my coworker is hiding a DUI from our employer, no one at work noticed my haircut, and more

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

1. My coworker is hiding her DUI from our employer

I’m in sales. We take day trips to see clients or prospective ones, and sometimes have to drive them to demonstrations. I overheard one of my coworkers on the phone when she thought no one else was in the office. She was talking about a DWI and court. When she realized I was there, she told me she got convicted of a DWI and is waiting to get sentenced. I did catch from the conversation she’s legally not allowed to drive as part of her bail. She said she hasn’t told anyone here or at the court because she can’t do her job without driving.

She asked me to keep it to myself so she doesn’t get fired or in trouble in court. She is still taking company vehicles to see clients and driving clients around. Our driving record gets checked when we are hired and we are tested and we are supposed to disclose any infractions if we get one. Her DWI put another driver in the hospital for two days. I have been really struggling since I found out and I’d like to hear your feelings on this if at all possible.

She’s putting you in a position that she has no right to put you in. The reason she’s been ordered not to drive is because the court considers her a safety risk to other people — which she clearly is. She put someone in the hospital. She could have killed someone. She’s now asking you to be complicit in her disregard for other people’s safety and for your company’s own liability. Don’t be part of that.

Please alert this to your employer today. Frame it as “I don’t feel comfortable knowing this and not disclosing it.” Ethically I don’t think you have a choice here.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. My manager’s boss will misrepresent any feedback I give about her

It’s appraisal time where I work. In general, my manager (let’s call her Sansa) is great but she’s human and there are some minor things she could improve on. She is aware of most of the things she could improve on, I think, and I would also feel comfortable giving her feedback face-to-face.

The problem is that I will be asked to send my feedback to her manager (let’s call her Cersei) and Cersei is a deeply unpleasant person to deal with professionally. Any minor piece of negative feedback I give, no matter how gently or constructively phrased, will be used by Cersei as a stick to beat Sansa with for the foreseeable future. I’ve experienced this from Cersei firsthand. Obviously that’s not how I want my feedback to be used.

What’s the appropriate way to proceed here? Should I give full feedback anyway, positive and negative, and let Sansa handle Cersei’s behaviour? Or should I write feedback that is overwhelmingly positive and skim over any negatives? If it makes a difference, feedback is sent by email and I wouldn’t expect to have to discuss it further with Cersei.

If you know that your feedback will be turned into something that it’s not and used in ways that you don’t want or intend, then don’t offer it. That really sucks, because you should be able to give feedback about your manager and have it used constructively — but it sounds like you can’t.

However, any chance that you can give some of your feedback to Sansa directly, leaving Cersei out of the loop? Depending on what kind of rapport you have with her, you could pick one or two items (I wouldn’t do more than that when she hasn’t solicited it) and say to her, “Cersei asked for input about working with you. I think you’re great and love working with you and didn’t want to send any input that would imply otherwise. But afterwards, two things did come to mind that I thought I could share with you directly if you’re interested.”

3. No one at work noticed my haircut

Over the weekend, I got a fairly drastic haircut. I had about 5 inches or so cut off, and had lots of layers added. For reference, I went from something like this to this.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and was a bit excited to go to work today to see others’ reactions. I work in a small office with only six of us here regularly, so these are people I see constantly. However, not a single person noticed (or, if they did, they didn’t say anything). Does this mean they don’t like it, or am I totally overreacting? I always notice when my coworkers get even a trim. For what it’s worth, I got this haircut for myself, not for the attention of others. I still love it, and my husband does, too. I just find it a bit odd that not even one person has commented on it. Is it office commonplace to not comment on a drastic physical change like this?

It’s not that strange that no one has commented on it. Some people just don’t comment on things like this, even if they notice it. Sometimes it’s because they’ve internalized the idea that they shouldn’t comment on other people’s physical appearances at work (not a bad thing to internalize). Sometimes they just don’t have anything in particular to say, which is not the same as disliking it. And sometimes people really don’t notice (especially since it looks like you’ve gone from long hair to shorter-but-still-fairly-long hair.)

I would not read anything into this at all.

4. Will my students need to use email in the work world?

I teach high school and over the past few years my colleagues and I have realized that our students are not using their email accounts. Most explain that they use other forms of social media to communicate. Our general response is that they are responsible for checking their email and will need to get used to it if they want to get/keep a job.

Will they need to use email in the workforce? Or are there other alternatives being used in the “outside world”? Are schools woefully out of touch with reality (as usual)?

Nope, they’re going to be expected to use email. And if they don’t check their email and respond to their email regularly — which in most jobs means at least several times a day — that’s going to be considered a huge performance issue that could get them fired (to say nothing of the fact that they’ll be missing key information and requests).

5. Is this company trying to see how low I’ll go on salary?

I’ve been emailing back and forth with an HR manager for a few days, setting up a phone screen at a company I’d like to work for. A few emails ago, she quoted me the salary range for the position, noting that it was a bit less than my desired number. But since I’m trying to shift into a new industry, I’m prepared to be flexible—so I agreed to proceed with that range in mind.

Today, however, the HR rep emailed to say that she’s just learned there’s a hard cap on the salary for this position—and that cap is the lowest point on the range she originally quoted. She’s asking if I’m still willing to move forward with an interview.

Part of me thinks that there’s still room for them to pay me within the original range they quoted, but they’re trying to see how low they can get me to go. Do you think that’s a possibility? Is there a way to acknowledge the cap without fully agreeing to it in order to get in the door for the interview, and then negotiate higher once I get to the offer stage?

It’s more likely that she’s being up-front that this is the most they’d offer you, and she doesn’t want to waste their time if it won’t work for you. It’s actually good that she’s telling you now, so that you don’t waste your own time if it’s not a number you’d consider.

If you say yes now and then try to negotiate for more later, they’re likely to feel you were operating in bad faith — and rightly so, since they’re being up-front with you and are asking you to self-select out now if the number doesn’t work for you. So I would not go into the interview planning to try to negotiate for more later. At most you could say, “It’s lower than what I’m looking for, but I’d want to learn more about the role and the rest of the compensation package. Given that, I’m interested in continuing to talk.” But I wouldn’t plan on trying to negotiate for more later unless you learn something about the role (or the rest of the compensation package) during the rest of the process that fundamentally changes something.

{ 674 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    1. Please make a point of keeping your comments on this post and others on-topic. I’m trying to rein in the off-topic comments that have increased in frequency lately.

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  2. No Tribble At All*

    OP #4 (high school students & email): bless their hearts. Let them know that they’ll need to check email in college, too, and will be held responsible for not responding to / dealing with information sent in emails.

    1. RaccoonLady*

      Yep, I’m in professional (veterinary) school and while we do have several Facebook groups to communicate amongst the students, for anything really major you need to be consistently checking your email! Especially for doing anything like networking with doctors whose clinics you would like to someday work in, responding promptly to emails is a big plus.
      If nothing else I learned in undergrad to check my email before my first morning class everyday to make sure it wasn’t canceled. Nothing worse than showing up to an 8am lecture and then realizing the professor was sick and you could’ve had an extra hour of sleep!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        An individual office might use Slack or something for internal communication. Even there, assuming that you want to at some point communicate with people outside that office, you have an email.

        1. Not Rebee*

          Even offices that use Slack will use email for certain types of things. That includes meeting requests, document transfers… anything you’d want a trackable and searchable chain to follow for record-keeping. Sure, Slack is searchable but the communication thread can vary wildly and with so many channels and places for things to hide it can be hard to find things and remember a particular conversation. email is much better for communications you think you’re going to want to be able to refer back to, and any department that receives requests of any kind from internal or external sources is going to want those requests sent via email for ease of tracking (for metrics or ticketing purposes etc)

    2. tra la la*

      Not only will they need to check email in college, they will need to access their university-assigned email address (whether directly or through another account if that’s doable).

      1. Oxford Comma*

        This ^^^^

        We’ve seen it over and over again with students who are stunned when their professors expect them to check their email. It can have real consequences, particularly when they are not doing so well and the professor is trying to meet them halfway and they don’t know it.

        1. Lily Rowan*

          Even 10 years ago, I had to explain to a new employee (recent college grad) that I expected her to keep her email open all the time so she would see things in a timely manner. And that “timely manner” in our office meant as soon as possible, not sometime that day.

          Work is different from school, and that is fine!

          1. Just Employed Here*

            Whereas it’s only 21 years ago that a friend of mine (who’s not normally a luddite) as a new student tried to rebel against her university’s requirement of a) getting a university email address, and b) checking it. She soon had to get over it.

            The golden age of email as a universal mode of communication seems to have been a short one.

            Nowadays, GDPR makes us EU people wary of using email for any kind of professional communication that’s even remotely to do with personal data…

            1. Observer*

              Email is not going away any time soon. Sure, it’s been supplanted for many things, but it’s still a rich and flexible tool that’s sufficiently widespread and accessible that it’s too useful to ditch.

              1. Just Employed Here*

                Well, but one day (soon!) these people who are now at school, not reading their emails, will be the ones making decisions about the technological solutions used by companies. I also can’t imagine an office without email, but I’m guessing they probably can. I don’t think it will be *ditched* exactly, but other methods might become more common and crucial.

                1. Observer*

                  Between the time they get out of school thinking that “no one uses email” and they get to the point of making decisions, a lot of them will come to realize that email still serves needs that can’t be filled by these other tools. Furthermore, even if they don’t come tot hat conclusion, it’s gone to take a fair amount of time for today’s graduates to reach a point where they can make those decisions.

            2. Lavender Menace*

              Not just EU people, either. I work at an American company that has decided to apply GDPR regulations across all of our users/customers and employees regardless of where they live. I’m also in a role that deals with TONS of personal data. My life has not been particularly fun for the last few months. (I mean, it’s all for a good cause, but still!)

          2. Tony*

            I don’t think email should be used for something urgent. If you need something now you should pick up the phone or use the internal chat.

            1. Cat Herder*

              No way I’m callling 120 students to inform them that they need to set up their registration advising appointment or they won’t have any classes for next semester. Email. No way the university is calling literally tens of thousands of students to remind them to submit their fafsa. Sorry, phone calls are not a reasonable alternative. Even if I had fewer students, it’s an incredible waste of my time to call every student every time. (Especially since students don’t follow up on voicemail any better than on email.)

              1. On Fire*

                This. Was it here recently that people were bragging about how long it had been since they checked their voicemail? May have been another blog. Some people were saying they hadn’t checked VM in *years.*

              2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

                This. I even give my students the option to text me about assignments if needed. Each semester, I’ll have between 1 and 3 who actually take me up on that, with anywhere from 15-40 students total depending on how many sections I’m teaching.

        2. ket*

          I actually had a student who had to drop out of her masters program and start again the next year, because although I kept emailing and emailing, I never got any response to the “here’s the website! Here are class videos! I notice you’re not checking in! Midterm coming! alert alert!” emails. She assumed I’d have her mynicknamelastname at canonicalprovider dot com email address, which of course I didn’t know about. I only figured it out when she emailed my bosses in November or so asking why I hadn’t started class. Fortunately I’d started CCing them at some point along my email trail because I was worried.

          PSA: Students, we profs & instructors are REQUIRED to use your official institutional email address by many institutions! You can set up forwarding if you want your mail to go somewhere else.

          1. Marty*

            I get SO frustrated by this! I teach at a college and we are not permitted to contact students through their personal emails. Official institution email only. Once, I helped a student log in and she hadn’t checked anything for the entire school year. UGH.

          2. NorthernSoutherner*

            Probably a reiteration, but since I have one daughter newly in college and the other entering her senior year of HS, I’ll say that a few years back, I had to get on their case about checking school email. I got the “no one uses email” complete with eyeroll response. But lo and behold, their teachers were using it! (I’m talking the school-given email addresses, in addition to Google Classroom & other methods.)

            Now I know they’re both using it, because I send them magazine articles sometimes and get “why are you sending me this?” in return. It’s a win!!

      2. Prof. G*

        Unfortunately, some universities don’t enforce this. :( I used to work at a large (30k students) state university where the norm was for students to use their personal email accounts. They were not expected to use the university accounts, many did not, and I was an anomaly for being annoyed by this. The excuse I was given, over and over, was that once students graduate, their university email is deactivated, and how will we contact them at that point? (Never mind that our enrollment system collected their personal email addresses as part of their contact information, and it was easy for us to batch query lists before students graduated.) It drove me up the wall. I and a few other faculty and staff members tried valiantly to enforce the use of university accounts and change the culture from within, to no avail. It was incredibly frustrating. The large state institution where I attended undergrad and grad school required that we at *least* set up forwarding to a personal account — we were walked through the process during orientation, in fact.
        Anyway. All of that slightly off-topic venting to say: email of some sort is required, but unfortunately, not all universities require that students use the institutional email account.

        1. JLCBL*

          And it’s so easy to forward that institutional address to their gmail or other account! It doesn’t have to be a completely separate step.

          1. Admin of Sys*

            Not always – anyone in a medical program has a high chance of being forbidden from setting up forwards, in case there is any HIPAA data in the mail. Or at least, that was the rule at the previous university I was in.

            1. Lavender Menace*

              I was in a medical program and was allowed to setup forwarding, but we weren’t allowed to send HIPAA data through the mail anyway.

        2. ket*

          How annoying! I wonder if that large U will reconsider. I got the impression my large state U tries to enforce institutional email for many legal, privacy, and cybersecurity reasons.

          1. Kelly L.*

            Yep. Ours requires us to use the institutional email, I think because there’s nothing to prove that whatever at gmail dot com is really the student (it could be anyone!), so it would violate FERPA to send certain things to that address.

          2. Oxford Comma*

            At ours the official .edu address is there, but it all goes to the students’ gmail accounts.

            At a certain point, regardless, this seems like it’s the cost of doing business. If you’re working for an employer who expects everyone use email, you use email. If you’re going to a university where the professors say I expect you to look at your email, you need to look at your email.

            1. Cassie the First*

              Our institutional email addresses switched over to Google Suite so the addresses are The reasoning behind the switch was that it was more cost-effective to use Google and also the students and faculty were using their personal Gmail accounts or forwarding their emails to Gmail anyway, so why not? I had an industry contact ask about the students using Gmail (for a research collaboration thing) and had to explain to them that our institutional addresses were through Gmail/Google.

        3. Liv*

          Out of curiosity is there any reason why the accounts need to be deactivated when students leave school? Is because the schools are so large? I went to small private school and they used gmail and have always kept the accounts active so that they can get ahold of alumni and so that students have a semi-professional email address when they start to apply for jobs. But yeah, I’m working at a college now and we are trying to come up with ways to train the students to check their emails. I was ready to bash my head in because I had to jump through hoops to get the school email addresses for the students that I work with so thats one problem. I also suspect that there has been some enabling from staff members as far as the flow of information goes. But maybe that’s because some of my co-workers are also bad about checking their emails; I’ll tell them something and they want to know how I knew that information and I’m like it was in the email that was sent out two days ago.

          1. Chaordic One*

            When I worked in academia, alumni were able to keep their accounts after graduation as long as they still used them. There were a handful of alumni who had graduated more than 20 years ago and who still had email accounts using their college email addresses.

            If people didn’t access the account for more than a year, then it would be disconnected. This led to some anxiety from people who didn’t use their account and who then wanted access to them because they wanted to find some old email or attachment. In those cases the I.T. department was almost always able to retrieve the information.

            Taking things up a notch, the institution also mandated that students use a personal online dashboard to get to some course and institutional information. This became a problem because the I.T. department accidentally forgot to set up some of the dashboards, and in other cases the dashboards were set up so that some people couldn’t access all of the dashboard. Students didn’t know they were supposed to have dashboards and some students who had dashboards weren’t getting all of their course information.

            It is kind of a pain, having to keep track of one more email address and one more password. Maybe on the weekend someone will talk about password management software.

          2. Cassie the First*

            Not sure about that, but our alumni now get free lifetime university-affiliated Gmail accounts – it was a “gift” from a recent graduating class. For staff/faculty, once you leave – you lose access to your account, though, which kind of stinks for those emeriti profs who have been with the university for years and used their university email addresses as the contact email for publications and such.

            I would think that smartphone *should* make checking email easier, if anything! My gmail app checks in the background and pings me when I get new email. Now whether I just read but don’t respond/take action, that’s a different question….

      3. CMart*

        This was the #1 thing that blew my mind as a TA (3 years ago). My class was mostly Juniors who by all accounts should have needed to check their university e-mail accounts by that point, and yet it became rapidly clear that nearly half of them were not in the habit of doing so. Hell, most of those students claimed they didn’t know they needed to.

        Luckily I realized it pretty early on in the semester and was able to inform my class they needed to check their university e-mail, but a full 10% still had never done so by the end of the term. Unsurprisingly they were the lowest performers.

        What surprised me the most was when I asked “how else am I supposed to let you all know if class is canceled, or a deadline has changed?” and no one had an answer for me.

      4. So long and thanks for all the fish*

        Yes, this!! And will absolutely need to check it at least twice a day, if not more frequently. We have college freshmen who don’t know that they need to check their email, and they can and do get in (relatively) serious trouble for it. I teach a lab that will not let students in if unprepared, and instructions for preparation are all sent through email. And this absolutely applies to freshmen in their first semester.

      5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Yup yup. Every syllabus I’ve seen requires this (and did when I was in college, oh so long ago).

    3. Middle School Teacher*

      I actually teach a unit on writing professional emails to my middle school students. Not only are students expected to use email, they are expected to use it properly and respectfully.

      1. Lorlye*

        This is my plan at the start of this school year too. I encourage students to use it but they rarely do. I email regularly about work completion but they go months without checking their school provided email! Students just can’t reach anyone they need to on social media. Nor should they want to- I certainly don’t want to mix my professional and social life that way. As much as this group of kids may be “digital natives” they need to be taught how to use these tools correctly.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Thank you, teachers! As a ~digital native~ I agree that it’s helpful to have guidance on the appropriate tone for a professional email.

        2. Hinty*

          I never used email to communicate with my teachers but I use it at work all the time. School is just different. It doesn’t have the same stakes as a job. I think in this case teachers need to adapt. Teachers are not supposed to be “practice employers”, they have more important goals when it comes to influencing young minds (such as teaching values, etc). Kids will figure out the technicalities.

          1. Hinty*

            This was about getting kids to check their emails. Practicing proper email structure (or as we studied it, proper letter structure) is a normal thing to learn in school

          2. Blossom*

            Yep, agreed. When you’re sitting at a desk all day in front of a computer, you can hardly avoid checking your emails. I’m clearly old now, as email was not used at my school, but assuming lessons are still pretty whiteboard/exercise book based, it sounds like pupils would have to make a special effort to check this school email account. And yes, agree totally that school is not work, and schoolwork is not an analogy for paid work.

            1. LarsTheRealGirl*

              I think a LOT of school now – especially at the high school level or above – is actually computer/internet based.

              Assignments are done and turned in online. Schools use Blackboard (the app/service, not an actual chalkboard), message boards, IM services, etc.

              My question would be whether these students are checking the school specific sites, and if so, whether pushing email is really useful. If you get all of your school messages on Blackboard, and one teacher sends you emails, I can understand the low adoption.

              1. MissGirl*

                Just finished grad school and every class and professor used email. We used social media like Facebook groups and Slack amongst ourselves.

                The school itself also communicated via emails.

                1. Dust Bunny*

                  We used email all the time and I went to college in the 1990s! Has the email era come and gone?

                  I’m honestly flabbergasted that I’m reading this. I can understand *students* not realizing this, but a teacher? Don’t teachers communicate via institutional email, the way (to the best of my knowledge) endless other professions do??

                2. Baby Fishmouth*

                  But that’s college/university, not high school. There are very different structures and expectations between high school and college, so it’s not really comparable. I didn’t use email in high school, but I used it all the time in uni.

                3. LondonBridges*

                  I’m in college now, and believe me, email is super important in high school. Teachers send out links to helpful videos, as well as the homework for the week, plus you need it to fill out forms and receive information from the school itself. Plus, I definitely used that for all the colleges that wanted my email so they could spam me, and now that the account is deactivated, I don’t have to deal with it!

                4. Oaktree*

                  I did undergrad 2008-2013 and grad school 2015-2017, and we were expected to check our email at minimum once a day from the outset. I knew that some minority of students didn’t check their university email, but it was generally accepted among the student population that if that was your practice, you could look forward to academic probation, because your marks were necessarily going to suffer as a result of your failure to take responsibility for yourself. I set up email forwarding to my gmail the first week of school.

              2. Chocolate lover*

                I use blackboard to have students turn in assignments, but all communication is done via email.

              3. tra la la*

                It’s not just the professors. It’s administration too: registrar’s office, the library, the financial aid office, and so on. The university assigns you an email address because that’s going to be the primary way it contacts you. If something happens with your financial aid because you don’t read your email and you missed something, that’s on you.

                1. AsItIs*

                  And medical appointment confirmation through the university’s health clinic! They do not like it when people miss appointments, and the email is the only confirmation.

              4. Liv*

                I subbed at my old high school while I was job hunting and all the kids were issued laptops. Sometimes they might text their teachers about stuff, but they were expected to email them more often.

                1. Liv*

                  I would say the texting is a small town thing, but my cousin teaches in the Fort Worth area and they do the same thing in some of the rich suburbs out there.

            2. Lorlye*

              I actually do get occasional emails from students when they need assistance with homework or have missed class. But generally I have to teach them how to write in a more professional format instead of writing to me as if they are messaging a friend. Being aware of different expectations in different contexts is important, and I think it might be part of what the OP is talking about. There are different expectations in school or in work settings. Since the OP teaches high school, those students are much closer to needing those work skills. They may not need it all the time, but they will need it eventually (more than likely) and it’s easier to get those habits going now. I do not think school is a practice job but it is a good place to learn different ways of communicating and learning how to be responsible. In my class, so much work is done online that my students may get email notifications that grades or feedback is available for them to view. This means that they should be checking their email regularly for information they want, yet they don’t. It is a habit that must be reinforced.
              Also, for the record, my school has gone 1-1 (meaning 1 school- issued digital device) for most grades so my students do a lot online, including almost all of their work in my class. No worksheets or other pieces of paper for anyone to lose! (Sorry if I got a little rambly there, pre-schoolyear insomnia hitting hard!)

              1. Middle School Teacher*

                Yes, so do I. A good portion of student work is submitted online now. And frankly I got tired of getting emails that only read “Can you print my essay I don’t have a printer” (that’s verbatim from last year). To me it’s worth the time and effort. It’s good practice not just for work but, as others have mentioned, for university. I’m taking masters-level classes this year and the first email I got from the university after I applied explicitly said all further communication would be sent to my new university email.

              2. Prof. G*

                I’m a professor, and I have a screenshot of one particularly memorable email (with personal information blurred) saved. I show it to all my classes as an example of How Not To Email A Professor.

                What’s wrong with it, you ask?

                Well, the salutation line reads “Sup G.” :-|

                (On the bright side, I relayed this story to my colleagues, and a few began starting all their emails to me in that fashion, which was hilarious.)

                1. AnotherJill*

                  I still remember the email I recovered from a student using an account named “frogpenis”. Using the approved email account in any school or work situation demonstrates maturity, professionalism, and attention to detail.

            3. That Would be a Good Band Name*

              My kids got school laptops in elementary school. My oldest is now a freshman. They turn in everything through google docs, all assignments are emailed, and they would both be failing all classes if they weren’t checking their email several times a day. I’m having a hard time imaging this isn’t the norm as we live in a pretty rural area and we’re usually behind the curve on stuff like this.

          3. Another teacher*

            Agreed. Email etiquette is definitely worth teaching, but the simple aspect of checking it multiple times a day when the job requires it is not exactly rocket science. The reason you need to check your email is because I’m not sending you info about your assignments on instagram, not because ten years from now you’ll need to do it at work. And I agree that if the school has adopted a different method that most teachers are using, teachers need to get on board with that.

          4. Chocolate lover*

            I’m a college instructor who IS supposed to be a practice employer, because I prepare students for internships. And from my experience, yes they do need to be taught about professional communication expectations, even at the college level. Several employers have complained about students for having what they perceive to be bare minimum for professional communication standards.

          5. Rat in the Sugar*

            I agree, I’m not really seeing a source for concern here. I used to ignore my university email but check my work email constantly–my university email only contained something relevant to me every few days or less, while my work email is vital to my job on a constant basis. It’s good for students to learn how to write emails well, but I wouldn’t worry that they’ll struggle at their jobs as adults because they don’t check it enough as students.

          6. blackcat*

            Email (or using the course management software’s messaging system, which generally delivers to the email address of the students’ choosing) is far and away the easiest way for me to communicate with my college students. It was a bit different when I taught high school–I saw the kids every day and there was rarely anything that needed to be communicated outside of class.

            But a student notices an issue with the problem set and I need to updated it? Email. University tells me the classroom is unavailable because of mold (ew, yes, it happened), email. Very useful for class-wide announcements. And I require students to email me if they want to meet one on one, since I can’t do everything I need to do at the end of lecture AND check my calendar AND make sufficient notes. Just not doable. Email is the only way.

            I also use it to check in with individual students. FERPA means I can’t grab a kid after class and start discussing their grade. And I often teach classes large enough that it’s not possible to grab them. So I need to send individual emails to the effect of “You are missing assignments A, B, and C. If you do not complete these, you will fail the course.” That’s a VERY important email! Very!

            So, no, it is not my job to adapt to the fact that my students would prefer I SnapChat them announcements. It’s the students’ job to check their email.

          7. Genny*

            I think part of the reason schools use email is to CYA. Every student has an account, every student is added to whatever listservs they need to be on, every student presumably has the means to check their email, and there’s now an official record in two places (the teacher’s account and the student’s account) that the information was sent. There are also a ton of other benefits to using email.

            High schools may not be pseudo-work environments, but they are supposed to prepare you for college, and these students will need to habitually check their student accounts while at college. LW isn’t out of touch and should keep doing exactly what she’s doing.

          8. Cat Herder*

            Because they WILL need to use it in college. I go through this every freakin year with my new first year students: check your university email account at least a couple of times a week, because that is how the university communicates with you, it is how your profs will communicate with you, and it’s how I will communicate with you. You are responsible for reading and following up on your email. If you don’t and there are bad consequences, NO ONE will feel sorry for you and no one will cut you any slack.

            And every year there’s a student who misses a vital deadline despite multiple email notices and reminders, and it’s just too damn bad for them that they don’t get into the major they want, or they miss out on financial aid, or they lose a chance to revise a crappy paper and thus earn a D in an important class —because as warned, no one is going to make an exception for someone who couldn’t be bothered to read their email.

            The semester has just started and already I have students who are now in a pickle because they didn’t read the multiple and increasingly urgent emails sent to them and they’re SOL.

            OP, I know it is different in high school and you may not be able to take a hard line on this, which is too bad because they need to learn it. And really, it doesn’t matter if they’ll have to use email later or not — YOU are requiring it for your classes and that’s sufficient — the lesson being, not that email is necessary, but that they have to comply with the requirements of the course in order to succeed in it, they have have to comply with the expectations (and perfectly reasonable expectations at that) of their teacher (boss, scholarship committee, loan officer, etc). And if they don’t, there may very well be consequences that make them sad or cause them serious problems.

        3. smoke tree*

          This is interesting–I only graduated from high school a decade ago, and we were never emailed by teachers–we still used the class handout system. During those ten years apparently we’ve shot right over to students not being able to use email because it’s too old-timey for them. Huh.

      1. Cuddles the Shark*

        This. I handle the website and social media accounts of an academic department at a university. I occasionally will get Facebook messages asking me questions that are better suited for advisors or recruiters. All I can do is send them the appropriate contact info (ahem, email address) of the person/office that can answer their question. Almost every page on our website has the corresponding contact information on it, so it’s not like we’re hiding it. Students (prospective or otherwise) don’t seem to realize that shooting a message off to a social media account is just going to put them in contact with a social media manager who has NO IDEA how their transfer credits (or what have you) work.

    4. Security SemiPro*

      While I agree that email etiquette, tone, and general written grammar are great things to learn and practice, I haven’t sent a fax in ages and sent maybe 3 in my professional career.

      But faxing was a standard professional communication when I was in high school/college and we had exhaustive curriculum on the proper uses of cover sheets, etc. All deeply irrelevant shortly thereafter.

      Technology changes fast, we’re already seeing workplaces shift to focusing on chat platforms over email and that may strengthen over time. Who knows? I’d ask instructors to focus on skills that are not specific tech dependent to be useful – critical thinking, living up to responsibility, evaluating and communicating with different audiences. Require students to check email, and send emails with a more formal tone, but don’t make promises that they will have to use email in just this way in a workplace.

      1. hermit crab*

        Yeah, as someone whose first introduction to “official email” was in college, I find this discussion super fascinating. I had an AOL account in high school that I used to send gossipy, multicolored messages to my friends — our school district didn’t assign email addresses to students until sometime after I graduated — but now email is probably the #1 most common way that I communicate with human beings (well, other than my husband). I can’t imagine doing my job (or my life) without email but I imagine I’m in for at least a few more communication paradigm shifts in my lifetime.

        Anyway, OP4, I agree that your best bet is to emphasize that this is how things work right now — that your expectations regarding email are X, and that employers’ expectations regarding email are generally Y, and that the consequences for not using email in these ways could be Z. That may or may not be how things are in the future, and that’s OK. I think the key skill is to be flexible and learn what kinds of communication are expected in a given situation.

        1. OhGee*

          Yeah, as somebody who was in 7th grade during the first wave of relatively widely available dial up (early 90s), the thing that surprises me the most about the way digital communications have changed is that so many people send messages through Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc. Whether it’s just to chat or to make logistical plans, I have had people eschew not only email but text messaging in favor of messaging through various apps. It bugs me because I don’t want to track messages in multiple places, and I find email much easier to search. There has been some ‘lol, young people don’t use/check email’ in this thread, but I’m *more* curious whether kids now will struggle to adjust to work email after using a bunch of different messaging systems throughout their youth — and yes, I realize that lots of people use Slack and similar chat systems in the workplace (I do, and I don’t like it).

          1. Sally*

            We use Skype in my workplace, and while it’s convenient for some types of conversations, it’s a lot harder to find old messages to reference than it is in Outlook.

            1. Aurion*

              And referencing old communication! In Outlook, I can attach a prior email as an attachment for reference. It’s a lot harder to quote on chat apps, to say nothing of the massive amount of different chat apps that are available.

            2. Lavender Menace*

              You can get Skype to save all your conversations and send them to Outlook. It’ll show up in a folder called “Conversation History.”

              I actually find it easier to reference old messages in Slack because all I have to do is scroll down to my personal messages and click on the person’s name who sent me the message. It shows up as one long string of messages, with all attachments and such intact. In Outlook I have to go hunting around in search and scrolling and stuff.

      2. Rebecca*

        I really resonate with this. We are actually trying to move completely away from email as a communication vehicle for a major program I am supporting. Right now we are still exploring what works best, but ultimately email has become an overused channel. My own team gets 90% of our work done through group chat, onenote (company doesn’t have slack), and sharepoint. Learning to be aware of the norms of the company you work at and learning how to identify the most effective communications tools is the mindset to teach… email is one specific tool.

      3. Yorick*

        The issue here isn’t that they need to learn how to send and receive email. They already know that, or can be taught super easily.

        The issue is that they need to learn to be responsible enough to check their email. Right now, they’re missing important information from the school because they prefer to communicate with their friends on instagram.

        Whatever new technology will replace email, users will have to monitor it. So it’s ok to teach the habit of checking email, even though email may no longer be so common when these kids start working.

        1. Amy*

          But there’s a difference between being in a workplace where you are sitting at a desk most of the day, constantly have outlook open, and are frequently getting emails and get notifications for new ones, or even having an app on your phone that sends push notifications, versus having to proactively open the shitty email webapp that your school uses and see if you might have gotten one email every few days (and probably an actually RELEVANT email even less frequently than that).

          If high schools and universities are insisting on using really shitty and outdated technology to do their email (which was always my experience), and when the information coming through that email is only very rarely helpful or relevant, they can’t be surprised when students aren’t using it.

          This is just not at all equivalent to using email at work. Not even close.

          1. Yorick*

            If the high school communicates via email and tells students they need to monitor their email, then they need to do it. It doesn’t matter if they resent the 5 seconds it takes to open a browser and log in.

            I teach ONLINE and students won’t check their email. They miss extremely important stuff. Even when the class is on campus, some important info is going to be communicated via email (because how else can you contact them between classes?) and they’ll miss it if they don’t check it regularly.

            1. Amy*

              You seem to have a ‘tough love teach them responsibility’ approach to teaching. And that’s fine, but keep in mind that if a very large number of students are struggling with the same thing, it might be just as much your approach that is at fault, not theirs. Is the point to help students learn a thing, or not?

              I’m well past school age, but I remember feeling incredibly frustrated with teachers and professors who would fail most of the class on an assignment where it was clear that the reason everyone was getting something wrong was a failure in communication on the teacher or professor’s part, or some barrier that the professor didn’t take into account (impossible workload, group projects with assigned teams where class time wasn’t allotted, access to the right lab computers with the right software, etc).

              I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty students being irresponsible, but I think most students have the ability to step up when it is important enough and when they’re given the right tools.

              1. Yorick*

                I’m sorry but I find it bizarre that you seem to be arguing that people shouldn’t be expected to keep up with their workplace/school’s stated method of communication. Should we just expect that no one has seen important information that we’ve sent them??

                I cannot tell you how many times I have directly told students that something I went over during class would be on the test and begged them to take out a pen and paper and write it down (yes, I have literally begged students to at least pretend to take notes), but half the class did not. Then half the class missed it on the test. That is not a failure of communication on my part.

                Sure, sometimes I can tell from the test that I didn’t explain some concept well. But the vast majority of missed points are because they didn’t follow instructions (and guess what- sometimes those instructions were clarified via email).

                1. Amy*

                  I think you’re missing what I’m trying to say, which is that if a tool is not serving its purpose, it might be the wrong tool for the job.

                  (This entire thread has me brainstorming on ideas for a chat-oriented app designed specifically for high schools and universities that would potentially solve some some of the problems/gaps with school email.)

                  One other potential idea – maybe ask your students what is blocking them from checking email? I bet the answer is much more complicated than just “they need to learn responsibility goshdarnit”.

                2. Lavender Menace*

                  @Amy – as someone who has taught college students and normally has an enormous amount of sympathy for them…no, in this case it really is as simple a thing as they haven’t learned to be responsible enough to check their email on a regular basis. This is especially true for freshman and sophomores, and it doesn’t really seem to matter what kind of email client the school uses (my university used Gmail, which is pretty easy to use). They just weren’t used to checking mail frequently or using email for anything, really. If we set up a school-based chat server a lot of them wouldn’t log into that and check that either. It wasn’t about the specific technology being used; it was that the students needed to be taught that they had to check whatever message system we were using on a regular basis because now they had adult stuff they needed to deal with through it.

          2. Oxford Comma*

            I have two responses to that:

            1. At my university for the students, but basically the students get an official .edu address and the email is forwarded to a gmail. This is is done for the students in medical/health sciences programs too. And I don’t think this is an uncommon practice. But even if it is a crappy email client, see point #2
            2. If your professor/school has told you that the main method of communication is email, that’s it. It’s email. At a certain level, you have to put on your grown up shoes and figure out what you need to do. If the consequences are failing a course or checking email once or twice a day when the prof reaches out, I’m thinking it’s worth the time it takes to check email once or twice a day.

            1. Amy*

              1) I’m glad your school operates this way. Not all do (and not all provide the necessary support to get this working easily if it’s a service that is available but not default).
              2) See my comment to Yorick above.

              1. Yorick*

                If a student straight-up didn’t have an email account and wasn’t given one by the school (which doesn’t happen, ime), I’d help them sign up for it. I’d also show them how to use it if they didn’t know.

                But that’s not what happens. What is really happening is that they don’t bother to check their email and therefore don’t know important information until it’s 12 days too late.

                1. Amy*

                  I was referring to the “forwarded to their gmail” piece of the comment. Not all schools do this by default.

                2. Lavender Menace*

                  @Amy, sure, not all universities show you how to do that. But a student who’s intelligent enough to have made it to college is usually also capable enough to search Google for 5 minutes to figure out how to do it.

          3. Decima Dewey*

            Managing irrelevant email messages is a skill to be learned as soon as possible.

            At my job, email is used to tell us that we’ll be closing at 3 this Friday, that a former HVAC contractor not only is not allowed in any branch but that we should notify X department if they show up, and to confirm that a contract guard (needed to open a branch) has been ordered.

            1. Amy*

              It’s not about learning the skill. Most students will pick that up quickly enough when required to do so, and the ones that don’t pick it up maybe don’t belong in a workplace that requires that sort of thing.

              1. Yorick*

                But what you’re missing is NOW is the time they need to pick that up. Schools send info by email that students need, and they also send email blasts that most people will ignore. Those email blasts don’t mean that students should just not check their email.

                1. Amy*

                  You’re arguing from the perspective of “this is how it’s done, so people need to learn to adjust” and I’m arguing from the perspective of “the way it is done is clearly not working well, so we should examine whether this is a good way to do it”. These are just entirely different approaches to the same problem.

          4. Cat Herder*

            Arguments that email is on the way out are interesting, but beside the point with respect to what students need to do now to keep up with communications from their school. And no matter how shitty the email app, it’s not like it’s horrendously onerous. It will not seriously cut into a student’s time to check their email regularly and it is not hard to do it. Take ten to fifteen minutes a day at the most to check your email. That’s how the school communicates with you. The school’s communications are important to your success at the school. Too tech savvy to condescend to using crappy email? Don’t want to spend ten minutes doing an annoying chore? Fine, take the consequences.

            1. Amy*

              I feel like people who respond in this way (particularly when talking about high-schoolers) forget how garbage it is to be a minor, and how little control or autonomy some of these students actually have over their schedules and lives. A lot of schools ban checking devices during the day. Some students don’t have the financial means (and thus appropriate access to devices) to easily check emails during the evening. What if a student is being punished by a parent and gets their phone and computer access taken away? Or the cell phone bill wasn’t paid that month? And students often have after school activities and mountains of homework and mandatory family time to fit into their lives. IMO we hold kids responsible for wayyy too much in some areas (like school responsibilities) and wayyy too little in others (like emotional intelligence).

      4. Beaded Librarian*

        Yes but even on chat platforms that you might use at work you need to make sure you are sounding professional not using text speak, especially if you are talking to a client. I work at a library and we’ve been using an online chat widget for about a year now and besides answering quickly the important thing is to sound professional. Thankfully we have about a dozen canned phrases that give us time to type out a professional response and still act quickly. But if I tried could to use text speak? I’d get a talking to.

      5. aebhel*

        FWIW, I work in a public library and I send several faxes per day, because for a lot of official communications there’s really no other way to do it (or our patrons don’t have email accounts, which is also pretty common especially among older low-income people). My workplace still uses email, although I really REALLY wish they’d switch to chat platforms at least for some things, since library email chains/list spamming are notoriously awful; I spend half my day deleting emails from people who can’t figure out how to turn off ‘reply all’ every time they respond to a list email.

        I don’t really think this is a ‘learn how to use email because you’ll need it’ thing; it’s a ‘you’re responsible for checking communications sent to you from the school.’ If that means WhatsApp, you check that. If it means Discord, you check that. If it means your school’s shitty outdated email platform, you check that (and maybe get it forwarded to your Gmail account, which isn’t hard).

        1. mrs__peel*

          I work in administrative law/health care appeals, and we receive a *ton* of paperwork from seniors via public library fax machines.

      6. Observer*

        Chat platforms are never going to REPLACE email. Yes, they will become popular, and they will replace SOME of the functionality of email for some situations. But there is no way for any chat platform to really take the place of email.

        1. Lavender Menace*

          I mean, I’m sure 20-30 years ago nobody thought that email would almost completely replace snail mail, either. But I use work chat platforms pretty regularly and I don’t see any reason why, with a little bit of evolution and added functionality, they couldn’t completely replace email.

      7. mrs__peel*

        Faxing is still pretty common in the legal professional (although my employer has software that allows us to send faxes from our computers, which saves some time).

      8. Anna*

        I work in employment development and with young adults in this age range. For all hiring and applying and so on, email is still the main form of communication. Because we’re actually training people to be “professional,” instructors have set rules that our students are required to check their email when they sit down in the morning and email their instructors what they plan on working on during the day. Yes, technology will evolve, but right now? Email is *still* the most prevalent professional communication tool.

      9. Lavender Menace*

        Yeah, this was my thought too. For high school students, we have no idea whether they will actually be regularly using email when they start their professional careers 4-8 years from now (depending on whether they choose college/trade school or not). I mean, probably, but I imagine 8 years from now email will be de-emphasized in favor of communications systems like Slack. I work in a technology company and Slack is the primary way that one of my teams communicates.

    5. ExcitedAndTerrified*

      So very true.

      Also, it may help to point out to the students that they are hurting themselves in the more immediate future, because a lot of the community service and internship opportunities they might have are going to be communicated through email.

      I know that I just had a conversation with a local guidance counselor, at the end of last school year, about how any future community service hours her students needed (a graduation requirement at our local high school is 30 hours) would come with a 48hour window for responses to planning emails, because I found it tiresome and ridiculous to have to spend multiple work hours over the course of a month hounding the students directly and through her and their parents for responses.

    6. A person*

      They won’t all go to college, though.

      If you want them to use email – even many non-college degree jobs will expect it – make it a class requirement or even extra credit and give them a reason to use it.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        No, they need to learn to use email. Period. It’s not just for college. I lost my car registration form and guess what the easiest way was to request a new one? Yup. Email.

      2. Observer*

        A huge proportion of jobs are going to require email as part of the job. And huge proportion of the rest require email as part of the process of getting the job and / or interacting with your employer. Chat and collaboration tools simply can’t take its place.

        So, getting kids used to using email is a reasonable thing to do. And you do that by making it a requirement, not a “nice to do”. “You need to check your email for x, y and z” is the reason for them to do it.

        1. Scarlet*

          Seriously, I don’t understand why so many commenters seem to imply that 1. no-one uses email in the professional world anymore and 2. telling students to check their email once a day is some huge imposition.

          And yes, chat tools are definitely not a substitute to email in a work setting. It’s a lot harder to search and reference previous messages, as well as attaching files.

          1. Lavender Menace*

            I’m wondering what kinds of chat systems you’re all using at your workplaces in which it is really hard to search and reference previous messages and/or attach files. I’ve used Skype for Business, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, and in all of them referencing previous messages and attaching files is at least as easy (if not easier) than in Outlook email. with Skype it was a little tricky to find out exactly where they were storing my old messages, but once I figured that out it was pretty easy. And with Slack and Teams, it’s a breeze. I’d rather use those systems than email any day of the week.

    7. Flower*

      this is true, but I also was a high schooler who barely touched my email (probably checked it once a week maybe, or if I knew to expect something, when I’d expect it), and it was easy to adjust once I got to college and beyond. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about them; they probably haven’t got much going through their inboxes yet, and once they do they’ll get onboard.

    8. Baby Fishmouth*

      I didn’t really use email at ALL in high school, beyond having a personal email address to use to sign up for online accounts – and that’s because it was mainly used socially at that age. I didn’t have a valid reason to check it regularly because 98% of my emails were junk mail and facebook notifications.

      Obviously, I got used to using it once I went to university, and in the working world. It wasn’t a difficult transition – and I still rarely use my personal email address for anything other than signing up for accounts or applying to jobs. I’m curious what you expect high school students to use email for – are you sending assignments and notifications there? If so, are these also being covered in class? What other types of things are they expected to use email for, school-wise?

      1. Portia*

        As a high school teacher, I sent my students emails all the time. Not for assignments – those are posted on the class website. But I often send clarifications via email: if six students email me with a question about the homework and I realize the directions weren’t clear, I’ll send out an email clarifying. When students are absent, I email them directly to let them know what they missed and direct them where to look for stuff on the class website. They are pretty good about checking email but someone always misses something. There is an “announcement” function on the class website, so sometimes I double up and post stuff there too, but either way someone’s going to miss it.

        It’s not just for classes, though – all of their clubs/organizations send them meeting notifications and updates via email. They get dress code reminders, permission slip reminders, PSAT dates and scores, college fair announcements, etc, etc. I don’t know how else that information would get distributed – I’d hate to have loudspeaker announcements for every last little thing.

        My students are pretty good about checking email, but they definitely don’t use it with each other. Snapchat seems to be the platform of choice for 15-16 year old girls. Like, I’ll be taking attendance and say “anyone know if Hudson’s in school today?” and someone will go “Oh, she just Snapped me – she’s gonna be late.”

        1. Cascadia*

          Yes! I’m a high school administrator who runs multiple programs and email is the only way I have of communicating with our students in our programs, seeing as I need to collect lots of information and forms from them for trips/activities/etc and we don’t have a set class time to meet. Our school provides email addresses for students, and students are expected to check it at least once a day and respond to all direct emails to them within 24 hours. We have the same expectation for adults. I used to teach the tech orientation class that taught them this skill. It’s a school-wide expectation, and because so much communication happens on email the students are very good about checking it regularly. I’ll admit that some of them are not very communicative or are not great at responding in a regular manner, but they are definitely the exception, not the norm.

        2. Rat in the Sugar*

          Honestly all of that stuff you listed I would not have cared about as a teen. Things like dress code reminders and permission slip reminders I would have regarded as spam, and updates for clubs/classes I would have gotten in the club/class, or told by my friends. Especially if stuff gets repeated in class or “announced” on the class website, they probably think it’s not necessary to check email since they’re getting that info in other ways.

          Honestly I don’t think there’s anything you can do. I’m sure there are plenty of students who skip assignments, don’t come prepared, don’t study for tests, do projects the night before and homework on the bus, sleep in class, etc etc. Not checking email is the same sort of thing to me; plenty of students just aren’t going to do it. And honestly, when I was in high school I did literally every single thing I just listed, and still managed to straighten out for my job. It’s like those high school lessons you ignored for so long just kind of incubate and then come back when you actually need them.

      2. KR*

        This is essentially what I used email for in school until I reached college. I feel like at least when I was in school (2000-2012) that it would have been risky to put that much emphasis on email since some parents I knew were very strict about not allowing their kids on the computer past an arbitrary time, not allowing them to access the computer unless their homework was done, didn’t have access to a computer throughout their school day, or didn’t have internet access or a working computer at home sometimes. Sometimes trying to convince very strict or blue collar parents that they must use the computer for school would lead nowhere and they would have to do that portion of the assignment in school. I absolutely agree that kids should be told most office jobs today use email, but I’m not sure that stressing them about checking it so much now would be nessecary.

    9. seller of teapots*

      This reminds me of the Excel course I was required to take in college. Oh, how I railed against it. I even dropped it and had to sign up again. I liked to say “I’m an english major! When am I going to use *spreadsheets*?!”

      Jokes on me, folks. Jokes on me.

      1. Moonlight Elantra*

        You and me both, sister (or brother). Majored in English, now edit finance textbooks for a spreadsheet-heavy industry. So much algebra. So much. *weeps*

        1. seller of teapots*

          Sister solidarity, both on the spreadsheet front and our industries — I lead a team selling business & finance textbooks! (and of course teapots)

      2. CMart*

        And here I am, working with new grads with accounting degrees as now-employed accountants, and they somehow escaped college not knowing how to create a new tab in an Excel workbook.

        There’s a lot of basic technology that I think isn’t going anywhere any time soon, that most people will touch a few times throughout their careers, and e-mail and Excel (MS Office in general) are two of those.

    10. SoSo*

      In addition to agreeing that email is definitely still relevant (coming from a 2013 college grad and someone who has worked in both corporate and higher ed environments), I just want to add that even if they aren’t regularly using email it would be helpful for them to know HOW. At OldJob we had a part time high school intern that would come in and assist the department. Without fail, I would have to teach them how to correctly use their email- where to find their inbox/sent/trash messages, the difference between CC/BCC, how to attach or insert documents, setting up an out of office email, how to professionally write a request, etc etc.

      1. puzzld*

        I deal with university students… both as students and as employees. Bright motivated students who will earn more in their first jobs out of school then I ever will. And still we can’t convince them that they need to use email and need to use it on the regular. Nearly every payday we have student or two who fails to complete their time sheet correctly, or at all they get an email reminder 48 hours or so before the deadline if the card hasn’t been submitted, then another and still we are scrambling to find them to get their time cards submitted so we can pay them. I am oooh so tempted to let them not get paid, but the paperwork and expense that that would cause is not worth it. We’ve had students dropped from classes because they didn’t respond to emails telling them they needed to take some action. We’ve had to place holds on transcripts and diplomas because email from the library or various labs requesting return of materials went unread. I had one unhappy student in my office crying because she missed the deadline to confirm an internship at NASA.
        We tell them, we warn them and yet they persist… not all of them, but oh so many of them. They look at me, sitting there with two heads when I ask if the want the information about their overdue books, or the results of their STD test posted somewhere public, and they say “but I don’t dooooo email, also, I don’t answer the phone when it’s an unknown number.”

        1. irritable vowel*

          Yup. I was trying to hire a student for a job this summer and after emailing her twice she finally wrote back and said something like “sorry, your messages got lost among all the other spam from the university.” Despite this (other. spam.), I replied and said I’d still like to meet with her about the job and she never responded. Sorry I am not able to Snapchat you a job offer, I guess?

          1. Oxford Comma*

            A friend at another university told me they were trying to bring in candidates for Skype interviews. Had one person they were super excited about. Sent him an email to set up the Skype interview. Nothing. No response. They sent another email. Nothing. I don’t remember if they phoned or not. They moved onto other candidates, eventually closed the search and made an offer.

            First guy finally checks his email and excitedly responds that he’d love to do the Skype interview. When it’s explained that the search is closed now and that it’s unfortunate he didn’t respond immediately, he tells my friend “But I never check my email.”

            OP4: you keep doing what you’re doing.

    11. The Person from the Resume*

      I use my personal email so much less than I used to, but still open my email second (after Skype) on my work computer in the morning and close it out last at the end of the day. It’s open all day and checked many times an hour although I did disable the new mail message alert.

      Work email is different than personal. Since I graduated 20 years ago, student computer usage is vastly changed. Since they are not sitting in front of a computer all day, I understand they cannot be checking constantly but since teachers communicate via email, I think once a day (but at least several times a week) is probably necessary for a student.

      1. Falcon*

        This is me as well. I check my personal email maybe once every other week? My mother is the only one who contacts me there, and she’s starting to figure out how to group text for family stuff. Work however, I am on email every day all day, and in college I was definitely checking it at least daily if not more (pre-smartphone).

      2. Just Employed Here*

        I hardly use a computer for my personal email anymore, and I certainly check my personal email every day and most days even send an email or two from that address.

        If these kids are Instragramming or Snapchatting, their hardware is not the problem.

    12. Not Today Satan*

      When I was hiring, I used email to schedule phone screens and interviews. For the vast majority of people, this seemed more convenient. But I definitely noticed that recent grads took a long time to respond to emails and were more responsive if I called–which surprised me because I thought the kids never talked on the phone anymore!

    13. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Yep. I can’t tell you how many interns/new hires I’ve had to tell NOT to close their email throughout the day. You’re at the bottom of the ladder – you don’t get the luxury to only check email twice a day.

      There have been a few who didn’t get the message, and I’ve escalated it to a manager (matrix environments). Either they start checking and responding, or there’s been several who were let go/not hired full time out of internship.

    14. Dr. Pepper*

      They will figure it out. Or they’ll fail. Hopefully they won’t fail too hard before they get with the program. Email is THE main form of communication in academia (at least at the universities I’m familiar with), and without it, you are essentially at sea. They will have a school assigned email account that they may or may not be able to forward to their personal email account, and nearly everything that they do will flow through that email account. The user name and password associated with that email will also likely be the same ones they need to sign on to any online university platforms (like to register for classes, etc), so even if they forward the emails they will still need to remember the account info.

      I’d make a point of re-enforcing this information, but at a certain point they’re going to have to figure it out on their own. Perhaps you are allowing them to be unmotivated to check their school email by reminding them of information in emails they missed. A certain amount of hand holding in high school is expected, but maybe consider treating them like they OBVIOUSLY would be checking their emails and then let them suffer the consequences of not doing so. Within reason, of course.

    15. IL Jim P*

      I do have to say though that email usage is declining, a few years ago I would probably get about 200 emails a day and now it’s easily down to 50-75 a day. If they’re high schoolers (depending on which grade), I can see a time when email may not be a thing or at least such a small thing that they can add it on pretty easily to what they’re already doing

      1. Observer*

        Yes, usage is declining. But it’s going to hit a floor unless something radically different from most of the other tools out there gets developed.

    16. Bitter, obviously*

      Honestly I hate email. If there was a job that paid decently that didn’t use it I’d take it in a heartbeat.

      But yeah it’s totally mandatory and it sucks.

    17. Tara R.*

      Anecdata: My university doesn’t really send out too many emails, and I pretty much never open them. They’re usually tuition reminders or add/drop deadline reminders; I have all those dates in my calendar already, so I don’t need to check them. The one time they cancelled an exam I also got a text. It’s only in my most recent internship that I’ve used email on a daily basis; in my year of work experience prior to this, almost everything was on Slack, and I think I sent maybe… one email. The project management team would occasionally forward us an email from a client, and would always tell us to check our emails, because they didn’t expect us to be checking them regularly!

      Obviously we should teach people how to use email because it’s still in very widespread use, but I really wouldn’t be surprised to see its relevance dramatically decrease in the near future.

      1. Gloucesterina*

        Interesting discussion! And I appreciate the anecdata, Tara. R. As a college teacher, I’ve never thought about students’ email habits before (and I may be in a very particular context where, as far as I’ve tended to see, all my students have laptops and also access to a large and fairly fancy 24-hr computer lab).

        When you say that you have all the key dates for university deadlines, etc. in your calendar, are you talking about a paper or digital calendar? And where did you get those key dates in order to enter them?

        As an aside, I do teach students how to use the university’s online course management system since I can fairly assume that they’ve never encounter it before. I have them submit a test assignment before anything urgent is due to make sure they know what they need to know with that particular technology.

  3. Accidental Analyst*

    OP#1 you seem to be a good person who considers others. Don’t accept any blame if your coworker says you got her fired. She made a series of decisions that got her fired: driving drunk, injuring someone, breaking court conditions, failing to disclose to work. That’s all on her

    You’re doing a good thing by reporting her. You may not feel proud of it but don’t feel any shame/guilt in doing it

    1. Sue*

      There could be liability issues for the company as their insurance may not cover an unlicensed (or suspended) driver.

      1. Auntie_Anarchy*

        I’m not a lawyer or insurance expert, but here’s some info about how I understand this would play in Australia…
        1. It’s absolutely an insurance issue for the employer. An unlicensed driver cannot be insured to drive in any circumstance, so the convicted-and-not-legally-allowed-to-drive bit is critical. In the event of an accident where the disqualified driver was at fault, the plaintiff’s lawyers would definitely go after the driver, and I’m wondering whether they’d also go after the employer and/or OP#1 for not preventing it.
        2. It’d also be an issue under our Work Health and Safety laws. Employers have very strict responsibilities about ensuring safe work practices, so could be held liable for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive even if no accident occurred – and it’d probably be the government that brought the action. Many employers here have also set up frameworks that would make reporting mandatory by someone in OP#1’s position.
        So, yes OP#1, I’d report it to HR/management.

    2. IsbenTakesTea*

      Yes! She is in the wrong on many different levels.
      Also, if it ever comes out that you knew about it and hid it, you could also get in serious trouble!

    3. Bilateralrope*

      What health and safety policies do OP1 operate under ?

      I operate under rules where I have to bring up any health and safety issue I learn of to the attention of someone who can fix it. Having her license suspended/revoked over a DUI sounds like a health and safety issue to me. Which means staying quiet about it could get me in trouble.

    4. Jen*

      OP could be in serious trouble if her company finds out she knew and didn’t tell them, especially if something bad happens.

      Coverups like this always always make things worse. When my former brother in law got a dui, I advised him to disclose to his employer immediately. He did not and ended up in far worse trouble as a result (permanently blacklisted from the job rather than just suspended).

    5. Crystal Mama*

      Yes, OP, make sure you hold in your Heart that you have no control over the consequences others might suffer. We all make decisions but some decisions are not Choices. Some Are. Hold yourself in the light:

    6. Bagpuss*

      OP#1 – absolutely – tell your employer immediately. You could be in trouble if you don’t, and it comes out that you were aware and didn’t tell them. And while it would not be your fault if this employee were to drive and to hurt someone again, I am sure that you would feel horribly guilty of that were to happen.

      If she is disciplined or even dismissed as a result of this coming to light, that is *not* your fault, or your responsibility. It is a consequence of her actions (in driving under the influence, and in then not being honest with your employer)

      1. jackers*

        Yes, I was just going to comment to be prepared that she will most likely lose her job if driving is a requirement. But it is most definitely on her, not you, if that happens.

        1. DJ Roomba*

          And losing her job may be the catalyst she needs to turn things around in her life – if she is an alcoholic, it could help her to reach her bottom and take action to get better. And if she’s not an alcoholic but made a really bad decision, this may help her to grow up and be more responsible.

    7. Mazzy*

      Conversely it’s so annoying how minor changes get so much attention in my workplace. Recently someone got a haircut and wow, you’d a thought they just won the lottery. All of the women were gushing over it and saying how great it looked and asking where she got it and doing it all in really high pitched tones they don’t normally speak in. It was pretty patronizing, it didn’t look that good or drastically different to warrant such a reaction! If a man had gotten a similarly different cut, no one would have said a thing. I felt that the women in the office felt obliged to say something rather than genuinely thought the cut was oh so great

      1. Friday afternoon fever*

        There are several socially valuable reasons to compliment someone’s new haircut even if you don’t care about the actual haircut — including wanting to be nice to the person, liking the person, or just looking for something to chat about. Agree that this is a fairly gendered practice, but I also compliment men on their new haircuts! (See: reason #3)

    8. FD*

      Yeah, definitely. She probably will blame you–it sounds like in general, she’s currently not really taking responsibility for what she did so it’ll be easier to shift the blame to you for ‘tattling’.

      If you expect that she’ll make life difficult for you at work/get others to gang up on you it might be helpful to have a calm, boilerplate response. I’ve tried to come up with a couple options, but I’m drawing a blank–maybe others can make suggestions?

      1. Lynca*

        “You were convicted of a DUI, put someone in the hospital, and then tried to get me to lie to people about it when it was discovered. I’m not the one with the problem here.”

      2. JLCBL*

        “I’m sorry, this is an ethical and legal liability for the company. I have an obligation to report this and, if anything happened, it would be worse for both of us to have kept quiet.”

      3. Amber T*

        Yeah, this is DEFINITELY not a case of tattling. Tattling is reserved for dumb little things that ultimately don’t matter, like leaving five minutes early or forgetting to cc someone and adding them right back on. This is a big deal, which is 100% not your fault and she shouldn’t have incorporated you into this lie.

      4. Nervous Nellie*

        Seconded, thirded etc. This is not grade school, and she cannot burden you with this. And for pete’s sake, let’s all take the word ‘tattling’ out of the work vocabulary. This is a serious health & safety issue and the consequences are hers to face. This is not about something trivial. A coworker reporting it is the right thing to do, both ethically and legally.

        Lynca is right – you are not the one with the problem here, even if it was temporarily made your problem for a time. If you are discovered to have known it and not disclosed it, it might become your problem, however.

        1. FD*

          Oh, I agree about the word ‘tattling’–but I also read the sort of person who would pressure a coworker in this way as the sort who is highly likely to accuse the LW of it.

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            Oh, sure – totally agree. I find it really sad that an adult who created this very adult problem could frame it in her mind as ‘tattling’ when the OP does the right (adult) thing and reports it. Where have all the grownups gone? I really feel for the OP being burdened with this mess.

      5. Michaela Westen*

        Also if your boss is not the person you report this to, let your boss know so they can back you up.

    9. HarvestKaleSlaw*

      I would say too if you feel hesitant or bad about it, think about the person she put in the hospital. That person was minding their own business, going about their day, and was put in the hospital for two days. In pain. Given my experience with car crashes that put you in the hospital for days – it is very likely that the lingering effects of the injuries your coworker caused this person will last for months, or years, or a lifetime. She caused an innocent person what will likely be years of pain, loss of function, expensive doctor visits…

      Now they are asking you to lie for them and help cover up.

      This is not a good person, and they don’t deserve your guilt or your silence.

      1. aebhel*

        This. And not just that person, but anybody else who’s unlucky enough to share the road with her. She’s shown that she’s not a responsible driver; she’s a danger to the people around her. This isn’t just a matter of you getting in trouble at work if it comes out that you knew, it’s an ethical obligation to keep a dangerous driver off the road.

        Report her to your bosses. Frankly, I’d also consider reporting her to the authorities for breaking the conditions of her bail, because I’ve known too many people who were killed or injured by drunk drivers.

      2. Observer*

        So much this.

        Forget for a moment that you could lose your job over this. What happens if she gets into the car “just a little” buzzed with a client or coworker and something “happens”? I think your moral responsibility to people’s lives and basic safety is far higher than any responsibility you could have to help with her job. And you CERTAINLY don’t owe it to her to enable her!

        Also, do you want to get into a car with her? Why should you put yourself at risk? (And why should you subject others to a risk you would reasonably find unacceptable?)

    10. Leagle Beagle*

      OP#1, arrest records in all states are public. Which means that your co-worker, in believing that this arrest could possibly be kept secret, is providing yet more evidence that her judgment is way, way off. And I hope that makes you feel better about reporting her to your employer.

      If would you prefer to have written proof of her arrest and you live in a pretty populated county, you likely can get a copy of the criminal charge against her (and most states consider DUI’s to be criminal charges) by going online to your county or parish website and looking for the court clerk. In more populated counties, the court clerk’s office usually has a free way to search for criminal cases by name and then may provide access to the case file. If your county is rural, you might have to go to the clerk’s office to make a public records request and that may be too much of a hassle. Still, I put all this out here in case you want to provide proof.

      1. CanCan*

        I don’t think it should be up to the OP to investigate, especially since the coworker herself admitted to it. Even if the OP learned this from someone else and wasn’t 100% certain, the same investigation can be undertaken by the employer. Besides, it’s a little odd to go digging into coworkers’ personal lives, unless that is actually part of your job.

        And what if the OP doesn’t find the record because the accident occurred in a different county/state/etc. and decides not to tell the employer? If it comes to light that she knew and didn’t tell, she’ll still get in trouble.

    11. boop the first*

      She would have had a much lower chance of being fired if coworker was just honest in the first place!

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      Coworker also decided to make a phone call about this from work, the place she absolutely didn’t want to know about it. If you can’t even put in the effort to carry out a competent cover-up, that burden doesn’t fall to your coworkers.

    13. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I agree 10000% with Alison’s response that the coworker has put OP in a position where OP has no choice but to report.

    14. Snark*

      You didn’t get her fired. Her decision to get a DWI and not report it got her fired. And even if you did get her fired, she showed the execrable judgement to get a DWI and lie to her employer and the courts about it. That is a thing you deserve to lose your job over. You don’t need to cackle “HAHAHAH BURN ASSHOLE” as you do it, but don’t hesitate, and don’t feel bad about it.

    15. Dr. Pepper*

      I get the cowroker’s desire to keep this a secret. She screwed up royally, possibly to the point of losing her job, and is likely filled with shame and guilt. Trying to keep others from knowing about her horrible behavior, even if it was a one-time mistake, is perfectly natural. Sometimes we sympathize with others in that position; who among us hasn’t done something we’d desperately prefer to hide from other people? We would love it if our own mistakes in our private lives didn’t see the light of day at work.

      However, this is very serious. She injured someone while driving drunk and is facing legal consequences for her actions. Not only is that happening, she is also required to drive for her job. If driving wasn’t a part of her job, I’d say leave well enough alone. But since it is, the way forward is clear. It won’t be easy, and she will likely blame you for “telling on her”, but that’s not your problem. She’s the one who screwed up and then tried to hide it.

      1. Jujube*

        I’ve actually got zero sympathy for drunk drivers. I have lost family members – children – to a drunk driver, and this coworker should be in jail. People lose their jobs and go to jail for years for marijuana possession, but everyone has this “meh” sympathetic attitude towards drunk driving. Drunk driving is sociopathic behavior that destroys lives and destroys families. If it was treated with the seriousness it deserves, nobody would be wondering about what to do in this situation. Imagine this coworker stabbed someone in the neck because they were in a rush and that person was ahead of them in line to buy a bagel – it’s identical behavior. It’s willingness to murder because you can’t be bothered to call a cab or stop at one drink.

        1. Dr. Pepper*

          I was being compassionate to the feelings of conflict the OP is experiencing over this. You can have compassion and sympathy without condoning or enabling terrible behavior, which is something a lot of people struggle to do. Compassion is not an “it’s okay that you did this” card, even though people often view it that way. Some things are never okay. You can understand where someone is coming from without approving of their actions in the slightest or giving in to their demands that you act a certain way to protect them from the consequences of their behavior.

        2. MassMatt*

          I agree, DUI is extremely serious, it is one thing to endanger yourself but to endanger others is terrible.

          There has been a huge change in attitudes about this, I went to high school in the 80’s and there was a TON of education, PSA’s etc about this, mostly driven I think by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Law enforcement really stiffened penalties also.

          My sister graduated just 5 years earlier and she said people used to think drunk driving was funny. People would drive over the state line where the drinking age was lower, get hammered, and drive back. I looked in her yearbook, there was a TWO PAGE SPREAD of the kids that died before graduating, all but one due to DUI. I believe 4-5 were killed in a single accident. Shocking waste of life.

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            Every time people whine about Why In The Good Old Days We Didn’t Have/Do X And We Survived, I want to show them things like this. Car seats for kids save lives. (It used to be sadly common for little kids w/o carseats or even seat belts to be THROWN from cars and killed during crashes!) Driving sober saves lives. The speaker may have survived, but lots of others didn’t.

      2. Observer*

        “One time mistake”? No. The dangers of drunk driving are no secret. Also, even if this was the first time she get behind the wheel after drinking, she has embarked in a series of actions related to this. That takes it from a single screw up, to an ongoing issue.

        1. aebhel*

          Also, the odds of getting caught the one and only time she’s driven drunk are… pretty low. Most drunk drivers are habitual drunk drivers.

    16. Artemesia*

      I might fire someone who knew this and covered it up. The liability here is enormous. I understand covering up minor errors for a friend or colleague and would do the same, but this is a person who drove drunk and hurt someone. You know and therefore share responsibility if she causes an accident with the company car. No choice here really and you are at risk if you keep quiet.

      1. JessaB*

        Yeh, this is beyond normal things you can keep quiet about. I’m sure there are things someone can get arrested for that I would not report to their employer, but DUI? For someone who drives during business especially?

        Especially if the employer was intelligent and ran quarterly or semi annual reports on those who had to drive for work and found out post facto. Not only would the employee be fired, but I’d completely fire the OP who knew and didn’t say. And that’s if nobody got hurt over it.

        Back when we had money (oh what a lovely concept that was,) my father hired a driver for my mother because she had cancer and was really wiped out from chemo, and couldn’t take herself around and he worked, and I was in Uni, so I couldn’t drive her either. Every 6 months he called DMV and pulled a report (back when there weren’t computers or things and the driver had to sign a paper giving permission for this,) and hell would rain down if this guy even got a ticket on his day off, let alone a DUI. And he was just a guy with a driver. Not a corporation with higher liability.

        I cannot believe any company that requires on clock driving of their vehicles or their employees’ would not also require licence checking on a regular basis as part of their insurance scheme.

    17. I'm Not Phyllis*

      Agreed – if she gets fired it will be because of her actions, not yours. I would argue strongly that you have an obligation to report this.

    18. Peter the Bubblehead*

      Would it be possible, if the company must take any action against the DUI co-worker, to have it explained as the courts contacted the place of business?

      In this case, a little white lie might be justified.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There’s no need though. It’s public record, so there is no need to explain how the company found out.

        I worked one place where I had access to DMV driving records, I could check each employee’s record myself. There are many places out there with this ability.

      2. Observer*

        This is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons. As a practical matter, that’s just not going to pass the smell test.

    19. Not So NewReader*

      OP, she is awaiting sentencing? Sometimes courts grant hardship licenses while awaiting sentencing. The person is allowed to drive to work or school but no where else. Hardship licenses can be granted if there is no or very little public transportation and for other reasons.

      I question the accuracy of what she is telling you. On her behalf I will say many defendants do not understand the process they are going through and they commonly have many misunderstandings.

      My punchline here is that she may be okay for the moment to drive in limits BUT the overarching idea holds. She needs to tell her employer that she has a DUI. So that would be my talking point, as the boss(es) go through the process they will figure out if she should or should not be driving now.

      For [reasons] a long time ago, I decided there are just some secrets I am not able to keep. This would be one of those secrets, OP. Which feels worse: her being mad at you for reporting her OR YOU being mad at you for not reporting it because she injured a second person? Hands down the latter feels worse, right?
      Sometimes doing the right thing does not feel good. This is one of those times where the choices of doing nothing or doing something both feel sucky for different reasons. The life you save might be your own or someone you super care about.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        PSA. Much of the same worries we have about drinking and driving carry over to cell phone usage. Please encourage others to set the phone down while driving and stay alive.

  4. LarsTheRealGirl*

    OP #3, please don’t take it personally. When you see people day-in day-out for years, you tend to gloss over a lot of their appearance. I literally came to work with bright neon ombre and I think about 1/4 of people noticed. People just don’t pay that much attention.

    1. Sherm*

      +1. If you came to work naked, I would not bet serious money that everyone would notice. People tend to be heavily focused on themselves and their problems, perhaps especially at work.

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        The best part is he almost won! Iirc he made it to the chow line before somebody spotted him.

    2. Treecat*

      This is the case and also, LW #3, not to be blunt but… no one cares about your haircut. I get that it’s meaningful to you, but it’s not meaningful to anyone else, sorry.

      Coming at it from another angle: if you want to talk about your haircut, that’s perfectly fine, but you should be the one to mention it. I think it’s pretty good policy to NOT EVER comment on someone’s physical appearance unless they bring it up first, and I doubt I’m the only one. Something like “Good thanks, I’m so excited about my new haircut!” in response to a “Good morning, how are you?” question will signal both that you’re interested in talking about your haircut, and that it’s okay for your coworkers to mention it too.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I have an extremely good eye for things like this and there’s basically no way I wouldn’t notice but… it’s still not particularly interesting/worth mentioning to me. I have complimented people on something like a new haircut or a nice jacket before but that’s really only when I find them exceptionally outstanding and/or know the person well enough to gauge how it will be received. But most of the time, I will take one second to think “Oh, Clarissa got a new haircut, nice!” and then move on my merry way.

      2. March Madness*

        I agree. To me it just feels awkward to comment on a coworker’s appearance. I don’t want my appearance to be commented upon and extend the same courtesy to others. (I know I lost weight, but if my coworkers mentioned that I would feel reminded of my grandmother, who notices every pound and NEEDS to talk about it).

        1. Bostonian*

          Yeah, as a general rule I don’t comment on clothing/hair/weight changes because I tend to err on the side of caution in not wanting to discuss/focus on coworker’s appearances and bodies.

          1. BookishMiss*

            Also, I’m very likely to not even notice. My attention to detail and focus at work are on my work, not my co-workers. I’m also bad work faces, to the extent that I remember what customers I’ve spoken to at my retail gig by noting their clothes or jewelry. So I’ll notice your adorable dress or nice earrings, but your haircut? Not a chance. My brain just won’t register it.

      3. noot*

        agreed, i really don’t care about what you decide to do with your hair/face/clothes (unless you’re like that one lady in a letter who would change drastically midway through the day, that’s something different)

      4. Emi.*

        And in my experience, the ones who do comment have no idea what’s going on. I usually wear my hair up, but occasionally I wear it down, making it apparent that it’s longer than it was the last time I wore it down. And then Fergus sees me and says “Oh, you got a haircut! You look great!” Like, no.

      5. Dr. Pepper*

        I agree as well. I do not often comment on the appearance of others, and certainly never do so at work. Mostly because I really don’t care, and also because it can be really awkward. Some people don’t take complements well, and then sometimes, well, if you can’t say anything nice… So I just don’t. Unless of course the person brings up the subject themselves, wherein I will offer a generic complement if I don’t like it or a specific, sincere one if I do.

      6. Rusty Shackelford*

        Something like “Good thanks, I’m so excited about my new haircut!” in response to a “Good morning, how are you?” question will signal both that you’re interested in talking about your haircut, and that it’s okay for your coworkers to mention it too.

        But it would make me think “oh lordy, she wants me to compliment her haircut,” and quite honestly I find that kind of… thirsty? Is that what the kids call it nowadays?

          1. Eloise*

            My 15-year-olds would be horrified that you’re even attempting it (even jokingly) and forbid you from ever doing it again.

            1. Snark*

              obvs fam, teens v salty

              Hear that? A million 15 year olds just rolled their eyes so hard it was audible.

      7. CanCan*

        Nah, mentioning your own haircut is weird, don’t do that! You wouldn’t point out your nice outfit to people, would you? If somebody wants to make small talk about your hair/clothes/tan/jewelry, they will. But note that if they say: “Nice [whatever]!”, it doesn’t mean they like it, unless they add something more meaningful about it.
        And if they don’t mention it, doesn’t mean they don’t like it.

        1. Sketchee*

          I think in response to “Good morning” it’s a bit much. But if someone asked a broader question like “How was your weekend?”

          I might say “It was great, I went to see John at Great Salon and highly recommend him”

          However I will say that I often do get compliments on my haircuts at work. I’m a man and give my barber free reign. So it often looks very different from month to month. And I always respond complimenting my barber. It’s not like I actually did anything for the haircut. Other than attend and pay

          1. Kelly O*

            Yeah, that’s just weird.

            If someone notices your new haircut that’s great. Kudos to you. I got a good bit chopped off a couple of weeks ago and no one noticed. To be fair, I was wearing it back and up more than I had it down, so they may not have noticed.

            But to say “oh my weekend was fab and by the way, Fabian cut my hair at Attention Salon and was just fab!!” is essentially fishing for a compliment.

            That’s the thing with compliments. You want them to be sincere. Someone will notice and say something eventually. Let them genuinely notice it.

            By the by, I am not so above it all to say I never comment on appearances. Matter of fact I just complimented someone who got a good 18 inches cut off (like, two weeks ago, but I just saw her today) and I will also compliment you on your shoes, your funky socks, and anything I find pretty. But I mean it. Not just trying to build some sort of social capital, or validate someone’s proverbial parking.

      8. Dust Bunny*

        A coworker of mine shaved her head and we didn’t notice for a week. She always wore her hair pulled tightly back so she didn’t actually look that much different. But I think most of us don’t take as much notice of the appearances of people we see every day as those people assume we do.

        1. bohtie*

          I once got a purple mohawk (I work in a conservative government environment, but our dress code doesn’t say anything about hair, and since my hair is very short I was fully prepared to shave it if I got any negative feedback). My boss only noticed after 2 weeks when one of my coworkers asked in awe how I got that great color. Heh.

        2. Broadbean*

          I had a coworker once who had hair so long she could sit on it. Then one weekend she had it cut to chin-length. On the Monday one (male) colleague looked at her for a while and then said, “… Did you get new glasses?”

      9. Lavender Menace*

        Yeah, if I don’t comment on it it’s because I have a general policy not to comment on other people’s appearances.

    3. One legged stray cat*

      I know I wouldn’t notice it. The only time I ever really paid close attention to coworkers’ appearances was when I was on a diet and, to stay focused on it, had to obsess over my own looks. I never really liked being that person and loved it when I was able to throw the diet and shallowness away. My interest in my coworkers is in work (since that is why I am there) and in getting to know them as a person (since that is just basic human decency). Looks get pushed behind those two objectives so I often miss changes for weeks.

      Also, don’t obsess about your coworkers not liking your haircut even if you have coworkers that do pay close attention to your looks. From the two pictures you sent in, they are both long hairstyles, though the length itself is different. Your face itself will look pretty much identical in both styles, which is what most people are observing when they say haircuts look appealing or unappealing on someone.

      1. Suzy Q*

        I’ve missed noticing that two coworkers were visibly pregnant. Basically, I was the last person in the office to know (and I didn’t really care). Your haircut is only important to you.

        1. Lavender Menace*

          Oh, me too. One coworker sits directly across from me and I didn’t notice she was pregnant until she went on leave a week or so before giving birth.

    4. Mad Baggins*

      I agree. I think you need to change one or more “categories” or fundamental qualities of hair to expect to get noticed. You went from “long straight brown” hair to “long kinda-wavy brown” hair, that’s pushing it. If you went to “long straight blonde” or “short straight brown” then probably you’d get noticed, maybe not commented on. “Short wavy red” would get noticed I think.

      1. Obelia*

        +1. I work in an office of about 35 people with a lot of women around my own age and maybe two or three people might comment when I change my hair colour (eg from dark brown to bright red). Most people either don’t notice or don’t comment about it.

        1. CanCan*

          Also depends how often someone changes their appearance. I get a haircut about once in a couple of years, so when I do, people (women) notice it – as it goes from very very boring to nice. Someone who changes their hair colour/style once a month or more often doesn’t get any comments.

      2. Zoe Karvounopsina*

        I have fond memories of the colleague who said to another colleague that he…thought my hair just did that naturally.

        I’d hennaed it red. Then hennaed it brown.

      3. KayEss*

        Yeah, I think a lot of people are unlikely to notice unless the cut substantially changes the way the hair frames/falls around your face–basically, going from significantly below-chin to significantly above-chin is the only thing that has a reasonable guarantee of catching attention.

        I once got enough a cut that took off enough to donate, but since it still only brought my hair from lower back to around shoulder length, literally only one person noticed. They asked midway through the day if I had gotten a haircut. I playfully responded, “No, why?” (thinking that OF COURSE it was OBVIOUS that I’d had a good 10-12 inches of hair chopped off, I mean really) and they got embarrassed and backpedaled, so that was a fun social misunderstanding to then have to correct.

        1. Security SemiPro*

          This. My husband and I work in the same office. We got haircuts together once and people noticed his but not mine.

          I’d hacked off enough to donate and dyed from my ears back fire engine red and bleached the front. But my hair was still “long” and basically “blonde” so no one noticed. But he moved his part to the other side and put in some highlights and you’d think he had a blue Mohawk.

          I still grumble that there is a Large and Noticible Difference between mid back length and hip length hair, but I guess it’s mostly to the wearer.

          1. Kathleen_A*

            Yeah, I cut my hair by more than a foot once (it shrank from past my waist to just below my shoulders), and while most women here at the office noticed, most of the men did not. So it goes. :-)

        2. blaise zamboni*

          Yup. When I cut off 14 inches of hair and shaved half my head, people noticed (and commented on it waaaaaaaay too much). A few months ago I started growing it back out, flipped the long side over the shaved side, and nobody noticed. I have a full head of hair and people are still periodically squinting at me and asking if I’ve done something different with it. Unless it’s drastic, most people are going to miss it.

      4. Lexi Kate*

        Yes, also most people see you sitting or standing facing them at work or by your photo on IM so they are seeing from your shoulders up and your haircut didn’t really change that. If you were a frequent ponytail or braid wearer people really won’t notice either. People who like long hair will not comment because its not their business what you do with your hair, and they don’t want to tell you that.

      5. Flower*

        I had people commenting when I cut off 20+ inches of hair (even though I always had it ponytailed or bunned) – from low back to just below jawline, but you can bet no one noticed when I got four inchess off six months prior.

    5. I have a boat*

      I would notice and comment, but sometimes it takes me a while – I might have more urgent things on my mind (my boss is breathing down my neck for the budget), the time and place isn’t right for the comment or it takes a while for me to notice. Don’t take it personally OP3!

    6. Fish Microwaver*

      I would prefer if my coworkers would comment less on others’ appearance. They comment on everything, even when there has been no change. It’s very tiresome.

      1. KitKat*

        I have a pixie cut that I get trimmed every two months, so there’s only about an inch getting cut each time, but a few specific people ALWAYS ask me if I got a haircut. I find it annoying since it’s regular hair maintenance–not a drastic change.

        Since I think it’s annoying to get hair comments, I don’t comment on anyone else’s hair unless it’s something seriously different (like different enough that I do a double take), such as when a coworker came in with rainbow colored hair one day. The only other time I’d comment was if someone was telling me they were getting a hair cut ahead of time and then I saw it the next day, or if they brought it up themselves.

      2. Reburkel*

        Same. I am actually getting my hair cut and dyed the weekend before I started my new job so as to avoid comments on my appearance at work! I know everyone generally means well but it makes me feel awkward.

    7. Gem Hill*

      I had the same sort of cut – 6 inches off, more styled, so now I wear it down a lot more often. This was week one into a new job, but had three team members I’d worked with in a previous team. No one noticed. I was a bit indignent as I loved my new hair and wanted compliments but that lasted a whole day then I got over it as I probably have missed similar changes in people ‍♀️

      1. Gem Hill*

        that female symbol is meant ot have the female shrugging emoji next to it but I’m guessing the website doesn’t support them :shrugemoji:

    8. HannahS*

      Yep. I once cut about 14 inches of blue hair off and was left with shoulder-length brown. It took two weeks for my brother to notice and go, “Did you get rid of the blue?!” It doesn’t mean anything that he didn’t notice. Personally, I don’t comment on other people’s appearances unless it’s under pretty specific circumstances.

      1. Nancy*

        As other people have pointed out, if what is around your face has not changed, people are less likely to notice. In your case, the brown. If the brown was shoulder length to begin with, from the shoulders up there was not much of a change.

        1. HannahS*

          Exactly. I don’t think he noticed until he was about to tug on my ponytail that he went, hang on a minute, it’s not blue and there’s much less of it!

    9. Xarcady*

      Yeah, I got new glasses a few weeks ago and no one, not people at work- at either job, not my sister, not my best friend, has said a word. I’v gone from heavy dark plastic frames to light metal frames in a completely different color and shape. The difference is enough that I’m still startled when I accidentally catch a glimpse of myself.

      I can only hope that this lack of notice means that my co-workers have not noticed the times I’ve dribbled salad dressing down my front, or lost a button, or any of the other small wardrobe malfunctions that have occurred at work.

      1. Jojo*

        “I can only hope that this lack of notice means that my co-workers have not noticed the times I’ve dribbled salad dressing down my front, or lost a button, or any of the other small wardrobe malfunctions that have occurred at work.”

        Yes!! This is my go-to thought process when something embarrassing happens.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        Yeah, I got new glasses a few weeks ago and no one, not people at work- at either job, not my sister, not my best friend, has said a word.

        Actual conversation I’ve had:

        Coworker: Are those your old glasses, or did you get new ones?
        Me: They are new glasses, because I’ve never worn glasses before.

        1. Bostonian*

          I find it so funny how little people notice these changes in others.

          A friend of mine that I have known for 20 years didn’t notice when I just got glasses. I made a comment about adjusting to needing them, and he was like, “Haven’t you always had glasses?” erm, nope!

          But thinking about myself… I don’t really notice these things in other people. Glasses were a big adjustment for me, but I don’t think I would notice if someone else started wearing them.

          1. BookishMiss*

            I’m going to have to switch to contacts soon for work, and I’m not expecting many people (if any) to notice. I do take note of people’s frames, but that’s because I’m on the market for a purple sparkly pair. Oddly, difficult to find for an adult.

      3. Violet*

        When I got new glasses I was disappointed no one at work noticed. I spent so long picking them out. But at least I didn’t suspect they hated them.

        Even if people don’t consciously notice the 5 inches and feathering, or that there’s pink in my glasses frames now, or whatever, they might subconsciously have a more positive reaction (or more negative) to the overall feel they get from looking at you and thinking about who you are. Appearances matter to everyone to some degree…

    10. sunny-dee*

      Especially since the OP went from straight to wavy — the waves really mask how the length has changed, in that, people may assume the change is simply because of the waves and not the result of a new cut and style. It’d be like commenting on a ponytail — it doesn’t fundamentally change the hair.

      1. What? Like it's hard?*

        Agreed! I cut 6 inches off my straight hair and went into work with wavy hair the next morning. My assistant (whom I walk past and chat with multiple times a day AND she always notices my shoes) simply asked what was the occasion for doing my hair.

    11. MatKnifeNinja*

      I’m in the camp of I do notice people changing their looks, but will say absolutely NOTHING. Even if I really like the haircut.

      You don’t comment on people’s appearances at work. Lost weight, pregnancy, hair cut, new tats, new clothes, cute shoes, wears make up, tones down make up. No way in hell am I opening Pandora’s box on that bomb for misunderstanding.

      I can’t figure out who is going to say, “Thank you” and who will get there undies in a wad because “how they look is personal, and why are your commenting.”

      If you bring it up in conversation, that’s one thing. No way am I offereing up an opinion on someone’s physical appearance on my own.

      People notice. We are taught not be forth coming. A coworker worked with her sweater inside out for 7 out of the 8 hour work day. I told she were I saw her on hour 7. The rest of the people didn’t say boo. People noticed the sweater was inside out, and had their own reasons to say nothing.

      1. Pippa*

        Not even the cute shoes?? But you must always compliment cute shoes!! It’s the best: makes people feel stylish, doesn’t imply inappropriate attention to bodies. It’s one of the few appearance compliments where there’s no down side!

        1. BookishMiss*

          I always compliment cute shoes and jewelry – the things that are more easily changeable. I’ll rarely comment on hair, and makeup only when it’s smudged or you have lipstick on your teeth.

          I do have a personal policy to discreetly let someone know if they have anything on inside out, or if they’re trailing TP, but that’s the extent of it.

      2. Lirael*

        I see where you’re coming from, but to me, there’s a big difference between something like weight change/possible pregnancy vs hair cut/new clothes/makeup because the latter are things that are definitely external and chosen by the person, where weight gain/loss may be unintentional and what people are noticing is the shape of someone’s body under their clothes, and doesn’t seem appropriate to me to comment on at work.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          But as with commenting on weight loss, it can come across as “Wow, this new look is so much better than your old look” which implies the old look was a poor choice.

          1. Breda*

            No? “Oh, I love that dress!” does not mean “I hate all your other clothes,” and “That’s such a great shade of lipstick” does not mean “your face is horrible without it.” I do think the appropriateness of those comments varies by both culture and individual relationship, but compliments are not just veiled insults.

        2. CanCan*

          Exactly. If it’s intentional, there’s nothing wrong with commenting on a person’s hair/clothes/jewelry. (Not “this suits you” or “this is so much better than the old…”) Just a quick:
          Nice haircut!
          Love your dress!
          Beautiful necklace!
          Nice spring top! Fits so well with the weather we’ve been having.

          It’s a quick way of saying to the person: “I see you. I’m not indifferent to you. You’re not just a work drone to you. I want to say something nice, but not make a big deal out of it.”

      3. Dr. Pepper*

        Don’t forget the bashful people who don’t know how to take a complement gracefully. They will offer unnecessary explanations, or downplay whatever it is you have complemented, and it gets awkward.

        And then there’s the people who just don’t want to talk about it. A friend made some big lifestyle changes and lost a bunch of weight. Of course all her coworkers noticed and commented and wanted to know her secret! It was very uncomfortable for her because she felt that it was a private thing and didn’t want to discuss the ins and outs of her diet or exercise routine with every Sally, Bob, and Jane who wanted to know.

    12. Oxford Comma*

      I would probably not notice till about 3 months later when it would hit me that something is different.

      I do have colleagues who would notice and who probably track everybody’s wardrobe (“Ohhhh, there’s Oxford Comma wearing those purple pants again. Should I tell her they’re not flattering?”), but those are the exceptions. Most of us simply do not have the time or energy to care.

      1. Salyan*

        Some people (myself included) simply don’t notice. The only time I remember noticing that someone’s hair had changed was when a cousin changed her hair from (bright!) red to blue – and even then, it only registered as a vague feeling that something was different. I had to ask her what she’d changed!

    13. ThatGirl*

      Also sometimes it takes a little time to register. I cut and re-color my hair every six weeks to keep my style in shape, and inevitably a week or two *after* the cut I get “oh, did you get a haircut?” or “hey your color looks great!”

    14. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I’m in IT. I have learned over the years that, if my male coworkers notice my new haircut, it must be really terrible to the point where I need to change stylists. (It happened once, and I did.) The female coworkers (myself included) would sometimes awkwardly compliment each other’s outfits or hair styles. The guys really and truly do not notice.

    15. Steve*

      As a middle-aged white male in management, two things are true about me

      1) I am totally clueless. Odds are high I would not notice a haircut short of going bald.
      2) If I did notice, I would intentionally not say anything, as that is the safest path.

    16. memyselfandi*

      I have had people ask me if I have a new haircut when it is just the humidity that has made my hair behave differently. So, I, too, would be surprised if no one noticed such a change. I think new haircut looks fantastic, and I would want people to notice and talk about it. So, please allow me to be excited with you, OP.

    17. Chinookwind*

      OP #3, not only should you not take it personally, but I honestly believe that there are 2 types of people in the world: those that notice hair styles (and when it changes) and those that don’t. I saw this playout on a video yesterday where two costars who had been working together for 13 years had a question about which season of Jared’s hair was the best. Jensen insisted that it had never changed and that it was always “long”. Jared was able to pick out a season that was the best and Jensen spent 10 minutes talking about being honestly confused because he swears that there was no difference, even when fans could bring up photos showing different hairstyles through the season based on everything from length, side burns and styling.

      These guys are best friends and I have never before seen such a good example of someone honestly not seeing any differences in hair styles. It was like he was “hair blind.”

    18. OP #3*

      Thank you! That definitely puts it in perspective, since that obviously sounds like it was a dramatic change.

    19. Nicole Maria*

      I realized myself that people don’t pay that close attention when I debuted a new pair of shoes yesterday. I had been wearing two pairs (one brown, one black) for the past year, and was starting to feel embarrassed that I was wearing one of these same two pairs of shoes every single day. I thought someone would notice my exciting new (blue! with a strap!) shoes, but if they did nobody said anything.

      It was actually a relief because I realized that in all likelihood this means that nobody noticed that I had been wearing the same shoes for so long!

    20. Oops*

      Lol. My spouse shaved off his beard some years ago and I did NOT notice for an entire day. I looked at his face every day and got up close and personal with it — just did not notice. It’s a source of some hilarity in our family to this day.

  5. Sami*

    OP 3 — No one commenting on your haircut is very likely to not be at all personal. It’s tough when you’re excited about something and no one seems to notice, but that just life.
    FWIW, I’m a teacher and usually the only ones who notice anything different about me are my students.

    1. There is a Life Outside the Library*

      LOL and do they ever give you their honest opinion! Several of my SIL’s students were very upset when she cut her hair really short.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      If a student comments on your haircut, do you reply that you got them all cut? In my experience it seemed like that was a mandatory teacher response, lol.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Yeah, when my son was small he would notice whenever I got a haircut. (His eye level was down near the end of my hair.) And once when I got new glasses he was traumatized. Change is bad! when you’re six. Kids are monitoring you for rigid consistency, not for the success of any particular choice in fashion.

    4. NoName For This*

      OP 3 – No matter how a lady’s appearance at work changes or what she wears, I would never comment on any of it. I keep all conversation professional and work focused. I have seen others whose similar statements got them into trouble for sexual harassment. It’s just not worth going there.

    5. fogharty*

      OP# the same thing happened to me, and I had much more of a drastic change than you did. Everyone assumed that I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail or bun and that’s why it “appeared” to be so short (it appeared that way because it was that short.)

      I felt a little miffed that no one noticed for a week, but the longer it took them, the funnier it became.

  6. periwinkle*

    #4: “Will they need to use email in the workforce?” Oh dear. Yes. If they intend to work in the white collar world, they will use email ALL THE TIME. Are they expecting to communicate with their manager through Snapchat or present ideas to/get feedback from their teammates in a Tumblr post?

    Yes, there are other forms of communication in use. I use Skype to send instant messages to colleagues and now my team is using something similar to Slack to keep an open channel going.

    Email remains the standard, however. If they ignore their email at work, they may suddenly find themselves with lots of unanticipated leisure time for composing perfect Instagram shots.

    1. Angelinha*

      I don’t think any of these kids are claiming they’re not going to have to use email in a job…they’re just not checking their email all the time in high school, probably because they’re not getting any email! If the teacher said “I’m going to send homework assignments by email and you’re responsible to check your account nightly,” fine, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what happened here.

      Also, if these kids are in high school now, there is a decent chance that email will be replaced by something else in the working world by the time they’re joining it 4-8 years from now!

      1. Rat in the Sugar*

        There’s actually a lot of teachers in a thread higher than this discussing how they do actually send grades and assignments through email and tell the students they’re responsible for checking it–and the students still don’t, which I feel is still fairly normal.

        When you’ve been in a professional job for a while and you’ve gotten used to checking your email hourly, going an entire day without looking at it can seem really neglectful. If I went that long without checking it while at work I would miss a lot and have some problems. But for these students, the only emails they get are from teachers maybe a few times a week, and they see those teachers every day anyway. Daily checking probably feels like a waste of time to them. Personally I behaved the same way in university, but when my needs changed after getting a job my behavior changed too. I’m sure it will be the same for most of the “kids today”.

        1. Baby Fishmouth*

          They are also not sitting at a computer all day like most adults. If it’s a school email address (as opposed to a personal one), it’s probably not going to their phones either. In high school, I would be sitting in a classroom all day, and after school go directly to an extracurricular activity or my part-time job – and I’d get home between 9-11 PM, do my homework, and go to bed. I can’t imagine that’s much different for students now. I only checked emails once every couple of days, and I checked my school email much less frequently – I only checked them often in high school when I had the *very* rare online course.

          At work (as well as at uni) I am on a computer for 5-10 hrs a day. It’d be impossible NOT to check my emails. It’s odd to hold high school students to the exact same standard as adults who exist in a very different environment.

          1. Turquoisecow*

            Why don’t they have the school email go to their phones then? If they’re literally carrying email-receiving devices around all day, and using said devices to check Snapchat or Instagram or whatever other messaging program, then it can’t be that much more difficult or time consuming to check email at the same time!

            1. Yorick*

              You can also just use a browser on your phone, so there is really no reason they can’t check it.

              1. Amy*

                Really depends on what tech the school is using for email, sometimes there’s outdated tech that won’t really work on mobile phones or there are weird security restrictions.

            2. CBE*

              My kids’ school email is only accessible from school computers. Not from home, not from phones. Not sure how that is set up, but that’s how it is. They’re not given any designated time to check it at school, but they’re expected to check it daily. Sometimes they’ll be doing computer stuff in class and have a minute or two to check if they finish early. If not, they are supposed to do it during lunch. Three computers in the library, one in the counseling office. For the whole high school.
              Guess what? They don’t spend lunch lined up at those computers to check email. Shocker.

              1. Observer*

                That has to be one of the most bizarre set ups I’ve heard of.

                Even most dysfunctional workplaces are not THAT weird and stupid about email, though.

              2. Yorick*

                Yeah, that’s a bizarre system and I wouldn’t blame them for not getting their email checked every day. Hopefully most teachers are aware of the issue and don’t send time-sensitive things.

            3. Amy*

              Push notifications make a huge difference when it comes to phones. Snapchat and Instagram both send those, it’s a decent chance that whatever proprietary email software a high school or university would have set up wouldn’t even have an app, much less push notifications. They could probably GET those emails on a generic email app but that would require actual IT instructions that not all high school or college students will easily follow without support/assistance.

              1. Observer*

                Most schools that provide email addresses are using either Gmail or Exchange. Both of them have native apps with push notifications.

                Also, the instructions for setting up your email for almost any other email system are TOTALLY simple enough for any neuro-typical high school of average intelligence to follow. If the school’s IT staff is SO incompetent that they can’t even write it up, there are about a dozen sources to get the instructions set up, and all IT would have to plug in would be the addresses involved. Even highly proprietary systems are still using standard protocols to actually exchange the messages, which is all that matters for these purposes.

              2. Yorick*

                Ok, but people can’t survive on push notifications. Your postal mailbox can (maybe rarely) have extremely important stuff in it and it doesn’t send you a push notification, but you still need to go get that stuff.

          2. Elmyra Duff*

            I was going to say the same thing. At all of my “adult” jobs, outlook runs in the background all day and alerts me to any new emails. I don’t actually have to check it.

        2. tara2*

          This was precisely my thoughts as well. Of course email is important when you get into the working world (depending on your job), but I don’t think that high school is a good place to simulate that need. If their time spent in class isn’t at a computer, then email shouldn’t be required of them, in my opinion. It’s too easy to forget about needing to do when you’re in high school, and those difficulties aren’t likely to follow you into a professional job where you spend 8 hours a day at a computer and people are emailing you for everything.

          They should be taught how to use email, sure. But training them to check it constantly isn’t really helpful.

      2. Snark*

        “there is a decent chance that email will be replaced by something else in the working world by the time they’re joining it 4-8 years from now!”

        No there is not. It’s been the professional standard for 15-20 years by now. That’s not going to change in less than a decade. Slack didn’t replace email, skype didn’t replace email, shared drives didn’t replace email, texting didn’t replace email.

        1. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

          This! It’s going to be around quite a while. For communicating electronically with multiple external parties, it’s the gold standard.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        It sounds like what’s happening in the letter is some students are pushing back–“We shouldn’t have to check email because out in the world no one uses it. Also algebra.”

        And while the social media du jour might well change in 5 years, I expect email to be around a lot longer.

    2. Anansi*

      I completely agree with this, and with Alison’s response. I’ve actually encountered people who REFUSE to use email for anything and it is extremely annoying. Our company uses Skype and is very email-heavy, but there are still a few people who will only communicate via texts. There’s even one person I’ve worked with who would just send me things through facebook’s messenger program.

      1. Rosemary7391*

        Facebook!? What would they do if you didn’t accept a friend request? Also, can facebook do attachments?

        There are lots of alternatives for chatty type messages, but email is still very much the thing for substantial or important communications. It also doesn’t require a previous connection like facebook which is important for external communications… can you imagine “Sorry boss, I didn’t send that to the client, they haven’t accepted my friend request yet?”. In that sense email is more like a postal mail replacement, whereas facebook et al are the “chat over the fence” replacements.

        1. Ophelia*

          Exactly – email gives you the “here is the documented train of communication” that replaces mail. While yeah, you CAN save a whole skype chat history, it’s not organized the way email is, and it doesn’t really provide the same function in the work world.

        2. Anansi*

          I don’t think facebook CAN do attachments, which is a whole different set of issues. But yeah, this meant that I would miss important/time sensitive messages for days because I just don’t use facebook that often (especially during work!).

      2. Dust Bunny*


        I recently had a patron call me and request copies of a bunch of items. Xeroxing and mailing them, and collecting payment, was a massive pain in the butt both of us. I could have scanned and dropboxed the same thing in less than a day, for no charge, but he refused to use email.

        He actually had the nerve to suggest that we “need a better system”. *WE* HAVE ONE; it’s you who doesn’t, sir.

    3. Turquoisecow*

      I don’t know how old the kids are and whether or not they have smartphones – I’m assuming they do if they’re using Instagram and SnapChat or whatever other messaging systems – but they undoubtedly have access to computers, if they’re asking for other messaging systems to be used. If they have smartphones, tell them to have push notifications on for their emails, especially if they’re not getting a lot.

      I don’t get a lot of emails for work, but I have push notifications turned on for my work email, so I don’t miss any of them. Since I work remotely, this is even more important to me than for my coworkers who are sitting at a computer with the email program open in the background, alerting them as emails come in. Are the students using laptops in class, and are they connected to the Internet? They can easily just have the email program/webmail site open.

      It’s not like checking email requires a huge amount of work nowadays. When I was in college, I didn’t have a PC, so I had to go to a computer lab to check email. I tried to go everyday, but didn’t always make it, so I would possibly miss important email announcements. But even then (early 2000s), teachers were starting to use things like blackboard for turning in assignments.

      OP, these kids are acting like checking email is a huuuuge deal, but they’re online (with phones or computers) all the time! Definitely don’t give in because they’re too lazy to take the extra step every so often of seeing if there’s an email in their inbox. Regardless of whether their future jobs require it, it’s a class requirement, you’re not the only one who’s going to require it, and you’re the boss in this situation.

    4. Annie Moose*

      I do in fact communicate with my manager and get feedback from teammates entirely through non-email means (in our case, Slack, which is just the modern version of a chatroom). While I agree with your general point that email is still important in the working world, there are definitely a lot of companies and industries where email has become much less important, particularly in any tech-heavy field.

      And I highly doubt any person actually believes that the common method of communication in the working world is Tumblr, so let’s get that ridiculous strawman out of the way right now. I strongly suspect that high school students haven’t thought about how people in the working world communicate at all, and likely imagine it to be the same as in school (which, some outliers aside, remains mostly “the teacher verbally tells you what to do and hands out physical pieces of paper”). Young people are not stupid merely because they use different social media platforms than people who are older than them.

    5. Beancounter in Texas*

      I think teaching students to use email regularly is actually a service to them. I worked in a global company for a few years and most of my work came through email. Later I worked for a small family business that didn’t even have company email; the bulk of the work came through snail mail and phone calls. I stayed for five years and was so out of the habit of responding to email regularly that it was an issue brought up at my first performance review at my new job. I wish I hadn’t fallen out of the habit of responding to email promptly.

  7. Aphrodite*

    I agree. You’ll want to do the right thing for your company because and not just because if they later find out you knew and didn’t say any thing you could be at risk for losing your job too, but because it puts them at risk. She’s driving company cars with clients. What do you think would happen for the company if there was an accident, especially if a client was injured or worse? There are serious potential consequences here for everyone.

  8. neverjaunty*

    OP #5, that sounds like a huge bait and switch. Once you agreed to a salary range, the HR rep “found out” that, oops, actually what they really meant is the salary is the lowest number, period – and this was over the course of a few days, not weeks or months that would make something like budget changes vaguely plausible.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s possible that it was an intentional bait and switch, but it’s more likely that the HR rep just got additional info. Especially if it’s near the start of the search, it’s not uncommon for info about the profile/salary/role/etc. to get refined as they roll things out, or for the recruiter to have assumed one thing and then get corrected (“no, it’s not X-Y this time, it’s just X”).

      It’s really not common for HR people to intentionally plot to deceive people, and I don’t think the OP gains anything by assuming that. They’re telling her that there’s a hard cap on the salary. All she can do is decide if she’s still interested, knowing that. (And there really hasn’t been much time invested here; she hasn’t even been phone screened yet.)

      1. JR*

        For instance, say it’s a Manager role, and the salary band for a manager at this company is always $X-$XX, so that’s the range the HR rep was using. However, the department only has a budget of $X to work with, so they need to find someone who will be comfortable accepting at the bottom of the range.

        1. jackers*

          I had this exact scenario when interviewing for my current role. I was, however, still able to negotiate a salary 6% over the budgeted amount so it is doable. In my case, I knew they were hiring 6-7 people across the division, so was gambling that the important number for them to hit was the total budgeted amount for all positions, not the individual salaries.

      2. neverjaunty*

        It’s not the HR person who may be defective, but management. The HR person is just the one communicating with the LW.

        We’ve had long comment threads on this site where people have talked about working for companies that offer a range which has an upper end that’s fictional, or that only a unicorn candidate would be qualified for.

        1. ccs*

          In my experience upper end of salary ranges are intended to show what you could make in the role after years of service and merit increases. If you hire at the top end of the range, the person is probably not right for the role because they have no room to grow into the position over the years and probably are qualified for a higher role to start with.

      3. Icontroltherobots*

        +1 this happened to me once. HR shared a range, got the interview, hiring manager was horrified that HR gave me that range (wasting everyone’s time). It was an honest mistake and no one was offended when I turned the job down.

      4. Someone Else*

        It was still interesting to me that the answer warned OP5 about not seeming to be acting in bad faith, when my first impulse on the “the range is X-Y”…”oh wait no there is no range it’s maximum X the end” seemed a bit like the employer was sort of acting in bad faith. I get that miscommunications happen, and it’s good they were correcting it this early in the process and being up front about it to not waste either’s time, but it would’ve already left a bad taste in my mouth about the company, regardless of whether they did it due to malice or accident.

          1. Someone Else*

            The specific pattern of the correction. If they’d originally said “the range is $55k-$65k” and then said “oops, I’m sorry that was incorrect it’s actually $50k-$60k” OK, fine, mistake. But “actually, it’s $55k max” I’d be turned off. When one moment someone is telling me a specific number is a minimum and the next it’s the maximum, that’d turn me off. I mean, if I were the OP where the originally quoted range were already slightly lower than my desired range, I’d probably have opted out before the correction even happened, but assuming I was on the fence to that point, I’d definitely be opting out after the update. Partially because it’s too low anyway but partially because they’d have given me the impression they don’t have their sht together.

    2. Kc89*

      This kind of thing is really really common and often it’s just human error

      Especially when there are too many people involved in the hiring and wires get crossed

      1. RainbowGrunge*


        And yeah, believe them. I got so frustrated a few months ago when I brought it a person who seemed fantastic on the phone. I was really looking forward to having the hiring managers meet her. I was very clear on the phone “The salary range for this position is 60k-75k, does it make sense to keep talking?” She said yes.

        She came in, interviewed. It went well….except she said she needed 95k. The hiring managers chastised me for bringing her in. Usually I would just ignore this..but I was so mad. In the rejection letter I sent I explicitly asked why she came in if the band was that out of question. She replied that she assumed I was just lowballing her and that the real range was closer to 85-100k. I don’t know what companies would lie about their range that much…but it sure as hell isn’t mine.

    3. Kella*

      In addition to what Alison said, it wouldn’t be a very effective bait and switch since they hadn’t even had a phone screen yet let alone made an offer. “oooooh, gotcha! Now that you’re slightly more invested in the idea of this job and have a 1-hour commitment on your calendar, we’re going to force a lower salary on you!” There’s nothing stopping OP5 from walking, so nothing would be gained from switching the salary after the first few conversations.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        That’s my thinking. If they really wanted to pull a bait and switch, why would they do it this early in the game, at the point when the OP is the least invested in the job?

        1. Kat in VA*

          Exactly. My last bait-and-switch came at the very end of seven weeks (!), when they made me an offer.

          I’d already had to supply them my min/middle/max salary – which they said was fine and perfectly within range – but their final and only offer came in at a full 10% below my stated and agreed-to minimum. I think they were going for the sunk cost fallacy, and they were surprised when I respectfully, politely, and firmly declined.

          Had I known the max they’d be willing to offer was 10% less than my minimum, I would have gracefully bowed out from the very first phone screen when compensation was discussed.

          I understand that companies have budgets and guidelines, but leading a candidate along thinking they’re within range with their stated pay scale, and then popping up with an insultingly low offer at the end…you have to wonder what the recruiters are thinking?

    4. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Corporate staffing here, neverjaunty, and I can assure you that:

      Hiring managers change their minds about salary targets after confirming them in our strategy meeting;
      HRBPs change salary targets because of corporate budget changes or new salary surveys;
      Interviewing even a few candidates can quickly change our opinions on the local talent pool and their salary targets;
      Someone made an honest mistake;
      And yeah, someone pulled a ‘bait and switch.’

      It works both ways, of course. I can’t count how many times a candidate changed their salary requirements after comfirming with us, cross their heart, that X was their target salary…but that doesn’t mean I automatically assume every candidate is lying to me. Please, try not to go to ‘bait and switch’ as a default.

      1. Kat in VA*

        I think as long as those salary target changes are communicated immediately to the potential candidate, then that’s a fair way of doing things. In my case, at the end was clearly a bait-and-switch because no reason was offered other than, “This is our only offer and this is what we’d give you” despite more than one discussion of what I was willing to take to work there.

  9. McWhadden*

    The “you’ll need to do it for work” thing just never works with kids. Kids aren’t stupid. They are all thinking “yeah I’ll do it when I’m paid to” even if they aren’t saying it. Teachers have tried that since the dawn of time and it’s never been a useful way to get students to do what you want.

    Since you do ask about alternatives many workplaces use chat systems. My current work is all email but my sister hardly ever uses email. Everything is done by chat. (Which I hate since it’s so easy to lose track of stuff.)

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Except you need email before you ever start working. You need email to communicate to your potential employer.
      Do you really want to learn email when your reputation is on the line? Because there’s rarely do-overs in job searches.

      1. Hinty*

        What’s so hard to learn about using email? It’s pretty easy to figure out. Now, writing well is harder but they teach that at school anyway.

        1. Dram*

          You might be surprised. It tends to go one of two unprofessional ways: overly casual email (emojis, txt abbrv, no punctuation) to emails that are seven dense paragraphs long and still don’t get to the point.

          1. Artemesia*

            When I taught a policy class to undergrads we had writing as the second agenda in that program and all students learned to write professional emails, briefing memos and action memos, press releases etc built around their policy area so that when they graduated they had the skill to communicate appropriately in different contexts and forms. I remember a student desperate to get exempted from a decision that had gone against him who opened an email to the Dean with ‘Whoa’ — didn’t help his cause.

            A lot of students have experience with ‘creative writing’ where florid prose and surprising the reader at the end is a thing. In professional writing, the opposite is needed. The boss needs to get your recommendation succinctly first and then unpack the reasons below that i.e. reverse funnel. Lots of students really have trouble with writing short clear non redundant communications.

            One thing that is noticeable in college students is who has read extensively and who hasn’t. Even very bright students often write in clunky, cumbersome, redundant and cliched ways. It is as if they have limited familiarity with their own language.

        2. epi*

          I’ve been receiving reply all emails asking people to stop replying all, to a listserv for a large professional organization, for nearly 24 hours. It’s the second one this month to go on so long people start getting rude about it. There are definitely nuances.

          I would suggest rules, filtering, notifications, forwarding, etc. are also useful (and make me more likely to check my own email) but not necessarily intuitive.

          1. PB*

            I agree with all of this. Also, just getting in the habit. Yes, some offices are moving away from email and to chat/text/some combination, but also plenty aren’t. Email isn’t hard, but it isn’t innate. High school, where the stakes are low, is a great place to start, especially as they are very likely to use it in college or for job searching.

      2. Blossom*

        I mean, I’m assuming they know how to check their email perfectly well. They’re just not feeling incentivised to check their school email, because they are teenagers.

        1. Ender*

          Yeah, this. Email is really easy to learn to use, I don’t really see why OP is even worried that the kids aren’t using it. If you paid them to do it, I’m sure they’d figure it out in all of ten seconds.

          1. Genny*

            I don’t think LW is worried, just annoyed. I’d be too if I was emailing important information only to have students act bewildered or complain that they hadn’t ever heard it. They know important information comes out via email, they choose not to check it at their own risk.

            1. Justin*

              I don’t think teachers should require students to check their email for assignments and grades. Some of them might not have easy access to a computer.

              1. OlympiasEpiriot*

                She writes in a comment (link in my username on this comment) that

                To respond to some of the questions/concerns – our high school is fairly consistent – teachers use Google classroom so when assignments and updates are posted the students receive an email. Students have had school-supplied chrome books and email accounts since middle school. They use their chrome books throughout the day so access is not an issue.

              2. Perse's Mom*

                Most kids have smartphones even if they don’t have a school-supplied laptop or tablet or other device. Smartphones = internet = email.

                1. Doctor*

                  If kids are too poor to have reliable internet or access to a computer, there’s a decent chance they can’t afford a smartphone either.

            2. Artemesia*

              And college professors are seriously damaged by poor student reviews; it is pretty frustrating to hear that you don’t communicate expectations etc from students who don’t show up and don’t open their email.

            3. Ender*

              I wrote this comment before seeing the LWs update about why she wanted students to check email. None of that was in the original letter, which just indicated they wanted students to check email because they would need to in work.

              Now that the LW has given the reasons why they want students to check email, my original comment is no longer relevant.

      3. Mad Baggins*

        I think McWhadden meant it like when your elementary teacher says, “Now you have to learn how to write in cursive, and your middle school teachers will expect you to take notes in cursive. All adults write in cursive so get used to it.” Then you get to middle school and your teacher doesn’t care if you write in print or cursive, and by the time you’re an adult you’re typing notes on a laptop.

        I think the students are perfectly capable of learning to use email, but they may not be motivated to use a duplicate means of communication. If they already can communicate with friends on social media and parents through text and teachers in person, why do they need to check their email? OP needs to create a need/reason in order to get students to actually use email, as opposed to creating a firstname_lastname@gmail senior year when it finally becomes necessary.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          I think the good reason is “This school uses email for electronic communication. You need to check your email account to get the information that is sent.”

          If the school doesn’t use email to communicate with students, then I agree that trying to force students to check email regularly is pointless (and rather bizarre). My reading of the OP’s situation, though, is that the school sends emails to the kids which aren’t read, and that this is a problem.

          I’ve had this issue with undergraduates hired at our institute – we’ve learned that we have to explicitly tell them that they need to monitor their work email account while at work, because that’s the way information is transmitted. Otherwise a non-trivial fraction of them will ignore their email and do things like miss scheduled meetings.

          1. nonymous*

            I agree. If the school (or even a particular department) thinks that it is important to teach email skills, they need to make usage mandatory in a meaningful way. For example, if a kid misses communications then there should be some natural consequence. LW could sweeten the pot by randomly throwing in prizes for responding to emails, creating intermittent reinforcement.

            But she also would need to enforce that the information is not available through other means, like if students don’t read email, she’s not giving them time in class to “make it up” with no negative consequences. For example a kid who responded to the email might get full points, but if they don’t respond until after LW reminds them in class, it is -10% (or whatever makes sense for the classroom). Maybe there are reference notes for a test that could be distributed by email and the kids that don’t print it out ahead of time (and certainly, give enough heads up that kids can print it off in the school library) don’t get the benefit of that reference? Point is, LW would have to commit to letting consequences happen.

      4. Beth Jacobs*

        Honestly, I’m a grown ass adult and I don’t use my personal email all that much.

        I always keep Outlook open on my work desktop, so there’s actually no real action of “checking it”, it just pops it when something new comes in. But it’s such a different experience from my personal gmail, that I wouldn’t really consider the same thing.

        My personal email is synced to my phone, but there’s rarely something I need to act on – most email I get these days is just notifications, so I see them, swipe and that’s it. Only when job hunting do I get emails that were sent by an actual person to me alone and that are important. Checking email is not a skill that really needs practice – the students will do it when they need to.

        1. Ender*

          Yeah I currently have 831 unopened emails on my personal accounts. Mostly spam but I check it about twice a week for non-spam stuff. Work email is constantly open of course.

          1. smoke tree*

            I definitely channel all of my email competence into my professional email. There isn’t anything left over for my personal email so it’s woefully neglected and drowning in spam.

      5. Liza*

        I expect they already have email in some form or another. Most social media accounts require one.

        The “checking” part will really be pretty easy to solve at the time when it becomes a necessity. Most email accounts can be linked to a smart phone and emails received via apps. Tech-savvy students will adapt easily to that, but you would struggle to sell it beforehand because if they’re not receiving anything of importance on the regular, why would they want to? So I think that’s better left for later.

        The main issue here is usage (and skilled usage), both the writing of professional emails and the management of an inbox.

        This first one could be solved by a simple “how to write a professional email” lesson. Could even wrap this in with career guidance, along with how to write a cover letter. They won’t necessarily be using it every day but they’ll retain something. And I think this is important because you do get students at university (every postgrad) rattling off emails to lecturers like it’s an IM.

        The second is harder because its an ongoing thing and can’t always be practiced. If their personal inboxes are all just random bits and bobs, that’s going to be really hard to apply such a practice to, and potentially very difficult to teach hypothetically. A friend of mine who lectures at university is considering putting an “inbox management” workshop together, but this is at university level when students are receiving a not insignificant volume of communications via email, so there is actually something to work with.

        If the school has a student email system, it could up its own usage in order to encourage students to begin to manage their email accounts. Schedules and notices via email, social events announced via newsletters, promotions for stuff they might enjoy, etc. The downside of this is that if there’s an IT issue, students are left without vital information (happened to me first day of postgrad). There will still be a large word-of-mouth element, and some people will be lazy/forgetful and rely on their friends to pass info on, but if you’re going to teach students how to regularly use a professional/academic email account, they really need to be receiving a reasonable volume of academic emails, or they have nothing to practice with and no incentive to check.

      6. Tara2*

        I 100% agree that we should be teaching high school students to *use* email, but I think the whole thing is more about requiring them to *check* their email regularly. Its stupid to try to simulate checking their email at a job when in high school, its going to be 90% junk mail, and maybe once a week this one teacher might email them. And then maybe half of that time it’ll be something kind of important. And then that half of the time is something the teacher should have just shared with them in class, except they felt its their job to ‘train them for the working world’. It’s not helpful.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I agree.
          I think OP would benefit from seeing how this actually plays out, I get the idea of the goal but is the plan doing what it is supposed to do?

          Work emails require a response many times. How many emails do the students get that require them to respond?
          Work email are informative, not redundant. How many emails do the students get that were not something covered in class?
          Many work emails are download-read-use. Is the info in the email something they need for an assignment? If it’s extra reading or just reminders they probably will not pay attention.

    2. Koala dreams*

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking. Work is work and school is school. At work I need to answer the phone when it rings, no way that would have worked in school (in school I put it in silent mode or shut it off). It would be funny if the students were answering their phones all day long in class, because at work they would need to do that.

      Besides the phone, we also use regular mail, e-mail, text messages and chat systems.

      1. EPlawyer*

        Right now, school is the students’ job. They have been told that they will receive information via email. I don’t care if they prefer instagram or whatsapp. The boss said email. It’s about responsibility. Which IS something schools teach.

        Sure who knows what the tech will be in 5 years. But businesses are slow to make changes. They will not be the ones accepting job applications via instagram or whatever popular program people are using. They will be expecting emails. They will communicate important things like interview dates and times via email.

        Get in the habit now, even if its only once a day and it will be easier to do it when it really matters.

    3. One of the Sarahs*

      It might help to explain WHY employers still use email, and that it’s also because of records – and in the employee’s interests that if something goes wrong, they have back up. And taking work information out of the secure work systems can open employees up to a ton of legal ramifications.

      And on the flip side of the coin, it’s also about keeping a separation between work and home life. Using one’s own personal skype account/whatsapp/snapchat etc to communicate means never being turned off – and opens people up to the employer wanting to have full access to everything.

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        We use Slack for nearly all our communication at work. Email is mostly for corporate compliance stuff (import- export training and so forth) and automated emails about things like the nightly build failing. Sometimes I go days without checking it. This is after a quarter- century of checking email religiously because that’s where everything important was. I still check my personal email multiple times a day because I get important stuff there. I think people naturally check communication channels where they regularly get information they care about, and ignore the ones that are mostly silent.

        1. Yorick*

          That seems natural, but some people also ignore communication channels across the board because they just don’t feel like monitoring them.

    4. blackcat*

      Encouraging teachers to use alternative things like chat services is a bad idea, though. Any communication that addresses grades needs to be FERPA compliant. Most chat systems aren’t. Now this is something widely disregarded by schools and teachers, but it is a legal issue that should be treated as such.

      1. McWhadden*

        Nobody said they should encourage them to use those other services. She asked if alternatives are being used at work now. They increasingly are.
        And if kids need to check email for school they need to check it for school and should be told that. Saying it’s necessary for the future is not going to sway anyone.

    5. Dr. Pepper*

      No, they’re not stupid. I imagine there’s just no real reason for them to check their school email. It sounds like they’ll receive the information in class regardless, so why bother? The second there are consequences that matter, they will be checking that email, I guarantee it. There will probably be a few who won’t, and they’ll suffer a bit until they figure out that they really are responsible for it.

    6. Observer*

      The issue is not that that the kids eed to use email now, but that they claim that “no one uses email”. That’s flatly untrue and the sooner they get that out of their heads, the better of they will be. Because they WILL need to use email at some point, and they may miss the boat if they have this idea in their heads.

      Also, even your sister whose company is trying to make their chat system replace email still has to use email sometimes. Email is still the best tool for a lot of situations.

      1. McWhadden*

        It’s email. They aren’t going to “miss the boat.” This isn’t computer programming.

  10. beezus*

    If your coworker isn’t legal to drive, her DWI is very serious.

    I had to do the coursesthose ppl do bc I pulled over and called my dad to fetch me and someone called the cops on me in the meantime. Nothing in my bloodstream but…

    1. I'm Not Phyllis*

      If she’s driving with a suspended license, it’s not just a liability for your employer: it’s illegal, and she is doing it during working hours while she’s being a paid employee. Agree with you – it’s very serious.

    2. Chinookwind*

      Wait, you can get a DWI in the US without loosing your licence? Up here, you not only loose your licence at that moment, you will probably end up with your car impounded. If it is a temporary suspension, you have to find a way to get to the police station to pick it up.

      If the local area does let you have a DWI and keep your licence, then I would definitely say the co-worker is dealing with a more severe than usual incident and should definitely report her to your boss. At the very least, wait for the next time you see her get behind the wheel and call the cops because she is blatantly and knowingly breaking the law.

      1. nonegiven*

        Sometimes they’ll put a breathalyzer on the ignition. They have to blow in it before the car will start. That keeps people working instead of losing their job because they were in jail.

    3. Forrest*

      I highly doubt the court ordered you to take substance abuse classes if you were found with no substance in your bloodstream.

      Not that it matters – a DWI, regardless if you kill someone or just get caught driving down the block, is serious and most likely will lead to you losing your license.

    4. Tara2*

      Well, I don’t think we need to do any sleuthing to uncover that this was a more serious case. Says right in the letter that someone ended up in the hospital.

  11. Bea*

    Yes, they’ll need to use email when they join the workforce. However, when I wasn’t a job seeker and as a young adult, I never bothered with email either. As a professional, it’s on my phone and it syncs itself, no logging in and checking required. I’ll get a push notification.

    It’s not a difficult tool to get used to when it’s necessary to do your job. I wouldn’t bother wasting time pushing them to use it, they’re tech savvy and will understand it’s value over time.

    They’ll use it more in college and their entry level positions.

    We do use other modes of communication. Instant messengers, apps and electronic ticketing systems. Email is just one of many electronic communicating devices.

    1. missmillenial*

      I agree, I wouldn’t worry too much over it unless they’re regularly missing important information. I still rarely check my personal email more than a few times a week unless I’m expecting something in particular, and I’ve never had a problem with checking and using email for work or college.

    2. Willis*

      I agree with this. If teachers are emailing them about assignments or other pertinent info and they’re not seeing it, that seems fair to address. And I think it’s worthwhile to point out that email will be the mode of communication for getting info from their college, scholarship, financial aid and/or applying to jobs.

      But if the issue is just that they aren’t using it socially, I’m not sure why this matters. Like you point out, it’s a relatively easy thing to pick up once you’re in the workforce. And from a social perspective, I get their point. I could get 50 work emails a day but probably go 3-4 days without getting an email to one of personal accounts that requires a response. My friend and family are way more likely to contact me in some other way.

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        Anecdotally it doesn’t seem to be a thing that younger employees are picking up on once they’re in the workforce.

        One employee under the age of 30 who failed to read his email just cost our company a few thousand dollars because he didn’t know something had changed.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          You and the commenter who mentioned email as record keeping have made the two strongest arguments for email. It’s still a thing, and it’s going to be around for a while.

          1. Nikki T*

            Yep…the dorm assignments were sent via checking that BEFORE you show up to campus to move in is a good idea.
            They didn’t know it was time to register, they haven’t heard from their advisor….those emails were sent weeks ago, but they don’t.check.their.dang.emails!!

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Thank you, I was waiting for someone to say this. Yes they will need email in college. I have no idea if they will need it when they enter the workforce 10+ years from now. Maybe workplaces will be using entirely different means of communication by then (like you said, we already are using IM, apps, and electronic ticketing systems). But even so, email is not rocket science. There’s really no need to train high-school students on how to email so they are not lost and confused when they come into work and see an inbox. They will figure it out when they need to.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I think the training refers to the difference between formal and informal correspondence–once it was how to write a letter on paper, and now the medium is electronic, but it’s still different from a chatty note to a friend.

        And you need to communicate with people outside your workplace in many jobs–so while you might not use email at all to communicate within your team at work, you will use it to communicate with customers, consultants, etc. An email address is needed to set up most other forms of electronic messaging–so while they might set up their email address to forward to some other interface, they will still need to “have email.” (Few things are as annoying as “Oh, to communicate with me you must be on Facebook/Gchat/other specific platform. It’s the cool one this month.” Email works across service providers.)

        1. Pibbles*

          I never read email when I was in college the first couple of times…and I read EVERYTHING, even shampoo bottles!
          I can see the value of asking students to check their email at least weekly, in case of updates and changes, and in terms of helping them understand how to write them in a professional fashion.

          But…that would be something to lay out in the syllabus, explain on the first day, and then grade.

        2. School Inclusion Specialist*

          Great point on formal/informal correspondence. In a past job, I hired 30+ college kids for a summer program. A few of them treated email like text messaging. While I don’t expect a salutation and signature line after the initial email, I do expect words spelled out and complete sentences if it is a longer communication. Also, I was just hiring for a babysitter for my kids. One person lost the job because of the informality of her communication. I asked a series a questions and she responded “ok”. I had no idea what she meant and what question she was referring to. She could be a great candidate, but I had a 15+ applicants and didn’t want to go back and forth clarifying.

          On the weekends and evenings, I often turn off notifications on my phone so I have a boundary between work and home life. My take away from these students is that they don’t understand the importance of switching between being a student (checking email for assignments) and socializing (being on whatever social media platform is popular). Just because the students’ don’t prefer to communicate in that mode doesn’t mean others do the same. They need to learn how to analyze the situation and decide the best way to communicate. This goes back to the babysitter example–what are appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate with people in various positions in the working world–boss, colleagues, work friends, subordinates, etc.

          1. Amy*

            I would point out that students don’t have the natural separation between “work/school” and “social” that adults have the option of most of the time. High school students are at school all day, but that’s where their friends are, and when they go home, they have homework assignments and after school activities and social activities and there’s studying together with friends or group projects to be done. There’s no magical time of the day where they could switch off notifications and put up a boundary. College students as well – they might have a class at 8am and another class at 4pm and the next day a class only from 6-9pm. They’re fitting in socialization and studying in the cracks of their irregular schedules. There’s again no natural time to “switch off” for the day because there’s no natural separation between their social lives and their “work/school” lives. Most adults don’t socialize all that much at work, not the way students do at school. We’re just talking about two different worlds here, and most students will figure out how to adjust to the change when needed.

            1. Baby Fishmouth*

              Yeah this divide was the hardest thing for me to adjust to when I got my first full-time job. It took me a while to fully recognize my coworkers were not my friends, and my time at home after work was entirely my own. I was so used to school, part-time work, and life coexisting that it really was a bizarre transition.

            2. School Inclusion Specialist*

              Amy, I totally agree. Just like I was taught to write a check, teachers can guide this skill development. The seed can be planted even if the realities of the social and school intermixing don’t allow for perfect understanding.

      2. Yeah I'm Commenting!!*

        This topic is so interesting to me because many people are responding the complete opposite way I would expect. For my job, I employ upwards of 150 people and the easiest way to send information is through email but I am lucky if anyone checks or responds. Most of my employees are fresh out of high school or mid twenties and they are nowhere near as tech savy as you would imagine. Many have no clue how to do even the most basic computer functions and certainly are not checking their emails with any sort of regularity.
        I tell everyone to check their email on a regular basis as important information is communicated there but I still am not getting through. So to answer OP, yes please teach them email!

    4. Lavender Menace*

      You know, I’ve heard several people say this – the assumption is that children these days are tech savvy and they’ll just “get it” later without someone teaching it to them.

      I’m a UX researcher. This is not true. Children are not naturally “tech savvy,” not even the Gen Z kids who are growing up now. They learn to use technology because someone teaches it to them – either consciously or through observation. And they’re not just going to instantly “get” email. Sure, they may be able to figure out how to open it and send mails, but we’re talking about skills beyond that – managing it, replying in respectful and useful ways, etc.

      I don’t really think it’s such an insurmountable task to ask a bunch of high schoolers with access to technology to check their email a couple times a week.

  12. MissMia*

    I work in retail and everyone at my retailer has an email. Everyone. I have to coach my cashiers to check their emails. I usually tell them “Once a day, when you clock in or out.” As a supervisor I have to check throughout the day, and managers are sending emails constantly. The response to not knowing about a policy change or an upcoming event? “Did you check your email?”

    1. Bea*

      Logging into email is so cumbersome, I always forget it’s still a thing, especially for folks who aren’t in front of a computer 80% of the day. I just open Outlook each morning and it runs in the background, then I get the envelope in the task bar. The idea of remembering to check email boggles my mind. Granted as a 19 yr old accounting clerk, all I did was process wires and email remittance advice.

      1. MissMia*

        I have two sets of credentials as well. One for the POS program and then one for email/internet orders program/time clock/etc (Basically everything else). I spend ALL DAY having to log into/out of something. I would LOVE something where I could just log in and stay logged in and get my alerts. Every so often I can get an ipod or ipad and it reduces the amount of log ins I do all day but I still have to log into a computer for my email. We’re supposed to get an upgraded POS system but no news on which credentials it will use.

          1. Annie Moose*

            If they’re Gmail, you can add multiple accounts and have them in separate tabs! Very handy.

      2. (Different) Rebecca, PhD*

        I mean, is it though? It’s a few key strokes/mouse clicks, particularly if you use a password keeper/manager.

  13. Mrs Fillmore*

    Re: #4, for the first time I’m starting to wonder. In some work environments, email is increasingly replaced or heavily augmented with Slack or similar. Before long, that “check email several times a day” because constant availability to answer everything always. Or so I fear.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      I think the answer to the question is a more general one. It’s not about email vs Slack vs whatever the latest communication thing is, it’s that when you’re in the work world you need to use the method of communication your employer specifies. In the past, you needed to check your employee mailbox every day. Now, if you have a work email, you need to check it regularly during the day. If they want you to use Slack, you’re installing Slack. If they decide to go with carrier pigeons, it’s time to put some newspaper down on your desk. The same goes for being a high school or university student – if important messages are sent via your school email, it’s up to you to figure out how to get those messages. Insisting that you only use WhatsApp (or Line, or Snapchat or Facebook) is not going to go over well.

      1. Obelia*

        Yes, exactly. I have worked in the past with health professionals who are not online most of the day, and with more recent entrants it caused a lot of headaches trying to explain to them that they need to check their emails for (essential, required) communications. We do try to communicate in other ways but some information has to be handled via a secure internal email system. I’m grateful to any teacher who is trying to get across the message that people do have to be willing to respond to the employer’s (or college’s) chosen communication method.

        1. Check Your Email*

          Exactly! I manage a team of health professionals who are out of the office much of the day and in some cases refuse to check email, stating that they don’t have time. I am trying to get them to at least check it in the morning and afternoon because they have missed very important, time-sensitive things. We can’t text or use social media (?!) because it would be a privacy issue. I am in disbelief that I have to coach people on something so basic, but there you have it.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I feel the same way. I’m in banking so, no, I can’t text you confidential information. Email is how we communicate here, and it’s been the main method of communication in every bank at which I’ve worked. Sometimes IM, but that’s not for confidential information. I have one team member that I’ve had to remind several times to make sure she checks hers email more than once or twice a day. She’s a seasoned office worker, so it’s not like email is new to her. I finally added Outlook to the startup menu so she doesn’t even have to remember to click the icon to start it.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Lack of time is a huge issue that often goes unheard. I often get huge pdfs that I have no time to read. I can either do the work the boss needs me to do or I can read this endless parade of pdfs. I told my boss I don’t read them. She doesn’t read most of them herself. I will read one if it is applicable to something I am working on right now, but that very seldom happens.
            No one ever checks to see if anyone reads these pdfs and the pdfs still keep coming and coming…

      2. EddieSherbert*

        I get to do both Slack and regular email! Plus Teams! All of them are used pretty close to equally. *sigh*

      3. Ama*

        Yes, I do think this is the point the OP should consider emphasizing. “We use email at this school to communicate information, if you don’t want to miss important info, you need to check it at least (whatever frequency seems reasonable).” The “but I don’t use email” argument is beside the point.

        Since it is a school, I wonder if it would help to reach out to the parents and make it clear that the expectation is that the student will be checking their school email. That will also help when a student misses some key email and inevitably complains to their parents that they “weren’t told” they had to check their email.

    2. blacksquirrel*

      My job is almost entirely Slack.

      I get email in my job inbox maybe once every two weeks.

      Fortunately my job is good about it not turning into expecting 24/7 availability.

      1. I'm Not Phyllis*

        Companies are moving this way more and more, but in the meantime I think that email is still considered a basic skill that they’ll need to know.

    3. LQ*

      There will always be a non optional communication tool at work that you have to regularly pay attention to, respond to, not lose track of items that are presented to you, be responsible for your own management and interactions.

      What that tool is might change, but it’s all the same stuff. (And interoffice memos were the same too, it’s not that different.)

      Understanding that when someone who pays you contacts you expecting a response, you should respond is of value regardless of medium.

    4. Genny*

      I think we’re a long way away from Slack or similar replacing email in the majority of the working world. I’d be shocked if a quarter of white collar businesses used primarily Slack over email. Between having employees in different time zones, sending sensitive information, needing official records, and communicating with clients, I just don’t see email going the way of the fax any time soon, certainly not during LW’s students’ years at college or in their first entry level jobs.

  14. Leela*

    LW 5 – former recruiter here. While I hesitate to say FOR SURE that they’re not trying to see how low you’ll go, there are a variety of reasons that you can be quoted a low number after hearing a higher one (and this is a huge part of why companies hate giving out salary info, even though not doing so makes job searching horrible) that are on the up-and-up.

    For example:
    The company was hiring around the deadline of budgeting info, and money they thought they’d have to give this role is no longer money they’ll actually have.

    They thought they were losing a team member but something changed and they now aren’t but still like you, but that means they have less money overall to budget.

    They learn something about you that changes the number. Like: you have Java on your resume, but don’t do great in the tech screen. Or do great on the tech screen, but in the interview, it turns out that you’re great at X but not at Y so they can’t justify paying you as much as a teammate who is great at X and Y and has been working there so they need your salary to be under. Concepts like “knows Java” or “knowledge of Applicant Tracking Systems” aren’t specific enough to really peg a number, and they’re going to have to get to know your experience/skills a little better before they can even reliably assess the value of your skills.

    The company was planning on doing project X, and just got the news they’re going to be doing project Y for which you’d be a little less valuable for experience or some other reason, but they still think you’re a good candidate and worth having on the team, but the new situation means that the value you’re bringing is different.

    The company had a deal fall through with a client, so the need and the money might be different from what they were thinking it might be.

    These are all literal examples I had to deal with in recruiting, all of which got me accused of lowballing candidates to see how low they’d go (and how much I could pocket, which wasn’t really a thing). In a perfect world a company can state a dollar amount based on concrete knowledge that won’t be changing, and at healthy, stable organizations they often are, but often people have to come up with a salary range based on assumptions and projections that will hopefully stay true but may/may not.

    Of course, it is also possible that they’re just trying to see how low you’ll go, but honestly smart organizations don’t do this because they know you’ll be easier to attract by other organizations that can pay you more, and because a candidate who takes a cut that doesn’t make sense for them to take doesn’t seem as strong. Not all organizations are smart, or healthy, or stable however.

    Whatever the case, best of luck in this search, changing fields adds another layer on the already frustrating job search process!

      1. Leela*

        you’re welcome!

        Again, it’s still totally possible that the company in question *is* just seeing how low they can get away with, just in my experience a lot of things that seem frustrating/scheming to people who’ve never worked in hiring can seem very different if you’ve been on the other side of it.

    1. OP5*

      Thanks for this insight! That’s very helpful.

      Update: Since writing this letter, I went ahead with the phone screen and eventual in-person interview. My husband and I talked the numbers over and decided that taking the lower salary wasn’t going to break us–and, more importantly, it was going to enable me to make a career move I’ve been working toward for a very long time. I’m stepping down in salary but getting on a path that will take me to a higher earning potential than my current job. It was a unique opportunity that wouldn’t come along again, so I grabbed it. I start in a couple weeks!

  15. Sarah G*

    OP #1 – Aside from being an ethical obligation to tell the company, I could imagine a scenario where Co-worker gets discovered (which will eventually happen), and then she tries to drag you down by saying that you knew all this time.
    Also, what if she get pulled over while driving a client (even for something innocuous), or even worse gets in an accident? This would be a HUGE liability for your employer on so many levels.
    Co-worker is breaking the law; tell your employer immediately, using Alison’s script. Also, I know my employer gets DMV reports even for minor infractions, although I think that’s not until the conviction. Still, maybe you can ask your employer if it’s possible to for them to tell Co-worker they found out through routine background checks or routine DMV pulls. I would especially consider this is you are concerned that your co-worker might retaliate somehow. Good luck!

    1. Leela*

      I was thinking about that too. Even if Co-worker doesn’t try to drag OP down (which wouldn’t surprise me if she’s breaking the law not to drive and putting her company at risk, I have serious questions about her judgement/maturity), if it somehow comes out at all, OP is really on the hook for something serious! Tell them ASAP

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Not to mention that, depending on where you are, if Coworker causes an accident and it turns out OP knew about the law breaking and could’ve prevented the accident (by telling someone), OP may be held liable as well.
      Tell your employer OP, if not for ethical reasons then to cover your ass.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      We don’t know if she was granted a hardship license. However, the point still holds that the employer must know.
      It’s not unusual for an HR person to have access to DMV, so that would provide a natural cover story.
      But, OP, do not be ashamed of reporting her. You really have very little choice if you think about this. And she could have reported herself, but she chose not to.

      If you think there might be retaliation, tell your boss/HR that when you report it.

  16. JM60*

    No 3: I would imagine that a lot of people refrain from commenting on the appearance of co-workers, because they’re worried it might be perceived as harassment (especially if they’re a man and you’re a woman) or because it they may think it’s an overly personal thing to talk about at work.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a man who lost over 100 lbs last year, and only two people ever mentioned my weight loss to me. One of them explained to me the following day that he was wondering because his brother had faced a health scare, and was wondering if I had any advice on how to lose weight. Before I lost the weight, I overheard my manager at the other person who later mentioned my weight loss me me talk about the very noticeable weight loss of a colleague, and my boss suggested that they avoid bringing it up because it might be too personal for the workplace.

    1. Airy*

      I once commented on a coworker’s weight loss and he told me it was because his marriage was breaking down, he couldn’t eat for stress and he’d attempted suicide the previous weekend. Yikes.

    2. Julia*

      Weight loss is pretty different from hair cuts, though. It’s hard to comment on weight loss without coming across as liking the thinner, new self better (or concern trolling), but hair cuts or color changes don’t have that moral component to them a lot of people assign to weight.

    3. LilySparrow*

      Yes, a manager (not mine) at a former job had a very dramatic weight loss. I mentioned it once to my own manager and asked if he knew whether it was intentional or not.

      He didn’t know, so we never said anything beyond “good to see you, you’re looking well.”

      1. Susan*

        Yup. I had people ask a friend of mine if my weight loss was deliberate instead of asking me. It was done kindly, and out of concern that if it wasn’t it might have been because of a medical concern.

    4. OP #3*

      That’s a good point. I do work with primarily men, and get that in certain situations commenting on a physical change could be inappropriate.

      Congratulations on your weight loss, by the way!

  17. Owler*

    OP #3: some of us notice details in people’s appearance; some don’t. I have a good brain for faces, and it used to really bother me when people didn’t recognize me back. I never realized until reading here that some people have a version of facial recognition blindness. It’s made me much more understanding when this particular woman who I see twice a year at school functions never remembers that we’ve met until I mention our shared connections. I taught my engineer spouse that it is kind to *both* notice a change like a haircut AND complement the change.

    Anyway, op#3, let me say it for your coworkers: “Hey, did you get your hair cut? It looks great!”

    1. No Tribble At All*

      Sometimes people notice that something’s different, but they can’t figure it out. One time I commented on a coworker shaving his big ginger Santa Claus beard, and he said I was the first person to accurately name the difference all day. Everyone else asked if he got a haircut because he looked different. OP#3, I’m sure your hair looks great and that most people are just clueless.

      1. ItsBeenALongDay*

        This can be SO dangerous if you aren’t careful, which is why I don’t mention something being different.

        Back when I was just starting out, somehow I noticed a coworker had cut her hair (way out of character for me). I was immediately thanked for being the first person to not ask if she was pregnant all day.

      2. Persimmons*

        Sometimes people notice that something’s different, but they can’t figure it out.

        I complimented a distant relative on her new haircut at a wedding. Turns out her hair was exactly the same; the change was her gastric bypass that caused her to drop 100+ pounds. I felt really, really dumb. Now I say nothing. Someone could come to work completely blue a la Tobias Fünke, and I’d ignore it.

      3. hermy-one*

        I had a rhinoplasty a few years ago and was terrified it would be glaringly obvious. I think a few people just asked what I’d done differently with my hair, and if anyone noticed what was TRULY different, they never said a word.

        (That said, I did have a coworker look at me point-blank about two and a half weeks after the procedure and go, “DO YOU HAVE A BLACK EYE??” right in the threshold of my office and down a busy hall. I thought it had sufficiently faded by then–because I certainly did have a brilliant shiner at one point, since the bones were reset–so I was both deeply mortified and a little offended at the way she broached the subject.)

        1. Persimmons*

          Respond to nosy coworker “Yes, and I paid someone to give it to me” while maintaining steely eye contact. You look badass, nosy coworker gives you a wide berth from then on.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Or you can use “The first rule of Fight Club is, you don’t ask about Fight Club.”

      4. only acting normal*

        *None* of my friends noticed when I started wearing glasses in my 20s. When my husband pointed them out and they all looked puzzled: “Didn’t you always wear glasses?” At least glasses suit me I guess. B-)

    2. JKP*

      Some people like me notice that *something* is different, but I can’t put my finger on what specifically has changed. I don’t want to play the guessing game: “Did you get your hair cut?” “Colored?” “You’ve lost weight, haven’t you?” “You got a tan, didn’t you?”

      So I just don’t say anything or stick to a bland “You look nice today.”

      1. Sylvan*

        Some of us also notice changes but can’t be sure when they happened… Did my coworker with a nice haircut get it yesterday? Or two weeks ago?

        1. Birch*

          Yeah, this. I think people don’t comment because they’re embarrassed they might not have noticed it when it originally happened. I’ve had coworkers I see every day suddenly comment on my hair and had to reply “it’s been red for two years.” Totally depends on the day, the weather, the way you style it, the angle they usually see you. They really may not have noticed it as such a drastic change! And most people are more focused on themselves anyway. Don’t overthink it.

    3. Susan Vassoon*

      Research shows that 17.6% of people are embarrassed by their horrible new haircut and reminding them of it is not nice for them. Therefore the best thing is too ignore a new haircut unless it is terrible and you dislike the person, in which case let rip.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I have complimented someone on a haircut and gotten in response “ugh; I hate it.” I have also gotten a terrible hairstyle (in my case it was colour) and gone to work praying I’d be invisible. It’s just safer to leave well enough alone, OP 3.

    4. Bagpuss*

      I have a degree of Prosopagnosia (face blindness) and find it very hard to work out if someone has changed their hairstyle. I will realise that *something* is different, but I find it very hard to identify what. And since people’s appearance doesn’t register much with me unless I am making a specific effort , if I do work out you’ve changed your hairstyle I won’t know if you did it today, or a week ago, so usually I won’t comment in case I’m a week late.
      If I walk in in the morning and hear several of my colleagues complimenting you or commenting on it I will join in, because then I know what has changed and that it is new.

      I’ve also found it’s very common for others not to notice or comment . I took about 6″ of my hair a couple of months ago and no one commented for several days , I think maybe people don’t actively pay attention to the appearance of people they see every day

      1. Daisy*

        I also have face blindness – if the haircut is a major change (different color or a big change in length) I won’t recognize the person. A college housemate spontaneously cut her hair very short after a year of living together and next time I saw her I had no idea who she was until I recognized her voice.

        1. Bagpuss*

          Oh yes. I once completely failed to recognise my own sister. She hadn’t mentioned, when asking me to meet her at the station, that she had had her hair cut and bleached.
          I walked straight past her.

          I work in a fairly small office so at work I can mostly identify people by a process of elimination, although I am having problems at the moment as we had a new member of staff join about a month ago, and she is a very similar height, build and general colouring as an existing member of staff. I can’t tell which of them is which until they speak (fortunately for me, one of them has a fairly distinctive accent).

          Our office junior completely threw me by dying her hair. She went from blond to chestnut overnight, and I thought she was a stray client and tried to escort her back to reception… She had been working for us for about a year, at that point.

          1. Anna Badger*

            Ha, I (someone with terrible facial recognition) once met an ex-colleague (also someone with terrible facial recognition) on the way to the wedding of a third ex-colleague, meaning we were both dressed much fancier than usual.

            We’d sat together for two years in our previous job.

            If he hadn’t texted me to say ‘I’ve walked back to the tube station to pick you up, I’m in the ticket hall’ so that I was looking out for a vaguely him-shaped person I would have walked straight past him and neither of us would have known.

    5. Ender*

      Its not just face-blindness – lots of people just aren’t visual and don’t notice appearances much. I’m not a visual person at all. Once I was giving someone directions on the phone and said my house had a white door and my sister corrected me that it was blue. And so it was. White on the inside, blue on the outside. I had lived there for 5 years at that point. I just think in words and numbers all the time and not in pictures or visuals. The chance of me noticing my own sister getting a haircut is slim, and I definitely wouldn’t notice on a coworker.

    6. Confused*

      TBH that haircut she showed is not THAT drastic. She went from long brown hair to medium-long brown hair. If she shaved it into a lavender mohawk then yeah it’d be weird for people not to notice, but I notice people’s hair and I wouldn’t comment on that haircut because it’s really not a huge change in my opinion.

      1. Delphine*

        Eh, I’d say it’s pretty noticeable to go from long hair to a short bob, especially if the LW wears her hair down.

        1. Confused*

          I would not consider that a short bob, it’s a long bob if the pic is what it looks like, and medium-length hair at the shortest.

    7. smoke tree*

      Oh yeah, I’m really bad at facial recognition, particularly when people change something about their appearance. If I was the LW’s coworker, it’s possible that I just wouldn’t have recognized her at all. (Probably not a legitimate fear in a small office, but if I saw her out of context, absolutely.)

    8. LilySparrow*

      A former boss of mine invited me to her Christmas party a few months after she left the company. I enthusiastically complimented her hairstyle, which was a big change from anything I’d seen her wear before, but really suited her. She just looked at me funny and said “thanks”?

      I found out later it was a wig. Turns out she left because she had cancer and was starting very aggressive treatments.

      I guess she forgot who was on the need-to-know list, and that I was not!

      I still felt awful.

  18. wondrous*

    #4 – If you expect them to check their email for your classes, then just state that in your syllabus, something like “all communication for the course will be done through email – date changes, class cancellations, turning in assignments, etc.” That might seem silly to people, but there’s no need to get snarky about “young people these days.” I only graduated three years ago and have already heard that email for personal use is antiquated to a lot of people just a bit younger than me, so you’re only going to be getting more and more students who will have grown up not being as trained on email.

    If they really do ask about email in the workplace, then tell them that they’ll be expected to check their email at least once a day, if not more, in the workplace. But my workplaces also have used an IM system for intra-office things.

    And for what it’s worth, most college students are pretty bad about checking email unless they’re expecting something. My friends and I definitely were, too, and we all adapted when we got into workplaces, as people do.

    1. Loose Seal*

      FWIW, I didn’t read the OP as being snarky. I read it as she was genuinely trying to find out the right answer so she can tell her students, which is pretty admirable for a teacher.

      1. wondrous*

        Yes, to clarify – I don’t think it was OP being snarky, they definitely seem aware schools can be out of touch with professional norms, but I definitely saw some disbelief/~oh millenials~ in the comments

    2. Bea*

      I am mid 30s and only use personal email for receipts or if a friend wants me to proofread something. I think my aunts used it years ago, now they facebook message me all the beloved chain mails from 2001. Blessed.

    3. Videogame Lurker*

      I have my phone synced to my email accounts (one for games and anything that would lead to bombarding my email with ads, one for job applications and school and anything regarding money being paid online, and my work email specifically assigned to me by my workplace), with different notification sounds (so I know which of the three to ignore when at work/classes/etc.). I check to make sure the sync is up to date each day, ans then let the program do its job. If I need to reply, I will generally log into the service on my computer and respond from there (fewer typos, this post alone had too many for my preferences that I had to correct).

      I think the idea of having the email program open on the work computer screen may be phasing out because of phone and other programs syncing, but if there is an urgent message to be sent around, a chat system, or work phones texting system may be faster. Or running to the person in person, depending on the job.

      1. wondrous*

        Yes, to clarify – I don’t think it was OP being snarky, they definitely seem aware schools can be out of touch with professional norms, but I definitely saw some disbelief/~oh millenials~ in the comments

        Ah, see, I read it as college. I didn’t really think of high school students as worrying about workplace norms in offices yet. And it probably depends on the high school, but many of my classes did have syllabi as well

        1. Flower*

          Mine had syllabi, but definitely not class cancellations or major changes (in timing or location). Five years out of of high school now.

      2. blackcat*

        I definitely had the course syllabus that was basically “the class documents” policy. And I had a line in there that if, in any class, I got more than two questions that are clearly written in the syllabus, the entire class would suffer a pop-quiz on its contents.

        Peer pressure kept me from having to answer SO MANY stupid questions. And it was entirely a bluff. No pop-quiz was prepared. But something about my style convinced the students I was serious, so it was never an issue.

        If I could have, I would have required parents read the darn thing (I made it available to parents). No, little Cameron cannot retake a quiz after cheating on it. No, Megan cannot get full credit on the major assignment she turned in late.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        I have a child in high school. It’s the norm on the first day to get something that could be called a syllabus, which would spell out exactly this kind of info–expectations, how grades are calculated, how you will receive information about the class. Class being cancelled so you have a free wouldn’t be eyebrow raising.

        Also, I think the hot new social messaging platform goes in waves (e.g. for many, Facebook has been passe for years) but most people need a way for someone to contact them that does not require joining some New Thing that will become the Old Thing in a few years. Phone numbers work whether you have ATT, Sprint, or some other carrier; emails work across interfaces in a similar way.

        1. Observer*

          Phone numbers work whether you have ATT, Sprint, or some other carrier; emails work across interfaces in a similar way.

          That’s a GREAT analogy. OP, I think you should lift it when explaining things to your students.

      4. CBE*

        Yes! On paper! And parents get to sign them! And they are all nearly identical! And lots of trees die!

        IME, they tend to be more of a “class policies” boilerplate than a “here’s what we are going to study” thing. Each and every one has the same things. A chart with 90-100 = A etc etc. A copy of the school’s citizenship policies. A copy of the schoolwide bullying policy. An explanation of the school’s program for when teachers are available for help. A copy of the school’s attendance policy. A copy of the school’s late work policy.

        (Mind you, all of these policies are also available online and parents have to sign off on them at school registration.)

        I strongly suspect the teachers are required to have these, and rather than create something unique and useful, they copy and paste policies. Time to rethink that requirement, school administration!

        8 classes X (2-3 pages per syllabi + a sign and return page) = a whole lot of paper waste

  19. Bea*

    #1 She’s a dangerous person and is breaking the law! Don’t protect a criminal. I know it’s hard but she did this to herself. You don’t owe her anything.

    Think about the hell the company will face if she wrecks a company vehicle and then they find out.

    1. Angelinha*

      I mean, sometimes protect criminals. But I agree that ethically you have to say something here.

        1. Artemesia*

          Depends on the crime. I am not turning in my pot smoking neighbor; I am turning in the drunk driving colleague in the company car.

  20. Raya*

    OP#3 I definitely would not have noticed that haircut, especially if you regularly wear it up.

    I also never notice when people lose or gain significant amounts of weight (or when my colleague was 6 months pregnant!). I’ve just switched off physical appearance observations at work I guess.

    I would definitely notice if you were more distracted or bubbly or irritable at work than last week but not if your hair is different. If you are really wanting to share your new haircut with your colleagues or get their comments just bring it up in conversation at lunch time? (Not from a “I can’t believe nobody noticed/commented” perspective obviously)

  21. Hinty*

    #4 – Depending on what type of job they get they will probably need to use email. However, this doesn’t mean that getting in the habit of checking email at school is useful at all. I grew up before emails were a widespread thing and I could still figure out how to use email for work or for job hunting. It’s really not that complicated and it doesn’t require training at school. They will figure it out when and if they need to, I promise.

    I don’t really check my personal email deliberately, I just have Gmail and it gives me notifications every time I get an email. So that’s all they need to ever do in case they need regular access to their email. Don’t sweat it.

  22. Mommy MD*

    I’m sure your haircut looks great and most of your coworkers noticed. It’s just safer these days not to make any remarks about personal appearance.

  23. JerseyGirl*

    OP 2: I worked for a Cersei in my last workplace and it wasn’t fun. In her first year, she requested feedback on one colleague that she had decided was ‘the weakest link’ and twisted the fairly gentle feedback we gave for his appraisal and used it as part of the case to fire him. By the time appraisal season came round again, we had a pact that no one would say anything remotely negative about anyone else. It completely devalued the appraisal process but when you’re working for a psychopath, sometimes you do what you have to do. Now I’m in a nice, normal office, I’m having to train myself to be less fearful and paranoid about feedback and appraisals

  24. Mommy MD*

    Turn your DUI coworker in immediately without batting an eyelash. Most insurance requires a licensed driver. This is putting your employer and anyone in that car at risk. If they found out you knew they could fire you. This is her problem and she brought it on herself.

    1. Pollygrammer*

      Here’s how my thought process would go:
      Person got her hair cut, it looks great and I want to compliment her
      …but did she get it cut a while ago, and I just didn’t notice until now? If I say something now, it’ll be clear I didn’t notice right away, and I’ll seem like a jerk
      …better play it safe and not say anything.

  25. Kella*

    OP#4: Perhaps frame the email issue to your student from the perspective of different tools for different contexts. Just like you’re going to dress differently at school than at a party or working at a bank or cleaning the bathroom, you use different methods of contacting people for different purposes. Social media’s context is pretty clear– it’s for socializing. If you order something online, you don’t get a confirmation tweet, you get an email. If you want to apply for a job, you can’t do so over snapchat. Communicating this information would also probably be really well informed by learning from the students how they use different social media platforms for different forms of contact, and getting them thinking about that might help them integrate the idea of other tools in their already existing systems.

  26. Dragoning*

    I check Twitter constantly, but wow, I cannot imagine being expected to get work info via that channel–or WhatsApp or Discord or anything like that.

    I’m wondering if the high school students actually think this, though. In high school, I did not have a job, and I absolutely never got email from my teachers. From my classmates, rarely, if we had a group project that had files that needed to be sent. But yes, we texted each other details about when and where to meet up for such things.

    It still never occurred to me even once that I wouldn’t be expected to check my email at work.

    1. Leela*

      I worked somewhere with a boss who insisted that we use Yahoo Groups. YAHOO GROUPS. This way waaaay past the point where yahoo groups were even popular in general. It was so, so annoying, and is the only reason I still had a yahoo account

  27. Diamond*

    #3 – I’m now so conditioned to NOT mention anything about physical appearance that I will often not comment even on something like a major haircut. Then by the time I think about it and realise that actually it would be nice to mention it, too much time has passed and it feels weird to bring it up!

  28. Ruth (UK)*

    3. It’s likely I would have noticed but I’d not comment on a coworke’s new haircut unless we were also fairly good friends (and still not always then).

    I don’t like commenting with eg. ‘oh you got a new haircut!’ as I dislike doing that sort of state-the-obvious thing and I wouldn’t feel sincere saying eg, ‘I love your haircut!’ unless I really loved it. That wouldn’t mean I don’t like it, but to be honest I don’t ‘love’ most styles or modern cuts (and I realise my personal preferences for hairstyle is is not aligned with the current norm).

    If someone actually brought it up to me eg ‘do you like my new hairstyle’ I’d almost certainly reply positivity – I tend to say that I feel it really suits them if pressed for further comment, but I would almost never bring up another person’s hairstyle (or other appearance change) myself.

    1. CaitlinM*

      Yeah, I’m inclined to agree that it means at least some people don’t like it. I’m not fond of many shorter hairstyles. But, like you, I would say yes if someone asked if I liked their new hairstyle (unless they were my mom, then I tell the truth…)

    2. EddieSherbert*

      I don’t think it necessarily means people don’t like it. In my case, I’m fairly oblivious and might NOT notice. I also KNOW I can be oblivious, so when I notice something, I’m not sure how long they’ve had it. So I don’t say anything.

    3. Rusty Shackelford*

      I don’t like commenting with eg. ‘oh you got a new haircut!’ as I dislike doing that sort of state-the-obvious thing and I wouldn’t feel sincere saying eg, ‘I love your haircut!’ unless I really loved it.

      Yeah, “you got a haircut!” is awkward, because it’s not a compliment, so you don’t want to say “thank you,” but then how do you respond? “Yep, sure did!”

  29. Cordoba*

    #1 is a great reminder to not have sensitive personal phone conversations in the office if at all possible. Take a walk, go sit in your car, wait until you get home, whatever.

    I think the right option for the LW is the “either you tell them today or I will” approach.

    But, if driving were not part of the co-worker’s job would it be necessary to tell them employer? I’m leaning towards no, as I’m not inclined to dime out a co-worker for things that happen outside of work. If I found out that a colleague got busted for weed possession I’m not going to take the initiative to make sure the boss knows about that.

    If somebody with a non-driving desk job got a DUI is that something their employer has an overriding need to know about? This is assuming that they’re not a raging alcoholic who is drinking at work etc, just somebody who got nabbed on a Saturday night and blew a 0.09 in a 0.08 limit state.

    1. Leela*

      I’d be tempted to keep this under wraps if it weren’t related to the job and am curious to hear what others think as well. Right now the employee is putting her employer and OP at risk, as well as (according to the law!) the people in the car, hence making it very much employer’s business. If that weren’t the case I wouldn’t feel like it was my business nor that it would reflect well on me to bring it up

      1. Ciara Amberlie*

        No. This person is endangering people’s lives. It’s not a workplace issue, it’s a basic human decency issue.

        If I found out you knew and hadn’t brought it up? That would reflect far, far worse on you.

        1. Cordoba*

          Are you advocating for telling the cops or telling the employer?

          If it’s “not a workplace issue” I assume you mean calling the cops on her.

          I don’t see any way that it’s a big enough issue to justify getting her fired, but not a big enough issue to get her arrested.

          1. Ciara Amberlie*

            Both. It’s a big enough issue to call the police. If she wasn’t driving in a work capacity, I wouldn’t bother with the employer, but since she is, I’d tell them too.

            1. Angelinha*

              This is not something to call the police about! If the job didn’t involve driving it wouldn’t be the employer’s business. It’s only something she needs to report now because the person is driving for work and isn’t allowed to be.

              1. coffeeeeee*

                She’s breaking the law! And (according to the courts) is a danger to others! How could you NOT report her?? I wouldn’t want the guilt if she ends up getting in an accident and I knew she was driving when she shouldn’t and didn’t do anything.

                Worrying about someone’s feelings takes a back seat to safety and the law.

                1. Ciara Amberlie*

                  It’s really surprised me that people are advocating ignoring this. I admit that people driving under the influence is a hot button issue for me, but I didn’t realise that it was that controversial to say that she should be reported for breaking the law and putting others at risk.

                2. Lizzy May*

                  If I knew someone guilty of assault escaped prison, I’d call the cops because being in prison is the consequence of their actions and was decided by a judge or jury as a measure to keep the public safe and punish them for their wrongdoing.
                  Not driving as result of a DUI is the same thing. The coworker is not facing the consequences of her actions and is putting the public at risk.

                3. EddieSherbert*

                  I also feel this way; if driving had nothing to do with work, I would report her to the police because she is breaking the law in a way that puts others in danger.

              2. Dragoning*

                It’s exactly something to call the police about! She is breaking the terms of her bail and putting people in danger! Telling the employer or not, the police should be informed.

              3. Genny*

                I’m not all that familiar with DUI penalties, but is it normal to have your license suspended after a first offense or if you’re just barely over the limit? If it’s not normal, then that means that coworker is either a repeat offender or was wildly over the limit. Both of those things would lead me to inform the police about the violations regardless of whether or not said coworker needs to drive for work. In LW’s case we know coworker has to drive for work, so I’d start with the boss and then probably notify civil authorities.

                1. Bones*

                  Coworker was shitty enough to injure another person, which is probably what prompted losing the license.

                2. I'm Not Phyllis*

                  I think it depends on the law where you’re from. Here, it’s absolutely normal. License is suspended at roadside for … a year I think?

                3. LizB*

                  The penalties depend on where you are – in Oregon, your license gets suspended for a year (plus other consequences) on a first offense even if you didn’t cause any injuries or property damage.

                4. Kenneth*

                  I think it’s more the fact she was in an injury accident that caused the Court to suspend her license. If she’d merely been pulled over for DUI without the accompanying accident, provided this was a first offense, she may been able to avoid the suspension. Or it may still have been slapped on her as a condition of her bail and lifted at sentencing or when the other conditions of her sentence were fulfilled.

                5. Chinookwind*

                  Up here in Canada, even a first offense is treated as serious. If you blow barely over the limit and/or are impaired in another way (think too tired to drive), you may get lucky and get a warning as along as someone will come and pick you up from the Checkstop (so no getting behind the wheel) and the vehicle may or may not be towed and impounded (borrowing someone else’s vehicle? Too bad, still impounded). Or you may get a 24 hour suspension where the cop physically takes your licence (because it belongs to the province and not you) and you either have to go back and get it from the cops or apply for a new one. And if that happens, vehicle is impounded.

                  But, if you injure or kill someone or cause damage and are impaired, there are immediate consequences that include no driving. And repeat offenders can be permanently banned. Impaired driving is no joke in the Great White North and “barely over the limit” or first offense” means nothing because it just means that this is the first time you were caught.

        2. Leela*

          Maybe i misunderstood in general but I meant just if the employee had a the DWI but wasn’t driving any more, that’s something that you would bring up to employers?

          1. LilySparrow*

            If the coworker had a DWI and was not driving even to/from work, that’s personal info and not the employer’s business. Maybe if they have strict security clearance rules it would matter? But not an ordinary job.

      2. Bones*

        I disagree. Being the kind of selfish, cavalier person who would put other people’s lives at risk is absolutely something an employer should know. That’s a fundamental character flaw, and I wouldn’t want to continue to employ someone like that.

        1. Velvet Hammer*

          So you would fire an employee who got a DUI even if it occurred outside of work and even if their job did not ever require them to operate a car?

          Does that apply to other moving violations, too?

          1. Bones*

            Yes. I don’t know about other moving violations but as someone who lost a loved one because of some selfish drunk, I would never want to employ another. Putting other people’s lives at risk because you *really* wanted a drink and couldn’t be bothered to call a cab or an Uber is a massive, MASSIVE character flaw (that could kill people), and I don’t want someone like that in my presence or representing my company.

          2. Lance*

            It’s not the simple fact of getting a DUI; it’s getting a DUI, and breaking the terms of her bail by continuing to drive, regardless of the reason.

            1. Snickerdoodle*

              Yes, breaking the terms of her bail makes it worse, particularly since she’s asking the OP to be complicit. That says a lot more to me about her “selfish, cavalier” attitude than the offense itself. It doesn’t sound like she’s sorry for what she did or learned a lesson since she’s not prepared to deal with the consequences. And if she gets in an accident or so much as pulled over for a tail light out while driving somebody somewhere for work, she’ll get arrested with much more serious consequences. And if the employer finds out that the OP knew all along, the OP will likely get fired, too.

              1. GreyjoyGardens*

                I agree! Not just driving drunk, but *violating her bail terms* and insisting on driving (clients, to boot!) – this is the depths of selfish, uncaring behavior. And THEN she had to open her yap about it at work! Selfish and *stupid.*

                Have no mercy on this woman. Do not hesitate to go to your employer and even the police. This is all on her.

                1. Snickerdoodle*

                  Exactly. I suspect that her unapologetic attitude showed in court as well, and that’s why she’s not allowed to drive; they saw she had no sense of the magnitude of what she’d done. If I were her employer and learned she’d hidden and lied about something so huge, I’d look at her performance to find out what else she’d been covering up.

          3. Bones*

            Anything that showed a shockingly cavalier attitudes towards other people’s safety and lives, yes. I don’t need that kind of asshole representing my company.

          4. Ender*

            I live in a country where is is difficult to fire someone without cause, and here losing your drivers license is specifically listed as a reason employers can fire you, even if driving is not part of your job. This is a recognition of how serious this offence is. Drinking and driving ruins lives.

            I don’t know how I would react if I was faced with a similar situation, and hopefully I will never have to find out. However I would definitely support anyone who chose to turn in someone driving after being banned for a DUI, whether they turned them in to their employer or to the police.

          5. Cass*

            Why are you asking this? This is not at all what is included in the letter. I’m confused as to why you’re posing hypothetical questions. How is this helpful to the OP exactly?

      3. will be anonymous here*

        Have had a DUI (thankfully it didn’t involve any other person/there was no accident). I think it might depend on the state, but I recall that I had to surrender my license immediately (this was 10 years ago now so I don’t quite remember the details) for 7 days. I then got it back until the trial. As I plead guilty, part of my plea deal was that my license was suspended for one year, but I was allowed to drive to-from work and school (I was in grad school at the time). I also had to serve several days in jail (my state having one of the toughest DUI laws in the US).

        On the one hand I hate the idea of someone ratting out someone else’s business, but on the other, the person explicitly shared this with the LW. If I were LW I would probably go back and say something like “Look, you really put my in an unfair position and I feel morally obligated to disclose this. I’m going to talk to boss at X time today, unless you speak with her first.”

        1. will be anonymous here*

          Also, my trial didn’t happen until 4 months after the incident, so I did have some time in “limbo” so to speak of having been charged but not yet found guilty.

        2. GreyjoyGardens*

          I don’t think in this case it’s “ratting out someone else’s business” even if she didn’t share this with LW (say LW found out from the papers or something). This isn’t “coworker with DUI stocks shelves at Target and takes a Lyft to and from work.” Then it would be OK to keep your mouth shut. But coworker is 1) violating her bail terms, 2) continuing to drive and 3) DRIVING CLIENTS. So she’s putting a whole lot of other people, and the business, at stake.

          I really hate the idea of “ratting” or “tattling” when it comes to serious offenses. If more people who saw something said something, we’d be better off. Abuse and exploitation of others THRIVES on silence and complicity; in fact, those are necessary elements for it to occur.

    2. Newbie*

      My thought is that if a person is being punished by the courts and is adhering to the requirements of sentencing, then its usually been handled. In this case though, the coworker isnt adhering to her court order and that shows that there needs to be further intervention to prevent even more tragedy at coworkers doing. If LW doesnt want to give her up to the boss, an anonymous tip to whatever court system would be another option to get coworker out of the drivers seat.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        Newbie, the way I see it is that if the law says that someone needs license x to do a job, then loses that license for whatever reason, then their employer needs to be informed that they are no longer legally allowed to do their job. The reason why they lost the license is a secondary issue.

        That the reason is a DUI that got someone hospitalised means it’s still a major issue.

    3. Bagpuss*

      For me, it would depend on whether they were driving. If I knew that they were driving while suspended for a DUI then I would consider it relevant to report that – At the minimum, that is likely to mean that they are driving uninsured, but it also indicates a lack of responsibility and respect for others.

      I might feel some sympathy for someone who was caught in circumstances where they may genuinely not have believed they were over the limit, but I would expect someone in those circumstances to take responsibility for their actions and comply with any ban. the point where they decide to ignore the ban and drive anyway is the point at which I lose any sympathy I had, and would feel no qualms at all about reporting it. I had an acquaintance who was caught in that way. He was a vet, and got a call out in the early hours of the morning, on what was supposed to be his day off. He had been drinking the evening before and was just over the limit. He accepted that he was at fault, and he spent a lot of money on taxis until he completed his ban. That is the responsible way to deal with it.

      To me, it’s broadly equivalent to reporting that I’ve seen someone who appears to be drunk, get into a car as the driver.

      The difference is that if the person’s job doesn’t involve driving, I would report them to the police, not their employer. If their job involves driving, and I had definite knowledge that they were driving while banned, I would tell both.

      1. Washi*

        Same. I think the standard should not be “how should I help make sure this person is punished” but rather “what actions are needed to keep everyone safe?”

        In the LW’s scenario, clearly they need to tell their employer because it is NOT safe or legal to have this person driving right now.

        If the person’s job didn’t involve any driving, what would be the point of telling the employer? The employer can fire the employee, but they can’t make them stop driving. It’s the courts who need to know, and that is who I would tell in that case.

        1. Washi*

          *I should have said, “if the person’s job didn’t involve any driving or high-risk activities, such as operating machinery or performing surgery, etc.”

    4. Roscoe*

      Totally agree here . If it wasn’t a job where they were driving, I wouldn’t tell my boss if I found out about it, because it has nothing to do with the job. I know some people will try to argue that it means bad decision making, which I agree about, but I woudln’t be the one to tell my boss that

    5. Liane*

      “But if driving were not part of the coworker’s job would it be necessary to tell the employer? ”
      Yes. There are lots of non-driving jobs where being impaired is bad. Using power equipment, medical, caregiving, labs, hazardous materials, construction…
      Also, if you have a security clearance for your job, you have to inform your employer of things like arrests (No, not just convictions. )

      “Just…blew 0.09 in a 0.08 state”
      So how do you know this was the “First and Only time driving with any amount of ethanol in their system” vs. “Has driven a little to a lot over the limit many times but this was the first time they got caught”? The latter is a pretty common scenario.

      1. Roscoe*

        But you are making the leap to 1 DUI means they are coming to work impaired. That just isn’t the case most of the time.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          They’re breaking the law every morning and every evening getting to and from work. I think that alone would make a workplace complicit.

            1. Pollygrammer*

              If somebody’s after-work hobby was vandalism or dealing drugs, and their colleagues were the only ones who knew it, wouldn’t the ethical thing be to report it?

              1. Roscoe*

                Honestly? No. If I found out one of my co-workers sold weed on the side, I wouldn’t think its my duty to report him to my boss or the cops.

                Where do you draw the line at law breaking? Would you report them for running a red light? Stealing a cool shot glass from a bar? Smoking marijuana in their own home?

                1. Chinookwind*

                  I draw the line at something that puts random people in danger. DWI does that. There are stories of people doing the responsible thing and taking a cab from a night at the bar who are then killed by a drunk driver. Of kids being run over. Every time someone drives while impaired (not just drunk, but high, sleep deprived, highly distracted, etc.) is basically cocking a loaded gun and aiming it on the road, hoping it won’t accidentally go off.

                  Then again, DH’s dad was killed by a DWI driver, so I may be biased.

                2. Roscoe*

                  Ok and that is your line. But the person I’m responding to specifically asked about dealing drugs and vandalism, and I kind of wanted to hear from them, since it seems their line is anything illegal.

                  Also, in the DWI case. I would absolutely call the police (or take the person keys) if I saw my co-worker in the act of driving under the influence. However, if we didn’t have a job that required us to drive, I wouldn’t feel the need to report that they had received one while off duty if I happened to find that out.

              2. Washi*

                Depending on the likelihood I thought someone was being harmed, I might report it to the police. But unless it impacted work (like if a nurse with access to meds was dealing drugs vs. call center employee selling weed) I would not report it to my workplace, just like I wouldn’t call their mom or their spouse or their children or their church, even though all those parties might find the information very interesting.

              3. Velvet Hammer*

                “Vandalism” can include street art or valid forms of civil disobedience; and drug laws are often just a pretense to harass, incarcerate, and disenfranchise the minorities and poor people.

                So without further information, no, I don’t think it is inherently ethical to report a co worker to the bosses (or the cops) for either of these activities.

    6. Slartibartfast*

      It does depend on the job. If I worked for a surgeon who was busted for weed possession, liability-wise, I would have to speak up. If I was working retail and it was a stock clerk, then not so much. But driving IS a requirement of the job, and someone ended up hospitalized due to the drunk driving. You HAVE to speak up in this situation, which does suck but it is what it is.

      For what it’s worth I have a friend who got a DUI who had a job requiring driving, and it was a case of Saturday at the bar, barely over the limit and didn’t realize. He told his employer, they moved his responsibilities around while he sorted it out, he ended up with a blow device on his steering wheel for 6 months, and is now older, wiser, and still gainfully employed. People make mistakes, it’s how you handle your mistakes that speaks to your integrity.

      1. Jen*

        Attorneys generally have to report their arrests and penalties, both to their employer and to the state bar.

      2. Chinookwind*

        Your friend’s story shows what happens when you act responsibility and own up to a mistake. He came forward with the truth and his workplace showed their appreciation by working around it.

        OP’s colleague is making things worse because she is not only hiding it requiring coworkers to be involved in her conspiracy. If she gets fired now, it will be as much as a response to hiding the truth as it will be about actually losing her licence.

    7. LurkieLoo*

      I agree with giving DWI a chance to tell the company herself, if OP1 is comfortable speaking to her. I think the employer needs to know 100% because of the driving requirements. It will come up eventually and it will be MUCH better for DWI to have told them herself and explained vs hiding it and getting caught. At this point, there is a very slight chance she could save her job if she comes clean . . . if OP1 or someone else tells . . . much lower odds.

      1. Kenneth*

        I concur in part. That would highly depend on how much time has passed from the initial arrest and arraignment (and likely guilty plea). But in this instance, given she is awaiting sentencing but still doing the driving portion of her job, I can’t concur that it’s better coming from the coworker. It’d be one thing if she told the employer not long after it happened and was complying with her bail conditions. But in this instance, based on what the LW said, she obviously is not. Placing others in risk if she were to get into another accident – since she’s effectively uninsured – along with her employer – again, being uninsured, and the company’s insurance likely won’t cover her either. So at this point, it’s better coming from someone, whether the coworker or the LW.

        1. LurkieLoo*

          I agree DWI has already waited too long. I’m definitely not suggesting a long period of giving her a chance. More like . . . You need to tell them or I am. Today.

  30. Foreign Octopus*

    Exactly. If the co-worker didn’t want someone to learn about her DUI then she shouldn’t have been talking about it over the phone in her workplace. These are calls you would take in the privacy of your car.

    She has no right to ask this of you. You need to go to your manager today and tell them what’s what. I’d argue that you don’t even need to give your co-worker a head’s up because she knows what she’s doing is wrong. This is a serious safety and legal issue.

    1. Bilateralrope*

      The way I see it, the coworker should have informed her employer the moment she was no longer able to do her job without breaking the law. Even if the company didn’t have a policy demanding exactly that.

  31. Knitting Cat Lady*


    In this case, the colleague was actually convicted of causing and accident that put someone in the hospital while under the influence. She’s waiting for the sentence. Where I live this is usually treated similar to assault and, depending on the severity of the injuries of the victim, nets you jail time. Often suspended if it is a first offence.

    Driving isn’t an issue for my kind of work. But not disclosing something like this could be a liability as a potential point of attack for industrial espionage.

    Also, when we go on business trips we have to rent cars. You’re not able to do that or be a driver with that kind of conviction…

    Getting pulled over for a traffic stop and scoring a bit over the limit with the breathalyzer? Nobody cares.

    1. Bagpuss*

      “Getting pulled over for a traffic stop and scoring a bit over the limit with the breathalyzer? Nobody cares.”

      Would that not result in criminal action where you live? Here, it’s a strict liability thing, if you are over the limit, your are over the limit,and there is an automatic ban. How *much* over someone is will make a difference to how long they are banned for, and how much they are fined, and possible whether or not they are required to take an extended test before they can get their licence back, but the law cares. (and as a member of the public, I care!)

      1. Knitting Cat Lady*


        First offence and just over the limit? Fine and points. Ordnungswidrigkeit, not criminal offence.

        It goes up from there until loss of license. And a medical and psychological evaluation if you are capable of driving a vehicle.

        If there will be criminal prosecution on top of that depends on the circumstances.

        You can also lose your license if you cycle drunk. You need to be extremely drunk, though.

        1. I'm Not Phyllis*

          It depends on where you live. Where I live – it’s a criminal offense, first time or not, if convicted. But the bottom line in this case is that she is driving with a suspended license – which is illegal – on company time and with company vehicles. LW definitely needs to report this.

      2. Ender*

        Most countries have a points system for offences that don’t result in harm. But that’s not really relevant to this letter as we know she was convicted of seriously injuring someone and is just waiting for her sentence. More seriously, while waiting she is continuing to drive unlicensed and uninsured. I don’t know the laws where op lives but here being hit by an unlicensed and uninsured driver can mean you don’t get taken care of financially to the same extent as if the driver had insurance. Your medical costs would be covered but you might not get much additional compensation for lost work etc.

        Even if that’s not the case where OP lives, it’s still the case that her employer could be in serious trouble if her coworker is in another accident while driving on behalf of the company. At the very least their reputation could be destroyed.

        She’s already shown a complete disregard for her own and other people lives by driving under the influence, and now she is compounding this by continuing to drive uninsured and unlicensed. And violating her bail too.

        1. Bagpuss*

          Yes, I’m in the UK and there is a points system for less serious driving offences, but drink driving usually results in a driving ban (I think it carries min. 10 points, and 12 points is an autmatic ban, so anyone caught drink driving who has any other points will automatically get a ban (most lesser offences, like speeding, result in 3 points)
          I think socially drink driving is definitely seen as much more serious – people view it as a criminal issue whereas something like speeding (if you didn’t hurt anyone)doesn’t involve much if any stigma.

    2. I'm Not Phyllis*

      “Getting pulled over for a traffic stop and scoring a bit over the limit with the breathalyzer? Nobody cares.”

      I would care. That would mean drinking and driving. I care a lot about that.

  32. AcademiaNut*

    I think the fact that she was driving drunk, put someone in the hospital, was convicted, and is still driving pushes it from being a purely personal issue (which should be ignored) to something that impacts the safety of other people (which should be reported). It’s close enough to the border that a decision could go either way, but I certainly wouldn’t think badly of someone for reporting it.

    As far as the employer goes, of course, it’s a case of telling the employer immediately. She’s putting the company and the company’s insurance at risk by what she’s doing, which could indirectly impart the OP, and she’s asking the OP to cover up illegal behaviour, which could directly affect the OP if the company finds out.

    1. Mad Baggins*

      I agree but even if she wasn’t driving the company car, but just driving to work or privately, she is still impacting the safety of other people and I would consider reporting her. Not sure to whom—company is probably not liable so perhaps not relevant, so…to the cops? Not sure but this is an ethical and safety issue and as a member of the community I would not feel safe.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        She is a worker doing a job that requires a specific license, while not holding that license. Report her to the company because she needs to be taken off that job immediately.

        Reporting her to the police probably won’t accomplish much. LW1 didn’t witness her breaking the law, only overheard her claiming to do so.

        1. FD*


          I would argue that if the job didn’t require driving, this would still be awful but the LW wouldn’t be required to report it. But in this case, the job requires driving, and the LW has found out that her coworker cannot do that legally. That’s what requires her to report it.

          It’s sort of like if you were working in a pharmacy and found out that your fellow pharmacist had lost her license and was trying to hide it. You’d need to report that too, because she can no longer legally do key parts of her job.

      2. Chinookwind*

        If she is driving a company car and were up here, she would literally be putting the company at risk for having one of their vehicles impounded for a set period of time because that is what happens when you drive without a licence. Doesn’t matter who actually owns the car. DH has says it has made for some interesting calls when he has impounded a company vehicle and the employee/driver has to explain to someone why he needs to be picked up at the side of the road.

  33. Bones*

    Once you’ve done something that selfish and dangerous, you have forfeited the right to privacy. Report her now.

  34. I don't get it*

    Is letter 3 even real? It does seem like the OP wants attention and approval despite what she says. Also, am I the only one who thinks that haircut isn’t even close to drastic? I don’t get why she is making such a big fuss over nothing

    1. Ender*

      I don’t understand why anyone would think like this either, but if I’ve learned anything from this site it’s that there are loads of people who think in a completely different way to me. I see a post almost every week where I’m just shocked that the letter writer is even the same species as me because they clearly think in a totally different fashion.

      And if you scroll back through the open threads you will see a LOT of women who really really care about their hair and almost seem to base their entire identity on it. I don’t get it, but each to their own.

      It’s a weird and wonderful world to have so many varied viewpoints!

    2. EddieSherbert*

      I also don’t think it’s drastic, but I’ve had friends who have never cut their hair in their whole lives and something like this would be a huge deal to them. Heck, I’ve had friends get even less than that cut off and make a big fuss. People get to have different opinions. And yes, some people need reassurance that things are fine or not fine and they’re handling it appropriately. Hence… advice blogs! :)

    3. Anonmanon*

      This is definitely a thing – one that I don’t get either. I’ve seen plenty of women say something like “I chopped my hair off!” and they’ve gotten 3 inches removed…which is a trim in my mind. Then again, until my hair stylist told me, I didn’t realize that salons can sometimes get husbands coming in to yell at stylists for cutting their wife’s hair. It blows my mind that someone would care so much about hair…that grows back…especially when it isn’t even your hair.

  35. Kurtster*

    OP3, are there a lot of men in that group of six? I’d never comment on a female co-worker’s appearance in any way voluntarily, and even if they make a point to mention it and ask me my opinion, I’ll keep my comments at a minimum. There’s too much that can go wrong when a man discusses how a woman looks in the workplace.

  36. Glomarization, Esq.*

    LW#4: Tell the kids that they’ll need to use e-mail in the work world if they’d like to get paid for their work. “The workforce” is a very big, varied place, but e-mail is almost certainly going to be involved, one way or another, when it comes to billing, invoicing, submitting timesheets, and so on — never mind finding a job, applying for work, submitting completed work, communicating with clients/customers/supervisors, etc.

    1. EddieSherbert*


      I was thinking at the very LEAST they’ll need to be checking it regularly when applying for jobs!

  37. Drama Llama*

    LW1: Not disclosing this to your work could (and probably would) cast serious doubt on your own judgment and professional reliability. Please talk to your manager now.

    Regards, somebody whose family member was killed by a drunk driver.

  38. Detective Amy Santiago*

    LW#1 – there was a letter here a few months back about a manager who got fired because their employee caused someone’s death when out of state at a work conference. You need to protect yourself and your company here. Your coworker has some poor judgment skills.

    (link in a response)

  39. SarahKay*

    This. I might excuse a DUI as being a single bad judgement in the heat of the moment, depending on the circumstances. But then continuing to drive when your bail terms forbid you to is ongoing bad judgement and shows a lack of care for the community in which we all have to live.

    1. Bones*

      A single bad judgement in the heat of the moment could still kill someone, though. No sympathy for selfish people.

  40. Harriet Jacobs*

    LW#4 here – thanks to everyone for their responses. My key concern was to make sure that I was not giving them incorrect information. Of course, by the time they enter the workforce, Slack or some other app may be more prevalent.
    As several people pointed out, they are teenagers and they will ignore good advice as teens have done throughout time. Most will probably change their behavior once a paycheck is involved (although some posts suggest otherwise).
    To respond to some of the questions/concerns – our high school is fairly consistent – teachers use Google classroom so when assignments and updates are posted the students receive an email. Students have had school-supplied chrome books and email accounts since middle school. They use their chrome books throughout the day so access is not an issue. They know they are supposed to check their email, many simply choose not to.
    Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

    1. Lora*

      So, do you give them a 0 for the assignment?

      I’m just wondering how responsive they are to consequences. When I was teaching college, it seemed like a big shock to many that if they didn’t do an assignment, they got a zero, and neither their pleadings that they “just didn’t see the (class website, syllabus, etc on which it was clearly listed) nor their parents could save them.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I had that a lot too when I was teaching a college course. It was very clear according to the syllabus and class discussions that their online homeworks had due dates. I think the system even emailed them if they hadn’t started it the day before. But a surprisingly large amount of students tried the “but I didn’t see it! No one told me!” tactic when they got a zero on an assignment they didn’t submit. A lot of them would tell me their high school would let them do it all at the end of semester, but there wasn’t really a way for me to verify that was a thing, plus it really didn’t matter because they weren’t in high school any longer. I did wonder if their high schools really did just let them make everything up at the end of the semester.

        1. blackcat*

          “But this was okay at my high school.”

          As a former high school teacher, now college instructor, I can attest that this line is almost always BS.

          1. Environmental Compliance*

            I figured so. It seemed to be the go-to excuse, and came off as a “But Moooooooom saaaaaaid!!!”.

            I did have one student that actually used the “But my mom said!!”, which didn’t go very well for them when they decided to use it with the grumpiest professor in the department. The student had been skipping the labs, which is an automatic fail after so many unexcused absences, and apparently their mom had said they couldn’t fail them for not being there. Mom and student were both proven very wrong.

            1. blackcat*

              There is always one a semester who fails or almost fails due to missing too many labs. These ones always invoke their parents.

              And to get back on topic, they are also the one who claim to have never seen the emails warning them that this was going to happen.

              The problem is not that they don’t check email. The problem is that they don’t think the rules–any rules!–apply to them. And their parents tend to agree.

              1. Hinty*

                Exactly. Whether it’s using email or pigeons, some people are just not responsible. High school is supposed to teach students some universal skills and values, focusing on details and such as email, is missing the point

        2. Chinookwind*

          I did work at a high school where the principal allowed students to hand in their assignments until the day before report cards were due. As an English teacher, this did not make me happy, so I asked students who pointed out that they had this option if they wanted a not happy, struggling to meet a deadline teacher marking their English essays. Most of them were smart enough to answer no.

    2. Cassandra*

      I don’t know what area you teach in, so ignore me if this idea is utterly irrelevant — but I do sense a possible teaching moment here regarding risk/reward calculus, context-appropriateness, and security hygiene on various communications platforms. Who can see your email? (Email “security” is mostly garbage.) Who can see your Slack chats? What does the Facebook “friends of friends” visibility setting do, and who’s in that larger circle? Who decides what you see on Facebook, and how does that work? Why do schools and workplaces not (usually) communicate via Facebook?

      And given all that, how do you stay out of unnecessary trouble?

      You’re likely to find that some of your students are crackerjack trouble-avoiders — but the curve here appears bimodal; some of them get it, and some REALLY REALLY don’t. There are plenty of news stories you can have students read and react to, of course.

    3. Baby Fishmouth*

      I think if students are missing assignments, then there does need to be repercussions to that. But the issue is not necessarily that they are not checking email, it’s that they are missing important info posted on Google Classroom. *That* is what they should be expected to check – and since this is high school, I am surprised that assignments and info are posted only online and not discussed or mentioned in class.

      And if updates and info are coming in during the evenings, I feel like it’s a kindness to remember they have lives outside school – if something is posted at 7 PM and they haven’t seen it by 8 AM, that’s really not particularly egregious.

      1. Mad Baggins*

        This!! Are they getting updates in their email at 7PM that say “HW is online, click this link”? Because that seems guaranteed to clash with students’ lives. Can they check Google Classroom directly, without the link? Can they get assignments in class the old fashioned way? Can they get assignments at a convenient time (say they want to do their HW in study hall that afternoon, or at 9PM after sports practice and dinner?) I don’t see how telling them to “check their email regularly” solves the problem of “students missing information on Google Classroom”.

    4. OlympiasEpiriot*

      That sounds exactly like my son’s high school, to which he will be returning a week from today. I am dreading it as last school year he was terrible about getting assignments in on time and (I believe) checking his e-mail. He also seems to not do anything about making his e-mail inbox easier to use….like unsubscribing from all that $h!t gee-mail sets everyone up for automatically. He’s been really benefiting from his summer job, but I wish he could take a gap year at this point, work for a year, and then go back to high school with better organization and more self-confidence. The treadmill of school seems to really erode it. :-(

      I refuse to hover over him at this point. When I was his age, I took care of stuff or took responsibility for the consequences and he has to do the same.

      On the e-mail at work thing, though, his boss at this job sends him texts generally about his schedule.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        OlympiasEpiriot, I think that is a completely reasonable call.
        I was THE MOST DISORGANIZED student. Seriously. I was always shoving papers in random folders/books/bags (before email was common) and losing them. I actually failed a class because of missed assignments and had to retake it. I was upset, but I got my sh!t together after that, and it was 100% the right call for my parents to let me fail. I did fine and was considered “overly organized” by pretty much everyone by the time I got to college. I am in my late 20s now (if that matters?).

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          I hope that happens, but, I doubt it. He has never been organized. Has gone through moments of culling or trying to “get organized”; but, ultimately, he has always treated all his possessions like mulch.

          Nonetheless, I keep my fingers crossed.

          1. Lance*

            It sounds like he may need to find some sort of system that works for him, then, because he’ll need at least some organizational skills later in life. Which, really, kind of ties in with the ‘consistently check your e-mail/x other thing’ issue per the letter.

    5. Public Health Nerd*

      Yeah, I think the only other thing you could do is to offer random, small, positive incentives via email at unpredictable and unannounced intervals. Like 2 extra credit points for answering a bonus question, or things like that, paired with announcing winners in class.

      But college and work don’t work that way, so ymmv.

    6. Tuxedo Cat*

      I think the message your students should have is that they might need to use some communication medium that isn’t what they normally would opt to use. For my work, I use email, Slack, and even Facebook messaging. I also have a bunch of different video conferencing programs (Zoom, Skype, etc.) For my personal life, I only use Facebook messaging and email.

      But at least for now, email is really important for the colleges I’ve worked for.

  41. CTT*

    OP4, I’m curious to know what you mean that your students are “not using their email.” Are they just straight-up not checking it at all, or are they not using it to communicate with each other? If it’s the former, that’s definitely something they should be on top of. Since it sounds like something you and multiple colleagues have noticed, maybe you could push for integrating it more into their work. But if it’s the latter, I’m not sure it’s a huge concern. I think in a classroom setting, often times the easiest way to communicate is in person. I didn’t have a school-provided email address in high school, but in college and law school, I checked my email regularly, used it to communicate with professors and admin, but very rarely used it to contact fellow students, either socially or for projects. Why have a drawn-out email back-and-forth when it could be solved in 5 minutes before class the next day? I do think it’s important to emphasize to them that email communication is important and they can’t rely on social media for professional communications, but I don’t think it’s a huge cause for panic if students aren’t communication by email right now.

    1. Harriet Jacobs*

      They are not checking their email for class assignments, school announcements, etc. I don’t monitor how they communicate with their classmates.

      1. (Different) Rebecca, PhD*

        In my PhD program, one of my cohort mates rarely checked his and then was ASTONISHED that he missed out on things. Like, dude, seriously?

        1. EddieSherbert*

          ……. One of the other students in my partner’s cohort has his mom check his email. Seriously. This guy is going to be a doctor in a few years. And his mom. checks. his. email. for! him!

      2. blackcat*

        Have you tried having a short, low stakes, assignment over email during the first week of the school year?

        I found success with this when I taught high school. I told them that an assignment would be emailed and that they needed to complete it promptly (that night).

        The entirety of the assignment was to respond saying they read and understood the included policy about email. Instituting this helped a bit.

      3. Hinty*

        Why don’t they receive push notifications when they get an email? That would be the easiest solution

  42. Roscoe*

    #1 I know that some DUI convictions have contingencies in there where you are still allowed to drive for work, as long as driving isn’t your main job (like a bus driver or something). If that was the case, I’d say just keep it to yourself. However, since it seems you are fairly certain that she said she isn’t allowed to drive, and she is driving other people, I agree you should tell your boss.

    #3 This just seems a bit like you are begging for attention here. Your husband noticed and likes it. It doesn’t really matter what your co-workers say. And if they didn’t like it, do you want them to say something? Probably not. So just be happy it went mostly unnoticed or uncommented on

    1. EPlawyer*

      Not on LW1 to parse the terms of co-workers bail. She should go to her boss immediately. She can couch it with “this is what co-worker told me” and then boss can find out terms. Maybe there is a work exception. Maybe not. But let the company ask co-worker so co-worker can explain.

      Although quite frankly, I would have serious reservations about co-worker if I were boss. Even if the co-worker could drive for work, they should have disclosed IMMEDIATELY so the company can decide to put them on the desk for awhile or what. By not disclosing, coworker purposefully hid important information boss needs to know about whether co-worker is capable of doing the job.

      Same as if co-worker were taking meds for a temporary condition that might affect driving. Tell me. I might put you on the desk for awhile — with no adverse consequences. If you don’t tell me and I find out, there will be adverse consquences. Company can’t help what they don’t know about.

  43. AvonLady Barksdale*

    OP #3, I get you– you made a change that’s big for you, and you think you look great. However, this is the flip side of, “OMG, I just sat through the whole meeting with a poppy seed in my teeth!” or, “I can’t possibly meet this client, I have a giant zit on my face!” In those cases, we often remind people that no one notices, and if they do it’s either a) not as bad as you think it is, or b) they’re too polite to say anything. As I advised a direct report many years ago when she was embarrassed by the state of her eyebrows, people are pretty self-absorbed and don’t notice our perceived flaws or differences nearly as much as we do. (Besides, her eyebrows were totally fine.)

    In other words, if we understand that the “wrong” stuff goes unnoticed, we must accept with it that the “right” stuff will also go unnoticed.

    1. OP #3*

      Wonderful perspective, thank you so much!

      Now, perhaps I won’t be as self-conscious about the huge pimple currently residing on my forehead.

  44. The Ginger Ginger*

    Email question – yeah, college and office jobs = email, but I don’t think that translates to having to be worried about young students who don’t check their email now. Just tell them higher education and office jobs rely heavily on email, and they’ll need to be checking office email regularly. That doesn’t mean they have to nurture the habit now or change the way they use their current email, only that they need to be prepared to adapt to the preferred communication style of their office.

    I didn’t check my email in highschool, and I rarely check my personal email now, and I’m still on top of my work email during the work day. I don’t really think this is that different or worrying.

    1. kit*

      This is my feeling also. Teachers emailing students wasn’t a thing when I was in highschool, university email was nearly pointless (profs and staff would usually tell us in person that they had emailed us something because checking our school email was onerous), and I have no problems staying on top of email at work. Honestly highschool didn’t prepare me for work life in any way but I am also quite sure that’s not the point of highschool.

  45. There is a Life Outside the Library*

    #3: I prefer people NOT to comment on my appearance/clothing/new hair. If there is one thing I absolutely cannot stand, it’s Captain Obvious observations that I did not ask for about my appearance. So I never do it with others. If you want others to react, you could always ask them what they think!

    1. straws*

      Agree! I hate these types of comments, and it may just be that OP3 is working with the types of people who wouldn’t want the comments themselves.

  46. Database Developer Dude*

    #3. I’m a guy, and I -never- comment on the physical appearance of coworkers, positive or negative. There’s just too much of an opportunity for even the most innocent comment to be misconstrued, and I’m not trying to catch a sexual harassment charge.

    1. Delphine*

      This seems to be a bit of a theme and it’s just…tiresome. You do you, of course, and it’s not bad to avoid commenting on people’s appearance in general. But you don’t “catch” a sexual harassment charge unless you’re sexually harassing people, and implying that noting a woman’s haircut might lead that woman to fly off the handle and accuse you of sexual harassment is a bit much. It’s the whole, “I can’t talk to women now because of the MeToo movement.”

      1. Bostonian*

        I got the same impression… it’s one thing to have a rule of not commenting on others’ appearances because you don’t want that to be a focus in the workplace, it’s another thing to have that rule because your “innocent comment” might be “misconstrued”

  47. sunshyne84*

    #4 Seems like the kids need an incentive to start checking their emails. Maybe you could make it an assignment on professional communication. Or you could send an email asking them to bring something to class and whoever actually does this gets candy or something.

  48. There All Is Aching*

    Re: #3, it’s interesting to hear about the offices where people wouldn’t notice or comment, because at my former jobs (magazines, legal admin, food retail), they would definitely notice and comment (mostly positively). I was thinking it was corporate vs. not corporate job thing, but then I realized that at those places we had a lot of style/fashion leeway, and hairstyles/outfits were fun ways to express mood/personality at work. Either way, totally agree not to take it personally. But OP, if the two links you provided are how you changed your hair, I think the new look is lovely!

  49. Environmental Compliance*

    About a month ago, I went from below the shoulders hair to a pixie cut. It now doesn’t touch my ears. A couple people noticed right away (and those were the people who are the most gossipy here), and then most either said nothing or said something about 2 weeks later (and most of them just asked confusedly if I did something to my hair). People really just don’t pay attention, and it’s nothing personal.

  50. straws*

    OP1 – I agree with others that you need to disclose this to your company, especially to cover yourself. If you have a good relationship with her, giving her a head’s up and/or an opportunity to talk to her boss on her own would like be easiest in the long run. Otherwise, ask to be anonymous even if you know she’ll suspect you. It’s possible that the accident was reported in local news, so if you can find something like that to provide it may be helpful. As others have pointed out, there are ways for an employer to work with someone in these cases that remove company liability and safety concerns, but keep the employee employed. This is the route your coworker needs to take, and if you can’t convince her to take it then your employer needs to know.

  51. you don't know me*

    3) Even if I noticed, I wouldn’t say anything unless you brought t it up first. Too many people are weird about comments on their appearance (even positive ones) so I don’t say anything until I get the signal that’s its ok to discuss.

    4) I have Girl Scouts that are high school age and when they were in middle school we started getting them used to checking their email at least once a week. And we insisted they set up an appropriate name for their email address. And we insisted the name they used be “normal” or some version of their real name. No sexylady69@mail.mail for these girls.

  52. Jaybeetee*

    LW1: I think you gotta speak up. If this comes out some other way (God forbid via her getting into an accident), and the higher-ups found out you knew, that could be huge trouble for you, or even your job.

    LW4: I’m an adult, but frankly I don’t use email for regular correspondence anymore outside of work and my parents. My email accounts are mostly to do with shopping, bills, subscriptions and other “pragmatic” items these days, but I rarely have to write an email outside the situations mentioned above. More and more email clients are synced to phones now too, so they’ll be notified if there’s something they have to answer. Teach the teens how to write a professional email.

  53. Emi.*

    The reason your students aren’t checking their email is that email is a terrible system, responsible for a great deal of human unhappiness. They’ll check it when they need to for work; let it go for now.

  54. Blue Eagle*

    #1 – Here’s the thing. You don’t “know” that she got a DWI, all you know is that you heard her talking about it. So I’d make a slight change in Alison’s script to – I overheard something and I don’t know if it is true, but if it is true, then I don’t feel comfortable not disclosing it.

    And I would think about telling her first that you don’t feel comfortable keeping the information to yourself, particularly because of the blowback on you if it comes out that she got found out and that you know about it, and that you will be telling management that afternoon (to give her a chance to tell them herself).

    1. SigneL*

      Well, “she told me she got convicted of a DWI and is waiting to get sentenced” seems like information OP1 needs to share. But, yes, OP can still say that they overheard something, they don’t know if it’s true and think they should disclose it.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      The coworker told LW#1 that she got a DWI and asked her to conceal the information.

    3. Temperance*

      It’s very easy to verify the information with a simple docket search, but it’s not even necessary here. LW’s coworker confirmed it and specifically asked her not to disclose.

  55. shorthairdon'tcare*

    OP #3- I’m actually in the exact same situation. Got my hair cut significantly shorter this past weekend, came into work yesterday figuring at least a few of the coworkers I’m friendly with would say something and….nothing. I was a little paranoid that it didn’t look good, but reasonably I know it’s just that no one’s paying attention haha. And when I came in this morning a coworker did tell me how cute it looked!

    1. Lily in NYC*

      I get embarrassed when people comment on my hair cut (I have no idea why; I just do). I tend not to comment on other people’s unless it’s hugely drastic. To be honest, if it’s not a big change I won’t even notice. My ex shaved off his beard and he was annoyed that I didn’t even realize it.

    2. OP #3*

      That’s so funny! Actually, the same thing happened to me, a couple people actually did end up commenting on my hair today, too!

  56. Quake Johnson*

    I’m a little confused at letter #4. Is the teacher surprised the students aren’t using email to communicate socially? (I only ask because LW mentions that the kids specifically said they communicate other ways) Because that WOULD be out of touch.

    If that’s not it, is the school sending emails to the kids that they’re not then reading? I also find that bizarre. Completely common in university, of course, but I see no reason why a high school needs to be emailing children.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      My kid’s does. Assignments, updates to collaborative Google Classroom assignments, school club announcements, theater audition announcements, etc.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        Yeah, this is now normal in my understanding. I worked on a school software program about 5 years ago, and that was considered an *integral* feature for teachers to be able to communicate with students through email/the program. They expected to be able to send/collect/grade assignments online (by emailing the students).

      2. Annie Moose*

        It definitely seems to be more common these days. My sister teaches fifth grade, and she regularly emails both parents and students things like the classroom newsletter, if there was a problem with a student, about assignments, etc. Basically, anything where historically a note was sent home with a kid, now she does through email.

        (however, it’s obviously not the same as how email is used in a lot of workplaces–it’s a different context with different uses and different requirements, and it therefore doesn’t surprise me that students aren’t going to use email the same as you would in a job!)

      3. Mad Baggins*

        If I’m an average high school student and I can just bookmark Google Classroom and check it directly to get my assignments, I don’t see why I would need to check my email either. In my day we tuned out PA announcements, this is kids tuning out email spam.

  57. signel*

    OP1, I’d suggest talking to management ASAP, because it wouldn’t surprise me if one question they ask you is “how long have you known this?”

    1. SigneL*

      In other words, if you know that coworker is driving illegally and say nothing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they fire you, too.

  58. CMBG*

    “[Students in the future, if they take an office job, are] going to be expected to use email. And if they don’t check their email and respond to their email regularly — which in most jobs means at least several times a day — that’s going to be considered a huge performance issue that could get them fired.”

    Probably, but that doesn’t mean they have to practice it now or they’re doomed. Voicemail and email did not exist when I was in high school. They arrived during my years in an office, and I learned how (and why and how often) to use them on the job, and quite quickly. It’s as simple as “here’s a tool for you; here’s how it works; use it.” When it really matters, people will do so.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Well, if their teachers are communicating with them *via email* then they might have to learn it now or be doomed! (AKA fail an assignment or class) :)

  59. Cass*

    You need to alert your employer of this now. Full stop. By asking you to keep quiet your coworker is putting your job and reputation at risk. She can certainly ask that of you, but no one has the right to expect you to comply here.

  60. Just Another Analyst*

    OP3: I usually never comment on a coworker’s haircut- even if it’s very noticeable- unless we work together closely and have a good rapport. I’m not sure why, maybe it feels too personal or I’m worried that the haircut is actually not recent and I’ll sound like an idiot for bringing up old news. Also, I agree with other commenters that some people just don’t pay attention that much. I had my light brown hair dyed dark red last year and my cubicle mate (as in, the person that spends 40 hours a week sitting right next to me) didn’t notice for a week.

    As for whether your coworkers like it or not; who cares! As long as you love it, then rock it!

  61. babbageek*

    OP#1, you really don’t have a choice here. Tell them right away and use Alison’s script. If co-worker gets pulled over for something minor (rolling through a stop sign, failing to signal, etc.) while driving a client, the cop will find out her license is suspended and she will be prohibited from driving away. All in front of the client. Plus since she’s obviously refusing to take responsibility for her driving that *put an innocent person in the hospital*(!!!) you can bet she’ll let management know that you knew all along in an attempt to deflect some blame.

  62. Oblivious Man*

    To OP#3: I once talked to a blonde girl that had dyed her hair purple for about half an hour before I noticed that there was anything different. Oops!

    1. EddieSherbert*

      This is me. I’m also very guilty of thoughts like “something is different but what?” and “OH. Their HAIR is different. But how long has it been different? One day? Two weeks? Three months? Better not say anything”.

    2. OP #3*

      These comments are giving me a much better feel for how many people aren’t observant to physical appearance, and how there’s absolutely no reason for me to be offended by the lack of comments. :)

      I’m friends with a guy who I know too be extremely unobservant. His sister once got a haircut from almost waist length to an above-the-chin bob. His sister point-blanked asked him if he noticed anything different about her. He guessed “is that a new shirt?” and “did you go tanning?” before he realized the haircut!

      1. Empty Sky*

        I had a colleague at work once who took up running. She was severely overweight, which made it quite challenging for her. She showed remarkable perseverance though and kept at it, and I’d see her out in all kinds of weather. Fast forward about 12-18 months and she was still running regularly, had lost a ton of weight, and was on the slightly plump/athletic side of normal. It was amazing – you would not have recognized her as the same person.

        I used to have regular running conversations with her, and would do things like compliment her on her determination when I saw her heading out into a winter gale or some such. I never commented on the weight loss though, even though I’m about 99% sure she would have taken it positively, because… it’s talking to somebody about their weight. At work.

  63. Dog Person*

    Letter #3

    I would not have commented on your hair due to sexual harassment concerns. I do not comment on people’s outfit, hair, shoes or anything that could be misinterpreted. Recently, I got my hair cut and two of my colleagues noticed. I appreciated that they noticed and I knew they were just making conversation. But in today’s world, one has to be careful about what they say at work. I stick to neutral topics like the weather.

  64. Sciencer*

    I almost never comment on other people’s haircuts because in the moment between noticing it and saying something, I get hit with the fear that this haircut is already two weeks old, or two years old, and I will sound like a buffoon for saying something about it now. This literally happens almost every time and once it hits, I can’t for the life of me be certain one way or the other.

    Also goes for glasses. Have they always worn glasses/contacts? How can I not have noticed before? Better say nothing and just chime in if someone else makes a comment.

    So, LW3, you could have an office of people like me, OR just a few of them, so that the others are now wondering why nothing has been said and thinking they’ve missed the boat.

    1. OP #3*

      Hah, that’s really funny that you bring up the glasses thing! It’s just now occurring to me that last year I wore glasses to work for the first time in my three year tenure here, and no one commented on that either. Interestingly enough, I don’t really like my glasses and only wore them because my contacts had been bothering me, so it was a relief that no one commented on them. Now with my new haircut that I DO like, I was a bit upset that no one noticed.

  65. nnn*

    #4: It might be useful to tell the non-emailing students that they can set up a new email alert so they don’t have to check their email (as in go look at it proactively on a regular basis), they can just glance at the alert and see what came in.

    They can do this on their phone if they’re not normally at a computer, but they can also do it on a computer if they’re working at a computer regularly or it’s not convenient to get email alerts when not at a computer.

    That way, it isn’t a useless-looking chore added to their to-do list, it’s just another alert to respond to, which they’ll be accustomed to from their social media experience.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      You can even do this for just certain categories of mail, or mail addresses. I do this for Gmail so I’m just getting alerts for important stuff and not every sale or newsletter that comes my way.

  66. Justin*

    Even if kids don’t use email currently, they will once they have to, either with job searching or with college. I was a teen in the 90s and we had AOL and AOL email, even then we still communicated online primarily via IM. I’m not sure what the worry is here.

  67. Kenneth*


    LEGALLY you don’t have a choice here. Not only must you inform your employer, you must also inform the Court or the police. You have material knowledge your coworker is violating the terms of her bail.

    Informing your employer, they may take the extra step and inform the police as well so you don’t have to, taking that burden off your shoulder. But either way the information really needs to make it to the police. It does mean your coworker will not only be fired, likely immediately, but arrested and her bail revoked, meaning she’ll be held in jail pending her sentencing. But everyone else will be a little safer for it.

    Morally, ethically, and LEGALLY, you have no choice here.

    1. Essess*

      Exactly this! You are aware of illegal activity that puts the company in serious liability. If the coworker has an accident while driving on company business the company could get sued. If the company finds out that you were aware of illegal activity and didn’t report it, you can definitely kiss your job goodbye! Most companies where I’ve worked make me sign documents every year that I will report any legal or ethical violations that I become aware of.

      1. JM in England*

        Reporting such violations has been part of the Ethics policy for nearly all of my employers to date.

  68. Amber Rose*

    #3: Last year I dyed my hair a particularly vivid shade of purple for a wedding. Nobody noticed. People just don’t notice stuff like that very often.

    1. rocklobstah*

      I wish! I dyed color in my hair that was supposed to be temporary and isn’t gone yet. And people KEEP commenting on it. ugh.

  69. Nicki Name*

    I don’t think “you need to do this in school because you’ll need to do it when you have a job” is ever going to work as a reason because high school students are well aware that there are many, many differences between the high school environment and the working world. They’ll need a reason within the context of schoolwork, like their grades depending on information that’s only going to be available through email.

    1. Annie Moose*

      I completely agree. I remember when I was in school, people would try to pull that all the time–“oh, school is your job! You can’t get away with X at a job!” etc. etc. But the truth is that school isn’t a job, it’s school, and it’s a very different context with very different relationships (a teacher is not at all the same as a manager!) and expectations. And high schoolers are perfectly aware of this (and are perfectly aware when adults try to “trick” them into doing things that they clearly can tell are useless).

      If you want high schoolers–or anybody–to use email, then you have to give them a reason to use it.

      1. GreyjoyGardens*

        Exactly! If you treat people like they’re clueless/dumb, then they will blow you off or laugh at you and not do the thing. Even before Delores Umbridge started torturing kids in Harry Potter, she got off on the wrong foot with them by treating high-school-aged teens like stupid small children, and they disliked her from the first.

        If you need your students to check their email, then give them *school related* reasons and consequences.

      2. Lucille2*

        Couldn’t agree more. Judging from my attitude toward HS, one could say I would never amount to much as an adult. But I really took college and my career very seriously. There’s a shift in college when you risk failing a class you paid $$$ to attend and a degree you’ve dedicated your youth to acquire. (I put myself through college, so this may not carry weight with all college students). Also, the threat of not progressing in my career at best, or at worst getting fired, is enough incentive to take things, like responsibly managing email, very seriously. I would’ve scoffed at such a remark in HS if email had been a thing back in my day. It’s probably best to frame it as more of a heads up of what’s to come than direction to start this habit now.

    2. Dog Person*

      No, the “you need to do this in school because you’ll need to do it when you have a job” does not work. I heard that so many times while I was in school. It went in one ear and out the other.

  70. Bananarama*

    OP3 – you say that you didn’t get the haircut to gain attention, but now you’re upset that you’re not getting attention for it. That isn’t logical. You’re way overthinking this, and no one really cares – it’s your hair, not theirs.

  71. Sneezy*

    #3 – I’ll be honest, I have trouble noticing when people cut their hair from long to slightly-less-long. I know to you it’s a big change, but to me it’s still in the same category of “long hair.” I was expecting a much more drastic change based on what you said! So it’s possible they just didn’t notice.

    Truth is, we can’t tell you why though – maybe they didn’t notice, maybe they hate it, maybe they’re awkward… just love your hair and remember, they’re coworkers! It doesn’t matter what they think of your hair :)

    1. OP #3*

      Haha, it’s so funny to read that, because of course, it feel drastic to me. :)

      You’re right – it really doesn’t matter. I still love my hair!

  72. Beth Anne*

    People are weird about complementing people..especially if words of affirmation isn’t their love language.

    But I love that haircut I want to get it done to my hair!

  73. Goya de la Mancha*

    #4: My co-workers and I use a LOT of ways to contact each other and our employees (mostly younger adults/teens) – but email is still king, especially if it’s important enough to want to leave a “trail”.

  74. Ennigaldi*

    OP3, I feel you. I got a new haircut two weeks ago and no one said anything, not even my work friends. Two other coworkers got haircuts and several compliments (right in front of me). People are just ODD.

  75. Riley*

    Wow OP #3 I have the exact opposite problem you do. My coworkers won’t STOP commenting on my haircut! I have a short haircut that needs cleaning up every 6 weeks or so as most short haircuts do. Almost every single time, one of my coworkers and my boss notice and comment on it. It feels very invasive to me. I always want to respond, “Yes, and I showered today too. Let’s stop commenting on my hygiene/grooming practices.” Of course, the subject is particularly fraught with my boss because her comments are always “You got a haircut again. I liked your hair better long” which my boss should not be inserting her opinion on ever. (My hair is well within the professional standards of my field and workplace.) I always respond “Well I love it like this” and she’s now started saying “I liked your hair better long but you like it better this way” which is…progress? But seriously, just stop commenting on my hair at all!

  76. Delphine*

    LW 3–people are odd. In some offices, they’ll comment on every inch of your appearance. My friend can’t wear a new top or new shoes without someone making note of it. That can be exhausting. In others, they don’t comment on anything! It can definitely feel strange when no one remarks on a big change in your appearance, but I wouldn’t let it concern you.

    (For what it’s worth, I’m not a great conversationalist in general, so a haircut is something I’ll often note because it gives me something to say. Just a small, “Oh, did you get your haircut? It looks very nice!”)

    1. OP #3*

      Oh man! That sounds exhausting. I think it is simply a matter of some (a lot?) of people being really unobservant. I’ve had coworkers more than once comment, “Oh, is that a new shirt? I love it!” when it’s a shirt I’ve had for years, and worn to work too many times to count.

  77. Sleepytime Tea*

    #3 – I literally dyed half (everything from the shoulders down) of my long hair purple over the weekend. Not a single person noticed except my supervisor (who didn’t say anything but made it obvious with his reaction that he was less than pleased, however he couldn’t do anything because it wasn’t against policy and I didn’t see clients or something like that). Come Friday I made a comment in our daily morning meeting that no one noticed, and people did a double take. They really didn’t notice! Even people who sat next to me. You’d think PURPLE HAIR would catch some attention, but seriously, especially at work people can end up just focusing on the tasks at hand and not catching on to much else around them.

  78. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

    OP#2: In my opinion, the problem with upward feedback is that it is has no benefit to oneself, and a lot of potential downside to oneself. So why do something that has such blow-back potential? When asked for feedback on a manager, I have politely declined, stating that I was not comfortable providing feedback on my manager’s performance, and so I wouldn’t be providing any. Based on past experience, I found that there really was no anonymity in upward feedback, despite the promised anonymity. If your manager only has one or two direct reports, of course she/he is likely to recognize who gave the feedback.

  79. LilySparrow*

    #3, both those hairstyles look great. I know it feels like a huge change, but to people who dont know much about hairstyles, it could pass for a trim and air-dry. I’ve known a lot of folks with wavy or curly hair who straighten it, and it always looks much longer.

    Sometimes it’s hard to tell which version is extra effort, and which isn’t. And as others pointed out, many people just aren’t that observant.

    1. OP #3*

      Thank you for saying so! I think the curly/straight thing definitely plays a part. Interestingly enough, I had my hair loosely curled (like the photo I shared) yesterday when no one said a word. Today I straightened it, and a couple of colleagues have actually commented, “Oh! You got your haircut, I like it!” Perhaps yesterday they just thought it looks short because it was curled.

      You are so right about it feeling like a huge change to me, but not to others, though. Even the part of Alison’s says “it looks like you went from long hair to shorter-but-still-fairly-long hair” surprised me! Of course to me, the change it “long to super short”. :)

  80. Chaordic One*

    When I worked in H.R. I turned in a coworker for having a DUI. The coworker said nothing, but notice of the DUI was printed in the arrest column of the local newspaper. (It was in the back part of the paper, not a big scandal or anything.) So I brought in the newspaper and showed my boss and we had to revoke her privilege to drive one of the company cars. She didn’t drive for the company very often, so it wasn’t really a problem. I don’t remember the exact length of time, but it was something like 3 or 4 years that she would be banned from driving a company vehicle.

    OTOH, if she had to drive a company vehicle as a regular part of her work, she would have been fired. We just couldn’t afford the insurance and wouldn’t take the chance of it happening again.

  81. Lucille2*

    #3 – I made the exact same change to my hair as you described and no one said a word at work. It was weird for no one to notice what I felt was a dramatic change to my appearance, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. I’m an introvert and comments of any kind on my personal appearance tend to make uncomfortable, so I viewed it as a relief rather than an insult. Perhaps there are others out there like me, who just prefer to fade into the background than bring any attention to their appearance, positive or negative. Or maybe it’s best just to just chalk it up as unobservant colleagues than read anything into it. Next time, color it fire engine red and see if anyone notices.

    1. OP #3*

      Oh, that’s interesting to hear!

      After reading through the comments, I have definitely chalked it up to unobservant colleagues!

      1. Kyrielle*

        FWIW, I’m generally unobservant and might notice but not comment – for fear that I’d been not-noticing for a few weeks or something.

        “Nice haircut!” “Thanks, I got it done week before last.” Not that anyone will say that bluntly, but sooo awkward if it’s true. :)

  82. Melonhead*

    For what it’s worth, my own husband rarely notices when I get a haircut. Neither do my sons!

  83. Babs Grandeur*

    #3 a similar thing happened to me! I too work in a very small office. I went from being a brunette to being a blonde overnight – pretty drastic. Some people oohed and ah-ed, but several said nothing. I found that to be odd and it felt insulting. But then I decided it must just be a cultural thing-some people think it’s rude to say anything about someone else’s appearance. I guess!

  84. Observer*

    #1 You absolutely need to let management know. If you decide to give her a chance to tell herself, you need to give her a VERY short deadline (like “by the end of today”) and then independently verify that she actually told management. Given what you know about her, you KNOW that she can’t be trusted to tell you the truth about whether she told management. So you need to go to management and tell them that you want to confirm the CW told them about the problem.

  85. Butter Makes Things Better*

    OP1, in addition to what folks here are saying, if your struggling is about your colleague’s fate re: getting fired and/or facing legal consequences (both warranted in her case), perhaps you can take some comfort in the possibility that either or both result could be the thing that gets her to clean up her act in a real way. Job loss and jail time are often (though not always) what allows people with substance issues to hit bottom. *Please
    note* I’m not saying this should be anyone’s primary concern given what this coworker is foisting on OP, just that if OP is feeling pangs over not keeping this secret, this might help ease her mind.

  86. Nonsensical*

    In regards to number 4, most students, even college students I know suck at email but when they get to a job, something they’re being paid for, their habits are different. It is still good to make them check their email but I wouldn’t compare their current email habits to what they’ll be doing in the work world.

  87. SKA*

    #3 : It’s possible that people are just following a rule that I also follow myself: Only compliment someone’s appearance if it’s on something they made an active decision about *that day*. (I think the rule might be from this very blog, but I can’t remember for sure!) “I love your outfit!” or “That shade of lipstick looks great!” are good. But “You’ve lost weight – good job!” and “Your gray hairs make you look distinguished” maybe not so much (unless you know more about the person’s situation).

    Haircuts can kind of go either way, I suppose, since it’s clearly a decision you made overnight/over a weekend. But I always worry about complimenting hair because… what if the person doesn’t like it, and it’s not what they asked for at all? Seems like it could get awkward fast.

  88. PsychDoc*

    Haircut OP – from the perspective of someone who tends not to comment on the changing appearances of others. I have moderate face blindness, so I rely heavily on hairstyles to identify people. I struggle to identify people I know well if they have changed their hair. So I may not comment bc I’m (strange but true) trying to make sure you are who I think you are. Additionally, I have a truly terrible memory, so I don’t have faith in my ability to remember what your hair looked like yesterday. I would assume that I just forgot what your hair used to look like, and worry that if I say something, you’ll say that that’s always how it looks. Long story short, I don’t comment on appearance changes for fear that I’m wrong about them, not because I don’t like them.

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