throwing a grandmother shower for a coworker, boss’s new ideas go nowhere, and more

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

1. Should I throw my coworker a grandmother-to-be shower?

We work in a small-ish office 15-20 people. My longtime coworker “Jane” is about to become a first-time grandmother. I was one of the first people she shared the news with, and we almost both cried since she has been waiting years for this. She comes from a more traditional background where the children spend years on education and career then get marred and start a family. So she’s finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for. She and her daughter plan for her to be very involved in the child’s life.

Would it be odd to throw her an informal office grandparent shower? Is that even a thing? Most of the office is made up of parents (even management) so we have had our share of baby showers. I would love the opportunity to celebrate this meaningful milestone in her life by maybe presenting her with a gift card or something so she can get anything to make her home or any part of grandparent duty easier.

Don’t do it. Grandparent showers aren’t really a thing — or if they’re becoming a thing, they’re at least far from mainstream so far and likely to raise eyebrows from people who will wonder why they’re being asked to buy baby supplies for a grandparent (and it may seem a bit gift-grabby). And a lot of people feel stretched thin by the amount of gifts they’re already asked to buy in offices that do a lot of showers and such. You’ll also be creating a precedent where if you don’t do it for other grandparents-to-be in the future, some people will feel hurt at the difference in treatment.

It’s great that you want to support a coworker who you’re close to, though, and there are lots of other ways you can do that. Take her out for a celebratory lunch, give her a card, get a gift for the baby — whatever feels right to you. Just don’t do an office grandparent shower.

2. My boss gets excited about new ideas and then always lets them drop

My boss has been doing this a dozen times — he calls for a meeting at random times and starts pouring out his ideas at length for a special project. He uses up like 30 minutes just telling all his tales about the reason why he came up with the idea. The ideas are mostly great, so we get excited when he gives us our assignments for the project. The problem is, we seriously take on our role in the project, do all our research, and come up with concepts, but our concepts are never heard and never used. The project never gets implemented and he forgets. He will always start but never finishes. Our time is wasted and I am frustrated. What do I do?

I think I’ve worked for at least two of these bosses at some point — there are a lot of them out there. It is really frustrating — not only because you’re investing time and energy in work that’s never used, but also because it creates a situation where you have no idea what to take seriously and what to assume will go nowhere.

If this happens every time he excitedly presents a new idea, that actually makes this a little easier. In that case, you can stop taking him seriously. Assume he’s fantasizing, but don’t get too invested yourself. Wait to see what happens. You can’t ignore him entirely if he’s giving you assignments, but keep the time you spend on them pretty minimal until/unless you see signs that he’s finally serious about one of them. And remind yourself from the start of what his pattern is, so that you’re expecting it probably won’t go anywhere and so you’re not blindsided when that happens.

Also, if you have good rapport with him, you could try pointing out the pattern, and ask if there’s something you can do differently on your end to either keep the momentum going or to stop yourself from putting in more work than turns out to be needed.

3. Can I ask my employee to save up her questions rather than interrupting me throughout the day?

Someone who reports to me calls me every five minutes to ask a question or tell me something. Is there a way to ask/tell her to “bundle” her questions/comments so I’m not interrupted by her more than two or three times per day? I understand there are circumstances where answers are needed immediately and I am not referring to those.

Good lord, yes. You have to! Do it today! Just be straightforward: “Will you start saving up all your questions in bunches, so that we can go over them all at once, once or twice a day? That’ll be easier for me than answering them all separately.” If she doesn’t seem to get it, you can explain further: “I’m always glad to answer questions and talk things through with you, but generally I need to confine that to once or twice a day rather than more frequently, so that I’m able to focus on other things as well.”

And then don’t be shy about reminding her if you need to — as in, “Actually, will you save this and anything else that’s not time-sensitive until we meet later today?”

4. Should I turn off read receipts on my phone?

I realize this is low importance in the grand scheme of things, but I’m curious about your opinion anyway. I have my read receipts turned on on my iPhone, so when I text someone who has an iPhone, they can see if I have read their message or not. I occasionally text with people from work, including my manager sometimes. My friend told me she thinks it looks unprofessional to have read receipts turned on. I think it doesn’t matter as long as you aren’t intentionally opening and not answering their message. Your thoughts?

Read receipts on their own don’t look unprofessional, but it might someday create a situation where your boss texts you, sees that you read the message, and is wondering why you haven’t replied hours later. And that could potentially look unprofessional, depending on what the message was. It also might create pressure on your end to respond faster than you otherwise would. You might not care about that, in which case proceed without worrying about this. But be aware those are both possible side effects. (I have always vaguely wondered why people turn on read receipts. Your letter inspired me to finally google it and I found a bunch of odd screeds about transparency and accountability, and wow people have strong feelings about this.)

5. Should I use LinkedIn’s Easy Apply feature?

About half of the jobs that I’ve seen on LinkedIn have the Easy Apply option so that you can apply directly on the LinkedIn site. Most ask you to still submit a resume and some ask for an additional cover letter. I initially thought that applying via LinkedIn was a safe bet. The person who posted the job can match my resume to my LinkedIn profile, see if we have mutual connections and get a better general sense of who I am.

I’m starting to have second thoughts about this. I am being paranoid that applying on LinkedIn makes me look lazy? Should I just go directly to their website regardless if the LinkedIn Easy Apply option is available or not? Why would an employer make applying on LinkedIn an option if they would rather you apply on their website? A lot of the postings don’t even give instructions on how to apply.

It’s better to apply directly from the employer’s own site rather than from LinkedIn if that’s an option. Doing it from LinkedIn won’t make you look lazy, but applying directly is better (sometimes significantly so, sometimes barely so, depending on the employer). Some employers don’t pay as much attention to the applications they get from LinkedIn.

{ 718 comments… read them below }

  1. Sami*

    OP 1: Please don’t. It’s an exciting time for your coworker and feel free to celebrate with her, but do not have a shower for her. It just feels icky.

    1. Cambridge Comma*

      I don’t think every office celebration needs to be full on collections, gifts, cards etc. OP can bring some kind of baked goods, the invitation e-mail can be low key and the coworkers can bring their own beverages. Isn’t it more about recognising and sharing the moment?
      But yes, definitely don’t call it a shower.

      1. WellRed*

        No, don’t evem do this. Becoming a grandma warrants a warm congrats, nothing more. Even if you attempt a low key thing, people might feel obligated.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        This will absolutely set the precedent for all future births of grandchildren. Nieces and nephews? OP should buy her a baby gift, but not push it beyond that.

        1. Lumen*

          Hold up, can I get in on this? I’ve got five nieces and nephews and I would like some retroactive gift cards to celebrate me becoming an auntie.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Sorry, it’s tiny hats with ears and the towels with the built in hoodies or nothing.

      3. Antilles*

        The problem is that it’s unlikely to actually come across that it’s “low key” – when you send an invitation email to celebrate Anna’s Grandchild, people are going to immediately start thinking that a gift is required. Yes, you put in a line about no gifts, but…don’t I still need to bring a card? And then when we show up at the party and OP hands over a gift (which it seems like she wants to do no matter what), the rest of us feel like we missed the signal where you said “no gifts” but didn’t mean it.
        It also absolutely sets a precedent for other grandparents – OP seems like she is specifically motivated to do something for this one because of the close relationship and OP is the one driving this bus. So for other future grandparents who *don’t* have a close relationship with OP, the party might not happen without OP pushing for them, so it ends up being an insult to them.
        It’s easy to say it’s a “low key, special event”…but it’s much easier said than done.

        1. uranus wars*

          This isn’t work related necessarily but is “no gift” related. We went to a small-ish 50th anniversary party (about 40 people) that stated in the invitation “Absolutely no gifts.”…so we didn’t take one. And were the only ones who didn’t.

          Since then I have never obeyed the “no gifts” line and I have yet to be the only person who shows up with one.

          1. Logan*

            It must be a cultural thing, as here we often see “no gift” for events, and people don’t bring gifts. This doesn’t restrict them from giving a gift at other times (for example a birthday party for a family member might also have a smaller family gathering on a totally different day with gifts), and for really big events there is likely to be a number of cards, but “Your presence is the only gift we want” tends to be taken seriously.

            With the OP’s situation, I could see that in our workplace it would be culturally reasonable for the colleague (the one who will be a grandparent) to bring in a few sweets (maybe cupcakes? a cake?) to share with their colleagues. It’s something that the person is doing to share in their happiness, and it doesn’t set a precedent. But definitely not a ‘shower’, and it would be best if the person celebrating was the ‘host’ (so they would spend the $10-15 on food).

      4. Jack Be Nimble*

        After the baby is born, I think you could send an email that said “please come have a cupcake in the break room to celebrate the birth of Geraldancy’s new grandchild, Kylina!” but anything pre-natal might come off as a gift grab even if you’re explicit about your intent. If you did anything, it should be a celebration OF the joyous event, not a celebration in ANTICIPATION of the joyous event.

        Either way, you’re setting a precedent, and will likely need to order cupcakes for every grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. The best course of action might be to just send an email with baby pictures (once you have some available) and skip any kind of celebratory event.

        Taking her out to lunch on your own dime would also be lovely, but no need to make a work event.

        1. Chinookwind*

          “but anything pre-natal might come off as a gift grab even if you’re explicit about your intent. ”

          This may be a cultural thing, but I was taught that you never celebrate a baby pre-natally because there is always a chance the child may not come to full term and then there is the awkwardness of “what do you do with the gifts” and/or announcing the miscarriage or death to those who helped you celebrate on top of dealing with the loss. Congratulate them on the pregnancy and impending change of life status, but remember that nothing is certain until the child is delivered successfully.

          As for the “grandmother shower,” I attended one in an office of 4 other women who were friendly towards each other and it was definitely a chance to eat cake and ooh and ahh over baby stuff that the other 4 women hadn’t had a chance to do in a generation (as all their children were grown). There was a gift given but I was never asked to contribute.

          To give context, there as also a similar small celebration when another one’s daughter was getting married that included discussions on various forms of superstitions to ensure a wedding day without rain or bad luck (they decided a rosary on the clothesline was the safest bet).

          1. Zombeyonce*

            I think it must be a cultural thing wherever you are not to celebrate a baby pre-natally. I’ve been to a ton of baby showers and every single one was held before the baby was born, usually a couple of months before the due date. For reference I’m in the US and have attended showers on both coasts.

          2. Jack Be Nimble*

            You’re right, there’s definitely a cultural difference! I won’t be able to find links, but there was a big brouhaha on the legal advice subreddit about workplace baby showers. One woman had a religious prohibition from celebrating the baby before its birth, but her manager was trying to force to her to have one anyway (and had threatened disciplinary action!) There was a happy outcome (IIRC, the manager was disciplined and the employee got a financial settlement and didn’t have to have the dang shower).

            In my own experience, baby showers and other celebrations before the birth of the baby were gift-giving occasions to help the parents-to-be prepare for the baby’s arrival, whereas celebrations after the baby was born were more “come take a look at this excellent baby, no gifts required.” This isn’t the forum for it, but I do love hearing more about other traditions and regional/cultural variants!

            1. Lew*

              re: cultural difference

              I believe it’s common in cultures with beliefs about the “evil eye” and that by celebrating, naming, or even acknowledging an incoming baby it can attract the eye’s attention and bring misfortune. My memory is that the person from legaladvice was a type of European orthodox Jewish background.

            2. Middle School Teacher*

              I remember that! I want to say orthodox Jewish? (I could be wrong.) but both the manager and employee had written in and someone on reddit connected the two!

              1. SusanIvanova*

                Whoa, yeah. Follow all the links on Banana Kick Pudding’s post, down to the one which restores the deleted comments from when the *perpetrator* of the unwanted baby shower was complaining. “Can I fire her for not wanting a baby shower? She’s so standoffish.” WTF!

                And then some other co-worker gave her a pie with something hidden that she never eats *while she was pregnant*! Which upset her stomach, of course, because that happens with strange foods even when you *aren’t* pregnant – but what if it had been an allergy?

      5. RainbowGrunge*

        We have a soon-to-be first time grandmother in my office. SHE is actually the one who brought in baked goods because she wanted to share her good news with her department. (well really, she just brought it the leftover pastries from her daughter’s baby shower…

        I would definitely see having any sort of shower for her as “gift-grabby” and it would really put me off.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          I prefer this idea of the grandmother being the one to bring in food for celebration. It’s like the (U.K.?) tradition of bringing in dessert on your own birthday so it’s not only exactly what you like, but you never have to worry about anyone forgetting it and if you don’t want to celebrate, you just don’t bring in anything.

          I’ve adopted that tradition and it’s so much better than one person having to be in charge of all birthdays and then they’re sad when no one does anything for their birthday.

          1. Mad Baggins*

            I like this a lot. I think this is a great way to celebrate something happy that doesn’t make others feel they have to do something for you.

      6. Jen S. 2.0*

        You can celebrate with your friend without making the whole office participate, setting a precedent, making a public to-do, et cetera. Nothing is stopping you from taking her to lunch and giving her a gift card. But this really, really, really does not need to be a whole-office thing.

        1. NorthernSoutherner*

          This may not be OP’s intent, but there’s such a thing as basking in the glow of someone else’s news. Like, you want to be part of it and have a role. Celebrating them is great. Turning the spotlight on yourself — by organizing, planning and subsequently nudging others — is something else.

    2. Specialk9*

      I was intrigued by the idea that there is a “traditional” culture in which child bearing is delayed for education and career. I thought that was the definition of a “modern” culture. When I think “traditional” I think of 18-20 year olds married and with a baby.

      But yeah, OP, do something privately (take her to lunch and continue to be excited for her) but don’t ask others to contribute. A lot of us have strong feelings about our carefully planned budgets, and giving $$ to every single life event comes directly out of our retirement savings.

          1. Typhon Worker Bee*

            ohhh, yes, that makes more sense. Especially if OP is from a more traditional background themselves, as hinted at by seeming surprised that “even management” are parents

        1. e*

          My assumption was the grandmother came from a traditional background, but her kids were not being traditional, hence the long, anxious wait and levels of excitement.

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        I’m intrigued by this too. I think you could possibly say this about my husband’s Asian culture – his immigrant parents’ generation expect and encourage their kids to A) go to medical school and B) focus on school and get married after their schooling is done, so that combination might make for a slightly-older-than-average grandmother.

        1. Julia*

          Possible. My Japanese in-laws freaked out because when we got married, I quit my job and went back to grad school.

          1. Nita*

            Maybe, if you’re talking about fairly secular Jewish. I am too, and it’s basically expected that everyone (men and women) gets a college education, works, and then thinks about starting a family. That said, it also used to be expected that grandparents help big time while the parents are busy building their careers :) That tradition has gone out the window, but the expectation for the parents to put their career first stuck around… and the effects IME are less than awesome.

            1. Specialk9*

              I’m interested by your last statement, any chance you could explain more?

              I waited till the last minute to have kids, and it was definitely harder physically… But I have the money to get the help I need, which I didn’t when I was in my teens/20s/, early 30s. So I’m actually a fan of waiting to be more set career-wise. But I love to hear other perspectives.

              1. Nita*

                I do agree there, being in better shape financially helps! I guess what I’m trying to say is, even good paid child care falls short in some ways, and it’s hard when there are NO family members that can be there for the kids when it does.

                In my family the older generation does not want anything to do with child care in their spare time, which would be fine, except they also judge the younger generation for stepping back from a career in any way to fill in the gaps. I’m seeing this in friends’ families too – not everyone, but more and more. So basically, there is pressure for everyone to work as much as possible, and the kids get the short end of the stick.

          2. Formerly Arlington.*

            I’m Jewish as well. Coworkers assumed no baby shower for me, and had gifts when I came back to visit with the baby on mat leave. Funny thing is I’m pretty secular and my family threw me a shower, anyway! It was very considerate of them to wait until after the baby arrived. :-)

      2. Just Another Techie*

        My family’s culture! I got married at 25, before I was done with grad school, and my extended family was shocked and scandalized. I got several pointed questions about whether we had a shotgun wedding.

      3. Emi.*

        My in-laws were like this — got married later in life, after establishing their careers very solidly. I think my FIL already owned a house? They were sort of perturbed that dh and I got married straight out of college, and I don’t know whether they’ve entirely internalized the fact that we are, in fact, financially secure.

      4. That Would be a Good Band Name*

        I was confused on that point also.

        –signed, the person who was once asked why I waited “so long” to have kids (I was 25)

      5. Michaela Westen*

        I thought Indian, as it’s well known Indians encourage their children to become doctors and lawyers.

      6. Megan*

        It being “cultural” fits for Nigerians; I don’t have any cousins or know of many Nigerians/Nigerian-American’s getting married before 25, let alone kids. It’s definitely a thing for us to all go to college at a minimum, and tons of pressure for a secondary degree as well, at least a masters.

        downside, parents expect you to finish school and then somehow turn around and get married 6 months after passing the bar/boards and first baby by 30.

        Signed, lawyer with two doctor siblings and more on the way whose mother hasn’t stopped asking when i’ll bring a nice nigerian boy home even though i’ve been in school for the past 20 years so where does she think i’ll have had the time to find this man hmm will someone answer that for me?

      7. Working Mom Having It All*

        This actually evoked something for me, being from the US South.

        My mom got an associate’s degree in nursing, married my dad while he was still an undergrad (or maybe like the week after his college graduation?) and had me at 21. When she had already been an adult living on her own with a spouse for a couple years. This was in the 80s, post second wave feminism, it’s just “how things were done back then.”

        It completely freaked her out that not only did I intend to get my full four year bachelor’s degree before even getting serious about a life partner, but then proceeded to spend the next TWELVE YEARS blissfully single with a career and friends and travels before getting married and having a child in my 30s. Meanwhile, all her friends with more traditional-minded kids (and this is white people in the USA, in the 21st century, mind you) were grandmothers by their early 40s.

        For me, welp, that’s life. People get to make their own choices about things, and I was by no means waiting just to make her life harder or prevent her from having something she wanted.

        I’m guessing that OP#1’s friend is from such a culture and experiencing the shock that her offspring are more modern and weren’t in any particular rush, or perhaps that grandma-to-be is feeling a lot of feelings about this, and the length of the wait doesn’t really matter in terms of traditional culture.

    3. MicroManagered*

      I’m childfree and would think it was totally bizarre to be invited to an office “grandparent” shower. I would likely feel pretty resentful, since you can’t really opt-out of office stuff like that without an ironclad reason without it looking bad.

      OP1 Please get her a card or a gift or something and celebrate privately. It’s likely you work with people who would hate this.

      1. Queen Esmerelda*

        Childfree also, and after having spent hundreds of dollars on baby shower gifts for other employees, I’d be really ticked if now I had to start buying shower gifts for grandparents. You can buy her a gift yourself if you’d like, but don’t make this an office thing.

        1. A.*

          This is a thing that I would not participate in at the office. Where do we draw the line? How about Aunt and Uncle baby showers next. Just congratulate her and ask to see some pictures.

      2. Forking great username*

        I have kids and would have the same reaction as you. Also, as a mom I would be extremely suspicious of the grandma/co-worker’s intentions – every time I hear about someone having a grandma shower it involves a grandma that is ignoring boundaries and making it out to everyone like they’re going to be co-parenting and the parents are on board with it. The reality is usually very different.

        1. Anonymoosetracks*

          Also as a mom, this. It is probably at least partially irrational, but grandma showers SCREAM overbearing/boundary ignoring grandparent to me. The sort of grandparent who wants to make the birth of the child more about themselves than the actual baby and/or parents. I know that can’t always be true and sometimes it really is just well-meaning but the correlation is so, so strong that I would be skeeved out by the notion of the shower at all.

          1. Rusty Shackelford*

            Oooh, I got this vibe too, especially combined with “she’s been waiting so long for this.” Like, it’s not about her daughter having a child, it’s about her having a grandchild. But the LW says the mother-to-be also intends for Grandma to be a big part of the child’s life, so hopefully we’re reading something into it that is not, in this particular case, actually an issue.

            1. Bend & Snap*

              This, and like she’s been through some long, harrowing journey to become a grandmother.

              1. Forking great username*

                Exactly. Like OH MY GOD, she had to wait while her daughter started a career and got married before having grandchildren. The horror!

                1. NewMom*

                  I mean, for my mom, she felt like she had waited to do grad school/develop a career HERSELF before having kids, then had to wait until I did the same.

                  She’s 65 and became a grandmother for the first time. Many of her friends became grandparents in their 50s, either because they had kids younger, or their kids had kids younger.

                2. Cait*

                  Yes!!! OMG this OP and her friend really need to back off. The grandchild *she’s* been waiting for?? Milestone for *her* life?? What is her daughter, just an incubator??

                3. Megan*

                  The LWs reference to grandma’s “traditional culture” of kids coming after education, career etc seemed to suggest that grandma’s family’s way of doing things is out of step with LW’s, so I wonder if the “waited so long for this” is influenced as much by LWs perception as by anything grandma-to-be has explicitly said.

            2. ThatGirl*

              This brought up some interesting feelings for me, because I am kid-free and my mom, who desperately wanted to be a grandmother, had a hard time dealing with that. Instead of focusing on me, she turned it into “I’ll never be a grandma!”

              Thankfully, she’s gotten herself together and loves our dog to pieces instead.

              1. Is pumpkin a vegetable?*

                I’ve had some interesting conversations with my two kids about this. They are in their early 20s, and have both said they’re not sure if they want to have kids. I think they both expected me to have a very strong opinion about this, so were surprised when I told them that deciding whether or not to have children is a very personal choice, and since they were the ones who would need to raise the children, it was totally up to them, and about them. My wishes/wants/desires have nothing to do with it!

                1. ThatGirl*

                  Thankfully, my MIL was VERY chill about it; I can deal with my mom on the topic a lot easier. But on behalf of your kids, thanks for being a chill mom. :)

                2. do the other things*

                  Bless you! I did not get that reaction from my mother when I told her I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids.

                  I also got vibes of grandmother overreach (though that might be just coming out of a weird and awkward weekend with my mom, sister and her daughter.

                3. Zombeyonce*

                  My husband and I married in our 30s and were married for years before having a kid. My in-laws were wonderfully quiet on the subject of grandchildren until we had a kid, which I really appreciated.

                  Unfortunately, ALL of their friends were constantly hounding us at every event about when we were going to have kids. I still haven’t figured out if they were just doing it to be nosy themselves or asking by the request of my in-laws, who knew it would be rude to push about it themselves but wanted to know nonetheless.

                4. Jadelyn*

                  I’ve been so grateful that my mom is super chill about my decision to remain childfree – she calls my cat her “grandcat” and is perfectly happy to spoil the little beast in lieu of having grandkids to spoil. My brother and his wife are planning to have kids, I think, but my mother has never pushed on it with either of us and after hearing some of the horror stories about parents being overbearing on their kids reproductive lives, I feel like I lucked out big time.

                  All of which is to say, A+ parenting, and I wish more parents could take that step back and realize that their kids’ decisions about having children are not about the grandparents – they’re not choosing not to have kids *at you*, they’re just choosing not to have kids.

                5. crochetaway*

                  I had to endure 5 years of my MIL and GMIL begging me to have a child. Like literal begging. My mom was pretty quiet about it until we were close to finally being ready. So I appreciate how chill you are to your kids about it. (Also, we got married super young, there was never any intention of having children earlier than we did when we got married and had been clear about it the ENTIRE time.)

                  Anyway, what I do know, is I will NEVER do that to my kids because all it did was make me resent my MIL.

                  As for the OP – don’t throw a grandma shower. It screams tactlessness and gift grabbing. Even if it’s long awaited by the grandma, she’s just the grandma. She’s not mom.

                6. Grapey*

                  Thanks for being cool.

                  I’m an only child and my mom is a little sad I think, but she doesn’t talk about it if she is.

                  My MIL (two kids, the one I married got surgery to not have kids) always goes on about “At least [other sibling] wants them!” and won’t stop talking about grandkids or asking when they’re going to partner up. If the other kid came out as childfree or god forbid something happens to them, I think she would have a legit mental breakdown over it.

              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                My mom does the same, and I remind her that: (1) My procreative choices are not about her; (2) she has other children who might want children; and (3) it’s not great for her happiness to set life goals based on someone else’s life decisions. She still sometimes brings it up, and my grandmother loves to guilt me about seeing great grandkids before she dies. Nope nope nope.

                1. Michaela Westen*

                  All these frustrated grandmothers-in-waiting could turn that energy to helping children in other ways, like mentoring.

                2. Detective Amy Santiago*

                  My mom is patiently waiting for grandkids. She currently volunteers as a cuddler for NICU babies at our local women’s hospital.

              3. Pebbles*

                I may finally (knock on wood!) have gotten through to my mother that she might not become a grandmother. I have two brothers and yet I was called “their greatest hope for grand kids (because girl-child, ugh). I have had to endure 18 years of how I needed to settle down and find someone so I can have kids before I get too old, my clock is ticking, the longer I wait the greater the chance of “abnormalities”, and flat out asking “are you going to have kids or not”.

                I am now 40 and haven’t heard anything over the last year when I completely blew up for the umpteenth time and said it was none of her business; we would tell her if and when we were expecting. I’m not sure if she’s taken that news to heart or if she just believes I’m too old now.

              4. Chinookwind*

                “who desperately wanted to be a grandmother, had a hard time dealing with that. Instead of focusing on me, she turned it into “I’ll never be a grandma!””

                Depending on her cultural background, it does make sense because, if you are raised that your life stages are based around your children and marriage (single, married, mother, etc.), then not being a grandmother means she never gets to leave the “mother” stage. Right or wrong, she now has to accept that she has to come up with another way to signify that she is no longer a main caregiver. Plus, she probably was looking forward to not having to be a caregiver/disciplinarian and, instead, getting to be the fun one who can hand them back at the end of the day and has to accept that that is no longer an option for her.

                Our choices do affect others and I see the only issue with her reaction was letting you know about and be if she continued to harp on it or change your mind so that she could benefit.

                1. ThatGirl*

                  We’re white, progressive Swiss German Mennonite, she worked part and then full-time through my childhood. There’s nothing cultural about it. She just had apparently been looking forward to being a grandma without ever asking me how I felt about having kids. She takes care of her husband, she’s worked with kids and the disabled her whole life, so I’m sure she does have Caretaker as a huge part of her identity, but she also has a lot of outlets for it.

              5. Environmental Compliance*

                My parents have totally chill expectations around Hubs and I having (or, most likely, not having) children. It’s been pretty awesome.

                MIL, however….not only has absolutely no tact, and makes her current grandchildren all about her (i.e. baby can’t go to bed, they’re not done playing, but it’s like 11:30PM), and cannot fathom that we would dare deny her the “right” of having another grandchild. Not that, you know, when she was doing this right after we got engaged (at 22), we weren’t fully out of college, had a tiny apartment, weren’t set up financially to support one, and weren’t ready for one mentally or emotionally….nope, it was all about how the Ring has been put on the finger and the only logical next thing to do is have the children. And now that we’ve been married for a few years, it’s somehow offensive to her that we have no kids, no plans of having any, and how dare I have a career and not just be a SAHM, doing such dangerous things as horse riding. *sigh*

                I could totally see my MIL having a Grandma Shower, and I feel squicky about someone having a Grandma Shower is because of that. Just makes my nose crinkle up, because it is definitely not something that the average person does in my area/culture, and because of MIL I can only see someone having a shower that is as boundary-crossing as she is. That’s all not necessarily accurate at all, but definitely affects the lens through which I personally view the situation.

                1. Grapey*

                  I feel like my husband’s and my childfree mission in life is to shield the younger generations from these kinds of guilt trips. We live happily without kids and challenge older members’ (that sound like yours) traditional mindsets of school-ring-house-babies by just being happy without that last checkbox ticked.

              6. MicroManagered*

                OMG are you me?! Maybe our mothers can get together and throw themselves a “Never-Gonna-Be-A-Grandma” shower….

            3. ihearditbothways*

              But she said the friend and her daughter plan to be a big part of the baby’s life. Which is a weird statement unless the daughter is not the mom to be. Which makes me wonder what the actual parents thing.

                1. Nita*

                  I think OP is saying that she and her daughter plan *for grandma* to be a big part of the baby’s life?

          2. NewMom*


            My mom didn’t want a new grandmother shower, but she did do a variety of things that generally made me feel like my status as an incubator as her grandchild was the most important thing I had ever done.

            I have allowed her to visit exactly once. Because what she wants is some awesome “grandparent” experience, and she is not particularly interested in putting my needs or even the babies needs, ahead of her wants. See: preventing the baby from napping because she wants to play with him.

            OP, if I got the sense that your coworker was like my mom (which throwing a grandparent shower would give me), I’d pull back on my relationship with her and default to polite and professional rather than friendly.

        2. Julianne (also a teacher)*

          I had exactly the same thought. TBH I am not a fan of celebrating personal life stuff in the workplace, period, but a baby shower for a grandparent just feels like it’s crossing a huge line that should not be crossed.

        3. Salamander*

          This. So much this. I’ve been around a few people who have thrown themselves grandma showers, and they were all huge boundary-stompers and felt that they were going to be parenting the child. While I love attending baby showers and celebrating the parents-to-be, I am no way, no how attending a grandma shower.

        4. MatKnifeNinja*

          Office gender reveal parties are another no gifts, but everyone brings $50 gift cards.

      3. pleaset*

        ” you can’t really opt-out of office stuff like that without an ironclad reason without it looking bad. ”

        I can and I do.

        1. Julianne (also a teacher)*

          I need lessons on how to do this. Luckily where I work, personal milestone celebrations (wedding/baby things) are usually contained within teams, but occasionally there are hard drives to involve a wider range of people in these parties. It’s one reason I got married and didn’t tell anyone at work.

          1. pleaset*

            It involves some risk, but the basic approach is to just say something like “What a nice idea. Sorry, but I can’t make it” and nothing else, then turning away or otherwise ending the conversation (or conversation about that topic). In the worse cases, I’ll actaully leave the office to run an errand at the time of the event (I’m probably going to have to do that for something an all-staff fun lunch next week. I’ll eat out by myself instead.

            And it’s worth practicing this for things where there is less pressure to attend, so it doesn’t seem so fraught and you get comfortable doing it. Then in harder situations I’m less nervous – it’s natural. And practicing saying “No” in general. Very important to my life.

            And if someone tried to host an event for me I didn’t work, I’d be much blunter. “What a nice idea, but I’d rather you don’t do it.” Then escalate the tone/firmness if they pushed back. No explanations. Just “I’d rather you don’t do it.”

            1. MicroManagered*

              For a lot of these types of functions, there’s pretty explicit “you better be there” directives from high up. You could maybe get away with making an excuse here or there, but if you skipped everything, you’d be risking some serious capital.

              1. pleaset*

                “directives”? Not where i work.

                Or at least they’re not directives to me. It’s it’s just sorta kinda heavy pressure “We hope everyone attends” I try hard not to play that. I skipped a happy hour organized and paid for by our chief executive a month ago – she was walking by my desk and said she hoped I’d be there that night. “Sorry, can’t make it.”

                I skip almost 100% of the stuff after work unless I literally have a role to play (ie, events I organize, and those tend to be clearly “working” for everyone – not social or “staff morale”). And more than 50% of the stuff in the office.

                More people should do this if they can. I know not everyone can, but if you can, try. It’ll help other people with cover.

                1. Julianne (also a teacher)*

                  Fortunately (?) it’s just peer pressure in my workplace. (There was a lot more pressure from administrators at my last school, but the majority of the staff had bought into big celebrations, too. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable pushing back there, but I think I could do it at my current school.)

    4. Doug Judy*

      When my mom still worked at an elementary school, they had a grandma shower for one of the teachers. The organizer even made a crown and sash for the grandma to be. It was so weird. My mom was semi-retired then and deliberately made herself unavailable that day to avoid it.

      Yes this woman can be excited to be a grandma, most are. And OP can be very happy for her, as a friend. I doubt anyone else in the office cares more than “Oh that’s nice”. Just don’t. People will probably show up to be polite but they’ll be rolling their eyes and telling friends and family about this for years.

      1. Foreign Octopus*


        By all means, let her share her excitement with you but this isn’t something that anyone else will care about to the extent of a shower.

        I worked with someone once who wanted grandchildren desperately and was overjoyed when her daughter fell pregnant. We all got very, very tired of hearing about every aspect of this woman’s pregnancy. Her daughter was perfectly lovely but oh – my – god I didn’t need to know about anything else except for happy mum – healthy baby. That was the extent of my caring.

        Please don’t do this.

        1. Synonymous*

          I heard far too much medical detail about the birth of my co-worker’s grandchild. He was very excited about all of the gory details. Needless to say, I went out to lunch that day.

          1. Logan*

            Someone started this trend early when sharing a bit too much excitement that his daughter was ‘trying’ to have a child. I have avoided him ever since.

      2. Specialk9*

        A CROWN and SASH for the grandmother, like she had just won a beauty pageant?! Oh no, lololol that’s wild, and so odd.

        1. Doug Judy*

          My mom’s been fully retired for several years now but the beauty queen grandma is still a running joke in our family.

      3. AKchic*

        Oh my.
        What a weird way to congratulate a person about proof that their adult children are banging.

        Yep… that’s all this is. Celebrating the natural outcomes of two humans doing private things and someone else getting excited about it and trying to make the couple’s event about them.

        I have seen this a lot. With grandmas-to-be, with aunts-to-be, and with other events (oh, some wedding tales of mothers of the bride or groom, perhaps?). What is it about big, life-changing events that bring out the inner-narcissist (or just the narcissists)?
        We almost tied my current MIL up with my BIL and SIL’s wedding and pregnancy (not at the same time, but they were close together, it was a year of “look at *me*” because she wasn’t the center of attention).

        1. Ruth*

          this made me laugh. My mother-in-law was up for the weekend. We’ve been married 11 years. We were talking over lunch about commitments my husband wants to keep and break and I told him not to feel guilty because “the only thing you’re committed to doing for the rest of your life is me” — and oh gosh her reaction face. She just put her head in her hands and laughed because she’s got the sense of humor for that to be perfect but also 11 years and the first time we’d ever mentioned sex around her.

    5. Tardigrade*

      Someone at my workplace organized a grandmother baby shower for our director, which was a double layer of icky when people already felt pressured by just “baby shower,” but they were also buying gifts for their boss’s grandkid and it was obvious if you didn’t give a gift. No other grandmothers got baby showers either.

    6. Kittymommy*

      I’ve actually been to a grandparent shower, though I wouldn’t say it was coming and it wasn’t for a coworker. The grandmother in question was going to be taking care of the baby for a large portion of the day & sometimes onto the night while the parents worked so the supplies actually we’re rather needed. I think she ended up getting all the basic baby stuff (except a crib – just used a pack and play). I think those situations it would be okay, but outside of work (though I’m in favor of all of these type of showers be outside of work).

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        Although in that situation if grandma can’t swing buying the equipment financially, it should be bought by the parents in exchange for the child care. I don’t think it is the obligation for friends or coworkers to fund it.

        1. General Ginger*

          Yeah, it’s kind of presumptuous to expect grandma to provide both the childcare and all the accommodations.

        2. Kittymommy*

          Well one of the reasons they needed Grandma to do childcare at such odd hours was because they couldn’t afford it without her and the parents were working a couple of different jobs to make ends meet.

      2. MysteryFan*

        We did a (small) shower for one of the members of our Ladies Lunch cohort. We are all longtime friends, and the gifts were mostly because we were excited for our friend.. but also to help when the new family came to visit, so she’d have some of the “little things” to care for a newborn so that the parents wouldn’t have to pack up the ENTIRE house when they came for the weekend (2-3 hr. drive). Just most of it!

    7. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I love to help family and friends celebrate special moments in their lives, and I even like making a fuss over certain occasions. Yes, new babies are wonderful and all that…but frankly, I’m just plain showered out. A friend of the family had 4 specially themed baby showers and many of us were invited to all of ’em. Nope. Not into the pageantry.

      OP, offer your friend warm congratulations and a gift if you so choose. Please don’t throw an office shower for her.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        4 showers for one baby or showers for 4 babies?

        Because both are ridiculous, but the first is moreso.

        1. crochetaway*

          I ended up with 4 baby showers for 1 child because my MIL refused to attend the shower my mom threw in the same state. So I had a shower with my friends where I live. Then a shower that my MIL threw for her family (which was small) and then the shower that my mom and sister threw for my family (which was big). And then a shower at work, although my work peeps all just bought baby books, so that at least was a relief. I wanted to protest, but in the end said nothing because they were all doing something nice. But even to this day 3 years later I feel ridiculous about it all.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            That kind of makes sense though? Like, for geographical reasons and whatnot, I can totally understand splitting things up. One of my cousins had 4 bridal showers – one for each side of the family, one for friends, and one at work. There was no overlap in the guest lists.

      2. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Sorry, I wasn’t very clear, was I? So here goes: a relative/first time mother had 4 baby showers in her honor, and each one had a ‘theme.’ One was for essentials like diapers, kimonos, shirts, and other baby wear. Another was for furniture and items like high chairs, walkers, etc. Invited guests were asked to chip in. A third was for clothes that make you go, ‘Oh, how cute!’ The last one was themed – in my evil mind, anyway – ‘One Final Shake Down For Those Who Missed The First Three Showers.’


        1. Lucille2*

          I had 2 “planned” baby showers: 1 for friends & family, 1 at work planned by coworkers. Jr. had his own agenda and was born prematurely. Friends/family shower was postponed and Jr. was the guest of honor! Since I went on maternity leave early, the work shower never happened. But a few coworkers brought me gifts at home. Honestly, I’m a little relieved I didn’t have to have a baby shower at work. They seem to always be awkward occasions at work.

    8. Michelle*

      I’ve heard of 2 people who have had “grandparent” showers but I agree with those who say don’t do it. You can certainly give a gift, card or maybe take your friend out to lunch if you wish, but don’t ask coworkers to. If the next coworker who becomes a grandparent doesn’t get a shower it could cause hard feelings.

      We had 2 bridal showers within weeks of each other and it was horrible because the first one had over a hundred attendees, tons of food and the guest of honor had 3 carloads of gifts to take home. The second one had less than 20 attendees, a tray of finger sandwiches and only a few gifts. I felt horrible for the bride #2. I had attended both showers and given a gift at both, but you could just see how crushed bride #2.

        1. AnotherKate*

          Inviting 100 people to a bridal shower is gift-grabby as all get out. #2 should take some comfort in knowing she isn’t tacky.

          1. Specialk9*

            Brides and parents don’t put on their own showers. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how showers work. It’s not like a wedding, which is self planned.

              1. AMPG*

                I think the point is that it was the same invite list for both showers, since both were at work, but everyone went to the first and not the second. There’s really just no way for that not to cause hard feelings, even if the bride involved understands it wasn’t personal.

                1. WellRed*

                  It also sounds like less effort was put into shower NO. 2, one had tons of food, the other had finger sandwiches. Maybe they should have had a combined celebration with NO gifts.

                2. AnotherKate*

                  That’s a good point; I missed that both were company-sponsored showers, in which case I can absolutely see how #2 would be hurt at the lack of effort.

                3. Michelle*

                  WellRed- the 1st shower had a planning committee (yes, I’m serious) because the bride was a favorite of a certain director and said director paid for all the food. The planning meetings took place during work hours, as well as the decorating, even though the event was scheduled for after closing (5 pm).

                  Shower #2 was planned by bride #2’s manager and that manager didn’t have as much pull to plan during work hours or money to pay for food.

                  Overall, I think work showers should be the same for everyone (cake, punch) and no gifts. If you want to go give a gift, do so discretely, maybe send it to their home or something.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              Traditional etiquette says they don’t, but it is becoming more and more common for the families to throw showers for both weddings and babies. I have seen multiple internet-comment lectures where anyone suggesting that these sorts of parties are not thrown by immediate family are shouted down and called old-fashioned and out-of-touch. (Thankfully, we’re past wedding/baby stage with our circle of friends.)

              I have also never been involved in a shower that the bride-/parent-to-be didn’t provide some input into the party. When I had my baby shower, the organizer asked who I wanted to invite and what kind of shower I wanted – we went small and low key with NO GAMES, and it was lovely. I’d be stunned if neither bride provided a guest list. (In defense of Bride #1, too, I’ll add that my spouse’s family has at least 100 people in it. One of my in-laws is one of a dozen kids. We had issues with our wedding guest list because our venue only accommodated 125, and I wanted to invite my family and our friends, too.)

      1. smoke tree*

        I’ll admit to being a curmudgeon about bridal showers generally, and any kind of work-related shower, and this anecdote does a good job of illustrating why. Why would anyone possibly need three cars’ worth of gifts from coworkers, let alone whatever gifts she was receiving from friends and family?

    9. seller of teapots*

      Conflicting opinion here: But if you think your coworker would appreciate it and your small team would also be on board (versus thinking of it as an obligation, and a strange one at that) then I say go for it. When I was pregnant, my mother-in-laws team through her a little party, with a few clothes and “grandma and me” books for my son. My sister-in-law isn’t planning on having kids, and my husband and I had been together for over ten years before having a child, so my MIL, too, had been (patiently) waiting ages.

      My MIL was really, really touched by the little shower, and from the stories her (tight-knit) team thought it was a fun lunch-time activity.

      1. neverjaunty*

        If the LW already knew her team would be A-OK with this she wouldn’t be asking AAM.

        And while I’m glad it apparently went well for your MIL, “it didn’t NOT work!” is not a good standard for whether the LW should do this. There are a few workplaces where a small tight-knit group are all thrilled with giving the boss a gift, but the answer to “should I ask my co-workers to chip in for our boss’ birthday” is still no, not it worked this one time I know about.

      2. Cat Herder*

        15 – 20 people is not small enough for this to be an intimate team. It’s actually a lot of people for this sort of thing, and OP is highly unlikely to know for certain how their colleagues would feel about it. I guarantee you, at least one person on that team is already successfully hiding their dislike for grandma-colleague and at least five will successfully hide their irritation and/or resentment at being asked to pony up for a grandma-shower for anyone.

    10. Nita*

      OP could just get her a gift! That’s totally common for extended family members if coworkers know someone close to them is having kids. My husband’s coworkers have given him gifts for our kids, and he’s also brought gifts to work for new grandmas. No showers thrown, no hurt feelings, and everyone was happy!

      1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

        Yeah, I’d say this is the best bet. The only way for this celebration to seem low key is for it to be low key. OP gets grandma a gift and takes her out lunch. No announcements, no coworkers, no group things, etc.

        I don’t want to rain on the OP’s excitement for her coworker, and feel kind of bad that others are, but at the same time it’s OK to just be excited and do something one on one, and not make a big production out of it. Anything other than a gift, individual lunch, and ooohing and awwing over pictures when the time comes is making a production.

      2. Specialk9*

        Oh yeah some people just love giving baby gifts, and it’s totally cool 1-on-1. My coworker bought a gift for a neighbor she sorta knew, like saying hi when entering the apt building door together. She couldn’t resist a pregnant person! She loved buying little clothes and baby books.

        1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

          I have to admit to being one of those people. I’m not sure I like babies or children very much, but when I get to shop for babies or little ones I always go overboard.

    11. Bunny Girl*

      Absolutely. I don’t really like baby showers anyways (too gift grabby!) and to have them at work there is a sense of obligation that I just absolutely don’t like. I think maybe doing a private lunch or getting her a card would be fine. But don’t set up that expectation going forward. It will go from New Grandma Shower to My neighbor just had a baby shower.

    12. MatKnifeNinja*


      Grandparent showers are huge where I live. That’s been going on for 10 years. How else can Gma and Gpa help out with the new kid without their own gear? (parents I guess don’t share things anymore).

      I’ve been to work and friend’s GP showers. I blame Pinterest and blogs for this new nightmare.

      Lets see, parent can have a baby shower, grandparent shower, gender reveal party, a wine and meet the baby party AND some sort of religious ceremony.

      I have a cousin that did all of the above.

      OP.. for the sake of your coworkers who really don’t care and/are broke, please don’t. If you feel the burning need to do something, take your coworker out after work yourself.

      1. DIL*

        Also, something that Pinterest / blogs don’t tell parents-to-be is that newborns actually really don’t need much. I think there is all this pressure (especially for first time parents / grandparents (apparently)) to be prepared for everything and/or only use the best/newest when that is mostly just feeding excess waste.

    13. Zombeyonce*

      It really does feel gross, not just because it’s over the top, but it feels icky in a really gendered way. I can almost guarantee no one’s ever asked if they should throw a grandpa shower for a man in the workplace.

    14. Could be Anyone*

      I used to work in a large office that threw a grandparent shower for one person, after countless in the office others became grandparents. It was spearheaded by (clearly terrible) the office manager! A lot of people were upset. Do not do this!! Any celebration that involves the whole office needs to be equally celebrated for everyone. Feel free to get a co-worker a card or gift for any occasion you want, but please do NOT try to rope anyone else in!

    15. AsItIs*

      For every grandmother-to-be shower there is a soon-to-be-mother who has a dreadful interfering, baby-snatching mother-in-law, who in turn thinks that a newborn will be staying overnight with her so she can mommy to someone else’s baby, hence the “need” to stock an entire nursery at her home not the parents’ home (and a spineless soon-to-be-father/husband who is afraid to tell his mother “no”).

      If you have an ounce of compassion,

    16. Miko*

      Ugh, this question is timely, because my work IS having a grandma baby shower, and I feel icky about it. What’s worse is that it’s being combined with the informal party we have for end-of-tourist-season celebration, which is outside work hours, and which I do like going to and hanging out at. But NOW it is also a grandma baby shower. So I either go and look tacky without a gift, or I don’t go. But I refuse on principle to buy a gift for someone because they’re a grandma now.

    17. DIL*

      My MIL actually had a grandma shower hosted by her coworkers back when I was pregnant with my first.

      I had been on the fence personally about even having a baby shower at my workplace — my husband and I were well off enough/ connected with enough other young parents (that had perfectly fine hand-me-downs) that we were already mostly set for baby, and our families had already hosted a shower separately to celebrate. My coworkers ended up still hosting a low-key gathering (cheesecake and gifting a few cute outfits for baby), which was lovely and totally appreciated, and I was totally fine with that.

      My MIL’s coworkers went all in on their office shower for her (that was a surprise, she didn’t request or know about it ahead of time)- buying stuff so they could essentially take home baby comfortably if we suddenly couldn’t. It was awkward to talk about, and a few months after my daughter was born, my MIL started asking if we wanted some of it when we really really didn’t need it.

      So my advice to OP1 would be that if you do decide to do a grandma shower… maybe make sure it is something the grandma-to-be actually wants / limit to gifts that are actually appropriate for a grandma/non-primary caregiver (not a whole new crib set / separate pack in play / bath set / ‘I like grandma best / send in the grandma!’ onesies). And maybe include the actual mom-to-be to make sure she is OK with it?

  2. Gaia*

    OP 1 I think it is fine if you want to celebrate with her. Given that it is a small office, I even think it would be fine to pass around a card giving her best wishes and expressing how happy you all are for her and her family. The absolute furthest I think you could get away with is having cake (that you buy) when you give her the card. Do not solicit funds. Do not give a gift.

    In my office, we do baby showers for employees who are pregnant, or whose partners are pregnant. We also invite the partner. But an employee whose family member is pregnant? No. Would you also do it for someone whose sibling or their partner was pregnant?

    1. Sylvan*

      +1! Have fun! Just don’t make a big deal of it and don’t collect money for it. Cake and a card sounds nice.

    2. Beeboo*

      It might just be me, but I would not be comfortable signing a card (or even being asked to sign one) at work congratulating someone on becoming a grandparent. People do not get a say on becoming grandparents, that decision for their child to have a baby is completely their child’s. It seems very awkward to ask others to congratulate someone on something they didn’t have a part in making happen. It’s very nice you are sharing in your coworker’s joy, but I think it should just stay at that level.

      1. Observer*

        It’s not about the “accomplishment”, which would be weird even for a parent or engagement, but for a happy occasion.

        1. Jen*

          I am pregnant and my secret thought that I will never ever share in person is that it is a bit weird when people congratulate me like I did something. Except for my decision at the beginning, my unconscious bodily systems have been running this show all on its own. It feels more like luck than an accomplishment.

          1. Specialk9*

            You’re seriously overthinking this. Not one person is admiring your intellect when they congratulate you on having a baby. Not one is admiring your ability to make choices. They’re just happy for you that you made a kid, and figure that if you’re keeping it that you want it. It’s just a communal thing where one acknowledges the important functions for the people in your social system.

            1. Jen*

              I am not saying it challenges my intellect, just that congratating like it is an accomplishment is weird. But I have a friend who would be a terrific mom, much better than me, but due to some disorder has trouble maintaining a pregnancy and has lost 3 pregnancies. It is pure luck my body systems do X and hers do Y. So I just find the “good job” implication weird.

              1. Sally*

                I have never thought of a pregnancy congratulations as a “good job.” It’s more like “yay! New life!” Or “yay! new milestone!” Or even “yay! social nicety with no specific meaning behind it!”

                That’s not to say you can’t feel complicated things about your pregnancy – it’s just I think you’re overthinking the root of the congratulations.

                1. Jen*

                  I guess it depends, I definitely got that implication from some people. As I said, I would never, ever say this in person and I am all gushy on command. Just noting that the way people talk about you when you’re pregnant is weird. “Congrats! You had unprotected sex!”

                2. Specialk9*

                  Exactly what I was trying to say. Most people who say congratulations also, really, don’t care all that much about your having a baby. They just care about you as a person, on some range from “a teeny tiny bit” to “lots and lots”, and know that recognising a baby is both the Done Thing, and acknowledges that you’re likely excited.

                  One’s own baby tends to be fairly all-consuming, but another person’s baby (esp if never met) just isn’t. So “hey I’m happy for you” is really all it’s about.

              2. Anononon*

                “Congratulations” works perfectly, then, as Merrium-Webster defines it (or rather, specifically congratulatory) as “to express vicarious pleasure to (a person) on the occasion of success or good fortune”. Specifically note the “or good fortune”.

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  Yup, this.

                  “I’m sorry” = I am sorrowful on hearing this sad thing that happened to you. No, I’m not blaming myself, I am just expressing sadness vis a vis our common humanity.

                  “Congratulations” = I am joyful on hearing this happy thing that happened to you. No, I don’t think the pregnancy/grandchild’s graduation/no cancer is a personal accomplishment on your part, I am just expressing happiness vis a vis our common humanity.

              3. Foreign Octopus*

                I’m with you on this Jen.

                I feel weird congratulating people because it’s like – “yay, you had sex, well done”.

                I always default to – “oh, how exciting.”

                1. Specialk9*

                  Y’all have some very odd understanding of the motivations of people saying “congratulations”.

                  It really is NOT “oh you clever thing, how on earth did you figure out procreation?! You smart clever little thang!”. It’s just “hey that’s nice, I recognize your humanity and membership in my social circle, glad a good thing* happened to you.”

                  *And yes, sandwiches, not every baby is welcome, but I assume people I know, in my state, can figure out abortion (though I get that in some places that’s deliberately made very difficult and expensive). So if one is telling people about a baby, it is likely a good thing. Or else the faux pas isn’t on my end!

                2. schnauzerfan*

                  My friend used to be a receptionist at an abortion clinic. She says her first response on hearing news of pregnancy was “Oh. I’m so sorry.” Then embarrassed apologies, because of course you want this baby…

                3. President Porpoise*

                  Well, pregnancy is really, really hard for many people. Congratulating people for conceiving and carrying a baby for nine months isn’t too terrible, since it literally is more than many people are physically or mentally able to manage. As someone who is currently (tiredly and sickly) pregnant, and who has had multiple siblings go through the nightmare of IVF (sometimes unsuccessfully), I really do understand why so many people are not just excited, but downright celebratory.

              4. Say What, Now?*

                I get where you’re coming from. I felt a lot of guilt when I was pregnant because it was a total accident and I was lukewarm about it for the first trimester. People just assumed that because we were married it was a purposeful choice and went around congratulating us and saying how “happy we must be because it happened so soon [less than a year] into our marriage.”

                Meanwhile, my husband’s cousin who has had several heart-wrenching miscarriages is sitting in the room… it’s so awkward and unthinking. I didn’t really know what to say either. I just kept my responses short and changed the subject as quickly as I could.

              5. neverjaunty*

                Genuine question: does it also bother you when people greet you with “how are you” because they don’t really want to know if you’re having a bad day?

                1. SpaceySteph*

                  This annoys the crap out of me. It’s just some exchange where you’re like “hi how are you?” “fine thanks, how are you” “I’m good” and it is always the same. What’s the point?

                  I never say “how are you?” Some people probably think I’m rude.

                2. Perse's Mom*

                  I can think of one person where this was the case for me, yeah, because it wasn’t the typical bland greeting when he asked – he wanted a specific upbeat answer and anything less was unacceptable.

                  I can imagine similar scenarios for pregnant women where if they’re not happy enough in the moment they’re asked about it, the asker might not react well.

              6. LadyL*

                For me I notice the gendered aspect. When my female friend got her master’s degree people were happy for her. When she got engaged people were thrilled, and when she got pregnant they were literally ecstatic. Even among thinking, liberal people it still often feels like for a woman the highest achievement you can get is getting married and having babies. You can work really hard at your career and your education, but none of that is half as impressive as finding a man and getting pregnant. It’s frustrating to watch and to experience, and it can make you feel kind of sour on the well-meaning wishes from people, especially from the people who respond to your graduation Facebook status with “Nice! Now when are you guys going to finally have a baby???”

                1. CM*

                  I don’t know if this is gendered… I think in general, people get more excited about life milestones than career/education milestones. I think it’s the same for men where nobody throws them a huge party for getting a master’s degree (absent some circumstance like overcoming lots of hardship to get there) but if they’re getting married or having a child, everybody gets really excited about it.

                2. LadyL*

                  @CM Oh it’s definitely gendered, at least from my vantage point. Even today I still see lots of jokes about how marriage is about “trapping” a man, or that marriage is like a prison for men. For women marriage is a high point of your life, something crucial you must accomplish or else you are pitied. I think for men it can be a big thing as well, but it’s much more acceptable for men not to care about marriage, and there’s an assumption among many that marriage/children is really something your girl forces you into.

                  I have a lot of personal anecdotes along these lines, if anyone is still doubtful.

                  But anyways, even to your point, why should marriage and children naturally be more celebrated than obtaining a degree? I don’t understand how education/career milestones are different than “life milestones,” as education and career are big parts of people’s lives. That feels a bit like saying, “Well sure you’re researching the cure for cancer and I guess that’s cool, but your life really only has meaning once you have a baby.”

                3. CMart*

                  I’m likely an outlier when it comes to how I feel about various life milestones (finishing a degree, getting married, having a baby etc…), but I absolutely feel much more like *celebrating* stuff that is more luck-oriented than process-oriented.

                  When I finished my master’s degree and people congratulated me, THAT felt weird. Because… of course I finished it? I decided to pursue the program, I spent a zillion dollars on the classes, I worked very hard to do well and graduate. Of course I got that degree, there’s no “congratulations” about it. It was fully under my control, why act so pleased that it happened?

                  As opposed to when I have gotten (and stayed) pregnant, that was thrilling for me and it felt much more appropriate to be congratulated on it. How exciting! This uncertain thing is actually happening! Hooray!

                4. Michaela Westen*

                  ” lots of jokes about how marriage is about “trapping” a man, or that marriage is like a prison for men. For women marriage is a high point of your life, something crucial you must accomplish or else you are pitied.”
                  Do you live in an old-fashioned area? I saw attitudes like this growing up in a fundamentalist area in the 1970’s. Now I live in the big city and can’t remember the last time I’ve seen these attitudes.
                  What I see is cultural pressure for women to have both careers and babies, and pressure to have a child before they’re too old. It’s horrible because it makes people marry the wrong person and have children for the wrong reasons.

              7. ThatGirl*

                I always thought congratulations on getting married were similarly a little weird, I mean, sure, I was thrilled to be engaged and I love my husband, but like… I didn’t accomplish anything except managing to be lucky in love. It makes it seem like people who are single aren’t working hard enough or something.

                1. CMart*

                  I’ve always felt that congratulating someone on an engagement/marriage was in the tone of “wow! what a huge decision! congrats on taking that leap and making a choice that has such a big impact on your life!”

                  But I feel the same way when someone announces they’ve signed up for the Peace Corps. Wow! What an enormous decision! Best wishes for happy outcomes!

                2. Not A Morning Person*

                  The old rule about weddings or engagements was to say “congratulations” to the groom and to say “best wishes” to the bride. Apparently it was to imply that the groom was fortunate to win the bride’s hand and not make the same implication to the bride.
                  I do tend to agree with commenters who are more chill about common niceties; I fear there are too many people who want to dissect everything and come up with some way to make routine exchanges such as “good morning” or “hi, how are you?” into some kind of test of honesty. It seems to me that some of the conversation gets derailed by the occasional mental and emotional gymnastics that turn routine social conventions into some kind of weird thought that people who offer a brief acknowledgement of your existence as a human sharing this earth, or this hallway or this office are somehow at fault because they don’t want the answer to “how are you?” to be anymore than “fine, thanks, how are you?”. That by some reason, people who use routine social conventions like these are inauthentic. I find that frustrating and confusing. When did it happen that you can’t just acknowledge a fellow human being?

                3. smoke tree*

                  I don’t know, I’m a little bemused by these kinds of responses, because I don’t think “congratulations” is necessarily meant to imply an accomplishment? Sometimes it just means “Hey, a good thing happened in your life! I’m glad to hear it.”

                4. sap*

                  I don’t know, I put the same amount of work and intentionality into having a good marriage that I put into having a good career. Yes, I found love and got married because I was “lucky,” but I got into a great school and have a great job in large part because I was “lucky” enough to be born into a lot of privilege.

                  I think it ignores the reality of who can/can’t get a good education and good job based on birth to pretend that there isn’t a lot of luck involved in all that, and ignores the fact that being a good spouse or parent requires thought and effort to pretend it doesn’t take work.

          2. Rusty Shackelford*

            For some of us, achieving a pregnancy actually did call for a lot of work and could rightly be considered an accomplishment. ;-)

          3. ket*

            Unlike other posters, I totally know what you mean, at least I think I do! I’m a person with a PhD and a few other projects under my belt. Whenever I’ve done something I’m proud of in life, it’s involved a few years of effort — grinding through, making a commitment, days of being depressed & not getting anything done and then days of being super productive, thinking, shaping, pruning. Even the garden — the plants grow without me, but I seed, water, weed, cover them when it hails.

            But this baby? Grows whether I get up and exercise or just lie uncomfortably in bed. Grows whether I read the baby book chapters faithfully or not. Grows without me checking in on it. I have never had an experience in adult life where something so complex & cool grew without planning & orchestrating & work on my part. It really did feel bizarre and presented me an interesting philosophical challenge.

          4. Grapey*

            haha and as a childfree person, the secret thought I will never share in person (other than to my very best friend who laughed) is “Why does everyone congratulate pregnant couples? I’ll congratulate them in 18 years if they managed not to raise a drain on society.” (But I do congratulate them and play the fun aunt to all the little kiddos anyway)

      2. Emily Spinach*

        I agree. Some of this is my own baggage about feeling that my in laws are too invested in when/whether we’re going to “make them grandparents” but I am uncomfortable with people making grandparenthood a huge identity of theirs, and I’d feel weird having a party for it anywhere, but especially at work!

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I was trying to put my finger on why this letter rubbed me the wrong way, and you’ve hit the nail on the head for me. This grandma-to-be seems way too invested and like she feels this new grandchild will make HER life complete. I realize this isn’t info that helps the OP, but just wanted to mention it.

          I agree with others that a shower is too much and not a thing. At least, I’ve never heard of a grandparent shower. I think a card signed by all, and maybe a cake OP purchases on her own dime, would be the limit before the Weird Factor sets in.

          1. WellRed*

            I would be so annoyed by card and cake. Sorry! She’s had her showers, etc. , when she was the mom to be.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              I agree, actually. I wouldn’t think or really want to do anything like this for a grandparent. But if OP feels like she absolutely wants to do something, I wouldn’t go further than a card and maybe a cake.

            2. Les G*

              You shouldn’t be annoyed at a coworker doing something nice for another with her own money. Sorry!

              1. WellRed*

                I absolutely think the LW should celebrate if she wants, but there’s no way to do an office card and cake without it setting a precedent (which if not met, will lead to feelings! at some point) and also like people have to give a gift.

              2. Specialk9*

                I don’t think anyone is concerned about a private celebration, it’s when it becomes a group thing that people are objecting. Even if it’s a privately funded group thing, people don’t usually know that and will feel hurt if the new precedent isn’t for everyone.

              3. Totally Minnie*

                It’s not really about whose money is being spent. It’s about the level of attention this would receive in the workplace. If Frederica becomes a grandmother and OP celebrates it at work with colleagues, but nobody does anything when Theodosia becomes a grandmother or Roderick becomes a grandfather, that’s unequal treatment in the workplace no matter who paid the tab, and it’s going to lead to bad feelings.

          2. smoke tree*

            Personally, unless the LW is pretty sure that the coworkers would be into it, I would just take her out to lunch and maybe buy her a gift myself. No need to make it into an office-wide thing.

          3. Ann Furthermore*

            You can’t really say that with any certainty, since the letter did not come from the grandparent herself, but from her co-worker.

        2. AKchic*

          For what it’s worth, I do agree with you that this coworker seems too invested in her child’s procreation and how it relates to her own status.

      3. Sylvan*

        I guess I can see that, but it seems normal enough to congratulate someone on a life event they’re happy about.

      4. SS Express*

        I always say “congratulations” to people who become grandparents or aunts or uncles or even siblings, even though they presumably didn’t have much say in it happening. I sometimes say it to people whose kids get married too. I don’t think it suggests that they have accomplished something, it’s just the thing we say when someone has a happy life event.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Siblings is a good example–when my younger child was born, the oldest at five was deeply into crafting the birth announcement goodie bags for her preschool, and generally having her noble transition into big sisterhood acknowledged even if she technically hadn’t done anything. (On the hospital tour with the childbirth class, she was the only one out of the whole group asking questions.)

          Looking back now, it is very like when she proudly turned three and was finally allowed to clean the litterbox. This was how she gave her age when asked. She would have been pleased if you congratulated her, because she really was quite proud and delighted about plowing through enough time to finally be granted this permission. (She had been heavily brianwashed by our cat, who was pleased at the addition of a family member with a pliable mind and opposable thumbs.)

          1. AKchic*

            *sigh* If only all children could stay happy enough to want to continue changing the litter box.

            Eventually, they age enough to want to rebel against the furry overlords and leave it to the rest of us indentured servants. The overlords notice.

          2. Michaela Westen*

            My cat always tried to get me to stop whatever I was doing and give him attention. I think this grew out of my efforts to make sure he was happy and comfortable when I first got him – His predecessor had passed suddenly, and my female cat and I were upset, and I was trying to make sure he knew he was welcome. After a while I set boundaries in which I would come and talk to him *after* I finished what I was doing.
            He was with me 17 years, lived to be almost 19. Right up to the end he would still try to get attention 24/7, even though he was tired. He always greeted me at the door too. He was a great cat. <3 :)

        1. Les G*

          +1. What a bizarre take. (As an aside, I always roll my eyes at the folks who can’t bring themselves to sign a going away card, birthday card, etc. because they “don’t really mean it,” but this is a new level)

          1. Mookie*

            Yeah, my advice to those people is sign the card but also write a personalized message along the lines of I Don’t Really Care, Do U? and let anyone who signs after see what sour-face, purist Mr Pinks they are.

          2. Quickbeam*

            I often get asked to sign 3-4 cards a day, interrupting my critical work. It obligates me, a mobility impaired worker, to go several floors to find the “next” on the list. I really can’t stand it and it is a significant dissatisfier for me at work.

            1. Les G*

              I didn’t say anything about folks who had a practical reason not to sign cards (although your situation sounds pretty unusual). I’m talking about the “everything I do is honest and meaningful so how can I sign a going away card for someone I only kind of knew?” crowd.

            2. nopenope*

              3-4 cards A DAY?! What kind of job do you do that you have to sign cards for your coworkers 3-4 times A DAY?

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                On top of Leslie’s point, that’s literally 1000 cards. Do you work with 100 people who each have monthly 100-signature card requiring events?

              2. Quickbeam*

                A busy one. With lots of people who think every situation requires a card signed by everyone. Like someone’s kid came in second at an Irish dancing contest. It’s a management idea of collegiality. I had a stamp made up: “Congratulations! Quickbeam”.

                1. Jessie the First (or second)*

                  Ha! I love the stamp idea.

                  That is a crazy level of office “collegiality” and I think it would drive me nuts.

                2. Observer*

                  I like cards. But this is nuts.

                  The stamp is a GREAT idea. In your case, I might just stamp it and hand it back to the person who brought it to me with “Thanks for getting this to the next guy.”

            3. Leslie knope*

              But you realize that isn’t the situation they’re referring to, correct?

              Banning “not everyone can eat sandwiches” needs to be a commenting rule if it isn’t already.

            4. Antilles*

              That’s not a strike against card giving in general, that’s a “your office in particular sucks at this”. Like, that’s just straight up terrible organization start to finish:
              1.) In my office, we sign all the birthday cards for the entire month at once – if there are 4 birthdays in August, you get a stack of 4 cards to sign on July 31st, then you hand the entire stack to the next person on the list. Once everybody’s signed, the card stack goes to the office admin, who hangs on to them until the person’s actual birthday. So you get interrupted once a month only.
              2.) Having to go several floors to keep the chain-of-signing going is ridiculous under any circumstances. There really aren’t any co-workers on your floor who could get them after you? No way they could go “okay, everybody on Floor 1 sign, now everybody on Floor 2, …”?
              3.) 3-4 cards a day is an absurd number. There’s no way that there are really hundreds of people in your office who you know personally and care whether Quickbeam’s name is on there or not. If it’s a particularly major event like a 70th birthday or whatever, maybe it’s nice to have 300 co-worker’s names on it, but for like “happy 37th”, just have the employees of that department sign off, I don’t need Jimmy from Accounting who I’ve never actually spoken with.

          3. Gay Drunk Patriots Fan*

            On Les G’s comment: I work in an extremely large office, and considering both how large it is and also what a introverted difficult person I am, it’s amazing that in my three years here I have had only one single coworker who I mentally violently hated with all my might. One day somebody stopped by my desk with a greeting card and a pen and asked me to sign it. It was a going away card for Mentally Violently Hated Coworker, who had just resigned.

            In the space of 15 seconds, I had the following thoughts in rapid succession:
            1) The older I get, the more and more I try to take my religion seriously and to really truly work at being a better person and not just pay lip service to the idea, but this coworker was AWWWWWWWWWFUL and VERY, VERY AWFUL and no I am sorry but I don’t have enough hypocrisy in me to make fake nice and sign his card.
            2) Wait a second. Never mind about religion and whatever, let’s think about this strategically. Everybody else is going to sign the card. If I don’t sign the card, that bell will never ever get un-rung. I was the jerk who was such a jerk I couldn’t even un-jerk myself to sign a stupid card.
            3) Double wait a second. Why am I stressing out over what’s actually the happiest day of my career?!?! He’s leaving. I am never ever ever going to have to share oxygen with him ever again. This isn’t a problem, it’s all my dreams come true!

            I didn’t just sign his card, I signed it with great joy and mirth and happiness.

            TL;DR: I am a gigantic jerk, but even I will sign your card. Don’t not sign somebody’s card, ever.

            1. Specialk9*

              Haha my brain squirrels run on very similar mental wheels. I love the final mental image I have, of you joyfully signing the card with a flourish, while whistling “ding dong the witch is dead”.

          4. Antilles*

            Yeah, I’ve never understood the “can’t sign a card, don’t really mean it” argument either. Scrabbling a quick “Congrats! John Doe” is just a meaningless courtesy, akin to saying ‘have a nice day’ or ‘good morning’ or other similar phrases.
            Just take the two seconds to quickly sign it, then immediately forget it and go on with your life.

            1. pleaset*

              I do this. “Best wishes, pleaset” and that’s it. I don’t like it but do it.

              But if it’s the slightest hassle – such as having to set a time to sign something – then I pass “Just go ahead without me.”

          5. Database Developer Dude*

            What if you don’t even like the person for whom the card is intended? What if you know for a fact they don’t like you? What purpose does it serve to make signing the card mandatory, even on a social level? I’m calling bullshit on this.

            1. Antilles*

              To me, that’s an argument in favor of just doing a zero-effort signature.
              Refusing to sign it, then getting into that discussion with the person passing the card costs me waaaaay more time and mental energy than the few seconds it takes me to grab a pen and scribble “John Doe”…and that jerk isn’t worth the additional expenditure of time and mental energy.
              The faster I sign this card, the faster I can go back to my happy place where I pretend That Jerk doesn’t exist.

              1. pleaset*

                I have never refused to sign due to disliking someone, but I could see myself doing it. And not having a discussion with the other person – just “No, thanks” and handing it back. Done. “No” is a complete sentence.

                Of course if I didn’t like someone and they were leaving the company, writing “It’s so great that you are moving on” might be better :-)

                ” It’s ridiculous and I’d like it to stop.” Yeah, I wish this too, at least for birthdays.

                1. Lison*

                  I hope you get the happiness you deserve,
                  Covers all the bases, passive aggressive AF but easily defended.

            2. Rusty Shackelford*

              I am not a fan of the mandatory card. To me, it doesn’t indicate that anyone in the office actually cares that it’s my birthday. It indicates that the admin bought a card (with a pool of money that I donated to) and routed it to my coworkers. It’s ridiculous and I’d like it to stop. However, I always sign the card, even when its for that one person in my office who I dislike so intensely, if I saw them stranded on the side of the road, I would drive on by. (Trust me, it’s justified.) Because that’s just what you do. You maintain the polite fiction that you enjoy (or maybe simply “don’t hate”) someone’s company, because you expect them to do the same for you.

              1. Database Developer Dude*

                I don’t expect them to do the same for me. I’d really rather they didn’t.

                1. Rusty Shackelford*

                  If you’d prefer that your coworkers make it obvious that they dislike you, you have to accept that you’re in the minority.

        2. Persimmons*

          Some years, having survived to reach another birthday does, in fact, feel like a strenuous effort.

      5. Cambridge Comma*

        When my daughter was born last year, my parents received twice as many cards congratulating them on becoming grandparents as we received. It seems that it’s becoming a thing, although whether it’s a genuine thing or a greetings card company thing I don’t know.
        I don’t have strong feelings about it but the extent of it felt odd. And of course, the tone from some people, also in person, was awful for our childfree-by-choice relatives and I felt bad to have provided and occasion for it, but those people are going to be arses with or without a greetings card to send.

        1. Specialk9*

          That’s fascinating. Could some of that be because our peers don’t tend to send actual paper (as opposed to texts), and a grandparent cohort is more likely to send actual cards?

          Darn about the comments making child-free by choice people feel bad. Blekh.

          1. Massmatt*

            Maybe this, and maybe the grandparents just know tons more people. I had a grandmother that was like that, she stayed in touch with friends from school, old neighbors, distant cousins, coworkers, you name it. Her address book was a big 3 ring binder.

            1. Turquoisecow*

              I could see this happening with my mother in law. She not-so-subtly mentioned to me on our first meeting that she was totally ok with grandkids. She’s backed off some since her daughter has had two kids, but she’ll still be over the moon if/when husband and I have any, and she (and my father in law) are waaaaay more social than we are, so I could see her getting s bunch of congratulatory dinners and cards and such while husband and I get few (and are totally fine with that).

          2. Not A Morning Person*

            That makes sense. So many “card occasions” are now just text acknowledgements. And many people who used to send cards don’t send them anymore.

    3. Sami*

      I wouldn’t recommend a card and/or cake either. A public celebration makes a precedent for doing so for everyone else who is becoming a grandparent. Then where does it stop? Someone becoming an aunt? New puppy?
      Celebrate with your coworker/friend privately.

      1. Gaia*

        I think this is really a “know your own office” thing. In some offices it would be really really weird to not celebrate something that someone was obviously so excited for. In others it would be incredibly weird to celebrate it. But in all offices I know of, a shower would be strange.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          I think there’s a big difference in how it’s celebrated.

          If you’re really excited about getting a new puppy, and want to bring in dog-bone shaped biscuits and puppy pictures for the coffee break, that’s one thing – people might roll their eyes a bit privately, but will likely appreciate the free food. Throwing a new puppy shower for a coworker and expecting people to buy gifts or bring food, though, is a bad idea.

          And precedent is definitely important for stuff like this. If you have an office grandmother shower or a new puppy shower for one person, you need to be prepared to do it for the others when their turn comes. And you really can’t explain that this coworker was special because she wanted to be a grandmother so much.

          So for the OP – by all means give your office friend a gift card or present from you, personally or take her out for lunch. But don’t cross the line of asking your coworkers to subsidize her grandmother experience.

        2. WS*

          +1, one of my co-workers became a grandmother earlier this month. Everyone was excited and lots of us, separately, brought her gifts. It wasn’t official and there was no pressure to do this (and indeed, many did not) and I think that level of participation is ideal.

          1. Anon Today Anon Tomorrow*

            I think this is the way to go. For those people who want to privately give the grandparent-to-be a card or a gift they are welcome to do so. But, an organized event is way over the top.

            Granted, I think showers are a bit ridiculous in general, and they seem more like gift grab (although I didn’t grow up in a part of the world that did those kind of things). But, a grandparent shower? If I was invited to one I’d politely decline, but think the whole thing was beyond ridiculous.

            1. Double A*

              Showers are definitely literally a gift grab (and I say this as someone who just had a baby shower on Saturday). I mean, they are called showers because the point is to “Shower” the parents-to-be with gifts. This is also the point of a bridal shower, which is why I didn’t have one, because that made no sense to me. Why would you have a party for getting gifts, before you go to the wedding, where you also get gifts? (And we barely wanted wedding presents… we’re in our mid-30s, we really didn’t need much stuff. Younger people who get married might need more support).

              The reason I went for a baby shower is 1) unlike the adult things that people gift for weddings, we do not have baby stuff and 2) a lot of people (mostly my husband’s family, where the last baby is now… 7, and where there was a real doubt he’d ever have kids) were REALLY excited for us to have one, and 3) it feels like you have to make a million decisions as you approach parenthood, and having people help prepare you for it feels really supportive and great.

              So, you can look at it as a gift grab, or you can look as it as helping people you love or at least like get prepared for a huge transition in their lives and feel supported by people who care about them. And if you don’t feel the latter way about them, don’t go to the shower!

        3. Maggie*

          It’s not only a know your office thing, it’s a know your coworker thing. My MIL was definitely the last of her circle of friends to become a grandmother for a reason. Let’s just say her parenting style didn’t inspire her children to have their own. And the fact that she’s super excited to play a big role in the unborn kid’s life? Amazing in some cases, showcasing a disastrous lack of boundaries and narcissism in other cases. Buy Jane your own gift. Don’t drag me with my MIL baggage into it.

          1. Yeah, no*

            I was thinking the same thing. I think I’d have gone into orbit if my MIL’s coworker’s had a shower for her for my child. Too many issues to unpack here.

          2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

            Man – I wasn’t thinking of it from that angle, but when I read what you wrote I had a full body shudder. If my MIL told me her coworker had thrown her a shower for *my* baby I would be *super* creeped out. She has been wooing my uterus for years, trying to stay on my good side only because I am her only chance at grandchildren. Now this is nightmare fuel.

            1. Emily Spinach*

              I would too, even though she’s great and her excitement is genuine. I just felt, from the moment anyone asked about our reproductive plans, that family members thought my uterus was much more their business than it felt to me was reasonable. And I know it does affect them and they’re happy for us!

              (Full disclosure, I’m especially cranky about this because our current pregnancy, our first, which my MIL has been stressing me out about, might not be viable, so I have a lot of FEELINGS about how would-be grandparents can be helpful versus stressful. But I think even on a different day I’d be put off by her having a shower because her son and I decided to have a child.)

              1. Specialk9*

                Big internet hugs, if you want them. That’s a really good reason to have LOTS of feelings.

            2. Queen of Cans and Jars*

              This comment just made me realize why this whole thing creeps me out. It gives me a weird Handmaid’s Tale vibe (I realize probably a huge stretch as OP’s friend may be an absolutely delightful, appropriately involved grandmother, but I just finished watching the 2nd season, and dammit did that show stick with me!).

              1. Specialk9*

                I genuinely can’t understand how people can watch that show in 2018. It just feels too much like an echo of current events. I only like my creepy dystopia safely in the hypothetical future, and frankly right now I’m struggling to get through most days without rage/ helpless fear, so I can’t even read the news. What do you enjoy about it?

                1. Hope*

                  For me it’s almost like a way to mentally prepare myself for the approaching dystopia.

                  And to remind myself A) it’s not this bad *yet* and B) I need to keep standing up and doing the things necessary to keep it from getting this bad.

                2. Specialk9*

                  Sorry, I’m really invested in this thread bc it’s the only one in a few days, and I’m bored. :D

                3. General Ginger*

                  Would you want to move this to the open thread from the weekend? I kind of have the same question. Alison, please delete if not OK.

          3. Observer*

            This is one of the kinds of things I was thinking what I said that a celebration can get too far into the granspatent’s role.

            And I’m sorry you and your spouse (especially) had to deal with that.

          4. AKchic*

            Same here.
            My mom *did* have a grandmother shower for my oldest. She had spun my teenage pregnancy story so much that to hear her tell it, I was living with her (I wasn’t), she was supporting me 100% (I again, lived on my own, worked my own job, and supported myself), and she had to supply all of me and my baby’s needs (I literally had everything I needed) and I was probably going to abandon my baby as soon as I shot that kid out of my body to go drinking and drugging so I could get pregnant again.
            People bought her so much stuff. “For the house, of course” is how she spun it to me. My little sister was so excited to have a “baby brother” that she let it slip at the maternity ward. One of the neighbors (the drunk who thought he was some kind of legal eagle, but really knew nothing) had convinced my mother that she could report me as a runaway and force both me and the baby to come back to her house and she could claim us both on taxes and if I was in the house, then she could adopt my son and she’d have the boy she wanted.
            *sigh* Yeah… so much baggage there.

            My current MIL isn’t any better. Security had to remove her from L&D while I was in labor with my youngest and she actually brought an attorney with her because she was trying to convince me to sign my rights away. This MIL is the same one that tries to make every wedding focus on her so she isn’t given any information other than “hi, we’re picking you up at X time on X day, be ready or don’t come” (and this is for every relative… for some reason, nobody will just *not* invite her).

      2. Mookie*

        Yes. Celebration is as easy as acknowledging the event, inviting the recipient to talk / gab / strut / brag about the newest member of her family with you alone and in the appropriate setting, and letting her dictate how that conversation goes and how often it happens, so long as the LW enjoys listening. It sounds like the LW has done that and more and will likely continue to hear future news as it rolls in. That’s meaningful enough for a friend, much less a friendly colleague.

        Also, like other commenters, I could see this gesture (the signed card deal, the office-wide cake-eating, but mostly the giftcard) be interpreted very differently by colleagues depending on their culture(s) (LW mentioned the colleague’s daughter leads a “traditional” life in this respect, although what is described is hardly a universal experience), among other variables, and some may resent what they (in my opinion, unjustly) perceive to be an attempt to enrich the grandmother’s daughter via subterfuge, like a shower for one person disguised as a different shower for another person altogether. Since the LW knows her office, she can probably anticipate with some accuracy what the general response will be, particularly if the colleague has been sharing her news far and wide. But I’d say not to chance it.

      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        I generally agree with this. I try not to be a slippery-slope kind of person, but the longer I manage the more I see people taking what may, at best, be minor slights VEEEERRRRYYYY seriously. If you’re going to do a grandma shower for this person (particularly if involves asking others to bring a gift or food), consider what you’re willing to do to celebrate other people’s life milestones.

    4. Traffic_Spiral*

      Just listen excitedly to all the grandbaby stuff she talks about and coo over the pictures – she’ll like that much more, and your colleagues won’t be annoyed by it.

      1. Say What, Now?*

        Yes, I think this is probably true! She’ll be happiest just having someone to gush to. But if you really want to make a gift thing (on your own, don’t involve your coworkers) a good idea might be to stop by Target and get a six-pack box of wipes. It’s reasonably cheap so as not to make your coworkers feel bad if they don’t do anything and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve dropped our kid at the grandparents’ only to realize we packed diapers but not wipes… ugh!

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Or for something less practical, a silly “Grandma” t-shirt or party hat (you know, the “world’s best grandma” sort of thing). It’s fun, and it doesn’t rope your colleagues into anything.

    5. Thursday Next*

      I think the word “shower” might be tripping people (including me) up. A low-key celebration, like an office cake break (with a cake provided by you, OP, or management if they’re cool with that), would be fine. Soliciting gifts or money for gifts would be awkward. Some commenters here think even a group card would be inappropriate–I don’t agree, but it depends on your office.

    6. Michaela Westen*

      This might set up an expectation of cake for all new grandparents. Maybe just a card? And take her to lunch?

    7. AsItIs*

      For every grandmother-to-be shower there is a soon-to-be-mother who has a dreadful interfering, baby-snatching mother-in-law, who in turn thinks that a newborn will be staying overnight with her so she can mommy to someone else’s baby, hence the “need” to stock an entire nursery at her home not the parents’ home (and a spineless soon-to-be-father/husband who is afraid to tell his mother “no”).

      If you have an ounce of compassion,

  3. LadyL*

    Well now I’m curious about the read receipts discourse, gonna have to google that.

    I will say I’m anti-read receipts myself. Just because I had time to skim a text doesn’t mean I had time to properly respond to it, and I don’t need people I communicate with jumping to conclusions about why and how I text them. And especially I don’t want bosses or other work contacts doing this. I suppose if you are always super diligent about responding quickly it won’t be a problem for you, but I don’t think even the most conscientious texters can be on 100% of the time.

    1. Gaia*

      I like read receipts. But I do think some folks take it waaaaay too seriously. Just because I have 5 seconds to read your message (or my message app happened to be open when you sent it) doesn’t mean I have the time to reply at that moment. But at least there is confirmation that it was seen.

      1. Myrin*

        I feel the same way. (And just so that I know I’m thinking of the right thing before my non-native speaking self joins the discussion: when I send a message on my Android phone, it shows one tick next to it to show that it left my phone, two ticks two show that it reached the other person’s phone, and then both turn blue once the other’s read the message – that’s the read receipt, right?)

        I’m content with the second tick alone, knowing that the message was received, but I don’t feel strongly about read receipts in either direction so I just leave them turned on. It confuses and astounds me when people make a whole “thing” out of them. So someone read your stuff but didn’t respond for a few hours – so what? There seems to be a lot of childishness involved there – “I’m mad at you, so I’ll show you that I read your message but haven’t responded to it, that’ll show you!”. Apart from the fact that that doesn’t work on people like me anyway, I feel like if you’re dealing with someone who routinely and in all earnestly uses such methods, your problems are bigger than the question of whether someone’s read your text or not.

        In any case, I like Alison’s answer. OP seems a bit like me in that she doesn’t really care about this, but I think it’s good to know what kinds of thinking are out there and that she could potentially save herself some trouble (depending on the boss, of coure) by turning the receipts off or not opening a message before feeling ready to answer immediately.

        (Total aside, but where I’ve recently found that read receipts are very practical is with a good friend of mine who’s pregnant – it’s taken a bit of a toll on her memory and she’ll read my texts and then promptly forget to answer. She’s like me with regards to caring about that kind of stuff, so we have a long history of sometimes answering texts very promptly and sometimes just forgetting about them and answering later, but she’s been forgetting about them completely lately. So now when I see the blue ticks and she still hasn’t answered me after a day, I have her permission to just send “Friend?” to remind her, which I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t sure if she’d seen my message at all.)

        1. Audiophile*

          What messaging app are you using? I’m just curious.

          Sometimes I’ll use WhatsApp, which shows the grey/blue ticks for delivery and reading respectively. I know Google is working on bringing those functions to native Android messaging apps, but haven’t yet. I think Allo does show some ticks.

      2. Specialk9*

        I had no idea text read receipts were a thing! I found that setting and turned it off just now.

        I find text to be an awkward communication mechanism because there’s no way to mark a text “unread” for one’s self. That’s how I know to follow up when I have time.

      3. Nanani*

        And even then, there’s no confirmation that it was seen a) by you and not the cat/child playing a game/etc. and b) in a state fit to right a coherent response

        1. ValkyrAmy*

          THIS! I was texting with a friend early one morning, then set my phone down and wandered off to help the kid get read to school. She sent another text, somehow it was marked as read (maybe the phone was still on, and on that screen when the text came it? I don’t even know), and then there was no ‘new message’ notification. I saw it later, said “hey! I just saw this!” Her response: “I know you read it when it first came in this morning. I don’t like it when my friends lie to me.” And now she barely speaks to me. I am OBSESSED with what happened, but now I just feel super defensive. READ RECEIPTS ARE NOT PERFECT, WEIRDOS.

          Ahem. I’m fine with them. Whatever.

          1. LadyL*

            That is truly wild. I feel like she has to have been upset with you about other larger things and is just using this as an excuse/final straw, right?? Has she been like this before with you or other friends? Because this is totally bizarre. Who would trust a phone over their actual friend? And furthermore, why would she even care either way?

            If I were in your friend’s shoes I would just assume it was a weird phone quirk, or that you “saw” it but didn’t actually *see* it, if that makes sense. Or maybe that you were feeling emotionally swamped for whatever reason and just saying “i just saw this” is easier than saying, “the idea of responding to a text at that moment exhausted me due to my own myriad of mental health needs”. None of those are reasons to torpedo a friendship.

          2. Not Rebee*

            My mom has read receipts on (I am not sure that she knows, but as the child in this equation I enjoy the verification that I’m being listened to so I haven’t told her lol), but she almost never locks her phone when she puts it down. As a result, a lot of the time I get false read receipts because the phone is unlocked and on our chat window when my next texts come in, but she may have only seen the first one because she walked away/got distracted/etc.. So really, they’re not especially trustworthy. Anyone who thinks that they are is reading way too much into it.

    2. One legged stray cat*

      Eh. I found them useful at least in email. I had a job where I depended on multiple people sending me paperwork by a certain deadline. There was always about ten percent of the paperwork still needed as the deadline came. Sending an email reminder with a read receipt allowed me to see that the people were there and knew I was waiting for it without them needing to respond back (as busyness was often the reason for the delay in the first place). With no response and no read receipt, I would have to be calling and chasing down the people after a few hours to make sure the people were not out sick and that the work was not sitting forgotten (which commonly happened). I never thought anything negative towards people that did not respond to my emails. The only thing that irritated me was when they obviously lied about not returning work by claiming the email never came.

      1. Antilles*

        I actually personally think emails with read receipts are a slightly different thing than texts because usually email read receipts are done *selectively* for specific important emails – a contract that you want to verify that it went through or a time-sensitive question so I know if I need to follow up with a phone call or a person who’s notorious for ‘lost emails’ or whatever.

      2. LQ*

        This is interesting. I’m strongly against them in email. I have it disabled in fact. I suspect this has a lot to do with the (brief) time I had a boss who sent a read receipt with every single email. I think I blew her mind by responding to the emails without the read receipt coming in. She was a super micro manager.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          I have one coworker who requests a read receipt on every single message. And I always click “do not send,” just on principle.

          1. Specialk9*

            You can change that setting to automatically not send a read receipt.

            I’ve found that it’s always the person with the least important requests who demands read receipts for all emails. I make annoyed assumptions about them, but would never mention it to someone. I wonder if some people turn it on accidentally, or don’t understand them. It seems an odd thing to blunder into, though.

            1. LQ*

              I was in a position to talk to the super micromanager at one point and she insisted that she needed it because her staff would later deny getting an email from her. When I pointed out that the IT people could actually check, she got real upset, so I dropped it. She totally knew and would spend hours a day combing through the receipts and spreadsheets to make sure everyone had responded. (Apparently she thought I didn’t understand technology very well because I didn’t ever have mine go but rather responded manually when needed. She tried to complain to her boss who apparently laughed at her. I was delighted to find this out much later when my job was a very technology heavy job.)

              1. Massmatt*

                This is amaze-balls overboard, OMG it sounds as though. She thought her job was professional email monitor! How did she ever get any actual work done?

                I don’t think I have ever seen an email system that doesn’t copy everything to your ‘sent’ folder, if someone says they didn’t get it its easy to search and see it was sent and when. No IT intervention needed. Someone who keeps losing or deleting emails gets the talking to.

                1. LQ*

                  It really was. When I saw that spreadsheet I was sort of in awe. She actually wanted me to do some fancy manipulation with it…I just listened to her agape and said she’d have to talk to my boss for that kind of time, she did not get approval to use my time that way.

                  And she did not get any actual work done as far as I am aware.

            2. Rusty Shackelford*

              You can change that setting to automatically not send a read receipt.

              Apparently my default Outlook setting is to ask if I want to send a read receipt, every time. And I’m fine with that – I wouldn’t want to accidentally not send one that is actually warranted.

            3. protips.*

              You can also change that setting to not send read receipts to everyone. My husband and I have ours turned off, but have individually set them to turned on for each other. It cuts down on a lot of the “ok” responses just to confirm that you saw the reminder to feed the dogs or wondering if someone saw something or not and I’ve just not responded because I’m in a meeting.

              Just google “How to turn read receipts off for individual conversations in iMessage for iOS 10”

              1. BF50*

                Exactly. I have them on for my husband and no one else. I love knowing when he’s at the grocery store that he got my text of “eggs”. No need to respond.

                I don’t need them for anyone else.

                I do occasionally use them at work, but it’s strategically (i.e. in collections on my 4th attempt to get a payment commitment.)

              2. Turquoisecow*

                My husband and I are the same.

                He uses his phone for work, and doesn’t need vendors or coworkers knowing whether he’s seen their inane questions or comments.

              3. sunshyne84*

                Yea I was googling about why people used them a while back and it seemed like it was mostly used between married couples the way you use them. I’m pretty good at responding until I just don’t feel like talking to that particular person, but I do get frustrated with people who have theirs on and I can see that they’ve read mine. I don’t expect you to respond right away, but some people take days and I don’t even care anymore at that point, but whatever.

          2. Detective Amy Santiago*

            omg people who request read receipts on every single email are a huge pet peeve.

          3. General Ginger*

            Ugh, that would drive me up the wall, too. The only time I’d request a read receipt is if it’s 9 am and the email is “I need y’all’s signatures on document Y by noon”.

          4. JustaTech*

            I have one coworker who does this, and it is kind of annoying, but that coworker is in charge of releasing controlled documents, so there’s some potential for major problems if emails get dropped or not replied to. And I’m willing to put up with it because, unlike other people in that department, this person actually gets back to me rather than letting my increasingly panicked emails go into a black hole.

            I’ll take read receipts over black holes any day.

          5. sunshyne84*

            Same, half the time the email isn’t relative to me anyway, it’s just easier for the sender to send to the whole office.

          6. SpellingBee*

            Same here! Well, it’s an ex co-irker, since I’m retired. I didn’t like her much in the first place, and this habit was just one more brick in that wall. The chance to annoy her by refusing to send her a read receipt was a definite (if somewhat petty) pleasure. Plus our jobs didn’t actually intersect, so she wasn’t directly emailing me to get time-sensitive information; it would be something like a general email to all the admins about a new lunch delivery service.

        2. Antilles*

          I think that’s not using them correctly – the best use of email read receipts is not to check every single email and have 400 “Read By:” emails coming in every day, it’s for specific emails that you really need some kind of record that they came in.
          And by the way, if I sent you one with a read receipt request and didn’t get a response (either from your “Read By:” email or an actual reply by you), you better believe I’m calling you to make sure you got the contract because that’s a huge issue if it got lost in the ether somewhere.

          1. LQ*

            Oh I absolutely know she is using them wrong! (She does a lot of stuff wrong…) And I respond to all the messages that need responses (like contracts and the like), and feel free to call if you need. But the email thing (and text too) also assumes that the system that you are using allows for read receipts, which not every email service does.

            Also? We had a round of spam that went out with read receipt on it…that created a whole level of havok that was impressive.

        3. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

          I’m with you on this. I am insta-annoyed when someone requests a read receipt. Hate to break this, but my inbox either text or email is up to me to manage, not the other way around.

        4. LCL*

          Several updates ago, our IT group disabled the read receipt feature of email. Unofficially, it was a source of drama that didn’t help anyone be more productive. Officially, ‘we don’t have that feature enabled.’

      3. Traffic_Spiral*

        I’m ok with them via email, but only for very time-sensitive or tricky matters (people in other countries that might not always but their auto-response on when going on vacation, etc.). If you use it for all your emails you’re a jerk and I’m not sending the rr to you.

      4. Not Rebee*

        Am I doing email read receipts wrong? I thought you had to actually click a button to send the read receipt back, so you can read the email but not send the read receipt if you so choose. My Outlook in the past has always asked me if I’d like to send read receipts when they have been requested.

    3. Glowcat*

      It’s the same for me, but I have to keep it on because otherwise mom panics; to her, it’s better if I read and don’t answer than if I don’t read at all, because the latter would (obviously!) mean that I’m dead in the bottom of the fjord or in a polar bear’s belly.
      But at least I don’t typically use my mobile phone for work, I agree it would cause some pressure.

    4. Avis*

      They can be very useful if you either send messages from the train, which dips in and out of areas of signal, or if you send a lot of messages that contain information someone needs to know but not respond to.

    5. LQ*

      Eh I have them on because I’m kind of lazy about replying when the reply needs to be, I saw this. Read receipts cover this for me.

      But 95% of my communications are with people who are equally low key. I suspect the first time someone tries to talk to me about how frequently/when/whatever I respond I will shut them off.

    6. JB (not in Houston)*

      I really don’t like them on text messages. I find myself not even opening messages if I don’t have to to respond to it right away because I don’t want them wondering why I read it but didn’t respond. And it feels like the person doesn’t trust me, and thinks I need monitoring like a kindergartener. Plus, I don’t know why, but I just find it a little creepy. If you’re not someone who is going to keep track of how long it takes someone to reply to your texts, then why do you even need read receipts on them?

      I don’t like them on emails, either, although I get that some people work in environments where they are necessary. And in those situations, I don’t have a problem with them. But there are some people in my office who have them turned on, and there’s really not a need for it here.

    7. Lissa*

      I actually like read receipts because it shortcuts my anxiety. “Did they see it? Are they asleep? Should I call? What if they’re busy? …oh, okay, they’ve read it. Mission accomplished.” I’m not stressing about when they answer me – I don’t care if it takes 48 hours for them to have time or inclination to text me back! I just want to know whether they have the information or if I should escalate my contact efforts.

    8. LadyL*

      Interesting responses from people! Y’all are surprisingly chill about response times, I think 90% of the people I know IRL use read receipts so they can send more “Why aren’t you responding, I know you read my text!?!?” type responses.

      I will say, WRT the idea that read receipts let you know the other person is there and alive, I get that, but also… I’m not even 30 and I remember back when you didn’t have easy access to people and we managed to survive. Like if I was at a friend’s house and my mom wanted to check in she either had to decide that it was important enough to call the friend’s house phone, or (way more common) she had to just assume I was fine and that she’d hear from me if something was wrong. Now my mom expects regular check ins to make sure I’m ok, and if I don’t respond quickly enough she assumes the worst since she knows I have my phone on me. I just don’t understand how I have a tighter leash at 28 than I did at 8. Same with bosses and work messages, and with friends, etc etc. We used to just have to be comfortable not really knowing where people were at, but now because the technology allows easy monitoring of our colleagues and loved ones it’s considered weird if you can’t verify with them multiple times a day. I dunno, I’m not sure that all this “helpful” technology is really helping us so much as it’s feeding our anxieties.

      1. sap*

        Yep, this drives me crazy too. I’ve trained my mom that each time she sends me panicked “haven’t heard from you are you dead” texts on something that’s not actually time sensitive, she gets an extra 24 hours of lag time and then an annoyed text that says “been pretty busy” before I actually respond to the substance, but it took YEARS.

    9. Decima Dewey*

      When I’m acting branch manager, and the admin in the area office who gets guards for us when we need them sends an email with a read receipt attached, I grit my teeth and send the stupid receipt. It’s important to stay on some people’s good side.

    10. Totally Minnie*

      I was talking with a friend just today who got a text from her roommate and didn’t have time to respond, but roommate saw that the text had been read. When friend did not reply to roommate’s text, roommate went through the roof and proceeded to continue texting about how friend is so horrible for not immediately responding to a text that roommate KNOWS she read.

      It’s a thing. And a problem.

  4. alienor*

    I really like read receipts because my college-age daughter (who lives with me) isn’t always great about texting back, but sometimes all I need is the read receipt for acknowledgment. For example: she’s out with friends, it’s past midnight, so I text her to tell her I’m going to bed but to let me know if she needs a ride home or anything. If I see the read receipt, I know she’s seen the message and that her phone still has power, so I can go to bed without worrying. Likewise, if she texts me at work and I’m in a meeting, she can see I got the message and knows I’ll reply as soon as I get out. I kind of don’t care what work-related people think or don’t think about getting read receipts from me, because they’re not my target audience.

    1. sacados*

      That’s really interesting! I hadn’t thought about that kind of usage before but I can see how it would definitely be reassuring to know.

      1. like, whatever*

        No idea. Back in the day my Nokia 3310 had a setting like that. I didn’t use it then either.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      That’s why I like them. I don’t need a response from The Kid, I just need to know she saw my message. Same with Mr. Shackelford.

    3. Throw pillow*

      You can set them just for individual people on the iPhone (probably other phones too!) I have them turned on just for my husband and off for everyone else.

    4. K*

      I like them for this reason, I use them that way with my spouse. Also on days when my anxiety is acting up, even if he does reply I can still tell myself that hes checking his phone and therefore alive and well. I don’t text for work so I’ve never had to think about them in that context.

    5. Nita*

      That is a good idea! I remember how frustrating it was to have the same conversation with my parents when I was in college. “How are you?” “Fine.” “What’s new?” “Same old.” Rinse, repeat. What can I say, most days nothing exciting happened, or if it did, it wasn’t anything I’d call home about! Texts with read receipts would have been so nice, and we could have saved the phone calls for the meaningful conversations.

    6. CMart*

      I like them for my BFF who really struggles with depression and anxiety (especially anxiety surrounding communication). Just knowing she’s looked at that meme I sent her reassures me she’s at least up and moving and checking her phone, that I don’t necessarily need to start calling around in panic when I haven’t heard from her in a week.

    7. Lily*

      I’m the same with texting my husband; often he’s at work (in a different city) or out without me somewhere; it’s good to know that he received my “I’ll be home late, text me if you want to join me at Pub” and just didn’t have time to reply, or—most importantly—that he definitely saw the “GRAB TAMPONS ON YOUR WAY BACK SOS” text! even if he couldn’t reply for whatever reason.

    8. Jennifer Thneed*

      The problem I’m seeing with your response (and the folks who agree with you) is that you DON”T know that the person saw the text. You only know that someone saw the text, maybe. What you really know is that the text was opened and displayed — and that can happen with fat-fingering any day.

      Since it’s working for you, it’s clearly working for you, but I want to caution people who have this assumption. It’s essentially the same assumption my then-teenaged niece used to make, that if she left someone a voicemail, that she had communicated with them. We had to point out that (a) she didn’t know if the voicemail actually went thru, and (b) she didn’t know if they had listened to it. (She was living with us. It took awhile but finally got thru.)

      1. Lily*

        I mean, sure, but in my case at least, I’m not relying on “read message” for anything life or death. Usually my husband responds and 9/10 times even if he doesn’t, he actually did read the message. If it were anything more serious I’d call or make sure I got an actual response, but for low-key stuff I wouldn’t call him over like tampons and “pick up cat litter”, it’s fine. Nobody is going to die if the cats get fresh litter in the AM instead.

      2. Lily*

        The voicemail thing is a bit different too because you’re right that she doesn’t know if anyone’s heard it, but “read message” comes with a reasonable certainty that the person probably did read it. And if not, and Mom gets woken up by a call to pick up her kid after all, oh well! As long as you aren’t relying on it for stuff like “Nana had a heart attack meet us at A&E ASAP,” you’re probably okay.

      3. Doreen*

        Sometimes it’s not so much that you want to know the person got the message as that you want to know when they didn’t. It’s possible that my husband could have somehow accidentally opened and displayed the text without reading it (although thats never actually happened ) – but it’s way more likely that the lack of a read receipt will let me know he didnt see the text and I had better call him if I want those eggs.

        1. Alienor*

          Yep, exactly. Even if daughter just accidentally opened the message and didn’t really read it (which has never happened that I know of) I still have confirmation that she’s on her phone and knows she’s got a message from me, and that’s almost always enough. If it were an emergency I’d call her.

          1. Quoth the Raven*

            I see where you’re coming from, but that confirmation is precisely the reason I’ve turned off both read receipts and “last online” for all messaging apps I use (except Facebook Messenger, which doesn’t let me do it).

            I’ve been in the position before where people have become upset at me because “You left me as ‘read’ and you didn’t reply!” or who have told me “You don’t like me anymore, right? You won’t talk to me and I know you’re on your phone” and for my own mental health I’d rather avoid it — if it’s anything I need a quick response to, I call; if not, I figure the other person will reply when, and if, they want.

  5. Sylvan*

    #3: Go ahead with Alison’s advice. That makes sense. When I was in training at old jobs, I would try to save my questions for one conversation, with notes, to prevent disruptions to my work and others’ and to keep myself organized.

  6. bunniferous*

    Well, back in 1984, my mom worked a civilian job on base, and I lived out of state with my husband. The day I went into labor with my first, her coworkers threw her a shower for me. So I say it depends on office culture, and the OP can ask around the office to see if folks would be interested.

    1. Bacon Pancakes*

      Nope. Still inappropriate in the context given by the LW, even if it “worked” at your mom’s office.

    2. WellRed*

      She wasn’t, I assume, going to see/babysit the baby regularly? So why would she need to be showered?

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Mom’s co-workers held a shower for commenter, not for Mom.

        “her coworkers threw her a shower for me”. If she’d been local, they’d have thrown for her directly. (Still weird that it’s coworkers, but working in/for the armed forces is not like working in other kinds of jobs.)

    3. AsItIs*

      For every grandmother-to-be shower there is a soon-to-be-mother who has a dreadful interfering, baby-snatching mother-in-law, who in turn thinks that a newborn will be staying overnight with her so she can mommy to someone else’s baby, hence the “need” to stock an entire nursery at her home not the parents’ home (and a spineless soon-to-be-father/husband who is afraid to tell his mother “no”).

      To the OP: If you have an ounce of compassion,

  7. HR here*

    #3, good luck…I have the same problem with several employees but no matter how many times, how many different ways, they still just interrupt me whenever. It is crazy-making, and my boss hasn’t really stepped in to help back me up.
    Curious if anyone else has had this stubborn problem.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They’re your employees, as in you manage them? If so, you don’t really need your boss for back-up; you just need to clearly tell them what you want them to do and then correct them if they don’t.

    2. Come along Ponds*

      Well, do they have the resources, training and autonomy needed to do their jobs?

    3. Bea*

      It can vary depending on each individual greatly. I’ve worked with people who simply can’t modify their ways when it comes to questions. They need a manager who is constantly available because each question makes them spin their wheels until it’s responded to.

      If it’s every 5 minutes, that’s a performance issue. They’re not trained properly or they do not retain the information. They should have other resources as well.

      However if your boss doesn’t see it as problematic and ties your hands in how you handle performance issues, you’re in a losing situation and it won’t change.

      1. Jen*

        What I have found is the need to coach new employees in how to try to find an answer themselves. Like “I know if you searched X resource, which I have trained you on, you could find this out on your own.” So trying to teach new employees on when and how to ask a question can be important. If you are coming to me because you want to shortcut finding it out yourself and haven’t done the proper work yourself, I tend to send them back to do the research first instead of doing it for them. If they have gone through all the steps I taught them and resources I trained them on and still have a question, then we can talk.

    4. Trinny*

      I have always found it helpful to be repetitive in these situations. Eventually even the most annoying employee will catch on if you enforce the rules with no give, so never make exceptions. When the employee comes up you, you need to clearly remind them of your meeting time later that day and dismiss them and then be all ears in the meeting.

      1. Bea*

        Except this commenter doesn’t have her boss to back her up.

        Dismissing someone without any give can lead to major issues when the report then starts telling others her boss keeps refusing to respond. You have to find a middle ground unless you’re the end all boss without anyone to check you on your management style.

        Your response is harsh and I’ve had bosses who would fire me if I treated a staff member like that. Managers are usually encouraged to be the flexible person who can’t be so rigid on dealing with a staffer who needs assistance. That’s one if the reasons why we make more than they do.

        1. Jen*

          I didn’t think that was harsh and bosses who wouod be upset for basic boundaries are terrible. When I first supervised, I made myself too available and had yondraw lines later. Understanding “you are one of 20 people I supervise, I cannot.drop everything to help you at a seconds notice” (which I almost explicitly said to a particularly recalcitrant employee) have been effective for me. It is hard to know what a non-supportive boss means. My boss coached me through these things but would not step in herself.

          1. Not A Morning Person*

            Yes, it’s not harsh to tell an employee that you can’t work with them right now and that you have other priorities and will see them later at your previously scheduled time. Employees can learn when to interrupt for “emergencies” that the manager needs to address NOW and when to wait for the appropriate time. Also, Trinny didn’t say to not respond to the employee but to tell the employee to come back with the question at the scheduled time. This is an appropriate response and not at all harsh or in any way letting the employee flounder. Sometimes the manager’s work takes priority over the employee’s question, especially questions that come every five minutes.
            It’s important that the manager provide the employee with resources and tools and training, but the manager needs employees who can use those resources, tools, and training to do their job and not always expect the manager to provide the answer. Otherwise, why have an employee if the employee always needs direction from the manager every five minutes?

        2. Nox*

          Thank you Bea, I am one of those operations people who removes supervisors/ managers from roles for conduct you’ve described.

          You need to be flexible and understand people who have different needs and learning styles aren’t burdens. I have a strong dislike for this type of behavior and advice because it sounds cool in writing till it causes disengagement with the work or in leadership when an employee is made to feel bad for reaching out which then circulates around.

          1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

            oh dear.

            Is supervision the only job that these people have, because most managers/supervisors do more than wait for questions all day. How are they to get everything done?

            Like anything there has to be a balance you can’t shut out employees completely or be totally rigid and inflexible, but at the same time you have to be free to draw reasonable limits.

            There are people who cannot work independently or won’t until pushed out of their comfort zone.

            I hope you are giving your managers and supervisors the support they need as they work with their teams.

            1. Annon now*

              Ditto the last sentence. I worked at a call center where the materials we had for reference were incomplete and out of date. Occasional emails would go out with corrections and updates, but looking through emails to find the right info was time consuming, and sometimes you had to ask a manager. The rules were they were the only people who could call outside for info and clarification. So it was not unusual to see several people lined up waiting to have their questions answered. Upper managemennt would go on tirades about this, and yes, some people kept asking the same question, but overall the employees were not given the resources they needed and were doing the best they could. This went on for years, unfortunately.

          2. Not A Morning Person*

            It sounds like the experience you’ve had is very different from what is being recommended. Of course the recommendations aren’t saying to be rude and dismissive of employees who come to you for help. But neither is it helpful to just answer all the questions at every interruption. Answering is for emergencies or for thornier issues that might require the manager’s experience or approval, otherwise, it’s best to encourage employees to think about what they’ve learned and use that to get their answer. A manager should’t be expected to be the answer machine. Employees should be trained up to do their jobs. It is possible to provide employees with a respectful response to come back later or at the predetermined time and then to teach them how to get the answers on their own.

      2. Fern*

        +1. I agree by letting them approach you whenever can make it worse as they are confused by the rules. Be straightforward!

        1. Jen*

          It also can help tomdirect questions by email. I find in person questions push a quick answer and you may not have time to investigate fully. So for complex questions, I ask for an email.

      3. What's with today, today?*

        That “no exceptions” policy wouldn’t work in my industry at all.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          Well, then, don’t do it in your industry! That doesn’t mean it’s an ineffective approach in other industries or businesses.

    5. Jen*

      “We have our scheduled meeting at 2. Please save your questions for then.” Don’t reward the interruption.

    6. Doug Judy*

      Do you have a set meeting with them on a regular basis so they can ask questions? I had a boss who’d ask us to just bring our list of questions to our weekly one on one, but 9/10 times he’d have to push it back or it got canceled. I’d be lucky if we met once a month. Eventually I had to just email him or ask him direct because I got to a point I couldn’t move forward.

      If you are meeting with them regularly then be firm that is when to bring non urgent things up. But if you’re not regularly sitting with them one on one, perhaps start there.

      1. Anononon*

        Yup, this. At my last place, I would ask my boss multiple questions throughout the day, and it annoyed him a lot. He would often make noise about the two of us meeting once a day to go over all of my questions. That happened maybe twice. It was extra frustrating because he insisted on reviewing/approving every thing I did, so I needed him to meet with me so we could move stuff along. I would have drafts that would sit for months before he finally looked at them. (He was awful all around, and there was nothing I could have ever done to change him. I knew on Day One that the goal was to get experience for at least a year and then get out.)

    7. Nita*

      Yes, sometimes! Resolving it really depends on what the questions are. I have coworkers who constantly call with small questions from field visits. They don’t see the next one coming up, because it’s always something unforeseen, so they can’t save them up. It’s really mostly a matter of them having a hard time judging what they can resolve on their own, vs. what I need to know about right away… and some people just err on the side of caution to an extreme.

      With something like that, I don’t push back too hard – I’d rather deal with it until they build up some confidence, than not be informed of something big because it didn’t seem like a big deal. However, if these are not urgent questions and they can be saved up in an email or a document, I’d expect not to be pelted with calls every five minutes.

  8. sacados*

    OP3: I would add that if the employee is particularly stubborn / oblivious and Allison’s advice isn’t working, then maybe a next step could be to set a check-in meeting every day to specifically answer these questions.
    Then you have something concrete you can point to to say “Please save that for the meeting” or “Is this urgent? If it’s not, please wait and ask me at our meeting.”
    It’s a bit more concrete, and might work better than “please save your questions for one or two batches a day” — particularly with the type of employee who doesn’t really realize just how often they might be asking questions.

  9. Rosie*

    LW 1-NO! Just congratulate her on your own in your own way (card/gift/whatever). Don’t force everyone else in your office into this. Also, I’m seeing a Dear Prudence or Captain A letter in our near future. Maybe something about my child’s grandparent is way too involved/won’t respect boundaries.

    1. Turanga Leela*

      People get excited for grandkids! They can be involved and still respect boundaries. This seems weirdly negative.

      1. Specialk9*

        Yeah, being a grandparent is reported to be way more fun than being a parent.

        It would be problematic if one assumed things about what the co-worker was feeling, or was being rude/dismissive to people not in that category.

        But OP is pretty clear: “she’s excited, I like her, I want to recognize her excitement, what’s an appropriate way to do that?”

      2. AMPG*

        I agree. My mom was over the moon when I got pregnant, and has been very involved with my kids, but is always respectful of us as the parents.

        Also, her coworkers did chip in to get her a couple of small but very thoughtful presents for the first grandchild, which I thought was really sweet. It wasn’t a “shower,” though, and I suspect that’s where the line is.

    2. Les G*

      What is with these responses? It’s really normal to be excited about becoming a grandparent. For a lot of folks it’s the best thing to happen to them after becoming a parent. Jeez.

      1. Kay*

        Probably because while it’s exciting for grandparents, a lot of women have experiences from their parents or family in law pressuring them, subtly, obviously, sometimes even unintentionally to have children, even if its as innocent as ‘oh time to start making babies!’ and it makes women who don’t want children feel awkward, and puts pressure on women who are struggling with fertility or are going through any number of person issues that might affect timing. Especially as the OP states the woman comes from a conversative household and this is ‘her dream’ it’s something that a lot of commenters might feel a bit iffy about

        1. Ciara Amberlie*

          I agree.

          In this letter in particular the fact that LW says that the grandmother has been “waiting years for this” and is “finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for” suggests that this is a little more than just normal excitement at becoming a grandparent.

          The tone of the letter certainly made me feel a little uncomfortable, and it may be having the same effect on other commenters.

          1. Julia*

            Same. Having grandchildren isn’t a human right the daughter is withholding. No one is owed any grandchildren.
            I also wonder what was “traditional” about getting an education before having kids?

          2. Jen*

            That rubbed me the wrong way too. I had some similar kinds of “You’re finally giving your mom grandkids” and “Welcome to the most important job of your life” comments and assumptions that I would quit my job that I found frustrating from some of my mom’s super traditionalist family (my mom, thankfully does not display those attitudes). Like my schooling and career development was just a side project before becoming a mom. Not to mention that getting established in your career first helps you with the cost of parenthood, which in the US is insane and the most commonly cited reason people are delaying or not having children. (To be clear, no judgment for those who do the reverse, I know people who have made it work having kids in grad or law school and kudos to them).

          3. PB*

            Me, too. I’m child-free by choice, and I bristled a bit reading this. I’m sure the OP didn’t mean it this way, but it reminded me of times I’ve encountered the idea that I “owe” my parents a grandchild, and I’m being unfair (or worse) by not “giving” them one. Again, probably not what OP intended, but that’s what’s causing the negative responses.

            1. McWhadden*

              I am also child-free by choice and I find these negative responses completely disproportionate and callous.

              Parents are allowed to want grandkids even if we don’t want to give them. Grandparents are allowed to be excited. Someone putting expectations on us doesn’t give us the right to smear someone for absolutely no cause.

              And it is just as likely (more likely) that her child wanted kids (since she’s having one) and had been trying for a long time and that’s why she was waiting.

              1. Thursday Next*

                I’m with you—I’m finding some of these responses surprising, but really interesting! A lot more people seem to be responding with respect to their own experiences, even though nothing in the original letter suggests that similar experiences are in play here.

                People can be happy when something they perceive as positive happens. It doesn’t mean they’ve been pressuring anyone to make it happen, or that they look down on anyone who doesn’t share that feeling/experience.

                And we can be happy for someone who’s happy, even if that same thing wouldn’t make us happy! I have never thrown a cat birthday party, but I have gone to them.

              2. Manya*

                They’re allowed to want them, but it’s inappropriate to pressure your kids to have kids. This has happened to me and countless others. If it hasn’t happened to you, count your lucky stars.

                1. McWhadden*

                  I didn’t say it never happened to me. I said it is completely irrelevant to this LW. And it’s absolutely WRONG to put our baggage on someone excited about being a grandmother.

              3. sap*

                I said this below, but I think it’s relevant and important that *OP’s* language is setting off bells for a lot of women about pressure to have kids.

                Since the way *OP* is talking about the shower makes a lot of women uncomfortable, it seems pretty likely that the way *OP* would present/conduct the shower would make some women in the office uncomfortable, and that means that *regardless* of whether the grandmother in question is behaving appropriately or not, it is a bad idea *for the OP* to plan an event like this.

          4. MusicWithRocksInIt*

            Yes – This. Don’t set up your hopes and dreams based on someone else’s reproductive choices. Socially we put *so much* pressure on woman about baby-making, even woman that plan to have kids one day have a lot of feelings about stuff like this.

        2. Sally*

          This is a bit of a “sandwiches” issue and derailing. Nothing in the letter indicates that that is an issue here.

          1. Les G*

            Thank you for being a voice of reason! I feel like I’ve stepped into a multiplex, with all this projecting.

          2. Anononon*

            Yup, it’s the AAM commentariat deciding that because most of the people here don’t like social office gatherings, to one degree or another, all askers must be swayed from ever imposing them on others.

            I rarely disagree with Alison, but I think the answer here is “know your office”. In my department at work of about fifteen people, most of them love gatherings. If one of them was this excited to become a grandparent, I could totally see organizing something little for them.

            1. Specialk9*

              This is pretty clearly NOT touching the introvert nerve, it’s touching the “assumptions that women will have babies, immediately, and are cruel for not doing so” nerve. (I gather)

              1. Anononon*

                1) some of the threads are leaning towards the anti-social trend more than this one.

                2) that’s fully a projection of commenters on this question, though. There is nothing to indicate from the question that this woman will be an awful grandmother or that her kids aren’t equally excited for her to finally be a grandmother. Yes, it’s something valid for the OP to consider. But, there are soooo many good grandparents out there who are heavily involved in their grandkids lives while still respecting boundaries. It’s also completely normal to be excited to finally be a grandparent without also blaming or being angry at their child for making them wait.

                1. Specialk9*

                  I didn’t say the grandmother says she was cruel (although it’s somewhat impled by ALL the WAITING she mentioned in the letter), I meant all the people who seem to think it’s ok to chide childfree women for being cruel to their mothers by robbing them off grandkids. Look through the comments, that’s a thing. And it’s icky. Which is why it’s a nerve that’s getting plucked with this letter.

          3. Indie*

            I don’t think anyone suspects this particular lady of being a womb-wooer; it’s more a caution against ‘grandparent showers’ becoming general practice because womb-wooers are everywhere. This lady is close to her daughter, so she will likely be included in the *real* shower her daughter will hold (if she wants one). The problem with grandparent showers is that they would be a godsend for people who are intrusive and make it all about them. I doubt this lady even wants a shower of her own; she would probably be ok to take one or two family friend gifts to the actual shower, or she would probably just prefer someone to discuss grandma stuff with.

            1. Not A Morning Person*

              This makes sense. And the part about discussing grandma stuff, particularly. If future grandma is a good mom or MIL, then she hasn’t been pressuring the future mom, but sharing some of her hopes and dreams with her friend instead. I do agree with Alison that there should be no party at work. If the OP wants to find a way to celebrate her friend’s excitement, then okay, do that, but not in the office.

            2. bean*

              +1,000,000. I think Indie nailed it.

              The womb-wooers (OMG that term!) are everywhere, and for this to become common practice and to be encouraged in general, including among womb-wooers would be a creepy nightmare for the women who are already having difficulty getting them to respect boundaries. Whether this particular grandmother-to-be is one of them, we don’t know (and her coworker might not know, either, honestly), but that’s not the point. Aside from the completely appropriate points Alison raises about why this is not an appropriate office idea, grandma showers can be minefields in ways that would be entirely unknown to the grandma’s friends but horribly fraught in terms of the grandma’s relationship with the new mom. A big “yikes” to this one. If the grandma-to-be is not one of the aforementioned WW’s (OMG now I abbreviated it), I totally agree that she’d probably be completely happy to have a private celebratory lunch with her coworker friend, show off some photos, and be able to share exciting grandkid milestones when they happen. Coworker friend can give her a card/gift privately if she’d like, but an office event seems inappropriate here.

              1. sap*

                I think that, regardless of if the *grandmother* is one of those people, the way *OP* is talking about the purpose of the shower is also feeding into all of those inappropriate, gross, cultural assumptions about married women being obligated to have kids for their in-laws’/parents’ enjoyment, which makes it really likely that the type of shower that OP would organize/the language OP would use to talk about the shower would feed into that as well, because OP is using language that offends a lot of women here and is likely to offend some of their female coworkers.

          4. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I think ultimately it doesn’t change the answer. The OP shouldn’t have a grandmother shower because (a) showers are by definition requests for gifts from other people, and most people do not want to increase the number of occasions that they’re expected to buy gifts for coworkers, (b) most people won’t think this occasion in particular warrants it anyway, and (c) it will set other people up to feel like they were treated differently, like the coworker who became a grandparent last year and got no recognition and others who become grandparents in the future. Oh, and I suppose (d) – are you also going to do it for all future grandfathers as well, or is this going to be gendered, which is inappropriate for work?

            There can be all kind of other emotions floating around the question for some people, but whether or not you share those emotions, the above will still apply.

      2. Hornswoggler*

        If you frequent the subreddit JustNoMIL (Just No Mother-in-law), you will have seen a number of stories where an overbearing grandmother-to-be has thrown a grandmother shower in order to kit out an entire nursery in their own (not the parents’) home, with the expectation that they’re going to get the baby to stay on its own overnight and basically pretend they’re the parent. It DOES turn really dark, really quickly, because the people who do this aren’t ‘normal’.

        For grandparents who can be excited and respect boundaries, it’s more than fine. (I’m sure the LW’s co-worker is a case in point, since she mentions that the daughter is on board with heavy grandmotherly involvement.) But there ARE some really disturbing stories out there.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            I think LW meant that the grandmother and her daughter both agreed the grandmother would be involved, not that it wasn’t the daughter’s baby.

    3. Bea*

      What? Tons of grandparents are involved. Some of us are incredibly close to our parents and they’re a great asset to have given extreme child care costs. You’re taking a dark turn here, I’m sorry your mother is meddlesome and hurt you?

      1. Maggie*

        Ah, but that’s exactly the point, Bea. Lots of people’s mothers HAVE hurt them, and grandparent relationships can be as fraught and troublesome as parent-child relationships. And this is work, where you’re not supposed to have to think about that! If OP1 is friends with Jane, go for a card/whatever, but OP1 shouldn’t involve her office mates.

      2. Nox*

        Loool yeah the theatrics are really reaching. I thought we aren’t allowed to project or add content not provided in the letters?

        Idle minds I guess.

        1. MusicWithRocksInIt*

          I think the point is that a lot of woman have weird and gross feelings about being pressured from parents to have children and if the OP calls out to her office saying “We are gonna throw a shower because Grandparent is finally going to have the grandchild she has always dreamed of” there is a good chance that woman *in that office* will have the same feelings that are being expressed here and will feel icked out by the whole thing. And you don’t want to do something that is gonna ick out all your female coworkers.

          1. Anononon*

            That’s very hyperbolic to say that this would gross out all of the women. The same thing could be said about a typical baby shower, if some of the coworkers are struggling with infertility or other difficulties. Also, an office/department of 10 to 15 can be small enough to know whether the specific coworkers would genuinely be into it. (Of course people might hide things and maybe you’ll never 100% be sure of everyone, but thinking of my own experience, I know how excited my own coworkers get for congratulatory parties.)

            1. Anonforthispost*

              No, it’s not. The number of women responding negatively to this should show you it’s a problem.

              And no one has said “all women.” That’s you moving the goalposts.

              And just because it’s s small office means squat.

              I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people keep their mouths shut in small offices because they didn’t want to be the one or two people who were party poopers. It actually might mean people who are bothered are a lot less likely to speak up.

              1. Anononon*

                I was responding to a direct quote. “And you don’t want to do something that is gonna ick out all your female coworkers.”

                Did you read my parenthetical? Yes, some people may deeply hide their feelings, but, watching from the outside at times, the actual excitement I see from most of coworkers at planning celebrations would be very difficult to fake. Also, because we all know each other pretty well, we know there are a couple people on the team not as into these celebrations. They know there’s no obligation for them to be rah rah rah about it, and no on pressures them to do so. There are enough different types of social events for there to be some that everyone enjoys.

                1. Specialk9*

                  Really? I’m a freaking magician at simulating that revved-up peppy excitement for others’ life events.

                  I love community, and really care about making people feel heard and cared-about… but I’ve never felt the way society seems to think I must because I’m a woman. I don’t want to squeal and emote, I just want to connect and support and help make things easier. But I do the performance thing because it’s the convention, and because I’m a natural leader so I end up planning this stuff anyway. (Shrug)

                  And you’d never know, watching me do that performance woman thing.

                2. Specialk9*

                  But I’m not weighing in on the “all women” part, to be clear. Just that you’d know if people were faking excitement. Cultures create roles and people often try to fit them if it’s not too hard.

                3. Anononon*

                  I get what you’re saying and I agree that, ultimately, I have no idea how others feel about events. However, my position on that is going to be that, if most people do appear to enjoy it, and 1) there are no repercussions for those who don’t and don’t participate and 2) there are other options for social events to appeal to a broad array of people, I’m not going to recommend that people not have these events on the chance that someone is not going to like it.

                  Of course, there are a lot of assumptions in that viewpoint. I work in a generally healthy, functional workplace where this is possible. It would not apply in many work places.

            2. MusicWithRocksInIt*

              Sorry – I should not have said that it would absolutely ick out all the woman in the office. Based on the comments we are getting here though, there is a good chance it would trigger some uncomfortable feels in some of them. There are other reasons listed above that the shower would be a bad idea, you don’t want to seem like a gift grab, you don’t want to set a precedent, this is just one more tally in the don’t column. The chance that you are making woman in the office uncomfortable.

              A lot of the language the OP used seemed to say that a lot of the Grandmother’s dreams and happiness were tied up in her daughter’s reproductive choices, which while it may work perfectly for that family, is an idea that makes a fair amount of woman uncomfortable. I think woman in the comments are coming forward with their experiences around those feelings to show that they are more common that most people might think.

        2. Anonforthispost*

          Theatrics? That’s reaching and projecting. And, honestly, nitpicking people’s take on this. It’s as judgey as you claiming they are being. Not a neutral choice of words.

          They aren’t trying to derail, but add context OP needs. Namely, a lot of people find the concept weird and some find it problematic. Offensive, even. OP needs to hear that.

          I think the fact that there’s so much emotion in this on multiple sides of the issue should show you why this might be a bad idea.

          I really hope Allison gives some guidance e on this.

          1. post-it*

            yeah the distinction between “nitpicking” and “saying something regular commenters disagree with” has gotten frustratingly blurred lately.

        3. Detective Amy Santiago*

          The OP asked if this was a thing they should do. Commenters are pointing out that it could be a problematic thing for a variety of reasons.

          How is that projecting or theatrics?

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I could see a letter from an office drone who is opposed to radically upping the number of shower gifts they are expected to contribute to for coworkers by expanding the pool of work-shower-worthy happenings.

      But there is nothing remotely unusual about being thrilled to become a grandparent. Whipping out the picture sleeve is a trope for a reason.

    5. AsItIs*

      For every grandmother-to-be shower there is a soon-to-be-mother who has a dreadful interfering, baby-snatching mother-in-law, who in turn thinks that a newborn will be staying overnight with her so she can mommy to someone else’s baby, hence the “need” to stock an entire nursery at her home not the parents’ home (and a spineless soon-to-be-father/husband who is afraid to tell his mother “no”).

      To the OP: If you have an ounce of compassion,

      (Yes I’m repeating this because crazy grannies are a thing, so is PPD from the stress of dealing with crazy grannies.

  10. Observer*

    Firstly, don’t do anything for the pregnancy. You really have no idea how the daughter feels about that, for one thing. And there are a lot of complicated feelings around all of this.

    When the baby is born, a gift from you is fine. Passing around a card for congratulations on the happy occasion is ok. But a shower? Nah. In addition to what Alison said, it gets WAAAY too much into what her role and (self imposed) “duties” are. And that’s so varied from family, that’s it’s best not to bring it into the wider office.

    1. Maddie*

      Plus only a female would do this and we already have many assumptions made about our gender. Let’s not make it worse.

      1. Dragoning*

        “only a female would do this and we already have many assumptions made about our gender.”


    2. Gen*

      I’m not saying OP will do this but I know my mums coworkers (who were all older women) were very invested when we managed to have a kid and a lot of the wording was around ‘how long we’d made her wait to be a grandmother’. We’d had multiple miscarriages at that point. Of course my mum at least had the discretion not to tell her coworkers such deeply personal information but what was already a fraught and scary time ended up being slightly worsened by the feeling of strangers judging us for not producing a baby quickly enough.

      It sounds like you’re friends so just focus on that and not office gift shenanigans. Be happy for her. Be supportive if you think she needs it. Get her something nice once the baby arrives- my mum got a lot of use out of local coffee shop cards because that was somewhere she could take our son to show him off.

      1. Specialk9*

        I’m sorry that you dealt with that. That must have felt so painful to be accused of cruelty on top of having to suffer with miscarriages.

      2. Observer*

        Oh, that’s rough!

        I’m glad your mother is a discreet type, but this is such a good reminder for people to not jump because you really never know the whole story.

    3. Thursday Next*

      Unless the daughter is also a coworker, I don’t think OP needs to consider her perspective when deciding whether to celebrate this occasion.

      OP should definitely consider their office culture, though. (And as I’ve said in another thread, I think a shower is not the right kind of celebration for a grandparent-to-be. It shouldn’t be about gifts at all.)

      1. Observer*

        Really? I think that common courtesy dictates otherwise. If you want to see why, look at the stories posted all over the comments section about how problematic this kind of thing is.

        1. Dragoning*

          I think the assumption is that it doesn’t affect the daughter, since this is a work event.

          Problem with that is, the daughter is almost certainly going to hear about it.

          1. Thursday Next*

            Yes, I meant that as a work event, only the coworker would be likely to be involved, not her daughter.

            I am not advocating for this kind of party, just responding to the OP’s question of whether it could be done, to which my answer is that it depends on the office culture, and it definitely shouldn’t be gift-oriented.

          2. Jane E*

            Yeah, the daughter will likely know. But what if the daughter’s coworkers don’t throw her a baby shower? But her mother had one? That will be weird.

    4. AsItIs*

      For every grandmother-to-be shower there is a soon-to-be-mother who has a dreadful interfering, baby-snatching mother-in-law, who in turn thinks that a newborn will be staying overnight with her so she can mommy to someone else’s baby, hence the “need” to stock an entire nursery at her home not the parents’ home (and a spineless soon-to-be-father/husband who is afraid to tell his mother “no”).

      To the OP: If you have an ounce of compassion,

      (Yes I’m repeating this because crazy grannies are a thing, so is PPD from the stress of dealing with crazy grannies.

  11. Lumen*

    #3: Most of the time it’s fine for me to ask my boss questions aloud, or over our messenger app, or to just pop over to her desk. But when I know she’s particularly buried, I’ll tell her that I’ll just send her an email with everything so she can get to it when she’s able (which means she also doesn’t have to interrupt me when I’ve moved on to something else). As long as it’s not preventing me from getting something done, this works out well for both of us when our ‘free moments’ don’t line up.

    Make sure your report knows she can still bring stuff to you if she needs a Right Now answer, and then use that as a training tool: point it out to her when she brights a Right Now question that could have been saved for later. It’ll really help her work better with you, but also improve her time management and autonomy skills.

  12. savethedramaforyourllama*

    I am dealing with the same issue as #2, and I have to remind myself if my boss wants to pay me to do a bunch of work that never goes anywhere, well, that’s his prerogative because its his money. It makes it a *little* less frustrating, even though its ridiculous that we waste so much money in the form of my time.

    1. Bea*

      This mentality has saved me years of wasted emotions with bosses who are similar. Unless I’m wasting time in a way that they then get pissy about because it caused a delay in another project, I’m there to do whatever they’re trying to do at whatever given moment.

      In the end they’re not likely to change and there is a clash of personalities if you fight it too hard. It can be a sign you’ll need a new job.

    2. Ganymede*

      Yep – I was in a voluntary group where one of the men used to bring fantastic ideas to the group, which we would all get very enthused about – things like “I know someone in Country Abroad who would love to have this showcased as part of an event, we could all travel out there” (not as farfetched as that might sound from the outside, but still a significant project). He would present it like a gift to us, we (all women) would start googling flights and dates and discussing how much money and personnel we needed… then… nada…. We got wise to him after a while and would say “That’s great Wakeen, why don’t you create a budget and reach out to X person and come back” and he never did.

      Obviously the setting was different, as a non-profit, but we realised that he felt just bringing the idea to us was the accomplishment. He was a very hard and creative worker in many ways but this always makes me smile.

    3. Persimmons*

      Yes! I’m R&D-adjacent, and it’s just the nature of the beast for a lot of things to fall through. Not only do I remind myself that I’m still getting compensated, but I also keep/recycle things whenever possible. I’ve often been able to shortcut later work because I salvaged and repurposed bits of an abandoned project. (This is rather easy when you deal in code–it’s obviously less viable if you are manufacturing large equipment or making things with expiration dates.)

      1. Lora*

        Eh, yes and no. Just finished a project that had a large “and when it falls through, what can we do with a set of giant reactors that we literally built the building around?” component to it. The cancellation fees depend on how far along you got in the process, and it has to be a fairly substantial time and money investment before it becomes truly cost prohibitive to not move forwards.

        I think what OP needs are agreed-upon stage gates: I will do X amount of work on this project until [date] or until you reach a go-no go decision point. Until boss makes the go-no go decision, all work halts. That way you clearly set expectations, and Boss gets a sparkling clear notion of how much work he is investing in things without a clear path forward.

        Have worked for startups where nobody heard of a stage gate and it was frustrating as heck, for exactly the reasons OP describes: hurry up and rush full steam ahead on….no wait, now hurry up and rush full steam ahead on….no, hang on, now we have a different Brilliant Idea… and there was no end of wacky ideas but after four years of that nonsense they had a pile of half-finished crap that didn’t amount to a paper, a piece of intellectual property, or a product they could develop. They just had four years of half-baked crap, which for a startup is A Problem. Nobody ever vetted the ideas for “were you stoned when you came up with this nonsense” or had any clear notion of how to fit ideas into a larger strategy, there was no big picture thinking going on.

        I think OP can introduce the notion of a stage gate to the boss, if Boss decides he wants to follow it, great – if not, well, you tried. Typically you lay out at the start of the Brilliant Idea,
        -What you need to make a go/no-go decision
        -How do we get that information
        -What are the deliverables exactly that the boss is looking for to make that decision. A report? A prototype? A pilot study?
        -How much money should be invested? Is there a dollar value limit for, say, hiring outside consultants or operating expenses?
        -What is the deadline? What are the time sensitive points?
        -How many hours should be dedicated to the effort, relative to other projects?

        It may not be possible to get the stage gate thing going; I’ve known many venture capitalist and consulting type places that flitted from one idea to another like butterflies, and it was simply your job to do as you were told, never wrapping anything up, but they were pretty clear that this was the job and they didn’t mind paying for your billable hours.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      At least he isn’t working for Boyd Crowder, who on Justified embodied this type of management but for criminal enterprises.

    5. Zombeyonce*

      It is really detrimental to you, though, and not just because it’s frustrating. It makes it pretty difficult to ever put any achievements or accomplishments on your resume for that job since you never actually get to finish anything.

      1. savethedramaforyourllama*

        you are totally right, it just helps with the attitude while you’re trying to get out.

    6. Gerber Daisy*

      Me too! It’s frustrating as anything, especially when you drop other projects to focus on it. Many times I’ve gotten the project right up to the point of no return and then the owner changes their mind or wants to “put it on hold for now” aka “not make a decision”. I’ve learned to do the bare minimum in regards to it and check in before really moving forward with it as that gives them an opportunity to tell me that they changed their mind before wasting a bunch of time on it.

  13. Yourethicsconfuseme*

    I keep my read receipts on in general for my friends. We prefer them. Otherwise it’s frustrating to wait around for a text back instead of calling if they have seen your message. I had mine turned off because of the issues above. However, my best friend got annoyed and taught me a little something:

    YOU CAN TURN READ RECEIPTS ON AND OFF FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE. On an iPhone, you can leave them on in general. For anyone you don’t want to have read receipts, if they are saved in your contacts:
    – go into the message
    – press the little info symbol (an i in a circle)
    -switch off read receipts
    -you can also hide alerts (work group chat anyone)

    1. Lioness*

      And vice versa. You can have read receipts off in general and turn them on for specific people.

      That way you get to keep your preference for the most part, and change it for some.

      Although, this shouldn’t be something you’re pressured to change. It should be something you’d want to do. I’d be giving an odd look if anyone gave me a hard time for what my preferences are as opposed to what they actually have control over.

    2. Mookie*

      I use it in my personal life, as well. It’s kind of nice when a soon-to-be ex-acquaintance left on read for ages when the relationship was good now sends me a message that never, ever gets alerted as read. The meaning seems clear (and, yeah, passive-aggressive).

      1. Specialk9*

        Wait, what happened? They stopped reading your texts, or they turned off read receipts?

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          I think it’s the reverse: Mookie never reads the text so the friend never gets the read-receipt.

      2. Pollygrammer*

        I have also encountered read receipts as a passive-aggressive power-play–it can basically be negging.

        1. Snickerdoodle*

          Yeah. It’s used in dating a lot. It can be “No response IS a response,” but it can also be “Nah, you’re just not worth my time (at least not right now), and I want you to know that.”

    3. EMW*

      Also read receipts only work if both people have it turned on – so unless your coworkers also have on read receipts turned on it won’t notify anyone.

      I personally keep them on. The few coworkers I text wouldn’t stress that I read a text but hadn’t replied. Or if it was time critical they would call. We all travel a bit so it’s helpful to see it’s been read.

      1. Lioness*

        That’s not true. I keep read receipts off and get them from people have it turned on.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      Oooh, this is good to know, thanks! My kid prefers to leave read receipts off (because Today’s Youth have made leaving a message left on read receipt a Big Bad Thing), but if she could turn it on for me and not her friends, that would be great.

    5. Shades of Blue*

      Great info. Thanks for sharing!

      Now am I going to turn it on for specific people…no, haha, but I’m glad I can if I want to in the future!

  14. Turanga Leela*

    #1 – Your coworker will probably be delighted if you (and maybe other close friends at work) buy her lunch and give her a small gift. A shower for a grandparent would be so unusual that it might even make your coworker uncomfortable. But doing something small and nice for her would be a lovely gesture.

    #4 – I’ve only seen this become an issue in industries like BigLaw, where the expectation is that you’re on call 24/7. There are horror stories about people who get a text from the boss at 1 a.m., check their phone briefly and decide to deal with it in the morning, and then get yelled at for not responding when they were obviously awake. If you have read receipts turned off, you can claim that you slept through the text.
    …but that’s coming from a pretty unhealthy field. Hopefully the norms are better at your job!

  15. Maddie*

    Good grief no more occasions for office gift giving. Just get a card and gift yourself.

    Let your coworkers decide for themselves.

    1. Mockingjay*


      It’s a strange trend, in which office staff now substitute for family to celebrate life milestones.

      1. AsItIs*

        It’s often a gift grab or needing to be the center of attention. Or because downright entitlement, and not just to gifts but to someone else’s baby!

  16. PumpkinSpiceForever*

    #5: apply directly with the employer if at all possible. That’s typically what I did when looking for my current job. Last March, I atypically applied for a job via LinkedIn, With no response from the employer. In August, I applied for the same job directly with the employer. I received a response from the employer, went through a few interviews, got offered the job, and accepted. When I mentioned my earlier application with the HR rep, she appeared completely shocked, and told me that they’d have contacted me in May if they’d seen my application. Apparently, they’d had issues with applications via LinkedIn. In the end, I got the job so YAY, but I’d have loved to have gotten it months earlier than I did!

    TL;DR – LinkedIn wonkiness apparently three my (later successful) job application into a black hole. Apply directly with the employer!

    1. Kate R*

      I came her to say the same thing. Not LinkedIn, but I applied for a job via another career website, and they never sent on my materials to the employer. The posting asked for references up front (not unusual for my field), and one of my references thankfully shared with me the employer told her they didn’t have an application from me, so I re-applied directly (and got the job!). Applying directly with the employer is always the safer bet unless the posting says specifically to apply a different way. Then you should definitely follow their instructions.

    2. Someone else*

      My company doesn’t accept applications directly via LinkedIn, but at some point (no idea if it’s still an issue) there was some sort of bug so essentially that EasyApply button was always there and always seemed active. But since whoever did the posting (not me so I don’t know the details of how this works) had ticked whatever box to disable that. So anyone who tried to do it that way was going into a black hole of nothing. We didn’t receive any, and were not surprised because we’d not intended to.
      So, I am also on the “if there is a way to apply directly, do that” train.

    3. Kimberlee, Ranavain*

      Agreeing with others here, but I also want to note that Apply Now buttons on job websites just tend to put you at a disadvantage. Not because it looks lazy or because of any employer impression of the function (though Indeed is starting to be known for fielding lots of bad applicants, to the point where places I’ve worked stopped posting there) but because the employer often wants something more than a resume, and unless you’re deliberate about finding out what that is (cover letter, writing samples, application questions) and doing it, you’re just putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage by not supplying the same amount of information as other applicants are.

  17. Almost Violet Miller*

    Re 5: I was under the impression that the EasyApply functions lets you send attachments so a tailored CV and a cover letter can be added. I got my last two jobs after applying on LinkedIn, for at least the current one I attached a CV and a cover letter. It was in fact specified in the ad that you need to submit those.

    1. Blossom*

      Yeah, I think the OP said that too, but Alison’s reply didn’t seem to pick up on it?

        1. Shy octopus*

          Could you elaborate on why employers might pay less attention to LinkedIn applications?

          1. Bea*

            I’m interested in that line of thinking as well

            When we pay to post a job listing, all platforms used are acceptable and looked at as viable options.

            Even though in my experience I’ve had less response back from those who applied through Linkedin. Maybe that’s the issue that causes others to sour and push the applicants off to the side.

            1. Hush42*

              We do look at LinkedIn applications but I can see how it would be tempting to just ignore them. As you said the response rate from the people we liked is extremely low. But I’ve also noticed that, since its so easy, far more people will hit the easy apply button. We got a lot of applications from people who were not remotely qualified or who were in very different locations than the position. It seems like a lot of people just go through and click easy apply on every posting they can find. This happens on our website as well but not on the same scale. It’s just more work to filter through all the bogus applications on LinkedIn to find the legit ones.

              1. Specialk9*

                Really good insight! Thanks for sharing. Mental note: find jobs on LinkedIn but apply directly.

              2. Bea*

                To be fair, all job sites have the same out of area issue.

                I think it’s all linked to the job being sponsored and sent out in email blasts. So they tend to reach some obscure people and places now a days.

                I’m probably spinning my wheels over the idea everyone seems to take applications via their website. Which is not common in the size of company I’m ever involved in. We pour money into each listing so ignoring it is wasteful, just don’t list there. We stopped after we got no response from the few decent candidates who applied.

                Thanks for the details though, much appreciate the insight!!

          2. Tableau Wizard*

            For the jobs I screen for, we often get much more information from the candidate if they apply through our website versus via Linkedin or one of the other job sites. I find that if a candidate isn’t a slam-dunk fit, the other fields in our application can give me additional information that might prove that they’re worth interviewing. Within Linkedin, they don’t provide enough additional info for me to consider that.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Part of it is that you tend to get a ton of resumes from people who aren’t remotely qualified, because the function makes it so easy to apply, and from people who don’t bother customizing their materials in any way (and just submit what’s on their profile), and some employers don’t even realize they’ve turned on the option to apply that way (if I recall correctly, it’s the default option when you post). And read Amylou’s excellent, detailed comment below as well.

            1. Charisma*

              With this new information, would it be counterproductive to go back and re-apply to some of these companies even if you did include you resume and cover letter while using the “Easy Apply” button? Most companies did not specify anything in their ads, so I just assumed they preferred the Easy Apply process or if I saw that the employer specified an alternate way to apply in the job description then I did. But now I am going back and seeing that sometimes the instructions were actually in the company’s profile UNDER the job description.

            2. Shy octopus*

              This was really great info – thanks for responding and pointing out Amylou’s very helpful comment, too!

        2. Triplestep*

          One more clarification, if you don’t mind (and maybe there are other HR people who can chime in, too): Your first response did not include “Some employers don’t pay as much attention to the applications they get from LinkedIn.” The OP’s question was specifically about the “Easy Apply” feature, which I’ve always assumed is something that costs a job poster more than the standard rate. There also seems to be an added time commitment for the job poster; Clicking “apply” on a standard Linkedin Job posting will just take you to the employer’s web site to complete your application, whereas the “Easy Apply” option often includes screener questions that someone has had to consider when posting the job.

          Since I can still tailor my materials, I do use “Easy Apply” under the premise that they must want you to use it if they’ve gone to the trouble and expense of including that option. I realize that no one can say with certainty what each employer who posts jobs on Linkedin is thinking, but I’m curious if my assumptions about the added expense and trouble are correct?

          1. Amylou*

            I’ve posted jobs on LinkedIn, or assisted with it, and I don’t think the Easy Apply option is more expensive.

            Simple fact: Easy Apply is the default, check-marked option.
            You can choose between two things: (x) Easy Apply (with a mention that it’s super wonderful and easy to use for both sides!) or ( ) send people to your website.

            After the candidate clicks Easy Apply and optionally attaches a resume, it sends you an email that someone has applied, and in case they have attached their optional CV, it sends that as well. You can then also check the ‘recruiter pipeline’ environment on LinkedIn. It basically keeps the whole process on LinkedIn, and you can yes/no/maybe candidates when you decide to use that environment (more data for LinkedIn I guess?? [which may be why this is the default option]).

            My former manager who was not the most tech savvy posted a job on LinkedIn (small office). It is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you’re not used to digital marketing and all that stuff. Not only have you to cut your text into different boxes, you have to set the auction prices, and the maximum willing to spend, and then all kinds of other fields that help you target your job to candidates, choose between Easy Apply or send people to the website…

            In this case, the contact information (apply by company email) was at the bottom of the text. But it had Easy Apply on. This manager then complained people only clicked Easy Apply and did not send in their application materials as instructed (at the very bottom of a long long job description…)…

            The manager actually didn’t pay attention to those applications at first, because they didn’t think they were “proper” applications and they also were a little indignant that people these days wouldn’t or couldn’t follow simple instructions anymore!

            So then I did have to explain, if there is a big blue button with Easy Apply at the very top, then people may very well think it is a valid way to apply to the job. And if the other information to apply for this job, is at the very very bottom of the text-heavy page, they may miss it/overlook it.

            In the end the applications were looked at, but all in all, you may find a job with Easy Apply because someone doesn’t know what it actually entails/is a first-time LinkedIn Jobs user, or simply doesn’t know to change the default option, or how to link to the job posting on a website…. not all people are equally competent at all things, including posting jobs properly on LinkedIn (especially in small businesses with many hats on!).

            So make sure to read the entire posting, and if you don’t know, better safe than sorry, maybe add a line “I applied on LinkedIn with the easy apply button, but here is my application in any case blah blah” if you send in your application by email after Easy Apply.

            1. Triplestep*

              This is SO helpful! (And exactly the opposite of what I’d been assuming about Easy Apply!) Thank you so much for taking the time to type this all out. The fact that Easy Apply is the default and you have to go out of your way to uncheck it … I don’t even know what to say about that. It feels like false advertising to job seekers.

              One other notion I had (which you’ve myth-busted for me here) is that companies use Easy Apply because they’re having a tough time finding candidates, and this makes it easier to cast a wide net. Obviously not!

              Thank you again.

                1. Amylou*

                  No problem, happy to help! And glad you appreciated my very very long answer :) Even if it has only potentially helped one person, that’s nice to know :)

            2. Le Sigh*

              Yes to all of this. And if the person(s) posting the job and the hiring manager are different people, it can get even more confusing. At one company I worked for, HR was in charge of posting this stuff to job boards (in addition to our website, etc.), but they really didn’t communicate at all with hiring managers once they posted (even if you tried to follow up to understand where they posted). So hiring managers didn’t know what to expect and things would get lost. And yes, this points to an issue with that HR team (it was an ongoing problem), but the rest of the company was decent to work for, so I can say with certainty that candidates were better off just sending applications via email (which went right to hiring managers), per the job listing instructions. Point being, I think stuff like Easy Apply relies too heavily on assuming the people doing the hiring have it together when it comes to stuff like this.

            3. Charisma*

              I read through all of the job postings I appy to before I apply. I honestly assumed that companies preferred that I went through the “Easy Apply” function since they had “chosen” it. Especially since most of those listings hadn’t spelled out an alternative way to apply in their descriptions. Now I am second guessing myself.

    2. Bea*

      Yeah. It’s no different than applying on Indeed. They posted the job on Linkedin, applying through that source is a correct option.

    3. Les G*

      I still think it’s a safer bet to email it directly to the hiring manager or HR if thats an option on the company website.

      1. LarsTheRealGirl*

        If the website has an application process, you should follow that, not directly email anyone.

        I’ve tossed all resumes that are emailed to me (vs following our application process) because the candidate has already told me that they can’t follow instructions.

        Plus, the hiring manager may not be the first screener, and either way I need the application in our system.

        1. Les G*

          Note where I said “if that’s an option on a company’s website.” Most jobs I’ve seen have in fact required emailing someone, either the hiring manager or HR. I’ll thank you not to assume I don’t know how to follow directions.

          1. LarsTheRealGirl*

            It wasn’t a personal attack – more a clarification if anyone reading it took it the way I did, which was advice to email if the email is on the website. If email isn’t expressly stated as the application method, it shouldn’t be used to apply.

    4. Jen*

      I once did a job search where someone could send in their tailored resume or just forward their terrible website generated CV (I don’t think we wanted them, I think it was just a side effect of using website’s software to sort our stuff, which was not a decision made on our org level but by some way way higher up). Those CVs were terrible and completely untailored. Why anyone submitted them was beyond me. We did not dismiss them outright (usually people who submitted them put no effort into their cover letter either) but it was just not good.

    5. CAA*

      For me, the main issue with LinkedIn applications is that they come in by email (or at least they’ve always reached me via an email from HR/recruiting since I’m not the one who posts them), so these candidates are not in the ATS. That means that if I get one that’s not quite right for me but I want to forward it to another hiring manager, it’s now also in her email instead of in the ATS, so it’s easier for her to overlook. And 3 months from now when I’m trying to fill some other position I will remember seeing a resume that looked interesting, but I will not remember where I saw it. I will fruitlessly search the ATS and not find it, so I will turn to email searches, but all the useful info is in the attachment, so I may not find it that way either.

      Especially if you’re applying at a larger company, give yourself the best chance for being found by anyone who’s looking for someone like you and apply through their website.

    6. Yet another Kat*

      FWIW I got my current job via LinkedIn Easy Apply as well. I *was* using the Premium Job Seeker features, which I believe pumps your application to the top,in a way that is flagged for most savvier hiring managers, but probably isn’t obvious to less savvy ones. I have no idea how that played into the hiring process at the time, but I do know that the company had had to pay to have their role specially featured on LinkedIn because their standard jobvite application wasn’t bringing in enough candidates, so perhaps they were paying greater attention to LinkedIn candidates at that point.

    7. HRperson*

      Please, please, please make sure that you are reading the job posting correctly. I work in HR for a local government and we put our jobs on Indeed to get them out to a wide audience. We clearly state multiple time that you must fill out an application on our website yet every day we have to email people to remind them that we need an online application from our website. So I am not saying that the Easy Apply is necessarily a bad or good thing but I would just caution everyone to make sure that if the ad says something specific please do that.

    8. Charisma*

      Yes, I’ve always attached my own resume and a link to my portfolio to these applications. The past few I’ve applied to specifically asked for no cover letter, which I thought was kind of refreshing considering how exhausted I am from writing them. But I haven’t applied to any without sending at least a copy of my own Resume and Portfolio link. I have gotten quite a few of the Hiring Managers looking at my profile, but so far contact. But I have only been looking for about 2 weeks. I am glad someone asked this question though. I was wondering whether or not it was worth my time to apply to companies that use this function.

  18. Kay*

    OP#1 a celebration party for a grandparent seems really unnecessary for me. For one, people who are super invested in being grandparents stress me out because to me that implies they’ve been putting pressure, intentional or otherwise, on their kids which makes me really uncomfortable. For another, it seems to me that ‘congratulations!’ is enough. It doesn’t seem like something that warrants an actual party or gift. I love my dogs but would be very confused if someone threw me a ‘puppy shower’ if I were to get a new dog, for example

    1. Les G*

      Assuming the worst about folks who are excited to be grandparents is completely ridiculous and in really bad faith. Not everyone who’s not a misanthrope is a miscreant.

      1. Kay*

        Uhhh I literally said it can be unintentional and considering that the OP described the woman as coming from a conservative family who LIVE for their kids and this is all she’s ever wanted it’s very easy for me to imagine putting actual or unintentional pressure on her kids. My grandparents are lovely people but about three months after my cousin had her first child they were already asking where the next one was. You don’t have to have ‘miscreants’ in your family or extended family to feel pressure on marrying/having children and it’s so normal that people don’t even realise they’re doing it. Look at how many of the comments about meghan markle and Harry are speculation as to whether they’re already pregnant. God forbid they struggle with fertility. I don’t think I’m overly cynical, I think you’re either extremely fortunate or naive to think that this is not something a LOT of women struggle with from friends and family

        1. McWhadden*

          What does any of this have to do with the question at all? All the insulting remarks toward the grandmother, who didn’t even write in, don’t change anything about the answer, at all. It’s nothing but an excuse to base someone.

      2. Indie*

        My mother is a truly inspirational and wonderful grandparent who would be mortified at a misplaced fuss and focus on her like this. It’s like sending the mother of the bride on a honeymoon. In a froofy dress.

    2. Mad Baggins*

      I agree, plus I think it’s really bizarre to throw a shower for someone who’s not having a baby. I thought the purpose of a baby shower was to help new and therefore unprepared parents get baby supplies? Hence why one isn’t (traditionally) thrown for second and future children? (according to Miss Manners, anyway) So it seems weird for Grandma to get presents for (1) not her baby (2) not the first baby. If you’re super close to this woman and feel comfortable and informed enough to want to buy her a gift, go for it, but please don’t make this a thing everyone has to do.

      1. Kay*

        Yeah I don’t quite understand what the gifts would be. Baby things that the grandmother then… Gives to the daughter? Grandma specific gifts?

        1. Bea*

          All the grandmother’s I’ve known have assisted regularly in caregiving. So they have their own needs for a much smaller amount of assorted baby things to have on hand. Less stuff to move from home to Grandma’s. So that kind of stuff. Books. Toys.

          My grandparents were all pretty hands off mostly but we had toys and books tucked away for visits. They had a spare room for us to play in so we weren’t bored listening to the adults during our weekly visits.

          1. Kay*

            Eh that still seems like it’s a lot of stuff, from going to my family’s baby showers, the mother is going to receive at the shower. I was also looked after by my grandparents a lot but my parenta either brought over stuff I liked, or we played with stuff that had accumulated over time in their house. It seems unnecessary to buy toys specifically for the grandparent unless you know something specific about their situation that would suggest the parents aren’t going to be inandated with stuff from the shower.

          2. Jen*

            I know my own mother and mother in law are nice ladies but they live at least 3 states away each. Neither is going to require much in the way of baby stuff, at all. If my kid ever goes for a visit, I will bring the basics.

        2. Rat in the Sugar*

          I’ve seen showers thrown for people who aren’t the parent (be it a grandparent or some other family member who is expected to be very closely involved in the baby’s life) and one of the popular gifts is old storybooks. (Also popular at 2nd and 3rd showers for the parents themselves). The person ends up with a nice pile of books to read with the child as they get older, and since people usually just donate old kids books they have lying around it doesn’t cost anything for the attendees, which is nice.

    3. Specialk9*

      @Kay, it’s a good point. I think the immediate answer for the OP is to continue to be excited for the co-worker, but not turn it into a thing.

      Enough people have pointed out that the phrasing the OP is passing on (presumably from the grandma-to-be) is an echo of a very common kind of social and familial pressure. And I can see it – “she has been waiting years for this… she’s finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for” really does sound like that.

      But at the end of the day, OP just needs to know not to throw a shower, and continue to be excited in private with the co-worker. Ooh and ah over ultrasounds, photos, nursery plans, etc.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      New puppy owners could be showered with backup running shoes, throw pillows, and charging cables to replace those the puppy is about to eat.

      1. AKchic*

        Yes. Yes to all of that.

        And I’d also like to start kitten showers. With catnip plants, charging cords, carpet remnants to claw at, and dingle balls and crinkly balls and feathers. Lots of feathers.
        And the second kitten to keep the first kitten busy.

  19. Teapotty*

    #OP 3, this system was introduced at my last job after my grand boss noticed how much time was being spent on similar enquiries throughout the day by my line manager (in addition to there being an awful lot of micro managing). My colleague and I were able to group together similar enquiries then which cut the discussion to a minimum (the micro managing sadly did not decrease correspondingly). I’ve since left that job due to relocating but just before I did, weekly check-ins with grandboss was instituted which was even better. You could diarise a couple of 5 minute blocks in each day and hold all non-essential questions until then.

  20. Giulia*

    #5: I agree with Alison, if a job is posted on LinkedIn you can probably find the website of the company, and track down the vacancy. In this case, it is probably easier to apply there, so that you can see exactly what the requirements are (how long the cover letter should be, do you actually need to attach one…).
    Nevertheless, I recently found an exception. The company website did not have an “Apply” button, they just had a description of the vacancy with the contact of an HR manager. I was quite surprised, and ended up applying via LinkedIn. You can attach 1 document to your EasyApply application, so I put my resume and cover letter in the same pdf file and sent it. And, I got a call back. :)

  21. Les G*

    OP 1, I’m not going to tell you your coworker is probably a monster who’s been pressuring her daughter to get pregnant since the moment she was born (because WTFpeople) but only point out that the traditional purpose of a baby shower is to give the parents-to-be some of the expensive supplies they need for raising their baby. It doesn’t really apply here.

    1. Mad Baggins*

      You’re reading a lot of malice into Kay’s comment that wasn’t there, and I think that’s unkind. I agree with your point about the shower itself, it doesn’t seem appropriate to me for that reason.

      1. Les G*

        It’s not only Kay who has posted along these lines. Lots of folks are projecting their own issues all over this situation and it’s not fair to OP, who pretty obviously just wants to do something nice for her coworker. She’s being rewarded for her kindness with a pile on about everyone else’s evil mother.

        1. Kay*

          To be clear my mother is not evil nor has she ever pressured me to have kids. But I’m not the only person in the world and I recognise it a LOT in other people’s families, enough that it gives me pause. it’s not exactly ‘piling on’ to point out why some people might be a little wary about this.

          1. Sally*

            Yeah, but what if she *was* doing that (despite no indication in the letter)? The parents aren’t involved in this situation whatsoever. So it seems derailing to discuss that when it’s not relevant at all to LW. The grandma is excited, LW wants to celebrate with her.

            1. Specialk9*

              There are indications in the letter. OP is clearly repeating the coworker about “she has been waiting years for this… she’s finally getting the grandchild she’s been waiting for”. This speculation isn’t coming from nowhere, it comes directly from the phrasing used.

              1. Sally*

                That doesn’t indicate pressuring something in any way. There are plenty of women who want to be moms and it isn’t happening for them for awhile and then it does – they are excited after waiting too. Waiting can mean you’re genuinely waiting because you’re so excited and your daughter/son is totally on board with that too. It could also mean you’ve been pressuring your daughter/son, but that’s not clear here.

                My point is still – this grandmother could be an awful horrible woman. We do not know. But LW likes her and wants to do something for her to celebrate her becoming a grandma. So judging the grandma in this scenario is not at all relevant to LW’s question.

        2. Mad Baggins*

          Since we both posted a lot of others have shared reactions that have gone a bit overboard, I would agree, but at the time only a few people had reacted and most of them were pretty measured. I think it’s very kind of the OP to want to do something for the coworker, but maybe OP isn’t thinking through her assumptions about the role of grandmothers in a baby’s life (not idyllic for everyone and brings up weird gendered ideals of child-care) and the role of a shower in the office (tread carefully or your grabby hands will show).

      2. Anonforthispost*

        Yep. Kay wasn’t politicizing this. The people responding to her do seem to be doing so, though.

        The fact there is already so much emotion on this should show OP why she might want to reconsider.

    2. Kummelwick*

      Whoa. Married childfree woman here, so I know the deal, but people have the capacity to be excited without being pushy or domineering. We could even give this lady the benefit of the doubt by imagining that she’s sharing these feelings with her friend specifically so she _won’t_ be putting inappropriate pressure on her daughter. I guess I’d rather presume that than presume some random person is a monster, because habituation that mindset really does a number on my brain chemistry.

      1. Kummelwick*

        Ah yes. Glad to see I can read something half a dozen times and still miss the word ‘not’ until after submitting a reply to it.

    3. Ciara Amberlie*

      You’re asking people not to interpret the coworker’s behaviour negatively, but you’re interpreting other people’s comments here in the worst possible way. The other commenters do have valid points, even if you don’t agree with them.

      1. Jen*

        I think there is an implication about waiting that is in the letter but may indicate the letter writer’s sentiment but not the coworker’s. Why it rubs people the wrong way is that those of us who have been pressured to have kids received those kinds of “I am waiting” comments from family that implied you were lesser to them until you became a parent. Like Aunt’s reaction to you graduating at the top of your law school class is a card with a long note that boils down to “But when are you gonna give your mom and dad grandkids”. You get worn out.

        1. Sally*

          But it could also just mean “I was really excited for a grandkid!” which is super common and understandable! I don’t think it’s helpful to project negatively on a LW when there is no indication of that.

          Plus, even if this grandma was doing what everyone is worried about – how does that impact OP and wanting to celebrate with her? The parents are not involved here.

          1. Jen*

            It is fine to be excited. It is the wording “waiting” that is problematic.

            This stuff matters because if LW says that in the workplace “Annie’s kid focused in her education and career so she has been waiting so long for a grandkid, let’s celebrate her”, people in her workplace could be rubbed the wrong way like we are.

            1. Baby Fishmouth*

              Yeah, the wording implies that education and career are less important than marriage and babies for women, and that Jane’s daughter ‘owes’ her a grandkid. That could be not at all the case, but if one of my coworkers was talking about having to wait so long to be a grandparent, I would be mildly seething because I hear the same thing from my in-laws all the time. I imagine a lot of other people would be in the same boat.

              1. Les G*

                You realize you’re nitpicking the language of someone who didn’t even write in, right?

                1. Baby Fishmouth*

                  It’s not nitpicking – having a party/shower to congratulate somebody on finally having a grandkid after having to wait so long can make others feel very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. Whether that’s Jane’s wording or the OP’s, it’s valid to point out how it comes across. The fact that many people have written here that they are uncomfortable with the idea of a grandparent shower should be enough to give the OP a pause.

          2. Indie*

            Because of the next time someone actually wants a grandbaby shower. Which this first lady, to be fair, does not. Id hate to be the one setting the precedent for Pushy Pam who talks about how her DiLs diet stopped her conceiving correctly (true story)

        2. McWhadden*

          I’m childless by choice and have received many such comments. But it doesn’t make it OK to go after a grandmother for the audacity of being excited and wanting grandkids.

          1. Specialk9*

            I believe that people are pointing this out to explain why OP shouldn’t throw a shower, because it can rub people the wrong way. I recommended not throwing a shower because of money reasons, it’s not in my budget to have to pay into endlessly expanding showers. Both are valid reasons for giving advice.

            I don’t think anyone actually thinks the co-worker is a “monster”, that’s hyperbole and a strawman introduced by commenters in order to undermine others’ position. It’s disingenuous.

            1. Sally*

              It’s definitely hyperbolic but not a straw man. The point is even if the grandma was a monster/awful person, it doesn’t matter here. It’s the LW asking about if she should through a shower for a grandma. The answer is universally no, but it should have nothing to do with this woman’s relationship with her daughter/son – that’s kind of getting out of the 4 corners of the letter here.

            2. McWhadden*

              There are plenty of valid reasons to not throw a shower (it isn’t the cultural norm, it is an unneeded expense). Avoiding people’s potential unknown emotional hangups about grandparents daring to be excited for grandkids is not a valid one.

    4. Totally Minnie*

      I wish you had simply made your point without including the dig at other commenters. There’s no reason for that.

  22. Amylou*

    #5 if there’s a mention to apply by email or on the website (i.e. not through Easy Apply), please do so. The Easy Apply option is default turned on. Not everyone posting these jobs is equally well-versed in all the finer details of posting jobs on the platform (which is confusing enough including the bidding system).

    Previous manager posted a job on LinkedIn, didn’t change the default to linking it to the website, then got a bunch of applications with just CV attached (Easy Apply mentions optionally attaching your CV in addition to your LinkedIn profile), and then complained people didn’t email their CVs and cover letters… (and was of the type “if you didn’t attach a cover letter, they didn’t want to even look at the application”)

  23. Myrin*

    #2, what a bizarre and undoubtedly frustrating situation!

    I must say, I’m really surprised this is apparently not uncommon, as Alison indicates? I can see the initial situation – boss gets excited, tells people about it – but to the point where all of you take on specific roles and plan out details and then it just… never materialises? I’m astonished and somewhat mad at your boss! I can honestly say that I’ve (luckily!) never encountered something like that, but it’s good to know that this is a thing that is out there.

    1. Bea*

      It’s often industry dependent. Think of a new line of apple carts for your cart building business. Let’s design them and set up an ad campaign…then you don’t go to market on them. How about we expand into adding pastel colors to our existing line of carts…nothing comes of it.

      I’ve researched many assorted options for loans, new vendors for our costume supplies and new features or updates only to have them tabled.

      1. Teapotty*

        Estimators help to create tenders this all the time only to see the project not go through to commissioning as another company was chosen, not always on cost grounds.

        1. Bea*

          Oh yeah. Our dead end projects are very much an annoyance for other companies as well. We’re the dickbags who create that extra work for an estimator. I’ve got a rep at a place who ghosted because all our questions didn’t end in a fast enough account. I’m not even mad, there’s other options so I’ve taken the hint and moved on.

          I’ve had clients do the same thing. It’s all the cost of doing business and building those relationships organically.

          1. Lora*

            Yeah…although it would make my life ever so much easier if vendors would state budgetary estimates up front when I ask, and have those ready, rather than want to jump through a bunch of sales hoops about “we need to schedule a sales visit to determine your exact needs”. No, no actually you do not because I said in the email what my exact needs were and it was “about this big, off the shelf, nothing fancy, your standard package”. Usually for those type of costing numbers it’s fine to have order of magnitude +/- 25% and for a product off the shelf (and I’ve bought $million$$ systems which were really off the shelf simple no-frills things) there’s no reason to get into a lot of fussing around.

            When I WAS a vendor, the only reason we didn’t have numbers for a base unit off the shelf was because senior management had not done the business analysis to determine if this was even correctly priced for the market offerings. There are such vendors, huge ginormous NASDAQ/NYSE ones, who do not do the very basic business case building for figuring out what sort of products to sell and how much to sell them for. It’s weird as heck, you’d think this is universal to anyone who sells stuff, but they just…don’t. Instead, they made the sales guys visit every potential client who ever called or emailed to do a 90-minute sales pitch. Then the clients would rip the poor sales guy up one side and down the other about being a general nuisance to deal with. And not buy anything in the end anyways, because it was someone’s pipe dream to begin with.

            Like, I know someone in the organization has these numbers, or if they do not have them, they flippin well should. You build the things, you know what the cheapest crappiest one ever sold for – I know you know this, because you track all that in SAP, so just spit the number out and we’ll all move on with life.

    2. Tardigrade*


      I have seen projects through to completion that my boss loved but never saw the light of day, for one reason or another. The organizers didn’t get the rights from the appropriate people before they had me work on it, the project was run by upper upper management and it sat around until it died, or it happened to have elements of this other thing going on in the organization.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      It’s even worse if the whole company gets excited to do this as a strategic initiative… and then drops it after 1 or 2 projects.

      I’ve worked for both. Worse, the boss/owner was something of a bully, and would run you ragged doing things for his wonderful idea, only to tell you later it was all crap because he was no longer interested in said idea (i.e. didn’t have the money).

  24. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    #OP1 – It’s really sweet that you’re so happy for your friend and want to celebrate this moment. I would like to second what Alison says about money. My heart used to sink every time someone mentioned a birthday or baby shower at work, because I knew I’d be asked for money I didn’t have.

    Is it possible to have a celebration outside of work and informally invite everyone to join? Something like, “We’re celebrating the news of Jane’s first grandchild at [name of cafe] on [date and time]. No need to RSVP, just show up at that time if you’d like to join us.” Or whatever the plan is.

    #OP3 – I have a suggestion that worked well for me. I would write down questions for my busy bosses as I would my ‘to do’ list. I scanned them at the end of the day. Some weren’t necessary, some I’d already figured out. The ones that were left were important and things I couldn’t solve on my own. It wasn’t long before I had reduced the number of questions I had.

    If you think your employee won’t make this list themselves, then give them a sheet of paper (or send a Word/Excel doc) with the numbers one to ten/twenty down one side. Tell them to input questions here first and you’ll be reviewing them at the end of the day. The thought of what appears to be extra work will hopefully reduce the number of questions you’ll get.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      Argh, I always forget something. I meant to say “No need for presents or to RSVP, just show up.” That way, you’re making it clear it’s purely for everyone to be happy for Jane and not about presents or money.

    2. CM*

      I think even the informal outing is a bit much, unless the list is confined to people Jane is very friendly with at work who are also excited about the grandchild news. I think OP#1 should stick to a private congratulations, card, flowers, or whatever else Jane would like without involving others.

      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        I can definitely see that. I mentioned it as an option because I’ve received those kinds of invitations before. There was truly no pressure, the people were going to that place anyway and inviting others wasn’t a big deal. It also had the effect of making me more likely to drop by. However, I can see why people might find that to be too much as well.

    3. tusky*

      I like the idea, for OP1, of having a casual non-shower gathering with the explicit request for no gifts, if it is important to the coworker to celebrate her upcoming grandparent status.

      1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

        Yes, I think the ‘no gifts’ part is really important. I can see that even a casual invitation could be seen as too much in some workplaces. If this is the kind of place where people will be okay with it, then a casual gathering with no presents would be perfect. I’ve been invited to those and they were much more enjoyable than a planned party. It was just a group of people sharing a happy moment.

  25. Heynonniemouse*


    I had a boss like this. He would read a piece of research and get incredibly excited about it at our group’s weekly progress meeting. He used to drive my coworkers nuts, but my SOP was to do nothing unless he brought it up at the next meeting (which 90% of the time didn’t happen). At that point I’d do some research and come up with a list of equipment and consumables we’d need to buy and techniques we’d need to develop. If it came up again at the third meeting, I’d show him the list and then usually he’d decide it was far too expensive and time-consuming and tell me to drop it.

    1. CM*

      I like this approach — you’re starting from the assumption that your boss’s idea is just an idea, not something that’s definitely going to happen, and presenting him with information about whether the idea is feasible. It would be nice to just be able to tell your boss, “This is driving me crazy, you never follow through on your projects, and you need to stop assigning us all work that never goes anywhere,” but that’s a very tough conversation to have. Heynonniemouse’s idea is a way of prodding him to think about it himself.

  26. Detective Amy Santiago*

    As a former recruiter, I am going to disagree with #5. Companies pay a lot of money to have the ability to post job openings on Linked In so I don’t think they would completely ignore the applications that come in that way.

    1. Le Sigh*

      I find applications done through things like Easy Apply kind of clunky on my end, and I only get the info I asked for half the time. I don’t ignore them, but I’d bet some do if they find it too troublesome. I do find them more annoying to sift through, frankly. So I think if you’re looking for a safer bet as a job candidate, apply directly.

  27. Glomarization, Esq.*

    OP#1’s situation reminds me of how my mom handled my baby shower. She added a few of her own co-workers to the invitation list, and so there was a group of women of that generation who could talk about grandbabies instead of (I’ll date myself here) Ferberizing and whether Tinky Winky is gay. Best part: the gifts from my mom’s friends were the most practical! Where my pals, who mostly hadn’t had their own babies yet, gave us an endless supply of plushie toys and newborn-sized hats, Mom’s pals gave us things like safety nail clippers, packs of diapers, anti-rash cream, etc.

    Mom didn’t hold the party at her office, though, and nobody threw a party for her. I’m sure she got congratulations and cards, but the direction of gift-giving was definitely toward me, not her.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Not personally, no. I knew one or two of their faces from seeing them a few times when I’d been at my mom’s workplace, but they were my mom’s friends/coworkers, not mine.

    1. Lora*

      This is my other objection to baby showers – people register for stuff which they then expect you to buy for them, regardless of expense or, particularly if this is their first child and they don’t have a lot of childcare experience, it will be anything they actually need or use. And then there’s a weird one-upmanship thing with who bought the most expensive / cutest thing on the registry going on.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        This doesn’t match the experience of my baby shower, but I’m sure there are many that are negative experiences for the invitees or parents or whoever.

  28. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox*

    #1 — the entire purpose of a baby shower is to help new parents get a leg up since the new expenses of items for a baby can add up. Unless a grandparent is going to be fully raising the kid, it’s really not appropriate or necessary. Any “expenses” they may incur are voluntary in the majority of cases.

    Then again, I am the type to give someone side eye in the general direction of anyone having a baby shower for anything other than their first child unless 1. There’s a large gap between their last child and this one (what are the odds that they held onto baby stuff for a decade after they thought they were done having kids) or 2. MAYBE if this baby is a different gender than their first (but that’s stretching it). So I may be considered more of a Scrooge about this than most.

    1. MLB*

      Count me as a Scrooge too. My best friend missed her baby shower because she decided to go into labor the morning of…I considered throwing another shower for her with the last baby (9 year gap) but it never came to fruition. I also give the side eye (internally as to not ruin anyone’s happiness) for gender reveal parties, and bachelorette weekends with the friends wearing matching outfits or anything that says “Team Bride”.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        I also give the side eye (internally as to not ruin anyone’s happiness) for gender reveal parties

        I am SO glad these didn’t become a thing until all of my friends were past child-bearing age.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        While I agree on the internal side eyeing, at least the gender reveal idea seems to be gather in the break room and be given a cupcake, which people will get behind for reasons like fall equinox and the delivery of more staples.

        1. DCompliance*

          There was a person I worked with who brought in cupcake for her gender reveal and if you guessed certain things correctly….you won a prize…there were too many rules about how to play the game and the invite in the break room for cupcake turned into a 4 paragraph email of instructions……I just skipped the whole thing.

            1. Lora*

              Potatoes first. Then Churchill.

              Then they hit the freakishly mobile stage, where they were just snoozing in the living room one second ago, you swear.

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                I have a sincerely touching memory of my son telling me where he and his buddy had left buddy’s youngest sibling, and the sibling had MOVED. They couldn’t believe it, he was right there a minute ago.

      3. Birch*

        Same. I’m also on the side of no personal event parties at work, period. Celebrate work related events or general holidays (it’s summer! hooray! let’s go to lunch!) but I find it so weird to celebrate babies and birthdays at work. If I like these people, I like them enough to invite them to actually fun parties outside of work. Having to eat bad cake in the depressing office I already spend too much time in and make small talk with people I don’t actually like very much, much less chip in for obligatory presents for their personal life, is bizarre.

    2. pleaset*

      “the entire purpose of a baby shower is to help new parents get a leg up since the new expenses of items for a baby can add up. ”

      This is a good reminder. Thank you.

  29. Princess Cimorene*

    #4 – If you have your work contacts saved in your phone, you can individually turn off read receipts for just them, and leave them on universally for everyone else. You can also individually put people on Do Not Disturb as well.

    Great features! Just got to their contact in your phone book and scroll down a bit, and you will see the options!

  30. BRR*

    #2 I was in a similar situation and unfortunately had to push forward and use up a lot of my time because it wouldn’t have been good if I wasn’t prepared. In hindsight, it was often easy to see so many things would have never advanced. My manager ended up leaving for a new job when I was ready to say something. I was going to bring it up by citing numerous examples and saying I’ve devoted a significant amount of time to these projects and would we be able to think more about their feasibility.

  31. 653-CXK*

    OP#3: When I had my weekly one-on-ones with my supervisor, I held my non-urgent questions until then; anything that was really urgent or needed immediate review I sent by email.

    OP#5: I’ve gotten mixed results with LinkedIn’s EasyApply. It’s better to apply through the company website because you can actually set up your own page and monitor the results. I don’t think you get anything with EasyApply other than “thanks for applying!”

  32. Hiring Mgr*

    Can Alison or someone elaborate on #5? Why would employers pay less attention to applications coming from LinkedIn? Especially if they’re paying for the listings?

    1. Triplestep*

      More has been written about this above. Since clicking “apply” on a Linkedin job posting often takes you to the company web site to apply, I don’t think a blanket statement can be made that employers pay less attention to those. But the OP was about the “Easy Apply” feature, which apparently is the default option when employers are posting jobs. Posters up-thread are saying that this feature is sometimes inadvertently left “on” when employers are really not expecting just to receive applications this way and yes, may not review them.

      1. Lauren*

        But the job poster is notified by email for every application and can see your resume, vs. the portal on their site that is using software to cull the list. Easy Apply gets your resume seen more often than a portal that is trying to screen people.

        1. LarsTheRealGirl*

          But the job poster may not be the hiring manager or anyone associated with the hire, but the recruiter who happens to have the company’s LinkedIn access.

          We had a whole bunch of applications go to an unmonitored email after a temp posted the role.

          And a lot of online portals don’t have any sort of software screening feature; a human sees every application.

          I’m not saying Easy Apply is bad, but you shouldn’t apply with it under the guise of it being “better” than using a company’s normal processes.

    2. CM*

      When we were hiring and people applied with Easy Apply, their materials were formatted differently and didn’t exactly match what we asked for on our online listing, since LinkedIn basically just forwards your resume. We still looked at the applications, but I saw use of LinkedIn Easy Apply as a sign that this person was just applying to whatever was easiest without putting a lot of thought into it.

  33. Amelia*

    My mom and MiL are extremely involved and loving grandparents. There are sleepovers, pick-ups etc. They each have car seats, a used pack n’ play and have likely accumulated various supply cups and bibs.But there’s something about fully outfitting a grandmother’s house like a parent’s that makes me envision some type of Rosemary’s (Grand) Baby Lifetime movie. I’m sure some parents would love a complete nursery at Grandma’s but it would creep me out.

    1. Specialk9*

      Not to mention, grandparents generally are a little less weirded out by having used toys, which can be way better than consumerism. (Can be – things like lead paint can be a problem, and just buy a new car seat and crib since those standards keep changing.)

      1. EvanMax*

        Funny enough, I took my parents to a local “totswap” when we were expecting, and they basically poo-pooed everything, saying how it was just a few dollars more to buy it new, and they’d prefer that for the baby (and my parents aren’t generally opposed to buy used/open-box/returned merchandise when it’s a good deal.) Meanwhile, my wife and I buy as much used or consignment as possible, and have since she was pregnant.

        1. Specialk9*

          That’s fascinating! Maybe I’m extrapolating too much from a limited data set.

          For my shower, I suggested people to do used where possible (excluding car seats, cribs, and diapers) but nobody took me up on that. Maybe it just sounded too frugal, maybe it was just easier to get something new.

          1. Biscuits*

            95% of my earthly possessions come from Goodwill and even I’d feel like Captain Cheap-O if I bought used stuff as a gift, even if explicitly told. I wouldn’t mind picking up a cute baby outfit and giving you as a just because, but for a commonly celebrated occasion, it seems a little icky, unless I can find it completely new with all tags/box/whatever.

          2. EvanMax*

            For a shower, I would only ever buy new, or consignment/thrift that is still sealed in the box/has all the tags, etc. I don’t want to look “cheap” when giving a gift.

            But when I’m at the TotSwap, or elsewhere, I’m calling everyone I know to see if they are interested in the items I’m looking at (There was this great mens/neutral gender Eddie Bauer messenger bag on Saturday, and it was on $10 with all of the parts, even the changing pad. I Already have the Tibuk2 diaper bag, which I got at a previous TotSwap for $20, so I have no use for a second one, but it was such a good deal i called multiple expectant fathers asking them if they had any need.

      2. Bea*

        Many toys and baby items have been recalled over the years. It’s best to do research prior to letting your kids near a lot of second hand things. If there are sleepovers in the future, please don’t ever use an old crib for starters.

      3. Typhon Worker Bee*

        The library near my MIL’s house lends out boxes of toys, sorted by the age of the kid, for people who have young kids over to stay occasionally, but not often enough to need to buy everything themselves. It’s such a great idea! (Everything gets sanitised between loans – I did ask before handling any of the toys when we were up there while my youngest nieces and nephews were visiting, lol)

    2. Indie*

      I think it’s ok for a friend or relative of the grandparents to give small ,unwrapped, useful things or hand me downs in a ‘this may be useful way!’ rather than ‘let us shower you!’ way.

      But seriously, my mother minds kids three days a week, sleepovers every weekend and that’s still a lot less stuff than a child needs at home. Besides, if she’s any pattern to go by, she worked out her excitement by shopping and gifts would have stolen her thunder.

  34. Bookworm*

    LW1: Never heard of that type of shower but a lunch or a gift for the baby might be nice.

    LW5: Agree with Alison. I personally found it exciting if they reviewed my application after submitted on LinkedIn (unless they tell you in some fashion most of the time you don’t know if they ever viewed your materials if you apply directly) but it didn’t lead to any jobs. I would sometimes follow the Easy Apply to their site because it either redirected the applicant to apply there or the website application was easy enough to navigate (no re-entering my entire work history!) but as someone who found a job via another job (after really job searching for a few months) board, the Easy Apply LinkedIn feature wasn’t helpful for me. It never went beyond them looking at my application and IIRC only one looked at my LinkedIn profile afterwards.

    Good luck! Maybe someone else has had a different experience. It wasn’t mine.

  35. loslothluin*

    Grandmother shower? Miss Maners would be appalled at another idea for a gift grab.

    1. Specialk9*

      It’s not the grandmother who’s pushing, it’s a coworker. In which case it’s generosity, not greed. (I still don’t recommend it to OP, but no need to be scathing.

      1. loslothluin*

        If you ask a question, you don’t get a say-so in how others perceive it. A “grandmother shower” is called low class and a gift grab.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          Is there a reason you feel the need to be so classist and unkind about it? Do you think Miss Manners would approve of that nastiness?

          The LW is happy for her coworker and wants to know if it makes sense to celebrate a happy event. Not all happy events should be formally celebrated, but calling it “low class” is all sorts of unnecessarily judgmental.

  36. lapgiraffe*

    Well this was a great reminder to double check that my read receipts are indeed turned off for everyone.

    And it’s funny, I am in outside sales where many of my customers now text me orders or questions, probably have a good 50-60 people who text me regularly between customers, colleagues, friends and family and I could only tell you one person who uses read receipts. He is known for having quite the napoleon complex, mind game player, anal retentive, and if he could somehow digitally keep tabs on every aspect of my day and my business he would. Small sample, but there ya go.

  37. Bacon Pancakes*

    The Nana Shower that my mom’s friends threw for her (note: NEVER think that a “grandma shower” is for the mom or baby) was solely to “meet” the baby, which makes it even more inappropriate for an office setting. Card, maaaaaybe a small, self-furnished treat foe her and call it.

  38. Art3mis (fmrly Bad Candidate)*

    Dear Universe, please do not let grandparent showers become a thing. Hugs & Kisses, Everyone

  39. JerryLarryTerryGary*

    Once the baby is born, bring in some muffins and a card and leave time to look at baby pictures. People can join, casually, if they wish. It’s wonderful news, but a shower for someone not welcoming a baby into their home is inappropriate.

    1. Agent Diane*

      We follow the same principle we use for birthdays: the person celebrating brings in treats. So we had someone recently become a grandma and she brought in doughnuts for all. She could share her happiness (and relief) with the people who wanted to chat about it and the rest of us could say “congratulations” and go back to work. And note, it’s done after the birth.

      So OP1 could suggest organising that on behalf of her friend once the baby has arrived rather than throwing a party in advance? Grandma will probably be so busy taking up her grandparently duty that someone helping her share the moment will be welcome.

      1. EvanMax*

        I think that sounds lovely.

        When I came back from paternity leave, I brought Entemann’s donuts with me to work, because when I was in first grade, if your parents had a new baby, you would bring Entemann’s donuts to school the next day, (as a way to help kids associate the new baby with getting a treat, rather than feeling ignored int he wake of the new sibling) so it was a way for me to both bring my coworkers a thank you for having covered my work while I was out, and also to relive a happy memory from when my youngest brother was born.

      2. Broccoli*

        That’s the tradition in Bulgaria – the person celebrating is supposed to treat others, whether that’s their friends or people in the office. Sometimes coworkers gather money and buy a gift but it’s not usually done for birthdays and baby showers are not a thing because it’s considered bad luck to buy stuff for a baby before it’s born.

        People bring treats to the office for all kinds of reasons – birthdays, namedays, graduation, nieces, nephews, whatever. Usually the treat is a box of chocolates, but if the person is particularly excited, they bring alcohol as well.

        1. Agent Diane*

          In the UK there’s still a lot of “don’t do it till baby and mum are home and well”. My 90yo relatives were horrified we had the problem at home before the baby – and I refused to put it together until we were back!

  40. Bones*

    OP1- Maybe you could do something simple for your coworker? If I were you I’d buy a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s and have a small ice cream social in the break room. Simple but sweet.

  41. EvanMax*

    In re: #1, just a thought on setting precedents for showers among the office:

    My wife and I work in the same office, which has allowed me an extra little window into some of the shower goings-on. When my wife was pregnant, her team threw her a shower which I was invited to, but only about an hour before the shower occurred. I was the only man in the room, but there were a few women who worked near her team but weren’t’ actually on it. Meanwhile, my team got together to pitch in and purchase an item off of our registry, but it was just shipped to our house, not handed over in person or anything (at first I thought it was just from the coworker who did the actual ordering, because their return address was on it, but she let me know it was from all of them.)

    Not long after, an email went out to let everyone on the floor know about a baby shower being planned for one of the key administrative staff on our floor. That was the first time I’ve seen a wise invitation to a baby shower like that, but consdering who it was for, I thought it was reasonable to invite everyone to show support for someone who provides so much support to the rest of the office.

    Things started to get a little iffy for me, though, when there were another two showers that I knew of being planned concurrently. One was for another member of my wife’s team, and was clearly being put on just the same as my wife’s had been. The other was for an officer of a team that is also on our floor, and hers was emailed out to the entire floor, including a link to her Amazon registry.

    That last one was the one that really bugged me. That on top of the fact that these things are only ever done for expectant mothers, not expectant fathers.

    All of this pales in comparison with the issues surrounding people who try to use the “wellness room” for napping or god knows what when my wife has it scheduled for pumping. That is an ACTUAL issue, the baby shower stuff is just an annoyance.

    1. Specialk9*

      That’s so weird! We have expecting parent showers, whether that’s mothers or fathers. I recommend that you start actively getting involved in planning those events.

      Which would help things be more equitable in two ways – it would make sure it wasn’t ickily gendered on the planning side (it IS only women doing all that work, right?), and it would ensure that it wasn’t ickily gendered on the receiving side.

      1. EvanMax*

        There’s no “party planning committee” or anything to join here. Each of these showers have been arranged by the individuals’ immediate coworkers (or subordinates, in the one case.) If one of my male teammates announces that his wife is expecting I’ll definitely suggest a shower to the rest of my teammates, but that’s about the limit of my powers here.

        1. Specialk9*

          Interesting. I generally know the people who do party planning. When I hear someone’s having a baby, I drop by their cube and ask how I can help.

          The trick is to drop by, mention that Tom’s expecting a kid (in whatever fashion) and ask how you can help plan and execute Tom’s shower. That’s usually all it’ll take to get it started.

          Then, as a man, get there early and help set it up (napkins, cutlery) and/or help clean up (throw trash away, wipe up crumbs). I’d eat my hat if another man was there doing that, or ever had. We have coed showers, but I’ve never seen a man doing the actual work.

          It’s really cool that you want to help things be equitable! Good on you for being willing to take on the unpaid emotional labor that usually gets stuck to women.

          1. EvanMax*

            As mentioned, there is no “people who do the party planning” in our office. The culture here is more “if you want a party, book the room and plan it yourself.” Honestly, I think that works out more equitable than other offices where I’ve seen single individuals or groups of people run ragged because as the “social committee” there are expectations placed on them. The committees here are things like the “leadership committee” and the “diversity committee” and each committee plans their own functions (but none of those committees do showers, that’s on the team/manager of that department.)

            We also have a ton of different departments in office (we are a corporate branch office of a large company, outside of the main city for our particular industry.) I don’t know if things are significantly different in other cities, but in the various departments I’ve worked in here, this is the culture I’ve seen. I actually think the idea of having the individual team handle things is a better way to do it, which is part of why the email blast for the officer bothered me so much (as well as the icky gifting-up ask there.)

            1. Specialk9*

              So… You’re complaining that men don’t get showers organized by their team, and I explained how one puts on a shower, and you still don’t think it’s your job to do that organizing, right? You’re saying that people should put on their own showers, or the team should do it.

              I just don’t understand. You are bothered by sexism. I explained how one organizes a shower for your group (and ok, maybe I thought you could be that group organizer, despite being a man, if one doesn’t already exist, because you clearly have opinions on how incorrectly other people did it). But you just don’t think it’s your job.

              So… it really sounds like you are bothered by the sexism that impacts you but not the sexism that impacts everyone?

              I feel like I’m missing something. Is it that I’m hyper aware of how women get stuck doing unpaid emotional labor, which has big career impacts for women but not men, and maybe you’re not?

              1. EvanMax*

                I think we’re having two different conversations.

                I’m aware of how to organize a shower. I was heavily involved in organizing our own co-ed baby shower, and I’ve been assisting my brother in planning his up-coming baby shower as well.

                So far, on my team, there hasn’t been any opportunity for planning a shower. No one else on my team is expecting a baby any time soon, but one man did recently get engaged. Once there’s a date set, and the time draws closer, I fully intend to suggest some kind of shower to my teammates.

                You had mentioned seeking out the (presumably female) “party planners” of the office and helping to alleviate their emotional burden, and what I was saying is that no such specific group exists here, so there is no one to unburden. As much as I am in favor of men taking an equal share of emotional labor, me going from team to team asking if I can perform emotional labor for them would be inappropriate in this office (as it would be if a woman did the same thing here.)

                I don’t think we actually disagree on anything here, although I will admit that it’s kind of patronizing to give a step-by-step direction under the assumption that I’ve never planned a gathering or cleaned up a room both before-and-after a party before. I’m sorry that the men you know seem to all be unhelpful jerks, but assuming that every man out there is the same isn’t far different from assuming that a man doesn’t care about an upcoming baby the same way that a woman does, and isn’t interested in a shower.

                1. Working Mom Having It All*

                  I think I see what the conflict is.

                  You think there are “no party planners” in your office, because you don’t understand that this is all an informal and unspoken thing that typically falls to the women in an office.

                  There are party planners, but they are invisible to you. In your view, when an appropriate occasion comes up, “the team” plans the party. But… probably not you. It just sort of … happens. (Because the women on your team are doing it, and nobody notices.)

          2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            Seconding “I’d eat my hat” if I saw a man taping balloons to the wall or sweeping up the cupcake crumbs after a party.

              1. Quandry*

                I work in a field that’s about 90% men. I’ve been in this field for 15 years. Never seen a man setting up anything to do with a work party whatsoever. Even in our professional society, when the “whole society regional section” throws a party, they delegate all planning duties to the women’s representation subsection of the professional society.

                When the men throw work-related events, they invite people to pay-for-yourself happy hour at a specific bar. Picking the bar is their major contribution.

        2. CAA*

          “If one of my male teammates announces that his wife is expecting I’ll definitely suggest a shower to the rest of my teammates, but that’s about the limit of my powers here.”

          If one of your male teammates mentions that he’s about to become a father, and you think he should get a shower, then the right thing to do is to organize the party and recruit others on the team to help you do it. That’s how showers are thrown for women — one person steps up and organizes a group into getting the thing done. It may look to you, the outsider, as if “her team threw her a shower”, but I guarantee there was one person who brought up the idea and coordinated them. For the next man at your company who becomes a father, that person will be you!

          1. EvanMax*

            Of course I know these things are lead by individuals. My point about “teammates” is that those individuals are one of their teammates, and more specifically I brought it up in consideration of the officer whose team thought it was okay to send out her registry link to the entire office (which I thought was incredibly tacky, and unfair to everyone else, who has a small gathering with their team, rather than a full-office affair.)

            My point being about how when you set a standard for one person, you have to be aware of how it could affect others. I thought it made perfect sense that the administrative woman who handles so much of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of our office should have the whole office celebrate her, because she really works with all of us, but I believe that the next full-office email was a direct response to that, and as mentioned, that involved icky gifting-up , and also wasn’t fair to the other expectant woman in the office (one shower of which I know about because she sits on the same team as my wife, and the other showers I have no knowledge of, because presumably they are being handled the same way that all other showers are.)

    2. Indie*

      No that seriously bugs me when fathers are snubbed. It’s beyond rude to hand wave the idea of men being parental. It also sends a very interesting message to men who need parental rights and to the women; you are all wired to be mothers. Yuk.

      1. Specialk9*

        I agree! Men should get the same showers and recognition for fatherhood. Adoptive parents and same sex couples etc should be recognized equally.

        I’d also like it if men stepped up for the unpaid social labor. It’s kinda crappy to expect women to do all this unpaid work, which actually harms their careers, and then from the sidelines critique.

        I feel like *I* have the right to critique because I’ve personally stepped up to plan showers and cards and such for men and women. So I’m not sniping from the sidelines, as it were.

        1. Indie*

          Oh I think how you described your approach at work to ensure equivalency is excellent. It’s just that, if I were in a workplace were there were no male showers, I wouldn’t hold a female shower either. If the person was a really good friend, I’d ask about their registry or give my own personal congrats card. It might feel counter productive to resist ‘But ladies are nice to each other!’ socialisation but I don’t think it does anyone any favours at work. There are also some men who loathe baby showers for really good reasons; namely that this stuff is costly and they never got their turn a couple decades back.

        2. EvanMax*

          On adoptive parents and same sex couples, one of the things my company does that I LOVE is that there is no “maternity” or “paternity” leave.

          Instead, there is only “parental” leave, and it’s the same whether you are birthing a child or adopting one. (with the caveat of proper medical leave for women who have medical necessities for leave). It is instead broken up by “primary caregiver” and “non-primary caregiver”.

          So, to be honest, most of the time in a cishet couple the mother is going to opt for primary care giver and the father for non-primary caregiver, because that’s the society that we live in, but if a mother wants to get back to work quicker and the father wants to stay home with the baby, they have that option by just choosing those labels, without having to jump through a ton of extra hoops to receive a perk labeled for a different gender. And of course it applies to same sex couples too.

          1. EvanMax*

            Forgot to mention, the leave is longer for “primary” than it is for “non-primary” (sixteen weeks versus four weeks), but as I said, you self select which one you are taking.

      2. Quandry*

        Did he get snubbed, or did his wife’s department expect that his own department would organize something for him, then take pity on him when it was clear no one on his team was going to celebrate his milestone?

        Did his wife spend some time dropping hints in her department that she wanted a shower and was having a baby, while he assumed that his department would learn about it through magic, gossip, or his wife?

    3. Lucille2*

      In the last two places I’ve worked, baby showers were given to moms or dads equally, and they were organized within the parent-to-be’s department or team. I feel that keeping it within the parent-to-be’s team helps maintain some consistency for everyone. I agree with you that dad’s are deserving of these showers in a workplace setting as well. Especially in today’s world where men are taking more of their fair share of the parenting work and parental leave is becoming increasingly common for fathers. It’s probably worth noting that my last two jobs offered paid parental leave for mothers & fathers, so culture is likely a factor here.

      As for the wellness room drama, I really wish companies wouldn’t call a “Mother’s Room” a “Wellness Room” and make it available for various uses. A Mother’s Room is required by law and is ESSENTIAL for nursing mothers to work outside the home full time. My company calls it a Wellness Room though its use is restricted to nursing moms. But I can’t tell you how many people ask how they can book it for a quick afternoon nap not knowing what’s its intended use actually is. Your company should really restrict the wellness room access to nursing mothers only.

  42. Erin*

    #1 in my pregnant opinion, just send flowers or a gift card for take out food to the new parents. Skip grandma gifts. Especially if you never met the mom to be. If someone got the woman my dad married (my own mom passed away) stuff for the baby I’d be mortified because my child will not be spending anytime alone with her, let alone calling her grandma. So get new mom something thoughtful but impersonal like a gift card to the pizza place. New parents could use takeout.

  43. behindbj*

    We have had one – and only one – grandma shower here where I work (been here 25+ years), and it happened by “popular demand.”

    The grandma-to-be was (and still is), one of the nicest people ever. Any time there was an announced event for anyone for anything in our Division, she attended, contributed to any potluck or requested items, contributed for the gift, whatever. She also remembers folks’ birthdays with a personal card and usually a treat. Just a really great lady. So when she told us that she was going to be a grandmother, I thought it would be nice if some of the “regulars” took her out for a nice lunch. Others heard of this lunch, and wanted to join. It got to be wayyy too many people. Also, other people asked some of the “event planner types” (including me), “Are we doing something for G2B? She’s always at everyone else’s thing.”

    So we had a Grandma shower. Almost all of the Division came (and people from other departments, because she is just that awesome). It was really, really nice, and we got to do something for someone who always celebrated everyone else.

    There has never been another – and no one is hurt by this. So, unless this is the dynamic in your office, then I would say no. Ours just happened due to one very great lady.

    1. EvanMax*

      I think all of your intentions were in the right place, but I also don’t think you can definitely say that no one else has ever been hurt by the fact that this woman got a special grandparent party and they didn’t. The response that this was by “popular demand” could be even more hurtful, because it is also a way fo telling others “no one cares about you enough to do this.”

      1. Tardigrade*

        Yes. I do hope it’s the case at behindbj’s office that nobody else was hurt by it, but I imagine nobody would say anything negative about celebrating something for one of the nicest people ever. When my office had a grandma shower for no other person except the one grandma, I know several people had their feelings hurt because their grandchildren weren’t celebrated too.

      2. Birch*

        Yep. That’s why work celebrations are always problematic if they can’t be kept exactly equal. Maybe that one grandmother actually is nice to everyone and everyone does love her. Or maybe you can’t judge her relationship with every single person in the office. Plenty of people are nice and wonderful in quiet ways that don’t get celebrated, which really hurts. Work shouldn’t be a popularity contest. It sounds like that situation was probably harmless, but there’s nothing stopping the party planners from having a party outside of work and inviting people from work.

      3. behindbj*

        Been here 25+ years. I’m one of the people who always attends things and never has one set up for me. I am fine with it. Trust me when I say that no one was bothered. What has bothered people are parties for other things that someone’s pet gets, and expects everyone to join, and then don’t attend other’s events. But we’re grown-ups and roll on.

        Other people have become grandparents since then, and there is always the question of “is there going to be a thing”? None have them have wanted a thing – because someone asks them. And to clarify Things: Sometimes the “thing” is lunch with a few officemates. Sometimes the “thing” is a card and small office gift. Sometimes the “thing” is not an “office thing” but folks in the office individually wishing them well. We just have not had another grandmother “shower.” People have also requested we not have a baby shower for them, a wedding shower for them, any birthday recognition at all (even in our “Monthly Birthday Thing,” retirement or leaving thing for them. You get the idea. We have plenty of Things.).

        1. EvanMax*

          I hope that you are right about all of that, but the fact that you have put up with a lack of recognition for 25+ years (which is a shame) and don’t mind doesn’t mean that other people also don’t mind. People don’t always vocalize their issues with office culture, but it can come out elsewhere in their work product, or their tenure at the firm.

        2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

          I can’t imagine working anywhere for 25 years and not being recognized and being OK with that. My last company, I was there almost 20 years and recognized often for my work, my birthday, my work anniversary, etc., as were others. I was on teams that did a monthly birthday lunch where everyone paid for the birthday person.. A little bit of recognition goes a long way.

    2. WellRed*

      We had similar, but it was a puppy shower. She doesn’t have children, had a rough year, due to husband decling health and is always helpful to others. It was low key, she was touched. It has never been repeated, nor will it.

  44. EmilyG*

    Uggggghhh, I basically got dragooned into a grandbaby shower at work a while back and resented it enormously. I am on an executive-type committee at work and the highest-level person in our organization was having his first grandchild. One person slightly senior to me decided it would be fun to buy him a bunch of wine to celebrate and shook all of us down for $25. Unclear to me why buying him an arbitrary number of expensive bottles of wine and drinking one of them together was better than buying just one as a gift, or spontaneously inviting us all to his office to drink one bottle of champagne she could have procured.

    The two reasons I hated this were (a) if she wanted to suck up to him, she should have done it on her own dime and (b) I hate that we have to idolize childbearing in the office, too–I’m divorced w/ no kids and nobody around here is going to throw me a party for any of *my* life events.

    The part of this that is relevant to OP #1 is that the shakedown changed my opinion of the person who organized it, and her judgment. When she set it up, I liked and respected her enough to grudgingly go along with it, but if she had ever tried it again, I would not have. (Doesn’t matter, she moved on about a year after it happened.)

    1. $!$!*

      Lol I agree with you. As a married child free by choice woman I want a party for my life events: kitty’s birthday party, paying off a private student loan, etc. now I sound like Carrie Bradshaw

      1. EmilyG*

        Ha! I’d be okay with no workplace celebration or only celebration of universal things like birthdays–but even that doesn’t work because I’ve worked with Jehovah’s Witnesses and someone who permanently stopped celebrating her 9/11 birthday after 9/11 (this was in NYC, so not overdramatic).

        Best would be a workplace that was just quietly supportive of life events that inevitably come up, whether happy or not. Unfortunately the next phase of my family life is going to involve a lot of eldercare type stuff. Not a feel-good occasion for my colleagues.

      2. WellRed*

        I’ve mentioned this before (except I am single), but I once joked when I was getting a shower and the office manager said, “When you get married or have a baby.”
        Thank you, too

  45. Former Retail Manager*

    Ugh….read receipts…I had no idea this existed for text messages. I’ll check my phone now. I’d definitely take Alison’s advice and disable them if you can.

    As for read receipts on work related email, I HATE them. They read as very tattle-taley to me in most circumstances. I will only send an e-mail with a read receipt if I’ve already tried to get a response from the person at least twice to no avail. I’m sure there are circumstances, such as extremely time sensitive stuff, where they are warranted, but I feel like it’s an expectation in most professional environments to check your e-mail regularly and respond timely, which negates the need for read receipts IMO.

  46. LQ*

    #2 I have a boss who does this. He doesn’t have a lot of peers in the organization and the ones he has are all very distant and working on pretty different things, so he ends up talking to his staff about big picture things before they are fully baked. He’s gotten better about telling people to put their pens down, but he’s also stopped talking to some people who always feel they have to charge forward with every half baked idea.
    I generally will listen until it seems like it’s fairly coherent and then ask if he wants me to move forward on it, this way he gets to think it through, I get to hear what thinking it through at his level sounds like, and if there is an actual task out of it I can work it but I don’t start thinking about that before he’s done working through the idea.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I think there’s nothing wrong with boss doing this, but then if should be clearly framed as more of a brainstorming session and not actual work to be preformed right away. Or maybe it can just be a basic fact finding task for 1-2 people with a short time limit.

      If you think about it that way, it’s actually good to involve the team. Just not tie up too many resources.

    1. Specialk9*

      Are you sure you want to lost Dilbert cartoons?

      Even before its creator decided to set himself on fire by being a terrible human being in public, Dilbert is a bad omen. I’ve noticed that when I work in an org that has Dilbert strips all over, it’s a bad sign, and things are either going down hill or it’s on its way. I don’t actually think the same thing about xkcd, but xkcd seems to like humans (including, or especially, the female ones) and isn’t this river of contempt.

      I also have a problem with Dilbert these days due to his inexcusably sexist comments (“women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently”), and his apparent support for Incel terrorists (“if I wasn’t getting laid I’d probably be a suicide bomber too”). Oh ok. Those are cool things to say.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        It made me so sad when I felt compelled to get rid of the plush Dogbert on my shelf at work, but yeah… the more I hear about the creator, the more distasteful everything associated with him becomes.

      2. Observer*

        Those are pretty awful things.

        As for the omen, of course it is – any place that has lots of those strips up probably has a lot of dysfunction going in. That’s his thing – he skewers corporate stupidity.

  47. bopper*

    We have a lunch group at work of 5 women. One of the woman became a grandmother, and our little group decided among our selves to chip in for a little gift. We also ask for updates on said grandchild. No shower is needed to celebrate…it can be done more organically.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Yes, it’s a lovely thing to do for a friend if it happens organically. And it is entirely possible that the baby will be spending lots of time at Grandma’s house (I’m thinking of my own parents, who did – and still do – enough babysitting that they like to have a high chair, crib, etc. on hand) and it would be nice to give her this type of gift if you would do it even without an “optional” work shower.

  48. Allison*

    OP 1, I recently read a thing from the Emily Post Institute that grandparent showers are slowly becoming a thing, the gifts being baby stuff for the grandparent-to-be to have on hand when the baby is at their place (either during family visits or babysitting purposes). It’s not ridiculous for you to consider throwing one, but I’d recommend against throwing one for a coworker. This is something that should be left to a close friend or family member, who has a better idea of how close she is with her daughter and how involved she’s going to be.

  49. Q*

    Yes the grandma shower is a thing, and they are not fun. My (lame) boss made us throw a ‘shower’ for a woman who was becoming a grandmother. It ended up being a belated baby shower for her daughter, who none of us had ever met, and did not show up to open gifts. So we were essentially forced to buy gifts for a complete stranger in order to avoid looking like a non-team member. It was crappy to say the least and my boss made it mandatory. I’m all for chipping in for a colleague to celebrate a milestone or life event but this was just absurd.

    1. WellRed*

      I wouldn’t show up to open a bunch of gifts strangers bought me, while those strangers were watching me and celebrating me, either. Awkward!

      1. Q*

        Yup, I agree. What was worse was our boss didn’t have the company cater the event, so she sent out a mandatory spreadsheet for each person to cover drinks, dessert, plates etc. and we were forced to buy food and decorations as well. This did not sit right with me and I left within a year (not for that specific reason). Overall it showed a huge lack of judgement by my boss that showed in other areas as well.

  50. Lindsay*

    First time commenter because I have a story:

    My son was born 2.5 years ago, and the elementary school where my mom teaches did not acknowledge her new grandmother status (which was fine). But then a coworker (let’s call her Nanette) learned her son was having a baby, and they threw a grandma shower that included the high chair, crib, all sorts of big ticket items, and my mom went all out, made her stuff, etc etc like a nice friend and coworker, and apparently it was generally a Big Deal shower. Baby’s born, couple breaks up (they were never married), and we learn that Nanette’s son wasn’t actually the father of this baby.

    1. WellRed*

      I am sorry, but this made me laugh. I’m officially a horrible person but it’s a good example of the risks of showering someone two or three levels removed from the actual life event.

  51. Adlib*

    OP #5: Just commenting to say I’ve heard a LOT of ads for LinkedIn for employers for recruiting recently. I don’t know if this is leading more companies to turn on the Easy Apply feature, but it is something LinkedIn is heavily pushing now. It could be that more start getting their overall pool of applicants from LinkedIn and then narrowing them down that way or at least in conjunction with other services.

  52. AmazinglyGuileless*

    OP2, my current boss does this, and it is extremely demoralizing. She loves to start things and brainstorm, but she never makes a commitment to a path. So I’ll work on something for two weeks, only for her to go, “Mm, no, we’re going in a different direction now,” and literally junk all the things I’ve done. She does it to everyone on the team. In response, I’ve basically stopped trying. I give her the “OK, yeah, sure,” and work halfheartedly on something, that way I’m not upset when she throws it away.

    As you can imagine, after a year of my being here and two years of her being here, our team has basically nothing to show in terms of completed projects–only several people who have quit, including probably soon myself. Why do the incompetent get positions of power like this???

  53. Ex-recruiter*

    From the recruiter standpoint, LinkedIn’s Easy Apply is the worst! Don’t do it!

  54. Combinatorialist*

    #1: I’m a little confused by “she and her daughter” intend to be very involved in the child’s life. Isn’t her daughter the mother of the baby?

    1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      I read it as “she and her daughter both intend for Coworker Grandma to be very involved in the child’s life.”

  55. Inspector Spacetime*

    OT, but I don’t get why becoming a grandmother is a big deal… Whenever people in my life have a baby, my main thought is “I hope they don’t expect me to babysit,” haha.

  56. Cat Herder*

    RE #4: read receipts are useful to see that a colleague is deleting your messages unread even though you have been charged to give directions on work required for Y project. Because “I’m tired of listening to Cat Herder yap about Y project and I don’t have to do what they tell me.” Yeah….

    I don’t usually have read receipts on for texts or emails, but when I was alerted that someone was doing this, I did turn it on. Until that person was no longer employed at our office. I’ve used it only a couple of times since then.

  57. Gumption*

    It’s bad enough that having a baby in Western culture could mean a:
    baby shower held privately
    baby shower at work
    a gender reveal party
    push present
    professional photography session of the large belly
    Photo thank you / announcement cards
    The over the top 1st birthday party, etc.
    Not all of the above = gift gifting but having a baby is now quite the industry. And it’s absurd. Don’t add to it!

    If this grandmother-to-be is your good office friend, get her a gift from you to her and stop there. Once baby arrives, let her share her news her own way.

    1. savannnah*

      Don’t worry, the crushing depression and isolation of American postpartum plus the worst health outcomes in all of the western world really balances all that out.

  58. LurkieLoo*

    OP5, as long as you don’t do both! As the person who posts and screens applications/resumes for our company, I would actually be annoyed if I posted on LinkedIn and received applications directly. However, we don’t have an employment opportunities section on our website. If we did, I wouldn’t care which way the application came in, as long as it didn’t come in twice.

    Since I actually have to take the time to post a job to LinkedIn, I am expecting (and wanting!) replies through there. I also think it is important to know where the applicants come from for future postings. If I think everyone is finding the job through our website, I’m not going to pay to list other places. If they are coming from paid places and then finding the website, I have no way of knowing that it was actually LinkedIn (or Indeed or Craigslist or Monster or or or) that was successful. When I post, I am actually vague about the name of the company because I don’t want people trying to gumption their way in the door. I don’t want physical resumes, faxed resumes, phone calls, flowers, or chocolate. I provide company information when I schedule the first interview.

    Of course, LinkedIn doesn’t work anonymously, but it is the platform they’ve chosen to collect resumes and interested applicants.

  59. MrsJ*

    Op 3: A lot of the teams I work with have a set time each day to do a quick (5-10 minute) status update and bring any non-critical questions. The important part is to set a regular time and stick to it. Questions or problems are either solved at the check-in or assigned an action item to address it, e.g.,” Talk to Wakeen, he’s dealt with this before” or “You need to submit this to Aria is Accounting, and she’ll follow up.”

  60. Dysfunction Junction*

    OP #1, as many have said, don’t do the shower. I was in a small (15-ish people) office and not only did we have two
    ‘Grandma’ showers (in which everyone HAD to chip in to buy a pack ‘n’ play) we also threw ‘Mother of the Bride’ showers, including one for a woman whose daughter was getting married for the SECOND time. They were weird and gift-grabby and cliquish.

    1. WellRed*

      A Mother of the Bride shower???!! WTF were the gifts? Why did everyone not call out sick that day?

      1. Gumption*

        My eyes just bugged out. Mother of the bride shower. No, no, nope. How to somehow make it about you.

      2. Dysfunction Junction*

        They got gift baskets with wine and restaurant/spa gift cards to ‘recover from the wedding stress.’ *eyeroll* The majority of women in that office were relatively of the same age, so they were all on board. They decorated the conference room (streamers, balloons, etc) and we all had to contribute to the potluck, of course. As the lone single, childless woman in the office, I should’ve insisted they throw me a ‘Kitten Adoption’ party.

        1. Observer*

          ‘recover from the wedding stress.’

          Seriously!? I’m from a community where parents really DO make the wedding. And I would STILL be rolling my eyes till they spun to the back of my head. (And, yes, I do have married daughters.)

        2. savethedramaforyourllama*

          heck yes you should have gotten a kitten adoption party in that office, complete with a registry!

          1. savethedramaforyourllama*

            in that particular environment, I’m not proposing these be a ‘thing’ in general

    2. Lucille2*

      Mother of the Bride shower? Just, wow. I even think bridal showers are too much and even a bit outdated. I mean, you get wedding gifts. Do you seriously need gifts for just the bride and the engagement party and, now the mother gets a party too?

  61. leftonread*

    I had a interviewer give me his phone number and he told me to text him on a certain date and he would follow up on the job application. I did as was told and checked and he read it about 15 minutes and never responded, haha.

  62. Snickerdoodle*

    #2: I can’t stress enough that you not take him seriously and assume he’s fantasizing! I agree with Alison; don’t get invested, just nod along and move along. Definitely don’t try to move forward when you know it won’t go anywhere.

    My old boss would always bring up specific projects that never went anywhere. The job was a business-to-business office supplier, and most of her ideas were related to growing the business, but never in practical ways. For instance, she wanted to start a video blog on our website. No one ever read the existing blog or our Facebook page (her mom was the only person who ever clicked like or commented on anything, and the bosses couldn’t understand why nobody was that invested in a local office supplier’s blog), so I was certain nobody would have paid attention to a video blog. It would have been just plain embarrassing.

    I was also expected to gather contact information for collections agencies to deal with customers who weren’t paying us. The boss would ask me to gather information for her, so I would, and then she wouldn’t do anything with the information. A couple of months would go by, she’d ask again, and I’d just send her the same information again. After a while, I had to start reminding her I’d already sent it since she got into the habit of acting like I wasn’t doing what was asked of me, and I had to cover my ass to point out that I’d already done so repeatedly.

    The same job also asked us to come up with marketing ideas. My coworkers and I came up with some pretty good ideas that a few customers said they’d like to see (pens, flash drives, etc.), but the bosses shot down everything we thought of because they didn’t want to spend the money. They were embarrassingly cheap: For Halloween, they decided to give away little bags of candy, only rather than spend the twelve dollars on the bulk quantity of treat bags with gift tags I found online, they insisted we use giant plastic bags they found in the warehouse and had no use for, made me print out “gift tags” on regular copy paper, and they only bought one bag of candy and one spool of ribbon to tie the bags closed. So instead of a cute little treat bag full of candy with a pretty ribbon and matching gift tag, our customers received a giant plastic sack with like three pieces of candy in the bottom and a piece of copy paper shoved in it tied in a crude double knot. Breathtaking. They continued the trend of using stuff that should have been thrown away as free samples. For instance, one time, as an idea to push K-cups, the bosses had us stick an expired K-cup, a single packet of sugar, and a single creamer inside a mini bankers box with a label on the outside with our contact information–the label being printed on old, discolored paper that you could barely read and wouldn’t stick. My coworkers and I discussed it and revolted. The delivery drivers threw the whole mess away rather than give away something embarrassing and potentially a health hazard (I don’t know how old the expired coffee was, but somebody surely would have noticed and called us out on it).

    Anyway, that’s enough venting about ToxicOldJob. My point was that if you see an established pattern of projects going nowhere, don’t get too invested–not only because it’s a waste of your time, but because going along with it can have unintended consequences that are bad for the company. If something’s a good idea, they’d be moving forward with it right away.

    1. Snickerdoodle*

      . . . I just checked the job listings, and that company has a job ad up. Again. Cracked me up. :)

    2. WellRed*

      “our customers received a giant plastic sack with like three pieces of candy in the bottom and a piece of copy paper shoved in it tied in a crude double knot.”

      I cannot stop laughing at how absurd the giant bag is. Also, reminds me of a poster or commenter here who once got something like a plastic sandwich bag with 4 thumbtacks as a gift.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        I’m sure that’s how it felt from the customer end. Worrying that they’d be offended by the underwhelming “gift” and we’d lose business was why we threw away the next bright idea the bosses had.

  63. Pickle*

    OP2, I have a boss like this. I’m a senior staffer and we have a close relationship, so what I do may not be possible for you. First, I have had multiple big picture conversations with him about it, and while it’s still a major growing edge for him he is starting to see the patterns. Second, when he starts doing this I rarely commit to taking the project on unless he specifically assigns it to me. Instead, I ask questions about how we would implement it. “Who would be the owner on this? Do you think we’ll have time given X priority?” He doesn’t always lose interest in the idea based on my questions, but if I don’t commit to taking any action on it he’ll generally just forget about it and move on. My instinct as a go-getter has always been “great! I’ll start doing this and this and this!” but I’ve had to unteach myself in order to maintain sanity.

  64. Maybe I’m Old*

    There are things these days that should not be things:

    1. Promposals.
    Why in the hell…and what if the one being asks doesn’t want to go? Totally puts one person on the spot in front of a physical and virtual audience against their will. Ugh.

    2. Gender Reveal Parties.
    So another party to get gifts? Seriously, if you’re having a shower, don’t have one of these. Ick.

    3. Grandparent showers & Pet Parent Showers.
    No. Just. No. Especially at an office!!

      1. Gumption*

        Pet Parent showers?! WTH? Tell me that not’s real…outside of for ppl who work exclusively with animals.

        1. Pet Parent Shower Survivior*

          Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been subjected to a “Pet Parent Shower.”

          A report of mine who is “militantly childfree” (her words) insisted that throw her a “Pet Parent Shower.” She claimed (via a group email, because that’s always the best way to go…ugh) that she was being “left out” because as a “young professional who is against procreation, she will never receive any sort of party.” That is a direct quote from the email.

          Her coworkers were kind of incensed by it as the showers consisted of cake and soda purchased with my “goodwill department budget,” and others in the department bringing cards and small gifts, with both parents-to-be specifically requesting diapers. (Totally voluntary!)

          Anyway, I called her in and asked her what we could do to make her feel more included and to reiterate that participation in these events doesn’t require a gift or even require her to attend. She stated she wanted a “Pet Parent Shower” since she had just purchased an English Bulldog pup. I said we would be glad to celebrate the addition to her family and ordered a cake, but would need to know what sort of gifts to suggest when people inevitably asked.

          She sent me a link with a pet wish list that spanned from pee-pee pads to a $1500 (no joke) jeweled collar. I included it in the invite and mistakenly went forward with my good intended-party.

          And that’s when the shit hit the fan. I had people asking for “showers” for their kids going back to school, I had people asking for “showers” for being a grandparent and/or aunt, and I had one guy ask if he could get a “shower” for his newly purchased car because there were some accessories he wanted.

          I threw the Pet Parent Shower. It was…poorly attended. It probably didn’t help that my report who was the guest of honor is not well liked by her peers. But nonetheless, I bought the cake and soda. I bought a small gift off the wishlist.

          And then I spoke with my boss and a committee was formed to determine what constitutes a “work party/shower.” A group from across departments determined the following:
          –Death of Employee or Spouse/Partner: Floral Delivery or Donation to Charity of choice for “in lieu of flowers”

          –Birthdays: Once a month, cake for all birthdays in department lounge.

          –Hire Date Anniversary Milestones: Handled by HR at employee banquet thank God don’t need to touch that

          –Wedding Shower: Cake, soda, in lounge. Gifts optional.

          –Child Birth and/or Adoption: Cake, soda, in lounge. Gifts optional.

          So no more Pet Parent showers. Period.
          Sorry this got long. I never thought anyone else had heard of this…wow.

          1. Sally*

            I feel for you – you really tried. But my goodness. And the comment “young professional who is against procreation, she will never receive any sort of party” … *whew.* I think your boss did the right thing after the fact.

          2. Snickerdoodle*

            She reminds me of a real-life take on an episode of Sex and the City. Carrie had attended a party where she was required to remove her shoes (super expensive Manolo Blahniks), which were stolen, and when Carrie asked the hostess to compensate her, the hostess shoe shamed her and said she shouldn’t have to pay Carrie for her extravagant lifestyle. Carrie complained to her friends about it pointed out that she had spent well more than the cost of the shoes on engagement/wedding/baby shower gifts for her friend. It’s a completely different situation, of course–Carrie wasn’t demanding (via mass email to her peers!) a shower and loads of extravagant gifts for adopting a dog–but I do understand the annoyance at being expected to celebrate others’ life choices when you aren’t being celebrated for yours.

          3. Erin*

            I threw my dog a puppy shower when she was pregnant. It was way better than any baby shower. It was actually just an excuse for my husband and I and his best friend to drink beer and grill and give our dog a new toy and a ton of treats.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I agree with you SO HARD on 1 and 2. (And 1a, I’m not even a fan of public wedding proposals). I’m torn on 3. Not for grandparents, but for pets. People who aren’t going to become parents end up giving giving so many gifts, and it never really evens out. I wouldn’t throw a pet shower in the workplace, but I did start giving Christmas gifts to the pets in my extended family, since many of them were owned by people who were giving gifts to my child and not getting gifts in return (we had a “kids only” gift tradition).

      1. Lily Rowan*

        But those of us without children have so many fewer expenses! Do you know how many diapers I’ve bought? Zero. Day care bills I’ve paid? Zero. etc.

        1. Dragoning*

          It’s not really about the expense, though, it about the effort and show of goodwill.

          1. CMart*

            For something like a baby shower specifically, I’ve always been under the impression is a “rallying around someone about to undergo a dramatic change in lifestyle.” It’s your community coming together as a show of support.

            Same with gifts for weddings, at least originally-ish. People were striking off on their own, forming their own household. The community would help them set up their new home with dishes and towels and such. It was (and still could be, ’twas for me) a huge transition. Things have shifted a lot in that regard, but the original intent is still lurking.

            There are plenty of opportunities for change-of-life community rallying, though. Not nearly as codified as baby showers, but still there. Housewarming parties where people bring Host Gifts. Graduation parties.

      2. Dog Rescuer*

        I totally give gifts to my grand-pups and kitties and niece-pups and kitties! But…that’s not demanding a shower at work. I also think the “promposal” thing is equally gross…I mean, let’s assume the askee is female…she is pretty much forced to say yes in public and on camera. Perhaps that’s why those things were invented…for boys who can’t handle “no.”

    2. Totally Minnie*

      Add “Marriage proposal via flash mob” to that list. If you say no to that, you get to look like a jerk in front of hundreds of people. No thank you.

      1. Erin*

        Eww! If a guy did that to me I’d say no because they don’t know a thing about me. I always feel bad for the women. like how do I know this guy isn’t crazy and this is their first date?

      2. Lady Kelvin*

        The only time the proposal via flash mob/in public is ok is if the couple has already decided to get married and the proposal is just a formality. Which, I think you should never propose without already knowing the answer, but that is besides the point. We got engaged 6 months after setting the date and putting the deposit down on a venue, so if my husband had decided to do a public proposal, he was already assured of the answer. He didn’t, because I hate being the center of attention and he knows it.

      3. Snickerdoodle*

        Or you get to have your heartbreak caught on tape. That possibility alone is enough to suggest that privacy is a must.

  65. Someone else*

    OP1 reads to me like she is closer than just coworker with Gran-to-be, and her impulse to Do Something is because of that closeness.I think even if Gran-to-be is well liked in the office, it might be worth pausing to think about if she is actual friends or even work-friends with GTB, while probably most of the rest of the office isn’t. Since it sounds like it’s not an existing cultural thing in either this office, or OP’s general social circle or GTB’s social circle, I think a show-from-work-people would be overkill. Not that it isn’t well-intentioned or might not receive little pushback from the office. But if the whole origin of the idea is OP is close with and very happy for GTB, it’s worth stepping back and recognize, this is a personal thing. It’s a personal thing for GTB. It’s a personal reasoning from OP to want to DoNiceThing for GTB. But there isn’t really a good reason this should be a Work Thing or a Work People Thing. So if OP knows of other folks in the office who are also close to GTB, they might because of the friendship choose to do something together, maybe a card or a gift or a lunch or various other suggestions other people made, but that’s because they’re actually friends. It doesn’t really make sense to make this a Thing The Office Does.

    1. sap*

      Yep, this! It’s great to want to do something for a friend—it’s just not *work related,* even if you work with your friend.

      A good test is, is the reason you want to do this because of something you know about the person’s feelings or personality? If yes, it’s less likely to be a “workplace” thing. If no (you want to do it just based on general bio details, like “coworker’s birthday is on the 3rd and she can’t eat chocolate” so we should get her a lemon cake), it’s probably a workplace thing.

      It sounds like the impetus here is what OP knows about how “excited” prospective grandma is and her “traditional” culture and how she’s been waiting for grandkids for a while. That’s all Friendship Personality Feelings stuff, rather than just the biographical information of “grandma’s kid is expecting a child.”

  66. Ladyphoenix*

    Op1: Nope. Nope nope nope.

    Pretty sure the point of shows is that it is help someone going through their first big event:
    1) Bridal Shower: To help the new lovebirds settle into their new life together
    2) Baby Shower: To help the new parents be prepared for the child

    Grandparents do not need showers. They should have the knowledge and suuplies to tale care of their children’s children.

    The idea that we need a shower for EVERYTHING just shows the greed.

    (Also on that note: I refuse to participate in 2nd, 3rd+ wedding or baby shower. Nope nope nope.)

  67. Justin*

    If you’re their friend, you can get them a “World’s Best Grandma” coffee mug or something, but don’t make other people do anything.

  68. Hiring Mgr*

    #5 – There can also be a disconnect between the recruiter who posts jobs on LinkedIn and the hiring manager for the position. The internal recruiting systems can be a bit wonky, so having the option of sending a pdf version of your resume/cover letter is the best way to go, IMO. It gives you more control over the formatting of your own information rather than relying on whatever the company’s recruiting system does with it.
    I work for a company who has a not-so-user-friendly recruiting system and I can’t really figure out which applications are formatted strangely because the applicant is trying something new or if the tool/system had a hand in the formatting. I can usually see the original source of the application (i.e. LinkedIn, Indeed, etc), but that really doesn’t give me much info. I believe recruiters also have the option to move applications to a different role than the one the applicant originally applied for because I get the occasional cover letter that really doesn’t have anything to do with the role I’m hiring. But the system is really unclear about those as well. Applications that contain a pdf of a resume/cover letter usually have the best chance (when applicant is qualified, of course).

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

    #2. Any chance that the boss expects his employees to see it through to the finish and not just present research and ideas back to him? I have a boss that presents Big Idea and then ghosts, but he really does expect us to make it happen rather than just conceptualize. He doesn’t want to see concepts, he doesn’t want to be in on any technical or development meetings, he doesn’t want to be responsible for getting approvals from other departments — that’s all our task. And no, none of his employees officially have that kind of authority but he expects us to find a work around. He thinks he’s empowering us and he trusts us to do our jobs. At most we can go to him and say something like, “I’m getting push back from IT on implementing that new web page you want. Any chance you can throw your weight in their direction?” Luckily, he’s a good boss otherwise and he has our back when other departments think we’re overstepping our lane.

  70. Lucille2*

    #1 – when my first was born, my mother’s coworker bought a gift of baby clothes for her to give to me. I was flattered and thought it was such a nice thing her coworker did, and she obviously wanted to help my mom celebrate her joy in having a grandchild. It was a kind and sincere gesture from a friend of my mom. Perhaps this is something you can do for your coworker that would be better received than a shower that may put off some of your coworkers who could end up resenting you or Grandma-To-Be for making this a thing at work.

  71. Raina*

    #1. It is nice that you want to celebrate her impending ‘grandmotherdom’ but it isn’t appropriate to assume everyone else has the time, money or interest to participate. This is your own personal interest so do something yourself for her and leave everyone else be.

  72. Working Mom Having It All*

    Baby showers are for the purpose of a community/family/group of friends coming together to help new parents furnish all the gear and supplies babies need, because it’s a lot of stuff and gets expensive very quickly.

    Maybe my parents and in-laws are gigantic outliers in terms of what is expected of grandparents in this day and age, but they have ZERO baby gear or supplies for my kid. We are buying a pack & play this weekend to take on an upcoming trip to visit my MIL. We are buying it with our own money; this is not even something we registered for. That is how little the grandparents in my family have a need for baby gear or for someone to throw them a shower.

    Take your friend out to lunch.

    1. CMart*

      My MIL watches my daughter for a few hours every day (it allows us to do half day daycare, which saves some money and assuages the ‘working parent guilt’) and we provide her with everything she might need. A pack and play, stroller, car seat, and keeping her supplied with diapers and wipes is a tiny fraction of what daycare would cost, and we’re really grateful for her help.

      I’m honestly a little baffled by the concept, even given the circumstance that a grandparent will be “highly involved”. My parents were over the moon when my sister completed her PhD–what a joyful occasion to celebrate! What a milestone for proud parents! And no one took my mom to lunch or got her a neck pillow for the plane trip to go watch her daughter graduate. I don’t see how “becoming a grandparent” is that different.

      1. Thursday Next*

        You raise an interesting question! Honestly, I wouldn’t have batted an eye if anyone took my mom out to celebrate my pregnancy—for people who want to be grandparents, becoming one is an important life stage. It’s like a first job, or a first apartment, or a significant partnership. And if they have a relationship with their children, they will likely have some sort of relationship with their grandchildren.

        I would have been weirded out if anyone did anything for my mom to mark my doctorate. It’s not just that she did nothing toward my attainment of it (the same is true of my pregnancies), but also that she has nothing to do with it moving forward. It’s not a life stage for her in the same way.

        Of course, she’s proud of both, but really removed from my degree compared to her grandchildren.

        1. AJ*

          You’re okay about your mother’s coworkers celebrating with her the fact that you had sex with your partner, which resulted in pregnancy? It’s just pregnancy sex they celebrate together right?

          I’m from a different generation when what happened in my vagina wasn’t celebrated by complete strangers. O_O

    2. Anonymosity*

      #1–I feel like the only way a grandparent shower is appropriate is if the grandparent has to unexpectedly take custody of a grandchild and has no supplies whatsoever. But that would be something you do for a friend or relative, off the clock. I’m iffy about baby showers at work, too. I wouldn’t want one if I were pregnant. That’s for my family and friends to do, if they want to. I’m not usually that friendly with coworkers outside the office.

      #5–I think those job boards (LinkedIn’s; Indeed; Glassdoor) have an option to link directly to the employer’s website. I’ve applied directly but by going through the link–i.e., I click it and am taken to the site, where I then create an account (ugh) and fill out the app. Depending on the size of the company, they may not be using an application platform and just take resumes through the job board website. That’s what OldExjob did–I applied through the state career center, and we also took apps for the office positions through CareerBuilder. So not all companies pay less attention.

      One time, I applied through LinkedIn and didn’t get a chance to upload a separate cover letter. So I started making a version with the cover and the resume as one document. I also ran into that with a few application platforms.

  73. CatCat*

    #4 – I don’t have time to read all the comments to see if someone already said this (probably), but if you’re on an iPhone, you can set Read Receipts on a person by person basis. So you can turn them off for your boss but turn them on for your mom, etc. You do it in Messages by clicking the “i” in the right corner, which will bring up settings for that contact.

  74. Adaline B.*

    #4 Late to the party but I have my read receipts on more for me than anyone else. I am really, really, really bad at forgetting to follow through on requests via text message and having that little red number on my messages prods me to make time and fully take care of whatever it is. I leave it unread until I deal with it fully because I know when I read it, the person can see that and then I’m on the hook for actually doing the thing.

    Though I have turned it off for a few personal nosy people that made a big deal about it. o.O

    It’s also super helpful as an acknowledgement that I saw the message especially if no response is necessary. My boss doesn’t have an iPhone and our text message history is basically back and forth and back and forth. hehe

  75. Deborah*

    I disagree on the LinkedIn Easy Apply. USE IT! But include your resume, too. I love to be able to easily link to the candidates LinkedIn profile.

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