mgr*

      I don’t think it matters who notifies them, but from my experience someone on the vendor end will probably want to speak with or discuss with your management/decision maker, considering it’s a 7yr relatoinship with a $1M+ client. I know you’re saying there’s no chance to save the account…but you say don’t even have funding set aside yet for a new vendor, so maybe there’s a chance they could change your mind? Can you elaborate on why you’re making the change?

      1. Samiratou*

        It’s mainly about features, but also costs. They’ve supposedly been developing a new feature that we need, which is pretty standard in this space, but they’re nowhere close. We’ve also got an outdated contract and when the presented us a new offer it wasn’t one that would save us anything, really, and they still can’t provide the features we need. There have been some other support issues that they haven’t been particularly responsive on.

        By funding not set aside yet, our engineering team recently sized the project and now we’re working with finance to get approval for it. We will get it approved, but it may not be until next year.

        1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

          Are they developing the feature just in general to stay competitive in the industry, or are they developing it just for your company? If they are developing something just for your company, I would give them as much notice as possible that they are losing your business, just as the ethical thing to do. If they are doing it in general to stay competitive, wait to give notice until a new vendor and finances are set and the transition is starting immediately. Then make the physical transition (if there is one) as fast as possible — less than 2 weeks even, even if you are obligated to keep paying for the 30 days notice period.

          But, since your company seems to have refused to sign a new contract after the old one expired, I bet they’ve figured out they’ve already lost the account. I hope your company also has received legal advice — continuing to operate without a valid contract on a $1 million deal is risky. What happens if they decide that since you don’t have a contract that they’re giving YOU 30-day notice to cut off services?

    11. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Continue business as usual until you have the new vendor setup and ready to migrate. Then give the 30 days notice in whatever format the agreement stipulates. Too much warning and you might have some service issues as they won’t care as much since you won’t matter in the future.
      Officially worded email from whomever officially oversees the agreement is the best option. Even though it probably feels like it to you, this isn’t a personal relationship. Its business and happens often.

    12. Anon Vendor*

      Vendor here. I disagree that it needs to be done via phone or in person. For me an email would be totally sufficient, especially if that’s how the majority of your communications with that vendor have been, but that might be something to determine person-by-person. I agree with another comment that it’s fine to include something personal (and something kind can be nice to hear) but it’s most useful to be clear about timelines, include any specifics as to why you’re moving, know the guidelines in the contract, etc so that they can do what they need to do to end those services and pass any relevant information along internally. Also is fine if it comes from you (my own opinion) and not from someone with more authority. They’re used to you being the authority.
      Anyways, good luck and don’t worry – they know it’s just business!

    13. TootsNYC*

      I’d only tell them once you got to the 30-day mark.
      It’s just like quitting a job–once you’ve told them you’re not going to be in a relationship with them anymore, you run the risk of them acting like jerks.

      And you don’t have to tell them that they couldn’t save the relationship at all; I mean, that might seem fair to do, and it _would_ be fair if this were a friendship or a romantic relationship. But I think you need to look out for yourself (in this case, “yourself” = “the company”).
      (In fact, sometimes in an interpersonal relationship, it would be OK to start laying your plans to leave without revealing that, if the danger were high.)

      Now, if all those efforts become visible or apparent to the outgoing vendor, you may need to reveal the danger they are in. But again, it’s up to you whether you hedge or whether you reveal all. You could easily say, “We’re exploring our options. As you know, these factors have been a big problem for us.”

      And as with any relationship (employer/employee, interpersonal, etc.), the honorable thing to do is to let people know that problems exist before things become unfixable.

      Their contract says 30 days, so presumably they are able to deal with their loss of income w/ that level of notice.

    14. cookie monster*

      I have done this before. The time I did it with a major vendor, I drafted an official letter, which I then emailed to them as an attachment. I basically said something like “we’ve really valued our relationship with you over the years and I want you to know the decision to leave is NOT based on the excellent work you did for us over the past years which allowed us to get (big expensive problem) into a manageable place such that we can now handle it in house”

    15. Jerry Vandesic*

      Send a postal letter, specifying the details of the contract cancellation. Don’t offer any chance for a followup discussion. A phone call or email might not have the same legal impact.

    16. Arjay*

      I’m glad to read the responses. I’m in a similar situation, and its frustrating because I believe the pain points we have are mostly our own fault. Also, I’m just bad at break-ups.

    17. Observer*

      Of course it depends on the specifics of your contract, but if it’s ok by contract, an email is fine. You don’t have to be “brave” about it, just polite.

      Start your transition asap. And give them their 30 days.

      Why are you moving on?

    18. Beth Anne*

      I had to do this recently and we wrote a letter saying we no longer wanted to use their services. You need to have something in writing even if you just email the letter to someone.

    19. MissDissplaced*

      I’ve not had one this big, but generally I would give them at least 3 months. I would let the most senior account manager you work with know by phone first, and then follow in writing, using the language much as you stated indicating overatures for a smooth transition.

      Of course, if there was mismanagement or something more of an emergency situation, you could certainly exit sooner. It doesn’t sound like that’s your case though, so I would try to be fair on the exit.

  2. Anonymous Educator*

    Has anyone who’s worked in schools had a back-and-forth thing between working in schools and working in corporate? Where did you end up?

    1. ExcelJedi*

      I’ve been back and forth between for-profit corporate, non-profit schools & for-profit schools. I’m currently at a non-profit and will be for the next 8+ years I hope (Public Service Loan Forgiveness makes grad school debt manageable), but I can’t really see myself going back to corporate. The excellent work/life balance just isn’t worth giving up for me.

      That said, technology in education (even in my current, mostly online higher ed position) drives me absolutely batty, and sometimes I think of going back to a corporate job just so 21st century tech will be the norm again.

    2. Tea, please*

      I’ve been back and forth between non-profits and schools. For the time being, I’m happy being back in schools. Mainly because, in my area, the pay is better.

    3. Who the eff is Hank?*

      I worked in a non-profit related to a school for 4 years, then corporate for 5 years (1 year of which was at an education-related company), and now I’m going on year 3 at a non-profit school.

      Of all these places, I’ve enjoyed the non-profit school the most and intend to stay in this sector (though not necessarily at my current school). This job combines all the feel-goods of working at a nonprofit with the great health and vacation benefits of working at a school. The pay isn’t amazing and the office is small, but I actually have the best work-life balance I’ve ever had and the most supportive coworkers and supervisors.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I’ve found the same, but I also haven’t worked in too many corporate environments, so I don’t have much to compare it with.

    4. Bird Person*

      I taught in community colleges and public schools, and now I work at an EdTech startup. I wouldn’t trade my school experience for anything, but I’m really happy where I am: our product really does make a difference for families and school systems, I’m introverted enough to prefer working in a smaller and less emotionally demanding environment, and I’m a good fit for startup-casual office culture. All in all, it was a good move for me.

    5. JV*

      I had a back-and-forth between private companies and unis (ISP, university, defence contractor, university, manufacturing company, sixth form college, and now back in the public sector but working in a different area (Patent Examining)

      Corporate is better paid but worse conditions. Public sector is great if your face fits but if it doesn’t then it can be hell. Entrenched bureaucracy and all.

  3. Anon anony*

    Co-workers who come into the office often ignore me and just direct conversation to my co-worker, “Sara.” Sara has been there longer, so maybe they just know each other better (I’ve only been there for 8 months.). Sara and I work together, but they’ll walk in and just make eye contact with her, even if I’m sitting right next to her.

    One woman came in, completely ignored that I was sitting right there and proceeded to put her stuff down on top of mine. I found it to be rude- even if you don’t like me for some reason, you still should act professional.

    I overheard another woman talking about how she doesn’t like me and how she used to work with “someone like me”- that was interesting because I came back and heard all of this! And the woman kept talking like I wasn’t there!! Then if I talk, she’ll roll her eyes and try to get away from me.

    I know I should let this go because I don’t know how to bring it up without sounding like I’m whining “they don’t like me” but I have never been in a workplace where co-workers were so hostile!

    Does anyone have any advice or similar experiences? Is there a way to find out why they hate me after only 8 months?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Do you know what it is they supposedly don’t like about you? Is this something they just do to all new people (a form of hazing)? Do they impose stereotypes based on the way you look or the pitch of your voice?

      1. Anon anony*

        I’m quiet and caucasian. (Some are not caucasian.) They also work in a different department than me. (I’m the librarian in a special library.) Other than that I don’t know.

        1. Clorinda*

          How’s your relationship with Sara herself? If she’s friendly and willing, she might be able to help you ease your way into the group. Eight months seems like a ridiculously long time for this to go on!

          1. You don't know me*

            I agree about getting in with an existing person in the group. I started a new job 4 months ago and everyone was very cautious around me but once one of the long timers decided I was ok, everyone seems to accept me.

      2. Anon anony*

        They’ve been like this since I’ve started though, so I think it’s just the way it is. I’m applying to other jobs and have had interviews.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If you get along with Sara, maybe you can ask her to start involving you in these conversations, if you should be involved. Something like:

      M: Hi, Sara. I have a question about the rice sculpture production schedule.
      Sara: Sure! Actually, Anon and I have it here. Anon, can you help M?

      Sure, M could still roll her eyes and keep talking to Sara, but polite persistence on your and Sara’s part makes M look completely loony if she persists.

      1. Anon anony*

        She is social, but has a big mouth so I don’t want her telling everyone. (They gossip about everyone and everything here!!)

        1. Logan*

          I have worked in places with a high number of gossipers (as opposed to where I am now – we talk about rumours, and speculate about upcoming plans, but that is waaaay different than gossiping about individuals in unhealthy ways). In my experience, gossipers only like gossipers, and I was ostracized when I didn’t join with them. I was thankfully on a short contract and had an escape, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done (although I later discovered that no one in the larger organisation liked the group, so if I had stayed longer then I would have got to know more people outside that group).

          1. Luna*

            I’ve had similar experiences too. Also as a quieter person who wasn’t participating in the gossip, that seemed to make things worse. I’ve had gossipers comment to me that they don’t like quiet people like me because they never know what I’m thinking. I guess they assume I’m thinking badly about them because all they do is talk shit about others? Not sure. But for whatever reason it makes them uncomfortable.

        2. neverjaunty*

          It sounds like you unfortunately just work with a lot of horrible people. The dislike almost certainly isn’t personal; you’re newer and therefore the most convenient piñata.

        3. Pollygrammer*

          I’m not sure her telling everyone would necessarily be a bad thing, especially if you frame it in a way that suggests you just really want to make friends with people and it’s making you sad that you can’t seem to.

          Also, maybe a candy dish on your desk?

        4. Blue*

          Could you keep it more general? Not, “Why does no one like me?” but “Any advice on how I might be able to better settle in and encourage people to seek me out on XYZ work matters?”

          1. Triumphant Fox*

            Why? People generally comment here with their specific situation. I don’t see the need to generalize all of them. Allison does that for them in her responses, but people’s posts are usually hyper-focused.

            1. Jessie the First (or second)*

              I think you’ve misunderstood. Blue isn’t telling the OP that she should phrase her question *here*, to us, more generally. Blue is suggesting that the OP ask Sara this generalized version of her question – a general question, rather than a “why does no one like me” question, because that way if Sara spreads/has a big mouth the way OP is worried about, Sara won’t be spreading anything gossipy or personal that would be awkward.

              1. Triumphant Fox*

                That makes a lot more sense! Agreed that framing the question to her about how to develop working relationships would be better than “Why does no one like me?!!”

          2. RB*

            Sometimes you just have to accept that you work in a very clique-y office or that there is a Mean Girls dynamic going on. It can take months or years for you to seem like one of the gang to the people who have been there longer. I’ve been through this. I just tried to ignore it as best I could because it wasn’t directly affecting my work.

    3. Kramerica Industries*

      I’m going to say that even if there’s a “rational” reason why they don’t like you, these women are clearly trying to make it obvious that they don’t like you. Don’t get sucked into their drama. You’re better than that.

      1. WellRed*

        That’s hard though, to spend a full day at work with people treating you like this.

      2. Kramerica Industries*

        Realistically, yes it absolutely sucks. I guess maybe it depends on the work culture? My workplace is generally pretty non-confrontational. So when I dealt with something similar (though nothing quite as rude!), someone gave me this advice: You have to have the strength to rise above. Don’t think that people don’t notice. You want people to continue to see you as hardworking and positive. If he/she’s as toxic as you think, you have to trust that she’s going to be her own downfall.

        Eventually, I escalated to my manager, but only when my toxic person refused to send me work/emails I needed for no good reason.

    4. Cruciatus*

      I wouldn’t let it go! I don’t have a good story that solved everything, but at my former employer 2 women (who were friends) decided to just ignore me one day. Stopped eating lunch with our usual group. Couldn’t say hi to me in the hallway. It was ridiculous and everyone who was friends with them told me “that’s just how X is.” (And you guys put up with it? WTF?) Fortunately X got another job and just recently the other apologized to me (because we both ended up at the same employer–you never know when you’ll meet again. She’s no longer friends with the other woman and realized how toxic she was).

      But I would just ask what I had done to offend them and be perfectly polite all the rest of the time so people realize the crazy is on them. I would also probably start documenting. You shouldn’t have to be in a work place like that. I dislike people but can suck it up and do my business with them with no one the wiser about my feelings. Good luck! This is even worse than my situation. At least they ignored me, not flat out told me all the reasons about their dislike.

    5. ZSD*

      Wow. The woman who put her stuff down on top of yours is incredibly rude.
      Do you have a good rapport with Sara? Can you ask her what’s going on? Or perhaps your supervisor? I don’t think it’s whiny to be worried about this! If your co-workers are refusing to work with or even acknowledge you, that will cause problems with the functioning of your office at some point.

      1. Marcy Marketer*

        Maybe you could just swipe her stuff onto the floor and be like “Whoops! Didn’t see you place your stuff on mine!” Just a passive aggressive option for you :)

    6. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      The first two paragraphs I was thinking “Oh yeah, I’ve had that happen to me when I was new*” but the third paragraph is just odd.

      Is there someone you can talk to to try and find out what’s going on? Maybe Sara? I’d approach it with the curiosity angle… “Hey Sara, can I ask you about something? The other day when Marge was in here as I walked in the room she was saying something about how she doesn’t like me and that she’d worked with ‘someone like me’ in the past. Any idea what’s going on? Did I use her coffee cup, wear the same perfume as her MIL, or something else? I’m not sure what’s going on or why there would be this odd animosity”

      *I was new to one office that was undergoing renovations, so things were already in flux, then my new boss set me up in a cube. It turned out someone else had been squatting in this cube, so him and I spend the next 2 weeks moving each other’s crap into the next cube and getting grouchy at each other.

    7. only acting normal*

      My A-level maths teacher utterly despised one of my classmates. No idea why: he was a straight A student, tidily dressed, polite. Still she hated him on sight. Our only theory was that he reminded her of someone else who had earned her hatred.
      The best that could be said was she didn’t take it out on his grades, and it was only for 2 years.

      If anyone takes an irrational dislike to me (not saying I *couldn’t* earn it >:-), but I certainly try to be easy to get on with), I figure it’s all about them, nothing to do with me, and provided they’re not actively trying to sabotage me, I ignore any nonsense they direct my way.

      1. Susan Sto Helit*

        I still have this memory of being about 7 years old and sat in my classroom when the teacher came in to introduce a new girl. Introductions were done, she sat down in a free spot on the floor near me…then turned to me and hissed “I hate you”.

        I have no idea what I might have done in those 30 seconds between her first entering the classroom and her deciding she didn’t like me.

        1. only acting normal*

          That reminds me of the dinner lady who decided 8 yr old new-to-the-school me was to be reprimanded and belittled at every opportunity. I was an extremely well behaved kid so don’t know what her prolem was!

          1. froodle*

            Oh my glob same! I’m left handed and a dinner lady told tiny me that it i didn’t learn to eat with my knife and fork in the right hands, nobody would ever marry me because everyone would be embarrassed to eat with me in a restaurant. I was like seven, so my reaction was just confusion, but I look back on it and I’m like what the fuck lady.

      2. Pollygrammer*

        I had a boss who very cheerfully informed me that she didn’t like a new person in another department and was never going to, because her voice sounded a lot like boss’s hated sister-in-law. She told me like she thought I would find it cute and/or reasonable.

    8. Bea*

      I would document everything and let management know. OSHA covers bullying, they’re on the hook for letting people act like such assholes.

      They don’t have to like you but they can’t be shunning and talking about you.

    9. Lara*

      I don’t know how to handle the other issues, but if someone comes in and puts their stuff on top of yours, it is absolutely professional to say:

      “Jane, please move your papers from on top of mine, I need to access them.”

      She may well push back, but if she does she’s going to look terrible.

    10. NLMC*

      That sounds so childish on their parts and I’m sorry you are dealing with this. Could it have anything to do with who you replaced? Were they part of the group and then left on bad terms and they are for some reason taking that out on you?

      1. Anon anony*

        It’s a new position, but most of them have been there/worked together for 10, 15, 25 years.

    11. TootsNYC*

      Frankly, I would bring it up to your boss. I think you can describe the situation of walking into your office to hear someone directly talking about how they don’t like you, and then having them continue to complain about you even though it was clear you were right there.

      And then say, “They don’t have to like me. I want them to stop being overtly rude. I don’t know how to handle this to keep it from become worse, because saying something to them from me seems like it will backfire, as will it coming from you. But I would like some help in strategizing how to handle this.”

      Unless your boss is a total jerk, I guess.

      Oh, and other advice?

      I had something somewhat similar (not as bad–these people are HORRIBLE!!; mine was just one person)

      I became a suck-up. Just “blithely oblivious” to any chilliness, and I started sticking my head in to say hello in the morning, or making friendly comments directly to them, making a point to ask them if they want anything from the cafeteria since I’m going, etc.

      Just pretending that we were friendly. And then eventually she couldn’t keep up the chilliness.

      In your case, you’ve got a group. So maybe pick one person who isn’t Sara to “befriend” in this way.

      It’s OK to be fake, and to “manipulate” people this way. Call it tactical.

      1. Anon anony*

        I’ve tried this and some are nice, but it depends on who is around or with them. The one woman seems like she doesn’t want me to fit in- if I’m talking to someone, she has to butt in the convo and take over. It’s ridiculous and rude. I just needed a job…

        1. OhNo*

          Sounds like you know who the ringleader is of this particular brand of nastiness. If you want to stick it out here for a while, your best bet may be to make friends with the friendly ones while this person isn’t present, and continue friendly overtures to the others whenever she’s not around.

          If it’s possible, I’d say avoid the ringleader at all costs. She may be the source of the toxicity, or she may just be the worst example. Either way, it sounds like the rest of the folks are adjusting their behavior to mollify her. If that’s the case, anytime she is involved (or inserts herself) into a situation with you, they’re likely to default to mimicking her incredibly rude behavior to keep the peace with her.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Uh, this is awful.
      My bottom line is that they can hate me all they want. But if they f with my work that is a deal breaker. So watch, make sure you are getting the inputs you need to do your job. Do your job well and don’t let them take up too much space in your brain.
      Treat everyone fairly and politely. This is not an instant solution. You are 8 months in, if you do not see changes in the next 4 months seriously consider moving on. Don’t force yourself to work in a toxic environment.
      Sometimes you can win people like this over, by taking on Big Project and knocking it out of the park. Other times you can dilute their powerful nastiness by being a solutions person. That person who seems to have a special knack for remedying tough problems. On rare occasion a special circumstance can come up and you could be the one to save the day, in that moment the bullying is over.

      One last idea. I had a Toxic Person at work. It got to the point where I thought the situation was going to send me running out the door. I started documenting. I kept my record at home and I documented only the things that stood out in my mind that particular day, or else I could have written a 100 pages every day. I never did anything with the journal beyond my own use. I looked for patterns and tried to figure out ways of dealing with recurring comments or actions. An odd thing happened. I had been documenting for a few days and the BS died down. And it stayed down, until I stopped writing. Then it resumed. I have no clue what happened there. Did this person sense I was writing down things she said/did? Or did I act differently. more confident or more in control? I suspect I may have started walking a little taller and may have seemed more surefooted. I do know a cohort started wearing a wire (DO NOT DO THIS) and the nonsense stopped when ever they wore the recorder. It was interesting to try to figure out what was happening and why.

    13. nomorejibbajabba*

      It could be that one of them or one of their friends applied for the job you have. So in their mind you took an opportunity away from them or someone they know (maybe). I once had a frosty coworker who was very passive aggressive and it turned out that she had applied for the job I had. It would be nice if they could just be adults, but they sound petty and unpleasant. What the person said about gossipy people only liking other gossipy people is 100% correct. You can tell when you’ve been the subject of some hen fest because they can’t even look at you.

    14. Triple Anon*

      Two suggestions, having been there:

      1) Of you can talk to one of them alone, ask very nicely, “I was wondering, did I do something that bothered you? If so, I’m really sorry and I want to make things right.” That kind of thing. That gives them an opportunity to voice any concerns and get a fresh start, and it shows that at least you care.

      2) If you’re at all rusty on cultural differences, brush up on it! For example, having grown up in a predominantly African-American city, I learned that it’s easy to come across as rude because of different cultural norms. If you can, try to act like your co-workers or communicate in a way that bridges the gap.

    15. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

      I had a co-worker who used to turn her back to me and perch on the edge of my desk to talk to my office mate. The temptation to poke her butt with a pencil was very strong. I settled for making sure every inch of my desk was covered with work. Then she came in and pushed some aside so she could perch and I said “Please don’t do that.” She stopped. Sometime you must be direct.

    16. Courageous cat*

      No but I’m in the same situation. I haven’t overheard anyone talking about it but I’m excluded frequently from events/conversations and where they’re warm to each other, they’re cold as ice to me. No clue. I get along so well with everyone else in the place except my department.

      It sounds kind of lame (to myself) to be like, “these people don’t like me so I’m finding another job” because it should be just a job and friendship shouldn’t enter into it – but I don’t care anymore, it’s unprofessional and it’s rude to not try to make an effort. I don’t get paid enough to deal with the discomfort it brings.

      1. Courageous cat*

        And what sucks is that I know when I put in my two-weeks notice, if I were to say it was because they obviously don’t like me, I can already tell they’d gaslight the hell out of me and be like “What are you talking about? That’s not true, we have nothing against you, you’re crazy, etc”. Because they haven’t overtly said “fuck you” to me, they probably think they’re being really sly about their indifference (at best) towards me.

        I’m so done with being the new person.

        1. Anon anony*

          This is what I hate- they ignore me, talk about me as if I’m not there, but then they laugh and joke with me. It’s abusive/bullying behavior and it isn’t right. I know they don’t like me- they’ve said it. So why not just ignore me? Why bother talking to me as if we’re friends?

        2. Mad Baggins*

          It’s unprofessional and immature to treat people as they have treated you. You are not wrong to want to be treated kindly at work! This should be basic adult stuff! As someone who was ostracized at a former workplace for reasons I didn’t understand, I hope you and Anon anony find better places where you are more welcome.

  4. Alternative Person*

    One of the ‘Super’ part timers at work is taking essentially the whole summer off to work another job (they’ll ‘graciously’ be coming in some evenings, AKA the time that needs the least coverage) and will be back as normal come Autumn.

    On one hand I’m happy to have them out of my hair for a while. On the other, we’re now in the hole for about 25 or so client facing hours a week, at a time when a lot of our staff are off anyway (high level manager doesn’t want FT staff, thinks we can run a decent ship with student part timers, but that’s another story). And they’re going to come back in, exactly as things were before. I don’t want to be harsh, but I’m a little irritated my manager authorized it. I get he wants people to be happy and stay, but the part timer took on a lot of responsibility, gets to drop it and then pick it back up without a missed step. Seems a little too much to me.

    1. Forking Great Username*

      Is there a reason you guys can’t hire a seasonal part time person to cover those hours for the summer?

      1. Alternative Person*

        Likely not for all those hours. This part timer has accumulated a lot of responsibility over the past few years, probably more than they really should have, due to bad management policies across the board and this person actively working to acquire hours/responsibility. Some of that can’t really be passed onto a temp or newbie.

    2. As Close As Breakfast*

      That is irritating. Does your manager have a plan for the responsibilities that the part timer will be ‘dropping’ for the summer? I mean, it’s kind of irritating either way, but my irritation would go way up if the plan was anything like “Alternative Person and other staff members will just pick it all up!”

      1. Alternative Person*

        The likely outcome is myself and the other FT/regular staff will have it reassigned to our schedules.

        1. ..Kat..*

          I recommend pushing as much of this work to your manager as possible. She created the problem, let her pick up the extra work.

          1. Alternative Person*

            I wish that was possible but the manager’s skill set is such that he can only do the very basic level of work we do.

            There’s also a different story about how the ‘Super’ part timer arrived at a time when work was desperately lacking even junior level staff (due to bad high level management policies, I was literally the last ‘new’ mid level FT hire recruited about five-six months after the ‘Super’ part timer was and at least two different managers wanted me to work at their branch).

            Prior to my being hired, she picked up a lot of client facing work because there were so few staff and she was willing to do all the extra work offered and that work never really got reassigned to skilled staff once things somewhat evened out because 1. she does work in a way that looks good (emphasis on looks but that’s yet another different story). 2. she was always happy to do the hours. So, on one hand, I can see the manager feeling some loyalty because she was a big help during a difficult time, but I really feel like the manager is doing a big disservice both to her and to the rest of the staff by letting her basically drop one job temporarily for another.

  5. 3's enough!*

    Remember the LW from a week or so ago that was asked for 5 references as part of an interview process? Well I was just asked for 8… EIGHT! They want 2 managers, 2 direct reports, 2 peers and 2 clients, which is nearly impossible because I can’t use anyone at my current place of work.

    1. Lucky*

      Wow, I am 15+ years into my career and I would be hard pressed to find 8 references of these types without tapping anyone at my current job. I just don’t keep in touch with that many former colleagues.

    2. SaraV*

      [Insert blinking gif here]
      Please tell me this is some type of government job? I’m having difficulty at the moment coming up with a job in the private sector where this would actually make sense.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Is this a pretty high level position? I think this could be a reasonable ask if it is.

    4. 3's enough!*

      Non-governmental – it is at a consulting firm for the private sector. Not incredibly high up. The form may have come from the recruiter which I’m not sure make its better.
      AND I already had to spend a lot of my memorial day weekend working on a case study as part of the interview. #thisbetterbeworthit

      I think I’m just going to ‘do my best’ and submit as many as I can reasonably drum up.

      1. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

        Oh, if it’s a recruiter, that might make more sense… theoretically, they do a reference check for you once, and then you can apply for as many jobs as you want and your references only get contacted that one time.

        The recruiting company is either *very* together or *very* not. No halfway there. Hopefully it is the former, but tbh its much more often the latter. I agree that the best you can do is the best you can do… maybe you can include some names from your current job with a note like “please do not contact until an offer is imminent; at that time, I’m happy to give you contact information”?

      2. Woodswoman*

        I think the fact that you’re working with a recruiter is the reason. I had the same experience for I job I ultimately got. I was stunned when I was asked for “six to eight” including people who had managed me, people that I had managed, and peers. I’ve been in the work world for many years so fortunately I was able to find six people because I no longer worked with them, and the seventh that was a co-worker had already told me they were job-hunting themselves.

        Your situation sounds more difficult with such specific quotas for each category and avoiding your current job. Can you talk with the recruiter about your challenges and see what else might work? Good luck!

        1. Safetykats*

          Yeah, this is easier when you’ve been working longer. One reason some people ask for so many references is that they are anticipating morph being able to get through to all of them. You can always give them as many as you are able to, and try to make sure the ones you provide are actually anticipating a call so that they respond.

      3. puzzld (I see there's a Puzzled here, I am not that Puzzled)*

        I sure wouldn’t be able to do it, but I understand the temptation to ask. We get so many people who either give unusable references (no, I can’t use your grandma, your sister, your Aunt May…), I’d rather not use your pastor or your parole officer, although I will if you insist, your major professor is a great reference — but only if he’s not on a two year research trip to Amundsen or otherwise out of touch. And now with so many people call screening / email white-listing etc… It’s really hard to do reference checks in a timely manner. We don’t like to leave a voice mail at a work number unless we are pretty sure doing so won’t “out” the applicant (what if they gave us their immediate supervisors name, but irrational grand boss gets wind of the search…)

        So anyway, checking references can take a ton of time and we are required to talk to at least two different references who are able to speak to the candidate qualifications for our specific work.

    5. You don't know me*

      I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I’d been at the same company for 10 years and had the same manager for the last 7 of those. My manager’s manager changed every year because it was a stepping stone role.

    6. Antilles*

      I think the reasoning behind it is this:
      1.) I want your managers, because they manage you and are familiar with your work.
      2.) I want a direct report to see how you are as a manager, since that’s pretty important for the staff underneath you..
      3.) I want your peers, because studies have shown that what your peers think of you often is different than how your managers think of you.
      4.) I want a client, because really, that’s who we’re here to serve.
      5.) But I want two of every type, just to get some second opinions.
      It’s dumb and impractical on many levels*, but I’m guessing that’s the logic.
      *Including, but not limited to, “most people can’t find that many references on short notice”, “way outside the norm”, “companies consider clients confidential”, “interviewer’s time”, “diminishing returns / eventually you’re just hearing the same stuff”.

      1. Mike C.*

        You forgot, “And I don’t respect the people I’m interviewing on a fundamental level”.

    7. LACPA*

      I’m interviewing for a job where the recruiter is asking for a similar number of references including former bosses, subordinates, audit partners, PE partners and others. Never seen that before

    8. anycat*

      ..what happens if you don’t have any direct reports? (i’m thinking its a manager role though)

      1. Brett*

        Or what happens if your current role is your first management role?
        (Especially if you have been in the role for a large number of years.)

    9. Jadelyn*

      Jaysus, that’s a lot to demand of someone. Is this for an executive-level position? I can kinda see it more in that case, since the hiring process for an executive should be more rigorous than for an entry-level role, but…good lord. I don’t think I could come up with all of that, especially if I weren’t open about my job search at my current employer.

    10. Former Usher*

      I interviewed for a job where I was initially asked for the phone numbers of three references, but then they later decided I instead needed to provide five reference (including two managers) who could complete an online evaluation of me. The online system actually requested seven references, but luckily I *only* needed five.

      That job turned out to be a complete disaster. And company policy was not to provide references for former employees!

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      • This is ridiculous.

      • I am trying to imagine the past disastrous hire that convinced them “If we had only talked to 8 people–7 is too few–then the 8th one would have spilled the beans.” I speculate that it involved a stunning amount of maple syrup and a moose.

    12. Gotham Bus Company*

      I suspect that the position is earmarked for one specific person who has all of that.

  6. Bones*

    I’m looking for advice. I had a job interview yesterday that went really well (yay!). The recruiters have sent me a link to a calipers personality assessment test thingie. I’ve never heard of one of these before, and most of the stuff I’ve found online seems to be dedicated to learning how to “cheat” the test, or complaining about how dumb they think it is. Does anyone have experience taking/evaluating these tests? What can I expect? How are they applied in the hiring process?

    1. Trillion*

      I made the mistake once of answering one question on the test with a “wrong” answer because I was concerned that TA would think I wasn’t being honest because I was answering everything too perfectly.

      Huge mistake. Cost me the job.

      Answer everything about ethics and behavior with what you think the most perfect answer is. Answer questions about your personality more honestly (but maybe not completely honestly if you know the answer is the “wrong” one. For instance “I’ve screamed at my boss on the sales floor.” Answer “Never.”
      “I prefer to work completely by myself and never talk to anyone” Even if that is true about you, don’t answer “Always” if you know the job doesn’t allow for that because it’s part of a team or customer facing.)

    2. Anna*

      As a cynic, I say that part of such a test is to see if you’re smart enough to know to answer the right answers. I am helping some young refugees try to get a job stocking shelves, and one of these tests was required. They don’t have the english to understand the nuances of obscure questions that boil down to “Will you steal?”, “Are you happy and easy to work with?” and “Will you rat out coworkers who steal?”

      I took the test for them. Yes, they adapt well to change and have a positive outlook. They survived the bombing of the city they grew up in. Also, have experience stocking shelves.

      1. Gatomon*

        Yes, these are really reading comprehension tests. No one would come out and say they’d steal, but the tests try to trick you into admitting it. I’ve unfortunately had to watch people fail because they didn’t really understand the question and I couldn’t explain it to them without giving away the answer, and I didn’t want to lose my job. So frustrating when you know the person can do the job and a dumb test blocks their path.

    3. Schnoodle*

      At OldJob, CEO liked this caliper test for final candidates. We actually rejected one based on it; though that is not actually legally advised. It can be used as a tool AFTER being hired but should never be used as a SCREENING tool.

      That said, I had to take it to get it and they were impressed with my answers which was hilarious because for some of the logic/math ones, I just googled it and got the answer. And like the others, on ethics I stayed pretty conservative, but did give a little spunk here or there. Just because.

      They are dumb, have been found to be useless, and used in court for discrimination cases.

      That said, doesn’t necessarily mean company or job will be bad, just that they made this one bad decision.

      I’d take it and if you advance just look out for more red flags.

      1. Bea W*

        I’ve applied to a couple jobs where they used another personality test as part of the screening. It was nothing but picking from a list of characteristics those which best described you. There were no ethics questions, or tests of knowledge. It was purely personality traits. I went through multiple rounds of interviews and the company was super excited after each one and told me if the final round went well they were prepared to offer quickly. The final round seemed to go really well, and I was certainly qualified to do the work, but after checking the last piece which was this stupid personality test they dropped me like a hot potato. They sent the recruiter a one line rejection that I did not have enough experience.

        The recruiter and I were baffled. I have 15 years of experience. They very quickly advanced me through multiple interview rounds. It was clearly a BS excuse for “you failed to match our personality profile”.

        I had to take the same test for another job but it was the next step in the process after the phone screen by the internal recruiter. No one wasted my time on multiple rounds of short notice interviews.

        Apparently my personality profile is not qualified for a job I’m really damn good at and love. Alrighty then! :P

        1. nomorejibbajabba*

          Wow! How can that not feel like a slap in the face? Well, they were idiots, weren’t they? They already met you, asked the relevant questions, you met multiple people at the company but they still don’t trust their own gut instincts and instead rely on some stupid off the shelf personality test? Many years ago I worked for a psychologist and he made a really good point that I have never forgotten– you can’t administer a diagnostic tool and then leave it to some untrained person to interpret results. Companies get sold on these dopey programs but they don’t have the smarts to effectively interpret the results so the computer decides which box to stick you in. Utterly useless. I was handed one of those tests a while ago when I applied to some weekend receptionist job at a real estate firm. I asked who was going to interpret the results and I was told it was the office manager (high school degree). I took the test piece of paper and walked right out the door.

        2. Susan K*

          My company uses that test (and it’s surprisingly accurate). They say that they use it in the hiring process for managers to see how candidates would fit with the rest of the management team, but they swear up and down that they do not use it as a basis for hiring decisions, which I find hard to believe considering that they give the test before they make the hiring decision.

    4. Woodswoman*

      I had to take one of these once for a job at a nonprofit as the final step after my interviews. There were no situational job-related questions about ethics, decision-making, etc. I’ve forgotten most of them. The one question I still remember asked whether if when I was driving if I stopped or slowed down at yellow lights. There was a section on figuring out the pattern of numbers in a sequence and filling in the blank for what should be the next number. There was also a comparable section about the pattern with shapes. I did fine on both of those. But then they had a weird thing where they inserted numbers into the shapes, and I was baffled by those and just guessed.

      I got the job. I asked HR if I could see the results of my test, and they said it was confidential. When I inquired about the test’s purpose to my manager, she told me it was to give them insights on how to best manage me. In retrospect, I should have asked HR if anyone ever got rejected based on that test.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        “The one question I still remember asked whether if when I was driving if I stopped or slowed down at yellow lights.”

        Isn’t the answer always “it depends how close I am to the intersection and whether there’s someone close behind me?”

    5. Mad Baggins*

      I work in a country where taking those kinds of tests is pretty common. They’re pretty ridiculous and a waste of time in my opinion, but I guess they screen out people who don’t see anything wrong with embezzlement or don’t have the language skills to conduct business in that language. I do think they could be discriminatory though, as in my experience they’re often timed and it’s hard to keep up as a non-native speaker (so when in doubt just answer in the middle…)

      The weirdest test I took asked a lot of medical questions like “Do you get headaches?” and “Do you frequently get diarrhea?” I…guess they were asking about if I will get sick from stress?? I really can’t imagine why my employer would need to know the details of my bowels…

  7. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

    WAS OFFERED AN AMAZING NEW JOB THAT HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR OVER SIX MONTHS and just had to yell about it somewhere since I don’t have a written offer letter yet and can’t yell about it to my coworkers until I do.

    Happy Friday and have a great weekend, y’all.

    1. Lucky*

      We should all take the rest of the day off to celebrate. (Okay, only Kalros should take the rest of the day off, but really only leave a bit early so she can save the table at happy hour and celebrate with her friends.)

    2. irene adler*

      I’m living vicariously through you. So be sure to update when the offer comes through. Gots to know how they take your giving notice at current job. Thanks.

  8. MMM*

    I’ve committed to a temporary summer job, but am still looking for a full-time position to begin after that. How should I mention in cover letters (or interviews?) that I wouldn’t be able to start until Sept 1 at the earliest? Or would it be better to just hold off applying to jobs until mid-July or so when the timeline of interviewing would align more closely with my availability

    1. ZSD*

      Honestly, with the speed that some hiring processes go, September 1 isn’t all that long from now. I wouldn’t mention your start date constraints in your cover letter. If you get an interview already in June, you might need to mention it in the interview, but if an interview isn’t until July, I wouldn’t even worry about mentioning it. If they offer you a position in July, I don’t think a September 1 start date will be an outrageous request for most employers.

      1. TonyTonyChopper*

        Actually, you have a great point that I didn’t consider. I’d leave it out of the cover letter and wait until at least you get a call from the recruiter or the interview (it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with).

      2. A Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks*

        What ZSD said. Definitely send out those resumes now. If/When you get an interview in June or early July, you might mention that you couldn’t start until September (but only mention that if the subject comes up) by the time you go for the second or third interview and all that other stuff, it just might be September.

      3. MMM*

        Thanks, I’ll probably leave it out of cover letters and bring if up if I get interviews–I’ve had a couple recently that definitely were needing someone relatively immediately, and I’m so entry level that those type of jobs wouldn’t extend a start date for me. Even if I didn’t have this summer job I would need time to relocate, so I was kind of thinking/hoping that it wouldn’t be a huge deal to say Sept 1

    2. TonyTonyChopper*

      It depends on your industry, to be honest. When I recruited for a consulting firm, they were super flexible about start dates and would rather do the interview process (which was lengthy) earlier and then let you sit on an accepted offer for a few months until you could start.

      Other companies I’ve recruited for wouldn’t even consider you if you weren’t available to start immediately.

      I’d advise just putting in a sentence in your cover letter saying that while you are committed to a temp/contract role until Sept 1, the role seems like such a great opportunity for you because of XYZ reasons that you wanted to be considered if they are flexible with the start date. I’m sure there is someone who will word that better but that’s the gist.

      And I’d only apply for the really awesome “can’t pass up the opportunity” roles right now, and then if by late July you don’t have something in the works, you can start expanding your job search to roles that fall under the “would consider” list :)

      1. MMM*

        Thanks, I definitely am scaling it back to just really really great looking jobs for the time being, and figure I can ramp it up as the summer goes on to expand my search!

    3. Lucille B.*

      Hold off until the timeline for your industry. It’s very frustrating getting resumes for a position that I need to fill immediately or quickly if the applicants aren’t even available. That doesn’t do anyone any favors, and odds aren’t great that they will hold off on hiring anyone because you aren’t available.

      1. Yorick*

        But on the applicant side, there’s no telling if a job I apply to today will interview and hire by Sept. In a phone screen you can ask if they’re available at your targeted start date, and they should be honest about that.

        1. Lucille B.*

          For the most part I think you should still be able to go by your industry. If it’s a complete mystery, I agree – bring it up ASAP in your correspondence to make sure everyone is on the same page. I’ve posted ads in the past for “immediate hire” and received resumes from people moving to town in three months. Like most application dings, that comes down to reading comprehension and following directions.

      2. MMM*

        I’m very entry level and applying to a pretty wide variety of positions, so I’m not exactly sure what’s typical. From my past job hunting, I’ve gotten responses the day after my application and then up to months later…I’ll probably stick to leaving it out of my cover letter and bringing it up if I get an interview, especially if they say something in the interview that makes it clear we’re working on completely different timelines

    4. SWOinRecovery*

      Something else to think about, if the summer job is unrelated to your career goals and something like a summer camp counselor…don’t be afraid to consider quitting with 2 weeks notice to start a permanent job in your career field. I’m not saying you should plan on flaking. But some jobs, especially summer jobs, have plenty of turnover and reasonable bosses wouldn’t hold it against you. Now if it’s a temporary contract in or close to your field, I wouldn’t jump the gun, but would still apply in hopes of a Sept start.

    5. Safetykats*

      Definitely apply now. Almost nobody looking for college hires (I assume that’s your position) is still looking now for someone to start right after graduation – because that would be right now. Also, the process of reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, and issuing offers for a full time job can easily take a couple of months. The right time to address when you can start is when they ask. (Typically, if you’re a strong candidate, the last question in the interview will be “If selected, when would you be available to start?”)

      However, if you get a great offer for full-time, permanent employment, and they really want you to start sooner than September 1, you should strongly consider doing so. I can’t imagine what temporary job would expect you to potentially lose out on permanent employment to work for them a few more weeks – but if that’s the way it worked, it would clearly be a bad decision. Usually prospective new employers should be respectful of your previous commitment, but sometimes they really do just need someone sooner. Answer the question about when you can start with the earliest date you could do so while working out your temp job, but be prepared to give notice early at the temp job if you have to do so.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      By having finks.

      Or, by having people who make it their business to tell tales on others that may or may not be true. So, good blackmail setups.

      Also, if someone gets divorced and it becomes public record that it is due to “alienation of affection” from an affair, then, out they go.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Reading that article and their announcement, it stresses that they want employees who live in accordance with the Bible. Given the broad range of sex-related behaviours in there (from apparent celibacy to polygamy), how are they going to interpret “living Biblically”?

            1. Anon for This*

              In my experience, organizations who go to these kinds of extremes have no compassion for the Dinahs among them. Unfortunately.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          “Living what we consider ‘biblically’ and ignoring the entire Old Testament.”

          1. OlympiasEpiriot*

            Except most of the people I meet who talk about Living Biblically seem far more Old Testamentarian and much less Love-Thy-Neighbor or Who-Among-You-Can-Cast-The-First-Stone.

        2. Anon for This*

          I have to roll my eyes any time that an organization talks about the importance of their employees living Biblically, but all they want to talk about is sex and alcohol. There is so much more to living Biblically than that. And different folks would interpret that statement in different ways.

          1. Kuododi*

            This puts me in mind of ages ago when my cousin (female) was in college for an engineering degree. My dad arranged for her to do a summer job at his well known company in his department. (He was designing washer/dryers at the time). This cousin is the “extra daughter” in our family and we’ve always had great relationship. Tangentially related she’s also quite lovely. Long story short….Dad took her out to dinner after work one pm and was spotted by one of the nosier members of their church. Before the end of the evening, Mom had taken multiple calls from church members who were so sad to hear Dad had been stepping out on her with another woman!!!!! Good grief!!!!

            1. Camellia*

              And probably didn’t/wouldn’t believe her explanation because where’s the fun in that?

              1. Kuododi*

                Of course not!!! It’s a great deal more fun to believe that my dad, who has been an active member of the church all his life would be stepping out with a ” cute young thing” than to actually keep.their busy body noses to themselves!!! GACK

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I often think it might be interesting to work in unemployment insurance and read all the reasons why people were fired/the appeals they file/etc.

    2. Lucky*

      You don’t. You use this rule to retaliate against others, especially single mothers, divorced women and anyone LGBTQ.

        1. Lady Russell's Turban*

          Is that retaliation? Per the organization’s religious beliefs, sex is reserved for marriage and marriage is available to everyone, at least theoretically. If you want sex badly enough, get married.

          For the record, I am not religious or married, nor do I care about the sex lives of consenting adults.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I wonder what they’d do about serial marriages – someone gets married right away so they can have sex, gets divorced a few months later, gets married again, etc. Technically, it’s not outside of marriage, but you couldn’t say that was “respectful of the institution” or the intent of the rule.

              1. Kathleen_A*

                Actually, the divorce rate among evangelicals (depending on how you define “evangelical”) may not be much different from the population at large, at least not in the U.S. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, “Evangelical” is really quite a broad term. The divorce rate among very active Christians of all varieties (and religiously active Jews) is indeed significantly lower than the population as a whole, but the key word there is “active,” not “evangelical.” But again, “evangelical” is a very broad term. There is no reasonable definition that I’m aware of that would make “about 0” accurate. :-)

                Apparently, conservative Christians who seldom go to church are the ones who are more likely to divorce. Not quite as likely as people with no religious affiliation, but their divorce rate is quite high, apparently.

                1. Parenthetically*

                  I mean, I grew up evangelical, so I’m familiar with all of this, I’m just responding to Jadelyn’s musing about serial marriage — the teaching (vs. lifestyle) of evangelicalism is very strongly anti divorce, so marrying and divorcing repeatedly for the purpose of getting to have sex would be contrary to every teaching of evangelicalism.

                  And yes, the stats about being an “active” participant vs. self-labeling as Christian or evangelical are pretty interesting!

    3. Writer*

      By penalizing unmarried women who get pregnant. I can’t imagine a way that this ends up being equally enforced for men and women.

      1. Camellia*

        Hmm, makes me wonder. If a single woman, certifiably virgin, conceived via sperm-donor-clinic…what would they make of that???

      2. Minocho*

        Ugh, yup. My grandma and grandpa were in high school, and she got pregnant. So they march her, and her alone, up to the front of the church to shame her. While grandpa, older by a year or so, sits with the rest of the congregation. Then they were forced to get married.

        She’s a horrible, bitter and destructive woman. But…I have SO much sympathy for that 16 year old she was.


    4. SoWeird*

      Maybe they employ sex-sniffing dogs? Or cats? I’ve heard that animals can tell these things.

    5. Emily S.*

      OMFG. Just… what absolute BS.

      The crazy thing is, because of the political situation currently, people can get away with this kind of ridiculousness.

    6. Lara*

      This sort of thing freaks me out, because it will get down to “I saw Lara with a man on Tuesday and she is unmarried,” Me: “Uh, yes, my brother.”

      And then you get into needing proof. Will I need to provide a picture and birth certificate for him? Written affidavit from our mother? Hair sample?

    7. Buckeye*

      This is probably an extreme reaction, but I immediately thought of those “declaration of purity” ceremonies in some super fundamentalist cultures in which teenage girls are examined by doctors to ensure that their hymens are still in tact and then publicly present a document signed by the doctor to their parents.

      Which is awful enough without imagining presenting one to your employer.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Holy hell. I’ve heard of purity ceremonies but never that particular subtype, with a doctor’s exam. That’s…horrifying on a whole other level. Weirdly specific promises to one’s father and “purity rings” are unsettling enough, but getting a doctor involved? Gah.

        1. Parenthetically*

          There have been some pretty notorious cases of virginity testing around the world — it’s illegal in some countries and Canadian docs, IIRC, have pledged not to do them.

          1. Buckeye*

            I’m also extremely skeptical of any doctor who would agree to such an examination. There are a lot of non-sexual reasons why a girl or woman might “fail” such a test.

        2. ElspethGC*

          A video went around maybe a year ago, maybe a bit more, of a woman presenting one of those purity documents to her father and her husband. At her wedding reception. I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

          Seriously, though, they don’t even work. You can’t tell virginity from looking at a hymen, because they’re not weird solid surfaces that ‘break’, they either stretch or tear a tiny bit, and the latter can happen from horse-riding or going on rope swings or getting out the bath. (I know someone for each one of those categories.) It’s probably a money-maker for the doctors that do them, though, because I suspect that some men in those circles refuse to get married without them,

          1. Clueless*

            As a woman in her late twenties, I am super embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know until recently that there are different “types” of hymen, and that depending on the person, they can look and function differently. Can we start a hashtag for things that we should have learned in sex ed, but didn’t?

    8. Anon for This*

      I am a part time pastor in a Christian church, and I also have full time employment in a completely secular setting.

      From a pastoral standpoint, I am finding myself wanting to comment on what I perceive to be poor theology and a lack of grace from this organization. I also wonder if, like a sickening number of Christian organizations, that they will police this, but not folks who sexually abuse, assault, or harass others who might be working in their organization. But this is not the place to have a theological debate, so I’m trying to really squelch that part of my response.

      From a normal, professional standpoint, I have no idea how this would be monitored. It sounds like it would require a ridiculous amount of snooping and/or gossip-mongering. I would not sign that statement if I were an employee, and I would leave ASAP.

      1. C*

        I would just like to say that I appreciate your pastoral standpoint on this. I respect you for not going into it here, but I think we need to hear more of your view from a theological perspective in the world in general. Thank you.

      2. Kathleen_A*

        I very much agree with Anon for This. It is so unpoliceable (if that’s a word) that I suspect it’s being done more for the look of the thing than out of any expectation that it’s going to actually modify anyone’s behavior. I mean, I guess it would give them some sort of basis for terminating anyone who does something flagrantly out-of-line (from their point of view), but that’s really it.

        It’s just…PR, really, and pretty icky and un-Christian PR at that (speaking as an elder in a mainstream Christian church).

    9. Kittymommy*

      When I went to grad school the college across the street had a policy like this. Like my school’s no alcohol policy, it was honor system. I dont think I ever heard about anyone being disciplined for it though I have no doubt it was broken.

    10. Antilles*

      You monitor it as follows:
      1.) Being too involved in your employees’ lives and carefully analyzing everything they say for any hint they’re violating the policy.
      2.) Encouraging employees to report any suspected violations of others.
      3.) Repeatedly reminding employees about the need to self-report violations.
      4.) Making all sorts of assumptions.

    11. Mike C.*

      By punishing women when they get pregnant. That’s how it’s going to be enforced.

    12. Maddie Mad*

      I turned down one job because it was required for employees to attend Scientology classes.

      No, I’m not kidding.
      No, I didn’t know the business was owned by Scientologists when I applied. I’m sick I ever gave them money before that (I applied because I liked the place and had spent a lot of money there).

      I think that is ridiculous, personally and would never take a job somewhere that required that, even if it WAS in my religion.

    13. CeleryStalk*

      Chastity belts and saltpeter. It’s not the only way, but if it was good enough in the dark ages.

    14. SWOinRecovery*

      BYU almost lost it’s AFROTC detachment over something similar. Looks like their solution has been to ignore the problem, but I was glad to see the Colonel stand up to BYU. Here’s the gist of the conflict:

      “BYU requires that all faculty, staff and employees sign and abide by its Honor Code, which requires abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and coffee, among other things.

      “I told the (university) president in an interview that I would happily abide by the Honor Code on campus, in uniform and on duty, but if I wanted to have a cup of coffee at my house they said, ‘No, that’s not acceptable,’” BYU Air Force ROTC commander Col. Timothy Hogan said.

      BYU has one-year limited private exclusions for certain visiting professors. Hogan’s position, however, is a three-year assignment, and the university did not accept his waiver, according to Hogan.”

    15. Not So NewReader*

      Who am I thinking of… was it Henry Ford who used to go to employee’s homes to see their living arraignments?

      For the original link, to me this is such a distortion of the point of the Bible that I can’t even think of this place as a religious org.

    16. The Person from the Resume*

      I get you. I have a weird admiration for Chick-fil-A for putting their money where their beliefs are and being closed on Sunday. OTOH I don’t eat there because of their anti-LGBTQ discriminations.

      Let us all note though this is the American Bible Society and the rule isn’t to live biblically, but to “abstain from sex outside marriage.” Realistically they’re going to discriminate against people who can get caught – women who get pregnant outside marriage, queer people openly dating, and unmarried women and men cohabitating.

      A hetero unmarried couple can be having sex all the time, but will be assumed not to be unless caught, and even then the guy could deny it but a pregnant unmarried woman cannot.

    17. ..Kat..*

      Based on experience, it is only a matter of time before a high level male church official is caught with his pants down….

    18. deesse877*

      Late, but possibly relevant: in my (limited, outsider) experience, policies like this aren’t uncommon in Evangelical organizations that exist to proselytize, and in Evangelical colleges. I was surprised the ABS thing even got traction as a news story–maybe just because they’re in downtown Philly.

      As for how it’s enforced…I mean, plenty of people who work for the organization are likely to believe in the rule, whatever their actual behavior, so there’s self-policing (like, A LOT of self-policing), and people may also be asked to sign an attestation or similar document. And for those who don’t believe, or who don’t agree with the theology, or whatever, it works pretty much like getting fired by Coke for bringing a Pepsi bottle onto the premises. Your transgression becomes known and you’re out. In the few cases I know directly, “transgression” meant being proven to share a home with someone you’re not married to, or being politically active in ways inconsistent with the organization’s principles.

      Functionally, the burden does indeed fall heavier on women and LGBT people, and the whole thing probably signals a culture crisis in the organization; in one university case I am familiar with, a board of trustees started rigidly enforcing an existing (previously often ignored) policy once LGBT rights became a focus of student activism. It was very basic “don’t bash, please” activism, but the rule-makers were apparently blindsided by this, and reacted with paranoia. After a decade of continued opposition, and probably some turnover, the board reversed course.

      In short, this isn’t that weird of a policy within its cultural context, and its sudden imposition by a big organization is more likely a sign of weakness and division at the top, and activism at the bottom, than of “Handmaid’s Tale”-ism.

  9. Jabes*

    Grrr. Keep getting looped in on people’s frustrations that are (and they acknowledge) not my problem and not my fault. Well, then stop telling me about it and deal with it yourself!

    One of my service providers referred a case to one of her coworkers. I think neither of them have time to really deal with it. But they’re both pissed with each other for trying to stick them with it, and I’m caught in the crossfire. Can I tell them somehow to figure it out? That one way or another this is one of their responsibility?

    1. Lucky*

      If you have a friendly relationship, you might ask one or the other “do you want advice on solving this situation or do you just want to vent?” If they say the former, you’re free to give advice (“have you tried talking to B to see if you two can split the responsibility for teapot maintenance?”) If they say the latter, you could say “I understand that’s frustrating, but it really brings me down to hear all of this negativity when there’s nothing I can do about it.” or just listen and nod.

    2. Seriously?*

      The only thing I can think of is to loop in the manager and ask them to determine whose job it is.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I have found it pretty effective to say, “You have told me about this before… what steps can you start taking today to fix this problem?”

  10. You don't know me*

    Could someone tell me how to go about doing the RSS feed thing so I can see replies to my comments?

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I don’t know how, but wanted to give you a heads up that it you’ll get ALL comments, not just replies to yours.

    2. Magee*

      When I want to see if someone has replied to my comments, I just revisit the page periodically (or refresh the page) and do a search by my user name (ctrl + f on internet explorer). That way I can quickly search to see if anyone has responded.
      Victoria has a good point that if you click on “subscribe to all comments on this post by RSS” you will get a notification for all comments, not just responses to your comment.

          1. I am who I am*

            On my phone, you type the search into the address bar, and scroll to the bottom of the results where there’s an “on this page” section

            1. Jemima Bond*

              Oh dear that doesn’t seem to work for me – typing something in the address bar just Googles it.

          2. Cheshire Cat*

            Go to the icon where you can bookmark the page & scroll over to the right until you see the Find on page button. It’s pretty well hidden.

      1. You don't know me*

        Thanks! I’m not wanting all comments so I’m glad you let me know about that. I had no idea ctrl f worked on web pages. I will definitely be using that instead!

    3. mediumofballpoint*

      I really wish there was a better commenting system here. The lack of threading and updates is really frustrating.

    4. Kuododi*

      I don’t know what to tell you… I tried clicking on the link to subscribe to the RSS link and got a page full of computer jibber/jabber!!! Of course, I typically use my phone to follow this website so it may be nothing more than some sort of nonsense with my phone. Good luck!!!

  11. seller of teapots*

    It’s my first day in my new role! In this promotion, I now come into the office 4x a week, after working from home the past 5 years. It’s a big adjustment–working in an office, the new responsibilities, but I’m really excited about it.Change feels good.

    1. Snazzy Hat*

      Good luck with office culture stuff. Good luck in the new job in general, too, of course!

  12. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

    I’m doing my apprasial paperwork this afternoon, does anyone have any good ideas for goals or things to improve on? I’m a junior manager in a project admin role to narrow suggestions slightly!

    1. Knotty Ferret*

      Questions I use for my goals:
      What do I enjoy about what I’m doing that I could learn more about? (classes, sitting with a knowledgeable coworker, or personal research).
      What do I think would really improve the way this function works? (do you need better workflows, a checklist, templates for common issues, or maybe a whole new system?)
      Where does my boss think I could improve?

      Also, I had a previous supervisor suggest I use “look into the viability of” when I was uncertain if I really wanted to take on a goal. This still involved doing a certain amount of research, but didn’t bind me to something when it turned out it was either not applicable or impossible to get buy-in from management/coworkers. Not all supervisors feel this type of thing is sufficient for a goal, so your mileage may vary.

    2. SansaStark*

      My company really likes to see a goal of taking a professional development class, so is there some sort of project management class or managing multiple projects or something like that? Also, this is where I stick anything that *I* want to do. For example, I’m also in a junior role and my company generally doesn’t send junior people to conferences; however, I put in my goals that I wanted to attend a national conference in my industry. Since it was signed off by my boss, boss’s boss, etc., they couldn’t really ‘fight’ it when I submitted the request for funds.

    3. Emmie*

      Do you also manage people? I like make growing their skills, or cross-training in one thing as one of my goals.

    4. blue canary*

      What about “timeliness of deliverables” or “increase number of outreach events/client touches/whatever by X%”? Or professional development/learning related goals, like “take X training” or “educate myself on [relevant subject]”?

    5. Robin Sparkles*

      Do you have any certifications? I have the PMP and use that as a goal to keep up with that certification (not required in my job but a nice to have). I also look at our organization’s strategic plan and looked for one that I could make specific to me and my department goal and add that. My boss loves that because not many people think of tying a personal goal to an organizational one. Make sure it’s feasible first of course. And over the course of the year – make sure to listen to goals that your department may need to achieve – it’s good to keep that in mind and make a goal from that too.

  13. Kramerica Industries*

    I have a coworker who seems to do a pretty solid job in general, except on difficult or tedious tasks. I discovered recently that our balance sheets weren’t archived properly, now I have to go in and correct the errors. I noticed that he doesn’t ask for help or will downplay how much work he’s putting in. Because of this, my group never checked up on the balance sheets because we trusted they were being done properly.

    He complained about maintaining balance sheets before, but I thought it was just venting, not an indication that work wasn’t being done properly. We report into the same manager – can I ask my manager if she can provide him with better coaching on why it’s important to constructively ask for help? I think it would help him and our group if there are issues in the future.

    1. Jack Russell Terrier*

      Are you saying all the archived balance sheets were improperly archived – so this is a following procedure situation? Or are there some that are improperly archived but most are correctly done so it’s more of an attention to detail situation?

      At any rate – yes, I think having a manager talk about the importance of everyone asking for help is … helpful. It helps avoid situations like this.

    2. Artemesia*

      Why do YOU need to go in and correct the errors? Unless he has to do this tedious job, he will continue to make errors and make you his minion.

      1. Temperance*

        Right?! This is totally the work version of dudes who somehow mess up the laundry so they aren’t asked to do it again. Hell to the no.

      2. Kramerica Industries*

        He was promoted into another role within our department where he doesn’t deal with balance sheets anymore. Guess who got his old role and discovered all the errors after!

        1. Blue*

          You still report to the same person, though? I’m going to second Lil Fidget, below – stick with, “These are the errors I’ve found.” I think you can even add, “I’m concerned that he never asked me questions to clarify the process,” because really…what if that’s not the only process he was messing up? Do you need to go check everything else now to see if he either blustered his way through or incorrectly thought he knew what he was doing up to this point?

        2. Bea*

          Oh sweet baby Jesus…you’re living my life every time I’ve taken a job.

          I don’t know how anyone who is bad at tedious tasks are in accounting or records management. At least you caught it internally.

          1. Quiltrrrr*

            I have seen plenty of people in records management who are bad at tedious tasks. It doesn’t work out well, and I usually ended up fixing their mistakes.

    3. Temperance*

      Wait, why do YOU have to correct the errors? I think you should talk to your boss about it, and ask her about having your colleague fix it. You aren’t his personal secretary.

    4. Lil Fidget*

      I think it’s best not to insert yourself into “why” the balance sheets are wrong or what the right coaching would be, and just focus on the facts – which you can absolutely bring to the attention of people above you. The archived sheets are wrong. It’s important to business practice that they be correct.

      1. TootsNYC*

        You can also supply the factual feedback that he never asked any of the people who might have been able to coach him, people whose expertise or ability he was aware of.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I might be misunderstanding the situation, but it’s not clear to me how the errors occurred – maybe he thought it was being done correctly so he didn’t seek assistance, maybe he deliberately skipped something because he didn’t think it was important, maybe he was pulled into another process and this got lost in the transition – I just think if OP doesn’t know either, they might not want to speculate on that side of it.

      2. SWOinRecovery*

        +1. I would frame it as, “X amount of spreadsheets have errors. It will probably take X amount of time to go through and fix them all. Do you want me to do the correcting, spread it among the team, or have coworker fix his mistakes?” This keeps you from asking about things outside of your lane while alerting your boss to look into coworker’s other work and reason for failing at the balance sheets for so long.

  14. Anonymous404*

    Hi! First time poster, log time lurker. I’ve been at my company for exactly 1 year as of today and find myself bored, underpaid with no benefits. This is my first salaries job out of college. I have an interview next Wednesday with a job that would almost double my salary with benefits. How would I answer the question why are you leaving your current position? I love what I do but I’m not challenged enough and I don’t have any work to do a lot of the times (my boss knows this and refuses to give up control). I want to learn and grow but I feel like I haven’t been at this job long enough to say I am looking for more opportunities (even though that’s exactly it). Thoughts and/or advice please and thank you!

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I think saying that you’ve asked for additional opportunities and been denied is a perfectly acceptable explanation.

      1. Tipcat*

        I’m not sure about “denied.” It could sound like there was a good reason for the denial. Maybe “none were available”?

    2. Buffy*

      You can even go vaguer and say the new position “better aligns with my career path”.

    3. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

      I also think it would be fair to mention that you are seeking a position that offers benefits, and then immediately explain what it is about THIS job that appeals to you above all others.

    4. irene adler*

      Yes, you have been at current job long enough to justify seeking new opportunities. The other comments are good; just don’t say anything about the not having any work to do. You’ve acquired all the knowledge there is at this job/position and you are seeking an opportunity where you can learn and grow with the position.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Yep, you can say, I would like move of a challenge; I feel like I’ve learned what I can from this job, and contributed as much as I can, and I’m ready to move to something with a quicker pace, more challenges, and an opportunity to grow in my professional knowledge.

        Bonus points if you can point to things the new job will have that the old job doesn’t (“would like to work with your larger organization to learn more than my smaller organization can provide” or something).

        You want the bulk of the convo/focus to be on the new job and the skills you offer.
        You can keep the “why I’m leaving” part really, really short.

        I was once asked, and I said, “I’ve been there 12 years, it’s time for something new.”
        You don’t have 12 years, but you have enough time at the beginning of your career. “It’s time for something new.” It’s time for something more challenging. (Who doesn’t want to hire someone who wants a challenge?) Just don’t spend a lot of time on it.

    5. ExcelJedi*

      Try concentrating on why THIS job is so interesting. Something like, “I’ve learned a lot in my current job, but I’ve always been really interested in a career in teapot design, not teapot manufacturing. I think the role at your company is perfect because…..”

      Make it less about wanting to jump ship and more about this being the right opportunity for you.

    6. You don't know me*

      I think stating I love what I do but I’m not challenged enough is a good start. Then explain what type of opportunities you are looking for and why you’d be a good fit for them.

      1. On Fire*

        Agreed. Years ago I was job hunting and had an interview. The day before the interview, I was chatting with a professional contact who was a big muckety-muck in a big field. He asked me why I was looking for a new job, and I said, “I’m looking for more of a challenge. I’m good at what I do, but I can be better. I’m looking for something that will let me expand.”

        He looked absolutely thrilled and said, “Say that in your interview. Tell them that.”

        I did. They offered me the job. (It wasn’t enough money for what it would have done to my commute, so I ended up not taking it, but it was still a good answer.)

    7. Lucky*

      “While I’ve learned a lot in this position, after a year I find that I am no longer challenged and there isn’t any room to grow my skills in the organization.” Message being: 1. I am ready for challenges and 2. I want to grow my skills. Good luck.

    8. ContentWrangler*

      I think you could still say you’re looking for new challenges. It was your first position after college so you were still figuring things out. But this year has now given you a better understanding of what kind of work you want to do and what kind of environment you prefer. Since you have problems with your boss not giving you enough work, maybe say you’re looking for more collaboration, a faster pace, simply more to do because you prefer to keep busy.

    9. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      Actually I think you are in a good spot to be looking for the next job. I think it’s pretty typical to have shorter 1-2 year tenures in your first couple of jobs out of school. Prospective employers will not think anything of this.

      As a HM I wouldn’t think twice if you said you were looking for new opportunities. Play up the things you accomplished and what you learned at your current job, and say something about the structure not being conducive to continued growth. (this is true, the structure being your boss).

    10. Beth*

      I’d also note that there seems to be a lack of work and you’re looking for something more fast-paced.

      1. Curious Cat*

        I maybe would leave out the lack of work (would make me think was there REALLY a lack of work or did OP not taking initiative to get more work and more opportunities? Obviously I believe OP here, but as an interviewer I’d be skeptical), but definitely keep in looking for a fast-paced environment.

    11. Schnoodle*

      Exactly what you said, maybe with more finesse. Don’t say you got bored quickly because that’s not going to come off well, but say you’ve outgrown the job and its responsibilities. You’ve learned and grown, and ready for a new challenge.

    12. publicista*

      I think all the things you mentioned can be said, it’s just all in how you phrase them. You could try:

      “There’s limited room for growth/advancement at my current company.”
      “I’m looking for something a bit more challenging.”
      “Quite frankly, there isn’t a whole lot of work to go around at my current company, and I like to be productive.”

    13. Lara*

      I think “I’m looking for a more challenging role that will fully use my skillset.” is fine

    14. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I … don’t love any of the suggested answers. If you say you’re looking for new challenges after a year, you’re going to run into this problem:

      … especially since you’re only a year out of school.

      And most of the other suggested language sounds vague enough that a good interviewer is going to press for details.

      I would go with something like, “I’m looking for something that will keep me busy and this job is a bit slower paced. I’ve realized that I like faster-paced environments, and I’m excited about the opportunity to X and Y.”

      1. Washi*

        I know you can’t really refer to the pay or benefits, but this is one of the times when I really wish it wer acceptable to say “I enjoy my job, but it has no benefits. This position would allow me to continue doing work that I love while also getting health insurance.”

        (And as an interviewer, as long as it was clear that that wasn’t the ONLY reason someone wanted the job, that would be fine with me. No benefits sucks, and is also unusual in enough in most salaried white-collar jobs that it would make perfect sense as a reason to leave.)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oh, I skipped right over that part. It’s totally fine to say, “I really like the work, but the job has no benefits so it’s not sustainable for me long-term.” Seriously, it’s 100% fine to say that.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            If you need more confirmation than Alison’s (you shouldn’t, of course, but just in case you do), you *absolutely* can say that getting a job with benefits is important to you. Anyone who would reject you for this reason is either an incredibly clueless person who you do not want to work for or an employer who doesn’t offer benefits, who you also don’t want to work for. Either way, this would be an excellent way of dodging either of those particular bullets.

          2. Snazzy Hat*

            During the phone interview for my current job, the HR person asked what my salary range was. I capped it at what I was making at the time as an independent contractor. HR was taken aback and informed me their rate was much lower. I replied, “oh, well that’s what I was making as a temp, so that’s fine too.” Then it hit me: I would get benefits out the wazoo with this new job. I brought that up in my first in-person interview, wording it like, “the pay rate is good, especially since it comes with benefits.”

            I initially thought, “well I know I can live off that income, so yeah, whatever,” and it turned into “I can definitely live off that income and that health care and that dental care and that vacation time!”

    15. Anynomous404*

      Thank you Alison and everyone else! I had read the article Alison linked which is why I thought I should come on today’s thread and ask. My only concern is about saying the opportunity part of Alison’s response, since this new position is almost exactly the same as my current one, just with a lot better pay + benefits. I would love to go do something larger scale in the long term, but most of those positions require 2-3 years of experience in the field.

      1. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

        Maybe leave out the opportunity part since you are struggling with it and go with something like, “while I love the work I’m doing, it’s a slow paced environment with a lot of down time. I’m really looking for something where I can do what I’m doing now, but higher volume.”

    16. Jadelyn*

      “It’s been made clear that there is no room for growth in my role at this company, so I’m looking for somewhere that will allow me to learn and grow and continue to challenge myself over time.” I’ve used something like that before – I work in a small HR department and everyone is Very Entrenched so there really isn’t much room to move up unless you can convince the CEO (good freaking luck) that your existing role needs to change or that the new role you want is critically necessary. So I explained to the interviewer that as much as I like my work and my company, the HR team is very static and doesn’t offer opportunity for continuing development or advancement. It went over just fine.

    17. Brett*

      One year is plenty of time when combined with this being your first salaried job out of college. It is well understood that people often take first jobs that underutilize their abilities and have limited growth potential.
      (Because, really, most of your growth at that stage is in getting workplace experience and in learning workplace norms, and not so much in getting new technical skills.)

      1. Brett*

        You might want to just frame the question back on the particular role instead of on your current role.
        Not so much why you want to leave your current role, but why the role you are applying for is more appealing.

        It is not that you are underutilized and your growth is limited. It is that the new role is a better match for your skills and has a higher ceiling on your growth and development. (I would assume has more responsibilities too, which you could also add in.) The higher ceiling is important, because it shows that you would have reason to be in the new role a lot longer than one year.

    18. Anynomous404*

      Thank you Everyone!I truly appreciate all of the advice here and all of your responses! I have been stressing out about it and now I feel better. Fingers crossed I get the new job (which means I can move out of my parents house!)

  15. MechanicalPencil*

    My direct supervisor is going on vacation for an extended period so is parceling off various tasks to my small team. I’ve suddenly become in charge of some major projects (or important ones?) and am the point of contact for outside vendors and on her OOO. It’s a weird feeling knowing that she’s confident enough in me to handle it all, and yet it’s not? I’m the most logical person to be handling some of these items, but I’m used to one of the other team members sort of handling things and being that go-to. It’s just been a very odd week, and I’m really wanting to ensure that I handle the newer responsibilities well.

    1. Emmie*

      Congratulations! Your manager trusts and values you. That you’re also concerned about doing well is another vote of confidence in you.

    2. Zidy*

      Gratz! Being left as point of contact is definitely a daunting feeling. If it’ll help (and it’s not too late), talk to your boss about what exactly she expects from you while she’s out. I know my boss tends to put me as point of contact in his OOO and/or projects not because he honestly expects me to handle everything, but because I’m going to know my team better than anyone outside of our department and he trusts me to reach out to the rest of my team to get help and/or loop in the most appropriate person. Assuming she’s reasonable, she’s probably expecting the same thing from you – if another team member makes more sense to answer a question or handle a particular task, hand it off to them. Your focus is just to make sure things don’t get dropped just because your boss is out of the office.

  16. Emma*

    Got contacted on LinkedIn about a position that looks perfect for me and sent in my application last night! Yay!

    1. Snazzy Hat*

      Sending “I have the perfect job for me” vibes to you! In the year I’ve had this job, I’ve never woken up thinking “ugh, I don’t wanna go to work today” or anything like that. Sure, I’ve had “mehhh, I don’t wanna get out of bed” days, but that’s because I like sleeping and my bed is comfy.

  17. The Original K.*

    Feeling grumpy about a job search thing. I had three interviews with a company. The day after my last one, HR called and told me that everyone involved thought it went really well and they loved me. She then asked if there was any wiggle room on the salary I’d put down on the application. My heart started to sink. I said no, that the range I’d listed was well within market value for the role, industry, and my skills and experience, and asked what salary they were targeting. Turns out the top of their range was $5K below the bottom of mine. They wouldn’t budge, so that was that.

    I was really annoyed. There were plenty of opportunities for them to weed me out if they thought I cost too much – they could have declined to interview me at all once they saw the salary I wanted.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      And this is why the taboo of discussing salary early is so ridiculous. You both wasted so much time and energy on this process.

      1. The Original K.*

        Yes! The process took six weeks. And HR knew what salary I wanted the whole time – the HR person referenced my application during this conversation. There was no phone screen with HR – the first interview was with the hiring manager, though the HR person set that (& the other interviews) up. And the duties really don’t align with the salary they’re seeking , so there were no red flags to me when I listed my target salary.

        In a previous search years ago, I applied for a position. In the initial phone screen with HR, she asked me what salary I was targeting. I told her. She was like ” … How low are you willing to go?” I repeated the salary range I’d given her. We determined that the role was too junior for me and parted ways amicably. Only about 20 minutes invested on either side. That’s how it should go. (Really, companies should just list the salary in the job description.)

        1. neverjaunty*

          In other words, they were hoping at the end of the process you’d be invested and they could talk you into less money. Jerks.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Sorry, that was re the original commenter, not the folks who sensibly determined it wasn’t a match!

          2. The New Wanderer*

            “Well, I need $X to pay rent, utilities, and eat, but for you guys, I’ll starve!”

          3. LovecraftInDC*

            It could very well be that, but it could also be that they were trying (internally) to get that amount increased, and had failed.

        2. Lil Fidget*

          This has happened to me so often that I’m suspicious it’s a strategy companies employ. They hope you will get invested, and then they deduct 5K from your desired salary (which of course they required you to supply up front) and hope you’ll take it. As Mickey says though, it’s equally likely that they have an also-descent applicant that is less money.

      2. Grouchy 2 cents*

        Honestly I don’t understand why they don’t post it along with the job posting. Saves everyone time. I’m assuming they just want to low ball everyone and they can’t do that if they specify a range beforehand.

        1. LovecraftInDC*

          I think that’s part of it. Certainly as an organization, they want to get the best return for their money (and obviously there are also companies that want to lowball everybody). But I also think it’s because they’re willing to go higher or lower based on the applicant. For example, assuming everything goes right in the next couple weeks, I may be hiring my replacement sometime in the next month. Depending on their level of experience, which I’d be flexible on for the person with the right skills, the person we pick could be hired at any one of four different salary bands, whose midpoints stretch from $52k to $85k.

          If we posted the job with those ranges listed, we’d get a huge number of applicants deeply disappointed and angry that we were offering them more than $30k less than we were willing to for a different person. On the other hand, if we just listed the lowest salary band (which is where we will most likely hire), we’d be losing out on people self-selecting out who could bring a LOT of value to our team.

    2. Oxford Coma*

      That sucks, I’m sorry.

      Document, document, document. (Glassdoor, Glassdoor, Glassdoor.)

    3. NacSacJack*

      I was casually looking at contract position recently and I was floored. I make more per hour than these contract positions. Why would I leave my current job to take a pay cut just in base salary AND lose benefits. SMH.

  18. Meghan Trainer*

    This week’s post about a coworker developing a British accent made me wonder, what is the strangest behavior or habit you’ve witnessed at work?

    Here’s mine: I used to work with a woman who was in her early forties and still lived with her parents. Nothing wrong with that. However, she would go home and tell her parents ALL about her coworkers. AND THEN TELL US.

    Her: Yeah, I was telling dad last night about that phone call you handled yesterday. He said you should have blah blah blah.

    Me: *WTF*

    Her: I told mom that your wedding is only a few weeks away. How exciting!

    Me: *dies*

    I was also terribly annoyed that she wouldn’t say “my mom” or “my dad.” Nope. Just “mom.” Just “dad.”

    1. Trillion*

      Wait, is there a difference between “mom” and “my mom”? I’m not understanding.

      1. Tired Scientist*

        Yes, when you hear it, it sounds odd. Normally you say “my mom” in conversation unless you are speaking with your siblings, right?

      2. Karo*

        Well, when I hear someone say “Mom did x” I think of my mother, not theirs. I feel like it’s more common when talking to people outside of your siblings to say “my [parent].”

      3. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

        Typically if you are talking to someone who isn’t in the nuclear family you would say ‘my mom/dad’

        Related, but I’ve been listening to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (don’t judge it’s a great book!) and find it jarring when the Bennet girls refer to their parents as ‘my mother’ when talking among themselves.

        1. Miso*

          Oh, I totally do that. Telling someone about what my cousin (for example) did, only to realise “Oh wait. You’re also my cousin. It’s your brother actually. Yeeah, I guess I can use his name.”

        2. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

          I had the exact same issue the first time I read Pride and Prejudice! I thought they were indicating that they had different mothers and given the time period the only way that would have been acceptable is if the first wife/mother died and the father had remarried – but then I couldn’t figure out which daughter was born to the first wife/mother vs the second.

          It really threw me for a loop!

        3. Memily*

          My boyfriend, when talking to his sister, often refers to one of their parents as “your mother” or “your father” and it drives her insane.

          1. Orca*

            At work my counterpart and I do that when talking about our shared manager…as in “why aren’t you doing [thing for me]?” “hmm well YOUR boss asked me to do [other thing] =P”

        4. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          My sister occasionally says something like this to me (“I was talking to my mom and blah blah blah”) which is just a little verbal slip-up, because she’s probably more used to talking to her co-workers than me, but it is always a little jarring. Because she’s my mom, too!

      4. owlie*

        I feel like it implies a level of familiarity that this poster is uncomfortable with–if my best friend tells me a story about “mom” (a woman I have known since I was twelve) it makes sense because I’m familiar with that person. If a random coworker refers to “my [their] mom” it makes more sense because I have no relationship or understanding of that person other than in relation to their child/my colleague.

        1. Meghan Trainer*

          owlie – I think you’re right. If my best friend/sister/cousin/husband said “mom” or “dad,” I wouldn’t think twice about it!

      5. Trig*

        I think “Mom” is treating it like a proper noun, whereas “my mom” is a common noun. Like my mom’s name is Mom, which is only true for me and my sister. For everyone else, my mom’s name is Patricia*. It’s fine informally/when I’m talking to my sister, but confusing or jarring formally/when I’m talking to other people who have other moms.

      6. The Ginger Ginger*

        It’s a bit of a weird wording in that just saying “Mom” or “Dad” sort of implies that the mom/dad is the parent of both people in the conversation, since in that use case, the relationship title is standing in for the proper name of the individual (hence the capital letter if you’re writing it out). But it’s not the listener’s mom/dad, so it’s more correct for the speaker to say MY mom/dad.

        So if I were talking to my brother, I’d say “Mom is really excited about her visit later this month.” But if I were talking to a coworker, I’d say “My mom is really excited about her visit later this month.” because she’s not my coworker’s mom, and it sounds weird to imply that she is.

      7. Snazzy Hat*

        There’s a linguistics term for the difference, but I don’t remember what it’s called because I took that class almost ten years ago. Something to do with the relationship between the listener and the subject of the conversation, and that the subject changes depending on the speaker or the speaker’s relationship with the listener. For example,
        1) if I’m talking to my sister about our father, “Dad” refers to only one person between the two of us;
        2) if I’m talking to my partner about my father, “Dad” isn’t his father but is at least someone with whom he has a close-enough relationship (or to make it simpler, “Dad” is my father while “Padre” is my partner’s father);
        3) if my mother talks to me about my father, she may refer to him as “Dad” because of her similar title as “Mom” to me;
        4) if my aunt talks to me about my father, she’ll definitely refer to him as “your Dad” because she doesn’t hold that similar title. Sure, she’s related, but in a different way.

        So when Meghan’s coworker refers to a person as “Dad”, Meghan is weirded out because there is no familial relationship between herself and her coworker, or even a close friendship. Doubly weird if Meghan has never met the father.

    2. SoCalHR*

      Using “mom” and “dad” instead of “my mom/dad” is a weird pet peeve thing for me. I know its minor but its one of those things I find odd.

      1. the gold digger*

        It is odd! I use “mom” with my brother and sister because we are talking about the SAME MOM, but with anyone else who does not share a mother with me, I would use, “my mom.” You know. To differentiate from the other person’s mom.

        1. ThatGirl*

          On the opposite side, my husband’s (34) younger brother (13) will refer to their parents as “my dad” or “my mom” and I’m like… kid… they’re [husband’s] parents too.

            1. Morwen the Grad Student*

              I’ve accidentally said that to my sibling and it feels bizarre.

          1. Felicia*

            I do kind of the opposite with my sisters where we refer to our shared mother as “your mom”. E.g. “Your mom said we’re going to X place tomorrow” “But…she’s your mom too?” “She’s not my mom when she’s doing Y”

            It started when my youngest sister would make “your mom” jokes to me and I’d point out that that didn’t work because we have the same mom and then she was like “Fine, our mom then.”

          2. obleighvious*

            My dad’s siblings do/did this ALL the time. They were a big group, and I always thought it had to do with the fact that they were competing for time/attention with their parents. They’d be like “I talked to MY mom this weekend, [brother]?” and it was weirdly pointed! My sister and I (there are only two of us!) still think it was so odd!!

          3. Thursday Next*

            He probably never shared a home with your husband and their parents, at the same time. All his lived experience has been without the typical sibling exchanges where kids talk about their shared parents with each other.

            I mean, if I were you or your husband, I’d also find it strange to hear him say that! But from his point of view, it’s probably more natural.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Well, that’s definitely true, he’s essentially an only child. We just find it kind of funny.

          4. Courageous cat*

            Yeah, that’s tough at that age to kind of work out, though. My brother was 28 when I was 13, and I probably said stuff like that too. We had never lived together, and I was still too young at that point to have any meaningful sibling bonds with him, so honestly he didn’t really feel much like my brother at that time – and that’s how things like that happen.

            Now that I’m 31 and he’s 46 we have a much more sibling-esque bond because the playing field is pretty level now, we’re both dealing with the same kinds of things in life. And I refer to them as “dad” and “mom” with him.

    3. Tired Scientist*

      I worked with someone like that once, too. All she would talk about was “Mom”. “Mom” and I did this last weekend, or “Mom” thinks that movie is overrated. Again, not “my mom”, but “Mom”. It was truly odd.

        1. bonkerballs*

          I think the difference is, when you say mom about your own mother, mom is (to you) basically their name. But to the other person that’s not what their name is. So if I’m talking to my sister and referring to our mother, I’m just going to say mom. Because that refers to someone who is mom to both of us. But if I’m talking to someone else, just saying “mom said such and such” doesn’t make sense because she’s not that person’s mom and would never refer to her as such.

    4. Sweet Baby James*

      I’m a teacher. My absolute biggest verbal irritation is when teachers refer to a kid’s parents as “mom” and “dad”. Like a teacher telling the guidance counselor that they “talked with mom about this.” She’s not your mom!!

      Also, when in a meeting with a kid and his parents, calling the parents “mom” and “dad” in front of the kid. “Well mom, what do you think about that?” Kids follow adults cues and have their own BS detectors. You don’t relate to kids by acting like them, especially not in high school.

      1. SoCalHR*

        To your second paragraph though, my friend’s mom always used to call my friend’s dad by his first name instead of “your dad” or “dad” which I find even more odd. Rather than saying “Dad’s going to be home at 7 tonight” she would say “Bob is going to be home at 7.”

        1. Baby Fishmouth*

          But when it’s two adults talking to each other, especially if they’re not both the parents of the child, it’s weird. When it’s the mom talking to the kid about the dad, or vice versa, it’s normal to say ‘Dad’, and if it’s an adult outside of the family, you can say ‘your mom’ or ‘your dad’.

          But two adults talking to each other should just call each other by their first names, even if they’re talking in front of a kid.

        2. Tau*

          I don’t find this weird, but then again I call my own parents by their first names so it’s possible my parental nomenclature weirdness scale isn’t properly calibrated.

        3. Live and Learn*

          My dad used to send me the occasional email signed “Ted”. I responded “I like to think our relationship has evolved into a less formal place after 30+ years, feel free to respond as “Dad.” He declined.

        4. sleepwakehopeandthen*

          I still remember when my parents switched from referring to each other as Mom and Dad in conversation with us (“I was talking to Mom about dinner, etc”). It was when most of us moved out of the house and so they mostly started talking to each other instead of us. The big problem that this caused is that my husband and my father have the same name, so it was confusing when after years of my mom saying “Dad was doing X” she started saying “[shared name] was doing X” and while I was usually pretty sure she wasn’t talking to my husband, sometimes it was confusing, especially since they have similar hobbies.

        5. Thursday Next*

          Ha, my husband and I refer to each other as “Mommy” and “Daddy” when talking to our children, but for some reason, they will occasionally address him or talk about him by his first name. It cracks me up to hear my 7-y.o. say, “John [not his real name] is really late tonight.”

          But I am always Mommy. I’m not sure why…

      2. Lil Fidget*

        This drove my sister nuts when she was preggo. The doctors and nurses would all refer to her as “mommy” (or “mom” but that’s only better in comparison) and it made her feel crazy. I totally sympathized as that would be so annoying to me too.

        1. Friday*

          I think some people (pediatrician’s office)t do that when they forget the woman’s name, but yes it bugs me too. There are only two people in this whole world who get to call me mommy, and they’re the two I created. Definitely not the checkout person at the grocery store, who to my knowledge I did not create.

      3. TotesMaGoats*

        My 4th grade teacher referred to herself in the 3rd person all the time. Drove me crazy because I couldn’t figure out why you’d do that with kids.

      4. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

        As a parent, I always find this a little odd. I’m not the teacher’s mom and I have a name!

      5. ZuZus Petals*

        As a mom, I always just assume it’s because the person doesn’t know my name! My kids are also still really little though; I think it would weird me out more if they were 18 and their teacher/hairdresser/whatever were still calling me Mom as a proper noun.

      6. School Psych*

        I’m also an educator and I cringe every-time I hear someone do this. Both the special-ed director and the sped coordinator at my high-school do this in meetings, “What do you think mom?” It sets up weird power dynamic when everyone else in the room is being referred to as Mr. and Ms. So and So and you’re referring to the parent in such an informal way. The parent is supposed to be part of the educational team and the expert in their own child. It’s kind of disrespectful to call them something other than the name they introduced themselves with and doesn’t exactly say that you value their input and think they are on the same level as everyone else in the room.

        1. KayKay*

          Also, you don’t have to call people anything, especially if you don’t know their names! I find “come this way, please” far better than “come this way, Mom” from my kids’ pediatrician’s staff or preschool director.

        2. Mad Baggins*

          Yes, this! If you forget/don’t know the mother’s name, “Ma’am” works just as well.

    5. ThatGirl*

      I have a former coworker who seemed to think I was super awesome and amazing and clearly wanted to be Best Buds with me. I managed to keep her at a friendly distance, but she would tell me all sorts of personal stuff and rant on about her overbearing mother a lot. And it got really weird when she would say that she’d told her mom about things I’d said or done and her mom’s reaction. So yeah.

    6. Higher Ed Database Dork*

      In my last department, I worked with a guy who used baby talk all the time. It was so annoying and bizarre. He would mostly use it when asking for help or something from women, which made it even worse – never used it on his (male) boss, or with the other men (sometimes he used it with the young men, but rarely). And when he asked for help – it was usually really simple tasks that he knew how to do! He was the training manager of the application we supported, and most of his requests were things he trained people on. He’d say stuff like “I’m dumb and no good with ‘puters, you are sooo much bwetter, can yooo hep meeee????” and I would recoil in disgust, and just flat out tell him no. I started coaching all the women to refuse him as well, especially since it was stuff HE ALREADY KNEW HOW TO DO.

      He didn’t do anything else that was creepy or overstepping but damn, that was a super annoying and sexist habit. Fortunately he pretty much dropped it once I went on my crusade and people started standing up to him.

      1. ElspethGC*

        I’m cringing. I think if someone acted like that around me I’d probably just start laughing out of sheer bafflement. And you were really the first person to say “Uh, no, please stop being weird”?

        1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

          I don’t know if I was ever the first person (he’d been there a loooong time) but at the time, all the women I worked with just cringed and never said anything, because he was friendly and helpful otherwise, and they didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He didn’t really do it around any of the men, and his boss was never around to witness it (or would have done anything if he had….that boss is another story for another day!).

          1. ElspethGC*

            Hooray for the socialisation that teaches women that we should be responsible for another person’s emotional state even when that other person is really, *really* asking for it.

            1. As Close As Breakfast*

              And how nice that it blanket covers everyone, right? Even random people we just happen to work with.

      2. Meghan Trainer*

        Oh lord. No. Please no. I would have lost my mind. BUT that coworker makes for a great story!

        1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

          I wanted to throw things at him. It bugs me enough when someone pesters others for simple tasks they know how to do, but the baby talk….gaaahhhh it was awful.

      3. Oxford Coma*

        “Have you tried telling the computer he’s a good little Snookums?”

        or, if you’ve put on your sassy pants that day,

        “Yes, you are.”

      4. The Original K.*

        Oh my God, I cannot STAND baby talk. At all. I don’t even use it when I talk to babies. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep from being like ” … WTF are you doing?” if he started that with me.

          1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

            I definitely use baby talk more with my dogs than I have with my own human baby.

      5. essEss*

        I would have seriously stopped, looked at him, and asked “why are you talking baby-talk at me?”

      6. Carbovore*

        The main boss in my office routinely uses babytalk (and she’s a woman which doesn’t really make it sexist but instead just condescending and weird). I used to find it eyeroll worthy and annoying but as of this year, I decided it’s a really gross tactic used by a narcissist. (I fell down a rabbithole recently because I was trying to figure out how to deal with this boss who definitely displays narcissist tendencies. The articles and podcasts I listen to only confirmed it.)

        Now when the babytalk starts, I respond in an unaffected way (no mirroring which sometimes I find myself unconsciously doing) or I ignore it all together. It’s helped a lot and the bonus has been that I can tell it drives her CRAZY that I’m not having a reaction to it. :)

        LOL and like you, I went on a crusade to share with my like-minded coworkers… we’re all effectively reigning her in with our new tactics and it’s kind of entertaining to watch her come undone a bit whereas before we were really aggravated.

        1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

          I’m glad you and your coworkers are having success. :) I worked for a couple of narcissistic bosses and they were THE WORST.

          The thing that bothered me more was how he tried to get people to basically do his work for him. Though he was manager level, he wasn’t OUR manager. The babytalk started slowing down as we collectively pushed back on that problem, and also looked at him like he was a loon and said, “I’m sorry?…what are you saying?…I can’t understand you,” over and over when he pulled the babytalk shit.

    7. Top That*

      A few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a coworker at a temp job thought she found anthrax in an envelope and called 911 and a million (fit, good looking) fireman came into our workplace and locked it down for several hours.

      Turns out it was little crumbs of paper created by opening mail using this mail opener device. As in, it didn’t come out of an envelope, it was an envelope. Also, we were in a mid-sized west coast city. Also, we were the litigation arm of an insurance company doing car accident and slip and fall defense, not the typical target for terrorism of the domestic or international type.

      1. ElspethGC*

        I think it would make sense to freak out if there was a serious plague of domestic terrorism (the Unabomber targeted universities and computer stores, the various Irish domestic terrorists during the Troubles targeted the homes and businesses of the opposite religion) but not in relation to 9/11 style terrorism.

        1. EmilyG*

          There was an outbreak of anthrax mailings immediately after 9/11. I was a young assistant working in Lower Manhattan at the time and I remember it as just One More Thing in a season of mind-bending confusion and fear. We didn’t work in a sensitive industry but had to wear gloves while opening mail and had a protocol for what to do if we found a powder or anything.

      2. Meghan Trainer*

        Ha! I could totally see myself opening an envelope and having that same fear right after 9/11. Not sure I would call 911 though…

      3. essEss*

        During that big anthrax-in-the-mail scare we had a coworker running in the office having a yelling panic fit about a white powder splotch on the carpet outside our breakroom because he insisted it was anthrax. Later that day a new policy came out that we weren’t allowed to have white powdered sugar donuts in the office any more because of that. (sadly, not a joke)

    8. Rusty Shackelford*

      That’s bizarre!

      On a related note, I work with someone who refers to her grandparents by their pet names as if they were relationship titles. She’ll say “I’m going to visit my Mee-maw this weekend.” Does that seem weird to anyone else? To me, it’s like a child who thinks their mother’s name is “Mommy.” I would either say “I’m visiting Mee-maw” (if talking to family or others who know her as Mee-maw) or “I’m visiting my grandmother” if talking to coworkers. I mean, if your nickname for your brother is “Bubba,” would you tell a coworker “I’m visiting my Bubba?” Wouldn’t you say “my brother?” Or is it just me?

      1. Meghan Trainer*

        That’s hilarious. I was just thinking about a similar thing. Do you think it’s okay to say “I’m visiting my grandma.” Or is “grandma” too pet name-ish too? I feel like it’s okay but feels weird for some reason.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I think “grandma” is common enough that it can be considered a title, not a pet name. It’s just a shortened form of “grandmother.”

      2. Baby Fishmouth*

        I think it depends – I try to remember to just say grandma usually, but my grandma is my ‘Oma’ to me (which literally means grandma in Dutch), or my Nana on the other side. I say ‘I’m going to visit my Oma’ the same way I’d say ‘I’m going to visit my mom’. That IS the relationship title to me, in my head. It’s how I differentiate between my grandmothers.

      3. College Career Counselor*

        I would find that a bit odd now, but not when I lived in the south, where that term is much more common than “grandmother.”

      4. Laura*

        I have third cousins that always did that. Part of it was their grandmother and parents liked it because it showed the rest of us how much better and cooler Bebawl was then other grandparents. Once afterwards my grandmother (Grandma) told me I could call her granny or anything else but not Bebawl.

    9. Tara S.*

      ?? I don’t know if this is a regional thing, but it’s not weird to me to use Mom like that? Less common, sure, but she’s just using it like a name instead of a title. Like, “Mary and I went to the zoo this weekend,” but since she’s Mom in her head, the name gets swapped out to “Mom and I went to the zoo this weekend.”

      1. CBE*

        But it is not a name, it IS a title! So it is weird to use mom as a name. And because it is a title that describes a relationship, it’s particularly weird to use it like that with someone who doesn’t share the same relationship you do.

        1. bonkerballs*

          Well actually, it’s kind of both. When I speak to my mom or dad, it’s used as their name. For example, I answer my mom’s phone calls with “Hey, Mom” just like I would use anyone else’s name. It’s not used like a title then. I wouldn’t answer a phone call with “Hey, Sister-in-Law” or “Hey, Lawyer.” But when you’re talking to someone else who potentially has their own mom, then the word shifts more towards being a title.

      2. OperaArt*

        Same here. It’s very common for people use Mom and Dad as if they were names. It’s like having dozens of Marys and Daves. Maybe this is regional. It does seem to be used more in stories about those people.

      3. MeridaAnn*

        The difference to me is whether or not the person I’m talking to knows the person I’m talking about. So if my mom and my friend Lessa know each other, I could say to either of them “Mom and I went to the zoo” or “Lessa and I went to the park”. But if I’m talking to my coworker, Menolly, who doesn’t know either of them, I would say “My mom and I went to the zoo” or “My friend, Lessa, and I went to the park.” I wouldn’t just tell Menolly that “Lessa and I went to the park” if she has no idea who Lessa is, I would clarify with “my friend”, just as I would clarify “*my* mom”.

        1. Lissa*

          Cosigned (good job on the Pern names too, lol.) I don’t know why but it comes off as a bit childish to me if someone I don’t know well, whose parent I don’t know, just says “So mom and I…” But, it probably wouldn’t super ping me on its own. Added to all the rest of OP here, it comes off as *really* odd to me. “Dad thinks this about you!” just…weird.

          Also i always get on my SO for launching into stories about people I have no idea of with just their names.

      4. Trillion*

        Agreed. Maybe it is regional because so many people do it around me.

        In fact it becomes more strange to continually refer to them as “my mom.” It would be like saying “my husband” when we all know your husband is Jack. We all met him at the party last month. (Note, this implies a certain level of familiarity with the group, as is the case with the original comment).

    10. MAB*

      I used to work with a guy who would randomly belch really, really loud than apologize. Only in his office, the plant floor or in communal areas and never in the main office or coworkers offices (he still belched just quietly). It was an odd medical thing I think. I ended up playing a small game in my head of how many times he would belch around me and forget I was there per day.

      I will say he was a great guy and would work with him in a heart beat. Belching and all.

    11. DaniCalifornia*

      I will admit to being the weird person who subconsciously picks up other’s accents. I worked with a front office that was completely Hispanic and my trainer would speak in Spanish and Spanglish to me (I was trying to better my conversational skills) After a year I had this voice tic/thing/?, not quite sure how to describe it but my best friend noticed it. Another time my sister pointed out that while we had been living in Texas for about 6 years at that point I had this Southern accent instead of an East coast accent. The girl I was working at the time was from the deep South and we were the only ones in our section.

      I have since been very conscious of this and try my hardest to not do it. Thankfully my British accent is horrible so I could never even fake that! LOL!

      1. Meghan Trainer*

        I think I do that in a less-obvious way. A few weeks ago, after spending a day with my sister, my husband pointed out that I was talking like she does. I happen to find her voice beyoooooond annoying, so I was taken aback by this comment.

      2. On Fire*

        One of my good friends is originally from California (near LA), and all through school she kept that speech pattern – that is, she didn’t pick up my southern state’s accent or slang. But then she married a man from a very rural part of my state. Since they’ve been together, every time I talk to her I’m taken aback by how different she sounds. Her voice is almost a caricature of a southern accent, it’s so strong and exaggerated-sounding. (But she still won’t say “y’all.” :-) )

      3. Trillion*

        I read a study saying more empathetic people tend to more easily pick up on accents, verbal tics, and speech patterns of those around them.

      4. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I’ve lived in the UK for almost 15 years and I still make an effort not to start talking as if I’m British, or adopt a fake accent. I don’t know why, it just reminds me of how Madonna started talking as if she were born and raised English like minutes after she moved here (and I’m sure dropped it the instant she decided to divorce Guy Ritchie). There’s just something kind of wrong sounding to me if I start throwing out terms like “quid” or “hollybobs” with my midwestern accent.

        That, and I can’t mimic the local accent where I live to save my life.

    12. fromscratch*

      I have a new coworker who does the following on a regular basis:
      Enters the office with air-horn or siren noises playing on her cell-phone to announce her arrival
      Adopts a Steve Urkel/Fran Drescher nasal & high pitched voice to complain about things
      Baby talks randomly
      Blasts Cardi B on bluetooth speakers at top volume randomly when other people are on the phone or working

        1. fromscratch*

          LOLOL. No. She’s not. Just a clueless 25-year old who has only had one other professional job so far.

      1. Minocho*

        It’s horrendously embarrassing, I don’t know why we do it, but my mother and I sometimes lapse into baby talk with each other.

      2. The Original K.*

        I kind of love that she announces her arrival with an air horn. I mean, I would hate it if I worked with her, but I love hearing about it.

      3. On Fire*

        I used to play a sound clip of a trumpet flourish on my phone when a particular coworker entered the office. But that was only for a couple of week because of specific circumstances, and she *loved* it.

    13. Minocho*

      We had a new junior tech guy, hired fresh out of college, start at our team (so fresh out of college, he put his framed diploma up in his cubicle, which I, at least, found odd). He would always show up at work with bruises on his face and arms from MMA fighting over the weekend. All women in the office fell into one of two categories with him. You were either…er…”date material”…or “mommy” (I, thank goodness, was old enough in my mid-30’s to be relegated to “mommy” status).

      There was a project my boss needed completed, and he assigned three people on our team to it: a mid level guy, the new guy, and myself. I was told to let mid level guy do most of the work, but to keep an eye on it, as I had previous experience with similar things before – try to mentor him and avoid pitfalls, with little hands on involvement. New guy was on the project to help as possible, and learn about how to work in a professional environment, essentially.

      New guy had a few problems. The project was interdepartmental and moderately political. During meetings, he would interrupt department heads or senior people, only to interject information that had either already been covered, or was completely unrelated. People were annoyed, but tried to ignore it and give him a chance, considering his youth and inexperience. I would make small motions in an attempt to stop him from interrupting others when I saw he was about to do it, and earned a couple of angry glares for my trouble. When I would stop in for a quick check in with mid-level guy on their progress, new guy would run over and grill mid level guy and I on the project or stand behind me.

      One day I get a message on our interoffice chat from him:
      New Guy: Can we talk?
      Me: Sure.
      New Guy: Actually, can you come over here?

      So I go over to his cube. “Actually, can we go someplace private to talk?” he asks. Now I’m really annoyed…but I’ve already come over to his cube, so whatever. “All right.”

      He then proceeds to tell me that I need to work on my interpersonal skills, because I’ve hurt his feelings. I need to take his feelings more into account, and I’m holding him back from participating in the project. I need to improve my social skills, give him more eye contact, and make him more important in the project.

      I was still trying to recover from a colossal political error from a week ago (it took the offended party 3 years, but the offended party in this incident carries grudges, and eventually got me fired from that job), so was unwilling to take my more usual blunt approach. I stuck to lines about how his participation in the project was valued and important, but the greatest value he could bring to the team was to use the project as a learning experience, blah blah blah. The guy would not drop the conversation, and it went on for a good 15 minutes or so. All I can think of is not to throw another grenade onto my own career right now, and get out of here and to my boss ASAP.

      Finally it looks like he’s winding down, when out of the blue:
      New Guy: So, you drink Monster, right?
      (I don’t like coffee, Monster Ultra is my caffiene fix in the morning)
      Me: (annoyed but confused)…Yeah…
      New Guy: So, I drank a Monster this weekend, and it gave me a heart attack!
      Me: Are you sure it wasn’t heartburn?
      New Guy: No! I’m sure it was a heart attack!
      Me: Um, well, if you had a heart attack, a doctor should be able to tell. You should probably see a doctor about that.
      New Guy: Right now?
      Me:…You can probably wait to schedule an appointment.
      New Guy: Oh. Okay. So you’re going to stop drinking Monster now, right?
      Me: No.

      Then I go into my boss’s office, tell him about the conversation, and let him know that it should not happen again.

      New Guy eventually got fired. You may remember that I was grateful to be relegated to Mommy status. Well, he got fired for following women from work who turned down his requests for data home from work…multiple times. So….yeah. Yikes.

          1. Minocho*

            I literally couldn’t help wondering if he’d been hit in the head too often during MMA, and had suffered some judgement reducing injury of some sort.

            Imagine that poor girl, already dealing with “lovestruck” new guy at work, finding out that he Followed Her Home From Work at NIGHT. Uuuuuuuugh. Just terrifying.

            Hey, at least he was fired after multiple complaints. I would think one such should be enough, but…I’ll take what I can get?

            1. Jules the Third*

              Not just ‘lovestruck’ but ‘lovestruck amateur MMA fighter with serious entitlement’ (Minocho is not to drink monster my aunt fanny).

              That is potential dead right there.

    14. Temperance*

      That’s way weirder than the fake Brit! IDK, it just seems so weird and babyish for an adult woman to refer to her parents that way.

    15. Red Reader*

      I used to have a coworker who would regularly – like every couple of weeks – come into work wearing a white union suit printed with blue flowers. Like, full on, buttoned bum-flap, waffle-weave, one-piece union suit. She wore it with powder-blue matching stiletto heels. I don’t know … why? nobody ever told her this was a problem – she was not in my department – but about every two weeks, there would go Jane, in her union suit and stilettos, on her way to her desk. (She worked in the purchasing office and met with vendors regularly, by the way. All of her coworkers dressed professionally, and in fact so did she when it wasn’t Union Suit Day!)

      1. Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins*

        I had to Google “Union Suit”. When you said butt flap, I thought it was what I thought, but I couldn’t believe it.

        She wore butt-flapped onesie pajamas to work with stilettos? What? Why? No.

      2. DCGirl*

        I had a supervisor whose sartorial choices were, um, striking, to say the least. I was sitting in my office one day when the graphic designer ran in, shut the door, and slid down it to the floor because she’d seen my supervisor coming down the hall in one of her unique ensembles.

        She reached a new pinnacle when she found a pair of seafoam green suede shooties (shoe boots) that she just loved. To make them go with everything, she bought a seafoam green turtle neck (possible several, given that we saw in multiple times during the week) and wore it under every outfit she owned, so that there would be seafoam green peeking out at the neckline and the cuffs. So, you’d see it and the shooties with her eyeball-searing yellow and black buffalo check dress (and that one was an eyeful even without the accents of seafoam green), with a purple and green flowered dress, with a red striped dress… Basically with everything she owned.

      3. Magee*

        The (long-time) receptionist at my work regularly wears velour pant suits and sneakers to work. We’ve only been allowed to wear jeans about a year now, so everyone is taking the new rules pretty seriously- pretty much still wearing business casual clothes but replacing the slacks/khakis with jeans. And there is a very specific rule about no sneakers. I have no idea why no one has told her that this is not appropriate clothing (especially seeing that she’s the first person most visitors see), but it’s interesting to watch.

      4. Marthoo"...*

        “… a white union suit printed with blue flowers… with powder-blue matching stiletto heels.”

        So, basically Mrs Peel meets Laura Ashley, then?

    16. Sadie Catie*

      I worked with someone who would use my chapstick if I left it out on the desk.
      We did work very closely for years and I consider him a friend, so I was okay with it, but it was still odd.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Ewwwwwwwwwww! Unless you’re someone where I’ve got the kind of relationship with you that I’d be willing to mash my lips against your lips, you do NOT need to be using my chapstick. I’d be so grossed out by that.

    17. annejumps*

      There’s a new, older lady at my work, who I witnessed taking her fast food meal and drink (uneaten) into the ladies’ room with her… into a stall. And then she took it back to her desk and ate it. She could have left it in the breakroom which she walked through to get to the ladies’ room, but I guess she was afraid someone would steal it…? Tbh I would rather someone steal it than eat food that had been in a restroom stall.

    18. Pollygrammer*

      Have a coworker who has asked at least 3 women in the office if they were pregnant. None of them were. I don’t understand how you wouldn’t learn after the first time. Two of them I know were really upset about it.

      1. Meghan Trainer*

        That’s insane. You’ve got to be so clueless to make this mistake more than once. *facepalm*

    19. KAB*

      Ah! I had a co-worker JUST like that, too! She lived with them but they were retired and decided to move down to Florida. They left her the house IIRC. She was constantly telling us about what she told them about work and that her parents “missed us” (I never met them!).

      She was really into oversharing on a general level, though. She worked at the front desk and one day we had members of our board coming in for an important meeting with the CEO. The most senior member of the board arrived and asked her how she was doing– clearly a pleasantry. She launched into a story about how she was still recovering from having shingles……

      1. Meghan Trainer*

        The other thing that bothered me about this coworker is that she would always overshare in her response to “How are you?”. Ha! What are the odds?! I’ll never forget the day when I witnessed this interaction:

        Different coworker: Hi, how are you?
        Coworker: Awful. It’s shark week if you know what I mean…
        Different coworker: Okay?
        Coworker: That means I am getting my period. I’m thinking about going on birth control. What are you on?
        Different coworker: *look of horror, makes eye contact with me, time stands still*

        I’m cringing right now just writing this.

    20. LDP*

      When I was working at a PR agency we were responsible for billing all our time, in 15 min increments. I had one coworker, let’s call him “Ryan”, who was having a hard time accomplishing all the things on his to do list, so he was talking to another coworker, “Phyllis”, for advice about how to manage his time better.

      Phyllis: Ryan, what’s this half hour block you have every afternoon, after lunch? You don’t have it labelled as anything.
      Ryan: Oh, that’s my Tinder bathroom break.

      And he wondered why he wasn’t getting anything done.

  19. Nervous accountant*

    I am not sure if this is a work or non work open thread so I can post again tomorrow if not appropriate for today.

    What are ppls thoughts on someone injecting themselves with a needle openly in the office? Is it unprofessional/inappropriate?

    I inject insulin 3-6x a day. I used to be very secretive about being diabetic but I’m slowly becoming more open about it now both at work and personally. I used to keep it a secret, and would only do it in a bathroom stall. Now I do it in the “public” area of the restroom for convenience. For the most part no one from my office has walked in and seen me (we share a bathroom w/ another company on the floor). I’m not at the point to do it at my desk b/c its an open office and would involve lifting my shirt/dress. Just wondering ppls thoughts on this.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I know plenty of diabetics who do this discretely at their desks and I don’t see a problem with it as long as you’re disposing of the needles properly.

      1. Admin of Sys*

        +1 Loose sharps in the office trash would /not/ be okay, and I think it’d be a bit odd if you’re, idk, out in a public table in the break room, but imo injecting at your desk, turned so no one can see you stick yourself would be fine.

      1. Snubble*

        Do you take pills at your desk? Do you disapprove of wearing a wrist brace in public?

        1. Jadelyn*

          …you are aware that taking a pill is not the same as injecting yourself with medication, yes? They are distinct actions. I fail to see how it’s unreasonable to feel differently about one as opposed to the other. You can be fine with someone putting a band-aid on someone else’s cut for them in public but not want to see someone stitching up a cut in public. We’re not obligated to treat them identically, because they’re not identical actions or procedures.

          If nothing else, I’ve never known anyone to have a phobia of pills – but there are definitely people who have phobias about needles.

          1. Delphine*

            But it’s not stitching up a cut, it’s taking necessary medication. Another person’s needle phobia is irrelevant. They don’t have to watch while she gives herself insulin.

            1. Traffic_Spiral*

              Stitching up a cut is pretty dang necessary too. Doesn’t make it any less squicky to watch.

      2. ThatGirl*

        Kinda disagree. As long as she’s discreet who cares. I have a good friend who’s Type 1 and always injects right after he eats dinner, even in restaurants. Nobody cares.

      3. ElspethGC*

        I disagree. It’s necessary medication, and all the diabetics I know are very discreet about it. I wouldn’t even have known if they hadn’t been sitting next to me and if I hadn’t seen them working out their dosage beforehand. It’s no different to taking a pill for gastric problems before eating so that you can digest your food properly. Besides, a desk is a lot more sanitary than a bathroom, especially since a used needle will have to go into a sharps bin afterwards.

      4. Phoenix Programmer*

        Disagree. Have had friends and coworkers inject at lunch. It’s NBD.

      5. MattKnifeNinja*

        I get your point.

        I have no problems with seeing someone lancing themselves for a blood sugar or shooting insulin. Though, I worked in health care.

        BUT I know plenty of people who would be totally squicked out by all of the above, to where they would address it personally.

        It happened at my old job.

      6. Mad Baggins*

        My two cents, I’m really really uncomfortable with needles and I would appreciate it done in the bathroom. I don’t think you need to do it *in a stall* unless you’re doing it during those 5 min after lunch when the whole world uses the bathroom, but it would be very gracious of you to not do it at your desk! (And if you have to lift up your dress/otherwise actually undress I think you should do it in a stall)

    2. Redundant Department of Redundancy*

      Personally I’d think of it similar as taking medication at a desk, it’s something you need to do! I’d also worry about the cleanliness of a bathroom for injecting!

      I used to work with a male coworker who would inject at his desk in an open plan office, no one commented or was weird about it.

      I think it may be worth thinking about your co-workers, ie are they likely to pry or make weird comments? Last thing you want is Clarence from accounts telling you about the evils or insulin and how you need to instead rub a glowing crystal on your neck while you hop on one foot and that will cure you!!

      1. The Original K.*

        Injecting oneself seems more … intimate? Serious? than swallowing pills to me though, even though the objective is the same. I’ve taken pills publicly countless times but I don’t think I would inject myself in public. If I saw someone doing it at their desk I would be startled, but I don’t think I would say anything.

      2. Nervous accountant*

        Oh the cleanliness of a bathroom never occurred to me. This is an open office and all the “offices” have glass windows so there’s 0 privacy except for the bathroom. The only reason I hated being in a stall is b/c there’s literally no place to place anything down, so I’d be putting the syringes/needles in my bra etc to hold until I could get back to my desk. (what will I do if I ever have a kid and might need to bf, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there I guess).

        the reason I was so secretive for such a long time is b/c I was afraid of being judged for being overweight, not having a good diet (notoriously bad sweet tooth). I’m getting better now but, old habits and perceptions you know? But for the most part my coworkers are nice, sane people so I’m not too worried about awful comments.

        Anyway, I have no burning desire to do it just yet, just curious for now.

        1. Boredatwork*

          How big are your windows? Could you make a “privacy” screen and flip it open/closed? Do you guys have a “wellness” room? I would imagine, that the best place for this would be wherever people pump for work.

          This said – I’m horrifically afraid of needles, just knowing a co-worker had one at their desk would make me uneasy, the actual sight of a needle will give me a panic attack. It’s so bad that I WFH on blood drive/flu shot days.

          As for the judgment about your wight, you do you, I used to stress eat Easter candy, I’d gain 20+ lbs every busy season!

    3. CAA*

      I would be totally fine with you doing it in the open part of the restroom. Some people get squicked out or are phobic about needles, but it’s a medical need, so I think they have to deal with that themselves and just step out of the restroom until you’re finished if they need to.

      I would be less fine with doing it at your desk, even if you didn’t have to disarrange your clothes. It just feels too much like a personal grooming task. I also don’t comb my hair, put on lipstick, or file my fingernails at my desk though, and I’ve definitely seen other people do that.

      1. only acting normal*

        I wouldn’t file all my nails at my desk, but do you really go to the toilets to smooth off a single broken/cracked/chipped nail?

        I happily take pills or put in eyedrops at my desk (we’re open plan, but my usual desk is next to a wall, so I turn to face that). I wouldn’t be bothered by someone discretely hitching their top up a bit and injecting insulin. Although maybe if the undoing of buttons/zips is required the open part of the toilets would be more advisible.

      2. Gotham Bus Company*

        Even the “public” area of a bathroom might not be sanitary enough for an injection of medicine. I have no problem with someone doing that in a cubicle or office, or even in the same room that a new mom might use for pumping (but not at the same time as the pumping, of course).

    4. Murphy*

      I don’t think it needs to be a super secret thing, but I think doing it at one’s desk is a bit much. (I think a public area of the bathroom is fine.)

    5. Snubble*

      I refuse to inject in bathrooms anywhere, because of hygiene concerns. I do it at my desk – turn towards the wall, tug my shirt up enough to get myself sorted, pull down, resume normal interactions. It was a bit weird at first but it helped to remember that the tummy isn’t an intensely private bit of skin. We wouldn’t normally show it at work, but it’s not inappropriate to have out at the beach or the pool, so it’s not really like being naked. (I won’t inject in my thighs at work, though, that would require dropping my trousers and that’s going too far for the office!)
      For me it helps to remember that we are disabled, and “I have to take this medication at this time or risk very bad medical problems including death” is a real problem. Injecting at work is an entirely reasonable accomodation to the disability that might kill you if you don’t. It would be unprofessional to do a song and dance about how you were going to inject now and everyone should close their eyes, but quietly getting on with your brief, medically necessary business is totally appropriate.

      1. AnonymousInfinity*

        YES. It’s discriminatory to expect someone who needs to inject insulin to remove themselves from the normal working environment, let alone sequester themselves in a germ-ridden bathroom to do it. I can’t even imagine.

    6. HannahS*

      I think it’s totally fine! I seem to recall that there was a question about this on the site a couple of months ago, so you can also search through the archives for it.

    7. WellRed*

      Person with Type 1 diabetes here. I do it discreetly, at my desk. They all know I have diabetes and…don’t really care. Also, it’s your choice, but I disagree that using a public area of a rest room is convenient. If I had to hide every time I needed an injection or finger stick…
      Also, I dispose of needles at home.

    8. IDeas*

      I have more than one friend who uses injectable insulin. The ONLY place I’ve ever had feelings about it at all was at dinner in a restaurant – if it were in a private home, fine, do it at the table if it’s easiest, but perhaps injecting oneself with anything short of an Epipen at the dinner table next to strangers isn’t wise. In your office where you are known (assuming clients don’t just walk in randomly), I’d say go for it.

    9. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

      Personally I wouldn’t be phased by it (even if done at a desk), the diabetics I’ve actually noticed giving themselves shots are super quick and discrete about it.

    10. Shelly573*

      One issue I would see with this is that a lot of people are phobic of needles. I would also argue that there is a difference between having to lift clothing and take a pill. Taking a pill is pretty subtle and doesn’t require clothing to be removed.

      But I maybe an outlier on this one. I don’t see any problem with using the public area of the restroom or if you had an office where you could close your door, but in an open office, the clothing removal seems to be the issue.

      1. WellRed*

        You don’t have to remove clothes, generally. I am wearing jeans and a top. I barely even lift the edge of my top for a quick injection, at my desk, basically out of sight. Also, I can’t manage people’s phobias, that’s on the them, though I’d be sensitive about it.

      2. Delphine*

        I don’t think another person’s needle phobia is something a diabetic person ever needs to take into consideration.

    11. Red Reader*

      Speaking personally: I’m squeamish about needles and don’t particularly want to see what you’re doing myself, so I’d appreciate it if you were turned away/toward the wall while you were doing it, but I also recognize that that’s my hangup and that your medical needs are more important than my personal squick so if that doesn’t happen, I’ll cope. Like the Detective said, as long as you’re disposing of needles and whatnot appropriately, that to me is the most important part.

      1. Susan Sto Helit*

        I also have a phobia of needles, but I just wouldn’t watch (or would turn away if I happened to catch a glimpse).

        It’s something that’s personal, but also necessary – kind of like breastfeeding in public. People are generally discreet about it, and you repay the favour by neither staring nor making a fuss. Baby gotta eat. Diabetics gotta inject.

    12. Logan*

      Some people faint around needles, so it may depend on the level of discretion possible. A very open-plan office might make it hard.

      I would be fine with it, as I’m used to needles, but I realise that not everyone is the same.

      1. Manders*

        Yep, blood-injection-injury type phobias tend to come with fainting more often than a lot of other phobias. I’m in that unfortunate group myself, and while I think it should be totally ok to inject a medication in the office, I’d really appreciate a heads up first so I can leave the room or turn away.

        1. Humble Schoolmarm*

          I think a lot comes down to the subtlety of your coworker though. I worked closely with someone with a pass out level phobia. One day, while we were eating, the subject came up.

          Jane: Yeah, I pass out at the sight of needles so just give me a heads up so I can look away.
          Me: Oh, no! I didn’t realize you had that intense of a phobia. I’m so sorry!
          Jane: What? Why?
          Me:… Because I just did my insulin while we were talking (in my own defence, before the phobia came up).
          Jane: What? Really? How? I didn’t even notice!
          Me: I’ve been doing it a long time, so I’m pretty subtle.
          Jane: I guess! Never mind then.

          and we carried on. It turned out that Jane’s mother-in-law was also insulin dependent and was NOT subtle at all about it, so Jane assumed that was true for everybody.

    13. Minocho*

      I don’t see a problem with it at all, it’s a matter of fact part of your life.

      I would be annoyed if someone made a big production about it, but the act itself is no different than me pulling out my bottle of Aleve and downing a pill for a headache.

    14. MechanicalPencil*

      I don’t see it being a big deal at all. I have to occasionally take an injectable medication, but it’s best done in the thigh, so the restroom is really my only option. If I saw you injecting insulin at work, at worst I’d probably make a crack about making sure you didn’t have any air bubbles in the syringe or something. In my world, it’s not a big deal. Or I’d ask where on earth you found a sharps container because for some reason everywhere I look they’re always either sold out of the carry size or …anyway.

    15. MeridaAnn*

      I meet with a group of friends weekly for dinner and one of them has to inject insulin each night. He usually does it discretely at the table, and I usually don’t even notice until he’s putting the cap back on, and I’m totally fine with that, even though I’m a bit squeamish with needles.

      The only times I’ve had an issue is when everyone starts talking about it and some of my other friends start asking if they can “stab” him and passing it around the table and it becomes a big *thing*. At that point, I start to get a bit freaked out just by thinking too much about the needle and once I even had to get up and go to the bathroom until he had finished. I think it’s absolutely his right (and yours) to use it whenever/where ever you need to, and I would never want him to feel like he couldn’t take it when needed, but I did mention to the whole group that the big discussions about it and talking about the process at length was making me freak out a bit and they have stopped making a big production out of it since then (plus the novelty of seeing it has worn off for them somewhat, too).

      I think going into the bathroom, even the common area of it, is certainly enough to be discrete. Frankly, I think it’s sad that you even have to go to the bathroom to take medicine, though I definitely get why you don’t want to lift clothing in an open office area. But my squeamishness is my issue and is trumped by your need for medicine. If you find out in the future that one of your coworkers is super sensitive to needles (to the point that seeing it even briefly would be a significant problem, instead of how I just have to look away to be okay), you might start giving that person a heads up to avoid the bathroom for just a minute when you head that way, but other than that

    16. Kuododi*

      I really don’t care at all. Ive checked my sugar in all sorts of public places. The only issue I would have with injecting insulin or other injectable diabetic meds in public would be if I could arrange clothing to get to stomach area discreetly. Of course I manage needles safely, that goes without saying! I’ve never been questioned or asked to take it to the restroom. I am not going to be all “in your face” however I will take care of business when and where it is necessary. My health is too important.

    17. Wendy*

      I test my blood at my desk, but I inject in the thigh, I go to the bathroom for that since no one wants Wendy to drop trou in the middle of reception :-)

    18. Temperance*

      I think if you have to show your underwear, you should pop into a stall. Otherwise, totally fine to use the open area. One of my friends is a Type 1 diabetic, and she’s so quick at injecting that you honestly wouldn’t notice.

    19. voluptuousfire*

      I grew up with a T1 diabetic mother and a father who is T2 but now insulin dependent. It’s normal to me.

      I wouldn’t blink if someone did that in a public space.

    20. Anna Canuck*

      I had a roommate that was diabetic, and it’s really not a BIG DEAL to see someone do an insulin injection after about the first time. Certainly fine for the open part of a restroom! And unless you’re hiking a dress to your armpits, probably fine to do at your desk on occasion if it makes more sense. The more matter-of-fact you are about it, the more likely others are to not care.

    21. epi*

      You shouldn’t need to do your injections in a bathroom. Cleanliness could be an issue, and you aren’t doing anything wrong. There is absolutely no comparison between something you need to do for your health, and optional personal grooming that some people find rude to do out in the open.

      Doing your injections discreetly at your desk is fine, and it’s very kind of you to be sensitive to people around you who don’t like needles. If it’s ever an issue, like you sit right next to someone who really has a problem with it, then you might want to talk to your boss about appropriate, clean places for you to do this– like a small conference room or a quiet room.

    22. EmilyG*

      I am very pro-doing normal life things without apology and have also fainted because of needles, so I’m of two minds on this. I don’t think I would faint just from seeing one but I’ve gotten a bit woozy. For me, anywhere that works for you is fine as long as I don’t see the needle going into the skin! I used to work with someone who did it at her desk, pulling up her shirt and then actually doing the injection under the level of the desk so that you couldn’t see unless you were standing right over her.

    23. Nervous accountant*

      Wow a lot of interesting responses here, thanks guys!

      A few other things I forgot to mention.
      I will sometimes do my fingerstick at my desk if i absolutely NEED to. Not often but occasionally, again I hid this fro a long time.

      I don’t store my insulin in the fridge–again, me being so secretive. (the pharmacist said that it’s OK outside the fridge for up to a few days). Idk if it’d be weird to store medication in the common fridge.

      I know I have more issues than I need to talk about in this thread regarding all of this, but in an effort to be more open and honest about these things, I wanted to get a sense of what’s appropriate in the workplace.

      Thanks all!

      1. LizB*

        I don’t think it’s weird to store medication in the common fridge, but I’d probably put it inside a lunchbox or other opaque container just for privacy.

      2. Diabetic Here*

        I’ve been Type 1 for 24 years and have used pen needles on and off as well as the pump. I will NOT use a bathroom to inject because if I won’t eat in there, I won’t inject in there either. I basically have no qualms about injecting anywhere. I try not to make it super obvious but I definitely don’t hide it. I’m not going to put of taking medication that literally keeps me alive because someone thinks I should hide my disease.

        Long story short, I basically don’t give a crap anymore and do what is best for myself.

      3. Bowl of Oranges*

        If you do need to put it in a fridge, could you get a lunchbox or small bag you could you put it in? We sometimes have people store medicine in our communal fridge (and in the past, breast milk), and I’ve never thought twice about it. As long as it’s not like leaking on my food, it’s of zero concern to me.

        I would also have no issue with you injecting at your desk! I had a classmate in college who would give herself injections during class. I only noticed because she sat right next to me, and even then it wasn’t disruptive.

      4. WellRed*

        I won’t go off track here, but have you considered the Freestyle libre? You get to wave a reader over the sensor and voila! A reading, no finger stick necessary. I just started using it this week. Feel free to hit me up on tomorrow’s thread if I can answer any questions for ya.

      5. sheep jump death match*

        I think it’s totally fine to do at your desk, but also that if you WANT privacy, you should brainstorm about how you could get it in a “reasonable accommodation” type way. Like, could your employer hang blinds or put up a window film on one conference room or office? Or give you a key/permission to use a usually off-limits place (I’ve worked at a couple places that had very nice built-out rooms converted to supply rooms that would have worked for this purpose)? Etc.

      6. Cristina in England*

        Sounds like most people who have been around T1 diabetics agree that it isn’t a big deal. My best friend in high school injected herself pretty much everywhere, dining hall, outside on the lawn, sports stadium, you name it. It’s a medical necessity. But she’s been doing it since she was 8 and there wasn’t any shame around her weight or anything like that. Like everyone else said, she was so fast you could barely even see her do it. Now she wears an insulin pump so she doesn’t do manual injections anymore. Maybe that might be an option down the road for you if you are uncomfortable injecting in front of people? You aren’t doing anything wrong though and no one should give you grief over taking your very important medication.

        1. Paquita*

          I second looking into a pump. Much better than 6 to 8 injections a day. DH has one, he has been taking insulin for 53 years.

      7. LibbyG*

        You’re drawing medicine from a vial? On one-piece dress days maybe you could load the syringe at your desk, pop the cap back on, take it with you to the bathroom and then stick yourself there.

    24. Oxford Coma*

      I would be afraid to perform injections in a cubicle or an open office because around here people are constantly stumbling into each other around blind corners. My building is basically an Escher nightmare.

    25. K. VonSchmidt*

      +1 For proper needle disposal. I had an employee who injected at his desk (it was semi private) and would just put the needles into an old coffee cup until full and then, take them home for disposal, but housekeeping complained about possible exposure (rightly so!). Our workplace will provide needle disposal containers and one was procured for him, but he acted put out by it.

    26. Hobgoblin*

      Totally fine. Well, maybe the dress lifting would be alarming (you’re talking about abdominal injections, I assume) but the actual injections is perfectly fine. I’ve seen people inject themselves so quickly and discreetly I barely noticed it. You could easily keep an empty Woolite container for old sharps in your desk and you’d be good to go. I also think there’s something to be said for demystifying diabetes and treating it with aplomb, rather like breastfeeding. It’s just a thing bodies do, no big deal.

    27. Forking Great Username*

      Well, I would probably have to walk straight into a bathroom stall and vomit, so I have to go with no.

      That sounds insensitive – I realize that my reaction to needles is over the top. I certainly don’t think you need to hide that you’re diabetic! I had gestational diabetes myself (and yes, i vomited every time I had to inject myself or check my sugar – I’m that squeamish about needles.)

      I know that I’m far from being the only person out there who reacts so strongly to needles, so I would appreciate it if you did it in the stall instead of out in the open.

      1. Cristina in England*

        I don’t like needles but I am not phobic so this is a genuine question, not sarcasm. Is it the thought of the needle that makes you vomit or actually seeing it? Because the injection process is so fast you could look the other way for literally less than 20 seconds and it would be over and done with. Whereas having her go into the stall would take several minutes, possibly more if her nearest toilet is far away. Not to mention that she would have nowhere clean to put items that have to remain sterile.

        1. Forking Great Username*

          It’s the thought of it – I literally felt light headed and slightly nauseous just reading/responding to this post! I realize that’s extreme and have taken (unsuccessful) steps to change my reaction…no luck so far.

          I wasn’t thinking going in a stall would take significantly longer since she said she currently does it in the bathroom, just not in a stall.

          1. OhNo*

            FWIW, I’m the same. I’m getting a bit woozy reading this post, too. I’m also currently on meds that I get injected every 2 weeks, and come close to passing out or vomiting every time. Having such an intense reaction to needles just sucks.

          2. Cristina in England*

            Wow, that sounds really intense. Good for you for trying to overcome it. Perhaps you will one day!

    28. Thlayli*

      Not a big deal at all. I was at a one day training course once and seated beside a strange man. At one point he took out a needle kit and quietly let me know he was going to inject insulin. I said ok cool and went back to looking at the trainer while he lifted his shirt and injected beside me. The only people who might have a problem with this is someone with a needle phobia.

    29. OhNo*

      My needle phobia is basically making a high-pitched screech in the back of my brain right now, just from thinking about this, so take this with a grain of salt, but:

      If you can inject yourself discreetly, and you can dispose of the needle safely, then in general I see no issue. It’s not any different from taking other medication at your desk, after all, and I do that multiple times per day. However, you might want to make some discreet inquiries with your coworkers, especially if your office has a culture of folks stopping by your desk.

      If I had a coworker who I knew was injecting themselves multiple times per day, and there wasn’t some known signal of when to avoid their desk (like, say, they always close the door when taking their insulin), I might literally never see them outside of a pre-scheduled meeting. I would be too worried by the idea of accidentally seeing the needle or catching them mid-injection. My phobia’s bad enough that even seeing a needle makes me extremely light-headed; accidentally seeing the injection would mean either vomiting or passing out entirely.

      It would be good to see if any of your coworkers would be similarly affected, just so you can give them a heads-up. If they are, I still see nothing wrong with injecting at your desk, if you let them know so they can deal with their phobia as needed. You might want to loop your boss in just to be on the safe side, though, in case it causes any work problems with coworkers down the road. I think diabetes is considered a disability under the ADA, and disability discrimination can crop up in weird ways.

      1. OhNo*

        Ah, I missed that you’re in an open office. In that case, you’d probably want to be even more sensitive to any coworker’s phobias, but you could still do it. If it was one of my coworkers, I’d still greatly appreciate some kind of signal (even if it’s just a quick, “Hey, OhNo, look away for a minute”), just so I don’t have to fight through the severe reaction I have.

    30. Thursday Next*

      I think the restroom is fine—no need to go into a stall. That’s probably where the sharps disposal is, right?

    31. Sami*

      Disclaimer- I haven’t read all the comments yet. But I also have diabetes. I inject where and when I need to. I’m discreet about it. It’s usually in the restroom at the sink. I put down a few paper towels first. I’ve also done it at a restaurant table if I’m wearing short sleeves. And definitely at my desk- but I can lock my door.
      I always put my used needle back in my little supply bag and take it home for disposal.
      I don’t give a crap about anyone’s needle phobia. I’m super fast and they can look away.

    32. ..Kat..*

      Well, I am a nurse. But, I think it is okay to discretely inject insulin at your desk. If your office is not used to this, would you be willing to provide some education about this at an office meeting?

    33. Gotham Bus Company*

      If there’s already a private room that’s available for new moms to pump milk, then that room should also be fair game for injecting insulin and any other medical needs. Otherwise, injecting in your office or cubicle should be fine.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        That’s what I was thinking – isn’t there a milk room, or an unused meeting room you can lock, or somewhere?

  20. onanon*

    My office is going through a reorganization, and because of the new title structure it’s going to look like I got demoted. In fact, in job duties, it sounds like I’m getting demoted. But nobody will admit that! They claim they are actually promoting me. On the other hand, the man that I work with who is getting the title that does accurately reflect my job duties has apparently been misrepresenting our working relationship to the owners, saying that he steps in to fix things for me when from my perspective he makes promises he never delivers on and leaves me scrambling every time. He threw me under the bus for staffing issues when he’s the one who never shows up to a staffing meeting.
    Anyway, now he’s going to be my boss, and I’m trying to figure out how to get my head on straight and be okay with that. Do I say “I’m taking the opportunity to cede some of the duties that I’m not being recognized for,” or do I power through to show them how wrong they were? How do I address being misrepresented to senior leadership?

    1. Trillion*

      Maybe address it with the new boss and get it laid out on the table?

      I’m chicken, so I wouldn’t do that. I’d likely start job hunting >_<

      1. neverjaunty*

        I don’t think job hunting in this situation is “chicken”. The bosses are too spineless to admit it’s a demotion and they are rewarding Mr. Slacker.

        1. onanon*

          To clarify that part, I used to have two titles. One was role-based, the other was seniority-based. The seniority-based ones were super wobbly and contentious, and most other people in my organization didn’t have a role-based one. Now they’re trying to/saying they are going to ALL role-based, but really the seniority structure is still there, just cloaked in different terms. The new role for me will be a step down from my old role-based title but a step up in the seniority-based one. The problem is, the role isn’t quite accurate to what I do, so I’m suspecting this is much more heavily seniority-based than they are admitting. Mr. Slacker has been at the organization substantially longer than me, so he was higher in the seniority-based titles, but we perform the same job currently. The new restructure suggests that we will no longer be performing the same job, but nobody seems to have wrapped their headds around that.

          1. onanon*

            I should also clarify, Slacker and I had the same/parallel role-based titles previously.

    2. Alternative Person*

      I’d go to the new bosses and lay out your current duties/how things work and see if you can get a more appropriate title. Focus on the exact nature of what you do, state the facts, resist the urge to bad mouth your co-worker, present evidence as needed. If your bosses are good, they’ll do right by you.

      Although, if this guy is going to be your new boss, I’d say double down on CYA because he’s already shown willingness to throw you under a bus and consider job searching. It might be better to move on than get into a protracted back and forth with a guy who’ll do everything to avoid doing his job.

    3. kbeers0su*

      I’d probably go to whoever your current supervisor is to get clarity on some of this so you have a better sense of what your plan should be. I’d ask about the promotion/demotion and try to understand how they think it’s a promotion if the title and responsibilities are being downgraded. If you feel like you’re pretty secure in your role (i.e. they’re not doing any layoffs in the restructuring, which would indicate that your job isn’t secure) you could also be a bit more bold and see how that goes; ask your current boss about the thought behind coworker becoming your new boss if you were equals before. See if you can get any info, or possibly find room to interject your concerns (like him being the issue with staffing, him not delivering on things). If in all of this you get signals that they’re set, then you know to job search. (But I’m the kind of person to go all in…)

    4. Not Maeby But Surely*

      If there is any opportunity, I would consider requesting a meeting with whoever would be in charge of your departments reorganization (i.e. not your new boss), under the premise of wanting to dispel any rumors relating to your job performance. Have an outline in your mind of what you want to go over. You could say, “I have recently found out/been told/heard that there may be a misunderstanding of how I manage my role and how my duties are routinely handled, so I would like to explain it from my perspective.” Then offer concrete examples of times that you’ve had to wait on your coworker-now-manager to provide X before you could complete Y, and other relevant situations, like him not showing up to staffing meetings. Then reiterate your desire to perform well and ask if they have any feedback for ways you could improve.

      As for the title/responsibility change I would embrace your line “I’m taking the opportunity to cede some of the duties that I’m not being recognized for” because accepting it is probably in your best interest, at least for now. If your coworker becomes an incompetent manager then he will likely shoot himself in the foot sooner than later, so that part will take care of itself.

    5. Master Bean Counter*

      Three options here:
      1. Go talk to the owners. They haven’t heard from you, they’ve only heard from Mr. Dingus.
      2. Let Mr. Dingus take on the new responsibilities and only do what is in your new job description. Let anything that falls under his duties drop. Mr. Dingus will start dropping balls. Let them fall.
      3. Job search. Something better will be out there.

    6. CatCat*

      I’d do whatever was the least amount of hassle to me at the existing job (probably just going with the flow as I cannot imagine showing them how wrong they are and having them realize it is going to be anything but an exercise in frustration). My energy would be focused on looking for a new job.

    7. The New Wanderer*

      The guy who was happy to make you do more work to cover his issues and take credit for successes or blame you for problems is going to be your boss? I would get out as soon as you can. He’s now going to have authority to make you do all the work and if you didn’t get credit before as peers, you can bet he’s going to take all the credit as your boss.

      I’d be concerned that since this is already in motion, going to senior leadership now to say anything is not going to go well, no matter how diplomatically it’s phrased. Clearly politics is in play, he played the game and it sounds like you didn’t realize that was happening until too late. Best case, senior leadership makes you equals(?) again and this guy is still not going to change.

      1. Gotham Bus Company*

        In fact, going to senior management might get OP fired. The brass are already on record protecting Slacker and will clearly continue to protect him.

        My suggestion to OP is to “keep on keeping on” and start that job search immediately.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      I think it’s time to ramp up the job search. I don’t think there is any way to be okay with being “screwed over”.

  21. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    I need a reality check. Is this hiring process as weird as I think it is?

    Sorry for the wall of text, here’s the TL;DR: I can’t tell if this hiring process is just thorough, or overbearing and red-flaggy. So far it’s been one half-hour phone interview, a full-day in person interview with 11 people, three reference calls which I have been told were unusually intense and in which the hiring manager said he thought I didn’t have the personality for the job, and now another one-hour phone interview, and if I get the offer they’ll also want to do a reference call with my current manager.

    Now the long version:

    I work in a client-facing field where the ability to quickly build authentic client relationships based on trust is essential to one’s success in the profession. I am doing quite well despite my short tenure both in the profession (3 years) and in my current job (1 year), and I know that my current manager, and his manager, are thrilled with my performance. I’ve been conducting a job search for geographic and family reasons, and was recently flown out to interview with a small, well-regarded organization. I thought the full-day interview went well and felt that I really “clicked” with all 11 interviewers, especially the hiring manager. I’d prepared the crap out of this interview, and came ready with answers to every behavioral question I could think of, as well as a 30-60-90 day plan. I was notified that I was one of three candidates to reach the reference stage.

    A few weeks ago, one of my references, a former colleague, let me know that she’d been called and spoken at length with the hiring manager. She told me she was surprised at the level of questions he asked. She relayed that he’d asked for very precise details about specific projects we’d worked on together; expressed concern about my moving on from my current role so quickly (which I expected); and said that he was concerned about my ability to be relatable and build authentic relationships with clients.

    I was shocked to hear this. I have never, never, been accused of inauthenticity or told that I lack the ability to build relationships. In fact, in my annual review last week, my current manager specifically praised my ability to build these relationships and credited that ability for much of my success. On one hand, I realize this is probably good management technique, and I appreciate being alerted that there’s something about how I came across in the interview day that raised concerns about my “people skills”. On the other hand, it made me question whether I’d be a fit for this organization – I don’t want to start a new job feeling like I’m already on thin ice or that my new colleagues are just waiting for me to fail! I also worry about how intensive this call was for my reference, and wonder if I need to apologize to my other two references – the organization’s president and now-retired vice president – for taking up so much of their time. Further, I’m slightly concerned that my references won’t be able to provide the level of detail the hiring manager is asking for; my work is quite independent and my previous manager was pretty hands off, not to mention I haven’t worked there in a year and I don’t know how many of those nitty-gritty details they’ll be able to call up on command.

    Once I heard about the reference call, I pretty much wrote this one off and figured I wasn’t the person they were looking for. However, a couple of days ago I got an email from the hiring manager asking me to schedule another one hour phone interview, which will be this coming Monday.

    So, what gives? Is this a normal hiring process and I’m just being sensitive? Or is this manager being overbearing before I even start working there? I have to imagine I’m still in the running, if the hiring manager is blocking out an hour to speak with me.

    1. Oxford Coma*

      if I get the offer they’ll also want to do a reference call with my current manager

      My eyebrows were already rising like floodwaters, but at this bit they shot clear off my face.

      1. irene adler*

        Me too!
        So do they reserve the right to rescind their offer after they do the reference call with your current manager? And if so, where does that leave you?

        1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

          From what the hiring manager has told me, they’d make a “preliminary” offer but it wouldn’t be official until he speaks with my current manager. I would insist that we iron out all details including salary, benefits, and start date before putting them in contact.

          On the plus side, since I started looking for a new job there have been some opportunities that came up in my current role, so I’m actually no longer actively looking for a new employer. If this one doesn’t work out I’ll (relatively) happily stay here, and I’m nearly 100% confident I’d be welcome to stay even if I told my manager I was looking and asked him to provide a reference. Still, it’s a scary place to be!

          1. Master Bean Counter*

            Yeah, I’d run away from that. They want to put your current job in jeopardy for a soft offer. Nope.

            1. onanon*

              Right, with the added hurdle of your boss potentially getting pissed that you want to leave, or actively trying to sabotage your chances in order to keep you! Not saying that about your boss specifically TBLCS, but just acknowledging that these are ways that some bosses react to this news.

      2. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        You know, that was actually the least of my concerns in this whole process! My manager loves my work, knows some of the reasons I’m looking to move on already, and I’m sure he would give me a good reference. I wouldn’t put them in contact until they’ve made (and I’ve accepted) an offer including salary, benefits, and start date; though as Irene says below, if they (for whatever reason) rescind the offer after speaking with my manager I’d be in a pretty tough spot.

    2. CAA*

      It’s a pretty extensive process, but it sounds like it might be not be that far out of the norm in your field? Some places do require a reference from your current employer after you accept their conditional offer. It’s not common, but I’ve done it once as the manager giving the reference, and I’ve heard of a few other places doing it.

      I think that the extra interview is to help the manager address any concerns he still has after speaking with your references. Talk to all of them and try to find out what issues came up in their calls that you’ll need to address.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        I’ve never heard of a process this extensive, though I admittedly haven’t been through all that many hiring processes. I actually don’t have a problem with them talking to my current manager, once they’ve made (and I’ve accepted) an offer including salary, benefits, and start date. I have a great relationship with my current manager, he loves my work, and he does know some of the reasons I’m looking to move on so quickly.

        Great suggestion to check in with all three references so I can be prepared to address any concerns he has (although it seems like my preparedness is what made him think I’m unrelatable, ha!)

    3. DaniCalifornia*

      “and said that he was concerned about my ability to be relatable and build authentic relationships with clients.”

      Why would a potential manager even say this to your reference? I would think it would be better if the hiring manager was completely neutral. I’ve never given a reference where the hiring manager has offered feedback on the candidate. They’ve just asked questions and said thanks. Perhaps I’m the one experiencing the unusual part, is it more normal to tell references what they think of candidates? I would just think they might get candidates hopes up or down (like in this situation.) That and the potential speaking to the current manager would be a bit of red flags for me, although not huge ones.

      Also 11 people in a one day interview! I would die. Kudos to you though, you sound like you nailed it. I hope that in your conversation on Monday you’re able to get a better feel for things. I don’t really have great advice to offer but am sending you good luck!

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        Ok, I’m glad it’s not just me who thought it was weird! In my experience managers are usually neutral and just ask questions about the candidate from the reference’s experience, not provide their own assessment. I guess in some ways it might help my candidacy since my reference was able to reassure him about my abilities, but I just don’t get why he would bring up his own assessment instead of just asking “what is your experience of the candidate doing XYZ?”

        It was a long and exhausting interview day for sure, but I honestly feel like I did everything in my power to succeed. If they don’t want to hire me, it’s because I wasn’t the right candidate to work with their team.

        Thanks for your positive vibes!

        1. DCR*

          I think it is unusual but not unheard of. The last time I switch jobs, I know the hiring manager expressed some of his reservations during his reference check. The job was in the same field but a different subsets and he was worried it wasn’t a good fit/I wouldn’t be happy long term, but by raising that with my references they were able to address his concerns – which I think benefited me.

    4. Enough*

      “and said that he was concerned about my ability to be relatable and build authentic relationships with clients.”
      I’m looking at is as devil’s advocate. This is one way to get the reference to actually state any concerns they have and not just say you are wonderful. but need full context and tone. And maybe the hiring manager has some issues with you that are more related to past experiences than with you. See anon anony’s post above.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        Could be. I just re-read the email my reference sent after the call, and she said that while my responses were exactly what the committee was looking for on paper, they were delivered without emotion. So I wonder if I may have just rehearsed my answers too many times.

    5. KC*

      It sounds like to me the interviewer/reference checker may be asking more pointed questions because of past history with this position or personal experience. Maybe they had someone previously in this role that had issues building relationships and wanted to make sure their new hire was the best fit. I wouldn’t take it personally.

    6. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

      The offer contingent on a reference check with your current manager is pretty common (very common in my industry, and I know I’ve seen it come up multiple times on AAM, so its not just a weird niche industry thing). I don’t love it or necessarily agree with it, but it’s not totally out there or bizarre.

      The intensity of the reference check is that only part that pinged on my radar as a potential red flag. Is the person that conducted the reference check (the hiring manager I think you mentioned) going to be your direct manager? If so, then yeah – I’d see how the follow up call goes with them. I wouldn’t worry about it quite as much if they were not going to be my direct boss.

      1. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        I don’t know that it’s incredibly common in my industry, but it makes sense in my situation since I’m leaving a job after only a year. I totally get that he’d want to make sure I’m not being forced out or on the verge of being fired.

        The hiring manager would be my direct manager. I spent about 90 minutes with him in my interview day, and I get the sense he’s very thoughtful and intentional, and trying to be a good manager. They have very low turnover on their team so it stands to reason that he is careful and conscientious in their hiring decisions. I actually felt that I connected with him very well and I left the interview feeling like he’d be a great manager for me.

        I’m very curious about this call on Monday, mostly because he asked me to block off a whole hour. What on earth could he have to say that will take an hour?!

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I’d run. This is just the interview. Working there will NOT be easier. I’d bet that Alison would say these folks have no idea how to interview and hire people. And I also wonder if they will try to micromanage every word that comes out of your mouth because they are “all about relationships”. People who are all about relationships demonstrate that they don’t talk about it. Speaking of which, it sounds like they are all about relationships EXCEPT for their applicants.

  22. GigglyPuff*

    I’m so peeved right now. For the first time since I started working for state govt I used my community service leave last week. It was in the same week that I worked overtime, which as a govt I get comp time for it. Well apparently our system, it being in the same week pulled the community service leave from the comp time.

    I asked our HR liaison about it, she hasn’t gotten an answer for actual HR, but pretty much told me, that no that’s correct, comp time comes out of the pot first no matter what. Um no, I’ve been here over 3 years, the only thing comp time gets pulled to cover is vacation leave. I’m pretty sure she’s 100% wrong about everything but our HR person is out this week (which is why she didn’t get an answer yet). I mentioned that, if that’s true it should really be in our written policies and she was like, well you were told at orientation. Um my orientation was over 3 years ago, which is why I referenced the written policy for community service leave before I took it. Our policies only mention comp time being pulled to cover vacation nothing else. She also kept making jokes about managing my time better, which the more I replayed it in my head the more it peeved me off.

    So I’m pretty sure our system incorrectly takes comp time to cover community service leave if it’s taken during the same week. My coworker had this problem and got it fixed after raising a stink, but makes me wonder how many other people are getting screwed and not noticing. If it is an error and gets fixed, I’m thinking about emailing the state HR office about the issue, (or probably will even if they don’t fix it, so it’ll get added to the manual).

    1. You don't know me*

      I would continue to fight this. It doesn’t make sense they would take your comp time because you were doing community service and from what I am reading, they have community service leave available for you to use.

    2. kbeers0su*

      This is super annoying. But I’d just bear with it until you get an official HR answer. Too many people stubbornly believe they’re right when they really don’t know the answer, and your HR liaison may be one of those.

      And if HR comes back that the liaison is right, then I think you can have a very calm chat with them about the written policy, citing coworker who had the same issue. It’s really in HR’s best interest to make sure that their policies are clearly spelled out. And if you come at this as a reasonable person, they’re likely to respond reasonably (unless you know your HR department to be unreasonable).

    3. Only here for the teapots*

      Have you talked to your union rep? They aren’t always helpful, but if the community service time is part of your contract they should be on board with helping you deal with HR.

      1. Anna Canuck*

        If you’re union, this is the part where you talk to your rep. This is exactly the situation unions are meant for.

  23. Super stressed*

    I think (hope?) I’m going to get a job offer soon. One senior person (the manager of my potential manager) I interviewed with mentioned that the position could come along with some perks (specifically, paying for a certification) that my potential manager explicitly said wouldn’t come with the position. How do I broach this topic if/when I get an offer? At a minimum I want to set my own expectations, but if certifications are on the table I think I’d want them written into the offer/contract, and I’m not sure how to do that because it’s separate from salary? I’ve never had to negotiate something like this before!

    1. Seriously?*

      If the senior person said it could come with he position, but your potential manager explicitly stated that it does not, then it probably is not on the table and might come across badly to your manager if you try to push. If the senior persons said that it does come with the benefit and your manager said it didn’t, then I would ask for clarification. If this perk is important to you, then the best way to address it is to say that you heard X from Bob and Y from Sue and just want to make sure you understand whether or not that is a possibility. See how they react.

  24. Trillion*

    I’m failing so hard at my new job.

    I made a mistake picking this one. I was trying to be so careful because I wanted to stay at this job for 4-5 years at least!

    My manager has explicitly stated that I was hired to replace two people. And she’s also stated that the people above HER boss don’t care that the department is overworked. This is not a good place to work. Maybe my therapist will up my meds so I can just live through this in a medicated haze until it’s over.

    1. LKW*

      She told you after you started that you were hired to replace two people? That sucks but is a great reason to leave that you can explain on interviews. “During interviews I was told the company really stood behind work life balance but unfortunately after I started I was told explicitly that I was replacing two people and that work life balance was not a concern for upper management.”

      Good luck.

      1. Trillion*

        Man, are you psychic. You are spot on. I was promised W/L balance in the interviews.

        Interviewers can lie too!

        1. Ama*

          Well, the one good thing is that you’ll be able to get some good feedback from how future prospective employers react to why you are leaving this job. Anyone who doesn’t understand why being told after you were hired that you were replacing two full time employees is a problem is not someone you want to work for.

        2. Bea*

          This isn’t unheard of at all, it upsets me to admit that I’ve seen it happen right in front of my face. I suggest you use this as an opportunity to learn, they lied. BUT REMEMBER that not everyone is a liar. Don’t let it taint your perception going into your next job, you will recover from this toxic place!!! I know from experience.

    2. You don't know me*

      If possible, you should get out now. It sounds like the job was misrepresented to you and you shouldn’t have to medicate yourself just to make it through the day. LKW gives a good explanation for you to use.

      1. Trillion*

        Yeah, I think this is going to be a blip on the resume. Fortunately the market for my skills in incredibly hot right now (my old job has tried twice to get me back), so I’m not in too bad of a situation.

    3. Lilac*

      Don’t just stick it out with medication. Your health and happiness are worth far more than that. Let this be a blip and move on to something better.

      1. Trillion*

        Thank you. I’m in therapy specifically because I want to stop giving up when things get hard, but I don’t know if therapy will be able to help be with this before I reach a breaking point and do something stupid like quit without another job lined up.

        1. Seriously?*

          I think you should mentally rephrase the reason for therapy. Some situations are not worth sticking out. You don’t want to quit only because it got hard. You want to recognize which situations are worth the effort. You aren’t quitting because the position is hard. You are quitting because they misrepresented what the position.

        2. Nashira*

          There is hard and then there is unreasonable. Demanding that you work two people’s jobs is pretty unreasonable. Can you talk with your therapist about finding ways to determine when you’re dealing with unreasonable expectations from others vs your fear that a thing is too hard and you can’t do it?

          Like for real, these folks lied to you about work/life balance and expect you to just suck it up. They aren’t being reasonable.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Since this is sort of an urgent state of things, why not figure out how you can work on a job search every day? Even if you just look at one site or one job but do it every day?

          I tend to believe we have a finite amount of brain space. While you are looking into coping mechanisms it might be more to the point to look for a new place on a regular basis. While I don’t think that every day is doable (I said that for emphasis, as it sounds like your setting is Not Good At All), I think that clearing the personal calendar to have available time several times a week can be doable. Take steps to bail yourself out while you look around for added help. It’s a good life habit to bring in support as we work away on the stuff that needs fixing.

    4. Bea*

      Don’t feel stuck!! I take every job assuming I’ll retire there, that’s my mentality, I’m all in. But if they suck, you leave. Don’t suffer just to follow your idea of staying long term. You will waste 4-5 years and be miserable, it’s not worth it.

      1. Trillion*

        Thank you so much. Every day lends more credibility to the idea that this is not for me.

    5. I See Real People*

      As much as I don’t care for my current position, I fear almost more making a change to a better job only to find out it’s worse. I hope you get a good turn soon!

  25. Essi*

    So I have a new coworker who started about 2 months ago.
    This person identifies as genderfluid and I’ve been having trouble understanding this. I had never heard of nonbinary people until this year. When they started they informed everyone they shift through genders and have a different pronoun every day. They wear a nametag with that day’s preferred pronouns and wants us to use whichever pronouns are correct for that day. I don’t mind using preferred pronouns but I’m finding it difficult to change pronouns each day (there are about 5-6 different sets of pronouns being used total). Am I just being insensitive since I’m unfamiliar with this kind of identity? I don’t want to upset them but I find this odd and tough to get used to. Would it be wrong if I asked to use one constant set of pronouns?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Yes, it would be wrong for you to ask to use a constant set of pronouns.

      This person is adequately communicating how they wish to be addressed daily and you should respect that.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Can someone explain sympathetically how pronouns work in this situation?

        If I am talking directly to someone, I use the pronoun “you.” It’s very rare that I would stand in front of Albion and talk about what Albion is saying or doing or thinking. Using pronouns would come up if they aren’t there–if spoken, I might not have seen Albion and have any idea of the day’s pronouns. If written, then it only matches that day and not the date on which it’s read.

        I completely get Hey, tell me the pronouns you like and I’ll use them. But as with names, that’s usually static–I don’t call someone Bob on Monday and Robert on Tuesday and Kyle on Wednesday, always checking their nametag before speaking. It seems like the distinction between “I used to go by Bob but now that Other Robert is gone, I am going by my preferred name Robert at work” and “Yesterday I corrected you when you called me Bob, but today you should call me Bob.” The latter is in practice going to feel like you’re laying out a minefield for people to always call you the wrong thing, because what the wrong thing is changes so frequently.

        1. Queen of the File*

          If I was in this position I would probably ask my coworker if they had a preference or default for times when I didn’t know what the day’s pronouns were (such as referring to the person in an email when they were on vacation or whatever). I’d still do my best to use the preferred pronouns of the day though (or avoid using pronouns if I didn’t know)–it does sound challenging but it’s important to me to be supportive.

          1. Morwen the Grad Student*

            This would be my approach as well–do my best to remember and use whatever was on the nametag (if I saw it, or if I can ask someone else when talking about that person), but also ask the person if they have a default. I’d probably end up structuring my sentences about that person to avoid pronouns, too, if it’s not too clunky (assuming they have a constant name).

        2. Not a Mere Device*

          I think the way this works is, when you don’t know what pronoun they’re using that day, you refer to them by name or default to “they.” It may feel a little weird to use their name more often than other people’s, like “I talked to Dana about this. Dana said the job should be done by Friday, if nothing else urgent came up and Dana’s boss didn’t assign Dana a different task,” but it’s English, and reasonably clear.

          I’m recommending that you default to “they” because that’s a pronoun for nonbinary people, and it’s also used for people whose gender you don’t know for whatever reason. In this case, the reason is “it changes, and I don’t know what it is today” rather than “I barely saw the person who was driving that car, and wasn’t paying attention to that.”

          1. Working Hypothesis*

            A relative of mine is genderfluid and varies their self-identifying pronouns from day to day, but is always willing to accept ‘they’ for the same reasons you just gave. They may know what their gender of the day is, but you don’t necessarily know it (or remember it), so you use the same pronoun you would for anybody else whose gender you didn’t know.

      2. LCL*

        No, this person is over the top playing a game with their coworkers. I fully support the idea that everybody should be addressed how they wish to be addressed, INCLUDING honorifics which most people disagree with me on. But changing every day is playing a game. That has nothing to do with one’s genderfluid identity. I think this exact situation has been sent in to this site before, and the consensus then was the coworker was being a jerk.
        Instead of being the pronoun police, refuse to play their game. Adress them as coworker or Joaquin or by their job title.

        1. neverjaunty*

          This. It’s absolutely proper to address people by their preferred pronouns, but a daily switch is not asking for recognition of preferred identity.

        2. Pollygrammer*

          I agree that it’s like 90% a game and/or pure attention-seeking. I’m betting this person is quite young. However, I don’t think Essi can refuse to play without coming across pretty badly. I’d just avoid pronouns.

        3. Kathleen_A*

          It is just not right to expect people to switch from day to day. It’s completely unreasonable, and yeah, I do think it’s a game of some sort (though possibly the coworker hasn’t admitted this to themselves). I wouldn’t be too surprised if, in a year or so, they decide that they want their gender to be fluid from hour to hour rather than day by day.

          So I’d just avoid pronouns aside from “you,” It might make for some awkward sentences, but it’s your coworker who’s brought the awkward, not you.

        4. BuildMeUp*

          I’m confused as to why people think this is a “game” – it sounds like this person fits the definition of genderfluid, which is what they identify as. Being genderfluid means that a person doesn’t identify with only one gender and may feel closer to or identify more with a certain gender at a given time.

          I’m not sure jumping to negative assumptions about the OP’s coworker is helpful here either way, and this approach seems pretty combative.

          1. Thlayli*

            It’s not that people think the coworker isn’t genderfliud and is making up that part of it. It’s the plethora of pronouns that is being seen as a “game” and unreasonable. They/them is a perfectly fine, acceptable, gender-neutral pronoun that refers to all genders and none. I can see a genderfluid person wanting to switch between he/him on days they feel particularly masculine, she/her on days they feel particularly feminine and they/them, on days they feel like anything other than binary, but 5-6 separate sets of pronouns? That’s really uneccesary and it does come across as “testing” the coworkers or “playing a game”.

            1. Kathleen_A*

              Yes, exactly. Genderfluidity isn’t a game. But trying to force well-meaning coworkers (because only a well-meaning person would even attempt this) to figure out from day to day what pronoun is the “correct” one…well, I think that is a game – or maybe “test” is the better word. What’s more, it’s a test that nearly every one of those coworkers will fail, even with the best intentions in the world. It’s not right to make people work so hard to do the right thing.

        5. cryptid*

          Wow, how delightfully transphobic of you. This person being genderfluid isn’t a game.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            No, genderfluidity is not the game (or test or whatever). What is a game or a test, and an unwinnable one at that, is making it well-nigh impossible for your coworkers to address you “correctly” from day to day. That is either a game or a test, and it’s one that one’s coworkers will *inevitably* lose.

    2. Super stressed*

      Can you just refer to them by their name and avoid pronouns use as much as possible?
      I think that the way you’re feeling is reasonable…dealing with shifting pronouns is certainly confusing, particularly if you’re not used to it, and I think this could get confusing if the person deals with clients (especially since there are 5-6 pronouns). But, it also seems like your coworker is doing their best to communicate their own needs as best they can. So, I don’t think you can really ask for a single set of pronouns.

      1. Joielle*

        I agree – just use the person’s name all the time. Even if a sentence turns out a little awkward now and again because you’re trying not to use a pronoun, I still think that’s the best solution.

    3. Buffy*

      Could you maybe compromise and use gender neutral ones? (Like they.) I don’t know much about this topic personally though…

    4. Ali G*

      I think you need to do what you can to accommodate them. I would definitely not ask for one set of pronouns because that is the exact opposite of being gender fluid. It would be like, if you were a woman with a historically male name, like Ryan, and someone was like “I can never remember you are a woman because of your name so is it OK if i just refer to you as ‘he’?”
      Just do your best to be friendly and accommodating. Likely this coworker knows this is new to a lot of people. They might even be open to discussing it if you are interested in learning more about their experiences.

      1. Kathleen_A*

        I disagree with your analogy, Ali G. It’s more like, “Some days I want to be called George, and some days I want to be called Amelia, and some days I’d rather be Chris.” Expecting your coworkers to use your correct name is perfectly fair, and expecting them to use your preferred pronoun is also fair. But expecting them to change to different names or pronouns from day to day is absolutely unreasonable.

      2. Working Hypothesis*

        “I would definitely not ask for one set of pronouns because that is the exact opposite of being gender fluid. It would be like, if you were a woman with a historically male name, like Ryan, and someone was like “I can never remember you are a woman because of your name so is it OK if i just refer to you as ‘he’?””

        Not really. There are gender-neutral pronouns — they/them is the most common, but some people use zie/zir or a few other variations — which are meant precisely to be a single, consistent set of pronouns which does not inherently imply a consistent gender to the person being referred to. Most genderfluid people I know (and I know several) use one of these sets consistently, regardless of whether they are male, female, both or neither that day.

        I agree it would be inappropriate to request that one be permitted to use a GENDERED single set of pronouns for someone who changes gender at intervals. But as far as I can tell, it’s much more usual for genderfluid people to use a consistent *non-gendered* pronoun set than to ask that people use different pronouns on different days.

    5. SpaceNovice*

      For not having heard about it until this year, you’re being very considerate. I agree with the above suggestions that you should try to use their pronouns as much as possible since they’re doing what they can to communicate them, and using the name more often is also a good alternative, especially if you don’t what their pronouns are for the day yet.

      (Also as an aside, genderfluid is just one of many non-binary identities, just in case you don’t know.)

    6. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

      I’m also nonbinary, and would like to be out at work, but I think changing pronouns daily or using ones very hard to pronounce is a line I would never cross at work. You’re not wrong to feel stressed about it, and I think that level of accommodation goes well beyond what most workplaces would allow.

      If I come out, I’ll just be “they” all the time. But for now, just use the person’s name if it confuses you, the constant change.

      1. Fiennes*

        My partner and I are in the very preliminary phase of planning an overseas move. It’s very exciting! However, while my line of work allows me to live pretty much anywhere I can have a laptop and WiFi, his does not. This is actually fine: for the past few years he’s been less satisfied with his line of work and considering a change. It will be as easy or easier for him to start over somewhere else—namely, Italy.

        However, while he’s exploring options, he still wants to be able to contribute financially. So he’s considering doing a TEFL course. He has taught music part time for a while, and so knows that he both likes teaching in general and is good at it. If he could parlay that into part time work fairly quickly, it would help us be financially steady during the transition. I guess my question is—is getting such work relatively easy? Or is it something you train for and then have nowhere to go? We don’t need it to be *hugely* lucrative, or even self-supporting, but we’d like to know the work is out there. (Right now we’re considering the Bologna area, but all things are flexible—it’s not even impossible that we’d wind up in another E.U. nation.)

        Those of you who’ve done this, what are the prospects? What are the pitfalls and misconceptions?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          If you mean TEFL while living overseas in an non-English-speaking country, relatives did this. (TEFL in an English speaking country would be harder to find jobs, due to a comparative glut of native English speakers.) It is usually pretty easy to find some sort of assignment if you are a native English speaker. (And speak and write well to the ears/eyes of other English speakers.) My relatives did it for two years–wanted to give kids the experience of living in a foreign culture–and then moved back, taking up their professional careers here again. (College professors, teaching English at college level when they were overseas as part of a program.)

          I gather from another comment on here that as a thing to do straight out of university, people didn’t advise doing it for a long time and then trying to parlay the skillset into other work. I inferred that “I was raised speaking English” is so heavily the job requirement that it’s hard to convincingly parlay the experience into other skills you demonstrated.

          1. Traveling Teacher*

            Just FYI, because these acronyms are sometimes confusing: TEFL doesn’t exist in an English-speaking country. It’s TESOL instead, meaning “as a second language” (even though that’s often woefully inaccurate! Many students already speak 3+ languages!) It’s because the entire atmosphere is completely different when you’re surrounded by English vs another language.

            I’m actually really confused by the second part of your comment, though! For one, many TEFL teachers are non-native speakers–this is sometimes viewed by employers as a strike, as they sometimes are seeking native speakers at all costs, but some of the best TEFL teachers aren’t native speakers. They know the language inside and out and have much better insight into what works to learn it, particularly if teaching people who speak their actual native language. Both native and non-native TEFL professionals are needed. Also, a competent TEFL teacher will have much more to contribute than a mere accent–for example, I don’t think people should teach TEFL if they can’t explain why and when we use “a/an” instead of “the” and vice versa. Otherwise, they’ll just be miserable!

            Additionally, I’ve found my decade+ of TEFL experience right out of university to be highly valuable when crossing into other types of employment–employers know that you’re adaptable, a great communicator, and that you can work in a challenging environment, just to name a few–plus that you’ve got a great command of the English language. Pretty big assets, in my opinion!

            Just to be clear, I’m not at all offended, but I’ve found this to be a common perspective of people outside of the field and wanted to put my two cents in.

        2. Alternative Person*

          It depends a lot on where you’re going but if you’re going to Europe, I’d suggest taking something like CELTA in advance as of going. It’s a 120 hour course and helps getting a good foot in the door for a lot of places, especially reputable international companies and sometimes better rates of pay than if you have something like a TEFL short course (though even if you only have time/money to do a short course, it’s better than nothing, that was what I started with (thought be extra careful, some are not good, try to find an accredited one (also, some people make out CELTA to be the holy grail of starting work as an English teacher but anecdotally, a lot of places/people administering CELTA/DELTA are Ivory Tower Academics who think every classroom has a projector, computer with an internet connection and hours to devote to planning a 45 minute lesson, the TEFL weekend course and TESOL online course I later took were somewhat more pragmatic and still got me jobs))).

          I haven’t worked in Europe, but I’ve never had a hard time finding work where I am. Check local job boards and companies like International House to see whats available in the area. Finding good work though has been a struggle due to a relative glut of teachers. I was pretty lucky that my first couple of jobs were decent and allowed me to accumulate skills/experience that I could parlay later on into better earning jobs (both regular and through dispatch/contracting companies). A friend of mine does a lot of private tutoring (there are websites that let teachers set up profiles) and earns really well.

          Unfortunately, in part because of the market where I am, I topped out in my current regular position and got stuck because CELTA is the minimum benchmark wanted by top level, staff supporting companies. I don’t have it and my company (among lots of others in the area) won’t even partially fund further training. I self funded a DELTA (the level up from CELTA) (using a lot of my very limited paid holiday time to attend the in-person portion of the course), to get my CV in a state to get my foot in the door with high level companies and well, I’ve gotten a contract job and an interview out of it, but the real results will be seen once I finish it.

          Over the course of interviewing, I’ve seen a lot of very detailed contracts with a lot of stipulations regarding a lot of things. Be super careful about what you sign. I turned down one FT job in part because the advertised salary (already on the low side for my skills/experience) was only if certain performance requirements were met. A part time job I interviewed for had very convoluted rules about absences, per class rates, resigning and restrictive stipulations about work for other companies (they also wanted me to ‘pre-sign’, I didn’t and withdrew my application in an e-mail. They then rejected me). Be on the look out for all the usual things you’d watch out for in contracts and back away from anything that looks off to you.

          I can’t speak to the exact prospects as I’m not familiar with the area you’re moving to, but in my experience good English teachers can earn a pretty high per hour rate, even at mid-tier companies with not many qualifications and even higher as a private one to one tutor (check your tax rules before going the self employed route). Make sure the visa allows you to teach/do paid work.

          The one big issue I have with a lot of people entering the profession is they think it will be easy. But it is hard work, especially to be good at the job, a good teacher is doing a lot of difficult to notice work. If though, you work hard, you will be rewarded.

      2. Manders*

        Yes, I run in circles with a lot of nonbinary folks, and 6 potential pronouns changing daily is… a lot. I’d do my best to be respectful in this situation, but there’s no guaranteed proper etiquette here because so few people do this that there isn’t really an established set of rules for it.

    7. Leave it Beaver*

      I’m curious about the nametag – how would the change in pronouns be communicated to someone over the phone or via email or to a blind person. I’m wondering whether the initial conversation of the day would begin with a statement about the proper pronoun of the day. (This is sounding very snarky in written form, but it’s a sincere question)

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I was wondering that too (for phones & emails). Or if they’re just facing away from you and you need to get their attention. Or you need to talk to someone else referencing this person, but haven’t seen the person yet that day to get their preferred pronouns of the day. I assume this person is also listing them in their email signature?

        I get being stressed a bit about it – I’d want to use whatever pronouns the person wants me to use for them, but having the preferred pronouns switch daily does feel over-complicated. I think I’d just use the person’s name in place of any pronouns until I memorized better what each pronoun “set” is- it’s still referring to them, and I don’t feel anxious trying to remember/sneak a name tag look to verify what pronouns are ‘good’ for the day, especially with 5-6 sets of them. Once I got more used to each set (mostly with pronunciation, I am not confident personally I read them the way they’re actually supposed to be pronounced) I think I’d be more comfortable trying to use them in a conversation. But I also know that this is partially rooted in my own anxiety issues, so I’d try best I could.

    8. ThatGirl*

      Nonbinary is actually not the same as genderfluid, although they’re similar. NB people tend to not feel male or female; genderfluid feel more femme/masculine/male/female/nb depending on a variety of things.

      I know it can seem a little brain-muddling to shift pronouns daily, just because people are creatures of habit – I would try to stick with their name as much as possible, and use the pronoun in front of you (or “they” if need be) as a fallback.

    9. You don't know me*

      Props to you for at least trying but I could see how this could get taxing. I’d probably focus on ways to not use pronouns at all. Refer to the person only by name or something else not gendered. Like instead of saying “s/he can help you” I’d say “Alex can help you” or “my coworker over here can help you”

    10. Susan Sto Helit*

      I think in your position I would use the preferred pronouns when necessary – but I would also try to avoid using pronounce as often as possible (using plenty of ‘Aquaria says’ rather than ‘she/he/they/etc says’). You can use phrases like ‘I spoke to Aquaria, who said xxx’, ‘I’ll email Aquaria for directions on the best way forward’, ‘I asked Aquaria, and the general consensus/opinion is xxx’.

      All ways of rephrasing sentences that would generally use pronouns and will help you skate around them if you’re struggling to remember what’s correct.

    11. only acting normal*

      I’m struggling with how anyone, even someone extremely gender fluid, has 5 or 6 sets of pronouns!
      He/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/their, xe/xim/xir…
      Are they using mixes? He/her/xir?
      I’m a big fan of the singular they personally, and I can understand a preference for the alternative neutrals, and I can see a space for someone switching between male/female/a-set-of-neutral pronouns, but more than that seems a little… redundant? (Not sure that’s the right word, ironically.)
      Regardless, I’d certainly respect, and try my best to follow, the nametag of the day.

      1. Rozine*

        There are dozens of pronouns I have heard, I suppose it could be ae/aes, ro/ros, etc. Plus there are estimated to be over 70 genders so it’s certainly possible.

        1. only acting normal*

          I know there are complexities to gender, and I know there are lots of gender-neutral options out there, what I can’t figure out is why someone needs to use more than one of the neutral pronoun sets. Are there subtleties between xe/xir and ae/aes etc that I’ve missed?

    12. Master Bean Counter*

      Is this person in an obvious spot when you walk in every morning? Because that’s the only way I’d ever know what to call them that day. Failing that I think just referring to this person by their name, and only their name, seems to be the best solution. Even if it becomes a bit clunky.

    13. Anna Canuck*

      1) They’re screwing with you all.
      2) Just use “you, they, them”. He can be he, she can be she, I don’t care and I will do my best to call people what they wish. But not changing daily, hourly, or mid-conversation. They get a nice generic genderless term and they can express their own self however they want.
      And if they made a deal out of it, I’d just say “I find it tough to consult your name tag before every conversation, so I’m just going to stick to neutral. Feel free to do the same for me, if you want.” I don’t care if I’m “they”, even if it would be random.

    14. Trillion*

      Kudos to you for being open to this!!

      But switching pronouns daily put undue burden on the people around this person.

      If this were me, I’d stick with gender neutral pronouns.

    15. Grayson*

      Much like @overcaffeinatedandqueer (waves), I’m genderfluid too. However I have the privilege of being out at my super conservative job (to my government clients and to my company). I present male 100% of the time at work, and ask my coworkers to use ‘he’ pronouns. (The rest of the time it’s all wibbly-wobbly over here.)

      Changing your pronouns every day is… *thinks* I don’t know that I like the word ‘excessive’ but it’s certainly setting an expectation. I like another commenter’s idea of using the person’s name whenever possible. It’s just a stand in for a pronoun and it’s not incorrect.

    16. Binky*

      Maybe you can ask for a default set of pronouns? That way you can be respectful if you haven’t seen this person on that day (and thus haven’t seen the daily set of pronouns), you’ve forgotten, or if you’re talking about the past or future (i.e. if you’re talking about how this person’s work has improved, you’d be encompassing days where this person was using various different pronouns, likewise if you’re talking about work that this person will take on in the future).

    17. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t think it’s insensitive to forget. And it’s human nature to forget once in a while.

      As I read along here, I am thinking to myself that if I worked with one person who did this I *might* be okay. But if I worked with several people who changed their pronouns daily, I will mess that up. No matter how hard I try.

      I am there to work. I will help people and accommodate people as often as possible. However, my primary point of being there is to work. So, you may want to consider asking the boss how much accommodation is necessary here from a company standpoint. How does the boss expect you to respond to the changing pronouns?

      OTH, you may want to chat with the person. Ask them, “What happens if I am having a bad day, super tired, distracted or maybe getting sick and I mess up the pronoun that day? How do I handle that with consideration?”
      I am thinking I would start by asking the person how to handle a mess up. Because I know the longer we work together the more and more likely it will be that I will mess up on the pronoun no matter how hard I try. This is foreseeable as I mess up on names now, not often but it does happen.

    18. Not Alison*

      What if you never referred to this individual with a pronoun – just always use the preferred name (i.e. Bob is taking Bob’s folder to the conference room).

  26. Ali G*

    Good sign or bad sign?
    I’ve applied for an ED position at a small local non-profit. I was referred to them by a recruiter (she is not doing the recruiting, she just passed me along as a personal favor to someone she knows there).
    They replied quickly with their timeline:
    2Q – ID qualifications and needs
    3Q – ID potential candidates and start interviews
    4Q – final decision
    So right now, they are on ID’ing needed qualifications and other needs, but they aren’t going to hire until much later this year…like September at the earliest.
    I see this in two ways – one, I know from the recruiter that they want to change up how they operate, so it could be a good thing they are being so deliberate out this – they need the right person. Also, I can see from their 990 that the pay is not spectacular (I would be OK with it) so maybe they just think it will take a long time to find the right person for the pay they can offer. OR they are so controlled by their Board (they have a lot of long-term Board members) that this process is artificially drawn out to appease someone or a group of people. Which just screams red flags to me. IF I am to be the ED I want to run the org. Not be a talking head for a bunch of people that see the org as “theirs.”
    I could ask the recruiter her take, but I don’t want to seem like I am using her for information at this stage. I’ve worked at NPs for almost 10 years, so I am not going into this blind.
    Other NP peeps – what are your thoughts?

    1. Ama*

      I do think if a nonprofit is going to hire a new ED from outside the nonprofit a deliberate process is the best one, and I think their transparency about it is encouraging, but I think your concerns are valid. Do you know if they have an ED currently? The timeline reminds me a bit of when our previous ED retired, and the board had her entire last year to conduct their search. If it’s a situation like that I wouldn’t be as concerned as if they do not currently have an ED and yet are still committed to this slow process — although even then I could maybe be appeased if they have a sufficient explanation (for example, if they are transitioning from family foundation to public foundation, or if it’s the first time the ED is not going to be one of the founders and/or board members — both of which are things my org has had to deal with in the past, although prior to my arrival).

      I think unfortunately that unless you know someone already working at the org that could maybe give you the inside scoop, some of these questions aren’t going to be fully answerable until the interview stage. (Although I think you could definitely ask the recruiter about the current or most recent ED and see what she’s willing to say.)

      1. Ali G*

        Thanks! They do currently have an ED (at least their website says they do), so that’s a very good point. Maybe they see her staying through the end of the year for the entire transition.
        They are also looking to make substantial changes to their program offerings, so I think that plays into it as well.

    2. TCO*

      I think you’re asking the right questions. It’s very possible that this is a big transition for the organization, which might merit being deliberative and a little slow in the early stages of designing the position description and identifying needs. I’m confused why they’re already taking applications, though, if they’re that early in the process (unless you applied through your connection but they’re not in the official search yet). Once the position is designed it really shouldn’t take 3-6 months to complete the interview process even if it’s being managed by volunteer board members.

      If you interview fo this position, I would ask some thoughtful questions about how decisions are made, where the board is involved and what their capacity is, and how well the board is aligned in their understanding of roles and boundaries between roles. I’d also anticipate a lengthy “building” period where you’ll probably spend a lot of time clarifying roles and understanding the landscape before you can jump into expanding the org’s work in new directions (so I’d also make sure that your funding is secure enough to support a “building” period without unrealistically high expectations of what services you’re expected to deliver in that time).

      1. Ali G*

        Thanks so much – I am not sure if they are officially taking applications, or are just compiling a list of interested parties through known sources. So the recruiter that referred me specifically said to mention that she asked me to apply and to copy her on my email. It remains to be seen if there will be a true “application” process once they’ve completed their first phase. I’ll have to keep that in mind.
        I like your ideas for questions a lot! Appreciate the feedback.